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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It has always been you and it will always be you….

Waiting for you

“When you get married, your loyalty, first and foremost, is to your spouse, and to the family that you create together.”  Phil McGraw

When you feel that every person in this world has deserted you,

You are never truly alone,

I am still there for you

Take a moment,right here ,right now,

and thank them for that

No mater how bad your day is,

there is always a happy face

waiting for you

to get home.

‘unknown’

Thank you

Philosophy Through Photography

Image source © Dr.Sridhar,2019 All Rights Reserved

quotembition.com

 

 

 

 

 

The Hardest Thing To Do Is… Listen

We found our way around the yachts parked in their cradles. An empty spot was right next to the dock. We quietly got ready to embark, and the cloudless skies made us wonder how far off heaven was from the pier. The snoozing seagulls perched on the post tops. As we set sail, the gentle breeze bellowed the fabric, and God became our propulsion. The shores of the water looked so endless. It was a beautiful Saturday morning, and no place would I’d rather be than with my love and God at the helm. He created this perfect world of pristine water, and all we had to do was sit and watch Him work.

Sometimes it is difficult to accept God is with us day in and day out. Just as sailing into the open blue, we do not realize we are always at His mercy. Many times our sails luff and we pray as though we ran aground. As hard as life is, even doctors can do little to relieve discomfort. In the distress of my wife’s health, I’m left standing in a vacuum for everywhere I look, I see the remnants of the doctor’s aura.

So, I turn to God and ask Him if He has a minute. The hardest thing to do is… listen and wait for His messages. Our faith is only part of the process. Listening for His answers and reacting accordingly is the trick, so we must have a seeking heart. We should talk to Him as though he is a brother and reveal our frustrations, fears, and doubts. God will teach us how to recognize the difference between His voice and just our thoughts.

Find a location to be with Christ and His great mercy. The Lord always has a place open to sit with me, especially on this endless journey my wife and I have encountered today. I wish I could run away and take her sailing to the place called heaven, but it’s not time yet. God gave us responsibilities we must partake and fulfill. Instead,  I will sit with God and try to understand what advice I need to listen to and praise His great gifts. He united the two of us for some much-needed healing in our difficult road of life. So, I will carry her in every way I can possible. In His strength, we will travel as far as the Lord’s work will need us to go for He isn’t done with either of us yet.

The hardest thing to do is listen for God’s words, but if you acknowledge His involvement in your life, you will always recognize His heaven sent voice. Praise God! It’s our intimate relationship with Him that counts.

www.danabicksauthor.com

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A Representative of Christ

Everyone comes into life to serve a great purpose. That is our destiny. We extend a hand in life to help the broken, but it’s Christ who chooses the believers He wants to represent Him. Faith is a large part of the commitment, but it’s the renewed spirit which Christ blesses each time. I, too, am not worthy to wipe the dust from our Father’s holy feet, but for an unknown reason, God duly elected me. I am a representative of Christ, an emissary, an evangelist of His word. But, I was the man most people least suspected to be His ambassador. This is how God works among humanity. He selects the defeated, renews their heart and mind, and sends them into the world as a witness of His great love.

My heart filled with emotions, and it danced with a joy I didn’t think was possible. All I could do was reverently thank God for the opportunities He opened up before my eyes. It’s a select few picked to serve our Lord on a greater platform, representing Him in the interim of His great return. Yes, this includes ministers, pastors, priests, missionaries, and then just the ordinary… like me.

Do you know how Christ chooses who will live in His shadow as disciples? Millions live in a holy relationship with the Lord, but a genuine disciple usually is considered a social outcast. They have a more profound knowledge of God and wisdom; perhaps a miraculous incident occurred with Him. Often, they are rejected by family and friends and considered “weird” or a false prophet. Demon possessed people react strongly to them, and immature Christians spew insulting comments their direction. Disciples, or anointed chosen followers, stand alone in a mocking world. I’ve experienced all of these things, but with God by my side, I endure all the accusations and criticisms, knowing He is my strength and power.

In the Bible, Jesus’ biological half brothers rejected Him and His ministry. King David was ridiculed for obeying and following the Lord. Isaac, the son of Abraham and Sarah, was born supernaturally for his parents were aged one hundred and ninety when he was conceived by God’s miracle. Moses was appointed at birth to represent God and was the target of terrible criticism from the Israelites and even his own brother and sister. Christ filled John the Baptist with the Holy Spirit before he was born. He was ultimately beheaded because no one believed Christ chose him. Not one person in scriptures chosen and anointed as a representative of Christ had an easy life. They had to set themselves apart, and I’m sure they felt very isolated.

