A BEAUTIFUL EXCHANGE

Please find my teaching notes below for our special Mother’s Day Weekend services- “A Beautiful Exchange.”  I was joined by my wife and mother for this teaching.  For audio or video and to hear or see more go to http://weallneedgrace.com/2013/05/a-beautiful-exchange/.  (c) 2013, Terry Broadwater

So, this weekend is Mother’s Day, and I’m privileged to have my amazing Mom here: Marlene Broadwater!!  And of course my amazing wife, Jo Ann (join me on the platform).  I am truly a blessed man because of these two incredible women in my life primarily because of WHO they are and WHAT they represent- not just as “mothers” but as “women of God!”

That’s why this weekend at GCC we are honoring ALL WOMEN!!  And my Mom and my wife are going to help me teach today on this idea of A Beautiful Exchange!  

Now, let me put a Warning Label on this teaching today: Not only are we going to honor, encourage, and offer some practical advice for all the women; more importantly, MEN- YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION because WE NEED TO GET THIS MORE THAN THE WOMEN DO!!

Here we go: Three (3) “beautiful exchanges” that every women can be blessed with and every man can be blessed by!  And we find the application in this verse from the Bible:

Isaiah 61:3 …And provide for those who grieve in Zion- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

BEAUTIFUL EXCHANGE #1: A Crown of Beauty for Ashes- Greatness instead of Grief!

It was customary for Jewish people to sprinkle ashes on their heads to indicate that they were sad or sorrowful.  But God said he would give them a “crown of beauty” to wear instead!

Ladies listen: Sometimes you experience grief or you feel like you may not have any importance, or what you say or think doesn’t matter, etc. and it’s primarily because your “role” has been demoted by the church or culture and demeaned by men!

Men listen: It is our responsibility to respect the role that God has given women as wives, as mothers, as women!

I often share this at weddings: In creation, God’s word says that, Adam, the man was formed first, then Eve, the woman, that she might be for the man, setting forth things like humility, grace, and compassion that would characterize her and all those who would come after her.  Yet man, in being last of all of God’s creations, was set forth as the best and most excellent of all that God had created.  So Eve being made after Adam and from him, sets an honor on the woman as being the glory of the man.  If the man is the head, she is the crown, a crown to her husband.  In being created from man, or out of man, she was not: taken from his head to dominate, or to be over him, nor out of his feet to be under him, or trampled on by him; but out of his side to be equal with him, from under his arm to be protected by him, and near to his heart to be loved and cherished by him.  In the eyes of God, they will become as one; living together, seeking Him together, and serving Him together.

A “crown” doesn’t place itself- it is bestowed, conferred upon… Men, we have a responsibility to see women- especially those in our lives, as “the crown of beauty” ON our lives!  Women can bring beauty into any situation if they are given the opportunity and honor to do so!

What a “Beautiful Exchange” when women- wives, mothers, etc. aren’t given grief, but “greatness”- given a crown that symbolizes their being honored for their rightful role, their giftedness, their God-ordained purpose!

Ladies, God wants that for you!  Men, God wants you to provide this!  If you’re a single lady- wait for THAT man!  Single men- Be that man because there’s a single woman waiting for you! 

Jo Ann and Mom: “How do you bring beauty, as a woman of God, crowned with beauty, into the lives of those around you- your family, children, church, etc.?  What are things that have been “ashes” in your life and God turned them into beautiful things?

BEAUTIFUL EXCHANGE #2: The Oil of Joy for Mourning- Strength instead of Insecurity!

Oil, especially when poured over someone was representative of the “anointing” or “being anointed.”  Joy is inward strength!  Men- you may look strong… but women are strong!  They have an inward strength that is simply how God created them.  Yes, women ARE emotional… but don’t confuse this with how strong they really are; especially when it comes to their inward resolve!

Ladies listen: Sometimes you mourn, and you’ve been told to cheer up or get over it or men want to know “why you’re crying?” and you’re just feeling deep loss because as a women you choose to love so deeply!  Jo Ann “mourns” that she can’t be with her kids all the time!  But at the same time, she has this amazing strength that comes from the joy her children bring her, and the joy her husband brings her most of the time!

Men listen: Sometimes you simply can’t know why your wife or a woman is mourning or emotional and sometimes yes, you caused it!  BUT, know this!!  Women are much stronger than we give them credit for and we need to realize that their strength comes from the simple things that gives them JOY!

Men think jewelry or flowers or camping (oh wait…) make women joyful!  No, those things DO make them happy, and are good for us to do, etc.  BUT it’s some basic, simple things, that give women JOY and that joy strengthens marriages, relationships, families, etc.

What a “Beautiful Exchange” when women receive joy and strength instead of insecurity and being weakened by the failures of the men in their lives to simply provide the things that every woman longs for which is primarily security and to trust!

