I Have My Beliefs and I Consider the Facts: I’m Pro-Life

“Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:3, NIV)

I had three blogs started, but sadly they have disappeared from my computer. I liked them too. I am not sure if I will rewrite them all or not. They all stemmed from my grief over pro-choice arguments that I have heard this past couple of weeks. The tensions have been obvious on social media. We have also seen the stark contrast in ideologies in the mainstream media and their coverage of the recent marches in Washington D.C.

I am sure that it will not come as any surprise to those that know me that I am pro-life. I believe that God is the creator and that he creates each person in his image. All life is intrinsically valuable and should be respected. Human life is different because we have been set apart to live in the likeness of the Holy God of the Universe, to glorify and enjoy him forever.

Space and my limited knowledge prohibit me from giving an exhaustive explanation of this subject. From what I do know and understand from Scripture, I value all human life even that of the unborn. I have also looked at the facts about abortion and have determined that it is unhealthy for a society to condone the mass murder of any segment of the population. I understand that people disagree, but I thought that most had their beliefs and then looked at the facts.

It seems to me that many have not considered the facts. One woman on Facebook argued that maybe we should focus on gun control. Her reason was that it is “100 times easier to get a gun, which by the way kill a lot more people than abortions”.

The facts hadn’t played a part in her decision making. She hadn’t even learned the facts. According to bradycampaign.org, 93 people die every day from gun violence in the United States. That is no small problem, and we should be addressing any and all violence in our society. But, according to the World Health Organization, 3000 unborn babies die from abortions every day in the United States. Worldwide there are 125,000 abortions per day. The facts are that abortions kill far more people than gun violence.

I shared this information with someone the other night. When I spoke of the marches and my frustration with the huge number of abortions that are committed each day, a friend said, “You don’t want most of those babies born anyway. Their lives will suck. Most aren’t wanted. They’ll live in poverty, and they’ll end up on welfare and in jail.” I cried. Again the facts do not line up with this line of thinking. But my thoughts on this so-called statement of fact would require a lengthy dissertation, and I do not have space in this blog.

Next blog, I will share some of my thoughts on that view, though.

Scribbling on My Life

“Life is God’s novel. Let him write it.” Isaac Bashevis Singer

I am often inspired to write by an event or an idea that occurs in the present moment. Sometimes I feel that I should write because it is an act of obedience and form of discipline, a devotion to God, but I don’t feel inspired. For those times I keep a list of ideas in a little journal. I read through that until something inspires me and I write. Today was one of those days. I thought I should write a blog about the New Year, so I was thumbing through the book looking for something along those lines. I didn’t find anything, but something caught my eye, and immediately I knew that I had found my idea for today.

It wasn’t any of my clever blog ideas. It wasn’t the profound but often elucidated idea of the blank page. But the thing that caught my eye was a surprise I found in my little book. It was scribbling that I assume was written there by a beloved grandchild. I laughed and thought of my little people, any one of which may have been the perpetrator (except Elsie, she’s too new).

I realized that those squiggles and swirls would be the impetus for this blog. Because you see, I have a sign above my office door that is all about the scribbles that I write. It reads, “Life is a book unwritten. Only you hold the pen.” Although I always knew that wasn’t exactly true, I never realized how wrong it is.

The quote above is how great people of faith wrote the book of their life; they let God do it. I realize that God writes great plans and ideas on the pages of my day. I also realize that I scribble over them. My “writing” is, I’m positive, looked upon by God in love. He understands the urge to express myself when I see an unattended writing instrument. He still sees me as a beloved child. He also knows that compared to what he writes, mine is unintelligible gobbledygook. So a mature person would refrain from defacing the book and let the Author’s words stand alone on the page.

So, in a way, I guess this is a blog for the New Year. In this New Year, I plan to scribble on my life less. My real desire is to see what God is writing and enjoy the story.

“The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever;” (Psalm 37:18, ESV)

An Ambassador of Love

Christmas is coming! It is the time of year that we remember God’s best gift given to us. Jesus left heaven and all its glory to live here with us on the earth. He came and dwelt among sinners in a fallen world so we could get a glimpse of God’s ineffable love. He sent him as a precious baby, loved and nurtured by earthly parents. But he was raised up to die and to be a sacrifice for his enemies.

I have been thinking about this great love that I have received and how well I exhibit it to the world. After all, I am an ambassador of Christ. It is my job to represent him to those outside of his kingdom. It is my responsibility to let them know that God’s kingdom is ruled by indescribable love that permeates every act of justice, compassion, law, forgiveness, and mercy.

