Unceasing

by Betsy Roy

Much has happened in our nation since the beginning of August 2017 (Charlottesville, VA, and Hurricane Harvey) and we are facing more in the forms of natural disasters (Wildfires in the West and Hurricane Irma approaching the East Coast) as well as a very real existential nuclear threat from North Korea.

Much may be happening in your personal world as well. Perhaps you are suffering with sickness, economic uncertainty, personal and family problems. Perhaps you are in the path of wildfires and hurricanes.  It can all seem so overwhelming! Jesus taught us that we should not be surprised when these things happen. We will face trials and tribulations in this life, but He also said to be of “good cheer” because He has overcome the world and came to defeat the power of the enemy. No doubt it can be a struggle to be of good cheer. Yet despite all circumstances and difficulties the Bible teaches us to “be joyful always, pray continually (unceasingly); give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus”. 1 Thessalonians 5: 16 – 18.

It is a very difficult time in our nation and perhaps for you personally. God’s answers are to pray and to be imitators of Christ, living lives worthy of our calling as His disciples. It’s time to pull together and to gather together for prayer and repentance. It’s time to seek the Lord, seek humility and seek righteousness. Zephaniah 2:1 – 3. We are a nation and a church that has put other gods before the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! We have submitted ourselves to the false gods of pleasure and convenience. May the Holy Spirit bring conviction to our hearts and draw unbelievers to Jesus.  Please pray daily and also pray in groups, whether small or large. Make time for it please! Pray that the Church in the United States will rise up and become a strong and healthy Church. Pray for our President and elected officials. the Bible doesn’t tell us that we must agree with them or their politics. The Bible does tell us to pray for them in 1 Timothy 2: 1-2 “so that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”

PRAY! PRAY! PRAY! If you don’t know how to pray, begin by just telling God what’s going on and asking for “help, Lord, help!” Then open your Bible and you can pray verses from the Bible. Here’s an example from Ephesians 3:16 – 19Everyone needs more spiritual strength to overcome temptations, live a godly life or just to even deal with the day to day issues of life. You can also ask the Holy Spirit to help you to pray because he knows the perfect will of God and he knows how to pray.  Allow him to pray through you. Romans 8:26 – 27. He helps us in our weakness.

We must also act out our faith and exhibit the fruits of the Spirit in order to be “light” and “salt” to the world despite hard times. A kind word, a listening ear, and a comforting shoulder can go a long way. Let the Lord walk through you. That’s how He is made known to others – through us, His disciples. Be His hands, His feet, His voice, His loving arms. And let no unwholesome talk or posts on Facebook or other social media be among us please, but only that which will build up and encourage.

The cultural war will not be won by an independent Church that is divided and quarreling. The Body must pray and work together following the Holy Spirit. Let us pray and act towards unity in the Body. If you feel offended by something someone says whether to you or on social media or the news then please take a moment to breathe. Before spouting off, please take it to the Lord. Guard your tongue please and guard your postings. People are getting quite agitated and upset. Can we be a calming influence and the voice of the Lord to bring peace? First there must be peace in our life, and in the life of our local church before we can expect there to be peace across denominations and then in the world. World peace sounds so nice, but it’s not going to happen until we are committed and submitted to the Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus! Only HE brings true and lasting peace.

At Women of the Word we are committed to unceasing prayer which is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are also committed to righteous and holy living as the Bible teaches. Our fall events in 2017 will begin on Friday evenings with a corporate Concert of Prayer and Worship. Prayer will be led by our speakers and leadership team and we will also break into small groups so that the women can engage in prayer, praying for national, global and individual concerns. It’s time to pray with and for one another ! And then, we must act like we pray! Will you join us?

Praise the Lord, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever. Praise the Lord! Psalm 117

The Voice of the Lord is Over the Floodwaters of Harvey

by Betsy Roy

The effects of Hurricane Harvey are devastating and catastrophic. While those in the midst of it are suffering, many outside the areas affected want to help but may feel helpless. What to do? As believers in Jesus, we must first go to prayer and then to action. May we each hear the voice of the Lord speaking and leading us. The Bible teaches us to “love our neighbor” by helping him, not just in words but in action. You may be in some deep waters in life. Read on!

 Please consider GIVING to a christian relief fund serving the area like Samaritan’s Purse, Operation Blessing, Convoy of Hope or a church in the area. All of us can give something – whether small or large.  If the Lord leads you to do more, like volunteer in the affected areas, either now or in the months to come, then contact an organization involved in relief efforts and make a plan to do that.

