This past week I attended a funeral of one of the most faithful and inspiring women I had the pleasure of growing up with in church. As I was preparing food for the family, the song “Church (take me back)” by Cochren & Co came on. If you are not familiar with it, the chorus says “take me back to place that feels like home, to the people I can depend on, to the faith that is in my bones….”
“Hi ma’am, how many will be dining tonight?” “Oh, umm, just one…just me”. Have you ever found yourself in that situation? Or perhaps you just did not even try going out to eat because you were embarrassed to be that party of one. I was that party of one…sadly, not so long ago.
Would you say that you have transparent relationships?
Transparent – easy to see through, understand, or recognize; without concealment; open; frank; candid
Transparency is letting your guard completely down, humbling yourself and getting honest with others, yourself and most importantly, God.
One of the most beautiful trees of God’s creation that I have ever seen is The Weeping Willow. It looks so serene, peaceful and wise but it also has a haunting glow of sorrow. It reminds me of many elderly women that I cared for when I worked in nursing homes years ago.
The Weeping Willow
They have been through The Great Depression, The Civil Rights Movement and sent their husbands, brothers
Growing Solid Roots
They have witnessed and survived tragedy but through their journey, they have grown solid roots that sprout trunks and branches that sprout beautiful and
Today, many women use the term “strong” so loosely. But we women of today are just apple trees compared to these weeping willows. Yes, we have all had our share of trials and tribulations but we are still growing in wisdom, knowledge
True Definition Of Strength
These willows have been through the worst of times, yet survived and through their trials, they maintained eloquence, class and an attitude of gratitude, never whining and never complaining. They taught us that in the midst of their storm, fall to your
When they spoke, their words poured out wise instruction, encouragement and fair warning.
They despised lies, gossip, back-biting and foul language because they understood that life and death were in the power of the tongue and if you didn’t tame it, you got a switch to your back-side and a bar of soap in your mouth. You sat down at the dinner table saying your grace, and asking to be excused before you got up. School was a privilege not a burden and work came before fun.
The Anchors In Our Lives
They are the anchors in our lives, a glimpse of the flickering star of hope that we still have a chance to get it right by modeling them in their fight for faith, hope and the restoration of the family unit. They are the true definition of strength.
Let us not forget
“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.” Ecclesiastes 1:18
Read also: The promise to Sarah
I recently came upon this quote that read, “Those girls are not your competition. Remember, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Stand with those girls and fight evil with good.” Does this sound all too familiar to you?
Paul tells us in Romans, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:21 (NIV)
Euodia and Syntyche
Hearing this quote reminded me of the two women from the Bible in Philippians Chapter 4. Their names were Euodia and Syntyche and they were from the church in Philippi. In Paul’s epistle to the Philippians, he called upon Euodia and Syntyche to live in harmony and reconcile their differences.
Paul states, “Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner [Syzygus], to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News. They worked along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are written in the Book of Life.” Philippians 4:2-3 (NLT)
Never again do we come across the names of Euodia and Syntyce in the Bible. However, the quick mention of these two women, in these two verses, speaks volumes. All of Scripture is God-breathed and the Lord has much to show us through this situation.
Losing sight of the most improtant thing
Paul doesn’t describe what actually took place between Euodia and Syntche. But the reason behind their fall out, their broken relationship, and their continued quarrelling doesn’t really matter much when you get down to it. The point is that they allowed sin to crack the door open and Satan was given the opportunity to creep in. In turn, this created chaos and division between the two women. Often anger, bitterness, and resentment can quickly rear its ugly head in a circumstance such as this, and take root in the heart if conflict remains unresolved. Euodia and Syntche, once fellow warriors in the proclamation of the gospel, lost sight of the most important thing – JESUS and telling others the Good News! It’s very possible that they began looking at themselves and at each other. This often creates strife and causes individuals to fight against one another and relationships are sadly destroyed or terribly broken. Soon they forgot that they are on the same side, part of the same team, and aiming for the same goal.
Lysa Terkeurst describes this very nicely when she said, “In God’s economy, people do not stand on opposing sides of the conflict scale. People stand on one side and Satan stands on the other. When we dump into another person’s lives, we are not leveling the conflict scale. We are just weighing down on the side of the scale. Satan loves it when we do his work for him by dumping on each other. The secret to healthy conflict resolution is not a-you-against-me-stance but realizing it’s all of us against Satan. He is the real enemy.”
Scripture is clear when stating, “For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:12-13 (MEV)
A wonderful gift from God
Let us not give Satan the opportunity and the great pleasure of observing us tearing each other down. We really need one another. A church body, a congregation, is a wonderful gift from God as Paul describes it so beautifully in the letter to the Corinthians.
Paul states, “The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part into the exuberance. You are Christ’s body, that’s who you are! You must never forget this.” 1 Corinthians 12:25-31 (MSG)
Don’t fall for the enemy’s lies
So let’s be sure to edify one another and continually build each other up. By using our gifts and talents that we have received from God, we can join forces, come together, and use them to honor and glorify His precious and holy name – this is our purpose – to glorify Him in everything. We must ensure that we don’t lose sight of this through the cunning and deceptive tactics of Satan. We must always be on guard and must always be aware of his wicked ways. Know the Truth so you don’t fall for the enemy’s lies. Do not forget that we are a unity in Him – Our lord, our Redeemer, our King, our Savior Jesus Christ.
In closing, I want to share with you from Philippians 2: 1-4, “Is there any encouragement in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any compassion and mercy, then fulfill my joy and be like-minded, having the same love, being in unity with one mind. Let nothing be done out of strife or conceit, but in humility let each other esteem the other better than himself. Let each of you look not only to your own
Read also Being part of a messy community
In this week before Christmas, I would like to tell a tale of two women; both were called Mary and both of them knew Jesus well. Mary his mother and Mary from Bethany. They had a different life and probably also a different personality, but apart from their name they had at least one thing in common: they were attentive!
I was having coffee with a friend a couple years ago, when she said something that really rocked my world… She said, “One of the biggest revelations God has given me is realizing that presence is the greatest gift you can ever give anyone.”
Community is one of the most rewarding and yet challenging parts of Christianity. God calls us into community with other believers in order for us to be challenged, encouraged and exhorted. We all have experienced the joys of community: celebrating a loved one’s milestone, laughing and breaking bread together, or sharing the bittersweet moments of hugs and comforting words during sickness or funerals.
BFF’s, do you know where this shortcut stands for? Best Friends Forever. I teach 7 graders and this BFF thing is not something small. It is a big deal in the lives of children, teenagers, and even adults. The knowing of belonging to someone as a friend, a best friend, having friends in your class, at sports, in church. And for girls, it’s a much bigger issue than it is for boys. Women are more sensitive, we often feel more insecure. We are very social beings, we like to interact and do things together. When you go shopping with a friend, you can talk all day long, when you have dinner with your husband it can be quiet after 15 minutes. Women even go to the bathroom together.
“I just can’t believe it! Look at her, she can sing, dance and looks gorgeous! Some people just have it all! While others…..while I….”
Sounds familiar? Well, it shouldn’t, because no one is your competitor.