How am I doing as an ambassador of God’s love? I have been talking about the Christmas story to those outside the kingdom. I have been telling them about God’s love. But, do I act like a citizen of a kingdom where the overarching theme is love? Or am I acting like the citizens of the worldly kingdom and only loving when it is convenient?

I thought about this passage in Matthew, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?” (Matthew 5:44–47, NIV)

How I treat my enemies is what makes a difference. Everyone treats those that love them well, but God’s people should stand out from the crowd by treating their enemies well. So I had to question whether I love my enemies. The closest things I have to enemies are two men at work that I don’t like and they don’t like me, right back. How do I treat them?

If I look at the world and its citizens as my standard, I do ok. I am polite and avoid too much interaction with them. It saves all of us grief.

But if I look to God as my standard, which I should, I see that I fall woefully short of being a good ambassador. Would I give my son to suffer a horrific death and die for these men to live? Would I leave the comforts of my home to go to theirs to share my love with them? Would I step out of my cultural norms and be politically incorrect, facing a barrage of hatred from the establishment if it would help these two guys? Would I agree to walk with these guys throughout their entire existence providing comfort, truth and help to them even when they turn against me in selfish disregard for all the good gifts I have given them?

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, The Triune God, has loved me with an everlasting love that is incomprehensible, and as their ambassador, I have a responsibility to invite others to be a part of their Kingdom. The best way to do this is to show them the love that permeates the Kingdom of God. I need to let the Spirit love people through me. I must seek to make God’s love the center, the overarching theme in all decisions I make. I need to love like Jesus if I am going to be a good ambassador for Christ.

This Christmas Jesus, make me more like you. Let me love like you.

Reflecting on God’s Amazing Love

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NIV)

Our congregation was singing songs of praise and worship during a recent Sunday service. It was beautiful, powerful and moving. The songs spoke of God’s great love. They pointed to the great sacrifice that the Father made by sending his one and only Son to be the Savior of sinful man. The songs spoke of Jesus’ love, giving his life, being crucified for his enemies. And we praised our great God for this unfathomable kindness that saved us from a dire fate, eternal separation from our Holy Creator.

It was a powerful time of worship. It moved my heart, mind and soul. And it began a time of reflection. First, I contemplated God’s amazing love. While I was still a sinner, Christ died for me. I am so glad that he loved me and that he accomplished the necessary work so that I could be reconciled to him. He didn’t ask me to act right, be right, or even change. He died for me knowing that I was sinful and would live as his enemy. That is unconditional love.

Next, I considered the incredible fact that Jesus had died on the cross to save the world from sin. All the people that I know that are living as enemies of God are people that Jesus died to save. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV) And I believe God when he says, “whoever believes”.

Then the Pastor preached about living on mission. I remembered my role as an ambassador of Christ. I am to represent Jesus to the world so that they will come to know God’s ineffable love. I want them to join with me in knowing that “because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:4–7, NIV)

My reflection began as an appreciation for what God had done for me. It began as a time of personal and corporate worship that led from an attitude of gratitude to a commission to live on mission. Now I need a plan of action, so that as I go into the world, I preach the gospel, in word and deed.

A Big Bag of Treats

Spiderman and Joy and their Treat Bags

Spiderman and Joy and their Treat Bags

I had so much fun on Halloween. I went trick-or-treating with “Spiderman,” “Joy,” a butterfly and a cute little guy that dressed like his grandfather. As we were walking along, my granddaughter aka “Joy” said, “Check this out. I have a lot of stuff”. I looked, and she did have a lot of stuff.

I started discussing the blessings she had received. I talked about how kind the givers were. I reminded her that she had received so much in so fast and discussed how amazing that was. She agreed.

Then I suggested that she share her bounty with me when we get home, and she said, “No, it is mine.” Right at that moment, I realized how much she is like me. I had handed down my DNA to that beautiful girl. I had handed down the selfish gene.

People will often find me excited talking about the sack I have filled with grace, compassion, peace, love, protection, etc. I can’t wait to show it to everyone. Look what I have received. Look at all the good stuff I have been given. Check this out; I am truly blessed. I just showed up, and goodness was poured out on me. I didn’t deserve it. It was freely given. Someone else’s generosity has made me rich!

