.........................."We must be global Christians with a global vision because our God is a global God." - John Stott

Saturday, January 31, 2009

God's Work in Even the Most Disorganized of Lives: Part Two

Continued from Part I

The next day, Wednesday, when I was somewhere in Utah, I called Roland. He told me the surgery appointment had been changed to next Wednesday. Rats! After all the trouble to make the bus!

But I had made the bus. And for that, I think there was a reason. Could it have been just for the joy of Thursday, sitting on my couch with 11-year-old Melissa brushing my hair and 8-year-old Sarah putting lotion on my feet?

No, there has to be a deeper reason than that.

One interesting event is that after Roland picked me up early at the bus station Thursday morning, we all went out to breakfast. After breakfast, we got back into the car, tired and ready to go back to bed. But the car wouldn't start. It didn't seem to be getting any gas, and then the battery began to die. While Roland was trying and trying to get it started, I tried to think of other things. And I prayed. While praying, I notice a man go into the restaurant. He was carrying a book. Roland tried the car again. The battery sounds near dead now.

What do we do about the car? We can't call someone from home to come help us in town. It's not even 7am yet! I went back into the restaurant, looked in the yellow pages and tried the pay phone. But none of the "service" stations I called actually come out and do service any more. That's what they told me anyway. So what do we do? I called another station. No one answered.

"Lord, why is this happening? You know Roland and I are both at the ends of our ropes already. Why add another thing? We're going to fall apart! Please help us get home."

In everything give praise. "Okay. I'm trying to sing that song, Rejoice, rejoice." Can't remember all the words though. "Rejoice, in the Lord...Rejoice, in the Lord..."

I stand in the restaurant and see a group of men at a back table. The man with the book is with them.

"Waitress, are they having a Bible study back there?"


Praise God! I walk back. Slowly and quietly though. I don't want to be a disruptive. At least, anymore than I have to be. Four feet from them, I stop and wait. One looks up; "can we help you?" (Why do I always feel like crying at times like this?) (Don’t worry, I didn't. I just felt like it.)

I tell them our car trouble, and immediately two get up and come. They aren't able to get our car jump started though. There's something wrong with the fuel pump or filter, maybe. Maybe we need to call the dealer.

Okay. Then I ask, "Are you already through with devotions?"

"No, we've just begun. Would you like to join us?"

Yes. Roland and I say we would like to. So we go back in with them, and have a really great study. Roland participated in the discussion and prayed with them and it was great. (I also, actually, got a couple nagging questions answered. 2 Cor. 5:17, in the koine Greek, actually says BECOMING. NOT a sudden transformation. This was offered by one of the men without my even asking.)

The devotions over, a third man says he's going to look at the car. He even goes to his own car and gets coveralls. Another man brings a box of tools.

While they are working, I have further discussion with a fourth man in the lobby of the restaurant. He's a retired pastor. He tells me that just before I came in, they had finished reading the verses about gladly helping brothers that are in trouble. They had all thought it was pretty funny when I came in and asked for help directly after that.

Oh my. Oh My Lord Jesus, thank you.

A few minutes later, our car was running. It still needed a new part, but it would get us home. Seems like we just weren't supposed to leave that restaurant that day without getting our morning devotions done.

It might still take awhile to figure out just why I came home early. I can think of lots of reasons, but don't know the Lord's reason yet. For that matter, it's going to take awhile to figure out what the whole Mexico trip was about. I'm suspecting that, as usual, there's a whole lot more to it then meets the eye. Praise God.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

God's Work in Even the Most Disorganized of Lives: Part One

I had walked across the bridge to El Paso on Tuesday morning just to call home and see how Roland's appointment went on Monday. I had to cross the border at 7am because Perla was crossing at that time and I caught a ride with her to the border. But I got out prior to the bridge and walked over on my own so as not to slow her down. (She had a special crossing pass).

It wasn't that hard to pass the guards. There was a line, but once I got to the guard, all I needed was my driver's license. No birth certificate. Well... a birth certificate might have helped me a little. He asked where I was born, and, my mind on a million other things, first I said Minnesota. Then I changed it to Rhode Island. Then I finally remembered and settled on Long Island. Yes, that was it. Long Island.

Hmmm. Any security conscience person should have pulled me aside right there. But no. As long as I was sure it was Long Island, it was okay and I could go through.

I walked a few blocks into El Paso until I found a nice park to sit and wait at. I didn't want to call Roland too early and wake him up. But it was a very nice morning and I bought a paper and caught up on US news. But when I began calling, I couldn't get ahold of Roland. My card wouldn't connect with the our home area as long as I was on a pay phone. (Don’t ask me why, that's just what I was told by the company)

I eventually walked to a bank and used one of their phones.

