Love is a Risk Worth Taking

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coffee-shop-mug

I was reading in a coffee shop recently when I noticed a young man sitting across from me who was speaking angrily under his breath. His head was tilted downward and his body was tense and trembling. As I watched, he began hitting himself in the arm and the chest. Then he bit his hand so hard that I grimaced.

There I sat with the Bible open in front of me, but completely unsure of how God wanted me to respond.

I prayed, asked for wisdom, but continued to sit, trying not to stare. The man seemed out of control, and I wasn’t sure how he would respond if I approached him.

While I remained paralyzed with uncertainty, a lady walked over to the man, knelt down next to his chair, looked him in the eyes and said, “Hello, my name is Lori, what’s your name?”

She carried on a short conversation with him, asked him what his name was, what he was drinking, and then mentioned that she noticed he seemed to be upset and asked if he was OK.

He smiled, looked away with a touch of shame, and shared that he had Tourette Syndrome and that he was just having a hard day. She thanked him for talking to her and encouraged him to be careful and not hurt himself. She walked out the door and headed toward her car.

I was moved by her courage and compassion, so I caught up with her in the parking lot (trying not to be creepy) and thanked her for the way she showed such love to the man she didn’t know.

She said, “I saw everyone staring at him, but I couldn’t just watch him struggling like that. I was afraid he might hit me, but I thought it would be better for me to risk being hurt than for me to just let him hurt alone.”

I don’t know if Lori was a Christian or not, but her love reflected Christ’s love—and I was deeply rebuked.

I thanked her for her kindness, and went back to my table. After a few minutes, I saw the young man hitting himself again. Encouraged by Lori’s example, I went over, introduced myself and began talking with him. As he struggled, I asked him if there was anything I could do to help. He lifted his teary eyes to mine and said, “pray, if you are the praying kind of person.”

Brian turned out to be a Christian. Rebuked, again.

I had withheld love from a brother in Christ because he was acting in a way that wasn’t “normal.”

We talked for a little while about what God had been teaching him recently. He shared about his love for God and how faithful the Lord had been to him despite what he faced each day. His words were sincere and I could tell they came from a grace-filled wound. When we finished, we prayed together, he thanked me, and after a few minutes, he headed on his way.

And I was left to sit with my open Bible, lukewarm coffee, and a few lessons I hope never fade.

 

  1. Love is a risk worth taking.

Lori reminded me that love is willing to risk. She was willing to risk a punch to the face because she knew that Brian needed to be loved rather than ignored or stared at. Love is often risky, and always worth it. Having an open Bible and acknowledging that every page is God’s inerrant word is good, but if it does not move me to love, it means nothing (1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

The Lord Jesus used a similar scene to rebuke the Pharisees in the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). There we find that being a good neighbor is marked by proactive love that overlooks all racial, political, cultural, and social barriers in order to extend love to those in need. Should safety be taken into consideration? Certainly. But as David Platt has said, “Because Christ has died and risen from the dead, safety is not our priority.”

Lori took the risk of loving Brian, and in the process showed me the lesson Jesus taught through the Good Samaritan. Her love was risky, but it was worth it.

 

  1. Love is good medicine.

I have a history of mental illness in my family, so I am keenly aware of the complexities that so many people deal with each day. That being said, I have often seen how God uses gracious displays of tangible love to bring peace to people, regardless of where they are on the mental health spectrum.

Ligon Duncan once shared a story of twin eighteen-month-old boys who had been passed through the foster care system. In their first year and a half of life they had been in nine homes, almost all of which had been abusive. That was until a couple from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School agreed to house the twins. After a difficult first few days, the parents were told by psychologists that the children would never be “affectively normal” because of terrible abuse they had suffered. Despite the warning, they kept the boys in their home for nearly two years. During this time the boys developed remarkably and the doctors could find no other explanation for their turnaround other than the love they had received. God brought healing to those young children through the Christ-like love of their foster parents.

We live in a cold world filled with broken people who feel they have little reason to rejoice. But God uses various acts of kindness to lift the spirits of the suffering. Kindness is not a throwaway Hallmark idea. It is fruit of the Holy Spirit that can break through brokenness to strengthen suffering souls (Galatians 5:22-23). Brain was strengthened by kindness that day, and so was I.

 

  1. I’m glad Jesus loves better than me.

I am increasingly thankful that Jesus does not show love to “normal” people. Why? Because none of us are “normal” before God.

The fall has marred us all. And though we may not suffer with the illness Brian does, we are all broken like Brian is. No part of our being is “normal.” We are emotionally, sexually, mentally, physically and spiritually broken. Sin has ravished us and made us far stranger to God than Brian’s illness did to some “normal” people in a coffee shop.

But it is into that brokenness that Jesus entered. He left the peaceful palace of glory and stepped down into our world of pain. He came to show compassion to sinners and to rescue us from all our self-destructive behaviors.

Jesus came to love people who could do nothing in return for Him. Romans 5:8 says it like this, “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God loves sinners like us by forgiving us for all the ways we withhold love from those we think are unworthy or unapproachable. But it is through this forgiving love that we are also compelled to show God’s love to the people He places in our path (2 Corinthians 5:14-21).

This love is often risky, but it is a risk worth taking.

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The Sweet Freedom of Ditching My Smartphone

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Andrew Sherwood is a personal friend whom I asked to write a reflection about why he ditched his smartphone. I hope his words serve you as you pursue “sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3).

 smartphone

 

“You want a phone that doesn’t get the internet? You mean you have an iPhone but want to go back to a flip-phone? Can I ask why?” You could tell the wireless salesman thought I was pranking him.

“I’m addicted to my iPhone,” I replied.

I pitched my iPhone for a basic no-internet flip phone a few months ago. First, let me say plainly: I believe getting rid of my iPhone is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my adult life.

That’s not because I believe it is wrong, sinful, or always unwise to have a smartphone, but because I discovered I was too immature and too undisciplined to use it well.

