Sanctity of Life

I didn’t realize that last Sunday was Sanctity of Life day until the day had almost passed. As soon as I saw the post on social media, I knew from past experience that most churches wouldn’t openly support it. And I was right.  Later that afternoon while once again scrolling social media, I saw a survey asking people if their church publicly supported the right to life for the unborn. After I voted, I saw the results. More than half of the responders said their church didn’t openly show support for this event. The majority of churches, those who call themselves Christian, were silent on making sure the unborn have a right to live their lives.

If our churches that say they support the unborn are silent on the day to honor the unborn, what are they really saying? What aren’t they saying? Why wouldn’t they stand up and speak up for those who can’t yet stand or speak for themselves? What are they ashamed of? Who do they think they’re offending by being silent? Who are they supporting with their silence?

If churches that say they’re pro-life don’t speak up for the unborn, will they speak against the push for assisted suicide? Will they speak against the evils of euthanasia? 

Is life really sacred to those who believe life begins at conception? Or not?

Why? Why wouldn’t churches be willing to say publicly what they’re willing to say behind closed doors? If they don’t openly support it now, when will they? If they don’t publicly support this biblical truth, which other truths will they ignore or just not defend? Do they think silence is approval for the event, or is their silence one of dissent? It can’t go both ways.

Our unwillingness to offend the pro-choice crowd offends the pro-life crowd. Why don’t we take a stand when we have the opportunity?

Oh. I know individuals who are staunch Catholics. Yet when they hear the news of someone’s unplanned pregnancy, they’re the first to recommend ending the pregnancy. After all, the time isn’t right. Or perhaps the child will be stuck with a deadbeat dad. And no one wants that. Or perhaps a violent act against the mother resulted in pregnancy. So we end the child’s life? Is that the only option in these situations? We kill the most innocent of lives in order to “protect” them from an unknown and increasingly evil world? It’s for the child’s own good? And they don’t even get a say in the matter. Their voice can’t even be heard. Until there’s a silent scream on the end of a medical instrument suctioning the newly formed body out of the mother.

And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We all are formed by your hand. Isaiah 64:8

We as Christians and pro-life supporters have much to be ashamed of. We don’t stand for the rights of the unborn when we have the opportunity. We don’t form a line and say enough is enough. Enough of us don’t band together in a effort to speak for those who can’t speak or even breathe on their own.

Even the leader of the free world voiced his thoughts on the day set aside to honor the sanctity of life. He was lamenting the fact that we couldn’t “celebrate” the fiftieth anniversary of the legalization of killing the unborn. He claimed the opposing political party was waging war on women’s rights to make their own healthcare decisions. And he said the fight wasn’t over. Sorry Joe. It isn’t a healthcare issue. Someone always ends up dead with this procedure. The goal of this so-called healthcare issue is death for one of the lives.

If Christians are silent on this issue, then the fight has been won. Those who applaud the killing of the babies being formed in their mother’s wombs are the winners. Their fight is over. But the babies. The unborn. They’re the losers. They lose their lives every time in this fight for women’s rights. It’s definitely an unfair fight. One of the parties doesn’t even know about the fight until they’ve lost their life. How fair is that?

They say that life isn’t fair. Well. It definitely isn’t fair to the life who isn’t even given a chance to live it.

The person who is one heartbeat away from being the leader of the free world spoke her belief clearly. And it was all done with the omission of one word. Life. She chose not to include the right to life as she quoted the Declaration of Independence on that day. It was an intentional rebuff of the unborn. She spoke what she believed. We heard what she said. And we heard what she didn’t say. And now. How many who support the right to life will hold her accountable? Shall we get in line?

Sure. There were both sides represented at the event last Sunday. Those fighting for the right to life for every unborn person. And those fighting to end the life of the unborn during any stage of the pregnancy, and even after birth. Now that the event is history, it’s good to do a lessons learned to note the words being spoken and the words left unsaid. Which side of the argument really won the war that day? Oh. You say. It was a peaceful protest. Of course. As it should be.

