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With the sweltering, three digit heat-filled days and
ground cracking drought of the 2011 summer, the refreshing
cooler temperatures of the fall season will be
gratefully welcomed. Not only for the relief from the
heat, but because of the beautiful transformation that
will take place right before our eyes. The trees are
especially amazing! They become so brilliant with
rich, beautiful colors! It reminds me of the awesome
power of God’s creation. EVERY LEAF in every tree
is unique, different, and special in its own beautiful
design. It’s as if God painted each one individually. I
don’t understand how anyone can deny His existence
when beholding such a sight. But, as incredible as the
creation of the season of fall is, God’s creation of us
far exceeds the design and beauty of plants and trees.
Each one of us is unique and special. Psalms 139:13-
16 tells us we were fearfully, wonderfully and skillfully
created and that our Creator, God, knew us when
we were yet unformed.
Do you remember the saying, “They broke the mold
when they made you?” I remember this phrase being
said to people when I was growing up. The statement
implied that there was only “one” of that person
in existence. Until I was a Christian I never thought
much about how true that statement was. There is
only “ONE” of us in existence. No other person on
this earth has ever been or will ever be just like you
or I. Even “identical” twins are not truly “identical”.
With over an estimated 6 billion people in the world,
it is hard to comprehend that no two are exactly the
same, yet God knows every detail about us right down
to how many hairs we have on our head, Luke 12:7.
Although each one of us is similar in many ways, we
are each unique, different and special, especially in
God’s eyes. In Genesis 1:27 we read that God created
each of us in His own image. Nothing could make
us any more special and unique than that! However,
sometimes we don’t think of ourselves as unique and
special. Instead, many times we compare ourselves
to other Christians and how much more special and
talented they seem to be than us. It’s easy to get in the
mindset of thinking that everyone else is better than
us. “She is a better wife, a better mother, homemaker,
Bible class teacher than I am. “Why can’t I be like
I had this mindset as a new Christian. I didn’t become
a Christian until I was an adult, so I was way behind
all the other women in our congregation in Bible
knowledge and how to be an active, serving Christian.
Most of them had been in the church from childhood
or teenagers. This made me feel very inadequate and
I constantly compared myself to the Christian women
I worshipped with. I was always thinking “if I could
only be like them.” I was always selling myself short.
As the years have gone by, I have learned that some
of those same Christian sisters I desired so strongly to
be like were thinking the same thing about me. They
were actually wishing they could be like me in some
ways. I had no idea! I was so busy focusing on what
I thought I wasn’t and what I didn’t think I could do,
that I wasn’t seeing or using the talents that God had
blessed me with. I was limiting myself in my service
If you are struggling with these same feelings, I pray
you will search God’s word to help you to see that you
are unique, special, and that everyone, including you,
has a talent or talents that you can use to serve God in
a way that nobody else can.
Not in a vain or boasting way, but it is ok to love
ourselves. In fact, God wants us to love ourselves.
Matthew 22:39 tells us to “Love thy neighbor as
thyself.” Usually when we study or hear this verse
used in a lesson we focus on the part that instructs
us to “love our neighbor” and rightly so. That command
is a very important part of the verse. But, this
verse also tells us to love “ourselves”. We have to
first love ourselves and the special and unique person
God has created us to be before we can properly love
anyone else. This doesn’t always come natural for
us. It sometimes takes a conscious effort and maybe
a change in our lives so that we are living our lives as
a person we can love, a Christian that is pleasing to
God. Does that mean we have to be good at everything?
Does that mean we have to be able to serve in
any and every way? No, we just have to strive to be
the best we can with the talents God has given each of
us as an individual. Those talents may be very visible.
For instance, being able to teach a Bible class,
make visual aids for classes, be able to coordinate
events such as workshops, ladies days, etc. You may
have talents that are not so visible, but are still just as
important and effective in the Lord’s work. God has
given every single one of us a talent or ability that we
can use to serve Him. Maybe you are good at writing
and sending cards of encouragement to others,
cleaning the church building so it always looks nice
and welcoming for worship services. Are you good at
having just the right thing to say to a brother or sister
in Christ that is struggling with something in their
life? Is your talent praising and encouraging those
that make the effort to be at all the worship services or
to those men who lead in our worship in some way?
Do you help prepare a dish to take to someone when
needed? You may not think your talents are useful,
but they are! Whatever you are able to do, find a way
to use it to serve God. Use it to bring other Christians
together for a time of fellowship. Sewing, painting,
crafts, crocheting, creating Bible lessons, having a devotional
in your home are good ways to bring women
together for a fun time of fellowship.
Let’s look at some women that were unique, special
and worthy of mention in the Bible. They used their
talents to serve God.
