Monthly Archives: June 2010

Thank God For Women, But… (Part 8)

Click on following links for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 and Part 7.

Even as an agnostic, I knew two scriptures and one unusual story. John 3:16 – from my Bible school days. John 11: 35 – from playing Trivial Pursuit. And the unusual story – from listening to a stereo record album.

You see, in my college days, I enjoyed folk music and one of my favorite groups was Peter, Paul and Mary.  A song that I really liked by the trio was Jesus Met the Woman at the Well. I listened to it over and over again.

Then as a new Christian, I discovered that Peter, Paul and Mary’s song was actually taken from the Bible. And it is this story which was the second early act that Jesus performed, that sent shock-waves through the men-only leadership system of the Temple.

And Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, being wearied from His journey, was sitting thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” (John 4: 6-7)

Jesus did the unspeakable: He spoke to a woman in public.

Yes, the woman was a Samaritan and, most of the time, Jews avoided Samaritans. The reasons the Jews did this was because they despised the mixed Gentile ancestral heritage of the Samaritans and their style of worship.

But being a Samaritan was not the number one issue in this instance.  It was because the person was a woman.

At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or “Why do You speak with her?” (John 4: 27)

Not only did Jesus break the accepted religious protocol of His day, but He did something even more amazing than that.

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us. Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.” (John 4: 25 – 26)

Jesus tells a woman that He is Messiah, the Christ. So, when did His twelve men disciples finally discover this same truth?

Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 16: 16 – 17)

Simon’s revelation happened about two years later.

Now, was this just a mere coincidence that Jesus revealed who He was first to a woman?

For I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. (John 12:49)

…Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (John 5: 19)

Amazing, but true! It was the Father’s decision to honor a woman.

Now, why did the Father do this?

(Continued in Part 9)

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Waiting on the Lord, You Know, Just Waiting on the Lord (Part 6)

An Updated Rerun Series

Click on following links for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.


So, what can a New Testament believer do to help bring a personal prophetic word to pass in his (or her) life?

C. If The Prophetic Words Are Confirmed; Then What? (Continued)

Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble. (2 Peter 1:10)

If we are convinced,  and know that we know, that we have true prophetic words for our lives, who can stop these words from coming to pass?

Jesus? If He is unable to bring His prophetic words to pass in our lives, then He is a liar; and Jesus is not a liar. He is the Truth.

Satan and his demons? If we are trusting in the Lord and walking with Him, Satan may cause some problems, but in the end, he will bow his knees to the Lord’s prophetic words for us. He’s the defeated one, not Jesus or His words.

Us? Sadly, we are  the weak links in bringing a prophetic word to pass in our own lives.

Then Elijah said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. (1 Kings 19: 14)

Most of us suffer in varying degrees from an Elijah-complex. And like Elijah,  we think our personal prophetic words are just too difficult and too impossible to be brought to pass in our lives, even though the One who spoke them into existence is all powerful and nothing is impossible for Him.

“Woe is me! And Jesus, You are not powerful enough, nor do You have enough grace to help me through these impossible circumstances! Everyone is against me! Yada Yada Yada!”

Okay, I’m guilty! I’ve sang these litanies of woe, and even told Jesus one morning, “Lord, I’m too lonely and I hurt too much to continue onward.”

Can you guess what His instant reply was to me?

“Larry, it was lonely at the cross and I hurt!” He said to my heart.

How do you offer a sufficient comeback to this reply?

I could not think of one. So, I knew I had to change my thinking.

So, I made up my mind to believe that Jesus was able to bring every true prophetic word in my life to pass. No matter how impossible it seemed. No questions asked. No doubts. No thinking. Just, “Yes, Lord, I believe You are able. Period”

And also, I made up my mind to pray and fast for other believers who were undergoing similar trials of faith.

Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body. (Hebrews 13:3)

(Continued in Part 7.)

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Thank God for Women, But… (Part 7)

Click on following links for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

When Jesus arrived on the scene, He could have schmoozed the “good ol’ boy network” to help His ministry along. But Jesus performed two early acts which quickly set Him apart from the religious system and its leaders.

The first occurred in Cana:

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there; and both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.”  (John 2: 1-5)

Jesus and His disciples (probably Peter, Andrew, Philip and Nathaniel) traveled a couple of days journey to Cana. There they attended a wedding, along with His mother, Mary.

Now, at the time,  Jewish weddings were feasts which lasted up to a whole week. The married couples and their families were expected to provide food and refreshments for all of the guests.

Because no mention was made of Joseph, we must assume that Mary was a widow at the time.

But who told Mary about the wine problem?