He told me that he was going to have a catheter put in to a main artery. His arms weren't good enough anymore for receiving the chemotherapy. From my past medical experience, I remembered that this type of catheter had to be kept sterile at all times because of its direct connection to the heart. In nursing homes, we used to clean these things every shift. So I was concerned. Who would be home to take care of it for him?

He said it was going in on Thursday at noon. We debated whether I should come home. It took a little while to talk about it. I couldn't decide, although I really wanted to go. I didn't like the idea of Roland going home with the catheter and not having anyone there to care for it.

But the time, we had finished talking, it was all ready 11:30 am. We decided I should call greyhound and find out details. Greyhound said that the bus that would get me home on time if I left El Paso at 1:30 pm that day. Only two hours away.

To catch that bus seemed impossible. I would have to walk back to the bridge, (which is about two blocks long?) cross it, get back to the children's home I was helping at and gather my belongings, get back to the bridge and walk across it again, stopping in a line for US customs and how ever long that would take, and then find the El Paso bus station. There's no way I could do that in just two hours. Less then two hours now, the more we debated.

After I got off the phone, I wondered what to do next. I tried to find a way to call the children's home, but the bank clerk told me she didn't know how to call Mexico. I called my Bible college and spoke to the Dean, then I tried calling my pastor to get money for my ticket, but his line was busy. I don't know how much time I was wasting.

So I called Roland back. He told me to try for the 1:30 bus, and if I didn't make it, catch the 9pm. He would call Pastor about the ticket. Okay. Nothing to do then but try.

So without even looking at the clock, I left. I didn't want to know the time. I walked quickly, but was surprised to see just how far I had come into El Paso that morning. When you are meandering with no goal in mind, you can actually travel pretty far. I finally came to the bridge and crossed it. No Mexican border guard spoke to me. I didn't even see any. But I did see a taxi on the other side. I only had about $17 dollars on me, but decided I had better take the taxi if I was going to make it on time.

Standing on the sidewalk, I asked the driver how much it would be to get to Juventud con Vision, and back, roound trip. He spoke in Spanish to a woman sitting in the front seat next to him. She puffed on her cigarette and then answered him in Spanish. Turning to me, he told me in broken English $15 for the round trip.

Okay. I have that. I got in.

He pulled out and went the opposite way.

"No, No!” I said 'Municipalo Libre' street. Or something like that."

"Si, Si." He said. Look, I may not know the names of these roads, but I know which direction they are in! Oh, what should I do? Get out? But I've never seen this neighborhood. I don't know where I was!

I sat tight hoping I would recognize something soon. Soon I did, and I told him to take a left. I was able to give him directions from there. Safely at the children's home, the cab waited while I ran in to get my things. The staff was very kind. They didn't ask many questions and were very helpful to getting me back on the road quickly. They even gave me some more money for the trip. That was a very helpful relief. Mrs. Stalwick also advised me to take only what I really needed. She would see to the rest. Okay. My computer and the souvenirs for the kids. Oh yes, and a hair brush.

So back into the taxi, he again turned a direction opposite to what I expected. Wait! Where are you going! The bridge is that way!

"Si, Si." He turned onto a road I'd never seen before and continued on his way. To my relief, I eventually saw the bridge. He stopped at a curb and I handed him my $15. "No,” he says. “ $20.” His girlfriend indicated it was a long ride.

No, I think to myself. I could have given him more from the money the Stalwicks had given me, but it was a single large bill and I didn't want him to know how much I had. Besides, a deal is a deal and he made it a long route on his own. I gave him the $17 and told him that was it. He grumbled and I got out of the car.

I hurried across the long bridge. The line at US customs seemed slow and long. But I never looked at the clock. I didn't want to know the time. It would only give me heartache to know.

Once past the guards, (no birth questions this time) I asked for directions to the bus station. Pastor Stalwick had thought it would be about three blocks. He was right about the direction it was in, but it was maybe 6 or 7 blocks away. My feet were really hurting by the time I made into the station, at 1:15 pm. I don't think I had walked this far in one day in years.

1:15 pm! Can you believe it?

But now I have to find out if I even have a ticket, and there was a line there, as well. A disheveled man standing in front of me kept swearing to himself. Sometimes he turned and stared straight at me. Long stares. I kept my eyes in the other direction and just prayed.
I couldn't keep my eyes from darting at the clock now. Twenty after. Then twenty-five after. Twenty-six after. I kept trying to tell myself that if I make the bus, I make the bus. Either way it goes, it's in the Lord's hands. I shouldn't worry about it because whatever happens, it's up to God. (I had to keep telling myself these things)

Finally, at twenty-seven after, a clerk nods at me to come up.

