Life is Defined by God

A baby is still a baby even before birth

baby-18937_1280A husband and wife that I know are expecting their third child soon.  Recently the couple saw their unborn child at an ultrasound appointment.  During the ultrasound the couple witnessed their young one in the womb.  They watched as the unborn child put both index fingers up next to his face.  They watched as his heart thumped rapidly.  As they witnessed their little boy moving around, they considered this wonder called life.  It was then that they were faced with the fact that the unborn child in the wife’s tummy is a human being that is completely alive and completely human.

The couple loves their unborn child.  But why do they love what some refer to as just a fetus?  The truth is, they know that their unborn child is just as alive inside the womb as they are outside the womb.  Yes, there are differences between the lives that they live, but it doesn’t change the fact that the unborn child is living.

I realize that the abortion debate tends to be filled with deep emotion.  I also realize that there are many differing opinions and feelings on the subject.  We all have different opinions and ideals, but we need to recognize the truth that is so plain.  An unborn child is a living human being.  “To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a matter of metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.” Jerome Lejeune

So why not abortion?

A professor in a college ethics class presented his students with a problem. He said, ‘A man has syphilis and his wife has tuberculosis. They have had four children: one has died, the other three have what is considered to be a terminal illness.

The mother is pregnant. What do you recommend?’ After a spirited discussion, the majority of the class voted that she should abort the child.

‘Fine,’ said the professor. ‘You’ve just killed Beethoven.’  It is documented that Beethoven’s mother had tuberculosis and her first child did pass away at a very young age.  Although the entire story isn’t completely true, there is much to learn from it.  We can’t expect life to flourish if we don’t give it a chance.

There is an abundance of scientific evidence that suggests life begins at conception.  If unborn children are alive in the womb, then abortion is in fact a death sentence for a living human being.  When did life become so devalued or misunderstood that a choice to abort trumps a child’s right to life?

What does God say about the unborn?

It’s often asserted that a child should not be born to a mother who is in a dire situation, but who are we to decide that a dire situation is worse then taking an innocent life?  God has already defined life and it clearly begins before birth.  God’s truth remains true forever.  What is God calling us to do for the unborn?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart…” Jeremiah 1:5

“For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

“Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” Proverbs 24:11-12

God Knows Your Heart When You Talk About Politics

Political discussions can be a measuring stick of your heart

heart-583895_1280Discussing politics with family, friends or anyone else can be challenging.  There are a lot of differing political opinions and ideologies in our society.  As Christians, our political discussions should glorify God.  And our political worldview should match up with God’s word.  The state of our hearts and our attitudes about politics can be a witness of our faith to those who don’t know Jesus. 

Political discussions can also lead us to opportunities to share Christ with others.  When I was a teenager, God used politics and political discussions with others to draw me closer to him.  There were a few Christians in my life who shared their political views with me even though I wasn’t a Christian at that time.  I’m so thankful that they didn’t avoid the political discussions in an effort to not “offend” me.  God wants us to be prepared for conversations with those seeking hope.  “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…” 1 Peter 3:15

Political discussions can get ugly

It is true that political discussions can be difficult and can turn into arguments, but so can just about any other kind of conversation.  Believe it or not, some of the most emotion filled discussions I have been a part of have been related to sports.  Just spend some time watching a game with someone who likes the rival of the team you are passionate about and see what happens.  However, if you really don’t want to offend anyone, then definitely don’t discuss Christianity.  Just ask your Pastor if the Church agrees on everything.  Any discussion can turn ugly if our emotions are out of control.

Remember that our emotions can be tamed by an obedient heart.  Obedience to God can remind us to focus on him during a disagreement or even a heated argument.  We should stop blaming the issue or topic of discussion for our own lack of self-control, which in reality is a heart issue.  Instead of ignoring the discussion, we should apply God’s word to the way we handle our political discussions.  We should remember God’s word even in the midst of a heated argument.  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1

Political discussions are biblical

God has a lot to say about politics.  God’s word addresses issues regarding life for the unborn, marriage, war, economics and more.  Politics are most simply defined as the way we live our lives.  We should not be afraid to talk about the way we live our lives.  Can you think of a book in the bible that doesn’t address the way that we live our lives?

