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International Women’s Day Synchroblog

8 Mar

This post is part of the International Women’s Day synchroblog. The idea of the synchroblog is to write about a woman/women in the bible and to talk about what your church is doing, if anything. I had actually forgotten about the synchroblog until I received Julie’s email reminder on Thursday. It’s been kind of fitting though as the children and I have been reading Esther this week!

There are so many women in the bible who I am in awe of. They all have their own character traits. Some are bold, courageous and feisty, others are reflective and wise. There are risk takers and worshipers. Some are doers others just want to listen and soak up. There are so many qualities that we find in women today.

I’ve found it hard to decide who to write about. The obvious choices are the bold matriarchs or Mary, their stories alone leave us with a lot to learn about in regards to walking with God. As I’ve read about Esther this week, I’m going to focus on her first.

To very briefly refresh your mind, Esther became King Xerxes queen, at this time Haman sent out an order for all Jews to be killed in Xerxes territory. Mordecai, who was Esther’s uncle, came to her and asked her to save her people. She boldly went to the king and asked him to eat with her and Haman and then pleaded for the safety of her people. Xerxes granted this and had Haman killed, and thus the Jews were saved.

What can we learn from Esther? Well, to start with, Esther was very safe in the palace. No one knew she was a Jew and it would have been very easy for her to remain within her safety and let Haman’s order go ahead. God isn’t actually mentioned in the book of Esther, but we know that Esther fasted food and drink for three days and prayed for wisdom, and asked for the Jews in Xerxes territory to pray for her too. Following this she went to Xerxes to invite him to dinner. This in itself was dangerous for her to do, as the King always asked to have the company of the Queen, and if he hadn’t requested her presence she could be killed for approaching him. He had to offer her his gold scepter to touch or order for her to not be put to death. He did indeed do this and asked Esther what she wanted for he would give it to her. At dinner with the King and Haman, Esther pleaded for the lives of her people, this again was dangerous, as she revealed she was a Jew.  Esther did not try to put words into the King’s mouth or manipulate him, she simply pleaded for her people and then let God do the rest. She was a very wise woman. Due to her bravery and the safety of her people, the Jewish began to celebrate Purim, and they still do today. Incidentally Purim begins tomorrow (March 9).

There are two women who I love that appear in Jesus’ genealogy – Ruth and Rahab. Ruth is a Moabite, yet she follows her Mother-in-Law, Naomi to Judah after Naomi’s husband and two sons (one of whom was Ruth’s husband) had died. Ruth was an outsider, plain and simple. She did not fit in, she was an alien and no one wanted her around. Yet there is a wonderful redemptive story that unfolds in Ruth’s life. Ruth is so faithful to Naomi. I love the line “Where you go, I will go, where you live, I will live, your people are my people, your God is my God ….” (Ruth 1:16-17). As Ruth and Naomi return to Judah we meet the honorable Boaz who is a close relative of Naomi and “Kinsman Redeemer.” Boaz could have taken everything Naomi had and claimed it as his own, but he’s a nice guy and eventually marries Ruth. Ruth is so devout and faithful that she follows everything Naomi tells her to do, even when it comes to wooing Boaz! Ruth’s story shows that God is working in all of our lives, however out of place we feel. We all count. This is shown in that Ruth becomes the great grandmother of David and the great, great, great, great, great ……… grandmother of Jesus . Like Ruth, Rahab’s story is one of redemption too. She was a prostitute living in Jericho who harboured some of Joshua’s men and protected them from the King of Jericho who sought to kill them (Joshua 2 & 6:17-25). In return for this Rahab was protected, along with her family, when Jericho was destroyed. So what happened to Rahab? Well, she went on to mother a child named Boaz! I think it’s amazing that Jesus’ family tree is not perfect. There are misfits there, adulterers, a prostitute, gentiles etc. That in itself shows God’s redeeming power and love.

Finally I want to mention Hannah. Hannah was amazing IMO! She was desperate for a child, she was ridiculed by her husband’s other wife, she felt inferior, maybe incomplete. She prayed and prayed to God. On a yearly visit to the temple she says to God “give me a child and I will give him back to you” (1 Samuel 1:9-11). God hears her prayers and blesses her with a child. As promised, she returns to the temple with the child, Samuel, once he has weaned and gives him back to God to serve in his temple. Then she worships God:

“I’m bursting with God-News! I’m walking on air. I’m laughing at my rivals. I’m dancing my salvation. Nothing and no one is holy like God, no rock mountain like our God … ” (read the rest in I Samuel 2).

Wow, Hannah is showing an amazing amount of unconditional love.The child she has always wanted she has and then dedicates back to God, knowing she will only see him once a year on her temple visits. If I’m honest, I would struggle with doing this. What love, what faith, what courage.

The women in the bible can be great examples and can encourage us. They show us how to live a life with God well.  I can read about some women in the bible and feel so inadequate, yet at the same time realize that they were women just like us today, with their own struggles and imperfections. They, like us, all share one common goal – to serve and love God.

