Pardon the Interruption, but He favors me!

I just had to interrupt my musings about the Spice Girls of Jesus’ lineage to share this song with you. A friend of mine pointed it to me (thanks, Wendy) and it spoke to my heart directly. If I were half of the skilled singer/songwriter that Hezekiah Walker is, that’s exactly how I would have written it.

So if, like me, you can look back on your life and say with confidence that the favor of God has followed you at every turn, then sit back, crank up the volume on your computer, soak in every word and let the tears of gratitude flow if they come. Oh, and have some kleenex close by (or use your sleeve like someone I know 😉 ).

…And have a mah-velous weekend!

 

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Sugar ‘n’ Spice (Ruth)

Ruth

Ruth: every mother’s dream for her son. What a girl! I call her sugar-n-spice (and everything nice).

After her husband’s death, when she had every reason to heave a sigh of relief and wish her mother-in-law Naomi a good life, she stayed with the older woman. A Gentile woman, like Tamar and Rahab, her quiet devotion to Naomi earned her a good catch in Boaz, her kinsman-redeemer (see Tamar’s story) who happened to be a kind and generous man. Didn’t hurt that he was was well-off, either (I’m just sayin’…)

What I love about Ruth is that she was this sweet, gentle, fiercely loyal girl, yet I detect a hint of caliente in her. When Naomi gave her instructions for catching Boaz’ eye, she didn’t shrink back from it. What was it about her past that made her choose to stay with Naomi rather than go back home to her family after her husband died? Was it a fascination with the God of Israel whom her beloved mother-in-law worshipped? I suspect that she’d seen enough evidence of Jehovah’s living presence to want to return to the dead gods of her people. She knew which life she wanted. Those famous words of hers to Naomi: “your people will be my people and your God will be my God” still give me goosebumps when I read them. Lord, give me a daughter-in-law like that! I’d bet after Boaz and Ruth got married, they moved Naomi into the White House – I mean, their home, with them.

At the end of her story, she earned herself a good man, her very own book of the Bible and a spot in Jesus’ lineage.  You go, sweetie (pun intended).

Sizzlin’ Spice (Rahab)

Rahab

Can somebody say “caliente”? Oh yeah! That would be Rahab (Joshua 2:1-21). I call her Sizzlin’ Spice. She was a “working girl”; a woman of ill repute; a prostitute. So why the heck was she in Jesus’ lineage, right? Surely she’s not worthy! 

She was not even an Israelite, yet she had enough faith in the God of Israel that she harbored and protected God’s people from the enemies who were hunting them down.  There she was, with no dignity, integrity or reputation to boast of, yet she knew how to drive a great bargain. She made a deal with the Israelite spies: I’ll cover for you, but in exchange, you guarantee my safety as well as my family’s. She wasn’t only looking out for herself. She had nothing to lose and everything to gain!

Rahab’s story bends the theology of religion. She didn’t fit the mold of the good Christian girl, yet she won the favor of Almighty God. How I wish there was more detail about her life – I would have loved to get to know Sizzlin’ Spice a little more. For instance, what exactly happened after she and her family were saved from destruction? How did she hook up (no pun intended!) with her future husband, Salmon, from the tribe of Judah, the father of Boaz? Yet the Bible tells us all that we need to know about her – a seemingly unworthy sinner, redeemed by her faith in Jehovah and rewarded for her protection of God’s people, to the extent of earning a place in Messiah’s lineage and an honorable mention in God’s Hall of Faith (Heb. 11:31).

You go, Sizzlin’ Spice!

Subtle Spice (Tamar)

Tamar

I call her subtle spice. Tamar, a woman who refused to curl up and die, but went to great lengths to get what was rightfully hers. Her story is found in Genesis 38.

Desperate times called for desperate measures and Tamar pulled out all the stops to make her point. She was married to one of Judah’s three boys. Unfortunately, her husband died and made her a young widow. In order to continue his lineage, the culture of the day demanded that the closest male relative to the deceased would marry his widow so she could bear children on the dead man’s behalf. There was even a title for this man who would continue his relative’s lineage: kinsman-redeemer.

