Claiming an Abundant Life

In my last post I introduced you to Achsah, daughter of Caleb, who claimed the blessing God had given Caleb when she asked her father for a piece of the land and springs of water to make it profitable. Achsah saw God’s abundance given to her father and she believed that God intended that gift to be passed on to his heirs, which included her.

The key here is that Achsah was bold and ASKED for the blessing. She knew her father would want her to have it and that he could give it to her. But she needed to ask for it because it demonstrated her belief in both her father’s love and God’s provision. That concept is still true today. We are blessed bountifully when we ask for blessings which are needed.

This is not the same thing as “a prosperity gospel.” God has not promised that all we have to do is ask and we will receive great wealth. That’s not biblical.

What God has promised us is an abundant life, which is more about our quality of life than how much money is in our bank account. When God blesses us it is usually in a way that these blessings can overflow into the lives of others. The more we are willing to share His blessings with others, the more He is willing to heap those blessings on us. Let’s take a look at a couple of modern-day Achsahs.

Martha Berry was a prominent woman in Georgia in the early 1900’s. She inherited a huge estate from her father located in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. She could have sold the land for a large sum of money but instead  she built a school for the underprivileged, illiterate mountain children. She also formed a Sunday school in a country church hear her home and taught Sunday school for them. She became known as the “Sunday lady of Possum Trot.” (Doesn”t that name just make you smile?)

In 1902, she opened a live-in school for boys and deeded her 83-acre homestead to build “The Boys Industrial School.” This later became Berry College which has approximately 2200 enrolled today and is considered one of the premier liberal arts schools in the South. It sits on 27 acres and generously shares that beautiful acreage with residents in the area.

When Martha needed additional funds she was not ashamed to ask for it. She requested and received support from Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie and Ellen Louse Wilson, wife of Woodrow Wilson.

She also asked Henry Ford for money. He gave her a small sum to see how she would handle it. She immediately put the money to work and increased it. He then gave her a gift of $1 million, which she used to build a huge gothic-style dormitory complex which has become an icon on the Berry campus.

Martha’s motto for the school was “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”

When Martha asked for blessings they were granted. But these blessings weren’t intended for her own use. They were to be used to support her life  mission. She asked for blessings so she could bless others.

But first she had to ask for the blessings. 

Tomorrow I’ll have another story of a modern-day woman who wasn’t afraid to ask for blessings.

Legacy of Faith

I am always amazed when I find something I’ve known about for a long time and suddenly realize that there’s a part of it that I didn’t know.  I’ve heard sermons and read in Numbers about the spies that Moses sent to check out the “Promised Land.” When they came back all but two of them said the cities were too well-fortified and the people too big and fierce for the Israelites to fight them. But Caleb, along with Joshua, spoke up and said they could take it. He believed God was with them and they’d be able to overcome their army.

Unfortunately, the Israelite people didn’t listen to Caleb and Joshua. God punished the spies severely, but He did not punish Joshua and Caleb. They saw the potential of the land and because of their faith, they believed they would be successful. Which, eventually they were.

Later in the Book of Joshua, Caleb made a speech about how good God had been to him throughout his life and how God had rewarded him with the land that he had seen with the other spies because he had believed that God was faithful. (Joshua 14:7,10-11)

There’s a lot of talk about the importance of leaving a legacy and Caleb certainly did that. So here’s the part I  didn’t know.  Caleb had three sons and one daughter. We don’t know anything about Caleb’s sons, but we do know some things about the daughter, Achsah.

When it came time for Achsah to marry, Caleb put out a challenge to the men of the region. He offered his daughter in marriage to the first man who would attack and capture the enemy stronghold of Kiriathsepher (Joshua 15:16). Caleb didn’t want his daughter to marry just anyone. He wanted her to marry a brave man-a champion.

Othniel captured the land and Achsah became his wife. But that’s not the end of the story, it’s just the beginning. After the marriage, Achsah persuaded her new husband to ask her father to give them a section of land.  Achsah knew that the land she had been given would need access to water if they were to make it profitable. So, Achsah rode over to her father’s house and when Caleb asked what she wanted, she said, “Give me a blessing; since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.”

Caleb said yes and gave her both the upper and the lower springs. This was a double portion of water, which would assure her success. Caleb wasn’t just agreeing to her request, he was blessing her request with abundance.

