The 8 Most Powerful Women in the Bible: Part Three

What makes a woman powerful? Is it money, fame, a political position, or is it an Oscar-winning actress? Any of these attributes may be true in today’s society, but not in biblical days. Many excellent examples of strong, influential women grace the pages of the Bible. Now two thousand years later, everyone may find much wisdom in the biblical females. Use them as a guiding tool in your personal lives and to develop a relationship with God.


Did you miss the first two parts of this series? Click HERE for Part One. Click HERE for Part Two.


Joanna the Apostle (also known as Junia)

Joanna does not have a specific story as some other women in this series. In fact, her life is pieced together by many scriptures throughout the Bible, but what an influential person! She was an upper-class Jewish woman in 1st century Palestine. Her grandfather was Theophilus, the High Priest in the Second Temple, in Jerusalem.

The earliest mention of Joanna was in Luke 8:3, where she is referred to as the wife of Chuza, a steward to Herod Antipas. They were married when she was very young, and they both maintained jobs in Herod’s royal household. I’m sure this placed Joanna in a very unpopular category with ordinary Jews. One of her husband’s duties was to make sure everyone paid their taxes to Herod.

Like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, too, had demons in her body. She was often curious about Jesus and His miracles. Would He cleanse her as well? On the days she traveled away from the royal household, she would sit as a bystander and listen to His sermons of parables. One day, Jesus directed his attention to her and spoke with conviction. As the healing miracles of Jesus’ power tell, He knew she was possessed, too, with infirmities…and so He healed her.

Joanna gave a lot of money to Jesus and His disciples. She was wealthy, well-connected, and influential, so she was able to protect Him in subtle ways. She became instrumental in the success of His mission. In this biblical age, it was scandalous for a woman to be financially supportive of a man, much less a female who came from King Herod’s house. But, she took the risk, even though she witnessed her employer, King Herod, behead John the Baptist.

Ruins of King Herod’s palace

At some point in Joanna’s marriage, she becomes single again. One can only imagine the reasons why this happened – perhaps Chuza divorced her, or was he murdered for his position in the royal home? The Bible does not state a specific cause. But, Joanna was in the ranks of the Galilean poor with no social standing or financial security, but she held her head high, turning her life to serve Jesus.

She memorized the Lord’s parables and joined Jesus in storytelling among the poor villages along with a few other women. Many of their listeners were rejected for their conversion to Christianity, so Joanna could sympathize with their feelings. Indeed she was inspired by Jesus’ teachings. She traveled as far as Rome, being a witness to the Lord. She was eventually named an Apostle.

It is spoken in scripture Joanna and Mary Magdalene prepared the cloths to wrap Jesus’ body after His crucifixion. She was also a witness to the empty tomb after His resurrection. Her love for Jesus was deep, and she served Him faithfully until the end of His life.


What made Joanna a powerful woman?

Joanna was brave and proud. She faced public condemnation by becoming single and leaving a royal household, but she held her head high amidst the turmoil and confusion. I’m sure her conversion to Christianity was a radical change too.

When she lived among the elite and wealthy, she gave her money to Jesus and the disciples. She was generous to a fault. Her high values didn’t place wealth on personal belongings, but rather to God.

Joanna was inspiring because she transitioned from an aristocratic woman to a humble servant during her life. She didn’t mourn the loss of possessions but became a witness to the strength of the Lord. Money was a means-to-an-end to serve others.

Jesus healed her ailments because he recognized the self-power she had inside her to change.

Her stewardship to Jesus and the Gospel was uncompromising, and in return, He blessed her with grace.

After Jesus’ death, Joanna became a traveling missionary. It is implied that if she died outside the Holy Land, they brought her body back to Jerusalem. In the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches, they adorned Joanna a saint.


EVE

Imagine if suddenly your body just appeared as an adult. You are facing another human who looks different, and his name is Man. Everything around is magically beautiful. Objects called trees stand taller than yourself, and the ground is green with grass and shrubs.

God spoke to them saying they could eat from any fruit of the trees except for the tree of good and evil in the middle of the garden. God warned them if they ate from the tree, they would die. This scenario is precisely the one Eve faced on her creation day. I wonder what her thoughts were at this exact moment?

As she walked through the shrubbery, she saw a slithering serpent who spoke to her. (Genesis 3:1-6, NIV)

“Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Eve responded, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.”

“You will not certainly die, for God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” the serpent retorted.

The fruit on the tree looked delicious, so she picked it off the stem and took a nibble. Then she handed it to the Man who also took a bite of the irresistible fruit. Their eyes opened wide when they realized they were naked. Ashamed and embarrassed, Adam and Eve pulled fig leaves off of the trees, sewed them together, and covered the most intimate parts of their body.

Suddenly, they heard footsteps walking in the garden, so they hid, in fear, among the trees. The Lord God approached them and asked why they were hiding. Adam spoke first… “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

God said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Adam and Eve hung their heads down.

Adam answered, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then Eve responded to God, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:11-13 NIV)

God sternly faced Eve and said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” (Genesis 3:16 NIV)

Then the Lord God said to Adam, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 NIV)

The Lord made garments of skin for them to wear and moved Adam to the east side of the Garden of Eden, where he would work the land for food. Adam and Eve procreated, and a son, named Cain, was born. Later, another son, Abel, was born. As they grew older, their children learned to struggle, working in the fields.

