Ruth; A story of Loyalty, Love and Redemption

RUTH; A STORY OF LOYALTY, LOVE AND REDEMPTION

The book of Ruth begins with a prologue which sets the tone of the story in rather sad way. The book opens with a man called Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and their two sons, Mahlon and Chilion. This family migrated from their hometown in Bethlehem-Judah to settle in the country of Moab as a result of feminine. In this land, Naomi is embittered. She loses her husband. Her two sons marry two Moabite women. After 10 years in marriage, the two sons also die. The cause of death between father and sons is unknown. It is after all this tragedy that RUTH is mentioned. Ruth is first mentioned in this story as a widow; she was married for ten years and then loses her husband. Studying this book, I asked myself if Ruth and Orpah didn’t bear children together with their husbands.

The name Ruth is of uncertain etymology, most believe Ruth to be derived from the Hebrew “rūth”, a possible contraction of “rē’ūth” which means companion or friend. It comes as no surprise that she lived up to the meaning of her name. The name is borne in the Bible by a Moabite woman who was devoted to her mother-in-law. The book of Ruth, though short, is deeply rooted in the principles of loyalty, friendship, love and redemption. No matter your age, the seasons of your life, there is something to take home from this book as we walk along with Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz.

Before we delve into the lessons from this Phenomenal Woman, you reading this piece today, you are Ruth. Not because your name is Ruth (If it is then this is a divinely orchestrated coincidence), but because you are a woman who may have experienced great loss and pain, yet you have remained loyal and faithful no matter what. You found your strength in God, and your Boaz (redemption) is now. Usually, the book of Ruth has been used to advise unmarried women on how to be located by their future husbands, which in itself is not a bad lesson, but the whole book of Ruth stands for something deeper than just a husband. This book is deeply rooted in the redemptive power of our Lord Jesus. Boaz, is just not a husband, he represents how Jesus is our ever present help in time of need, how our loyalty, faithfulness and humility is rewarded.

Our Safe Haven

The book of Ruth sets of with the life of Naomi. Naomi was from Bethlehem and moved to Moab with her husband Elimelek and their two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. Naomi later on lost her husband and she was left with her two sons. Her two sons found wives, Ruth and Orpah, but 10 years later, both sons died as well. It is worthy to note that Naomi and her family relocated to Bethlehem-Judah to seek refuge. That was supposed to be their safe haven. However, that was rather the place where they met their doom. Naomi now widowed and childless had these daughters-in-law depending on her for their next move in life. Ever been at that place where you run away from a certain situation, to seek solace somewhere else but that place turns sour? I mean when you think you are getting out of the hot oil in the frying pan only to be tossed up into the fiery furnace. Naomi and her family were escaping famine and hunger only to meet their death. The only safe haven we have as Children of God is the Name and Blood of Jesus. We can never tell what our safer move will cost us. But when we are in the deep waters, as long as Jesus is in the boat, we will sail through and come out victorious as was Naomi and Ruth’s story.

Loyalty Pays

Ruth and Orpah were both given the blessing from Naomi to go back to their hometowns after their husbands had passed. Naomi knew she couldn’t provide the women new husbands and she wanted them to take the obvious choice for “moving on” and not be held stagnant in life. Orpah made the decision to depart from her mother and sister in law and guess what, that was the last we heard about her in the good book. As to whether she remarried or not we have no clue but Ruth decided to stay with Naomi and head to Bethlehem together.

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16)

How many times have we made choices to be in a place that we “think” will give us what we want? Ruth was brave in keeping her commitment to Naomi, staying with her instead of looking to her own interests. We have often made Orpah seem like a selfish lady who did not want to go through any further suffering than she already had been through. But really, let’s be honest here, no one is judging, how many of us would have indeed followed Naomi back to her hometown. Bearing in mind that at that time also the Moabites were considered Gentiles as such were not permitted in the congregation of Israel. It took a certain level of grace and revelation for Ruth to insist on going back with Naomi, a decision she never looked back on. She was loyal from beginning to the end.

How many times have you pledged your loyalty to a person and you have gone back on your word. In my uni days, I was running for position in the SRC. I contacted this lady to help me campaign. She took all my campaign souvenirs and committed to help me win the elections. On the day of the elections, I found out all along she had been playing both sides. She was actually campaigning against me with the souvenirs I had given to her. She could have had just a little bit of integrity and told me I am unable to assist you! Instead, she thought she was being smart by playing me.

Let us be women of integrity and loyalty. Let our yea be yea and our no be no. In being loyal however, let us be discerning in choosing where our loyalty lies.

Do not be an Idle Woman

When they had reached their new home, Ruth decided to get to work. “And Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi,

“Let me go to the fields and pick up the leftover grain behind anyone in whose eyes I find favor.” (Ruth 2:2)

She was in a new town, with new people, and wanted to help take care of Naomi who was old and herself. She decided to glean in a nearby field and follow the harvesters. Her work ethic did not go unnoticed as a foreman would speak about her labor to Boaz shortly after his notice of her:

“She’s been at it steady ever since, from early morning until now, without so much as a break.” (Ruth 2:7

You may find yourself in certain situation which has the tendency to cause you to be idle. Ruth could have given all the excuses in this world. But I just got here! But who do I know here! But how will I get a job! But I did not pass my exam! But I did not pass the interview! But I did not have rich parents growing up! New flash! All your “buts” are true, however what are you doing to change that “but”?

Don’t be idle. It does not look pretty on you.

Your decision affects generations yet unborn

When Naomi heard about Boaz, she gives her a set of instructions in relation to her conduct towards him and Ruth obeys it to the latter. He’s happy to know she’s interested in him and expresses his desire to marry her but that there’s another relative who has Closer ties to her-in-laws. Boaz sets out to meet the guy and as it turns out, this random relative is only interested in buying a land Naomi owns, but much less interested in taking her daughter-in-law. So a deal is struck Boaz takes Ruth as his wife. Soon, Ruth and Boaz has a son.

