Devotional

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Abigail

Calm in a crisis

How do you handle conflict? Are you good in a crisis or do you panic? Ever wondered why God made you look the way you do? Abigail is a remarkable woman, caught between two huge ego’s she shows initiative, wisdom and courage – Jesus said ‘blessed are the peacemakers’, Abigail is definitely one of those!

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© Ruth Perrin -0001. Last revised on 30 November -0001

Tags: courage initiative self-esteem conflict

Anna

In it for the long haul!

Do you feel positive about your life – or have you been disappointed by the shape it’s taken? If you feel that you’ve taken a battering and wonder where God is in that, or how to hold on to him, Anna is a great example of someone who worked that out.  If you want someone to inspire you to keep going, through thick and thin then this woman might be just what you need.

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© Ruth Perrin 2010. Last revised on 26 January 2010

Tags: faith integrity relationships suffering

Aschah

Speaking up!

Jesus told his disciples, ‘You don’t have because you don’t ask’. But when should we ask & when should we keep quiet? Whether you open your mouth too much, or not enough, Aschah is a good example of someone who asked for the right thing, in the right way at the right time.

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© Ruth Perrin 2008. Last revised on 22 November 2008

Tags: courage relationships money initiative

Boaz

The Romantic hero of the Bible?  An Old Testament Mr Darcy? Boaz is one of the good guys but he’s not someone we might immediately identify as ‘heroic’. He wasn’t a soldier, a king or a prophet – he was just an honourable guy, who feared God and kept the law. Not dramatic, but a mighty man of God none the less.

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© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 17 December 2009

Tags: courage faith integrity money relationships

Huldah

A Reputation worth having!

What do you think your reputation is? What would you like it to be? Who do you go to for advice when you’re in a dilemma? What sort of help do you seek out? Huldah is a relatively unknown prophetess from times of great trouble in Judah. She offered wise, godly, honest council to those who needed help. She offers us an example of how to ‘speak the truth in love’, rather than speak the truth unkindly, or avoid the truth rather than cause offense. Take a look, see how she might inspire you!

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© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 20 February 2009

Tags: courage faith gifts integrity leadership

Jael

Guts & Glory!

Ever struggled to get your head around all that violence in the Bible? Ever been camping? Put those two things together and you get Jael; a woman with tent pegs who you wouldn’t mess with! She raises some questions for us about gender, war and courage... read on!

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© Ruth Perrin 2008. Last revised on 22 November 2008

Tags: courage initiative violence gifts conflict

Jehosheba

God’s heart for the little ones!

How do you feel about children? Whether we love them & long for our own, or don’t quite know what to do with them; God has strong feelings about kids. Jehosheba; a royal princess in a time of political instability is a great example of courage, generosity and risk taking for the sake of a child that wasn’t hers. Whether you are a mother, wish you were, or don’t know the first thing about changing nappies, this study will help you ponder the question of how God would have his daughters (and sons) view children!

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© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 9 December 2009

Tags: courage initiative relationships children suffering

Joanna

Passing on her blessings

In a time of Credit crunch, where money is a touchy subject, and yet where so much of the world has always had so little; how can we - as God's children - respond? Joanna was a lady transformed by meeting Jesus, who provides us with a great example of just that - how to partner with Jesus & use our money wisely. Take a look.

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© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 18 September 2009

Tags: faith gifts initiative money

Junia

Have you ever felt overlooked? Taken for granted? Are there times when it seems like no one notices or cares what you do? Do you sometimes feel like the odd one out – a woman in a man’s world maybe? Meet Junia, and her husband Andronicas – the forgotten apostle, a woman worth reflecting on.

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© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 27 November 2009

Tags: leadership initiative courage gifts self-esteem faith

Naaman’s Slave girl

A Nameless Girl with Remarkable Faith

How can we hold on to God when everything is going wrong? How can we genuinely sing, ‘When the darkness closes in, still I will say ‘blessed be the name of the Lord’’? Here’s a little girl who might inspire us in what it means to follow God when we are in a dark place personally!

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© Ruth Perrin 2008. Last revised on 22 November 2008

Tags: courage faith integrity suffering

Nympha, Lydia and Mary

I wonder how you do with sharing?

We know very little about these three women. They are often overlooked; 'invisible' in the biblical story but what they model to us about courage, sacrifice and above all hospitality is really challenging. At a time when so many in the world are desperate for refuge and need help, Nympha, Mary and Lydia are among those from the first century who might inspire us to think about how to steward all God has blessed us with in a really practical way.

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© Ruth Perrin 2015. Last revised on 1 October 2015

Tags: courage leadership generosity

Pilate's Wife

Sometimes it can feel as if we are banging our head against a brick wall, nothing we try seems to make any difference. If that’s the case then Pontius Pilate’s unnamed wife can be an encouragement to us. When we do the right thing – regardless of the outcome – God takes notice and the cry, ‘Well done, good & faithful servant’ rings across time & history. Take a look at a woman who tried to do the right thing.

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© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 20 February 2009

Tags: integrity initiative

Priscilla

Wholehearted partnership

'Marriage doubles or halves your ministry'. Here's one half of a great couple. Priscilla married one of the good guys - and look what they achieved together. But what if you're not half of anything? What if you're single? What if you don't want to be? This team give us a great example of marriage in action - but also help us reflect on our obsession with romance.

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© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 24 August 2009

Tags: gifts leadership relationships

Rhoda

Ditzy or Delighted?

When things are tough what is your response? Do you really think prayer makes any difference? Is your faith something that gives you hope, joy even? In a terrible situation - literally life and death - Rhoda finds a joy that's infectious. Perhaps you could do with considering her?

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© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 15 October 2009

Tags: faith

Rizpah

Refusing to give up

How do you respond to injustice in the world? What about when it's against you? What if there seems to be nothing you can do about it? Rizpah knows all about slander and injustice - but even in a situation where she had no power, she still showed courage that shamed the powerful. I bet you've never heard of her - but she was a brave lady!

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© Ruth Perrin 2009. Last revised on 10 August 2009

Tags: courage suffering violence

Sheerah & Shallum’s Daughters

Building something significant

What do we do with painful experiences from our past? Times we’ve suffered? These women used their history to build a future for themselves and their families. Remarkable for their time they are an example of how God can use his people in practical ways to demonstrate his love for those in trouble.

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© Ruth Perrin 2008. Last revised on 22 November 2008

Tags: leadership initiative suffering gifts

Tabitha

An extraordinary, ordinary woman

Jesus said ‘the poor will always be with you’ (Matt 26.11). It’s true, but as Christians how do we start to help those in trouble? Tabitha was a compassionate, generous, inspiring woman – she might just give you some ideas of how to start showing God’s love to those in need.

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© Ruth Perrin 2008. Last revised on 22 November 2008

Tags: money relationships initiative self-esteem gifts

Tamar

The woman who refused to be a Victim

Low self esteem? The victim of bad relationships? Many of us struggle with experiences we’ve had that have crushed our confidence, made us feel useless or worthless. Tamar is a young woman who’d recognise those experiences. She might also inspire us to re-think how we see ourselves, and view our futures.

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© Ruth Perrin -0001. Last revised on 20 February 2009

Tags: courage relationships conflict initiative self-esteem suffering

Cloud of Witnesses is a series of Bible studies on the men and women of scripture. You'll find everyone from Gideon and Andrew through to Tamar and Tabitha.

For ideas on how to use these studies most effectively, click here

Ruth Perrin, the author, is on staff at King's Church Durham and holds an MA in Theology and Ministry.

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