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Biblical stories of eighteen New Testament women who Jesus encouraged, empowered, and loved.

When a Woman meets Jesus, BookHow could a man who had no wife, no children, no home, no job, no money, and wandered the hills of Judea with twelve men relate to women of his time, much less women in the 21st century?

That's the question that led author, Dorothy Valcárcel, to search for biblical women whose lives intersected with Jesus. As she explored the lives of every woman Jesus met, she discovered that they faced many of the same challenges women encounter today.

Available at:
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Christianbooks.com

 

Devotional Week 12 Tuesday

In Great Suffering

 

“Three times I called upon the Lord and besought Him and begged that it might depart from me: But He said to me, ‘My grace and loving-kindness and mercy is enough for you (sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble; for My strength and power are made perfect and complete and show themselves most effective in your weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell upon me)!”

II Corinthians 12: 8, 9

Amplified Bible

 

            Author Angela Ashwin in her terrific book, Prayer in the Shadows, shares a story about her friend Anne, who is in a wheelchair after developing multiple sclerosis after her husband committed suicide. Left with two young sons to raise Ann said:

 

“God never anywhere promises to heal all our sickness, or magic away all our suffering. What He does promise, time and again, is ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (II Corinthians 12: 9). I find the implications of that promise mind-blowing. Living with chronic illness and disability, claiming that promise daily, has become the greatest challenge of my life…The result has been not happiness, not relief from pain, not ease, but joy. The deepest peace and satisfaction, wholeness and security, in knowing that God is in control of this outrageous situation. Knowing that He holds me in the palm of His hand, and that nothing can separate us.”

 

            The following is a “song/prayer” penned by Anne:

 

My grace is all you need,

Today and every day,

My power will make you strong,

You need not be afraid.

 

My grace is all you need

The saints have proved it true,

Through fire, torment and death,

They kept their faith in You.

 

My grace is all you need

I claim Your promise now;

Without You at my side,

Life’s a dark and lonely road.

 

My grace is all you need

Sometimes almost too much,

As joy breaks through the pain

And I feel Your healing touch.

 

My grace is all you need

In temptations darkest hour,

At the point of despair,

Then I know Your power.

 

My Lord, my God, my song

Shall never, never end,

And though death may be strong,

Your grace is all I need.”

 

Today’s Study Text:

 

“When Mary came to the place where Jesus was and saw Him, she dropped down at His feet, saying to Him, ‘Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her sobbing, and the Jews who came with her also sobbing, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. And He said, ‘Where have you laid Him?’ They said to Him, ‘Lord come and see.’ Jesus wept.”

John 11: 32-35

Amplified Bible 

“The Fragrance of His Presence”

“Jesus Wept”

 

“There are times when God asks nothing of His children except silence, patience, and tears.”

Charles Seymour Robinson

 

What in my life today is causing me grief, suffering and tears?

 

Have I ever thought of visiting Lazarus’ tomb in God’s Word and see how the Son of God responded to the heartache of His closest friends?

 

“A teardrop on earth summons the King of heaven.”

Charles R. Swindoll

“Let us turn aside for a little, and see this great sight. It is the Creator of all worlds in tears! The God-man Mediator dissolved in tenderest grief! Of all the memories of Bethany, this surely is the most hallowed and the most wondrous…If we are in sorrow, these tears may either dry our own tears, or give them the warrant to flow when we are told – ‘Jesus wept’.”

John Macduff

Memories of Bethany

           

            Throughout Scripture, there are passages which I am certain all of us have turned to on a regular basis for encouragement or instruction; for strength and guidance; and for hope as well as counsel. Whatever the reason, there is our text which most people are aware of because it happens to be the shortest text in the entire Bible: John 11: 35, “Jesus wept.”

 

            I’ve always loved those words because they are something I can relate to. During those times when I have been shattered with grief, knowing that my Jesus wept has always been a comfort to my grieving heart. When we consider the fact that, as the book of Hebrews tells us, we have a High Priest who sympathizes with us and mutually shares our feelings, even our infirmities, what more could we ask for. So on the day when Jesus finally arrived in Bethany and found His dearest friends, Mary and Martha, crying because of the loss of their brother, in companionship with those He loved – He wept too.

 

            Over the years, Biblical scholars have pointed to a wide-variety of reasons why Jesus cried. But for today, I want to simplify all these reasons down to one: When I cry, my Saviour cries with me.

