Women Teaching Women, Part II

It turns out my post “Women teaching Women” has generated some good questions that I’d like to begin to address here. To be honest, since coming to the conclusion that teaching an inductive study on the book of Colossians to a mixed group of men and women was inappropriate (back in the 70’s), most of my focus has been on what I can teach, not on what I can’t.

After taking a short break the first few years of our marriage, I have spent the last thirty-plus years teaching Bible studies, book studies, and topical studies to women of all ages. I have felt much freedom in doing so and a great deal of contentment in the field God has given me to farm. I have spoken on biblical topics at women’s conferences, women’s workshops, break-out sessions for women, etc. I have not been yearning for other fields because this one is enormous and keeps me more than busy. Frankly, it has never occurred to me to wish I could be a plenary speaker at a Grace Agenda conference, or any other conference, for that matter!

But even so, I would like to answer some of the questions that have come up in the comments on the “Women Teaching Women” post I wrote a few days ago. I do see that even though it has seemed pretty simple to me all these years, there are genuine areas of application that call for our reflection and wisdom.

1. Women can teach Bible to their children and grandchildren. Paul says of Timothy “from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures” (2 Timothy 3:15), and in chapter 1 (vs. 5) Paul reminds Timothy of “the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice.” Timothy’s father was a Gentile (Acts 16:1), and there is no mention of his conversion, so in all likelihood, these faithful women had a hand in bringing Timothy to Christ.

The last chapter of Proverbs (31:1), written by King Lemuel, is identified as “The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him.” Proverbs 1:8 reinforces the idea of mothers teaching their Continue reading ‘Women Teaching Women, Part II’

Friends

photo(70)

Navigating friendships can be challenging, even for little people like my granddaughters! They are so cute, what could ever go wrong? But even the sweetest little friendships need oversight if we want them to blossom into lasting friendships.

Of course the Bible has plenty to say on the qualities of a friend, and our children need to grow up understanding these basic principles. As in everything, before we can teach them and guide them, we have to know and do this ourselves.

But let’s back up and start at the beginning. What is a friend? Here’s what the dictionary offers: A friend is a trusted companion for whom you have mutual affection, who is a source of joy, and whose company is a pleasure. That’s a pretty good place to start.

Let’s consider the kind of friends Jesus had. Among his many followers, he chose His twelve disciples, whom He called His friends: “My friends, do not be afraid of those who can kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” (Luke 12:4). Of the twelve, He had his three special friends, Peter, James, and John. And of those three, John was “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 21:20).

But Matthew 11:19 says that Jesus was also “a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” He did not limit His friendship to only His disciples, but He had different levels of friendships: close, closer, and closest. From this we can see that it is only natural for us to have dear friends, close friends, and friends who are acquaintances. Because we are finite, it’s obvious that we cannot have an infinite number of friends, no matter what Facebook might lead us to believe.

Not only did Jesus, the Son of God, have friends, but the Bible teaches that God was a friend to Moses and to Abraham.  “So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Exodus 33:11).
“‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God” (James 2:23).

To be a good and godly friend to others, we must first be friends with God. His friendship is obviously the most important one. Jesus is the best kind of friend we can have. He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He has made a covenant with us. He has given us His Word, our covenant book. He has given us many precious promises. He has given us the Holy Spirit. He is particular about His friends in one way (He died for us), but He is inclusive in another way (we were all sinners). Continue reading ‘Friends’

Women Teaching Women

femina_seminarWhen I was just out of college, I became an associate staff member with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and one of the duties I had was leading or co-leading small group Bible studies on campus or at conferences. I was also involved in a local ministry and was doing similar work with them.

One of the things I kept bumping into during those days was 1 Timothy 2:12, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.” If that’s what the Bible says so clearly, why, I wondered, did my boss continue to put me in positions where I was teaching Bible to men? When I asked him, the answer was that he was in authority over me, and he was asking me to do this, so it was okay. Hmmm. Certainly I was not “in authority” over the men in my Bible studies, but I was teaching them all right. In fact, once I arrived to “co-lead” a study with a young man, only to find that not only had he not prepared, but the only ones who came that night were guys. That’s when I quit. Enough of this!

Being still a young believer (having been converted in college), I deferred to those older and wiser put over me, but I still continued to question this. Finally, I asked my future husband what he thought of it, and it was the first time I got a straight answer. Needless to say, it was quite refreshing! And, it wasn’t too long after this that my boss saw my point.

Okay, why the long buildup of personal story? What am I getting to?
A couple of Femina readers have asked in the comments why our Grace Agenda conference on “Marriage Militant” is not featuring women speakers (specifically, Continue reading ‘Women Teaching Women’

Heavy Lifting

It struck me the other day how much lifting up we see in the Scriptures. We are to lift up our prayers, our hands, our eyes, our voices, our hearts, and our souls to the Lord.

Lifting is a great image. It is always pointed upward, above us. We are to lift up our heads, lift up our eyes and look up to our Creator God, raising our thoughts and hearts to a higher place.

Why do we need to do so much lifting? Because we don’t have to do anything to get pulled down by the gravity of life’s distractions. We get ourselves focused on the world’s troubles or our own troubles, and we need to lift up our eyes. “I  lift up my eyes to the hills, from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth” (Ps. 121: 1-2).

This may seem obvious, but lifting is something we do. It is not passive, but active. “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” (James 12:12). Lifting requires strength and faith. It may require courage. You may not feel like lifting anything. But lifting won’t happen by itself. In other words, we have to exert ourselves. Picking up your mind and setting it on things above, that is what lifting is. It seems like lifting is a pretty big part of the Christian life, so we need to get practicing.

God is the one who does the actual heavy lifting. But we are still active in this process because we call out to Him and He lifts us up. “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up” (James 4:10). This humbling is essential. When we humble ourselves, we get low. We call out to our God, and He remembers us and lifts us up, just like a mother lifts up her child and carries him.

“The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Num. 6:26). When He lifts us up, we quit fussing and rest. And when we rest in Him, we will be lifting up hearts and hands and voices all the more.

Build Yourselves Up

The Christian life is simple, but it is not easy. God’s directions to us are not complicated or unclear, but we often encounter hard things. Following Christ is not like floating on an inner tube down a lazy river. In fact, drifting can be  dangerous. The Christian life requires attentiveness and diligence, perseverance and faith. It is challenging and rewarding in the very best and truest sense.

We sometimes forget that we are the ones responsible for “how we are doing” in the Lord.  Consider these verses (20-21) in Jude:

“But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”

Notice our responsibility here. We are to build ourselves up in our faith. We are to keep ourselves in the love of God. Continue reading ‘Build Yourselves Up’

Grace Agenda in March

femina_seminarThis year’s Grace Agenda is coming soon in March, and to make it easier for you to attend, all admission costs have been waived! The topic for this year’s conference, as you can see below, is Marriage Militant. On Friday we Femina girls will be hosting a pre-conference event on the topic “A Woman’s Worth.” We’ll be speaking on four different aspects of our calling to be worthy women: Courage (by Rachel), Loyalty (Heather), Contentment (Nancy), and Faithfulness (Bekah). If you attend the femina pre-conference, you’ll be invited to join us in a complimentary luncheon. We’d love to see you all come, of course, and we would appreciate your prayers as we prepare to host this event. You can get all the details here. Even though it is free, be sure to register.

femina(3)