It was great spending the last four days learning from women in the Bible. I enjoyed doing this series as I did with the Psalms. Thank you to all who have been encouraged by my writings.
Genesis 16:13-14 says, So Hagar gave this name to the LORD who had spoken to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “Here I have seen the One who sees me!” Hagar was Sari’s servant. After Abram and Sarai couldn’t conceive – Sarai his wife took her servant Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
Pause for a worthy cause – Who said, ‘the Bible is boring?’ Anyway, on to the story. (LOL)
Pregnant Hagar is now seen as a rival in Sari’s eyes. She is abused and mistreated so severely that she runs off into a deserted place. Her future doesn’t look good through no fault of hers. To her surprise the angel of the Lord appears to her just as she reaches her breaking point.
A grownup conversation begins with the angel and feeling encouraged she gives God the name El Roi (The God Who sees me).
Sometimes injustice comes through rape, incest, sexually abusive partners, and the laundry list of the ills of the tiny close-knit village where little girls grow up to become women. A child is born many times maybe not always in a human form but mentally and emotionally giving birth to painful memories.
As women we run into lonely places hiding emotions for decades, but there is always El Roi more tenderly known as ‘The God Who Sees Me’ following in full pursuit to have a grownup conversation.
As wounded women we find ways to make things work even when we don’t know how – but El Roi – the God who sees you has prepared for you a fountain of resources that you can live a productive life coming out of your place of hiding.
Anyone who has ever felt invisible to God, anyone who has felt unworthy or not good enough, anyone who has felt abandoned or betrayed let it be known this day and everyday from now on – El Roi is available 24/7.
Maybe things were going well until the mask fell off and you woke up from a nightmare. In the chaos of everything that has happened (passed or present) trust God no matter what you see or hear or know. If you ask, “Where is God in all this?” Just as the angel saw Hagar sitting out alone in an abandon place and made his presence known, He sees you too.
This story is encouraging if you have been victimized and want to run and hide in a solitary place. God has not overlooked your location. God cares what has happened to you. He pays great attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So, don’t be intimidated by what others has done to you.
Our real need in a bad situation is not to escape, but to seek and submit to the Lord. No one gets the luxury to pick their battles but there is El Roi (The God Who sees me) to match anything you may face today, tomorrow, or the next day.
Finally, stop reading over the last chapter. Quote: “Don’t ask why someone keeps hurting you. Ask why you keep letting them.”Life becomes happier when you refuse to live where people left you. Prove yourself wrong – you are more powerful than what you have survived.
Psalms 19:7-8 says, “The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes.”
If you ever find yourself second guessing God’s Word be aware that God’s signposts have been changed sending you off course.
This was the strategy Satan used when he came to Eve in the garden, tweaking what God had spoken creating doubt and confusion saying – “Did God actually say?” (Genesis 3:1).
The Bible says, “Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”
And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat … but not of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.”
But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes … she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Satan is cunning and his dialogues are designed to get you to disagree with the principles of everything God has said bringing about confusion in your mind with a twisted belief that God did not really say so.
When disbelief starts – the dialogue in the head gets louder and there’s no turning back. .
It’s unwise to say AFTER you have given into your unquenchable pleasure that it was unplanned. Remember, that your ‘lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.’
You are free to choose but you are never free from the consequences of your choice. Life does not come with a reset or an oops button.
Anything that is done intentionally whether good or bad will have a lasting impact on the rest of your life. When our relationship with God becomes problematic – we then make our own rules and question everything that God has spoken.
We find ourselves saying, ‘Well that was back in those days but today is different.’
Quote: “Some people create their own storms then get upset when it rains.” There is a way that seems right to all of us, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12).
Sin and rebelliousness come with a pay later plan. Play today – pay tomorrow.
Proverbs 9:17-18 “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.”
You will never change what you enjoy. So, make a deliberate evaluation of your life today. Listen to your inner voice it will tell you lots more than you are willing to admit.
If something changes your life, then let that change bring about the best in you. Set new boundaries and start rebuilding your life.
In Ruth 1:16–17, Ruth tells Naomi, her Israelite mother-in-law, “Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.“
The story of Ruth in the Bible shows that the relationship between a daughter-in-law and mother-in-law was one of loyalty and affection. Loyalty is the key ingredient in any relationship that lasts for a lifetime. Loyalty is rare between mothers and daughters. But we will see why Ruth’s loyalty made her the envy of most women in her days and presently.
Ruth’s winning streaks in finding a good man was first seen in how she took care of her mother-in-law after they both tragically lost their husbands. Someone said, “Some people aren’t loyal to you. They are loyal to their need of you. Once their needs change, so does their loyalty.” Ruth’s loyalty and unconditional love for her mother-in-law led her to finding Boaz a wonderful husband.
