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 Three Will Meet

As the sun glistened in the sky, so shall God’s love and mercy radiate below the heavens. The waters receded reflecting the beginning of life. The elegance of the ocean’s beauty permeated in every ripple and sparkled like diamonds. Marine life emerged, slowly inhabiting the pristine bodies of the sea. The earth turned green from the growth of new sprouts. Creatures with feathers perched atop cliffs and took their first flight in the morning breeze. Beasts of the earth moved along the ground frolicking and seeking food. God was pleased He created a perfect balance to the sea and land.

It is here the three will meet…

So, God decided it was time to create His own image and let him enjoy the fruits of His imagination. Man, the most sophisticated species, roamed the land and learned to hunt above and below the earth’s surface. But, our Creator realized man needed a complement, so he didn’t have to live alone. He made a correction to the plan and gave the man a submissive woman to love, adore, and honor. She was a goddess from heaven, where all human life evolved, and a rib created her. They cultivated the earth with the enjoyment of love, bringing gifts to God. What a masterfully crafted world designed by an architect far beyond our scope of knowledge!

It is here the three will meet…

Image courtesy of cobbledstones.wordpress.com

Then suddenly, out of the blue, cumulus clouds mounted, and storms roared destruction to His creation. Evil evolved, and lightning tried to conquer the earth. God was furious Satan, a fallen angel of all people, found pleasure in the flames of wickedness. So, Noah built an ark to help Him wash away the sin of the world, but to no avail. Evil came back with a vengeance. This time, God sent Moses with scripted laws in stone which gave guidelines for mankind to live by, but still, immorality existed. Now distraught, God insisted on filling the world with love, so He divinely created an offspring in His own image. This child would attempt to right the wrong in people.

There the three will meet…

Ultimate wealth now lies upon the edges of the origin of the earth. God vowed His son shall return and destroy all persisting evil. If you lay claim to worldly idols, be prepared… you won’t have them much longer. Death and destruction are in the forecast. God will eliminate sin with the same scorching flames evil derived from when Satan arrived on earth.

So, I shall run to meet Him, at His point of origin – the beginning of life. Like all sinners, I too will bear the heartaches of hell on the incoming tide. God will scold for poor choices, yet many will still choose the path of least resistance. Behold your breath, for the undertaking of God words, shall not be minced in heaven. I will stand with all of humanity, when the firestorm commences, praying our Father will save those who asked for forgiveness.

I beacon all believers to join me. Let us gather, in good faith, and bring love to the beach where Christ will come calling once again.

For there the three will meet – the Father, the Son, and… will you be joining me too in the celebration? ~~www.danabicksauthor.com~~

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We Work For God

 

We Work for God cover

The blackest of clouds stalk the night’s evening sunset. A phone call interrupts my joy of dreams. The update took precedence for a mother lost her young son to the practicing world of medicine. God forbid the professional caretakers who made the misdiagnosis! Her innocent child died of a curable cancer at the tender age of twenty-six. But, God anoints those who stay in prayer when questioning the validity of why He allows children to die young.

So full of mixed emotions at the devastating news, it’s ironic God brings my home and future so much love, and making Him happy is a priority. My wife and I share the miracles God gives us every day. But, it is times such as this, working for God is difficult… consoling the less fortunate, reflecting with the very ill, and nights spent reminiscing memories of those who passed.

In the gloomy daylight, we put our galoshes on and troop through the storms along with high expectations of a better tomorrow. God willing, there will be a rainbow at the end of the heavy rains. We become an armored troubadour on tough days, preparing to meet the tidal wave of life. So, let us rejoice!

We Work for God rainbow

It is not known to us, yet, why death occurs at any age. But, it’s safe to assume when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God cursed the ground of humans on earth. The Tree of Life fell prey to sin, and none are indestructible, including our offspring. A lesson to learn – there is nothing of this world we can count on for true contentment. Instead, we must look to God for our ultimate and eternal fulfillment. We should worship and trust in Him who is wiser than we are, knowing our final rewards are in heaven.

Sworn to work for God, I pray our faith waves like Old Glory in the winds of the stormy seas. Batten down the hatches from Satan’s wild, destructive forces which seep through the cracks as we proceed on our current course. Remember your faith as you cross life’s treacherous roads and stay humble.

God loves each one of us. So, let us unite when the fear of catastrophic winds attack us. As Christians, resist temptations when Satan closes in, and restore love in each other and our Lord. We work for God. Be that pillar under His wings.

~~www.danabicksauthor.com~~

We Work for God pic


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