 

            Indeed, as some scholars point out, Jesus may have been weeping for all people down through time who would go to their graves having made a decision to “deny” their Lord Jesus or possibly Jesus’ weeping was brought on by the thought of how a decision made in a Garden called Eden had brought the specter of death, something that was a toxin in a perfect world, into the lives of all the creatures on our planet, and thus He wept for all people. Yes, I believe these reasons would cause the Son of God to weep. But on this particular day, at a grave in Bethany, I find the most reassurance in the fact that for every time my tears have spilled onto a headstone that contains my father’s name, Jesus was alongside me weeping as well. For when my heart breaks…when your heart breaks…we have a Saviour who cares. As author Frank E. Graeff penned in the beloved hymn, “Does Jesus Care?”

 

“Does Jesus care when my heart is pained

 Too deeply for mirth and song;

As the burdens press, and the cares distress,

And the way grows weary and long?

 

Does Jesus care when my way is dark

With a nameless dread and fear?

As the daylight fades into deep night shades,

Does He care enough to be near?

 

Does Jesus care when I’ve said goodbye

To the dearest on earth to me,

And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks,

Is it aught to Him? Does He see?”

 

Then with a resoundingly positive exclamation the answer is given:

 

“Oh yes, He cares –

I know He cares!

His heart is touched with my grief;

When the days are weary,

The long nights dreary,

I know my Saviour cares!”

 

            Many years ago, I was visiting a small church where one of the members had been asked to speak. The gentleman related an experience he had as a young student in college. He had experienced a rather traumatic break-up with his girlfriend and he came home that Christmas broken-hearted. One particular day, as he told the story, he was in his bedroom with the door closed weeping quietly as he lay on his bed. He heard a soft knock on his door and his younger sister asked if she could come in. She didn’t say one word. She just lay down next to her weeping brother and began to cry along with him. As he remembered the incident, tears again began to roll down his cheeks for he said, “She showed me what it was to comfort someone else.”

 

            This is the lesson that I take away from the grave in Bethany for we too can comfort as we have been comforted by our weeping Jesus. As we stand with the grief-stricken sisters at the grave of their beloved brother Lazarus, may we never forget the sensitive compassion expressed by Jesus. In words taken fromConsolation, penned by Mrs. Charles Cowman, “Was there ever sympathy like that! Son! Brother! Kinsman! Saviour! All in one! The majesty of the Godhead almost lost in the tenderness of the Friend. But so it was, and so it is. The heart of the now enthroned King beats responsive to the humblest of His sorrow-stricken people. ‘I am poor and needy, yet the Lord carries me on His Heart!’ (Psalm 40: 17).

 

“What is the use of the Man of Sorrows,

If you do not turn to Him in your need?

When your home is shadowed and your heart is breaking,

Then is the time to trust indeed;

He has never been known to fail in giving

The oil and wine for the open sore,

And the Heart that wept with the lonely sisters,

Is the same today and forevermore.”

Author Unknown

 

 

“I consider that the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us!”

Romans 8: 18

Amplified Bible

 

Immanuel’s Land

 

(Words of Samuel Rutherford who suffered much during religious persecution in Scotland but retained his integrity of character and piety to the last. At his death, his last words were ‘glory, glory dwelleth in Immanuel’s land.’ The lines follow are made up of expressions of his own.)

 

“The sands of time are sinking,

The dawn of heaven breaks,

The summer morn I’ve sighed for

The fair sweet morn-awakes.

Dark, dark hath been the midnight,

But dayspring is at hand;

And glory, glory dwelleth

In Immanuel’s land.

 

Oh! Well it is forever,

Oh! Well forevermore.

My nest hung in no forest!

Of all this death-doomed shore.

Yea, let this vain world vanish

As from the ship the strand,

While glory, glory dwelleth

In Immanuel’s land!

 

There is the red Rose of Sharon

Unfolds its heartmost bloom,

And fills the air of heaven

With ravishing perfume.

Oh! to behold it blossom,

While by its fragrance fanned.

Where glory, glory dwelleth

In Immanuel’s land!

 

Oh, Christ – He is the fountain,

The deep, sweet well of love!

The streams on earth I’ve tasted

More deep I’ll drink above;

There to an ocean fullness

His mercy doth expand;

And glory, glory dwelleth

In Immanuel’s land.”

 

“I pray You take this weeping heart

and all the broken thing that lies within

your hand distill the agony until

from all its hurt –

a single drop of sweetness may remain

changing the substance of this death in earth

to make all new –

a rising sap to bring transformation

of the spring.”

 

Margaret Torrie

Your friend

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author

When A Woman Meets Jesus

Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

 

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