Join us on our new podcast each weekday for an interesting story, well told, from Charisma News. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.
Sometimes the odds appear insurmountable, but we are destined for wholeness when we touch God in our need.
This is a season in which God is saying some definite things to women about being set free and delivered to fulfill their purposes in His kingdom. I believe it is important for women to get healed and released in their spirits and allow God to move in their lives in a greater way.
However, many women in the church have not seen Christ as the answer to their dilemmas. They go to church, they love the Lord, they want to go to heaven when they die, but they still do not see Christ as the answer to the practical issues they face.
Often, we separate our personal lives from our spiritual lives. We see Jesus as a way to heaven and the solution to spiritual problems, but we fail to understand that He is the solution to all of life's problems.
For many years I've preached messages on the infirm woman in Luke 13 who was so bound by Satan for 18 years that she could not even straighten herself. She had a past that tormented her, but Jesus set her free. He unleashed in her the potential that Satan had bound up.
Due to her physical condition, this woman had to struggle to get to Jesus. Few of us are crippled as she was. But we all face crippling limitations.
Jesus could have walked to this woman. Instead, He called her to Him. He wants you to want Him enough to overcome obstacles and to push in His direction.
When you see a humped-over person crawling through the crowd, you know the person really wants help. That kind of desire is what it takes to change your life. And Jesus is your answer.
GOD IS YOUR LIBERATOR Jesus was the only one who truly knew the infirm woman. He told her the truth about herself. He saw that she was important. He told her she was loosed and set her free.
Christ dealt with 18 years of this woman's torment in an instant. One moment with Jesus, and she got hold of the truth. Immediately she was well.
But sometimes pain can become too familiar. Habits and patterns are hard to break. Sometimes we maintain ungodly relationships because we fear change. But when we see our value the way Jesus sees us, we muster the courage to break away.
In Luke 13:16, Jesus called the woman "a daughter of Abraham," the father of faith. She may have been bent over, but she was still Abraham's daughter. Your condition does not negate your position.
The woman was unleashed because of who her father was. It had little to do with who she was. The Bible doesn't even mention her name. But we do know whose she was.
She was a daughter of Abraham. Because of this, she was worthy. She had merit because she was Abraham's descendant.
TWO HEROINES OF FAITH Abraham is revered by millions as the first man in history to believe God to such a degree that it was counted to him as righteousness. He is given tremendous attention in Hebrews 11 (see vv. 8-17), which lists the names of great people of God who believed Him and accomplished great exploits.
There are also two very different women mentioned in this faith "hall of fame." They are Sarah, Abraham's wife, and Rahab, the Jericho prostitute.
I can understand why Sarah was included, but why Rahab? The answer is, because of her faith. That was the one thing Sarah and Rahab had in common.
There was no similarity in their lifestyles, just in their faith. God saw the same thing in Sarah that He saw in Rahab. So don't accept the excuse that because of your past you can't have the faith experience.
Make a decision and stand on it. Rahab decided to take a stand on the side of God's people. She took action; she hid the spies.
Faith is a fact and an action. Rahab took action because she believed God would deliver her when Jericho fell to the Israelites (see Josh. 2, esp. vv. 12-13).
Sarah received strength to carry and deliver a child when she was well past childbearing age, not because of her
circumstances, but because of her faith. Sarah believed God (see Gen. 21:2; Heb. 11:11).
God wants your faith to be developed. Regardless of your position or your past, it is still faith that He will honor.
God is in the business of restoring broken lives. If you believe that your background will keep you from moving forward with God, then you don't understand the value of faith.
Some people live good, clean, separated lives. Perhaps you are one of them.
But if you want to grasp the things of God, you must understand that He will move in your life according to your faith, not according to your experience. There was something in Rahab's house that God called valuable: Faith was there. So God protected her from the fire.
In fact, He saved her entire household. All the other homes in Jericho were destroyed (see Josh. 6:17-25). But when the fire was over, Rahab remained--the only woman in town who still had property.
