June 27, 2011
Stepping Up and Stepping Out
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him (1 Corinthians 2:9 NIV).
Friend To Friend
God always has important kingdom work for us to do. Paul tells us: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). We were not meant to be mere stagehands or decorative props, but leading ladies working together alongside our brothers and sisters to impact the world for Christ.
Every little girl needs to grow up knowing that she is valued, that she is made in the image of God. Every little girl needs to grow expectantly waiting for her God-given potential to be released. The women in the New Testament gave us a taste – a glimpse.
Mary Magdalene is just one example. She did not lobby for a position of leadership. She did not argue for women’s rights. She was content with the lowest place on Jesus’ ministry team, doing whatever needed doing and giving financial support out of her own means. But Jesus had a different calling for Mary Magdalene - one she certainly did not choose or aspire to. He called her center stage and gave her a leading role to announce the most important news in human history. She was an apostle to the apostles, commissioned by Jesus himself.
In the Gospels, we see Jesus pause in the middle of his busy day for the bleeding woman, stop his teaching to lift the chin of the bent and bowed, walk miles to deliver one small child, and wait patiently in the hot noon sun for the broken Samaritan to arrive. What kind of God does that? A God who loves his daughters.
And how did the women respond to Jesus calling them center stage?
Mary of Nazareth stepped up to accept her calling.
Mary Magdalene signed up to join Jesus’ ministry team.
The woman with the chronic bleeding spoke up to tell of her miraculous healing.
The woman caught in adultery cleaned up to start anew.
The empty woman at the well filled up to evangelize an entire town.
The Syrophoenician mother was shored up for bold believing.
Mary of Bethany showed up in the classroom.
The woman with the alabaster jar opened up her heart to worship.
Martha was steamed up in the kitchen, but then moved up to the head of the class.
The woman with the crippled back walked up to receive her healing.
The widow gave it all up as an example of sacrificial giving.
These leading ladies’ stories show us that in God’s family, girls are important too. They are strong women of faith who were bolstered by Jesus to come out of the shadows and take their place among the world changers of their day.
After Jesus’ ascension, both men and women waited in Jerusalem for the promised Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost as the Holy Spirit descended with a gusty wind and tongues of fire, Peter stood and explained to curious onlookers what was taking place.
“This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel,” he began.
In the last days, God says,
I will pour out my Sprit on all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy,
Your young men will see visions,
You old men will dream dreams.
Even on my servants, both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.”
Peter explained to the people what Jesus had been showing them all along. God’s grace, love, and power are extended to all people regardless of rank or race, gender or generation: sons and daughters, young and old, men and women. Paul would later pen: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28).
If God calls you center stage to accomplish His purpose for this generation, I pray that you will accept the role of a lifetime. And who knows, perhaps you are reading this devotion and being challenged to fulfill God’s purposes in your lifetime, “for such a time as this.”
Dear Lord, I’m ready to do whatever You tell me to do. Thank You for my New Testament sisters who were brave enough to step out of the shadows during a time when women were rarely seen or heard. Thank You for Jesus who called them forward and sent them out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
In today’s devotion, I mentioned several women of the New Testament. Pick two of them. Use a concordance and look up where their stories appear in the gospels. Read their stories and ponder their bravery.
Is there something God has been nudging you to do, but you’ve been putting it off? Let’s pray for one another. Log onto www.facebook.com/sharonjaynesand let your sisters know how they can pray for you to heed God’s call.
More From The Girlfriends
Do you ever read the end of a book first? Well today, I’ve given you a glimpse of the conclusion to What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance Through the Women Jesus Encountered. But my heart’s desire is that you sit with the woman at the well, stand by the woman reaching for Jesus’ robe, and kneel with the woman anointing His feet. This book promises to have their stories come to life. It impact how you see Jesus, and you’ll fall in-love with Him all over again.
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