* Dorcas: was kind and loving-Acts 9:36
* Lydia: showed hospitality (especially to those of the faith)-Acts 16:1-15
* Phoebe: was mentioned as a servant in the church-Romans 16:1
* Priscilla: Taught others privately -Acts 18:24-26
The acts of these women are acts any of us can do in
some way. It is these kinds of acts that will help to
make us feel special. Serving others is a great way
to help us feel better about ourselves and to let God’s
light shine through us.
Maybe we need to remind ourselves daily that we are
unique and created by God Himself in His image and
that He loves us so much! Here is a little exercise
that may help you to remember this and learn to love
yourself. Write this down on a sticky note and put it
somewhere you will read it every day.
“I am special and unique, created in God’s image and
He loves me.” “I have talents that I can and will use
Then believe it! Realize the potential you have as a
Christian woman to serve our Lord. Whatever you
do, do it with a cheerful, thankful attitude. You never
know how you may be influencing others around you
to become a Christian or to become stronger Christians.
Don’t be afraid to ask your Christian sisters to
help you develop your talents, to help you grow in
May God bless and strengthen you through the study
of His word and through your efforts to grow as His
By Pam Savage
Originally published in the Fall 2011 issue N4V4
It was God’s plan to provide a means of redemption
for man’s soul. He gave His only begotten Son that
mankind through that Son, might be saved. The shedding
of Christ’s blood on the cross makes that possible.
On the day of Pentecost when the pouring out of
the Holy Spirit was given to the Apostles in Jerusalem
and the first gospel sermon was preached by Peter, the
church was established when those who were pricked
in their hearts were baptized for the remission of their
sins and were added to the church. (Acts 2:38,47,
KJV). We read in Ephesians 5:23, that Christ is the
Head of the church and He is the Saviour of the body,
and Colossians 1:18 says “Christ is the head of the
body, the church.” If we are part of the body, then we
must be part of the church. Ephesians 1:22-23 says,
“He is the head over all things to the church which is
His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all.”
We are the church which Christ purchased with His
own blood (Acts 20:28). If we are that body and that
body is the church and Christ is the Head, we must
conclude that we cannot be saved without being in the
body which is the Church.
Our brothers and sisters in Christ are very essential to
the maintaining of our faithfulness. We are to exhort
one another, to build one another up in the most holy
faith. We are to bear one another’s burdens, weep,
mourn, rejoice with one another. The letters to the
churches are filled with exhortations to love one another,
and be united in the Lord. We cannot afford to
diminish the importance of our church families. It is
true that we must all work out our own salvation, but
God saw the need of Christian fellowship that would
be had through the church. The example of the early
church meeting daily and having all things in common
should remind us of the necessity of being with those
of like faith as often as possible. The pattern for the
church and its’ mission are recorded in the New Testament
throughout the epistles. We see in Romans 12:4-
5, and also in I Corinthians 12:12-14, that the body is
made up of many members and that each member is
essential to the proper functioning of the body. When
one member of that body suffers, or is not functioning
properly, the whole body suffers as a result. As each
organ or member of the physical body should be taken
care of and kept healthy, so should the body of Christ
(the church). We as members of the church must do
all we can to keep ourselves spiritually healthy and
in doing so the church (body) will grow in strength
as well as in number. We must hunger and thirst for
the Word of God, thereby, growing in the grace and in
the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ
and be ready and willing to share that knowledge with
those who are unlearned.
Thanks be to God that He has given us the church
which is Christ’s body. In Hebrews 10:25, we are
warned of the dangers of forsaking the assembling
of the church and that, by doing so, we are wilfully
sinning. Our Heavenly Father knows how important
the church is to our salvation and commands us to be
faithful to it, for it is our brothers and sisters in Christ
who pick us up when we fall, encourage us when we
are weak, and love our souls even when we’re not
loveable! It is the church with whom we assemble to
worship Almighty God, in singing, praying, giving,
partaking in communion and in studying His Word.
Not only are the “saved” in the nody, but they are
also given the name of the Head of that nody. Acts
4:12 says, “Neither is there salvation in any other
name; for there is none other name under heaven
given among men, whereby we must be saved.” According
to New Testament scripture, salvation and the
Church are synonymous.
