Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sonlight Women's Book Club

Hello Ladies-

Wow, do we have a treat planned for you in 2015!!

Join us as we move through each month reading a new book together.  Some months we will read a fiction book and other months we will read a non-fiction book.  Plan to see an original post here, and then plan to follow the study on Facebook. This is a great opportunity to fellowship with other ladies of Sonlight who like to read. We will have different activities each month such as group dialogue, question and answer time, as well as meeting together as a group throughout the year.  Our Facebook group will also be a location where you can share your reviews of a book, recommend books to each other, a place where we will post any known deals about books, and a place where  you can enter into any giveaways that we have.

You are welcome to join at any time of any month by popping into the Facebook group or by picking up the book and being ready to read it.  That's it!  Simple right??  Absolutely!!

Stay tuned for the title of our first selection.

See you soon,


Please reach out to a member of the Sonlight Women's Ministry team if you have any questions.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Blogging Through the Bible

Here is this week’s reading plan:
Genesis Reading Plan Week 5

For those who like to plan ahead…here’s next month’s printable book mark.
Please note that starting next week – there’s no weekend reading.   The reading plan will only cover Monday through Friday. Use your weekends to catch up if you are behind or to reflect and go deeper with the reading from that week.  ;)



Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blogging Through the Bible- Genesis

Hello Ladies!

Here we go again – it’s a new month – a fresh start!

Did you get behind last month – no problem!

You can start again – there is no right or wrong way to read God’s word. There is not a correct formula or method given in scripture.  We simply need to open our Bibles and there – God speaks!

Let’s savor his word together!  One chapter a day in the book of Genesis!

Here’s this week’s reading plan:

Week 1's plan

Here’s this month’s printable bookmark:


Remember, you choose which verses to SOAP, they will not be assigned by GMG. ;)

Link to the workbook:
Genesis short eWorkbook 

This looks very busy- but it is only one chapter a day.  You can do this!!!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Blogging through the Bible

Hello Ladies-

Here is the plan for this week:



We are really making progress!!   I do not include what week of Blogging through the Bible that we are in so that you will always feel safe to just jump in wherever we are on that day or week. 

Here are the workbooks for completing your daily SOAPs:

I John – Short eWorkbook
II John – Short eWorkbook
III John – Short eWorkbook
Jude – Short eWorkbook
Psalm 1-30 – Short eWorkbook

Feel free to print these out and make your own notebook:)

Love you all,


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Blogging through the Bible

landscape view on sky with rainbow at sea.

Hello Ladies!

We started 1John today and will finish it on Monday.  Here is a link to read a little bit more about 1 John, that has some very thought provoking comments about knowing who we are in the Lord and ends with staying away from idols.

Greater is He that is in You

Next Week's Reading Plan:


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Blogging Through the Bible

Hello Ladies-

Welcome back to your weekly hug and gentle push to read through the Bible with me.  This week we finished reading through Esther and almost all of 1 Peter....congrats! 

Here are this weeks reading assignments.  As usual, you can jump in wherever we are and if you miss a day , same thing.  Please don't feel guilty, the objective is to be in the word and not to let Satan keep you from it.

Love you all, and praying for you daily!



This article is interesting if you would like to read it concerning some of last weeks readings.
A Steady Diet of Beauty Magazines Will Starve Your Soul {I Peter 3}

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Blogging Through the Bible- Week Two

Blogging through bible with GMG button

Hello Ladies and Welcome Back! 

We are reading through the Bible, one chapter a day, cover to cover.  No sign-ups, no enrollment, and no subscribing is required. Simply stop by every Sunday for the reading plan!
This week we complete the book of Esther and begin I Peter.
Here is this WEEK’s Reading Plan {09.07.14}:
 This is a free printable – click here to print it.
Here is this MONTH’S Reading Plan {September}:
This is a free printable – click here to print it.

You can post a SOAP or keep your own private journal of your reading through the Bible...just let me know how you are doing every once in a while on our Sonlight Women's Ministry page.

I have also included a video on this page in the right hand column...check it out :)

Love you in Christ,

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Esther is NOT the Hero –God Is!