Now let’s pray together: Our Father God we come to your throne of grace on behalf of those suffering as a result of Hurricane Harvey. We ask you to bring help and comfort. May the Body of Christ, the Church rise up to be your arms and feet in bringing hope, love, compassion and care to hurting souls. Lord, as I sit in my safe home I cannot imagine the level of devastation but my heart reaches out with tears. Father, you tell us that you are a safe refuge and that your everlasting arms are always underneath. Father, I pray that the people of Texas and Louisiana will run into your arms and know that safe refuge. May hearts be turned to you today in Jesus name.

Please lighten the burdens O God. Help all the workers and those organizing relief to streamline their efforts and know what to do, where to go, and what to bring. Give great wisdom and great strength, emotionally and physically.

We turn to your Word O God for encouragement and hope. Your Word says that “the voice of the Lord is over the waters.” Father may your voice be heard in the midst of this devastation. Your voice gives direction, brings encouragement, gives hope and spreads love. Open ears to hear you, turn to you, trust you.

Despite this terrible devastation we declare what the Scriptures say “The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever. May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace! ” Amen.

YOU may not be in the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey, but you may be in some very deep waters yourself – maybe physically, emotionally, mentally, financially or spiritually.  Know that these prayers are for you also! This Word is for YOU!. God’s Voice is over your waters too and HE will lead and direct you. We are praying for you also!

I encourage you to continue to pray daily for others and yourself.. The people affected by Hurricane Harvey are experiencing a major life trauma that will not go away tomorrow. We must continue to pray and act, and not forget them. Let us continue to hold up weary arms and hearts. Thank you for praying, giving and caring. You are remembered too before God’s throne of grace.

At Women of the Word we are committed to continuing in prayer for this situation, for our nation, our leaders and the Body of Christ. Please join us!

What does Hurricane Harvey mean to the Church?

by Betsy Roy

What could God be saying to His Church, the Body of Christ (Corpus Christi) through Hurricane Harvey? Is God speaking to the Church about the dangers of complacency and apathy?

An article in USA Today entitled “Corpus Christi breathes sigh of relief….”  reported “Emergency coordinators have said for years that complacency could be dangerous for Corpus Christi, describing residents’ responses to storm warnings as apathy. “ Many residents stayed in the city, dismissing warnings. They did prepare some by boarding up homes and stocking up on supplies. The prevailing attitude, however was one of “it’s not going to hit us that badly”.

Hurricane Harvey was predicted to make landfall in Corpus Christi, Texas. Interestingly, Corpus Christi means Body of Christ which refers to the Church. The Church is His Body living on the earth today. On Saturday August 26, 2017 abc13 news headlines reported “Corpus Christi emerges from Hurricane Harvey relatively unscathed”.  Sadly in other places, like Rockport, Texas the damage is described as catastrophic. While there was property damage in Corpus Christi, the report concluded  “Miraculously, no injuries have been reported within city limits.” We do thank God for this! But, can we just take God’s protection for granted? What is God saying to the Church, His Body through this natural storm? 

Our nation is experiencing a huge moral decline. Unrighteousness is rampant. We are heading towards lawlessness and anarchy. Yet, many in the Church sit in their recliner, feeding on junk food messages and are not changed into Christ’s image. If not in the recliner, then they are “too busy” with the things of this world like constant work, entertainment, sports and running here and there. They participate in ungodly living thinking that somehow they are “good to go” because they claim to be a Christian. Jesus called us to Himself – not the TV and not ‘going to church’. He called us to prayer, service and laying our lives down for one another. He called us to focus and perseverance. We must repent of complacency and apathy. We cannot be a people of “whatever will be, will be”.

We must have the mind of Christ! The Bible tells us that we can have it, but we must be willing to lay down our own ideas and “stinking thinking”. We need the cleansing power of the Word of God to wash our minds. In Isaiah 55:9 God tells us that “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” HIS Word does not return empty, but accomplishes HIS purposes, which brings blessing and fruitfulness to our lives. It brings peace and joy even in the midst of difficult circumstances. (Read Isaiah 55: 10 – 13). We must contend for this mindset. It requires our due diligence and effort! It requires that we read and study God’s Word, the Bible for ourselves. It requires humbling ourselves and prayer. 

We cannot just breathe a sigh of relief if this storm hasn’t hit us hard or even at all. What about our neighbor? What about our children and grandchildren? What about the future of our nation? What about the next storm? Read what the LORD says in Zephaniah 2: 1-3. Seek the Lord, seek righteousness, seek humility.  Gather together, O shameful nation. NOW Is the time!

