Archive for January, 2013

So Hilkiah and those whom the king had told went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tokhath, the son of Hasrah, the keeper of the wardrobe… and they spoke to her regarding this. (II Chronicles 34:22).

It is popular at this time of year to make predictions about what the coming year will bring. Sometimes predictions are wild guesses; sometimes they are wishful thinking; but many times they are more like prophecies. What is the difference? What makes a prophecy?

The prophets in the Bible were inspired by God and so they could make accurate predictions about the future. Not all of the prophets were men; there were a number of women including Miriam, Deborah, and Huldah.

Our story this week is about Huldah. I’d be willing to bet that most of my readers have never heard of her. Even if you have, I wonder what percentage of folks have ever heard a sermon on her – probably less than 1% would be my guess.

Yet, in her day, Huldah was a very important woman. God used this faithful woman to give a very important prophecy to King Josiah. Here’s her story.

King Josiah reigned near the end of the Jewish Southern Kingdom before the Babylonian Captivity. The Northern Kingdom had already fallen due to God’s just judgment on them for hundreds of years of disobedience and idolatry. As God had warned them, they were carried off into captivity. The people in the Southern Kingdom had been more faithful and God was holding off the judgment of captivity on the Southern Kingdom for a few more decades.

Josiah was only eight years old when he began to reign. He sought God with all of his heart. He purged the land of Judea of all of the idols and cleansed the temple in Jerusalem. Then he ordered the rebuilding of the newly purged temple. While the workers were cleaning it, the “book of the law” was found. It had been missing for many years. Previous bad kings, like Josiah’s father Amon, had never bothered to read it much less think it important enough to obey.

When portions of the book of the law were read to Josiah he was truly frightened. He realized that the Israelites had been disobeying God for many years without repenting. He knew that God’s wrath was very great because the people had been disregarding God’s word. He wondered if God would bring the disasters on Israel that were foretold by other prophets.

Huldah,prophetessJosiah wanted to know if the book that was found was genuine. If it was, then he knew that God’s wrath would soon be on them. Josiah sent a few men, including his personal seer, to seek out Huldah, a prophetess, so that he might learn whether or not the book was the actual “book of the law” and what he should do if it was.

Now in our day, many people jump to the conclusion, due to their preconceived ideas about whether or not God uses women to minister, that Huldah was the only prophet available. These are the same folks who say that God only used Deborah to be a judge because there were no men available (See Judges, chapters 4 and 5). While it is true that God used more men than women to serve as prophets, we should not take that to mean that women are second best. If God used a woman, then she was the right person for the job. We should let God be God and not second guess HIm.

Anyway, the story of Huldah will blow away the reasoning that God only uses women when He has no men available.

Consider the fact that there were five other men available. Who were these men? Were they just youngsters or lesser prophets?

They were Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Jeduthan (the king’s seer). There are four Old Testament books bearing the names of the first four of these prophets. They were all alive at the time, but the king’s messengers went to Huldah’s house. It would have been so easy for Josiah to turn to his personal seer and ask him what God would have him do, but he sent his men to ask Huldah.

They knew that Huldah was a mature, Godly woman and that she was well respected by all. They did not need to go any further than her house to find out what God’s will for the king was.

Huldah responded with the message that God gave her. It was pretty horrific for the Jewish people. “Because they have forsaken Me and have burned incense to other gods, that they might provoke Me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore My wrath will be poured out on this place and it shall not be quenched” (II Chron. 34:25). However, since Josiah had repented and sought God, Huldah gave him this promise, “‘Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and because you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes and wept before Me, I truly have heard you,’ declares the Lord” (II Chron. 34:27).

Truly, Huldah was a remarkable servant of God. It could not have been easy for her to give such a scaryHuldah, Jerusalem prophecy to her people, but it was the truth and she boldly spoke it. Whether or not Christians have honored her as much as they should have, the Jews have held her in high regard as a prophet. Today you can see the monuments in Jerusalem that they constructed in her honor.

There are a couple of other things to note with this story.

One, does it have something about it that sounds familiar? Do you recall Solomon’s words when he finished building the temple and dedicating it to God? Solomon asked God to bless the people. Solomon also knew that the people might not continue to obey God as faithfully as they should. Solomon knew that God promised the Israelites that they would be taken into captivity as punishment for their sins. Of course we know that this would indeed happen a few years after King Josiah died. The Babylonians would come and defeat the people and carry them away as God foretold.

