Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Sanctity of Human Life

This Sunday has been designated as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Most often, this day serves as a reminder for the church to be the voice for the almost 4000 pre-born humans that will be selectively aborted while in their mother’s womb over the course of just one day here in the United States.

I have just finished a chapter in John Piper’s book Brothers, We Are Not Professionals where he offers some arguments against selective abortions. Here they are:
  1. God commanded, “Thou shalt not kill.” [kill is the word murder here]
  2. The destruction of conceived human life--whether embryonic, fetal, or viable--is an assault on the unique person-forming work of God.
  3. Aborting unborn humans falls under the repeated biblical ban against “shedding innocent blood.”
  4. The bible frequently expresses the high priority God puts on the protection and provision and vindication of the weakest and most helpless and most victimized members of the community.
  5. By judging difficult and even tragic human life as a worse evil than taking life, abortionists contradict the wide-spread biblical teaching that God loves to show His gracious power through suffering and not just by helping people avoid suffering.
  6. It is a sin of presumption to justify abortion by taking comfort in the fact that all these little children will go to heaven or even be given full adult life in the resurrection.
  7. The bible commands us to rescue our neighbor who is being unjustly led away to death.
  8. Aborting unborn children falls under Jesus’ rebuke of those who spurned children as inconvenient and unworthy of the Savior’s attention.
  9. It is the right of God the Maker to give and to take human life. It is not our individual right to make this choice.
  10. Saving faith in Jesus Christ brings forgiveness of sins and cleansing of conscience and help through life and hope for eternity. Surrounded by such omnipotent love, every follower of Jesus is free from the greed and fear that might lure a person to forsake these truths in order to gain money or avoid reproach.
These are deep conclusions that are based upon scriptural truths. Spend some time thinking about these and meditating on them so we can speak for those without a voice.

May God give us the resolve we need...

Satisfaction in Jesus

Here is an exerpt from Oswald Chambers again this morning:

"Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of devotion to Jesus is service for him. It is easier to serve than to be drunk to the dregs. The one aim of the call of God is the satisfaction of God, not to do something for him. We are not sent to battle for God, but to be used by God in His battlings. Are we more devoted to service than to Jesus Christ?"

A classic text from which this truth derives is Luke 10:38-42. It is the narrative of Mary and Martha. Martha is scurrying around preparing the meal while Mary is sitting at Jesus' feet listening and hanging on His every word. When Martha complains, Jesus says that Mary has chosen that one thing that is necessary and it will not be taken away from her.

Another way to say this I believe is a quote by John Piper: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisified in Him."

Another passage that my mind is drawn to is John 15:1-8 - abiding in Christ - remaining in him - then out of that abiding in him, fruit is bourne.

How about you?

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hearing the Call of God

I read this from Oswald Chambers this morning:

"The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God. But when God brings me into the right relationship with Himself, I will be in the same condition Isaiah was. Isaiah was so attuned to God, because of the great crisis he had just endured, that the call of God penetrated his soul. The majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves. And we cannot hear anything God says. But to be brought to the place where we can hear the call of God is to be profoundly changed."

What struck me this morning was the reality that "the majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves". Wow! We are so in tune in our culture of finding ourselves and listening to our inner voice that we forget the only voice that matters, God's.

Jesus told us to abide in Him--a consistent communion with himself by the Holy Spirit.

For many people, the extent of their Christianity is a one hour a week ritual without any communion with Jesus Monday through Saturday. But, I wonder, is that even real Christianity, biblically? Probably not, maybe an emphatic absolutely not!

Oh, that our souls would yearn for the voice of God in a culture that is constantly beckoning for our attention. May we long for the "voice of truth" from the one who is the truth.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Prayer in Times of Crisis

Often, it is the tragedies or the crises of life that move us to prayer. Those times of crises drive us to our knees like nothing else can. We are driven in these times to recognize that our only hope is God, the one who sits enthroned above the heavens as the King of the Universe who is never taken by surprise or caught off guard.

That is something we see in the book of Nehemiah. Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king in exile when his brother came back to the capital city. Nehemiah questioned his brother about the situation in Judah concerning Jerusalem. Here is the report: “The remnant there in the province who had survived the exile is in great trouble and shame. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates are destroyed by fire.”

The hearing of this devastation drove Nehemiah to prayer. In Nehemiah 1:4-11, we have a summary of what Nehemiah was praying in response to what he heard. There are several elements of his prayer that we can apply to our own prayer lives.

Nehemiah calls on God in praise.
Nehemiah calls on God in intercession.
Nehemiah calls on God in confession.
Nehemiah calls on God in remembrance.
Nehemiah calls on God in petition.

Sometimes a proper assessment and evaluation of our situation is in order. We need someone to be “straight up” with us. All the sugar-coating and the positive spins will not be helpful. It can actually be harmful if we neglect the reality of what we are facing.

Nehemiah did not ignore the reality of the crisis, yet he knew where to turn in the midst of it. And that was turning to the Lord--”the God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those love him and keep his commandments.”

What crisis are you facing today? What difficulty are you facing? Where are you turning?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

On the Blogs for January 10, 2012

What should you be thinking about during the Lord's Supper?

The Story of the Bible in One Sentence (excellent!)

God Does Not Change


Time is a commodity that we all have equal amounts of - 24 hours per day. Ephesians 5:16 tells us to redeem the time because the days are evil. How we invest our time and the motivation with which we invest says a great deal about the kingdom that we are pursuing. Matthew 6:33 says seek first the kingdom of God. Does the way we invest or leverage our time reflect a committment to this truth? Is the motivation behind our investment of time a reflection of this primary pursuit--the kingdom of God?

How does the reality of being a citizen in God's kingdom get fleshed out in daily life - in our families, in our churches, at our jobs, with our friends? How is the reality of King Jesus reflected in the choices that I make everyday with respect to time?

I was at a leadership workshop the other day where we were talking about time management. One of the many things I got out of it was the idea of "investment"--I've heard it before but sometimes it takes a different context to make certain things stick.

Investing time as an expression of worship and obedience to King Jesus.