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Entries in Leading Forward (4)

Saturday
Sep082012

I am woman hear me ROAR

In 1972, Helen Reddy wrote a song entitled “I Am Woman” which became the anthem for the women’s liberation movement.  Here it is:

Okay, listen to this: Reddy credits the song as having “supernatural inspiration.” She said:

 “I remember lying in bed one night and the words, ‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman’, kept going over and over in my head. That part I considered to be divinely inspired. I had been chosen to get a message across.” 

In October of 1972, the song reached No.1 on the Billboard charts and won a Grammy Award. In her acceptance speech for Best Female Performance, Reddy thanked “God, because She makes everything possible.” In 1973, the National Organization of Women (NOW) closed their annual convention with the playing of “I am Woman.” NOW’s founder Betty Friedan said

“Suddenly women got out of their seats and started dancing around the hotel ballroom and joining hands in a circle that got larger and larger until maybe a thousand of us were dancing and singing. ‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.’ It was a spontaneous, beautiful expression of the exhilaration we all felt in those years, women really moving as women.”

Women were mad and they weren’t going to take being treated unfairly any longer! “I Am Woman” is the song of a feminist heart. The song lyrics reveal her experiences deepened the convictions (strong belief) of her soul. She had been:

· Down on the floor
· Bent but not broken
· In pain and paid a price

She goes on to say that wisdom was born from this pain. She infers that she has learned from this experience or experiences and that her thinking about herself and the direction of her life has changed.

Are we as women today so different? Some of our decisions have been born out of pain due to the actions of others.  This can certainly change the directions of our lives.  We can feel a need to protect ourselves, fight for our rights, or finally be heard (a/k/a ROAR). We have many reasons to thank those brave women who went before us fighting for equality and justice on our behalf. But have we come too far?

Often, our opinions, attitudes and actions are made based on what we feel or think is right based on our circumstances. So then, since truth is relative to our circumstances, we do whatever feels right, is comfortable, makes others happy, results in the least conflict or produces a positive outcome for us.  Here's the thing though - opinions, attitudes and actions can be influenced and, therefore, can change.  Is there any way to know that we know what is true about us no matter what is going on around us? Is there absolute truth in the face of our circumstances?

I believe God’s Word is absolute truth and God, in His Word, has a very clear standard for us as women and individuals.

Standard means…something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality.

If we proclaim to be followers of Christ, then truth is not relative to our circumstances. We must make decisions based on what God says is right in a situation.  There is absolute truth and there are moral truths and principles that do not change no matter the times or circumstances.  No matter what is going on in society or culture, we can cling to absolute truth. No matter what our feelings or circumstances tell us, God’s standard for us remains the same. All kinds of bad things can happen to us and demeaning things said to us but God’s people make their decisions based on His Word - Truth. Every lie that demeans and devalues comes from the father of lies – the one who is a murderer from the beginning. We must remember his crafty schemes are devised to destroy us, our families, and our society. And, if we don't believe in absolute truth then any 'ole lie will do...and will eventually destroy us.

Our choices and behaviors not only impact our own lives, they have a ripple effect on our families and our society in general. But, we can turn this around.  We can do it!  First, we have to decide what we are going to believe.  Are we going to believe the liar or the one who is God – Truth?

I am woman hear me ROAR:   there is absolute truth!  Let's remember, to live otherwise has and will continue to put our families, homes and society at risk.  Amen?

Saturday
Sep012012

Wonder Woman


Did you know that the creator of Wonder Woman was William Moulton Marston?  This is interesting really so bear with me a minute!  During the l940's he was an educational consultant for Detective Comics, Inc. (DC Comics). Seeing that the comic line was filled with male heroes, and images (Batman, Superman, etc.), he was left wondering why there was not a female hero. Max Gaines, then head of DC Comics, was intrigued by the concept and told Marston that he could create a female comic book hero - a "Wonder Woman."

Another tid-bit:  Marston was the creator of the systolic blood-pressure test, which lead to the creation of the polygraph (lie detector). Because of his discovery, Marston was convinced that women were more honest and reliable than men and could work faster and more accurately. During his life time, Marston championed the causes of women.

