Isaiah 32:1-9 "The blessings of Christ's kingdom
As in the days of the judges, the Lord is raising up women who are standing as righteous judges. They are mouthpieces for righteousness, for we see them appearing before our very eyes as some of the television and radio personalities become bolder and unapologetic in defense of goodness. For example - Laura Ingraham, Michelle Malkin, Ann Coulter are among those identifying the evil in our land and calling this nation back to its roots and foundations.
The setting for the Scripture text presents God’s unfolding plan for a people who will function as judges in this earth; princes who will rule in righteousness, judging with righteous judgment. In verse one of this chapter we read the wonderful description of this body of people.
First, we see a King reigning in righteousness; then, princes will rule with justice. I believe the princes are His people, reigning and ruling with Him. They have become hiding places, shelters from the storms of life and are like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land. Do you, as a reader of this article, fit this profile? We carry in these vessels a treasure--His Life, His Word and Spirit.
These princes are the instruments for opening the blind eyes and deaf ears to the call of the Spirit throughout the earth. The Lord’s word in Psalm 68:11 will and is being fulfilled. The great company who publishes the Word is a company of women, for the Hebrew translates the word for company in the feminine.
Isaiah makes a call to the careless, confident, complacent and fearful women to rise up. In this scenario they are being warned the vintage will fail – Prepare! But the Isaiahs of today are blowing the trumpet in Zion, calling the people to repentance and holiness because the Lord’s vineyard is failing!
The Word of God calls His people His vineyard (Is. 5:1). The Lord is sorely displeased because His vineyard has yielded wild grapes. He takes away its hedge of protection, and the vineyard is trodden down by enemies. We read further that God’s people go into captivity to their enemies without even knowing what is happening! Jesus said, “And while they slept, the enemy came and stole . . .” While we are asleep and complacent, our nation is in peril, and God’s people cannot sit silent in fear of offending. May a holy fear of God Almighty sweep over us, for it is time to rise up against the godlessness surrounding us!
Remember the account in Exodus 2 of the brave, young mother of Moses who cared for him until she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and Moses became her son? Yet, Moses’ mother prepared him and instilled in him a fear of Jehovah that caused him to spurn the Egyptian gods and the riches of the palace. As a grown man, Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt into freedom.
God, it’s time to rise up and teach our children and grandchildren
the fear of the Lord and trust God to use them for righteousness in
God’s Word to Women has planted truth in the hearts of women and men all over the world, imploring the people of God to walk free from gender prejudices. When we have said all and done all regarding the gender dilemma, God’s Word to Women would encourage all reading from this site to obey I Peter 4:10 – “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
As we become secure in our identities in Christ, He gently leads us into those works He planned for us. (Ephesians 2:10). Be obedient to His call.
The Spirit of God is searching and trying hearts and shaking all that is not built upon the solid Rock – Christ Jesus.
Are we mouthpieces for His righteousness? Mouthpieces alone do not merit, for we must function as servants of a righteous God in word and deed.
In Matthew 23:2 Jesus spoke: “The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat of authority, so observe what they say but do not do what they do, for they preach but do not practice.” The church of Philadelphia is promised: “Because you have kept my word, guarded my word and not denied my name, I will make you a pillar in the house of my God.”
Recently, a newly converted friend shared how the Lord had convicted her regarding the soap operas she was watching. She has ceased watching and doesn’t even miss them because He has replaced them with His Word. Now He has given her opportunity to speak forth to a member of her own family. As her family member shared of marriage problems, the Holy Spirit flowed forth His counsel through her. She was shocked and wonderfully pleased that He would use her in such a way.
Another friend wrote of her experiences in the Body of Christ, mentioning that so few are in the Word for themselves and are apathetic toward sharing it. Sadly, they are empty cisterns the prophet Jeremiah wrote about, holding no water of the Spirit from which others may drink. A close friend in the Body told of going on a bus trip with the women of her church. What a sad disappointment it was, for the entire day was filled with loud jesting, sexual innuendos, and laughing at sin among them. She felt as though she had “rained on their parade” and has no further desire for that kind of ‘fellowship’.
Rise up! – A word often used as a word of incitement, especially to Jehovah, that He may grant aid. Rise up, you women of God, and make Him known throughout all the earth!
