How to decide what is best…Your Move Bible Study

Has life EVER provided you with a circumstance that you NEVER thought you would be in and there was a decision that had to be made quickly?

Unless you live under a rock and never leave your rock palace, it is impossible to evade trying times and the split-second decisions that come with them.

So what do you?  How do you decide what is best?

Options-Decisions-Choices

In our newest Bible Study, Your Move by Andy Stanley, we have been learning how to make sound decisions when the time frame is short, options are limited yet a Diva still has to put on her big girl panties and make a decision.

Throughout the Bible study,  we are challenged to ask ourselves four questions to make sound decisions with God’s help.

Session one, Andy inspired us to get gut honest with ourselves and ask….

Why am I am I doing this….REALLY? Stated another way….Am I being completely honest with myself? Or …what is the real reason I am making this choice?

Determining our true motives for leaning towards one decision over another is very important because as Andy reminded us, we spend tremendous amounts of time and energy deceiving ourselves.

There is a Biblical answer for why we can rationalize and convince ourselves to do things that are not the best for us:

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV) 

I don’t know about you, but I have sweet talked myself into a plethora of bad decisions:  unwise and unnecessary purchases, dietary indiscertions, over booking my schedule, procrastinating, surfing the net or flipping through Facebook (just to name a few).

Taking a few moments to ask ourselves (“Why am I doing this…REALLY?”) enables us to get gut honest.  For example:

I am surfing the net because I don’t want to clean up, prepare for the next day, or finish the report.

I feel lonely and shopping makes me feel better.

I am afraid.

When we ask ourselves why….it allows the Holy Spirit to guide us towards the best decision.

After we determine WHY we are doing something, session two suggested we ask ourselves:  “What story do I want to tell?”.

Image source:  http://threadling.com/

Image source: http://threadling.com/

In every decision-making environment, transition period, or drama producing activity, we are writing the script for our future story.

To illustrate this point, Andy used the story of Joseph (Genesis 37-50).   Joseph faced family betrayal, slavery, and imprisonment.  Often, he was forced to choose between no win options.  Yet despite difficult situations, Joseph made choices with God-centered integrity and faithfulness and he was later rewarded.

When Joseph was finally able to reconcile with his family he said these words:

You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:20

WOW.

This morning, we discover the third question Andy suggests we asks ourselves….”Is there a tension that needs my attention“.

Join us in person for Bible Study in Kernersville, NC get the details on our Meetup Page.

Or if you are too far away or you have schedule conflicts…get the handouts HERE.  You can also watch the actual video messages from Andy Stanley  You Tube. Click HERE for the session one message.

Made to Crave Bible Study-Peace

Made to Crave Bible Study

Hola Divas! It seems like FOREVER since we have gotten together!  We were not able to meet at our normal time two weeks ago due to an event at the Rec center and then we had a BIG SNOW. Sooooooo, let’s spend a little time getting back on track!  If you are just joining us…your timing is perfect!

For our current Bible Study, we are reading Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  Made to Crave is the missing link between a woman’s desire to be healthy and the spiritual empowerment necessary to make that happen.  We have had a blast laughing at each other and learning from each other! It has been nice to know that we ALL struggle with something..especially when it comes to food choices.

When we meet in person (just before our Soulful Saturday classes at 8:30am), we watch a video devotional by Lysa TerKeurst that goes with the book.  With each session, Lysa gives us a word for the week.

During the first week, our word was EMPOWERMENT.  Lysa’s main point for week one was for us to change our perspective about making healthy food choices.  We have been moving from feeling deprived…..

Deprived to feeling empowered…..

empowered

One method we shared to help with feeling empowered was the Plate Method.

Plate Method

Did you catch that half of the plate is veggies?  Just checking! (LOL!)

For the next session, we talked about being Determined NOT Desperate.

When we are  desperate,  we want instant gratification.  We become laser focused on what we want. We see what we want. We think about what we want. We simply MUST have it or we couldn’t possibly live on!

In desperate times, we just might do, say, eat, or give away….ANYTHING!