Eve realized the curse God placed upon them, for life was a battle. Childbirth was unbearable, and then she endured the death of her son, Abel. The Lord punished Cain for killing Abel and placed him in the land of Nod, east of Eden, to become a wanderer. We must do what is right before God or reap the consequences.


Many misunderstandings about Eve swirl throughout the generations and since the beginning of mankind. She is held responsible for the sin of humanity by eating the forbidden fruit. Some believe she ‘enticed’ Adam to eat it, too. However, there isn’t biblical truth to this statement. The fact is, Adam did not have to take the fruit and eat it, but he did, knowingly aware of the consequences.

Eve is mislabeled with names such as “the devil’s gateway,” “temptress,“ and “wicked persuasion.” My response to any of those unwarranted titles come from this standpoint – Eve did not know of evil, nor Satan and his lies. How can she be singly be held accountable for the fall of mankind?


What made Eve a powerful woman?

Eve was the first woman, no other before her.

She is “the mother of all living,” for she is the beginning of humanity. Eve represents the maternal potential of adult women. She proclaimed the sons she gave childbirth to were created by man and God.

Eve was created with a pure heart, and her only knowledge of life came from Adam and God.

Created in God’s image, Eve carries the feminine qualities of the character of God. Her power of being a woman teaches us mankind cannot exist without ‘womankind.’


Eve’s powerful story wasn’t so much about her good qualities, but what she taught us about life and a relationship with God:

Disobedience to God leads us to follow our own will, thus unfortunate consequences. She believed Satan rather than God. How many of us, today, act on impulse versus praying to God for the correct answer to problems?

When we compromise God’s Word by blocking out or changing the parts we refuse to hear, it becomes a means to continue sinning.

If we do not resist sin when it presents itself, we will eventually give in to the temptation.


Next Sunday will be the final two women in this series. Be sure to join us!


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The 8 Most Powerful Women in the Bible: Part Two

What makes a woman powerful? Is it money, fame, a political position, or is it an Oscar-winning actress? Any of these attributes may be true in today’s society, but not in biblical days. Many excellent examples of strong, influential women grace the pages of the Bible. Everyone today, now two thousand years later, may find much wisdom in the biblical females. Use them as a guiding tool in your personal lives and to develop a relationship with God.

The last point I want to express is “behind every successful man is a strong and wise woman.” So true of these most powerful women in the Bible! I hope you enjoy my review of this week’s next two women.


Did you miss Part One? Click HERE.


ESTHER

This biblical story begins in the time of King Xerexes, who ruled from India to Ethiopia in 486 BC to 465 BC. In the third year of his reign, he gave a luxurious banquet for all his officials and ministers in the garden courtyard. His wife, Queen Vashti, threw a separate party for women in the royal palace. As he became drunk, he ordered his personal servants to bring his wife to him. She was gorgeous, and he wanted to show her off to his proteges. Queen Vashti refused to show off her beauty, and the king lost his temper at her disrespect of his orders. He wanted to avoid his embarrassment, so he ruled her to leave his premises. “Every man is master of his own house; whatever he says, goes.”

King Xerexes’ young royal attendants suggested he search the kingdom for beautiful young virgins to replace Vashti. Soon, a woman named Hadassah, otherwise known as Esther, was brought to the palace and given over to the overseer of the women in the harem. She stayed twelve months for beauty treatments and for visits with the king in the evenings. Esther soon won the admiration of everyone, including the king. He placed a crown on her head and proclaimed a holiday for all the provinces. But she had a dark secret…

Her older cousin, Mordecai, raised Esther after her parent’s death. He was a member of the Jewish community who had an ancestor captured and taken away from Jerusalem. Her rearing was in exile, and Mordecai begged her never to tell a soul.

Mordecai often walked in front of the palace, hoping to glimpse Esther. He still felt responsible for her welfare. One afternoon, he made his usual trek to the palace gates. He overheard two guards plotting the death of King Xerexes, so he quickly sent word to Esther, who told her husband. In the king’s investigation of the incident, she told her husband that Mordecai, “her cousin,” heard the conversation, but this was all the details she gave him.

Sometime later, King Xerexes promoted a man named Haman to the highest-ranking official in the government. He required everyone at the palace gates to kneel before Haman, but Mordecai refused repeatedly. Haman learned Esther’s cousin was a Jew, so he devised a plan to kill all Jews throughout the kingdom.

Esther’s maids told her of Haman’s plan, and she was shocked and scared for her relatives. So she sent a servant to find Mordecai and find out the whole story. She also handed the servant clothes for her cousin to wear, which would hide his Jewish roots. But, Mordecai refused to wear it and relayed a message to her, “Do not imagine that because you are in the king’s palace you alone will escape the fate of all the Jews.…” He encouraged her to talk to her husband.

Esther sent a strong message back to Mordecai.

“Go and get all the Jews living in Susa together. Fast for me. Don’t eat or drink for three days, either day or night. I and my maids will fast with you. If you will do this, I’ll go to the king, even though it’s forbidden. If I die, I die.” Mordecai followed her instructions.

