You are beautiful

This post was inspired by my a dear sister of mine. I saw her tweets and it moved me to share my own views of the perception of beauty today. It got me thinking and I decided to write a post on it. This is probably my first truly personal post on the blog (I’ll be sharing some of my experiences). I hope it will bless you all and give you an insight into what beauty means. Grab a cup of tea and some hob nobs, and hope you enjoy the post.

What does beauty mean to you? What comes to your mind when you think of a beautiful person? A face without no flaws or does it mean perfection. Does it mean having the curves in the right places, or does it mean being slim?

Here are some definitions to get you thinking  on what beauty has been defined by:

Definitions of beauty :

  • the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, colour, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
  • a beautiful person, especially a woman.
  • a beautiful thing, as a work of art or a building.
  • Often, beauties. something that is beautiful in nature or in some natural or artificial environment.
  • an individually pleasing or beautiful quality; grace; charm:

Definitions of beautiful:

  • having beauty; possessing qualities that give great pleasure or satisfaction to see, hear, think about, etc.; delighting the senses or mind
  • excellent of its kind
  • wonderful; very pleasing or satisfying
  • the concept of beauty (usually preceded by the).
  • (used with a plural verb) beautiful things or people collectively (usually preceded by the)
  • the ideal of beauty (usually preceded by the)
  • wonderful; fantastic

Why I wrote this?

I wrote this blog post based on what I believe being beautiful is. My definition of beauty comes from what God says it is and just having confidence in yourself. You may ask why I am doing this, it is really personal to me. I grew up not feeling pretty enough until I became comfortable in my own skin. I would also like to encourage younger girls growing up that they are beautiful and are wonderfully and fearfully made.

When I began writing this in my journal, I planned to write only from my personal experiences and what beauty meant to me. However, I decided to share this experience with others and ask people what beauty means to them as well. The reasons could have been long, short, spiritual, religious or inspired by anything. It could have even been selfies to express what beauty means to them. Below, I have included what people thought of what beauty means.

What does beauty mean to you?

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“Beauty is you”.

“Beauty to me is God. I believe that is where Art comes from and life imitates Art”

“First of all beauty fades…outer beauty and appearance fades true beauty comes from within. Proverbs 31:30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, shall be praised. Personally I believe my outer appearance is not enough to define my beauty. But if I search my heart and find that I have accepted the way in which God has created me it is then I will begin to see the beauty in me. The only time we can define beauty is when our heart matches our outer appearance. I believe I am beautiful not because of my face, my eyes, or my body, but I’m beautiful because I’ve accepted it in my heart that God created me in his own image and likeness. He makes all things beautiful and I count myself as one of those things”.

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“Beauty is an opinion and anyone can appear “beautiful” to you if you give them a chance”.

“I think I am beautiful because of the fact I never give up, so the fact I can think of a million reasons as to why things won’t work but I am just courageous enough to follow through it. A lot of it has to do with inner and outer beauty. I think I am beautiful because of the fact that just like anyone I have been through so much but I consistently look on the bright side. I think I am beautiful because of how my mother raised me to be the woman that I am. I am beautiful because I have a lot of self respect. And I think I am beautiful because I am surrounded by so many beautiful people that gradually becomes a part of me”.

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“My reasons are simple God made me who I am and I believe that with or without makeup I am beautiful regardless. So why should I listen to other ‘human beings’ who may think I am not beautiful? Who are you to call me, God’s creation who made me….UGLY? What matters is that God created me not you and not any one else. Therefore, I have learnt to embrace the truth that I am beautiful each time I wake up, smile, pray, eat and sleep”.

you are beautiful 4 you are beautiful 3

“I know I’m beautiful because I’m made in the image of God. My mummy says I’m beautiful too”.

“I think beauty is a feeling rather than a look. The way you feel is the way people perceive you, like if you’ve realised when someone is beautiful and rude, their beauty immediately becomes irrelevant. So I feel like the way you feel, act, and perceive yourself all constitutes to how beautiful you are”.

“I am beautiful because I love my baby face, my lips and cheeks. I love the fact that God made me in a way that delighted him but let us not forget that God measures beauty from within”.

“I’d class it as the inner you, the honest core of you shining through your skin and affecting the outer core because I do believe our souls affect our appearance”.

“I’m beautiful because God made this way and if he did then who am I (or anyone else for that matter) to argue? It takes practice to start believing that though and many years of dissatisfaction to even realise it”.

