I was scrolling through Facebook last night when I saw an article shared by a young woman I went to church with. Now, at the age of 25, I’ve done a lot of growing up and, thanks to a few years of studying the Bible in college and personally, I’ve done a lot of growing in my religion.
I’m a Christian, as you likely know. The article that was shared was a blog post about how woman should not be equal to men because the Bible tells us so. I was troubled to see a young woman sharing this because I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says a Christian woman should be lesser than a man.
For the purposes of this blog, I want to tell you what I mean by "feminist." I simply mean someone who believes that men and women should be equal in right, pay, and by societal standards. I know that men and women each have different talents and abilities (i.e. birthing children).
Here are a few reasons why I believe with all of my heart (and Bible) that Jesus and God are both feminists:
1: GOD CREATED WOMEN
2: MUCH OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IS JEWISH HISTORY & LAW
In Colossians 3, we see that verse 18 does indeed say “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.” This whole chapter of Colossians is talking about kindness and love. This doesn’t mean that you should necessarily submit to your husbands overall will, because let’s face it, that can be unwise. I read this and understand it to mean that we should submit to our husbands in love and respect (and I think the next verse says that husbands should do this also).
In 1 Peter 3, it says “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;”
Notice here it says “likewise,” which grammatically implies that the section before this was saying the same thing. It also gives power to the woman here, saying that non-believers who are men can be won over by the way their Christian wives treat them and act.
3: JESUS GAVE MORE POWER TO WOMEN THAN ANYONE IN
Jewish women in Jesus’ time did have to follow the law that came from the age-old curse of being ruled by their husband (thanks Eve). But Jesus did so much for women in his time.
First of all, he saved Mary Magdalene from being stoned to death for adultery. After that, he allowed her to travel with him, even to the crucifixion. And in some of the gospel accounts, she was the first one to see him after his resurrection.
In Mark 14, a woman came into the house of Simon the leper where Jesus was and broke a box of expensive oil/ointment that was very precious, over his head.
“And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.” Mark 14:4-5
4: GOD’S LOVE OF WOMEN
Let’s name a few of the women who God gave an amazing responsibility to:
Also, to address this here at the end, chastity in the Bible is meant for everyone, not just females. Never does it say that only females should abstain from sex. Rather, in 1 Corinthians, it says that a man should not have sexual relations with a woman unless he has his own wife.
So, I want to give a praise of thanks to the Lord for loving me and valuing my life, no matter my sex/gender. To all of you Christian women, you can continue to be great while respectfully and lovingly submitting yourselves emotionally, spiritually, and physically (if you’re on the same page, this is consensual) to your husbands.
At any sign of abuse, do not read the Bible and think that God wants you to stay. Physical and sexual abuse is frowned upon, and it violates the one flesh union.
WORSHIP WEDNESDAY: REOCCURRING THEMES IN ANN MARIE RUBY'S BOOK, "SPIRITUAL SONGS II: BLESSINGS FROM A SACRED SOUL"Read Now
I wanted to approach this book review from a different perspective and offer up a sort of analysis of some of the major reoccurring themes I picked up from this book. Let's get into it:
MY LORD, MY CREATOR
Lord (lôrd): Someone or something having power, authority, or influence; a master or ruler.
Cre·a·tor (krēˈādər): A person or thing that brings something into existence.
You can really tell that Ann Marie Ruby is passionate about the Lord, as she seems to refer to him several times as "My Lord, My Creator." In a lot of biblical literature, you will often see someone referring to Jesus or God as "my Lord," but I find that the term has lost its power as humans were are can still be referred to as "my Lord," to their subjects at least.
Ruby takes this title of sorts to a new level by adding in "creator," which gives a nod to the fact that we wouldn't even be alive without our Lord. It is a refreshing way to refer to God, for sure.
Dev·o·tee (devəˈtē,ˌdevəˈtā): A person who is very interested in and enthusiastic about someone or something.
Ann Marie Ruby refers to herself often as a "devotee" to God, which I found interesting. This isn't because I disagree, I actually agree with this self-definition myself. However, you don't usually hear people saying they are a devotee of Christ.
Much like the added use of "My Creator," using this word instead of "follower" or "child" was really refreshing.
