As I hear about this Bold Journey for you all, I can’t help but highlight some of you who have been called very specifically to the arena of marketplace, education, science, media, political and community influence.
Some of my recent coaching clients have been women already positioned in these arenas or stepping intentionally into this space. And in 2021 I am excited to be collaborating with an amazing friend and coach, Cathie Ostapchuk, to coach female leaders from around the world.
I want to encourage you today that if boldness means starting something new, or in a new location, space or arena, (despite the season of small beginnings and hiddenness that I wrote about yesterday), it is worth it when God calls your name and invites you into that space!
I want to celebrate your resourcefulness and the resourcefulness of the daughters of Z.
For these women to come forward would have taken not only boldness and confidence as well as planning and intentionality in what they were going to present, but some scholars say they may have also been women who were resourced enough
to have studied and would have held a good reputation in the community.
Today I wanted to celebrate all those women who feel called to engage levels of society to influence. It could be in business, in family, in education or in finance.
There was a woman in the first century church found in Acts 16 and her name was Lydia and she was known as the Lydian lady. She sold purple fabric and that is how she was known. They also called her the purple lady.
We know she was a widow who had survived real heart ache and loss – like many of you on this journey – so strong, resilient, courageous and survivors!
We know that she had renounced her old religion – the worship of pagan gods and had converted to Judaism – become a prosletyte – she hungered for the reality of God – not realizing yet that there was even more than just adhering to a way of life
and a law – she was yet to encounter the truth of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ… but she was on her way.
We know that even her conversion to the Jewish faith would have threatened her business/trade. The guild of dyers she would have been apart of would not have liked that she had converted, as much of her business would have been to sell the purple fabric to those who would use it to worship other idols.
But once she converted she refused to live compromising now on her ideals and standards and convictions and would have faced bankruptcy in this town as a result of her desire to know God.
There are many of you on this journey who have stepped out in areas of business, trade, new endeavours and we celebrate your steadfastness to integrity and your convictions about the ‘right way’ to go about business.
So she made the move and left everything behind to go to Phillipi – I love watching people start over – there is something powerful about it when done for the right reasons - but to move
forward you often need to leave a lot behind..
Philippi was the chief city in Macedonia. It was inhabited mostly by Gentiles, and many soldiers were stationed in the local Roman garrison. Military men were always looking for unusual gifts to take to their families and friends. The prospects for
increasing business were excellent, and through the coming and going of military men there existed the chance of reaching the entire Roman Empire.
There are strategies that God will give some of you women who are called to be resourceful that will reach whole communities and entire cities and nations…
She came to Phillipi and, as you do, you look for a place of worship.
I love that also about relocating – the local church is where you can establish yourself!
In Jewish law a synagogue could be formed wherever there were ten male heads of
households who could be in regular attendance. Failing this, a place of prayer under the open sky and near a river or the sea was to be arranged. Apparently there was no synagogue in Philippi.
Meanwhile God had been manouvering the Apostle Paul and opening and closing doors on his journey – until the two of them collided. Paul had already been in The same city as Lydia for a few days. This explains why he and his companions went a little way out of the city to the river, where they expected to find a place of prayer and women
I love this. Paul went to find a place of prayer and here he found Lydia. She had started something down by the river because there was no official gathering to express her faith.
This is the incredible heart of a women – to start something when there is nothing there. Look what happens when women gather together! It attracts God and God encounters!
So Paul goes and preaches as he does everywhere – Lydia hears and her heart responds to the MORE – to the personal relationship with Jesus Christ. She asks to be baptized (she really knows the consequence of this and what it declares to her old
way of life) Acts 16:13
V15After she was baptized, along with everyone in her household, she said in a surge of hospitality, "If you're confident that I'm in this with you and believe in the Master truly, come home with me and be my guests." We hesitated, but she wouldn't take no for an answer.
Then what happens is Paul and Silas say ok ‘thanks we will do that’ and on the way they get put in prison just for setting a girl free who was demon possessed. Lydia visits them in prison
In prison they sing songs and find themselves supernaturally set free. They come out and ‘verse 40’ went to Lydia’s house – where now she had begun meetings ...
THIS WAS THE FIRST CHURCH EVER ESTABLISHED IN EUROPE! BECAUSE OF A WOMEN WHO WAS IN BUSINESS!
Because Lydia went on her own journey as an influential woman – the kingdom expanded. So do not ever fell ‘unspiritual’ when God calls you to be resourceful, wealthy and influential!
And can I also highlight at this point that as a women of influence Lydia had all her family saved and baptized. So do not think that if it is God’s will for you to pursue business and influence that your family will have to suffer. If she had not relocated
for business opportunities she never would have met Paul and she never would have heard the gospel and her family may not have got saved and baptized!
* You may have been broken hearted but not beaten,
* You are not afraid to move entire lifestyles to live true to the convictions of your heart
* You are becoming savvy and resourceful
* You are called to influence whole communities and entire nations
* You are gathering together where God encounters can happen
This is living out your inheritance with BOLDNESS
Maybe part of this journey is to step into some of these arenas? If so we would love to know where so that we can be praying for you!