This son was named Obed who later became the father of Jesse who later became the father of David who, as we know, is in the direct blood line of Jesus Christ! How glorious to see how the braveness and commitment of a young woman would later meet a man that would help to bring the family lines of Jesus Christ into fruition. At a surface level, few saw Ruth as an unimportant. She was from Moab, which was a nation that resulted from an incestuous encounter between Lot and his daughter. She was a poor widow living in a foreign land away from her birth family. But God saw her as important and His plan for her life culminated in her becoming a part of the lineage of Jesus.

Never underestimate the power of your decisions, commitment and loyalty to God and to close relatives and even friends. God also brought joy back to Naomi as she lovingly helped to take care of Obed. How awesome is our God that He can take such a dark and lonely season for Naomi and Ruth and turn it into joy, love, prosperity and redemption! Never underestimate the power of your decisions, commitment, humility, and integrity!

Finally, to be a modern day Ruth, you should be loyal in all your relationships, walk and work the extra mile, don’t quit when the going gets tough. Someday it will all make perfect sense. Let go of what died or didn’t work out, move forward and walk towards your future.

 

love; Nelia.phenomenalwoman

WHO TOUCHED ME ?

 

In the territory of Garessa, at the other side of the lake of Galilee lived beautiful, depressed, broke and lonely Ruby. She was suffering from severe bleeding for twelve years. Every hospital in the town had her record because she was so desperate to get healed so she moved from clinic to clinic. The best doctors in the town and around had no cure for her ailment. Due to the nature of the disease, she was considered to be an outcast so she lived at the outskirts of the town together with the lepers☹. She spent all her life’s earnings and fortunes seeking for a cure for the terrible and disgraceful disease.
She had heard Jesus, the son of God who was healing the sick and preaching the Good News was in town. On his way to the house of Jairus, an official of the local synagogue, she realised there was a very large crowd following him so she fell in the crowd behind him saying to herself, “let me just touch his clothes. He has so much power, it should be flowing through his garment too. I’ll get healed. I’m just going to touch his garment and get well”. So she braced herself, went very close to Jesus and touched the hem of his garment. Her bleeding immediately ceased and she knew at once that she had been healed of her trouble. Jesus on the other hand realised power had gone out of him so he turned around to ask who had touched his garment. His disciples thought it awkward for him.to ask such a question since he had so many people following him. However, Jesus was still not fully convinced so he kept looking around to see who touched him. Ruby, realising what she had caused and what had happened to her, came trembling with fear , knelt at His feet and told Him the truth. Jesus then said to her, ” my daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your trouble”.

From Ruby’s story we can say she was a woman of great faith. What then is faith? According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is described as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This simply means that we’re giving substance to something which is not in existence but we’ve hoped for it so therefore we have it. We can also deduce from Ruby’s story 4 very simple ways to activate our faith and they include:

  1. Say it. Yes. Speak it into existence. Make a declaration. I want an A! Or I’m healed in Jesus’ name. I’m getting that job! Its that simple.Ruby said she was going the touch the hem of Jesus’ garment and get healed. While you’re speaking, you should believe in your heart as well.
  2. Do it. Your action determines what you’re going to get. You don’t just sit idle and expect to get that A. You’ve got to study towards it. From Ruby’s story, she just didn’t follow the crowd and expected to get healed. No! She touched the hem of his garment. Her speech was backed by her action. According to your action, you receive or you’re kept from receiving.
  3. Receive it. How do you receive? With an open heart. Believe and you shall receive. So just believe without any doubt and you’re going to receive it.
  4. Tell it. Announce it. Make it known. That way you’re opening more paths for miracles and you’re activating other people’s faith too.

 

 

Written by Miss Pesiba Bansah

 

With all the love, Nelia.phenomenalwoman 

 

JEZEBEL; The Slay Queen

JEZEBEL; the slay queen.

 

For y’all self acclaimed slay queens, here’s a toast to the original and literal slay queen, QUEEN JEZEBEL. I mentioned in one of the posts of Self love that real Queens are too busy putting their kingdom in order and in place. Real promising queens, like Queen Esther, build legacies, give life and hope to the desolate and are full of God’s Wisdom!
To be a Slay Queen, is to literally kill and that was exactly what Jezebel did to keep herself busy. She was a destructive queen at whose reign God’s people buried several prophets.

I bet to say, if Jezebel walked into a boardroom today to interview for job, she’d be hired in a heartbeat . All heads will turn and admire the confident, Intelligent, courageous, and assertive woman. She was a born leader with considerable influence who boldly took on the competition and got things done without excuses!

When such a woman honors the Lord, great things happen. This pushy Phoenician princess worshiped Baal, a fertility god. Temple prostitution and child sacrifice were the order of the day. Murdering the prophets of Israel was business as usual. No wonder she’s described as the Lady Macbeth of the Bible. Jezebel is a perfect example of misplaced priorities and misused potentials.

King Ahab “did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him” (1 Kings 16:30) and marrying Jezebel was at the top of his evil deeds. Politics, not romance, paired this nefarious couple. Sounds familiar?

Who is JEZEBEL, THE SLAY QUEEN

 

Growing up in Sunday School, I quite remember how young girls will cringe at the sound of Jezebel. It has been a name associated with witchcraft, manipulation and evil deeds. In short, it is a name no woman wants to be associated with. I am yet to meet a young woman called JEZEBEL.

She’s the daughter of Ethbal; a priest of Baal. Hence the name Jezebel which means married to Baal. Ethbal, the priest king of Tyre murdered his own brother to take over the throne so it came as no surprise when Jezebel followed in her father’s footsteps to be a power loving blood seeking murderess who will stop at nothing to get what she wanted. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree huh?