"Is there a ticket here for me?"

The man clicks the keyboard a couple times and looks it at the monitor. He asks the man next to him some questions. It appears that my clerk is new on the job. He needs help looking for the ticket.

"How do you spell your last name?" he asks me. I don't even want to look at the clock again. I pull out my driver's license to make things easier for him.

The next thing I know, he's printing the ticket out. I grab it from him and run...to which direction. I don't know. The direction that looked good. But my tired feet, not used to walking, balked at running and the next thing I knew they were tangled on each other and I was flat on my face with my computer sliding away in one direction and the souvenirs in another.

"Are you okay, Honey?"

"Si, Si. Which way is the bus to Montana?"

Well, there is no bus to Montana. I need another minute to figure out I'm going to Phoenix, and THEN up to Montana. But all that said...I made it just in time.

More to Come...Part II

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Did the Good Samaritan Have Anything Else to Do That Day?

A friend once related that while going to Bible school, he witnessed a lack of boldness within some missionary students. They were claiming they couldn’t help with the street ministry on weekends because of the large amounts of school work they had to do. Well, if they were too busy to do it while in school, these same people would continue to be “too busy’ and lack boldness when you got to foreign soil.

I thought that statement was so interesting. I loved our Pastor in Montana. He was great with the kids, kept his sermons both interesting and relevant, and was busy with all kinds of activities and events. He had a great Awana group going in our church, had just finished giving us a four day Missionary conference, and had gotten the Woman’s Alliance up and running again, among many other things. But there’s one thing he lacked, and that was the time to just sit down and talk with people. "Your a great man," I’ve told him, “but it’s impossible to get a minute of your time.” He agreed. “But we will do it soon,” he said.

Does it matter to you what kind of witness you are of Christ, right here, right now? Do you feel if you help at church and rub shoulders with some kids in the youth group or organized an Ice Cream Social, that you have done your work as a witness for the week?

Yes, we're all busy. But that's not an excuse. An amazing Missionary by the name of Otto Koning told about how after many years, he finally learned to give up his “right to time” and simply take care of the things put before him by the Lord, as senseless as those tasks seemed to him at the time. The amazing thing, though, was that after he gave up the right to his time and went ahead with the tasks the Lord had laid, the Lord Blessed it, and he had time more abundantly.

THAT is interesting.

Does anyone have any idea what it means to “shepherd”? Do you understand that the Shepherd didn’t look after just those sheep who were good and kept right where they were supposed to be, but that he went looking for the lost? And not only did he look for them, but when he found them, he picked them up and carried them back on his shoulders? What does that action mean for us? What does it mean for us to pick a lost lamb up and carry it home? Does it mean giving up the previous plans we had that day? Giving up rights to our time and energy? Does it mean... maybe even carrying the weight of that lost lamb until the lamb is able to stand on it’s feet again?

Think about it. What about the Good Samaritan? Luke 10:30 - 37 tells us the story of a man who was on the ground, beaten and left for dead. Two men, a priest and Levite crossed to the other side of the road rather then deal with him.

We all tell ourselves that we would never do that.

But have we ever thought about what those men were thinking? Maybe they had appointments. Maybe they thought he was drunk. Maybe they couldn’t risk being late by spending time on a person who probably brought his predicament all on himself!

No one can know what they thought, but it doesn’t matter to us, because we think we'd never be like them. But we are like them everyday.

Further, we don’t know what the Good Samaritan was thinking. Was he free for the afternoon, or did he also have appointments? Did his effort with the beaten man make him late, or ruin his pre-planned afternoon? And was the Samaritan rich or poor? Was the money he gave the innkeeper all he had, or did he have plenty? Did it matter to him?

Would it make a difference to you?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hey, Parents! Think About Your Kid

Continued from Hey Kids! Listen to Your Parents!

Types of Obedience We Parents Can Expect from Our Children:

Normal expectations include little things, such as to sit still and listen in church, do their chores, and get up for school on time.

But MOST IMPORTANT is to listen to, respect and obey their elders, because if they can do that, other good behavior can fall into place.

Some good rules to help set boundaries for the kids are hard for non-christians and even some Christian parents to understand, especially with how our media and society has begun to expect that risky and even bad behavior is some kind of norm for teenagers.

Well, other parents can go ahead and allow their children to take certain risks with their lives and then try to correct whatever errors the child has made by helping them get abortions, drug counseling and bail from jail. I prefer to help my child overcome temptations by simply not setting them in bad situations to begin with.