Black lost. The King at the feet of Queen

Hello Ladies-

I hope that your study is going well.  Here is a quick reminder of this weeks readings:

this week's reading

Please feel free to share on the Face Book page what you have learned so far in the Book of Esther.

Click here to view the first blog post from Women Living Well


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blogging through the Bible- September Workbooks

Here are the printable workbooks for September:

Esther  - Short eWorkbook
Esther – Long eWorkbook
I Peter – Short eWorkbook
I Peter – Long eWorkbook
II Peter – Short eWorkbook
II Peter – Long eWorkbook
I John – Short eWorkbook
I John Long eWorkbook
II John – Short eWorkbook
II John – Long eWorkbook
III John – Short eWorkbook
III John – Long eWorkbook
Jude – Short eWorkbook
Jude – Long eWorkbook
Psalm 1-30 – Short eWorkbook
Psalm 1-30 – Long eWorkbook

The short eWorkbook has one worksheet a day for journaling your thoughts.
The long eWorkbook has 4 worksheets a day for those who like to write more or do extra research.
You do not have to use a workbook at all though. You can simply follow along just reading one chapter a day.

It's Time to Begin Blogging through the Bible

Hello Ladies-

It is now September 1st and just like the kids going back to school, we are going back to the basics too.  We are setting sail to Blog through the Bible!!  Seriously- it is a catchy name, but it is really about reading through the Bible in a fun organized way. 

All we need to do is read one chapter a day, one week at a time, one month at a time, one year at a time until we have read the Bible cover to cover!  It should takes us two years, but who's counting right?  Don't let this scare you away though, just do what you can daily and pick up on the new assignment when you get back to the Word.  Don't give up, just keep reading :)

Here is this week’s reading plan (just one chapter a day).


Here is September’s Reading Plan.


Pretty Amazing!!!  We can do this!!! 

The links to the printable workbooks are in the last post.  The short eWorkbook has one worksheet a day for journaling your thoughts. ( My preference) The long eWorkbook has 4 worksheets a day for those who like to write more or do extra research.

You do not have to use a workbook at all though. You can simply follow along just reading one chapter a day.

See you on the blog,


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Blogging Through the Bible

Hello Ladies,

Sometimes we all need a little bit of help with our Bible reading plan, I know that I here you go.   

Starting on Sunday August 31st,  I will begin blogging through the Bible – one chapter a day – 7 chapters a week – 31 chapters a month – 365 chapters a year until we have completed 1,189 chapters –the entire Bible.


I will be doing this along with Women Living Well and will link us to Courtney's blog at least once a week.  We will not start on page one of the Bible and read straight through. Instead Courtney will mix in a reading in the Old Testament – then a reading in the New Testament. Then a reading in the Old Testament then a reading in the New Testament.

Some books are short and we will fly through them – so we may do a few New Testament books in a row, other books are very long and they will take 2 months to complete.

Some seasons of life are busy and you will not be able to join us, no worries. All of these posts will be archived for you to go back and complete at your own convenience. You can also go to  to see the archives there.  This is for you to read your Bible and/or to complete your quiet times.  It is not intended to replace a life group or a Bible Study. 

The Schedule:

Sundays – On the first Sunday of every month, I will be posting the monthly reading plan, eWorkbooks and the first of 4 weekly reading plans.

How to Read Your Bible for this series:
1.) Simply read a chapter a day out of your Bible and pray.
2.) Listen to a chapter a day using the Free YouVersion App. (optional)  You can manually go to the passage of scripture for the day and click the volume button. YouVersion will then read it out loud to you – you can do this in your car, kitchen, while you exercise or as you fall asleep at night.
3.) You can use your favorite method of Bible study to complete each days reading. 
You can also use the Short or Long version of the S.O.A.P. method to study the chapter of the day. Women Living Well has created free downloadable eWorkbooks to guide you through this method (or you may use a journal you already have). Here is how it works.
S- The S stands for Scripture- you physically write out the scripture……you’ll be amazed at what God will reveal to you just by taking the time to slow down and actually write out what you are reading!
O- The O stands for observation- what do you see in the verses that you’re reading. Who is the audience? Is there a repetition of words? What words stand out to you? What do we learn about the character of God?
A- The A stands for Application- this is when God’s Word becomes personal. What is God saying to me today? How can I apply what I just read to my own personal life? What changes do I need to make? Is there an action that I need to take?
P- And finally, P stands for Prayer. Pray God’s Word back to Him. If He has revealed something to you during this time in His Word, pray about it. Confess if He has revealed some sin that is in your life.
Please note: You can choose to write out as much or as little of the “S”cripture of the day as you like.  I will not be assigning which verses to SOAP.  Choose the one(s) that speak most to you and SOAP them.
Reading Plan:

