women and theology

You Are God’s Masterpiece

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” -Ephesians 2:8-10, (emphasis added)

 

 The greatest artist of all calls you His masterpiece. The very one who took a desolate void and created light, separated land from sea, and spoke abundant vegetation and livestock into being then stood back in pleasure (Genesis 1) looks at you with the same admiration.

Take a moment to let this sink in, sister. Close your eyes and imagine yourself just as you are—every mistake, every joy, every heartache, and every scar. Now picture God in all His glory and perfection stepping back to admire each bit of you as His newest and most beautiful creation. He is the artist and the potter. You are His canvas and clay.

But it doesn’t stop there.

The Apostle Paul exhorts the church in Ephesus to take action. Understanding that each was exquisitely formed in the womb (Psalm 139:13-16) then birthed into a new creation upon belief and surrender to Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, Ephesians 2:10) was just the beginning. These masterpieces were not meant to simply hang on a wall, be placed in a cabinet, or set on a shelf to be admired.

They are masterpieces with a purpose.

There are things God planned and ordained for them to do.

 And while the Ephesians were created in that space and time for particular purposes, so were you created for this time and for specific good works.

It is not a mistake that you are alive and living in this season. It is not a mistake that you bear particular burdens and scars. It is not a mistake that you are unique and sometimes feel different and out of place. It is not a mistake that you have the neighbors, sphere of influence, gifts, talents, circumstances, and experiences that you do. Our great God has purposed and ordained you for such a time as this. A masterpiece designed to do “good things he planned for us long ago (Ephesians 2:10).”

Take a moment to be silent before the Lord. Let images of past experiences, joys, traumas, or sorrows flood your mind and heart. As they do, lay them before your Father, and praise Him. Each and every one of those experiences has prepared you for the work He wants you to do right now. In this very moment. For His glory.

Ask our great God to reveal the specific role He has for you today and in the days to come. Wait quietly and listen to His voice. Make note of the people, places, and situations He brings to mind. Who needs to know Christ as their personal Savior? Where can you serve and bring the light of Jesus? How can you be the Church, and who can you invite to come alongside you? What do you need to say or do to bring glory to God and make His grace and truth known to others?

As you begin to process God’s particular purpose for you in this season, be assured that He is raising up your fellow sisters to do their own good works for the Kingdom. The author of Hebrews reminds us to “hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works (Hebrews 10:23-24, NLT, emphasis added).”

While Scripture is clear that we have the same Missio Dei—the mission of God to bring Him glory and make that glory known to the world (1 Corinthians 10:31, Matthew 28:16-20)—the way He uses us as individuals to manifest that calling will be different for each (1 Corinthians 12). We must rally around one another and spur one another on as we seek to love the lost, love the Church, and share the gospel.

Prayer and Worship

Close your time today by listening to this song. Use it as a prayer and resurrender your life for His Kingdom purpose. And then, sweet sister, take a step down from the shelf and let Him take you where He wants you to go. Start living as the unique masterpiece you are.

“Sails” by Pat Barrett

“Canvas & Clay” by Pat Barrett

About the Author – Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, a teacher, and an advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul, and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

Encountering God Through Lectio Divina – FREE Printable PDF

A Quick Note

2020 has left many of us isolated and in need of encouragement. Our desire is to draw strength, peace, and guidance from the Bible as we begin 2021 together. We know many who are struggling to find rhythms and time alone and with God right now. We understand, can relate, and want to help.  

Therapist Marnee Alfson regularly uses the practice of Lectio Divina to meditate on Scripture. She’s used her wisdom and expertise to create this four-session guide to lead participants through John 4:4-26 in a way that allows us space to encounter our amazing God.

Just print the attached guide, find the quietest place you can, light a candle, get cozy under a blanket, and prepare your heart and mind to savor Scripture and let it speak to you.

For more details on Lectio Divina or to to print the, Encountering God Through Lectio Divina resource  for yourself or your small group, click on any of the pictures in this post, or link directly to it here.

If you’ve already participated in our online Lectio Divina study of John 4, or want to delve further into the practice of scripture meditation, simply substitute John 4 for another passage. We suggest the following to get started or continue your practice:

  • Genesis 45
  • Psalm 8
  • Psalm 19
  • Daniel 3
  • Mark 5:25-34
  • Luke 5:1-11

 

 

Things to Have on Hand as You Engage in Scripture Meditation

 

About our Lectio Divina Author:


Marnee Alfson
is an EMDR trained trauma specialist in private practice in Vancouver, WA.  Marnee received her training under the direction of leading author and developer of Story Informed Trauma Therapy (SITT), Byron Kehler, MS. She has worked with survivors of various traumas such as sexual and/or domestic assault, displacement, first responders, attachment in relationships, body image, life transitions and mood management.