There should never be a question of whether the unborn have a right to life. Each life is a sacred gift from God. Regardless of the moment of conception, each life is precious. As Christians, let’s stand for those lives. Let’s commit to fighting for the life of everyone from womb to tomb. Life is God-given, and let’s honor him with our lives.

Worth Noting

For so long, he’s been hailed a martyr. But now the tide is turning. Now he’s being called different names. The man who once cried out that he had a dream is now being mocked as someone unworthy of his own race. He’s now being judged by those who once called him one of their own. Many now want to destroy his legacy. Everything he stood for is at risk of falling by the wayside. All because those who have come behind him believe in an ideology that’s in total opposition to all he worked for. Oh. How the tables have turned.

Rumors of behaviors unbecoming of a family man have been spoken of him since his untimely demise many years ago. Those accusations, whether true or false, taint the legacy of a man who worked long and hard for liberty and equality for all mankind, regardless of the color of their skin. He dreamed of a land where his children could walk and live freely the same as any other child. He dreamed of a country that treated all skin colors equally. For he witnessed a separation and segregation of a people whose skin color was darker than acceptable to so many born of a lighter pigment. And he stood against it. Even as the higher powers that be were planning for his demise, he stood for his beliefs. And on one fateful day, a single bullet penetrated his body ultimately ending his life.

Other reports are now circulating that he stood for unseemly ideologies that have become popular today. Whether the reports are true or not have yet to been determined. But this man, same as anyone else, was far from perfect. Perhaps the truth of this man’s achievements and failures may never be fully known, aside from God who knows everything.

A newly minted statue memorializing the man was recently dedicated. But family members are calling the statue hideous. Unsightly. Dishonorable. Distasteful. They are not pleased with the rendition that someone was paid many millions of dollars to create. And thousands upon thousands of pages of secret files against him by those in top government positions have been uncovered. Many other pages are still being held under wraps. Some are afraid for the truth to come to light.

What was it about this man that would cause many to applaud, and yet others to tremble in fear? What was it about him? Was it only because of the color of his skin? Or, were there hidden truths that, if made public, could sway the course of history? How could it be? Will we ever know? Are we better off not knowing?

While this man wasn’t perfect, by any means, he led a movement that started a revolution. He planned and participated in peaceful protests that rallied against the discrimination of his people. Even after multiple arrests, he still stood for the same message of equality. His message never wavered or lessened. He stood courageously for the good of his race.

One wonders if there will come a day when this man’s statues will be knocked down and shoved into a corner, as so many others have in recent years. Has his time come and gone? Has this man now been deemed to be on the wrong side of history? Is it inappropriate to publicly acknowledge his contribution to society? Only time will tell.

Then Peter replied, “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.” Acts 10:34-35

There are people who are trying to taint his legacy, but truth always stands. Even when others make false claims or bring one’s faults to the light of day, God uses willing, imperfect people of all types. This man may have been involved in sketchy activities in his day, but he also did some great works that are still applauded. His efforts should not be forgotten.

I wonder. This man who pushed for peaceful protests against injustice paved the way for the rest of us. What peaceful acts are we involved in that would cause the world to sit up and take notice? Do we dare to stand up and fight for religious freedom when there are those who would remove Christianity from the face of the earth? When other Christians speak for truth in public settings, do we stand with them? Or. Are we too afraid to be noticed, so we stay silent? Do we share the message of forgiveness and salvation freely to those who need to hear it?

If each of our lives were publicly examined, how many of us would be humiliated as we stood in the public square? How many of our noteworthy acts and words would be cast off, because of our hidden behaviors? No one is perfect. No. Not one of us. We all could be the next one on the chopping block if only our private thoughts were read aloud.

So. Why are we so quick to cancel others because of a word spoken in anger or misjudgment? Who of us would be worthy of even one statue in our honor? What accomplishments have been noted for us that will be remembered in future generations?