The Church in the United States is seeing some BIG signs within this last week. One week ago today we experienced Solar Eclipse 2017. The week ended with one of the biggest Hurricanes to hit Texas ever.  Now downgraded to a Tropical Storm, Harvey is still causing much damage and heavy flooding which is expected to continue through this Friday September 1, 2017. The after effects are sure to continue for a long time. Are we understanding the times and are we doing what God shows us to do in His Word? I sincerely pray so.

RIGHT NOW, you can pray and act to help in Texas by giving to a Christian Relief Organization such as Samaritan’s Purse.  At Women of the Word we are calling women to corporate prayer, worship and godly living for the sake of our families and nation. We are also calling them to put action behind their prayers so that others will see Jesus loves them and cares for them. Please do likewise. Get out of complacency and apathy. Stop just doing the minimum thinking that is enough preparation. Be strong in the Lord so you are ready to face any storm in life with courage, knowing God will bring you through!

What does Solar Eclipse 2017 mean to Women of the Word?

by Betsy Roy

Many thousands, perhaps millions of people will gather throughout the United States to watch the solar eclipse, the wonder in the heavens. The total solar eclipse will be seen primarily in the United States. Will they ask “What does this mean?” Whom will they ask? Where will they look for answers? If they look to the world they will receive conflicting and confusing answers. May they seek God for answers. May they seek for answers in the Bible, His Word. May they ask believers in Jesus and I pray that we will have biblical answers for them! God is seeking to save souls! That is His agenda and so may it be ours.

The timing of this solar eclipse is significant. It is not coincidence. At sundown on Monday August 21, 2017 the Hebrew month of Elul begins. Traditionally, this is a month of repentance ushering the celebration of the LORD’s Appointed Fall Feasts (Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles – read Leviticus 23: 23 – 44). The Day of Atonement this year is 40 days from the solar eclipse. 40 is a number that has Biblical significance.

Where the solar eclipse will be seen is also significant. Could it be a sign for the United States since the solar eclipse will be seen primarily in our nation? Here are some thoughts:

  1. God is speaking to our nation! We are losing our nation to immorality, violence and anarchy. It’s time to FIGHT for our generation and those coming up.
  2. God is calling us as individuals and as a nation to repentance. Repentance is not just saying “I’m sorry”. The definition is a change of mind which should lead to change in behavior. We need to ask the Lord to show us in what areas of our lives we are not pleasing Him and then commit to change, asking for His empowerment. He will most certainly give it!
  3. God is desirous of revival within the Church and a great harvest of souls! Revival within the Church comes when we humble ourselves, seek His face, pray and live according to biblical principles.  We lay down our agendas of wanting to be entertained and comforted and made to feel good! We focus on God’s agenda which is winning souls and making disciples conformed to the image of Jesus.

This is how we FIGHT for our generation, our children and our grandchildren:

  1. We fight in humble prayer on our knees and with fasting (when God says to).
  2. We fight with God’s Word. He has given us weapons with which to fight and these weapons are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10: 4,5).
  3. We fight by living lives that honor and please God. We hunger and thirst for righteousness and we live that out. This is the greatest example to the world that we are different. This is how the Church makes known the wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10).

At Women of the Word we look to God and His Word (the Bible) for answers to life’s issues and ask God what He is saying through National and International events and issues. The solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 is a “wonder in the heavens…..the sun shall be turned to darkness…..” spoken of by the Apostle Peter in Acts 2: 19 & 20. God told us that there would be signs before the day of the Lord’s return.

What do these signs mean and what is God saying? In general terms, these wonders and signs point us to God as the Creator of the Universe and the one who has set an order that is reliable and dependable. The sun is set! The earth moves around the sun. The moon moves around the earth. There is evening and there is morning every day! This points us to God and His Son Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday and today and forever (Hebrews 13:8). The order of the Universe reveals HIM.

The context of the Apostle Peter’s declaration in Acts 2 is when the Holy Spirit filled the believers that were gathered together in unity and prayer. Thousands of Jews were gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost and they asked “What does this mean?”. Some thought the believers were “drunk.” Peter explained what was happening in Acts 2:17-21 referencing a prophecy through the prophet Joel (Joel 2: 28-32). In short, this prophecy tells us that God will pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, status, education, etc. –  ALL flesh who call on the name of the LORD Jesus for salvation.

For the sake of this generation and our children and grandchildren will you fight? Will you fight as an individual and will you gather corporately? I’m saying – Here I am LORD. I will! and at Women of the Word – We will! We are starting off our upcoming conferences with a corporate concert of prayer and worship to seek the Lord and pray! There is great power when women come together to pray and worship corporately. I invite you to join us!

