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I can’t remember a time when I did not think women were equal to men. My parents’ upbringing must have indoctrinated me before I was old enough to know that some people disagreed with them. What did my parents tell me? My guess is, it was never mentioned. But I clearly remember being impressed when I was very young with my father’s utter devotion to my mother and my thinking that girls and women were about as close to angels as you could get on earth. (My understanding has since expanded, but I still think some of them are.) Read more
Harriet had conscientiously served the ministry’s leaders, Rev. and Mrs. Smith, for twenty-five years. The Smiths were a godly couple, and their work for the Kingdom had flourished over the years. Theirs was a model of a faithful marriage, and they were seen as blessed by God. Working for the Smiths had not always been easy, but Harriet was deeply committed to the ministry. She had left once, but God made it clear that she was to return. God promised her that he understood, and that he would allow her to birth a project of her own that would be of value to the Kingdom. Read more
What does it take to be included in the Hebrews “Hall of Faith” (Heb. 11:1– 40)? How could anyone hope to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with such notables as Abel the righteous (Gen. 4:1–10; Matt. 23:35); Enoch who walked faithfully with God (Gen. 5:22–24); saintly Noah who was graced with the Lord’s favor (Gen. 6:8); Abraham and Sarah who believed against all odds that God’s promise was certain (Gen. 15:6; 21:1; 22:12); Moses the friend with whom God spoke face- to-face (Num. 12:6–8); Samuel who was respected for his integrity from Dan to Beersheba (1 Sam. 3:20); and King David, a man after God’s heart (1 Sam. 16:7; Acts 13:22). The inspired list goes on to name a total of sixteen men and women, including Deborah’s military general, Barak (Judg. 4–5). All of these are commended for their faith, true heroes of whom “the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:38). In contrast to many of the others in the Hebrews list, we are not told exactly what Barak did to demonstrate his extraordinary faith. But, thankfully, the account of his work under Deborah, the respected prophet and judge, in Judges 4–5 provides helpful clues to answer this question from the Scripture. Read more
I believe that left-handed people are fully capable and called by God for ministry. I believe left-handed people can serve in ordained ministry or any other capacity, just as right-handed people can. However, some oppose left-handers. They believe that God made left- and right-handers equal in essence only, while denying them access to certain vocations. Ordained ministry is for the right-handers only, as the claim goes. Believe it or not, the Bible does portray left-handers in ministry. Take Judges 3:15: “Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer — Ehud, a left-handed man...” I’m guessing you have never heard of Ehud, I know I hadn’t until I met a few left-handers trying to respond to their calling…. Read more
A few years ago, the leaders of a major denomination struggled with the issue of women in their executive leadership ranks. Women could be ordained as pastors but could not ascend to the next level of clergy leadership, District Elder. Through the years more women began to call for a shattering of the “stained-glass ceiling”1 that prevented them from assuming key decision-making roles. Finally, at the denomination’s annual convention of clergy, a series of policy resolutions were debated. Many of the current leaders advocated that women should be elevated to the next level of leadership but must be given a title other than District Elder. Two women delegates were given permission to address the Board of Directors. These two women boldly represented the sentiments of a vast number of women of this denomination. Read more
Growing up, my father’s esteem was the most important in my life. Throughout my childhood I attempted to meet — and exceed — his expectations for me. I longed for his approval. If he thought I was smart, I was. If he thought I was pretty, I was. If he thought I was worthy of love, I was. My father’s sense of who I was shaped who I wanted to be. And it shaped who I wanted to be with. Whether a girl’s relationship with her father was good or bad, existent or not, he is still the first man in her life. As girls move from child-hood to adolescence to adulthood, their fathers are often the first people they turn to discover their worth. Read more
Did you know that the Bible is filled with single people who were loved, called and used by God? Whether prophets or widows, eunuchs or church leaders, these single souls served God “with gladness and singleness of heart.” And the greatest among them was the Son of God. Read more
“Can you stay late again tonight to help me work out one last kink in the budget?” Pastor Keith gently urged Sarah from the doorway of her office. Sarah glanced at her watch, then back at Keith. His big blue eyes won again. “Sure, I’ll come to your office as soon as I make a quick call home.” Her heart began to race a little. She had worked for other pastors before, but never had one of them appreciated her as much as Keith did. She really felt special around him. “Great!” he beamed as he gave her a wink and big smile. By the time Sarah had cleared her desk, made the call and joined him, all the other staff members had gone home. As she entered his office, he jumped up and offered her a chair beside his desk. “You’re an incredible woman, Sarah. You’re the best administrator this church has ever had. Besides that, you bring me more joy than you can imagine!” Keith exclaimed. After that last comment, his face clouded and he added, just above a whisper, “I wish I could say that about my wife.” That she could mean so much to Keith touched Sarah deeply. How she longed to save him from the heartache he was experiencing in his marriage... Read more
Sister Peng pays a high price to be a Christian in China. She has been arrested many times, and she will go to jail again if the police catch her preaching the gospel. Forced to live as a fugitive, she must sneak into her home at night to visit her husband and young daughter. The first time Peng was taken into custody, just after the Tienanmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989, she was delivering a fresh shipment of Chinese Bibles to some unregistered pastors. She was thrown into a dirty detention cell and tortured with an electric cattle prod in an effort to force a confession of her “crimes.” She shivered in that cell for months. Guards offered no coats, blankets or feminine hygiene supplies. “For eight months I had no contact with anyone. I just ate soup in my cell,” Peng told me when I visited China three years ago. “It is really God’s mercy that he fed me and kept me warm.”  Read more
The first-century Middle-Eastern world that Jesus experienced in the flesh was a patriarchal culture several millennia old. Although Jewish patriarchy had been shaped by the Law of Moses early on, its views about women had become distorted over time in its oral traditions, or midrashim, and were often influenced by neighboring cultures such as that of the Greeks. Read more

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