Well, I just ‘gotta tell y’all about yesterday! Yes, we had a woman preacher and she had the most loving, beautiful spirit. This past Sunday I was blessed to participate in another historical event in the history of Mt. Horeb Baptist Church, which has traditionally followed a rule that does not permit women behind the pulpit.
September 19, 2010 was our 1st Women’s Day Service, and the sermon was given by a woman, an ordained minister from Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Austin, Texas, and her name and title is Reverend Linda Wade. Yes sir, she was behind the pulpit and she delivered a very powerful & encouraging sermon for all of us, from the book of Luke, chapter 13, verses 11-13.
“11And behold there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. 12And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from your infirmity. 13And He laid His hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.” KJV
Among the many things she said, one was the fact that the woman was nameless, and the infirmity was not specifically named either, in the King James Version. That makes it easier for us to insert ourselves and our affliction into the story. The woman was like many of us today, who are broken and bent over, carrying very heavy loads, and stricken with pain so bad that we just cannot stand up. Some of our pains are physical, some are emotional, some are psychological, and some are spiritual; invisible chains of bondage to this world; and who is the prince of the world? Satan. (John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11) Does he have you bound? Jesus can free us from every type of bondage, and carry our loads for us if we would just go to Him and trust in Him through faith.
She said something else that was so true. She mentioned verse 7 in chapter 16 of 1st Samuel “But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
We look at people from the exterior, but God sees our hearts. Many of us are dressed nice, polished and well groomed, so most people would not know our load is too heavy, yet inside we are bent over, and unable to stand up straight; but Jesus knows. And He is calling to us, if we would just turn to Him. It does require a step on our part, to answer His call and go to Him.
He said “28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
She said “keep on coming to church.” No matter how heavy the burden is, keep on coming to Jesus to hear His Word preached to us. In the above Scriptures Jesus said “learn of me” and “come unto me” and He is calling to all of us who are laboring with heavy loads. He said He will give us rest.
She guided us to a Scripture out of Job, chapter 42, verse 10 “And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”
Remember when Jesus taught us to pray for our enemies in chapter 5 of Matthew? “44But I say unto, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you: 45That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Jesus gave us good advice! Paul said “17Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. 18If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 19Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. 20Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. 21Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Romans 12:17-21
So, there is some justice for us by doing what the Lord says! And she also mentioned we must forgive our enemies, and not harbor bitterness.
She mentioned how hard our hearts can get from being hurt. How we can become calloused and indifferent to others’ sufferings, and that shield of protection that we put up can be very hard to crack and/or bring down. But if we’re to walk in love like Jesus says to, we must bring down our shields, and ask the Lord to help us.
Allow God to pay back those who hurt us, and follow Jesus’ command to love and pray for our enemies, and God will give us double for our trouble (just like He rewarded Job), and our enemies will be squirming in their seats when we bless them with our prayers. Love does conquer evil. Light does dispel darkness. God has spoken, and His Word never changes, and He does love us, more than we even love ourselves. He loves us with His agape love that is too deep for us to fathom right now, but we will know it and enjoy it every day in the New Jerusalem.
She ended with Romans 8:31 “31What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
We all enjoyed church today. It was great! The men cooked and brought beautiful flowers for the altar. And we’re gonna’ do it again next year! Rev. Linda Wade will be back next year, the 3rd Sunday in September, so mark your calendars and come join us. You’ll be blessed. We all were, and as the song goes “time, time, time, time has made a change.”
By the way, the Mt. Horeb Baptist Church Annual Homecoming Celebration will be the usual 3rd Sunday in October, on the 17th. We’ll have Sunday school as usual, and two church services with food in between them and again after the 3 o’clock service! Hope you will join us.