 

 

Spicy, Savory Words

By Lois Tverberg

Have you noticed the latest food trend? Growing numbers of people are into artisanal foods. They love organic cheeses and heirloom vegetables, farmer’s markets and food co-ops. They want to eat slow food, not fast food. It takes more time and effort, but it’s worth it, they say.

You know what? I’m into artisanal Bible study. As Christians, we all know that it’s important to sustain ourselves daily with the Scriptures. But time is short, so many of us do Bible study microwave-style nowadays. We gulp down a pre-packaged devotion with a few slurps of coffee before heading off to work. Is it at all surprising when it’s as bland and unmemorable as a vending machine sandwich?

There’s actually a way to spice up your study, by getting to know some of the Bible’s wise Hebrew words. They’re aromatic and savory, carrying a distinct scent of the rich, earthy depths of their ancient origins. (A sample study is attached at the end of this blog.)

Have you ever tasted fresh pita bread made by the Bedouins? It’s out of this worldchewy and hot, crispy in spots, and a little smoky from the open fire. When a veiled, wizened old woman flops a piping hot piece into your hands, you need to rip off a chunk and pass the rest on before your fingers burn. Smeared with olive oil and dried hyssop, it’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted before.

It’s the same with Hebrew words. Out of necessity for us to read them, we’ve had to “package” them into English sen- tences, like the bagged pitas you find at the grocery store. But some of their more subtle flavors simply don’t travel well across languages and time, even if their “nutritional value” hasn’t changed. In order to taste the breadth of expression of the Bible’s ancient words, you have to travel back mentally into their original Middle Eastern setting.

Why Hebrew? Well, Hebrew is God’s heart language— the mother tongue of the Scriptures Jesus read. Hebrew is also an extremely rich, poetic language that looks at the world in very different ways than English. Grasping the depth of even a few words greatly clarifies and enriches reading, and casts new light on things that you thought you understood. You’ll see humor, irony and timeless wisdom where you passed it by before.

Often, knowing the original, fuller sense of a biblical idea will challenge and change you, as its ancient wisdom puts your life into the perspective of God’s eternal Word.

Roomy Suitcases

Let’s look at Hebrew words another way. Rather than being “packaged” into sentences, you could say that words themselves are packaging. Words are the luggage that we use to transport our thoughts into the minds of others.

In English, we have an enormous number of “suitcases,” words with various shades of meaning and formality. Some dictionaries put the number at 100,000, some more. But believe it or not, biblical Hebrew has only about 4000 words, a tiny fraction of the vocabulary of English.

You might wonder how Hebrew can communicate with so few words. The reason is that each “suitcase” is roomier inside—deeper, wider, more spacious. Many Hebrew words carry a wider range of meaning than the corresponding word in English. Unpacking the ideas within a Hebrew “suitcase” is often enormously helpful in Bible study.

We English speakers are used to very precise meanings, and we expect to have everything carefully defined. But Hebrew words paint scenes in broad brushstrokes, leaving the listener to discern the meaning from the context.

The prophets and biblical writers actually seemed to delight in pondering the nuances of their language. They often made wordplays based on a word’s ambiguity, deliberately invoking multiple layers of a word’s meaning.

For instance, the word ruach (roo-AKH) means “breath,” “wind,” and “spirit.” When God’s ruach blew through the Valley of Dry Bones to bring new life in Ezekiel 37, we see that all of its various meanings are intended.

I’ve always imagined that God chose to reveal his Word in Hebrew because the language invites us to think more deeply. As we read the Scriptures, we ask God what he is saying to us again and again.

Hebrew is helpful not just for reading the Old Testament (which was mostly written in Hebrew), but the New Testament too. Although it was written in Greek, it was composed almost entirely by Jews growing up in a Hebrew-speaking, Semitic-thinking culture. Often you hear a Hebraic “accent” even in the Greek text. Knowing more about the Hebrew way of looking at the world is helpful in reading the Scriptures from beginning to end.

Lois Tverberg has written a wonderful study available in e-book form entitled “5 Hebrew Words that Every Christian Should Know”. A sample of it is attached here (pdf).  You can purchase the entire e-book (pdf) for $3.99 here.  Lois is a biblical scholar,  author and speaker.  Women of the Word, a Christian women’s conference ministry, is blessed to have her on our speaker team. She brings great insight into understanding the Bible from its Hebraic context. This helps us to walk out biblical principles and become better disciples of Jesus.

