Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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You believe you are a WOMAN OF POWER
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Today for Tomorrow may be too late.
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Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I Samuel Chapter 25

"...and she was a woman of understanding, and of a beautiful countenance..." I Samuel 25:3b

Abigail, meaning “my father’s joy”, enters scripture with the proclamation that she is a woman of understanding.  She is noted by name, and more importantly, her character is one that is pleasing to God.  She is the Father’s joy.  Abigail can teach us how to turn less than wonderful circumstances and situations into blessed opportunities.

We know that marriages during ancient times were primarily arranged.  Or, Abigail could have been the bounty from a war.  No matter the reason, Abigail found herself married to a drunken, brutish and foolish man.  Notice that Abigail did not spend her time arguing with a drunk.  She didn’t attempt to show him his ways.  Abigail had understanding.

Perhaps, Dale Carnegie, a modern day speaker and life coach took a page out of the life of Abigail when he said, “Why prove to a man he is wrong?  Is that going to make him like you?  Why not let him save face? He didn’t ask for your opinion.  He didn’t want it.  Why argue with him? You can’t win an argument, because if you lose, you lose it, and if you win it, you lose it.  Why? You will feel fine, but, what about him?  You have made him feel inferior, you hurt his pride, insult his intelligence, his judgment, and his self-respect, and he’ll resent your triumph.  That will make him strike back, but it will never make him want to change his mind.  A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

Abigail understood to only share her thoughts with someone who would agree with righteousness ­ – that could and would help her.

Abigail teaches us how to protect our community.  She teaches us to assess who it is that has the community at heart?  Who desires to protect the community?  Who is it attempting to save the children from ignorance?  Who is seeking to insure that children and families have enough food and clothing?  Who is it that really is doing the work to bring order and harmony to our land?  Abigail tells us to note them.  She infers that those who are blessing the community should be kept so that the community can prosper.

She reminds those who are called as leaders to remember their calling.  She quickly reminds persons in authority that they are builders and not destroyers.  Abigail teaches us that we can no longer participate in name-calling and mud-slinging politics.  We must be about true change.  Look, David, God has something better for you than revenge.  Stick to His plan.  Don’t get caught up in Nabal’s foolish actions.

Next, Abigail teaches us to go and support those who are interested in the plight of our communities.  She knows to affirm those who are concerned.  She doesn’t wait until the whole community is desolate.  She doesn’t sit at home shaking her head as the community goes to hell in a basket. She is proactive.  Abigail takes her substance and volunteers to help those who are making a difference. She knows that talking about conditions will not change the conditions ­ – you have to make a move.  She joins in with those who have a proven plan of safety for the community.  Working for the safety of others may be your bridge into providing a safer tomorrow for yourself.

Mainly, Abigail teaches us to prepare for possible opportunities.  Even in the midst of some horrible conditions expect a good and clear path.  Even in abusive situations make ready to move into something better.  Although things are not now wonderful at home, believe that you are the “Father’s JOY.”  If someone is dis’sing you, believe that God wants and will promote and elevate you.  God promises to make your enemy your footstool.  You are part of God’s community.  Relax.  Angels are prepared to battle on behalf of our community. Relax.  Watch for your opportunity to step up – and be sure to help others as you.

copyright 2011 Deborah L. Shumake

Saturday, June 2, 2012

'The Memorable Woman"

Read:  Luke 7:36-50, Mark 14:3-9; Matthew 26:6-13; John 11:2

Subtitle:  Acceptable in His Sight

And he (Jesus) turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman?  (Acts 7:44a)

A woman broke out of her comfort zone, took all that she had, and poured it upon Jesus.  Imagine the pointed eyes and whispered words as she made her way to Jesus.  She had not received an invitation to the party. In a sense, this woman bogarted her way in.  Imagine her chagrin as she saw the stares of contempt on the faces of those within the church (the disciples), and even those without the camp, (Simon, the leper).  She kept on moving through the house, even though uninvited, until she reached Jesus.  I bet you the animosity in the atmosphere was so thick you could have cut it with a knife.