In a 1943 issue of The American Scholar, Marston said: “Not even girls want to be girls so long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power, Not wanting to be girls, they don't want to be tender, submissive, peace-loving as good women are. Women's strong qualities have become despised because of their weakness. The obvious remedy is to create a feminine character with all the strength of Superman plus all the allure of a good and beautiful woman.” He designed Wonder Woman during the women’s movement to reflect his conception of an empowered independent female character.

Next, Wonder Woman's powers and traditional costume were restored in 1973. Gloria Steinem was a key player in the restoration. Steinem, offended that the most famous female super heroine had been de-powered, placed Wonder Woman (in her original costume) on the cover of the first issue of Ms. Magazine (1972), which also contained an appreciative essay about the character. … Again in 1997 Wonder Woman made the front cover of Ms. Magazine. Just listen to the words of the theme song:


The last tid-bit:  In most adaptations, Wonder Woman is Princess Diana of the all-female Amazon warrior tribe, based on Greek mythology. "Diana" being the Roman name for the Greek goddess Artemis on whom the character is based. The Amazon ambassador to the larger world, Diana was awarded several gifts by the Olympian gods, including the Lasso of Truth and indestructible bracelets/gauntlets that deflected bullets.  Interesting...

Okay, so where am I going with all of this?  Well, I am not lifting this Wonder Woman up as a role model. I do find it interesting that she was born (so to speak) out of the women’s movement and later feminist movement and presented to us as a role model. A super woman - come to save the day! Especially interesting:

· She is called ambassador
· She is from a world ruled by women
· She has a lasso of truth
· Her bracelets deflect bullets

Oh now - you know this will preach!  THE Creator has a purpose for our lives.  And, if we call ourselves Christ followers then we truly can "save the day".  How?  Well, we...

· Are daughters of the Most High God (Romans 8:16-17)
· Are called ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20)
· Have the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18) which includes:
      o Truth – the Word of God – the sword of the Spirit
      o The shield of faith that deflects all the flaming arrows of the evil one
· We are protected by God’s mighty power (1 Peter 1:5)
· Through the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, we have His mighty power at work in us and through us doing exceedingly abundantly beyond all we can ask or think (Ephesians 3:20).  Superpowers!
· Have been created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10)

In other words, we are God’s wonder women - here to save the day. Women who rise up and fulfill our purposes according to our helper design and become spiritual leaders and mothers who understand what is at stake and rise up to fight for families, homes, community, nation - are God’s wonder women!  Are you in?  We can do it!

 

Saturday
Aug182012

We can do it!


Things in the good ole USA are not so good.  Actually, things are bad ya'll.  We are at war.  No, not literally, like World War II.  Hey, did you know that World War II (1939-1945) resulted in the deaths of over 72 million people, making it the deadliest conflict in human history. This kind of "attack" would certainly have been a motivator to rise up in fight.  In fact, women played a significant role in winning the war! Wow ladies - what difference could we make if we became today's Rosie the Riveter.  Don't know about World War II Rosie?

- The Rosie the Riveter memorial says this:   "You must tell your children, putting modesty aside, that without us, without women, there would have been no Spring in 1945."-
- The memorial commemorates and interprets the important contributions that women made to the war effort as increasing numbers of men joined the armed services. Over 6 million women from all backgrounds, and from all over the country, worked at industrial jobs that challenged traditional notions of women's capabilities and ensured American productivity that helped to win the war.
- The sight of women outfitted in overalls and wielding industrial tools became an icon that was popularized in the 1942 song, "Rosie the Riveter," providing a nickname for all women who worked in wartime industries. Across the nation women worked in defense industries and support services including shipyards, steel mills, foundries, lumber mills, warehouses, offices, hospitals and daycare centers. At the height of the war, women made up approximately 27% of the 100,000-strong Richmond Kaiser shipyard workforce. In other industries, women made up to 80% of the workers.
- Women were constantly being reminded that their husbands, sons, and brothers were in danger because they were not receiving the supplies they needed.
- Slogans such as "Victory is in Your Hands, We can do it!, and "Women the war needs you!" were all used to convince women that their country's need were more important than their individual comfort.

