Luke 8:1-3 (KJV)
1  And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
2  And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
3  And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

The world and the church are slipping into darkness because women have forsaken their first love the church. Women are leaving the church by droves, abandoning the faith, and that has a tremendous effect on society. I'm grateful to God for allowing me to be born to my mother, Clara B. Valentine over 68 years ago, a God fearing women that served the Lord faithfully. She taught me many great life lessons, and occasionally warmed the seat of my pants. Thank God for Mother's and Women. Our mothers taught us character traits and principles of discipline, respect, love, politeness; faith and truthfulness which serve one all their life.  It seemed mother was always nagging, telling me I would poke my eye out, but it was love. She wanted us to do our best and be our best. My words today is not just a Mother's Day message, but a sermon on the truth of women and the power they wield in society and the world. So today my word is to all women young and old.  Womanhood holds humankind in its hand.

Matthew Henry's comment on the creation of Eve is most expressive
He said, "If a man is the head, she [woman] is the crown, a crown to her husband, the crown of the visible creation. The man was dust refined, but the woman was double-refined, one remove further from the earth.... The woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be beloved.
        I believe that Mothers and women have enormous influence in this world and have the ability to set the course of society. When the mothers and women of the world fail to raise their children properly take leadership roles and to use their God-given abilities our community suffers. The Christian woman devoted to God sets the tone in her home, and morality in the world. She sets the example that her children will follow whether it be good or bad. Usually, the roots of faith and religion die in the home without her spiritual influence. If we removed all the women from the churches, there would be no churches.  If it were not for the women's prayer, their presence, their support, and sacrifice for the church, we would have to close its doors. They teach Sunday school, run the nursery, usher, prepare the bulletins; clean the church, work in the kitchen, visit the sick, help the widows, and the list could go on. Thank God for our women! Adams' rib is the backbone of the church.
         But listen the big trouble is that women are leaving the church in droves.  In August of 2011, the Barna Group released the results of a research study conducted about Women and Faith. In their research, they found that since 1991, church attendance by women has dropped 11% and weekly Bible reading has plummeted by 10% – to just 4 out of 10 women. And with that falling away the church is losing the spiritual pillars that have held it up down through the ages. Why are they leaving? Because of lack of opportunity to use their gift, they don't feel valued not able fulfill their calling. They leave the church because husbands want attend with them and tired of going alone. Their schedule is so full raising children, work and taking care of the home they fall away.  Been hurt by someone in the church and don't want confrontation.  Church leaders stuck on tradition and refuse to break with tradition , etc.
Women have long been the backbone of the church from its very beginning women have been the cornerstone. Women of today have fallen away from the church, those that have children do not attend, and we fail to bring our children up under the admonition of the Lord.  Morals and values have plummeted, society has degenerated, and I believe the primary reason is lack of women taking authority in Christ. When mothers and wives forsake the church, and their children are void of all scriptural teaching the world suffers. Women have become as coarse and crude as the opposite sex.  Women have become as vile, mean-spirited, pleasure-seeking, foul-mouthed, hell-raisers, sex-crazed as men abandoning the faith. The Bible gives us example after example of the grace and beauty of a virtuous woman, of women's whose heart and mind, are fixed on the Lord.
Women are to set a standard for other young women to see that might change the moral carelessness of today's young teens.
Single women carry yourself with dignity and grace, be an Esther or Ruth. Be a Hagar or Deborah. Be a young lady that others speak of and not about, a lady that is admired for marriage and not talked about in in the locker room! A woman that men don't gawk at because stuff is hanging out all over the place, but modestly dressed adorned appropriately. Herbert Lockyer said, "Moral laxity among girls today, and the ever-increasing divorce rate with its progressive polygamy, constitute a call to constant intercessional prayer that God will raise womanhood to the lofty heights He intended for all the daughters of Eve." God created Eve as helper and complement to Adam. Jesus elevated the status of women in the ministry they waited on the prince of peace and the apostles. In the Old Testament, they were leaders in the faith. Women like, Rahab, Rachel, Ruth, Rebekah Lydia, Sarah, Deborah, and Ester. Then the New Testament, women like Mary, Dorcas, Elizabeth, Eunice, Lois, Phebe, Rhoda. The Woman with an issue of Blood, the woman at the well, the widow that gave her last mite. Women that loved the Lord were faithful, devoted servants who put their hands to the plow and didn't look back. Women were the last at the cross, the first at the tomb, and first to proclaim the message, "He has Risen," the glorious news of victory over the grave.  

Gifted and consecrated women figure prominently in the history of the church. Owing much to the Redeemer for her emancipation and promotion, the woman has endeavored to pay her debt in unreserved devotion to Him who was born of a woman.

A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband
foolish women destroy a home
Brawling women are easy to live with
Lovely women without discretion are like jewels in a swine's snout
gracious women retain their honor
Angry women are never good company

Proverbs 31:30 (KJV)
Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.