By Alice A. Simmons
Originally published in the Fall 2011 Issue N4V4
by Pam Savage
A physical sister is a gift indeed
A sister in Christ is a blessing we need
Someone who shares the Christian walk
Who knows when to listen and when to talk
She will know your burdens & your cares
She will lift you up when her love she shares
A Christian sister is precious in God’s sight
In her, all will see His shining light
She knows God’s word is a priceless treasure
The “only” standard by which to measure
Christian sisters will teach their children His word, morning, noon & night
For they know this is the only way their little lives will turn out right
Serving others is always on her mind
Searching for ways to be loving, caring & kind
The bond of Christian sisters is like no other
Together we strive to be a Godly daughter, friend, wife and mother
A serving Christian sister is a blessing tis true
Pray that God & others will find this trait in me and in you
Originally published in the Fall 2011 Issue N4V4
Priscilla is one of my favorite Bible characters. We don’t know a lot about Priscilla (also called Prisca), but what we do know leads me to believe that she really loved the church. One interesting thing to note is that she and her husband, Aquila, are always mentioned together. In Acts 18:1-3 we are told that Priscilla and Aquila allowed Paul to live and work with them when he had first come to Corinth. Paul was well known for his persecution of the church in the early days, so this hospitality and openness from Aquila and Priscilla is truly something to take note of. This friendship grew to the point that Aquila and Priscilla willingly risked their lives for Paul. We don’t know what it was exactly that they did, but Paul thanked them for it in Romans 16:3-4. It is not often that we would risk our life for acquaintances but for the friends we love the most we would. Also, when Paul chose to sail to Syria, Aquila and Priscilla chose to travel with him. Once in Ephesus however, Aquila and Priscilla stayed behind, while Paul traveled on to Jerusalem and back. While in Ephesus, Aquila and Priscilla did what they could to grow and encourage the church. We are told in Acts 18: 24-28 that they met a bold and fervent man named Apollos who spoke only of John’s baptism. Aquila and Priscilla “took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.” They didn’t debate him or publically humiliate him, they lovingly and gently took him aside and corrected him. And Apollos went on to firmly stand for the church and teach for the Lord. We know they made other efforts to encourage, grow, and serve the church because in Romans 16: 5 Paul sends his greetings to Aquila and Priscilla and “the church that is in their house”. They are opening their home so that the church would have a place to gather. We don’t exactly know what they gathered for or how often but we can speculate that it was for worship, Bible study and probably meals and other events. We also know Aquila and Priscilla, and the church that was in their house had concern for the church in other cities because in 1 Corinthians 16:19 they sent their greetings through Paul back to the church in Corinth. Which means we could also infer that while they lived in Corinth they had been very involved with the church and did what they could to help Paul grow the church there. Paul ultimately calls them “my fellow workers in Christ Jesus.” Romans 16:3
So we can see that Priscilla loved a missionary enough to be open to him in spite of his past, host him in her home, and risked her life in defending him and the Faith. She loved individual souls enough to teach them gently and encourage them to be bold for the Faith. And she loved the church enough to open her home to them at the very least on a weekly basis, if not a daily basis. And she didn’t just love those near her but those far away as well.
The question for us today is how can we be more like Priscilla? Can we serve more faithfully beside our husbands? Can we be more encouraging to our missionaries? Can we be more active in teaching others with gentleness and love? Can we more often bring the church into our homes? No matter who we are or what stage of life we are in, couldn’t we all be more like Priscilla? May you be blessed with the energy and zeal to serve as Priscilla did.
Precious Crimson Stream
By Kristin Haden
Sweet escape. God, I want out.
I deserve to be vomited out of your mouth.
Indecisive at best, flat rebellious at worst.
I’m a wretched sinner, Lord, but You loved me first.
Can I still be redeemed? Is there any grace left?
Oh merciful God, take this load off my chest.
For I am too weak, too small, and too quiet
to resist, fight off, band together in riot.
But if God is for me, who can be against?
Perhaps all this time I’ve been riding the fence.
I choose this day whom I’ll serve no longer.
“Get thee behind me, Satan!” My God and I are stronger.
Now I remember what my knees are for.
It’s been a while since I was down on this floor.
Well, here I am, Lord, exhausted, worthless, broken.
But I fully believe every word you have spoken.
Refill me, restore me. Oh God, I repent.
I’ve turned away from Your Son, the great sacrifice you sent.
I am oh-so-sorry for the way I’ve been going.
Here’s the real me, no secrets, for You are all-knowing.
Wash me clean again please,
with that precious crimson stream.
May your precious blood wash away my sin.
So I can live righteously, upstanding again.
Originally published in the Fall 2011 Issue N4V4
Hello Sister! Now that you are walking in the light free from your cage, it is easy to often feel we have to do it all on our own. But God knows that we need encouragement, instruction, and companionship in order to be faithful Christians.
