A Most Disturbing Violation of a Grandmother’s Freedom of Religion

 

They’re going hard after the home and personal savings of a kind, lovable, 72 year old grandmother. If that sentence doesn’t bother you, you may want to check the spiritual condition of your heart……..immediately. I would hate for you to pass from this life into the next with that kind of evidence against your soul. As a Christian, I am shaken to the core when I hear stories about my brothers and sisters being persecuted. And yes, I am going to use the word persecution here. The mental anguish being placed upon this woman, and her family, is contemptible. Even if you aren’t a Christian, just plain common decency should cause you to outrage against this. Personally, I didn’t think I would ever live to see the Constitution despised so badly as it is now. Let’s face it. Our nation can’t sink much lower than this. And apart from a miracle of God, it appears like things will only get worse. Michael Brown, host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program, says it is time for Christians to wake up, and stand against the tyranny of the age.

Counting the Cost

Back in 2013, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the ACLU (along with 2 gay men) were the instigators of an ongoing injustice against Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of a small town shop called Arlene’s Flowers. And these people are relentless. They will not stop until this wonderful Christian grandmother is severely punished. And all of this because she loves Jesus, believes His Word, and desires to live her life according to His Word. Even when she is working. Even when it could cost her everything. Yes, I know. Sheds a different light on everything, doesn’t it? Not something you will hear from Hollywood or the liberal media. Don’t let them brainwash you about this case. Barronelle did absolutely nothing wrong.

The Court is Now Complicit

Just recently, in a highly anticipated ruling, the Washington Supreme Court is now an accomplice to Bob Ferguson’s diabolical schemes. They failed to uphold our precious First Amendment, which has been an important staple of the U.S. Constitution for centuries. An Amendment that much blood, sweat, and tears has been spilled over. And now, in the 21st century, everything has changed for the worst. An Attorney General can suddenly, and without warning, dictate his power to go after a 72 year old grandmother who did absolutely nothing wrong. Why? Well, it’s pretty simple. He disagrees with her conscience, and he believes he has the authority to dictate his own conscience upon others. And that is exactly what he, the ACLU, and now the Washington Supreme Court have all done. And worst of all, they are doing all of this to a 72 year old grandmother. Scripture has something to say about this:

Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.” (1 Timothy 5:1-2…..emphasis mine)

Catch that? Treat older women as mothers. That is a direct command from God. I wonder if the individuals who are going after Barronelle’s assets would ever treat their own mother the same way? According to Scripture, that honor is to be shown to every woman who is older. To be sure, what the Washington State Supreme Court did is wrong, regardless of the fact Barronelle is a grandmother. But the fact that she is a grandmother just makes the whole thing even more heinous.

Also, I seem to remember Jesus condemning men who devour widow’s houses (Mark 12). Barronelle Stutzman is not a widow. But I sure wouldn’t want to stand before God having devoured the home of a dear, sweet, elderly, married woman. Jesus doesn’t give you a free pass if the woman is not a widow. In fact, now you would be devouring the home of both a wife and her husband. You’re putting two people on the streets instead of one. It isn’t safe to play games with Holy Scripture. You’ve been warned. 

How Did Things Come to This?

Attorney General Ferguson got the ball rolling when he went after Barronelle, a woman who has a history of both serving and hiring gay people. Do not let that last sentence pass through your brain without locking it in. Barronelle has a long history of both serving and hiring gay people. But when Ferguson found out through Facebook that she would not arrange flowers for the wedding of two gay men, he stepped way over the line and abused his power. No formal complaint had even been registered at this point. But because Ferguson didn’t like what he heard, he took it upon himself to make sure that everyone agrees with him. And if you don’t, you’re in deep trouble. He will come after you! This ought to deeply trouble anyone who loves freedom, and believes in our First Amendment rights.

Discrimination Properly Defined

According to the Oxford Dictionary, discrimination can be defined as “the unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex.” For purposes of this article, you can go ahead and throw “sexual orientation” into that definition. Because that is the accusation, isn’t it? That Barronelle discriminated against two men because of their sexual orientation? Ummm…………..no. She didn’t. In fact, she had a great relationship with them, and served them for around 9 years or so. Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Special Occasions, you name it. As much as Barronelle loves flowers, she loves people more. For her, it is always about the people- first and foremost. That is the very reason Robert Ingersoll and his partner Curt Freed decided to go to her in the first place. They claimed it was their favorite flower shop. Why? Because again, for Barronelle, it is about the people. And they know it. She runs her flower shop with love for God, and love for others. The two always go hand in hand.

In the Bible, we are taught to “speak the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). But sometimes, even when you do this, people get frustrated with you. They attack you. They seek to destroy you. Not necessarily physically (as in the present case), but emotionally and financially. That is what is happening to this small town flower shop owner. I don’t need to spill much ink on this one. It has been explained over and over again. But just in case you need a refresher, or you’re new to this story, here it is: Barronelle did not discriminate against two gay men. But she could not, in good conscience and in obedience to the Word of God, use her God-given time and creative abilities to arrange flowers for a ceremony that Jesus Christ clearly condemns. Look at the italicized words again: men and ceremony. Or should I say men, as opposed to, ceremony. Not hard to understand. Really, it isn’t. And yet, how many times have I heard the liberal media continue to say that she “discriminated against them because they were gay.” Despicable lies told against this sweet woman should make people ashamed of themselves.

An Unthinkable Ruling

Even as notoriously liberal as Washington State is, this ruling is still unthinkable. In fact, there are three words that come to mind when I think about this recent decision: disturbing, deplorable, and terrifying. But you could also throw in despicable, vile, hateful, ignorant, sinister, and just plain nasty. Make no mistake about it. Of all the ways Christians have suffered under the ever-rising leftist agenda of this country, Barronelle Stutzman has, in my view, endured the worst of the ugliness. It is hard to imagine that anyone who values freedom could be happy with this decision.  Between the lawsuits from the Attorney General and the ACLU, she stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars. And possibly even her home. The Attorney General isn’t just going after her business, he is going after her. Denny Burk, Professor of Biblical Studies at Boyce College, had this to say:

Barronelle Stutzman’s case is nothing less than an egregious violation of our first freedom. It is Caesar saying, “Conscience be damned. Submit to the new sexual orthodoxy or risk losing everything.”
This is not tolerance. This is injustice that flies in the face of this nation’s laws and traditions. And if this kind of thing can be done to a 70-year-old grandmother running a small flower shop in rural Washington State, then it can be done to you. No one’s conscience is safe if this precedent becomes the norm.

Well, Caesar, I got news for you. Barronelle Stutzman’s conscience won’t be damned for you, or anyone else! Just like Martin Luther, she knows that “to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.”

A New Level of Hatred

So what exactly is going on here? Is this just extreme fearmongering? Are Christians exaggerating the severity of this problem? Rod Dreher, blogger at The American Conservative, doesn’t think so. Here is a direct quote of his from a recent article about the dangerous consequences of the Stutzman ruling.

When the might of the State of Washington and the American Civil Liberties Union comes down on the head of a gentle, grandmotherly, small-town florist, and seeks her ruin for declining to arrange flowers for a gay wedding, you know that we are dealing with a bottomless well of hatred.

I couldn’t agree more with Dreher. The word “gentle” really catches my eye more than anything. Barronelle clearly loved Robert Ingersoll and Curt Freed, the two men who asked her to arrange flowers for their wedding. If you have any doubt about Barronelle’s sweet, gentle demeanor, and the love she has for these men, then I suggest you listen to her own words. After seeing that video, and how kind and tenderhearted she really is, you will see even more clearly how deep the hatred is. And here’s the really scary part: It is not hatred primarily against Barronelle, conservatives, or even Christians in general. It is hatred against the Lord of glory. It is hatred expressed against Jesus Christ and His glorious, infallible Word. Ultimately, Washington State and the ACLU will answer to Him.