Unlike today’s Western cultures, the Jewish society of Jesus’ day was largely a gender-divided system. And just like in the Temple, women were expected to congregate with other women at weddings, apart from the men. This was especially true for widows.

So, if Mary knew about the lack of wine, she heard it from a woman. Possibly, the bridegroom’s mother or the bride’s mother or even the bride.

Thus, Mary sought a solution from Jesus for the problem which was being discussed amongst the women.

Mary walked over to Jesus who was congregated with the men and mentioned the wine problem to Him. He addressed her in an unusual way. He used the Jewish word, gyne, which is translated into our English word, woman, to address Mary. He did not address her with the common Jewish word for mother, or meter.

Why did Jesus use the word, woman, instead of mother, when He addressed Mary?

Remember: Jesus was the living Word in the flesh. If anyone understood the importance of the commandment to honor a mother, it was Jesus.

So, we must infer that Jesus used the word, woman, for an important purpose, okay?

What was His purpose for doing so?

I believe that Jesus used the word, woman, to let every female know forever that He performed the wine miracle, not because the person was His mother. But rather, because the person (a woman) asked Him.

With this first sign, Jesus announced to everyone: “Women are just as important as men to Me and have an equal standing before Me.”

(Continued in Part 8)

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Waiting on the Lord, You Know, Just Waiting on the Lord (Part 5)

An Updated Rerun Series

Click on following links for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

So, what can a New Testament believer do to help bring a personal prophetic word to pass in his (or her) life?

C. If The Prophetic Words Are Confirmed, Then What? (Continued)

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. (Hebrews 11: 32-34)

The above verses in the book of Hebrews point out an important fact: obtaining prophetic promises by faith is akin to warfare. It’s a battle.

Now remember: the Lord is not the one fighting us. He wants His prophetic words to be manifested in our lives, especially about our callings. And He will bankrupt heaven to supply us with whatever we need to obtain them.

So, who is the fight of faith with? Demons and ourselves (via the flesh).

This is the command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith. (1 Timothy 1:18-19)

What does heaven consider a good fight? Winning the battle. Period.

Let’s consider my personal situation in 1987:

I was an unknown nobody in a small Midwestern town. No money. No car. A marital separation. A 1o’ x 8′ apartment. A minimum wage job at a motel. I walked in all types of weather wherever I had to go. No one believed in me or my calling. And I had no open doors to preach, teach or prophesy, as in none, zilch, nada and zero.

Then, what did the Lord do? He gave me a vision that I would eventually preach, teach and prophesy in large cities and large inner cities of the United States; and I believed in the vision.

Now, I could have said, “Okay, God, I’ll just wait and see if You can do this in my life or not. Who knows, right?” But I didn’t. You see that’s not fighting a good fight, that’s sitting on the sidelines, covering yourself with fear and doubt.

So, what did I do?

I hung a map of the United States on the wall with all of the major cities and the toughest inner cities marked on it. Then, each morning, I would get up and place my hand on the map and proclaim, “Lord, I’m coming to these cities. And I command these cities to open up to me because I’m on my way!”

Then, I walked around my small apartment and proclaimed, “Lord, You called me; I didn’t. And Lord,  I’m fully persuaded that You are able to do what You have promised to do. Furthermore, I don’t believe any man or demon can stop You and Your promises. So, unless You kill me, I’m going to preach, teach and prophesy in those cities.”

Nobody heard me or saw my faith while I was doing this. It was strictly between God and me.

I did this for years until I knew that God knew how determined I was to obtain His prophetic promises.

But I did other things, too.

(Continued in Part 6.)

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Thank God for Women, But… (Part 6)

Click on following links for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

In college, I dated a Jewish girl who was a member of a Jewish sorority.

Now at the time, 70% of the students at the University of Illinois were from the Chicago area and there was a sizable percentage of them who were Jewish.

But you have to remember, this was forty-five years ago,  and America was much different back then. Plus, I was a farm boy from a rural town with a population of 1,100 people and my high school only had an enrollment of two hundred and twenty students.

There was one Jewish family in the community. And the only reason that I knew that they were Jewish was that my parents and others, whenever they talked about this family,  prefaced their remarks by saying,  “Well, of course, you know that they’re Jewish…”

So, as you can see, dating a Jewish girl was a big deal for me.

For instance, ordering food was always an interesting undertaking. If we went to Nate’s Hot Dogs, Poor Boy’s Polish Sausage and Ribs, Illini Pizza or the Pancake House, there was a huge problem called pork.

Sometimes, she overlooked the fact that sausage, hot dogs, ribs, ham and bacon were essentially pork products; and at other times,  she didn’t. And looking back now, I’d guess whether or not she ate pork had more to do with her guilty feelings during the various Jewish feast seasons than for any other reason.

