Conception: There Are No Accidental People!

In light of the Planned Parenthood fiasco - the sad news about babies' parts being harvested and sold - I find this quote a fresh reminder that there's more at stake than a baby's body. 

In her book, The Making of a Mom, Stephanie Shott says,

"The conditions of conception do not determine the value of a life. In our minds there may be accidental parents, but in the mind of God there are no accidental people. Each one is a masterpiece—each person is a miracle created by God in spite of the way that sweet baby was conceived" (p. 31).
For us to chop apart a human masterpiece, with no regard for the Creator, is one of the tragedies of life.
"You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it" (Psalm 139:13-14).

Each one of us is a divine design. And God places within our bodies a unique little soul. 

Stephanie, founder of The M.O.M. Initiative, has a word for all pregnant moms who might read this post today:

"Sweet mom," she wrote, "you were in God's heart before you ever entered your mother's womb. The same is true for your baby. The process of pregnancy is nothing short of the making of a miracle ... a miracle that includes you."(p. 35)

And, she writes (p. 38), "God creates those tiny treasures we call children, but He uses mothers to paint strokes of love, character and integrity into their hearts and lives. You are the brush, sweet mom, and you only get one chance to choose each stroke well."

Let's protect each masterpiece!

Are you struggling with being pregnant? While I do not personally endorse any agencies here, there are so many people (and agencies) you can contact online that would love to help you keep your baby or give it up for adoption. Please don't turn to abortion. And if you have already aborted a child, you will find help too. You don't have to go through these life choices alone.


The Hope for Earth's Evils

So much evil in the world.

So much overwhelming ugly news. 

So much that tempts me to run and hide until Jesus returns. 

But it's precisely because I believe Jesus will return that I have hope. 

We are to "comfort one another" with the promise of His return (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). 

And it's not a passive thing. We're to be "alert and sober" and ready to stand for the Truth... "to encourage one another ... to build up one another" (1 Thessalonians 5:6-9). 

We've got to remember: 
Ultimately, evil does not reign. Jesus does!

  • Remember that the next time you're watching a TV newscast that makes you fearful. 
  • Remember that when you read about Christians being martyred for their faith around the world.
  • Remember that when you think the enemy (Satan) and all who do evil seem to be winning.

Remember the words of this Isaac Watts hymn about the blessings that will come when Jesus reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords:

Blessings abound where'er He reigns; 
The pris'ner leaps, unloosed his chains,
The weary find eternal rest, 
And all the sons of want are blest. *

Are you living in light of eternity, when the glorious King, Jesus, will reign forever?

- Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of vectorolie at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.
Hymn: "Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun" by Isaac Watts, 


A Mirror of Christ

Oh that this might be true in my life, Father God.

I want to be more like Jesus!

Is this the cry of your heart too?


6 Choices to Love When It Feels 'Impossible"

Sometimes we think someone is just "impossible" to love. Maybe we love the person (down deep), but circumstances make us question that love. Frustrated, maybe even angry, we might say, "I can't do this one minute more!" But ...

If we know Jesus, we can always choose to love.

The Lord modeled Unimaginable Love for us .... "agape" love. The kind of love that sacrifices to save the life of another.

Jesus loved us while we were weak and ungodly (Romans 5:6-8). He was even willing to die for us wretched, unholy sinners, showing His amazing capacity to love (John 15:13; 1 Timothy 2:6). And the truth is:
In Christ, there are many choices to love that we can make.
Making choices to love may sometimes mean "tough love," working harder to express love in ways people might not expect, but ways for their good. All love should be an outpouring of the love of God within our hearts.

So what kind of love can we choose in tough times?

1. Choose Unlimited Love

"...'love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength ... love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:30-31, ESV).

It makes sense that when we wholly love God, our love for others will be more complete. We will love others even as we love ourselves. In fact, we will think more about their needs than our own (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3).

The "all" of love for God motivates our unlimited love for others ... and that's amazing!

2. Choose Unselfish Love

"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends" (1 Cor. 13:4-8a, ESV).

This familiar "love passage" details many choices love makes. Our enemy tells us it's time to throw in the towel when a friend or loved one acts up or behaves unwisely, but godly love continues to make selfless choices for another's benefit.

And it's persistent too (Love never ends)! Unending forbearance. Unending belief. Unending hope. Unending endurance.

3. Choose Unhindered Love

"A friend loves at all timesand a brother is born for adversity" (Proverbs 17:17, ESV).

Adversity ... struggles ... deep trials ... frustrating circumstances. A loving person comes alongside others in these tough times with understanding, encouragement and practical help.

The "all times" means there is nothing that can hinder the outreach of our godly love.