The good news in the matter is that we serve a God of redemption. He will forgive all our sins and never remember them again. He won’t remind us of our moral failures or indecent thoughts. He won’t remember the name calling or lies or murderous looks we’ve given. When he forgives our sins, he forgets them. He doesn’t hold our previous wrongs over our heads. Our slate is wiped clean in the eyes of God. Oh. He won’t build a statue in our honor, but he will prepare a place for us in heaven so we can be with him for eternity.

The Value of Truth

Not everyone who knew Jesus agreed with him. Obviously. There was a group who arrested him, put him on trial and killed him. But before they killed him, religious leaders would ask him questions with the hopes of trapping him into sharing false teachings. These men weren’t interested in being taught by Jesus. Their goal was to stir up the crowd to rally against the Promised Messiah standing there in human form. And because of their hatred and fear of him, they wanted to pressure him into backing down from sharing his message. Oh. He knew their game. So he was always ready to throw their misinformation back in their face. But he confronted their lies with compassion and kindness.

Jesus’ message was intimidating to those who didn’t understand it. So people would intentionally misinterpret it. They would spread lies about what he did and didn’t say. They tried to shame him and shun him. But the world couldn’t keep Jesus quiet. He continued to proclaim his message of hope and forgiveness, even when the crowds moved against him. Even when the leaders were pushing to have Jesus banned from the temple, he continued sharing the good news of salvation.

On multiple occasions the Pharisees accused Jesus of wrongdoing. Once they accused him of breaking the law of Moses because his disciples pulled ears of corn from the stalk and ate it on the Sabbath. Another time, when Jesus healed a blind and mute man, the Pharisees accused him of healing in the name of Satan. A third time, they demanded that Jesus show them a miraculous sign to prove his authority.

Still another time, the Pharisees questioned Jesus about divorce. They were, once again, hoping to trip him up on the subject. He had talked openly about divorce in another sermon, and they wanted to see if he had changed his stance on it. He directed them back to the Scriptures with his response. They countered with a quote from the law of Moses, and Jesus in turn answered again straight from Scripture.

Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me. Matthew 12:30

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. Colossians 2:8

We would do good to remember that the Bible places the blame for divisions on the ones bringing in the false doctrine, not on those who call it out.

Alisa Childers

As believers, we must be willing and able to have conversations with those who oppose our biblical beliefs. We must be ready to sit down and share our faith. We must be able to give a reason for the hope that we have. That means we must read and study the Bible. There are no excuses to not know what we believe. Because in sharing the truth of God’s love, we may lead someone to faith in God. Perhaps our willingness to engage in uncomfortable conversations with an unbeliever will lead them to repentance.

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants. 2 Timothy 2:23-26

We shouldn’t shy away from engaging in conversation with those who disagree with us. But we also must be prepared to engage when the opportunity comes our way. We have no option but to read and study the Word of God, in order to speak truth into the lives of those we see on a regular basis. Let’s take up the challenge of opening our Bibles on a daily basis. I’m just going to say it like it is. We take all the time we want to scroll through social media or binge watch our latest show or sports event, so why can’t we take time to read the Word of God every day? Why can’t we? If we’re not studying to be more like God, how can we know him and how can we know what we believe? How can we intelligently argue in favor of God when we don’t take time for him?

If someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 1 Peter 3:15

Sanctuary City

I live in a city that is committed to providing sanctuary to anyone who is not a documented citizen. We’re told all are welcome. My city has pledged to open the doors to all peoples regardless of immigration status. They want to provide opportunities to everyone who lives in this fair city. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Actually. I’ve read that there is no legal definition of a sanctuary city. Each city can create their own definition. Sounds convenient to me. So that means my city doesn’t come right out and declare sanctuary. But the mayor’s executive order from a few years ago reads pretty clearly. If you ask me.