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For this week’s session, our word is PEACE.

Peace Sign

Often, how peaceful we feel is tied to our decisions.  Our decisions about what we eat and what thoughts we allow to take residence in our minds.

When we start a healthy eating plan and then have an indulgence, we begin to feel guilty.  When we step on the scale and it does not reflect all of our hard work for the week, we feel defeated, frustrated, and angry.

There is NOTHING peaceful about feeling guilty, frustrated, defeated, or angry.

scale

As you prepare for our time together this week, reflect on 1 Corinthians 10:23 (AMP)

All things are legitimate [permissible—and we are free to do anything we please], but not all things are helpful (expedient, profitable, and wholesome). All things are legitimate, but not all things are constructive [to character]and edifying [to spiritual life].

We CAN have, eat, or think ANYTHING we want….but not everything we acquire, consume, or ruminate over is constructive.

As you go about your days this week, ask yourself this question about EVERYTHING:

Is this the wise thing to do/eat/think about? (Taken straight from Andy Stanley’s Best Question Ever)

Oooh, challenging huh?  Not should I eat this, do this, think about this, go here, date him/her..but is this the WISE THING TO DO?

Remember, everything is permissible but not all things are helpful!

When you get weak, think on this:

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him. (Philippians 2:13)

Please make sure you have read through chapter 6 to be prepared for this week’s discussion!

Dancing Makes it All Better

With all of the snow, we had to cancel class this week.  I know it has only been a week, but it seems like EONS since we have danced together.  Perhaps it was just me, but being “snowed-in” became “not-so-fun-anymore” half-way through day two.  To add insult to injury, my sweetie and I were separated due to a business trip so we were not “snowed-in” at all! Plus, today was/is Valentine’s Day…and I am alone.

Without a simple little Snow Dance Challenge that made me laugh until I cried, I might would have cringed as I watched everyone’s posted pictures of their Valentine’s gifts.

Instead of cringing, I had a song of praise in my heart! God has surrounded me with some awesome people…who love to Dance.  Annnd, if you didn’t know……..Dancing makes it all better.

Dance

One of our “divas” challenged some of us on Facebook to dance one of our class routines in the snow since we couldn’t have class.  She and her daughter posted their video early yesterday morning and that started a firestorm of “Snow Dance Videos“.

Several ladies from our class posted videos and then ladies and GENTS from other classes and cities began to post.  With each crazy dance video, God reminded me how much HE loves us.  What a blessing to be ABLE to go outside and dance around like crazy people and then POST videos that confirm our craziness on the world-wide-web!

If you are one of those “non-dancers” who just don’t believe that hopping, salsa-ing, shaking, doing a jazz square, or simply doing the bird dance will make you happy, I challenge you to read up on the Cebu Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines. Once infamous for its gang violence, the prison is now famous for its dancing prisoners.  Dancing is MANDITORY for Cebu prisoners.  If prisoners refuse to dance, they lose privileges!

cebudancinginmates

The prisoners’ hard work has spawned one of the unlikeliest hits on the Internet — a reworking of Michael Jackson’s 1980s smash hit video “Thriller.” Filmed by the prison boss, Brian Garcia, the video has drawn more than 56 million hits on YouTube. But more than just internet fame, Garcia says there has not been a violent incident in nearly a year and a half. “They are just not hostile anymore,” he says.

The dancers are a mix of accused murderers, rapists and drug dealers. They are led by a choreographer who is accused of mass murder.  Authorities at the prison say that dance gives the prisoners a renewed sense of worth and confidence, helps them learn to work together, allows them to exercise and increases their self-esteem.

A movie will soon hit theaters called “Dance of the Steel Bars”.  “Dance of the Steel Bars” is a story of corruption and redemption featuring the real life stories of the CEBU prisoners.

Through a silly little “Snow Dance Challenge” we danced together virtually and felt so good we couldn’t help but smile and perhaps we too became a little less violent:)

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy…… Psalm 30:11

Dancing makes it all better.