Where is the Outrage?

I thought the progressive left was all about standing up for the marginalized. So then I ask, where are you? A grandmother could possibly lose her home and all of her savings, and yet you have nothing to say. No protest for Barronelle? Oh, wait, I forgot. Unless the person agrees with you on all of your worldview and political ideologies, then they are not worth protesting for I guess. Wow. Talk about insanity. It’s really interesting how the left portray themselves as being so loving and so compassionate, especially to those who are marginalized or persecuted. But yet they are out for blood when it comes to a 72 year old Christian grandmother who is simply trying to make a living, doing what she loves to do. A woman who is simply operating her own private business to the best of her ability, and according to what God has declared in His Word.

Then again, the left has never had much respect for the truly marginalized. For the last 44 years since Roe v Wade, they have supported the murder of the most vulnerable and marginalized of all human beings. Why should Barronelle Stutzman, or anyone else, get any better treatment? And that makes me wonder about something………. In fact, a question to all you progressive, left leaning individuals out there……….

What about all those immigrants you claim to love? What if they tried to enter this country holding signs that said “MARRIAGE IS BETWEEN ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN”? Would you still be protesting for them? Would you let them in??? 

Conclusion

This case may go to the Supreme Court. I don’t know how promising that is considering the landmark ruling two years ago which legalized gay marriage. But I do hope they at least take her case. It’s something we ought to be praying fervently for. Not only for our dear sister in Christ and her family, but for the future of our First Amendment right to exercise our freedom of religion. Also be praying for the wonderful group who are taking up her cause, the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Barronelle is suffering from a great deal of anxiety over all of this. And understandably so. And if our dear sister ever happened to read this, I would remind her of what Jesus said about the lilies of the field.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:27-29)

Something tells me she gets more out of that verse than most people do.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to Barronelle here.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

10 Things Parents of Stillborn Babies Want You To Know (Part 2): We Love Our Babies

 

Most of us get goosebumps when we think about “love at first sight.” We get excited at the very thought of it. For those of us who are married, we might think of our own story as reflecting some level of love at first sight. For those who are single, you have probably  imagined what it would be like if it really happened to you. Scenes like this one from West Side Story give us that classic “Awwwww………I need tissues” kind of moment. Many women (and even some men) could watch the scene over and over again without ever getting bored. And while I don’t doubt that first meetings like Tony and Maria ever happen, I would say that such moments are pretty rare! But it definitely makes for swooning female crushes, and great box office sales. We love to be entertained. We love to see man and woman “fall in love.”

Everything changes when we’re at the movies. We are so easily fascinated. So easily mesmerized. Certain moments seem timeless to us. They lift us up, and make us feel good. We allow the movie industry to create some of the craziest plot lines, as long as the story makes us feel good. We’ll give any story the benefit of the doubt when we’re with our family, enjoying our overly buttered and overly priced popcorn. Even when the story is nothing more than………yes, you guessed it………fiction. And especially when it’s a love story.

But do we give the same allowance to people who are living real stories that don’t come with makeup, perfect lighting, and a lucrative script? 

As I continue through this series on how to minister to parents of stillborn babies, we enter into the ever popular, but often misunderstood, topic of love. To help you keep up with my train of thought, I recommend that you read through the introduction and part 1. For this post, I’ve decided to combine points #2 and #4. They go hand in hand with one another, and it makes sense to condense them into one overall point.

Parents of stillborn babies want you to know…………

 

#2 We want you to know that we love our babies as much as any other parent loves their own children.

and…………

#4 Just because we had only a very short time to bond with our baby (our lifeless baby), this does not make the grieving process easier. In some ways, it makes things harder.

 

The Wisdom of Moving Slowly

Because of our infatuation with “love at first sight”, Hollywood has always heavily marketed the far-fetched romance movie. But in the real world, most people believe the opposite of what these movies typically reveal to us. Most believe that you cannot simply love someone that quickly. And for good reason. It takes time to get to know someone, and consequently, to properly love and receive love from them. It is usually unwise, and in some cases unsafe, to give your heart to someone you just saw for the first time. When it comes to dating and marriage, we obviously need to be wise. We should try not to become emotionally attached so quickly. In fact, it may be more loving to the other person to slow things down. You don’t want to give them any wrong impression. And you certainly don’t want to hurt them, or yourself for that matter.

Context Is Everything

The problem is when we take a general principle (i.e. like dating) and make it binding on every type of life experience. Romantic love works much differently than parental affection. If we confuse the two, it can be disheartening and very frustrating to parents of stillborn babies. Why? Because then we would be insensitive to the fact that parents love their babies inherently. We don’t need to ‘get to know’ them for a specific period of time in order to have deep affection for them. If you make this assumption about parents who either miscarry, or have a stillborn baby, you squelch the love they have for their babies. Ironically, such thinking would be anything but loving to these hurting moms and dads.

Generally speaking, love does require a lot of time spent with another person. Talking to, and listening to, that person repeatedly, and seeking to do them good whenever possible.  Without sufficient time and conversation, learning about someone’s deepest pain, it is hard to have compassion for and meet their needs. Without sacrificing for another, you haven’t really loved them. Without seeking their interest over your own, you haven’t really loved them. This can apply to marriage, friendships, parenting, and church life. But is this principle always true? Can you still have a heartfelt affection for someone, with a desire to help them if you could, even if you never have the chance to put your affection into action?

Let me go further here…….

Does this mean that we cannot love someone unless we have spent months and years of quality time with them? Should we only sacrifice ourselves for someone we know very well, and have spoken to many times? Does heartfelt affection, which would sacrifice anything for the well-being of another, require you to have a specific kind of relationship with that person? What if we never met that person before? Could we still love them? What if our only relationship with them was while they were still alive inside the womb, but not after they were born? Does this change the level of love we have for that person, simply because our time together was cut short? Do we need to see them alive in order to love them?

How Much Time Does Love Require?

Beckie Lindsey has written a tremendous post on how God wants us to love others. Here is one of my favorite quotes:

I asked God how He wants me to represent love. His answer: The way my Son loves is the way you are to love.

That says it all, doesn’t it? Always seeking the well-being of others, even to His own detriment. That is Jesus. And of course, this kind of love took time……and exhaustion……..and effort……….and agony………and the shedding of His own precious blood. And we are called to model, as best we can by the grace of God, this kind of love.

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” ~ Jesus Christ (John 13:34)

When Jesus walked this earth, notice how he always loved and had compassion on others. And in many cases, these were others that He just met. He didn’t require a ‘getting to know you’ period as a requirement to love them. Christ displayed both heartfelt compassion and sacrificial deeds for others. Time was obviously required to perform the good deeds, but the compassion was there from the start. Christ felt genuine affection for these people immediately. Compassion emanates from Jesus naturally.

Parents naturally have compassion for their babies. This is a God-given affection. It is automatic, and nothing can stand in its way. And there is no limit to how much you would do for them if given the chance. The only thing that separates parents who have lost stillborn babies to other parents is that they lacked the opportunity to care for their babies  outside the womb. That opportunity died with the baby. That is the difference. The affection is there, and it is not lacking.  My baby Ariana didn’t have to do anything to make me have affection for her. She didn’t have to do anything for me to want her to live again. She didn’t have to earn my love. And no one had to teach me how to grieve for her. It came naturally, because the affection for her was there from the start. Parents of stillborn babies do not lack the affection that other parents have for their babies. And if they could, if they had the opportunity, they would do a million good deeds for them………..just to hear one single cry, or see one beautiful smile.