ZELOPHEHAD'S DAUGHTERS A group of sisters in the Old Testament proved that God is interested in what happens to women. The five daughters of Zelophehad had been left alone without an inheritance (see Num. 27:1-7).
Their father had wealth, but he had no sons. Prior to this time, women were not allowed to own or inherit property except through their husbands.
These five women appealed to Moses for help on the basis of who their father was (see vv. 3-4). They stated their case and looked to him as God's authority. They didn't understand why they couldn't have some of their father's wealth simply because they were born female.
If it had not been for the women's boldness, their uncles would have received all their father's wealth while they would have been poor and homeless, receiving only leftovers from others.
But these women were daughters of Abraham. If you want the enemy to release you, remind him of whose daughter you are.
One of the reasons Zelophehad's daughters could make a proper case for themselves was they were right. And they didn't wait for a man to defend them; they took action. It was time to teach God's people that women have value. Abraham's daughters have worth!
When Moses heard the sisters' case, he didn't know what to do, so he asked God. God saw their faith and vindicated them. He gave them their father's wealth. God is no respecter of persons.
YOU HAVE AN INHERITANCE It's important to know who you are.
Like the infirm woman, you are a daughter of Abraham if you have faith (see Gal. 3:29). And like the five sisters, you want the inheritance of your father to come to you. So why should you sit there and be in need when your heavenly Father has left you everything?
There is no need to sit around waiting on someone else to get you what is yours. The One who needed to come has already come (see John 10:10).
God has willed you something. Your Father has left you an inheritance. And if He blessed the sons of Abraham, surely He will bless the daughters of Abraham.
Everything that God will do for a man, He will do for a woman. So you are not disadvantaged. You can get an inheritance like any man (see Gal. 3:27-28).
Those ancient Israelite women, the daughters of Zelophehad, thought it was a disgrace for them to be starving when they considered who their father was. Rahab was a harlot until she found faith. But once she had faith, she no longer turned to her old profession.
The infirm woman was bowed over until Jesus touched her. But once He touched her, she stood up.
There is no reason to be bent over after you have put on Christ and received His touch. You can walk with respect even when you have past failures.
It's not what people say about you that makes you different. It is what you say about yourself and what your God has said about you that really matters.
Rahab walked with respect. You will find her name mentioned in the lineage of Jesus Christ. She went from being a prostitute to being one of the great-grandmothers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
FAITH MATTERS MOST TO GOD For some of us, where we came from poses particular problems, and we've got to deal with them. God says there is neither Greek nor Jew (see Gal. 3:28). There is only one church, purchased by the blood of the Lamb. We are all one in Christ Jesus.
God is not concerned about race. Real spiritual advantage does not come from the color of your skin. It's the content of your heart that brings help from God.
You may have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth, but in the kingdom of God, social status doesn't mean anything. Rahab can be mentioned right next to Sarah because if you believe, God will bless you.
Faith is the only thing in this world where there is true equal opportunity. Everyone can come to Jesus.
Never become discouraged or worry about the fact that you are a woman when it comes to seeking Him. He looks at your heart. He doesn't look at morality and good works. He looks at the faith that lives within.
Christ saw the worth of the infirm woman because she was a daughter of Abraham. He will unleash you also from the pain you have struggled with and the frustrations you have been plagued by.
But you must reach the point where it is the Lord whom you desire. Singleness of heart will bring about deliverance (see Ps. 27:1-4).
God wants you to believe Him; to personalize the truth that you can do all things through Him (see Phil. 4:13). He is trying to teach you right now so when the time for a real miracle does come, you will have a deposit of faith to draw from.
If you will but dare to believe that you are entitled to an inheritance in Christ Jesus, you will find the power to press on, stand up straight and be unleashed. Then the potential that has been bound truly will be set free.
T.D. Jakes is the author of several books, including Daddy Loves His Girls and His Lady. He is the founder and pastor of The Potter's House in Dallas, one of the nation's fastest-growing churches.
The Charisma Podcast Network is now live. Featuring a variety of programs including news, leadership, inspiring stories, women's topics, sports, and even more.
Subscribe now for free!