“Personality, smile, confidence is what makes some beautiful. Not always about the outer appearance. AND YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL RACHEL”.

You are beautiful one

My definition of beauty

Often beauty is seen in one way-that you have to look a certain way to be beautiful. That you have to be thin to be beautiful, that you have to have light skin to be beautiful, that your hair has to be a certain type to be beautiful. There is a ideal of beauty that it is forced down our throats by society,  I find that if you do not meet its standards you are seen as ‘ugly’. I refuse to believe anyone is ugly. Everyone looks different, God created us intentionally that way. Beauty comes in different forms. It is not one standard. This is why I do not follow the world’s standard as is it ever changing. In some parts of the world beauty has different meanings. Obviously I do like to look at beauty trends (I am a woman after all) but what I am saying is I do not look to that as my standard. As my sister said there is, ‘Nothing wrong with having an appreciation for physical beauty, but just realise that is not everything’. My perception and definition of beauty is different to the world’s.

What the Bible says about beauty? Here are some verses to help you:

  • Proverbs 31:30-Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
  • 1 Samuel 16:7-But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
  • Genesis 1:27-So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:11-He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

What I love about God’s standard of beauty, that it is not ever changing. It remains the same throughout the ages. The bible says that the grass withers, flower fades but God’s word remains the same forever (Isaiah 40:8). This means many things will change, die, fade and go away but God’s word will stay the same throughout these changes. The same applies to beauty, the world’s standard of beauty changes all the time but God’s word remains true yesterday, today and forever. Your outer beauty may also fade, after all we will all grow old one day (I don’t know about you but I will still be fabulous when I’m eighty with all my wrinkles and grey hair). The point I’m trying to make is that outer beauty is not permanent, God’s word is. So your focus should be more on your inner beauty.

What does the Bible say about inner and outer beauty? Take a look at 1 Peter 3:3-4:

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

This means that your beauty should not come from outside or what you wear but instead what is in your heart. God is concerned of the state of your heart, your inner beauty. Are you kind, selfless, generous, loving, humble, forgiving, patient, faithful and peaceful? These are some of the things that God considers to be beautiful in his sight. It is your heart which makes you beautiful. You can have what man says is the prettiest face but if your heart is full of hate and envy, what good is that? Why not seek to have a beautiful heart (inner beauty) as well as the beauty on the outside of you? Everything na double double *dances*, I call it double beauty blessings-having both inner and outer beauty. I know my beauty does not alone come from my Kurt Geiger heels nor my 24inch weave or even my make up but it comes from my heart. Have you ever noticed when someone who has a good heart, that light shines on their face and makes them beautiful? What is in your inside shows on the outside.

God tells you that you are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalms 139:14). This is my definition of beauty. It further adds in the verse that ‘your works are wonderful, I know that full well’. Everything God has created is wonderful from the trees, to the seas, to animals and to you yourself. Knowing that you are wonderfully and fearfully made, comes from believing it yourself. You are beautiful when you believe you are wonderfully made and know that God created you in this way. To say that God created me beautiful is not being vain nor is it being over confident or narcissistic. It is recognising what God has said- we are FEARFULLY AND WONDERFULLY MADE. There are days when I wake up and I’m not feeling great. But don’t we all have those days. We are all human. It’s okay. But I know and believe that I am still beautiful. You are beautiful. There are days when I’m struggling to fit into my jeans in the morning because the previous evening I had too much banku and tilapia. When someone calls me ugly or insults my appearance, I don’t have time for it because I know who I am. I know who God calls me. I know he created me. I know he calls me beautiful, my father God.

It wasn’t always like this.

Personal Experiences of beauty

I had struggles growing up, I disliked my physical appearance. I grew up in areas looking different to people. I didn’t appreciate my beautiful black skin, I wanted to be lighter and thinner (when I was young I used to be chubby lumpkins). People would make horrible comments about my lips and my bum, I just didn’t want to be me. They would laugh at me and make jokes and I would feel so ugly. They would ask me why my bum and lips are big, like it was my fault that I had those features. I would ask God why he gave me big lips, why couldn’t he make my lips small. Funny enough, the same people who made jokes about me back in primary school now idolise people like Kim Kardashian. Some are now wearing bum pads and distorting their pictures to make it look they have a large behind. It’s funny to me, because late last year Vogue said “Big Butts” are in because of Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea’s song. When women with “Big Butts” has always existed. Similarly, now big lips are in too, all because of Kylie Jenner drawing on her lips to make them appear bigger. When they always have been in. I don’t see how big lips can be a trend when so many people naturally have that feature. Have they all of sudden forgotten that there are many women who naturally have big lips?  Next thing you know, big noses which they call ‘unbeautiful’ will be ‘in’. If you always follow trends, you’ll always be unhappy. Love your freckles, love the gap in front of your teeth and love your dimples. Why change what makes ‘you’ you? Why would you want change yourself to look like another person? When there is only one of you on this earth.

