LORD, LET JOSEPH DREAM

 

One of the challenges faced by married women, when called by God to ministry, is the acceptance, cooperation and support of their husbands. Many married women have rejected the call of God, or struggled to fulfil it, because of the confusion, problems and challenges they face with their husbands, within their marriages.

These are not unbelieving husbands; these are believing, God-fearing and faithful men, who love the Lord. However, I have come to realise that it takes a very brave man to accept and support the call of God on his wife’s life; a man who possesses the inner strength and fortitude to surmount the cultural obstacles and stereotypical challenges he would face in accepting and supporting such a call.

Indeed, there are people who think a woman cannot or should not start her own ministry or make a personal commitment to serving God, if she is married. There are also those who cannot even begin to imagine God commissioning a woman to start something, anything, (on her own) if she is married. There are yet others who believe that God must first consult with the husband and seek his consent, before speaking to his wife.

Well, it appears the Sovereign God had not read the memo when He sent an angel to young Mary, who was betrothed to Joseph. In those days a betrothal was more than a modern engagement; it meant the bride price had been paid and a binding contract made between the two families. The couple were considered married, even though the actual marriage ceremony had not been performed.

Undoubtedly, the greatest assignment God could ever give a human being is to carry and birth the Messiah. It is astonishing, therefore, that God chose Mary, a young betrothed teenage woman, and approached and discussed the details of this ultimate divine assignment with her, without first speaking to or seeking the approval of Joseph, the man to whom she was betrothed! (Luke 1:26-33)

Luke 1:34
“Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?””

What I find more amazing is that Mary’s immediate concern was not what Joseph would think, but rather, how she could possibly fulfil the divine assignment without the involvement of a man! When the angel had assured her of the presence, power and provision of the Holy Spirit to enable her to fulfil the divine assignment, Mary’s immediate response was to surrender to the Lord…

Luke 1:38
“Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” 

When I responded to the call of the Lord on my life, I had already been married for several years. However, like Mary, after the Lord had assured me of His continued presence, provision and protection, I said “Yes,” way before I told my husband and young children. Actually, it did not even occur to me that I needed my husband’s approval or permission before surrendering to the Lord. Jesus was (and still is) first in my life and I would do anything for Him. Thankfully, my husband is one of those very brave men described earlier, and he embraced God’s plans and purposes for my life.

Unfortunately for Mary, however, though Joseph was a righteous man, he could not handle the fact that she had accepted the call and was with “Child of the Holy Spirit.” Joseph could not handle the thought that what Mary carried did not come from his own loins. His manhood was greatly challenged and undermined. After all, as her betrothed and head, he should have had an input or been given some form of control over the whole situation? Joseph could not handle the nagging from family members or the admonishment of friends, or the ridiculing and taunting of the neighbours. Joseph could not handle the whispering behind his back and the shame that caused him!

This is often the biggest challenge faced by men whose wives respond to the call to serve the Lord. I have listened to countless stories from women who genuinely love the Lord and have heard His call and are willing to serve Him, but are hindered because their husbands are not in agreement. You only have to scratch the surface of the problem to find the same cultural and stereotypical arguments rearing their heads.

The Solution

How do we resolve this, and what could be the solution? I have found that there are two things a wife could do:

1. Surrender to the Lord

The first thing to do is to say “yes” to the Lord and surrender your life and will to Him. Ask Him to prepare you, as He shows you what He wants to do with you. If you’ve already said “Yes,” ask Him to prepare you.

Either way, cultivate a relationship with the Holy Spirit by spending more time in prayer and in the word. Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare you, to teach you, to lead and guide you. Write down all that He tells or shows you.

Unless the Lord specifically tells you otherwise, or gives you specific instructions about what to do, just wait on the Lord. This will show your submission to your husband.

Ultimately, you will learn humility and obedience through this experience and time of waiting.

2. Pray for Your Husband

The second thing to do is to pray for your husband. Pray earnestly that God would cause your husband to dream, like Joseph

Matthew 1:20
“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”” 

It is only by revelation that a husband would recognise that what his wife carries is of God. Therefore pray earnestly that God, by divine means, would reveal His plans and purposes for your life to your husband. If, indeed, he is a righteous man, your husband will acknowledge God and embrace those plans and purposes, and together you will serve God through the ministry.

As soon as Joseph dreamt, he took ownership of what Mary carried. And from that day, God did not speak to Mary about the Child again, but conveyed all instructions through Joseph. (Matthew 2:13-14, 19, 22).

God often talks to my husband, Pastor Cobby, about the things that would impact me and the ministry before speaking to me about it. In this way, my husband is able to encourage, advised and support me. I have shared this ‘secret’ with many women, and it has worked for them, as they’ve surrendered to the Lord and prayed for their husbands.

God’s call is not to divide your marriage. Deborah was still described as the wife of Lapidoth, even though God raised her up as a judge and warrior in Israel (Judges 4:4). If God has called you, it is His responsibility to bring understanding to your husband, AND HE WILL, as you pray.

By Apostle Jennifer Abigail Lawson-Wallace
A woman in tune, listening and obeying

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THE POWER OF PRAYER (PART 1)

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Unplugged to the Source of Power

I read a story about a pastor who walked into his church, one day, and found the caretaker exhausted and dripping with perspiration. The caretaker was a good Christian, but was gradually losing his ability to think and work effectively because of the hardening of his arteries. As the pastor saw him struggling with the vacuum cleaner, he looked down, and there, lying on the floor was the plug. The dear man had vacuumed the whole auditorium and did not have the plug in the socket!

This is what happens to many of us. We plan, we work, we pull, we struggle, we toil until we are utterly exhausted, because, we have forgotten or not bothered to plug into the power source. Our source of power is God and our ‘socket’ or access point is prayer – the powerful and effective prayer of the righteous person.

When I shared this story with my husband, he asked a question, “Could the man not hear the silence as he vacuumed?” A working vacuum cleaner is noisy and all around are aware of its use, and so is prayer! Are we, like this unfortunate caretaker, deafened to the silence of our prayerlessness?

Prayer is Essential

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises.  Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.” –  James 5:13-18 (NLT)

Unfortunately, prayer is one of the most talked about but, often, more difficult and less practiced activities of our Christian walk. Yet, prayer is also one of the most important requirements of our relationship and walk with God.

Simply defined, prayer is a two-way communication or interaction between God and His children, either privately or corporately. Prayer is based on the relationship between us and God; He is our Father and we are His children. Through the redemptive and reconciliatory work of Jesus Christ on the cross, God has adopted us into His family, so we are now His children. Therefore, as God’s children, we must communicate with Him and He with us. (Romans 8:15-16; 1 John 3:1)

Although the scriptures constantly admonish us to pray, we do not always give prayer the place it deserves in our lives. Many have found other convenient, independent and, often, quicker ways of meeting our needs, so prayer only becomes a last resort, which, of course, is a very huge mistake.