My kids are a treasure. I like to treat them as such. Look at the below rules not in the light of what others might think, but what really is best for your child's emotional, physical and spiritual growth. For example;

The six-inch rule is a must. Teenagers many times just don’t understand the problems that result from close physical contact. There is no need for the girls to be sitting on the guys laps. End of Story.

Discourage the opposite sex from calling just to chat you preteens and young teens. They can call about homework, etc, but despite what popular culture pushes, you really don’t want a more personal relationship to develop with just one person of the opposite sex yet. Discourage long chats on the phone.

Don't allow dating until the age of 16, or later if we feel they are not ready for it. Even at that age, dating should be in groups rather than one on one. A young person needs to grow in maturity before they can understand and relate in a special way to someone else. As Dr. Dobson of “Focus on the Family wrote, Young people “never know each other as well as they think they do. That’s because the dating relationship is designed to conceal information, not reveal it.” It’s hard enough to really figure each other out when you’re 20 and even 30. It’s impossible for young teenagers.

Ann Landers once had in her column a letter about a young couple that had dated five years, all through high school and then were married. Their marriage lasted only 5 weeks. Why? How did that happen? I saw the same thing happen in my high school. The bottom line was that once this tender-hearted and kind couple began dating in 9th grade, the girl never had the heart to hurt the boy through the next 4 years. So although she wasn’t in a relationship she really wanted, she kept it up, not knowing how to back out. The longer they were together, the harder it became to back away. Don't set your kid up. Give them the comfort of rules and boundaries so they don't have to feel stuck in a situation that they aren't ready for.

Our children were encouraged not to even kiss until their wedding day. The wedding ceremony, with the final kiss, is truly one of the most beautiful events that can happen in your life. We didn’t want them to ruin it with cheap and unfulfilling imitations.

We also encouraged them to seek Christian mates. From our own experience and the things we’ve seen in life, they and their children would be much happier if they begin marriage on a firm foundation. We wanted our children to be as happy as possible.

That said, we have a huge opposing force in this society. Kids can't watch TV, magazine ad, or movies without seeing sex constantly and there is virtually no way to shield kids from it. If they don't see it at your house, they'll frequently see it at the neighbors. Even the school. So I have to admit, we had lofty goals that not every child has been able to meet. Still, that doesn't mean the goals were wrong. It means we simply have a huge fight in this country over the influence of our children.

Our goals; we wanted our children to enjoy childhood. In truth, it’s much more fun to be able to enjoy your classmates as friends for as long as possible, without the pressure of worrying about whether or not someone likes you or who is going out with whom, or who will get jealous if you talk to that other person. If we take the dating game out of the picture, our children can feel free to continue having simple fun with everyone. Some of our older children didn't understand and had a struggle with that, but not all have. My eigth-grader right now does in fact feel better without the pressure and has expressed that. Apparently, her class has lots of difficulties with dating, jealousies, pettiness, and drama. (Junior High drama. Is there anything worse?) She's very glad not to be a part of it.

Prov. 22:5, "In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Hey, Kid! Listen to Your Parents: Part Two -

Continued from Part I

Obedience is a Blessing.

The book of Proverbs is filled with admonishments to listen to your father, seek wisdom, and shun folly. Proverbs 4:1 “Here ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.” According to Proverbs 3:1-2, Obeying your parents will bring you peace and good life. "My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity."

For one, obeying parents brings you physical protection. Rules put up borders that keep you out of dangerous situations. “Don’t sit on the railing” is a good rule to have when you’re 15 stories above the pavement.

I remember when one of my daughters was a year and a half and we were camping at Glacier Park. Anyone that's camped at Glacier knows that sometimes you're lucky to get any kind of spot at all, let alone find a perfect one. Our campsite was not only close to the road, but cars came around a tree lined curve and couldn’t see us until they were right in front. While we were setting up the tent, I kept an eye on little girl, just waiting for her to make a move toward the road. As soon as she did, I spanked her once, good and hard. Then I went back to work and watcdhed her again. Sure enough, when she saw one of her older siblings start walking toward the bathroom, she followed. So I spanked her bottom hard again. After a few minutes, we did it a 3rd time. She didn’t try it a fourth time.

Why did I spank her hard right off the bat? To possibley save her life. I'm only human and while I can make a concentrated effort to keep my eyes on her for periods of time, I know there is no way I can do it 100% of the time. I knew I wasn’t perfect enough to be able to spend two days at that camp without ever taking my eye off her for a moment, so I wanted to set up the only kind of fence I could, an emotional one. I wanted her to know from the start that going that direction meant pain. Best to get business out of the way as soon as possilble. She didn't understand at the time, but it was a lot better for her to feel that pain on her butt then for her to get hit by a car.

