Wounded Love —a ruler and a visionary

the love life of Leah

She is a ruler and a visionary. She gives birth to kings and priests. Yet she is another greatly maligned and misunderstood woman of God. I am going to challenge all the wrong thoughts and slanders about Leah —the gentle hearted, caring, beautiful and godly mother of many nations. She is both spiritually and physically beautiful in God’s eyes. Here is a long list of facts that dispel the previous wrong teachings about Leah. There are many Bible verses about Leah’s life, far more important than those about Rachel. Let Leah come alive in my writing and your reading. (Genesis 29:16-35; 30:1-21; 46:15; 49:30-31) (Also read the genealogy background: 11:26-29; 24:15,29; 25:20; 29:16)

  1. She has great spiritual and physical beauty inside and outside: Leah, comes from a lineage of famous world beauties. Kings and princes fell in love with them. How is Leah related to Sarah? She is the great grand-daughter of Milcah, Sarah’s niece. Sarah is stunningly beautiful even in old age (12:14-15; 20:2). Leah’s aunt Rebekah (Laban’s sister) is another great beauty (24:16). Leah’s only daughter Dinah is also very beautiful. A powerful prince fell madly in love with her and died for her. (Genesis 34:3) Leah’s twin sister, Rachel, is another stunning beauty (29:17). Leah has to be beautiful!    
  2. She has the birth right: Leah is the first born (29:26). She is qualified to inherit the double blessings God has designated and recorded in heaven for her. She knows and takes hold of her entitlement with courage and positive actions. She heard of the twin sons of her beautiful aunt Rebekah who married Isaac. She was supposed to marry the elder twin Esau but she found out that he is godless, idolatry, carnal and cruel (a merciless hunter) to animals. (Hebrews 12:16) He is not interested in the matter of God or worship Him. He even sold his divinely appointed first born birthright to his younger twin Jacob, a godly man. By doing such a sacrilege Esau has lost his right to marry Leah.
  3. The beautiful eyes are the window to her soul: Leah and Laban know that God has a great destiny for Jacob and Leah is the first born with the equal right and entitlement to that destiny. She has beautiful attractive eyes, a gentle and beautiful heart for God and worship Him only. She is a worthy daughter of God who can raise up the whole nation of Israel. Kings and priests will come from her lineage. “The eyes of your spirit allow revelation-light to enter into your being. If your heart is unclouded, the light floods in!” (TPT Matthew 6:22)
  4. What went wrong? Why did Jacob want to marry Rachel? Because he saw her first and he was attracted to her physically (29:10-11, 17-18, 20). Jacob was already an old man of 78-year-old when he first saw this beautiful young woman. Obviously he was physically youthful and fit as he later worked for seven years in order to marry her. His parents gave him a clear instruction —go to his uncle’s house and ask his uncle for a wife from his daughters. The custom is to to marry off the firstborn (older) daughter and Leah is the rightful bride. Jacob did not obey his parents’ instruction. He went to the well instead to meet this shepherdess. In a former time, Abraham’s servant prayed and was led by the Lord to the well for the divine appointment with Rebekah, who was sent there by God. Jacob was not led by the Lord on this occasion. Disobedience causes him to miss God’s way. Rachel is beautiful in her face and her body (29:17). Any single man would fall for her at first sight (unfortunately for Jacob, without knowing her inside). Rachel is a carnal, idolatry woman. She stole her father’s household gods when Jacob took his family (Leah and Rachel and their children), servants and possessions, left Laban (his father-in-law) and returned to Isaac (his own father). (31:30)
  5. Leah knows God: The Bible describes the two sisters differently. Leah is described to have tender eyes. She is a gentle-hearted, loving, caring woman of God. She considers others. She is willing to bear the disappointment, hurt and pain in her heart without talking to others about them. She talks to God. She believes that God will make compensate and comfort her. She asks God for help. she gives names to her own six sons, a daughter and her maid’s two sons. Jacob has no say or does not bother with his children. The names of her sons are: Reuben: Behold A Son, Son Of Vision (God has given her a son for Jacob); Simeon: He Who Hears (God hears her); Levi: Joined, Joiner (God has joined Jacob to her); Judah: Praised, Let Him Be Praised (She praises God for all that He has done for her and for Jacob, her beloved husband); Gad: to cut, invade and expose (a troop of warriors for God’s army and kingdom); Asher: happy, to go right on (God has given her joy, comfort and rest); Issachar: Man Of Hire, He Is Wages, There Is Recompense (God has given her concrete benefits like wages for her hard efforts and generosity to others); Zebulun: Instance Of Exaltation and honor, Glorious Dwelling Place (God has given her honor, exaltation, a good dwelling place for her husband and her). (29:16-17, 23, 31-35; 30:9-13, 14-21; 35:23)
  6. She is a ruler and a visionary. She is fit to give birth to kings and priests: What does Leah’s name mean? Many say it means “weary” for weak and weary eyes. Few know that in fact the name Leah originates from the Assyrian language and means ruler, with the qualities of a ruler and visionary. She names her only daughter Dinah which means judge. (30:21) Leah is not weak at all. She is a stable and strong woman of God because she knows God and believes in His words and promises for her, her husband and their children. When Rachel is shepherding the sheep with her father and brothers in the field, Leah is the one who takes charge of the whole household. There is no mention of her mother who could have died young. After marrying, seeing how weak Jacob is, how else do you think their children can be raised to become the twelve tribes of Israel nation? Rachel is idolatry and dies young (at the birth of her second son Benjamin) while on the way back to the promised land. Jacob is not interested in anyone but himself and secondly, Rachel and her two sons). The true leader is therefore Leah, the matriarch in spirit and in practical living, the one whose name means ruler and visionary. No, God has not used a spiritually weak and short-vision woman to birth forth a nation. Leah is the comforter and steadfast helper to Jacob.
  7. Leah’s exceptional eye: Do you ever think Leah has no other more qualified and worthy suitors? Laban is a rich and influential man in their hometown. Leah comes from a famous lineage of beautiful women. She is the first born. She is godly, wise, kind, gentle and generous. She is young and capable and rules her area of household responsibilities well, and she is also a visionary who dares to dream and talks about her great destiny (she has heard from God in her close walk with God.) She comes from the same family of Abraham. Many fellow countrymen would have heard of the godly visionary Abraham’s story and the blessings he has received. The discerning young men in town would have noticed her exceptional worth and potential for greatness. Surely Leah has many suitors. But she has set her heart and eye on God’s heart and God’s eye. Her eye is exceptional. God has singled her eye out. Because she can see what others cannot.