Recall that Solomon asked God to remember His people and forgive them if they should fall into idolatry. If the people should remember God again and humble themselves and ask forgiveness Solomon beseeched God to “hear from Heaven, from Your dwelling place, their prayer and supplications, and maintain their cause and forgive Your people who have sinned against You” (II Chronicles 6:39).

King Josiah certainly knew that God had been patient with the Israelites for hundreds of years. He knew that righteous judgment was upon them. But he humbled himself and sought God’s forgiveness. Huldah assured Josiah that God had heard his prayer and forgiven him. Because Josiah found favor with God, Huldah foretold, “Behold, I will gather you to your fathers and you shall be gathered to your grave in peace, so your eyes will not see all the evil which I will bring on this place and on its inhabitants” (II Chronicles 34:28).

Josiah read the words of the book of the law to the people and they decided to obey God during Josiah’s reign. After Josiah’s death, the kings of Egypt and Babylon took captive Josiah’s sons as foretold.

Huldah was a true prophetess. We know this because her message came true. That was God’s test for His prophets. And her message was both a reminder and a fulfillment of the one that Solomon had given many years before.

We don’t have “inspired” (I mean like those in the Bible) prophets today, but can we prophesize to a certain extent? May we, by using God’s Word predict what will happen this year?

I believe that we can. If we continue to mock God, we will have judgment. I do not know what form that will take, but we already have a “bad king” in the form of the current evil administration and so some predictions are possible.

If Christians don’t wake up and do something it is a sure thing that many more innocent unborn babies will die. It is a sure thing that much more injustice will be done. It is a sure thing that the hard won freedoms for which our forefathers fought and died will disappear one by one. God has told us what the consequences of our sins will be. Even a quick study of Biblical and Church will show that God keeps His promises to bless and to judge.

The answer to solving our problems is the same as it always was – we must repent of our sins, ask God to forgive us, and beseech His mercy. Then He will hear from Heaven and forgive His people (II Chron. 6:39). He has also promised to bless us richly if we obey. I pray that we will get back to focusing on God and His glory. When we follow God we will have much happier things to predict!

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He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love, kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6:8).

Ladies, are you grateful for your freedoms today? Do you remember that our great-grandmothers were not able to do many of the things that we take for granted.

In the 1800’s, when Frances Willard lived, women could not vote. It was very difficult for women to go to college. There were few laws against the abuse of women. Women were expected to stay home and not go out into the “men’s” world of work.

Today many of those wrongs have been righted and we owe a lot to Frances Willard for her part in working towards justice for women.

Her name has largely been forgotten today, but at one time she was the most famous woman in America. Faith Martin, in her biographical article on Frances Willard, says, “In the Capitol in Washington D.C., each state is represented by awillard statue statue of its most honored citizen. Of all the fifty states only Illinois, the Land of Lincoln, is represented by a woman. Her name is Frances Willard. “Who is she?” you ask.

At the time of her death in 1898, Frances Willard was the most famous woman in America. Flags flew at half-mast in New York, Chicago, and Washington, D. C. She died in New York, and her body was transported by rail to Chicago, pausing for services along the way like a presidential funeral train. In Chicago, 30,000 persons filed by her casket in one day. Ruth Bordin writes, ‘The nation mourned her with a grief, admiration, and respect it would have bestowed on a great national hero or martyred president. No woman before or since was so clearly on the day of her death this country’s most honored woman.'”

Why has the “most famous woman in America” been forgotten in our day?

Willard, Frances E.Probably the most important reason is that Frances Willard was best known for being the president of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). That is old history for most. We do not understand what it was like to live during a time when alcoholism was destroying so many homes with seemingly no help from church or state. Frances worked tirelessly to bring laws into being that would limit or control the sale of hard liquor. She was credited with being responsible for starting the organization that would eventually bring in Prohibition, twenty years after her death.

Most people now believe that Prohibition was a mistake and best be forgotten. And so, Frances has been forgotten with it.

But working against the evils of alcohol was not all that Frances Willard was about. Let’s look at some other reasons why we should remember her and hold her in honor.

Frances was concerned with a broad range of women’s rights. In her day the term “feminist” was not used as we use it today. The movement she was part of was referred to as the “woman question” or sometimes “women’s suffrage”. Frances herself was very feminine and would have been surprised at the derogatory tone that is used today when speaking of the “feminists”.