Here are the first two eWorkbooks to download and print if you’d like a guide for Esther:

Esther Long E-Workbook
Esther Short E- Workbook

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Woman of Proverbs 31

Her character: She represents the fulfillment of a life lived in wisdom.
Her joy: To be praised by her husband and children as a woman who surpasses all others.
Key Scriptures: Proverbs 31:10-31

Her Story

Proverbs brims with less-than-glowing descriptions of women. There are wayward wives, prostitutes, women with smoother-than-oil lips, strange women, loud women, defiant women, wives who are like a continual drip on a rainy day or decay in their husbands' bones, women whose feet never stay home, brazen-faced women, and even a woman so repulsive she is likened to a gold ring in a pig's snout!

Any woman reading Proverbs may be tempted to conclude that its authors tended to blame women for weaknesses actually rooted in the male psyche, especially when it comes to sexual sin. But to balance things out there are also some odious descriptions of men, including scoundrels, villains, chattering fools, and sluggards. And Proverbs actually opens and closes with positive portrayals of women: first as wisdom personified and then as a woman who can do no wrong.

Just who was this woman on a pedestal described in Proverbs 31? Was she, as many think, the ideal wife and mother? In traditional Jewish homes, husbands and children recited the poem in Proverbs 31 at the Sabbath table. Written as an acrostic, each line begins with a Hebrew letter in alphabetical sequence, making it easy to memorize. The poem describes a wealthy, aristocratic woman with a large household to direct. She was hardworking, enterprising, capable, strong, wise, skilled, generous, thoughtful of others, dignified, God-fearing, serene—a tremendous credit to her husband. She arose while it was still dark to feed her family. She looked at a field, considered its merits, and purchased it. She wove cloth and made linen garments, which she then sold. "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all' " (verses 28-29).

The description of the woman in Proverbs 31 offers a refreshing contrast to other ancient depictions of women, which tend to portray them in more frivolous and decorative terms, emphasizing only their charm or beauty. Still, the perfect woman of Proverbs 31 hasn't always been a friend to ordinary women. In fact, she has sometimes been rubbed into the faces of lesser women by critical husbands and preachers unable to resist the temptation. What woman could ever measure up to her? And is a woman's worth to be measured only by what she can accomplish in the domestic sphere? Or is the woman in Proverbs 31 a symbol of all the contributions a woman could make within the culture of her day? Regardless of how you answer these questions, there is more to her story than simply being the ideal wife and mother.

Before we can discover more about her true identity, it is worth posing a broader question: Are there really all that many women running around in the pages of Proverbs? Perhaps, in fact, there are only two main women in Proverbs: the wise woman and the woman of folly (as some have called her). The latter encompasses the adulteress and her many wicked counterparts; the former encompasses wisdom in the abstract and wisdom made concrete in the woman of Proverbs 31.

In Proverbs 3:13-16 a young man is instructed: "Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor." Here is wisdom in the abstract, personified as a woman.

Proverbs 31 echoes this praise: "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies…. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard" (verses 10, 12-16). Here is a concrete example of what wisdom looks like in a person's life.

By contrast, the man who welcomes the brazen-faced woman, the prostitute, the adulteress is nothing but a fool. He has fallen prey to the woman of folly, who offers deceitful pleasures that will lead to his death.

From beginning to end, Proverbs is a practical handbook for leading a life based on wisdom. In the end, there are only two choices for both men and women: to embrace wisdom or to love folly. The woman of Proverbs 31 may well be meant to inspire both men and women with a picture of what a virtuous life, male or female, is capable of producing: shelter for others, serenity, honor, prosperity, generosity, confidence about the future—true blessedness. Who wouldn't want to be like such a woman? Who wouldn't sing her praises?

