Therefore Choose Life

Deuteronomy 30:19-20…

[19] I call heaven and earth to witness against you today,
that I have set before you life and death,
blessing and curse.

Therefore choose life,

that you and your offspring may live,

[20] loving the LORD your God,
obeying his voice and holding fast to him,
for he is your life and length of days,
that you may dwell in the land that the LORD swore to your fathers,
to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

choose life

There is no such thing as a ‘pro-choice’ Christian | The Matt Walsh Blog

What if I told you that I believe it’s OK to physically abuse your household pets?

Hold on. Don’t jump on my case about it. I’m saying it’s acceptable to torture and torment pets — but only pets. And only your own pets. You certainly can’t go around drop kicking, headbutting, or pile-driving your neighbor’s dog, but your dog is a different story.

And you can only punch, pistol whip, and karate chop your gerbils, cats, puppies, parrots, etc, up until a certain age. And only in the most humane way possible.

That’s all. I’m not some kind of psycho animal hater — I’ve never even assaulted my own cat, and I don’t think I ever will — I just happen to think you should have that right, should the need or desire ever arise.

But, beyond this one admittedly unique viewpoint, my overall ideology is pretty mainstream. I mean, I think it’s important to recycle and eat healthy and be nice to people and all that stuff.

Now, what if I told you that I also consider myself an animal rights activist?

Do you think the other animal rights activists will embrace me as their own? Will they allow the title “animal rights activist” to be bent and broadened to the extent that it also includes maniacs who think we ought to vociferously defend a person’s right to smack their pets around?

Alright, maybe this is a bad example. PETA kills thousands of animals every year, yet they seem to be celebrated in the animal rights community.

Still, you get my point. And in case you don’t, I’ll spell it out:

Our beliefs are not packaged, sealed, and sold separately. We don’t formulate our personal philosophy in a vacuum. Your views on one subject will be colored, or clarified, by your views on everything else.

If you think you live in a world where it is morally acceptable to do X, then your opinion on Y must be understood in the context of a world where X is considered righteous.

So this is why you can’t, for instance, advocate for slavery while also being a proponent of civil rights. Either you’re lying about your civil rights stance, or else you have an understanding of ‘civil rights’ which does not include a right to be free from enslavement. If that’s the case, then you are not a believer in civil rights at all, no matter how loudly you insist otherwise.

For very similar reasons, you simply cannot be Christian and pro-abortion.

In order to be both, you’d have to change Christianity into a religion that does not and would not condemn the murder of human children. You’d have to turn Christ into a Savior who embraces infanticide, and God into a Father who creates children but does not necessarily expect us or command us to refrain from violently destroying them.

What you are left with is something that bears no resemblance to Christianity. In fact, you’re left with something that is, in every way, exactly the opposite.

You are the pro-animal abuse animal rights activist, the pro-slavery civil rights proponent, the circular square, the north south. You are attempting to be two diametrically opposed things simultaneously. You’re trying to do something that is not only theologically impossible, but scientifically impossible as well.

If churches in America had any guts, this message would be proclaimed from the pulpit at least once a month. Especially this week, after that revolting story about a ‘Christian’ abortionist.

This man — a mercenary killer of infants — insists that his faith ‘calls’ him to decapitate babies. ‘Dr.’ Willie Parker says that abortion “became this conviction of compassion in a spiritual sense of the deepest level of love that you can have for another person, that you can have compassion for their suffering and you can act to relieve it.”

He’s right when he says that Christianity is a religion of love and compassion.  But he understands (or claims to understand) love and compassion to include the extermination of 50 million children worldwide each year.  His version of love leaves  the ground scattered with the corpses of slaughtered babies.  Christ’s love called us all to protect and love children, and warned us that we’d be better off with a stone around our neck, drowning in the sea, than defying that commandment. (emphasis added by me)

Continue reading via There is no such thing as a ‘pro-choice’ Christian | The Matt Walsh Blog.