Ordinary women working together to do the extraordinary! This is a perfect example of women who arose helpers and mothers in America. Wow!  Awesome wartime mentality!  Our families and homes are certainly under attack,  It really isn't life as usual.  So, what happens when my individual comfort is more important than the needs of those around me - including my nation? What happens if I am not willing to rise up and fight for those around me?  Well, what would have happened during World War II without all the Rosie's?  Scary isn't it?  So, I have to ask myself - do I have a Rosie the Riveter mentality?  Am I willing to sacrifice? Do whatever it takes?  But, I sure can't win the war.  No, not by myself.  But...Together - we can do it!

As I did my Rosie research, I was amazed to find that over 6 million American women joined the World War II effort. They came from different backgrounds, had different skill sets, experiences and ways of contributing but they understood what was at stake and they were willing to do whatever they could individually do to win the war, save their families AND this country! I am fervently praying and asking God to raise up 6 million Christian women who have or will  join the spiritual war that is now raging.  Women who declare the Word of God is the final authority for faith and life, who live out those truths and who will not compromise the Word of God.  We can do it!  God has a clear standard for a community whose actions speak louder than words and shows others the value and benefit of living a life reconciled to God. Our godly behavior will impact lives and lives impacted for Christ will change society.

Shout it out! Spread the word! (Tweet, post, email, mail, call....) Join the war effort: looking for women from different backgrounds, different skill sets, experiences and ways of contributing but all declaring (shouting out) the Word of God is the final authority for faith and life and we will not compromise.

"Victory is in Your Hands, We can do it!, and "Women the war needs you!"


Saturday
Feb112012

Go figure!

There Moses was minding his father in law's flock when God showed up in a very unexpected and glorious way and captured Moses' attention.  I love it!

What I love more is what the Bible says next: "when He saw that Moses turned aside to look, God called to Moses".  This will preach and what happened next is history.

As I've listened to the account of Moses, I've been deeply touched by just how human he was!  You see, Moses wasn't at all certain he was God's man. But God...God was certain of what He could and would accomplish in and through Moses!

At the very start, God assured Moses that He would "certainly" be with him and even assured him that the elders of Israel would pay "heed to do what you say". That's a lot of assurance! Oh yeah, and don't forget this conversation was all taking place in front of a bush that was burning but not burning up.  God even goes on to tell Moses that He was going to grant favor to the Hebrews in such a way that they would leave Egypt with articles of silver, gold, clothing and would plunder the Egyptians. Wow! You'd think Moses would be ready to charge, right?  Not so much.  Guess how Moses responds?  "But what if they don't believe me or listen to me."

Does this sound like a leader of people to you?  I mean, go figure. Why pick Moses - I wonder?  He had separated himself from his own people some 40 years earlier.  Actually, he was kind of old and didn't much act like he wanted to go deliver anyone. But God was telling Moses to go and there Moses was asking "what if."  I just love what God does next.  He asked Moses what he had in his hand (a staff) and then He tells him to throw it to the ground and it turned into a serpent!  Wow! Guess what Moses did?  Fled from it.  Do you love it?  But God...tells Moses to stretch out his hand and grasp its tail and Moses did. Go Moses!

This spoke to my heart.  God took what Moses had and used it to show Himself powerful and mighty.  As Moses was obedient to do, he experienced the power and might of God and each experience strengthened his faith.  Yep, that's a life lesson and it's also a tip for leading forward!  Okay, so several more miraculous signs occur and Moses is now ready to charge, right?  Nope!  He tells the Lord he can't really speak well.  Uh, excuse me...don't you think the God who just did those signs and wonders would give you the ability to speak well?  Like I would have responded any differently. Ha!  This is where God gets angry with Moses but tells Moses he will give him Aaron who speaks fluently.

Isn't God gracious?  He takes what we have, gives us His power and might and then teams us up with others to accomplish His purposes.  Go figure.  As I listen on, I hear God sending helper after helper so that Moses can lead God's people.  Some of these helpers are very interesting.  More on that later.  You know what strikes me here?  Each and everyone of us is leading.  We are using our influence to lead people toward God or away from God.  We are using our influence to impact the lives of those God has put within our reach and influence for Him - or not.  Why would God pick me to lead?  What would God pick you to lead?  Because He is able to take what we have and give us what we need.  Amen?

Listen to Exodus 3:-4:17.  I'd love to know what life lessons you hear.