If you STILL don’t believe it… watch my Snow Dance Video: (Click HERE if you cannot see the video in the post.)

 

Bad Girls of the Bible-The Sinful Woman

Hola Divas! Welcome to our Bad Girls of the Bible Study by Liz Curtis Higgs.  (YAY!) Just in case you are joining us for the first time, please read about the “Dance Fit Divas Bad Girls of the Bible Study“.  You should also read past posts on each bad girl: “EVE“, Potiphar’s WifeLot’s Wife , Woman at the WellDelilahSapphiraRahabJezebel, and Michal.

Our Bad Girl for our final week is a girl who had been around the block more than a few times in more than a few ways.  Like many of our bad girls, she did not have a name.  She is just called the “Sinful Woman”.  Ooooh….what a way to be addressed.

Sinful Woman

Our bad girl’s story started with a dinner party with an A-list guest attendance.  With all kinds of boldness, our girl crashed the party.

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. Luke 7: 36-37 (NIV)

She heard that Jesus would be there and she just HAD to go and see HIM for herself.

As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7:38 (NIV)

Can you imagine how many people began to gawk and gasp and what was going on between the Sinful Woman and Jesus?

Well, Simon not only gasped he was appalled….

When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.” Luke 7:39

Isn’t it funny how people who know your past, never seem to let you live it down?

The Bible tells us that Simon was talking to himself.  Perhaps he just thought the sentence above or maybe he muttered it under his breath.  But Jesus heard him.  Jesus knows our thoughts….we can’t hide and neither could Simon.

Jesus responded to Simon by telling a story about forgiveness and then he contrasted Simon’s behavior and the Sinful Woman’s behavior.

Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.  You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Luke 7:44-46

OUCH.

Simon learned a valuable lesson.  Jesus sees us differently from the way the world sees us.

When we interact with Jesus we learn who HE is but we also discover who we REALLY are.

Then Jesus lowered the sonic boom for all of us:

Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

How is our love?

Does our love show how grateful we are to Jesus for saving us?

Have we forgotten how much we have been forgiven?

Do we need to confess some things so that our true worship can begin?

Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Luke 7:48  Hallelujah!

In the final verse of the chapter Jesus spoke to the Sinful Woman and said:  “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Luke 7:50

In the book, Liz Curtis Higgs gives us a formula for igniting our faith based on the actions of the Sinful Woman so that we too can go in peace:

“Seek Him openly. Abandon self humbly.  Worship Him completely.  Embrace his forgiveness joyfully.”

I would also add BE QUIET! 

There is no account of the Sinful Woman talking. She worshiped without words and let Jesus speak to her.

As the Holiday Season rushes in, and the burdens and drama stack up in our hearts, remember the Sinful Woman who showed us there is power in listening, expecting,  and soul-cleansing quietly before the Lord.   

Bad Girls of the Bible Study-Jezebel

Jezebel

Hola Divas! Life got in the way last week….so we will have two bad girls this week for our Bad Girls of the Bible Study by Liz Curtis Higgs.  (YAY!) Just in case you are joining us for the first time, please read about the “Dance Fit Divas Bad Girls of the Bible Study“.  You should also read past posts on each bad girl: “EVE“, Potiphar’s WifeLot’s Wife , Woman at the WellDelilah, Sapphira, and Rahab.

Our bad girl this week is beyond bad.  Her name was Jezebel and she was a princess turned queen.  Before the Disney Princess music begins to play in your ears, you must know…Jezebel was NOT your average princess.

With her cunning and manipulative ways, she convinced her husband Ahab, King of Israel, to abandon his worship of God and begin to worship Baal.

Ahab son of Omri did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, even more than any of the kings before him…..he married Jezebel, the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and he began to bow down in worship of Baal. 1 Kings 16:30-31

If that was not enough, Jezebel AKA “Mrs. Baddy”, killed hundreds of the Lord’s prophets and replaced them with priests of foreign Gods. (1 Kings 18:4).

Jezebel killed hundreds.  Who was the King again?

