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Friday, January 25, 2013
For many years I traveled down to Washington to participate in the March For Life, held each January. This photo was taken over twenty years ago. I'm the tall man in the red jacket holding the sign "Love The Unborn"! Two friends from our church are standing behind me, Chris and Kandy. Jim, a pastor friend from the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church, is standing in front of me. Today there will be thousands in Washington participating in this peaceful demonstration. Please pray for Brooksyne and me and the many others who will be there.
Listen to this message on your audio player.
Note: Today's message will be considered by some to be political due to a moral issue that has been politicized. I do believe it's a message that needs to be shared. I write this Thursday and this message will be longer than usual.
"Standing Up For Righteousness"
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10-12).
If things go according to plan Brooksyne and I will be in Washington when this message is posted. We will depart on a bus from Lancaster at 7:00, arrive in Washington at 10:00, and then should be in a good place to attend the Pro-Life rally at Noon and then the March For Life which follows. I think these fifty year old+ bodies will be quite weary when we board the bus this afternoon at 5:30 for the trip back! But our travel distance is relatively short. For many years my Aunt Mary, a devout Catholic, came to the gathering with a church group all the way from western Missouri.
Secular media generally ignores this event, downplays it or sadly often misrepresents it. I read that this fortieth anniversary of Roe versus Wade organizers expect the largest crowd ever. So look for us on the NEWS tonight (should they decide to cover it)!
I have been a part of the Pro-life movement since I heard Dr. Willke, one of the founders of the Pro-Life movement, in the mid-seventies while a student in Bible College. While pastoring in northern Pennsylvania I was active in the local Pro-Life group mostly aligning with Catholics. I worked with some wonderful people who were selflessly devoted to a cause they believed in. Sadly several of my Protestant minister peers in that community were pro-abortion, one quite vocal about it who later became a District Superintendent in his denomination.
Monday I came across an article in an insightful blog I read called "Eternity Matters". The author does a good job of addressing contemporary issues from a Biblical perspective. In the post I read he had come across an article titled "'Pro-life' terrorists super excited about this year's Fetuspalooza" in "The Daily Kos", a very popular liberal blog. It was a vile, hate-filled misrepresentation of a cause I have been a part of for nearly forty years. I read the Eternity Matters post then in fairness went to the source article on the Daily Kos. (Links to both sources below.)
I read the blog comments wondering if I would sense a more moderate tone but no; overall they agreed with the author and I read a very depressing selection of lies and vile stereotypes about what I and the scores of people I have associated with believe and practice.
This had been on my mind when I returned home from the dairy tour we mentioned on Tuesday's message as I laid back on the recliner to rest my weary body. At one point I was musing what I had read and becoming somewhat despondent when suddenly today's verse popped into my head. I am sure it was the Holy Spirit.
"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." I don't recall specifically memorizing this portion but the line "falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me" really came at me hard. I actually had to look it up to see if that's really what it said! Have you ever done that?
The first part of the daily Scripture selection (v.10) is the last of the eight Beatitudes followed by an explanatory note (vs. 11&12).* The Beatitudes comprise the famous teaching of Jesus Christ that begins the Sermon on the Mount. The word "beatitude" comes from the Latin beatitudo, meaning "blessedness."
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness." Persecution can take many forms; imprisonment, torture, death. In our daily text though Jesus also includes "milder" forms such as being insulted and enduring those who "falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." These evil accusations come from those who call "evil good and good evil", (Isaiah 5:20) a result of the blindness caused by "the god of this age (who) has blinded the minds of unbelievers" (2 Corinthians 4:4).
The reason for this persecution is "because of righteousness." Those who stand up and speak out for righteousness and live righteousness. These are the people who "let their light shine before men, that they may see the good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
Just as Jesus faced persecution, so He promised His followers would face persecution. Those who endure because of their faith, rather than hiding their righteousness to avoid persecution, are genuine followers of Christ.
Today we encourage all our readers wherever you may live and in regard to whatever issues you may be standing up for. Let us stand up for righteousness! However remember the beatitude from Christ, “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we remember the words of Jesus who said, "You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will be accused before kings and governors for being my followers. This will be your opportunity to tell them about me. So don't worry about how to answer the charges against you, for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply." Help us to stand up for righteousness and seek to glorify You in our attitude and in the words we speak should we undergo persecution, for we seek to be obedient to You, even unto death." Amen.
See Luke 21:12-15
* Some commentators treat v.11 as a separate Beatitude.
"Those Who Never Were" Video Lindsey Thompson
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"Sanctity of Life" Video Musician not specified but beautiful song!
"Let Them Be Little" Video Billy Dean
"Give me A Chance" Video Karl Kohlhase
"Stunning videos with musical background" Video
Here's a message we shared several years ago related to this topic titled "Being Hated"
Here is info about the March For Life we will be participating in today.
Eternity Matters is a blog I find insightful and provided the tip regarding the article on the liberal Daily Kos (which I don't regularly read!). Here's that post.
Here's the original Daily Kos article along with comments which further demonstrate their hateful, virulent position. However to their credit there are several pro-abortion comment posters that do express their view that the article is way over the top.
In the course of study I also came across this article which demonstrates the horrific blindness. "So what if abortion ends life?"
Yesterday we shared a very closeup photo of a calf nose and mouth! Kudos to all who properly identified it.
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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