Perhaps you’re wrestling with some vague sense of dissatisfaction from a technology addiction and hopefully the below is helpful to you as you think about what to do next. Personally, I overestimated what my iPhone would give to me and I underestimated what it would take from me.

Here is some of fruit I’ve seen since pitching it:

Purity

“Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned” (Proverbs 6:27). Praise God if you don’t struggle with sensual temptations on your smartphone. But if you do, why carry constant temptations around with you 16 hours a day? For years, I made lame and unwise excuses about keeping my phone rather than pitching it. But the flame from these things is real and the burns run deep. You can lose your soul to an iPhone. Your soul. For a phone. Deepak Reju’s article on this aspect of temptation is 
fantastic.

Increased Focus on Things that Matter

Do you ever get a nagging sense of conviction when you’re supposed to be paying attention to your wife, kids, discipleship companion, pastor, sermon, etc. and you ever-so- quietly click on the power button to check your phone? I did. Thousands of times, actually. My daughter would happily run over from the playground and find me nose down, buried in some sports equivalent to People magazine. Truthfully, I’m sickened over the memories I should have made with my family that were instead empty moments spent with my 
iPhone.

In Psalm 90:12, Moses prays, “Teach us to number our days carefully, so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts.” The sands of time are sinking – and I will give an account on That Day of the grains of sand wrongly given to frivolity instead of stewarding the good gifts God has graciously provided me through the people in my life.

Increased Prayer

I used to check my iPhone at stoplights, carpool lines, walking someplace — anywhere I had even a moment’s downtime. Without my smartphone, there are new opportunities to pray throughout the day. The ant principle seems to apply here (Proverbs 6:6) – over time, the small windows to pray pile up into storehouses full of brief prayers to my heavenly Father.

Living Without the Low-Pitched Hum of Anticipation

Being plugged in to a broader world of Twitter, e-mail, and instant news made for a precarious idol in my life. Even when physically putting my phone away for a few hours during family time, my heart was often going through the motions when eating a family meal, putting my kids to bed, or talking to my wife. It wasn’t just distraction I was dealing with: it was a problem of dissatisfaction that nothing but “plugging back in” would satisfy.

After getting the kids down to bed, I would sit down on the couch and immediately light up my phone, checking emails and social media. I was getting my fix (though my desires were never satiated). My wife might interject a kind comment like “Hey, how was your day?” and my immediate emotional response was one of annoyance or worse, anger. I noticed that I was frantic for updates when being without my phone for even a few hours. Have I ever honestly yearned for God’s Word or His presence as much as my phone? Just check my phone log of time spent on Twitter vs. my time in God’s Word and you’ll see what I really cared about. “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)

Reading More (Actual) Books

I underestimated the time I would spend reading junk on my phone. Every night in bed, every morning when I woke up and the countless slivers of stolen time in between. There has been such refreshment in keeping my Bible and a few library books near me to read whenever I have free time. I’m sure there’s some way to usually read really good stuff on your smartphone that feeds and waters the mind and soul but I’m far from disciplined enough to do that.

“This is the greatest gift you’ve ever given me”

“When you had your smartphone, you were a walking vending machine of whatever you’d ingested that day. It was difficult to talk about deeper things that mattered because you were constantly distracted by internet litter. You’re now able to focus and give necessary attention to deeper issues. More of what we talk about comes from your heart rather than your Twitter feed.” – My Wife

Healthy Connection to My Humanness

I’m not anti-technology (I’m writing this post on a computer). I’m a graduate student and use technology for a lot of what I work on—and I’m thankful for it. But I also feel like I’m sort of an idiot. If Google Maps doesn’t tell me how to get somewhere, I’m lost even if I’ve driven to the place ten times before. And remembering something? Forget it—I have to put it into my phone.

There’s something about that neuro-rewiring that leaves me puzzled (read “The Shallows” for more on this) and unsure about what it’s ultimately doing to my ability to think. These days, I’m actually looking around at the streets I drive on, figuring out how to get places and forcing myself to remember things people tell me. There’s nothing inherently virtuous about these changes but there is a palpable sense of freedom when I do them.

I was taking a walk with my daughter a few weeks ago when she looked up and said “Daddy, I like having conversations with you. You’re good to talk to.” The irony. Sad thing is, I’m not that great to talk to. I’ve trained myself to zone out and to communicate to others “My phone and whatever it has on it is more important than you.” I don’t want that to be true another second of my life.

The Puritan preacher Thomas Watson once wrote “Sin hangs weights upon us so that we move but slowly to Heaven.” Those weights are often placed upon us slowly, over time, so that we get used to the pressure of them before sin adds more. And then the slower …and slower………and slower we move.

Is your phone a weight slowing your path to Heaven? A coal you’re heaping in your lap? A thief you paid $500 to steal things that matter?

Prayerfully ask God and those around you.

What is your phone for you?

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Why I Plan to Read Less of the Bible This Year (2016 Edition)

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“Let us strive, every year we live, to become more deeply acquainted with Scripture.” ~ J.C. Ryle

Open Bible

 

Regularly reading God’s Word is one of the most important things we can do. We live in a world that constantly lies to us, and our hearts are prone to believe those lies. But in His mercy, God has given us His Word to guide and guard us. He has “granted to us His precious and very great promises” to renew our minds and refresh our hearts (2 Peter 1:4). As much as we need food to live physically, we need God’s Word to live spiritually (Matthew 4:4).

The turn of the New Year offers a natural time to reset (or recommit) to regularly reading God’s Word. Of course there’s nothing magical about the New Year, but it serves as a natural time to make changes in our lives as we seek to grow in Christ-likeness. For me, one of the changes I’ve made over the past years is that I plan to read less of the Bible each year; and I’ve found that less can actually be more.