The fruit of the spirit should be carried over into our political discussions.  Pray about your attitude when you discuss politics with others.  Ask God that he will give you a gentle spirit during difficult conversations.  When you discuss politics or anything else remember to do these things…

  • Be loving to others
  • Have joy that overflows to others
  • Have a peace that only God gives
  • Have self-control
  • Treat others well
  • Be faithful to God
  • Be gentle to others

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

I have learned that God doesn’t want me to stop talking about politics.  He wants me to learn how to talk about politics in a way that he can receive the glory.  Do your political beliefs align with God’s word?  Does your attitude about politics reflect God’s heart towards politics?

How to Save a Life

Where is your hope found?

font-388690_1280Hope often seems to be based on the circumstances of our lives.  We can have hope for security or a safety.  We can have hope in other people, such as family and friends.  We can have hope in having things, such as a house, a car, or money.  However, what happens when we our safety is threatened?  What happens when people betray us?  What happens when things break down?

Many people believe that hope can be found in many different things all over the world.  However, without God there would be no world to have hope in.  Without God there would be no safety, no people, no houses, no cars and no money.  There are significant issues with having hope in safety, people, money or things.

  • We all go through scary situations in life, in which we lose our sense of security.  There are times when we just don’t feel safe.
  • According to Romans 3:23 not one person is without sin “…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.  Family, friends, and neighbors can be a blessing from God, but there are times when even those closest to us can let us down.
  • There is a problem with having hope in wealth or things as well.  While having wealth is not a sinful act, loving wealth prevents us from loving God and other people.  According to 1 Timothy 6:10, “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil”.  We cannot satisfy our need to worship through other people, wealth, or anything else. 

Worship the one who deserves worship

We all worship someone or something.  However, we can only be satisfied through worship of God.  If we worship anything other than our Creator, we will be disappointed.  If we worship our Creator, then we will be better equipped to love others, because He loves us more than we can even love ourselves.  If we desire to worship God, than we have to know who he is.  The bible states that we can know God through his son, Jesus Christ.  “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

As a follower of Christ, I believe that without salvation through Jesus Christ, my life is ultimately hopeless.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t be hopeful for good things to happen or for good to come from other people.  It means that God is the foundation for all hope and that nothing else can replace that hope.  

True hope is found through salvation

We still have the problem of sin though, right?  The good news is that we can be saved from our sins.  The book of Romans tells us that in order to be saved, we must believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead and we must confess that Jesus is Lord. Although salvation is only the beginning.  There is so much involved in a personal walk with Jesus.

God provided a way for us to know him personally.  How amazing is that?  If we have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, then we can have true hope.  That hope never fails, because Jesus never fails.  He always has been and always will be.  He is the Alpha and Omega.  He is the creator of life.  He is the savior of mankind.

Knowing God gives us hope and it also gives us freedom.  “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1)  What do you need to be freed from?  Do you know Jesus as your savior?

Demonstrate Your Faith Through Action

Why are we so afraid to act?

athlete-trackI ran track for three years in high school.  I was a long distance runner.  I ran between 5 to 10 miles a day in practice and about 3 and a half miles per meet.  Running long distance was exhausting to say the least.  However, the hardest part about track for me was simply thinking about how difficult the run was going to be.  The running aspect of track wasn’t even that bad.  I had no real reason to dread running other than the fact that it made me a little tired to work so hard.  All that was in my way was my own fear or lack of desire to run.  I had some kind of fear that prevented me from experiencing the freedom of running the race without hesitation and without fear.

