Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Jesus & the Value of a Woman

Among the nations of the world there are many that do not allow women to drive, own property or even vote.  Not to mention the global multi-billion dollar sex trafficking industry that traffics women 98% of the time.


Despite where the world still is in its treatment of women, it has taken a tremendous leap forward in the last 100 years.  In America, their place and value is nothing like it was in 1850.  However, long before the establishment of the women’s suffrage movement they had a powerful advocate in the first century - Jesus.  Here are five ways in which He gave value and purpose to all women.   



Defense.  Jesus had celebrity status easily gathering crowds in the thousands around Him.  They hung on His every word.  Through His platform of influence He defended women when society tried to demean and dismiss them.


Challenging the status quo.  Jesus put His life and reputation on the line challenging the unjust ways in which women were treated during His day.  Though knowingly opposing cultural rules He became a voice for the voiceless.       



Equality.  Jesus demonstrated that women were as equally valuable as men.  He saw no difference in a man’s worth over a woman’s.  Both were created and loved by God.   



Compassion.   Jesus showed kindness toward women of all ranks in society - upper, middle and lower classes.  He offered peace, hope and freedom to all women who would choose to believe in Him with all their heart.



Accountability.  Even though Jesus offered promise to women, He also called them to repentance.  He realized true freedom is not just found in changing laws or cultural ideals.  He offered liberation of the soul through forgiveness of sin.  When women are delivered from sin they receive a new mind and heart and a new future that lasts for eternity. 



Jesus and those who follow His example offer a message to women around the world.  Those in abusive relationships, oppressive cultures and feeling on the fringe of society, can find worth in Christ.  While publicly standing against one woman’s accusers Jesus said to her “‘Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?’  She said, ‘No one, Lord.’  And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more’” (John 8:10-11).  As Jesus championed this lady’s worth, He calls upon all men everywhere to honor the God-given value that women inherently posses.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Weakness of Power

President Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.”  No matter if someone is a leading political official, the top of a successful company, or even a parent they all have something in common.  Their position comes with power.

The need for responsible management of power is essential because it is in our human nature to use it for personal gain, and that is when self-preserving actions are taken to assert and retain it.  In the short term, these moves may bring success, however, in the long term they will bring destruction. 

These scheming efforts result from a poisonous cocktail all power-hungry people drink. It is a potent mixture of pride, arrogance and selfishness along with a shot of greed.  Interestingly though, rather than securing their position with power moves, over time, it weakens it so what they have built will mercilessly be ripped from their fingers in embarrassment and shame.     

Imagine if someone occupied a seat of power from the mindset of serving rather than receiving, humility rather than pride, generosity rather than greed?  What if they never operated out of a self-preservation motive?  What if they did what was right, good and just even if they knew it might cost them their position?

There is an example of someone who did lead that way – Jesus.  In three years, He rose from an obscure carpenter to one of the most powerful and influential figures of His day.  Today, nearly 2,000 years later, His name is known worldwide and the movement He started, Christianity, numbers in the billions of followers. 

Jesus made a startling statement that reveals His unique style of leadership, “For even the Son of Man [Jesus] came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). 

What would happen to our world if people in positions of power led in the example of Jesus?  Imagine the difference it would make.  May those with great power exercise great responsibility.  May leaders choose to humble themselves before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, calling upon Him to change their hearts and thereby change the culture of the family, organization or nation they lead. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Day God Died . . .

The day God died. The statement itself sounds odd. How could God die? Is not that what makes God, God? Immorality? Yet, when we speak of the annual Easter celebration we are talking about remembering His death.        

Jesus was considered by many of His followers to be God of heaven and earth in human flesh. Then He died a scandalous, torturous death. No doubt it left His followers confused and perplexed. How could someone who claimed to be God and did all sorts of miracles to verify it literally die before their very eyes?

Every one of us is uniquely born for a purpose. Some totally miss it while others fulfill their destiny. Jesus was no different. Before His birth it was spoken that "he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). This divine mission would bring hope to hundreds of thousands during His own generation and billions over the next two millennium. However, this mission had a high cost. It required Jesus willingly lay down His life under the most inhuman of circumstances. The provision for this forgiveness of the sins mandated it

Sin is many things. It is the pride, selfishness and rebelliousness of a person’s heart. It shows itself in practical ways through lying, sexual immorality or unforgiveness. Ultimately, it is a darkness that lay in each heart human that required the greatest force in the universe to advance against it - Jesus and His cross.

He humbly laid His life down on that cross and only He could have done it. As God Himself, He was sinless, perfect, without any fault. One sinner could not provide forgiveness for another sinner. Only a perfect man could provide forgiveness for an imperfect one. Jesus was humanity’s only hope. He lay Himself down to become mankind’s sin-bearer. He who was without sin willingly bore the sin of the world.

God gave of Himself, for His own creation. Why did He go to such lengths? Love. He saw where the path of a self-righteous and wicked heart led. The destruction it created in this life and the eternal pain in led to in the next. Compelled by love God died . . . then rose again. Yes! He rose from the grave defeating the power of sin while securing forgiveness for all who call upon Him in belief and repentance. Let the greatest power in the universe sweep clean the darkness of your soul today and bring new life.     

Monday, February 1, 2016

Casinos, Lotteries & Online Gaming – All a Pack of Lies

Gambling is a worldwide activity that has been around for much of human history.  However, in modern times it has scaled like never before due to technology and public acceptance.  Elected officials see the financial benefit of gambling, making it more accessible, and the church has muted its opposition.     
  
The gambling industry in partnership with government and business have conspired together to produce a masterful public relations strategy.  It promotes gambling as a fun recreational activity that also provides needed public funding for education or other worthy causes.     

On the surface it all seems innocent, but at its core gambling is a wretched vice.  This evil is built on a flashy, well-orchestrated scheme of stealing.  Except, rather than doing it secretively, players willingly fork over their cash hand over fist.  They give the card dealer, the grocery store clerk or the online website their hard earned income in return for a false hope of a jackpot rarely seen.      

This devilish vice has been destroying lives for centuries and now more than ever.  According to a Gambling treatment organization, over 80% of Americans have gambled on some level foolishly giving over $500 billion to these crafty thieves.  On top of that it costs our economy over $40 billion, which comes from credit losses to businesses due to a gamblers unpaid debt and for the expense of social services to get them help.  Additionally, gambling can lead to job loss, bankruptcy, fraud, depression, suicide, alcohol and drug abuse and much, much more.  Get the picture?  Every time I watch a TV add extolling the virtues of gambling I yell “It’s a lie!”  Ask any family member of someone who has a gambling problem if they think it is just a “harmless recreational activity that is for the good of the economy and jobs.” 

The Scripture is spot on when it comes to gambling saying, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs” (1 Timothy 6:10).  The love of money drives this evil and its misplaced love has caused people to wander away from their jobs, families and God. 

Yes, our businesses and families need to make an income to survive, but let us do it with a moral conscience.  Do what is wise, right and good.  Start by turning to God for His help in providing answers where there is financial need, no matter if it is in the hundreds or millions of dollars.  Then let us patiently wait for His answer, turning from relying on our own wisdom.  Real hope is not found in dollars and cents but in Almighty God who is Creator and Owner of all.