In 1 Kings 21 we find King Ahab attempting to purchase a vineyard from a man named Naboth.  Naboth refused to sell it to Ahab because it was his inheritance. (Acutally it would have been against Jewish law for Naboth to sell his land.)

So King Ahab demanded the land immediately! (NOT!!!!)

King Ahab went home and pouted and refused to eat. 1 Kings 21:4

Can’t you just see Jezebel roll her eyes as she asked:  “What’s made you so upset that you’re not eating?” 1 Kings 21:5

I can almost hear Jezebel suck her teeth when Ahab told her why he was so upset.

Her response was laced with disdain, sarcasm, and disbelief in Ahab’s ability to handle the situation:

“Are you the king of Israel or not?”  ……..“Get up and eat something, and don’t worry about it. I’ll get you Naboth’s vineyard!” 1 King 21:6

OUCH. Sounds harsh but how easily do we tear down our spouse, children, or people who report to us at work?

So, taking matters into her own hands, Jezebel set Naboth up and had him killed!  (Yes, yes, we are reading the bible!)

Ahab happily took Naboth’s property that the REAL KING, his wife Jezebel provided for him.  However, the prophet Elijah appeared to him and predicted his death and the death of King cough….gag…..I mean Queen Jezebel. (1 Kings 21:19)

Years went by, Ahab was killed and his son became king, but God’s promises are always fulfilled.

When Jezebel heard that a man named Jehu had come to town, she knew her time was coming to an end.

Did she cry, beg for forgiveness, or shake in fear?

NOPE!  Mrs. Baddy put on make up and did her hair!

file0002006872187 (1)When Jezebel heard that Jehu had arrived in Jezreel, she made herself up—put on eyeshadow and arranged her hair—and posed seductively at the window. 2 Kings 9:30 MSG

Dat Girl was something else!

He  (Jehu) looked up toward the window and asked, “Is anyone up there on my side?” A few palace workers stuck their heads out of a window, and Jehu shouted, “Throw her out the window!” They threw her down…. 2 Kings 9:32-33 (CEV)

Can you imagine working for her?  Do you think the palace workers were apprehensive about tossing ol’ girl out the window?….I think not.

When they went to bury Jezebel, only her skull, feet, and the palms of her hands were left because her remains had been devoured by dogs just like Elijah prophesied. (2 King 9:37)

Dear God,

Thank you for your Word and the story of Jezebel.  Lord you know that I struggle with thinking that things go so much better if they were done my way.  Allow me to recognize when I begin to manipulate people or things in an effort to achieve.  Please help me take direction, listen to the ideas of others and be an encourager instead of a tearer-downer.

Amen

 

 

Five Minute Friday-Together

Every Friday, Lisa Jo Baker hosts a blog link up called Five Minute Fridays. She provides a word prompt and then participants are to set their timers for five minutes and write until the timer goes off. The word for today is Together. Happy Friday Divas and here goes:

Some things just go better…together:  milk and cookies, salt and pepper, macaroni and cheese, chips and dip.

When life happens we sometimes decide to hide within ourselves. We put our big girl panties on and face things alone.

Sounds noble…except alone can sometimes mean catching the train straight to Crazytown where our thoughts are all over the place and totally irrational.

Whether we would like to admit it or not, we need other people.  We need “Sistas” who will give us a hug after a hard day, meet a need, tell us when we are out of line AND remind us to go to our true source of power and resolution…GOD.

Life is simply done better...together.

Glow Party after

What I decided would be an eight week session three years ago, God transformed into a community of women of all different shapes, sizes, colors, ages and stages journeying through life together.

A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 NLT

Who are the sistas is your life? Call one of them up today.

There is light and love in the sisterhood of community.

Bad Girls of the Bible Study-Rahab

Rahab

Hola Divas! Welcome to week seven of our Bad Girls of the Bible Study by Liz Curtis Higgs. Just in case you are joining us for the first time, please read about the “Dance Fit Divas Bad Girls of the Bible Study“.  You should also read past posts on each bad girl: “EVE“, Potiphar’s WifeLot’s Wife , Woman at the WellDelilah, and Sapphira.

