Everyone has heard the phrase, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness.” That’s not actually in the scriptures but has been attributed to be in them nonetheless. While this is not a true proverb, there are several references to cleanliness and cleaning in the bible. Most of them however are compound references that refer not only to physical cleanliness in order to prevent diseases like leoprosy but also spiritual cleanliness.
Let’s talk about that. One verse that talks about both physical cleanliness and spiritual cleanliness is Ezekiel 36:25. It reads: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.”
Clean water is referenced here. Thankfully, if you live a developed country clean water is not something you really think about or dwell on for long periods of time. It is a blessing to really never have to worry about where a drop of clean water will come from.
Then it talks about uncleanness as a spiritual condition. What are one of the things that can make us unclean? Idols. I think we don’t really have the context of what that used to mean back in the day. Most of us are not out here bowing to statues and figurines. We may however be spending half our paycheck on sneakers or purses. The human condition is prone to addictions and some of those compulsions show us what we value. One of my areas of uncleanness is an obsession with how I look in public. I am very conscious of how others are perceiving me or what they are thinking about me and so I strive for perfection. That may not seem like a bad thing except when its all consuming and oh I can’t go out because my hair isn’t done or I have a chipped nail. God wants me to have an abundant life not be overly focused on how others view me.
I hope that we can all recognize our areas of uncleanness and work with God so that we can be clean.
As the last post for May, I just wanted to take a moment to get into some of what the bible says or presents regarding gratitude. I want to go into some bible stories.
LEPER (LUKE 17:12-19)
Leprosy was a serious thing back in the day. It was so contagious that lepers were not permitted to engage in society. Not even a little bit. They couldn’t go to synagogue. They couldn’t be with their families. They couldn’t even get a hug. And because of that, it mattered not who was Jew or Samaritan… or any other prejudices because they had been cast out from mainstream society.
In this story, we have ten lepers that Jesus healed on their way to go to the priest. Only one leper recognized what had happened and he wasn’t a Jew. He was a foreigner and a Samaritan. He knew his status, and in spite of that, he went back to Jesus to thank Him. The bible says he fell on his face. He was overcome by what Jesus had done for him; His whole life had been given back to him, just by being healed of a disease.
Today we don’t physically throw people out of society for having a disease, so maybe the significance of the story is lost on us. But one of the simplest things we can do to show gratitude is to just say thank you. Out of 10 lepers, only one went back to say thank you Jesus. Let’s be part of the 10% of the afflicted who say thank you when healed.
Ruth (THE ENTIRE BOOK OF RUTH)
Before I get into the story, I want to make a shameless plug for my own biological father’s book on the story of Ruth. And remember, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. You can find his book here:
Now that we’re done with that, the story of Ruth is very incredible. First of all, I would’ve left Naomi long ago. Secondly, I think it’s very rare for people to convert to another faith or travel away from their families for a stranger, and it was even rarer in those times. Then when given the opportunity to go back to her life as it was, Ruth is like no thanks, your people are my people and your God is my God now. If that isn’t an expression of living out life in gratitude to God and to others’ faithfulness towards us, I don’t know what is. The other thing is without Ruth, Naomi would’ve died. The sole source of economic stability for women back in those times was marriageability. Naomi’s days for remarrying were over and she might have been able to survive on people’s charity, but most likely she would have died. So Ruth’s gratitude was lifesaving. She also expressed gratitude to Boaz; the bible said she fell on her face—- like the leper earlier. Seems like gratitude involved a lot of falling on your face.
Let’s not throw people under the bus or leave them to die today. While you may think that’s extreme, it’s not. Today there are many without what they need to survive— many of whom are in very close proximity to you: either family or friends or geographically. I think one of the greatest lessons of the pandemic is that we need community for survival. Gratitude also means helping others and allowing yourself to be helped.
DANIEL (Daniel 6)
Let’s talk about Daniel. Daniel’s faithfulness to God was so famous that people set a trap for him. They knew that he openly talked to God three times a day facing a direction with windows open. They set him up.
Daniel remained steadfast. He knowingly broke a law the next day when he continued his prayer routine. He could have done it in secret. He could’ve been like you know what the king has been kind to me, let me not offend him. He did not do any of that.
Let’s not let our gratitude for others get in the way of our gratitude toward God. Let’s not let our fear of others get in the way of our relationship with God. Let’s go out and be blessed, and engage in a life of gratitude.
I just wanted to share what’s on the inside cover of my spiritual journal. It’s basically a list of affirmations that come from the bible. I thought I should share so that it would help someone. It also helps me to write out the verses and read them aloud.
I’m loved (John 3:16 ) (John 15:9)
I’m saved (Romans 10:9-10)
I’m not alone (Joshua 1:9) ( Psalms 121:5)
I can’t do anything to make me unloveable (Romans 8:38, 39)
I’m a member of the household of God (Ephesians 2: 19) (Acts 17:28)
I’m joined in life union with Jesus (Romans 8:1)
My weakness is a portal to God’s power (2 Cor 12:10)
I’m protected (Psalms 121:5) (Psalm 91)
I’m being guided (Isaiah 30:20-21)
I have wisdom (James 1:5-6)
I am free (2 Cor 3:17)
I know what it is to have need and to have plenty ( Phil 4:12)
I am God’s house have the lives here (1 Cor 6:19)
I am God’s work of Art (Ephesians 2:10)
I am forgiven (1 John 1 :9)
I was cared for before I got here (1 Peter 1:10)
I’m the light of the world. I’m meant to stand out (Matthew 5:14)
Did you know that women have always been the prayer powerhouse of the church? From Bible times until now, women have been at the forefront of prayer. In this blog post, we will explore why women are such powerful prayer warriors and discuss some of the amazing things God has done through the prayers of women. We will also look at some Scripture verses that show us how powerful prayer can be when it comes from a woman’s heart.
