The Influence of a Godly Woman

by Betsy Roy

As we approach Mother’s Day I am thinking a lot about my mother in “love” (not law). She went home to heaven about a year and a half ago. She influenced my life greatly by her example!

Virginia used to say that she was the “woman at the well.” She had what one might say was a “colorful” past and did not come to know the Lord as Savior until her 40’s. img_7520However, she became a testimony of the scripture that when the new comes, old things do pass away. She loved the Lord fervently and became a mighty intercessor!

She raised four sons alone and went to college to earn her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees while on welfare. After earning her degrees she went to work in Elder Care Services. Eventually she became the Director of a Council on Aging . Upon her retirement in 2004 she was honored by those she served, her colleagues, and high-ranking officials in state government as someone who had put “love back in government.” My husband’s personal testimony of his mother is “I always knew that she loved me no matter what!”

Mom had a smile as big as heaven and a heart to match.  She cared deeply for people and always had a kind word.  While she would criticize herself she never criticized others.  She was a servant of the Lord in every area of her life- whether on the job, at home, in the marketplace or in church.  You could go to her with your problems and she would listen and point you to God’s Word .  She gave words of life.  I knew she was always praying while we were all busy running around.

She was also a great encourager and was a vital part of Women of the Word.  She was a partner of the ministry, both in her giving and her prayers for many years. Early on she used to travel with me to conferences sometimes.  In her latter years when travel was no longer possible for her, she did what her hands could do to serve the ministry by folding newsletters and programs while praying over each one. Virginia was a great encourager to me to press on in leading Women of the Word. She prayed for every prayer request we received, for every event, and every time I traveled. It was my habit to call her when arriving at my destination when traveling and when I got home she always asked how things went. She was very generous – giving of her time and money to bless others.  We used to joke at home about all the mail she got seeking her generosity!  We still get some!

My greatest memory of her is of the open bible on the kitchen table and her reading it every day and praying.  She was a fervent intercessor and deeply cared for people.  She brought me to know the Lord as my personal Savior 34 years ago. When I was a very young Christian I went through a rather difficult time.  I remember coming into her house very distraught.  She grabbed her BIG bible off the kitchen counter, opened it and told me to go lie on the bed and cry out to God and that He would comfort me and give me His words for the situation and He did.  She taught me a very valuable lesson that day – Cry out to God and go to His Word. It has served me well over many years!

The Lord is our comforter, an ever-present help in time of need. Shortly after my husband Jim and I met with our Pastor to plan her graveside and memorial services, I received a daily devotional I get via email.  We had been discussing a verse in Deuteronomy that was one of Mom’s favorites and that was the very verse in the devotional.  Some may consider that coincidence but I know it was the Lord speaking to me in a very personal way through His Word. The verse is “The eternal God is your refuge, (or dwelling place) and underneath are the everlasting arms!” Deuteronomy 33:27. She often quoted that verse amongst many others.

Jim and I are thankful that the Lord allowed us to bring her home from the hospital for her last days. Our girls all came home to help care for their grandmother whom they dearly loved and grew up with. Jim’s brothers were also there. Many family and friends were able to come to see her one last time. It was not an easy time, but it was a blessed time of prayer, ministry, and worship around her bedside. We are still very sad at her departure, but we rejoice that in God’s presence is fullness of joy.  We have this assurance – she is in His presence and most likely dancing (something she loved to do)! – no better place to be.  Her life lived for the Lord has continued to bear fruit for His glory in the lives that she influenced.  I am so grateful she was my “Mom”.

 

 

Being Prepared

By Jane Vaughnjane vaughn picThe parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25 (5 Wise, 5 Foolish) teaches us about being prepared.

But there is another passage that is important as it comes alongside this parable – Ephesians 5:15-17. Ephesians 5:15 says “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? But – are you preparing spiritually for the tougher days that just may lie ahead? How? Seek FIRST the Kingdom of God. Redeem the time.

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…

 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).

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!  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. BibleAll 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 reserves within.

Jane Vaughn is a Pastor and long-time partner with Women of the Word. Formerly, she worked with the ministry in an administrative capacity. She now lives in Arizona, actively involved in the church she attends, teaching God’s Word in various ways. 

Crushed by Life?

By Barbara Benton

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As I sat this morning, I felt overwhelmed by life, and what it can bring.