Two New Intercessors for GWTW
GWTW has added two intercessors from Houston – Bonnie Ward and Sandra Massey. Bonnie is a long-time friend of Barbara’s, and she and her husband Phil have served on the Board of the Lord’s ministry through Bonnie – Shield of Love. Bonnie is an international minister who has written Conquerors in Captivity, For Those Who Love His Appearing, and is involved in intercession on a national and global level. She’ll be able to pass GWTW’s requests on to her prayer ministry. Sandra serves as an elder in the church as well as the worship team, moves in the Song of the Lord, and preaches several times a year. As a prophetic intercessor Sandra oversees the mid-week prayer gathering as well as the pre-service prayer on Sundays. She also disciples others in intercessory prayer. Sandra has served on the Executive Board of Shield of Love ministries since 1986.
Click here for short bios on our new intercessors.
“I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…;” John 15:16 “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance…;” Rom. 11:29 “…there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female for all are one in Christ Jesus…” Gal. 3:28 These scriptures are just a few that have led me to believe God in His calling on my life. As I look back over my life, I see truly, it is only as I have followed God that I have had “…life and life more abundantly.” John 10:10
What does it mean to be a woman who knows she is: called by God, anointed to preach, and has a heart for the nations? In today’s world, that is considered “awesome,” “radical,” and invites the response “let’s go do it!” by those 30 and under. For me, it has been a challenge which has forced me to seek God with an intensity that often frightens others in the “over 40+” age group.
Born in 1955 and raised Roman Catholic, I had a heart for the Lord and wanted to “know Him” just like (the apostle) John. However, in that religious system, the only way to fulfill His call would be to become a nun. Being a musician, singer, actress, and quite outspoken, I was obviously not a good candidate. I fully surrendered to the Lord at 17 (which is a story in itself), and my next stage of training came through the teaching of the Southern Baptists at Baylor University. While listening to Cynthia Clawson in concert, I distinctly heard Holy Spirit speak in my heart, “You will sing and preach just as she is doing in nations around the world.” Because of my background, I found that statement incredulous and did not take it to heart. But God is not deterred by our belief system, when the heart is surrendered to Him. Although it has taken many years, and a rather circuitous route, that is exactly what I have been doing for the better part of the last twenty years.
Admittedly, I tried to force my way into churches to speak. I was politely, but firmly informed, “Women are not permitted to preach in church; however, you are more than welcome to sing.” Frustration at not being able to fully share what God was placing on my heart finally led me to try a “non-traditional” style church—a house church. Suddenly, my world opened as I found a group of people who practiced their worship in accordance with 1 Peter 2:9 and 1 Corinthians 14: 26. I was expected to preach and teach: not just sing! I was thrilled, but I also knew I didn’t have enough Bible in me to trust that what I was seeing and receiving from Holy Sprit was really God and not just my emotions. I wanted to go to Bible School where I would be able to saturate myself in the Word of God night and day for 2 years. Amazingly, the same leadership that had taught me to always come with my “hath-a” (“When you come together, everyone hath a psalm…” 1 Cor. 14:26) now told me I couldn’t go. I was being a “stubborn woman” and had to stay at home and “learn submission” to the men in charge.
Fortunately, God had another woman in the congregation—a woman who knew her identity in Christ, who challenged me to seek God rather than man. When I did, “Get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you…” Genesis 12:1 leapt out and impacted me with force. I knew beyond any doubt God was calling me to Bible School—in Australia! I didn’t wait. I wrote the elders of Calvary Bible College, (who had the oversight for our house church) explaining the situation and asked if they would take me on “under the given circumstances.” They gave me permission to attend. I still look on those two years (1985-1987) as the most formative years of my walk with God. I did learn how to study the Word of God. Equally important, I was also taught how to listen and discern then verify, “…by the mouth of two or three witnesses...” Matt. 18:16 that what I “heard by Holy Spirit,” truly was God so I would have confidence in acting on that Word. That teaching has never let me down.