For most of my Christian life (since 1999), I’ve been following a Read the Bible in a Year plan. I was introduced to this idea early on as “the thing to do” and ever since I’ve found it to be a pretty typical goal for many Christians. I’ve enjoyed this plan, but to be honest, I’ve never finished the plan in a year. There, I said it. I’ve never finished the Read the Bible in a Year Plan.

Some years I’ve made it further than others and by God’s grace I’ve never gone more than a few days without spending time in the Scriptures. But over the years I’ve been riddled with guilt for failing to finish the plan and for rushing through some portions of the plan just to check it off. In my younger years as a Christian, this guilt was more debilitating, but even today I know my propensity to commit to something like reading the Bible in a Year plan and then fell guilty when I fail to do it.

To be clear, I’m not taking a flamethrower to spiritual disciplines. If we don’t “discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7-8) we are in sin and our hearts will grow cold toward God. Reading the Bible regularly won’t make you more godly, but you won’t become more godly if you don’t spend time in God’s Word. It is wise to make humble plans that are aimed at helping yourself and others grow in godliness.

I also want to be clear that I’m not against the Read the Bible in a Year Plan. It’s an excellent goal and very achievable. In fact, I had one friend who after his conversion read through the Bible deeply twice in just under a year. So, what our plan is seems less important to me. What is most important is that we commit to deeply reading God’s Word in the hopes that we will grow in our love for Christ.

Thomas Brooks, in his classic work Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices gives helpful instruction here, “Remember, it is not hasty reading—but serious meditating upon holy and heavenly truths, that make them prove sweet and profitable to the soul. It is not the bee’s touching of the flower, which gathers honey—but her abiding for a time upon the flower, which draws out the sweet. It is not he who reads most—but he who meditates most, who will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest and strongest Christian.”

With that in mind, here are a few ideas for your consideration.

Make a plan.

As Don Carson rightly said, “no one drifts toward holiness.” If we just go with the flow, we will eventually be swept away with the current of idleness and sin. In light of this, it is wise to make humble plans to draw near to God and fulfill His purposes (Prov. 6:6-8, 21:5, 24:27; Matthew 6:33, 25:1-13; Luke 14:28; James 4:13-17). As you think about what plan you intend to use, I’d encourage you to look at this excellent post by Justin Taylor. As for me, here’s the three-fold path I’m planning to take this year.

       First, I plan to read the passage that will be preached on the next Lord’s Day. If I’m preaching this will be a necessity since I’m hoping to live better than I preach, but if I’m not preaching, I plan to study ahead to get the most out of the sermon. Our church publishes what we’re preaching on in advance with the hope that our congregation will come having already soaked in the text, hungry for more.

       Second, I plan to pick one Bible book a month to study deeply. In January, a few friends and I are studying Ecclesiastes. For the month we will read and re-read it. We plan to outline it, chart it, and memorize portions of it. Then in February, I’ll select another book with a similar approach, though hopefully improved by January’s attempt. By doing this I’m able to meditate deeply on one book, something I felt I was missing in other seasons of my life. Some months I may do multiple books if they are short (i.e. In November I did 1, 2 and 3 John).

       Third, I plan to read other books of the Bible in one sitting throughout the year. To avoid neglecting other portions of the Scriptures, I have a list of the books of the Bible in my journal and plan to regularly step away for an hour or two throughout the year and just read them straight through. In January I’ll plan to read through 1 & 2 Kings and the pastoral epistles. Though I have not finished my Bible Reading Plan in a year, it is rare for me to not read most / all / more than the whole Bible in a year.

Partner Up.

I encourage you to not keep your plan by yourself. Find another brother or sister in your local church who you enjoy spending time together with and ask them to join you in this journey. Commit to a month or two or whatever works for you, but don’t do this alone.

As I mentioned above, a few guys I’m discipling and I are going through Ecclesiastes together in January. We will get together a couple times during the month to discuss what we’re reading, but we’ll email or text or talk on the phone more regularly about what we’re learning and what we are struggling to understand. You don’t have to work out your plan with someone else, but I’ve certainly benefited from it.

In case your’e wondering, I plan the first 6 months and then plan the rest of the year’s reading in June. We’re planning to read Galatians in February, Isaiah in March, 2 Corinthians in April, and Nehemiah and Ezra in May.

Remember Why You’re Reading.

The reason we read the Scriptures isn’t just to check off boxes and make ourselves feel like we’ve accomplished something for God. The Scriptures aren’t an end in themselves, God is the end. As we plan to seek Him, however we do it, we must come with the supreme goal of loving Him more and obeying what He teaches us when we do read. If our plans become traps for guilt and discouragement—then plan to scrap your plan and do something else.

The most important thing in this moment and in the moments that make up next year is that we draw nearer to God through His Son Jesus. His Word teaches us how to do this, so let us plan to draw near with great hope because of promises like these from the Prophet Isaiah,

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight ourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live…” Isaiah 55:1-3

May the Lord bless us with His rich and gracious supply as we read His Word in 2016.

 

 

 

Picture courtesy of Keith Ferrin.

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It’s a Good Time to Remember, Reflect, and Resolve

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“Consider your ways.” Haggai 1:5

The Lord gave this sobering command to His people after they drifted from rebuilding His temple in 520BC. They began well, but when opposition came, their faithfulness fizzled out. Left in the weeds was God’s house, overgrown due to lack of attention. But the Lord graciously intervened and the people reflected, repented, and reengaged in the work He had entrusted to them.

Most of us would probably do well to “consider our ways.” If you’re anything like me, you get overloaded and feel a persistent strain on your devotion to God. We get distracted and begin to drift, and as D.A. Carson says, “we do not drift toward holiness.”

If we don’t regularly take time to evaluate our heart, we can, often unknowingly, drift into sluggish and sinful patterns.

To fight against this deadly drifting, it’s wise to prayerfully consider our ways. And while there’s nothing magical about doing this at the turn of the year, a completed calendar does provide a natural opportunity to intentionally remember, reflect, and resolve with hopes of developing deeper devotion to Christ in the year ahead.