Acts 20:32 (KJV)
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

In my reading of the book of Acts, I ran across Paul's excellent advice and charge to the Elders of the church at Ephesus. It is a powerful message in which Paul gives the faithful Elders and servants in Christ that continue to be steadfast in serving the Lord. This chapter of Acts is a fantastic word for the minister of God's Truth. Paul here is bringing His address to a close in these last few verses of chapter 20 and has these final words to say to the church. Can we look for a moment at this departing charge to the Ephesians elders?
       Paul starts out our textual reading by saying "And now," which lets us know Paul noted something we need to meditate on, that has taken place or will take place in the future.  Whenever we read the words, therefore, then, or and now they tell us something was going down. So our textual mooring begins in the 17th verse.  Paul was to depart for Jerusalem, and Paul had a determined passion for being in the Holy city the  Day of Pentecost.  He wanted to celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit with the believers in Jerusalem. Warned not to return to Jerusalem in fear of his life Paul bound by the Holy Spirit set his face like flint to visit Jerusalem once again to share the Gospel. See the more Paul was persecuted, the more he preached Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. Paul would let nothing separate Him. Delayed in the port Miletus, he wasted no time; Paul called the Elders, leaders of the church together that He might impart some last words.  
         Paul exhorts them in these last words to follow his example. In verses 18-21 Paul asks them to remember how he faithfully served, in all seasons. Paul served with compassion and humility, He was instant in season and out, preaching to all that would listen. He spoke the whole counsel of God word that all might be saved.
Well let's read Acts 20:18-21 (KJV)
18  And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, 19  Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:
20  And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, 21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
        And listen, my brothers and sisters, a faithful servant of God ministers at all times. In the winter of discontent or sunshine and favor.  In the midst of trial and temptation or when cup overflows you stay faithful to the call. You endure hardships as a good soldier; you stay unmoved from the rock of your faith, you keep your hands on the gospel plow, you keep looking unto the hills from which cometh your faith. You hold on and hold out until your change comes! Paul has set an example for the others to follow; Paul would later say follow me as I follow Christ. But this charge was not just a word of exhortation but it was a word of warning!  
Paul tells the church about his unwavering service, how he was steadfast in all seasons, humble in heart suffering in tears and temptations, not to profit himself but for Christ sake.
He goes on to say,
Acts 20:22-24 (KJV)
22  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:
23  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.
24  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. Bound by the spirit, not knowing what will befall him he must follow the drawing of the Holy Spirit. He knew afflictions awaited, but determined to finish his course he counted his life not precious and knew that beyond the cross he must carry unspeakable joy.   
      He is warning them about what shall happen and lets them know this may be the last time they lay eyes on the Apostle of Christ.
This once persecutor of the church now admonishes Elders to feed the flock of God that God hath made you overseers of the church which Jesus purchased it with His blood.
 Paul tells the church and the elders, grievous wolves will infiltrate the flock, men will rise perverse speaking, and many disciples will be drawn away from the faith. He says watch and then remember I warned you with tears.

Paul says, "I commend you to God, and to the word of grace." When you commend someone or something you endorse it, you stand by it, you are saying its worthy of commendation. Paul says I commend you to God. Commend means to entrust for safekeeping someone or something. When you commend someone or something you are saying it has worthwhile qualities. Paul is placing the servants of God in the care of Almighty God. He committed them to God because God had kept him He knew God was able to preserve and present them faultless. When you tried something and know its okay, you can entrust it to someone else with confidence.  Paul says I commend you to God. You recommend it. I commend you to God, I put you in His hands, to supply all your needs,  to order your footsteps, direct your path, give wisdom and grace to finish your course. Paul left the saints in the hands of God. Now listen to me saints God is able to keep what is committed to Him. Paul is saying He kept me He can keep you, provided for me He'll provide for you, He's been my guide, he'll be yours, He's healed my body he'll heal yours, I'm leaving you in the hands of God.

Look what Paul says about the Word of Grace, Now the word of God is the grace of God. The Bible is the written God-breathed word of His grace. The gospel is the word of Grace, mercy, and salvation.
God's word is a word of Grace, and God's word hidden in the heart is a word of favor. God is His word, and His word is God. When we think on His word, meditate on His word, or read His word we have an encounter with the living God. And Paul says the word of His grace (unmerited favor) is able to build you up. God's word is power, it is creative power, sustaining power, life-changing power, soul cleansing power.  When God spoke the world came into being, out nothing things came into being. The "word of His grace" has the power it is efficacious and will accomplish its purpose.  Jeremiah 23:29 (KJV)  says, Is not my word like as a fire? Saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces? His word like a fire burns the dross from the gold, like a hammer breaks down walls and destroys yokes. His word can dry tears, restore joy, set captives free, move mountains, and heal the broken. Is there a witness in the house?
His word of grace is able to transform the heart and regulate the mind. The word of His grace is able to make your feet like hinds feet to climb upon your high places. The word of God's grace is sufficient, comprehensive, necessary, inerrant, inspired, and infallible.
Isaiah 40:8 (KJV)
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever. Matthew 24:35 (KJV)
35  Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Too many people today neglect the word of God, But God's word of grace can build you up. That has the ability, to establish you in doctrine and hope, make you perfect, instruct you in truth, His word of grace can stabilize and confirm, regulate your mind, give you sight and insight. The word of God is transformative; it washes and purges. 2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) Paul said,
  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 (KJV)
 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them; I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
His word is a shield to all that put their trust in Him.
The Psalmist said, 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Can somebody say "thank God for the WORD?"
     Well, the scripture says the word of grace not only will build you up but it will give you an inheritance. You can't get your mansion Jesus promise unless we live by His word of grace. When you hide His word in our heart, allow it to order our steps, transform our minds, and rebuild us into the image of Christ we shall have an inheritance 1 Peter 1:4 (KJV) incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us.  The blood that Jesus shed has made us heirs, and joint heirs, that blood and our confession of faith have made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Laid up in glory there is a crown of Glory not only for me but for all those that love His appearing. We have a building not made by hands eternal in the heavens, those that are consecrated, sanctified and chosen. Our inheritance is not just a mansion, not just a crown, not only eternal life, but our inheritance is the Lord. The Psalmist said, Psalm 16:5 (KJV)
5  The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup.
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story; this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story; this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

I commend you to God, He is a way maker, He is a burden bearer, He is a heart fixer, He is a mind regulator, He is ever present help, He is a friend of mine, He is a doctor never loss a case, He is a strong tower, He is a shield and buckler, He is alright, I'm gonna leave you in hands of the LORD!

May God Bless 04.29.2018