Oh Restore Me to Health and Make Me Live

Isaiah 38:14-16 (ESV)

14 Like a swallow or a crane I chirp;
I moan like a dove.
My eyes are weary with looking upward.
O Lord, I am oppressed; be my pledge of safety!

15 What shall I say? For he has spoken to me,
and he himself has done it.
I walk slowly all my years
because of the bitterness of my soul.

16 O Lord, by these things men live,
and in all these is the life of my spirit.
Oh restore me to health and make me live!

B is for Birth Mom #AtoZChallenge

A to Z Letter BDay 2 of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2014.  I’m hoping to get a chunk of time to write several posts at once, but since I only (finally) decided to jump in again yesterday morning, I haven’t planned ahead.  So…I’m racing to complete this before the 45 minutes I expect the darling son to sleep expires.

Perhaps the main reason adoption is ever an option is the BIRTH MOM…and in our case, BIRTH PARENTS.  So often the birth father is not in the picture, either by his own choice or because he is not known.  We were fortunate to have two birth parents who agreed that adoption was the best option for their baby.  We would not have our second child if not for that choice, and it very nearly did not happen.

In almost every case, birth parents who are choosing to surrender a child are doing so out of love, and out of a deep desire to give the child a chance at a better life…one that they can’t provide.  Their lives are almost always severely dysfunctional…drug abuse, alcohol abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, prostitution, disease, homelessness, joblessness, anger problems, deadbeat partners.  Our birth mom has dysfunction around her in spades, and yet, she is an intelligent, sweet girl who (almost) managed for (almost) nine months to care for our baby.  More on the “almost” later.  She was diligent about making her doctor appointments, she did what the doctor asked of her, and she stayed in touch with her wonderful, amazing, irreplaceable social worker and, by extension, with me.  It makes the fact that she started out at Planned Parenthood, seeking to abort this precious boy, startling at first…and after that sharp intake of shocked breath, I realized then (and am so grateful for now) that God intervened.

Her on-again, off-again boyfriend wanted her to abort, but he couldn’t come up with the money.  She didn’t have the money, so it didn’t happen.  She wound up at our local Crisis Pregnancy Center, where the doctor who became her OB/GYN for this pregnancy volunteered his time…and who invited her to come to his practice, where he would personally see her through.  They put her in touch with the adoption agency, and more importantly, with her social worker, a Christian woman with a passion for, and a mother’s heart for, these devastated women.  And she selected us.

The boyfriend?  He was initially resistant…initially preferring to kill this baby over giving him a better home than he (they) could provide.  But God worked in his heart too, and he (along with both of their families) agreed that this was the best choice for our baby.  He is all of ours…theirs and ours…and God’s…and without all of us, he wouldn’t be here.  Our baby was given life, and a devastating choice was averted, because God intervened.

The Mirror Moment

Or What I Need (and Want) to Do, but Have Not Yet Succeeded in Doing

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Matthew 18:35:  So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”

Mark 11:25:  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Luke 6:37:  “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven;

Luke 17:3-4:  Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

1 John 1:9:  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

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cs-lewis on forgiveness

C.S. Lewis talks at length about forgiveness, and what it means to really forgive.  It is a task much more significant and difficult than simply uttering the words “I forgive you.”  It is a radical action, like love, that when done with the same desire and fervency that God has shown, wholly reconciles the relationship.  It is not forgetting, but putting it in the past and leaving it there.