Believe it or not, even at the age of 14, 15 and 16, childen still need fences and boundaries that they may not understand. And it’s okay for kids not to completely understand them. Obey anyway.

Emotional protection; Through obedience, kids not only have the comfort of knowing their parents care enough about you to make rules, but they also have the comfort of the rules themselves.

As long as parents have laid down a rule, you are protected. You don’t have to make up an excuse for your friends as to why you can’t do something. You have the comfort of being able to say, “My Dad won’t let me.” Period. No other explanation is necessary. You can feel safer with rules. Limits can be a comfort.

This is something else I know from experience. I grew up without parents who watched me close or gave me rules. When I was eight and the parents of my friends were telling them they couldn’t cross the highway and they had to be home in an hour, I thought I had it good because my parents didn’t care where I went. But the key phrase here is “didn’t care.” When I was a teenager and could go where I wanted, I still thought I had it good. But in my heart, a lot of the people I was around really scared me. I hung out with them, but truth is I didn't really like most of them. I was being asked to do things that scared me. I thought I was happy and having a good time, but in truth, I was a scared little girl who actually felt worthless. How great it would have been to have parents that set boundaries and kept me safe.

Spiritual protection: A third reason to obey is simply because God tells you to.
Proverbs 6:20, 23 “My son, keep they father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother…for the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life.”

Most of the time your parents aren’t harassing you just because they haven’t got anything better to do. Most of the time they harass you because they Love you and know they only have a few more years left to teach you before you turn 18 ...and go out and fall on your face.

A) Eph. 6: 1-3, “Children, Obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honor your father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

B) 1 Sam 15:22 says obedience is better than sacrifice. Why? Because obedience in itself is one of the greatest sacrifices. When you make the decision to be obedient, you are deciding to follow the wishes of someone else, and not follow your OWN desires. You are sacrificing your own yearnings. This is the same kind of thing as fasting is. Giving up what YOU want, for the sake of someone else’s wants.

C) Romans 6:18, Obedience brings Righteousness. You feel it. Things change in your life and in your heart. There are very real, tangible Blessings from being obedient.

D) Romans 6:19, “You are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and have come slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

More to Come... Hey Parents! Think About Your Kid!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hey, Kid! Listen to Your Parents: Part One -

Our human nature is to be disobedient. No one likes discipline. It’s far easier to do what ever feels good, from eating, playing, sleeping, fast rides and fast cars. If we could spend all day, every day doing only these things that feel good, we’d all be happy, right?

You know that's wrong. No one is happy being a drug addict, for example. Why aren’t they? Because when we live in indulgence, be it drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, fast lives or even simply over eating, even though doing those things may feel good temporarily, we are actually hurting ourselves emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Prov. 14:12, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death." No one is happy just playing. When all you’re doing every day is playing and indulging yourself, there is nothing to feel good about or be proud of. In fact, you begin to feel terrible about yourself.

We all need structure and limitations in order to live healthy and productive lives. God's laws are merely good standards for healthy lives.

Disobedience is also like a cancer. It spreads. Prov. 22:24, "Do not makes friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn his and get yourself snared."

a) It will spread through your own life. There is a verse in the Bible that says if you are sinful with the little things in your life, you will become sinful with the bigger

b) It will spread through the lives of others. Humans are by nature sinful. It’s easiest for us to be that way, and like I said, it’s temporarily fun. So when we see others breaking the rules, many of us are tempted to follow.
Disobedience is dangerous.

1 Sam 15: 23 says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as inequity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the Word of the Lord, He has rejected thee…”

Folly happens when over indulge ourselves. Most people that have lived lots of years have learned this through their own mistakes. Most parents know that over-indulgence hurts, and do what ever they can to keep their children from making those mistakes. That’s why many parents set up rules and nag. Prov. 19:3, "A man's own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord." Folly happens when we don’t listen and obey. Obedience to parents helps prevent Folly.

As teenagers we don’t like our parents rules.
Parental rules are a pain. Every time you turn around, your parents are nagging you about this or that, or punishing you for something you forgot to do, or laying down another rule, or saying “no” when you want to do something.

Many times we don’t understand why our parents lay out certain rules. My son once asked me what I would say to a friend of his that was having a hard time with her parents. He said her parents were always harassing her and getting in her face. I answered, “I’d tell her to obey.” The best way to get your parents off your back is to simply obey.