I spend a lot of time talking with women, ministering to women, teaching women, mentoring women and counseling women. Over the years that I have been doing this, I have met so many women who have been crushed by life. I am not talking about women with a little problem, but women who have been crushed, pulverized by life.

It can be crushing:
• To have been sexually abused by a father, grandfather or uncle.
• To have been abandoned by a husband who found someone he liked better.
• To not have enough money as a single woman trying to support a family.
• To be hurt deeply by church leaders.
• To suffer miscarriage and infertility.

If you are part of a women’s ministry or a small group, trust me when I say sitting beside you are women who are crushed by life.

Thank God that many churches are now offering groups to help women who have gone through divorce, abuse and other issues. One friend recently told me of a group she and her husband have begun for people wounded by the church, to help them make a re-entry into the Body of Christ.

Thank God for these things.

As a woman who has known the crushing of life, I’m thankful for every time the Church stepped up to minister to me. Yet, I have learned something along the way. As a woman of God, I personally must learn the Word of God, believe the Word of God and act on the Word of God. The Church can’t do that for me.

Chances are slim that we won’t experience a life-crushing event. It is part of the rhythm of life. Yet, never has the intention of God been that we would accept Christ as Savior, sit on church pews for twenty years and remain crushed by life.

We can blame it on our churches. We can blame it on our pastors. We can blame it on our women’s ministries. We can blame our families. (I have blamed them all, and then some!) It doesn’t really matter from whence came the crushing.

When life comes knocking hard and crushes us, we can cling to God and His Word. We can sing along with our favorite songs of worship. We can confess aloud the promises of God. Like the Psalmist, we can declare that we will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. Not only can we do those things – we MUST do those things. When we do this, something supernatural happens. I can’t even explain it because it is SUPERNATURAL. As we sing, as we cry out to God, as we confess His Word, God comes down and touches woes and turns them to wows. It is not always instantaneous, but He does bring healing and hope.

Are you crushed by life? Life will always have seasons where we are hard pressed on every side. Yet in the crushing moments, God’s power will prevail. He is the God who can change water into wine, and He is the God who can change woes into wows.

“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9

Barbara Benton is a speaker at Women of the Word conferences, an inter-denominational, inter-generational, and inter-cultural women’s ministry dedicated to transforming women into the image of Jesus through the teaching of God’s Word and the empowerment of His Spirit. Learn more at www.women-of-the-word. You can find more blogs by Barbara Benton at www.barbarabenton.org

Why I am a Woman of the Word

A very long time ago I was asked to speak to a Christian women’s conference in North Carolina. The name was Women of the Word.

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I  was somewhat nervous because I was not sure what a Women of the Word Conference would be like. Would I measure up to the standard expected of me? Would the conference measure up to the name?  Well, many years have come and gone, and I am still a part of  Women of the Word. It is my privilege to serve as pastoral advisor to this ministry and to minister at their conferences. It is a blessing to call myself a Woman of the Word.

What I appreciate about Women of the Word is that this ministry lives up to the name. This ministry is led by women who live by the word of God. Prayer is a part of the ministry, and the prayer is made to insure that God’s will is done. The messages preached during conferences are not religious sermons. The messages are from women who impart to all in attendance how God has worked to bring them to fulfillment. From the opening prayer of a conference to the closing prayer the Holy Spirit is present. Women are born again, filled with the Holy Spirit, healed, delivered, etc. The moving of the Holy Spirit touches every one present.

The best thing about Women of the Word is that friendships and fellowship extends beyond the conference settings. My oldest son was in a car accident and in a critical and hopeless condition. My husband and I called those we knew would pray in faith with us. Betsy Roy, the director and leader of Women Of The Word, was one we called. She and the intercessors of Women Of The Word prayed with us, and God did a miracle. Our son is alive and well today. 

 I can testify that Women of the Word produces in a woman’s life what it advertises it will do. The test of any advertisement is whether or not what is advertised does what it’s name says it will do. My life is changed for the better because of Women of the Word. The women I have met through Women of the Word are a part of my life’s story. The Holy Spirit has made me a woman who really does live by the Word of God. Why not check us out? When you do, expect your life to be transformed. What woman would turn down an eternal life changing transformation. See you at the next conference. Take it from me you do not want to miss it.