This week’s bad girl is another girl with an eyebrow raising past.  Instead of being married multiple times and “shacking up” with man number six like the Woman at the Well, this week’s bad girl, (Rahab) was a harlot.  Some commentaries say a prostitute others say an innkeeper.  Makes me think of Miss Kitty from the western series Gunsmoke. (My Daddy LOVED western movies).

photo from Wikipedia

In true western style, Rahab’s story in Joshua chapter 2 opens with two strangers coming into town.

Then Joshua son of Nun secretly sent two spies from Shittim. “Go, look over the land,” he said, “especially Jericho.” So they went and entered the house of a prostitute named Rahab and stayed there.

Did you see the tumbleweed blow by during the opening credits? (LOL)

 

Since word travels quickly, the King heard that the spies were at Rahab’s house.

But the woman had taken the two men and hidden them. Joshua 2:4

Not only did Rahab hide the spies, she lied and said they had already left the city.

Just before bedtime, Rahab went up on her roof where she had hidden the spies and professed her fear, faith, and reverence for God:  “I know that the Lord has given this land to you (Joshua 2:9) ….for the Lord your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below (Joshua 2:11).

Rahab won the spies’ trust through her faith in God.

Knowing the impending doom for the city of Jericho (but not exactly how it was going to take place), Rahab asked the spies to protect her and her family. They agreed and Rahab instructed them to go and hide in the hills.  She lowered a scarlet cord out of her window to allow the spies to escape.

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The spies instructed her to leave the scarlet cord tied to her window and to gather all of her family and to stay inside until they entered the city.

For seven days, Rahab and her family heard the Israelites marching around Jericho.

On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times.  The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!  (Joshua 6:15-16)

…..at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. (Joshua 6:20)

But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho—and she lives among the Israelites to this day. (Joshua 6:25)

Because of her faith, God not only saved Rahab, he gave her a new life.  She was able to live among the Israelites and a man named Salmon chose her for his bride.

Ludacris and Jay Z are wrong, a Ho can turn into a Housewife.

.…with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Our dear bad girl who stepped out in faith and became good, is part of the geneology of Jesus.

Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab, Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth, Obed the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of King David. (Matthew 1:5-6)

WOW! Talk about a story of inspiration!

“It isn’t who you were that matters God. It is who you are in Him. And who you are becoming by the power of his Spirit.” –Liz Curtis Higgs

Bad Girls of the Bible-Sapphira

Annaias & Sapphria

Hola Divas! Welcome to week six of our Bad Girls of the Bible Study by Liz Curtis Higgs. Just in case you are joining us for the first time, please read about the “Dance Fit Divas Bad Girls of the Bible Study“.  You should also read past posts on each bad girl: “EVE“, Potiphar’s WifeLot’s Wife , Woman at the Well and Delilah.

Our bad girl for this week, Sapphira was a another material girl.  She loved money to death….literally.  When I read Sapphira and her husband Ananias’ story, I could hear the OJays singing “For the Love of Money” in the background.

The smooth lyrics to the song begin with the OJay’s crooning…money-money-money..MONEY.  Their soulful tune was the theme song for Donald Trump’s apprentice.

LogoJust as the song says:

“Some people got to have it Some people really need it……..do things, do things, do bad, bad things with it…Almighty Dollar”.

Our dear Sapphira’s story can be found in Acts 5:1-11.  However, before her story begins, Acts 4:36-37  tells the story of a man called Barnabas who sold a field and gave the money to the apostles so that it could be used for believers who were in need.  In the first century, Christians cheerfully shared their resources so that no one would be without.  (WOW!)

With such a generous gesture, Barnabas probably received quite a bit of attention, praise and gratitude from the other believers.  One commentary reported that his name was actually “Joseph”, but the apostles called him “Barnabas” which means “Son of Encouragement”.