 

Take Time to Remember

The turn of the New Year has become one of my favorite times of the year. It’s not because I’m stoked to see Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution (how did he get invited back?), but rather because of a tradition my wife and I have kept over the years.

Shortly after the turn of the calendar page, my bride and I sit down with lists we’ve compiled separately. Preparing the lists is a sweet time for us and we’re both usually anxious to share their contents with each other.

The first list is of the five things we’re most thankful for from the past year.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember Your wonders of old.  I will ponder all Your work, and meditate on Your mighty deeds.” Psalm 77:11-12

Taking time to remember what God has done over a whole year is sweet for our souls. We tend to forget the many mercies that fill our day, but we’ve found that preparing our lists helps us think back through the peaks and valleys of the past year. During that journey we’re afforded a prime opportunity to remember God’s goodness. During our time of sharing we’re often reminded of things we’d forgotten and blessed to see how God used the same event to affect us in different ways.

What are you thankful for from this past year? Who can you share these memories with?

 

The second is a list is of five things we’re hoping for God to do in the year ahead.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.” Psalm 37:4-5

Over the years that we’ve done our New Years reflecting, I’ve sensed that our trust in God has deepened. He has proven faithful, but usually in ways we hadn’t planned for.

We’ve seen Him carry us through miscarriages when we’d prayed for babies. We’ve seen Him close doors we’d hoped for while opening other doors that led into greener pastures.We’ve seen Him say yes to things we asked for, and often in ways we hadn’t even considered possible. When we look back on the passport of our lives we find that the pages are stamped by His perfectly faithful hand.

God’s past faithfulness strengthens our present hope to believe in His future faithfulness. We have full confidence that our God will answer every one of our prayers in ways that are better than we can ask them (Matthew 7:7-11). He knows what we don’t know and sees what we don’t see. We have come to delight in this truth, even when it’s tough.

Since God has been so good to us in the past, we find great joy in looking with hopeful expectation toward the future. We’ve found that if we aren’t prayerfully trusting God for great things, our faith can grow weak and we can slip into spiritual cruise control.

This list helps us to trust God to do specific things in the year ahead. Our lists often include the names of people we hope God will save, particular sins we desire to experience victory over, or ways we hope to see God move in our church. This list stirs us to hope in God because we know He delights in doing great things for His people (Ephesians 3:20-21).

 What big things are you trusting God for in the year to come? Who can join you in praying for these things?

 

Reflect on Your Heart

“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any previous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139:23-24

The Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. We need Him to open our eyes to see where our hearts have strayed from His ways. One of the best ways unearth the calloused soil of our hearts is by considering heart-probing questions. Questions serve us uniquely because they force us to step into the light as we answer them.

A number of years ago a friend shared with me a list prepared by Dr. Donald Whitney that contained questions “to prayerfully ask in the presence of God.” These questions are designed to help us do the kind of heart work that we all desperately need.

Below are the first 10 questions, but a full list of 31 questions can be found here. 

1. What’s one thing you could do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

2. What’s the most humanly impossible thing you will ask God to do this year?

3. What’s the single most important thing you could do to improve the quality of your family life this year?

4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year, and what will you do about it?

5. What is the single biggest time-waster in your life, and what will you do about it this year?

6. What is the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

8. What’s the most important way you will, by God’s grace, try to make this year different from last year?

9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

10. What single thing that you plan to do this year will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

 

Whether you consider these questions alone or with someone else, they will be well worth your time.

 

Resolve to Go Deeper

 Most New Year’s resolutions have something to do with losing a few pounds, getting on a budget, or to make our communities a better place. Those resolutions may be good, but Christians shouldn’t stop there. Remember that “while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” 1 Timothy 4:8.

Our resolutions should primarily center on growing in godliness, not just in reducing our waist size. The best model I’ve ever seen of making spiritual resolutions is Jonathan Edwards. When he was 19 he composed a list of 70 resolutions that he committed to re-reading each week in hopes of keeping them faithfully. Matt Perman developed a thematic arrangement of these resolutions that you should check out. 

Here are a few of Edwards’ resolutions that I strive to keep as well:

#7 – “Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.”

#14 – “Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.”

#22 – “Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can…”

#30 – “Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.”

#67 – “Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.”

Whatever your resolutions may be, here are two things to keep in mind.

1.      God gives us grace to keep our resolutions.

We must not fall into the trap of making resolutions that lead us to rely on ourselves. Jesus said “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). God gives grace to do what we resolve (1 Corinthians 15:10; Philippians 2:13) and He gives us grace when we fail to keep our resolutions (1 John 1:9; 2 Corinthians 12:9). God promises to give us grace and as Matthew Henry said “God’s promises to us are more powerful and effectual for the mortifying of sin than our promises to God.”

2.      Don’t find righteousness in keeping your resolutions.

God won’t love you more because you make it to the gym more often.

God won’t love you more because you finish the Bible in a year.

God won’t love you more or less because of how many people you witnessed to.

God won’t love you more if you fast twice a week.

We should resolve to grow in practical righteousness, but we must not look to our resolution-keeping for our positional righteousness. Our righteousness is found in the One who resolved to die on a cross for sinners who failed at their resolutions toward self-improvement. Our justification is found only in a resurrected Savior who clothes us in His righteousness. Rest in the righteousness Christ gives us through faith, not in any kind of righteousness we resolve to achieve.

So, let us be a people who remember, reflect, and resolve with the hope that God will deepen our love for Christ and guard us from drifting from His perfect ways.

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Remembering this Can Keep You From Sinning

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“The ways of a man are before the eyes of the Lord and He watches all His steps.” Proverbs 5:21

Sin hates darkness because it hates to be seen for what it is. This is why cloudy minds are the devil’s playground. The less clearly we think about sin, the more likely we are to gladly give into its offerings.

