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Faith, Hope & Love

by Petressa Israel

Sisterhood… It’s a funny word. We live in a world where that word has been diluted. I mean really when you hear the word “Sisterhood”, you think “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” or women’s rights, or sororities. Either way, you either imagine silliness or aggressiveness. Neither of which, I have particularly wanted my name attached to. Brotherhood however is a powerful word. It denotes strength and honor. It makes you think of men who have each other’s back no matter what. Brotherhood carries a “I’ll fight for you and you’ll fight for me” motto. You immediately think of war and battle scenes where men banded together and where “no man left behind” was the war cry. I wonder why Sisterhood doesn’t carry the same vision.

Sisterhood has become a shallow word, but that’s not what God had in mind. God created women with such depth and such a range of emotions. We can see and hear and feel in so many dimensions that we actually can shift atmospheres. So now imagine a band of women created by God and led by His Holy Spirit. Imagine these women standing on I Cor. 13:13.. “And now these three remain faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” What could stand against them? What could separate this band of sisters? This chapter on love is epic. It’s written in the Bible for a reason. God is giving us a clue. He’s giving us a weapon and at the same time exposing the enemy’s plan. For if faith, hope, and love are important, then it is certain that the enemy will try to diminish and destroy the power they have.

Faith, what does that look like? The dictionary says that faith is the complete trust or confidence in someone or something. Well that hits us on all levels doesn’t it? It takes faith to believe in God and it takes faith or trust to be vulnerable. I can’t be vulnerable with another “sister” if I can’t trust her. Yet vulnerability is what we have to display if we want to further the Kingdom. If I hide my life and never let anyone in, then I will never unlock chains of a fellow sister. For when God set me free from bondage, he gave me a key. Seems odd to be given a key to a lock after you are free, but in God’s kingdom the key isn’t for you…It’s for your sister.

Hope is a feeling of expectation. Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”  That’s an odd verse. We all agree with the first part, because we have all been in a place where we hoped for something that didn’t come to pass. However, how does a longing fulfilled become a tree of life? What does a tree that is full of life bear? It bears good fruit! So, what are we supposed to do when we have hoped for something and it comes to pass? We are to produce fruit of gratefulness and more hope. What does this have to do with sisterhood? “I will stand with you and partner with your hope because my roots go down deep, and even if your answer isn’t what you hoped for; I have fruit that says, “God is good”. I’m your sister, and I won’t let your heart become sick.”

Love… It is the most powerful of all weapons. It can disarm anger, uproot bitterness, remove loneliness, and dissolve shame. It is listed in the greatest commandment and without it, we cannot be Christ like. It is no surprise then that love is the number one thing the enemy tries to distort. Isn’t it interesting how as sisters we have a hard time loving each other? Ever heard these phrases, “She gets on my nerves, what is her problem, I don’t like her, why can’t she leave me alone”….you can keep adding phrases here because the list is endless. How then can we love the unlovable, the irritating, the moody and the whiny, the ones who carry shame, the ones who are angry, the ones who have an agenda, the hurting? Wow. Maybe because all of those people can be summed up with that last word…the hurting. God came to love us and to save us. We were the hurting. We were the wounded. We were the unlovable.  How powerful a weapon we have been given, we have the ability to love unconditionally with nothing needed in return. For it was with this same weapon, we were set free.

Sisters we all belong to a kingdom sisterhood. My desire is that the phrase “Sisterhood” would become Christ like. For it is with Faith I will trust, with hope I will bear good fruit and with love, I will climb great mountains with you. The kingdom of God is waiting for the daughters of God to act like sisters.

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