But often when I am asked to share a little of the compassion I have received, I decline. Someone will look at my bulging sack and say, “Can you give me a small bit of forgiveness.” Instead of remembering that it was freely given and undeserved, I see my bulging sack and say, “No, it is mine.”

God’s plan is different. Jesus sent his disciples out as witnesses, and he commanded them “Freely you have received; freely give.” (Matthew 10:8, NIV) We are reminded in 2 Corinthians 1:4, “who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” And who can forget the words in the Lord’s Prayer, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12, NIV)

Jesus knew we would have a tendency to gather good things to ourselves and then be stingy. So he provides these reminders and then the Spirit moves our souls, so we will share the goodness that has been freely bestowed on us. My hope today is to remember that I have a great treasure that was freely given when I didn’t deserve it, and I have plenty to share.

By the way, if you were wondering, my granddaughter did share when we got home!

Should I Write?

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8, NIV)

After taking some time off, I have decided that I should begin blogging again. I took a hiatus for a few reasons.

First, I was overwhelmed by the superabundance of words that I was encountering. Blogs, books, tweets, posts, emails, commercials, songs, speeches, sermons, junk mail, magazines, and constant chatter were wearing on my soul and mind. I wondered if there was any purpose in me to adding to the clamor.

Second, I wondered if I was wasting valuable time. Writing takes time. Then there is the editing, posting, and promoting. I was wondering if my time would be better spent in other pursuits.

My third reason was that I wanted to change the way I studied and spent my devotional time. While I was blogging, a lot of my energy and thought would tend toward my next writing project or idea. I wanted my thought to tend toward God and my personal relationship with him.

There were some other small factors, but these were the main reasons I took a break. I learned some good lessons during this time and I realize that I need to write.

Writing is one way that I fulfill the Great Commission, ”go and make disciples”. Speaking truth is important. If one other person hears the message and grows in Jesus, I am making a disciple. I can’t let the world and its noise deter me from sending forth God’s message of truth. This is never a waste of time and my devotional practices and habits should spur me on to new ways to reach the world with the good news of Jesus.

I am now convinced that writing is a worthwhile pursuit. It is my opportunity to be a witness in Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth. I will blog again.

A Mother’s Day Blog

Happy Mother’s Day! I hope this blog encourages all mom’s who read it today.

The Bible has a description of the ideal mom. It’s in Proverbs 31. Proverbs 31 is a popular chapter for women’s Bible studies. Since I spent many years teaching women’s Bible studies, I have taught and discussed this passage many times. The Proverbs 31 embodies all that is good in a woman’s role in her family. This ideal woman has helped many women set goals of excellence in their role of homemaker.

I am a mom that set goals of excellence. Many times I achieved the goals. Many times I failed miserably. Most of the time, I plugged away day by day with the help of the Lord. One of the lessons I learned early on was not to expect the children to rise up and call me blessed until the end of the chapter.

Like the Proverbs 31 woman, I kept my household. I cooked good food. I provided clothing, even sewing some of it. I watched over finances so we would not worry about the future. I shared the wisdom that I had and showed kindness. Many times this seemed unappreciated. I just kept telling myself to pursue God. It is at the end of the chapter that the children rise up and call her blessed.

Well, my children are grown. They have moved on and are building their own families. They are wonderful people who love Jesus and serve Him. Their spouses are equally wonderful. I am truly thankful for them.

As I celebrated another birthday, I reflected over the years and how God had worked through them. I am so thankful that God helped me to focus on the end game. I am glad that he had included verse 28 in Proverbs 31, “Her children rise up and call her blessed” (Proverbs 31:28, ESV). There was a reward at the end of the mission

I received some wonderful gifts. One of them was this beautiful wall hanging that my son and daughter-in-law made for me.

created by Robby and Kelly

created by Robby and Kelly


They had no idea that I had spent years trying to get to the end of the chapter. I am not sure if they knew that this gift would be a daily reminder of a successful missionary journey. I hope they know that this was an answer to prayer. For me, this will be an ongoing reminder that God fulfills his plans through us and that he always keeps his promises. And how wonderful that he gives us a mission that is so much fun and so rewarding. God is good!

United With Him in Death

“For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:5–11, ESV)

This has been a difficult week. My sister unexpectedly passed away in her sleep on Thursday morning. It has been a sad time for our family. It has been sad, but not hopeless. We have grieved, but also rejoiced. We have reflected on the past but also anticipated in the future.

