Today we are living within an upside down world. In many instances what is wrong is embraced as right and what is right is embraced as wrong. This is why it is so very important that you get to know the TRUTH of God’s WORD, firsthand, for yourself intimately and personally! This way you will not be so easily towed right along with everything you hear and see. Paul wanted to alert the Church to see how to recognize and confront “false teaching”. Paul wrote to the Church extensively because he was so concerned that so many were getting caught up with the bureaucracy and the traditions of man. Paul encouraged the Church to preserve, model, embrace and live out Christian principles in every area of their daily life. Today right now we too need to be mindful of these very same things.
Quite often when one reads and visits the corridors of Scripture they see the characters and situations as merely historical and sometimes fictional. This can often cause one to become far removed. The wealth of applicable practical wisdom endowed within the Scriptures goes right over their heads. this causes them to respond in an aloof manner to the lessons presented and overlook the wisdom lessons intended. The people, prophets, priests and kings were real genuine people. In the Word you can discover people from every facet of life with authentic issues no different than what we see today. God really is the same God who always was and always will be! He is eternal; in Him through His Son Christ Jesus we have the gift of eternal life. Time belongs to Him. We have all the time we need to do whatever it is He has created each one of us to be!
The Book of Ephesians is an excellent Book to indulge your mind in for spiritual enlightenment. The Church became embroiled in endless questions. Arguments, politics and controversies often took them away from studying Scriptures. We must be mindful that it is so important to not get side-tracked from the intended purpose. It is important to sincerely desire and ask to be filled with His Holy Spirit. In order to glean the true intended meaning of the Scriptures we must rightfully divide and apply its intended purposes. Many strive for popularity, prestige and recognition rather than seek for God’s approval. These things within themselves are not bad, but we must know that man is fickle and inconsistently changes very easily. Therefore it is important to know that through the Lord we really have everything we will ever need. He really does know everything we think, say do or do not do!
Although it may not be readily tangibly present, we can rest assure that His power is always accessible. Ephesians tells us “Jesus Christ has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight…” Ponder on this passage of Scripture for a while and go deeply into its contents to glean the intended benefits. Let this reinforce within you the security and spiritual significance that rings forth. It says not some but all spiritual blessings. There are benefits in knowing and having a personal intimate relationship with the Lord. These blessings are not always visible where one can see. But they are available and accessible in the eternal heavenly spiritual realm. This means that they are eternal. God chose us and we belong to Him. This all took place way back before any of us even existed. Our little finite minds cannot conceive the totality of God. We are just minute particles in His whole scheme of things. No matter how small, large, visible or unseen it is all relevant to Him.
When any scene or situation presents itself on our life’s canvas we must seek His direction to properly apply and paint the intended strokes. Having the proper attitude about God is necessary to deal with any present injustices. Persecution and misunderstanding will attempt to take a dominant position to etch insecurity and doubt onto the forefront of your life canvas. Yielding subdued hues and shades of gray to subliminally overshadow the main theme. But as you always keep in mind that God knows you, His Light will shine forth in the midst even when darkness tries to impose itself upon you. We cannot predict the future precisely. But we can focus, trust and put our faith in God our Creator and Maker who knows us and will watch over and protect us living in and upside down world.
God allows both good and bad times for all of us. “He is not a respecter of persons.” We must learn to consistently lean and put our faith and trust in Him. In order to not be pulled into whatever is suddenly hurled into your direction even though intended to snarl, derail, discredit our credibility or entrap us, our focus must be on HIM! We must learn how not to allow insults, injustices or any storm or seasonal moment in time define the totality of our existence. When you spend time in His presence you can abide under the shadow of The Almighty because you know that He knows and that is what ultimately truly matters. Ecclesiastes tells us that, “There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth; righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve.” The point that I am trying to make is that life has a much deeper meaning than what man sees. Many seek first as a top priority to be affirmed and recognized in the eyes of man. Momentarily this may satisfy an inner longing, life on this side of heaven is short, there really is a much deeper meaning to life.
If all the wisdom, prestige or power that the world has to offer were available it would be but a minute particle in regards to the infinite wisdom and power of the Lord. Perhaps this is why Jesus Christ made Himself of no reputation? Yes we are “in the world but it is Him we move and live and have our being.” Although often unrecognized or accepted by the masses Jesus did not deter from His life purpose. He remained faithful and committed to the will of His Father in and often, cruel, often harsh upside down world.