Our interns recently read J.C. Ryle’s Thoughts for Young men, and one of them reminded me of this sobering section from the book. I pray the Lord might use it to sober your heart as He did mine.

“The sound of a footstep coming has stopped many a deed of wickedness. A knock at the door has caused many an evil work to be hastily suspended, and hurriedly laid aside. But oh, what miserable folly is all this! There is an all seeing Witness with us wherever we go. Lock the door, pull down the blind, turn out the light; it doesn’t matter, it makes no difference; God is everywhere, you cannot shut Him out, or prevent His seeing.” – J.C. Ryle – Thoughts for Young Men (pg. 48-49).

Lord, keep us sober-minded that our hearts may always be set upon pleasing you, not our sinful longings.

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How Grace Triumphed Over Empty “gospels” – Toni Meadors’ Baptism Testimony

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toni meadorsOn Sunday, I had the honor of baptizing Toni Meadors. What follows is her account of how Jesus delivered her from trusting in empty Gospels by showing her the Gospel of His saving grace.

I grew up going to church and hearing about Jesus, but I had a shallow understanding of salvation. I spent most of my teen years believing I was a good girl because I didn’t follow the path many around me took. However, when I turned 17 years old, I followed the “gospel of the world” and got involved in all kinds of reckless behavior of which I am now ashamed to speak.  Eventually, because I was afraid of the consequences of my behavior, I told my mom what I had been doing and she took me to church.

That Sunday I walked an aisle, said a prayer, and sobbed rivers of tears.  At that point, I thought I had become a Christian. But that was not the case. The church I was attending increasingly began to teach the “prosperity gospel,” so for a long time I saw God as a means of personal fulfillment and gain.

Once I understood the fallacy of that gospel, I began attending a First Baptist Church.  The teaching was better, but looking back I see now that I learned and believed a “moral gospel” that taught me how to be a good person without any inward transformation.  During this time, I met and married my husband Tim, whom I love very much.  The army moved us around and we ended up in Virginia.  We attended church together, yet, I created lots of distress in our marriage because I had no power to recognize or fight sin in my life.

Despite my inability to truly love my husband, I was able to deceive myself (and everyone else) into believing that I was a born again Christian. I attended church, listened to Christian radio, was actively involved in a ladies’ Bible study group, had a quiet time every day, was passionate about conservative politics, gave money to various ministries, and even shared my faith. But looking back, I believed the lie of the “works-based gospel” and didn’t understand that I could never do enough to make myself right and acceptable before the Lord.

By God’s grace, 13 years after my initial profession of faith, I started listening to John Macarthur’s sermons online.  Initially, I did not like what he said as he continually preached about the great sinfulness of man and of a Christ who came to save men from their sins.  Through his preaching, God opened my eyes and I saw the multitude of sins for which I was guilty.

I saw the empty, sinful soul that was hiding behind the mask of morality and the mask of religion.  By His grace the Lord opened my eyes to see the truth, and for the first time, I embraced the Gospel of God’s grace. I believed the good news that God’s Son Jesus Christ saves and redeems men from their many and great sins, and from the punishment they deserve.

Shortly after God gave me this new life, we moved to Kentucky.  I attended a Gospel preaching church and began to read lots of theology.  Unfortunately, although I was born again, I began to become puffed up and was not loving my family as I should. My pride hindered me from humbly living out the Gospel that had saved me.

But once again, God showed me mercy, and brought me to Del Ray where I have learned that right theology and love can and must coexist.  I am by no means a perfect wife, mother, daughter, or friend but with God’s help I am learning day by day how to love and to live for His glory.

So, I am here today to be baptized in obedience to the command of my Lord and Savior.  I am here to identify with the One who bore my sins, took my place, died in my stead, and was buried and rose again for my justification.  I am here to publicly proclaim my intention to walk with Jesus in the newness of life for the rest of my life.

 

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” Romans 1:16

 

Praise God whose Gospel of grace triumphs all other false “gospels!”

 

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Heaven Is a Holy Place, Do You Really Want To Go There?

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At a recent retreat, pastor Mike McKinley challenged the men of our church to consider whether heaven was a place we would really want to go when we die.

As he explained, heaven is a holy place. A place where sin is not enjoyed, but rather its defeat is celebrated. There will be no love of sin in that land, only love of God—and the enjoying of His holiness. If we are longing to go to heaven, it is a longing aimed at being with God, and being like Him in His perfect purity.

Heaven is a holy place. Do you really want to go there?

To help us consider this question, he shared this wonderful reflection by J.C. Ryle.

Suppose for a moment that you were allowed to enter heaven without holiness. What would you do? What possible enjoyment could you feel there? To which of all the saints would you join yourself and by whose side would you sit? Their pleasures are not your pleasures, their tastes are not your tastes, their character not your character. How could you possibly be happy, if you had not been holy on earth?

Now perhaps you love the company of the light and careless, the worldly-minded and the covetous, the reveler and the pleasure-seeker, the ungodly and the profane. There will be none such in heaven.

Now perhaps you think the saints of God too strict and particular and serious. You rather avoid them. You have no delight in their society. There will be no other company in heaven.

Now perhaps you think praying and Scripture reading, and hymn singing, dull and melancholy and stupid work, a thing to be tolerated now and then, but not enjoyed. You reckon the Sabbath a burden and a weariness; you could not possibly spend more than a small part of it in worshipping God. But remember, heaven is a never-ending Sabbath. The inhabitants thereof rest not day and night, saying, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty,” and singing the praise of the Lamb. How could an unholy man find pleasure in occupation such as this?

Think you that such a one would delight to meet David and Paul and John, after a life spent in doing the very things they spoke against? Would he take sweet counsel with them and find that he and they had much in common? Think you, above all, that he would rejoice to meet Jesus, the crucified One, face to face, after cleaving to the sins for which He died, after loving His enemies and despising His friends? Would he stand before Him with confidence and join in the cry, “This is our God… we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation” (Isaiah 25:9)? 