One of the things that make women such powerful prayer warriors is their compassion. Women are often more in touch with their emotions than men, and they tend to have a heart for others. This compassionate nature leads them to pray for others regularly and fervently. In fact, the Bible tells us that ” The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man (woman) availeth much” (James 5:16). God hears the prayers of His daughters, and He is moved by their faithfulness in praying for others.
Prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we have against the enemy. It’s also one of the most effective ways to intercede on behalf of others. As women, we are uniquely equipped to be prayer warriors. We have the ability to stand in the gap and fight for our families, our friends, our churches, and our world.
If you’re feeling called to pray more powerfully, here are a few tips:
First, start by spending time with God every day. Get into a regular habit of reading your Bible and spending time in prayer. The more time you spend with God, the more you’ll be able to hear His voice and know His will for your life.
Second, be bold in your prayers. Don’t be afraid to ask God for big things. He is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine.
Third, don’t forget to pray for yourself! It’s easy to get so caught up in praying for others that we forget to take care of our own spiritual needs. Make sure you’re staying connected to God and keeping your own relationship with Him strong.
Prayer is an essential part of the Christian life, and as women, we have a unique role to play. Let’s step out in faith and become the prayer warriors God has called us to be!
Scripture is full of examples of how powerful the prayers of women can be. One notable instance is when Hannah prayed for a son and God granted her request (1 Samuel 2). There are also many stories about women who were used by God to perform miracles through prayer. One such woman was Mary, mother of Jesus. After she learned she would be having Jesus, she went to visit her cousin Elizabeth and praised God for His great mercy (Luke 1). Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said prophetically stated “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear” What an amazing testimony to the power of prayer!
So what can we learn from these examples? Women have a powerful voice when it comes to prayer, and their prayers are heard by God. We should not be afraid to pray boldly for ourselves and others, knowing that God is always willing to hear us. Let’s rise up as prayer warriors and ask Him to do great things in our lives and in the lives of those around us!
We all know the story of Samson and Delilah. There are two interesting parts about the story to me: 1. She’s the only woman who gets named in the story and 2. He actually wife-d her. Samson, an Israelite, loved/and/or married Delilah, the Philistine. She then took a bribe from the Philistines to help them get rid of her lover/husband. Whether they were married or lovers is much debated but it’s safe to say they were close. Overall, it sounds like the stuff of spy movies.
Delilah seems like a double agent. On the one hand, she kinda likes Samson but on the other hand her bosses need Samson out of the picture. The Bible does not say that Delilah intended for Samson to die. This betrayal is not like Judas who knew that the Pharisees intended to kill Jesus. Perhaps she thought they just wanted Samson weak or to get Samson to flee.
We also never find out what happened to Delilah. After she got paid, did she feel guilty? Did these men send her on anymore spy missions?
While the story of Delilah can be interpreted as a caution against foreigners—which so many people have interpreted it that way–, I think there’s another lesson here… about ruthless work cultures.
Delilah did her job. In fact, she had three chances to get it right and one might think any one of those times she could’ve given up and said she is not doing this. But we have to think of the time. Marriage was currency. A man was currency. When the Philistines sought to get rid of Samson, they were going to get rid of Delilah’s source of income. Delilah knew how bloodthirsty these men were so maybe she figured it would happen with or without her and she needed to take part and get paid, so that she would be able to survive.
Maybe you’re out here doing your job right now and thinking this is not the job for you. This job that you have is incongruous with your morals, values, or with who you are. Maybe it’s not even where God wanted you to be in the first place, or second place, or any place. In that case, maybe you do not have to do the job. If it’s gonna happen with or without you, let it happen without you.
In Delilah’s case, Samson’s demise probably could not have happened without her. The Bible says that Samson was in love with her … they could not have sent anyone else to find out his secret. She was the only one who could have done the job.
Maybe you are the only one who can do a job… your history, your experiences, your unique abilities add up to something. Instead of letting it add up to something terrible, let’s seek where it adds up to something that gives God glory.
March is Women’s History Month. I thought I’d start this month by taking a moment to talk about women in the Bible. There are obviously a lot of choices, but let’s take a moment to talk about Eve, the first woman mentioned in the canonical Bible.
Eve gets vilified in most children’s stories. How could she have taken the apple! But we’re going to focus our attention more on how Eve came to be… Eve, before everything goes nuts in Genesis chapter 3.
First, In Genesis 2:18, Eve was a thought in God’s mind. “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” God created Eve to add value.
Second, God knocked Adam out. “So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.” Genesis 2:21
Thirdly, God made Eve out of the rib.
Fourth, God brought Eve to Adam.
While there is much debate to be had about translations, history and the patriarchy, I’m going to skip all of that here. And talk about the value Eve added. Adam named everything in the garden, but there was no one else like him. Adam regained consciousness to find another being that was like him, only different. Because Difference (not sameness) adds value. I don’t know what to do with the part that God made her out of one of his ribs but God brought Eve to Adam because they needed to be together for them to add value to one another, for them to complement each other.
Before Genesis 3, Eve was the one who added value. The one who complemented Adam. A literal gift from God.