Category: Unsung Heroes of the Bible


Stock photo. Pyrmids . Proverbs 3.3

This week, we look at Miriam (Moses’ sister)  in our Unsung Heroes of the Bible sermon series. Karen Kennedy, Director of Publicity and Promotion, shares her thoughts…

In Exodus, Miriam was first introduced—not by name, but by the description of “his sister.” As she watched her baby brother, Moses, float down the Nile, we gain glimpses into this courageous, resourceful and smart young girl.

Pretty impactful, first impressions, don’t you think?

In retrospect, we understand Miriam’s monumental role in God’s upper story because of whom she rescued. But there is a lot more to her life than this one-time deed. As I piece together the few references concerning this woman, I see a beautiful and quiet faithfulness emerge.

Faithfulness is more than a one-time action.  It is a minute-by-minute, day-by-day, year-by-year commitment to being loyal to a person or a cause.  It takes stamina, guts, and faith to remain faithful when every circumstance cries out, “Forget this person; time to pitch your tent somewhere else!”

I don’t see Miriam forsaking her brother.

For forty years, Moses lived in the palace while she lived in slave quarters.

For another forty years, Moses lived free in Midian while she suffered as a slave in Egypt.

Eighty years. Eighty years is a long time to build a case against this “fine” brother named Moses.

But it doesn’t appear Miriam harbored those thoughts because she quickly rallied behind Moses as he spoke God’s commands to Pharaoh for six months. When the unforgettable night came for Israel to leave Egypt amid the mourning cries of the Egyptians, Miriam was there. She was also there when they reached the impassable barrier of the Red Sea, walked on dry ground across the sea and saw walls of water swallow up the Egyptians.

Miriam, Moses’ sister, then became known as a “prophetess,” who led a group of women to direct their praise to the Lord.

“Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. The horse and its rider he has hurled into the sea.” Exodus 15:20-21

In those eighty years, she remained faithful. Personally, I know I would not have passed this 80-year test. In fact, sometimes I don’t pass the 80-second test. Hardships, temptations, resentments, you name it; I tend to turn to the left and to the right before I finally (and I mean finally) center on the One who faithfully opens His arms to me at every turn.

He is faithful in all he does. Psalm 33:4b

He is faithful. And I need to be faithful as well. It is a requirement.

Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

How about you? Are you at an 80-second faithfulness level? 80-minutes? 80-days? Or are you on track for Miriam’s record? No matter where you are, would you please share some practical steps that help you stay faithful?

Photo credit: Stock photo: Pyramids

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This week, we look at Abigail in our Unsung Heroes of the Bible sermon series. Youth Director Tim Kightlinger shares his thoughts…

 

They are all over the place…Salvation Army collection cans, scan away hunger cards, up your bill so the change can be used to help others, buy this or that so we can go to camp, save the children, save the dogs, save the whales, save the _________ (you fill in the blank). We are bombarded with ways in which we can help others. Is it no wonder that we can become callous to the needs of others? Our hearts can become hardened to their cry.

We think to ourselves, “I can’t help everyone, I can’t give to everything, heck, I don’t even like whales!” We feel overwhelmed and we decide to do nothing. We choose not to help anyone. After all, it is my hard earned money. It is my stuff. Or is it?

In the story from 1 Samuel 25:1-44, we find the story of Nabal and Abigail. David is out in the wilderness protecting Nabal and his household. David sends a message to Nabal that they are in need of some food. Nabal has a choice to make. Do I help David and his people or not? Nabal decides to not help David. He chooses this because of his selfish need to keep his own stuff for himself. He didn’t care about the needs of David or his people. He even throws a party for himself that would be fit for a king! On the other hand, Nabal’s wife, Abigail, hears about the request and has a choice to make as well. She decides that she needs to help David and his people, so she sends enough food for the entire group to enjoy. By providing for David’s group she ends up saving the lives of all her people.

As we are called to be stewards of what God has given us, we need to be reminded that all we have is God’s in the first place. What we have been entrusted with is a gift from God—some with much, some with a little. No matter how much you have or possess, we are called to help. But again, we can’t do everything and we can’t help everyone. So, how do we know whom we should help?

#1 Pray that God gives you a heart to help others, and to know His will.

#2 Let God direct you to whom you should help. He will give you a sense of peace when you give. You will know, if you are seeking His will, on whom to help.

#3 Give because it brings joy to you and your family. Giving shouldn’t feel like an obligation, you’re using God’s gifts to help others.

#4 Then…do it! Give! Share with others, so they can know God’s love and provision. Just as God sent his Son, Jesus, to this earth to show us the love that God has for us—His ultimate love (John 3:16)!

