What We Can Do

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   The state of New York passed abortion legislation on January 22nd, 2019 legalizing  abortion up to 9 months gestation. Ironically, this date also marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Social media is in full attack mode…

      I have read many conversations, most of which would not pass for conversation but instead people on both sides of the issue yelling at each other through social media. This issue is deeply personal for some and deeply emotional for most, and one post I read on Facebook summed up what I think many probably feel: pro-choice individuals feel like pro-life individuals  couldn’t care less about women who have been raped or face the choice of carrying a baby full term that will have little or no chance of any quality of life, and pro-life individuals believe that it is the agenda of pro-choice individuals to, simply put, murder babies.

       I think that neither of these statements represent what most people think about this issue. While there are always extremes on either side pro-choice or pro-life, I believe people on one side struggle with deciding if it’s okay to end the life of a child, and people on the other side care about the mother who faces a difficult, devastating decision.

I am pro-life.

I believe that all life is precious.

     However, if I care about the mom who faces a difficult choice or has perhaps made a choice that would not align with what I believe to be right, I think that’s where I and everyone else who feels strongly about the right for a child to see life, can ask the question “what can I do?” The next question should be “what can we do, if we believe that these little ones are precious and should be protected?” How do we we speak as scripture instructs for those “who cannot speak for themselves”?

        Maybe we begin by showing compassion.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that even if we speak with the language of men and angels or (my emphasis added) we are sure that we represent the right view, if we do not do it with love we are just making noise. I believe there are several areas where we have the opportunity to show compassion.

When we as Christians (followers of Christ) are the loudest voice in the room (or Facebook), announcing our convictions to whoever may be listening, is our conversation guided by compassion? When we speak through a variety of medias to let everyone know what we think, do we really know who our audience is?

Possibly, it’s someone who is pregnant due to a variety of circumstances, maybe by choice, maybe not…

                        Possibly, it’s someone who is in conflict over what to do…

 Possibly, it’s someone who has received the news that their baby has medical conditions that will make a normal quality of life impossible .

Possibly, it is someone who has already had an abortion, devastated by the choices that they made, whatever the reason.

 

If it were you in any of these situations, who would you want to confide in and discuss your situation with? Is it the person who shouts the loudest that you are wrong and possibly bound for hell because of your choices? Is it the person who can back up their thoughts with chapter and verse, but offer little in the way of understanding and grace? (See John 8:1-11) Or is it the people who support your decision and are willing to go to the mat to defend it? Sadly as people who have received much grace and forgiveness we often find ourselves in the seat of the first two scenarios. And leave support to those are the other side.

I am not defending abortion.

As I stated earlier, I am pro-life. But in one of the biggest issues of our time really for the last 45 years I believe that this issue should be approached with the same grace and love that we have all been extended for our shortcomings.

What can we do?

Compassion is the most important but there are practical things as well.

1. Whether it be your daughter, a friend, or someone you don’t even know, be that person they can confide in. We live in a sexually-charged culture. Hooking up is a big part of our social scene regardless of age. Pregnancies are often not intended but they happen. We the followers of Christ need to be the ones that people feel comfortable talking to when that happens.

2. Get involved. Do you know where the local Pregnancy Care Centers are? People have been quick to picket Planned Parenthood, but are you just as willing to volunteer and support your local alternatives to Planned Parenthood? Are you willing to get involved in youth groups or  young adult groups in any forum where you have the opportunity to listen and to help?

3. Adopt – if you are in a place where you can do it. If you can’t, become a foster parent. Many young women elect to carry their children to conception but find themselves unable to care for them once the baby is born. There are many groups that advocate and prepare you for adoption or foster care.

4. Pray. Pray for your pastors and church leaders that they would have the courage to speak up in a way that is welcoming and not condemning to those who may be considering abortion or who have already had one. There is no sin that is beyond forgiveness. Pray for leaders in our nation that would be willing to stand for the rights of the unborn and not be swayed by opinion or votes.

And finally, remember everyone is precious and loved even those you don’t agree with. We cannot cease to fight for the life of these little ones. But if want a voice to speak we have to do things differently.

Your opinion may be right, but does it make a difference?

emoji by the Babylon Bee. Great Christian satire.

Continue reading “What We Can Do”

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Weariness

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There are times when you just feel weary.

Weariness a runner feels after running hard and the finish line is not in sight.

Weariness a soldier feels when the battle goes on and on and the victory is not sure.

Weariness we feel when we have trusted God for an answer that hasn’t come.

It’s more than physical weariness. It is fatigue that affects  you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. That leads to discouragement, discouragement that leads to doubt, doubt that left unchecked can lead us to a complete loss of and absence of hope. A reluctance to experience any more. Despair.