God sees and knows it all. It is not merely how things appear or seem. We all will have to stand before an all knowing all wise God who knows where our hearts and minds are as well as our intentions. Know the Lord and His Word so you are not towed along with the “false teaching” of anyone. Ephesians says “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything is exposed to the Light becomes visible, for the Light makes everything visible…” God tells us to live as children of the Light. When you are walking in the Light you know that whatever darkness tries to overshadow your life’s canvas, that your Creator, Your maker, Our heavenly Father is omnisciently aware! You can surely trust Him to keep you right side up, living in and upside down world.
Notice how most animals walk on all fours. God Created us as His children to walk uprightly, our hands should be readily available to reach up and Praise Him! It is important to be aware of what is going on about us. We do not want to live in denial neither is it healthy. Life without God is futile, meaningless. God’s Word is our life manual and essential intrinsic tool to help us navigate through life. We can find hope in the midst of sorrow, joy in the midst of sadness, comfort in the midst of pain, encouragement in the midst of persecution and peace within the midst of an upside down world. Make it a priority to spend some time in His Word not only on Sunday or whatever your designated Bible Study night may be. The Book of Ecclesiastes tells us ” Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before.” Yes we should be aware living in an upside down world, but not totally alarmed. Through the eyes of God we can see and recognize life problems and realize that God does have a plan to take us through whatever comes our way.
Through faith we can trust God and always seek His will for our path forward regardless of where you are in life. God has a plan for the lives of all of His children. God’s plan simply is to live for Him. Ecclesiastes ends by telling us that “Now all has been heard here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep His commandments. FOR THIS IS THE WHOLE, DUTY OF MAN. For GOD will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” This is true even living in and upside down world.
President Jimmy Carter & Women in Ministry
I am once again happy to see that President Jimmy Carter is in the news. But not for his political views. At least not concerning the U.S. Government. But his views as far as the Church are concerned. He has been a member of the Southern Baptist for many decades. After (60) sixty years he has taken an adamant , publicly visible stand and decided to part company. He does not subscribe to many of their doctrinal beliefs.
There is a belief among the leadership of the Southern Baptist clergy that women are to be restricted and forbidden to be ordained. They in fact believe that our position as women is to basically appease our husbands, be subservient and attend to the non leadership issues that arise as a subordinate. I have always found this interesting. I have in the past regularly attended their services. But have always been concerned with this very issue. As women you can participate in the “Women’s Ministry” teach Sunday School, work with the youth , usher, talk about the Lord but you cannot become an ordained minister.
I find this so very interesting because this does not only exist in the Southern Baptist it existed among the Traditional Baptist as well where we attended FAITHFULLY and generouly supported for many years. It has changed among Baptist somewhat in some places. But there is a definite discrimination that takes place I know this firsthand. To keep women in their place or else. You can be a Minister at home? The C.M.E. Methodist have allowed women to the forefront because they are losing ground and dwindling in numbers. They allow women to become ordained but are still quite controlling. The male clergy in general tend to be very ritualistic, condescending and dominating they allow women to participate by doing the things they deem appropiate.
Is it not God that calls us or anyone for that matter to ministry? Is He not “a respecter of persons?” The Word says “He will pour out His Spirit on ALL flesh.” Male or female! Did not the Lord use a donkey to speak to Balaam his prophet who was overcome by his love for the world and money? Balaam according to the Word taught Balak “to put a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and commit sexual immorality…” ( See Revelations 2) Balaam allowed himself to be used by baal and caused 24,000 people to be killed. The point is; The Lord can use whomever He pleases. Certainly if the Lord used a donkey to warn his prophet of his sudden death if he continued to proceed; He can use women inside or outside of the walls? I could go on but my point is God never intended for the Church to just be housed in a building of brick and mortar. The building is a dedicated place to come to gather or assemble! God’s Church is the Universal Church of believers who are people throughout the world from every tongue and nation.
I can testify first hand to the underhanded discrimination and outright mistreatment of women within the Church that President Jimmy Carter is standing “UP” for! If you choose to participate then you must subject yourself to the whims of the “man in charge!” Who makes it clear that it is his call and vision you serve? I have personally found it to be true what President Carter stated in his essay
“At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.”