Anyway let’s dive into the reason we chose Jezebel for our bible character Study this month.
Jezebel was the wife of Israel’s king at the time; King Ahab. As King Ahab’s wife, she wielded a lot of power. She teaches us how to be doting. She showed so much care for Ahab and was able to detect if there was anything troubling him. She wanted to grant him all his heart desires and went so far to get him whatever he wanted. Regardless of her evil nature, Jezebel exuded a great amount of passion for what and whom she loved. She would not take excuses. Nothing was literally impossible in the eyes of Jezebel. As long she can conceive it mentally, there were no boundaries to get to it. Jezebel was evil and yes there’s no repentance for evil spirits, and I am in no way praising Jezebel or putting her on a pedestal.

Young Christian women tend to be timid. We teach it to our children and they grow up in it. Girls at Sunday school are expected to be “graceful” without grit. They are taught about Eve, which makes them to hate their gender even at that age as they are made to believe that their species got the world to where it is today. I remember distinctively being mad at Eve or at the imagination of Her. I was unhappy that the downfall of mankind was attributed to the woman (discussion for another day, but to read my thoughts on Eve, go to my post on Eve). After Eve, we were probably taught about how charming and adorable and completely innocent Mary was. The picture is painted in our minds to be living in the shadows till the favour of God locates us. We were never taught Deborah, the female Judge, or even Jael, the woman who killed Sisera by stabbing Him with his own spear. We were never taught of Abigail whose intelligence and smartness saved her home from the wrath of David. We were however told that Delilah, a woman was the source of Samson’s downfall. Get where I’m headed? Follow on…
Jezebel possessed confidence that is enviable, intelligence and assertiveness as a woman which is totally admirable. The young Christian woman needs these and must put them to the right use, not to become manipulative blood thirsty women. Our spirituality alone will not set us apart in this word.

Another vital lesson we can learn is our power of influence as women. We can learn from Jezebel never to underestimate our power of influence over our children. Jezebel was good at influencing and teaching her children but she did not give them good lessons. Athaliah(daughter of Jezebel and King Ahab) took Jezebel’s influence and went a step further to evil by killing any possible heirs so that she could be queen. How much focus we put into serving the Lord and the way we treat others will teach our children to do same. The way we lead, love and submit will be seen and imitated by our offspring. Not just our biological children. Whoever is within our circle over whom we have a considerable amount of influence over.

Still on influence, Jezebel knew the great deal of influence and power she had as a wife and queen, therefore she didn’t underrate it. Because of the influence she had as a queen and wife, she was able to acquire Naboths vineyard for her husband,  once again, misused potentials.

Imagine, just imagine, Jezebel with all her grit, grace, intelligence,  assertiveness,  but just with the Spirit of God, not the spirit of Baal. She wouldn’t be the witchcraft caricature we imagine at the sound of her name. In the same vein, many many many young women with amazing qualities and potentials going the wrong way, misdirection all that potentials to the vertical wrong things.

Influence is at the heart of women. God made you to be an influencer. Influence is the undeniable power of a woman, once tapped, opens many doors. Woman, Your power is in your ability to influence. I cannot over emphasize this enough. (Here’s a link to a piece I wrote two years ago on how to be a woman of Good influence, peek a read , http://rubiesworth.com/influence-it-is/)
Influence is a heart thing.
Michelle Mckinney Hammond in her book, the power of being a woman mentioned “the gift of Influence is the invisible power that women overlook”
Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
As Christian ladies, we must be able to understand that we have so much influence and if put to good use, will go a long way in helping us to develop ourselves, our community and populate the kingdom of God.

The influence of a woman can make or break a man. In the case of Jezebel, we all know what happened to Ahab.

Jezebel’s life is a story of talent wasted and abuse of power. Should she have channeled her intelligence, courage, enthusiasm and influence to the service of God and Israel, she would have been one of the most revered queens in the history of Israel and would have given Queen Esther a fierce competition in the Bible days.

Dear Phenomenal Woman,
Be a Queen, I mean a real Queen, not a wannabe queen, or a slay queen. Remember your worth is Far Above Rubies and that the crown of Womanhood that rests gracefully on your head is invaluable. Don’t trade your pearls for stones.

 

“It’s definitely difficult being a woman and growing up a girl. When you’re graceful, people say you lack personality; when you’re serene, people say you’re boring; when you’re confident, people say you’re arrogant; when you’re feminine, people say you’re too girly; and when you climb trees, people say you’re too much of a tomboy! As a woman, you really need to develop a very strong sense of self and the earlier you can do that,the better! You have to be all the things that you are, without allowing other people’s ignorance change you! I realized that they don’t know what grace is, they can’t identify serenity, they have inferiority complexes, they are incapable of being feminine, and they don’t know how to climb trees!” ― C. JoyBell C

 

 

Love, Nelia.phenomenalwoman

 

WOMAN, YOU’RE FAR ABOVE RUBIES

WOMAN, YOU’RE FAR ABOVE RUBIES.


PROVERBS 31V 10.

Our bible character Study for today has taken a different twist. Ordinarily, we would be discussing an actual woman that existed in the biblical days. Well today, we’re talking about a woman that was described, somewhat in abstract. The woman that God wants us all to be, the Proverbs 31 woman.
This woman seems to be a cliché in our world today, especially in our churches. However, the same women who claim proverbs 31 v 10 are the same women fighting for “Gender equality”. In my opinion, gender equality is a myth( I’ll be writing on this soon).

I decided on this woman because of the current spate of radical unfounded feminism in my country, Ghana.

A bunch of privileged women, who have gotten some fair level of education and exposure thinking they know it all about Gender and being a woman, but are actually being schooled by men. It irks me to see this generation of women, and Christian women at that, fighting for what isn’t theirs with no idea of what they have.

Being a woman of strength isn’t about being able to throw a fist at a man for being a man. Being a woman isn’t about playing the gender card anytime you feel something is not in your favour. Being a woman, is recognising the value God placed within you when he made you, and rising above what the world dictates about womanhood.