I had a mirror held up to my face heart over the holidays, and realized that I have become that which I hate most.  I seek forgiveness from Christ for the most inexcusable in me, yet I have not done this for others.  I seek reconciliation and redemption from Christ, but I have not offered this to others.  I ask for God’s mercy and grace in my life, but I am reluctant unwilling to spare even a measure of it for others, even those who have granted me an undue portion.

cs lewis obeying godWhat do you do when you realize that all the navel-gazing in the world…that which you thought would give you a release from the bitterness, anger and frustration that has plagued you for so long…does so only minimally, but has the very real consequence of hurting others more than helping yourself?  When the mirror was held up and I saw SAW, I realized the bill of goods that I’d been sold…and believed.  In the effort to make others see, really SEE, I failed to see for myself.  And what I see…finally…is this:  I can not claim forgiveness for myself until I am willing to forgive trespasses against me.  I can not be reconciled to Christ unless I am willing to be reconciled with those in my earthly life.  With my family and friends.

forgive others

And it is HARD.  I have had this crutch, this safety net of anger & pain, for so long that to try and break it down is unbelievably daunting.  Tim Keller talks in Counterfeit Gods about how we don’t realize what becomes a false god to us until we recognize that we have made it more important than God Himself.  Why can’t I trust God to protect my heart?  I know He will.  Why can’t I rely on God to show me the way to redemption?  He always does.  Why can’t I lay at His feet the shackles of hostility, bitterness, pain, grief, anger, frustration, worry…and know that He is bigger than all of those barriers, that He is more than enough, and that He has only been waiting for me to cast aside my counterfeit god and truly rest in Him?

I hate being vulnerable.  I hate being in a position to be attacked, vilified, and ridiculed.  I hate feeling as though knowledge about me constitutes ammunition that can be used on me later.  There is a sense of protection in putting things out into the world in writing, so that I can say what I need want to say without immediate repercussion.  So I have taken the easy road.  I have written about the litany of hurts and slights in my life.  I have wallowed.  And I have hurt others.  I have made targets of people in a manner that allowed (I thought) for as little consequence as possible.  Except that now it is out there, and the bell can not be un-rung.

no-new-years-resolutionsI stopped making New Year’s Resolutions many years ago.  What was the point?  We all start the new year with expectations that it will be different from last year, and from the year before that.  2013 was no different for me…I started the year with no list of things to do better, no list of changes to make, no list of goals to meet (other than to try for the gazillionth time to read at least 100 books).  Then came the mirror moment that reflected how empty my soul has become, because I keep digging at the bottom instead of turning around and letting God fill me up.  I am tired.  I am tired of only partially trusting God, and in still thinking that I have to do the heavy lifting in my life.  I am tired of propping myself up with grudges and grievances.  rather than laying them down at His feet and moving on.  I am tired of what so much navel-gazing has rendered in me…which is nothing.  I am tired of being empty.

Here are my resolutions for 2013…a very different lot than had I made them 17 days ago:

  • Make God the biggest part of my life, rather than the grudges I have held onto for so long.
  • Think of others before myself, care for others before myself, serve others before myself.
  • FORGIVE.  My single, biggest impediment to quieting the personal demons, and to reconciling relationships that have been hurt by my inability unwillingness to forgive.
  • Understand that forgiveness is both an action and a process.  Do it daily, sincerely, and continuously.
  • Read my Bible every day.  Let it infuse me, and change me.
  • Stop making excuses.
  • Be joyful always.  In fact, do just as 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 tells us:  16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

be silentPractically speaking, this means the blog will change.  A number of posts will go private, and I will not publish them again.  I have hurt and angered others by writing them, and that stops now.  I will not publish new posts airing grievances against others.  If I can’t find a way to focus my thoughts in an uplifting way that points no fingers, it will not go live.  I want to do something better with my time and my passion.

reconciliation-lizbydesignDoes it seem strange to look at this chain of events and thank God for the crushing blow of clarity?  Sometimes – MANY times – it takes exactly that to get it.  How many times do I need the mirror to be held up before I realize my brokenness is by my own hand, and I am crushed by the weight of my own sin?  I don’t know…I’ll let you know…this year…as I let Him help me out of this spiritual, mental & emotional pit I have dug for myself.

I believe, Lord.  I truly believe.  Please help me to take it to heart and live it out.