Friday, February 29, 2008

Why Bad Things Happen, Part 1

Why do bad things happen? In answering this question, I realize that there are many who have suffered a great deal of unexplainable troubles in this life and who, to this day, cannot figure out why. My attempt to answer this question is in no way intended to minimize the trouble many have endured. Nor is it to accuse you of some great wrongdoing in order to hurt you even more. I’m just going to look in the Bible to see what it says about this subject. I believe these passages will explain many bad things that happen, but not all. There is still a devil and he is pretty busy.

God allows bad things to happen for numerous reasons. First, they happen so that God can demonstrate His power. A great example of this is found in the Bible in regards to the Egyptian captivity that the Israelites suffered for over four hundred years (Exodus 1-14). In speaking of this, the Apostle Paul said in Romans 9:17, “For the Scripture says to the Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth." In essence, God allowed Pharaoh and the Egyptians to enslave the Israelites so that His power could be demonstrated in their deliverance. The longer Pharaoh hardened his heart and refused to let the people go, the more opportunity that God had to display His power to not only the Egyptians, but to the Israelites as well. The bottom line is that we may have to endure something bad NOW (I.e. the Jewish captivity in Egypt), so that God can be allowed to demonstrate His power LATER.

As matter of fact, later when Israel had already been delivered from the Egyptians, they came to the city of Jericho and met a harlot named Rahab who told them, “I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that [were] on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard [these things], our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he [is] God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.” Joshua 2:9-11

Second, God also allows bad things to happen to demonstrate His grace. A great example of this is found in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 when the Apostle Paul prayed three times that God would take away some type of illness that he called a “thorn in the flesh”. God’s response was simply, “No!” He told him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” While Satan is the one who gave Paul the thorn in the flesh, God allowed it to happen in order to demonstrate the sufficiency of his grace. Paul eventually got to the place where he rejoiced more in the infirmity than in the healing because of the strength of God’s grace.

Third, God allows bad things to happen to demonstrate His works. John 9:32-33 says, “Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing." Here is a guy who was allowed to be born blind and live blind into adulthood merely for God’s glory. God demonstrated his ability to heal this blind man; something only God could do. This man had to wait a long time for God to reveal what He was doing, but was it ever worth the wait!

It also reminds me of the story of Lazarus. John 11:1-4 says, “Now a certain [man] was sick, [named] Lazarus, of Bethany,…Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick. When Jesus heard [that], he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” God allowed Lazarus to die so that that He could resurrect him in front of many witnesses and receive the glory!

Is Abortion Wrong, Part 3

Last week, we left off talking about the issue of abortion and what the Bible says about it. Even though the courts in our land have made abortion legal, they can’t make it right. The Bible teaches that life begins in the womb. Here are just a few examples from the Bible to prove my point.

In Genesis 25:22-24 it speaks of the birth of two boys, Jacob and Esau, “And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.” Notice, the struggling was not the struggling of fetuses, but rather the struggling of "children." If their mother would have chosen the option of modern day abortion, she would have not only killed the "children," but she would have destroyed "two nations;” the Edomites and the Jews!! This point is reemphasized again when the Bible says in Hosea 12:3, “He took his brother by the heel in the womb, And in his strength he struggled with God.” God clearly reveals that while "in the womb," Jacob and Esau were "brothers" and that Jacob was able to take his brother by the heel. Those were people in there, not just tissue.

Another example is found in Job 3:11-14, Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck? For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest, with kings and counselors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves.” Also, in Job 10:18-19, Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.” Job essentially begged God that he could have been still born or could have died at birth. He wanted to be “carried from the womb to the grave."

At the same time, he wanted to be "rest with kings and counselors of the earth." To be carried from the womb to the grave means that he would have had to have been born dead or still born. To be at rest with kings and counselors means he would have had to have been alive in the womb; thus a living soul!

Another example is found in Luke 1:15 when speaking of John the Baptist, For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb.” John was recognized by God as a living person before his birth. As such, he was "filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb." Someone might argue that he could have been filled with the Spirit from the time that he departed "from" his mother’s womb. Not so, because later we are told in Luke 1:41 that “…it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:” Also, it says in Luke 1:44, “For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” It would have been impossible for him to experience joy if he were just fetal tissue.

Another example of how God views life as beginning at conception is found in Exodus 21:22-25 where says, If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her,…he shall be surely punished,…life for life…” God sees the unborn child as a living being. One day God will bring judgment on the murdering mothers, legislators, and doctors who do this horrible thing in our nation every day! How dare we as Christians put men into office who promote the abortion of our children (Romans 1:28-32).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Is Abortion Wrong, Part 2

Last week, we left off talking about the issue of abortion and some statistics on how many are performed in both the world and the United States. The courts have decided that abortion is legal. However, just because they say its legal does not mean that it is RIGHT. We need to look at what the Bible says about those who decide to kill their babies. Abortion is not a new invention. Men have been doing it for ages. It’s just that today, with the invention of modern medicine, we can kill the unwanted child “conveniently” in the womb. For some reason, we think that just because it doesn’t “come out”, it’s not alive. There could be nothing further from the truth!

