Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Following Christ and Killing Our Babies - Part 2: Christmas

She’s only a teenager even though she is engaged to an older man. Her family is not wealthy and neither is her future husband’s family. Both of them live in a small community. Her education has primarily been at home. Her fiancé has had some education but is now learning the trade of his father, namely, carpentry. Their life together holds no outstanding promise. It will be a life requiring sacrifice and suffering but it will be a life together.

But now the “gossip chain” is in full force throughout the town. The young girl is pregnant! As if that isn’t bad enough, the father is not the fiancé! Disgrace is upon her, her family, and her promised husband.

Remarks are being heard such as “How can she take care of a baby? She’s much too young.” “I bet the engagement is off now. She’ll be all alone. How will she provide for the child?” “Maybe she should get rid of the baby. She can’t afford it. She can’t take care of it. She won’t have a man to help her.” “Yeah, an abortion would be the best route for everyone.”

Such words and thoughts would likely be common place in 2008. I can almost visualize her parents secretly driving their young daughter to the local Planned Parenthood clinic for a referral (and maybe a voucher) to an abortion clinic. Or, perhaps the daughter runs away on her own to “take care of the problem.” Many in our country would think nothing of it and, in fact, agree wholeheartedly with her actions.

But, when we relocate this story to Nazareth in the Middle East, reposition it in time to 6 B.C., and attach the names of Mary and Joseph to the engaged couple, most of us see things in a different light. Mary was well aware who the father of her child was: the Lord God Himself! Joseph, initially deciding to divorce (break off the engagement) quietly to avoid shame falling on Mary, was convinced by God not to do so. But no one discussed abortion because all knew the unborn child was just that, a child. It was not a fetus but a baby. No matter how difficult the situation was going to be, the baby would be born. Praise God that was the case. If Mary had become pregnant under similar circumstances in the United States these days, the outcome may have been different.

Certainly the birth of Christ gives solid Scriptural support against the notion of abortion. Even before Jesus is conceived in Mary’s womb, the angel makes this clear. Gabriel announces to her “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus” (Luke 1:31). The word “son” is the direct object of both future tense verbs “will conceive” and “bear”. The conception of Mary’s baby is a son, not an it.

Scientifically, we know today this is true. The child’s sex is determined at the moment of conception. At that moment, you know the species and the sex. In Mary’s case the new offspring will be a human male. Despite the fact the conception begins with one cell, the result of that conception is finalized: human male. No matter its appearance, no matter how small, no matter it is within a woman’s womb, conception has resulted in a new human life.

For over 35 years in this country we have given people the right to kill this life at any point prior to its actual birth. Somehow we believe by doing so we are helping the expectant mother. Maybe so but at what cost? We are killing a human life no matter at what point during the pregnancy the abortion is performed.

The birth of Jesus is a testimony to the sanctity of human life. Jesus WAS a male child at the moment Mary conceived. Praise God she never considered or pursued a pro-death solution.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Deeply Worried Place

The headline on the “Money” section (section B) of Tuesday’s USA Today reads “Poll: USA’s a deeply worried place”. The subtitle of the article, written by John Waggoner, was “79% of those asked fear nation in for a depression”. The remainder of the article goes downhill from there. One paragraph discusses the impact of the economy on retirement:

“Another 62% said they were worried about having enough money for retirement. ‘For those of us getting closer to retirement, the stress level has increased dramatically because we have seen huge losses in our home values and our 401(k)/IRA balances’…”.

Well, I never think much about retirement since I don’t ever see myself doing so. Oh, I may change jobs or doing something less demanding that my present occupation but retiring? I just can’t seem to find that concept in the Scripture. As I read God’s Word, my retirement begins the day I find myself in glory with the Lord.

Be that as it may, my “worry” for our nation is not in its economic condition. Yes, the economy is bad when compared to the past few years. But what greatly concerns me about the United States may be found elsewhere in the same USA Today. Note some of the stories covered by Tuesday’s paper.

“The impeachment process begins for Illinois governor”
“Shoe thrower called hero, ‘hothead’”
“Vegas bets on its ties to Mob”
“Sect leader convicted of sex crime”
“Probe continues in Palin church fire”
“Relatives of toddler await word on remains”
“American security expert kidnapped in Mexico”

Unrighteousness abounds even in the good, old United States. The economic depression pales in comparison to spiritual depression our nation is in. Unfortunately (although Providentially!), our future looks no better. The Obama administration has publically made statements indicating our nation is headed toward more unrighteousness, especially in the realm of killing unborn children.

Perhaps part of our economic turmoil is the result of God’s judgment upon our nation for our growing wickedness. But, the bottom line is clear: America is in a spiritual depression and needs a mighty revival from God. Scripture says “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12). Let’s face facts; our nation no longer considers its God to be the Lord. If it has a god, it is the god of secularism, materialism, “me-ism”.

Those of us who truly know Jesus as our Lord and our nation’s Lord need to pray earnestly and continually for God to send a revival through our churches and across this land. The United States will never regain its place in the world as a “city on a hill” until it turns from its sin. For God has said, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

May God have mercy on each of us and upon our nation.