4. Choose Unveiled Love

"... just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another" (John 13:34b-35, ESV).

The amazing truth is that our choice to love—especially in the tough times—is a powerful testimony to the world. We unveil and illustrate Christ's agape love to the world and perhaps whet sinners' appetite for the Savior who embodies such love.

5. Choose Unfailing Love

"Above all things, have intense and unfailing love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins [forgives and disregards the offenses of others]" (1 Peter 4:8, Amplified).

Love doesn't "cover up" sin in the world's sense of hiding or disguising or even redefining sin; but love does know how to "cover" offenses with forgiveness, extending great grace and mercy.

Sometimes love confronts; 
sometimes love makes new boundaries. 
But always, love keeps flowing.

6. Choose Unreasonable Love

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:43-44, ESV).

Love your enemies? That sounds unreasonable, doesn't it? And sometimes it feels like those "enemies" are in our own house!

But Jesus commands we love with the kind of love that doesn't make sense to the world. We actually pray for our persecutors. We turn the other cheek (Matthew 5:39). We go beyond the norm to win an opportunity to show Christ-like love.

So ... what kind of choices to love will you make today?


Broken without Tears

For many years, I associated brokenness with weeping. Lots of it. 

If I saw a woman weeping at a revival meeting, I assumed she was deeply broken before the Lord. And if I turned another direction, and saw a woman sitting in a pew with her arms folded, I assumed she was hard in spirit or fighting the Lord.

Oh, how mistaken I was.

Over the years I've learned the truth - from experience.

I remember one church service when I bawled like a pinched baby. But if I'm gut honest, I have to tell you – I was a big fake. I wanted people to think God had touched my heart. I wanted people to think I was broken. (It hurts today to even think I would do that. Did I think God didn't know?)

And yet in another service, I sat in my seat, staring ahead with my arms folded across my body. Anyone looking at me that day might assume I was either fighting God or zoned out. In truth, my heart was breaking over a sin that had me in its grasp. My crossed arms were me trying to hold myself together! I was silently crying out to the Lord in that church pew. I was begging for His mercy and help.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss addresses this misunderstanding about brokenness in her book by the same name: Brokenness: The Heart God Revives.
"For many, brokenness conjures up the image of the shedding of tears – having a deeply emotional experience," she wrote. "They think of a time when they were deeply stirred by a song, moved by a message, or touched by an experience.

"Unfortunately, countless people have shed buckets full of tears and yet have never experienced a
moment of true brokenness. It is difficult to conceive of being truly broken without our emotions being involved. But it is important to understand it is possible to shed tears without being broken, and it is possible to experience brokenness without shedding any tears at all."

So what is brokenness? 

Brokenness is not a feeling, not an emotion. True brokenness requires a choice. It is an ongoing act of the will.
For the Christian, brokenness is meant to be a lifestyle!
  • Brokenness means agreeing with God and aligning my now-softened heart with His. 
  • There is no room for stubbornness, only submission. 
  • The broken person is repentant and contrite, ready to call sin "sin" and to press forward into holiness.
In that pressing forward, there is no self-reliance. The broken person realizes there is no hope for change apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in the human heart. There is no confidence in personal works or righteousness, but only in the all-sufficient grace of God.

Tears may come, especially in people with more tender temperaments, but not a single teardrop needs to fall for true, godly brokenness to occur.

The key is the condition of the heart.
  • "The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit" (Psalm 34:18).
  • "The sacrifice of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" (Psalm 51:17).
Tears or no tears, God sees the heart and knows if we are proud or if we have a humble, broken heart before Him.

What does God see today as He studies your heart?

Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.


Heartbroken and Praying

I am heartbroken by recent choices our government is making, but it's been many, many years since we were truly "one nation under God."

We have wandered far from the truth of scriptureoften twisting it to fit our sinful passions or selfish perspective. And even in the Church, we have corrupted the commands of God and principles for holy living.

Rather than rant about these things, I have turned to prayer. 

I want to seek God with all my heart. 

"... seek the Lord your God and you will find him, 
if you search after him with all your heart 
and with all your soul" (Deuteronomy 4:29, ESV).

I am asking Him to remove any areas of pride* and sin that would prevent Him from working through me to reach my cultureto reach individuals who so desperately need to know the truth of His Word.

"Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! 
Try me and know my thoughts. 
And see if there be any wicked or hurtful way in me, 
and lead me in the way everlasting" (Psalm 139:23-24, Amp).

I am bending my heart that I might better bend my knee.

Is that your desire too?

* "Are You a Proud Person or a Broken Person? - Revive Our Hearts post

Graphic: adapted, Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net