The Good Samaritan

In the article “Love Trumps Everything” (referenced above), Beckie then goes on to talk about a story we are very familiar with. The Parable of the Good Samaritan. She emphasizes how Christ teaches us that everyone we come in contact with is a neighbor to us. There are no escape clauses in Scripture. We are to love everyone sacrificially, even our enemies.

I believe the Good Samaritan parable can also teach us something about our topic of stillborn babies. It is not an application that the author of Scripture intended, but there is an argument from the lesser to greater that helps us here. Before I make the point, here is the story as spoken by Jesus Christ:

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37)

As most of you know, it is a historical fact that Jews and Samaritans hated one another. The fact that this man- this Samaritan man- would risk life and limb for a Jew was unheard of. This is precisely why Jesus uses him as our example, teaching us to love our enemies. Those whom we least feel like helping, we are commanded to help. That is real, self-sacrificing love. That kind of love is unnatural to us. It is the kind of love that only the Holy Spirit can produce.

What the Parable Can Teach Us

So how does this parable relate to parents of stillborn babies? Think of it this way. The Samaritan had never met the man who was attacked by robbers. Not only had he never met him, but the man was a Jew. A man whom the Samaritan was taught from his earliest days to hate, and avoid at all cost. And yet, even knowing both of these things, the Samaritan had compassion on and loved the man. So here’s the point.………..If a Samaritan has compassion on a man he was taught to hate…… If a Samaritan places his own life in danger to help such a man………. If he provides for and cares for him when a Levite and Priest would not………And if he goes out of his way to help a man he doesn’t feel like helping………..How much more then does a parent of a stillborn feel affection for their own baby? How much more do we wish to see our baby come back alive? How much more do we grieve over their bruised bodies? For the Samaritan, having affection for a Jew was totally unnatural to him- even repugnant. But for the parent of a stillborn baby, all of these loving affections come naturally.

The Samaritan did not have to spend a lot of time with the beaten and bloodied man in order to feel compassion for him. Time spent was not a requirement for him to have love for the Jew. And if that’s the case, then neither would time be required for a mother and father to love their own precious, biological, lifeless, fearfully and wonderfully made baby boy or girl.

Why Give More Slack to Hollywood?

Some of us are not as lenient with people we know as we are with Hollywood. In the scene from West Side Story, we give them kudos when a man goes gaga over a cute girl on a dance floor. I realize that this example relates to a romantic ‘high’ between a man and a woman, and not a compassionate type of love. That type of reaction is mostly based on physical attraction. But that makes my point even more. Many believe that losing a stillborn baby does not bring the same kind of emotion as other life situations can bring. Think about this for a moment. If you accept that people can shed tears over a romantic movie scene, how much more should you empathize with parents who are painfully grieving?

There is nothing wrong or sinful about starry-eyed men seeing a cute girl, and feeling like his whole world is just beginning. At the same time, parents of stillborn babies want you to know something: We want you to accept that we once looked into the beautiful eyes of a dead baby boy or girl, and our whole world felt like it ended. All we ask is that the same allowance you give to Hollywood to experience deep emotions, you also give to us. We need your tears as well. And we need your compassionate words and prayers to deal with our pain. When you make assumptions about how a family should feel in their grief, you do them a great disservice.

We love our babies. Always have, always will. Our longing for them did not die with them, regardless of how little time we had with them. If the amount of time spent with someone were the only factor in having affection, then we will cut short the love others need from us. And in the process, we will grieve the Spirit of God. Don’t allow yourself to believe the lie that a lack of time equals a lack of affection. How many hours, days, or months did this girl spend with her mother before their meeting? None. Now go back and watch the last couple minutes of the clip. Really, I mean watch it. Now…….. that’s what a reunion might look like for a parent and their stillborn baby!

The Hypocritical Husband

We must look at each situation carefully, in its own context. For example, if a husband willfully chooses not to spend time with his wife, he is being neglectful and unloving. If he is constantly choosing his friends, hobbies, and even other family members over his wife, he has not loved her. If he neglects her needs and never sacrifices his own comfort for her sake, he has not loved her. And any “affection” he shows for her is going to be seen as a sham. She will sniff out his motives like a highly trained K-9. For him to behave in such a way brings shame upon himself and anyone who condones such behavior.

On the other hand, to make time the deciding factor when it comes to loving someone does a great deal of damage. If we believe that time is an absolutely necessary component of love, then we have judged wrongly. Why? Because then we assume that love is determined by a specific set of circumstances. In other words, something outside of us as opposed to something inside of us. Look again at the husband in the above paragraph. Time did not produce genuine affection for his wife. And it certainly didn’t bring forth a pattern of good deeds. Even the good things he did were ultimately self-serving. Time didn’t make him get better. Only God can do that. Do not attribute to time something that only the Creator of time can do. Apart from the grace of God, such a man may continue to get worse over time. Time was no helper to him.

Looking to God for Help

The kind of thinking that places time limits on love distorts the true meaning of love. It places barriers in front of it. Love is much more diverse. We can’t pigeonhole it. To do so would be an insult to Jesus Christ our Savior, who is the full embodiment of love. The Bible shows Him loving people He knew well. And it also shows Him loving people He had only known for seconds. Parents of stillborn babies know all too well that love cannot be based solely on any one person’s experience. Let’s learn about love from God, not Hollywood.

The fact that your baby dies before leaving the mother’s womb, or while on the way out, is no consolation. The fact that you did not hear your baby cry, or coo, does not cushion the blow. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you love your baby any less. It means you are a grieving parent, who is hurting deeper than most people probably know. But I do know that God is the One you can always turn to. He knows how much you are hurting. And He knows how much you love your baby, even when others have no clue. If you are hurting, go to Him and pray that He would bring you comfort in all of your messy pain. And in all of your frustration at the lack of understanding you receive. The One who forgives sins is able and willing to do it.

A Many Splendored Thing

Hollywood once got close to a good definition of love. They said that Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing. The problem is that the many splendors of “Hollywood love” usually involve one night stands, getting drunk, and girls wearing flirty clothing. Perhaps if Hollywood showed an exhausted  mother lying on a delivery room bed wearing a hospital gown as much as they showed a villainess wearing spandex, real love would be seen. Perhaps if they showed more bruised and lifeless baby faces with blood red lips in the arms of a caring nurse, real love would be seen. Perhaps if they let you hear the sounds of a mother and father wailing over the loss of their baby, whom they can only hold just one time, real love would be seen. Now this would be one messy, but beautiful, movie.

But of course, not many people would pay to go see it, would they? Grieving parents, churches helping suffering people, baby funerals, and really messy lives. Nope. Not much there to make a buck off of. No swooning females. No West Side Story moments. No box office records. And no Academy Awards. Real love pleases God, but it isn’t always popular.

Conclusion

Time doesn’t cause love to come into the picture. It is no guarantee that love already exists in a given situation, or that it will exist in the future. Time is simply the frame in which the picture of love can be clearly displayed. And in some instances, that frame gives the picture of love a very beautiful holder. Jesus Christ painted the most beautiful picture of love the world has ever seen. We can see the painting written in the words of Holy Scripture. The frame of His love was seen in every one of His words and actions throughout His 33 year life. And ultimately, His time came to an end. The frame wrapped completely around the picture, as it draped over and around a wooden cross for about 6 hours on that Day of days. Those 6 hours are not what made Jesus love us while hanging on the cross. He loved us because of who He is.

Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

If time is put to good use, then the frame can only make the picture more beautiful. But for parents of stillborn babies, there wasn’t much time to be had with our baby. Our frame was taken away. And we can never get it back. Unfortunately, time isn’t for sale. You can’t buy that kind of frame at your local store. But God holds the frame of eternity in His hands. And one day, He will make all things new in a Kingdom that cannot be framed with a finite concept of time. It is a Kingdom that lasts forever! To all you parents who have lost babies, there is hope in our Redeemer. Remember, our time here on this earth is temporal. That frame will eventually break apart and will not hold the picture. Time will give way to eternity. However, the picture of love will last forever. How do I know? It is the reason the Apostle Paul calls it the greatest thing. It lasts even beyond faith and hope. It goes on and on and on, forever with our Lord.

So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)

It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. No one ever said anything about the frame.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

 

 

44 Years of Horror: Our Prayer to Overturn Roe v Wade

Image result for overturn roe v wade images
Our hearts cry out to You, our Lord and our God, to end this brutality of abortion, to end this wicked crime,
To end the destruction of so many precious little babies, we plead with You fervently, for now is the time.
And just as the persistent widow kept pressing the unjust judge, we come to You, Lord Jesus, again and again and again,
For You are infinitely better than the widow’s judge, You are the only One who can put an end to this unmerciful, vicious sin.

Your Name is full of justice and mercy, for You are the Lord Most High, the One who gives us our life and breath,
For in You we have our existence, our very being, but Roe v Wade has brought to this nation nothing but death.
The slaughter of the unborn is contradictory to Your Holy Name, for your Name itself is the Way, the Truth, and the Life,
But abortion providers take that life which You graciously give, and sever millions from the womb, no different than a serial killer with a blood soaked knife.

Planned Parenthood is the worst offender, for they are much like the infamous King Herod, having shed countless streams and pools of innocent blood,
Grant them repentance over their wickedness, for You are storing up Your righteous wrath, even more so than in the days of Noah, and the worldwide flood.
Planned Parenthood has no compassion for life and personhood, and their only regard is for their own wallet, and their own prosperous existence,
So we plead with you Lord, just like in Luke, when the bold friend knocks on the door at midnight for some bread, please do not ignore our persistence.

Image result for praying for pro life imagesLord Jesus Christ, bring justice to the United States of America, and unite our diverse nation together under this vitally important cause,
To love and cherish those who cannot speak for themselves, who cannot protest for their very own lives, who cannot change our nation’s laws.
There are those who get angry and shout, “But it’s the woman’s body! Leave her alone and go away!”
But we know that to You, a baby is just as much a person, created in Your own image, knit together by You, with a complete DNA.

Oh Lord, please help our President Donald Trump, also Congress, and the Supreme Court, to make the right moral choices,
To legislate in the fear of You, according to Your Commandments, and give us what America needs, righteous and God-fearing voices.
Make them fear only what You think, and not what sinful man may do to them, or that their popularity might fade,
Cause them to please only You, to create and uphold laws that protect the unborn, and to finally, once and for all, overturn Roe v Wade!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

10 Things Parents of Stillborn Babies Want You To Know (Part 1): Your Words Are Needed

 

It has often been said that “silence is golden.” And you know what? It may often be true. That is, until you are the parent of a stillborn baby in a maternity ward. Then, it is not only false, but a most dreadful expression.

A couple weeks ago, I wrote an introductory post about how people can better minister to those who have suffered the loss of a stillborn baby. I would strongly recommend that you take the time to read through the above linked article, so that you are more prepared to understand what I am about to get into here. I listed the 10 things parents of stillborn babies want you to know.

Please understand, this list is not about laying a guilt trip on anyone. It is simply to better inform you on what it is like for parents who go through this tragedy. I am so grateful that I had family, and at least one close friend, show compassion to me when I lost my daughter. And I thank the Lord for that. But I also remember certain things that were very difficult to deal with emotionally, and how the behavior of others intensified those feelings in a negative way. Many people are not prepared to minister in this kind of situation. It is my hope and prayer that this series will help you just a little bit, should you ever encounter someone who has lost their baby to stillbirth. For this post, I want to focus on point #1.

Parents of stillborn babies want you to know…………

 

#1 We want you to know that we are greatly suffering, and we need you to acknowledge this fact with words of compassion.

 

Silence Isn’t Always Golden

Most people don’t like the sound of a crying baby. In most cases, it isn’t even because they’re worried about the baby, but because they are bothered by the noise. They find it annoying. They even make some parents feel guilty in public when their babies weep loudly. But parents of stillborn babies recognize the joyful significance of that sound. In fact, the sound of a baby crying is more meaningful to us than most people realize. It is a sound we yearned for in the maternity ward. It is a most precious, but yet at the same time, devastating sound. Why? Because we never had the chance to hear our baby cry. We longed for it. We prayed for it. But it didn’t happen. And the silence was anything but golden.


The Miracle That Happened

We never believed so hard for a miracle as we did on that painstakingly silent day. In one sense, we did witness a miracle. We saw the birth of our beautiful baby boy or girl. We saw their sweet little faces. We saw the shape of their head, and the color of their hair. Their tiny fingers and toes. We experienced the miracle of seeing our baby being born. I described this surreal experience in depth, when I wrote about my baby girl. It was truly a moment of glorious joy and searing pain, all at the same time. Joy because, well, he or she is still yours. But pain because you know you only have a few hours to bond with your weak, bruised, fragile baby. Can you just try to imagine the pain that comes from entering a hospital, going through the admission process, and then entering the dreaded maternity ward? Dreaded? It’s supposed to be a place of life and joy! Yes it is, but not for parents of stillborn babies. We know ahead of time that we are walking into a place of death, not life.


The Miracle That Did Not Happen

Yes, we got to see our babies.  But…………..we did not hear them. Or should I say it this way: we did not hear them. We have no memories to cherish of what our babies sound like. You know how you listen to a certain radio station for a long time, and you never see what the DJ looks like. But you try to put a face to them. And then finally, you see them. Either in person or a picture. And they usually don’t look anything like the way you pictured them. Well, it’s kind of the opposite for parents of stillborn babies. We see our baby up close and personal. We hold them and squeeze them tight. But we cannot hear them. They are silent babies. But we try to imagine what they might have sounded like. But unlike finally seeing what the radio DJ looks like, you never finally hear what your baby sounds like. It is a perpetual mystery that we must learn to live with.

Ariana would be 15 on February 20th, 2017. I never got to hear her adorable voice. I just know it would have sounded adorable. Don’t ask me how. I just know. And that makes it all the more painful. And believe me, every parent of a stillborn baby feels the same way I do. They know their baby would have sounded just as precious and cute as mine. If you know the parents of a stillborn baby, remember that we never heard the precious sounds of our little baby. And that is a dreadful silence to be reminded of.


The Hard Questions We Still Ask

We go to the hospital. And if they can’t find a secluded room for us, we will hear other families giving birth to healthy, living, crying babies. We are happy for them. We want them to experience the joy that God has brought into their lives. But then we wonder, “Why us??!!” “Why do we have to hear other babies cry, but not our own?” “Why is my baby’s face bruised?” “Why is the nurse giving my baby her first bath, but also her last bath at the same time?” “Oh Lord Jesus, why is there so much silence??” “Can You let me hear her cry, JUST ONCE?”

We get to see our baby. We get to hold our baby. But we don’t get to hear our baby. And even worse, we don’t get to keep our baby. We don’t change any dirty diapers. We don’t feed them. We don’t cuddle them anymore. The cuddling was short lived, and we knew it. We had to look at their crimson lips and shrunken skull one last time, and then the nurse would say, “I’m sorry, it’s time.” Then they took our baby away. We stagger to our car. We somehow manage to turn the ignition. By God’s grace, we arrive home. Our crib is empty. And now we have to look for a casket.