So, today I ask, are you chosen by God to be His ambassador? Are you afraid to take a leap of faith for fear of rejection? Please read Psalm 91 as it is God’s promises to His chosen and anointed people:

God will reward the fruits of our accomplishments at the end. Pick up your staff and walk my friends. Be strong in your commitment, now more than ever as the world’s flocks of sheep are like a pack of wolves. They hungrily circle God’s chosen to wait for the perfect chance to ensnare and devour your devotion. Be not afraid to stand in the barley and dance in the shade. Christians, we were born to represent Christ Jesus.

www.danabicksauthor.com

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Available at all book sellers!

The Christian couple

How are Christian couples seen by others? Do Christian couples truly love themselves as husband and wife? Do Christian couples respect their marital vows? Can a Christian spouse die for the other?

Read this story:

Robbers entered a house and asked for all the money
and valuables.
After they had collected what they could, they gave the
man of the house a gun with instructions to
shoot his wife or else he would be shot himself.
The man got the gun, pointed it at his wife and hesitated.
He is thought of what he had gone through in life
with his wife and how she had suffered and sacrificed for him.
He handed back the gun to the gang leader and said, “I am sorry I can’t do this…”
The gang leader silently grabbed the gun from him and passed it on to his wife with the
same instruction to shoot her husband or be shot.
The wife got the gun and without any single hesitation pointed it to her husband’s head and pulled
the trigger.
Luckily for the man, there were no bullets in the gun.

The robbers got their gun
and walked out of the house laughing.

Question for discussion:
1. If you were the man in that house and a Christian man, how would
you react towards your Christian
wife?
2. If you were the wife, and a Christian wife, what explanation would you
give to your
husband?
3. If you as a proud Christian were invited to advice Christian couples using this story, what advice
would you give them?

Born Again

All men are equal creations in God’s eyes. We are a miraculous life up to our last breath of oxygen on earth. Born sinners, we are considered spiritually dead. Just as the morning sun rises over a cup of coffee though, we can renew our birth. God gives us another day, yet another chance, to announce the forgiveness of our sins and walk with Him.

A church’s grand ceremonial display, known as baptism, is the only way many find comfort in their spirituality. In my opinion, the rhetoric of the performance sets an example of what’s wrong with our society today. Hypocrites grandstand in church with applause as a new believer gives their life to the Lord. Far too prevalent are those who “talk the talk” but do not “walk the walk” as a born again Christian. The simple act of being submerged in holy water will never bestow you the rank of being born again. It isn’t how much of the Bible we memorize, but how many scriptures we can live by every day thereafter. It is being ever mindful of our sins and praying for God to teach us a better way.

Being baptized is not a date on a calendar. It’s a way of life to honor Christ as a religious follower. Even though Jesus was not a sinner, John the Baptist still baptized Him. You may ask why, then, did He enter the Jordan River? Jesus humbled himself in obedience to His Father to set an example for us of faith. Baptism publicly declares we are a follower of Jesus Christ. It is also a symbol of His burial and resurrection.

“Those who accepted his message were baptised….” Acts 2:41

DOES BAPTISM AUTOMATICALLY SAVE ME?

In today’s times, too many born again Christians believe baptism automatically saves them, but this is just the beginning of the journey. Do you realize the act of receiving the holy water places you under harsher scrutiny in the Lord’s eyes? Why? God sets higher expectations on believers because we now know the difference between right and wrong. As I mentioned above, hypocrites fill our churches. They walk out the doors and continue on with their comfortable lifestyle without giving God the time of day throughout the week. The commitment to living for Him stops at the steeple. We must stay in shape and be willing to serve His kingdom at every corner. Be alert in times of need and show others who we are – God’s anointed children. Set an example for this our job as a born again Christian!

The Bible teaches us prerequisites to follow before we can be a born again Christian. These specifications will also reveal why the christening of babies performed in some church denominations, is not a scripturally accepted act.

Though I’m sure someone will challenge me on this statement, we cannot deny the Bible verses which substantiate this blessing of holy water:

PREREQUISITES TO BAPTISM ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURES

  • We must hear and understand the Gospel. Can a baby perform this duty?

Brothers and sisters, stop thinking like children. In regard to evil be infants, but in your thinking be adults. 1 Corinthians 14:20

  • We must believe the Gospel. Infants do not understand the Gospel.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. Galatians 3:26-27

  • We must fully repent of our sins. A baby knows nothing of sin. This is a decision to turn from sin and live for God.

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38

  • We must believe in our heart and confess Christ with our mouth. Infants cannot communicate faith. We must first speak an understandable statement, so a minister/pastor knows they are baptizing someone who has faith.