Three days later, Esther dressed in her royal robe, visited the king on his throne. She asked him to arrange a dinner with Haman, of which he obliged her request. Meanwhile, Haman was building seventy-five foot high gallows. He would soon hang Mordecai.

The day of the dinner party arrived, and King Xerexes, Esther, and Haman gathered for the feast. The king asked Esther, “What would you like? Half of my kingdom? Just ask and it’s yours.” Her charm beguiled him. She broke into tears and revealed the horror of her people’s fate at the hands of their dinner guest. Haman was now terror-stricken. The king raged with fury and stalked out into the palace garden. He saw the gallows structure and came storming back into the banquet room when he noticed Haman on the floor in front of his wife. Haman was pleading for his life at Esther’s feet, and the king exploded with anger. King Xerexes ordered him hanged at the very gallows meant for Mordecai… and so it was done.

Later in the day, the king presented Queen Esther the estate of Haman, archenemy of the Jews. She admitted her background to him and the story of her cousin. Mordecai came before the king who took off his signet ring and handed it to him in a loving gesture. Esther appointed Mordecai over Haman’s estate. Then, she pleaded with her husband to please revoke the plan plotted against the Jews. “How can I stand to see this catastrophe wipe out my people? How can I bear to stand by and watch the massacre of my relatives?”

King Xerexes allowed Esther and Mordecai to write whatever she deemed necessary to stop the massacre on an order, and he signed it. Their city exploded with joy for Esther saved their lives. Celebration, cheering, and feasting took to the streets. Many non-Jews became Jews on this day. Mordecai also became a mighty name in the palace. The king, with love on his face, turned to Esther and said, “What else would you like? Name it and it’s yours. Your wish is my command.”

Mordecai soon released a notice calling for an annual celebration of the Jew’s freedom, and it became a tradition. He soon ranked second in command to King Xerexes for the peace and prosperity he brought to his race.


I found it interesting God is not mentioned in the Book of Esther, however, the protection of His chosen people is implied. The Jewish religion was an ethnic choice rather than a religious practice in the era of Esther. When the Bible was interpreted, many rabbis were troubled by Esther’s failure to live as a Jew, so her story suffered in its religious connotation.

Why was Esther a powerful woman?

Esther was a female hero, for women in Persia were a low species in society. Whatever power she did have was earned through manipulation of higher forces (such as her husband). Esther used her beauty, charm, and political intelligence to save the Jews. She fought for her objectives.

Queen Esther was a positive role model for Jewish women during her lifetime. She was courageous to approach the king about the death plot of her race. Her life was on the line and it was risky but Esther stood up for what she believed in, even though it was dangerous.

Though God was not mentioned in the Book of Esther, Esther used fasting and prayer for clarity. It placed her in the path of humility.

Esther is a powerful example that our background does not determine God’s plan for us, only faith. She was an orphan and lived in exile, but God brought her to redemption and freedom.

Not many details are known about Esther after the story written in the Bible. However, Jewish scholars claim she had a son named Darius who became a king. He lifted the ban against the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, which led to the building of the Second Temple.

According to Wikipedia, Esther is commemorated as a matriarch in the Calendar of Saints of the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod. She is also recognized as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox and Coptic Orthodox Churches. It is believed Esther’s son buried her, with Mordecai, in a mausoleum in Hamadan, Iran. In 2009, Iran added it as a Jewish holy site on their National Heritage List.


ABIGAIL

Image of Abigail courtesy of Pinterest

Abigail’s short, but compelling story, is in 1 Samuel 25, and written about 960 BC. It occurs in the town of Maon, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Nabal was a very wealthy, yet obstinate and harsh man, who owned three thousand sheep and one thousand goats. His wife, Abigail, was an intelligent and beautiful woman. One afternoon, Nabal was shearing his sheep in the wilderness. A young warrior named David was hiding in a nearby town, and he heard of Nabal’s huge undertaking. He sent ten of his men to visit Nabal; after all, he guarded Nabal’s sheep on more than one occasion.

“Go and approach Nabal. Greet him in my name, ‘Peace! Life and peace to you! When your shepherds were camped near us we didn’t take advantage of them. I’m asking you to be generous with my men – share the feast! Give whatever your heart tells you to your servants and to David, your son.”

Nabal was furious and began insulting the men while demanding to know the identity of David. He yelled, “Who is this David? The country is full of runaway servants these days. Do you think I’m going to take good bread and wine and meat freshly butchered for my sheepshearers and give it to men I’ve never laid eyes on? Who knows where they’ve come from?”

David’s men ran back to tell him of Napal’s arrogance. “Strap on your swords!” he called out to four hundred of his men. “What a slap in the face! May God do his worst to me if Nabal and every cur in his misbegotten brood isn’t dead by morning!”

Meanwhile, a young shepherd ran back to Abigail and told her of the confrontation in the fields. He begged Abigail to do something before they killed everyone. She immediately took action by gathering two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five sheep ready for cooking, a bushel of roasted grain, a hundred raisin cakes, and two hundred fig cakes. She loaded all the food on the donkeys and had her servants lead the way to David. No one could say a word to her husband.

Image courtesy of timothylutheranbiblestudy.com

As Abigail was riding her donkey into a large ravine, David and his men were descending from the other end. They all met in the middle where Abigail quickly climbed off the donkey and fell on her knees before David. With humility, honor, and respect, she humbly spoke to him of her husband’s faults.