Helping to Minimize Our Pain

Now that you have a little glimpse into our world, you may be wondering: “What do I say?” What kind of words should you choose? There are no magic phrases here. Be guided by Holy Scripture. Seek God’s Word and pray about the occasion.

Colossians 4:6 states, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.”

And always go to the book of Proverbs for wisdom in how to bless others with your words.

“A man has joy in an apt answer, And how delightful is a timely word!” (Proverbs 15:23)

Timely words? They are so rare, aren’t they? But most of us can relate to an occasion when someone used words in a way that made us feel better. Maybe even when you lost a loved one. I bet you still remember that conversation like it was yesterday. If you want to know what true compassion looks like, please read this incredible testimony.


We Need Your Words

We need to hear words that recognize the reality of our pain. Words that make us feel like you understand that we are suffering, and why we are suffering. Words that make us feel that our babies matter……….not just to us, but to you. Words that recognize the magnificence of our little boy or girl. That he or she is fearfully and wonderfully made by God, created in His image. Words that ease our burden, and help lift just a little of the heaviness off our aching hearts. And words that simply acknowledge that something really horrific just happened to us.  They don’t have to be perfect words. There are none.

Remember, we never had the chance to hear our baby cry. We could never have imagined things would happen the way they did. And now, we ask for nothing more than a listening ear and a few compassionate words. They mean more to us than you will ever know.

If you are the parent of a stillborn baby, in what ways has someone richly ministered to you with words of compassion?

Next time I will discuss point #2. “We want you to know that we love our babies as much as any other parent loves their own children.”

Stay tuned for more!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

 

Dear Scarlett Johansson, I Beg You From Inside the Womb

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Dear Ms. Scarlett,

You don’t know me, but I have heard of you. I think you have a really pretty name, a name I would love to have, a name I would love to keep,
But guess what? Babies like me don’t get to have a name, even though I am a person made in God’s image, a human being, truly unique.
And I am a baby girl, just like you once were, but now someone is coming to hurt me, and no one hears me when I cry,
Oh Ms. Scarlett, won’t you speak up for me? Won’t you stop them? Won’t you at least try?

I hear you gave a famous speech recently, fighting for rights that are being denied,
It must have been great, it must have been powerful, for I hear many people even cried.
I was wishing real hard that you were fighting for babies like me, but then I found out that the lady with a really pretty name,
She was not fighting for me, she was fighting for those who are trying to kill me, please tell me that you were just playing a silly game.

There isn’t much time, they are coming for me, I hear them walking into the room,
Ms. Scarlett, was I bad or something? What did I do? Why should I meet my doom?
I am in a place just like you once were, inside my mommy where it’s supposed to be safe to stay,
But now I’m scared in here; but it wasn’t scary for you. Oh, Ms. Scareltt, I don’t wanna die, would you please pray?

I hear them saying things to mommy, horrible things they are gonna do to my organs and my bone,
Oh, Ms. Scarlett, please make another speech, and tell the scary people to please leave me alone.
Mommy told them that some man did something bad to her body, on the day I got made,
Now they are going to do something even worse to me, they don’t care about either of us; the scary people got paid.

Many people are telling mommy that it’ll be better if she doesn’t have to worry about me anymore,
They told her that, if I live, I would just be a nuisance, a reminder of a bad memory, an unpleasant chore.
I heard my mommy talking to these people about that speech you made, she said it’s the reason she brought me to the scary place today,
She said you told everyone that this place is “safe” and “gentle”, and I wondered how that could possibly be?! Ms. Scarlett, your silly game I don’t want to play.

I wish that man didn’t do those bad things to mommy, I wish he wouldn’t have been so mean and full of hate,
I bet she was very afraid when he did that bad stuff; it wasn’t her fault, she only wanted to wait.
But it wasn’t my fault either, and now the scary people are going to murder me. And you know what? They won’t even bury me in a tomb.
Oh Ms. Scarlett, please hear me! Please! There is no time to spare. Listen to God’s voice who said, “For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.”

Yes, lady with a really pretty name, don’t you know that Jesus Christ put me together in my mother’s womb?
And now, because of your speech, the scary people are going to suck my insides out with a vacuum!
Don’t let them do this, I beg you! Make them stop being scary. Make them go away. Make them flee!
Oh Ms. Scarlett, won’t you help me?! Won’t you stop them?! Won’t you speak up for me?!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

 

 

10 Things Parents of Stillborn Babies Want You To Know (An Introduction)

 

“Will this one be OK for her?” was the funeral director’s necessary, but ill-timed question to me. “She’s very tiny. I don’t think we can customize one much smaller than this.” I guess it is obvious to say the question was ill-timed. That’s because there is never a convenient time for you to discuss what type of casket you need for your stillborn daughter. Just having the conversation is a dreadful experience. Surreal. Nightmarish. Numbing. That’s the best I can do for words right now. But they are inadequate. You’re supposed to pick out a new pair of jeans, a baseball glove, or the latest CD of your favorite band. You are not supposed to be making a trip to a funeral home to pick out the look and size of your baby’s casket. That is not something you ever want to place into your schedule. But in a fallen world it has to be done sometimes. Original sin is devastating. It’s the reason parents have to pick out caskets for their little babies.

Sometimes a stillborn baby is carried full term and is fully developed. Sometimes they come early. Either way, you anticipate seeing your precious little one with all the joy and excitement that come with expecting. The same as any other couple who is expecting. And then ………suddenly, and often without any warning, you have just lost your precious little boy or girl created in the image of Almighty God. Gone. In the blink of an eye. Just…..gone. You are undone. Your pain is so real that you feel like you could cut right through it with a knife. You feel numb to all pleasure. And even the simple task of smiling feels like a dream world. Your emotions feel as still as your baby’s body being held in your arms shortly after birth. All you can do is imagine what your baby would have sounded like when they cried. Or at what month they would have said “mama” or “dada.” Or when they would begin walking on their own. Imagination is all you have at this point. And it doesn’t work very well. You want your baby. But of course, your baby is gone. And now, what you need more than anything is for people to understand your pain. You need them to try as best they can to have empathy with your situation.

During the summer of 2016, I wrote about the horrific experience of losing my baby girl Ariana, who was a stillborn. I’ve also written about some of the difficulties I faced when dealing with people’s reaction to her death. If you want to have a better context with which to understand the following advice, then I would recommend you read at least one of the linked articles above. Knowing the  experience better, and having the right context helps out tremendously when it comes to successful application. The more you know about someone else’s pain, the better equipped you will be to minister to them. Or at least to understand them better. And when you take the time to understand, the less chance there is of you doing more harm than good. With that said, losing a baby during (or just before) birth is really hard to describe to someone who hasn’t gone through it. And on top of that, there is a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding on the subject of stillbirth. But I believe that ministering to parents of stillborns will be greatly improved with knowing just a few things. Things that most people do not think through, and are not educated on when it comes to stillborn babies. Because even if you mean well, you can cause unnecessary pain to people who are going through unspeakable grief.

All of us need to be more aware of and empathetic of those who have had much different experiences. And having myself gone through this particular trial, I’ve been the recipient of both the good and the bad. Of both the empathetic, and the indifferent. I have dealt with those who think before they speak, and those who do not. And I am certain that others in my situation can relate well to what I’m saying. So, some guidance is obviously needed. I’ve compiled a list here of some things I believe will help you, if you are faced with the rare difficulty of ministering to a couple under these tragic circumstances. And since it is so close to my heart, I’ve decided to make an entire blog series out of this topic. I want to be thorough, and devote enough time to each point. So instead of writing one massive blog (which would end up like a mini book!), I will explain each point on a separate blog post. So, I have included the list below, just to give you some time to mull it over for a few days. Then………I’ll move on to deeper emphasis.

