The Chair

by Kim Warf

At many holiday gatherings, there sits an empty chair. It may be a chair that once sat a husband, a mother or father, or a child. Its significance came only from the love felt for the one who once occupied its place.

Although the chair may be temporarily occupied by another as the house fills with company, the absence of a loved one is still sharply felt and can bring an ache along with the joy. If one is not careful, that pain can override all the goodness of the day and of the season…and overtake your life.

This is a spirit of grief and despair that is not the life of faith we are called to. Faith is a complete trust in the God who formed us; who knows our very thoughts. The enemy of our soul will use negative circumstances in our lives and magnify it until the grief and despair is all we see. The grief becomes a lens that tints and taints all the beauty and purpose of life; until we become withdrawn…thoughts become unclear…life becomes uncertain…and hope seems a distant harbor.

There is another chair that we are told of from history. It is in a synagogue in the town of Nazareth. Jesus read from a Messianic prophecy to the congregation there. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”  (Luke 4:18-19) from Isaiah 61:1.

Jesus then sat down in what some say is the chair reserved for Messiah, others say it was the chair from which the Rabbi taught signifying His priesthood, and yet others say he sat down amongst the congregation signifying his humanity. The important thing is that He said, “Today, this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

You could have heard a pin drop. Sometimes, truth is not well received but it is meant to set us free.

Let us encourage ourselves when we see the empty chair in our house and picture Jesus sitting there. The One who was sent to heal the broken-hearted. The One who was sent to deliver the captives and give sight to those who cannot see Him. The One who sets at liberty those whose emotions are bruised and who walk through life in pain.

See Jesus there in your empty chair. He will never leave us nor forsake us. He hears us when we pray according to His will. He is working behind the scenes even when we don’t see any outward signs of change.

For, you see, Jesus is sitting in a chair and the Bible says we are seated with Him in heavenly places. It is the chair the Father had prepared for him. It is at the Father’s right hand.

When Jesus sat on this chair the words, “It is finished” rang through all eternity. The provision for salvation in its entirety had been made once for all. This is our hope. Our faith is attached to this power.

Dear heart, see through this lens. The one of faith, hope, and love. He has already provided and is working on our behalf. See the beauty of the little things of life and begin to give out to others from this place; even if it is but a smile and a kind word. It is only in the giving that we can receive our healing.

Kim Warf is the associate pastor, alongside her husband Paul of New Beginnings Church in Bangor, ME. She is also a Board Member of Women of the Word and has served as Conference Chairman of several WOW conferences in Maine. Paul and Kim have two grown daughters and a beautiful grand-daughter.

How Can God Forget Sins?

by Lois Tverberg

You have to admit, some Bible passages are real head- scratchers. For instance, in several places God says, “I will not remember your sins.”

Lois Tverberg

But how can God, in his infinite intellect, forget something? And what does he expect of us, since we pray, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us?” Does God really expect us to forgive and to forget the sins of others?

For some this is not just an academic question. A few years ago I heard a young woman recount nightmarish memories of being raped by a babysitter when she was ten. Over the years she had tried to forgive and sought healing. But as a Christian, she was plagued by the idea that God would not forgive her sins unless she forgave and forgot sins committed against her. How on earth could she ever forget?

Remembering, in Hebraic Thought

Understanding the Hebrew words for “remember” and “forget” can help us untangle this theological knot. They, like many words, have a wider breadth of meaning than in English, because Hebrew is a “word-poor” language (having about 4,000 words, vs. 100,000 or more in English).

In English, our definition of the word “remember” focuses entirely on the idea of recalling memories and bringing ideas into our thoughts. To “forget” is to fail to bring a certain memory to mind. Both words are concerned entirely with mental activity, whether or not information is present.

But the Hebrew verb zakhar has a much wider definition than just “remember.” It includes both remembering and the actions that are taken because of remembering. It often implies that a person did a favor for someone, helped them, or was faithful to a promise or covenant. For instance:

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the cattle that were with him in the ark; and God caused a wind to pass over the earth, and the water subsided. Genesis 8:1

It sounds like God woke up one morning and slapped himself on the forehead, suddenly realizing that he left Noah out there bobbing around on the waves. But the idea in this passage is that God acted upon his promise that Noah’s family and the animals would be rescued from the flood.

Later in Genesis we find another example:

Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb.” (vs 30:22)

Once again, the verb “remember” focuses on the action, not the mental activity. God paid attention to Rachel’s needs, listened to her prayer, and answered it. Here, “remember” means “to intervene,” focusing on what God did, not what God was thinking about.


