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“I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants – men and women alike. And I will cause wonders in the heavens and on the earth.” – Joel 2:28-30
Friends, we’ve made it to the final installment of The Well series, and as we close I thought it fitting to remind us of the Lord’s promise to pour out His Spirit in the last days. I don’t know about you, but 2020 has convinced me that we’re living in the Last Days before Jesus comes again, and often the uncertainty of this season has caused my heart to fear, but for every fear, a “do not fear” can be found in the Word (365 in fact!), and this particular assurance of anointing in Joel rallies me each and every time.
We’ve discussed intimacy, divinity, privilege, racism, injustice, sin and love. Our hearts have been exposed and our emotions engaged, and none of this has been without purpose for the Lord refines those He intends to use.
A saying I hear regularly in church is, “God qualifies the called, He doesn’t just call the qualified,” and the whole Bible proves this. We have 66 books that hold countless stories of messy, sinful people who God uses to further His kingdom on earth: David, the only one to be called a man after God’s own heart, had an affair and then had his girlfriend’s husband murdered. Abraham, who was promised more descendants than stars in the sky through his wife Sarah, slept with Sarah’s servant because he thought Sarah was too old to get pregnant. Peter, who promised to never leave Jesus, not only left Him but denied knowing Him, was also the rock that the church was built upon. When we were chosen to be part of God’s family we became part of the body, and each part has a function regardless of how well that part thinks it can perform.
In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul suggests some of the positions God has appointed for the church: apostles, prophets, teachers, those who do miracles, healers, helpers, those gifted with leadership, and those who speak in tongues (1 Corinthians 12:28). Aside from advising that we desire the gifts most helpful to us, Paul doesn’t give a job description for each role which means that there’s no reason why we shouldn’t feel able to take on the roles we’ve been called to.
Sometimes we don’t run with our purpose because we feel unworthy or lacking in time or ability, and other times we are blocked from our purpose because those around us think we are unworthy or unable.
I don’t know how you’ve come to the well today, but I want you to leave knowing that you have purpose because you are part of the body of Christ, and I encourage you to ask God for the gifts most helpful to you.
The position of women in the church has been a contentious issue throughout Church history and contemporarily, some churches use Scripture such as 1 Timothy 2:12 as a reason for not having women in leadership positions, without first considering a) the context the Scriptures were written and b) the Bible’s overall position on women.
Like a snowflake, no two women are the same! Society has long boxed women into type-cast packages that either constrain us or deter us from certain behaviours, for example, women having more freedom and autonomy outside of the home has left many girls feeling embarrassed of their desire to be stay-at-home mothers. Regardless of whether you feel most powerful in the boardroom or your home, God delights in your being there and wants you to fulfill your potential!
I love that the Bible displays the diversity of womanhood and gives us female role models. Such as Deborah the wise judge and military leader and Jael the housewife whose housework made her strong enough to bring down an oppressive leader as he slept (Judges 4). Ruth was an immigrant, Naomi a bitter old woman and Orpah was reluctant to take risks, but God looked after each woman and put a roof over her head (Ruth 1). Tamar married into a family of passive men and had to bring shame onto herself to get her in-laws to fulfill their promise to her and give her a child, yet it was through that child that we have King David’s line (Genesis 38). The Proverbs 31 woman is given no name but her accomplishments speak for her because she does it all: cooking, cleaning, running a business, caring for the poor and being a diligent wife and mother. Mary was a teen mum caught up in a scandal but she took the words of God to heart and praised the Lord for choosing her to bear His son (Luke 1:46-55). Her cousin Elizabeth was old and barren but was chosen to be a mother to John the Baptist, and was filled with the Holy Spirit when she saw Mary who was carrying Jesus (Luke 1:5-25; 39-45). Phoebe was a deacon in the early church whom Paul said was worthy of honour because of how helpful she was to those around her, and Priscilla was a missionary with Paul (Romans 16:1-3).
And… we have the woman at the well, who was a social outcast, rejected by her village who had an encounter with Jesus that changed her entire community.
I could go on listing women like Mary Magdalene, Mary and Martha, Esther, Rahab, and so many more.
As Christian women, we do not have to try and fit into the tight boxes the world has given us to explore and express our womanhood, the Bible gives us examples of what it looks like to be women, with a complex array of experiences and life-stages.