Let me ask my Mom and Jo Ann: “Where does your security come from?”  “What are the things that make you feel security as a woman?”  What are the 2 or 3 things that bring you your greatest joy?”

BEAUTIFUL EXCHANGE #3: A Garment of Praise for Despair- Rejoicing instead of Rejection! 

Notice it says, “A GARMENT of praise!”  Now, I mean this respectfully, but ladies y’all do like your clothes!  So this one is going to especially bless you!!

It was customary for people in ancient times when they felt despair or that there was no hope, etc. to put on “sackcloth”- a heavy garment made from black goat’s hair, very course, and yes, used for sacks!  It’s where we get the custom of wearing “black” at funerals, etc.

Now I don’t believe any of the ladies in this room nor the men are very interested in women walking around in burlap bag dress; especially one that is heavy and itchy and just plain uncomfortable!

On the other hand, “A GARMENT of Praise” was in ancient times, indicative of a flowing, silky, brightly colored dress worn at festivals and for joyous occasions.  It’s probably why today ladies need to go buy the wedding dresses, the prom dresses, the go on vacation dresses, the…

But seriously, God said you can exchange the sackcloth for the praise dress because you’ve got something to rejoice about!

Ladies listen: Sometimes you have this heaviness on your life, this sense of despair or hopelessness, or feeling of inferiority or rejection or loneliness and it causes a depression to “hang” over and on you- you’re dressed in it!!  And that can be caused by a lot of things; but one thing is for certain: Depression in often born out of Rejection!   

Men listen: Don’t reject the role God has given to the women in your life!  Instead, BE THE ONE THING YOUR WIFE, MOTHER, WOMAN IN YOUR LIFE CAN REJOICE IN!!  When you bestow on her the crown of beauty and you bless her with security and she can trust you, and you accept who she is in Christ, the giftedness God has blessed her with to be a blessing to you, etc., she is dressed NOT in despair, but in praise and rejoicing!

God gives all of us some amazing things to rejoice in, to praise him for, to be thankful about!  Salvation, significance for life, satisfaction in Christ, etc.  The heaviness and despair of sin and bad decisions and plain stupidity is lifted off of us and is exchanged for a spirit of praise and worship!

In the same way, what a “Beautiful Exchange” when a woman, a wife, and mother has someone, some things, to rejoice in and praise God for instead of the rejection they can feel!  Sons and daughters that want to serve the Lord, a husband who honors and respects her, a church that recognizes the equality and giftedness of women!

Mom and Jo Ann: “What are the things that “put the garment of praise” on your life; the things you are most grateful for, etc.?”  “How do you find acceptance in your life and as a result lift you up?”

BEING BEAUTIFUL: “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”

I love this last statement in this verse for two primary reasons: 1) It speaks of how all of us find a beautiful exchange from God- he takes all our sin and sorrows and instabilities and insecurities and transforms our lives and we reflect his glory, and 2) Because specifically for women, it can carry a connotation of a special quality that I believe all women have in their God-given and created DNA- rightness.

Listen men: Have you ever said, “Honey, you’re always right!”  And you’re not saying it in a complimentary way!!  But the fact is, women do have an intuitive sense about what is right or the right thing to do, etc.  Sure, some women don’t appreciate this and don’t utilize it because of the “flesh” factor that we all have to deal with.

BUT, all women, possess this inner sense, especially when they’ve given their lives to Christ, of what makes a home, a marriage, a situation RIGHT!  And when we men, who are serving Christ, recognize this, it’s a BEAUTIFUL THING and speaks to the world of the genius and glory of God!

This doesn’t mean that men don’t carry a sense of rightness in our lives- we do.  The difference seems to be that women just have an intuitive or instinctive ability about this idea of “rightness”- “What” is right, not “Who” is right!  That is the difference!!  For men it’s about WHO is right.  For women it’s about WHAT is right!

The bottom line is women, wives, mothers, ladies are all honored when the Beautiful exchanges of…

Being crowned with beauty for ashes (Greatness for Grief!)

Being given the oil of joy for mourning (Strength for Insecurity!)

Being dressed in a garment of praise instead of despair (Rejoicing for Rejection!)

Mom and Jo Ann: “What is the last thing, most important thing you’d say to the ladies here today?

Response: There are 2 possible “exchanges” that need to be made today:

Ladies- you need to EXCHANGE how you’ve been trying to feel beautiful, find security, have joy, be accepted, etc. that has NOT FULFILLED YOU because they don’t satisfy the deepest desires of your life, and see God has the ultimate SOURCE!  God crowns you with beauty, God gives you joy, and God lifts the despair!

Men- you need to EXCHANGE how you’ve been acting or living if it’s not been honoring to and accepting of the women in your life, for how God wants you to act and live!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s