Protectress A Stabilizing Force
The Apostle Paul spoke a powerful truth about a pillar in the work of the Lord, a worker who is always to be received in a way worthy of a true child of God. He writes, “I commend to you our sister Phoebe… I ask that you receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of the saints… for she has been a great help to many people, including me.” (Romans 16:1-2)
There is a key word you need to catch: help. Help, (προστάτις prostátis) meaning to be a protector, defender or guardian. (The Complete Word Study, New Testament; The Preacher’s Outline & Sermon Bible; Thomas, R. L. (1998). New American Standard Hebrew-Aramaic and Greek dictionaries : updated edition. Anaheim: Foundation Publications, Inc.) “A woman who is active in helping… a patroness engaged in supporting an individual or endeavor…” (A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament)
Modern culture’s application of help, helper or helpmate has robbed many a Christian woman out of the joy of being a Biblical protectress. Many women today might be insulted to be introduced as somebody’s helper. Often, helpmate is considered a demeaning term. Today, the countenance of many wives, while around their husbands is one of brokenness, hurt, distrust and dishonoring.
There are women, Christian and non-Christian who have discovered what it means to be a real help, one who supports individuals and endeavors. These women use their God given talents and abilities to help their CEOs achieve their goals and accomplish their dreams while protecting the reputation of their coworkers or supervisors. There are protectresses who honor their husbands at all times, participate in joint endeavors with them, they are faithful through thick and thin.
Many women who are a protectress enjoy the benefits. Wives have been blessed with husbands who love them as Christ sacrificially loves the church, their emotions are embraced, and they are secure in trials and temptations as well as satisfied in their relationships. Many of these protectresses are secure in their jobs, long term their service and well rewarded in their efforts.
No one is an island, everyone who enjoys success has a protector, someone who is able to help, give protection and keep things in good order. Their Spiritual gifts, talents, and abilities stabilize the work force, keep their respective CEO’s vision clear and unify the personnel. They are the glue that holds it all together, the oil that keeps things moving smoothly and they are the eyes that recognize potential hindrances. These protectresses protect fellow-worker’s time, direct customers to the right personnel and schedule the day’s tasks so the team is timely, more productive and effective.
There is a phrase that holds a lot of truth: “Behind every successful man is a good woman.” In most cultures, in the past, even now, men who enjoy seeing their dreams and visions come true, had or have a good woman who is a protectress. These women have a way of staying under the radar, but are very much involved in the success and productivity of key endeavors.
Pray for more protectresses; you and I need them.
Comfort With Prophecy
1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their… comfort.” Comfort (παραμυθία paramuthía), means to console, comfort expressed with a great degree of tenderness. This comfort is expressed through speech and/or action. It affects a person’s life like soothing medicine. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary) In every company of people there will be someone whose life has been hurt or is being hurt. In every Christian fellowship there must be a messenger of comfort (Daily Bible Studies) which strengthens one to hope for a better time coming soon.
Christians who are truly comforted have the heart of the Psalmist who wrote, “My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promises preserves my life.” (Psalm 119:50) I love Psalm 119:52, “I remember your ancient laws, O Lord, and I find comfort in them.”
Have you ever seen the movie, Christmas Shoes? In that movie is a scene were the mother, Maggie Elizabeth Andrews, played by actress, Kimberly William-Paisley passes away. It is a very sad scene, however, Kimberly is as cute as ever in that scene. The whole time Kimberly is suffering the effect of her terminal illness, she is a cute, beautiful woman loosing the battle for her life. Anyone who has been a care giver to a terminally ill person knows that the dying mother presented in Christmas Shoes, well simply, the scene is not reality.
Because of the cruse that came to us through Adam, reality is, we did not come into this world easily and chances are, we are not leaving this world easily. I remember the night my first wife, Bonnie, went home to be with the Lord, the experience was nothing like that scene in Christmas Shoes. I have been at the bedside of several Christian’s surrounded by loving members who are Christians. They are so quick to give a religious sounding testimony, especially in a church setting, that to often does not reflect the tragedy of physical death. Physical death has never been presented as something everyone is excited to meet. It was a horrible experience at Christ’s physical death and it will be a horrible time at everyone else’s physical death, especially for the family.
