Welcome to Church on the Hill, Glenavon, Sask, Canada

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Women of Faith

Scriptures: Hebrews 11, Esther 1, Ruth chapters 1-4, Judges 4,
Joshua 2, 2 Tim 1:5, Luke 1:38

Pastor Lorne said thoughout the Bible we read of great men. Hebrews 11 even has a list of the heroes of faith. But, what about the women?

He said we always hear about Esther and how she arrived at the kingdom at the right time to save her people at risk of her own life, but what about the lady whom Esther had replaced? Esther 1 tells the story of how Queen Vashti refused to display herself before the king and his men, all who were drunk on wine (v10).

Pastor Lorne said Queen Vashti is a hero to him, because she thought enough of herself not to put herself in the position where she was the subject of lewd, inappropriate behaviour. To give you an idea of what the thinking was back then, Pastor Lorne said to look at Esther 1:15-18. When the men at the banquet realized that Queen Vashti wasn’t coming, they said they couldn’t condone that or when they told their own wives to do something, they’d also refuse and they couldn’t allow that to happen. At this point, Pastor Lorne said he could see some husbands and wives in the congregation looking at each other... (laughter)

And so, Pastor Lorne continued, these guys said they had to do something. They were worried because Queen Vashti thought herself special and important in God’s eyes. He said you know the rest of the story...the queen was taken from her position and Esther was brought in to replace her.

Another special woman in the Bible was Ruth, a young widow who chose to stay with Naomi. Ruth 1:16 has the infamous line ‘...Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.’ So doing, she honored not only her mother-in-law, but Boaz who she later married. Ruth 2:11 & 12 shows that even Boaz realized her worth. He praised her for the wonderful things she’d done and said she was a special person because of it. Ruth became part of the lineage of Christ. She was somebody who set an example...a lady who was important in the scheme of things. Important enough to be mentioned in the Bible and have a book named after her. A woman who, in a day when women didn’t really count for a whole lot, was praised and lifted up by Boaz.

Pastor Lorne said if you look in Judges 4:4-9, you'll find another lady who held a prominent part in history and Scripture. She was the prophetess Deborah who was leading Israel at the time. When the Israelites were threatened by an enemy that way outnumbered them, Deborah told them to take 10,000 men and she would lure the enemy into their hands. But, the military leader said that he wouldn’t go without her. Pastor Lorne said it was an amazing thing. Back in the day when patriarchs ruled in a society where women weren’t worth much, Barak wouldn’t go unless Deborah went with him. But he knew that she was under the hand of God and he knew he had to have her along if he wanted a victory. Deborah went with him and they won.

Jael, another important woman, can be found farther down, also in Judges 4. Pastor Lorne said Jael must’ve been a really tough gal because this is pretty gruesome, but the leader of the enemy was running away to hide and because their families had been friends, Jael invited him into her tent. He was exhausted from running. While he slept, Jael took a tent peg and pounded it right through his head, grounding him. She was just a lady who was able to help and win the battle and she’s mentioned in the Bible.

Pastor Lorne referred us to Joshua 2 where we find another lady who is actually listed as a heroe of faith in Hebrews 11. Amazing because she was a lady of ill-repute. But, she realized that God was with the 2 spies and she saved them from being captured by hiding them under some sheaves of flax on the roof of her house. Her name has gone down in history. She also is in the line that Christ came from.

This gives us a picture of how God uses people who are willing to open their lives and hearts to Him.

For another woman of faith, Pastor Lorne referred us to 2 Tim 1 in the New Testament. In Paul’s letter to Timonthy, V5, he says, ‘I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.’ Paul is crediting Timothy’s grandmother and mother for the faith they had put in him. How many mothers and grandmothers down through the ages...if it wasn’t for their faith and trust in the Lord...for the hours they spend on their knees praying for their children, for their grandchildren...it was because of them that Paul could write about Timothy and say the faith that is in them is also is in you.

Sometimes it seems just the way things are written that women aren’t as important - even in Scripture. Pastor Lorne said there aren’t as many women mentioned as there are men but he finds that those that are mentioned are ones that tackled situations and stood true...who had a faith that brought them through.

Pastor Lorne said he wanted to encourage all ladies...all mothers there on Sunday...to know that God hears your prayers. God will give you the strength to stand up for Him and for what you have to face in your life. He said he thinks of Timothy and how he was a young man who grew up into a spiritual person and had a relationship with the Lord because of his grandmother and mother.

In other Scripture, Paul talked about all the other women who stood and contended with him as he did the work of the Lord. We know of many times Paul had tough things in his life and yet he takes time to mention the women who stood with him:
- Lydia seller of purple
- Priscilla who worked with a tentmaker alongside Paul in the ministry
- Many other women who worked with him who were part of that whole setting of starting the church as we know it today.

Pastor Lorne said he knows of places like nearby Grenfell where the church was started either in part or whole by a lady who’d come to preach years ago. And to the north is the church in Lemberg which was started by a lady and now many have gone from there for missions. He said he wanted to encourage all the ladies that you can experience the blessing of God in your life and know that God’s hand can be upon you to change things...to shape things.

He said you’ve heard it said that ‘The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’. Well, you have a great part to play. You are of great importance in God ‘s kingdom. When times are tough, you think of all sorts of different things. You stay up late nights with sick children and then when they get older, you stay up late nights waiting and praying for them to get home safe. Pastor Lorne said he believes God sees your heart and sees your faith. He will honor it and bless you and He will keep His hand upon you.

He believes that day will come when we stand before the Lord and each one of you will be counted and listed in that list of heroes of faith...those who have stood for the Lord...those who have accomplished what God has called you to do. Be encouraged...it’s a great task. You have a great responsibility but he believes that in the end, you will have a great blessing.

Pastor Lorne thinks if you were to talk to a lot of the people who have become famous or have great ministries, many of them...probably most of them...will point back to what their mothers have done for them. Their mothers’ testimony, their prayers and their wisdom.

Keep that in your mind and heart and when you have a tough time, think of all the ladies who have gone on before you who stood for God...stood for truth...who have led their families...those who have been an encouragement to their husbands and who without their help we don’t know what would have happened.

Pastor Lorne said the last lady he wanted to mention was the Mary, the mother of Jesus. He said after the angel told Mary she would bear God’s Son, Mary replied in Luke 1:38 ‘I am the Lord's servant...May it be to me as you have said...’ Pastor Lorne said he thinks there are so many women who have that attitude and say Lord, your will is my will...

He asked members to think of the impact their own mothers have had on their lives. The service was concluded with a special blessing on the mothers to honour them and let them know that they are special.

If you would like to speak to Pastor Lorne about this, please email him.

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