Attention, praise, gratitude, their names on a brass plate on the church pew, or a facility named after them?  Oh yeah! Ananias and Sapphira wanted some accolades of their own.  So, they “also sold a piece of property” (Acts 5:1) and put their profits “at the apostles’ feet” (Acts 5:2).  Only, Ananias secretly pocketed some of the proceeds “with his wife’s full knowledge” (Acts 5:2).

Do you hear the OJay’s now?  “Call it lean, mean, mean green….” (I’m singing here)

9173-The-Ojays-5x5Yep, ol’ Ananias thought he was getting over!  He made it seem as though he was giving the whole amount to the apostles.  But sin always gets revealed…sooner or later.

Peter confronted Ananias.  He scolded him and told him that he was not lying to men but to God.  Ananias fell out and died..right on the spot.

Three hours later, Peter confronted Sapphira.  He asked her about the price of the property and she lied.

Just like her husband, our dear bad girl dropped dead on the spot.

We can glean quite a few lessons from Sapphira:

1.  We will be judged as individuals.

Peter confronted Ananias and Sapphria as individuals, not as a couple. It is futile to play the blame game and place all of the responsibility of our spiritual growth and discernment on our spouse (or anyone else for that matter).

2. Honesty truly is the best policy

I tell my daughters all the time:  “If you do something wrong, just tell the truth.  Yes, there will be consequences but lying ALWAYS makes it worse”.  Divas we need to own our mess!

Discussion question:

Can’t you just see Ananais and Sapphira rationalizing how their lie was ok to tell?

“Look how much we are giving…It’s our business how much we really made off the property…It is our property after all…People need to mind their own business…..We have needs too…”

What are some practical ways you can put your big girl panties on and own up to the truth?

 

Bad Girls of the Bible Delilah

Delilah

Hola Divas! Welcome to week  five of our Bad Girls of the Bible Study by Liz Curtis Higgs. Just in case you are joining us for the first time, please read about the “Dance Fit Divas Bad Girls of the Bible Study“.  You should also read past posts on each bad girl: “EVE“, Potiphar’s WifeLot’s Wife and the Woman at the Well.

Unlike Mrs. P (Potiphar’s Wife), Lot’s Wife and the Woman at the Well, this week’s bad girl has a name. Her name is Delilah and her story is directly intertwined with a man named Samson.

Samson was a Nazarite.  Angels predicted his birth to his mother and gave her specific instructions: she was not to drink any alcohol while she was pregnant or eat any unclean foods.  Once Samson was born, she was instructed to never cut his hair because he had super strength.  Samson had a call on his life from birth to deliver Israel from Philistine oppression.  He used his brute strength to tear apart lions with his bare hands and kill thousands.

Yet, his kryptonite was women.

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By the time we get to chapter sixteen of the book of Judges, Sammy Boy had already been jilted at the altar by a woman from Timnath (Judges 14:1-2).

Perhaps that is why we find him with a prostitute  when chapter 16 opens.  (YES a prostitute.  I am so not making this stuff up! Read your bible…it’s in there.)

One day Samson went to Gaza, where he saw a prostitute. He went in to spend the night with her. (Judges 16:1)

Some time later, he fell in love with a woman in the Valley of Sorek whose name was Delilah. (Judges 16:4)

If y’all are counting, we are already at three women in only a few chapters..his betrothed, a prostitute or harlot as some texts call her, and our dear bad girl…Delilah.

The Word says Samson fell in love with Delilah.  There is no mention of her falling in love with him.  There is also no mention of a wedding.

“Friends with benefits” Bible-style.

The Philistines noticed that Samson was hanging out with Delilah.  So the Philistines approached Delilah with a business deal.

The rulers of the Philistines went to her and said, “See if you can lure him into showing you the secret of his great strength and how we can overpower him so we may tie him up and subdue him. Each one of us will give you eleven hundred shekels of silver. (Judges 16:5)

Eleven hundred shekels of silver in today’s money would be about $750,000.00.  As such, Delilah was very direct:

“Tell me the secret of your great strength and how you can be tied up and subdued.” (Judges 16:6)

When Samson played games with her and told her lies about where his strength came from, she used Mrs. P’s tactic….persistence.  The Bible implies that Delilah whined and cried daily.  When she needed to , she used the age-old line “If you loved me you would ______________”.