The Idea of Forgetting

The Hebrew words for forget, shakach and nashah are also broad in scope. Often they mean to ignore, neglect, forsake, or disregard a person or covenant. For instance,

So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the LORD your God which he made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the LORD your God has commanded you. Deuteronomy 4:23

The idea here is that the Israelites would intentionally ignore their covenant, not necessarily forget that they made it. When the Israelites lapse into idolatry, we also hear God threatening to forget them:

Therefore behold, I will surely forget you and cast you away from My presence, along with the city which I gave you and your fathers.  Jeremiah 23:39

Once again the emphasis is on action rather than mental activity. God is saying that he would spurn his people, not lose their memory from his mind. When God “forgets” something, he does not necessarily lack information. This helps us understand why in the Psalms, we hear people asking God why he is forgetting them:

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? Psalm 13:1

Here the psalmist is saying “why do you ignore my prayers and not intervene in my crisis?” God doesn’t forget, but sometimes it seems as if he does.

Remembering Sins

Interestingly, “forget” is almost never used in combination with “sin.” But often the Bible says that God will “not remember” our sins. The idea of “remembering sins” takes the idea of acting according to memory and puts it into a negative framework. It suggests that God is going to give the person what he deserves for the sin. He will punish sin, not just keep it on his mind. Consider:

They have gone deep in depravity as in the days of Gibeah;
He will remember their iniquity, he will punish their sins.Hosea 9:9

The second line here is a parallelism, where the two phrases are synonymous. To “remember their iniquity” is the same as to “punish their sin.”  It is automatically negative, implying that God will intervene to bring justice. So, to not remember sins is to decide not to punish them:

If a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, … he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of his sins that he has committed will be remembered against him. Ezekiel 33:15-16

Because Hebrew focuses on action rather than the thought, it doesn’t necessarily imply that God loses the memory of sins in his infinite mind. It simply means that he has decided to forgo prosecution.

What are the Implications?

Knowing that Hebrew often focuses on action rather than on mental state, we can now see how God can “forget” people, but yet not forget. Or how he can choose not to “remember” sins, and yet not erase them from his memory. God chooses to put them aside, to ignore them and not bring them up again.

If you’ve ever been in a close relationship, you know what this is like. A wife whose feelings are hurt by her husband (or vise versa) “decides to forget” —to put the offense out of her mind even though the memory doesn’t goes away. Out of love, you simply choose not to ever act in revenge for the sin. And once you have done this, the memory itself tends to subside.

The Hebraic idea of “remembering sins” really encompasses the idea of punishment of sin, not just knowing about them. I find this very freeing in terms of understanding God’s expectations of us. Often we struggle with a person who has hurt us repeatedly, and wonder whether forgiveness means to pretend that the person won’t act the same way again. Are we allowed to protect ourselves, even if we hope they’ll change?

The idea that we can decide not to “remember” someone’s sins in terms of seeking revenge allows us to remember in order to make a situation better and make wise decisions in the future.

You know, if God could simply delete things from his data banks, he would have a much easier job than humans who can’t erase their memories. When we forgive a person, we need to choose to put aside our grievances, and often we need to do that over and over again as the memory returns to our minds.

When you think about it, it shows more love to be hurt and choose to not remember, time and time again, rather than to simply be able to forget about an incident. But interestingly, the more we love one another, the easier it does become to remove the memory of the past from our minds. In this sense, perhaps God’s infinite love really does entirely remove our sins from his infinite mind.

Lois Tverberg will be speaking at Women of the Word on April 13 & 14, 2018  in Janesville, WI. This seminar entitled “Through the Eyes of Jesus” is open to both men and women. Lois has authored four books which illuminate the teachings of the Bible from within it’s cultural context. They help us think and live Hebraically, so that we can become better disciples of Jesus.  Her newest book, “Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus” is available on her website Our Rabbi Jesus or on Amazon.

A Returned Prodigal Speaks!

by Christine Disibio 

I am a daughter of the Most High God, the Alpha and Omega, the Author of all life, the One who is, who was and who is to come.

Christine Disibio

I am a daughter of the great I AM, the Almighty KING!! I wish you could hear me say this, hear me say His names without pride, but with such joy, expectancy, and love. I am also a returned prodigal. I am in LOVE with my God, my Jesus, my Savior, my King, but I wasn’t always this way. I went through years of self– years of trying to satisfy myself. I spent years thinking I was my own god, believing I knew best and I had control. The twisted level of my thinking is almost unimaginable to me, yet when I ponder it…I remember.

