Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Sanctity Of Human Life

This Sunday we mourn together on Sanctity Of Human Life Sunday. We mourn the death of over 50 million unborn humans that has resulted from a supreme court decision legalizing abortion on January 22, 1973. Human life is precious because it is created by God. The unborn and old, the healthy and infirmed, the genius and savant, black, white, and every other color are precious in His sight. I could say much, but I believe Ronald Reagan said it best in 1984 when he proclaimed the first Sanctity Of Human Life day.

A Proclamation

The values and freedoms we cherish as Americans rest on our fundamental commitment to the sanctity of human life. The first of the ``unalienable rights'' affirmed by our Declaration of Independence is the right to life itself, a right the Declaration states has been endowed by our Creator on all human beings -- whether young or old, weak or strong, healthy or handicapped.

Since 1973, however, more than 15 million unborn children have died in legalized abortions -- a tragedy of stunning dimensions that stands in sad contrast to our belief that each life is sacred. These children, over tenfold the number of Americans lost in all our Nation's wars, will never laugh, never sing, never experience the joy of human love; nor will they strive to heal the sick, or feed the poor, or make peace among nations. Abortion has denied them the first and most basic of human rights, and we are infinitely poorer for their loss.

We are poorer not simply for lives not led and for contributions not made, but also for the erosion of our sense of the worth and dignity of every individual. To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all. Slavery, which treated Blacks as something less than human, to be bought and sold if convenient, cheapened human life and mocked our dedication to the freedom and equality of all men and women. Can we say that abortion -- which treats the unborn as something less than human, to be destroyed if convenient -- will be less corrosive to the values we hold dear?

We have been given the precious gift of human life, made more precious still by our births in or pilgrimages to a land of freedom. It is fitting, then, on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that struck down State anti-abortion laws, that we reflect anew on these blessings, and on our corresponding responsibility to guard with care the lives and freedoms of even the weakest of our fellow human beings.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Sunday, January 22, 1984, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon the citizens of this blessed land to gather on that day in homes and places of worship to give thanks for the gift of life, and to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of every human being and the sanctity of each human life.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this 13th day of January, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth.

Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

He Never Told Us He Loved Us, But. . .

But how can they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher?
Romans 10:14

     I've heard it more than once, "Well, he never told us he loved us, but you just know he did." He provided for them. He took care of them. He just never told his family he loved them. No one wants a false profession of love. No one wants a daddy who says he loves them and then does nothing to prove it. But, let's be honest, words are important. What we want and what we need are friends and family who love us with both words and action, not one or the other. 
     Words are important and its important that we use them. God gave us words and tells us to use them to bless others. You can curse by not speaking as easily as you can curse by speaking. The spouse or child who never hears, "I love you. You are valuable to me.", is not blessed. Our failure to bless is the withholding of a blessing. It is a silent curse. Overcome your introversion, or aversion, and speak.
     There is no situation where this is more important than in fulfilling our mission in life as followers of Jesus Christ. Our mission is to make disciples. People do not become disciples by observing our pious lifestyles. They do not know God has loved them supremely through Jesus Christ by observing us. The hungry do not find eternal life by receiving a grocery bag of food from us. They cannot know who loves them, who has transformed us, and who is giving them food unless we tell them. They cannot know Jesus and eternal life unless we proclaim His name.

(Free image from Max Pixel)

Monday, December 18, 2017

We Must Learn Who We Are In Christ

Therefore, brothers and sister, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. Do not be conformed to this age but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

     My earliest memories aren't pleasant. I remember a lot of feelings of inadequacy, being outcast, ridiculed. I remember being called fatso, tubby, and lard-##s. I guess I was just a fat kid. 
     Memories are funny things. The painful ones tend to stand out far more than the pleasant ones. Sometimes they stand out so loudly and for so long that we forget the pleasant memories. So, I'm not a big believer in my memories, but I do remember some painful things.
     Well, not long ago I was looking through some childhood pictures. As I thumbed through several pictures of myself, I was shocked. I wasn't skinny, but I definitely wasn't obese. All these years, I've felt fat. Today, sadly, I am, but I wondered how long I had believed what others had said about me and how that shaped my life.
     What we believe determines what we do. If we think we're basically good apart from God, we will never see that we are sinners in need of a Savior. Once forgiven, once we believe in Christ, we still believe much of what we did before God redeemed us. There's a process we have to go through if we're going to believe what God says about us and live that out. 
     What would happen if every man believed what God said about him? What if he believed what God said about the value and worth of women? How would he treat women? Certainly not like many men treat women. He would never treat a woman as an object to be used or abused. What would happen if every woman believed what God said about her? How would she view her value and worth? Certainly it would not be in her external beauty. It would be in her internal worth. Wouldn't that encourage her to never allow a man, or woman, to devalue her personally, intellectually or sexually. And, when things were said against her, wouldn't that strengthen her to withstand them emotionally and even physically.
     What would happen if parents spent their parenting years teaching their children their identity in Christ? Wouldn't a child be less likely to bully another if she understood her worth and the worth of the other child in Christ? If your child understood his or her worth in the eyes of God, and believed that worth, wouldn't that insulate him or her against the abusive words of others? 
     That's what I've been thinking about lately What if I had known who I was in Christ, and believed that, when I was a child? How would that have changed how I treated other kids? We used to sit around and see how insulting we could be to one another. It was a game we played, a hurtful game. If I had known and believed who I was in Christ, how would it have changed how I felt about the things that were said about me and done to me? How would it have changed the way I treated others?
     We must learn the truth about ourselves, and about God, and we must imbed it in our souls. It will transform more than our moral behavior. It will transform our identities. His truth will transform our lives. We must teach it to one another, especially to our children. They must learn more than just moral behavior, more than just "don't bully." They must also learn that the value of a person is greater than just being the pinnacle of evolution. They must learn that they are the pinnacle of God's Creation created in His image, a living soul because of His breath.