“My lord should not pay attention to this wicked man Nabal. He simply lives up to his name! His name means ‘fool,’ and he is indeed foolish!” David immediately recognized Abigail was sent by God. He apologized and thanked her for stopping him from murdering all of them. He accepted the food she brought him and said, “Return home in peace.”

Abigail arrived home, and Nabal was eating a huge spread of food and was very drunk. She left him be… until the next morning when she told him what she gave David. Nabal’s raging face turned red, and he grabbed his heart and fell onto the ground. For ten days, he laid in a coma until God took his life.

When David heard Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be God who has stood up for me against Nabal’s insults, kept me from an evil act, and let his evil boomerang back on him.” He sent for Abigail to propose marriage to her, and she didn’t linger. She climbed onto her donkey and rode to David.

Abigail was David’s second wife, as he was also married to Ahinoam of Jezreel. Both women accompanied him while they sought refuge in a Philistine territory, and their life wasn’t easy. But, soon after settling in Hebron, Abigail gave birth to their only child, who was named Chileab (also called Daniel).


In case you did not make the connection in Abigail’s story, the man who she married was none other than a young King David, one of the most well-known figures in Jewish history. He was promised by God that his children would rule Israel forever. If we delve into Bible scriptures, Abigail was one of eight wives to David.

She suffered the consequences of an arranged marriage to Nabal. She could not blame or fight their choice. But, her story reveals why women should follow God’s guidelines for a partner. Though he was an abusive husband, she remained dedicated to him until God’s perfect timing played out.


Why was Abigail a powerful woman?

Abigail was a very humble woman. Though she was wealthy, she did not let her riches interfere with the welfare of her family. Not only did she save her family, but she saved David from committing murders.

She was fearless as she rode to find David and give him her offerings. It was perilous for her to face a man with an army of four hundred men.

Abigail had an attitude of humility, honor, and respect as she approached the man who would one day rule Israel. I think David knew Abigail was the kind of comrade he needed to be a successful king.

She always acted in wisdom, for God was building character in her heart. Living with an abusive man, she still grew into a respectful woman, even amid adversity.

Please join us again next Sunday for two more powerful women in the Bible. God bless!



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The 8 Most Powerful Women in the Bible: Part One

What makes a woman powerful? Is it money, fame, a political position, or is it an Oscar-winning actress? Any of these attributes may be true in today’s society, but not in biblical days. Many excellent examples of strong, influential women grace the pages of the Bible, and I will review two a week for the next four Sundays. Our ladies, now two thousand years later, may find much wisdom in the biblical females. Use them as a guiding tool in your personal lives and to develop a relationship with God.

The last point I want to express is “behind every successful man is a strong and wise woman.” So true of these most powerful women in the Bible! I hope you enjoy my review.


MARY MAGDALENE

Mary of Magdala lived in a comfortable village of many Greeks in Galilee. They depicted her as a prostitute in town. According to scriptures, the single Mary Magdalene had a serious sickness caused by ‘seven demons,’ so many people assumed she was a fallen woman. But, in biblical times, certain illnesses such as schizophrenia, blindness, heart disease, and epilepsy were thought to be demonic. The Bible is unclear what her specific situation was, but bible scholars agree she was not a prostitute.

At some point in her life, Mary met Jesus in one of the many villages He ministered to, and He healed her afflictions. She became an immediate follower and a leader of a group of women who traveled with Jesus and helped to support His ministry. Only a strong, self-confident woman would be so brave to spread the Gospel in biblical days.

Jesus had two groups of people who accompanied Him – a group of men led by Peter the Apostle, and a group of women led by Mary Magdalene. However, according to religious tradition, females were meant to be seen and not heard, but Mary, in controversy, was very close to Jesus. Just as I wrote in the past, God chooses people to be His disciples that we least expect to reach this broken world. Mary was one such example. Her great faith earned special attention from Jesus.

On the day they crucified Jesus, Mary Magdalene, along with two others, stood at the base of His cross and watched Him breathe His last breath. Her heartbreak must have been unimaginable!  In the Bible passages of Luke 23 and Matthew 27, Mary prepared Jesus’ body for burial by making a spice anointment for the linens. She observed from afar as they placed His body in the rock tomb. Mary visited His burial site every day as if waiting… did she know something?

Image of Mary Magdalene courtesy of James Tissot Collection at Brooklyn Museum freebibleimages.org

In the early morning light, the following week, Mary visited the tomb. As she sat and prayed an earthquake erupted and forced the rock away from the entrance of the grave. Mary jumped up to look inside, and it was empty! Suddenly, God’s angel appeared before her.

“Woman, why are you weeping?”

With tears streaming down her face, Mary replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

Suddenly a voice from behind her spoke, “Mary! Why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

Not recognizing the face, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” He responded with, “Mary!” It was Jesus standing before her.

She dropped to her knees, grabbed His hands, and said in Hebrew “Rabbouni!” Jesus told her not to hold on to Him because He had not ascended to the Father yet. Instead, He ordered her to go tell the disciples he was resurrected.