Once, I picked her up for a date at her home in Chicago and being a girl, she was not quite ready when I rang the doorbell. Her father answered the door. He stared at me for a few seconds and finally said, “Carol will be ready shortly.”

Then, he quickly pivoted around and left me there, standing all alone in the entry foyer. To say, I felt uncomfortable and uneasy would be a gross understatement. The minutes seemed like hours. She eventually arrived and made excuses for her parents.

Jokingly, she and her friends referred to me as her “goy friend.” (Goy being short for goyim which is a Yiddish word for gentile.)

I admit that I dated her because she was cute and fun. It had nothing to do with her or my religious values at the time.

But sadly, most of us Christians, read the Bible in much the same manner that I dated this Jewish girl; in that, we are naive about Judaism and the bondage the Law has on people.

Especially women!

(Continued in Part 7)

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Waiting on the Lord, You Know, Just Waiting on the Lord (Part 4)

An Updated Rerun Series

So, what can a New Testament believer do to help bring a personal prophetic word to pass in his (or her) life?

C. If The Prophetic Words Are Confirmed, Then What?

And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. (Hebrews 11: 32-34)

Chapter Eleven of Hebrews is a “Hall of Fame for Old Testament Saints.”  In it, we read that mighty men and women of God, such as Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and others had testimonies which pleased God.

What was it these believers did?

They acted and persevered by faith. In fact, the phrase, by faith, is mentioned nineteen times and is the underlying emphasis for the forty verses of the chapter.

And why were these mighty people of God exercising their faith? They had prophetic words for their lives.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. (Hebrews 11:1-2)

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Our faith must be in God and it must be exhibited before Him. And whether or not, anyone else is able to see or understand our faith, is not important at all for the fulfillment of our prophetic promises.

You see, our approval comes from God, not men. He is the One who brings our prophetic words to pass and rewards our faith and faithfulness.

For myself, I knew I was called to preach, teach and write within a few weeks after my salvation on May20, 1985. It came through a nighttime vision which I did not mention to anyone else for years after it happened, not even my wife.

But even as a young, know-nothing believer, I knew enough that I needed to prepare myself for my calling. I prayed. I studied the word. I listened to hundreds of tapes. I read hundreds of books.

Work hard so God can approve you. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2: 15)

Also, I rearranged the priorities in my life. TV, entertainment,  sports, career, many relationships and whatever became secondary to my pursuit of  God and His calling for my life.

Except for my family, no one knew anything about my spiritual discipline. I was an unknown in a small town. And there were no open doors for me to preach, teach and prophesy. As in none. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Yet, I did things to show my faith to God.

(Continued in Part 5)

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Thank God for Women, But… (Part 5)

Click on following links for earlier articles: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Before we continue onward, here’s something that needs to be examined: what roles should women play in modern churches?

Most of us believers can give some sort of knee jerk response; and our answers will probably mirror the teachings of the churches where we now attend.

But remember: almost 70% of Christian men do not attend churches on any given Sunday, but a large majority of Christian women do. Thus, one would think that women would attend churches where they believe that women are free to be what they are called to be in Christ Jesus. Right?

Well, do they? And what are women really called to be in the church, according to scriptures?

Looking back through the Old Testament, we’ll soon discover that the role of women under the Law was almost nil. Yes, there were a few prophetesses, such as Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Noadiah and Isaiah’s wife; and also Deborah was the leader of Israel as a judge.

But, by and large, women were considered second class believers under the Law.

For instance, where did the women worship God in the Temple? The women worshipped God in their own court, apart from men, behind the men’s court (or Court of Israel) and many steps below the men’s court.

In other words, the male believers were ahead of the women and above the women when the people worshipped God. Thus, you can easily understand how men were thought to be closer to God under the Law than women.

Can you name all of the women priests mentioned in the Old Testament? There were none, as in zero, nada,  zilch. Under the Law, only men from the Tribe of Levi were allowed to be priests and work in the Temple.

What was the sign given by the Lord for the Old covenant? Circumcision. And of course, women were forever excluded from this important covenant truth.

And at the time of Jesus, how many women were members of the Pharisees? Once again, none! The Pharisees were estimated at being 6,000 male members strong with no women in the movement. In fact, the Pharisees felt it was the women who caused many of the sin problems for men, such as lust, fornication and adultery.

So, when Jesus eventually went into full-time ministry and preached His gospel of the kingdom of God, what group was the happiest people in Israel to hear Him speak? WOMEN! They rushed to hear Him.

Why?

(Continued in Part 6)

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