The story of Leah is one of heartbreak. Her love is sacrificial, visionary, and based on God’s promises. It is never ever any cheap blind love. Jacob is deliberately hurting and insulting to Leah in his public declaration of ardent love for Rachel, the shapelier (perhaps more voluptuous) wife, Rachel. Jacob uses her and her children as human shield to protect Rachel and her children, and him from Esau’s likely attack. Genesis 32:8, 33:2 And he put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children behind, and Rachel and Joseph last. Jacob thinks that if Esau attacks those (the maids, his unfavored wife Leah and her children) in front, he and his favorite wife and children can escape. How did Leah respond? She does not respond to such petty carnal unbelief. Just as Jesus has so much love to give and longs for us to return that love but people just outright reject him for some physical attractiveness of this world —the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life that alienate people from God. Jesus faithfully went to the cross, unloved by many. He defeated the power of sin and death. He gave birth to many spiritual children, many nations! Leah is a type for Christ. She faithfully loves and not hates. She continues to bear many children and gives birth to the Israel nation, which in turn births forth many nations through her one crucial human descendent, Jesus (from the Judah tribe).

How does Leah really love Jacob? Bear in mind the huge age gap when they first met: Jacob was born in 2006BC and he fled to Laban in 1928BC at the age of 78 years. He married Leah in 1921BC at an age of 85. He wasn’t a dashing young man when he came to their house and proposed to marry one of Laban’s daughters. And yet Leah loves Jacob to the point of taking the bother to give birth to six sons and one daughter for him! What kind of love is that? In Genesis 29:30 and 29:32, Leah wants to be loved, Strong’s 157. Aheb (Achev), the love that Jacob loved Rachel, but not Leah.

“Aahav/chav is a love that has been wounded but continues to love. It can still be unconditional love, it can be a nurturing love, a caring love and have all the same elements of racham except like our first love there is a tinge of sadness, bitterness to ‘ahav/chav, an unpleasant memory.” —a Hebrews teacher. It can even mean: like, friend. But Jacob does not even like Leah as a friend. The Bible describes her as being “unloved” (Strong’s 8130: detested, hated intensely, turned against) by her husband. Leah could have married someone much younger, her own age group, but she has chosen to marry an old man like Jacob, just because she knows her destiny of greatness in Israel’s history.

Her sister Rachel has a sad end. She died in giving birth to her second son, Benjamin, after a brief marriage of 18 years to Jacob. Jacob inadvertently cursed her on their way fleeing from Laban, not knowing that she was the culprit who stole the idols from Laban. Genesis 31:32, 35:19. Leah was left to comfort Jacob when Rachel died and help raise her sister’s children.

Leah has a good ending: Jacob has to live the rest of his long life with Leah, possibly another 28 years before he moved his family to Egypt —Leah’s descendants contributed 33 out of sixty-six persons who came from Jacob’s body. Although the Bible does not record the death of Leah, Leah was given the honor to be buried in the family grave, together with Jacob, Isaac and Rebekah, and Abraham and Sarah, while Rachel was buried somewhere by the way to Ephrath (Bethlehem). Genesis 35:19, 49:30-31. Even Jacob recognizes God’s plan and destiny for Leah. In Genesis 49:8-10 Jacob blesses Judah (Leah’s fourth son) to carry on the Messiah lineage as God has designated.