When I read this, it reminded me of the song Sandy sings about Danny Zuko in Grease, called "Hopelessly Devoted to You."
Ob·sta·cle (ˈäbstək(ə)l): A thing that blocks one's way or prevents or hinders progress.
Ann Marie Ruby continually refers to obstacles in many of her spiritual songs in this book. It seems clear that she has faced a number of struggles in her life, but she constantly affirms that she knows Christ will help her overcome whatever obstacles life puts in her way. I particularly appreciated to imagery she added.
When reading this, and understanding some of the deeper biblical roots, it gave me a sense of calm, much like the time when Jesus calmed the waters to ease the fear of his disciples. It also reminded me of one of my favorite Christian songs. See the video below to listen!
Om·nip·o·tent (ämˈnipəd(ə)nt): (of a deity) Having unlimited power; able to do anything.
Om·ni·pres·ent (ämnəˈpreznt): Widely or constantly encountered; common or widespread.
They read like a modern-day psalm or proverb. Their repetitiveness drives home the overall idea that Ruby want's to communicate: God is good, all the time.
If you'd like to purchase a copy of Ann Marie Ruby's book, "Spiritual Songs II: Blessings From a Sacred Soul," click the link attached to the title, or search for it on Amazon.com.
Thank you for reading this review!
We have a saying in the news business: “If it bleeds, it leads.” This means the most controversial stories like murder or hit-and-runs are always printed above the fold so you could see the horrific headlines on the newsstand. Sales and views always went up when someone was murdered, or whenever some white-collar worker got mixed up in a town-wide scandal.
I’ve often found myself being the interviewer, the reporter asking all the questions to the grieving person. This is the first time in my life that I’ve become part of the headline rather than part of the byline. It’s hard, and I never realized how easy I thought it was.
It all started last week. I was replying to messages and scheduling social media posts at my job, when I found myself nervously staring down at my phone, impatiently waiting for a message from my mom. I couldn’t wait any longer.
“Did you find her?” I remember typing the words with shaky hands and quivering breaths.
My mom had called me minutes earlier to tell me that she couldn’t find my grandmother. She was supposed to be going to a doctor’s appointment, but she never arrived. This worried me because my grandmother has dementia, is over the age of 70, and drives like a maniac, so she really shouldn’t be driving anywhere.
On top of this very troubling development, I learned that my grandfather, who has been in the hospital since August 2018, now had MRSA (an infection caused by staph bacteria) in his lungs.
Things have continued to progress with my grandfather, and there are talks about a meeting this weekend with hospice care.
We learned from the doctor last weekend that he will just continue to get infected by the next lung bug until he is too weak to fight. Last weekend was the first weekend that I saw all hope drain from his eyes.
I try to remind myself on a daily basis that Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary was one of the biggest headlines of His day. Jesus was a rebel. He went against the grain of society in the humblest and kindest way possible (except that time he literally flipped a table). His motivations were always pure and God-driven.
But Jesus still ended up on the cross. He still suffered and died for me and you. He was scared, too, judging by the fact that he began to sweat blood (Luke 22:24) in the garden before he was taken to be crucified.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, Hematohidrosis is the name for the condition Jesus suffered from. The condition is rare and causes humans to sweat blood. This can happen for a number of reasons, including excessive exertion and psychological factors (like high levels of stress).
One of my favorite verses is 2 Timothy 1:7, which says “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Fear comes from the enemy. I’m human and unconsciously swayed to act in fleshly manner. Naturally, I am a scaredy-cat. I will tell you that I totally ignored the fact that my car’s engine light (which had been on for a week and that same morning on the day I left) turning off to run with my tail between my legs back home for fear that my grandfather was going to pass.
“And the Lord God called unto Adam and said unto him, Where are thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3:9-10
The verse in 2 Timothy reminds me that God is in control and God will always win, and it reminds me to talk a look at the power, love, and sound mind that God has given me, rather than harp on the worldly things I often tie myself up in.
Whether my grandfather passes sooner rather than later, or if he lives another five years, that verse from 2 Timothy will always remind me that I am a child of God, not of this world. Satan has no hold on me, no matter what he tries to hurl at me.