Sure. Our city has been filled with immigrants and refugees since the day the city was founded. What major city isn’t built that way? But what happened to honesty and fairness? What happened to standing in line and waiting your turn? Some good things take time and effort. Not everything should be a free giveaway. In our latest election cycle, an issue to stop non-citizens from voting in local elections was on the ballot. The citizens of this city voted to allow only citizens to vote. Non-citizens must become citizens in order to have a legal say in the laws and leaders of this city. And rightly so.

Sanctuary means that anyone has the opportunity to reach for success. To get a job. Have a family and provide for them in assumed safety. Anyone can pursue a higher education and reach for their dreams. It means that those who are exiles will be treated the same as those with lifelong citizenship.

What if all followers of Christ lived in a city that decreed everyone live in opposition to biblical beliefs? What would happen to those whose politics leaned the other way? What if all dissenters of the current establishment moved away? What then would happen to the city? Would it implode in lawlessness and anarchy? Would terrorism completely reign if all believers in Jesus Christ moved to a “safe” place? I doubt that everyone would get along just because the Jesus freaks were out of the way. People can always find a reason to disagree. And if the law is that there is no law, then anything and everything is fair game.

So. As believers, do we run and hide? Do we leave the cities and states that are leaning politically toward an agenda that stands against Christianity? Do we run to avoid all controversy and persecution? Do we stay and stand for biblical values? Do we stick around in hopes that our faith can be a shining light in a world gone dark?

We read in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 that once the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth, basically all hell will break loose. Satan will be able to wreak havoc on the earth. For a short period of time. But today isn’t that day. We believers are still on this earth. And we still have work to do. We must continue to share the good news of salvation. And we can’t run when faced with opposition. We must stand strong for truth and be prepared to give a reason for the hope that we have.

And you know what is holding him back, for he can be revealed only when his time comes. For this lawlessness is already at work secretly, and it will remain secret until the one who is holding it back steps out of the way. Then the man of lawlessness will be revealed, but the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by the splendor of his coming. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. 1 Peter 3:15

This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: “Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.” Jeremiah 29:4-7

When the Jewish people were taken captive to Babylon, they had no choice but to be uprooted. They were forcefully led from their homes and marched to a new country that had no belief in God. Their new home was not founded on the law of Moses. It was founded on idol worship and human sacrifices. This new land had no fear of God or his people. They were the ones to be feared. That’s what they thought. And they took their enemies captive for seventy years.

This captivity was approved by God. He allowed his chosen people to be punished for their sins against him. They had ignored him. They had forgotten him. Overlooked him. In an attempt to run their own lives, they chose to walk away from his hand of blessing. And it backfired on them. Big time. Sure. The backfire was many years in the making, because God is slow in exacting judgment. But the day had come. God had given his people a final warning. A final chance at repentance. And they still rebuked him. God allowed his people to be taken captive to a foreign country by a foreign king for seventy years.

But in their punishment, God didn’t forget them. He gave them a command to live their lives. To build homes. Marry. Have children. Eat well. Prosper. Although the Israelites were the outcasts, God implored them to live their lives well even when they lived in opposition to their captors. They were foreigners in a distant land, but God had their best interests in mind. They couldn’t run away from the fact that they were prisoners. So God commanded them to enjoy their lives.

The same rule applies to Christ followers today. We are living in exile on this earth. This world wasn’t meant to be our final destination. God has so much more planned for us in eternity. But while we’re on earth, we must do well. We must keep in mind that this isn’t our forever home. But we also mustn’t be intimidated by those we disagree with. We must be in the fight for truth. We must be in the fight for God-centered families and businesses. We must be in the fight for the appropriate education for children. We must learn how to counter strategies to brainwash vulnerable children and adults. We can’t do that if we run and hide. We won’t accomplish any change if we run only to safe places. We must stand and be accountable. And we must hold others accountable.

Not everyone can run. Not everyone can leave their job. Their city. Not everyone can pick up and start over. Perhaps we are the ones to stay behind and stand for doing the right thing. Perhaps God is calling us to stay and fight for truth. Because truth is always right. Even if there’s a cost.