Mary Magdalene at Jesus’ resurrection courtesy of freebibleimages.org

Mary ran to them and announced, “I have seen the Lord.”

It is interesting that in a society where women were held in low regard, Christ showed Himself first to a woman. Mary loved her Lord, and she was His truest, faithful follower.

What made Mary Magdalene a powerful woman?

  • She taught us to live courageously and faithfully for Christ. Jesus set her free by eliminating her ‘demons,’ and instead of going about her own life, Mary worked for Him. Even when she faced difficult times, and people called her hopeless, she allowed Jesus to work through her.
  • Mary was more loyal to Jesus than His own disciples. They hid as Jesus was led to His crucifixion, but Mary stayed with Him. She also anointed His linen with spices.
  • Mary was given the honor of being the first person to see Jesus after His resurrection. She was very important to Christ, or He would not have revealed Himself to her before the other disciples. It may be safe to comment Jesus changed the way women were viewed in society.
  • Mary teaches us that even if our lives are in terrible disarray, it is never too late to find hope in God.
  • Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends and His apostle, ostracized her work as a disciple. In the Gospel of Thomas, he said, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of the Life,” but her strength of character and love of God gave her the courage to move forward. Today, she is often called the first woman evangelist.

What happened to Mary Magdalene after Jesus’ resurrection? Much controversy exists about this topic. One theory suggests fourteen years after the crucifixion, she was put into a boat by Jews and set adrift without sails or oars. The boat landed in southern France where she lived in solitude in a cave.

Another theory claims she accompanied John to Ephesus, where she died and was buried. Some say she evangelized Provence, France during her last thirty years.

A recent book titled The Lost Gospel even claims Mary and Jesus were secretly married and had two children, but someone’s imagination was a little overextended.

Today, in the Russian Orthodox church, they know her as the patroness of sinners and penitent women. One of the world’s best-known monuments is the Church of Mary Magdalene in East Jerusalem.


HANNAH

Image of Hannah courtesy of Moody Publishers and freebibleimages.org

Hannah is an inspiring and wonderful story of humanity and all its flaws. No one is the leading character in the story of their own life.

Elkanah lived in the Ephraim hills of a small town thirteen miles to the northeast of Jerusalem. He practiced polygamy through his Levite religion. Hannah was his first wife, and he adored and loved her, doting on her every need. But, she was infertile, and his family name needed to be honored with children, so he married another woman. Peninnah was envious of the love Elkanah had for Hannah. She cruelly taunted Hannah to tears each time she gave birth to their ten sons, and Hannah lost her sense of appetite.

One day, Hannah traveled to the sanctuary, and she spoke to the priest about her inability to have children. Her soul was crushed as the tears flowed down her lovely face. She dropped to her knees before the altar and prayed.

“Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, if you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain, if you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me by giving me a son, I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you. I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.”

Before the year was out, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son named Samuel. She told Elkanah she asked God for this son. Hannah also explained when the child was weaned, she would present him before God, where he would remain forever. He agreed with her plans.

Image courtesy of freebibleimages.org

The day arrived when Samuel was no longer dependent on Hannah for nutrition. She took him to Shiloh along with a butchered bull, flour, and wine and presented him to the priest, Eli. “I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.”

Hannah and Elkanah dedicated their lives to God as they watched their son grow up among the priests. Hannah made Samuel little white robes cut to his size, and they took them to him. Eli often said a prayer over her on those visits, “God give you children to replace this child you have dedicated to God.” His blessings and prayers were heard as Hannah and Elkanah had three more sons and a daughter.

Today, we acknowledge Samuel as a prophet by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, an equal to Moses. He wrote the story of his life, including his mother, Hannah, in the Book of Samuel.

What made Hannah a powerful woman?

  • Hannah’s main attribute was perseverance. She prayed for many years for God to give her a child. She had faith in the power of the Lord and never doubted He would answer her prayers. Hannah teaches us never to give up, even when we think something is impossible. Her faithfulness to the Lord bled into her son, who became a great man.
  • Her boldness, strength, and devotion were like no other for she was a mother who gave up her first-born to the Lord. I’m sure most parents would rethink this decision. But, Hannah recognized all things are God’s possessions, even our children. He honors parents with children as merely a gift, a temporary gift. We are to mold them in the ways of the Lord as a blessing to all nations. In Hannah’s case, because she fulfilled her promise to God, He blessed her with a legacy of five more children.
  • Hannah’s power is also demonstrated through a promise which she kept to God. Her integrity is in the commitment of handing her child over to God. She never went back on her word, for if she did, she might never have conceived any more children. God rewards us for loyalty.

Thank you, Hannah, for teaching us we must trust in the Lord in everything in our lives. Life is not always a bowl of cherries, but with persistent prayer, miracles can and will happen. Dedication to the Master who created us, along with integrity, will reap you blessings beyond your wildest imagination.

Hannah is buried in the Tomb of Samuel in the West bank, beside her son Samuel, on top of a steep hill just north of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot.

We hope you enjoyed Part One and will return next Sunday for two more powerful women in the Bible.


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A Man Called Christian

My windows were wide open, but tears resonating from the house next door  hampered the refreshing molecules. I wondered… what kind of man makes a wife cry? The sobbing was an every night occurrence. He arrived home again and again, in the wee hours. She told me he worked late, but I doubted it.

