Women of the Bible – Lydia

Hey girls!

Today is our last women of the Bible entry but please know there are SO many others to learn about. I encourage you to look through your Bible and find your favorite!

Today I’m going to talk about Lydia, and if you want to read her story, go to Acts 16.

Now, Lydia wasn’t someone who you’d look at and think, “She really needs Jesus.” I know we ALL need Jesus but Lydia sure looked like she was on top of everything in her life. She ran a successful business of dyeing clothing purple and sold it- it’s what made the city of Philippi famous back then. (I love purple and would totally buy her clothes.) She had a large house with plenty of space and servants to help her.

And she had God. She was already a devout practicing Jew who loved God and worshipped Him. But when Paul came to town spreading the news of Jesus, she listened. She was the first European convert to Christianity, and she set the example for everyone in her town.

Lydia

Now we may look at someone like Lydia as a recently converted Christian and say, “Ok now it’s time to give all that money away to the poor.” And sometimes God did ask people to do just that!

But this time God had a different idea. Lydia came to Paul and said (and I’m paraphrasing), “Whenever you’re in town, whenever ANY of your friends are in town to preach God’s word, you come stay at my house. You’ll have a bed, plenty of food, and shelter. All for free. Any time.”

I don’t have to tell you that traveling the country as a missionary back then didn’t pay so well. This was a huge blessing to them! Her house was where Paul and Silas went STRAIGHT to after they got out of jail. They knew they’d be safe and welcomed. She used her spiritual gift of hospitality to bless others.

Spiritual Gifts

Girls you probably don’t have a thriving business or a huge house to offer to missionaries right now. Neither do I!

But what do you have? What character trait, what skill or hobby can you offer to the church or those around you to bless them? Let us know in the comments!

For me, I try very hard to have the spiritual gift of encouragement, and really listen and try to sympathize with what someone is going through.  I try to say something that might be uplifting. I also LOVE to cook and bake, so I love bringing food for family events, or taking food to moms who just had a baby.

Ok enough about me! Let’s hear from you girls!

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Women of the Bible-Esther

Hey Tribelet – Asher here! How are you all?

Today I’ll be talking about Esther, one of my favorite characters of the Bible for part 3 of our ‘Women of the Bible’ series.

Esther started from the bottom of the pile. She was an orphan, cared for by her uncle, Mordecai. On top of that, she was a Jew – a race that was looked down upon at the time.

I wonder if Esther had big dreams for her life. Today, many of us can hope to become an athlete, veterinarian, detective… But most girls back in Esther’s time had a much more limited future: their main destiny was to marry someone of a similar social standing.

Even if she did have big dreams, I doubt Esther expected much more.

Unexpectedly, king Xerxes, the most powerful guy in town, picks her to be his wife. Her life is totally changed. From a dirt-floored house to a palace. From girl next door to having all eyes on her. From being able to talk to Mordecai casually to not being able to speak to the king unless he summoned her.

Soon Esther finds out that the king’s right hand man, Hanan, has passed an order for all Jews to be killed. Her people. Mordecai begs her to ask the king for mercy. But the king doesn’t summon her. By approaching him she could die.

Mordecai, I’m sure, is aware of this – but he continues to encourage Esther to speak up:

12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?” (NIV)

He tells Esther to make the most of her power. Her voice, her royal position, her race – everything God placed in her life was an opportunity – to speak out for the oppressed Jews.

Esther replies:

“I’ll go to the king, even though it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.” (MSG)

I find it interesting that Esther’s feelings don’t come up in the Bible. We never find out whether she feared approaching the king or not.

Bravery isn’t the absence of fear. It’s doing the right thing even if you are scared to death.

By focusing on how Esther takes action instead, we can see the importance of bravery. Regardless of how she felt, Esther chose to do what counted.

“If I die, I’ll die.” She also accepts the fact that things might not go her way. She knows she can’t do anything about the result of the situation, but God will take care of her eternity.

I don’t know about you, but to me, that is true bravery.

In the comments, we’d love to know:

We may not have opportunities as “significant” at Esther’s lives right now, but what do you have that you can make a difference with? Maybe you’re in the same class as someone who is lonely. You could still try to do what you can and be by their side. Perhaps you’re great on the piano, and could offer to play at the old folks home in your town.

Also… what holds you back from taking action? Maybe you’re afraid your friends will abandon you if you start spending too much time with the lonely kid. Perhaps you get stage fright and performing on the piano is out of your comfort zone. Do share if you’re comfortable – there’s no shame in weakness!

Personally, I can make a difference by supporting family members going through tough times. The sacrifice of time, comfort and energy that takes holds me back sometimes, but I’m working on it.

Can’t wait to hear from you!

Take care,

Asher

Women of the Bible-Hagar

Good morning TRIBELET!!! How is your day going? I’m feeling pretty mellow because it is SUPER HOT OUT.

Can I be honest? I am having the hardest time writing this post.

I was going to talk about Hannah-who is one of my favorite women of the Bible but for some reason, I just couldn’t say what I wanted to say.

Then I tried to write about Anna, another favorite woman of mine. But once again, all I was doing was typing and deleting.

Anyone else struggle like this when they need to write a paper or work on a project? You have an idea and it’s floating around in your head but FOR THE LIFE OF YOU, you can’t get it to make sense?

That has been me all morning.

I’ve been spurting out those, “Lord, please help me write this…” kind of prayers and still nothing stuck.

SO then I prayed, “Lord, who should I write about?”