With that said, keep in mind that my words are flawed. They have no power to change anyone. Only God’s Holy Spirit can do that. All of us are imperfect, but Jesus Christ uses imperfect people to accomplish His will. My hope and prayer is that God would use something……anything……….I write to help you become more aware of this pressing need.
So, let’s get to it!

Parents of stillborn babies want you to know…………..

 

1. We want you to know that we are greatly suffering, and we need you to acknowledge this fact with words of compassion.

 
2. We want you to know that we love our babies as much as any other parent loves their own children.


3. We want you to use our baby’s name as much as possible. It is like beautiful music being played in our ears.


4. Just because we had only a very short time to bond with our baby (our lifeless baby), this does not make the grieving process easier. In some ways, it makes things harder.


5. 
We want you to know that we love talking about our babies as much as any other parent loves to talk about their own kids, and we want people to at least try to listen more when we do.


6. We want you to become more comfortable in conversation, and not change the subject so quickly whenever we talk about our precious babies. 


7. 
When we bring up in conversation that we had a stillborn, we want you to know that simply saying “I’m sorry” is a much better option than total, dismissive silence.


8. We want you to acknowledge the powerful bond that we have with our babies, and want you to refer to us as their parents.


9. We want you to ask questions about our baby (eye color, hair color, height, weight, did you get to hold the baby, did they look like mommy or daddy, do you have pics, etc.)

 

10. We want you to know that, even many years later, we still feel the loss and miss our babies very much.

                              – – – – – – –

So there you have it. A little something to whet your appetite. Until next time, please be reflecting on these things. And as you do, remember that parents of stillborn babies do not expect you to be perfect in your dealings with them. We don’t expect you to “have it all together.” Death is hard, no matter who it involves. We know that you mean well, and you don’t want to hurt us. We know that sometimes all of us say the wrong thing. None of us are perfect. Only Christ is. And only by His strength can we put any of these principles into practice. I need His strength to minister to others as much as anyone. So above all things, do not neglect the Word of God. I’ll get more into that in the coming weeks.

So follow along with me, as I begin to go deeper on each point. Next time we meet I’ll be discussing Point #1 in depth: “We want you to know that we are greatly suffering, and we need you to acknowledge this fact with words of compassion.”

Stay tuned for much more in the coming days and weeks!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

Save the Baby, But Please Throw the Idiom Out With the Bathwater!

Image result for bathwater being tossed

 

It is a ruthlessly annoying expression.  In fact, it is downright disturbing.  It conjures up horrifying images of sopping wet little babies being tossed into the air, and landing on hard, unforgiving surfaces.  If such an accident ever occurred (heaven forbid!), it would make even the most seasoned 911 dispatcher struggle to get through the call.  If such an accident ever really happened, we would all hold our breath and wonder if there were any fatalities. We would never be able to get it out of our mind, and for good reason.  It would be absolutely horrific.  The very thought, or mention, of something like this happening ought to make us shudder. We would never trivialize it.  Perish the thought! And we certainly would never use it as a common expression.  Worse yet is the fact that, when the expression is uttered, get this………..it is always done nonchalantly.  No one seems to second guess whether or not it is even appropriate to say it.  So what gives?

Evangelicals, The Guilty Party?

I would love to be able to say that this phrase has little to no reputation among Christians. I’d love to tell you that it is completely secular, and is mostly used by the liberal media.  I would love to say all of that.  But, of course, I would be wrong. “Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater” just so happens to be one of the most popular phrases among evangelicals.  At least, it sure seems that way.  You can hardly listen to a theological debate, or read the comments on a controversial Facebook post, without seeing someone refer to this expression.  It has gained steam, particularly in reformed circles, over the last several years. To be honest, I am uncertain about whether I have ever said it myself.  If I did, and you were the recipient, please allow me to take the rest of my life to repay you for the pain and suffering I have caused.  Just let me know which day of the week you’d like to have your car waxed, and your house cleaned.  It is the least I could do for being so carelessly insensitive. And if you have little babies, one day I will find a way to pay for their college education.

The Meaning?

According to this article from WiseGeek, “Throwing the baby out with the bath water” is an expression that implies that an entire idea, concept, practice or project doesn’t need to be rejected or discontinued if part of it is good. The baby, in this sense, represents the good part that can be preserved. The bath water, on the other hand, usually is dirty after the baby is washed and needs to be discarded, just like the parts of the concept that are bad or useless.”

The origin of the expression is highly debated, so I am not going to spill any ink on figuring out where it originated.  But most believe it traces back to a German origin in the 1500’s.  According to Wikipedia, Martin Luther was apparently a fan of the expression. (‘Baptismal Regeneration’ jokers need not apply.)  But I digress.

It really doesn’t matter to me how it began, when it began, or who is ultimately responsible for its origin.  I’m not interested in the origin of the expression; I’m interested in its demise.

How It All Happens

So how exactly does this unhelpful phrase enter into a conversation with evangelicals? Well, it goes something like this…….  An individual believes that someone went too far when they corrected a false teaching.  In other words, when they corrected one piece of bad theology, they got rid of some good theology as well!  In their zealousness, they may have meant well, but meaning well and doing well are two very different things.

Let me give an example here.  Let us suppose than an ‘evangelical’ said that God never, ever blesses people with wealth, and that it is a gross sin to be rich.  That we need to question our salvation if we make good money.  Ouch.  Not good.  In fact, it sounds like this person was so afraid of being associated with the “health and wealth” gospel, that he went completely in the opposite direction.  It happens.  We need to be aware of it when it does.  The prosperity preachers teach that having riches always indicates that God’s blessing is on you.  But this next individual, in his desire to correct, states that the possession of riches indicates that God’s curse is always on you.  Both are false.  Both are destructive.  I would even venture to say that the over correction itself is heresy.

Mr. Idiom User to the Rescue

Someone needs to do something about this doctrinal error.  Right?  I mean, we don’t want to people to think they’re going to hell just because they have a good job and are wealthy, right?  “Somebody, anybody, please say something!  Let’s balance this thing out and bring some clarity!”  And then……..you know it’s coming.  The warning signs start to sound.  It is as obvious as the sound of a foghorn blasting, warning ships of coming dangers. He starts to say things like, “Well, Benny Hinn is wrong to believe that he himself has the power to heal, but it is wrong to say that God never heals anyone today.”  He stresses the word ‘never’ for a reason.  He is leading into it, just waiting to get it out……….just waiting for the right moment.

And I, well, I am ready to cringe.  Because in just a short moment some well-meaning Christian is going to blurt it out.  He is going to say the words that make me (and others I’m sure) want to have someone dig their nails down a chalkboard, just so we don’t have to hear that infamous expression.   And here he comes, Mr. I’m Going to Bring Balance to Everyone’s Theology.  He is all too happy to step right on up to the discussion platform, and lend his two cents worth.  And then, without much thought or hesitation, he says it.  He’s probably said it before, and he’s most likely heard it from others many times as well.  He says, “Hey, I know that prosperity theology is false, and that Kenneth Copeland is a heretic, but let’s not…..” AAARRGGHHH!!!! “NO, NO, NO, Please…. NO, NO, Anything but THAT!!  I BEG YOU!!” is what I am thinking to myself, although I say absolutely nothing.  And he continues uninterrupted……..  “throw. the. baby. out. with. the. bathwater.” (gulp, headbang, deep breath) Honestly, there should be a law against it.  Brothers and sisters, how did we ever…………?  I can’t even……..