Many of us have been in that place. The place where despite our prayers and what we know to be true we are not sure if it will turn out OK, if our prayers will be answered and ultimately leads us to doubt God. I do not believe God is surprised by this or that He is angry or disappointed when it happens. In what would seem to be a contradiction it is in these times when our faith or trust is at its weakest God is most willing to help us.

“Lord I believe. help me with my unbelief”  Mark 9:24

In this story a father brings his young son who is possessed by an unclean spirit to Jesus. He tells Jesus about his son and asks “can you help us?” I can almost feel the pain and the discouragement this father feels as he asks this question. Everything he has tried, even the prayers of the disciples has failed to bring any relief to his son. “I have tried everything” he cries. “If there is anything you can do please have pity on us and help us”.*

Jesus asks, What do you mean, “If there is anything?” All things are possible if only you believe. The man replies in desperation “I believe Lord.  Help me to believe. Lord help me believe what I struggle to believe”* and despite his lack of faith the spirit is cast out by Jesus, the boy is free

Consider for a moment what the apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:8

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.*

This is the same Paul who had a personal encounter with Jesus, who performed miracles, helped lay the foundation for the church that we all benefit from today, Paul who wrote much of the New Testament and he is saying “we were under great pressure in Asia, utterly at a loss .” We thought we were toast.

I believe Paul wanted us to know that even though they were spiritual leaders they were not immune to despair or the feeling of uncertainty, doubt, discouragement in the midst of trouble. He is saying “We had one of those times in Asia where we felt overwhelmed, in over our heads to the point we were ready to give up and accept what we felt was imminent.”

Death.

But in the following verse Paul writes this: “We told ourselves that this was the end. Yet we believe now that we had this experience of coming to the end of our tether (rope) that we might learn to trust, not in ourselves, but in God who can raise the dead”.**

In this story and in the story of the little boy we see God who meets us where we are and provides what we need. And in this we are taught the one thing we do need. Trust in God.

For the man who didn’t have the faith to believe, despite this God does what no one else could and sets the little boy free. Trust in God.

For Paul and his companions who were certain they would die God who can raise the dead  delivers them from death. Trust in God.

For us when we come to the place where we don’t know if we can finish the race, if we will win the battle, if we can stand, God helps us to trust not in ourselves but to, Trust in God.

Weariness, doubt, discouragement, even despair will come from time to time. In his sermon this week my pastor said ” There are times we when we have to focus on the good and not allow ourselves to be distracted by the bad.  We have to get a hold of ourselves and focus on what God has done.”

There are four things he suggested that will help us

Remember God is in control-Romans 8:28

Remember God has promised us victory-2 Corinthians 2:14

Remember our responsibilty-2 Corinthians 2:15

Remember God has equipped us-2 Corinthians 3:5-6

 

These are additional scriptures for avoiding weariness. A little encouragement for the journey!

Hebrews 12:2

Isaiah 40:29-31

Ephesians 6:10-11

Psalm 121:1-2

I look up at the vast size of the mountains—
from where will my help come in times of trouble?
The Eternal Creator of heaven and earth and these mountains
will send the help I need.*

  •  *copyright-The Voice Bible
  • **copyright-J.B. Phillips “The New Testament in Modern English”

On Behalf of Mark Driscoll’s Children

It breaks my heart every time this happens whatever the reason might be. I do not know Mark personally, have never met him. I do know that although I did not agree with him on every point, he spoke into my life and I was encouraged by his teaching. He was one who despite the rough edges I was thankful to have as a brother. Despite his failings and the call for him to step down, he is still loved by the One who died for all of our sins and failures. And he is still a brother. The blog posted here shares wisdom from someone who watched a loved one go through the shame and heartbreak. It would be worth your time to read.

On Behalf of Mark Driscoll’s Children.

 

 

Footprints

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A friend of mine was leaving on a missions trip to Belize. I sent a message to say that I was praying for safe travel and blessings for the trip and then I added that my hope was that in his travels he would “leave the footprints of Jesus.”

 As I was writing I thought about different types of footprints. Footprints you leave when you are walking on the beach, footprints we left on Mom’s clean floors. There are footprints that leave visible signs of where you have been, there are some that do not.

 

 

In our world today it is trendy to talk about carbon footprint, business footprint, fossil footprint, ecological footprint, and all manner of footprints.

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In Ephesians 6 we see that part of our spiritual armor is to have our feet covered by the Gospel of Peace to leave footprints of “Good News”.

But what does it look like to “leave the footprints of Jesus”?

Consider Jesus’ observations in Matthew 25:34-36

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

There are many ways this plays out in your world and mine. In our homes, in our families, at our jobs, in our churches, and wherever we encounter people.

The question is; do our footprints lead to or away from the needs you see in a dying and hurting world?

Are you leaving the footprints of Jesus?