Education was an area that Frances took a lead in and actually came up with some innovations that are still with us today. Frances became the founding president of Northwestern Ladies College. She came up with a plan for women to either remain entirely within the Ladies College or to take classes at Northwestern University concurrently. This would allow women to get a degree in a typically male field. Her program was successful and later adopted by Radcliff and Barnard Colleges.

Alcohol abuse was not only a general concern for Frances, but also a personal one. Her brother fought with the problem and her two nephews. One nephew overcame the problem; the other did not. Frances knew how capricious addiction could be. It is nearly impossible to tell who will not be bothered by alcohol and who will be overcome by it.

It is not that Frances thought that alcohol was evil. She herself had enjoyed a glass of wine occasionally when she traveled. But when she became the president of the Temperance Union, she abstained completely.

Frances was concerned for the total well being of women and society. Not all of her work was about just Prohibition.

Her many other achievements while leading the WCTU include:

1.  Campaigning for changes in the prostitution laws. This is hard for us to imagine today, but the age of consent in twenty states back then was as low as ten years old, and in one state it was seven. What in the world is any state in a supposed Christian country doing with a law that says a seven year old can consent to sexual relations? I think it is obvious that there were men who wanted to get away with their perversions and not be held accountable.
Frances believed that the rules for sexual purity should be equal for men and women. It was not fair for women to be punished or castigated while men got off completely free. If the prostitute was arrested, the man should be too.

2.  Frances also brought to the attention of the world the trade in narcotics. She worked hard to change public opinion on drug trafficking. The WCTU circulated a petition, asking governments to stop the sale of drugs, especially opium. They collected 8 million signatures worldwide, including names in 50 different languages.

3.  Sports for women. Frances encouraged good health for women including willard_on_bikeexercise. She believed that the bicycle would be a big help and purchased one for herself. Leading by example, she took a bicycle tour of Europe for one of her vacations.

4.  Practical ways to help men stay sober.  It was not enough to try and stop the sale of liquor. Frances pushed for reforms that would aid men in having a choice of something else to drink. For example, she encouraged cities to put drinking fountains in their town squares so that farmers did not automatically have to go to the saloon to get something to drink when they came to town.

5.  Prison work. Frances worked to have men and women separately housed. She also pushed for the idea that there always be a female officer in jails where women were. The job of police matron was established everywhere by 1894.

6.  While heading WCTU, Frances wrote addresses every year. One year she was able to praise a leading labor group of that time, the Knights of Labor, for their focus on equal pay with disregard for discrimination due to “sex, race, nor creed”.

7.  Frances had many other interesting opportunities. Once she was able to join with General Booth of the Salvation Army to help in the relief work for the Armenian Christians who were being persecuted in Turkey. Thousands of Armenians were slaughtered and hundreds of refugees fled to Europe and the United States. Frances was able to use WCTU families to sponsor hundreds of these refugees.

8.  In a matter that is very controversial today, towards the end of her life Frances began to speak out on religious matters. Reasoning that women in the New Testament were allowed to prophesy and that “he that prophecies edifies the church” (I Corinthians 14:4), she believed that women should be allowed to speak in church.
That whole discussion of women preaching in church is outside of the scope of this paper, but it is a good question to ask: If women can be bankers, farmers, lawyers, teachers, and accountants, then why can’t they work in church? This would be consistent in a society where men and women are equal in God’s sight as His children.

We should be thankful that brave women like Frances Willard fought the good fight. I for one am grateful that I live in the twenty-first century and not the nineteenth.

Frances Willard should be held in high esteem. We listed all of the reasons that Frances should be honored besides just her work with WCTU. It is probable that she is overlooked in history books just because of the issue of prohibition, but I think there is more to it.

The “feminists” shun Frances Willard because she was a Christian. Note to non-Christian, leftist, liberal feminists – Would you please stop calling yourself feminists? You don’t know what true feminism is.

The patriarchy-style Christians shun her because she fought for women’s rights. Note to my far right Christian sisters – Would you please remember that you have the ability to vote, to go to college, to get a job just about anywhere you want, and the freedom to stand up and say so because of women like Frances Willard?

Both of those groups are terribly wrong. Both should admit their prejudices. Both should be more grateful that they have the freedoms they have because of Frances Willard.

Thank you, Frances. I can’t wait to talk to you when I get to Heaven.