A few years ago, I had the pleasure of hearing Lisa Bevere speak and she shared a story that day that has stuck with me since. Lisa wrote a book called Lioness Arising and she received a call from an army colonel who wanted copies to give to the female soldiers on his base. During their conversation, the colonel shared this: it is a well-known tactic of war for invading armies to befriend the women of the area because if you get the women, you get the culture. In much the same way, if you want to hurt an area and bring it to its knees, you hurt the women to hurt the culture. Wow, as women we are gatekeepers to our communities, homes and workplaces. If we are firm the community is firm, and if we are weak the community is weak.
A saying I hear around church is, “If you have a praying mother it’s over for you because whatever she’s been praying for will come to pass.” What we say as a joke is actually a profound truth because we’re saying that all a woman needs to do to change the world around her is pray diligently. Having that much power is scary but what scares me more is the possibility of not using any of it at all! This statement is for all of us because we’re all mothers of something be it children, ministries, or dreams and visions.
If we couple this with Paul’s advice to desire the gifts most helpful to us, suddenly we have the formula for flourishing in dry and arid places, and what seemed impossible is now simply just hard. If you’ve been given the gift of a servant’s heart, serve and be hospitable every chance you can, and watch how those you serve are transformed with a little love and care. If you’ve been given the gift of leadership, lead well even if you’re not the designated leader; by honouring someone’s vision and not being drawn into character assassination and gossip, you will lead those around you into righteousness.
Colossians 3:23 says, “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord”. How many of us know that the things God calls us to aren’t always easy and can’t always be accomplished in a day? We have to “run with endurance the race set before us” (Hebrews 12:1, ESV) trusting that He will “lift our drooping hands and strengthen our weak knees” so that we can bear the load (Hebrews 12:12, ESV).
In this moment let the Holy Spirit minister to you, and shake off any doubt that the enemy may be trying to plant in you. In the name of Jesus declare that you are strong enough to wear the mantle God has placed on you. Tell Heaven that you agree that through the redemptive blood of Jesus you’ve been made perfect and are now being made holy so that you can do the Father’s work here on earth (Hebrews 10:14). Look into the eyes of the Father and be assured that you can do all things as long as He gives you the strength (Philippians 4:13).
This year has been a rocky year full of unfulfilled and unraveling plans. We couldn’t have foreseen this year but God in His sovereignty did, and as we come into the last three months of the year the voice of the Lord is still saying, “Behold, I do a new thing…do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19, ESV). We started 2020 with such vision and expectation for what God would do and in March, Lana Vawser released a prophetic word that shook me to my core: the Lord gave Lana a vision of women all over the world stamping their feet in unison and every stamp sounded like a hammer, “That spoke loudly of the breaking forth of breakthrough […] and justice”. God said to Lana that, “The rhythm that you hear is the rhythm of My heart being released in the Spirit for the greatest healing revival that has ever been seen coming forth on the earth, and these women are the key to revival”. I cried like a child when I read those words. I was so excited and expectant, and felt so powerful in that moment! I feel that the Lord reminding me of this word is Him saying that His Word still stands even though the landscape has changed.
This week I found myself asking God to redeem this year for me and in these three months, make it the best year yet. In light of remembering Lana’s prophetic word, this may have been a very dangerous prayer to pray, but God delights in dangerous prayers because our faith stirs Him to action! My darling sisters, would you join in praying this dangerous prayer and ask God to make the last three months of 2020 the best months you’ve experienced yet? For those who have said yes, I want to pray the prayer over you that Lisa Bevere prayed over the crowd at a women’s conference in 2015:
“You are the generation that will see up close what other generations have only seen in the distance. You will speak out loud what the generations before had only dared to whisper. You will lay hold of in your hands what the previous generation only handled in prayer. You are for signs, and wonders, and miracles; you are not for death and destruction. All that God lays in your heart, do it with fierce joy, with strength, with faith. You are heroes destined to be remade into a people invincible. In Jesus’ name. Amen.” – Lisa Bevere
Friends, thank you for joining me at the well. I pray that this time with Jesus has transformed you and that you are leaving this place with a renewed purpose. You are loved beyond measure by myself, the team, and most importantly, the Father.
Rhesa has always loved words; she was never one of those kids who wanted to be in the great outdoors but could always be found curled up with a book. As she got older, she started writing poetry and songs, and fell in love with words and the God who formed them. Rhesa is passionate about the Word of God and how it leads us into deeper revelation of Jesus. Her prayer is that as daughters of God, we would use the Word as a weapon against the lies of the Enemy, use it as a mirror to see His beauty nestled deep within us, and come into the authority and inheritance that is ours through Christ Jesus
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