There was this guy that I liked and he claimed that he liked me. He told me that he did not like women with big bottoms, he preferred women with a large chest (I have kindly paraphrased his words). He always use to make comments about my appearance, he said he was joking. Obviously I did not fit into his description of what was beautiful to him. I used to pretend not to get upset at his comments all because I liked him. Looking back now, I think why did I allow him to make me think so lowly of myself. How did I let another judge upon my beauty and tell me what beauty is? Do not allow another person to determine your beauty. Do not wait for a man to tell you are beautiful. Do not rely on the world to tell you are beautiful. Speak to your soul and tell yourself you are beautiful. A man when he loves you, will not insult your appearance, he will not make you feel bad about yourself. He will love all of you-your flaws and your strengths. He will appreciate both your inner and outer beauty. There is beauty in love, love is beautiful. If you find yourself seeing ‘ugliness’ in your relationship then there is no love there whatsoever. What do I mean by ‘ugliness’ in a relationship? It is whatever love is not. If it causes you pain, then it is not love. If it is abuse, then it is not love. If it makes you have low self esteem, then it is not love.

Body and appearance issues

It is always nice to look good, everyone loves to make an effort regardless of whether you like to admit it or not. The question is who are you are you doing it for? If you are doing it to please man, then you’re in the wrong. Beauty comes within, it is for you, not another. Do it for yourself. When you’re beautifying your outer beauty, make sure it is for yourself. In relationships, so many believe people that you have to make yourself look good for your partner. Yes, I believe that too but make sure it is for yourself first. When you want to lose weight, lose weight for yourself. When you want to add on weight, do it for yourself. Who are you going you gym for? There are days when Auntie so and so will comment on your weight ‘Oh, Rachel why have you lost so much weight’ or ‘Oh, Rachel you have put too much weight on try to cut back okay’. Then I’ll think long and hard of whether to eat the galaxy chocolate bar or not. I came to the realisation I will eat the galaxy chocolate bar. Why? I am happy with my weight. If I wish to lose or add weight on, it will because I have decided too. I will step on and off the treadmill, when I want too. Not because others have said too. If I am healthy and happy with my weight, what else matters?

I remember I told a friend of mine when we were back in secondary school how beautiful she looked. She told me no one had ever told her that. I was shocked. I told her girl you do not know how stunning you are. She has such a lovely inner beauty and a gorgeous smile. A friend of mine, felt too dark to be beautiful. Another friend of mine wished she was not skinny and wished she was curvier. There are pressures in society to look a certain way, that we blame the media for. Yes, some of it is created by the media but sometimes we have to look at ourselves. Why do we as women (this also applies to men) put pressure on people to look a certain way? Why do we tell women that the only  way to be beautiful is if they have a large behind? Why do we tell women that the only way to be beautiful is if they are curvy? Why do we tell women that the only the way to be beautiful is if they are skinny? Beauty comes in all sizes and shapes. Whether you have an athletic built, a skinny frame, an hourglass or a pear shape you are beautiful. No matter what shape you are, know that you are beautiful and celebrate yourself.

Why do we put women against another? Why do we create light skinned vs. dark skinned? How many times have you heard that horrible phrase ‘you’re pretty for a dark skinned girl’?  Why do we create silly stereotypes based off a light skinned girl’s appearance? Why do we create fat vs. skinny? Why do we create the notion that the colour of your hair determines your intelligence and your beauty?

Where am I now?

It took me a long time to see, that God created me beautiful, he created me in his very own image and his very own hands. This means if I am I created in his very own image, I am a reflection of him (I am beautiful just like my father God is). It was only after studying the word for a long period of time that I came to see, that it is very much an insult to call yourself ugly or someone else. God doesn’t like ugly. All that he created was good in his sight, no where does it say what he created was bad in his sight. He created you with his very own hands.

So many feel compelled to conform to the world’s standards of beauty and therefore do not think themselves good enough. My sisters and my brothers too, do not think your physical attributes are not good enough. God says you’re more than enough! You are more than just what is on the outside, there is your inner beauty.