I’ll close by saying this: Jesus took the “if it bleeds, it leads” saying seriously. He was a revolutionary leader who every true Christian strives to follow and model their lives after. If you want to become a child of God, you can click “details” below to learn how you can accept Christ as your savior.
The service was based on Genesis 32, a passage where it is believed that Jacob wrestled with God or with an angel. These verses stood out to me in particular:
"And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him."
I realized that what Jacob did when he wrestled with God or with God's angel was very physical. But today, our wrestling matches with God are not physical, one-on-one matches. Rather, our wrestling match with God is a spiritual, emotional one.
Instead of taking lessons on this solely from Jacob, I applied his experience with the masterpiece of the painter, Vilas Tonape. He knows much more about art than the average person. This guy taught former president George W. Bush how to refine his painting skills.
Photo Credit: Vilas Tonape
As I watched him paint, I found myself waiting with bated breath to see what brush stroke he would make next. I was curious. Honestly, I didn't understand why he put certain colors into the painting, or what he was doing with his brush strokes. But, in the end, it made a beautiful image that wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for those brush strokes that I didn't understand.
It dawned on me at this point that each and every life is like a painting. We often try to pick up the paintbrush and paint our ideal picture, but rarely does that work out for us.
When you become a Christian, you decide then and there to hand God the paintbrush and allow him, through your own free will, to become the painter of your life's portrait. But, when turning over authority to another being, you do begin to question and wonder why certain brush strokes were made and why others weren't.
Whenever I hear sad news relating to a family member's health, or when I feel disappointed in myself or someone I know, I often question the brush strokes.
"Why me, God? Why my sweet grandpa and my loving mother? Why did you allow this person to hurt me?"
The problem is that I don't have the perspective I need to understand why. And I doubt that I ever will as long as I live.
Several times throughout his painting, I noticed Vilas backing up to see the entire portrait. Because he was standing so close to the canvas while he painted, he couldn't see all of his work at once. Backing up to see the full picture helped him to determine which move to make next.
Because I am a biased individual and I want what I want, it is often hard for me to make the best decision for myself.
God can see what I need. He can see what is best for me and what will be best for me down the line. Have you ever heard those amazing stories from people who claim that they had a flat tire only to realize there was a massive wreck that occurred on the road they were about to travel on? Flat tires can really mess with our day. We don't understand why God would give us a flat tire the day before we get paid, but there is an unseen reason for everything. These are the brush strokes we don't understand.
My advice for this week is to try giving your paintbrush to God. Don't live in the way that profits you most, but listen and wait to hear what God would have you do.
In my opinion, doing this is the best way to ensure that your life's painting will turn into a masterpiece. This is the best way to make sure that your life will mean something and give glory to God. That doesn't mean that there won't be mistakes here and there from those times where you snatched the paintbrush from God. But all mistakes make you who you are and make your life something picturesque and beautiful. Give God the paintbrush! You'll be so glad that you did!
"...Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now." - John 2:10
There is a lot of debate in the church over wine: should you drink it, is it a sin? In the New Testament, we read of Jesus actually replenishing the wine after it ran out during wedding celebrations in Cana.
Jesus was at the wedding with him mother and his disciples. Mary reveals to the reader in verse three that the hosts have run out of wine. Jesus then answers that "he has nothing to do with it" because his hour hasn't come yet. I interpret this to mean that Jesus wasn't planning on performing a miracle just yet. But Mary, being the mom she is, knew that Jesus would do the right thing and help out with the shortage.
After the servants filled the pots, he told them to draw out of the pot and give a glass to the governor of the feast. The water was turned in to wine. Even more, the host asked why the servants had kept the best wine until the end.
Now, if you aren't Jesus, it will take you about five steps to make wine.
Water is in everything. It is in our bodies, our food, and our oceans. Water is a life source, and without it we would all wither away. But, it is fair to say, that water is pretty bland. It doesn't have flavor and there isn't much sustenance to it. But, wine is much more flavorful. It has sustenance and can fill us up!
When I was reading these passages, I saw an extraordinary comparison between the water to wine story and personal testimony. I feel like most people, including myself, feel as though their life now as substance after accepting Jesus.
"Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish:" - 2 Corinthians 2:15
My prayer for you in these next few weeks is to thank God for the transformation that allows you to be called a sweet savor in His house. Without God's selfless sacrifice of Jesus, we would all stink!
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
II Corinthians 5:17, KJV
Butterflies always fascinated me when I was younger. I vividly remember Mrs. Russ’ elementary school classroom. We were learning about how the winged creatures move through their stages of life.
I don’t think my young mind understood that butterflies didn’t start out beautiful. They start out as a caterpillar.
Where are they going? What do they do in there?
We learned that the caterpillars were undergoing this amazing process called metamorphosis. If you don’t know what that is, or you just need a refresher, allow me to give you a few key points on metamorphosis.
Metamorphosis is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a change of physical form, structure, or substance especially by supernatural means” or “a striking alteration in appearance, character or circumstances.”
Another definition says the work is an “abrupt developmental change in the form or structure of an animal (such as a butterfly or a frog) occurring subsequent to birth or hatching.”
Today, as I refresh my knowledge on butterflies, I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 5:17. Whenever we accept Christ as our savior, we are new. We are like the butterfly. Now, we can fly and reach heights we never could reach before.
When we are caterpillars, we wallow in sin. When we are transformed by the gift of Jesus on the cross, we can fly. Deep down, we are still that caterpillar. We are that same person that wallowed in sin. We still make mistakes. But we are new. We remember that transformation we’ve been through and all of the changes that process of accepting Jesus made in us.
If you haven’t yet accepted Christ, you can click the “details” button below for more information on how you can accept Him.
MATTHEW 1:18 TO MATTHEW 2:23
Matthew says that Jesus’ mother Mary, who was to marry Joseph, became pregnant with a child of the Holy Ghost. Joseph, when he found out, was troubled because he didn’t want to embarrass her, so he started to think about breaking off the engagement. However, the Angel of the Lord appeared in a dream and told Joseph that the child was of the Holy Ghost.
The angel told Joseph they would have a son and that they should name him Jesus. It then says that Joseph went on to marry Mary and didn’t break her virginity until after she had Jesus in Bethlehem of Judaea.
Herod was the king and wise men came into the area. They were talking about visiting the King of the Jews and that they had been following a star to get to him. Herod overheard their conversation and gathered his priests and scribes to ask where Jesus was born. They answered him and he called the wise men, asking them to find the child and return to tell him where the child was. He claimed it was in order to worship him.
Frankincense is a resin that is obtained from an African tree. It is sweet smelling and is often burned as incense. Myrrh is similar. It is also a resin from trees near the East that is used in perfumes, medicines, and incense. Both would have been very valuable in those days.
After Herod died, the Angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph again and told him to take his family to Israel, and he did. They moved to a city called Nazareth.
LUKE 1:36-37 AND LUKE 2:1-20
The angel said that she was going to have a son named Jesus who would be called the Son of the Highest and he shall have the throne of David and that his kingdom will never end. Mary said she didn’t know how that would be possible since she was a virgin. The angel explains she will conceive through the Holy Ghost. Her cousin Elisabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, was also brought up. The angel told Mary her cousin would also have a child.
In Luke 2, Caesar Augustus decided to tax everyone, which meant they had to return to their home lands. Joseph, Jesus’ worldly father figure, went into Bethlehem with Mary, who was very pregnant at this point, to pay taxes. While they were there, she had to have her child. She wrapped him in clothes and laid him in the manger because there was no room in the inn.
HOW THE STORIES WORK TOGETHER TO COMPLETE THE NARRATIVE
Additionally, we see that some time must have passed between the birth of Jesus and when they fled to Egypt because Herod has all children aged two and younger killed.
These two gospels work together beautifully to give us a description of Jesus’ life before and after he was born, though it doesn’t give us much about when he was growing up.
In today's (Son)days Until (Christ)was blog, I wanted to share the meaning behind your favorite Christian Christmas songs and tell you where you can find the verses that inspired it! I'll also share some of my favorite covers of the song!
MARY, DID YOU KNOW?
Matthew 14:25-27 | "And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, it is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid."