There are still times in my life when I experience that same kind of fear.  That fear prevents me from experiencing good things God has for me.  And there are times when that fear stops me from doing the good things that God wants me to do.  It is at those times that praying to God helps relieve my fears.  Although, at some point I must also realize the need to act.  We disobey God when we don’t act when there is opportunity to do good to others. “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you.” ~ Proverbs 3:27-28

God desires action, not apathy

It seems easier for us to ignore the problems that show up in our lives.  It seems more convenient for us to turn from the problem than it is to fix it.  It is much easier to just give up.  And we are so afraid sometimes that we decide not to act when there is opportunity to do good.  We need to remember that God commanded us to be courageous.  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9

We need to face some hard truths as Christians.  Too often we use prayer as a crutch for apathy.  We say we will pray when we really just don’t care to act.  Please don’t get me wrong.  The power of prayer should not be underestimated.  God answers prayer and works wonders through it.  We should pray fervently to God, without ceasing.  However, the point I’m trying to make is that prayer shouldn’t exclude our taking part in God’s good works.  We should pray and act.

Run the race

Remember that God told Noah to build an ark in order for he and his family to survive the flood.  Noah could have decided to make excuses instead of building the ark.  He could have just ignored the Lord and gone on with his every day life.  Instead Noah heeded God’s word and did what God commanded.  Even in the face of human extinction, he never gave up.  Noah decided to run the race that God had for him by building the ark.

The Christian life is like a long distance run.  It can be tiring and difficult.  We may be afraid to go all out, but in the end running the race will bring us closer to God.  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1

What race has God called you to run?  What is holding you back?

The Authority of God and Kings – Part II

The President does not have the authority of a king

mount-rushmore-518762_1280In the Church, there are two great misunderstandings regarding authority in our nation.  The first great misunderstanding regarding authority in our nation is the idea that believers must be in submission to governing authorities no matter what.  I discussed this idea in great detail last week in The Authority of God and KingsThe second great misunderstanding regarding authority in our nation is the idea that the President of the United States of America has authority like a king does.  Many believers think that the President has full authority over our nation as a king would.  There are many believers who think that Christians must submit to the President.

If you ask a believer about governing authorities in the Bible, they will likely point to Romans 13.  It is common among believers to think that the President is the governing authority that Romans 13 describes.  However, if we truly understand what the supreme law of our nation is, then we can begin to have a better understanding of how Romans 13 applies to us.

Romans 13 should be applied practically

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.  For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.  Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.” Romans 13:1-5

I would like you to try something that you may not have tried before.  Read Romans 13:1-5 again and this time replace the phrase governing authorities and the word authority with the words The Constitution.  That is a practical application of Romans 13 if you are a citizen of the United States of America.

It has been suggested that believers should submit to our President, because Paul was subject to his king, Nero.  However, that is a flawed understanding of the application of scripture to the governing authorities of our nation.  We must apply scripture to our lives in the present day among our present government.  The President is not a king.  He is not our earthly governing authority.  The Constitution is!  According to the supreme law of the land, the President is actually subject to the Constitution like we are.

What it means to submit to governing authorities in the USA

The President has limited authority over our nation.  The President is limited by what is known as the separation of powers, which are defined in the first three articles of the U.S. Constitution.  The U.S. Constitution also clearly identifies the true governing authority of this nation.  Article VI states, “This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.”

What happens if the President acts outside of the Constitution?  Does that make the Constitution irrelevant?  Absolutely not.  If he acts outside of the Constitution then he is breaking the law.  The Constitution is still the supreme law of our land, even if the President doesn’t abide by it.  As our seventeenth President Andrew Johnson said, “Outside of the Constitution we have no legal authority more than private citizens, and within it we have only so much as that instrument gives us. This broad principle limits all our functions and applies to all subjects.”

The truth for believers is that the Constitution is the supreme authority in our nation, second only to God.  How do you feel about the Constitution being your governing authority as a citizen of this nation?  How well do you understand the Constitution?