No Christian Is Greater Than His Prayer life

As Christians, prayer (our access to God and communication with Him) is one of our greatest assets, which we can use to enhance our Christian lives, as well as advance the Kingdom of God. Yet, unfortunately, we do not adequately utilise this resource. It is true we are all at different levels of maturity and strength, but there is a saying that “No Christian is greater than his prayer life.” This probably explains why the Church seems to be struggling at almost everything, especially evangelising and fulfilling the Great Commission! We lack strength and power, due to prayerlessness!!!

Why Do We Not Pray?

Here are some reasons why people don’t pray or find it difficult to pray.

  1. Many do not know and understand the importance of prayer in the believer’s life and the life of the world around them.
  2. Many people simply don’t know how to pray. Many people are confused about what prayer is and what it involves.
  3. People have their own pre-formed ideas about prayer. Should it be formal or informal, loud or quiet, meditative or expressive, vocal or silent and intense or restrained…?
  4. Temperament, experience, cultural background and lack of knowledge also create a lot of confusion about prayer, which discourages and deters people from praying.
  5. Prayer is often regarded as a task, duty or chore that we do for God. This makes prayer tiresome and boring.
  6. It is difficult to talk to someone you cannot see and who sometimes seems distant and unreal. Unfortunately, this is how many believers see God.
  7. Many are not sure whether God will answer their prayers.
  8. For some, it’s just sheer laziness, indifference or apathy.
  9. We have an enemy who would do anything and everything to discourage or prevent us from praying because he knows how important prayer is.
Need for Change

However, there are many things that God will not do on earth, unless believers pray. We are God’s agents to advance and establish His kingdom on earth. We have been given power and authority to do that, but we do not have autonomy from God and need to be in constant communication with Him in order to fulfil His will on the earth. (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:7-8)

God does not expect us to change the whole world; He only wants us to effectively do our part. When we come before God in prayer and give Him full control of a situation, we are acknowledging His sovereignty in that area. As a result, He begins to work on the problem with His mighty power. God desires to be involved in every area of our life. He wants us to specifically commit each of our concerns to Him. 

The Power of Prayer

The power of prayer comes from the source of all power – God Almighty. God is omnipotent and the source of all power; as such, all power belongs to Him. (Psalm 62:11; Revelation 19:6)

The Book of Job, Chapters 38 to 41, describes how God revealed His Omnipotence (almighty and all-powerful) to Job. After God had revealed Himself as Omnipotent, Job came to this conclusion, “I know that You can do everything, and no purpose of Yours can be withheld from you” (Job 42:1)

Illustration

Science tells us that when God created the atom He bound it together with a powerful force called the nuclear attraction force. This force is 3 x 10E39 times more powerful than the force of gravity. (3 x 10E39 is written as 3 with 39 zeros after it.) Nuclear power comes from that force. Yet, Jesus said, “ALL POWER BELONGS TO ME,” (including the power inherent in the atom)!

If God could put so much power force in an atom, how much more power would He release to help us in our time of need? The next time you are discouraged because of a problem and don’t feel like praying, just remember the atom. Think about the tremendous power God applied to this tiny object. This same power is available to us when we commit a problem to God. God can do all things!

 ““Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You…” Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”” – Jeremiah 32:17,26-27

This Almighty God is our Father

Many of us are afraid of God’s power and omnipotence. The Israelites were terrified at the display of God’s strength and power and were so frightened they asked not to see or communicate with Him. (Exodus 20:18-21) They had also seen His abilities in Egypt and on the journey so far, and yet, were afraid

But God’s omnipotence is not meant to scare us; it is to empower us and cause faith and confidence to grow in us. God’s power is not meant to disable us, but rather, enable us to perform the works Jesus said we would do. His power is not meant to destroy us, but to equip us as we fight the fight of faith. (Acts 1:7-8; Romans 8:15 – 17)

Prayer Is The Solution

This is why we need to pray, that is, communicate with God! Prayer has its source in the power and ability of Almighty God, who is not only God, but also, our loving and merciful Father. In an era where there is so much turmoil, pain, confusion, terror, rebellion and wickedness, PRAYER IS AND MUST BE, our first solution!!! We really need to plug in to the Source of Power to enable us to make an impact and a difference.  (To be continued)

By Apostle Jennifer Abigail Lawson-Wallace
A woman in tune, listening and obeying

WHO AM I?

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Who Am I?
It’s a question every woman should be asking.
I surely need to know, I cannot tell a lie,
Though the question is tasking.
Could someone please tell me, who am I?

Who am I?
It’s really a question of identity
Who am I?
I need to know I am an entity
Please, I need to know, who am I?

I ask, but my question goes unanswered
I ask other women, but they seem bewildered
I ask men, but what am I thinking?
I must be joking!
I’m sure they’ve also often wondered!

I ask my parents, they say I am a daughter
I ask my teachers, they say I could be a wife or mother
I ask friends, they tell me I am a woman
I will try to be all of these, if I can,
But I am not sure if it’s worth the bother.

Well, I turn to the Feminist,
She tells me I can do all a man can do.
Her answer I cannot resist,
For I know it is true,
Yet, it still does not tell me why I exist

Now, I remember Jesus once asked some,
“Who do men say that I am?”
Some say, “Elijah, John the Baptist or a Prophet come”
“And who do you say that I am”, again Jesus tried.
“You are Christ, the Son of the living God”, Peter replied

So I turn to the One Who created me
To the One Who knows all that I could ever be
I pray, Lord tell me, please set me free
Show me, I pray, what You had in mind,
When You fashioned me after Your kind.

He tells me, it is written in the word of the Lord,
I am a human being, created in the image of God
A human being, reflecting God’s nature, will and power
A human being, reflecting God’s place and authority
A human being, reflecting God’s goodness and purity

I dance, as if to the tune of a fife,
For I carry the female side of God’s nature in my being.
I rise up, now at peace, like a dove,
A human being with God’s ability to nurture and birth life,
A human being with God’s capacity to love!

This is who I am, redeemed by Jesus’ shed blood
A Woman, a human being, created in the image of God
This, indeed, is who I am!!

By
Jennifer Abigail Wallace ©2005
A Woman in Tune, Listening & Obeying

By Apostle Jennifer Abigail Wallace Posted in Articles

“It’s A New Day”

Wheat field

The night dragged on and on,
The sun had long withdrawn.
Despair had began its fight,
As the moon hid its light.
Paralysed by fear’s grip
The mind awaited the dawn.

The seconds ticked by,
Turning into minutes that lie.
Time seemed to stand still,
As darkness reigned free.
Hope yielded to a long sigh,
Dreams and desire lost their will.

Yet, as the darkness grew thicker,
And hope and faith weaker,
A gong sounded loud and clear.
The voice of the herald heard,
Declaring for all ears to hear,
“It’s a New Day!”