The greatest perk in doing that comes years down the road, when you won't have to make yourself go apologize to them after you've finally figured out that they had been right.

More to Come....Part II

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Responding to Conflict

· Control your tongue ("Bless those who curse you;" see also Eph. 4:29)

· Seek Godly advisors (identify with others and do not become isolated)

· Keep doing what is right (see 1 Pet. 2;12, 15; 3:15b-16)

· Recognize your limits (instead of retaliating, stay within proper biblical channels)

· Use the ultimate weapon: Deliberate, Focused Love (see also John 3:16; Luke 6:27-31)

I'm not saying that this is easy to do on one's own. In fact, try as we might, we'll never do all of that is right in every conflict. That's why we need Jesus.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Necessity of Partial Birth Abortions

A while ago I was thinking through the whole dynamics on how partial birth abortions are performed.

Okay, so you have this mother that is supposedly in distress from this child and needs to have the child removed ASAP - to save her life.

So the doctor begins the abortion by inducing birth. Then he stops the birth "mid-stream" in order to take the time to turn the baby around, so it is coming out breach - feet first.

How long does that process take, and what effect does it have on the mother in distress?

Then he allows the birth to continue - but stops it short before the head emerges.

At this point, he kills the baby with a sharp object to the base of the skull. How much time does that take?

Alright, so we've done this partial birth and abortion ASAP to save the mother's life, but delayed it a couple of times in order to perform the murder? is that right?

And...this is my confusion - wouldn't the birth have happened a lot sooner if it has simply been allowed to run it's course with a live birth - and relieve the mother's distress more quickly?

And then - here is the real, real big confusion. Why was the murder necessary? If they had already begun an early birth, and the child was already on his way out...and within a few minutes the mother was going to be free of the child anyway...I don't get it. Why was the murder medically necessary?

Just asking.

I guess I have my own assumptions as to why partial birth abortion occurs despite its obvious nonsensical purpose. I base this assumption on those questions, as well as reports that near term babies are frequently placed in a freezer at the abortion clinic.

If the babies head is born, the child is considered a live birth. So if the child's head is jabbed after it comes out, then courts would presumabley agree that the child was murdered.

Therefore, the child must first be turned in the womb so that the head is the last to come out and can be easily stuck in its base prior to a completed birth. In this way, it's not considered murder. Right?

But why must the child be stuck in the head? Why not some other form of killing it while it is still in the mother's body?

It seems this method of murder is an attempt to keep many of the baby's tissues in good shape -undamaged by chemicals or tools. etc.

So what is the doctor's purpose in recommending and performing a partial birth abortion, when - if the mother is truly in distress - she would be relieved quicker without it, and there is no medical reason for the child to actually be killed?

I have to wonder about the freezers these children are placed in and the purpose of perserving their tissues. If my assumptions are correct, I come to the personal conclusion that this isn't about what's good for mother's or babies - it's about what's good for the Doctor and clinic financially. This is an industry, period.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Exodus 21:22 Does Not Condone Abortion

Does the Hebrew Bible deal explicitly with the subject of Abortion in Exodus 21:22?

Rabbi Balfour Brickner of New York once claimed that it does. He relates the verse and comments, "If men strive, and wound a pregnant woman so that her fruit be expelled, but no harm befalls her, then shall he be fined as her husband shall assess, and the matter placed before the judges...." The meaning of this text is straightforward. Only monetary compensation is exacted from whoever causes a woman to miscarry. Since the unborn fetus is not considered a person, the one responsible cannot be held liable for the taking of human life and certainly not for murder."

But no where does it refer expressly to the woman and not the child. In fact, what the verse actually says is "When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, [or are born prematurely] but there is no harm, the one who hit her shall surely be fined, as the woman’s husband shall impose on him, and he shall pay as the judges determine." Verse 23 goes on - "But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

Rabbi Brickner believes that Jewish Scholars have proved it was only the woman being refered to, and he goes on to say that "Jewish Biblical commentators examined the ramifications of this text and in every instance based their rulings on their conviction that the fetus is not a child. In rabbinic terms, "it is not a living soul." One example of this thinking will suffice. It is drawn from the Mishnah, Judaism's earliest post-biblical authoritative interpretation of scripture. "A woman who is having difficulty giving birth is permitted to cut up the fetus inside her womb and take it out limb by limb because her life takes precedence. ..." (Mishnah Ohalot: 7.6)"

He says that political actions to make "the fetus equivalent to a living, breathing human being [are] clearly unbiblical, un-Jewish, and if Christianity claims to be based on Biblical tradition, un-Christian. Political actions against abortion are even "harder to understand as they emanate from an administration whose leaders make a fetish out of their devotion to " Christian religious values." Instead, they have demonstrated their ignorance or their willingness to ignore religious law."

