Weekend Preview | Women Of The Bible: Part 3

By Matt Dawson

Do you know the DIFFERENCE between an Opinion and an Expectation? Do you know how it plays out in conversation, in relationships, and even in our spiritual thinking?

For instance, can you tell the difference between an opinion or an expectation when discussing current POLITICS on Facebook? How about when discussing NC HB2?

If you’ve found it difficult, then here is a good framework to help you understand it a bit better.

Difference of Opinions often generate conversation and use words like can, are, and could be based on the knowledge and experience we’ve attained thus far. Opinions can change and sometimes change often.

Difference of Expectations often generate arguments filled with frustration and/or disappointment and use words like should, ought, and can’t based on a conviction and/or conclusion about something that is black and white (crystal clear) to you. Expectations are much harder to change and rarely do.

Sometimes people don’t understand WHY they are fighting or WHY they are more relaxed about a particular difference than others. This Sunday we are going to look at the story of two sisters who ask Jesus to give his opinion on a growing difference in expectations between the siblings. Jesus gives his response… and it wasn’t an opinion.

Join us Sunday as we continue our series – “Women of the Bible.”

How Mother’s Can Be Encouraged From Women In the Bible

By Tracie Dawson

This year I am reading through the Bible again with a group of friends online. It is so much fun to discuss the stories and situations we encounter as we read through little-known sections of Scripture that, for some reason or another, are just not often taught in churches. That is why we are doing this series at Journey- to highlight some of the amazing things women have done, gain a fuller view of God (the One whose image men AND women bear) and celebrate the impact women can make in families, communities, and our faith!

There are so many wonderful women of the Bible, and their stories are incredible! In fact, I believe one of the reasons their stories are documented is that no matter our present circumstances, we can probably find a Biblical example of a woman who has “been there, done that!” And no matter where they started out or the obstacles they faced, God had a way of rescuing, redeeming, and restoring!

Last Sunday, we heard the story of Esther, a young queen that risked her life to save her people from complete annihilation. Many women can relate to feeling powerless to change their circumstances, especially when other’s choices impact us and often leave us where we never dreamed we’d be. But in spite of those events beyond her control, Esther took a massive leap of faith and trusted God, even putting her own life on the line!

Do you have a “past?” Do you feel ashamed for the string of bad choices you made before you knew there was a better way? So did the woman at the well. She met Jesus there one day as he asked her for some water, and then told her he could give her the water of LIFE. He knew her past and present situation, yet STILL offered her living water! Consequently, she became the first female evangelist documented in the New Testament as she immediately told everyone about her encounter with Christ.

Think you’re husband is not what he was cracked up to be? Check out the story of Abigail who saved her husband and entire household from the wrath of David and his men after Nabal (her foolish husband) insulted the would-be King of Israel! She bravely intervened to save him and won the respect and future protection of David, leaving God to deal with her husband’s wickedness.

Maybe you find yourself in a position of great responsibility and influence? Deborah, the first and likely ONLY female judge of Israel, served as prophet, judge, and leader of the nation for nearly forty years. She led them in a crucial battle over their enemies and demonstrated great courage and faith in God! Where a man showed cowardice, she showed steadfast courage!

But perhaps you are more of the kind of wise woman who looks ahead- you see the troubles looming that no one else sees or knows how to handle. This happened to a little old woman in her small town that was under siege by an army! Their strike would have leveled a town full of innocent people just to find one man! She acted quickly and called out to the commander asking what or whom he sought. When he answered she recognized danger to them all and offered to find the culprit and give them his head! The townspeople followed her lead, found the intruder, beheaded him, and tossed his head right over the city wall! The army general was appeased, and the entire city was spared!

Maybe you have been sick for so long that you don’t even remember what it is like to feel well. One woman spent everything she had for doctors to cure her bleeding but after twelve years she had nearly lost hope. Until Jesus came to her town. She took BOLD action and did what NO ONE had ever done before!

These women, all from different backgrounds and experiences, did amazing things! They reveal to us a fuller picture of God— through the grace, beauty, and inner strength on display in the heart of woman! And their impact on our faith and Christianity should not be missed!