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 Great Books of Short Stories About Courageous Women


Have you made a New Year’s Resolution to do more reading? Not sure if you really have time to keep your resolution? Well, here are some books containing short stories of many of the great women of history. You have read some of their stories on this blog. I hope these books will be an encouragement to you. One of the things that is so amazing is just how many women there were!

—  Curtis, A. Kenneth and Graves, Daniel, Great Women in Christian History: 37 Women Who Changed Their World, (Wing Spread Publishers, Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, 2007).

Dr. Ken Curtis is the founder and president of Christian History Institute.  He put this book together especially to inspire young women.
Dr. Curtis tries to make up for the lack of stories about women in history. He admits wm in chr hist book that this book contains only 37 of many thousands whose stories deserve telling. He emulates the Lord Jesus Christ Who gave women much respect. Our Lord elevated the status of women by talking to them and treating them like equal human beings.
Some religions still keep women in a second-class position. But throughout history Christian women have shown that they can be used of God to do great things. The thirty-seven women in this book are just the tip of ice berg.
The book is divided into categories including martyrs, wives, writers, charitable workers, and reformers.
One of the things I especially appreciate about the book is the bibliography. You can read more about any of these amazing women. (You will recognize some of them in previous reviews on this blog.)

—  Kavanagh, Julia, Women of Christianity, Exemplary for Acts of Piety and Charity, (My copy is a public domain reprint. Originally published by D. Appleton and Company, New York, 1869).

eliz of hungary Don’t let the nineteenth century English deter you. The book is so full of stories of women that you have never heard of and is so fascinating that you will be delighted to wade through it.
The author explains that it would have taken her many years to cover all of the great and pious women in history; the present book is only the beginning. (There are hundreds of women included.) Of course, it only goes through 1869, but we have many modern good books to fill in since then. (See below.)

Obviously she had to condense a lot of stories, but I hope that it will encourage the reader to get larger biographies of these women (if you can find them!)

Her criteria for the women she chose included those women who, “inherited this spirit (the spirit of Christ), who have filled their lives with acts of self-denial, who like their great Master, have gone about doing good.”
Julia really did her homework. Her “authors and works consulted” contains over 100 listings.

—  Good, James I., Famous Women of the Reformed Church,  (Solid Ground Christian Books, Birmingham, Alabama, 2007).

Like the previous book reviewed, this book is very old. It was first published in1901 by The Sunday School Board of the Reformed Church in the United States.
This book is not as sectarian as it may appear at first. Though there is a denominationanna zwingli in the United States called “Reformed”, the reformed women in this book lived many years ago when “Reformed” meant those Christians who were trying to reform the Church. These stories are about the wives of the great reformers, such as Zwingli and Calvin. There are stories from many countries including Germany, France, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland, and even nineteenth American women.
If you enjoy stories of courage and devotion to God you will be inspired by this book. Don’t be put off by the older English. After all, you’re reading this book because you chose a book with short stories!! So enjoy it in small doses.

—  Hosier, Helen Kooiman, 100 Christian Women Who Changed the 20th Century, (Fleming H. Revell, Grand Rapids, 2008).

PhotoELF Edits: 2012:09:07 --- Resized  The author of this book wished to express her gratitude for the many women whose influence changed society for the better. As with the other authors, she had so many women to choose from. She did not try to set any sort of criteria. In her words she explained, “I simply had a desire to recognize in one volume the contributions made by Christian women in the twentieth century so that the present generation and generations to come might remember that women had a powerful impact and helped to make a difference. The women, however, had to be Christian women.” She chose women whose lives measured up to the standard in the Bible.
Her categories include, speakers and writers, Bible Study ministry, arts and entertainment, publishing, business, politics, reformers, missionaries, evangelists, and great examples of wives.

—  James, Sharon, In Trouble and in Joy: Four Women Who Lived for God, (Evangelical Press, Darlington, England, 2003).

The four women are: Margaret Baxter, Sarah Edwards, Anne Steele, and Frances frances havergalRidley Havergal. These women lived from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries. (Aren’t you glad I included at least one modern book in this list? See entry above.)
I think that one reason it is good to go back and read the stories of these great women is to dispel the myth that until the modern feminists came along women were too suppressed to do anything. It just isn’t true!!

The author deliberately chose women from four totally different life experiences. What they had in common was that they were women that all were completely consecrated to God.
I think that Sharon James is a great story teller and yet her stories are accurate historically. She doesn’t gloss over the truth, but lets you know these women as real human beings that you will look forward to talking to in Heaven.