Leah’s story is one of heartbreak. But she trusts and holds fast to God’s everlasting love instead of man’s transient fickle love. In a way she presented a type of God’s love through Jesus, her human descendent. She was sustained by God’s love and her love for God through all those long years of loneliness in a loveless marriage. Isn’t that what true love is?

1 John 4:18-19 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love. 19 We love Him because He first loved us.

Do you see this woman? (1)

Jesus does not perceive women in terms of their sex, age, or marital status; He considers them in terms of their relation (or lack of one) to God. Surprised? Indeed, when reading the Gospels we do not see Jesus showing any favoritism towards the masculine or feminine genders in terms of His teachings and interactions with His disciples and followers, who consist of both genders. He wants His believers to focus on God and on their relationship with God. This blog is the first of a new series I shall be posting here about how Jesus sees women (individually) as revealed to us in the four Gospels.

“Do you see this woman?” He asks Simon (a Pharisee) in Luke 7:44, Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head.” What does Jesus see in a woman or a man? It is very clear that Jesus sees these:

  1. Because He (God) sees everyone, He expects us to see too.
  2. The way God sees (as demonstrated by Jesus) is different from the way that a man sees.
  3. God sees both the external behavior and the internal motive.
  4. Jesus takes note of the external behavior (which is important revelation of what is inside): Simon invites Jesus for a meal in his house. A woman (considered a sinner by the religious Simon) gate-crashes and anoints Jesus’ feet with fragrant oil.
  5. Jesus sees the details of the two individuals’ hospitality behaviors: what each person does or does not do reveal what are inside them.
    1. Simon does not really respect and honor Jesus. In fact, he is insulting and rude to Jesus. He does not give Jesus water to wash His feet as is the custom of those days. Neither does he greet Jesus as his guest a normal greeting (kiss) as required by the custom. He does not anoint Jesus’ head with oil. Anointing the body or head with oil was a common practice with the Jews, as with other Oriental nations. (Deuteronomy 28:40; Ruth 3:3; Micah 6:15) Anointing the head with oil or ointment seems also to have been a mark of respect sometimes paid by a host to his guests, as Jesus points out on this occasion.
    2. The woman does just the opposite of what Simon does/does not do. She shows great honor and respect for Jesus. She washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and wipes them with the hair of her head. She kisses Jesus’ feet. She anoints Jesus’ feet with fragrant oil. (Luke 7:44-46)
  6. Jesus wants to see the love of God inside us when we come to Him. And He also declares that love has positive consequences. He describes the woman as follows: (Luke 7:47-48,50)
    1. She loves much.
    2. Her sins (regardless of numbers) are forgiven.
    3. God gives her lots of grace.
    4. She is both forgiven and saved. Her faith in God (Jesus) has saved her.
  7. What has the woman done right?
    1. She is not afraid of what man thinks of her.
    2. She is more concerned with what God thinks of her.
    3. She comes just as herself, totally undisguised.
    4. She knows and believes what Jesus has taught and the love of God that Jesus has shown openly to many.
    5. She is prepared to pay all costs for Jesus.
  8. Jesus gives to each individual exactly what the person wants. Simon the Pharisee wants only a superficial recognition from men that even Jesus comes to his house and have a meal. The woman just wants to show her love and honor for God (Jesus) regardless of costs (the cost of a priceless jar of fragrant oil, and the open insult and rejection by the men there). Jesus lets her do that. Jesus also gives her a bonus: forgiving her many sins. And she is now a daughter of God.

Kai, May 21, 2020

Jesus and women: How Jesus gives grace to a love-thirsty woman (modified with added revelation Mar 22, 2020)

Jesus with Samaritan woman at the well

Today I received wonderful fresh revelation in how deliberate and persistent Jesus is when bringing a maritally broken (having had five previous husbands) Samaritan woman to salvation and in-filling of the Holy Spirit! Many want to know how to receive the Holy Spirit. A thirsty woman has received by faith on her first encounter with Jesus. How did she receive it? Or rather, how did Jesus make sure she receive it? Jesus gives her grace. She receives by faith.

The Scripture: (comments from this blogger are in bracket)

John 4:7, 9-14 (NLT)

7 Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.”

(Jesus took the initiative to approach the woman voicing out her need for her, “Please give me a drink.” He wanted her to ask Him!)

 9 The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

(The woman was like any natural human, absorbed by what she saw in the physical realm. Her first response was dictated by her life experience, traditional cultural and religious practice. She immediately drew a boundary between she and Jesus. If Jesus was just a tired passer-by waiting at the well for his food and drink, he would have been turned off by her legalistic questioning.)

10Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

(But Jesus was not distracted from what He has intended to give her. Jesus always acted deliberately. He went to rest at the well deliberately. He wanted to give her a gift, the Holy Spirit in-filling; He also wanted her to ask for this gift!)

 11 “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? 12And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

(The woman’s response to Him in her physical realm was no surprise. In hind-sight we can all see how she continued plodding away apparently at the wrong track. But don’t we all?)

 13 Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. 14But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

(Jesus, undeterred by this Samaritan-Gentile woman’s mindset, continued to  address her spiritual thirst, and explain patiently what the Holy Spirit is like and how He will meet her unquenchable thirst in her when she is filled! This is further described in the next section of the Gospel of John when Jesus addressed the multitude of Jewish temple worshippers in Jerusalem)

John 7:37-39 (NIV) 37[ On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.]

John 4:15-26 (continue the discourse between the Samaritan woman and Jesus)

 15“Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

(The Samaritan woman’s attention was finally turned to what Jesus could give her and she asked Him for that supernatural Gift!)

 16“Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her.  17“I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied. Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband—18for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

(Jesus wanted truthfulness from the spiritually thirsty woman. She was looking for love in the wrong places to quench her thirst which can only be met by God in her! Instead of assuming that the Samaritan woman kept changing husbands, it is just as reasonable to think of her as having experienced the deaths of several husbands, or as a woman with unfaithful husbands , or even as a woman whose husbands divorced her for her inability to have children. And now she does not even have the security of a proper marriage. In all scenarios she was indeed not fulfilled. Jesus wanted to address her hurt and possibly disappointment with God.)

 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. 20 So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim,where our ancestors worshiped?”

(It is interesting that the woman’s response and attention turned to that of God, religion and worship. Despite her marital problems and then ‘lawless’ living, she knew about the key Jewish and Samaritan religious physical difference. Now she wants to know more and how to worship God correctly. Is she sincere in wanting to know God to the point of talking to a stranger, a man, and a Jew? I believe she is. She is thirsting for God just as Jesus has discerned. )

 21 Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans know very little about the One you worship, while we Jews know all about Him, for salvation comes through the Jews. 23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

(Jesus came to the point of true worship: 1. Know the God-Person Whom you worship, not the place or physical church or congregation group; 2. Know God in the Spirit, and therefore could worship-join to Him, in spirit and in Truth-His word.)

(1 Cor.6:17 (AMP) 17But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him.”)

John 4: 25The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”

 26 Then Jesus told her, “I Am the Messiah!”

(The Samaritan woman was thus saved! Her spiritual eyes were opened when she turned to the matter of God and true worship, and she recognized and accepted Jesus as the Messiah, her Savior!)

(Samaritans were hostile to the Jews. Yet Jesus took a deliberate journey to meet with this woman in order to save and deliver her from her past hurt and present uncertainty about her future. The saving of one woman is worth it! After her salvation, her countrymen were saved at her testimony.They came out and encountered Jesus themselves, and accepted Him as their Savior.)

How to receive the Holy Spirit? Jesus promised this, “your heavenly Father give to them that ask Him.” (Luke 11:13b) Just ask. It is a gift. The Samaritan woman asked Jesus and received. Her life was transformed and she became the first gentile evangelist, witnessing for Jesus!

(Modified from an originally published post in my AAA Jack watchman blog on 6/8/2011)

story of a young widow: from rags to riches

This young woman encountered the worst tragedies anyone could think of: a sudden death of her husband -the sole bread earner of the family, and he left behind two young sons and a huge debt.  In those days a married woman was considered a mere property of the husband. Her social status came from being a man’s wife. The loss of her husband without any tangible inherited asset meant a total loss of status in the community and an overwhelming financial crisis. We had no knowledge whether she was trained for any commercial skills. If she had any, she would have proceeded to get an employment or make some income. But this woman had no economic solution on her own. Whatever she had in her house were used up to pay the creditor. The lender had the right to repossess everything and even take her children as payment. The creditor was coming to take her two young sons into slavery.

The case of this unnamed woman as recorded in the Bible:
What can we learn from her? How did she cope? What did she do right?

1. She heard God. Instead of waiting for the worst fate to arrive -her two sons taken into slavery by the creditor, she went to ask for help from the right person -her husband’s spiritual teacher and principal of the school of the prophets, Elisha, an accomplished true prophet of God. She told him honestly all she had left was a jar of oil and her two children.

2. She obeyed God. She did exactly what Elisha told her to do, to the minute details: borrow as many as possible empty vessels from all her neighbors, shut the door, together with her sons poured her only jar of oil into those vessels, did not stop until all the vessels were filled thereupon the oil would stop.

3. She believed God’s words through the mouth of the prophet. She and her sons thus witnessed God’s awesome supernatural power of multiplication of physical elements. (This was also miraculously done by Jesus later as recorded in the New Testament’s Gospel of Matthew 14:13-21; 15:32-38)

4. The positive result: She became a woman of wealth*, debt free, and a successful oil business entrepreneur with ongoing profit to support herself and her two sons for the rest of their lives. She could also support their continuing education and training for their called prophetic profession just as their late father had pursued.