I will not allow any standard to reduce my self worth when I have the best standard to look up too. I love all of me. I love me from my 4c hair all the way down to my size 5 and 1/2 feet.

You are beautiful.

Have a read of my poem, ‘I don’t like me’

P.S Thank you to those who shared their opinion of beauty and what it means to them, God bless you. It is not too late to share your views on what you believe beauty is, I will include it in the post. To do so you can email me at renaissanceideal@yahoo.com. Or if you wish you can share your views with me on Twitter (@RaeDosoo), Facebook (www.facebook.com/renaissanceideal) and Instagram (@renaissanceideal).

Stay Blessed

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Great Women of The Bible Challenge-Hannah

Hannah- The woman of prayer

Bible Reference- 1 Samuel 1, 1 Samuel 2

Family Background- Hannah was married to a man called Elkanah (who was the son of of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph who was an Ephraimite). The Bible says her husband was from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim. Elkanah had another wife called Peninnah who had children, Hannah had none. Hannah was Elkanah’s favourite wife. Hannah later gave birth to Samuel, three other sons and two daughters.

Name Meaning- Hannah in Hebrew means favour or grace

Who is Hannah?

Hannah, is one of the most famous characters of the Old Testament. Like many others in the Bible, she was barren.  At that time, not being unable to conceive was considered shameful.

Yearly, Hannah and her husband went to worship  the Lord at Shiloh. The Bible says ‘Year after Year’ , which suggests Hannah and her family went frequently to worship the Lord. The Bible describes Elkanah’s love for Hannah, as he would give her double portion to sacrifice because of his love for her. His other wife, Peninnah reminded her of her sorrows constantly. The Bible says she provoked her until she wept and would not eat. Her husband reminded her that he loved her by asking her why she wept, was sad and that his love was more than ten sons.

Hannah, was in the house of the Lord  praying and weeping bitterly. She made a vow to God, that if he gave her a son she would give him to God for all of his life.  She continued to pray and Eli, the priest observed her mouth. She was praying so intently that her mouth moved without words coming out. Eli thought she was drunk. Hannah told Eli, that she was pouring out her heart to God. Eli, moved by Hannah’s pain told her to go and that God will give her what she has asked for.

Afterwards, Hannah and her husband went back to their home at Ramnah, they slept together and she became pregnant. She gave birth to a son, called Samuel. She named Samuel, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him’.

Hannah had made a promise to God, to give him back for God’s service. Hannah kept her promise. She gave her son to Eli, where her child was trained in ministering and priesthood.

God honoured Hannah for keeping her promise. She gave birth to three more sons and two daughters. Hannah’s son Samuel, grew up to be the last Judge for Israel, a prophet and counselled Israel’s first two Kings (Saul and David).

Why is Hannah great?

Hannah, is one of the most well known women of the bible.  She was the mother of Samuel, who himself was a great man of God. I believe Hannah is great for several reasons: she was perseverant, had extraordinary faith, she kept her promises, prayerful and lead a godly life.

Hannah was perseverant, she never gave up on God. She continued to pray day and night and never lost hope. She prayed year after year and was frequently at the house of God. She prayed until people thought she was drunk. It reminds of when Paul, said that we should pray without ceasing. This is what Hannah did and God answered her prayers.

Hannah had extraordinary faith, it was a peculiar type of faith. To be  praying for the same thing year after year  is incredible. Especially, when her rival wife Peninnah was poking fun at her constantly. Yet, her hope in God remained. True to her name, she walked in grace and did not retaliate. Even though God had shut her womb, she opened up her heart even more to God. As Eli told her to go home, notice how she went and was no more weeping. She believed that God had answered her prayers.

I admire Hannah for keeping her promise: to  give her child back to God. Remember this was her first child that she had prayed for many years. The sacrifice that she made, blessed her even more. She was rewarded, Hannah and her husband gave birth to five more children.

Hannah was a praying woman. She prayed without ceasing. Even though what she had asked for did not come immediately, she continued in prayer. Even though she was barren, she still believed and through her pain she found refuge in prayer. She took her worries to God even when she was sorrowful. In 1 Samuel 2, it gives us Hannah’s prayer. She gives thanksgiving for God’s goodness.

What can we learn from Hannah?