Her Promise

Many women find Proverbs 31 discouraging. Don't let that happen to you. Remember, this very capable woman is ultimately praised not so much for all she accomplishes as for one thing: She fears the Lord. The woman who is worthy of praise is not necessarily the one who does all her own sewing or is a great cook or is a natural beauty—the woman who gets the praise is the woman who fears the Lord. That's the target to aim for. Not outward beauty. Not a perfectly decorated home. Not even more intellectual knowledge or business acumen. Instead, aim for a bold, all-consuming love for God. Then you too will be worthy of praise.

Today's devotional is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Visit to learn more about Ann's writing and ministry.

Thursday, August 7, 2014


Her name means: "Ishtar," the Babylonian Goddess of Love, or from the Persian Word for "Star." Her Hebrew Name, "Hadassah," Means "Myrtle"

Her character: An orphan in a foreign land, she was willing to conceal her Jewish identity in a bid for a pagan king's affection. Esther seemed willing to made moral compromises by sleeping with the king and then taking part in a wedding that would necessarily have required her to pay homage to foreign gods. Even so, she displayed great courage in the midst of a crisis. Prior to risking her life for her people, she humbled herself by fasting and then put her considerable beauty, social grace, and wisdom in the service of God's plan.
Her sorrow: To learn that her husband, the king, had unwittingly placed her life and the life of her people in jeopardy.
Her joy: To watch mourning turn to celebration once the Jews enjoyed relief from their enemies.
Key Scriptures: Esther 1-10

Her Story

Vashti, queen of Persia, was the most powerful woman in the Middle East, yet her power was as fragile as a candle in a storm. Her husband, Xerxes, had just summoned her to appear before a festive gathering of his nobles. Vashti, however, having no intention of parading herself like a prized cow in front of a herd of drunken men, refused.

What should be done to punish her insolence? One of the king's counselors spoke for all: "Queen Vashti has done wrong, not only against the king but also against all the nobles and the peoples of all the provinces of King Xerxes. For the queen's conduct will become known to all the women, and so they will despise their husbands and say, 'King Xerxes commanded Queen Vashti to be brought before him, but she would not come.' There will be no end of disrespect and discord."

So poor Vashti bore the brunt of every man's fears. She who had refused the royal summons was forever banished from the royal presence, and a great domestic uprising was squelched before it even began.

After a while, a search was conducted for a new queen to replace Vashti. It so happened that many Jews were living in Persia at the time. Exiled from Judah a hundred years earlier (after Jerusalem's fall in 587 bc), they had been deported to Babylon, which in turn was conquered by Persia. Mordecai and his orphaned cousin Esther were among those living in exile, 650 miles northeast of Jerusalem.

Like many other young virgins, the beautiful Esther was gathered into the king's harem. To refuse the privilege may well have meant her death. Counseled by Mordecai to keep her Jewish origins a secret, because being a Jew would probably have disqualified her from becoming queen, she spent the next twelve months awaiting her tryst with the king. When the moment came, Esther so pleased Xerxes that she became queen in Vashti's place.

Some time later, an Amalekite named Haman rose to power in Persia. Haman was so highly placed that other officials knelt before him as a sign of respect. One man, however, the Jew Mordecai, refused to kneel. Haman became so angry that he decided to eliminate every Jew in the kingdom.

To ascertain the most favorable moment for destroying them, Haman piously consulted his gods by casting lots (or pur). A date eleven months into the future was revealed—March 7 by our reckoning. Haman immediately persuaded Xerxes to issue a decree that all the Jews in his realm were to be slaughtered on that day. By way of incentive, the decree proclaimed that anyone who killed a Jew could plunder his possessions.

Mordecai reacted immediately by contacting his cousin Esther and asking her to beg Xerxes for mercy. But Esther was afraid and replied, "For any man or woman who approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned the king has but one law: that they be put to death unless the king extends the gold scepter to them and spare their lives. But thirty days have passed since I was called to go to the king."

Mordecai replied, "Do not think that because you are in the king's house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"

So Esther instructed Mordecai, "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish."