She believes we gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience we choose to walk through.  Trauma recovery therapy is an important part of hope in helping other survivors live their lives free of the pain they have experienced.

 

 

Podcast 031 – “Seeking First: Mission and Singleness” || The In-Between Series With Jess and Amanda ||

Wow! We’ve made it to the last podcast in The In-Between series, friends! We are so thankful for you listening in and joining us as we explore what it looks like to seek the kingdom first in singleness or whatever season you’re in. 

In this last podcast, we discuss the core issues of our hearts in a waiting season: Our desires, our faith and our identity in Christ as disciples. We hope this conversation will exhort and empower you to fully step into the mission God has before you – Regardless of where you are right now. It’s exciting to look at the purpose of our lives with eternal vision and we hope this will encourage you to do just that.

 

Scripture References

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28 (NIV)

The Parable of the Persistent Widow – Luke 18:1-8 

Proverbs 31

 “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV)

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with youi always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

“Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20:21 (NIV)

“And he said to them: ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” Matthew 4:19 (ESV)

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15 (NIV)

Hebrews 11

 

Seeking First: 5 Ways To Keep Our Eyes On the Mission

Seek Opportunity: Ask the Lord to help you see ways to step into Kingdom purpose/mission. Recognize that as a follower of Christ, you’ve already been called to the work of the Great Commission – Even in the in-between.

Seek Scripture: Does what you want/feel like you should do align with God’s Holy Word?

Seek Counsel: What do your Christ-following friends and family members have to say about your gifts, talents, and opportunities?

Seek Identity: Is your identity and the way you feel about yourself circumstantial, or rooted in who Christ says you are. Take the time to truly flesh this out, friends. If we put our identity in things we shouldn’t, that will translate into how we see our purpose here on earth. Ask God to help you understand where your true identity lies. 

Seek Christ First: When we align with Christ, His desires will become our desires. When we know who God is in Scripture and through prayer and communion with Him, we can trust that He is faithful to provide. His promises are true even if we try something and fail.

 

Quotes, Articles, Songs and Resources to Help

 

Thank you again for joining us in this series, listeners and friends. We would love to connect with you if you have questions or thoughts on these issues – To hear some of your own story and even join you in prayer. Leave us a comment here or on social media so we can reach out and get in touch.

We may feel in-between many times in life, singleness included – But we are not lost in the mission God has for us.

“Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)

 

About Our Co-Hosts

Originally from the Bay Area, Jessica currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Jessica obtained her undergrad from Biola University in Psychology and her master’s in Counseling Psychology from California State East Bay, and since that time has been a recruiting coordinator with a large banking company. An extroverted introvert, Jessica has a huge heart pull towards facilitating Christ-honoring and truth-filled discussions with women of all ages in the church. It’s her deep desire to seek the welfare of the city through her hope-filled heart with the abilities and gifts God has generously given her.

 

 

 

Amanda works as cardiac ICU nurse and moved to Portland three years ago. She has a heart to see the great commission carried out in the city and around the world. Her heart is for encouraging the Church in the written word of God and the great joy on the other side of obedience in our walk with the Lord.

 

 

 

 

Podcast 029 –
“Seeking Contentment In Singleness”
|| The In-Between Series with Jess and Amanda ||

Welcome friends,

What do you do when you’re dissatisfied with life? Like you’re in a ditch and can’t get out or feel like staying in the pit you’re in? Portland millennials Amanda and Jess have experienced this, too, and want to encourage other single women to find true contentment in Christ. Listen along as they share personal stories, insight, and wisdom in this first episode of the three part series they’re calling, In Between.  

 

Scripture References

“And I am not saying this because I feel neglected, for I have learned to be satisfied with what I have. I know what it is to be in need and what it is to have more than enough. I have learned this secret, so that anywhere, at any time, I am content, whether I am full or hungry, whether I have too much or too little. I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me.” Philippians 4:11-13 GNT

“This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NLT

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23-24 NIV

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Ephesians 1:3-4 NIV

“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Psalm 73:26 NIV

 