The first place that I see the issue of abortion (infanticide) being addressed in the Bible is in 2 Chronicles 28:3 when the reign of King Ahaz is being called into question. It says, “Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burnt his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.” Also in 2 Chronicles 33:6 it says that King Manasseh did the same thing, “And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” Both of these kings made their children pass through the fire which was the custom of the heathen (those who did not know the God of Israel) in Canaan. They and their governments had determined that their actions were acceptable, God disagreed! As such, He had Ahaz delivered into the hands of the King of Syria (2 Chr. 28:5) who killed him and had Manasseh delivered into the hands of the King of Assyria (2 Chr. 33:11). They were punished for killing their children!

Such is the case with abortion. It is infanticide. It is simply the result of a selfish culture that refuses to reserve sex for marriage! They want to “have their cake and eat it too.” They want to blatantly disregard God’s commandments against pre-martial sex and not suffer the consequences. In the end, they are not only adulterers (a married person having sex outside of their marriage) and fornicators (a single person having sex), but they make themselves to be murderers as well. How sad! What a price to pay for doing it our way and not God’s.

The Bible clearly teaches that life begins with conception and those who chose to end it anytime after that should be punished and not protected. Again, back then they didn’t have doctors to perform their abortions, so they just sacrificed their unwanted child to their false god’s. God was not pleased with this. He told the Prophet Jeremiah, “Also on your skirts is found the blood of the lives of the poor innocents. I have not found it by secret search, But plainly on all these things.” (Jeremiah 2:34). In other words, they committed their sin of killing the “innocents” out in the open. They didn’t even try to hide it. Also he told him in Jeremiah 19:4, “Because they have forsaken Me and made this an alien place, because they have burned incense in it to other gods whom neither they, their fathers, nor the kings of Judah have known, and have filled this place with the blood of the innocents.”

Leviticus 20:1-5 tells us, “…Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed (children) unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones. And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed (children) unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name. And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed (children) unto Molech, and kill him not: Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.”

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Is Abortion Wrong?, Part 1

Consider the following fictional journal of an unborn child: October 5 - Today my life began. My parents do not know it yet, I am as small as a seed of an apple, but it is already determined that I will be a girl, with blonde hair and blue eyes. October 19 - My mouth is just beginning to open now, just think, in a year or so I shall be laughing and later talking. I know what my first word will be: “Mama!” October 25 - My heart began to beat today all by itself. From now on it shall gently beat for the rest of my life without ever stopping to rest! And after many years it will tire, it will stop and then I shall die. November 2 - I am growing a bit every day, my arms and legs are beginning to take shape, but I have to wait a long time yet before those little legs will raise me to my mother’s arms, before these little arms will be able to gather flowers and embrace my father. November 12 - Tiny fingers are beginning to form on my hands. Funny how small they are! I’ll be able to stroke my mother’s hair with them. November 20 - It wasn't until today that the doctor told mom that I am living here under her heart. Oh, how happy she must be! Are you happy, mom? November 25 - My mom and dad are probably thinking about a name for me. But they don't even know that I am a little girl. I want to be called Kathy. I am getting so big already. December 10 - My hair is growing. It is smooth and bright and shiny. I wonder what kind of hair mom has. December 13 - I am just about able to see. It is dark around me. When mom brings me into the world it will be full of sunshine and flowers. But what I want more than anything is to see my mom. How do you look, mom? December 24 - I wonder if mom hears the whispers of my heart. Some children come into the world a little sick, but my heart is strong and healthy, it beats so evenly: tup-tup, tup-tup. You'll have a healthy little girl mom! December 28 - Today my mother killed me.

For years, this country saw abortion as murder. If a woman had her baby killed in this fashion, she was incarcerated, and the community in which she lived was ashamed she lived there. Then the Supreme Court reversed that law in 1973. Now those who oppose a woman’s right to kill her children are considered to be right wing bigots. There is something terribly wrong with a people or nation who cannot see the sin in killing their own babies. God created women so that they would be able to bear children. Furthermore, He provided for the unborn child to be fully protected with a special cushion as part of the mother’s womb. The womb should be the safest place on earth, and yet today, it is the most dangerous.

Here are some world statistics to consider. Abortions are legal in 54 countries of the world. That represents 61% of the world population. Abortions are illegal in 97 countries of the world. That represents 39% of the world population. There are approximately 46 million abortions conducted each year, 20 million of them obtained illegally. There are approximately 126,000 abortions conducted each day.

Here are some United States statistics to consider. Approximately 1,370,000 abortions occur annually in the U.S. 88% of those abortions occur during the first 6 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. 60% of abortions are performed on women who already have one or more children. 47% of abortions are performed on women who have already had one or more abortions. 63% of abortion patients are white, however, black women are more than 3 times as likely to have an abortion, and Hispanic women are 2.5 times as likely. In regards to religion, 43% of women getting an abortion claimed they were Protestant while 27% claimed they were Catholic.

The courts have decided that abortion is legal. However, just because they say it’s legal does not mean that it is RIGHT. Now that you’ve read what man says is “right”; over the next few articles, I’m going to share with you what God says is “right”. In the end, He will have the final say!