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     The sign on the back of a travel trailer read: “If I am not heading west, stop me and turn me around.” No doubt, we who affirm life know we’re heading in the right direction. Nobody needs to stop us and turn us around. 

But do we know why it is the right direction?  The velocity of moral change in our society almost takes the breath away with mounting pressure to change with it. Scripture says, 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 Pet 3:15) . . . implying some will want to know why we won’t change. 

So, why won’t we? When it comes to the support of life, what is our rationale?

It starts with right thinking, and that starts with right thinking about God and His values.  But there’s no doing that unless there’s right thinking about where God has revealed Himself with those values: Scripture. So . . . a few biblical reminders why we affirm life and cannot change, offered in the spirit of gentleness and respect.

Life Is Sacred – Personality. Rationality. Creativity. Able to communicate in understandable ways. Can form and execute plans. Manage. Lead. Love. It’s fair to say we’re more than a stand of pine trees, and Scripture gives us the why: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them (Gen 1:26-27). 

We have personality, rationality, creativity and all the rest of it because the Creator made us His image bearers. We’re a miniature cameo of our God! As the One Who perfectly possesses and does all those things – not to mention infinitely more – He chose to stamp on our immaterial part His trademark: Made in the image and likeness of God. No wonder the Lord takes this matter personally when one is cut down, saying in Gen 9:6 “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man. Bottom line? Life is sacred.

Life is Sacred in the Womb – And that’s where it hits the fan. But again, for us who affirm life, thinking right starts with God and His values as revealed in Scripture whether society agrees or not. So are you up to a little Greek? 2000 years ago when the shepherds found out with shock and awe about the birth of Christ, Scripture says: So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger (Luke 2:16). The word ‘baby’ translates a Greek word that sometimes describes a small child, or as here a baby. The context determines which English word is best. No big surprise. But notice, Scripture uses the very same Greek word to describe John the Baptist before he was ever born: When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb (Luke 1:41).  A ‘baby’ – same in the Greek – and was he ever happy!

Given that Scripture is ultimately authored by God, inerrant in the original manuscripts, authoritative for all time, this tells us – among other passages like Ps 139:13-16 – how the unborn is viewed by our Creator. Whether in or out of the womb, to God it doesn’t matter: They’re His image bearers. It’s a child. Life is sacred and that includes life in the womb.

Life is Sacred in the Womb Placed There by God – Though each person is accountable for their own actions, with some making foolish, sinful choices that involve sex . . . God’s rule is such that He still will accomplish His purposes. Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails (Pro 19:21). Scripture testifies over and over that there is nothing we can do that stops God from doing what He wants to do. The greatest evil that has ever been done – the crucifying the perfect Son of God, even though He had repeatedly done the miraculous, down to raising the dead – God used to accomplish the greatest good that has ever been done: a way to save you and me. Aren’t you glad! Even with man’s sin, God is just not frustrated. Job nailed it: I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2). 

Which means . . . you are here because God wanted you here whether your parents did it the righteous way or not. Your neighbor is here because God wanted them here, not because of biology 101. The unborn is in the womb because God wanted them in the womb, not because someone did not practice ‘safe-sex.’ In fact, He is the one that makes it possible to even conceive. Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and opened her womb.  She became pregnant and gave birth to a son (Gen 30:22-23). 

No accidents. No “Uh Ohs.” No “What am I going to do now?” God reigns and that includes over the beginning of life.  

During World War II, Winston Churchill said: “The great thing is to get the true picture, whatever it is.” For us who support life, that is the true picture. There are other reasons, but that’s enough to know why our trailer is heading in the right direction. And if quizzed as to why you are so ‘intolerant’ about your position on life, share it . . . but no shouting. People who lose their head are usually the last one to miss it. Do it like Peter said, with gentleness and respect.  You will honor the Lord and who knows . . . may even win over your skeptic friend. 

And never forget: You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matt 5:14-16). 

With grace, affirm life. Support it. Shine!