Both the request and the gift were unusual in those days. Achsah must have been a brave, strong-willed girl. She had sat at Caleb’s table as a child and listened to the faith stories of his life and knew the goodness of God and the faithfulness of her father.

I can only imagine Achsah riding up on the donkey to her father’s house, as she is thinking about how best to ask her him for the blessing of the springs. And I can also see Caleb standing there watching her, smiling, and knowing she has something on her mind. (I would also guess that he was very proud of her for speaking up and asking him for this blessing.)

Caleb had left a legacy of faith for his daughter and knowledge of who God was and who she was in God’s eyes. Achsah, was able to be bold in her request, because she had caught the faith of Caleb and knew that it wasn’t a faith just for the boys in the family. She knew she could ask for a blessing and fully expected that her father would give it to her.

And he did.



Purpose Revisited

All blogs have a purpose of some kind. Some function as a journal telling the readers about events both large and small in the writer’s life. Some, have a specific purpose such as, a cooking blog, or a blog about good books to read. Some Blogs are technical and some offer opinions related to current events or issues.

When I started this blog I shared with you that my purpose was to encourage women to be influential. I’v copied a paragraph from that first blog which says:

“This blog is intended to encourage women to think about the ways in which we have influence on those around us, whether its our families, our neighborhoods, our community or our country. We have a role to play. We have influence and we need to give serious thought to the ways in which we can influence those around us for good. We need to think big. We need to believe in ourselves. We need to take action…and we need to do it now.” 

I’ve posted 19 blogs since I first launched this blog. Some of my followers joined me early in this process but several others joined later. I do think its important for readers to know the purpose behind a blog. So, I’m taking this opportunity to bring new followers up to speed with what I hope to accomplish with this blog.

I am very passionate about the issues we face today. I sincerely believe that we all need to take a more active role in addressing those issues. I don’t intend to promote specific actions on these issues but I do want to promote the need to take action. One of the ways I’m taking action is by trying to encourage you, today’s woman, to realize the power of your influence and to encourage you engage that influence.

If you have a real concern about a specific action it is probably something you need do something about.

In the past few days I’ve posted several blogs about women in the Bible. I’ve looked at Ruth, Esther, Jehosheba and and briefly mentioned Bathsheba, Rahab and Tamar. (There will be more about these last three women later). I’ve also posted about women who have lived a life of influence in modern times.

My purpose in posting about women of the Bible so that all of us understand the ways God has used women since the beginning to achieve his purposes. Biblical women weren’t just kept in the background, although that was the cultural expectation. God drew women into the forefront and gave them major leadership roles that were crucial to his plan.

So, if God saw and used the potential of women then, He probably still wants to do that today. When I share about women in modern times, it is intended to encourage you to see how many women there were in history who made important contributions to all facets of society. And to realize that we can make a difference, too.

I’ve always been a firm believer that if someone else could do something, then I probably could too. When a woman finds a cause that needs to be addressed she can accomplish amazing things. So, whatever it is that grabs your heart when you hear about it, you need to stop and think. “I wonder what I could do.”

My blogs will keep coming and I will keep urging you to consider taking action on things you care deeply about. I have a project I am about to start that is a result of these blogs. I’m not quite ready to share what it is with you yet, but hopefully I can do that in a few weeks.



makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, creates a vision for tomorrow.

Melody Beattie

It’s sometimes surprising how many people don’t realize how important it is for us to be thankful and to express that gratitude. Thinking in terms of what you are grateful for instead of thinking about all the things that annoy you, can change your attitude, your disposition and help to reduce wrinkles. (I just made that last part up but I think it might be true. After all if you smile more and frown less you won’t have that deep crevice on  your forehead from all the frowning that you’ve been doing.)

I think there are two types of gratitude. The first one is gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life that we so often take for granted. This one is easy. Just think about how grateful you are for the great lunch you had with friends, or the new house you just moved into, or how sweet your children look when they are sleeping, or the anniversary you just celebrated.

But even though that one is easy to do we don’t do it as often as we should. I know I don’t. I don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about all the things I have to be thankful for. That is something I’m working on. I’ll start today with a gratitude journal. I plan to keep it somewhere handy so whenever I think about something that I am grateful for I can jot it down. Then, in order to really make it even more meaningful, I’ll read through each day’s list just before I go to bed.

