May 15

BOOK REVIEW: Twelve Extraordinary Women

12 Extra Women

 

Twelve Extraordinary Women: How God Shaped
Women of the Bible and What He Wants to Do with You
Author: John MacArthur

I write studies about women in Scripture for how our character and circumstances might be like theirs. So when I picked up this book, I knew I would like it.

Part of what I liked was that it was written by John MacArthur—a respected pastor and author. I really liked that he picked several of the women I had already written books about (Eve, Ruth, Mary) and some women I am in the process of writing about (Rahab, Hannah, Mary and Martha). I really, really liked that MacArthur focused on some of the same lessons from those women I had also focused on.

For people who might be looking for an overview, MacArthur’s book is a great way to introduce several women at once. Specifically, he looked at Eve, Sarah, Rahab, Ruth, Hannah, Mary, Anna, the Samaritan Woman at the well, Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene and Lydia and took each woman in order as we meet them in Scripture.

Other authors have focused on women in the Bible, labeling some of them “bad girls” or elevating others above the rest of womankind. MacArthur did a lovely job of looking at them dispassionately as human women, giving the reader enough historical, cultural and scriptural background to help us make sense of their character and actions from our modern perspective.

For me, reading the book was an exciting continuation of my study of individual women in Scripture. But since the book is concise and easy to read, it could be the delightful beginning of such a study for a more casual reader. A bonus is that a workbook is available for an additional cost, making the book a possible topic for an organized women’s Bible study.

Twelve Extraordinary Women nicely complements MacArthur’s previous book, Twelve Ordinary Men, a study of Jesus’ 12 disciples.

People’s lives have been recorded in Scripture—sometimes as examples for how to live; sometimes as examples of how not to live (or what we can learn from their mistakes). Twelve Extraordinary Women could be an inspiration for modern women seeking to live their faith today.

 

May 08

TEMPLE: It’s (not) All About Me

 

temple-focus-word

When I settled on temple as my focus word for 2017, I thought the word would instill a motivation to improve my health and perhaps show me ways God wanted to use my physical body to do His work.

But as always happens when God is involved, He is using that word to expand my thinking.

2017 brought several health issues to the lives of people I love. First my brother-in-law, for whom my husband has custodial care, went to emergency and ended up with surgery. The very next day after he returned home, we took my 95-year old mother to emergency for flu complications and multiple heart attacks. The next two months my husband was diagnosed with three very serious health issues, that have resulted in surgery, upcoming chemo treatments, more surgery later in the year and a life-long prospect of painful monitoring.

The first four months of 2017 have taught me to think about temple with new understandings:

  1. Just as we are required to take care of the physical (and emotional and spiritual) welfare of children God has entrusted us with, He also expects us to help care for the physical (and emotional and spiritual) needs of family members and other adults we know.

It’s not always a matter of making legal decisions, visiting and providing encouragement. Sometimes stewardship involves making decisions for the physical temples of others. When life hangs in the balance, we face the need to make decisions we thought we were ready to make. Those decisions become a whole lot harder when they move beyond hypothetical.

  1. We need to consider our own health when caring also for others.

When my husband’s health turned bad, my blood pressure started to rise. I’d wake up in the middle of the night with a degree of panic, mentally taking inventory of whether I was still alive and functioning. Then I’d think, who will take care of Jim if I have a stroke? Then I’d think, who will take care of me if I have a stroke.

When we have stewardship over the physical needs of others, those needs affect and are affected by our own circumstances.

In the past I have been selfish when it came to health, working to focus on keeping myself healthy for my own reasons.

God is opening my eyes and expanding my reach. He is showing me that not only can I help others better if my own health is good; He is appealing to my selfish instinct in doing so. He is reminding me that if I help improve other people’s health now, it will save me the extra effort of not having to deal with their worsened health later.

[sigh] It’s not all about me. Really, Lord.

God sure does understand my selfish nature; so much so that sometimes He helps me focus on others by showing me the benefit to myself, even as I recognize that He is also at work changing my heart to want to think of others first. Although I am grateful He hasn’t given up on me, I sometimes wonder why that change has taken so long.

Thank you, Jesus for clarity of thought and heart change as you grow us into the people you desire us to be.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Whose temple (other than your own) do you have stewardship over? What issues are you facing in your care of or for them?

May 01

BECOMING EVE: Part 4

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Today we continue to meditate on ways our lives might be similar to the life of the very first woman God created.  Today’s meditation points expand on thinking about “our place in God’s World.”

  • In what ways do I try to hide from God?

    Adam and Eve hid among the trees when God was looking for them. Do I hide from God spiritually? Emotionally? Do I try to ignore the truth that He knows what I’m doing?

  • How do I recognize that God is looking for me?

    Do I understand that God is pursuing my heart and desiring a deeper relationship with me? How am I hindering that relationship? What can I do to strengthen my relationship with Him today?

  • Eve walked in the garden with the Lord. I, too live daily in God’s presence.

    How do I become more aware of the Holy Spirit at work in my life? In what ways do I hinder the Spirit from leading me? How can I allow the Spirit to have more power to work through me?

For the meditation questions posed earlier this year, go to the January, February and March posts of “Becoming Eve.”

If you’d like to study more about the character and circumstances of Eve and how you might learn the lessons she has to teach, I would love for you to check out my Bible study devotional I am Eve. It is available in print or Kindle format at Amazon.com.

 

EVE FRONT COVER

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