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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Snowy path
Snowy path
We often share photos of the path along our favorite trail across from our house. It makes for a beautiful walk through the snow, especially when you make the first footprints in the snow! But today it's warming up and the snow will soon be gone. Here's a spring photo of the same trail which is located here (google map).

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Note: For several messages we have been dealing with the prolife issue. This will be the last message in regard to this (for now).

"A Lesson From A Pre-Born Baby"

"When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit" (Luke 1:41). "But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 3:15).

In the course of our chaplain work I often visit with young men who inform me that their wife* is expecting a baby. Of course, for first time dads, they excitedly announce, "I'm going to be a dad." I generally place my hand on their shoulder, look them straight in the eye and say with a big smile, "You are a dad".

Postmodernism has contributed greatly to the devaluing of life. Several years ago I read an article in "Consumer Reports" which candidly dealt with birth control and also touched on the subject of abortion, describing it as a procedure to remove "uterine contents." Is that a new low in Orwellian Speech or what!

There's a powerful truth in our daily verses. Notice the phrase "how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures." Timothy had a godly mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5). They apparently made known the Holy Scriptures to Timothy even as an infant. The word "infant" is a very interesting Greek word, "brephos". This same word is used in Luke 1:41 and 44 to describe John while he was in his mother's womb.

Being in a familiar narrative section read often during the Christmas season we may fail to see the doctrinal significance in it. The angel assured Mary of God's special plan for her (Luke 1:35) and she submitted to this plan (1:38). She also learned that her relative Elizabeth was with child as well and in her sixth month of pregnancy (1:36).

After the angel's message she "hurried" to see Elizabeth and her greeting prompted the baby to leap in Elizabeth's womb. The Greek uses the word "brephos" for baby here. This word is used nine times in the New Testament for both preborn and infant children. No distinction is made between the two in New Testament Greek. This joyful baby was John who had another three months of prenatal development and security inside his mother's womb at the time of Mary's visit. Today babies are routinely slaughtered at this age and even older. An abortion is performed every 20 seconds in the United States alone.

John was not considered by his mother to be "uterine contents" but a tiny developing baby, who grew up to make a mighty impact in fulfilling the purpose for which God made him. Timothy was impacted by the Holy Scriptures from infancy, which I certainly believe is prenatal development as well. Even many in the world recognize the intricate development that takes place in the womb, not only physically but in other ways as well.

However, it's Elizabeth's response to Mary that is most interesting and instructive: "In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?'" (Luke 1:42-43).

Notice Elizabeth's recognition of Mary as "Mother of my Lord".  How long had Mary been a mother?  Of course we don't know exactly but it would seem to be approximately three months after her miraculous conception. Yet Elizabeth calls her "the mother of my Lord".  Most all abortions are now performed after the point of Elizabeth's declaration that Mary was a mother!

Today, friends, whatever Biblical issue is being assaulted in your corner of the world, keep standing for the truth. A lie, no matter how it is packaged, regardless of who repeats it or how often it's repeated, whether or not a majority holds to it, it is still a lie!  Let us commit to being people of truth in the midst of a world that redefines or "modernizes" truth to promote its own biased agenda.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen and Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, when You took the dust of the ground to form man and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life You had a purpose for his existence on earth. And You have a purpose for all human life. Forgive us for assuming that we know more than You, the Creator of life, in willfully choosing whether one is allowed to live and another is destined to die before one breathes his or her first independent breath. We thank You for the millions who take a visible stand for life, based not on a popular theme but on truths established in Your Holy Word. Help us to be vigilant in doing what is right and good in Your sight, even when it is inconvenient and costly to our personal lives. In our disposable society help us never to dispose of human life that You created or to dispose of truths that You intended for us to live by in favor of a political, intellectual, or financial agenda.

We pray for those in the abortion industry who are motivated by financial gain by the taking of innocent life much like Judas who took the 30 pieces of silver as He handed Jesus over to those who would crucify Him. Like Joseph's brothers who took the 20 pieces of silver in exchange for selling their innocent brother. Father, we look to You in faith asking that You speak to the indifferent and bigoted hearts that cause innocent lives to be slaughtered every minute of every day.  We pray this impassioned prayer in the name of Jesus who said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." Amen.

* Far too often it's his girlfriend rather than wife

Examples of misconceptions, stereotypes and outright lies about being pro-life (anti-abortion).  I hope any liberal leaning family members, friends or even seeking readers will read this extra portion.

Pro-life people only care about the unborn fetus, they don't care about the mother or even the baby after it's born.  This is one of the most dastardly and frequent cheap shots that is blatantly false, yet due to it being drummed up constantly it is believed by many. Everywhere I have been pro-life people have supported programs for mothers and their children. Last week I stopped by an Amish farm to pick up some donations for mothers of newborn infants. This extended family determined that rather than giving gifts to each other this Christmas they would give to mothers and their babies. Every church I have been in has programs to support mothers and their children.