The other type of gratitude is hard and sometimes seems impossible in the moment. This is gratitude for something that we didn’t ask for, didn’t want and would love to get rid of. This isn’t a Pollyanna type gratitude where you proclaim gratitude for your car breaking down in the middle of the street and you have to walk a mile in 95 degree weather to get help. (Almost nobody believes that it true,)

This type of gratitude usually comes later, after we’ve had time to process what happened. That’s when we realize that there were some blessings that came from it that w didn’t recognize at the time. Pastor Merle (PVBC) told a story about Corrie Ten Boom yesterday that beautifully illustrates this.

Corrie Ten Boom was a Dutch citizen who, along with her family were arrested by the Nazi’s during WWII for hiding Jewish refugees. All of Corrie’s family died while in the concentration camp, including her sister Betsie. Corrie was very angry about their situation and her sister Betsie kept telling Corrie not to let anger and hatred take hold. One of the things that Corrie hated while in the camp were the fleas. Their barracks were unclean, overcrowded with women and full of fleas. Corrie couldn’t stand the fleas biting and itching. After Betsie died, Corrie thought about all the horrors of their living circumstances but she also realized something else. Following a forbidden prayer group that Corrie was a part of she realized the soldiers weren’t coming through their barracks to search for forbidden things or activities. She realized that the soldiers didn’t come in because of the fleas. They didn’t want to pick up any fleas by walking through. This meant, that weren’t going to stop them from praying and they weren’t going to confiscate the few Bibles they had managed to hang on to. S realized that God had used the fleas to keep those women safe.

Corrie had learned to be thankful for the fleas. She also realized that God didn’t answer her prayers to get rid of the fleas for a good reason.

We probably all have had some type of “fleas” in our lives. A little reflection on those “fleas” might help us recognize some things we now know we should be thankful for.

Ruth: A New Beginning – Part 2

Yesterday’s blog reminded us of the story of Ruth and how she came to leave her country, her family and her religion. It took guts and courage to head off to a country and a people she didn’t know; all the while being fully aware that she could never go back.

That being said, the point of today’s blog is on what we can learn from Ruth.

  • First: She left the past behind her and she didn’t have an exit plan. She was fully committed. Ruth had given this some thought. She knew her options in Moab weren’t good. She saw goodness in Naomi and she saw hope in Naomi’s God. Our take-aways from this?
    • Compare the past with the future and if you decide to make a change, make it! Make it completely. Don’t look back. Tell somebody you trust what you’re doing and why. Then just go for it.
  • Second: Ruth listened to the advice of the person she had trusted her life to, Naomi. Find yourself a “Naomi” when you are making a change in location, job, relationships, etc. Share your reasons and your expectations. Then along the way go to them for support, guidance and input. And most important of all…LISTEN to them. When they give you a suggestion that will take you to the next level do it. Women err more often on the side of caution than they err on the side of recklessness. I’m not advocating that you be reckless, but I am suggesting that doing something new or different is not an act of recklessness. It’s more likely a step of faith which will take you closer to what you are hoping to achieve.
  • Third: Ruth wasn’t afraid to ask for what she needed. First, she asked the foreman in the field if she could pick up the grain that was left on the field after the harvesters had gone through it. That was risky but it turned out that it allowed her to be seen by the right person. Then, later in the story she lies down at the feet of Boaz, which was an offer of marriage. (Yes, that seems odd to us today, but it was appropriate in the Jewish community given her situation.)  Think of it as making sure your supervisor at work sees your work before you make an appointment to ask for a raise.
    • So, what we learn from Ruth in this situation is obvious: Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or need. You aren’t being pushy. You’re being assertive and yes, there is a difference.
  • Fourth: Ruth had also made a commitment to Naomi’s God when she left Moab. That commitment allowed her to follow a path guided by Naomi but was actually inspired by God. God honored Ruth’s commitment which not only provided her security and a place to live as the wife of Boaz but also allowed Ruth to have a son. That son’s name was Obed and he fathered Jesse who fathered David, the King and Jesus was born in the line of David. By following God’s direction for her life, Ruth became a key participant in the lineage of Jesus.
    • What do we learn from Ruth in this? We learn that when we follow God’s leadership we will experience His blessings. We also learn that God’s direction for us can come from many sources.
    • For example, I’d been wanting to write a book or something for a long time and just couldn’t quite figure out what I wanted to do or how to do it. So, in a conversation early last spring with a “mentor” he said, “Why don’t you write a blog?” So, I did!
  • And that’s when this website was born!