Blessings – Blaine

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     Fall Festivals, Thanksgiving, Christmas . . . all now in the rear view mirror. With 2017 over and winter settling in, it’s a good time to take stock and by the grace of God do better. Of course, Scripture is clear: there’s no batting 1000 down here. Perfect decisions. Perfect attitudes. Perfect motives. It’s not going to happen this side of heaven. But that’s no excuse for not doing better. Even when incarcerated and unsure if he would see the light of another day, Paul did not go passive. He wrote: But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 1:13-14).

So, assuming you belong to the Lord, a few’ do betters’ as you press on for that ultimate prize: 

Value Your Blessings – Spoiled brats don’t. Loved ones.  A place to call home. Health to work, move about, and enjoy comforts that many in third world countries know nothing about. And then to add to those temporal blessings, the forever blessings that belong to the child of God.  A spoiled brat ignores it all.    

Scripture tells us: And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ  (Eph 5:18-20).  Cheerful gratitude is the norm for the Spirit controlled believer. They value their blessings as gifts from above.     

Evergreen boxwoods line the front of our house. Despite the changes in the seasons – from hot to cold, rain to drought, and back again – as shrubbery, they live up to their name.  Every one of them. No exceptions. They’re ‘ever green.’

God’s grace makes it so that His child can be a spiritual evergreen giving thanks always no matter the season. That’s not to say you can’t pray for things to change. And it’s certainly not to say you are grateful for bad. Bad is bad, no matter the lipstick slapped on that pig. But there’s still good. God’s good. In the midst of bad, He still does good. And He’s promised to work good from any bad. And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For spiritual evergeens, there are always reasons to give thanks.       

Squire Boone, the younger brother of Daniel Boone, was wounded in battle at least eleven times. When finally settling close to Corydon, Indiana, he built a mill, etching on one of the foundation stones: “My God my life hath much befriended. I'll praise Him till my days are ended." 

Go green and value your blessings.     

Determine Not To Gripe – Is there anything easier to do? It doesn’t take a PhD. Not even a high school diploma. No denying yourself. No character. No planning ahead. It just happens. Discontents never have to be pointed south. 

Paul says: Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world (Phil 2:14-15).  Translation?  Don’t bellyache.

Before 2018 unfolds any further, think through the kind of situations that typically set you off.  A co-worker’s attitude?  Well laid plans, vetoed by the unexpected?  Inlaws who act like outlaws?  List those potential tripwires hidden in your 2018.  Then consistently pray over that list, telling the Lord you want to be a Philippians 2:14-15 believer.  It’s one way you can prepare yourself to respond right should something or someone trip that wire and try to short circuit the grace of God in your life.  

While watching TV Charlie Brown heard the announcer say at the close: "Funding for this program was provided by donations from our viewers and wasted by a producer who didn't know what he was doing." 

Given a new nature . . . indwelt by the Holy Spirit . . . His Word in our own language . . . all because of God’s heart of grace toward His own, no authentic believer wants to hear that. So determine not to gripe.  Make the most of the grace God’s funded to you.              

Take Care Of Your Body – Be nice to it. Until those new models arrive, it’s all you got.  Besides, you are not the only one using it. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.  So glorify God in your body (1 Cor 6:19-20). Your body is where God has chosen to dwell, which is even more of a reason to be responsible with your anatomy. 

No, you cannot do anything about your particular gene pool. Good, bad, or neutral, it is what it is.  But we can eat right, making sure we don’t eat too much. We can maintain a realistic outlook knowing even the godliest do not have a blank check to burn the candle at both ends. And exercise?  Just remember Paul wasn’t using skymiles to flit across the Roman Empire. For the glory of God, determine to take care of God’s home here on this earth . . . you.

And what about, Live As If Each Hour Was Your Last . . .  or Schedule Daily Time With The Lord In His Word . . . or Resolve To Reach Others With The Greatest News, The Gospel . . .  Yes, there are many ways we can strive to do better.  Just do it, remembering God’s already provided the funding for it all. 

Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil (1 Thess 5:21-22) . . . and have a blessed New Year!  Blaine