On the third day, Esther approached the king. As soon as Xerxes saw her, he held out the golden scepter. "What is it, Queen Esther?" he asked. "What is your request? Even up to half the kingdom, it will be given to you."

But Esther merely invited the king and Haman to join her that evening for a banquet she had prepared especially for them. That evening the king again pressed her to ask for whatever she desired, but Esther simply invited the king and Haman to another banquet, to be held the following night.

That evening, on his way home, Haman caught sight of Mordecai, sitting smugly rather than kneeling as he passed by. Haman was outraged, but his wife consoled him by proposing an evil scheme—he need merely build a gallows and then ask the king to hang Mordecai on it the next morning.

While Haman was happily constructing a gallows for his enemy, the king was pacing the royal bedroom. Unable to sleep, he ordered one of his servants to read from the annals of the kingdom. That evening's reading just happened to be about how Mordecai had once saved the king's life by warning of a plot against him. It struck the king that Mordecai had never been properly rewarded for his loyalty.

So the next morning the king asked Haman: "What should be done for the man the king delights to honor?"

Assuming the king intended to reward him in some new and marvelous way, the foolish Haman replied with a grandiose suggestion: "For the man the king delights to honor, have them bring a royal robe the king has worn and a horse the king has ridden. Then let one of the king's most noble princes robe the man and lead him on the horse through the city streets, proclaiming before him, 'This is what is done for the man the king delights to honor!' "

"Go at once," the king commanded him. "Get the robe and the horse and do just as you have suggested for Mordecai the Jew."

Haman was dumbstruck. The man who had planned to bury his enemy was suddenly forced to exalt him that very day!

That night, as the king and Haman were once again drinking wine at the queen's banquet, the king implored Esther to ask for whatever her heart desired. This time she spoke her mind: "If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life—this is my petition. And spare my people—this is my request. For I and my people have been sold for destruction and slaughter and annihilation."

"Where is the man who has dared to do such a thing?" the king demanded.

"The adversary and enemy is this vile Haman."

And so Haman's star, which had risen to so great a height, fell suddenly, like a bolt of lightning crashing from the sky. He was hanged on the very same gallows he had built for the Jew Mordecai, and all his property was given to Esther. Furthermore, the king, because he could not revoke one of his own edicts, issued another to counteract the first one. It gave Jews throughout the empire the right to protect themselves, to destroy and plunder every enemy who might raise a hand against them on the seventh of March.

As news of the king's edict spread, many people from various nationalities became so terrified that they claimed to be Jews themselves. The very day Haman's gods had revealed as a day of reckoning for the Jews became a day of reckoning for their enemies. Ever after, the Jews commemorated these events with the Feast of Purim. As the book of Esther says, these days were celebrated "as the time when the Jews got relief from their enemies, and as the month when their sorrow was turned into joy and their mourning into a day of celebration."

Subject to foreign powers after the exile, God's people must have felt among the weakest elements of society. But weaker even than a Jewish man exiled to a foreign land was a Jewish woman. And weakest of all would have been a young orphan of Jewish descent. God had once again employed one of his favorite methods for accomplishing his purposes: He had raised an imperfect woman, the weakest of the weak, placing her in a position of immense strategic importance.

But it had been up to Esther to decide whether she would play the part God offered. Like Moses, she chose to identify with God's people even if it meant risking her life to do so. And even though exile was a punishment for Israel's long unfaithfulness, God showed that he was still with his people, delivering and protecting them in surprising ways, turning the table on their enemies through a series of stunning reversals. Earthly powers were at work to kill and destroy, but a heavenly power, far greater in scope, was at work to save and preserve.

Her Promise

God often uses the most unlikely characters to fulfill his purposes. He elevates a Jewish orphan to become queen of a great empire. Esther begins as a nobody and becomes a somebody, a woman who somewhat reluctantly risks her life to make a stand.

Again, God reveals his penchant for using the most unlikely, ordinary people to accomplish his divine purposes. But, you may wonder, could God ever use you to accomplish his purposes, with all your foibles and imperfections, your lack of talent or influence? Yes, he can! He isn't looking for people who are perfect or talented or influential. He is only looking for people who are willing.
Today's devotional is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Visit to learn more about Ann's writing and ministry.

