From "ACTS" magazine, September 2006, a publication of the
Council of the Churches of God, 7th Day, Meridian, ID, USA
Letter From the Editor's Desk
On the Sabbath before Mother's Day, many Church of God 7th Day
congregations allow some time for members to make a public statement
of gratitude for their mothers, wives, and daughters. Unfortunately,
most of us men do not tell the women in our lives how much they mean
to us nearly enough. We must boldly declare the importance of the women
in our lives with greater frequency, giving thanks to God for their lives.
In the Bible women played an important role, too.
Behind every great patriarch in the Old Testament, there was a
faithful matriarch. Abraham was complemented with Sarah, and
Isaac was complemented with Rebekah. Some women in the Old Testament
served as prophetesses, such as Miriam andDeborah, while God called others
to play important roles in salvation history, such as Rahab, Ruth, and
Esther. In each case, these women allowed God to use them for His purpose,
despite their ethnicity and the difficulty of the situation. Regardless of
whether you are a man or a woman, God has a purpose for your
Women continued to play important roles in the New Testament as
well. For example, the beautiful Song of Mary captures the excitement
and thankfulness for the birth of the Messiah when Mary declares,
"My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior... "
(Luke 1:46b-47, NIV).
During Jesus' earthly ministry, he encounters a Samaritan woman
at Jacob's well. Although Jews strongly disliked Samaritans ....
Jesus uses this as an opportunity to reveal the truth that "God is spirit,
and His worshippers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24, NlV).
Later, it was a group of women who first discovered the miracle of the
I personally would like to invite you to explore more about
women's ministry in this edition of ACTS. Allow RoMency Blackwood to
take you on her journey of faith as a woman who responded to God's call
in "God's Woman in God's Time."
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female,
for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28, NIV).
John R. Kennedy
Editor of ACTS
GOD'S WOMEN IN GOD'S TIME
God in His infinite wisdom uniquely created human beings for
His special purpose, and because He formed and fashioned us, He operates
in His own time (not man's) to orchestrate a plan. In His awesome creation,
God not only created man but also envisioned man's need to have a helpmate.
God wanted to complete His work and to do so, He designed another human being.
Hence from the side of Adam, the first man, God formed Eve, a woman.
God knew that man could not be alone, and in fact, he could not maximize
his emotional, spiritual, and physical functions. From the beginning God
mapped out His specific plan and in His time. This plan blossomed for
all to see for it was through a woman that God sent His Son, the
Savior of the world!
God has insight, vision, passion, and a mission. He wants to
implant and transform these same characteristics into the hearts of
humankind at large with an intended purpose for women. He wants the same drive,
motivation, and will to be manifested through women so that they too can
be a pivotal part of building His kingdom and bringing the gospel to the world.
God designed women with the specific purpose of using them as instruments to
transform lives in a way only unique to women. Stereotypes and misconceptions
about women's role in ministry have long plagued religious establishments as
well as society. Therefore, this article provides insight from a historical
and current day perspective using examples of women who are transforming many
lives in the process.
The scripture points to the fact that where "there is no
vision, the people perish" (Proverbs 29:18), and so to be God's woman,
one of the characteristics that God seeks out is a woman with vision.
As I was thinking about this article, I pondered on whether or not I should
talk about my call to the ministry. I wondered to myself "am I like those women
of biblical time who were willing, despite the odds against them. to run with
God's vision?" The more I reflected on this thought I realized that the answer
was a resounding yes! I am indeed one of those called out, a woman of God.
So, I decided to share with my readers how God gave me a vision for His work.
In the early years, ,just like in biblical limes, the odds
were against me, as a woman. I was just 4 weeks postpartum with my fourth
child in the late 1960s, a member of a church that did not endorse women
in the ministry and I was also a wife. I thought to myself that there was no
way God would want to use someone like me to fulfil His purpose. I quickly
found out that God is no respecter of persons; or situations.
My story begins two weeks after returning home from the
hospital with my fourth child in 1968. God took me away in a trance as I
sat in day broad light in my house in London, England. He showed me a vision
of His plan for my life.
I saw in my vision a fiery billboard sign with the type
written words posted on a wall with the following Scripture verses:
"So you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are
fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,
having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone..."
(Ephesians 2: 19, 20).
Although I was astonished, I knew that God was speaking to
my heart about His call in my life. About six weeks later, I had a
dream and in that dream I was singing the hymn "So Send I you."
The dream confirmed my earlier vision. It became apparent to me that
God was calling me for a higher purpose but little did I know how far
that purpose would take me.
My husband and I were young parents and were ambitious to
make a better life for our children, so we ventured out with our
personal plans. We wanted to travel and become entrepreneurs.
It seemed, however, that whatever personal plans we made,
we encountered multiple roadblocks. We just couldn't make headway
to achieving our goals. Eventually. God led us from London to Baltimore,
Maryland by way of Jamaica, in the mid-1970s. During this period in my
life, God allowed us to meet with two sisters, Martha Rosemead and the
late Daisyreen Reece, who were seeking for the same spiritual truths.
God used me to bring the gospel of Jesus and His saving grace
to these women and shortly thereafter they gave their hearts to
God. Little did I know that the initial vision that God gave me was
beginning to unravel, and since that meeting with these two sisters,
my life has never been the same.