We must make sure we’re following God’s lead when we decide to stay or go. He doesn’t call everyone to go somewhere new. He calls some to stay put and live courageously when no one else is. We can’t always take the easy way out and call it God’s will.

Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. Philippians 1:28-29

Too Good for This World

Some people are just too good to be true. I think we all might know one person who could have that said about them. And perhaps we’re just a little green with envy when we speak those words about that certain someone. Perhaps we would love to hear that phrase used to describe ourselves. But has it ever been said that you’re just too good to be true? And are you? Is anyone?

What exactly does that phrase even mean? Exactly what type of person is too good to be true? After all. We’re human. None of us. Not one of us is perfect. So how is it even possible for those five words to describe any of us? It’s not. And we know it. But we like to pretend.

Some people think they’re too good for others. They think they’re a notch above the crowd and can’t be bothered with the little people. They’re better than anyone else they meet. In their minds. And they’re not afraid to let others know it. Oh. They may not say those words. But their actions say it all. We all know at least one.

Some people believe the walk with God will bring health and wealth. If you’re not healthy and wealthy, then your faith isn’t strong enough. That’s what they say. But others know that the walk with God will more than likely lead to hardship and persecution. Which walk sounds easier? Which one sounds a life you would choose?

Everyone who has walked this earth has come face to face with evil. Sure. There are plenty of people who do evil and aren’t bothered by it. But there are some who recognize it and work to avoid it at all costs. Still others work to remove it. At all costs. Even to the cost of their lives or livelihoods. Their faith has sustained them in even the most trying of times. They have battled elements one could only imagine and some elements unimaginable.

How much more do I need to say? It would take too long to recount the stories of the faith of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets. By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Women received their loved ones back again from death. But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Hebrews 11:32‭-‬40

Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules. And hardworking farmers should be the first to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Think about what I am saying. The Lord will help you understand all these things. 2 Timothy 2:3-7

There are those who didn’t abandon their faith when the world turned against them. When their world was turned upside down. When they faced life threatening circumstances, they stood strong in their faith. In the midst of turmoil and threats, their faith did not waver. They forged ahead with the work laid before them. They did not turn back or recant their faith. They faced the persecution head on and with their heads held high. When they were mistreated, they continued on. They refused to turn from God in order to lessen their persecution. The world was not worthy of them.

Some may think it’s awfully arrogant to say that there are those who are too good for this world.  But when you take a look at what they’ve endured in the name of Jesus Christ, what does this world have to offer them? What peace and contentment can this world give to those who have only eternity in mind? 

God has something far better in mind for those who suffer for him. And there are those in the midst of persecution and suffering who keep their eye on the prize. Regardless of their perspective on life, their faith stands strong.

There are many names mentioned in the Bible who stood strong in the face of persecution. Their faith could move mountains. Today, there are many who are facing insurmountable pressure to cave to the ways of the secular culture. There are those who have not turned their back on their faith even when it has cost them their livelihood. In the midst of the most horrific situations, young girls have stood their ground and not recanted their faith. Even when their future was bleak.

Jack Phillips has withstood multiple attempts to demolish his bakery business because of his stance on biblical issues. Barronelle Stutzman has fought the good fight when others of a different persuasion and belief have come against her business. Lorie Smith is also fighting for her business because of her biblical stand for freedom of speech. As a missionary to Turkey, Andrew Brunson was imprisoned for two years on false charges. Even young Christian girls in Nigeria stood strong in their faith when held captive for three years by a terrorist group.

Christians are under attack today in an attempt to stifle religious freedom and freedom of speech. We must stand together and hold fast to our biblical values. Satan will not stop fighting us. So we must not stop fighting him. Will we be counted among the faithful when our moment comes? Will we be noted on the list of those too good for this world? Oh. We may not feel worthy of heaven. Or of God’s forgiveness and love, but thankfully it’s not our feelings that matter. In the long run, it’s the running of the race that counts. Will we be found faithful?