Sunday, June 29, 2014


Her name means: "A Hot Stone" or "Coal"

Her character: Saul's concubine Rizpah was the mother of Armoni and Mephibosheth. Though a woman with few rights and little power, she displayed great courage and loyalty after the death of her sons.
Her sorrow: That her only sons were executed and their bodies dishonored because of their father's crime.
Her joy: That the bodies of her sons were finally given an honorable burial.
Key Scriptures: 2 Samuel 21:8-14

Her Story

One day a rabbi stood on a hill overlooking a certain city. The rabbi watched in horror as a band of Cossacks on horseback suddenly attacked the town, killing innocent men, women, and children. Some of the slaughtered were his own disciples. Looking up to heaven, the rabbi exclaimed: "Oh, if only I were God." An astonished student, standing nearby, asked, "But, Master, if you were God, what would you do differently?" The rabbi replied: "If I were God I would do nothing differently. If I were God, I would understand."
One day a woman named Rizpah was standing on a hill in Israel, watching the execution of seven men. Her grief was sharp, for among the dead were her own two sons. Executed for their father's crime, their bodies were left to rot on the hillside, despite a law requiring burial by sunset. Perhaps, like the rabbi, Rizpah wished she were God, even for a moment. Maybe then she would understand the "why" of what she had just witnessed.
It is not hard to imagine Rizpah's suffering. To watch as her body convulses in sorrow. To see her pound a fist against her breast to beat away the grief. When will she turn away from the gruesome spectacle? we wonder. But instead of fleeing the scene of her sorrow, she faces it, drawing close to bloodied bodies she once had cradled in her arms. Then she spreads sackcloth on a rock and sits down, refusing to move except to beat off birds of prey by day and jackals by night. Her vigil would last for several months—from mid-April to early October. Rizpah would not bury her grief as long as the bodies of her sons remained unburied.
Joshua had promised to live in peace with the Gibeonites, but Saul had murdered many of them during his reign, attempting to annihilate them. As a result of Saul's oath-breaking, Israel suffered a famine for three years running. In retribution, the Gibeonites had asked David for seven of Saul's male offspring. David surrendered Saul's two sons by Rizpah and five grandsons by Saul's daughter Merab. Blood was spilt for blood.
Scripture doesn't say whether Rizpah's sons shared their father's guilt. But like all mothers whose children have perished by violence—those in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, our own inner cities, and even our suburbs—Rizpah must have understood the terrible link between sin and death. One person's sin is a cancer that spreads. By refusing to hide her grief, by living out her anguish in public, Rizpah gave meaning to her sons' deaths, making the entire nation face the evil of what had happened.
Finally, the rains came. Finally, the king's heart was touched. Hearing of Rizpah's loyalty and courage, David ordered the remains of the executed to be buried. He even ordered Saul's and his son Jonathan's bones to be reclaimed and buried.
Scripture doesn't say that God ordered David to hand the men over to the Gibeonites in the first place, or even that the famine ended when they were executed. Instead, as Virginia Stem Owens points out in her book Daughters of Eve, the Bible indicates that God answered prayers on behalf of the land after the dead were given a decent burial. David's act in honor of the dead may have signaled an end to Israel's divisions. Finally, the land could be healed and the Israelites could reunite under David's leadership.
Rizpah made the people look at the cost of sin. Like many women in ancient cultures, she had few rights and little power. But her persistent courage gave meaning to her sons' deaths and helped a nation deal with the sin of its leader. Her story is tragic; her response, memorable. Perhaps because of her, other mothers in Israel were spared a similar grief, at least for a time.

Her Promise

Rizpah's consistency and tenacity is a lesson for all who are inclined to give up when the going gets tough. Out of love and a need to do what was right, she stuck out bad weather, cold, fatigue, and wild animals to protect her dead sons. Finally, someone in authority took notice and did something. Her faithfulness was rewarded, and she could rest. God promises the same to us. He asks us only to be faithful and to leave the rest up to him. Whatever the situation—harsh parents, unloving spouses, rebellious children, financial difficulties, sickness, or death—God knows and will uphold and provide in his time.