From the beginning God has longed for mankind to love him. He has wanted them to separate themselves from the world and honor him. He started by creating a separate group, the Israelites, but they failed him often turning to idols and evil ways. Through Christ, however, God created a new gathering of His people, the body of Christ. And we have the choice of being a part of it or not being a part of it. By going through the “water gate” of baptism, you are choosing to enter His body. (1 Cor. 12:13) Christ has freely given you his body. First, He gave you his body on the cross. And then He created a new body for you to be a part of: the church. (Eph 1:22-23)
Where would we be without the church? New marriages often suffer, new parents are often nervous, widows/widowers are often lonely, people who lost a job are often depressed. How much more so if you don’t have a group of people who can lift you up? God knows how much we need each other. Romans 12: 15 tells us to “rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Going through difficult times, such as depression, loss of family, loss of a job, etc., are so much easier to bear when we have our church family. And by the same token, weddings, new babies, new jobs, etc. are so much sweeter, joyful and even less stressful when we have our church family. Even the bonds of blood family are deepened when we share the Lord and his mercies.
Knowing that I have a gathering full of women that I can call and seek advice from when I am struggling through life as a wife, mother or Christian is comforting. I imagine that if I were a widow, it would be a huge comfort to know that if I needed something, I have full gathering of people to call on; that somebody would come help me. Knowing the strength, peace and friendship I receive from the church, I have such a hard time understanding why someone would choose to not be a part of it.
Christ calls us to be an active body part: the hand that serves, the ear that listens, the mouth that teaches, or the shoulder to cry on. Romans 12 says “We have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ… Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” We each have a place in which to serve. 1 Corinthians 12:18 says “God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” And Ephesians 4: 11-12 says “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ.” Notice that the reason he gave us different jobs was so that we, as the body, would be well equipped for works of service and that we together might build up the body.
Often we hear (said in a deep voice, of course), “DO NOT FORSAKE THE ASSEMBLY.” (Go on. I know you want to giggle). This comes from Hebrews 10: 24-25. But let’s look at these verses more closely. “And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” We are to stimulate and encourage each other. How do we do this? By not neglecting to meet together.
We can look to the first Christians in Acts 2 as an example for us. “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.” They met together, served together, worshiped together, prayed together, and gave to those who had a need so that they as individuals would be strengthened and the body of Christ would grow in number and maturity.
We often say “time to Go to church” but more accurately we should say “time to go be with the church.” Being a part of the church is more than just filling a pew on Sunday morning. It is lending a helping hand when others need it. And it is calling on others when you have a need. It is about being mentored by older women and in turn mentoring the younger women. It is about fellowshipping with each other over meals and birthday parties. It is about helping each other grow stronger in our faith and our knowledge. It is about coming together to worship our Lord as one body with a united voice. It is about coming together to feast at the Lord’s table. We are called to be one whole complete fitted-together body; not a divided, broken or scattered body.
Some people forget that they have to be attached to the body in order to be a part of the body. If someone has an accident and they cut off their fingers, why do we rush to the hospital to get those fingers put back on? Because if we don’t they will cease to be a part of the body. The severed fingers will die because they are not fed by the blood. The hand where the fingers once were will have to be stitched up. Sadly the hand, though it may work well, will never again work to its fullest ability because of the loss. Same goes with the church. My grief although is more for the fingers than for the injured hand. Because the fingers are lost, dying and now useless. When the body goes to heaven, the fingers will not go, because they are not attached to the body. I fear that too many “fingers” out there, dismembered from the body, believe that because they were once baptized or because they still believe in God, that they are ok. 1 John 1 7 tells us “if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Based on this scripture, can we not also infer that if we “do not” walk, we “do not” have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son “does not” cleanse us?
It has been said that life is in the blood, when referring to the physical body. It is also true of the spiritual body. Col 2:19 indicates the spiritual body is nourished by the head of the body, which is Christ. Therefore if you are not attached to Christ’s body, you do not have his blood. If you do not have his blood, you have no life and your sins are not covered. How then can those severed fingers claim that Christ’s blood covers them, when they are not attached to the body?
I find this thought amazing: though today’s earthly surgeons cannot replace a finger after a certain amount of time or damage, Christ, the great healer, can. Just as he physically repaired the man’s ear in Luke 22:51, He can bring those dead lifeless fingers back to the body and restore them completely. There may be a time of healing, cleansing and rehabilitation, but eventually they can be fully and completely restored.
So it goes beyond the basic need of companionship, we cannot survive without the body of Christ. And though you have the option of leaving the group at anytime, I don’t understand why anyone would. It makes absolutely no sense to me. Why would you walk away from God’s sweetest blessings? The blessings of spiritual family, of being renewed by the blood, of being nourished by Christ, and of fellowship that encourages you in your walk with God. Because by leaving you are choosing to leave the blessing and grace that are extended to those in the gathering.
Please, join me, and your brothers and sisters, in Christ in strengthening Christ’s body both with your presence and your work.
by Amy Ellis
Originally printed in the Fall 2011 Issue V4N3
Part 1 – The Cage and The Door
Part 2 – Walking through The Door
Part 3 – Living in the Light