The dawn of the New Day is here.
The darkness flees in haste,
As the majestic sun rises fair.
The Sun of Righteousness arises,
Heralding the awaited genesis
Of a glorious New Day!

Fear trembles and despair fades,
As hope awakens and faith arises.
For not only did the herald declare,
A jewel so precious is made,
The sign of the New Day,
The pledge of God’s care.

It’s a perfect gift from God,
A sign of His faithfulness.
Another opportunity to live,
And His goodness to receive.
A new song swells from within,
As joy declares, “It’s a New Day.”

By Jennifer Abigail Lawson-Wallace
6 December 2015

Single, Married or Divorced?

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Several years ago, I read a book entitled “Defining Women,” which attempts to “explore the ways in which social institutions, practices and discourses define women and their position in present day society.” A colleague had recommended and loaned me the book, after a discussion with her about society’s definition of womanhood. This colleague believed that woman’s identity has always been expressed in relationship to man, and voiced out her resentment at having to, for instance, write down her marital status every time she has to fill in a form – single, married or divorced. She mentioned that she had read “Defining Women” for her degree course in Sociology and suggested I read it.

‘Defining Women’ postulates that women are always defined by society in relation to men and that “masculinity and male behaviour are always the reference points” for defining women. It also states that women are more obviously defined in familial terms as carers and nurturers, and that women derive their identity and status from the gendered categories of mothers, daughters and wives. I understood why my colleague was resentful. After all, I would like to think there was more to my existence than being a daughter, wife and mother.

The Simple Fact

I prayed for wisdom and decided to share my thoughts with my husband. (Thankfully, he  recognises that being his wife and a mother to our children is only part of God’s plan and purpose for my life). As I discussed my thoughts with him, I realised that the statements made by the book were facts that have ruled and directed woman’s destiny for centuries. The simple fact is that many women, even Christian women, define and identify themselves only in terms of their statuses as wives and mothers.

Of course there are cultural variations all over the world, but generally, society tends to regard women as such. In Ghana, for instance, a woman maintains her identity as daughter until she marries. Then people begin to identify her as “Mrs…” In fact most Ghanaian women thrive on being called “Mrs.” This identity is further redefined when a woman starts having children. Then people begin to refer to her as “So and So’s mother.” Her first name is lost and with it, a new identity is created!

Please don’t get me wrong! I am not speaking against motherhood or marriage. I enjoy being my father’s daughter, as well as a wife and a mother and consider these roles a very important part of my life. I count it a blessing and a privilege to be married and also have children, but I refuse to limit myself to just being that! I refuse to be identified only as such, and my husband and children are okay with that.

However, I strongly believe that when a woman identifies herself and focuses her life solely as a mother, wife and/or daughter, she limits herself – her potential, scope of influence and achievements. This kind of definition influences her life-choices and lifestyle, determines her boundaries and minimises, obscures and underutilises her strengths.

Is That All?

The question to be asked is, “Is that all God purposed and planned for women?” If God’s only purpose is for women to be wives, mothers and daughters, what happens to the identity of the single and/or childless woman?  What happens when the mother’s children grow up and leave home? What happens if the wife is widowed or divorced? How would the unmarried, orphaned and childless woman identify herself? These are serious issues we ought to ponder over. And what has scripture got to say about all this?

There are several examples in the bible of women who rose up above their cultural definition and identity of woman. Deborah was such a woman. She was the wife of Lapidoth and she described herself as “a mother in Israel”. Yet Deborah did not limit herself to these descriptions only. She extended her boundaries and rose up to become a Judge in Israel. God used her powerfully in a, seemingly and culturally, masculine role. (Judges 4:1-9)

Lessons From A Great Woman

Our best example, however, is the woman described in Proverbs 31:10-31. Now, I am not going to get into a debate about whether this woman exists or not, or whether we can attain the high standard she sets for us, as Christian women. I make reference to her because I believe there are many great lessons we can learn from her.

One such lesson is that she did not take her position as wife and mother lightly. She was very resourceful, loving and organised, and invested time and effort to maintain and sustain her family, home and household. She provided food, clothing and maintained a warm and lovely household. The bible tells us that her husband, who was ‘known in the gates and sat among the elders in the land,’ praised her. Her children also appreciated and valued her, and “rise up and call her blessed”. There is absolutely no doubt that she did not neglect her familial position and role as wife and mother.

Yet, this woman also found time to reach out to her community. The bible tells us that, “she stretches her hands to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy.” I believe people in the community knew her by name and could turn to her at a time of need. She was kind and caring enough to extend her love and care outside the boundaries of her home. She recognised and believed in who she was, and touched her community with the fruits of her labour. Indeed, she was a blessing to society.

How many of us can match up to that? How many of us can break out of the mould we find ourselves in and reach out and touch someone else’s life? Mother Theresa was a nun, a woman who did not marry or have any children. Yet, she left behind her a rich legacy by reaching out to her community in India. She got her identity from God and used the virtues He had placed within her to touch many lives. The world still remembers her after her death.

My God, What A Woman!

Apart from taking care of her household and reaching out to her community, the woman described in Proverbs 31 was very industrious. In modern-day terminology, she would certainly be described as a businesswoman or entrepreneur.  She made wise investments. “She considers a field and buys it, from her profits she plants a vineyard.” She was into agriculture – could that be you? “She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants.” She was also in the clothing business – could that be you? The bible describes her as “like the merchant ships.” Merchant ships often brought a diversity of merchandise from faraway places. This portrays her as industrious and versatile – could that be you? She was a confident woman who carefully and productively managed all that was put in her care. It is really amazing the variety of things this woman was involved in. Yes, that could be any of us!!!

Of course, she drew strength from her relationship and walk with God. However, I also believe she succeeded because she identified and defined herself in Him. She defined her purpose for her life by the blessings, gifts, talents and opportunities given her. God blessed her with a husband, so she was a wife. God blessed her with children so she was a mother. God placed her within a community, so she was a neighbour, a friend and a pillar of strength to her society. God blessed her with wisdom for business, so she put that to use and became a successful businesswoman. God blessed her with dressmaking skills so she became a dressmaker, etc.

She had little time for what was mediocre and commonplace, “she does not eat the bread of idleness.” My God, what a woman!! We certainly have a lot to learn from her!

Let Her Works Praise Her

Another lesson we can learn from the life of this woman is found in verse 31, which says, “Give her all the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.” The ‘gates’ was where the elders, judiciary and administration sat. It was a communal area for public meetings and public justice. The ‘gate’ was also a public forum where community business was discussed. It was the marketplace, where traders met to sell and exchange goods. It was the Administrative Centre for the community. Hence the ‘gates’ was an important place in the city or town. We have already been informed that this woman’s husband had a prominent position there.

