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Sunday, September 28, 2008

It happened so fast

The elderly lady seated in a wheelchair spoke the above words as she was being interviewed by a reporter outside a bank that had been seized on Friday. Her sentiments echoed mine and, I'm sure, the rest of the population, as we watched this financial debacle being played out. As both houses of Congress scrambled to come up with some sort of a "rescue plan" to save our near-death economy, I asked myself how much longer do we have?

And I wasn't thinking about a bailout, handout or anything of that sort, but how much longer would it be before our Lord Himself takes center stage and say "Enough is enough!" Jesus said, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matthew 24:27).

For make no mistake, everything that is swimming before our eyes right now is predicted in the Bible - the great economic meltdown, plagues and diseases, wars and rumors of wars. It's all there, and like a textbook, can be studied by us all. Are we taking heed? It's not too late. The answers to our crisis are, as always, in the word of God.

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (6: 19-20).

How accurate the word of God is, and how relevant! As we look at our empty savings and think about what may lie ahead, let us take comfort in these words: "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (v. 34).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I am wanted

Last week's blog focused on abortion and the struggle that some women face in making the decision to have or not have a baby. And while some of them choose to go the abortion route, others sum up their courage and deliver the baby. Some choose to keep it, while others may give it up for adoption.

For many childless couples, adoption may be their only hope. When they finally overcome all the red tape and hold that precious bundle in their arms, that baby is as loved and wanted as the baby who was conceived by a willing mother.

Last week I met a couple who had adopted one of our students. The interest they showed in the child's education was greater than some natural parents show in their children. That couple reminded me of my aunt, who with her husband, adopted a little girl, who is now a grown woman. Even though my aunt and her husband have now passed on, Susan, as I will call her, remains a part of our family. After she came to know her natural mother, Susan told me she didn't miss anything by being raised by her adoptive parents. She couldn't feel the bond with her real mother as she did with her adoptive mother. I have heard similar stories from other adopted children.

Which brings me to thinking of the way God adopted us into His family and showers us with the same love and the same blessings as He gives to His own. We receive the same inheritance as those who originally belonged to God, that is the Jews. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father" (Romans 8: 15). Abba is a Jewish term of endearment for Father, similar to Daddy or Papa. It is intimate; it is loving and is reserved for the children. But we, who have been adopted by God through Jesus Christ, have that same privilege to call Him Abba, Father.

"But when the fulness of the time has come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman. made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:5). So there we have it. We are God's children, His heirs, the apple of His eye, the ones He loved so much that "He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

So those of you who have been adopted by loving parents, consider yourself fortunate. You could have been aborted, but instead you were brought into the world and given a place in a loving family. Many children are born through unplanned pregnancies, but when you are adopted, the whole procedure is carefully planned and carried out. You are special. Someone went through a lot of trouble and paid money to get you. In the same way, Jesus went through a lot of trouble, paying for us with His own precious blood, because the Father wanted us. Think about that this week. He, the Creator of the Universe, wanted us and desired us.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Big Picture

In a democratic society, elections come and elections go, but this US presidential election campaign will go down in history as one of the most exciting and electrifying the world has ever seen. As if an African American male and a white female vying for the democratic party's nomination wasn't enough, the staid Republican party went and nominated a female as their candidate's running mate. The political mercury could not possibly get hotter. However, the rhetoric from the Republican camp remains the same. Vote the candidate who says he is against abortion and homosexuality, while that of their opponent also remains the same: "I support a woman's right to choose."

Let me state here and now, that as a Christian I oppose abortion and homosexuality because the word of God says they are wrong. The word 'abortion' is not in the Bible, but it does call taking a life murder. Before I became a Christian, I contemplated abortion twice. Now that I look back on it, I feel ashamed for having thought about it, and I thank the Holy Spirit for keeping me from making a very grave mistake. Because if I had done it the first time I would have gotten rid of my only daughter, and I can't picture what my life would be like without her. The second occasion I would have destroyed my youngest son, with whom I have a special bond.

My college education (which took place after I had my children) also helped to convince me that life begins at conception, and to destroy a life, well, it is as the Bible says - murder. Before a woman realizes she is pregnant, the baby's heart is already formed-and beating! The first organ to be formed is the heart. In that blob of flesh is a beating heart! Then came my religious education that showed me, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee ..." (Jeremiah 1: 5). And again, "Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them" (Psalm 139: 16).

But can I tell this to a pregnant teenage girl, scared out of her wits and pressured by her boyfriend and friends to "get rid of it"? Or, an unmarried mother of three or four, on welfare, who gets no help from the children's father, and finds herself pregnant with her fourth or fifth child? Or, the woman climbing the corporate ladder, who thinks now is not the right time to have a baby? Oh, I know there are other reasons women have abortions and to us they may seem frivolous, but the fact is, to the woman, an abortion may seem like the only answer. The woman, the teenager, who doesn't know God, thinks she is all on her own and has no one to turn to. But, my dear sister, you are not alone. God is with you, whether you know Him or not. He loves you, whether you love Him or not. He said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).

My new perspective of abortion came about as a result of being born again. The Bible says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17). Being in Christ helps us see things in a new light. We begin to see the big picture. We come to realize that it's not so much what we want, but what God wants for us. We come to view that baby not as a threat to our security, peace of mind or whatever, but as a precious gift from God, and as His gift, He will help us love it and take care of it. He is there with us in this predicament, and the next, and the next.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Yesterday afternoon as I was driving home from church, something from my growing-up years suddenly flashed through my mind. It was not a pretty memory. I couldn't imagine what it was about the cars rushing past me at 80, 90 miles per hour on a Labor Day weekend that brought that ugly memory to my mind. It was enough to bring me to a screeching halt in the middle of the highway, but I kept going.

When I got home I thought about my unsettling flashback that had not occurred in decades. Why now? Why after a church service filled with fervent celebration of God's goodness? I don't know, but after I spoke to God about it, He said, "I don't remember it. Why are you allowing the enemy to torment you with this after all this time? I have forgiven you; now you forgive yourself."

Humbled and grateful, I said, "Thank you, Lord."

And I thought about forgiveness.

It's never an easy task to forgive someone who has wronged us. We can always say "I forgive you", but oftentimes we harbour the pain and resentment of whatever the act was. That is not what forgiveness means. If we cannot let go, if we cannot pray for and bless that person without cringing, then we haven't really forgiven them. Notice I said, without cringing. Because we are going to remember. It might come to us suddenly and without warning, or it may come each time we see the person. But if being in the same room with that person causes us pain, anger or any negative emotion, then we haven't really forgiven.

Even more difficult is forgiving ourselves. We have seen videos of people in other cultures who flagellate and cut themselves to atone for their sins. To those of us who are born again Christians, these acts may seem absurd, but we are doing the same thing when we struggle with guilt over past sins. We are saying to God, "I don't believe I've been forgiven. I don't believe the blood of Jesus can really wash away my sins."

The Bible has a lot to say about forgiveness. One example is the story of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers. After they found out who he was, they were afraid he would try to pay them back for what they had done to him. But Joseph said, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:19-20). NIV

After God spared the life of Hezekiah, king of Judea, he prayed, "...In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all sins behind your back" (Isaiah 38:17). Isaiah prophesied to the people of Israel, "I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist ..."(Isaiah 44:22).NIV. And the One who bought our redemption, Jesus Christ, said, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:14-15).

Let us, therefore, thank God for His wonderful love that causes Him to forgive us when we ask, and just as He does to us, let us also do unto others.