Now to the Proverbs 31v 10-31, (I’m basically paraphrasing some verses).
A good woman, who shall find? For her worth is Far Above Rubies. Don’t you find it rather mesmerising that not even a Ruby is equated to the worth of a woman? Not only are you far worthy than Rubies, you’re far above the worth of a Ruby. You’re exceedingly abundantly above the scale of measurement of a Ruby. (You still think gender equality is the ideal?). Woman, Your Worth, value and whole being of existence is that intriguing that words can’t literally explain.

She’s clothed in strength and dignity. You’re strength personified and dignity is your apparel. Your strength is not to fight for what is not yours, but to guard diligently and jealously what is yours. Your dignity is your integrity. Your integrity as a woman lies in your character. Be a woman of commendable character.

She works willingly with her hands. A woman never complains about work, whatever form it may take, be it domestic or corporate or commercial. She’s not a lazy woman who deems certain works as slavery. She gets tired, yes. She get worked out yes, but she never plays the gender card.

She’s Kind, she’s industrious, she’s proactive and brings honour to her home. She’s filled with wisdom and on her mouth is the law of kindness.
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to praised. Your Looks will fade away like the flower and your charm, like the whirlwind. What will be left of you, as a woman, is your substance.
What substance are you made up of? Substance of rage and fury against the opposite sex? Substance of ingratitude to God for making you a woman? Substance of the worth which is far above rubies?

I am a woman, and I wear that as a badge of honour. I do not view myself disadvantaged in anyway by society, norms, or stereotypes lest I let that have the better part of who I am, leaving me with anger, dissatisfaction and unfulfilled. The devil knows this, as such has planted lies in the minds of the daughters of Eve, hindering them from living up to the purpose of a woman.

Be a Woman, be Unapologetic about it, Be a Woman of Substance far above rubies.

Love, Nelia.phenomenalwoman

THE WOMAN AT THE WELL…freedom in Truth

THE WOMAN AT THE WELL

Our fair story begins in the town of Sychar in the region of Samaria as a woman writes in her diary:

Dear Diary,

Today was hotter than most days and as usual, I was walking to Jacob’s well all alone… *Sigh*… when I noticed this fiiiiiiiinnneeee man sitting on the edge. From the looks of it, he is Jewish! I mean, his sandals, his hair, his nose…. Just screaming Jewish to me. That meant that I was going to get one load of a talk down because Jewish and Samaritans just don’t vibe.. you get what I mean? Alright so I fetch my water as far away from him as possible when this man asks me for some of my water. First off, I think this man must be lost or something because:

1. Jewish and Samaritans do not share bowls… they hate us! Well our fathers told us after the Israelites who settled in Sychar were defeated by the Asssyrians, the Samaritans intermarried them. This made the Jews furious as they believed the true blood of Isreal had been altered by Pagans. They found no need in associating with us anymore. So yes they despise us.

2. I am a woman and one dishonoured woman as a fact so he, as a rabbi and all, isn’t meant to talk to me at all.

So I state the obvious about Jews, Samaritans and bowls then he says, “If only you knew what God gives and who it is that is asking you for a drink, you would ask him and he would give you life-giving water”
Surprised, I look at his feet. There was no bucket at all so I told him how deep the well was. He listened with a smug grin as I asked where he would get the water from. “You don’t claim to be greater than our father Jacob, do you? ”
He tips his head to the well and says, “All those who drink this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks the water that I give him will never be thirsty again”. I look at him like ohh so if you do have water that when one drinks of, one will never thirst again, why must you bug me for water? He goes on further and said the water would come from a spring that gives life-giving water to give eternal life. Woah, where my cup at? Then, He tells me to hold up and asks for my husband and that’s when your girl right here gets real shy. I tell him that I have no ring on my finger and he says I know you’ve been married to five men and the guy I live with hasn’t put a ring on me.

Prophesy game strong, I see. He goes on talking about worship and when I mention that I know the Messiah will come to tell we, Samaritans everything, he says he *is* the Messiah. Soon, his company appears and from the looks on their faces it looks like they aren’t happy. I dash away to tell the others that the Messiah actually spoke to me. Talk about a story..

Now, right now, I am wondering why the Messiah, saviour of the world, looked through the fact that I am a Samaritan Woman and spoke to me. I know I am not the type to talk to… I mean, I go to the well all alone when going to the well is supposed to be something fun and chatty for women to do in groups… I married five men and I’m with my sixth in the series…. I am Samaritan, one who worships God on mountains… Well, not much to be proud of, if you catch my flow but hey, He actually looked through this to say “what’s up”. Well, then that means God must be this carefree and free spirited( ie He really sees me through His eyes and love). He won’t care if I was jobless, homeless or was a harlot, He would look through my flaws and talk to me. He won’t jeer or scowl because He is not human, not like the other gods or even fellow humans. With a God so forgiving, I should be prepared to give myself to Him and talk to him because with Him, my shame is cast away. What a lesson… I should be full of hope and faith.

Secondly, I learnt to not comprehend certain things with human morals. When he asked me to give him water, I went straight to the rules. Being the person I was deemed to be, I wanted to play it safe and avoid any trouble. I realised then that I have been drinking too much from water that is earthly, water that would get me even more thirstier. Water that would make me question His asking me for such a simple thing like water. I should rather be drinking water that would give me eternal life. I should try to get that water by doing good things in life, not discriminating and following the word. That’s what will give me the water that gives eternal life. Eternal life in Heaven. I won’t be thirsty ever again because doing good comes with self-satisfaction. I totally get it now. I wish I knew his name though but I have a feeling I would soon find out. Now, I must go and share this lesson with other people so my cup can be filled…and tell of the freedom I gained in truth…