We Have Plenty of Other Choices

“Don’t Throw Away the Champagne with the Cork.”  It’s a very common and old expression.  But it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?  I can’t imagine anyone having nightmares because of this one!  I mean, even if the champagne did accidentally get tossed, well……….ya know……….it’s champagne!  It’s not the end of the world. You can buy another bottle.  No one is annoyed or traumatized.  And best of all, there are no mental images of babies flying through the air waiting to crash onto a hardwood floor. There are others you can choose as well.  “Don’t let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch.” “Don’t give up on a great team because of a few bad players.” There’s no shortage.  You have plenty to pick from.  They’re a lot less violent too.

I often hear Christians get upset at people when they refer to a baby as “it”, instead of he or she.  And I agree with them.  We should make it a point to stress that a baby is a person with an assigned gender.  But here’s the thing. When we use that horrible idiom, we are likening the baby to a good piece of theology, right?  Well, isn’t referring to a baby as a piece of theology the same thing as calling them an “it”?  Draw it out to its logical conclusion, and that is where you end up.

Conclusion

A baby is a person created in the image of God; a person to be loved and cared for. A person to be well spoken of, even idiomatically.  He or she is not some good piece of theology that could be dangerously tossed out with some filthy bathwater.  I know it is just an expression, and no one means anything harmful by it.  I am not saying it is a sin to use it. But there is value in the words that we choose, and the manner in which we use them. The expression conjures up all sorts of bad things. It is not good for the imagination.  We should speak better of these precious little ones.

So, of course, save the baby.  But please throw that repulsive idiom out with the bathwater! In fact, as long as the idiom gets tossed, you can even save the bathwater if you want. Given the choice between the two, I’d rather bathe in that filthy gunk than have to hear that expression one more time!  Yes, I know that is gross, but I am trying to make a point. (-:

And if y’all actually listen to me and boycott this expression, and it finally sees its own demise, I plan on having a celebration.  And you’re all invited!

Someone will have to bring the champagne though.  Somehow my last bottle got tossed with the cork.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support! (-:

 

 

One Year Closer to the Return of Jesus: A Reason To Be Excited About 2017

 

We can get excited about 2017, as it is one year closer to Christ’s glorious return,
One year closer to seeing His splendor, and a bit closer to the day when the old earth will burn.
One year closer to the time of our resurrection, and a bit closer to having no more sin,
As we wait in joyful hope, with no fear of what may come, Christ has guaranteed that we will ultimately win.

One year closer to the time the sky splits open, and a bit nearer to the archangel shout,
One year closer to a time of unending joy, when faith becomes sight, and the end of all doubt.
As we go before Him who saved us by His blood, and before His mighty throne on our knees we will bow,
We are one year closer to a time of unending fellowship, with all the saints of time past, those from then and of now.

One year closer to the day our journey is complete, and just a bit nearer to that enormous trumpet sound,
And as we approach the Lord Jesus, we will remember that once we were lost, and now we are found.
For those who come with empty hands, broken and poor in spirit, and in Jesus Christ have placed their trust,
They will have nothing to fear, but the ungodly will shrink back, and cry to the rocks and mountains, “Fall on us! Fall on us!”

 

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But please don’t be the one who rejects the Lord Jesus, for He has given you 2017 to be a time of change, a time of amazing grace,
For if you refuse this saving gospel and the Lord’s forgiving mercy, you will be one step closer to everlasting disgrace.
So now unbeliever, don’t wait, don’t delay any longer, for 2017 is just one year closer to the Day of God’s wrath,
And if you want to experience eternal joy with Christ, you must do what all the saints have done, and get on the right path.

Just one year closer, fellow Christians, keep holding on until the day you die or the day He makes all things new,
You will not regret your hours in the Word and in prayer, nor will you regret the time spent every Lord’s Day in the pew.
Because all that we suffer now, and in all our pain in the coming 2017, it’ll be what the Apostle Paul calls light and momentary affliction,
One Day we’ll realize the fight is all worth it, because Christ is worth it; He saved us and is now singing over us with joy; can you imagine any better description?!

One future day I’ll see my great God and Savior, riding on a white horse, shining like the sun in full strength,
And the most wonderful thought of all; I will see His glorious face not just for 365 days, but for eternity, a time of infinite length.
Oh Lord Jesus, I do not know the day nor the year of your return, you have kept that secret, but I do know this one thing,
That in 2017 it’ll be one year closer, a few more sands in the hourglass closer, a few more ticks closer to the day I’ll see my King!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

 

 

Mike Pence Wants Donald Trump To Know Jesus: A Reason For Everyone to Hope

 

I believe Mike Pence has the Holy Spirit of God dwelling within Him.  No one I know questions this fact.  Of course, we cannot know for 100% certainty whether any one person is truly converted, but all signs point to “yes” for Mike Pence.  He has made a point of being vocal about his Christian faith.  And if his quotations are any indication of his love for Jesus, then this man is part of God’s Kingdom.  He is devoted to the pro-life cause.  He is reported to have consulted his Bible on all matters of public policy.  And do I even need to mention his incredibly loving response to the interrogation he faced during the Broadway performance of “Hamilton.”  That one speaks volumes.  I could go on.  But I think the point is made.

No Reason to Doubt

We have no reason to doubt that this man is a blood bought, born again child of the living God.  We should recognize the fruit in other believers, and praise God for it.  Granted, few of us know Pence personally and are not ‘in-the-know’ when it comes to his daily walk with Christ.  But that isn’t the issue.  There are numerous people we don’t know personally, whose testimonies we wouldn’t dare question.  Furthermore, nowhere in Scripture are we called to overly inspect the fruit of other people, so that we can search for ways to undermine their conversion.  We should be looking for elements of grace, not searching for areas where we can potentially judge.  Do not forget Romans 14:10-11: “Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”  This verse should make us tremble.  Holy trembling is good for us.  It keeps us humble, and dependent on God.  Of course, this doesn’t mean we cannot offer good and honest critique of our government officials.  It does mean that we ought to be very careful how we do it……….especially when he or she loves the same Lord you do.  For this and many other reasons, I see no reason to scrutinize the idea that Mike Pence loves Jesus Christ.

The Thought Should Excite Us

This is a good thing.  In fact, it is more than a good thing.  It is a beautiful thing!  Why?  Well, besides the possibility of Mr. VP running for President in the future (can you imagine??!!), there is another big reason that Pence being a Christian is a good thing.  While I am thankful that Trump won the election, for various reasons I do not believe he knows Jesus savingly…………yet.  Why do I say ‘yet’?  Because God can do all things.  He can use Mike Pence to bring the gospel to Donald Trump.  Does this possibility not excite you?!  Does it not make you wonder what Pence is thinking?  Or if he has already planted a couple seeds with Mr. Trump?  Does it make you wonder if he is praying about the opportunity?  Or if the Spirit is stirring Pence’s heart at this very moment about how and when he will share the gospel?  If you doubt that Pence has these desires, I exhort you to check your Bible.  You may notice a certain theme that runs all the way through it.  Children of God (like our future Vice President) want other people to become children of God.  And Donald Trump is one of those other people.  Mike Pence (and us, and the angels, and God!) would rejoice if Trump were to repent of his sins and believe the gospel.  God is glorified when those who are far off are brought near by the blood of His precious Son.  Therefore, Pence has all the motivation he needs to share the gospel with Donald Trump.  People who love Jesus want other people to love Jesus too!     