He opened the door and kissed the kids goodnight while they stood at the mirror, brushing their teeth. Without a kiss for her, he told his wife he was going out back to work in the shop. “It relaxes me after a hard day’s work,” he claimed. She made dinner, so he grabbed the plate of food and headed to his hideout. The pain sharpened as a dagger twisted, once again, by his careless appearance. The back door slammed again and silence.

He locked himself away safely in the shed and pulled out a knife to snap off the top of a bottle buried in the chest. Whittling his world away, he hid his sorrows in the bottom of a longneck bottle. His state of mind included carving the names of his exes in the bottom of his soles so he could save himself from sin. Several hours later, he staggered to bed and slammed the door shut again. So, the screaming begun behind the blinds. It’s a horrible life for a wife to witness and endure, and only God could save the innocent from the terror of his conscience.

What kind of Christian man puts his family on a bus Sunday morning and stumbles to the shed for his own benediction? He opened another bottle for his personal communion. As he stared at the ground, he chuckled at the buried empties; meanwhile, a poor twenty-something mother of three, put on a face and filed into the aisle of a sanctuary. She has no money for the offering plate and seeks only the strength to make it home.

I ask God in heaven for His mercy. My heart is wrenched by a man named Christian who carves his past in the bottom of his boots. His days are numbered… he will soon discover if God doesn’t show His wrath first, then the bottle will. His wife bears a name she hates so much, and her three little ones will have to endure the legacy of their father’s misfortune. Are there prayers in heaven for a man who calls himself Christian? I wonder… 

The day will come when the blood he bled will be no more. Three little children will have to fend for themselves while their mother struggles to support their mere existence. Her sacrifice is to put on an apron and do her best every single day. The kids now sit on the porch and carve their past into the treads of their own little world. I watch and pray God will bless this mess – the man called Christian, now left beneath his unmarked tombstone. A coward at best, he carved his memory into his children, and his reputation branded them for life.

I have changed the names in this story. I ask God, in the name of Jesus, to save this family. God bless the innocent, abused wife who slaves her life away and waits for Christ’s return. She prays for the forgiveness of the hatred boiling inside her for a man she thought she knew named Christian.

________________

Allow me to ask you Christian women and men, does this resonate in your heart? Or does it familiar? Please use these verses to enlighten your soul and know you are not alone:

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19

“A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence” Proverbs 13:2

“Do not envy a violent man or choose any of his ways.” Proverbs 3:31

“Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord.” Romans 12:19

“When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror, nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; for the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught” Proverbs 3:24-26

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” Isaiah 61:1

_____________

A Behavioral Experiment: Predicting the Pro-Abortion Left’s Response to Alabama and Company [Video]

Scientist.article.5.23.2019

There has been a number of states who recently passed measures to severely limit and outlaw abortion. These pro-life laws have brought down the wrath of the Leftists who favor abortion at all times and for any reason.

The most controversial of these so far is the new Alabama law criminalizing abortion except for saving the life of the mother. With this and other such activities in mind, I decided to conduct an experiment concerning Leftist’s mindsets on abortion and see if they really were as easy to predict as I surmised.

This experiment was conducted in two steps. First, I drew from my experience in the pro-life movement for 36 years and predicted seven reactions from the Left to this law in advance. Then I compared my predictions to the actual responses represented by 10 articles either giving the Leftist response or pieces talking about multiple responses.

Predicting the Predictable

Leftist, pro-abortion

My predictions took the form of generalizations, as I had no way of knowing in advance the precise wording which was used in the articles. Here are my seven prognostications of Leftist responses to the new pro-life legislation in states such as Alabama and Georgia.

1.) In at least one article, [and likely many] the response that the new law is attempting to regulate women’s bodies will be mentioned.
2.) Ditto for one or more mentions that the law is a threat to Roe v. Wade.
3.)There will be false assertions of what the law actually requires.
4.) In some manner, the humanity of the unborn child will be denied.
5.) It will be asserted that the law will harm women.
6.) Trump will be criticized because he is pro-life.
7.) The ‘far-right’ and/or the ‘religious right,’ will be blamed and scorned.

I made these predictions at 8:51AM, CDT,  on May 18, 2019. I realize that the reader will have no way of knowing for certain that I didn’t read the article responses ahead of time except for my word that I didn’t do so.

However, besides my assurance, when the results are tabulated it should bolster my claims… I hope. I returned to the experiment for part two on 5/21/2019 and checked on how my predictions panned out.

The results are calculated by number for each source that was cited. Whether or not a particular prediction was actually used more than once in an article was not noted, merely counted as one ‘fulfillment’ of a prediction.

It should be noted that this is far from any kind of scientific survey. I selected 10 examples only, which is insufficient for any definitive conclusion according to statistical science.

I suggest, however, that even this small sample could be expanded over a longer period of time with more responses and the results would vary only slightly. More importantly, even this smattering of evidence reveals the priorities and motivations of the Left when they try to argue for a woman’s ‘right to choose.’

Each example of at least one predicted response is noted in the list below. I read each article and recorded the instances when a predicted Leftist reaction/response occurred and assigning it a number from my list of 7.