The purpose of this quick testimony is not to inform you of the gravity of my sin, but to show you how unimaginably great a redeemer we serve. JESUS…that is the name above all names. JESUS… that is the man who saves! He came to share Good News, to set free captives, to deliver us from bondage, and to set blind eyes to see. He bore our sin, and he bore our sickness. JESUS came to deliver us and to restore our broken hearts. That’s just what He did for me.

I am a product of:

  • Prayers of a broken-hearted mother and father,
  • Prayers of a grandmother insistent on standing in the gap for my life,
  • Prayers of so many friends and family members crying out to God on my behalf.

I am a product of a God who hears, a God who answers, and a God who, even without those prayers, NEVER, EVER, EVER gave up on me!

I cannot express enough the joy I now have in Christ. The healing power of the blood of Jesus Christ is beyond my wildest expectation. How do we get our loved ones who have walked away to experience that power? Sometimes the people around us have to be just broken enough, just hurt enough, just in enough mess that they cry out, “OH LORD HELP ME!” And when they do, He is there. When they set their minds upon Him and taste and see that He is good, He will draw them unto Himself and give them staying power; He will start to appear better than this world, and He will become their desire.

I know each one of you is praying for someone, or more than one, near and dear to you. DON’T GIVE UP! NEVER GIVE UP! In Psalm 107 the Bible commands “ Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His faithful love endures forever.” Has the Lord redeemed you? Then pray and speak out! Tell others that He has redeemed you from your enemies. The LORD has redeemed me and I will speak out to tell of the great, great things He has done for me. I will proclaim from every mountain top that God has saved me and restored me. Who else is like him? Taste and see for the Lord is good and so worthy to be praised. He reigns above all and through all. He alone has the victory, and He will succeed in the lives of those for whom you are praying.

Standing in the gap is exactly that. When you intercede, you place yourself in the space between what is now, and what will be when heaven has its way. You place yourself there, as a sacrifice, as a line in the sand saying you will not be moved until you see heaven move on behalf of your loved one. This is a Jesus-like action. The Bible says Jesus himself makes intercession on our behalf. He ever lives to intercede on our behalf. PRAISE GOD! Jesus himself is pleading before the Father the same case for your loved one!

Jesus taught us to pray “ Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” So stand in the gap, make intercession on behalf of those prodigals. Pray that they would experience the love of the Father and the restorative healing power of Jesus. Pray that they will walk in the way in which they were raised. Pray that they would come to the understanding and knowledge of God. Pray that the power of the Holy Spirit would come and breathe on them in their lives. Even if they reside in the pit of hell-on-earth, the Holy Spirit goes there. He is there… Call out to their dry bones and speak: “COME ALIVE!” May the Spirit of the living, breathing God move on their behalves and change the very course of their lives in Jesus name!

I want to pray for you and with you: O Father, gracious loving Father, I ask that you would refresh every woman reading these words, every intercessor pleading on behalf of a loved one. Lord, increase their measure of faith that they may know they have what they are requesting. Give them staying power, strength and grace. Place a new fire in each woman. May praise rise up out of their bellies, for you will be praised. With angels and saints we will sing worthy, worthy, worthy are you LORD!

Father, refresh them in your Holy Spirit and give them new utterances on behalf of their loved ones. Father, bend down and hear our prayers, oh Lord. Help us we cry. The prayers of wounded intercessors hold great power in heaven. Hear their cries and answer us quickly God! We want revival, revival of your sleeping people, revival in your church, in the ones present and the ones running.

Oh Lord, call them in from every corner of the earth. In their distress may they call out to you for help, O Lord. We know You will come and rescue them from their distress; You will heal them, and restore everything the enemy has stolen. Lord, turn deserts into pools of water and dry lands into springs of water in our lives and the lives of every prodigal child. WAKE UP SLEEPERS, COME ALIVE DRY BONES! Cry out for your redeemer is near. Cry out to JESUS and be restored, be fulfilled, be loved!

Lord, we know you hear our prayers and cries for mercy. We know You are good and faithful and will answer our every request. We thank You and we bless You! We ask all this because of the blood of Jesus shed for our sins at Calvary, and we ask it in the name of Jesus. Amen.

In closing, I want to share a secret; there’s a bonus for you…there is a reward beyond even the great joy of seeing these things come to pass while still in the land of the living. There is reward in heaven and great blessing that comes today as we say these prayers. These prayers help us change more and more into the image of Jesus. They renew our minds and refresh our souls. They are hard to pray and exhausting at times, but God…you see, He uses EVERYTHING for our good, for the good of those that love him…even our broken hearts! 