What Rabbi Brickner is ignorant of or willing to ignore is the fact that Christians do not base their theology on Jewish teachings and writings outside of the Old Testament - the Hebrew portion of the Bible. We don't ignore, but very pointedly don't give top credence to extra Biblical writings. Jesus himself made reference to the Pharissitical use of extra-Scriptural writings as being more about what man wants then what God requires. (Mark 7:10-12) The Pharisees and Sadducees weren't always correct and we Christians recognize that. Their extra-Scriptural religious law is NOT our law.

Further, the twisting of actual words of Scripture to suit ones own agenda is further aggravated by the picking and choosing of which verses to quote. Isn't it interesting that those that choose to use this verse as an argument against abortion choose to ignore the verses surrounding it, such as Ex. 21:20-21, "When a man strikes his slave, male or female, with a rod and the slave dies under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money." and verse 17, "Whoever curses his father or his mother shall be put to death." How does the Rabbi explain the present day use of those verses, which come immediately prior to the verse he chose, the one whose misinterpretation he would like all Christians to follow in respect to abortion? I'm guessing he chooses not to address them.

(Christian response - these were Old Testament laws set up for the Israelite community for the purpose of showing them the need for law, their inability to follow law & remain sinless, and their need for an atoning savior to bring forgiveness to them for these sins - which they are unable to escape on their own. The Passover lamb and scape goat, as well as other parts of the law and atonement festivals were a fore-shadowing of the ultimate Passover lamb who would truly be able to bring them forgiveness for their sins. The Messiah. The stories told at Passover are also fore-shadows - a testament to the coming Christ ie the three Matzas, hiding the middle one, etc.)

I don't say that out of disrespect for the Jewish Community. My paternal family had historically been part of the Jewish community - up unitl Germany in the mid-30's. My father and his parents fled Germany at that time. Some of my relatives that stayed were shipped to Auschwitz in Poland and Theresienstadt in the Czech Republic. The rest we have not been able to trace past 1943.

I say that the Pharisees and Sadducees weren't always correct out of respect for the truth and my Lord Jesus Christ, son of God - God the Father, God of my ancestors, God of Abraham, God of Israel: Yahweh. Adonai Eloheinu.

Rabbi Balfour Brickner, addressed in this commentary, was senior rabbi emeritus at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, New York, NY, and a member of the PPFA Clergy Advisory Board.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Abortion Advocate Jordan-Simpson Messed Up On Psalm 139

In the spring of 2003, in a Planned Parenthood publication, Clergy Voices: Volume 8, Issue 1, printed an article by Reverend Emma Jordan-Simpson. Ms. Jordan-Simpson, of Concord Baptist Church of Christ, Brooklyn, NY, delivered these remarks in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

First, Jordan-Simpson says that those who oppose a woman's right to choose often cite Psalm 139, as proof of the personhood of the fetus because of a reference to God having "wove me in my mother's womb." "I have taken it back," Jordan-Simpson says. "It is mine!"

She quotes Psalm 139 as saying, "Whither shall I go from your spirit? Or whither shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there:If I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."

Jordan-Simpson says that if a young, pregnant woman comes to her for help, she will ask her what she wants to do and then will listen to her. And whatever the young woman decides to do, Jordan-Simpson will walk with her in that choice. "This is what women and girls need us to do. To listen to their voices and assure them that regardless of what they decide — we will not let them walk alone."

"Yes, I stand as a person of faith — and my faith is founded on the belief that people should not walk alone, especially people in need and crisis. That is also why I believe this issue matters to God, because I have experienced a God who has never let me walk alone. Through every trial, tribulation — when I found my bed in Hell, I found God there, too.

Doesn't that sound all good and loving and Biblical and righteous? Interesting, though, that she mentions herself making a bed in hell, because that is exactly what she is doing when she encourages young women to believe that all that matters is what they think.

Unlike Mary, who even as a young woman recognized God's lordship in her life, Jordan-Simpson isn't willing to accept anything other than her own interpretation of Scripture and is teaching others to do the same. Scripture has special words and a special place for those that lead others astray.