5. Whilst the multiplication of the oil was entirely miraculous, the level of the woman’s wealth depended on her faith and action in obedience to the words of promises of God she heard and received as true. At best she could have borrowed a few small jars if she had half believed. But she believed totally. She borrowed lots of big jars. That was why the Prophet Elisha told her she would remain wealthy for the rest of the lives of her and her sons. This revelation opens my eyes -Don’t limit God!

Bible verses: (2 kings 4:1-7)
A certain woman of the wives of the sons of the prophets cried out to Elisha, saying, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord. And the creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves.”
So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors—empty vessels; do not gather just a few. And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”
So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.”
And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.” So the oil ceased. Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Olive oil was considered to be one of the great sources of wealth in the days of King Solomon (cf. I Kings 5:11; II Chronicles 2:10). In biblical days an abundance of oil was a sign of prosperity and favor and a lack of oil was one of the many curses for disobedience (Deut. 28:40). The oil of olives was widely known and used during most of Bible History. It had a wide variety of applications, and was a valuable commodity. It was used for anointing the living and the dead, for sacred offerings, for lighting lamps (in the Tabernacle, Temple or in ordinary people’s homes), cooking and medicinally. It was also used in personal grooming, and as an ingredient in some soaps (as it still is).

Famous Fearless Women 1

Luke 1-45Why are some women fearless? Who are those women? Why should women be fearless? Mary, the Mother of Jesus on earth is one of them. It is not easy to write afresh about Mary. What revelation is there other than the obvious which every church has taught? The Scripture will show us.

Here is a brief list of spiritual characteristics about Mary, based on the Gospel of Luke (Chapter one).

  1. She sees, hears and converses with angels without fear. The angel Gabriel was sent to her and spoke to her. She saw him and was “troubled” at his saying but she did not faint and pass out at the phenomena. (1:19)
  2. She is a thoughtful and careful young woman. she considered what manner of the angel’s greeting was. (1:19)
  3. She remains calm and rational. After hearing him out she asked question about the practicality of the announcement. She was engaged but had not yet married or had intimate relationship with a man so how could she give birth to a child? She questioned the angel/God’s messenger boldly. (1:34)
  4. She is spiritual. She knew the angel came from God and the message for her was from God. (1:38, 47)
  5. She believes those prophetic words about the forthcoming supernatural event. (1:38)
  6. She accepts her role in this supernatural event. (1:38)
  7. She believes in the power of God. (1:38)
  8. She expresses her willingness to undertake her role in God’s divine plan. (1:38)
  9. She considers it an honor. (1:48)
  10. She takes immediate action to go to her most trusted social support as led by the Holy Spirit. (1:39-44, 56)
  11. She is well-versed in the words of God. She believes in the supernatural power of God’s words. (1:46-55)
  12. She knows and trusts God. (1:45-55)

Can Mary be described as a fearless woman? Yes. She has displayed great boldness and courage in accepting her role in this divine appointment and assignment. What is her secret for success? She is fearless. What makes her fearless?

The answer is in John’s description of God (1 John 4) we know that God is love. God’s love is perfect. Perfect love casts out fear. Mary abides in love –God. God’s love is the divine power that carries her all the way to fulfillment of her role in history. The crucial word “relationship” with God stands out in Mary’s life! She has a close relationship with God and knows God’s true nature.

“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)

How can we apply what we learn today? By the Holy Spirit. “By this we know that we abide in God, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” (1 John 4:13)

23 July 2018

Two godly housewives

It was an impossible situation, with no man qualified or brave enough to fight the domineering powerful enemy commander. The nation was subject to years of oppression, humility and subordination. In this desperate time, two notable housewives (both mothers and wives) stood up and defeated the enemy. It was incredible and yet it happened: They were Deborah, the prophetess-political leader of the nation, and Jael, a housewife who killed the enemy’s commander.

a fifty percent perspective ~best blogs for women

Today’s message is about two notable housewives (both mothers and wives): Deborah, the prophetess-political leader of the nation, and Jael, who killed the enemy’s commander.

In the history of the list of Israelite Judges (commanders) and their great exploits, there was a woman prophet-commander named Deborah. She ruled for forty years. Her life was interesting as she was proficient in a number of roles: the nation’s spiritual leader, the nation’s political leader, prophetess, strategist, military commander, national ruler, and also a housewife.

The following passage recorded her history briefly. I summarize below the significant events:

  1. Deborah knew how to hear God and align with the plan of God. She was courageous and knew her strength. She raised a victorious war against their powerful enemy and destroyed the enemy completely. God took care of the spiritual changes and she merely obeyed. She aligned with God. That was her key success factor. 
  2. She asked/assigned…

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She sees a GREAT NATION. She is a mother.