218px-Protesting_Illinois_6th_District_Republican_Congressman_Peter_Roskam_Chicago_Illinois_7-26-18_2843_(42951185284)In other words, in the first article, I found at least one example of my number 2 prediction that the new laws would be seen as a threat to Roe v. Wade. This ‘raw data’ if you will, is compiled and analyzed afterward, as will be seen.

1.) From a Reuters story, 5/16/2019: Responses 2, 4, and 6 were shown in this.  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-abortion-republicans-idUSKCN1SM2KL

2.) From a Washington Post story, 5/15/2019: Responses 2, 4, 5, and 6 occurred here. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/democratic-2020-candidates-warn-roe-v-wade-at-stake-after-alabama-abortion-bans-passage/2019/05/15/f4f77c7a-7719-11e9-bd25-c989555e7766_story.html?utm_term=.9f0f3f2842b3

3.) From Townhall.com story about the reactions 5/16/2019: Responses 1, 2, and 4 are used in this example.   https://townhall.com/columnists/davidlimbaugh/2019/05/17/democrats-unhinged-over-alabamas-abortion-bill-n2546477

4.) From a NY Times article on 5/14/2019: This uses predicted responses 2 and 5  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/14/us/abortion-law-alabama.html

5.) From a NY Times ‘op-ed’ with a pro-abortion actress, 5/15/2019: Here we find responses 1, 4, and 5.  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/15/style/busy-philipps-abortion-youknowme.html?  action=click&module=RelatedCoverage&pgtype=Article&region=Footer

6.) From an article concerning Leftist talking points on “The Federalist” site highlighting social media posts from the pro-abort crowd: Here it can be seen that points 1, 2, 4, and 5 are used.  https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/17/many-pro-choice-talking-points-border-propaganda/?utm_source=The+Federalist+List&utm_campaign=215d30f116-RSS_The_Federalist_Daily_Updates_w_Transom&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_cfcb868ceb-215d30f116-84040107

7.)From a National Review article concerning NPR’s rules for discussing abortion: Predicted response number 4 is mentioned.  https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/nprs-abortion-rules/

8.)From a May 19, 2019 ‘Intellectual Conservative’ article on leftist reactions: Here predictions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7 can be found. http://www.intellectualconservative.com/the-progressives-socialist-anti-science-on-abortion/

9.)From a May 21, 2019, Townhall Article on a pro-abortion rally in D.C.: Numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 are featured. https://townhall.com/tipsheet/bethbaumann/2019/05/21/pro-abortionists-held-a-stopthebans-rally-outside-the-supreme-court-heres-what-n2546698?utm_source=thdaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl&newsletterad=05/22/2019&bcid=8620a513a8eac12722df4b6aed35298b&recip=27779030

10.)From May 21, 2019, on ‘Twitchy.com’ about the pro-abort protest in D.C.: This piece featured responses 1, 3, 4, and 5. https://twitchy.com/sarahd-313035/2019/05/21/wtf-is-she-smoking-dem-rep-jackie-speier-takes-a-page-from-aocs-book-to-argue-for-abortion-rights-video/?utm_source=twtydaily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nl&bcid=8620a513a8eac12722df4b6aed35298b

Results and Some Surprises

Leftist, Pro-abortionThe results of this ‘experiment’ yielded a mixed bag of the expected and the surprising among the pro-abort Left’s responses.

All of the predicted responses appeared at least once. However, the top four responses are revealing about the mindset of the Leftists as these give vital clues to what they consider most important in the abortion battle.

The highest frequency pro-abort response among those I had predicted was number ‘4.) In some manner, the humanity of the unborn child will be denied.’  In 9 of the 10 examples, this response was observed.

The next most frequent Leftist response was number ‘2.) …mentions that the law is a threat to Roe v. Wade.’ This was used in 7 different pieces.

The third most frequent response was recorded 6 times in two different articles. First is prediction ‘1.) In at least one article, [and likely many] the response that the new law is attempting to regulate women’s bodies will be mentioned’ which is tied with response number ‘5.) It will be asserted that the law will harm women.’

The other three predicted responses had a large drop in stating what I assumed they would. Only 3 pieces used predicted reaction number ‘3.) There will be false assertions of what the law actually requires.’ Two articles used the number 6 prediction that ‘Trump will be criticized because he is pro-life.’

The most unexpected result to this author was that only one response used number 7.) The ‘far-right’ and/or the ‘religious right,’ will be blamed and scorned. In some cases responses that I should have predicted also appear in these articles I examined.

One of those is the false claim that the Bible and Christianity are supportive of abortion, which was cited in at least one case. This journal has covered that claim in a number of past articles.

Another false claim from the Left that I should have expected was the accusation that these laws are a reflection of ‘racism’ on the part of conservatives. The racism claim did surface, however, I did not record the number of times it appeared.

In The Final Analysis

From this small experiment, we can only make limited assumptions rather than hard conclusions. Yet, these assumptions are not without merit and can be instructive to gain some understanding of the destructive worldview that pro-abort Leftists embrace, in order to rightly oppose its evil design.

Of course, the pro-abort Left could as easily make predictions about the pro-life responses to these new state laws concerning abortion. I would concede that, however, I also would stress that one side is predictable for its object to preserve life, while the other is staunch in a campaign to destroy life.