Do You Want to Get Well?

by Barbara Benton

Dealing with a broken leg, foot and ankle has altered my lifestyle tremendously.  Most of my days are spent sitting with my leg elevated, occasionally using a wheel chair or knee scooter for the trip to get my lunch out of the refrigerator, or make my way to my bedroom at night.

My doctor’s instructions are that I am to put no weight on my foot for six to eight weeks, and keep the leg elevated.  It sounds so simple, but I am so tired of the routine. Some days I just don’t want to do what it takes to get well.  Yet, every day I obediently do my part.  Why?  Because I want to get well.  I want to walk again.  I want to get back to living again.

I want to get well.

Chapter five of the book of John relates quite a story of a man who had been crippled for thirty-eight years.  He spent his days lying on a mat.  Many scholars believe it was probably a small 3’ by 5’ mat that became his world by the Pool of Bethesda.   He would lay there daily, hoping that it was his day of healing.

Enter Jesus.

Jesus asked an interesting question to the man in verse six, “Do you want to get well?”  Really, Jesus?  What a silly question!  Perhaps it wasn’t so silly.  The man’s response was to give all the reasons why he couldn’t be healed.  He lived in captivity to a 3’ by 5’ world.

As I talk with people, I’ve been tempted to ask, “Do you want to get well?”  I hear reason after reason why they can’t get beyond the prison of their 3’ by 5’ world.

I get it!  I really do.  I’ve known sexual abuse, miscarriage, the loss of a child, and a score of other things – things that invited me to live in a 3’ by 5’ world.  It’s often more inviting to do mat time, than to walk the process of healing.

My heart is gripped when I listen to the painful stories of people’s lives.  Life can be brutal.   I believe many must answer the question, “Do you want to get well?”  Sometimes the journey is slow and difficult.  As with my leg, we will sometimes still feel the pain while awaiting the healing to be completed.

Jesus came to deliver us from a 3’ by 5’ life.  We won’t always receive instant healing.  We certainly can’t turn back the clock and erase what brought pain and brokenness into our lives.    Jesus sought out a man who needed healing.  Jesus is always seeking those who are broken, and need His healing.

Jesus is still asking the question, “Do you want to get well?”

Let’s try to unpack this question by looking at it in a different light. Perhaps Jesus was digging deeper and asking things like: Do you really want things to change? Are you ready to leave behind all of the excuses? 

Do you ever feel like you are stuck in a 3’ by 5’ world?  Enter Jesus!  There is a big world out there, so don’t let pain and brokenness keep you on the mat.   Jesus is ready to help you get off that mat, and walk into healing.

As I stare at this elevated, black-casted leg, I wish it was instantly healed.  I wish I could turn back time and change that moment that brought such pain and discomfort to my life.   It would be easy to wallow in my sorrow and pain. 

But … I want healing.  I want to get beyond the pain, and off the limitations of a 3’ by 5’ world.  I do the things I need to do for healing.  Therapy is down the road, and I will do the things I need to do for healing.  I want to get well.   Do you?

“Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.” – Jeremiah 17:14

Barbara Benton is a regular speaker at Women of the Word, a Christian women’s conference ministry.  She teaches life application of biblical principles in down to earth and humorous ways. Barbara desires to live a life that honors God and help others do the same. Find out more here.

Try a Little Kindness

by Barbara Benton

I still remember how it felt when I missed the final step and went sailing into the air, landing on my right foot.  As I lay in all my glory on my son’s living room floor, with the whole family as an audience, I knew my foot was severely injured.  While I won’t bore you with the whole story and all the details, suffice it to say it was a long night in the hospital in Baton Rouge.

At times the pain was breathtaking, and I could feel myself getting more and more anxious. Everything in me felt like saying, “Hey, I’m in pain over here. What’s the holdup!”  I could roll my eyes, sigh with exaggeration and demand to speak to someone. That’s what I felt like doing.

I sensed the Lord was telling me to be nice, but I didn’t feel like being nice!  I knew God was saying, “Don’t sacrifice kindness on the altar of your pain.”

While in severe pain, I made up my mind that I was going to be nice to all the personnel who would be assisting me that night.  We were in an emergency room, with a lot of people waiting.   That meant lots of needs, lots of pain, lots of impatience.

The choice was mine.  How would I act and how would I react? 

painIt was a long, painful night, with lots of slowdowns and lots of beating around the bush as to what should be done with my broken toe, foot, ankle and leg.  I chose niceness.  I was in enough pain to want to be anything but nice, but nice and treating people respectfully would be my choice.