Leah_w_Rachel_67-63There is a mystery about Leah. She has unusual eyes. She is the the older sister of Rachel. She was the first wife of Jacob and gave birth to six sons and one daughter. The Bible did not describe her look except a sentence about her eyes. Her eyes were attractive. I have previously written about her faith in God and her close relationship with God. She knew that her husband’s first love was Rachel who was more physically attractive. BUT Leah loved Jacob. She was determined to have his children and she had six sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. She named all her sons. Jacob did not seem to care. She named them in terms of her relationship with God and her perspective of God.

(This is what she said when she had her first four sons: Genesis 29,30)
So Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben; for she said, “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.” Then she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Now I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she stopped bearing.
(Later she had two more sons: )And God listened to Leah, and she conceived and bore Jacob a fifth son. Leah said, “God has given me my wages, because I have given my maid to my husband.” So she called his name Issachar. Then Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son. And Leah said, “God has endowed me with a good endowment; now my husband will dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons.” So she called his name Zebulun.

What is so great about Leah’s eyes? From what we have read we see that this woman is without malice or jealousy. She sees and keeps her focus on God’s goodness and the good sides of life. She does not even blame God for her unloving husband or her possibly unshapely body. She does not give up on her love. She does her best. Se knows that only God can grant her the favor and ability to give birth. She is not ashamed or embarrassed by her fertility or try to be politically correct. Mother needs not be politically correct. She not only has one son, she carries on and has six! She sees what God has done even in her little world as a housewife and gives thanks. She sees the future where her many sons will grow up and do great things. She is right. Her sons did great things. They became the ancestors of the Israel nation. She became the mother of kings and priests. Yes, her eyes do matter. Instead of a mere family, she sees a great nation! And history has proven her right.

The versions of the Bible describing Leah with lovely eyes are as follows:
GW Leah had attractive eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and beautiful features.
GNT Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was shapely and beautiful.
TLB Leah had lovely eyes, but Rachel was shapely, and in every way a beauty.
NOG Leah had attractive eyes, but Rachel had a beautiful figure and beautiful features.
MSG Now Laban had two daughters; Leah was the older and Rachel the younger. Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was stunningly beautiful. And it was Rachel that Jacob loved. So Jacob answered, “I will work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.”

Did Jacob finally recognize it was Leah he should give honor as his lawful heavenly-ordained wife? He did. We read from below the words he gave his sons before he died: (Genesis 49)
Then he charged them and said to them: “I am to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of …which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite as a possession for a burial place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife, there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife, and there I buried Leah…”

happy mother’s day: a golden haiku for my mother

happy mother's day 2016

endurance patience
faith hope love joy peace
strength to strength she glows

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
And let her own works praise her in the gates.” (Proverbs 31:30-31)

a godly businesswoman was raised from the dead!

Dorcas-tabithaThis is highly relevant today. Dorcas was one of the Christian woman ‘business as mission’ pioneers in the early churches. What was her success secret? Take note that she was described as ‘a disciple’. She was not just a mere business woman. She was a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and her life was a testimony for Him.

a fifty percent perspective ~best blogs for women

Today we read of a woman philanthropist in the early Christian period. She was a godly successful business woman believer philanthropist who made clothing materials and clothes. She lived and worked in Joppa, situated on the Mediterranean coast some 40 miles (60 km) northwest of Jerusalem. The sea-port town was cosmopolitan and was occupied and frequented by many nationalities (considerably Phoenicians, Greek, Roman and others). Joppa is located about 30 miles (48 km) south of Caesarea.

She was a Christian philanthropist: who gave “altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons…and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.” (dictionary definition of philanthropy)

This story recorded in the Bible Acts chapter 9 started after she was dead. But the other Christians  sent for apostle Peter (who was 11 miles away at Lydda nearby) and he came immediately and raised her from the…

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woman of faith (2): Keep free to follow the will of God

Penn-Lewis spirit soul

THE GENDER ISSUE

“I saw that God had given me a specific commission . . . but the one objection was the fact that I was a woman. There was no quarrel with the message . . . no denial of the divine seal . . . no getting away from the evidence of the results. But none of these . . . did away with the fact that I was a woman, therefore I could not but see that, whilst God opened doors . . . in some quarters, others were fast closed to the message I bore, purely, and only, because I was a woman.”

The great cry of this heart was, “Why did God not commit this vital message to one who could . . . deliver it without restriction?” Often, in the early years, as she labored to deliver the message, she also gazed out upon the audience, “watching with eager eyes to see whether there was not some hidden and chosen instrument to whom God could transmit this burden, who would rise up . . . and let me step aside. . .” The following expresses her deep concerns. . . “for years I cried to God that He would raise up a man . . .” to fill “the commission He had given to me . . . many tears did I shed over this, . . . . until at last, . . . I saw and could say with the Lord, ‘I beheld and there was no man,’ . . . . . . God had committed this message to me, and at whatever cost, I must go forward.”