Think you not rather that the tongue of an unholy man would cleave to the roof of his mouth with shame, and his only desire would be to be cast out? He would feel a stranger in a land he knew not, a black sheep amid Christ’s holy flock. The voice of cherubim and seraphim, the song of angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven, would be a language he could not understand. The very air would seem an air he could not breathe.

I know not what others may think, but to me it does seem clear that heaven would be a miserable place to an unholy man. It cannot be otherwise. People may say, in a vague way, they “hope to go to heaven”, but they do not consider what they say… We must be heavenly-minded, and have heavenly tastes, in the life that now is, or else we shall never find ourselves in heaven, in the life to come.” – JC Ryle, Holiness

Do you really want to go to that land of holiness? If so, the pursuit of holiness must mark our lives today (Hebrews 12:14). We must be pure in heart, so that you can see God by faith in this life, and by unhindered sight in the life to come (Matthew 5:8).

So I ask you, do you want to go to heaven and be holy? Then take consideration of what stands in the way of you becoming more like Jesus today. What hinders your progress in holiness? Identify it and kill it (Romans 8:13). Pray that God would give you strength, so that by His grace, you might take another step toward that holy land where sin will be no more.

Pray for me to do the same.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

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Life is Short. Don’t Have an Affair.

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Ashley Madison

 

“Life is Short. Have An Affair.” – Ashley Madison

Their message was clear. You don’t have time to waste in a difficult or unsatisfying marriage. You don’t have time to waste in the boredom of faithful, sacrificial service to your spouse. You deserve better. You are better, so secretly step out and be satisfied. Find someone who fits you—and nobody has to know.

Ashley Madison’s offer to arrange a secret fling was popular. The adultery promoting website boasted of some 38 million anonymous members before they were outed by a group of hackers this week.

The shockwaves from this exposure will be far reaching and the fallout will be devastating. The names on the lists are real people. They have real spouses, real children, and real parents who must now deal with the real and lasting effects. Tens of millions of lives are now different because of this unveiling of sinful escapades.

Times like this provide us a unique opportunity to consider the deadly deception of sin. Let’s reflect on Ashley Madison’s message in light of what we’ve learned.

 

  1. Life is short. Don’t believe the lie.

The Madison tag line does what all good temptations do—tell you a partial truth.

Life is short. This is true. We only have a brief amount of time to get the most out of our days before they are over. This makes the pains of a difficult marriage feel all the more imposing on our happiness.

Life is short. I deserve better.

Life is short. This isn’t who I thought I was marrying.

Life is short. I am tired of being the only one trying to make this work.

Pitting the difficulty of marriage against the brevity of life is a masterful way to allow discontentment to take a seat in the den of your heart.

It’s the same trick Satan pulled on Adam and Eve in the Garden when he told them that if they ate of the forbidden fruit they would “be like God knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-6).

Satan told the truth to them. When they ate, they would go from only knowing good, to now experiencing evil as well. All that was true. The lie was that knowing evil would be better for them than the goodness God had already supplied.

I bet that first bite of the forbidden fruit was amazing. But the aftertaste has been more bitter than they could have imagined.

The temptation of adultery plays the same trick. At first, there is pleasure. The thrill of secrecy. The power of curiosity. The excitement of newness. The satisfaction of passion.

But that’s where the truth ends and the bitterness of the lie begins. If Madison was honest, her tag line would have said:

Life is Short. Let us help you destroy it!

Life is short. Be ever anxious about covering your tracks and deleting emails and erasing texts.

Life is short. Be always imagining ways to explain your travels and bank withdrawals.

Life is short. Be racked with fear and indescribable guilt when you walk in your house and see the eyes of your spouse and children.

Life is short. Be ready to get caught, because you will get caught.

We all get caught.

 

  1. Life is short. You will be exposed.

On Tuesday, a list of adulterers was laid bare for all to see. We know no one expected this to happen. That’s why they used a site that promised anonymity for their adultery. They assumed, like we all do, that lies can be hidden.

We all do this don’t we? We think no one will know about that little lie we told. No one will see that Internet history we deleted. No one will see the way we judged that person in our heart.

We think that we can hide our sin, but the fact is that eventually “your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). And as shocking and devastating as the Ashley Madison unveiling was for those affected, it is merely a foreshadowing of what will happen for all people on one quickly approaching Day.

Jesus promised that “nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light” (Luke 8:17). That means that every thing that has ever been done, thought, or imagined by every person who has ever lived, will one day be brought out in broad daylight.

The book of Revelation paints a picture of a day when all things will be exposed, not merely before other sinful people, but before the holy and just God of the universe.

“Then I saw a great white throne and Him who was seated on it. From His presence earth and sky fled away…and I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened…and the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done” (Revelation 20:11-12).

On that day the list of all lists will be unveiled. Dates. Places. Actions. Motives. Lies. Cover-ups. Justifications.

Everything that has ever been done. By you. By me.

This is why the Ashley Madison exposure is such a blessing in disguise, both for those on the list, and for those on the outside looking in. It is a warning that one day all of our lists will be exposed, and God will not overlook any evil. But because He is good, He will bring just and eternal judgment on all people who have sinned (John 5:26-29).

 

  1. Life is short. Come to Jesus.

This brings us back to the truth that Ashley Madison reminded us: life is short. But the brevity of life should not lead us to pursue fleeting and deceptive escapes.

Rather, it should bring a sober realization that what we need is not deliverance from the pressures of this life, but we need a Savior. We need someone to deliver us from the judgment that awaits us all.

And here we find the scandal of the Gospel. That Jesus is the Savior of all sorts of sinners. He did not come for those who have no sin. Rather, “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Jesus came and died on the cross as a substitute for adulterers and liars and religious hypocrites alike. He then rose from the dead to extend forgiveness to all who will come to Him. For those who turn from their sin and believe in Him, He “forgives all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us” Colossians 2:13-14.