"Mary did you know that your baby boy will save our sons and daughters?"
John 3:16 | "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"
"Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?"
II Corinthians 5:17 | "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."
"That child that you delivered will soon deliver you."
Matthew 6:13 | "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thing is the kingdom and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen.
AWAY IN A MANGER
Luke 2:7 | "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
"The stars in the sky looked down where He lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay."
Matthew 2:9-10 | "When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy."
ANGELS, WE HAVE HEARD ON HIGH
"Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o'er the planes."
Luke 2:13-14 | "And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
SANTA CLAUS = GOD/THE TRINITY
As a Christian, I believe that being "good enough," isn't what drives God to do anything for us. We don't deserve it. We are flawed and can never be good enough. But God loves us and instead brought us the gift of His son instead of toys. This was the gift of all gifts, as it covers the sins of the world and of the people in the world as it is to come!
CHRISTMAS TREE W/ LIGHTS= CROSS & LIGHT OF THE WORLD
I never really thought too deeply on the idea of a lighted Christmas tree as a symbol of the cross. However, at a recent church service, the pastor mentioned that we add light to our tree to make it more beautiful and so it can light up our home and bring us joy. Gifts seem to gravitate toward the tree this season. If you think on this, even for a little while, the connection becomes rather clear.
CANDY CANE = THE GOSPEL NARRATIVE
The candy cane is often used to teach the world of the gospel of Jesus. To begin, the cane is in the shape of a J, but also a shepherd's staff. Jesus is often referred to as a shepherd as He guides His people and they follow.
The red stripes are said to represent Jesus' blood and his sacrifice to save the world. The white of the candy cane represents just what that blood does: washes us as white as snow!
POINSETTIAS = THE STAR OF BETHLEHEM
There is a pretty amazing story behind the supposed discovery of the poinsettia, but the shape and color of it is enough to relate the flower to Christmas. Most people relate it to the holiday because of its shape, which is reminiscent to the Star of Bethlehem. The flower is also either red or white, symbolizing Jesus' blood or purity respectively.
SNOW = PURITY
Jesus was known as a man without fault. He lived His life completely sin-free and followed and trusted God. Snow is referenced a lot in reference to the color we are "washed" when we accept Jesus. It is thought for sin to be dark, and Jesus, who is a symbol of purity, will wash us white as snow and make as pure as well.
In today's blog, I wanted to talk a bit about the religious origins of Christmas. Grab a snack, sit back, and prepare to learn more about the day we celebrate Jesus' birth.
EARLY RELIGIOUS CELEBRATIONS
Winter solstice was often celebrated as long days were finally over! Celebrations also happened in Norse communities where Dec. 21 marked the first day of Yule when it was customary for fathers and sons to gather logs to burn while they enjoyed a Winter solstice feast. This is where the Yule log's name came from.
JESUS' INTRO TO WINTER CELEBRATIONS
It wasn't until the 4th century that the holiday was added by church officials. It was Pope Julius I who chose Dec. 25 as the day that Christians would celebrate Jesus' birth. However, the Bible seems to indicate that Jesus was actually born in the Spring when Shepards were more likely to be "watching their flock by night."
Christmas spread to Egypt by 432, then to England by the end of the 6th century, according to the History Channel. People around the world all the way to Scandinavia celebrated the holiday. Of course, the tradition came to America along with the pilgrims and other early settlers.
A MISDIRECTION IN PLANS
I hope you enjoyed and I hope you enjoy this educational series!
- Admit to God that you are a sinner
(Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).
- Repent, turning away from your sin
(Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9).
- Believe that Jesus is God's Son and accept God's gift of forgiveness from sin
(Romans 5:8; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:11-13).
- Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
HOW TO GET TO HEAVEN
God is a perfect being who designed each and every one of us. He is sinless, good, and perfect. However, after Eve ate that apple, sin was released into the world and, as a result, everyone was born into sin and everyone does wrong. Only those without sin can enter into Heaven. But don't worry, Jesus came down to Earth and paid your sin debt do you could go to Heaven. Jesus is our salvation and offers us a way to Heaven. A way to live with Him forever. Here is what you have to do:
Ann Marie Ruby