On one occasion, “a gentlemen with strong prejudice against the ministry of woman” was in attendance at an Overcomer conference. . . . In conversation afterwards, he confessed: ‘I would not have believed it possible, had I not seen it, that God would use a woman like that!’”  Her response? “God never does use a woman like that . . . or a man either! God only uses the NEW CREATION.” (http://bit.ly/10Mcj4D)

“All that I have, all that I am, all that I may be is Thine, wholly, absolutely, and unreservedly” Jessie Penn-Lewis.

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Jessie Penn-Lewis (1861–1927) was a Welsh evangelical speaker and author of a number of Christian evangelical works. She was born in Victoria Terrace, Neath, South Wales in 1861. Her father was a mining engineer and Methodist minister. Jessie was nurtured in the “lap of Calvinistic Methodism,” as she put it. Surrounded by love and a large library, she ventured into a life of learning and activity which always seemed far beyond the capability of her persistently frail body. Strong-willed and independent, she walked at the age of nine months, and by the age of four could read the Bible freely, without having been taught to read.

At the age of eighteen, Jessie married William Penn-Lewis. She was converted to Christ eighteen months later, and set about to learn to follow God. She wrote: “After I had been married some eighteen months, I began to feel very ill at ease about the Lord’s return. I knew I was not prepared to meet Him . . .” Thus, she began to seek Him. And as the Lord is ever true to His word, not long after . . . she “found the peace that every restless soul needs, in the Savior.” At the age of thirty-one, she was baptized with the Spirit, and her simple motto became, ”Keep free to follow the will of God.” God gave her remarkable insight into the Scriptures, and it became obvious that He had fashioned her to be a teacher.

When she was nineteen, she was frail and learned she had tuberculosis. Though initially, the medical opinion gave her “six months” to live, she later said that God had other plans. But she was miraculously healed. So it was, as a frail servant of Jehovah Ropheka that she was enabled to endure and accomplish labors beyond all natural power and resources. Indeed! Numerous were the times throughout her life when the fulfillment of the calling upon her defied the physical condition of her body. So vivid was this reality, that later in life, on one occasion, when in a terribly weakened state, her physician responded to the questions and concerns of those near in this way. I cannot say how it will go, as Mrs. Penn-Lewis was “a law unto herself.”

Jessie was involved in the 1904-1905 Welsh Revival, one of the largest Christian revivals ever to break out, although the revival was abruptly shortened with the mental and physical collapse of one of the leaders, Evan Roberts. Her ministry took her to Sweden, Russia, Finland, India, Canada, and the United States. Her life became linked to the spiritual giants of her generation: F. B. Meyer, Andrew Murray, D. L. Moody.

Jessie developed a lasting fellowship with F. B. Meyer. Referring to him as her “old friend,” he was chosen to preside over the service when her husband was called home on March 24th, 1925. A letter to her from Oswald Chambers (Nov. 2, 1903) states, “Your ‘Cross of Calvary’ is pre-eminently of God. The splendid treasure of pain, your pain, has merged into the greatness of God’s power. Your book teaches clearly and grandly what the Spirit witnesses to in the Bible and in our hearts, viz: that ‘the way of God’ flatly contradicts common sense, and by utmost despair the Holy Ghost leads to resurrection triumph. The breakdown of the natural virtues seems to be the point wherein most regenerated lives are cast into despair. Your book will help these to understand that this despair must end in death to the natural goodness and self, and be raised by the power of God into inconceivably glorious power and peace and liberty of life…”

Jessie founded The Overcomer, a serious journal on the pursuit of the deeper Christian life. She was a weekly contributor to The Life of Faith, for three years (Nov. 1904 to the end of 1908), and to The Christian, for two years during that same time. She collaborated with Evan Roberts on what has become the premier and classic work on spiritual warfare, War on the Saints, which describes the work of demons on Christians. Jessie was close to Evan Roberts and there is some controversy associated with her influence over him. After his mental breakdown cut the revival short, he stayed with Jessie and her husband in their home for a couple of years, but he never fully recovered. Ultimately, Jessie declared some of phenomena of the Welsh Revival to be the work of Satan.

While touring to the United States, Jessie was privileged to speak at the Moody Bible Institute Workers Conference (Sept. 1900). Reserved, as she was, there was no question of her being embarrassed when the President, R. A. Torry introduced her as “one of the most gifted speakers the world has ever known.” On that same tour, she visited and spoke at the Gospel Tabernacle, sharing tea with Mr. and Mrs. Simpson. This was followed by addresses in the church of D. M. Stearns, Germantown Philadelphia. Concerning the booklet on the “Message of the Cross” that was circulated in the millions in India, D. M. Stearns remarked, “It is God’s telegraphic dispatch to a dying world.”