The parting statement made by one of our teachers is exactly what God has been doing. Today, He is taking those words to a higher level so that His Word becomes flesh in us. What she prophesied then is even truer today than it was at that time. “You’ve taken two years putting the Word of God into you. What that word will bring forth will take at least ten years to become evident. During that time, many of you will fall away because the cost of that implanted Word will be more than you are willing to pay. Some of you will stand fast and endure the pressure of that Word becoming flesh—in you, and you will be amazed.” It’s the very same thing Jesus said in “the Sower and the Seed.” Matt. 13
I would like to say that I never tried to walk away; I can’t. The time came when it seemed too high a cost to continue. I wanted a husband, home and children. However, the calling I was watching come into being, kept leading me away from the very thing I wanted most in my carnal nature. “But God…” (my two favorite words in scripture), God kept applying pressure. In what ways did He do so? By allowing such an ache in my heart for Him because I was not walking in complete transparency with Him. I was miserable. After two years of wandering in my “self-will” made “desert,” I ran back into His waiting grace. When I did, I was amazed by the fact that the calling on my life that had led me to Australia was still in place. His call is not based on our performance. Rather, the call is based on/in the nature of God’s amazing love!
Like most of us who are products of the “instant oatmeal” age, I thought because “I was now believing God,” I would immediately arrive at the pinnacle of my ministry. However, the reality of being made “broken bread and poured-out wine” is a much lengthier process that requires proving and testing. When the tests are not passed to God’s satisfaction, He lovingly let’s us “walk around the mountain yet again!” I won’t tell how many times I’ve trudged around the same mountain, but God never gave me more than I could endure. Truthfully, even the wilderness way has been filled with friendships, love and joy.
Some of you may ask what those times were like. Well, I spent two seasons in a professional Christian theater writing music for six new musicals! This in turn, led to creating my own “thought pieces” as one-woman, music/drama productions. In 1995, God led me to teach in a private school in Tacoma, Washington. Only six months into the school year, I was given sabbatical to participate in a mission trip to South Mindanao, Philippines. There I taught leaders of village churches and preached in open-air crusades. When I returned from this trip, I completed my year’s contract then promptly resigned and went into full-time ministry on the mission field both in America and overseas.
In 1996, I moved to India (yes alone) and worked with five different indigenous ministries while living with local families. Although it was a difficult time, God taught me so much about his power and absolute authority over all! I came back to the U.S.A. and was led to become an itinerant preacher living on the road and trusting God to provide all my need. He has led me back to India numerous times since then with one of the pastors finally declaring, “You are not American; you are a white Indian.” That statement was a compliment, for the desire of my heart is to be as Paul was “all things to all people, that I might by all means save some.” 1Cor. 9:22
I was fully set to staying on the road and traveling, when one of God’s “suddenly” events occurred: my father died. After living alone or on the road for over 25 years, I suddenly found myself being asked to return to my parents’ home and stay with my 82-year-old Mother. At that time, I thought it would only be “for three months or so” and received time off from the mission agency I worked with to “tie things up with Dad’s estate and get Mother settled.” I realized after two months that would never be enough, as my mother had never lived alone in all of her 82 years! What was I to do now? I did what I always do when faced with a “suddenly;” I fasted and prayed.
I was not thrilled when I realized that God was leading me to start my own ministry. I contacted my Board, hoping they would tell me to go back and pray some more, but was dumbfounded when they laughingly said; “We’ve been waiting for you to figure that out for the last two years!” Sometimes it takes a “suddenly” to push you into the will of God.
Starting Shofar Sounding Ministry and doing the paperwork to receive 501C3 status was another obstacle I wanted to avoid. However, God provided the help and persons to walk me through that process. Since 2004, when everything was finally in place, I have had to walk through yet another obstacle: “learning to trust God in the administrative work of the ministry.”
That area has almost been defeating, for I find myself second-guessing everything I want to do. “Is it really God or is it your own emotions? Whatever choice you make is going to require a major financial outlay. Are you prepared to make that investment? It’s really on your own shoulders now that the ministry is in your hands.” Or is it? It has taken me the better part of the last three years to finally realize that there’s no difference between trusting God to lead using me as the head of a ministry or as a minister on the road working through an agency. The bottom line is I must trust God.
My story is not unlike most of yours, which is one of loving God, seeking Him and believing Him to fulfill all He had in mind when He created me. I’ve lived an interesting life for the most part so far, but it has been unnerving to those who love me but don’t have the same call. Thank God for Oswald Chambers’ words in My Utmost for His Highest, “Do not to try to explain your call and do not to expect those you love to understand. They cannot. Your job is to fulfill your ministry.” My prayer for you all is that you will do exactly that. “Trust God with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct and make straight your paths.” Prov. 3:5-6*
All scripture quotations are from
the New King James Version unless otherwise noted. *New
King James Version with Amplified Bible for additional emphasis.