Love, the woman at the well♡♡

If the woman at the well of Samaria kept a diary, and she had to recount Her encounter with Jesus, this is how it would have read. However, that woman at well, represents a fraction of us, women today. Ostracised from society by our faults, sins and shortcomings. Set apart for all the wrong reasons. Having little to no confidence in ourselves. Going to the well alone, because we don’t want judgmental eyes preying on us and criticising fingers directed at us.
Notice the only description we have of this woman is that she was a samaritan woman, who had been married to several men; no name whatsoever. It stands to reason that indeed reputation preceeds a fellow.
This woman, being defensive because she knew the reputation that preceded her was quick to lay down the rules before Jesus. In actual sense, what she did was to tell Jesus, I am not worthy of being in your presence let alone have a conversation with you. Her eyes were blinded with the law that she didn’t see grace staring right at her. Her conscience was clouded with guilt she couldn’t recognise mercy personified.
But in all, she was truthful, open and honest. That truthfulness fetched her freedom from all of Society’s laws.
Here’s an encouragement, a call to the well. Get rid of all your defence guards and mechanisms. Go to the well, gain your freedom in truth, and run to tell the world about it, that they may also receive same.
FREEDOM IN TRUTH…

Love, Nelia.phenomenalwoman

JOSEPH

JOSEPH: A JUST MAN.

Christmas is creeping up on us bit by bit and oh what better time than this to remind ourselves about the birth of our Lord and Saviour cute baby boy Jesus. I wasn’t there but yes I know my baby Jesus was cuuteeee! He literally put the ‘e’ in Cute😃😃😃. Anyway, so I can bet you, a number of churches and schools are planning for carol services. Rehearsals and role playing for the ever famous and never archaic play of the birth of our cute baby Jesus are in session.
The highlight of all these festivities is primarily about how Mary carried the saviour into this world with all the consequences that came with it and how the saviour finally came into this side of eternity. But today, the spotlight falls on Joseph, and as a matter of fact, this month is our month of celebrating mighty men of valour. Prepare yourself to be wowed!!

Bible makes us understand that Joseph was born of a man named Jacob, of the genealogy of Abraham and David. Actually all generations from Abraham unto David are fourteen, and from David until the carrying away in to Babylon are another fourteen generations. The birth of Christ is another fourteen generations from the exile into Babylon. If my maths are accurate, from Abraham to the birth of Jesus is a whooping forty-two generations.

The importance of Joseph in the birth of Jesus Christ has been undermined. Mary has been seen to be the chosen one and has amassed all the praise and recognition as such. However, it actually isn’t so.
Joseph, as we have seen already, was a descendant of the great King David, the man after God’s own heart. The King to whom God promised that he would never want a man to sit upon his throne. In other words, his throne will know no end!
Jeremiah 33:17 For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
This same prophecy was given by the Prophet Isaiah when He prophesied about the birth of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
We’ll need some other time to discuss this promise made to David, but today, Joseph is our man.
Mary was espoused to be married to Joseph, a descendant of David. Jesus had to be born out of this lineage.
Matthew 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
According to theologians, Joseph was the only man from that lineage at the time this prophesy needed to be fulfilled. That is to say that when the set time came, Joseph of House Jacob, of the lineage of David was found to be a just man, therefore qualified to fulfill this prophesy.
I’ve always said that Mary was not the only virgin present at that time. Neither was she the only virgin espoused to be married at the time. But why was she chosen? Ride along!
Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Yes, Mary was chosen because she was the maiden espoused to Joseph, the primary career of the prophesy. Maybe, just maybe, Mary and Joseph’s engagement was divinely orchestrated. The favour found Mary automatically because of Joseph’s genealogy and connection to the prophesy about the birth of baby Jesus.
This points me in the direction of my first lesson :
THE PEOPLE YOU ASSOCIATE WILL MAKE YOU OR BREAK YOU:

Bible says bad company corrupts good morals. In the same vein, there are people you associate with, who add value to you or devalue you. God forbid, if Mary was espoused to Barabas or Naboth, this favour wouldn’t have found her. In choosing the people you relate with, choose them well. Be it friends, partners and most importantly spouses. There are people who carry certain spirits that drain you on every side. Don’t just don’t feel obliged to let everyone into your circle and don’t feel bad about it. Let them say you see yourself. You know what you want you want and so you associate with like minded persons.

Matthew 1:19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

BE JUST.
Joseph had every moral right to let go of Mary or disgrace her publicly. No wait, actually he didn’t, but most of us think that because we do that. You dated that boy, things didn’t work out. Respect yourself enough and what you shared with that fellow and shut up! Your friendship with someone broke out. If you can’t talk to them about what you feel inside, shut up. I feel we aren’t very honest with ourselves especially with our friends and what we feel towards them.
Be just. Things didn’t workout between you and that friend or boyfriend, don’t go spreading rumours about them. Better still, you don’t owe people any explanation, don’t go explaining yourself trying to be the better person. Because guess what, in trying desperately to look good, you’re making the other person appear terrible, which in most situations is the other way round.

These are the two main lessons I was able to discuss with you. There’s a lot more to come this November, in our month of celebrating mighty men of valour.

 

Love, Nelia.phenomenalwoman

HANNAH

 

HANNAH.