Today's devotional is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Visit to learn more about Ann's writing and ministry.


Monday, April 7, 2014


Her name means: "A Wild or Mountain Goat"
Her character: Decisive and courageous, she seized the opportunity to slay an enemy of God's people.
Her sorrow: To be lauded by Deborah and Barak for her part in a decisive victory.
Key Scriptures: Judges 4-5

Her Story

Jael watched uneasily through the flaps of her tent as clouds swept the blue from the sky and rain fell like a shroud across the horizon. Sisera, she knew, had marched to Tabor. But what good were iron chariots in a flooded valley? she wondered. Yet the Israelites were poorly armed, with little chance of prevailing. Still, she remembered the stories of Moses and the people he had led across the wilderness. Had their God, she wonderd, been asleep these many years?
The sight of a man running, then stumbling toward her interrupted her thoughts. A soldier fleeing? Was he Israelite or Canaanite? His identity might reveal the way the winds of battle were blowing. She went out to meet him, surprised to find that Sisera himself was approaching, dirty and bleeding.
"Come, my lord, come right in. Don't be afraid," she welcomed him.
"I'm thirsty," he said. "Please give me some water." Instead Jael opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink.
"Stand in the doorway of the tent," he told her. "If someone comes by and asks you, 'Is anyone here?' say 'No.' "
As soon as Sisera fell into an exhausted asleep, Jael picked up a tent peg and hammer. Her arm was steady, her aim sure. Hadn't she been in charge of the tents all these years? Quickly, she thrust the peg through his temple and into the ground. Like a piece of canvas fixed in place, Sisera, the great general, lay dead, slain by a woman's hand, just as Deborah had prophesied to Barak.
Was Jael a hero, an opportunist, or merely a treacherous woman? It is difficult to know. She and her husband, Heber, were Kenites, members of a nomadic tribe whose survival depended on its ability to stay clear of local disputes. Her husband had made his peace with the Canaanites despite his descent from Hobab, Moses' brother-in-law. Perhaps ancient ties had no longer seemed expedient, considering the power of the Canaanite rulers. But Jael may have believed in Israel's God. Or perhaps she merely wanted to curry favor with the Israelites, the day's clear winners. Certainly Barak and Deborah approved of her, singing:
Most blessed of women be Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
most blessed of tent-dwelling women.
He asked for water, and she gave him milk;
in a bowl fit for nobles she brought him curdled milk.
Her hand reached for the tent peg,
her right hand for the workman's hammer.
She struck Sisera, she crushed his head,
she shattered and pierced his temple.
At her feet he sank,
he fell; there he lay.
At her feet he sank, he fell;
where he sank, there he fell—dead. - Judges 5:24-27
Jael's treachery and Deborah's gloating strike us as bloodthirsty, all the more so because we don't usually attribute such behavior to women. But by the standards of ancient warfare, both were heroes. Both were decisive and courageous women who helped God's people at a critical moment in history.

Her Promise

Behind the story of Jael and the death of Sisera is a God who promised never to forget his people and who holds to that promise. When hope seems dim and the prospect of victory seems close to impossible, God is at work, bringing about his plan.
The people of Israel during the time of the judges must have worn God to exasperation with their continual wavering. When times were good, they easily forgot God and went their own way. But as soon as times got tough, they went running to him for deliverance.
Sound like anyone you know? The story of the wavering of God's people continues even today. We so easily move forward on our own, thinking we can handle it all, until we run up against something too hard for us. Only then do we run to God for help.
But what an amazing God he is. Always there. Always willing to rescue us when we call. Always willing to forgive.