First, hearing her claim Scripture as her own sends chills down ones spine. Scripture is God's Word, not ours. But in choosing Psalm 139 as her own, she appears to have also edited it, (which is always the danger and often the consequence of claiming it as your own) leaving out the last verse, verse 24, which says, "See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

Jordan-Simpson says that listening to people and then "walking" beside them in their decision is all that is required by God, while the very same chapter she is quoting is a plea for God to search out the wrong within us and lead us away from it toward what is right - the only way that will bring life everlasting. The author of this Psalm understands that we don't always know the wrong within us. This same author says as much in other of his writings as well, assuring us after much thought and inner conflict that all the riches and wisdom of the world are absolutely nothing outside of God's wisdom. Only God matters and is real.

As Christians, we are mandated to let people know if the direction they are walking in will bring them death. (See James, chapter 5:19.) How frightening that Jordan-Simpson chooses parts of certain Scriptures as her "own" and leaves out everything else that the Bible has to say and then uses her chosen, edited Scripture to justify taking the lives of millions of human beings.

Twenty-some years ago, long before I met Jesus Christ, I did what Jordan-Simpson advocates. A 15-year-old had decided to do have an abortion. I drove her there - and I didn't tell her father. Twenty-some years later, I've watched the continuing pain in that woman's life knowing that I helped her make the wrong choice. She never went on to have another child, and she's never been able to maintain a long term relationship having married once in her twenties and then divorcing. She has dropped many men, always coldly and many times cruelly. Yet, she pines for her nephews and nieces almost compulsively, to the point that she interferes with their raising. Had I to do it over again, I would listen to God. I would also involve the girls' parent.

I pray the Lord forgives me for my interference in His parenting of this young girl and well as the parenting of her birth father. I am so sorry - and it is only at this very moment that I finally see the connection between my interference with my father's parenting twenty-some years ago, and the interference to my own parenting that my younger sister has now been causing these last four years. Her interference has caused some unchangeable damage to relationships and lives. I am truly sorry, my Lord. I do repent and although we can't bring back that baby's life, I ask You to please show me what I can do to make some kind of amends to my sister and my father for the wrong I did both of them, as well as to You by helping her take the life of her child. I ask for your help and forgiveness in Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

As New State & Federal Bills hit the Hoppers -

To our Elected Representatives:

Election to a Congressional or State Legislative seat is a wonderful and exciting opportunity, but it brings with it heavy responsibility. With the pressures today's seat holders carry, it would seem much easier to submit to that pressure and vote with the crowd. Please remember the people who elected you and why they elected you. They trust you. Please don't betray that trust for the sake of expedience. I realize that you really don't have the time to read every bill, but please make every effort to know what you are voting for and to consider all the different aspects. As you know, there are many bills that appear innocent on the surface but could have special interest agandas inside.

The proper care of all your constituents is an extremely heavy responsibility and one that I admit I am grateful I don't have to carry. Please take this responsibility with all seriousness. It's all too easy when under stress to give up, give in and just let something slide. It seems easier at the moment, but in fact, won't be in the long run.

The following is a tough, hard-nosed message for all of us to remember this Congressional and State legislative session, and in particular those legislators who understand Scripture - Isaiah 10:2-4.

"Woe to those who make unjust laws, to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, making widows their prey and robbing the fatherless.

What will you do on the day of reckoning, when disaster comes from afar? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches? Nothing will remain but to cringe ..."

Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away, his hand is still upraised."


Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Holy Spirit and the Books of Romans, 1st Cor.

The Holy Spirit in the Book of Romans

Romans 1:4, "and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Romans 2:29, "No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God."

Romans 7:6, "but now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code."

Romans 8:1-5, "Therefore, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace;"

Romans 8:9-16, "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And it the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation - but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of Sonship. And by him we cry, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children."

Romans 8:23, "Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies."

Romans 8:26, 27, "in the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will."

Romans 9:1, "I speak the truth in Christ - I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit - I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart.

Romans 15;17-19, "Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done - by the power of signs and miracles, through the power of the Spirit. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ." 30 "I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me."

The Holy Spirit in the Book of 1Corinthians

1Corinthians 2:4, "My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power."

1Corinthians 2:9-14 "However, as it is written: 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who live him' - but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment: For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ."

1Corinthians 3:16, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?

1Corinthians 5:3-5, "Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus in present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord."

1Corinthians 6:11, "And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

1Corinthians 6:18-20, "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body."

1Corinthians 7;40, "In my judgment, she is happier if she stays as she is - and I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

1Corinthians 12:3-13, "Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, 'Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, 'Jesus is Lord,' except by the Holy Spirit. There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work on one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

1Corinthians 14:2, "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit.

1Corinthians 14:14-16. "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my mind is unfruitful. So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind: I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. If you are praising God with your spirit, how can one who finds himself among those who do not understand say 'Amen' to your thanksgiving, since he does not know what you are saying? You may be giving thanks well enough, but the other man is not edified.