However, the scripture requested that her works should praise her within the ‘gates,’ offering her  a place of prominence and recognition in the important place in the city. She deserved the same respect her husband had attained. She had broadened her definition of herself as a woman and earned the peoples’ respect. She was no longer only a mother and wife. She was everything that God had created and purposed for her to be.

What a role model! Like Mother Theresa (who was unmarried and childless), this woman (who was married with children) was celebrated and honoured by her community and society. Of course, this epitome of a woman deserved to be praised, honoured and celebrated!

Our Works Will Be Tested

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.” – 1 Corinthians 3:11-13

As Christian women, our identity must only be found in Jesus Christ. As we discover who we are in Him, we must redefine ourselves accordingly. We realise that we have been set free to pursue and fulfil His purpose for our lives, and His purpose for our lives extends beyond  ourselves and the boundaries of our homes, households and comfort zones. For when Christ gave the command, He said, “Go Ye!” And we must obey Him and go forth and proclaim, display and demonstrate His Kingdom in all spheres of life!

One day, our works will be tested  and may we, like the woman in Proverb 31, receive praise from our Lord Jesus Christ. But before then, you may well need to tackle the question,  “How do I define myself as a woman?”

 

In Christ’s love and service
Apostle Jennifer Abigail Lawson-Wallace

For I Hear A Cry As Of A Woman In Labour!

“For I heard a cry as of a woman in labour, the anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands saying, “Ah, woe is me…” Jer 4:31

A Poignant Picture

There is a picture I will carry in my heart for a very long time. It depicts two women holding each other in tight embrace, weeping and crying, as they prayed and interceded. Standing around, with hands stretched towards the two women are several other women, also ardently praying and weeping. The interesting thing about this picture is that it seems so powerful and spiritual, and yet, so very natural. That picture, I can honestly tell you, was an actual event that took place a couple of year ago in Kenya, as we prayed and interceded for Congo. The woman in my arms represented Congo and, as I held her in tight embrace, we stood in the gap and travailed for her nation!

The truth is that women are very good at engaging with each other on a deep level, when it comes to interceding, praying and warring until heaven responds or the enemy flees. It comes to us so naturally, which is why God is searching for and calling on women to rise up at such a time as this!
Amid the turmoil and trouble that is happening all round us, God is not only stirring up the Church to prayer, but is also stirring up women to arise and position themselves to carry and birth a fresh outpouring of His Spirit and glory upon the Church and our nations. We must respond to this call!

The Call – Isaiah  32

To understand what God has to say regarding women rising up in prayer and intercession, we must turn to Isaiah 32, which talks about the coming of a righteous King, who would transform society by bringing righteousness, justice and peace. This is a prophecy with a future fulfillment in Christ; however, it also gives an example of what a nation would be like if its government and leadership were righteous and godly. There would be righteousness and justice, security, prosperity and blessings for the people of the land. Sandwiched between the promise of an ideal government and its actual manifestation, Isaiah 32 issues a call and command to women to rise up and take responsibility.

“Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice; you complacent daughters, give ear to my speech. …Tremble, you women who are at ease; be troubled, you complacent ones; strip yourselves, make yourselves bare, and gird sackcloth on your waists… Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest.”Isaiah 32:9-15

The scripture very clearly puts a huge responsibility on women! It not only calls on us to rise up and begin to intercede, but also describes what would happen if we ignored the call.

Complacency

There are many things which stop us from heeding God’s call. However, nothing hinders us as much as complacency! Many of us are complacent and apathetic. We are self-satisfied and self-focused. Some have a comfortable lifestyle, so are at ease, indifferent or disinterested in what goes on around us. God hates complacency (Amos 6:1; Jeremiah 48:11-12)! The call, therefore, is for women to come out of their ease, self-satisfaction/focus and indifference, and take responsibility.

The Onus Is On Women!!!

If women do not heed the scripture, nothing will improve or change in our home, communities, towns and nations. There will not be good and righteous government or peace, unless we arise and pray (1 Tim 2:1-4). Our streets won’t be safe unless we arise! Our children won’t change unless we arise! In fact, things will get worse unless women take responsibility. Our economies will fail if we don’t begin to cry out to God. Society will collapse if we don’t come out of complacency and take responsibility. Therefore, God is calling on women to rise up, strip themselves of comfort, self, fear and pride, and position themselves in the gap for our homes, communities, towns, cities and nations. God is calling on women to humble themselves and cry out in prayer and intercession, pushing through the pain of travail, until the Spirit is poured from on high and there is fruitfulness in our homes, communities, cities and land (Isaiah 32:15). This is REVIVAL!

Why Women?

Why does the scripture instruct women to rise up? What is the role of women in national development and change? What is it about women that qualifies them for such an awesome task? God has designed and created women in a unique and powerful way. He put certain abilities, strengths and gifts into us, which He wants to utilise for His glory. Here are a few examples:

  • Everything a woman receives she multiplies. Give a woman a male seed and she will incubate, multiply and nurture it to create new life. Give her trouble and she will multiply it and give you hell. Give her love and she will multiply it and build a home and haven for you. Better still, give a woman the seed of revival, and she will take it into her spiritual womb and carry it.
  • A woman has the strength and patience to endure nine months of pregnancy with its associated problems. Thus though revival tarries, she will endure and patiently await and expect its manifestation.
  • A woman has the strength to labour and birth what she has carried in her womb. Thus she will labour and travail, and will not give up until revival has been birthed
  • A woman nurtures what she has birthed; hence she can sustain revival on her knees and by moving in the power of the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel and disciple new believers.

Peculiar Characteristics

The women who will heed the call will have peculiar traits.

  1. They will focus on God and listen out for His voice.
  2. They will tremble at God’s Word and Presence, knowing He is their only Help. There is no familiarity in their walk with Him, rather, love, respect and honour for His Presence.
  3. They are troubled by the state of affairs around them. They seek, to know and take the Lord’s burden concerning what is going on.
  4. They strip themselves bare and are transparent and open before the Lord. They are women of integrity, sincerity and character.
  5. They gird themselves with sackcloth (expressing their humility and brokenness) in intercession, travail, wailing and waiting before God.
  6. Their only desire is to bring the Presence and Glory of God back into their churches, communities and society.
  7. They will not give not give up until revival comes.

Arise Women!

What is the way forward? What can women do?

“Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the watches; pour out your heart like water before the face of the Lord. Lift your hands toward Him….”Lamentations 2:10-11

  1. We can rise up and take responsibility for the spiritual, political, economic and social climates of our nations, and pray, intercede and war for righteousness, justice and peace to prevail. We can hold prayer meetings and vigils, do prayer walks, etc.
  2. We can share the gospel, lead souls to Christ and disciple them.
  3. We can get into the word of God to know His mind and will. This will not only help us pray, it will also cause us to grow and mature.
  4. We can build strong marriages and families, in Christ and after biblical pattern.
  5. We can raise our children, the next generation, in the fear of God and by the standard of His word.
  6. We can serve in the local church.
  7. We can give towards God’s work., and even start businesses to fund missions and the Gospel of Jesus Christ
  8. Wherever we are, we can declare and proclaim Jesus Christ
  9. We can cry out for God to send REVIVAL!

““Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy.” Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? A nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons.” – Isaiah 66:7-8

It will not be easy, but we possess the strength and tenacity to endure! We can certainly go the long haul and endure the length of time and the travail it takes to bring change in our world! With the help of the Holy Spirit we can make it.

Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered”Romans 8:26

With His help we can birth revival and the fruits of righteousness, justice and peace in our land. Our communities can be safe again, and our children dwell in hope. JESUS CHRIST our Righteous King can reign and rule in our nations, if we rise up!

Woman, Daughter of Zion, God is calling on you. Will you heed the call? Will you rise up and take responsibility? Will you stand in the gap for your nation? …Until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high…

The Church of Jesus Christ is His Bride, and therefore must possess these same qualities and characteristics. She must also arise, strip herself and cry out to God, until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wildernesses of our churches, families, communities and nations becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as a forest

If you would like to heed the call and get involved in prayer and intercession for your community, town, city and nation, then please consider joining QUIVER. QUIVER is simply women coming together in groups of five to pray for Revival in the United Kingdom (or your particular nation). For more information, email: quiver5@live.co.uk or log on to http://www.quiverprayermovement.org

In Christ’s Love and Service
Apostle Jennifer Abigail Lawson-Wallace

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM THE SNOW

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In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago

This message was first publicized  in November 2010 as a word from the Lord to His Church. However, today I felt led by the Holy Spirit to send out this abridged version again, to remind and encourage God’s people. I hope this bless and challenges you.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM THE SNOW

The weather forecast had predicted heavy snow, yet I was hopeful that our retreat at Ashburnham Place in East Sussex, England would still take place. As the snow began to fall, the weather reports got more alarming, while pictures of heavy snow and traffic on the motorways and roads told a grim story, especially in the area we were to travel to. However, we felt the Holy Spirit leading us to go, and so we set off by faith.

The journey to Ashburnham gave us a clearer picture of the amount of snow that had fallen. Everywhere, the fields, trees, roads, etc, were all covered in snow! There was no sign of the sun and the atmosphere was still, cold, icy, grey, eerie and lifeless. There was not much else worth mentioning about the journey, except for a comment I made. Out of the blue I said,

 “Don’t be surprised if we wake up tomorrow and it has rained and there is no snow.”

As I spoke, I looked out of the car window and knew that short of a miracle, what I had just said would never happen. I could also tell, by looking at their faces, that none of the people in the car with me could imagine that happening either.

We arrived at our destination and there was about 12 inches of snow covering the car park, making parking almost impossible! After we had checked and settled in, we had a couple of teaching and prayer sessions, and then went to bed at about 1.00am.

However, when we woke up for prayer at 7.00am, lo and behold, it had rained and most of the snow had melted away, with just a few patches left, which soon melted away. I immediately remembered the comment I made in the car! All day long, till the next day, it rained and water continued to flow, both from the rain and the melted snow. Also, every time I closed my eyes, I would see a picture of water flowing and growing,  like a big river, but the water was very beautiful and blue, clean and clear. I knew that there was a message or lesson for me to learn, but didn’t quite know what it was.

Word from the Lord

A few days after we returned from the retreat, just before going to bed, I felt a strong urge to read my bible, and the more I tried to ignore it, the stronger the urge became. I wasn’t quite sure what I was being prompted to read, so I said a quick prayer to the Lord, “I’m going to open this bible randomly and read whichever page it opens to, even if it’s the genealogies!” I opened my bible, it fell to Psalm 147 and I read from verses 15 to 19,

“He sends out His command to the earth;
His word runs very swiftly.
He gives snow like wool;
He scatters the frost like ashes;
He casts out His hail like morsels;
Who can stand before His cold?
He sends out His word and melts them;
He causes His wind to blow, and the waters flow.
He declares His word to Jacob,
His statutes and His judgments to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any nation;
And as for His judgments, they have not known them.
Praise the LORD!”

Of course, now the Lord had my full attention!!! I began to pray and ponder on the word I had just received and the events of the weekend. I knew God had a message for us and was eager to discern His heart and mind. The more I prayed, the more I realised that this was a message of hope to the Church and to the nation(s)! Hallelujah!

We now live in a nation and world that has rejected God Almighty and His Word, laws and statutes. Rebellion, disobedience and hardness of heart towards God, and the rejection of God and His Word, have become the status quo. There is apathy, coldness and blatant indifference toward God, the Creator of all the earth and everything relating to Him. In the midst of the current situation, we have the Church, disengaged from her Source (Jesus Christ), struggling to make herself relevant and heard, and baffled by the lack of response and effect, both within and without.

In this dire state of affairs, the Word of God seems to have lost its power and impact. It appears to have little or no effect on the hearts, minds and lives of people. Even in the Church, the Word of God appears to have lost its power to perform and transform, and many walk in disobedience, doubt, unbelief, faithlessness and fear.

Like the snow, which is just water that has crystallised due to coldness of temperature, the word of God, in encountering the coldness of human hearts, seems to have ‘frozen’ and become ineffective in accomplishing what it was sent out for. Like the snow, which freezes to death and stifles life, the coldness of human heart has created a spiritual state of death, hopelessness and despair. Just as the snow brought everything to a standstill, motorways blocked with traffic, aeroplanes grounded with businesses losing millions of pounds sterling, many have become spiritually bankrupt, ruined and insolvent.

Yes, we are in the bleak midwinter, not long ago, but HERE and NOW!!!

Revival

Nevertheless, that is not the focus of this message, because in the midst of all that is happening, the Lord seeks to bring hope to the Church and to the people of this land. Hence, this is not an exposition on Psalm 147:15-20, but rather, a declaration of what is on the Father’s heart. The essence of the message is that God is sending forth His word again as rain to melt the coldness and hardness of human hearts. Thus the word of God is going to be restored to and declared by the Church, once again, in this land.

This is the REVIVAL we have been crying, praying and waiting for!!! God will send forth and revive His Word once again. The Word of God is going to be exalted in the Church! God’s people shall HEAR and READ the Word. God’s people shall UNDERSTAND the Word. God’s people shall BELIEVE the Word. God’s people shall OBEY and LIVE according to the Word. God’s people shall BOLDLY DECLARE the Word. And God’s people shall DEMONSTRATE the Word in power!

According to Psalm 147, the Lord will send forth His Word, together with the wind of His Spirit, causing frozen, icy, still and hardened hearts of rebellion, unbelief, doubt, fear, indifference and apathy, to melt and flow like a river of life. Hallelujah!