Today's devotional is drawn from Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study of Women in Scripture by Ann Spangler and Jean Syswerda. Visit to learn more about Ann's writing and ministry.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Phebe, Phoebe

The Woman Who Wore the Badge of Kindness

Scripture ReferenceRomans 16:1, 2
Name Meaning—Pure or radiant as the moon
We know nothing of this pious female who delivered Paul’s “inestimable packet”—The Epistle to the Romans &--;to Rome. We just have the brief mention of her name and service. Phoebe, a devout Christian, bore without change and without reproach the name of the Moon-Goddess of the Greeks. The goddess Artemis, known by the common epithet “Phoebe,” was supposed to have been identified with the light of the moon. But the Phoebe whom Paul so highly commended shone as a light for Jesus, the “Light of the World.” That she must have been a woman of some consequence appears from the fact that she planned a long journey to Rome on business of her own, and offered to convey to the saints there Paul’s letter—“an inspired masterpiece of logic which struck the keynote of orthodoxy for the universal Church through all the succeeding ages.”
In some fifty words Paul gives us a beautiful cameo of this saintly servant of Christ for whom he urged the saints at Rome to do their utmost. The importance of her visit is indicated by the appeal of Paul to the Romans to “assist her in whatever matter she had need of.” Phoebe was—

A Sister

As used by Paul, this designation implies a spiritual relationship. He calls the believing husband and wife, “the brother and the sister” (1 Corinthians 7:15; 9:5). Young Timothy was his “son in the faith.” Phoebe, then, was a member of a spiritual family in which the relationship is based upon the redemption of Christ and the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:4-7). Apart from natural relationships, no woman is my “sister” unless she shares my experience of God’s saving grace through which alone we are made members of His redeemed family. How or when Phoebe became a Christian and a sister in the Lord, we are not told. What is evident is the manifestation of her sisterly love and labors among her sisters and brothers in Christ. “Our sister” is a term indicating her Christian status.

A Servant of the Church

Phoebe was not only a member of a spiritual family, but likewise a member of the visible church at Cenchrea when Paul arrived there on his third journey and from where he wrote Romans. Phoebe was not merely a confessing and active believer, she was also “a ministrant of the Church.” The word for “servant” is diakonos, from which we have “deacon” or “deaconess.” It is not certain whether such an official female Order as “Deaconess” was in vogue at that time. Phoebe, however, occupied such a position in the church, and as such could be a teacher of all female inquirers of the faith, and be active in the relief of the temporal needs of the poor among the flock. We can safely assume that Phoebe was one of the first, if not the first, of the noble band of deaconesses in the Christian Church. If hers was not an official ministry, it was certainly a most gracious and effective one, and she was indeed one of the forerunners of the vast army of women who have rendered such loyal service to Christ and His Church.

A Succourer of Many, and of Myself Also

The word Paul used for “succourer”—prostatis—is a most expressive one. It literally means “one who stands by in case of need.” It is classical Greek describing a trainer in the Olympic games, who stood by the athletes to see that they were properly trained and not over-trained and rightly girded when they lined up for the signal. Moule translates the phrase, “She on her part has proved a stand-by (almost a champion, one who stands up for others) of many, aye, and of me among them.” Phoebe was the unselfish, liberal helper or patroness of the saints, conspicuous for her works of charity and also hospitality. To quote Moule again—
She had been a devoted and it would seem particularly a brave friend of converts in trouble, and of Paul himself. Perhaps in the course of her visits to the desolate she had fought difficult battles of protest, where she found harshness and oppression. Perhaps she had pleaded the forgotten cause of the poor, with a woman’s courage, before some neglectful richer “brother.”
As for the personal touch “a succourer ... of myself also,” it has been suggested that Paul had in mind the visit he paid to Cenchrea and, shaving his head took a Jewish vow (Acts 18:18). “The vow seems to point to a deliverance from danger to sickness in which Phoebe may have attended him.” Because of her saintliness and practical works, Paul urged the believers in Rome to “receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints.” All in the Lord are saints but some are more saintly than others. Godly Phoebe is witness to what Christ can accomplish through consecrated spinsterhood.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Happy New Year

I want to encourage you to stop by the event registration table and get your free gift if you haven’t already.
In an effort to hide God’s word in our hearts, we have made you a free key chain. It contains 12 bible verses, one for each month of the year, to learn together.
January is vastly coming to a close and I want to encourage you to memorize the first verse. John 15:4 if you haven’t already received your key chain. However, don’t forget to visit the event registration table and pick one up absolutely free!!!
If you have memorized your verse, congratulations and great job. I would love to know. I will be in the 4 and 5 year old class this Sunday and will have  a small prize for you as a reward for taking the challenge and growing in God’s word!
Teresa Bass