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Saturday, March 26, 2005

crude gems

This week we celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Many non-Christians cannot understand why we as Christians make such a big fuss about the cross. But the cross is the undergirding of our faith. Without the cross there would be no remission of sin, no hope of eternal life with God, no basis for Christianity.
The cross was a symbol of sin and shame. After all, only those believed to be sinners and worthy of condemnation were hung on the cross. The Bible says, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" (Gal 3:13, KJV). But God, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, has a way of using the simple and crude things to make something unique and wonderful. He used a lowly stable as the birth place of the King of Kings; a handful of dust to create man, a stick in the hand of a stuttering leader to part the Red Sea, and an old rugged cross to save mankind.
This week I want to highlight two women, crude and shameful, whom God used to achieve His purpose. The first is Mary Magdalene out of whom Jesus had cast seven devils. This woman, shunned and ostracized by society, followed Jesus to His crucifixion and later had the honor of being the first person to see the risen Lord.
The other woman is Rahab in the old Testament who hid the spies that Joshua had sent to scope out the land. Rahab was a well known prostitute in te city, but because of her act of faith she and her family were spared from destruction. But even greater than that, Rahab became an ancestress of Jesus Christ.
Yes, two crude and despised women, but they were gems in the eyes of God. What is your situation today? Are you shunned, talked about, misused, abused? God loves you and wants to use you for His purpose. Will you let Him?

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Recently I watched a movie on the life of Leona Hemsley, owner of the Harley chain of hotels. Leona was a beautiful and wealthy woman who used her wealth and influence to manipulate and abuse people for her own gain. And she ended up paying dearly-a seven-million-dollar fine and four years in prison for tax evasion and other crimes. But as Solomon said, there is nothing new under the sun. This week I want to highlight two women of the Bible who used their power and influence in distinctly different ways and with differing consequences.
The first one is Abigail, described in 1 Samuel 25: 3 as "intelligent and beautiful", wife of Nabal, a wealthy man, who was "surly and mean in his dealings." When Abigail heard that Nabal had spurned King David’s request for help while he and his men were in the desert, and that David had sworn to kill all of Nabal’s men, "Abigail wasted no time." She gathered a lot of food and wine, loaded it on the donkeys and sent the servants with it ahead of her. She said nothing to Nabal. Abigail met David and his men coming toward her. She dismounted her donkey, fell at David’s feet and begged him to blame her instead of her husband, who she said was a fool. After her eloquent speech and great show of hospitality, David was greatly moved and changed his mind about killing Nabal’s men.
But that’s not the end of the story. When Abigail got home, her husband was holding a banquet and was drunk, so she waited until the next day to tell him what had happened. When Nabal heard the news, the Bible says he got a heart attack and died a few days later. When David heard that Nabal was dead, he sent for Abigail and married her.
Now let’s look at Jezebel. She was the wife of King Ahab, an evil man. But Jezebel surpassed her husband in doing evil. She killed the prophets and struck fear in Elijah’s heart when she threatened to kill him. Later she arranged to have Naboth stoned to death because he refused to sell his property to Ahab. She used her power and influence for her own gain, supporting her husband in his wrong doings. But in 11 Kings 9: 33, Jezebel dies a horrible death and the dogs ate her flesh, just as Elijah had prophesied.
What kind of woman are you? Whether you’re wealthy, in charge of a large corporation, doing a simple nine-to-five job or just a homemaker, you do have some influence. The Bible says when we try to manipulate others for our own ends we are practicing witchcraft, like Jezebel did. Which type of woman would you rather be? An Abigail or a Jezebel? You can be an Abigail and reap the rewards of the King in heaven, or you can be a Jezebel and reap the rewards of your father, the devil. It’s your choice.
Next week we’ll look at two other women and the choices they made. Let me hear your comments.

Saturday, March 05, 2005