No matter where you find yourself currently, there’s likely a woman from the Bible who has “been there, done that” and experienced the power of God working through her life and impacting those around her! Praise God for women!

Weekend Preview | Women Of The Bible: Part 1- Esther

By David McNeely

The scriptures tell us that in the beginning God created man in his image. Male and female, He created them in His image. This means we learn about who God is and how he functions by looking at humanity. Men and women share many qualities that point us to God (reason, capacity to love, ability to create, work, etc.). But each gender also reveals unique aspects of God. Men put on display some of his characteristics (power, strength and simplicity), while women put on others (beauty, elegance, and mystery).

Not surprisingly, in the book of Esther we learn some things about God by looking at the woman Esther. But surprisingly, we learn more about who He is in spite of her, Mordecai, Haman, King Ahasuerus, and the other characters.

God is not mentioned by name in the book of Esther. No prayer is recorded in Esther. Yet perhaps no other book in The Bible so clearly displays God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and presence like Esther. The drama unfolds quickly and the writer brilliantly draws the reader in from the opening line. He keeps us there until the final word is recorded.

I really believe this book would perform well in live theaters all across the globe. The ingredients are there. There are characters we can relate to including a villain and a hero. There is tension in the storyline that builds to epic proportions before being resolved. And it all really happened. It’s a true story. But let us not miss the main idea that God is getting across in this amazing book. God’s voice may be silent in the ink, but he screams to us, “I am here! I will move on behalf of my people!”

Perhaps today you are looking at life’s circumstances and are asking, “God are you here? Are you for us?” The story of Esther informs us. God is saying everything he needs to say in this drama. Back then, he pointed the Jewish people forward and today he points us backwards. And he does this through a woman he created. She is far from perfect. In fact, she is deeply flawed. And God used her to save an entire race of people. It’s not the only time he has used flawed people. It won’t be the last.
He was there with Esther. He is here with you now.

Join us this Sunday at Journey to hear Esther’s story in more detail.

Why We Study Women Of The Bible

By Matt Dawson

We have a new series coming up at Journey called “Women of the Bible.”  We’re going to take a few weeks as we study the Bible together using the lens of specific women of faith and their encounters with God and others. We don’t have to do a series in order to study the stories of women in the Bible, but we decided that we wanted to spend a concentrated time this year devoted to it.
Here are 3 reasons why we study women of the Bible.
1. Women Do Amazing Things!
We tend to focus on larger stories like David killing Goliath to defeat the Philistines, but did you know that an entire nation was defeated when Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, invited the enemy king to come rest in her tent while he was fleeing…. only to kill him while he slept by driving a tent peg through his temple into the ground! (Judges 4:21) We talk often about Peter’s bold example of following Jesus as a disciple, but we sometimes miss that Mary Magdalene was honored to be the very first person to see Jesus’ resurrected body while Peter and the boys were locked in a room cowering in fear!  We can miss some incredible stories of both men and women in our study of God’s word, stories that have impact and meaning in our lives today especially through the contextual lens of how women were treated and viewed during that time in history.
2. Women Give Us a FULL picture of God.
When God created Adam and Eve, He made them in His image.  This means that God has characteristics in both men and women that are unique to each of His creation. Sometimes, when we take a moment to concentrate our efforts to study the daughters of Eve, we see elements of God that were given to us for a reason.  The Beauty He wants us to see, the Wisdom we can all experience in life, and the Peace we can taste when fully resting in Him is often seen in WOMEN more than men throughout history.
3. Women Get Overlooked in Religious Systems.
The religious system that we’ve experienced through the world (including Christianity) has often reflected the values of men in culture and devalued women.  This has happened throughout history and is still the case in many developing countries (although not as severe in the West as it once was.)  This is one of the reasons that women RAN toward the gospel in the New Testament church. The opportunity to enter into a relationship with Jesus surpassed the religious system of the day. One example we are given was Lydia, who was a successful business woman that also became a church planter.  This was UNHEARD of in that day and age, but it didn’t stop God from using her in a powerful way to advance His kingdom!
If you’ve never done this before (taken a moment to study stories of women of the Bible), maybe it’s time you did.  Join us for the next few weeks as we engage in these stories as a church!