Be blessed, and be loved!

Christine Disibio speaks at Women of the Word. She is a millennial with a heart to reach them and the iGeneration with the Gospel. In the everyday circumstances of life, the light of Jesus shines into darkness. Her life is rooted in applying biblical principles and prayer. Christine and her husband are entrepreneurs who see their business as an avenue to witness of God’s redemptive purposes to their employees and customers. They have two young children and live in New England.

Women of the Word has a closed Facebook group called H.O.P.E. for Moms of Prodigals. Please visit it by clicking here.

Steadfast and Courageous

by Betsy Roy

The Fall 2017 Women of the Word events were entitled “Steadfast” in North Carolina, and “Courageous” in Maine. Both themes are a now word to women as these are character qualities we need to develop in order to live victoriously in today’s world.  We need to dig into God’s Word for His strategies and we need the power of the Holy Spirit daily so that we can implement God’s strategies at the appropriate time and in life giving ways.

At both events the Holy Spirit moved amongst us. The events opened with concerts of worship and prayer. All the women participated praying together for one another, the church and our nation. In North Carolina great joy broke out during the Saturday evening worship service causing the women to be ready to receive anointed ministry before the teaching of the Word. Hallelujah! Women also moved into great freedom in Maine as the Holy Spirit brought deliverance to several of them. Many were baptized by the Holy Spirit and operated in the gifts of the Spirit.

Christine Disibio

Our speaker team at both events was inter-generational as were the attendees. This is the heart of WOW – to reach women across generations. Below are some encouraging testimonies from women who attended.

“I do not know what was more stunning this past weekend; the scenery or the word that came forth from our powerful speakers. What a weekend! I honestly feel like I got a taste of Heaven this weekend! Life-changing teaching was shared, beautiful worship, amazing fellowship, and did I tell you about that view?!

WOW has been part of my life for almost two  decades. Our topic this past weekend was Steadfast and I believe the leadership of WOW knows something

Lake Junaluska, NC

about being steadfast. We each need to be reminded that this journey is filled with trials and tribulations of all kinds but we must choose to cleave to Jesus and submit our wills to the cross. We never reach a moment in our relationship with Him where the blood of Christ or the cross are irrelevant. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we can allow Him to “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” (Psalm 139:23) Being steadfast in this journey allows that beautiful cleansing to take place so that we can reflect Jesus to a dying world who is so in need. This weekend was a must hear word! Contact WOW to get MP3 or CDs!” ~~ Marly Ellenburg from Seneca, SC

There are many things I love about WOW, the preaching & teaching the Word of GOD, the anointing, the sincerity in which the ladies serve, the supporting of one another, the edification lived out and expressed. Then there is the work of GOD in the services, in the motel rooms, around meal times, while traveling to and from the events. For me, most assuredly the residual affect in the lives of those who attend that far reaches Conference time and goes into the home, the community and the local church. Hold fast to that which has been received and keep on seeking until there are break throughs that move mountains.

A word of encouragement ladies and something to keep in mind: Much prayer has gone into seeking the LORDs plan for each event with each Lady who is going to attend in mind. It’s not for a moment of celebration only but it’s for a lifetime effect. Walk out what you’ve learned. Don’t forget you have been prayed for. And remember this, “Your situation may not have changed when you got back home, BUT you have!” ~~ Yvonne Beals from Madison, ME

Please pass this on to others: I heard people say what I felt – it was the best conference I have even been to! Thank you to all of you!! I often come home drained, but I felt encouraged and invigorated. It felt like a packed long weekend with it was only about 24 hours. It was great!! So many encouraging talks!! ~~ Margo Mason from Searsport, ME

After reviewing my notes from the “Courageous” WOW Conference in Maine, I found the underlying theme was the courage it takes to change ourselves. Change is something we naturally resist. We enjoy the comfort of routine and habits even if, at times, they are self destructive. We hold onto our anger and offense; and at times, we justify our words and actions that are contrary to the Word of God.

In June Evans’ lunch meeting, she spoke of how she cooperated with the Holy Spirit to change her into the woman she is today. She warned of self-deception, those “blind spots” that we all have and to ask the Holy Spirit to show us what they are. We were encouraged to be open to God’s discipline which will bring the peaceable fruit of righteousness. God’s grace empowers us not to sin.