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is LORD,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10

A born again Christian is a renewed person in Christ. They are now a member of Jesus’s body and must walk as sinless as possible on earth. It requires full control of the mouth, mind, and body language. God is first in our life, over and above everything and everyone. I’ve been up for the challenge for many years, are you? The celebration of Jesus’ resurrection will be here in a couple of weeks. Won’t you commit your life to be one with Him? To be born again will be your eternal salvation and a promise for a brand new life!

www.danabicksauthor.com

______________________________

___________________________

It has always been you and it will always be you….

Loyalty
“When you get married, your loyalty, first and foremost, is to your spouse, and to the family that you create together.”                                                                                                                         – Phil McGraw, quoteambition.co
When you feel that every person in this world has deserted you, You are never truly alone, I am still there for you Take a moment,right here ,right now, and thank them for that No mater how bad your day is, there is always a happy face waiting for you to get home. ‘unknown’ Thank you.   Philosophy through photography

A Real, Father Christmas

A Real, Father Christmas cover

This is part one of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus. For example, how many details do you actually know about His family? Though most information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts of the Bible, to understand this holy dynasty. Today, we will learn of Joseph, the carpenter, legal father of Jesus Christ. Enjoy!

 

Jesus’s father, Joseph, was a real father Christmas – he personified a great example of fatherhood. A direct descendant of King David, his birthdate is circa 1782 BC, according to the Gregorian calendar method. In the book of Matthew, Joseph was one of eleven children, but only one of two natural-born children to Jacob and Rachel. Rachel could not conceive until late in life. Joseph was her first child and the most favored by Jacob.

Joseph lived in Nazareth, a tiny town of 400 residents, just twelve miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee. The meager, peasant families, all of whom were Jewish, barely survived farming the rocky, hilly terrain. But he became a skilled carpenter and later a well-respected contractor. He passed his family’s inherited talents on to his son, Jesus.

A Real, Father Christmas pic 1

Biblical Nazareth

A faithful and devout man to Judaism, Joseph raised his family under the same practices and beliefs. As the story of Mary and Joseph unravels in Matthew 1:1-18, this compelling man was of middle age when he met Mary. In biblical days, the parents of young girls arranged marriages. Because the age span of humans was short (35-45 years), girls wed at twelve to fourteen years old. It is unclear in the Bible if a marriage arrangement was the situation with Joseph and Mary because their story began when they were betrothed.

So, to describe Joseph’s personality and strength of character, let me set the scene of events. He was an honorable man who loved his soon-to-be-wife, Mary, very much. One day, Mary solemnly approached him and told him she was pregnant. His first instinct could have been anger and rejection. An acceptable response, in those days, would be to send her off to be stoned and ridiculed by the masses because she was pregnant with another’s child. Instead, his faith in God led him to believe her story of an immaculate conception.

A Real, Father Christmas pic 2

Joseph lovingly took her under his wing, setting aside his own needs for Mary’s protection. Men in this culture were not inclined to bend to a woman’s needs, but he set the bar very high. He traveled many miles with Mary until he found a safe and quiet place for her to give birth. But his starring role was about to begin.

Mary gave birth to our Savior, and Joseph was overcome with emotion. He named the baby Jesus (meaning Savior). Biologically, Joseph was not the father, but in every way, this man was a proud, surrogate patriarch. He raised Jesus in the Jewish religion and taught him a spiritual life. His role as a protective father ensured the survival of the child. This was evident when a second angel relayed another message:

A Real, Father Christmas verse

 

Again, Joseph traveled by night with Mary and Jesus, from Egypt back to Nazareth. He humbly and quietly saved Jesus’s life and established a residence for his family. Joseph certainly proved his willingness to be obedient to God’s direction and guidance.

A Real, Father Christmas pic 3

Though an exact date of Joseph’s death is not available, we can surmise it occurred sometime between the beginning of Jesus’s ministry and His crucifixion; Jesus made arrangements for John the Baptist to take care of His mother after His death. This was indicative Joseph was not alive.

What a silent hero Joseph was and a real role model for Christians today! He took his son, God Almighty, and taught him to pray and how to work. This is a man who was forced to live, initially, a life of purity within his marriage to Mary. Sacrificing the ability to have any kind of normal life came with many struggles and much criticism, but Joseph overcame them all. Few examples of these godly traits were seen in biblical days and even less so in today’s generations. Is it any wonder Jesus was a sinless man with such endearing and loving qualities?

Joseph was a gentle and wonderful man. Thank you, to this real, Father Christmas for living and teaching us the example of true love.

Enjoy this video called, “Joseph’s Hands”:

 

To be continued…. please join us on Thursday for Part Two of Everything Christmas Blogs!


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