Yet this becomes a strawman that even Christians have been seduced into repeating. Several years ago I was at a conference in Washington and heard a pro-life Democratic congressman speak. He said to the effect, "One side is good about caring for life before the baby is born, the other is good after the baby is born (implying that you couldn't do both). I still recall the verbal groans from the conference participants at such a faulty statement.

An Iranian American pastor from Boise, Idaho has been convicted on national security charges in Iran. 32-year-old Saeed Abedini had been traveling back and forth to Iran for humanitarian reasons, most recently to build an orphanage. He was arrested in September for planting churches that the government claimed were undermining national security. The verdict was announced over the weekend: eight years in prison. His attorney is appealing the case. Pray that Saeed will be released to his eager family and that God will use this for His glory.

Abortion foes are all Catholic. Certainly Catholics were dominant at the March For Life (I believe it's sponsored by the Catholic Knights Of Columbus. Catholics have commendably maintained a strong pro-life stand from their leadership although many practicing Catholics including politicians are pro-abortion.)  

However there are many other religious groups that support the pro-life position and at the March for Life we saw signs stating "Presbyterians for Life" and so forth.
I recall years ago seeing a sign at the March that stated "Atheists For Life". Both church affiliations I associate with hold a strong pro-life position.

Abortion foes are violent, spurring on the murders of those who practice abortion. Pro-life people immediately and unambiguously condemn violence of this type and any violence for that matter.

Abortion foes are bitter, hateful people.  Not the people I have met in nearly forty years of being in this cause. In the March Friday we did not see any counter demonstrators but they might have been there. We were instructed by the leadership not to engage with them but rather be pleasant, smile, and pray if confronted by a pro-abortion counter demonstrator. Let me also add that we were repeatedly instructed to pick up all our trash in contrast that to the despicable mess we witnessed personally by the Occupy Lancaster group who camped out in a park downtown turning it into a shanty town with tents and so forth.

This is just a partisan political issue. Historically there have been both pro-life and pro-abortion politicians in each major party. At the rally we went to on Friday a Pro-Life Democrat congressman spoke from the podium and was treated with respect. (This was not the same one I heard at the conference mentioned above.)

Abortion foes are anti-women, engaged in a "war on women". This is an example of the lies and demagoguery so prevalent in our political discourse. Of course we are not anti-women!!! Over half at the March for Life were women by my observation. And consider this: certainly worldwide and perhaps even in the states far more female babies are killed in abortions than male.

Abortion foes hate women who have had an abortion. False. This is a matter we have dealt with in our churches and chaplaincy ministry. We can extend the promise of God's forgiveness and His healing. Scores and scores of  women do regret that they had an abortion.

Abortion foes think if they can just stop abortion that everything will be fine. Some might think this but most realize the problems in our culture, as a result of forsaking God, are multi-faceted.

Abortion foes are only concerned about their one single issue. Most abortion foes are concerned about many other issues as well. Those of you who read our materials regularly know that we sure are.

Let me add that any time a public figure speaks out on this issue it is likely to be misconstrued.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

Several readers sent interesting material on the topic of Pro-Life we've been considering the last several days.

Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth -- visualized 
A stunning video

"They Said 'No!'"
"What Happened When 12 Nurses Refused To Participate In Abortion."

"A Morbid Anniversary"  Paul Hyle He ends his article with this: "How long will God put up with this tsunami of abortion — and the moral and spiritual depravity that fosters it? I don't know. But 40 years is a Biblical time of testing or probation. That time is now up. I fear for our nation. But I trust in our God."  Amen!

Here's a perspective on the article in Consumer Reports referred to in today's encouragement. The specific phrase in the Consumer Reports article to describe the murder of the prenatal baby is "The uterine contents are sucked out using a manual or electrical pump while the woman is under local anesthesia."

More Pro-Life songs:

"Mary Did You Know"
 Video  Mark Lowery

"Meant To Be"
 Video  Ryan Scott Bomberger  Ryan, who spoke at the rally, has a remarkable testimony of being conceived through rape. Watch the video if you want to see how God can raise up Ryan from from such horrible circumstances and use him for His glory.

"Everything To Me"
 Video  Mark Schultz  When Mark Schultz wrote the song "Everything to Me," the story of a young mother choosing to place her newborn baby into the care of an adoptive family, he had more than just a pro-life sentiment in mind.
He had his life in mind. Because that young mother was his mom. (This was the song playing that we mentioned in one of the captions above.)

"Choose Life"  Video  Big Tent Revival

A prolife playlist  We have not listened to all these songs but it should give you an idea of suitable songs.

"Those Who Never Were"
 Video  Lindsey Thompson

"Sanctity of Life"
 Video  Musician not specified but beautiful song!

"Let Them Be Little"
 Video  Billy Dean

"Give me A Chance"
 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 participated in Friday.

"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?"

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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. Other versions are also occasionally used.

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