Denise Ridley made a statement that struck me profoundly. “When a storm comes you can forget who you are.” In order for that not to occur: 1) Read the Word 2) Speak the Word 3) Obey the Word 4) Don’t Isolate! (get a prayer/accountability partner) 5) Be Persistent.

Betsy Roy’s teaching was transparent of her own life and rich with biblical steps to take in repentence and restoration.

I taught of how I had to have the courage to become a “Peace Maker” and not a “Peace Keeper” in my marriage which also overlapped into ministry. There were other wonderful messages that I am looking forward to listening to soon.

I would encourage you to contact the WOW office and order the cd sets (or mp3’s). Listen to them over and over again as they are timeless truths. I have cd’s from 10 years ago that I will take out and listen to even now.

God wants us to have the courage to be the Women of the Word He has called us to be. He has equipped us with His Word and with His Holy Spirit. We are truly overcomers in Christ Jesus! ~~ Kim Warf from Bangor, ME

 

How do you “see” Jesus?

by Betsy Roy

Sometimes people cry “I want to see Jesus” and this is a legitimate cry of their hearts. In our culture today we want to see the miraculous and the spectacular. Certainly the Lord has and can manifest Himself that way. Yet, He has others ways for us to “see” Him also.

The prophet Isaiah saw the Lord “sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple” (Isaiah 6:1).  The prophet Ezekiel saw “a likeness with human appearance with fire enclosed all around” (Ezekiel 1:27). Yet the Lord also walked on the earth in human flesh for 33 years. He was also transfigured in view of three of his disciples. “As he (Jesus) was praying, the appearance of his face altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah…” (Luke 9: 29, 30).

Many years after Jesus ascended back to heaven, the Apostle John describes seeing him in the Book of Revelation as standing in the midst of seven golden lamp stands “clothed with a long robes and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength” (Revelation 1: 13 – 16). The reaction of those seeing these things was to fall at Jesus’ feet “as dead” or “on his face” or to declare “woe is me”.

How do you “see” Jesus today? What is your reaction and how do you show Him to others? 

Many of us would like to see Jesus as did Isaiah, Ezekiel, or the Apostles. While we may not see him like that, we can see him as he lives in and through others. Below is a beautiful example of seeing the Lord alive and working today. It may just bring some tears to your eyes as it did mine. This is Bethany Wuerffel’s testimony during her time of serving in Israel.

Bethany Wuerffel

“The week has flown past with much work being accomplished, as well as great times of fellowship, exploring Jerusalem, and making new friends! Today however, I took a break from working on the children’s program to join a nurse  for some home visits.  She had approached me yesterday to ask if there was any chance I could join her for the morning as she couldn’t do these specific home visits alone, and without knowing why I quickly felt compelled to say yes.  I’m so thankful I did! The morning was an incredible blessing!

Cory has been here for over 25 years serving as a nurse in home health care to those who otherwise would not receive care.  She brightens every door she walks into and loves so deeply it’s hard not to be affected.  I watched her teach a patient Christian songs in Hebrew while washing their hair; hug, kiss, and massage a patient who is sorely neglected and receives no loving physical touch otherwise; review Psalm 103 with a patient as a way to calm fears; and speak truth into very dismal situations with incredible faith that God is bigger.  I watched her paint nails (even though she grew up without such luxuries herself), apply expensive hair oil and body lotion (“only the best”) to someone who has nothing, and fight to give dignity to those who have none.

Cory had told me I would see Jesus this morning as we visited patients who truly are the ‘least of these’ – but what overwhelmed me was watching Cory work and realizing I wasn’t actually watching Cory – I was watching Jesus. Did you know it’s possible to show Jesus to someone while you wash their hair or paint their nails? Some of the situations we saw were heartbreaking, and there was so little we could do to change the physical realities but I realized Cory was giving these people something no amount of money or power could buy- she was giving them Jesus and changing their emotional reality. It moved me to tears and deeply inspired me to use every task, even the smallest, most mundane ones as an opportunity to show God’s love.”

May we all be inspired as Bethany was to show the Lord’s love to others and “see” him in fresh ways. May we have eyes to see Him in the every day circumstances of life. “In Him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

Bethany has traveled with Women of the Word to Israel on tours and a ministry trip. Through these trips, the Lord gave her a heart to intercede for Israel and to go back to serve God’s people there. Women of the Word will return to Israel April 1-12, 2019. Check our website for more information. If you have questions, please email us at mail@women-of-the-word.net or call our office at (413) 525-1804.

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.