To prepare my heart for what was coming, the Lord raised up real men of God, Pastor David Wilkerson and Pastor Carter Conlyn who had the gift of prophecy, to reminded me of the written Word. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in Me will never die.. ” He even asked, “…do you believe this.” (John 11:25-26) Our Lord gives this promise, “I am going to prepare a place for you… I will come back and take you to be with Me that you also may be where I am…” (John 14:1-4) The Apostle Paul believed Jesus, he wrote “…I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far…” (Philippians 1:23) It does not matter what I was feeling that night. I let the Holy Spirit remind me of the Word of God which gave comfort to my soul.
Sadly, many present a heart of disbelief at the time of the death of a loved one, while speaking religious sounding tones of a false faith. All because they have not let themselves be taught by Christians who have the gift of prophecy. Even through tears of heartbreak, those with the gift to give Biblical comfort have touched the spiritual heart that brings a peace that passes all understanding.
Encourage With Prophecy
Those who have the gift of prophecy are able to build and they proclaim a message of encouragement. 1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their…. [encouragement]…” Encouraging, (παράκλησις paráklēsis) is for the purpose of establishing the believer in the faith. Romans 15:4 says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
In every group of people there are those who are depressed and discouraged. Dreams will not come true; effort seems to have achieved so little in this life at times; to often self examination serves to show nothing but failures and in adequacies throughout our lives. Even the Apostle Paul had to be encouraged, he said “I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.” (Galatians 2:2) Each and every one of us have children, grand-children, friends and go-workers who seem to be untouched by our living for the Lord. But the Bible says, “…Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58b)
A message spoken or written from God’s Word should not be a deep depression off Iceland. A message should humble the listener by exposing sin, but end with pointing listeners to the grace of God that enables the sinner to conquer it. It should show the promises of God never leaving His children unprotected or provided for. It should proclaim to the children of God His directions in a sin-cursed world. Those with the gift of prophecy should be able to help the children of God determine their Holy Spirit given gifts, how to Biblically develop and exercise those endowments for the Lord and for the good of others. (1 Corinthians 12-14)
While attending a week long teaching of the Word of God at the Evangelistic Missionary Fellowship Convention, I was approached by a Baptist Bible teacher who knew how to encourage with the gift of prophecy. At that time I worked for myself, shoeing horses for a living. I was broke, my farrier business and work for the Lord was heading no where. He challenged me, “Are you shoeing horses for the Lord, or who? The Bible says ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.'” Then he added, “Do you continue to learn and develop your trade, skills and Spiritual gifts? The Bible says, ‘Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.'” He left me with this, “Do you sacrificially exercise your Spiritual Gifts for the good of others, be sure to read 1 Corinthians 12-14. Seek these Biblical truths and God will bless you.”
I took his Biblical encouragement to heart which opened the doors for me to have shod some the best Arabian Horses in the country and to now partner with the top two Biblical websites in the world. I say, “Thank God for those with the Holy Spirit gift of prophecy!”
Strengthen With Prophecy
1 Corinthians 14:3 says, “But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening…. Strengthening (οίκοδομή oikodomḗ) is the act of building, especially in the building for spiritual profit or advancement. (The Complete Word Study of the New Testament; Word Pictures in the New Testament; The Bible Exposition Commentary)
It is like building a house – first a solid foundation to hold the building. The floor, roof, etc. One supports the other and compliments each other until the project is just like the architect designed it. God has created you, He knows what He wants you to be. The one who has the gift of prophecy directs you first to Christ Jesus the foundation. He then teaches the Word of God to you, thus giving you knowledge of Christian truth which the Holy Spirit uses to enable you live the Christian life.