The lessons I believe we can learn from Hannah is to never give up. Hannah never gave up and pressed on in faith.  She never doubted God’s abilities. After years and years of waiting on God, her prayer life remained constant even though her rival wife irritated her. Many of us would give up, but Hannah didn’t.  Hannah teaches us to never give up, to remain prayerful, to lead a godly life, to have faith and to stay perseverant.

Stay Blessed

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Great Women Of The Bible Challenge- Esther & Eunice

Esther- The woman who saved her people from genocide

Bible Reference- Book of Esther

Family Background- Her father was called Abihail, who was the Uncle of Mordecai. When her parents died, Mordecai her cousin, took care of her and took her as his daughter

Name meaning- Esther means star in Persian. The biblical meaning of Esther is hidden or secretive. Her original Hebrew name Hadassah means myrtle.

Who is Esther?

We are introduced to Esther in Esther 2:7 as Hadassah, where Mordecai took her as daughter as her parents died. She was also known as Esther. The Bible describes her as a young woman who had a lovely figure and was beautiful.

The story is that King Xerxes had a feast for 180 days where he displayed his wealth of his kingdom. After this he had a banquet for seven days. He summons Queen Vashti in order for her to show her beauty off to the people and the nobles. However she refuses. King Xerxes banishes her and she is punished to not enter the presence of the King. A new Queen is sought and Esther is chosen. Esther did not reveal her nationality or family background as Mordecai forbidden her not to do so. Mordecai uncovers a conspiracy, during his time sitting at the King’s gate. Two of the King’s officers conspired to assassinate King Xerxes. Mordecai tells Queen Esther who then tells the King, giving credit to Mordecai.

After these events King Xerxes honours Haman, giving him a position higher than any noble. All royal officials had to bow down to him. However Mordecai refused. Haman was angry. When he found out that Mordecai was a Jew, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews in King Xerxes’ kingdom.

Mordecai calls on Esther to talk to the King. However the King does not know of Esther’s background. Esther is reluctant to go to the King. Remember, to approach her husband without permission she risked death.  She would be breaking the law and be punished by death. Mordecai reminds her of background and purpose:

“Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Esther then replied to Mordecai, to tell everyone in Susa to fast and pray for three days. She also said will do the same and after this she would go to the King.

Esther then entered the King’s court. The King was pleased with her so she requested to have a banquet with the King and Haman (she said she would give her petition at the banquet). So Haman got cocky and did ‘guy guy’ because he had been asked to attend dinner with the beautiful Queen Esther. He saw Mordecai who again did not bow to me. Haman’s wife suggested to him and his friends that he should set a 75 ft (23 m) pole for Mordecai to be hanged on.

The King the following night couldn’t sleep. He read the records of his reign and he found that Mordecai had exposed the officers who conspired to assassinate the King. The King asked Haman what should this man receive for his good work. Haman without realising it is Mordecai, told the King he should have a royal robe, sit on the house and be paraded through the city. When Haman realised he was sad and angry.

At the banquet Queen Esther told her husband King Xerxes of Haman’s evil plans to destroy the Jews (Queen Esther’s people) and kill Mordecai.  The King was angry and the pole that Haman planned for Mordecai, was instead set up for him.

The King gave Queen Esther Haman’s estate and she appointed Mordecai over it. The King gave Mordecai his signet ring which he reclaimed from Haman. The King also reversed Haman’s plans to destroy the Jews which was written into an edict. The decree granted all Jews across his kingdom the right to assemble and protect themselves.

Why is Esther great?

From Esther’s story you can tell what an extraordinary woman she was. She risked her life and interceded on behalf of her people to the King where she could have been punished to death. She knew the risks ‘And if I perish, I perish’ (Esther 4:16) yet she was willing to sacrifice her life in order for her people to be saved. Esther’s bravery, courage and faith in God highlights the strong belief she had in God. She was committed in fasting and praying, knowing that fasting gives favour and protection from God. She allowed God to use her in the position she was in to win deliverance for her people.

Esther, was a rare individual. She was chosen as a candidate for the King who must not only have been charmed by her beauty but her personality.Whilst reading this, I noticed the King was always eager to listen to his wife, Queen Esther. He greeted her with love and was willing to understand everything she put across. This demonstrates that Esther was a great wife too.

What can we learn from Esther?

We can learn from Esther’s obedience. Mordecai told her not to reveal her background and asked her to intercede on behalf of the Jews. She did whatever he asked. Imagine, as a young woman without no father and mother. Our parents from birth teach us how to respect others. However, Mordecai as her adoptive father took on that role. I learnt from this, the importance of obedience. Sometimes young people, even old can disagree with their parents, but look where Esther’s obedience brought her.

