Every January a small team of women from Valley Church joins a larger team and travels to India to participate in a leadership conference with Indian pastors, their wives and church leaders. Each afternoon for four days about 50 women gather together to worship, learn and pray. Though we are women from different cultural and economic backgrounds we share much in common. Together we have been learning from different women of the Bible how God, through Jesus Christ, has given us value, acceptance and significance. Here are three summary statements of those truths, with scripture, taken from Chip Ingram’s book Living on the Edge based on Romans 12. These statements tell us what God has done, and what effect it has produced in us. I believe this is a fundamental message that all women need to hear repeatedly, whether American or Indian!
God uniquely created me. I am eternally valuable.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:13-14
God placed me in His family. I am unconditionally accepted.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9
God gifted me to fulfill His purpose. I am uniquely significant.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
Some additional thoughts on each truth follow.
We are Valuable:
· It is not who we are, but whose we are that gives us value.
· “We belong to God – and God never lightly values what He owns!” ~Ruth Myers
· It is not what we do but for whom we do it that gives us value.
· “The worth and excellency of a soul is to be measured by the object of its love.” ~Henry Scougal
· "You belong to Me. I have chosen you and called you out of darkness into My marvelous Light. The fact that you belong to Me - now and forever - provides a firm foundation for your life. This connection with Me can protect you from feeling cut off or adrift in your ever-changing world. Many people attach themselves to hurtful people or harmful things because they yearn to escape their aloneness. But since you are Mine, you are never alone. I chose you before the creation of the world, and you are a permanent member of My royal family." ~Sarah Young
· We take care of the things we value.
· We are the people He watches over, the sheep under his care. Psalm 95:7 (NLT)
Thank you, Lord, for giving value to us as women through your amazing, creative power!
We are Accepted:
· Mary, … sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. Luke 10:39 (ESV)
· Both women and men are equally accepted as disciples and followers of Jesus. In the rabbinic tradition “sitting at the feet of a teacher was the position of devoted discipleship. ...Mary, then, is the perfect portrait of the listening disciple.” ~Stephen Binz
· He has brought us “inside the circle of God’s love.” Eph. 2:13 (Phillips)
· I don’t belong because I worship: I worship because I belong.
Thank you, Lord, for giving those who receive you and believe in your name the right to be accepted as your children and followers!
We are Significant:
· Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. 2 Cor. 3:5 (NIV)
· "Our competence is the outflow of His life in us.” ~Ruth Myers
· You are my servant, … in whom I will display my splendor. Isaiah 49:3 (NIV)
· God began a good work in you. And I am sure that he will carry it on until it is completed. Philippians 1:6 (NIRV)
· The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. Psalm 138:8 (ESV)
· I don’t mean to say I am perfect. I haven’t learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be. Philippians 3:12 (TLB)
Lord, we praise you for your faithfulness to fulfill the purpose for which you created us.
Because God is in the center of our lives, we are whole persons. He gives us value, acceptance and significance. We are free to be like Jesus - to lay aside our own interests and rights and self-sacrificially serve others: to value them, to accept them, and to live purposefully.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11 (NIV)
We are already recruiting our team for next year. If that is an opportunity you would prayerfully consider, please join us for an informational meeting on Monday June 15 at 6 pm in the Welcome Center.