As people make the genuine effort to seek the Lord’s will for them, God will raise up Christians who can teach them God’s Word concerning the situations and circumstances they are facing, as well as equipping them to accomplish His call upon their lives. These people share testimony of the Lord’s faithfulness which the Holy Spirit uses to build Christian faith.
I know of a man who was attending church, but he felt useless and unsatisfied in what the church had appointed him to do. By God’s grace the young man was invited to attend some solid Bible teaching done by a Para-church ministry that had the gift of prophesying. They shared the Word of God with him so he could get Biblical confirmation on what he felt the Lord was calling him to do. Along with the Bible teaching they shared personal testimonies of God’s faithfulness.
Like the foundation of a house, they taught him what it really means to have Jesus Christ as the foundation of all he did. They taught him how to prayerfully study the Bible so he could determine God’s will, seek His direction and accomplish the Lord’s vision set before him.
It was in June of 1994 this young man attended the North American Conference for Intenerate Evangelist, conducted by the Billy Graham Association. This is were he learned from those who had the gift of “prophecy.” (Romans 12:4-6; 1 Corinthians 14:1) Their sacrificial exercising of the gift of prophesying laid the foundation to sustain him the past 20 plus years through criticisms, false accusations, and miss-guidance which are to often found in conjecture of man.
Because God’s gift of “prophecy” the young man has become a mature Christian, exercising the gift of “prophesying” (Romans 12:6) to thousands all around the United States of America and beyond.
Like the young man in this Biblical teaching, 1,000 new people every month are having to look outside their local church to enjoy the gift of “prophecy” so they can enjoy God’s direction, “eagerly desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially [the gift] of prophecy.” (1 Corinthians 14:1)
Ask God to send the Holy Spirit upon the church, thus restoring His gift of “prophecy” or “prophesying” so Christians may be strengthen.
Prophecy, The New Testament Gift
Picture in your mind several years of giving to your loved ones everything they need to function and survive in an hostile world. How would you feel after finding out the family you would give your life for are now held in bondage, unable to achieve their goals and accomplish their daily task for living a fulfilled life. You make your way to their place of residents and find that everything you have given them to survive and function effectively with had been carelessly thrown into an old shed, collecting dust, rusting and decaying away.
I would propose to you that God the Father, through the power of the Holy Spirit has gifts to empower the church of Christ, enabling her to accomplishing everything He has called her to do in a sin cursed world. Yet most of those gifts have been in a sense placed where they are not being used. Much of His church are in some kind of bondage, unable to achieve their goals and accomplish their task at making disciples for Christ.
When I graduated from high school my father made sure I had what I needed to attend and graduate from Oklahoma Farrier’s College. While attending that college the instructors handed me a book written by a master farrier. That book taught me how to properly trim and shod horses. It taught me to do corrective shoeing, which enabled lame horses to become sound so they can complete their daily task.
God has handed us a Book, the Bible. The Bible is God’s revelation to mankind. When read under the leading of the Holy Spirit we find correction for our wrong motives and thoughts, thus the spiritually lame become sound so they can achieve their daily task of living for Christ Jesus.
As I mentioned just a moment ago, the Holy Spirit has gifts for the church of Jesus Christ. Can you name them? Can you identify them as they are exercised in your church? Are you prepared to teach about them?
The high charge to the church is to have people who can “Preach the Word…” People who are able “with great patience” through “careful instruction” teach the counsel of God. A mature church is able to teach and prepare you to enjoy the Holy Spirit gift of prophecy. Those who exercise this gift are able to strengthen, encourage, and comfort others. (1 Corinthians 14:3) The person with the gift of “prophecy” (προφητεύω prophēteúō) has the ability to speak out the counsel of God with the clearness, energy, and authority which spring from the consciousness of speaking in God’s name and having received a message from Him to deliver. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament)
The people of God has been given every good gift they need to function as a unified Body of believers for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:7) All we need to do is seek out those with this gift so we can gain understanding of the Lords purpose for us.