The bible tells us in Isaiah 55:10-11:

“For as the rains come down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there;
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it”

The Word of God comes down as rain, and is powerful and able to accomplish all that God sent it forth for! As we receive the Word, understand, believe and act upon it in obedience, faith will begin to build up in us, for “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:17).

Rebellion, disobedience, unbelief, doubt, faithlessness, fear and apathy shall all melt away, as faith builds up through the power of the word of God. As our faith increases we will receive more answers to prayer, which will encourage us to further read the word and stand and act on it. This will give us the boldness to DECLARE the Word of God to all. The power of God’s Word will be demonstrated as we boldly declare it, and we shall see life and wholeness created, and change take place in our lives, homes, communities, towns, cities and nation. (Acts 4:29-31)

Yes, this is the REVIVAL we are waiting for!!!

The River of God

In Ezekiel 47, God showed Ezekiel a picture of a flowing, growing and rising river. The water started flowing from the threshold of the Temple. The river grew and expanded from ankle to knee and then waist deep. Then it became a river so deep that one must swim through it. The river contained a great multitude of fishes and its water brought life and healing wherever the river flowed. There were many fishermen on the banks of the river, spreading their nets and catching exceedingly many fishes! Also, along the banks of the river grew many kinds of very fruitful trees, whose fruits and leaves were for food and healing.

Through the Church, the Word of God shall go forth, like that river, into every area of life, bringing healing, restoration and life. The creative power of the Word of God shall go forth from the Church, causing righteousness, justice, peace, mercy, truth, love and joy to spring forth in the land (Psalm 85:8-13). Above all, many souls shall be saved into the kingdom of God.

Indeed, this is the REVIVAL we are awaiting with anticipation!!!

“Aslan Has Come!”

The scenery on our way to the retreat was totally different from that on our journey back home. On our onward journey, as we travelled through the frozen, cold and barren fields, someone commented, “This is Narnia!” Yes, it did look exactly like the film’s depiction of Narnia from C. S. Lewis’s “Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” when the Snow Queen had taken over and turned everything to ice and snow.

However, the scenario on our return journey was totally different. There was little or no snow or ice anywhere, as the rain had melted it all. There was life, as we could now see the trees and fields. One of my team members who was riding in another car immediately sent me a text message saying, “ASLAN HAS COME!” What a true and appropriate depiction of what God wants to do! Indeed, Jesus Christ, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Word of God has come!

This is a message of hope to the Church, for He has come, through His Spirit, to deliver, empower, strengthen and enable us. He has come to stir up FAITH and BOLDNESS in us to live and declare His Word, causing righteousness, peace, justice, mercy and truth to spring forth. This is a message of hope for the people in this nation and the world because as we live and declare Him, they will all hear, know and believe that Jesus Christ, the Word of God, is our only Hope, Light and Saviour.

In this coming year and beyond, whatever you do, receive, believe, live and proclaim the Word of God.

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” – Isaiah 11:9b; Habakkuk 2:14

Women In Partnership With God

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There is much talk about the kingdom of God, in these last days, as the Church re-focuses on her mandate and purpose on earth. Jesus Christ is coming soon and the mandate given to the church to “go into the world and preach the gospel of the kingdom” must be fulfilled. This is a critical moment in time, as many of the signs that Christ predicted would precede His return are manifesting all over the world. Jesus is soon coming to establish His kingdom and to reign and rule on earth with His Bride, the Church.

Every believer, irrespective of age, gender or status must, therefore, be actively engaged in preaching and proclaiming the Gospel, and building the kingdom of God on earth. Indeed, it is a critical time when “all hands must be on deck.” Thus, women must rise up to partner with God to advance and build His Kingdom. Our position, status, responsibility and role in this awesome task have clearly been defined in the scriptures. We must discover these, empower ourselves and join the workforce!

The Kingdom of God

Before we proceed, however, let me briefly define the kingdom of God. The dictionary simply defines kingdom as an area ruled by a king or monarch. A kingdom is essentially a nation, with all of its citizens, land, and laws, ruled by a government headed by a monarch. It is a defined territory, area, state or realm subject to the rule and sovereignty of a monarch.

The kingdom of God is Christ’s reign, rule and authority on the earth and over all creation, as the triumphant Messiah and King. It is wherever Christ reigns in the hearts and lives of people. Thus the territory is the earth and Jesus Christ is the King. Revelations 11:13 tells us:

…The dominion (kingdom, sovereignty, rule) of the world has now come into the possession and become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ (the Messiah), and He shall reign forever and ever (for the eternities of the eternities)!” AMP

Hallelujah! The church has been given the awesome privilege and responsibility to partner with God in establishing His Kingdom on earth. (Daniel 7:18, 27)

Power and authority have been released to the Church through the Blood and Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Person of the Holy Spirit, the Eternal word of God and all of heaven’s resources. The Church has also been elevated by God to sit together with Christ in heavenly places, giving us access to the mind and heart of God the King, so that we can establish heaven on earth.

The bible says further tells us that we have been made kings and priests to our God (Rev 5:10; 1 Peter 2:9). A priest is one who has access to God and ministers to Him, so that he can minister to others. As priests, we have access to God through the word of God, prayer and intercession, and can therefore determine His mind, plans and purposes concerning the earth. A king is one who reigns and rules over a territory; we reign as kings and are, therefore, to establish heaven’s plans and purposes on earth through prayer, preaching the Gospel and engaging in spiritual warfare. This is the only way we can effectively partner with God in building His kingdom on earth.

Women’s Role

Women have as much a responsibility and role as men in partnering with God to build His kingdom. What we must realise is this, unless the entire body of Christ, male and female, young and old rises up to build, the Church will never accomplish her assignment.

So what must we do, as women? I believe the initial thing to do is to change our mindsets – how we see ourselves, how we think, our priorities, etc. We are transformed by renewing our minds. For so long, women have been told “you can only come so far, because you are a woman. You can only do so much because of your gender. God has set the protocol and status quo, and you have to accept that.” Many have been vigilant in enforcing, what to them, are God’s boundaries and limitations set for women within the Church. It is time to renew our minds regarding who we are and our status and responsibility in Christ!

The boundaries and limitations had been set for Queen Esther, the king had put forth a law that anyone who went before the presence of the king without being called would die, unless the king stretched out his sceptre to them (Esther 4:11). Yet, Esther stepped up, prepared herself and, disregarding the law, approached the king, according to her identity and status as his wife and queen. Esther got her heart’s desire and delivered her people from death.