Many many many years ago a man lived. He had two wives. The wife whom he dearly loved was barren. The other bore him a lot of children that his heart was at peace; but for a while. The woman who bore him children mocked the one whom he loved, but was barren. The woman whom he loved wept and prayed. Her tears were her three square meals for a day.
And it was, that every year, this man together with his half happy half sad family will visit the Lord at Shiloh to pray, offer sacrifices and commune with the Lord and one another. And it so happened, that on this particular journey to Shiloh, something extraordinary happened. There was a shift in the woman who he loved’s prayer life.
She knelt down at the altar and prayed her womb out. She prayed for long hours nonstop – a prayer marathon. She prayed till she could utter no words. She prayed till her ribs felt like they were cracking out of dryness. She prayed until she was drunk in prayer!
She asked God one thing, a son, whom she “covenanted” to give back to God when he was of age.
Fast forward to the year after, the woman drunk in prayer had a son. She could not attend the annual meeting at Shiloh because she wanted to wean the son she bore so she could honour her part of the covenant as God had obviously honoured his part.
Spoiler alert, the woman is Hannah, who bore Samuel, one of the greatest prophets in Israel. The one who anointed David King over Israel( oh my don’t get me started on Samuel).
Hannah’s rival, Penninah mocked her. The kind of mockery that would make Hannah stay in her room all day, to avoid Penninah. The mockery that would force Hannah to starve herself all day, and sneak out at night to get some bread to munch on and wash it down with a bottle of asaana or sobolo.
But when Hannah’s glory came, and she honoured her covenant, her son’s legacy has lived on till date. Not even one of Penninah’s children had their names mentioned in the Bible. Well I haven’t seen it yet, if you have, kindly let me in on it.
Lessons.
1. Penninahs are needed in our lives: Hannah must have been throwing a pity party for herself already before Penninah came on the scene. But here’s the part Penninah played, her mockery made Hannah sit up, take matters into her hands and literally have a banter with God. After which she received her results. Penninahs (I actually love the name though) are the persons in our life who criticise our every move. In fact, your very existence, to them is an error. Penninah is that person who makes fun of your unfortunate situation. Penninah I that person who tells you God has forsaken you and He doesn’t love you. Penninah is the person who never wishes you well, but their lives look as though it perfect and glorious. Penninah is the reason all that glitters is not gold.
But a Penninah is also the reason God will perform His word. A Penninah is the reason you should take the bull by the horn and deal with the core of your problems. That Penninah is the reason God will give you the Gold, when it looks like you have nothing put stones in your hand.

2. Ask God Until He Says Something Tangible – What prayer can’t do, more prayer can do. What more prayer can’t do, much more prayer will do! Hannah prayed until she had heaven’s attention and submitted her petition. Hannah travailed in prayer, and she brought forth. She literally touched the hem of God’s garment like the woman with the issue of blood
3. Honour God when He Honours you. Don’t try playing smart. Do what you said you’d do and do it well. Hannah didn’t play wayo! She did what she said she would, gave the son back to God. Theologians actually believe that she had other sons after Samuel; because she honoured her word. God is not a man that He would lie, nor the son of man to change His mind.

Love, Nelia.phenomenalwoman

Ps: Don’t forget to let me know you passed by ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

RAHAB

RAHAB

Hello everyone. We will be doing a short study on Rahab for this month. Rahab is first mentioned in the Bible in Joshua 2. Remember the two men who were sent by Joshua to spy the land of Jericho? Yhup, it was Rahab’s place they lodged. Okay, I know you knew that already. I hope we also remember it was around the same time the Lord was about sending His children into the Promised Land.

Rahab is a name which means broad, spacious or vast. It is believed the first part of her name(Ra) might have been from the Egyptian god Ra. She dwelt on the city wall in Jericho. Jericho was a pagan environment where almost every  tom, dick and harry that dwelt there participated in idol worship. She dwelt there with her father,mother, brothers and sisters. She was a prostitute(or harlot). We can also see that she had some knowledge about the God of Israel(Joshua 2:10,11).
She is one of the only four women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus Chris(Matt 1:5). She is the only woman mentioned by name in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11.

Lessons to be learnt from Rahab

  • Rahab was a thinker!
    The first thing that strikes me about Rahab is her ability to think and act. And I see this in various acts of hers. For instance;
    The way she responded when she was asked about the men. Oh yeah…..she did lie. But we are not bent on highlighting any weakness of hers. She gave them an answer(and with bravery) which they had no reason to doubt for a second. The men didn’t even consider searching her room for the spies just in case she had lied.

 

  • And thinkers observe and strategise…
    We see her in Joshua 2:16 advising the spies on what to do so they are not discovered by their pursuers. I believe this advice stemmed from the fact that she had observed and understood the way things worked in her community. So now, I want you to pause. Is there any aspect of your life you can apply the principle of observing and strategizing. You see, phenomenal women( and men too) make their society better. They are proble. To be a problem solver and an agent of positive change in your society, you should learn to observe and plan. It shouldn’t end with just thinking and planning, let’s learn to take action. Let’s learn to take initiative.

 

  • The concern she had for her family
    From our introduction, we understand that Rahab’s family also lived in Jericho. We’re not too sure why she wasn’t living with them in the same house. Some have attributed it to the fact that she may have been estranged from her family because of her profession. Nevertheless, we see a woman who wasn’t selfish and secured safety for her family. So firstly, I just want to encourage you to create strong bonds of unity and love in your family. Let your family know you care and that God gave you to them for a reason. It honestly feels good to know that you have a family supporting you.
    And also as the old adage goes, “Charity begins at home.” Showing love to people around you isn’t fruitful if you can’t show love to the wonderful family God has given you (and family is not always blood). In a similar vein, if you want to be a difference in society, start being a difference in your family, right where you are.

 

  • Faith
    For someone who had been exposed to idol worship right from birth, she demonstrated a very admirable degree of faith. And her consciousness of the power and might of God is amazing.(Joshua 2:10,11) It is no surprise then that we find her name in the Hall of faith. I believe her faith in God also prompted her to make such a great request of her family being spared(Josh 2:12,13). And we see from Joshua 6 that this faith was rewarded.

So to conclude, I want to say I get excited when I see Rahab, who was once a prostitute appear in the genealogy of Jesus Christ. It reminds me that I have a God who can take the foolishness of this world to confound the wise. It also encourages me not to look down on myself or allow myself to be held mentally captive by my past. God is good. I can be a great shining star no matter how darkened my life may has once been.
God richly bless you for reading.

beautifully written by Arbie Marfoa Marfo  ( team member of the Phenomenal Woman) 

Nelia.phenomenalwoman

Mary Magdalene

FROM A DEMONIAC TO A DISCIPLE.

The Lord’s right hand woman

Have you ever come across the famous painting of the last supper by Italian artist, Leonardo Da Vinci? If you have, you may have noticed a feminine looking character sitting on the left hand of Jesus. You probably haven’t but that it’s alright because this post is going to talk about what you didn’t see in the painting, which is a feminine looking character which some people believe to be Mary Magdalene. My work is not to justify whether or not this assertion is true or otherwise. On the contrary, my work is to study the character of Mary Magdalene and her ministry during Jesus’s days on earth.