My sister struggled in this life. But she professed Jesus as her Savior. She preached him to her friends that were hurting and in need. She had faith in the saving grace of the Messiah, who died on the cross for our sins. She believed in the resurrection from the dead and that there was life in heaven for all who put their faith in Jesus. So now that she has died, she has been set free from sin, utterly and completely.

My sister’s death has reminded me that Jesus died that I might be free from sin, utterly and completely. He chose to start the process here and now. In this life, I have the opportunity to die to sin. My old self has already been crucified with Christ. I have the ability by the power of His resurrection to die to sin, but present myself alive to God.

It is my goal to live the resurrected life now. I want to die to sin. I want to live for Jesus. Time is short and only the things I do for Jesus and His kingdom truly matter. I must die to sin and live the resurrected life so that those around me will see the power of God at work in me and will come to know Jesus as their Savior receiving the free gift of eternal life. “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:22–23, ESV)

Not By Works

“In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD an offering of the fruit of the ground, and Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat portions. And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.” (Genesis 4:3–8, ESV)

I read this story the other day. It is the account of the first murder. Two brothers brought offerings to God. Cain, who seems to be wanting to serve God, ends up in such a sinful place that he murders his brother. I have thought about this story for days.

To the casual onlooker, it would seem that Cain was serving God. He brought a sacrifice. He was doing good works for the Lord. But there was something that made his work unacceptable to God.

Cain’s brother Abel brought an offering that was acceptable. He brought a lamb. This was an acceptable sacrifice because it was a picture of the Lamb of God who was to come. “The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29, ESV)

Cain’s sacrifice was unacceptable because it represented the works that mankind tries to offer God rather than resting in the finished work of the Lamb of God. The Lord warned Cain that his prideful and self-centered sacrifice would lead him into sin, not away from it. The warning to trust in The Lord and do things his way was not heeded.

Cain’s sin was not atoned for and he became a slave to sin. His sin controlled him. Even when God confronted him, he did not repent nor was he remorseful. He was still concerned about himself and how his life would be affected by his actions. He was far from salvation even though he brought a sacrifice.

There are many today who are like Cain. In their pride, they offer gifts to God that are unacceptable, and they are far from salvation. Many people today caught up in works based religion. They believe that being a basically good person will atone for their sin. This is a lie, and sin is crouching at the door waiting to devour them. The only sacrifice that makes us acceptable before God is “the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” The sacrifices of our own hands will never be acceptable. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9, ESV)

If you have been trusting in your works for your salvation, now is a good time to bring an acceptable sacrifice to the Father. Humble yourself and let the Lamb of God, Jesus, and his supreme sacrifice, his death on the cross atone for your sins. Now is a good time. “For he says, “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2, ESV)

How Vast is the Ocean?

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On a recent vacation, I had the privilege of exploring the ocean, the vast ocean. Its immensity was hard to fathom. I could not wrap my mind around it. How vast is the ocean?

IMG_0755

I was near the ocean relaxing at the beach listening to the happy sound of people playing with the rhythmic splash of gentle waves as background music. I noticed that the ocean went on as far as the eye could see, and the large group of people on that beach was infinitesimal in comparison. How vast is the ocean?

IMG_0464

I was on the ocean. I was on a ship and every morning I would go to the fantail with my coffee and croissant for my devotion time. I rarely focused on the book I brought for study. I looked out over the ocean, realizing that this floating hotel that I was aboard was a speck compared to the enormous body of water upon which it was floating. How vast is the ocean?

deep

I was in the ocean. I went scuba diving. At one point, I watched my friends descending into a canyon almost 100 feet below the surface. I floated down behind them into the sizable gap. As we explored the abysses of this one small portion of the ocean, I was overcome with the enormity of it all. How vast is the ocean?

As I reflected on the vastness of the ocean, this old hymn kept running through my mind. “Here is love vast as the ocean… when the Prince of Life, our Ransom, shed for us His precious blood”. This experience led me to praise God. I rejoiced in the fact that I was loved. I realized that I want to daily relax near Him as happy people enjoy His blessedness and His rhythm of life calms and soothes my soul. I know that He will keep me afloat and He cares about me even though I am a speck in the sea of humanity. I look forward to those moments where I can plunge myself wholly into His presence, feeling His love surround and envelop me as I explore the depths of His knowledge and beauty. How vast is the love of God?

My prayer for you (and if you wouldn’t mind, your prayer for me) is “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14–19, ESV) Blessings to you as you contemplate the vastness of God’s love.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21, ESV)