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Esther

          As we read the Bible, we see how ordinary men became instruments of God’s plan for his people. The names of these men are remarkably familiar to us:  Abraham, Moses, Daniel, Paul, Peter, Joseph. We recognize these men instantly and can recall their faithfulness and heroic deeds. But, what about the women? They are mentioned less often, but one cannot read of the mighty deeds of the men of the Bible without recognizing the considerable contribution of women as well. In all, more than one hundred fifty women are mentioned in the Scriptures. Some are …

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Hannah

Women of Strength Hannah     1 Samuel 1:1 -2:21 The story of Samuel, the last Judge of Israel, cannot be told without mentioning his mother, Hannah. She was one of two wives of Elkanah and was childless, which caused Peninnah, Elkanah’s other wife, to ridicule Hannah. This left Hannah bereft and desperate. One day Hannah went with her husband to the temple to pray and offer a sacrifice. Overcome by her grief, she stood up and began to pray to the Lord for a son. She promised God that she would dedicate the child in service to him. She prayed silently, …

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Eunice and Lois

      The Strength of Women Eunice and Lois   In 2 Timothy, Paul writes to his “dear son” 2 Timothy 1;2, I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also. 2 Timothy 1:5. This short passage is easily overlooked. Eunice and Lois are not mentioned elsewhere, but Timothy, their grandson and son respectively, is a key figure in the New Testament. The strong spiritual influence of these women guided and inspired Timothy and his ministry. The old saying, “The …

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Mary and Martha

      Women of Strength Mary and Martha   Luke 10: 38-42 It is a familiar story. Jesus is at the home of Lazarus and his two sisters, Mary, and Martha. Other guests were present and Jesus was teaching. Martha was in the kitchen preparing several dishes for the special guest, but Mary was sitting near Jesus taking in every word he was saying. Frustrated that her sister wasn’t helping her, Martha complained to Jesus and asked him to make her sister help with the food preparation. Jesus answered Martha, but not in the way she expected. “Martha, Martha, you …

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The Women of Easter

  The Women of Easter Easter morning. Today, for Christians, that evokes images of an empty cross and empty tomb, lilies, hymns, and new outfits to wear to church. On the actual day when Jesus was raised from the dead, there were other images. Of course, there was the empty tomb, but there the similarities between then and now end. We, in the twenty-first century, have the advantage of time. We know what happened, the rest of the story. We know that Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah, the Christ. We have several translations of the Holy …

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Phoebe, Lydia and Claudia

Women of Strength Phoebe, Lydia, and Claudia As the new religion we now call Christianity spread throughout the Mediterranean region, Gentiles as well as Jews found comfort and meaning in the teachings of Jesus. Thanks to Paul and a few others, new churches were being founded in non-Jewish countries. Home churches were established first. A small group of like-minded people would gather to hear the Good News. As a Christian community grew churches were established, Leaders emerged in these churches and women were included in many church functions. I will highlight only three here, but there were others who paved …

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God’s Faithful Love

  There are times we believe we can go it alone. “I’ve got this, God,” we say. Life is going well and we think we don’t need God. We put God on a shelf and take Him down when we have a laundry list of ‘I wants’. The funny thing is that God isn’t really on that shelf. He is with us always; he never leaves us. How it must hurt him when we try to cope on our own and really mess things up. How much better the outcome would be if we would only include God from the …

The Rainbow

In ancient times, when God saw wickedness throughout his beautiful creation, he sent a flood to destroy everyone except a faithful few. Once the waters receded, God placed a rainbow in the sky as a sign of his covenant with Noah that he would never again destroy the earth by flood. I saw a rainbow yesterday and it reminded me of God’s promises. There are many in the Holy Scriptures. God’s promise to Noah is His promise to all of us. He doesn’t seek our destruction; he seeks our fulfillment in Him. As we admire the beautiful display of a …

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The God of Comfort

    Many times, when we think of God and his interactions with mankind, we remember some of the harsh punishments He inflicted such as when Moses was not permitted to enter the promised land because God was angry with the Hebrew people for their unfaithfulness, or the instances when invading nations were permitted by God to conquer the Hebrews because they had turned from God and were worshipping idols. Yes, God expects us to be obedient to Him and to worship no other gods, but God is compassionate as well. The Old and New Testaments are filled with examples …

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God Equips Us

  I took piano lessons from age nine to seventeen. I diligently practiced each piece my teacher gave me to learn, then moved on to the next and the next, and so on. By eighth grade, my piano teacher arranged for me to audition for a scholarship to a music conservatory. I played a Bach Invention and other pieces I can’t remember. The end result was an offer to study at the music conservatory as a full scholarship student. For the next three years, I studied and played the pieces required for entry to the conservatory once I graduated from …

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God Will Never Leave You

As Joshua stood ready to lead the Hebrews into the land promised by God, the responsibility of the task must have weighed heavily on his shoulders. Moses was dead and the mantle of leadership was passed to Joshua. I can’t imagine what was running through his head as he stood atop the mountain before proceeding with the entire population of Hebrews. He had been a witness to the mistakes made by Aaron and Moses and he probably wondered if he was up to the task. God must have known this was true because he sought to reassure Joshua of his …

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God Promises Everlasting Life

  “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 Were there ever any more comforting or hopeful words written than these? God loves us so much that he sacrificed his own Son for our sake.  Jesus came to us as Savior, Messiah, and teacher. Once his followers were ready to continue the ministry, Jesus went to the cross willingly. We read the words of John 3:16 frequently at church and in our own Bible studies. We even sing the words, but …