Boaz was moved by Ruth’s selflessness towards Naomi an aged widow. We are not perfect, nor does God expect us to be but you are either completely loyal or not loyal at all even if your situations change. You can’t be loyal only when it works for you. How you speak and treat others are being observed by your admirers.
I began to ponder how many modern day ‘Ruth’ have missed a once in a lifetime Ruth and Boaz romance by their arrogance and selfishness. I saw this quote that said, “Speak to people in a way that if they died the next day you would be satisfied with the last thing you said to them.” If you are pursuing a healthy romance start being loyal to those around you.
Maintain positive behaviors. Develop healthy relationships, respect, and communication with your mothers. Take responsibility for your own actions they speak louder than yourbeauty. You don’t have to chase a Boaz – a Boaz will chase you.
Your independence and freedom to move on with your own life should not come at a cost of you neglecting and disrespecting those who have invested in you.
True love is not ‘couple goals’ for social media posts. True love is waking up in the middle of the night to help your sick mother or mother-in-law. It’s giving her a shoulder to cry on. True loyalty is accepting that life changes as you grow older, but the memories will bring back the laughter.
True love is showing by your actions that no matter what happens your loved ones will never be alone.
Ruth worked very hard in the fields to provide enough barley to sell and to keep some for her and Naomi. In all your getting – get a man that will treat you right for a lifetime and not a night. Be loyal and a good man better known as a ‘keeper’ will come knocking at your door. Walk away from anyone who does not see your worth. Walk away from clowns.
Be brave enough to heal yourself even when it hurts.
Be brave enough to heal yourself even when it hurts. A young girl is taken from her hometown and is forced to serve the boss’s wife. Most women at some point in their lives find themselves dealing with unresolved issues rising out of circumstances outside of their control, disappointment, fear, low self-esteem, anxiety, frustration, and sometimes even their own bad choices.
The challenge is, ‘Are you brave enough to heal yourself even when it hurts?’
Naaman wife’s maid was a young girl who had a voice, but her name was not mentioned in the Bible. Vice-versa in the real world today – You have a name but many times you do not have a voice – unable to speak up for yourself. As grownup women let us end the imaginary competition to compete. Make an intellectual decision to come together and stand against the evils of our culture. The world out there is cold and harsh.
Who would have envisioned a nameless girl forced into slavery would be the catalyst God would use to bring healing to a wealthy family? Naaman was a powerful man in his country BUT he had a rare skin disease that no amount of money could have cured. Divine destiny can sometimes be disguised either by being nameless or not having a voice.
This slave girl had her step forward moment to be brave enough to heal herself even when it hurts and to selflessly use her voice alerting her boss to the Healer.She confidently says to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:3) Someone once said, “I am not what has happened to me. I am what I choose to become.”
Repeat it out loud for those sitting in the back of the room – I AM NOT WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME. I AM WHAT I CHOOSE TO BECOME!
Sometimes the situations that you find yourself in can be the greatest God-given opportunity if only you choose to step forward leaving the victim mentality behind you. You cannot allow anyone or everything to deter you from reaching your full potential. It is unproductive to wait for the bad events in life to go away before you declare your freedom.
This girl could have ignored her master’s disability and become bitter being held against her will but instead she acted in bravery bringing healing to herself and those within her circle. She teaches us that sometimes life hands you a stack of cards that make you anonymous, invisible, exasperated, worried, or even sometimes your own bad choices places you at a disadvantage – but regardless of the wrongs we can change the storyline.
The only thing this slave girl had going for her was her faith in God’s healing powers. She did not limit her self-worth to being a slave without a name, but she was prepackaged as miracle to give her master something that his wealth could not afford. We all face difficult battles in lives no matter what image we paint on the outside.
The school of hard knocks is designed in a way to bring out the best in us and not the wounds. It teaches you the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. The whole world will go blind if we decide to engage in revenge or as some women call it ‘karma’.
For every crisis that you face there is a Christ waiting to heal. In closing, your lemons could have been prepackaged to bring healing to you and to those who once held you captive.
‘Be the kind of GROWNUP that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, “Oh crap, she’s up!” Whatever is holding you emotionally hostage requires courage to change the narrative and to have empathy on your offenders to break the cycle of resentment.
When the struggle is real your confidence in the Lord can be shaken. One trouble after another makes you want to stay away from God spiralling you into a deep dark rabbit hole. Then sure enough some folks around you may question – “Where is your God?” making the problems feel ten times worse.
In moments like these let us remember that anything we face can be overruled by the Lord when you least expect it.
One word from the Lord can calm every storm, and reset your life turning bitter complaints into happy dances. Let us never think that the God who created us has forgotten us in our mess.