 Our Status In Christ

What is our status in Christ as women? How we answer this question will determine how effectively we can partner with God in building His kingdom on earth. This is what the bible says about our status in Christ:

  1. We have been redeemed, and reconciled with God. (1 Pet 1:18,19; Rom 5:10-11).
  2. There is no condemnation towards us who have come into Christ. (Romans 8:1)
  3. We have been made alive, together with Christ and raised up to sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Eph 1:20,21; 2:5,6). As said earlier, this gives us access to God through prayer/worship and releases power in and through us.
  4. We are Sons of God. There is no question in scripture about the identity of women in Christ. We are sons of the Living God. Sonship in the New Testament is not by virtue of gender, but rather is a status, position and function, which we gain when we come into Christ. The Holy Spirit confirms and affirms us as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ. Women share the inheritance of the kingdom of God with Christ. Women share the possessions, blessings and benefits of the kingdom, our inheritance. Women must, therefore, also share the responsibility of advancing, extending the boundaries, building and establishing the kingdom of God (Gal 3:26-29, 4:4-7; Rom 8:14-17).
  5. Our status has been restored. We have been given the authority to take dominion, rule and reign on the earth (Daniel 7:18, 27; Matt 28:18; Acts 1:8). Through the Church of Jesus Christ, God will build His kingdom on earth, and women are part of this audacious work (Psa 110:1-3)

Our Role Models

There are countless numbers of women, both in the bible and history, who partnered with God in building His kingdom. The bible tells us of women like Sarah, Miriam, Zelohehad’s daughters, Deborah, Jael, Ruth, Hannah, Mary, Elizabeth, Anna, Joanna, Salome, Mary Magdalene, Priscilla, Dorcas, Lydia, etc. History tells us of Catherine Booth, Susanna Wesley, Kathryn Kuhlman, etc. The present day also has its list of women who are actively engaged in proclaiming the gospel, raising disciples, healing the sick and casting out demons, feeding the poor and widowed, praying and interceding, taking territories – villages, towns, cities and nations – for Christ.

Every Christian woman can and must join this partnership, because it is our legal (through the Blood) and biblical right and responsibility. Together with our brothers, we will partner with Jesus Christ, the King of kings, until His reign, sovereignty, dominion and rule is established, and His majesty, greatness and glory fill the earth.

In Christ’s Love and Service
Apostle Jennifer Wallace

Good News To Women!!!

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A major setback to the Church’s fulfillment of Christ’s Great Commission (Matt 28:16-20) is that for far too long, more than half of God’s workforce has been redundant. This is because the Church has operated under-capacity by limiting and under-utilizing the gifts and talents of women. However, this seems to be changing as God is releasing His daughters everywhere to worship and work!

God is letting loose the shackles and fetters of culture, tradition and religion! He is breaking the locks on the doors of the boxes and cages of fear, prejudice and mediocrity! He is opening the doors of the prisons of low self-esteem and self worth, depression, oppression and suppression! God is releasing His women to worship and work!! (Isaiah 61:1-4). Hallelujah!

Isaiah 61:4
“…And they shall rebuild the old ruins, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations”

Godly women can now rise up, breakthrough the limitations, shake the chains and fetters off their feet and hands, come out of the boxes, caves and prisons to worship and serve God!! Culture, tradition religion and prejudice can no longer stop or hold them back, for they refuse to conform to the boundaries set for them by human beings! Their ears will be unstopped to hear from God and their tongues shall be loosened to proclaim what they have heard!

These God-fearing, prayerful, Spirit-filled, wise, bold and confident women will rise from the place of mediocrity to influence, impact and change their families, churches, workplaces, communities, societies, and nations.

These women will preach the Gospel, win souls to Christ and teach and disciple young converts. They will engage in prayer, intercession and spiritual warfare, and will be the watchmen over their communities, cities and nations. They will raise their families and the next generation in a godly manner. These women will be found everywhere – home, schools, workplace, shopping malls, etc – and, like yeast, salt and light, influence and impact their environment for Christ!

Psalm 68: 11,12 (AMP)
“The Lord gives the word [of power]; the women who bear and publish [the news] are a great host. The kings of the enemies’ armies, they flee, they flee! She who tarries at home divides the spoil [left behind].”

They will form a global ‘army’ and network, and will become mighty instruments in God’s hand for the final harvest into His kingdom. This mighty army of women will join hands, together with the men, like Moses, Aaron and Miriam, Deborah and Barak, Esther and Mordecai, Priscilla and Aquila, to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!

JESUS CHRIST IS COMING SOON! He is coming to receive His Bride, the Church. There is, therefore, an urgent need for preparation, and the Gospel must be preached in every nation on earth. What we now have is a critical situation of ‘all hands on deck’. Hence, women must be restored, raised and released to work.

Matthew 9:36-38
“But when He saw the multitudes He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is truly plentiful, but the labourers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into His harvest”

Good News

I have good news for women: A woman, who has been born again from above, and is yielded, surrendered, and filled with God’s living Spirit is free from the oppressive grip of sin and its consequences. She is free to live as a daughter of God knowing that her identity is secure in Him. She is free to discover her God-given purpose. She is free to influence others in her sphere of life with God’s kingdom purposes, mindset and characteristics, as revealed in Christ Jesus and incorporated in the Great Commission.

Indeed, the shed blood of Jesus has purchased our freedom!!! We can now rise up and work. I encourage you, therefore, to prayerfully find your place in the harvest field. Locate your particular assignment, position and rank, and sharpen your tools. Let His word and Spirit guide you, as you rise up to fulfil your assignment.

Your reward will be great! You shall certainly hear these words one day, “Well done, good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of the Lord!” (Matthew 25:21)

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.”Matthew 24:14

Warning

This message is the introduction to our FREE TO SERVE Course. Please feel free to contact us if you want more information about the course. I MUST issue a warning, though: FREE TO SERVE could positively, purposefully, progressively and permanently transform your life!

In Christ’s Love and service,

Apostle Jennifer Abigail Wallace

The Paradigm of Beauty

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I watched a comedy on TV about an older woman who was desperate to win first place in a beauty pageant. She had competed in several beauty pageants when she was younger and had always won second place. This woman was beautiful, had a rich husband, a son, lovely home and all that money could buy but still bemoaned the fact that she had never been crowned “Miss….”. It was very obvious that her concept of beauty was shallow and based solely on physical appearance. She had another opportunity at age fifty-something to compete for “Miss Mature Woman”. Guess what, she still did not win because apart from her physical beauty she did not excel in any other way. A plump, blind woman who had devoted her life to helping others, and whose inner beauty radiated outwardly for all to see won the pageant.

As I pondered about this, my thoughts were drawn to the “Virtuous Woman” described in Proverbs 31. This woman is strong, God-fearing, wise, honourable and contented, yet, the bible also describes her as a beautiful and well-dressed woman (Proverbs 31:22,30). Beauty is, therefore, one of the characteristics of a virtuous woman. This woman’s beauty, however, is not shallow and outward only, but rather a reflection of what is inside her.

Defining Beauty

Before we take a closer look at this paradigm of a woman, let us try and define beauty. What exactly is beauty? The world’s view of beauty is usually formed around the physical aspect of an individual. Magazines and television ads present the “ideal” woman and then encourage us to purchase their products, lose weight and tone up through their programs, and dress or act in specific ways so as to be like these ‘model women.’