Mary Magdalene or Mary of Magdala was the most prominent female follower of Jesus Christ. Born in Magdala in Judea, she was a Jewish woman and had been recorded to have seen both the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Magdala means “tower” or “castle,” and in the time of Christ was a thriving, populous town on the coast of Galilee about three miles from Capernaum. Dye works and primitive textile factories added to the wealth of the community. It may be that “The Magdalene” was connected with the industry of the town for it would seem as if she was not without means, enabling her to “serve the Lord with her substance”.
Before we study Mary Magdalene’s life and character, I deem it necessary to dissociate and liberate our minds from those who connect her with prostitution or being a harlot. Although Mary was a woman of high standing and comfortable circumstances, she suffered from the malady of periodic insanity from the demons that possessed her very being and not harlotry. We are not privy to a lot of background information about Mary Magdalene, thus before she met Christ. Her life and story and ministry began after she met Christ up until the resurrection of Christ.

Luke 8:2-3 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

Mary was the only woman who’s number of demons were mentioned. It stands to reason that amongst the women that Jesus healed of the evil spirits, Mary was the most troubled. However, the very the moment Jesus’ compassionate eyes locked the wild-eyed and cringing woman of Magdala, He saw in her what no other person saw; the minister who would be a blessing to His own ministry and to others.
There was therefore the need for this woman to be set loosed from her bondage. In His authoritative voice and with all power, He commanded the tormenting demons to come out and stay out of her. The demons couldn’t do much but to obey and succumb. Her deranged and nerve-racked mind became as tranquil as the troubled lake Jesus calmed. Sanity returned, the rosy tint was restored to her cheeks, and she was made whole. Now, “clothed and in her right mind, in dignity and strength”, she was ready to become one of the most devoted woman disciples of Him to whom she owed so much, her freedom, breakthrough, dignity, sanity and even her life! And this is how Mary of Magdala transitioned from being demon possessed to being a disciple of Christ.
Lessons or Nuggets from this Character.
1. Women matter in ministry:

If there’s only one lesson to pick from the character of Mary Magdalene, it will be that women play a pivotal role in ministry. Women cannot be sidestepped in the five fold ministry and many others. I say this for two main reasons.
First, following the story of this woman, we realise that she followed Jesus right from the moment of her sanity till his death and resurrection.

And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

Mary became a disciple. Freed from demonic shackles, she became the right hand woman of the Lord, his personal person, his body body, his hommie! Her personal ministrations, along with those of other women who had been healed, greatly aided Jesus in His missionary activities as He travelled from place to place preaching and teaching His message. Grateful, these women became generous, ministering unto Him of their substance.

Mary left her home in Magdala to follow Jesus. Constantly on the move as Jesus and His disciples were, there were many details in connection with their personal comfort and well-being requiring attention to which these women could see. Quietly and effectively Mary would do what she knew needed to be done. Further, money was necessary for the Master’s campaign work. We never read of Him or His disciples asking for money, yet funds were necessary. Much of it came from Mary and other women like her who had been so richly blessed of the Lord.

Now it was time for Christ to be crucified. Mary went with her Lord into the shadows of death not forsaking Him at that darkest moment of His ministry, not thinking of what was going to be left of her after her Lord and Saviour was gone. She followed Jesus on His last sad journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, not as the preacher or teacher she knew him to be, but as one going to die a shameful death befitting of criminals and murderers. And as they followed, they still “ministered unto Him.” Mary was present with the other holy women at the mock trial of Jesus. Mary was present in Pilate’s Hall and saw and heard the religious leaders yearning for the blood of Him who was so precious and dear to her heart, the darling of Heaven. She listened as Pontius Pilate pronounced His death sentence of crucifixion although he had found no fault in Him. She witnessed and wept as Jesus left the hall to be spat upon and ill-treated by the crowd thirsting for His blood. Then she saw Him led out to Calvary’s fatal mount to be nailed to a tree.

Matthew 27:55-56 And many women were there beholding afar off, which followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him:
Among which was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s children.

Every time Mary Magdalene’s name was mentioned with the rest of the women, her name appeared first. This shows that her service and ministry couldn’t be overemphasised, and that she may have even been the leader of the rest of them that followed Jesus.

Secondly, after the crucifixion and all the drama that accompanied it, guess who was at the tomb early on the third day to go and anoint the body of Jesus.

John 20:1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

After Mary Magdalene got to the sepulchre and saw that Christ was no where to be found, she rushed and informed Simon Peter and John about what she had witnessed. They followed her to the grave and they also, seeing that Christ was nowhere to be found left. But Mary Magdalene stayed back, and sat at the entrance of the tomb, wailing!

John 20:11-18 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that he had spoken these things unto her.

Did you get the point. In case you missed it, shall I help to make it out! Mary Magdalene was the first person, human being, born of man and woman, to behold Christ after He had resurrected. In other words, Christ revealed himself to a woman! Even before He ascended into the heavens. Now is there still a believer who thinks women have no importance and relevance in ministry? In my Jhs, there was this teacher of mine of a certain Christian denomination that had a very big problem with my mother being a Reverend minister and heading a church. Every time he would ask me, “why there aren’t any men in the church or what? And he would go on a rant about how it’s biblically wrong for a woman to be a minister in the house of God and lead men”.

“If the resurrected Savior used women to proclaim to the male disciples that He was alive, we should also make full room for women in the proclamation of the eternal gospel.” (Rodriguez, Angel – Biblical Research Institute)

2. God can rewrite your past, such that your present and your future, will not make sense to many.
Ever heard of the assertion by some one Christians that Mary Magdalene was the wife or Girlfriend of Jesus? In fact some so called Christians believe that Jesus married or was in some kind of amorous relationship with Mary of Magdala. Funny right? People couldn’t just believe that this woman, possessed with seven demons can be cleaned and even serve the Lord Himself. It was just unbelievable so that they had to cook up stories that made sense to their canal mind and human logic. But guess what my dear, God does not need to consult anyone before He does what needs to be done. He takes the foolishness of this world to confound the wise.