Steps to Finding Contentment

  1. Begin on your knees. Ask the Father what’s going on deep in your heart and in your mind. Ask Him to show you if there are deeply embedded roots of sin that are causing poor fruit/discontentment to grow. Ask Him for vision and to reveal Truth from his Word that will replace lies of the world and from the enemy. Ask Him to humble you to hear and respond to what He has to say.
  2. Focus on the Word. Take time to meditate on Scripture. Memorize passages for recall when you’re feeling discontent or discouraged. Print the resources below and put them up around your home or tuck them in your wallet. Make sure you’re staying in the Word, and consider joining a study or group to hold you accountable.
  3. Ask For Insight. Talk to trusted friends, mentors or parents and ask them if they see patterns that contribute to your state of discontent. Invite others to come alongside you in the journey. Be willing to share your struggles and receive their words of wisdom/encouragement.
  4. Practice Thankfulness. Make lists of things you’re thankful for each day. You may want to keep a journal and record prayers of gratitude. These remind us of the good things God has for us in our lives when we’re struggling to see it.
  5. Consider Others. While it’s important to understand, acknowledge, and deal with personal trauma, loneliness, and disappointment, too much time focusing on the self can leave us bound to discontent. Begin looking for opportunities to volunteer and share your gifts/resources with others. Pray for people, bring a meal to someone, and find places to serve. Make plans and engage in the community around you.

 

Quotes, Articles, Songs and Resources to Help

Sometimes we need a little outside encouragement finding contentment in Christ. Amanda and Jess shared some songs and articles they found helpful, along with suggestions for clinging to the Word of Christ through meditation and memorization. Click on the links below for direct access to these resources.

There are free printable scripture cards available from us here at Arise (a gift from artist Anna DeRoos of She Letters Truth – Just tap the images below for the printable PDF) as well as some for purchase through The Daily Grace Company.

We don’t always get to choose our situation, but we do get to choose how we think about it, how we shape our hearts in it, and how we come to God in it. 

Pursuing contentment right alongside you,

Jess and Amanda

 

About Our Hosts:

Originally from the Bay Area, Jessica currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Jessica obtained her undergrad from Biola University in Psychology and her master’s in Counseling Psychology from California State East Bay, and since that time has been a recruiting coordinator with a large banking company. An extroverted introvert, Jessica has a huge heart pull towards facilitating Christ-honoring and truth-filled discussions with women of all ages in the church. It’s her deep desire to seek the welfare of the city through her hope-filled heart with the abilities and gifts God has generously given her.

 

 

 

Amanda works as cardiac ICU nurse and moved to Portland three years ago. She has a heart to see the great commission carried out in the city and around the world. Her heart is for encouraging the Church in the written word of God and the great joy on the other side of obedience in our walk with the Lord.

Podcast 021 – “You’re Already a Theologian: Be a Good One” with Brenna Blain

Do you consider yourself a theologian? Why or why not? What is theology and do we as women really need it? Does what we believe matter, and why do we believe what we do about God? How do our beliefs shape who we are and, more importantly, who God is?

All of these are questions Lisa DaSilva and Brenna Blain discuss and wrestle through in today’s episode of the Arise Ministries Collective Podcast.

We hope you’ll join in the conversation, search the Word yourself, look through our recommended resources, and begin the journey toward scripture-informed theology. If we have thoughts and opinions about God, we’re already theologians. Our desire is that each one of us does the hard work to become good ones.

Scripture We Referenced
  • Acts 17 – Read all of it to better understand the context, but pay particular attention to 17:11 – “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  
  • Psalm 111:2 – “Great are the works of the LORD, studied by all who delight in them.”
  • 1 Peter 3:15 – But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”
Our Recommended Resources

Find more great resources about theology and doctrine by linking to our Recommended Resources page here.

Quotes

“In one sense, all it takes to be a theologian is to have an opinion about God. That’s it. The moment you think or say anything about him or her or it or whatever GOD is to you, you’re doing theology. The real question, therefore, is not whether you are a theologian. It’s whether you are a good one.” Matt Smethurst (managing director of “The Gospel Coalition”). 

About Our Guest: Hey, I’m Brenna Blain. I am a 24 year old wife, mother and theology student at Multnomah University. For work I speak at different churches, ministries and youth events with a focus on re-engaging lukewarm Christians to pursue a deeper relationship with Christ. Aside from speaking, I also host a podcast that focuses on asking hard questions that are not normally asked within the church. For the past 10 years I’ve struggled with mental illness and what it means to be a follower of Christ while having a broken mind. Within my walk, I’ve found theology to be an overwhelmingly beautiful practice that not only strengthens my relationship with God but also welcomes difficult questions and topics. My hope within doing ministry with Jesus is that no individual feels outside of His reach, no matter what they struggle with.

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