Webster’s dictionary says that beauty is “the quality attributed to whatever pleases or satisfies the senses or mind. These good feelings of pleasure may be aroused by a certain line, color, form, texture, proportion of an object; sometimes by rhythmic motion or tone; or possibly because of a specific behaviour or attitude.” The Thesaurus defines beauty as “a physically attractive woman,” “a knockout,” and “a stunner.” All these definitions focus on the physical, sensual and outward.

The bible, however, admonishes us not to focus only on outward appearance.

“Let not yours be the [merely] external adorning with [elaborate] interweaving and knotting of the hair, the wearing of jewelry, or changes of clothes; but let it be the inward adorning and beauty of the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible and unfading charm of a gentle and peaceful spirit, which [is not anxious or wrought up, but] is very precious in the sight of God.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4

Hence the biblical definition of beauty incorporates not only the physical, but also character, demeanor, speech, conduct and attitude. The bible has a great deal to say about both inner and outer beauty.

Beautiful Women in the Bible

Is physical beauty wrong? Is it unacceptable for a Christian woman to make herself beautiful and attractive? I don’t believe so because there are several women mentioned in the scriptures who were described as outwardly beautiful, for example, Sarah (Gen 12:11), Rebekah (Gen 24:16), Rachel (Gen 29:17), Abigail (1 Sam 25:3), Bathsheba (2 Sam 11:2), and Esther (Esther 2:3,12). The Book of Esther gives an account of a beauty pageant (Esther 2). Queen Esther also had to go through beauty treatments to prepare her for the king.

There are several other scriptures that speak of physical beauty in a positive way. My favourite is Ezekiel 16:1-14, which talks of how God found Israel (us), cleaned and dressed her (us) up in costly apparel and jewellery. Song of Solomon gives an in-depth description of the Shulamite woman’s beauty (Song of Solomon 7). It is, therefore, generally good for a Christian woman to make herself beautiful on the outside.

However, the bible makes it clear that a Christian woman’s appearance should be a reflection or complement of her inner spirit and should not be a hindrance to the kingdom of God. A problem only arises when beauty is seen on the outward only and not reflected from within. Beauty is certainly more than an appealing face or the latest fashion. It is more than skin deep. Physical beauty should portray and reflect what lies within a woman.

The Role Model

Let’s take a closer look at the “virtuous woman”. This woman possessed outer beauty. Proverbs 31:22 says, “She makes for herself coverlets, cushions, and rugs of tapestry. Her clothing is of linen, pure and fine, and of purple [such as that of which the clothing of the priests and the hallowed cloths of the temple were made].” Wow! The first part of this verse describes the most private place of her home – her bedroom. You will notice that she takes great care to make it a place that is warm, comfortable, uncluttered and pleasing – a special place for her and her husband. It is important to have one place in the home, a ‘haven’ that invites rest and fulfills personal joys.

My Bridal Suite

I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago. I have been on a sabbatical since the beginning of April and been spending a lot of time in my bedroom as a result. As I looked round my bedroom one morning, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to change everything in my room. I smiled and made a mental note to do so sometime during my sabbatical. A week later I popped into a home furnishing shop to buy a bathroom rug and was surprised to see they were having a 60% – 75% sale!!! I just could not believe it! I bought everything – duvet covers, sheets, cushions, curtains, etc, at just a fraction of the cost!!! My husband was pleasantly surprised at the transformation when he walked into our bedroom the next day. He described it a bridal suite and was so happy that he gave me back all the money that I spent!!! God cares, even about your bedroom… WOMAN!!!

Quality and Class

Now back to the subject, the second part of Proverb 31:22 describes the woman’s personal clothing. There is no indication that her clothing was expensive, but that she had a look of quality and class. There are women who buy very expensive and trendy clothes that don’t look too good on them and yet, there are others who shop in bargain shops or the market and mix and match clothes so well that they look a million pounds. I believe women should help each other choose clothes, etc. If there is a woman, a friend perhaps, whose clothes and dress sense you admire, feel free to seek help from them. (If you need tips write to me)

A Christian woman’s clothing should be clean, well ironed and appropriate. Her outward appearance should be an example, testimony, representation and witness of Christ. After all, we are His special women! We should reflect our priesthood status. There is nothing more unsightly, unappealing and inappropriate than half-naked Christian women trying to be ‘modern’. A young man once said on television that this way of dressing could be compared to a half wrapped Christmas present – the elements of surprise, excitement and appeal are lost because the gift is exposed. I believe this is one of the reasons why the Church needs role models to teach and guide the younger women. Young woman, trust me, you will not attract the kind of man you need to marry by exposing yourself. Yes, you will attract men all right, but the wrong type.

It is also important for a Christian woman to practise good hygiene and maintain healthy skin and hair care. For rural women who cannot afford deodorant or anti-perspirants, I often recommend lime or ash from their coal-pots (yes, it works). A godly woman should also possess gracious manners, as this makes her outward appearance more appealing and attractive to others – a definite witness of Christ in her.

Living From the Inside Out

The “virtuous woman” also possessed inner beauty. Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm and grace are deceptive, and beauty is vain [because it is not lasting], but a woman who reverently and worshipfully fears the Lord, she shall be praised”. The preceding verses tell us that “Her children rise up and call her blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied); and her husband boasts of and praises her, [saying], Many daughters have done virtuously, nobly, and well [with the strength of character that is steadfast in goodness], but you excel them all.”

Since she received so much praise from both her husband and children, it is logical to deduce that she exhibited unique character traits, which she could only have acquired by a reverential walk with and fear of God. She was not praised because of her physical beauty, but because of the strength of character she possessed. This woman clearly manifested the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). Thus, the source of her inner beauty was God, and the reflection of God within her drew others to her. 1 Peter 3:3-4 tells us that what draws people to us and the Lord is “the hidden person of the heart.” We are, therefore, supposed to live “from the inside out,” as someone put it.

Finally, I would like to quote from an article on beauty in The Woman’s Study Bible, “A woman’s countenance is often a mirror of her heart. When she abides in God’s love, her features tend to soften and lines become tempered. An inner peace and joy are reflected upon her face. A woman’s actions and attitudes are often an indication of where her roots are planted. When a woman’s heart is rooted in peace and joy (Gal. 5:22,23), her outward countenance radiates vitality, enthusiasm, love and a deep sense of well-being – something no amount of make-up, perfume, professional styling, high fashion, or personal fitness programme can create. Having the Holy Spirit within empowers a woman with vitality and enthusiasm, making her a magnet to other people. True beauty comes from within and is manifested by pure motives and a generous, unselfish spirit towards others. Jesus alone can establish such a wellspring of love… No beautification regime or stylish clothes can mask an unattractive heart, unkind words, or hurtful actions.”

AMEN!

By Apostle Jennifer Abigail Wallace