What It Means for America

There is another tiny little reason it matters greatly that Pence is a Christian.  It may not be as eternally important as souls being saved.  But temporally speaking, it is very important.  And it is this: If Trump gets saved through the witness of Mike Pence, then America could only change for the better.  America would have a God-fearing man in the White House.  Can you imagine what that would look like?  Can you fathom what type of changes Trump would make to this nation?  What about the grace and humility in his voice as he makes speeches to millions of people?  And what kind of lasting impact would he have on our young people?  Oh, and how about this………Would it not give him much greater motivation to keep the promises he made about abolishing Planned Parenthood?  Hmmmm……..a lot to ponder, isn’t it?  And by no means am I suggesting that he won’t otherwise keep some of his promises.  I’m simply saying that, if he were a Christian, the conviction to be faithful to your promises would be overwhelming.  The Holy Spirit would be constantly at work within him.  His love for God would grow.  His love for family and friends would grow.  And consequently, his love for his country would grow.

Remember, Pence Wants to Please God

In other words, he wants to obey God’s commandments.  He wants to obey them always.  And when he doesn’t, he will confess and repent of those sins.  This is what Christians do.  We keep repenting, and we keep believing.  And we have an increasing desire to obey Christ.  Pence is no different.  If he has the Holy Spirit, he has many of the same desires that all of us Christians have.  Just because he is involved in politics, and has different responsibilities than we do, does not mean that he is less knowledgeable of what God requires.  In fact, it may be all the more reason for him to be in the Word constantly.  (As I mentioned earlier, he has been known to consult his Bible often)  And judging by his response to the ‘Hamilton’ cast, I have to believe that he must be in God’s Word…………often.  That kind of humility doesn’t usually come from someone who neglects the Word of God.  His fruit looks like it is growing from a good tree.

 

The Great Commission

There is one commandment Jesus gave that all Christians should know about.  It’s the one that appears at the very end of Matthew’s gospel.  And it goes like this: “And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).  We know these verses as the Great Commission.  Share the gospel.  Baptize.  Teach.  Then, do it all over again.  When this happens, God is glorified.  Mike Pence is aware of this fact.  Like any Christian, Pence wants to witness to those whom God places in his inner circle.  Pence knows about the Great Commission.  And the Holy Spirit dwelling within our future Vice President will enable and compel him to share this gospel with others. Like us, he wants to impact his neighbors and co-workers.  And Donald Trump certainly qualifies as his neighbor and co-worker.  How exciting is that??

Am I Being Unrealistic?

Now, you may be thinking, “Jamie, with the country in such a place of division and moral decline, Pence has way too many other things on his mind as the Vice President of the United States!”  True, he does have many other things on his mind.  More than most of us can probably imagine.  But does this mean that he would neglect the most important things in his life?  Things like sharing the only message that can save people from their sins, and an eternity in hell.  I should hope not.  As a believer in Jesus Christ, Pence thinks about how to please God above all things.  And as I said above, when you think about God you think about His commandments.  You cannot separate the two. You think about how to love Jesus and your neighbor.  And I would submit that the kindest thing you can ever do for someone is to share the gospel with them.  So the answer is no.  It is not unrealistic to believe that God will use Mike Pence to get through to Trump.  The Holy Spirit is not limited by our small, finite minds.  We have an infinite God.  We need to be more like children, and start believing bigger things.

 

The Danger of Placing Limits on God

Do you think I’m crazy for writing this blog?  I imagine some of you will answer ‘yes’ to that question.  In fact, some of you might answer ‘yes’ regardless of whether I wrote the blog or not!  I’ll have to tackle that one another time.  But on the issue of Pence witnessing to Trump, I will let the Word of God speak.  Ephesians 3:20 states, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”  For those of you who are skeptical, I have a question.  Is Trump getting converted beyond the scope and power of what this verse states?  Oh, and what about Jeremiah 32:27, which says, “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?”  Well, is there anything too hard?  God is asking.  And we ought to be very careful when we answer that question.  We dare not get it wrong.

Love Believes and Hopes All Things

First Corinthians 13:7 states, “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  Love believes that Mike Pence really cares about the souls of lost people, one of whom could be our next President.  Believing all things means that we don’t just believe that the Holy Spirit is doing a mighty work in the heart of the Vice President-elect.  It means we believe that God will ‘do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.’  It means we rejoice in the hope that another sinner (Donald Trump) gets converted, and God is glorified.  The angels in heaven rejoice when this happens. (Luke 15:7)  We ought to do the same.

Love believes that the Spirit will work in the life of Mike Pence, to stir up his heart to share the Good News with Donald Trump.  And also to challenge the President if his profession of faith does not match up with his behavior.  This will not be an easy task for Mr. Pence.  We must be praying for him, as well as all other Christians involved in politics.  If we feel a tremendous weight to get the gospel to our co-workers, should we expect it to be any less with government workers?

Love believes that the Holy Spirit will work mightily inside government offices throughout the United States.  And that includes the White House over the next four years!  Just what if the Spirit of God were to enter the heart of the man who will be in the Oval Office very soon?!  The end result: A God fearing man leading his wife, family, and nation!  Wow.

The Power of God

I am thankful that Donald Trump won the presidential election.  He is the President-elect.  But that won’t get him into heaven.  That won’t forgive his sins.  He can’t be voted into God’s Kingdom, even if the population and the Electoral College say so.  To get into heaven, he must be God’s elect.  We don’t know if he is elect of God, and neither does Mike Pence.  But there is one thing I believe Mike Pence does know, and it is this: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”  Preach it, Mr. VP!!!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this! If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email. It’s free!  And no spam at all! Simply find the box that says “Stay In Touch!!” and enter your email address. The box will be on your upper right (computer), or bottom part of your screen (phone). I appreciate your support!  (-:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Waste This Christmas Season: Share the Gospel

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It happens every Christmas season, as people seem to be more open than ever to hearing about our Lord,
You can see it on their faces; they’re not quite as angry, they’re not quite as bored.
They may not always receive the message with gladness, but they are usually more kind,
And a more opportune time to share the love of Jesus Christ, this you will not find.

When you go outside and walk the streets, there is something special in the air,
Or when you go shopping and walk around the mall, happiness is certainly not rare.
When you hear the Salvation Army ringing those familiar bells, it’s time to remember,
That it’s all about how we love others and share Jesus; the time is now, the month of December.

So let us pray for opportunities to speak the Good News this Christmas season, that God would give us a heart of boldness and compassion,
Let us not waste this precious time; we must tell others of how the Word became flesh and then died for our sins, as such was His passion.
Some might say, “But we should be evangelizing all the year long.” To which I say, “Yes, I agree that we should always be seeking others and sharing”,
But in our weakness, with certain people we seem to constantly pull back, and Christmas time may be one way God gives us a push, and a heart full of caring.

So……send your sister that Facebook message, hand out that gospel tract at Target, invite that neighbor over for dinner,
Keeping in mind that it is not about you, or your comfort or ease, or that everyone in town would think you’re such a winner.
But it is always and ultimately about Jesus Christ, the God-man, the Son of the Most High, who came to this cursed and sinful earth,
So that we would die to sin and live for Him, dying to our fear of man, and telling others to trust in the One who gives the second birth.

That unsaved friend or neighbor might even expect to hear the gospel this Christmas season. Could this be true?
And maybe God has entrusted someone specific to speak the Word of life to them; I wonder, could this someone be you?
You may feel anxious and scared, as I myself often do, but God is with us every step of the way,
So let us take our fears to Him, and be sharing this glorious message with others, as we anticipate Christmas Day.

But brothers and sisters, let us not stop on Christmas; let us pray to the Lord, that this gospel of our salvation would be on our lips always,
Into the New Year, and each and every day thereafter, that He would help us in our weakness, to share the love of Christ all of our days!

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Thank you for taking the time to read this!  (-:  If you enjoy my articles, you can subscribe to this blog by email.  It’s free!  And no spam at all!  Please see the box on the upper right part of the page.  I appreciate your support.