3. Loyalty:

The loyalty that Mary Magdalene showed towards Jesus was really like the vows shared at weddings, in good times, and in bad times, till death do us part. In the introductory part of this post, I mentioned a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci of the Last Supper which depicts a feminine looking character sitting on the  hand side of Jesus. As to whether this feminine character is indeed Mary Magdalene, I do not know.

All I do know is that Mary of Magdala, together with a few others were present before, during and after the last supper. But inasmuch as we cannot conclude whether or not Mary Magdalene was indeed sitting by Jesus at the last supper, I am made to believe one thing though, which is the artist wanted to capture Mary’s loyalty and closeness to Jesus in a humorous and an unassuming way. Mary’s loyalty to Jesus, was till His death. While some male disciples like Peter actually denied having any association with Christ during his trial and tribulation, Mary followed Jesus all throughout that period. After the burial, the 12 disciples hid themselves for fear of being persecuted. Yet still, Mary went to tomb, and I want to believe she had been there the previous day to anoint the body with some spices and oil. Now, if Mary Magdalene hid herself like any of the others, she would have missed out on the opportunity to be the first person to whom Christ revealed Himself to after His resurrection.

My dear Phenomenal Woman, every thing you have purported to do for Christ, in whatever ministry you find yourself, may you receive the grace that was upon Mary Magdalene to go to the extreme for His cause. And in doing that, Christ will definitely have your attention, reveal himself to you in whatever kind of way, and be a blessing to many more generations to come.

We all, myself included, need the Mary of Magdala anointing and grace, may God be our helper!

 

Nelia.phenomenalwoman

Esther

” AT THE POINT OF HAVING HER PEOPLE KILLED AND KEEPING HER NAILS CLEAN.

Queen Esther is one of the most prominent and inspiring female figure of the Old Testament out of the very few mentioned in the Bible and of course one of  the very few books in the bible named after a woman, because her life is worthy of emulation.

Born Hadassah (which means compassion ) to a Jewish family in Persia. Her story set out after Queen Vashti, wife of King Xerxes of the 127 provinvces of Media and Persia-stretching from India to Cush- turned down her husband curtly when asked to put on a show with her dance during the banquet he hosted for his militia and nobles. Vashti is a name of Persian origin which means beautiful. It comes as no surprise that the King of all Persia was proud of his wife’s physical beauty. Enraged, King Xerxes decided to give her position to a much more obedient woman so the search went on and amongst the several women polished and dandied by the Eunuchs , Esther was chosen.

Esther 2:17 “And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti”.

Now, Esther’s older cousin, Mordecai who had adopted her after she herself became on orphan was announced as the king’s second man after reporting two guards planning the King’s assination. Mordecai’s story evolved once Haman, one of the King’s nobles got vamped to higher position. Everyone bowed to him except Mordecai. Insulted, Haman learned of Mordecai’s people and decided to wipe them out by tricking the King to sign a contract that would doom all Jews.
Mordecai needed Esther to stop her husband from doing such a deed so he pleaded with her. Now, listen, Esther knew nothing about war or these contracts and this was a very frightening yet troubling issue for a lady of her age and calibre. She could have saved herself , going to get a spa bath or something but she acted fast and told Mordecai to tell the the Jews to fast as she solved everything. Stating” If i perish, i perish”.

Esther 4:14,For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

When Esther got to the palace, Mordecai charged her not to reveal her identity as a Jew nor should she by any means make known her relation with the Jews in the land of Persia. As to the reason why Mordecai gave her such instructions, I know not. However, what I am sure of is that if Esther had revealed her kindred, she may not have been chosen as queen which will mean she will not be in that position to save her people. That is why Mordecai said perhaps, this is the reason why you are queen.

Esther 4 : 16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.

Esther had a choice. She could have said well, uncle you know, I can’t go before the king if I haven’t been invited. If I go into his presence without being invited, I will be killed, so you know what, you people should fight your fight. After all, it’s all your fault.
Fast forward, Mordecai was honoured, the Jews were saved from the King’s wrath incited by Haman, and Haman, he took his own life.

LESSONS.
1. A radical feminist will most probably vouch for Vashti and say well she’s a woman who has her rights and they need to be respected and as such she can’t be ordered around just at the King’s will. But it actually goes beyond the King’s will or his instructions, it’s the fact that the Queen did not attach seriousness to instructions. She couldn’t discern between play time and work. As a woman, you should execute every little task assigned to you with all decency, order and diligence. You’ll never know whether your next action gets you promoted or demoted from whatever office you occupy.
2. Unlike Vashti, Esther had the virtue of a queen. Bible says beauty is vain and charm is deceitful. Being a queen demanded more than the physical beauty Vashti had.
3. Esther hearkened unto instruction. She took Mordecai’s instruction and warning with every seriousness. Sometimes, it is wise to hide your identity. You can never tell who’s waiting to destroy you. You never can tell who is laying ambush. Don’t run your mouth too much about your achievements, your blessings or even your weaknesses. Be circumspect.
4. Esther used her position of influence, coupled with fasting and prayers to save her people. If God puts you at a place to help others, don’t hesitate. Be obedient and move. If you aren’t sure about what to do… PRAY!
5. We must all be brave to do something that dares us. Dare yourself. It’s an honour. As women, we are expected to cower and be scared of certain issues but we have to overcome this and face the issues squarely like modern Day Esthers. Move out of your comfort zone. As Kafui Praise puts it, dont just exist, live! Think carefully and plan everything out precisely as well, and commit those plans to God, and your work will surely be established.

 

BE AN ESTHER THIS WEEK, BE A QUEEN!

Love, Nelia.phenomenalwoman