After many hours of dealing with many different people, which eventually turned into several days of dealing with different people, I made a decision daily and sometimes hourly to just be nice and kind.  I expressed my needs, my pain and my desires, but nicely.

One day, a caretaker said to me, “I wish all of our patients were like you.”  Sometimes we get “cussed” out for things we have no control over.  Sometimes they yell at us for telling them the doctor won’t be here for another thirty minutes.  I have no control over the doctor.”

Another marvelous thing happened:  some of the employees would come by and visit. Some began to share their stories, and I was able to talk about the power of God.  I thought one worker would have revival in the middle of the night!

Don’t miss the point of this short blog.  My purpose is not to pat myself on the back.  My purpose is to remind us, that God is with us in our pain.  God will bring healing to our pain, and in most instances, it will be a journey, that seems slow and never-ending.  (My days of immobility seem soooooo long.)  But, God will bring healing to our pain.

Whether to scream at everyone, take it out on everyone, and be rude to others is a choice. 

As  you read this, I am in no way minimizing pain, any kind of pain:  physical, betrayal, emotional, grief, marginalization.  Pain is real, very real.   And sometimes we do cry out because of our pain, and hopefully we have people with whom we can share our pain.  So this is not a guilt trip blog.

My goal, as a child of God, is to let God do my talking, not my pain.  I trust God with the pain.  He sees. He cares. He wipes tears. He heals.

In the mean time, try a little kindness.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.”- Colossians 3:12

Barbara Benton is a regular speaker at Women of the Word, a Christian women’s conference ministry.  She teaches life application of biblical principles in down to earth and humorous ways. Barbara desires to live a life that honors God and help others do the same. Find out more here.

Being Prepared

by Jane Zachman Vaughn

Worry. Is that something that takes up your thinking-space these days? We could worry about all sorts of things: life just seems to get out of our control – all by itself. worryI believe I have found a secret about worry. It is useless!! My time wasted. Besides, Jesus teaches us not to be “anxious” about our food, shelter, or clothing (Mt.7:25ff) – well, actually we are to be anxious about nothing (Phil.4:6).

But what about our economy? These surely are uncertain times. Could there be another “crash” – a depression or recession? Of course there could – and economists and prophets alike are warning this nation that such a thing is probably on our next horizon.

Is that not something we should worry about? Well… will our worrying fix what needs fixing? Change what needs to be changed? Not really. What then? Francis Schaeffer asked: “How shall we then live?” Great question! Herein is the secret: Jesus speaking: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt.6:33).

Priorities. I understand that to mean that I am to concern myself with what is important to God – and allow Him to remain concerned about my details (some of which I can’t really control anyway!) One thing for us to do, then, is being ready – or prepared – ahead of time (1Pet.3:13).

The parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 (5 Wise, 5 Foolish) teaches us about being prepared. But before we look at that Scripture, let’s note that another place (in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians) is important as it comes alongside this parable – Ephesians 5:15-17.

In Ephesians 4, Paul begins to lay out quite a number of imperatives – commands for believers – that form the practical application of how we are to walk out our faith in Christ (add Phil.2:12b). The whole longer passage in Ephesians is worthy of noting, but let’s go to 5:15. “See then that you walk circumspectly (carefully), not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise….” Fools – Wise – Redeem the time.

So, what to do to prepare in these days? Stockpile food and water? Store up survival equipment? The Church has done that before. And to no avail, I might add. But – are you preparing spiritually for the tougher days that just may lie ahead? How? Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God. Yes. Redeem the time. Yes, and yes again.

The 10 virgins in the parable – half were wise, half were foolish. This is not contrasting the “saved” with the “unsaved.” It’s not about getting into Heaven. All 10 went out to meet the Bridegroom. All anticipated His coming. They all had lamps with oil… but the foolish five had not figured on Him tarrying – delaying. These five had no reserves from which to draw. They were not prepared – to last – or “endure to the end.” They had enough oil for “today.” And then, when they depleted their supply, they had to scurry to go find more oil… so they did that. And it took time.

This is not the door to salvation – they were not shut out of eternity. This parable is about having extra oil – stored in your vessel. More than you think you need – for now. More than enough oil to sustain light over a length of time. “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph.5:18) – filled to overflowing – so that you cannot contain the peace He brings – the “peace that surpasses all understanding” (Phil.4:7). More than enough extra oil so that you can last a long time. A long time – of waiting: “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength” (Isa.40:31); “Do not grow weary in well-doing” (2Thes.3:1).