Happy New Year and I hope that you will read at least one of these truly inspiring books. The books range from fairly easy to read (Dr. Ken Curtis) to a bit deep (Julia Kavanagh). There is something for everyone.



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… and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. … But if you turn away and forsake My statutes and My commandments which I have set before you, and go and serve other gods and worship them, then I will uproot you from My land which I have given you, and this house which I have consecrated for My name I will cast out of My sight and I will make it a proverb and a byword among all peoples (II Chronicles 7:14, 19, 20).

We have heard the first part of this verse quoted many times in this new century. Many people flocked to churches after the deadly strikes against the Twin Towers in New York City in 2001. Preachers tell me that the churches were the fullest they had ever been in years on September 16. It lasted about two weeks. By September 23 the numbers were much lower and by the first week in October most churches were back to normal.

It seems that we only remember God when we are in big trouble. It also seems that we are totally ignoring the rest of this passage in the Bible.

The context for this passage is the dedication of the new temple that Solomon had just built in Jerusalem. Solomon offers a prayer to God and God responds with a promise and a warning. If the children of God will honor and serve Him, they will be blessed. If they forget God and turn to idols, God will bring such destruction on them that the other nations will look on and wonder, “Why has the Lord done thus to this land and to this house?”  The answer is, “Because they forsook the Lord” (II Chronicles 7:21).

Have we as a Christian nation forsaken the Lord? I was dumbfounded that after all of the wicked things Obama did he could still get reelected. How could the people of this country put into office a man who believes in infanticide? How could the people in our country reelect a man who has no respect for the hard working people in this country – the ones who are paying the taxes to support the ones who are living off of the government largesse? How could we reelect a man who is busy at this moment trashing our constitution?

It is because we don’t know what God requires of us. We no longer read the Bible and seek God’s justice in all areas of our lives. Most people only live for the moment and are dependent on the promises made by a man who has shown himself to be a destroyer of freedom. This does not bode well for the future.

The prophet Micah told us what God requires of us, ” … but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).

This past year has been a horrible year for those who are too helpless to help themselves – the unborn. The United Nations with the backing of president Obama has come as close to playing God as they possibly can. A look back at some of the things they did in 2012 will show that they obviously don’t believe that there is a Creator God in this universe that they will be accountable to.

1.  One wonders how the World Health Organization can continue without changing their un-building name. The guidelines they published for abortion procedures include: disposing of human remains in latrines or sewers; re-using manual vacuum aspirators to perform abortions; and eliminating follow-up medical visits to dangerous abortion procedures. These practices are certainly not healthy and will cause many illnesses, if not deaths, in underdeveloped countries.

2.  The Human Rights Council in Geneva passed as resolution endorsing a new set of guidelines to lower maternal deaths during abortions using a “human rights based approach”. They are trying to convince countries that “legal” equals “safe” and “illegal” equals “unsafe”. Just making abortion legal does not make it safe as anyone who has followed the news in this country can tell you. These guidelines are also trying to do away with the conscience protections for doctors who refuse to do abortions because the do not agree with the practice.

3.  Melinda Gates has decided to make universal access to contraception her “legacy” to the world. Unfortunately, the groups who she is working with include population control groups like the United Nations Population Fund, and International Planned Parenthood Federation. These groups use abortion for population control. It is also very clear that access to condoms and other contraceptives raises the promiscuity level.

4.  The current US administration is pushing for laws similar to Obama’s new health care mandates. Many UN members so far are resisting it, but the US executive level is determined to force it down the throats of the rest of the world. A commission, which met in the spring last year, also tried to propose LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transsexual) “rights” and sexual rights for children. The UN should be a forum for peace and world cooperation not the bully pulpit for United States liberals.

I really don’t believe that many of the people in our country agree with all of this. I pray that most people in our country still fear God.

It is a shame that a few people in leadership positions have so much power. But, my friends, this is the United States of America. We can vote the wicked people out of office. My concern is that either no one cares or else that no one thinks that they can do something about it. We have the opportunity to do something and God has made it clear time and again that He holds us – the people – responsible.

It is not too late. We can make 2013 even more horrible than 2012 for the unborn, or we can do something. Let’s start by getting informed. Inform others. Pray, pray, and pray some more. Then before we lose all of our freedoms, work in whatever way you feel you can to change things.

And so what will be our future? I hope it will be –

Happy New Year 2013! Yes, let us be strong and diligent and do all we can to work for justice and love for the helpless.

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