Furthermore, we can learn from Esther’s character from her determination to seek God’s guidance in her time of difficulty. We can be going through difficult times and forget the tools of prayer and fasting. In our trials and tribulations, we may lose hope and faith thinking what is the point. However Esther sought after God and we should learn from this.

Even though Esther kept her background a secret. She never forget where she came from. She was not ashamed in the hour of trouble to reveal who she was. We can learn from this that we should always love who we are, which includes our heritage and background.

From Esther’s story we learn that God can take you from nothing to something. She was  a young woman called Hadassah from Susa but then became Queen Esther of Persia. He had a plan for Esther, just like he has a plan for you and I. God used Esther as an instrument for his glorious purpose, to deliver the Jews and give them their rights. The same way God will use you and I. God put Esther as a Queen to do this. God can put us in a similar position for a purpose. Esther’s life is a demonstration of how God works. God puts each one of us into a position for his plan and purpose. We may never know what he is doing and think to ourselves- Why this? Why here? Why now? Why am I doing this? Then when everything comes together, then we look back and say to ourselves God I understand why you did it like that. She was put as a candidate as ‘for such a time as this’, she was given to the King as ‘for such a time as this’, she was the Queen as a ‘time for this’. Whatever position you are in, believe it is ‘for such a time as this’.

Eunice- The woman whose her son became a famous evangelist

Bible Reference- Acts 16:1-3, 2 Timothy 1:5, 2 Timothy 3:14-15

Family Background-Eunice was the daughter of Lois. The Bible does not mention who Eunice’s father is. Eunice married a Greek.

Name Meaning- Eunice means good victory

Who is Eunice?

Eunice was Timothy’s mother.

Why is Eunice great?

Esther is great because of the way she brought up her son. The Bible tells us that Timothy’s faith first came through his grandmother Lois and then Eunice. This means Eunice trained her son with scriptures. The bible reminds us to teach children in the way they should go. Paul speaks highly of Timothy, as his ‘dear son’. Eunice must have been proud that her son’s who was an evangelist, had an companion such as Paul. Looking at Timothy, Eunice did a great job.

What can we learn from Eunice?

We can learn from Eunice that we should bring up our children in the right way. She made sure  that from birth, Timothy was surrounded by the ways of God. We can take this from Eunice, that if we have positive Christian training in our homes our children would not depart from it.

Great Women Of The Bible Challenge- Dorcas (Tabitha) & Elizabeth

I hope you all had a lovely bank holiday weekend. Great women I looked at was Dorcas and Elisabeth.

Dorcas (Tabitha)- The woman full of good works

Bible Reference-Acts 9:36-43

Family background-There is no mention of Dorcas’ family history.

Name meaning- Dorcas is the Greek translation of the Aramaic name Tabitha. The meaning of the name is gazelle.

Who is Dorcas?

We are introduced to Dorcas in Acts 9:36 as a disciple. This means that she was a Christian. Her name is given as Tabitha, but the Greek equivalent is Dorcas. She lived in the seaport town of Joppa. The Greek variant of her name and her residence highlights the fact she would have been surrounded by Greek speaking people.

Why is Dorcas great?

Dorcas’ story shows greatness as she accepted responsibility as a disciple in her community. She gave her life to those in need. The bible describes her as always doing good and helping the poor. This suggests that she she dedicated her life to philanthropy and charity work. So many of us wish to do this, we talk but will never do. Dorcas not only talked about it but she carried out her plans.

The scripture describes the time  of her death as a very sad time. When she died, they sent for Peter who was in a nearby town to urgently come. This suggests that she was highly respected and loved. It seems that she was a person, that many in her community cared about. When Peter went, the widows stood around him crying.  They even showed him the clothes that Dorcas had made for them. This demonstrates that Dorcas’ death was a big blow to her community.

However, Peter prayed for the dead Dorcas and she got up, opened her eyes and when she saw him sat up. Peter called in the believers and especially the widows to see what God had done. The Bible says that this miracle was known all over Joppa and because of this, people found God. I believe that that the resurrection of Dorcas had a twofold effect. The first effect that it had was when Peter called the widows. He did this so they will be encouraged in the Lord- that God is great and can do all things. It would have brought comfort to Dorcas’ mourners that her life of charity work was not over. Secondly, I believe that the miracle was to bring people to believe in God. It was not a coincidence. The miracle was to show God’s glory, so that people will be saved. Dorcas was a blessed woman- her resurrection was for a reason. The  purpose in her life was not over, God had more in store for her life.