Three times during the years 1926-27, Jessie was brought near to the gates of death. And three times, owing to the prayers of others and her own indomitable faith and courage “for the work’s sake” she was brought back as a miracle. The attacks left her weak in body, though buoyant in spirit. Those present for her last moments shed no tears as she entered into glory, and remarked, the Presence of the Lord in the room was something beyond the realm of “faith,” – it was almost “sight” in its reality.

For many years Jessie addressed great audiences at vast conventions of Christians. Finally, after one such series of talks she arrived home obviously ill. Her strength waned rapidly and she slipped into the presence of Christ in 1927 at the age of sixty-six.

Few women in modern times have left so profound an impression on their generation, and few have so boldly and biblically stated the value of their gender. Jessie Penn-Lewis was the embodiment of Women’s Liberation in its best and noblest sense.

As her earthly tent was laid to rest, around the open grave they sang the song There is a fountain filled with blood, adding to the chorus some of the last words spoken by Mrs. Penn-Lewis:

I do believe I now receive The life He offers me,
And standing on Christ’s finished work,
I claim the victory.

Excerpts taken from Jessie Penn-Lewis: A Memoir, by Mary N. Garrard.

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A Spiritual Autobiography by Jessie Penn-Lewis: The beginning of “Leading of the Lord” -Written for The Christian in 1903

I was brought up in the very heart of the religious life of Wales, for my grandfather was a Welsh divine, well known throughout the Principality in his day; and my father’s house was a rendezvous for the ministers as they passed hither and thither on their Master’s work. My childhood’s memories gather round their visits and the great meetings of the Sunday-schools, when often I sat as a tiny child in the midst of the grave elders in the “big pew,” listening with intense interest to the “howl” of the minister.

“The mercy of the Lord is…unto children’s children; but as it is often with children brought up in the midst of religious surroundings, the true inward change of heart did not come until I had married and moved away to England. Then it occurred without the aid of any human instrument, but the day—New Year’s Day—and hour are imprinted on my mind.

Only a deep, inward desire to know that I was a child of God; a taking down of my (too little read) Bible from the shelf; a turning over the leaves, and the eye falling on the words, “The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6); again, a casual turn of the sacred pages, and the words, “He that believeth hath eternal life” (John 6:47).

A quick facing out whether I did believe that God had laid my sins upon the Lamb of God on the Cross; a pause of wonderment that it really said that I had eternal life if I simply believed God’s Word; a quick cry of “Lord, I do believe”—and one more soul had passed from death to life (John 5:24), a trophy of the grace of God, and the love of Him Who died. The Spirit of God instantly bore witness with my spirit that I was a child of God (Romans 8:16), and deep peace filled my soul.

The new life bore fruit in that I sought to conquer my besetting sins, whereas hitherto I had found myself at their mercy, as I feebly attempted to restrain them. But my attempts still ended in abject failure, and the succeeding few months were a record of bitter repentance, and many tears over sins I could not conquer. At this point, we removed to Richmond, Surrey, and found our way to Holy Trinity Church. The first sermon I heard from Rev. Evan H. Hopkins was an opening of Heaven to my soul. I learned the secret of victory, and it was not long before I proved the power of God to deliver from the bondage of sin through the precious blood of Christ.

Under the Spirit-lit teaching of Mr. Hopkins, and the earnest, loving help of his noble wife, I learned the joy of full surrender and the possibilities of a Spirit-filled life (Ephesians 5:18). But active service for Christ seemed far away from me, for from childhood my health had been frail, and now winter after winter was spent in increasing suffering from bronchial and lung attacks. It seemed as if my life was slowly ebbing away. Nevertheless, in 1890, with apparently only a brief span of life before me, I ventured to take the hon. secretaryship of the Richmond Y.W.C.A. Institute—“If only for six months,” I said, for my whole heart was drawn out in service for the King.

Gradually, I learned to draw upon the Lord for strength for His work, so that in spite of continued ill-health and suffering, I worked, and organized, and labored incessantly. But after a time, I became conscious that the spiritual results were not equivalent to the labor of the work. I began to question whether I knew the fullness of the Spirit. Without doubt I had received Him, and had “entered into rest” as concerned my own life and fellowship with God (Hebrews 4:10); but when I compared the small results of my service with the fruit given to the apostles at Pentecost, I could not but own that I did not know the Holy Spirit in the fullness of His power.

“My life is not my own. I can do nothing else but be obedient to the heavenly vision since God has chosen the foolish things to confound the wise. Here am I, raised from the grave to be His instrument! Here am I to be spent, every breath, for the God who gives me breath. Our home is not our own, it is God’s. We have nothing, we glory in being slaves of Jesus Christ, my dear one and I.”

(http://www.secretplaceseries.com/Support/Testimonies/J_Penn-Lewis1.html)