If you were on the Ashley Madison list, come to Jesus. He will forgive you. No matter if you were an atheist or a Christian. Today is the day to turn from your sin and turn to the Savior.

If you were among the ones wounded by someone on the list, come to Jesus. He promises that “we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

If you are someone on the outside looking in, come to Jesus. Events like this remind us that we too can fall into grave sin (1 Corinthians 10:12) and that we must prepare to give an account for our own lives.

 

Life is short. Don’t believe sin’s lies. All things will be exposed. Come to Jesus.

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Is Planned Parenthood “Doing God’s Work?”

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ultrasoundOn Wednesday, an Advocacy Board that advises Planned Parenthood stated that the nation’s largest abortion provider is “doing God’s work.”

This isn’t the first time Planned Parenthood affiliates have attempted to cloak the group’s actions in religious robes. Last year, Planned parenthood released a “pastoral letter” claiming that the Bible says nothing about abortion.

Here’s the direct quote from that letter, “many people wrongly assume that all religious leaders disapprove of abortion. The truth is that abortion is not even mentioned in the Scriptures — Jewish or Christian — and there are clergy and people of faith from all denominations who support women making this complex decision.

Abortion is an issue that is near to my heart so I thought I’d take a moment to answer the question, is performing abortions “doing God’s work?” As you read these Scriptures and consider my questions, ask God to show you what He says is true—because in the end what He thinks is what matters most.

Abortion in the Bible

Though the Bible doesn’t mention the word “abortion,” it clearly teaches that abortion is a terrible sin. These are not all the verses we could consider, but they are a few that best capture what the Bible says about this all important issue.

Exodus 21:22–25 “When men strive together and hit a pregnant woman, so that her children come out, 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. 23But if there is harm, then you shall pay life for life, 24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.”

Does the Bible seem to clearly teach here that what comes out of a woman is a not just a fetus, but is a child? How serious does God say it is to kill an unborn child? If this is true of an accidental injury to a pregnant woman and her child, how much more serious is an intentional act of killing a child in the womb?

Ecclesiastes 11:5 “As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”

If God sends a “spirit” to come into a woman to produce a child, does that not show that what is inside her is living? If God says, I want a child in that womb, do we have the right to tell God “no, You may not do that, I will take that living thing out of me?”

Job 10:10–12 “Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? 11You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. 12You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit.”

What happens when sperm and egg unite in what we call conception? Is that not life? If you can detect a heartbeat (5-8 weeks after conception) does that not mean there is something living there? Where do skin, flesh, bone and sinews form? Are they not made in the womb? If we found all of this on another planet, would we not celebrate that we have found life there?

Psalm 139:13–16 “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (cf. Job 31:15; Isaiah 44:2)

What do you think the Bible is implying when David says God “formed” his “inward parts” in his “mother’s womb?” What does it imply when it says he was “wonderfully made” and “intricately woven”? Does this not imply that God is at work in the womb, creating a human being? If God knows “all the days” of that being, even while its substance is “unformed”, does that not imply that God has a plan for that being in the womb? Do we have the right to tell God to stop this marvelous work because we have other plans? 

Isaiah 49:1 “Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.”

If God calls and names someone when they are in the womb, does that not make them a living person?

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (cf. Galatians 1:15)

If God has knowledge of someone as a person before they are even formed in the womb, does that not show that what is in the womb has great value and worth? Does not God forming someone in the womb show His intent to bring a life along to His designed end?

Amos 1:13 “I will not revoke the punishment, because they have ripped open pregnant women.”

Why does God see the ripping open of a pregnant woman’s womb as such a big deal? How is this different than His anger toward someone who would kill a woman who isn’t pregnant? Could it be that they would be killing two people? 

Luke 1:39–44 “In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”

What does the Bible say was in the womb of Elizabeth? Does it not call John a “baby?” And what does that baby do when it hears the voice of the pregnant Mary? Does it not say the baby leaped for joy? And what does she say about the “fruit” of Mary’s womb (see also Psalm 127:3)? Does this not imply that what is in her is of value and has great worth? From this don’t we have to conclude that what is in her womb is a baby?

After looking a just a few verses, it is overwhelmingly clear that God views what is in the womb of a woman at conception to be a life, a baby, a human being like you and me.

The Bible also teaches that taking the life of another person (murder) is a grievous sin. In Exodus 20:3 God says “you shall not murder” (cf. Genesis 9:5; Matthew 5:21; 19:18; Romans 13:9; 1 John 3:15).

To end a life is to kill it. We may want to phrase it differently, but an “abortion,” a “choice to not keep the baby,” to “terminate a pregnancy,” are all clearly ending a life. This is murder.  The Bible forbids this because it teaches that God alone has the right to give life and take it away (Deuteronomy 32:39; 1 Samuel 2:6; Job 1:21).

God also says that when his people have murdered their children, that it is a great sin in His eyes (Leviticus 20:2; Deuteronomy 12:31; 2 Kings 16:3, 21:6; Jeremiah 7:31, 32:35).

Whether or not one believes the Bible is another matter, but to suggest that the Bible allows abortion is deceptive. One of the earliest Christian documents The Didache (circa A.D. 100) says “You shall not murder a child by abortion.” Christians have always believed that God does not give us permission to take the life of our children. He gives, we may not take away.

If you choose to have an abortion, please don’t do it under the premise that God doesn’t care about what you are doing. God does care. He loves you and He loves the child in your womb. He is the One who made the life happen, look to Him for what He wants you to do with the child.

If you are considering an abortion and feel like you have no other options, please know there are people who can help you think about other options, including connecting you with loving families who would be willing to discuss adoption. If you have nowhere to turn, please reach out to a local church near you or email outreach@assistcpc.org who can connect you to someone in your area.

