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Raising Women of Strength
GOD’S PLAN FOR THE FAMILY
Terry R. Baughman
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy” (Acts 2:17-18).
The prophet Joel predicted a latter day of blessing when the Spirit of God would be revealed in dramatic ways. He declared that all people would be affected by the work of the Spirit in the last days. This was prophesied in a time when only selected individuals were involved in priestly duties. The priesthood was made up of one tribe out of the tribes of Israel, and only the men of appropriate age were considered for the roles and responsibility of working in the Temple. When Joel declared that “all flesh” would receive the Spirit, and sons and daughters, male and female servants, young and old would be involved in spiritual works, that must have caused some to respond with skepticism.
On the Day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the 120 in the Upper Room the worshippers spilled out on the terrace around the Temple in Jerusalem. There was such a stir in the city that thousands gathered to see what the noise was all about. When Peter and the disciples of Jesus addressed the crowd it was this passage in Joel that Peter quoted. He revealed that THIS was what the prophet had predicted!
Interestingly, the outpouring of the Spirit was outside the Temple. It was received by all who were in the upper room, both men and women, regardless of age or social standing. The message and those who responded were representing Jews from all around the region and they heard them speaking in their various languages. The miraculous event communicated the fresh work of God’s presence throughout the world and was an indication of inclusion to come when all nations would hear and receive the gift of God’s Spirit.
One of the most striking differences from Judaism was the inclusion of women in the promise both of receiving the Spirit and the working of spiritual gifts. Though some church movements have resisted the inclusion of women in ministry and in leadership it is evident that the work of the Spirit specifically included all people. Daughters (younger women) were included in Joel’s prophecy and Peter’s preaching. Servant girls were recipients of the promise. Women were seen in leadership roles of prayer groups, prophets, and mentors in the New Testament church. Philip the evangelist had four daughters who prophesied (Acts 21:8–9). Lydia was part of a prayer group that received Paul’s message (Acts 16:13-15). Lois and Eunice were noted for their genuine faith that was communicated to their son and grandson, Timothy (2 Timothy 1:5).
As parents our greatest responsibility is to our children and grandchildren, both sons and daughters. God has a plan for all and they are included in that plan. This is a great day of opportunity for women and God has a place in His kingdom and in the church where they can find a place of ministry and blessing. Let us raise up a generation of women who are strong in faith and powerful in spiritual gifts.
“[Cornelius] … and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly” (Acts 10:2 NIV).