The Psalmist David said that when he felt discouraged, he challenged himself to take on a positive attitude. He preached to himself, he encouraged himself, and in the nighttime, he fixed his eyes on God.
God does not expect us to have all the answers to why bad things happen to good people but based on Psalm 42 we are encouraged to preach to ourselves and encourage ourselves to put our hope in God.
Peace over Panic. Faith over Fear. We will not just go through problems, but we are going to grow through everything that interrupts our peace.
Psalms 42 NKJV
As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night, while they continually say to me, “Where is your God?”
When I remember these things, I pour out my soul within me. For I used to go with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him. For the help of His countenance.
O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, and from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar.
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me – a prayer to the God of my life.
I will say to God my Rock, “Why have You forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a breaking of my bones, my enemies reproach me, while they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God.
Courage we all need. The experiences that hold us prisoners lies in our belief that there’s nothing more beyond what has happened to us. Courage is the ability to let go of the pain that you are familiar with and be brave enough not to compare your life with others. Be daring enough to step outside of the environment that got you sick.
Do not sit in the gloom. Allow God to bring His light and rescue you. Stop rehearsing what God is willing to erase. It is easy for humans to trust their own wisdom, experience, friends, and their resources but the Psalmist David knew to have the kind of courage and strength he needed – it had to come from the LORD.
No one lives in seasons of fair weather where life is great all the time. You stumble and fall but because your confidence is in the LORD, you will not live permanently in fear of getting up and starting again. For in the time of trouble God hides you and sets you high upon a rock. God does not prevent you from trouble, but He gives you security and blessing even in the midst of the uncertainty.
Psalm 27 makes a powerful prayer to pray everyday.
The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
Hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me, God my Savior. Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, spouting malicious accusations.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
One of most important things we can be assured of is – the Holy Bible was written to give us HOPE in every situation we will ever face in life. No good or bad event in our life here on earth takes God by surprise. You maybe caught off guard by a curve ball that sent you spiralling into past pain yet in quietness and strength you snatch back your peace.
God will save you from hidden dangers and from deadly diseases. You can go to him for protection. He will cover you like a bird spreading its wings over its babies. Sometimes we need comfort, sometimes instruction, while at other times we need to know we are not alone and sure as the sun will rise in the morning His warring angels keep watch over us.
When faced with many unanswered questions we know that everything will work together for our good as we remain connected to God. Everyone who kneels before God can stand before anything and anyone.
Psalm 91 Easy-to-Read Version
You can go to God Most High to hide. You can go to God All-Powerful for protection.
I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in you.” God will save you from hidden dangers and from deadly diseases. You can go to him for protection. He will cover you like a bird spreading its wings over its babies.
You can trust him to surround and protect you like a shield. You will have nothing to fear at night and no need to be afraid of enemy arrows during the day. You will have no fear of diseases that come in the dark or terrible suffering that comes at noon.
A thousand people may fall dead at your side or ten thousand right beside you, but nothing bad will happen to you! All you will have to do is watch, and you will see that the wicked are punished.
You trust in the Lord for protection. You have made God Most High your place of safety. So nothing bad will happen to you. No diseases will come near your home.
He will command his angels to protect you wherever you go. Their hands will catch you so that you will not hit your foot on a rock. You will have power to trample on lions and poisonous snakes.
The Lord says, “If someone trusts me, I will save them. I will protect my followers who call to me for help. When my followers call to me, I will answer them. I will be with them when they are in trouble.
I will rescue them and honor them. I will give my followers a long life and show them my power to save.”
We all sometimes struggle to find words to express our feelings. That is why God gave us the Psalms. For many people whether followers of Jesus Christ or not – we have found a Psalm that expresses our feelings along the journey of life. For me, I can say many times when I struggle to articulate my feelings, I have found Psalms to be a book of solace.
When we are sad or disheartened, there is a Psalms to soothe our anxieties and fears and to show us how to safely vent into the ear of our caring Heavenly Father. Even feelings of anger and bitterness find a quiet place of honesty as in Psalm 73:16-17 “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.”
You are not alone when it comes to feeling overwhelmed like riding a roller-coaster of emotions. We are all susceptible to unexplained feelings but how we manage those feelings determine if we are winning or losing the war.
Have you ever tried to use a screwdriver when you really needed a hammer? Frustrating experience. But that has nothing to do with the screwdriver – you just chose the wrong tool.
Let the conversation gets started – All week I will be using the Book of Psalms as my conversational pieces.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; its leaf will not wither, and whatever he does will prosper.
The ungodly are not so but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore, the ungodly will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly will perish.
God charts the road you take. The road they take is Skid Row.