Five Women; One Amazing Story!

For some of you, it’s hard to put the word “happy” in front of Mother’s Day.

One definition of happy is “favored by fortune; lucky.” In other words, we’re happy IF things happen to be going our way. But we don’t know how things are going to turn out?

In the last Super Bowl, the New England Patriots were down by 25 points early in the 3rd quarter. It didn’t appear that things were going the Patriots’ way … except they won!

So don’t judge “happy” or “not happy” by how things are going in the middle of the story! 

To God, all of History is His Story. He knows every move, every hurt, every fumble, every betrayal, every noble deed, every evil deed … nothing escapes His notice. And it all fits into His Story—We are assured and know that God being a partner in their labor ALL THINGS work together and are fitting into a plan for good… (Romans 8:28).

Check out the stories of these five women—

Tamar had to pretend to be a prostitute in order to get her father-in-law to followthrough on his commitment. As a result, she became pregnant by him and was almost burned at the stake.

Rahab didn’t pretend to be a prostitute; she was a prostitute. She lived in an important city that was about to be defeated by the Israelites. Instead of trying to make things easier on herself, she trusted God and put herself in a very dangerous position.

Ruth was a non-Israelite married to an Israelite man. But when her husband, her brother-in-law, and her father-in-law all died, she took a huge risk in staying with her mother-in-law. She could have moved in with her family in a country she knew, but she went where she was an alien, a widow, and dirt poor.

Bathsheba was married to Uriah, who was a member of the king’s inner circle. But the king took advantage of her when Uriah was away at war, impregnated her, killed her husband, and then married her. Their son from that union died shortly after being born, but Bathsheba trusted God to make something good of her tragedy.

Mary was engaged to be married when she was found to be pregnant. Society could have shunned her, her fiancé could have had her killed for her unfaithfulness, but she trusted God to keep His word.

These five mothers are the ONLY women mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-6, 16)

God used all of these women. Despite the way they were treated or mistreated; despite their own mistakes; despite the injustices committed against them. God used all of them as irreplaceable parts of His Story.

To God, all of History is His Story! He’s doing things through your life that you can’t possibly imagine. Trust Him—if you do, your name will also be recorded in the best “His Story” ever recorded! 

Whenever you don’t know what’s going on, lean into Him, cry out to Him. But then say with Mary, “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.” And what does God say? “I am working ALL THINGS together to tell My Story through your life!”

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An End To Tears

No more tearsI was asked the age-old question: Why is there suffering and pain? This is usually accompanied by the other often-pondered question: Why do bad things happen to good people?

I’m not sure that I can answer that one, because I’m not a “good” person. I’m a sinner. I’ve messed up more time than I can count, and it is only by God’s mercy that His righteous judgment hasn’t consumed me.

Here’s what I do know:

  • God loves me so much that He sent His Son to rescue me—John 3:16-17
  • I am of immeasurable value to my Heavenly Father—Luke 12:6-7
  • Suffering on earth is temporal; rewards in Heaven are eternal—Romans 8:18
  • God develops something in my through suffering that I could learn in no other way—Romans 5:3-4
  • God can be glorified through my suffering if I will let Him—John 9:1-3; 11:3-6

I also know that Jesus is Perfection. If anyone ever deserved to not have anything bad happen to them, it was Him. And yet He was rejected by His family (Mark 3:21), betrayed by one of His companions (John 13:21), abandoned by all His followers (Mark 14:50), and even felt the sting of God forsaking Him (Mark 15:34).

What makes this even more startling to me is that He knew all of this was coming (Isaiah 53:3; Luke 9:22; Matthew 26:54-56). But He went through all of that pain because His suffering meant He could become the prefect Intercessor and Mediator for our suffering (see Hebrews 5:7-9; 4:14-16).

Jesus us told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

And the last book in the Bible promises that eventually God’s children will have every tear wiped away! There will be no more death, no more mourning, no more crying, and no more pain! (Revelation 21:4)

In the midst of your pain, hold tightly to the One Who loves you so much and is interceding for you!

If you are near Cedar Springs this coming weekend, and you don’t have a home church, I would love for you to join us as we continue to learn about the greatest words ever spoken.

I Am The Judas

I received this email from a trusted ministry partner today, and thought it was so impactful that I wanted to pass it along. The author of this story is a missionary in a heavily Muslim country.

Hassan has been a friend and confident for ten years.  He came to know the Lord as a refugee in Eritrea before moving back to the country I’m in looking for work.  He started working with us as a teacher at one of our English centers, and over time rose up through the ranks to become its director.  Personable, caring, charismatic and intelligent, Hassan grew the center and it now ministers to over 500 people on a daily basis.

Different people on our team have interacted with Hassan over the years in his home, on ministry trips, and at the small Bible study that he led for other believers from a Muslim background.  Many of us can point back to times of sweet fellowship, worship, praise, prayer and ministry. I have seen Hassan cry real tears in the presence of the Lord.

Three months ago we discovered Hassan stole tens of thousands of dollars from the ministry center. Time revealed that he has taken a second wife, more time revealed he actually has three wives, is possibly a security informant (he knows everything about us), and allegedly paid other Muslims to pretend they were believers to widen the deception.

I am of two hearts on this.  On one side I wonder how Hassan could live in both worlds so convincingly. I also realize that I am just as skilled an actor, I have two faces.  I can move from praise and legitimate worship to carnality in a moment.  I can read my Bible and my eyes mist up at some discovery of Jesus, and then rise up out of my chair to yell at my sons.  I can stand in the pulpit and scan the audience for pretty ladies.

I am the “Judas” in the midst.  Oh Lord, have mercy on me.  O Lord, have mercy on us all.

May we take this word to heart and all take a deep look in our heart —

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalm 139:23-24)

Therefore let anyone who thinks he stands [who feels sure that he has a steadfast mind and is standing firm], take heed lest he fall [into sin]. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

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