Leftist, pro-abortion

If the frequency of occurrence indicates importance, the factor the pro-abort Left considers most important is that the humanity of the unborn is denied always, regardless of the truth. The pro-abortion mindset is that above all else and at any cost, it cannot be admitted that the unborn child is a living human being.

The second most important point is that Roe v. Wade must be untouchable. Roe v. Wade is the Left’s symbolic Holy Grail and it is considered a sacred validation of an absolute right.

The problem with that position is the history of bad precedent from the U.S. Supreme Court, namely the 1857 “Dred Scott” decision. “Roe” has been compared many times with this infamous SCOTUS ruling which enshrined the institution of slavery as a supposed constitutional ‘right’.

The comparison is from a different era and addresses a different issue, but the point is the same. That point being that just because the SCOTUS makes a ruling does not automatically create a newly-imagined Constitutional right.

The third item on the pro-abortion acolytes’ list of most cherished beliefs is that pro-life advocates wish to regulate and control women’s bodies. Any threat to the full legalization without exception of abortion on demand is a perceived threat to a woman’s bodily autonomy, and therefore must be opposed.

The final important finding is that abortion is portrayed as good for women’s ‘health,’ while any other solution to a pregnancy, including birth, is harmful to women. This fiction is peddled constantly and is easily refuted by many facts, not the least of which is this, as Anna Paprocki writes in the Federalist,

There is no federal abortion reporting requirement. Even the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute acknowledges that the current “patchwork of surveillance efforts” relies on “incomplete” reports from states and that California—estimated to account for 17 percent, or one out of every six abortions in the country—is one of three states that “do not report to the CDC at all.” Guttmacher uses voluntary reporting from abortionists, filtered through its own ideological lens, which fails to fill these gaping holes.

The following video demonstrates the use of these four beliefs employed by the pro-abort Left in a brief debate recently shown on CNN.

The desperation of the Leftist pro-aborts is evident from the blatant denial of reality especially on the part of the woman in the video, as well as the deflection of the host. For example, Cuomo is correct when he says that no states currently allow for the killing of a child already born in an attempted abortion.

However, he also fails to mention that Virginia recently tried to pass such a law which was proposed in January of this year. The law failed to pass in that state, but it is a harbinger of things to come if Leftists have their way.

America must make the choice to embrace either life or death and in doing so embrace either God’s curse or His blessings. The lovers of abortion today are clearly favoring a choice of death without understanding the terrible consequences that will follow.

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live.  Deuteronomy 30:19 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Featured and Top Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Isaiah Mahanga – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by JRBrown – Public Domain
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Charles Edward Miller – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Sam Pullara – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Wikimedia Commons by Rebecca W. – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

Originally published in TIL Journal

All The World’s A Stage

All The World’s A Stage

By William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lined,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Continue reading

A Day of Remembrance

It’s a day to thank God for all the mothers we know on this Mother’s Day. Our moms are like great trees standing proudly amongst the forest. They bear fruit and give shade to protect us from evil elements. This is a day of remembrance for not just my own mother but to all the others who gave us a life worth living in an unknown existence we call earth.

Where would we be without the beautiful ladies who gave us life? Let me begin with all the pioneers and name worthies in history. What strength and endurance their mothers experienced as they stood on the dock waving goodbye to their child! Christopher Columbus, Ferdinand Magellan, Jacques Cartier, and other explorer’s mothers must have been devastated to think it would be the last time they saw their sons. Yet, others stand so proud in the light of their children’s accomplishments such as the Steve Jobs, Alexander Bell, and even the great entertainers and athletes of our times. Where would we be without those mothers who created a life that richly blesses our lives today?

One mother, in particular, stands out in my mind and is of biblical proportion. A very young girl, Mary, gave birth to a son who still tries to change the world by His ministry. Jesus, God’s immaculate conception, was like no other child and His mother, too, was like no other woman. The anguish, fear, and heartaches she withstood, and all in the name of love for God. To me, she is the “mom” of all mothers for without her, what would our life be? This is a perfect day to give thanks to the mother who gave us her beloved son.

I also reflect, this day, on the mothers of my childhood days in Severna Park, Maryland. In this small town, the women worked at church and gave the community a special meaning. Some helped in the educational field, turning kids into men and women of great knowledge. Those were the days when moms sat for hours helping with homework, starting showers, and tucking us in bed. It didn’t matter if we were their natural children, adopted, or just a good friend. There’s a lot to be said for the love of a mother, a sobering reminder we’d be lost without them. Happy Mother’s Day, Mother Mary in heaven, for we owe you everything as your precious son died for us so we may be a better servant. Thank you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all and have a blessed day!

Changes

Don’t scare of change.

Life is all about change.

You’ll change.

Everybody will change.

Everything will change.

Look around you, you’ll always find changes.

You can’t stop the medium of change.

Nobody can stop it either.

Change is the universal law.

This is the truth of life.

Source: POSITIVE THOUGHTS OF SELF-MOTIVATION! Only you can motivate yourself… Only you can bring positive changes in your life…. Birister Sharma

To Buy this Book- POSITIVE THOUGHTS OF SELF-MOTIVATION!

Thank you for reading. Let us make a beautiful world together. God bless!

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COPYRIGHT © Shubham Verma