Are you waiting on God – to do something – for you? With you? To answer your biggest prayer? Do you “feel” like you are losing hope of His provision? Redeem the time. Make the most of what time you have – now. Fill up your internal reserves – while there is time.

This Hebrew word “wait” means more than standing there tapping your toes. And it means more than “serving” the Lord during the waiting times. The word /qavah/ inherently holds the concept of waiting hopefully. We wait in expectant hope that God will provide – because we KNOW He is faithful to His Word. “The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him” (Lam.3:25).

Many of us who came through the Charismatic Renewal of the ‘60s and ‘70’s believed – truly believed – that Jesus was going to return in the next few years. I never thought my eldest son would see his teen years – or drive my car – or marry. He’s 46 – and I’m a grandmother! J I am still waiting for His soon-coming! But I have never given up the hope that He will fulfill every promise.

Our preparation is not in stockpiling goods – or even extra money in a savings account (although that is always WISE!) We redeem the time – we get ready now for harder times that just may come sooner than later. We prepare by pressing in to know God and He reveals everything we need to know about Him in His Word. All the secrets of living this life successfully are there – hidden for us to mine out the treasures. When we bury the treasures of His Word in our hearts, they are there so that the Holy Spirit can, indeed, bring them back to our remembrance at the very moment we need to tap into the reserve.

Jane Zachman Vaughn, Women  of the Word partner, sister, and friend suddenly left us for heaven on September 9, 2016 at the age of 72. jane-vaughn-picI was in Franklin, NC for a WOW One Day event on September 10 and did not hear until early on Sunday September 11. She was first and foremost a disciple of Jesus. She also taught God’s Word with excellence. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother as well as a faithful friend. 

Her going home is a loss to us, but such a gain for her. I had just spoken with her the week before and knew she was praying for that event and also the WOW Israel ministry trip. Jane was a prayer warrior and I know she is now with the great cloud of witnesses cheering us all on. Her last financial gift to WOW had just arrived before I left for NC to support the believers in Israel. What a testimony! 

Jane was a personal mentor to me when I first began working with Women of the Word. She taught me so much about planning events. She taught me a lot about the practical side but she always put the spiritual aspect first! We prayed together many times then and over the years after. There are so many things I recall about her – all good and I know pleasing to the Lord. Well done my dearest friend! I love you!  ~ Betsy Roy

 

 

 

Emotional Eating

by Fathima P Torres

Emotional eating is turning to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward rather than to satisfy hunger. emotional-eatingEmotional eating is so powerful that many times people confuse this with physical hunger. Many experts on the topic list the following facts to differentiate emotional eating from physical hunger.

Emotional hunger comes on suddenly. It hits you in an instant and feels overwhelming and urgent. Physical hunger, on the other hand, comes on more gradually. The urge to eat doesn’t feel as dire or demands instant satisfaction (unless you haven’t eaten for a very long time).

Emotional hunger craves specific comfort foods. When you’re physically hungry, almost anything sounds good—including healthy stuff like vegetables. But emotional hunger craves fatty foods or sugary snacks that provide an instant rush. You feel like you need cheesecake or pizza, and nothing else will do.

Emotional hunger often leads to mindless eating. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a whole bag of chips or an entire pint of ice cream without really paying attention or fully enjoying it. When you’re eating in response to physical hunger, you’re typically more aware of what you’re doing.

Emotional hunger isn’t satisfied once you’re full. You keep wanting more and more, often eating until you’re uncomfortably stuffed. Physical hunger, on the other hand, doesn’t need to be stuffed. You feel satisfied when your stomach is full.

Emotional hunger isn’t located in the stomach. Rather than a growling belly or a pang in your stomach, you feel your hunger as a craving you can’t get out of your head. You’re focused on specific textures, tastes, and smells.

Emotional hunger often leads to regret, guilt, or shame. When you eat to satisfy physical hunger, you’re unlikely to feel guilty or ashamed because you’re simply giving your body what it needs. If you feel guilty after you eat, it’s likely because you know deep down that you’re not eating for nutritional reasons.

I have been an emotional eater for almost half of my lifetime. For the last 24 years, I have found refuge in food when I have felt my worst, this is worst because I am a chocolate and or bread lover. I was 98 pounds when I got married at the age of 20, many of you know how my marriage ended so I am not going to dwell on that but in the turburbalance of that experience I became an emotional eater and by age 30 I was 250 pounds!!! I have done all the diets programs you can imagine and more!

