Friday, January 23, 2009

A Disposable Life

As yesterday was the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, we're once again reminded that civilization is a paper-thin covering for the horrors that we can and do still perpetrate on others and our own people. As President Obama moves to open up stem cell research on human embryos and reduce restrictions on abortion, thousands have prayed for this country to not be hypocritical on its stance toward life -- that all human life, whether inside the womb or outside, is precious and sacred, to be protected and cherished.

It is only in the fiction that a human being doesn't actually start "being" until near the end of a pregnancy or the first second outside of its mother that enables people to live with the decision of legalizing and endorsing abortion under the banner of "choice". Just because we can't physically see something does not mean it doesn't exist or have the right to exist. Because, of course, the second you acknowledge that a baby is a person and not a fetus without feelings, a soul or a mind, that's the point where it becomes murder. And we don't murder -- we just relabel the term to make it more palpable.

In 2005, the number of abortions since Roe vs. Wade was passed exceeded a heartbreaking 46 million children. 46 millions lives ended before they had the chance to grow, to experience, to fulfill their potential in our world. 46 million that we as a civilization looked at and declared "non-human" and disposable.

Abortion in our country is one of the sorest points in the framework that links us all together -- one side seeing it as murder, the other as the denial of a woman's choice and control over her body. "Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends," Jesus said. He did not ask us to demand other's lives to ease our own, however. He wept over death because life was precious.

If Mary happened to live today instead of back then and became pregnant as a teenager, how many would urge her to abort? Having that child, making the decision to bear it to term, had to be terrifically difficult on her -- either back then or in the hypothetical now. If she had the choice to be rid of it, would she?

Look at her response in Luke 1: she is fearful but trusts in God, that He has a plan for all things, including this child. She is excited over this blessing that she would be the mother of the Messiah. She praises God and affirms her role as His servant. The baby Jesus, still in her womb, had tremendous worth to her, an indisposable life.

Now, receiving the news that your baby is going to be the Son of God isn't the same as finding out you're pregnant and not ready to have a child today -- but what if God could open the curtain for all expectant mothers to show them just what potential and purpose that baby would have if it just got the chance to be born and nurtured? What if more pregnant mothers were impressed that they do have a choice -- to keep their child or put them up for adoption to one of the millions of adults that desperately want (but can't have) children of their own?

What if we, as a civilization, said that all human life is precious and not subject to being disposed of just because it is an inconvenience to another? Would we finally be growing up at that point?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Awesome God

“Awesome” is a word that I toss around far too often, too casually, to the point where it has little meaning. It’s a filler word that could easily be substituted with “terrific” or “great” or “huh” in many cases. And yet its use in the Bible is anything but mundane – something that is awesome is literally “worthy of awe”.

Have you ever been so full of awe that you just stop, unable to fully develop a thought as an experience, or a vision, or a thought washes over you? Perhaps it was a vista at the top of a mountain, or the innocence of a newborn’s face, or the first time that you ever heard someone truly special say “I love you.” Awe works in quiet, still moments of supreme importance – something our society has too little time for these days. No wonder that it’s hard to look at God with anything approaching awe, even as our mouths sing “Our God is an awesome God” on Sundays.

The Bible uses the word “awe” or “awesome” 51 times, and never in a flippant, casual manner. “Worship God acceptably with reverence and awe” Hebrews 12:28 instructs; David can only stammer that “I stand in awe of your laws” in Psalm 119:120; the crowds in Matthew 9:8 were filled with awe of Jesus when he healed the paralytic; the early church in Acts 2 was “filled with awe” as miracles and wonders happened around them daily; God’s name, His creation, His acts and His decisions are constantly coupled with the simple description of “awesome”. In fact, only once does the Bible deem anything a person does as awesome – when King Solomon, bestowed with wisdom from God, hands down a judgment in 1 Kings 3:28.

Job testified about God in Job 37:22 when he said, “Out of the north he comes in golden splendor; God comes in awesome majesty!” In Job’s mind, there was no alternative to standing in overwhelmed humility as the mighty, sovereign, awesome majesty of God approached.

Very few things in our life really deserve the term “awesome”, even though we use it and hear it constantly. God, however, does deserve it, and we should give it to Him freely.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Daily Bread

One of the things I always want to make more time for in my life is daily time with God -- in prayer, in reading the scriptures, in writing, and in reading of other articles. Something I vaguely remembered from my childhood is leafing through little devotionals that our church always had laid out on a table called Our Daily Bread. Recently I found another copy and started using that for my early morning devotions -- I put it right on my computer desk and make sure it's the first thing I do in the morning before starting in on a day's work.

Our Daily Bread is basically a little booklet that contains three months' worth of devotionals. Each devotional has a scripture verse, a message for the day, suggested reading and a prayer -- all packed into a tiny page. From start to end, it takes me about 45 seconds to read it, then a few more minutes to think and pray about it. I've been loving it because I haven't really forced myself to do this -- it's something I want to do.

If you're interested, Our Daily Bread is a free ministry, so you can sign up to get these in the mail for no cost whatsoever (of course, they take donations to keep the ministry going for you and others, but that's between you and your conscience and budget). If you want to save a tree, you can go on their website and read it there or get it e-mailed to you:

For me, having a physical copy helps me to remember to read it, because it isn't competing for my time internet surfing or writing, but exists outside of all that. Anyway, thought I'd pass that along.