And, later said
“The truth is that male religious leaders have had — and still have — an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. “
When I finished Seminary there was no women being ordained in ministry within our congregation. You could teach Sunday School, be a clerk, become a Trustee, or sing in the choir, or be a Deaconess? There was only one ordained female minister in the whole entire city that I knew of at the time. She had at one time been the choir director but was not allowed to sit in the pulpit were we worshipped whenever she returned to visit. It has changed to some degree. But many of the same chauvinistic issues are still there. It was not out in the open most of the time for all to see. I was just blacklisted and overlooked and labeled. Hmm like jealous, unyielding, wanting to be… as well as unteachable, self serving and …. which is so far from the Truth!
To some degree a few of my supposed “sisters” in the Lord were used to oppress me and make sure I was limited since I did not bow to the authority to the “man in charge.” They were used as examples to me and show me what was possible if I went along with the head. But they could do as they pleased because they would do whatever it took even if it included … Of course I could participate in the “Women’s Ministry.” And yes many would seek me for counseling still. But there was a definite unspoken no to limit me in ministry. So I calmly protested silently. Instead I opted to support my own husband within the ministry and just made a point to Worship and Praise the Lord in “Spirit and in TRUTH.” They were vigilante in their efforts to isolate and discredit me. No doubt my husband was also penalized within ministry because of my position. I can boldly say I have acquired much Patience and have great Peace knowing that the Lord knows my sincere intentions as well as the TRUTH!
After I graduated seminary I was ordained by the University’s Chancellor who confirmed my call. Who too wanted me to support him and just become his assistant. Therefore my husband and I continued to attend were we worshipped for a while faithfully and eventually founded and embraced the concept of “Ministry Beyond The Walls.” It is so true “Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is LIBERTY.” I say this because I know first hand. I have lived it! But through it all my fervor, steadfastness, personal and public love for the Lord and devotion has grown tremendously! I can truly say I love the Lord more each day. Their oppressiveness just showed me where I did not want to be. I even tried to support those who wanted to participate in the “Center Stage ” of it all. (That is another story in itself) I also realize that once we ALL have completed this course of life we will have to give an account to the Lord for our actions. Praise God!
Therefore I applaud President Jimmy Carter for taking such a noble Stand. As a woman I hold ALL of the Lord’s Word dear to my heart. Inside and outside the walls. I can say that I love being “His child” and a Minister of His GOSPEL! No need to sit in a high chair. I Peter says; “… For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. Wives , likewise, be submissive to your own hubands, that even if some do not obey the WORD, they without a word,may ne won over by the conduct of the wives, when they Observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear…”
I love this scripture because I know who my Shepherd is. “The Lord is My SHEPHERD!” I have no problem with authority! I have no problem with submitting when it does not go against the Lord ‘s Word as well as obeying the laws of the land! If you read the passage of scripture in I PETER slowly again it says to be subject to your own husband not everyone else’s! Think about that for a moment. When Peter refers to us as the “weaker” vessel this is not at all to infer that we are weaker Spiritually. Ephesians assures us “We can be Strong in the Lord and the Power of HIS…..”
The Bible speaks of the women as the “weaker” vessel because we are built differently and naturally tend to be more emotional. I love being a woman and all it entails! If you listen closely you will see that this is a position of STRENGTH as we embrace self control we are able to do this through His Holy Spirit! When a husband does not obey the Lord you can win him over… Without even speaking if need be. The husband prayers are hindered when he mistreats his wife… Read this passage slowly and again if necessary. This is Powerful! By the way this does not mean using manipulation! God truly is awesome!
We live in a nation and a world that is constantly shifting away from God’s principles and many within God’s Church have enlisted and embraced worldly ways, concepts and methods in their attempts to control and dominate God’s people! Lord Help US!
Therefore I applaud President Jimmy Carter because he has brought an issue to the Light that many skirt or avoid. The question for Carter — and for others who find themselves at odds with leadership — is, when a group you’re deeply involved in starts to move away from your own core beliefs, do you stay and try to change from within or, at some point, do you have to look for the exit?
This is the question that each individual must deal with it may be considered spiritual suicide to go against the ideology of an organized religion. But when you really think about it this is how and why we have so many denominations! Some things will just not be understood on this side of HEAVEN! Protesting by sitting down or moving away from oppression can help you move closer to a growing rewarding inner satisfying relationship with the Lord. It frees you to live each and every day for the Lord! Especially when you know that Christ is not coming back for a church made by hands. But He is coming back for HIS CHURCH! Because according to the Lord’s Word there is still “One Lord, One Faith … and One Church which by the way belongs to Him! To GOD Be The GLORY!