But, this woman kept on going until she got to her Savior.  She fell.  Yes, she fell before him.  She got down low before his dirty feet. This woman bowed and kissed his feet.  She poured precious oil upon them.  Then she took her glory and wiped Jesus feet.  Some say that it was Mary of Bethany, who laid her glory (her hair) at the feet of Jesus.  You know a woman's hair is her glory, don't you? I imagine that this woman knew how to exchange her glory for the Glory of the LORD.  Perhaps, she shows us here, how to release ourselves  – our minds – to take on the Mind of Christ.  She went beyond the norm.

She poured all of herself on the One who gave Himself for her.  This woman knew how to worship, even when those around her thought she was displaying inappropriate actions.  She knew how to walk through disdain, criticism, and arrogance to get to the lover of her soul.  She knew that it was more important to get into the presence of the LORD, than to be acceptable to man.

Jesus looks at her.  She had a face to face confrontation with LOVE.  Because she dared to show up with her best, Jesus used her as a demonstration.

Jesus saw her, and then he told Simon to look at her.  To give God the glory, usually means that He will glorify himself through you.  In worship God sees you.  When worship is acceptable to the LORD, he makes others pay attention, too?

Monday, April 23, 2012

"Be The Answer To The Prayer"


Read: Genesis: 22:23; 24:1-67; 25:20; 21:28

"...and before he had done praying Rebekah appeared...." Genesis 24:15

Rebekah, the sister of Laban, enters the scene at the exact moment the servant finishes praying.  She is the answer to his prayer.  While we are praying God is orchestrating the time, the place and the person or persons to fulfill our prayer.  God's desire is to fulfill our every need.  The Lord takes great delight is entering our very desires and causing us to rejoice in the answers.  However, we must realize that the answers are wrapped up in someone's obedient.  God inevitably answers prayers in the earth through others.  

Many times as Christians we spend untold time looking for both answers and angels.  We quote scriptures that demonstrate the possibility of having an angel fulfill our needs.  We love to talk about Daniel's experience in prayer.  The angel Gabriel tells him that the moment he humbled himself he was sent to provide him with his answer.  Yet, I believe that we often miss our answers for two very pertinent reasons: 1) We expect the answer from the wrong source or 2) The person who is assigned to the answer negates God's instructions.  It is this second reason that I want us to focus on.

Our sister Rebekah simply appears in the story offering to help and serve another.  We realize that Rebekah's debut in the scriptures is a direct answer from God,"...and before he had done praying, Rebekah appeared..."  Have you ever heard to bless someone, but your own reasoning got in the way?  Have you ever reasoned that the person has enough and you are not going to add to their funds, friendships, ministry or family growth?  Has there been a time when you could have enabled another to step into another level of God's glory but you refused because you only saw yourself at that level?  Have you ever had these types of conversations with yourself:  I would but he/she isn't worthy of it; Not until I see them doing what I think they should do; I know God wouldn't tell me to do that?

The Lord hears.  The Lord answers.  The Lord challenges us to ask, "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father, which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (Matthew 6:6)."  However, the greater challenge might be who is he going to use to answer the need.  It is a joy to know that the Spirit actually breathes upon us so that we might be used as life giving answers.  When we allow God to use us as the answer to prayers heard from up high, we become the fulfillment of Jesus Christ, the anointed One.  We intervene in the lives of each other through the direction of the Holy Ghost.

Yet, we seldom view ourselves as the answer to prayers because we spend most of our time trying to get answers.  We exchange the BE or I AM of God for receiving the materials from God.  There is nothing wrong with receiving answers.  However, it can be more valuable to be the answer.  Being the answer often brings forth your own needs.  Dr. Mike Murdock says it something like this, Whatever you will make happen for someone else, God will make happen for you.  We become so engrossed in getting answers that we consciously neglect the importance of being the answer.

Rebekah's willingness to offer help to this stranger and her concern for the least of God's creatures positioned her as a special woman, and provided for her and her family to receive untold riches.  Her kindness was exemplified by a willingness to assist somebody else.  She is often used as a model for how to get a husband, but her usefulness far exceeds that.  She teaches us how to be used of God.  Her openness to hospitality (LOVE) ministers to others.  Her seeking to help someone else caused somebody else to rejoice in God.  She shows us that being open to God will lead to our receiving our own answers.  The Prayer Answering God is desiring to use you as the Answer.

" O Lord, I desire that you use me to answer another's prayer. I ask that you direct me to the place, the person or persons whose needs you have gifted me to answer. Thank you in Jesus Name."