What can we learn from Dorcas?

We can learn from Dorcas’ life that she cared for people rather than just focusing on her title as a leader in the community. Some people have a title in their church as a deacon or worship leader but dwell on their post rather than carrying out the work. Many are proud and brag about their title, yet they do not carry out the good deeds like Dorcas. Dorcas demonstrated dedication in helping to those in need. She was obsessed in doing good. From time to time a person may carry out a good deed, but for kingdom people it is a duty to carry out good deeds all the time. It doesn’t mean that we should go and work for a charity or we must donate millions away, it could mean encouraging, giving and praying for the needy. For example this could be cooking for the hungry, praying for the broken hearted or giving clothes to those in need. I found out something really interesting that the The Dorcas Society is named after her. This shows the effect that this great woman had on the world and still has. The charity carries out similar work Dorcas did-making clothing for the poor. She died leaving a mark. Before her resurrection, those who were mourning her remembered her for making garments for the needy. What are we going to remembered for?  What would you be remembered for? We should all want to be remembered for our service unto God and unto others like Dorcas. Dorcas is a great example of a true charitable woman.

 

Elizabeth- The woman who bore in her old age

Bible Reference- Luke 1:5-80

Family Background- Elizabeth was a descendent of Aaron. This means she came from a priestly family. Her husband was Zechariah who was a priest. He belonged to the priestly division of Abijah, which was one set of priests who were chosen to minister in the temple. Elizabeth was the mother of John the Baptist. She was a relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

Name meaning- Elizabeth means oath of God

Who is Elizabeth?

Elizabeth was a Godly woman who lived in Judea. She along with her husband is described in the Bible as ‘righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly’. To be given such a description like this means that she was a woman who preserved the traditions of her descendants and walked with God. She was a priestly woman who lead a holy life.

Elizabeth was an old woman. Her and husband had been praying for a child but she was unable to conceive. This must have caused heartbreak and disappointment for the couple. I could not imagine the humiliation they may have received especially with Elizabeth as a priest’s wife. Especially in ancient times, when barrenness was considered a disgrace. It is dream for every woman to become a mother, so it must have been hard for Elizabeth.

Why is Elizabeth great?

An angel appeared to Zechariah and told him that their prayers have been answered. The angel told him that they will have a son called John. Zechariah did not believe the angel and was made mute. Just as the angel said, Elizabeth conceived. Mary, who was pregnant with Jesus visited Elizabeth. As soon as Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt for joy. Then Elizabeth gave birth to a son and Zechariah’s speech returned. Elizabeth’s son became John the Baptist, the prophet who foretold the saviour and messiah- Jesus Christ.

This is the story. But why is Elizabeth great? Her life was full of faith and piety. Unlike her husband, who had doubt of conceiving in old age, Elizabeth believed. She was never sad or upset because she was unable to conceive. She had faith and continued to pray. She continued to serve God and his commandments even though she may have felt like a disgrace. Even though she probably was gossiped about, she kept her faith.  She was thankful for what God had done for. Elizabeth was grateful for the favour that God had given her.

Additionally, when Mary visited Elizabeth she heard her relative’s greeting and her baby leapt for joy. She was filled with the holy spirit and said:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!”

Elizabeth was a privileged and favoured woman as she was the first to declare who Jesus was. She gave a prayer and a blessing. I think the baby leaped in Elizabeth’s womb because he was welcoming Jesus. The baby was excited that the messiah who was to bring salvation, was near. Elizabeth knew the messiah had come and she confessed this with “the mother of my Lord should come to me”. Elizabeth presented herself with humility, knowing that was she blessed and highly favoured to be the first to confess who Jesus was.

Moreover, the birth of John showed that Elizabeth was a great woman. The bible describes that her relatives and neighbours had heard the Lord had shown her great mercy and they shared their joy. Elizabeth obeyed God. She could have listened to her family and called her son Zechariah Jr. However she said his name is John just like God had commanded.  She was a special woman who listened to God’s commandments and because of this she was given a special blessing. She was blessed with a child who was not only to be a joy to his parents but to others (her son was great in the eyes of God, her son was to be filled with the holy spirit before his birth, walk in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn lives around and prepare people for Jesus Christ). Not even double double blessings for this one, this was an extraordinary blessing. This woman was truly blessed! Elizabeth gave birth to her son who would become John the Baptist, who had a role in God’s salvation. The fact that she was involved in the fulfilment of Messianic prophecy and promise, shows that Elizabeth was a great woman.