Judah’s second son stepped in, but apparently had his own agenda. Long story short, he died too. Judah, not wanting to lose his only remaining son, withheld him from his kinsman-redeemer duty, promising Tamar that the boy was too young and would marry her when he got older. Poor Tamar. She became a black widow through no fault of her own. What a stigma! As time went on, she realized Judah had no intention of fulfilling his promise, so she devised a plan. Judah himself had become a widower and one day as he was traveling from point A to point B, Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute and offered him her services, which he so willingly accepted. She became pregnant by him and cleverly produced evidence that he was indeed the father of her twins. At that point, Judah did the honorable thing and admitted that he had shirked his responsibility toward Tamar. He became her kinsman-redeemer and her honor was re-instated.

What a woman! It took guts back in those days to risk reproach and even death by doing what she did, but Tamar was a chick who knew what was rightfully hers and she was not going to let Judah steal it from her. Her spicy-ness was unveiled by the circumstances that prevailed in her life. Gotta love that subtle spice!

Spice Girls of Jesus’ Lineage

Britain's Spice Girls

So…yesterday I was skipping merrily across the pages of the Bible on my way to the book of Jeremiah, when I heard Matthew calling out to me instead. So I flicked forward to said book and started at the very beginning. Why? Because it’s a very good place to start…ok, that was from the Sound of Music, but that’s off the subject.

I started reading Jesus’ genealogy and read through all the “begats”, starting with Abraham, through all the men who begat so-and-so, all the way down to Joseph, Jesus’ earthly father. It dawned on me, perhaps for the first time, that it was actually Joseph’s lineage, and not Mary’s that was being traced. Funny, I never stopped long enough to realize that. As I thought about it, I realized that Mary’s only biological contribution to Jesus was her physical body which housed the baby as He grew in her belly. His DNA? Completely supernatural. She was no more Jesus’ mother than Joseph was His father. I know, I know, duh! right?

Anyway, so I was intrigued by the fact that out of the 40 men and women who begat each other all the way from Abraham to Joseph, only 5 women were mentioned in the “begats” – Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba and of course, Mary. Why? I mused. My curiosity led me to look a little more closely at the lives of these women. Next week, I’ll share my findings with you on the ladies I have fondly named The Spice Girls (of Jesus’ Lineage).

In the mean time, y’all have a great weekend now, y’hear? 😉

Asa

Thought I’d share another one of my favorites with you from Asa (pronounded Asha), a young Nigerian musician who uses her music to address social issues. I shared another one of her songs a while ago, called Fire on the Mountain.  I just love her flavor and sincerity. This one is called 360 degrees. Enjoy…

 

These are exciting times…

Economy woes

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I last blogged – not that anyone noticed, I’m sure. Anyway, I’ve had a good reason (this time!) I started a new job and I’ve been in training and just had my first real day on the job today.

These days, with jobs so few and far between, I am grateful to once again be a part of the endangered species that is the workforce. Being a full-time (8am-5pm with an hour’s lunch) commitment in addition to the work I do as our church’s administrator, and all my other roles, you can understand how precious time is lately! How do we women do it? Only by the grace of God!

Apart from the obvious (ie the moulah), I’m excited about meeting new people and connecting with folks I ordinarily wouldn’t meet. Now more than ever, with the economy in shambles and people losing so much, they need to see that there is hope in hopeless times and God’s people are the ones to show them that hope. The fact that we are hurting right alongside them makes it even more believable. Every time I hear people complain about the economy, I listen for the things they are not actually saying: how their paradigm and priorities have shifted; how they are looking for something more dependable than 401Ks to rely on…the list goes on. Then I wait for the right moment to speak a word “in season.” Hope is not lost! So every time you feel the urge to join in some government bashing and Israelite-style murmuring, remember to look around you for a reminder of how blessed you are, regardless. I’m sure you won’t need to look far.

Call me crazy, but yes, I do think that these ARE exciting times!