We need to have our hearts and eyes opened to seeing where God is leading us to give and care—where we can share His love with others. Together we can make a difference in the world, if not for many, then in the world of the one we helped!

God’s blessings,

Tim “TK” Kightlinger

 

Photo credit: Stock photo: basket of bread and rolls

Boaz, an Unsung Hero

This week in our Unsung Heroes of the Bible sermon series, we’re looking at Boaz from the Book of Ruth. Boaz is a man who lived out his faith and obedience to God. He stepped into responsibility as Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer by marrying her and buying the land of her mother-in-law Naomi.

Together, Boaz and Ruth are listed in the lineage of Jesus—their son Obed, was Jesse’s father, and David’s grandfather. Boaz redeemed Ruth and Naomi….but we are redeemed by God’s own Son—Jesus Christ.

On this Father’s Day weekend, Vicar Dan Petrak shares his thoughts on Boaz…

Dead Sea w.ScriptureThis week in our Unsung Heroes of the Bible sermon series, we look at Barnabas—a man we don’t meet until chapter four in Acts. Barnabas was not only an important companion of Paul—Barnabas is the one who introduced the apostles to Paul. After Saul’s conversion on his way to Damascus, he began preaching in the name of Jesus. He tried to join the disciples in Jerusalem, but they were afraid of him, not believing he was a changed man. It wasn’t until after Barnabas took Saul (Paul) to the apostles and vouched for him that he was allowed to stay with the apostles and preach boldly in Jerusalem. (Acts 9:26-28)

Think of how many people heard the Good News of Jesus and came to faith through that introduction. Barnabas was the mediator between Saul and the disciples…and we have One mediator between us and God—Jesus Christ.

Pastor Tim Phillips shares his thoughts on Barnabas below…

The story of Barnabas is an interesting one. His real name was Joseph and he was a Jew from the Island of Cyprus. The name Barnabas is a nick name which means Son of Encouragement. We first read about Barnabas in Acts chapter 4 when he is an example of someone who for the sake of the Gospel sells his property and gives the money to the Apostles. This personal sacrifice reflects the heart and character of the man we call Barnabas. Generous, quick to act, and very trusting—these are ways we can describe him. Luke, the author of Acts, describes him this way, “He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith.” The pattern that emerges from Barnabas’ life is that God used him repeatedly to bridge relational gaps. He was a connector, a peace maker and a networker.

The bottom line about Barnabas is that he was known by his actions. He lived his faith and many people were blessed as a result. As we think of that, it is good to challenge ourselves to make a similar impact. Are we known by our actions? How would others describe us? What impact are we making on those around us? What do others know about Jesus by watching us?

Photo credit: Stock Photo: Dead Sea

Enduring Faith

Job-lg

Have you ever felt like the thing you don’t want to do is the thing God is drawing you to? For me, that was the Book of Job.

Years ago when I first started to read Job, I didn’t get very far. To be specific, I didn’t get past the beginning when God tells Satan he can test Job. I didn’t like that part. At all. So, I stopped reading.

And then over the years, there were times I felt drawn to Job. I underlined a verse or two, read a chapter here and there…and I started to see Job’s enduring faith in the midst of the unrelenting storm.

I saw his strength and faithfulness to God when his wife urged Job to curse God for all that was happening to him. Job refused.

His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:9-10 NIV

Not only was Job losing everything, but Satan was wearing him down, using his own wife to convince him to blame God.

I often wonder if I could stand up under the pressure like Job did.

Sometimes we get the opportunity to find out…

This past year has tested me in various ways. Exhausting I-can’t-do-this-anymore ways. And sometimes I want to tell God I quit. I quit trying to keep up with everything in life. I quit trying to love others when that’s the last thing I feel at the time. I quit trying to stay faithful to Him.

But when God leads us somewhere, it’s for a reason. One night I realized why, despite my protests and digging in my heels, He led me to Job.

Because I was being worn down…to the point of thinking that if I quit being faithful to God, the enemy would let up.

But God intervened, as He often does. At the moment I was thinking of quitting, I remembered Job and how he was tested—and how he didn’t quit.

I imagine Job felt frustrated and angry, maybe worn-out tired. He complained, he cried out to God, and he questioned his suffering.

And then God showed up. Not to condemn Job, but to remind him of His omnipotence.

Job learned that suffering is indeed a part of life…but God was there with him.

Just like He was there with me that night.

Life is hard. But God is with us through the good days—and the bad—giving us strength when we have none…cheering us on when we’re worn down and the enemy is prowling…refining us for His purpose.

Through it all, Job endured. So will I. And so will you.

 

In Christ,
Laura
Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith
 

[This post can also be read in its entirety at Laura Rath ~ Journey in Faith / Photo credit: Stock Photo: Worship at Sunset]

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