What can we learn from Elizabeth?

We can learn from Elizabeth and her story that God is amazing-he can take you from barrenness to fruitfulness. Even though she was unable to conceive, she continued to have faith and pray. Sometimes when we do not get what we want, we become frustrated and lose hope. Is it ever going to happen? Am I going to get my miracle? As Elizabeth said blessed are those who believe God’s promises and the fulfilment of them. Elizabeth could have given up. But she didn’t. We need to remember and believe in what God has promised us. Look at what he did for Elizabeth! I have learnt that God rewards and blesses those who are obedient and believe in him. It reminds me of a hymn lol. You know the one … Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. It isn’t a surprise that Elizabeth is a common name. Who wouldn’t want to name their child after a woman who was humble, had great faith and was blameless and righteous before God?

Stay Blessed

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Word of the week-PRAISE & WORSHIP (04/08/13-11/08/13)

Word of the week-PRAISE & WORSHIP (04/08/13-11/08/13)

Hebrews 13 15

This week I chose praise & worship as my word. Praise can be described as the act of expressing approval or admiration; commendation; laudation. It is also the offering of great homage to God in a words or a song e.g. ‘For who you are’ by Hillsong or the hymn ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’. Worship is defined as reverent honour and homage paid to God. It can also be described as the object of adoration and reverence.

Many of us confuse praise and worship as the same, although its closely related there are differences. The sacrifice of praise is the fruit of the lips whilst worship is the fruit of the heart. Praise can be seen as outward actions whilst worship is the adoration of God in our lives. David was a great example of a man of praise. The book he wrote ‘Psalms’ is full of praises. Praise has elements of sacrifice. In Hebrews 13:15 and  Jeremiah 33:11 it describes how we should give sacrifice of praise to God. When we are giving a sacrifice of praise we are letting go and surrendering to God. This can be done by opening our mouths and praising him. In the Old Testament sacrifice was done by offering the sacrifice of animals. We no longer need to do this. Instead we pour out sacrificial praises from our lips. Psalm 50:8-15  describes that God wants sacrifice of thank offerings rather than sacrifice of animals.Worship can be expressed by living a godly life by honouring God’s commandments. True Worship is done in spirit and truth. This means when we come before God we are sincere in our worship.

It is important to have praise and worship in our lives for several reasons. One is because of who God is-all powerful, all knowing and all loving. We worship him because of who he is not for only what he does. He deserves nothing but honour and reverence.  Another reason praise and worship is important is because it brings us closer to God. We enter into his presence and invite the holy spirit in during time of praise and worship. God inhibits the praise of his people. This means that God enters the atmosphere with his people where there is true praise and worship.  Another reason praise and worship is powerful is because it can send our enemies running. There are many examples of where God has delivered his people from the enemies through praise and worship. In 2 Chronicles 20, the people of Ammon, Moab and others came to battle against Jehoshaphat and Judah. God told his people not to be afraid for the battle is his. Jehoshaphat and all of Judah bowed down and worshipped God. Then Jehoshaphat sent people before the army to sing praises. When the people began to sing praises God ambushed Judah’s enemies and they were defeated. Judah means praise. I believe that Judah being a people of praise, knew the power of praise and what God can do through it.

Here are some bible verses on praise and worship:

Hebrews 13:15 (NIV)-Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name

Psalm 150:1-6 (NIV)-Praise the Lord.Praise God in his sanctuary;
praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.  Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.Praise the Lord

Psalm 100:4 (NIV)-Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;give thanks to him and praise his name.

Ephesians 5:19 (NIV)-Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord

Psalm 95:1-6 (NIV)-Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.  Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him.The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker

John 4:24 (NIV)- God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.

Psalm 96:1-9 (NIV)- Sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth. Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day. Declare his glory among the nations, his marvellous deeds among all peoples. For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; he is to be feared above all gods.
 For all the gods of the nations are idols, but the Lord made the heavens.  Splendour and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering and come into his courts. Worship the Lord in the splendour of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.

1 Chronicles 16:29 (NIV)-Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;bring an offering and come before him. Worship the Lord in the splendour of hisholiness

Psalm 100:2 (NIV)- Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs

John 4:23 (NIV)-Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

Colossians 3:16 (NIV)-Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts

Stay Blessed

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