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Others taking part in the synchroblog (updated as more posts are added):

ulie Clawson on the God who sees
Steve Hayes on St. Theodora the Iconodule
Sonja Andrews on Aunt Jemima
Sensuous Wife on a single mom in the Bible
Minnowspeaks on celebrating women
Michelle Van Loon on the persistant widow
Heather on the strength of biblical women
Shawna Atteberry on the Daughter of Mary Magdalene
Christine Sine on women who impacted her life
Susan Barnes on Tamar, Ruth, and Mary
Kathy Escobar on standing up for nameless and voiceless women
Ellen Haroutunian on out from under the veil
Liz Dyer on Mary and Martha
Bethany Stedman on Shiphrah and Puah
Dan Brennan on Mary Magdalene
Jessica Schafer on Bathsheba
Eugene Cho on Lydia
Laura sorts through what she knows about women in the Bible
Miz Melly preached on the woman at the well
AJ Schwanz on women’s work
Pam Hogeweide on teenage girls changing the world
Teresa on the women Paul didn’t hate
Helen on Esther
Happy on Abigail
Mark Baker-Wright on telling stories
Robin M. on Eve
Alan Knox is thankful for the women who served God
Lainie Petersen on the unnamed concubine
Mike Clawson on cultural norms in the early church
Krista on serving God
Bob Carlton on Barbie as Icon
Jan Edmiston preached on the unnamed concubine
Deb on her namesake – Deborah
Makeesha on empowering women
Kate on Esther
Doreen Mannion on Deborah
Patrick Oden on Rahab
Scot McKnight on Junia
Erin Word on Mother/Daughter/Mother
Jonathan Stegall on
Eve
InHo Kim on Sarah
Mimi Haddad on deception

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What is missional?

23 Jun

As I wrote on Friday, I have not had time to write my thoughts about what is missional. I must admit that when I first read about the synchroblog I became concerned because I have become aware over time that “missional” appears to be becoming the “in” word in some circles. I’ve been surprised at where I’ve heard the term used recently (in fact I had to collect my jaw from the floor!) However, I investigated further by visiting Rick’s blog and was pleased to discover that the synchroblog has been set up to “reclaim” the word and put definition to it.

Missional isn’t the latest method or style. It can’t come about through a program. Missional, to me, is a way of life. As my husband puts it “it’s seeing what God is doing where I am, where I live and joining with others to join in with God.”

There are fifty or so posts that will be appearing today, check out the links at Rick’s blog. Ones which have stood out to me today have been Alan Hirsch’s, Jamie Arpin-Ricci’s, Len Hjalmarson’s and Grace’s. I love the way she has ended her post “It is our missional privilege to share in God’s mission of reconciliation among the people in our world.”

What is missional?

20 Jun

There is going to be a synchroblog on Monday (23 June) about “What is missional”. I’m really looking forward to reading some of the posts. Some excellent bloggers are taking part. Me, I’m too busy right now to even contemplate getting anything worthy down. If you’re interested in taking part or just want to read the posts then go to Rick Meigs blog for links.

June Synchroblog

1 Jun

Glenn Hager has organized a synchroblog for June about community.

From Glenn’s blog:

It seems like there have been two parallel themes on the minds of many of us lately… the longing for community and the fear of it turning sour.

Those themes have led several of us thinking about how to facilitate community, helping isolated people find each other without falling into the pitfalls that have led to many of us leaving the institutional church. What are some options for getting it right and getting moving toward authentic community and meaningful service together? Can we move beyond the dreams, the fears, and the talk?

I’ve got quite a busy week. I might write something down towards the end of the week. If you want to take part then post between 2 – 6 June and please link back to Glenn’s blog.

Your Turn: May Synchroblog

5 May

Glenn Hager has organized a synchroblog for today. He is asking bloggers to share a little bit of the latest chapter of their life by answering these questions:

  • How are you doing?
  • What are you doing?
  • What are you learning?
  • What are you dreaming about?

Feel free to join in if you want to, just link your blog post back to Glenn’s blog.

If I’m honest many times over the past month or so if I had written this post, you would have ended up with various responses depending on the day etc; as it has been a very up and down time for me. Today though, and for the past few weeks, I have to say that I’m doing good, I’m doing really good. In my life things are beginning to click into place and I feel like I’m coming to the top of what has been a very big and long mountain climb.

Today I’m packing for our trip to Canada, I’m excited because I’m going to see our new home and meet people in my new community. I’m also a little apprehensive because I don’t particularly relish flying ….. OK, I hate it! Other than that I continue to do my “normal” things within life. I spend the bulk of my time home educating our two children. I’m also trying to encourage others to think about and partake in new forms of church. The latter I fail at miserably most of the time.

I’m learning that I can’t change either the world or the church on my own. It’s hard being part of a church community where most really are happy with how things are and do not see the need or want to do things differently. God has put us here, and it’s a hard place to be sometimes. However, as we move on, maybe we have left even a mustard seed with some, which will flourish and grow in the future, when God’s timing is right for this place. I’m continually learning to surrender to God and allowing him to work. I’m amazed at what he does, how things fall into place at just the right time. I’m really learning to trust on him more for my needs. Sometimes fear gets in the way. In my personal situation I panic and think “what if we don’t get the permanent residency for Canada?” When I feel like this I’m learning to remember that He is God and I am not. He has put Canada on our hearts time and time again, we have received so many words and pictures – personally and from individuals. We must claim these. Dawn is coming.

I’m dreaming about the future. I really believe that soon I’m going to reach the summit of the mountain and I’m going to see the valley on the other side, I’m going to see what God has for us there, and I’m so excited about that. That doesn’t mean life will get easy, there will be new challenges and adventures ahead, but this time I’m looking forward to them. I continue to dream about what God’s church can become, who she is meant to be. It constantly excites me as I see more and more believers rising up and saying “Is it meant to be like this?” Something is happening in our lifetime that I believe could see Christians return to the original mandate in the New Testament. I continue to dream outside of my life and look at others. I’d love to see the world change for the better in my lifetime. I want to see an end to poverty. I want it not to be a lottery where you are born, as to how your life may pan out. Really on my heart at the moment is Zimbabwe. Over the next few months I really want to dream with the people who live there, who are praying and hoping for a change in leadership and thus a change to their country and how they live – will you join me in that dream?

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