When I was appointed to work for the government of the Dominican Republic, I went with my children, my “mudanza” and my 250 pounds as part of my luggage. The vanity of the position, being on TV practically on a monthly basis talking about the issues affecting the region I was responsible for and society in general got me into the “vanity mode” of losing the weight and in less than a year I went to 148 pounds. To be honest with you, I did not realize the lost of weight until after the fact. It has always been the case that my stress level disappears when I’m back home. Having become more physically active along with eating more naturally got me to the 148.

As I reconciled myself with the Lord (when I divorced my ex-husband, I divorced God as well) and I turned myself into reading more His word and fellowshipping more with Him, I was reminded of what John 6:35 says “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

As my emotional health was being stabilized, I realized that regardless of how much physical food I consumed, if I am not spiritually fed, I will always be hungry and I believe that is why there are so many people in this country suffering of emotional eating disorders. We are looking to feed with food what ONLY the Lord can feed with His presence, His love, His care, His forgiveness, His acceptance, and His compassion to carry us through the challenges and obstacles that life brings with it.

At this point in my life, my eating habits have changed, 2 years ago after completing the Daniel Fasting for the first time, I started a journey that has led me to become a vegan (that has been a personal choice, the Daniel Fasting doesn’t require that you become a vegan after the 21 days); as I meditate on this journey of 2 years, I smile when I see that the Lord also helped me shift my eating habits by embracing my journey during the Daniel Fasting in a way that I never expected. He is so, so good to me, to us.

At the beginning of this message, I shared with you the definition of emotional eating as turning to food for comfort, stress relief, or as a reward rather than to satisfy hunger. How about if you consider making a conscience decision of looking for comfort and stress relief in the Lord? Let Him satisfy the needs of your soul and emotions. Let Him be the one that carry on your emotional and mental stress. Search for Him, talk to Him (pray) and get to know Him more, fellowship with Him; take the time to be silent with Him (let Him talk to you) and search for His commands and promises (read His word, the Bible).

Do you want to continue being an emotional eater? Then, do so for God. God bless you, be well.

Fathima P Torres is the Director of Wear Your Crown Ministries, headquartered in New York, NY, which hosts events, retreats and bible studies. Click on her name above to find her on Facebook.

Faith Comes by Hearing Challenge

by Betsy Roy

What comes first in your life? If you a Christian woman you probably will answer “God, family, work…..”. Next question – What is your first thought when you wake up and what is the first thing you do in morning? Is it reach for the cell phone and check your messages? check Facebook, Instagram, Twitter? I’m guilty! As I searched online for images of women lying in bed reaching for a cell phone I found a lot of them.  I didn’t find even one image of a woman lying in bed reaching for a Bible.

Now I’m not saying that looking at your cell phone first or checking Facebook is sin. But, it is a matter of priority and what is entering your mind FIRST thing in the morning. Our actions are a reflection of what is on our heart. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment is he began by quoting Deuteronomy 6: 4 & 5. The first word is “hear” (shema in Hebrew). The word “shema” means more than the auditory hearing of sound. It means to listen and obey. In other words to do what you are hearing. James 2 teaches us that faith apart from works is dead. So we see that hearing, faith and doing are all connected. What we listen to does affect our faith and therefore also our actions.

The Bible teaches us in Romans 10:17 that “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God”.  So faith increases as we hear (listen and obey) the Word of God. Screen shot 2016-07-11 at 12.59.49 PMI am challenging myself to not only read more of God’s Word, but also to “hear” it (listen to it and obey it). Will you take up the challenge?  Instead of turning on the radio in your car to listen to music (even Christian music) or talk, why not listen to God’s Word FIRST? Here’s a great website to do just that – “Faith comes by Hearing” – where you can listen to the Bible in various forms, including dramatized, and in many languages. Yep, they’ve got an “app” too!

There just is something about hearing God’s Word in audio form. You can also read the Bible OUT LOUD! When your inner ear hears what your mouth is saying it builds faith! Give it a try today! And let’s spend more time in the Bible than we do on social media. Our face needs to be in THE Book more than on Facebook. God’s Word has transformed my life and it will transform yours too as you listen and obey.  A personal favorite is Psalm 119. Verse 11 says, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” 

“I prayed for Faith, and thought that some day Faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But Faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, ‘Now Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God’. I had closed my Bible, and prayed for Faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and Faith has been growing ever since. ” ~D.L. Moody

Betsy Roy is the Director of Women of the Word, a Christian Women’s Conference Ministry. She lives near Springfield, MA with her husband Jim. They have 3 daughters and 3 grand-children.