So Samson told her.

When he was sleeping in her lap, (doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how our bad girl got him to go to sleep so soundly), Delilah called the Philistines to cut Samson’s hair.  When Samson awakened he found himself without his strength.

Subdued and weak, Samson was captured.  The Philistines gouged out his eyes and put him in prison.

file2021250181486Why didn’t Samson catch on to Delilah’s ways?  Because Samson is just like us.  We rely on our own strength and dance with temptation instead of fleeing.  We get too close to the fire and the “sin-smoke” makes the truth impossible to see.

Sightless and powerless, Samson was humbled and he turned his heart to the Lord.  In his final act of revenge, he sacrificed himself and killed more Philistines than he ever had by knocking down their temple.

Not sure what happened to bad-to-the-bone Delilah.

From Samson and Delilah, we can glean a life lesson summed up best in 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Homework for this week:  Read chapters 4 & 5 (Woman at the Well and Delilah)

 

 

Bad Girls of the Bible-The Woman at The Well

Woman at the Wella

Hola Divas! Welcome to week  four of our Bad Girls of the Bible Study by Liz Curtis Higgs. Just in case you are joining us for the first time, please read about the “Dance Fit Divas Bad Girls of the Bible Study“.  You should also read past posts on each bad girl: “EVE“, Potiphar’s Wife, and Lot’s Wife.

Our bad girl for this week is another woman without a name. However, her lifestyle kept her from being referred to as “her husband’s wife”.

When we met our leading lady, she was at the community well to draw water.  (Hence being called the woman at the well.)  Water gathering was an intricate part of a woman’s life in biblical times  and the well was where a girl could get caught up on all the latest village gossip!

Our bad girl went to the well in the heat of the day to escape the condescending looks from the other women of the village.  She was “that woman”. Her many failed marriages and current living situation would have made her a juicy topic on any morning! So, she traveled at a time when everyone else would be going about their day.

Although she expected to be alone, a strange man was at the well.  Not only was he strange, he was a Jew AND he spoke to her and actually asked her for a drink of water!  Jewish people despised Samaritans. Drinking after a Samaritan would make a Jew “ceremonially unclean”.

Isn’t it just like our Jesus to see and place value on what the world has thrown away?

Since our girl had been around the block a couple of times, she wasn’t afraid to ask questions.  

How can a Jewish man like you ask a Samaritan woman like me for a drink of water?” (John 4:9 GW).

Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4:10 NIV)

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14)

Living water = SALVATION from sin’s bondage and condemnation.

The woman at the well thought Jesus was talking about real water…H2O, Aqua.

I can imagine her getting all giddy inside about not having to come back to the well and risk being talked about.

Then Jesus dropped a bomb on her:  “Go, call your husband and come back.” John 4:16  (It would have been customary during those times for any business to be discussed man to man.)

Can you feel her shoulders wilt and her head drop as she answered Jesus?

…I have no husband, John 4:16

I bet her head sprung up and her eyes widened when Jesus said:

“You are right when you say you have no husband.  The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband.” John 4:18-19

Sucker punch to the stomach. All of her ugly out in the open.  Instead of being silent, and walking away discouraged, our bad girl confirms that Jesus must be a prophet.  After a small conversation on Samaritans vs. Jews, Jesus revealed to the woman at the well that He is the Messiah.

Just like any one who truly comes in contact with the love of Jesus, our bad girl left her water jar and ran back to the village to tell everyone about the Man who told her everything she ever did. Because of her testimony, many of the very people who shunned her encountered Jesus and were saved.

God values us in spite of what we have done.  He values people our society discards. We can try to hide like the Woman at the Well, but He already knows.  What do you need to ask questions about?  What invisible person do you need to open your eyes and see? What do you need to leave at the well  so that you can run and tell people about Jesus?

Reading for next week’s session: Chapters 4 &  5 (The Woman at the Well and Delilah)