And the name Hagar came to mind.

An Egyptian Girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then it all clicked.

To catch you up, this month we are looking at the lives of different women of the Bible. And what we can learn from them.

Last week, Hannah wrote about Sarah. You can read the whole post here but I’ve included a little excerpt to refresh your memory:

“Sarah and Abraham were promised a baby by God. They would be the family to start the entire nation of Israel – kind of a big deal I’d say! They were blessed and they were eagerly awaiting for the baby to come along.

But then years passed. Years and YEARS of waiting and both Sarah and Abraham had basically lost hope. They were old enough to be grandparents! I’m sure they felt like maybe they had misunderstood God. They had lived their whole life and no baby had arrived.”

Now, spoiler alert…God does keep his promise. They have a son named Issac and the rest is history.

But in the middle of the waiting is where we meet Hagar.

Now honest confession…Hagar isn’t my “favorite” woman of the Bible. I don’t think anyone who has ever read her story thought, “Man, I want to be like Hagar.” But the older I get, the more I appreciate who God was to Hagar.

Hagar had a rough life.

First of all she was a slave.

Sarah’s slave.

And Sarah got a little impatient waiting for God to keep his promise (that she would have a son) so she talked Abraham into having a baby with Hagar.

Which totally backfired. (As things often do when we take situations into our own hands)

When Hagar realized she was going to have a baby, she basically rubbed it in Sarah’s face all the time. Not cool, right? This hurt Sarah’s feelings (obviously) so she retaliated by being super harsh with Hagar. Oh boy.

Sarah was so mean that Hagar finally ran away.

And that’s where things get interesting.

Image result for tree desert israel

The Bible tells us that an Angel of the Lord found Hagar in the wilderness, sitting under a tree. Can you imagine how terrible she must have felt? Alone and pregnant. A slave. In the middle of nowhere. No hope. No options. Or at least that is how things must have felt.

But it wasn’t true. Because God saw her and sent help.

The Angel basically asks, “What’s going on?”

And Hagar tells him the truth. She is running away.

The Angel tells Hagar to go back home to Sarah and to submit to her authority (stop rubbing things in her face). And then he tells her to name her baby Ishmael (God hears) because God has heard her cries of distress.

So she goes back home, has her son and then 14 years later Issac is born to Sarah.

Crazy story right?
My favorite part comes right after the Angel finds her and talks to her. The Bible tells us that after that encounter, Hagar starts calling God by a new name. She calls him “The God Who Sees Me”, which is El-roi in Hebrew.

I love this for two reasons.

  1. When we encounter God, it changes the way we see Him.
  2. God saw her sitting under that tree, all alone and feeling at the edge of her rope. He saw her. And sent help. Because that is what God does. He sees us and helps us when we cry out to him.

And to be honest, there have been many moments in life where I have felt like Hagar. Unseen. Forgotten. Alone. And God has blown me away with His faithfulness time and again when I cry out to Him in my distress.

Can you relate to Hagar? Have you been feeling unseen? Alone? Wondering where God is in a certain situation? Tell God all about it in your Talking to God Journal. Cry out to Him. He is kind. He is faithful. He cares about you.

And in the comments, we’d love to know how we can be praying for you.

Love, Love, Love

Leslie

 

 

 

Women of the Bible

Happy July girls!

I’m so excited for this new series; we may even revisit it later this year.

We’re talking about our favorite women of the Bible, and what their lives can teach us today.

I’m kicking things off with Sarah, the only woman in the Bible who had her name changed by God. Her name was Sarai, which means ‘my princess’.

God changed it to Sarah, which means ‘princess to all’. Which is completely awesome. Let’s dive into her story.

Sarah and Abraham were promised a baby by God. They would be the family to start the entire nation of Israel – kind of a big deal I’d say! They were blessed and they were eagerly awaiting for the baby to come along.

But then years passed. Years and YEARS of waiting and both Sarah and Abraham had basically lost hope. They were old enough to be grandparents! I’m sure they felt like maybe they had misunderstood God. They had lived their whole life and no baby had arrived.

One day Abraham had three visitors. Scripture tells us that Abraham recognized these men as either three angels or God and two angels (There’s a few theories on this, but you can check out the story for yourself in Genesis 18). He welcomes them, feeds them, and then they tell him why they came. They’re here to tell him that by this time next year Sarah will have a baby boy.

Sarah, who was listening outside the tent (just like we totally would do too), laughed to herself. “Now God? I’m way too old to have a baby now!”

The angel heard her laughing thoughts and said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Is anything too hard for God?”

(I’m assuming at this point Sarah jumped back from having her ear pressed to the tent wall!)

Of course you girls know the rest. They did indeed have a little boy named Isaac (which means laughter-how perfect!) and the nation of Israel had begun.

Women of the Bible - Sarah

God kept His promise AND made the birth of this little boy a miraculous one, just because He could.

Mini women, God made them a promise and He did deliver. But it was on His timing and He waited until it could be called a miracle. He didn’t follow our usual idea of how life should go.

Girls God cares about you and I know He has great and unique plans for each of you. He knows the deepest desires of your heart and I believe it is good and right for you to pray for what you want your future to look like.

Just know that if God has His own plans, He’ll have his own timetable also. His timing is perfect. You trust in Him, and wait patiently, and He will honor you, just like He did for Sarah.

Women of the Bible - Sarah Verse

In the comments below, tell us what you’re trusting God to help you with. And then we all can pray for each other to have patience while we’re waiting!