My desires were no longer self-focused but God-focused. I
laid aside my personal ambitions in pursuit of fulfilling God's
will in my life. It was God's time and I wasn't brave enough to
interfere with or challenge God's plans. So as I continued to
work with those two sisters, more people started coming my way to
hear more about Jesus. I found myself imparting the Word of God daily,
and it wasn't long after, a group of believers came together on the
Sabbath to worship, thus began the start of my ministry. God helped me
to establish The Shiloh Church of God 7th Day in Baltimore, Maryland.
In 1990, God gave me a second vision to erect a building of
worship in the city of Baltimore. Unlike the first vision, I didn't
hesitate to heed the voice of the Lord this time, and thus I ventured
out with no funds and a small group of believers to buy a property to
erect God's building. Once again, the odds were against us. It seems that
God tends to work when the odds are always against us! Just like
David and Goliath, the odds were against David. Just like Esther, the odds
were against her to plea for the deliverance of God's people. Just like
Hannah, the odds were against her to have a child at such an old age.
Yet they all prevailed.
In 1994, God allowed us to erect a beautiful edifice in the
city of Baltimore from the ground up. At the inception of this vision,
it was difficult to see exactly what God had in store, having passed
through many valleys, storms, deserts. Today, I can see what God intended.
Time would simply fail me to reiterate the benefits of the fulfilment of
God's vision. But just to name a few, this church has been instrumental in
the following ministries:
Serving the needs of the community and the development of a
prison ministry; preaching the gospel of Jesus to the unsaved
and witnessing the baptism of souls; Catering to the poor, destitute,
and the addicted; And persistently providing emotional, financial,
social and spiritual support to a gamut of families separated by
countries or during their transition to the local Baltimore area.
Hence, we can see how listening to God does lead to the
blessings and/or deliverance of others. Imagine if I had resisted God's
pronouncement? Many souls who are here today might not have had the
opportunity to fellowship at this side of the world, and we certainly
wouldn't have impacted or changed our community.
As I reflect on other women of God in the ministry, I find
that-they have similar stories. They are all driven with passion for
God's work and His people.
Fanny Crosby is such remarkable woman. She was blind, but
she had vision. And though the odds were against her, she was overwhelmed
with passion for God. Fanny Crosby was probably the most prolific hymnist
in history. Though blinded by an incompetent doctor at six weeks of age,
she wrote over 8,000 hymns! About her blindness, she said:
"It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I
should be blind all my life, and I thank Him for the dispensation.
If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not
accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I
had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me."
In her lifetime, Fanny Crosby was one of the best known
women in the United States. To this day, the vast majority of American
hymnals contain her work. Some of her numerous hymns include "Blessed Assurance
Jesus is Mine," "Pass me not O Gentle Savior" and "We Walk by Faith." Fanny
has used her God given gift to touch the hearts of many through her inspiring
hymns. The odds were against Fanny, but she was overshadowed by God. She was
used in God's time to spread His good news and to mend the brokenhearted.
What a mighty God we serve!
Corrie Ten Boom is another one of God's remarkable women who
was courageous in fulfilling God's mission. Corrie was born on April
15, 1892 in Amsterdam, Holland. She was the youngest of three sisters and one
brother. Also, she was a leader in the Dutch underground movement in WW 2,
as she and her family were instrumental in aiding scores of Jews to escape
the Nazi invaders. Later, she was arrested along with every member of her
family, spending the remainder war years in concentration camps.
She survived to tell her story in the popular book "The Hiding Place."
Her story is of a courageous, quiet Christian woman who despite the
odds survived a treacherous history and found refuge in the message of
Jesus Christ. She lived until the age of 91 and passed on her experiences of
joys and triumphs. Corrie put her life on the line to save many Jews.
She suffered, but she endured and stood up for her Christian beliefs.
She was undoubtedly a woman of strength, dignity, and honor. God used an
ordinary woman and transformed her into an extraordinary Christian journey.
Similarly, Queen Esther was determined to save her people
from the wrath of her husband, the king. She concluded, "if I perish,
I perish, but I must see the king" (Esther 4:16). Esther courageously
and wittingly confronted her husband concerning the fate of her people
and because of her wisdom and timing, her people were set free.
Esther knew why she came to the king's palace, "for such a time as this"
(Esther 4:14). She was God's woman in His time.
Harriet Tubman is indeed another woman of courage who freed
many slaves through the Underground Railroad movement before the U.S.
Civil War. She was called "Moses" because she aided numerous slaves
to freedom. There are so many other courageous women of God who put
others needs before their own but to mention them all would be too
much for this article.
There are multiple roles and tasks that are assigned to
women, and it can become a juggling act to balance everything,
particularly for those women ... We are faced with many obstacles
and challenges often-times because of our gender. However, I have
attempted to show throughout this article that to be a successful
evangelist, missionary, and/or leader means to seek God prayerfully
and wait on Him. Do not try to rush ahead of God because if you do,
it's guaranteed that you will fail. God is not one who operates within
our time schedule. He moves when He's good and ready, in His time!
All God asks of us is to be obedient to His will. He will
take care of the rest. God seeks women who are like those mentioned in
this article, those who are willing to heed His call in their lives.
He isn't asking for you to possess riches, wealth, skills and talents.
In fact, He is the creator of it all and can provide those abundantly
as long as you are willing to be obedient, to be used.
I highlighted some women throughout history who overcame all
odds and in spite of their limitations; God was willing to use them
because they exercised obedience to His Word. I encourage you, women
of God, to march forward and put on the whole armor of God. From the
beginning, God has designed you to play your part in the work of His
Ministry. Just be sure that you have a keen heart to listen to the
voice of God as He speaks to your heart and soul.
All biblical quotes taken from the New King James Version.
Entered on this Website October 2006