Please know that God meets us where we are in our journey, and He does this through His Son Jesus. If you find yourself weary, hear this word of promise from the Lord Himself, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Please turn to the Lord in this season of great decision and allow Him to give you the grace we all desperately need.

 

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What Would Jesus Say To People Buying and Selling Baby Body Parts?

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In recent days, numerous videos have been released that show conversations between undercover investigators and representatives at Planned Parenthood. These taped discussions center around how body parts from aborted babies are being harvested and preserved for sale to biotech companies.

While there certainly should be political and legal discussions about these events, the most important question we must always ask is, “what would Jesus say about it?” What follows are just a few things He would certainly say.

 

  1. Jesus would say, I made those babies, just like I made you.

For some, it is difficult to imagine that what is in the womb is more than the developing cells of a fetus. But God wants us to know, that at the moment of conception, a baby is given life. Deep down, we all know this to be true.

If what is found in the womb was found on another planet, scientists would certainly claim they had discovered life. What is in the womb is a living human being. It is a baby, growing under the direction of God.

You were once in this state of being “under divine construction.” You were given unique DNA and a beating heart. You were fed in the womb by your mother, just as God designed. One Biblical author said it this way, “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:13–14).

The same is true of the babies who were killed through the abortion in which you participated. God made those hands that grasped at the forceps. He created those hearts that raced as you carefully crushed around them. Those legs that you kept intact were made by God to run and play, maybe with your own son or daughter.

When a pregnancy is terminated, it is not merely a medical procedure. What you took from the womb of that mother is not just a collection of neural tissue or cell specimens. A life that God was creating was ended—violently and unjustly, by you. All lives matter to God, even the smallest, weakest, and most vulnerable ones.

 

  1. Jesus would say, if you thought you were doing good by helping others, be terrified.

Some will claim that harvesting tissue from aborted fetuses is the means to a greater good. They will suggest that with this research more lives can be saved and steps toward ending horrible diseases can be made. This line of reasoning must be seen for what it is.

In Matthew 6:23 Jesus says, “If the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” What that means in this case is that if you think that darkness (the killing of an unborn baby to sell its body parts) is actually light (the good of helping humanity), then you are deeply deceived.

Why do you really take part in this business? Is it really the pursuit of the greater human good?

How much does the desire for money and what it can get you motivate the way you justify your actions? We are all warned, “the love of money is the root of all sorts of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). It is difficult to watch those videos and read the reports and believe that the love of money is not leading to all sorts of evils—even killing and selling off baby body parts. Take a quiet moment and ask God to show you why you are doing what you are doing.

 

  1. Jesus would say, these videos don’t even begin to show the horror of what has really happened.

There is a reason those videos were shot undercover. You know why, and so does everyone else. You never would have spoken openly to the world about what you were doing, would you? And why not? Because deep down you know it isn’t just illegal, but it is wrong.

Your conscience testifies to you that something is wrong with what you are doing. You may have tried to suppress this truth, but did you not feel queasy the first time you saw a tiny person’s body parts laying before you? The videos were not able to catch the way you pushed down that feeling and pressed on with your procedure. But God saw it.

“No creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13). God sees all the conversations an undercover video does not catch. And He sees all your reasons and justifications for taking the life of a child that could not defend itself against your strength.

God hates all evil, especially the evil of oppressing helpless people. Hear this warning from the prophet Isaiah, “Woe to those who…withhold justice from the oppressed…What will you do on the day of reckoning…to whom will you run for help?” (Isaiah 10:1-3). No one can hide from a good God who will not allow any evil to go unaddressed.

Thankfully, He has provided a place to run—for people like you, and people like me.

 

  1. Jesus would say, that no matter how many babies you’ve killed, there is grace for you.

I’m sure you have heard hate-filled messages from people who oppose what you do. I do not bring you a message of hate, but one of warning and love. It is the message of a Savior who came to rescue murderers like you, and like me (Luke 19:10).

You see, I am a murderer too. Many years ago, I was part of an abortion that killed my first child. My friend and I were overwhelmed and confused, just like many of the people you deal with on a daily basis. Because I loved my life the way it was and I didn’t want the responsibility of a baby, I chose to murder my own child.

You and I are murderers. This is a horrible evil, but it is certainly not our only evil. We have turned away from God in many ways. But the good news that comes from God is this: “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more” (Romans 5:20). Jesus came and died willingly to take the judgment you and I deserve for the ways we have sinned against God, and against those we have killed.

You may have horrible memories from some of the things you’ve done. The smell of rubber gloves. The forceps. The blood…so much blood.

While Jesus gives healing to people in different ways, I can assure you of this—if you come to Christ, He will help you. He gives this precious promise to sinners like us, “come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus shed His blood so that He can wash the blood from our hands. He rose to be the Savior of sinners like us.

Hear and believe these promises—

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” Isaiah 1:18

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out…” Acts 3:19

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8-9

If you will come to Jesus and confess what you have done and ask Him to forgive you—He will do it. You will have the hope of being with God, and with the children we murdered, in heaven forever.

 

  1. Jesus would say, stop taking babies lives and begin saving them.

There is a holocaust happening in our land. Up to this point you have been a part of it. Now it is time to work against it. You know what is happening to those children, and the Lord calls you to do something about it.

“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?…Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?” (Proverbs 24:11–12).

God has given you wisdom and experiences and skills that He intends you to use to save babies rather than hurt them. This is what Jesus calls repentance. He calls you to turn from using your hands to hurt children, and now do all in your power to help them.

I have a dear friend who performed countless abortions before God changed his life. I will never forget the day he took me aside and confessed what he had done and committed to follow Christ and never do it again. He once used his practice to help mothers end lives, but now he uses it to help mothers save the lives of their children.

Leaving the life you are in right now may seem daunting, but God will help you. There will be lost friendships. Many people will not understand why you would make such a change. What others will say does not matter.

What matters is what Jesus would say to you.

 

 

 

 

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