Sunday, April 21, 2013

Though you slay me...

Recently, I ordered a new album from Shane & Shane, a favorite Christian duo of mine. The album, "Bring Your Nothing" is chock full of powerful lyrics, often quoted directly from Scripture. Some draw us into joyful contemplation of all that will be made right one day when we inhabit our New Jerusalem, and others bring to mind the magnificent exchange of Christ for our sin.

One song I have been singing over and over the past week is "Though you slay me," a beautiful description of the believer's comfort when he/she is submissive to God's will, even if that includes trials and suffering. My suffering in this life has really been quite limited, and I know many people even now who are facing far greater hardships than I have ever encountered. That being said, we all know what it's like to deal with simply the inner struggles of doubt, disappointed hopes, painful relationships, injustices, and so much more.

I recently heard a conference breakout session by Elyse Fitzpatrick, in which she talked about the loneliness that seems to envelop us, particularly women. Despite leading busier lives than ever before, filled with relationships and responsibilities, bring up the word "loneliness" and most women find that it resonates with some type of inner discomfort they've experienced.

Whatever our hardships are - broken relationships, fearful and anxious thoughts plaguing our sleepless nights, long unanswered prayers, or overlooked apologies - we are still meant to turn in rejoicing to the One who took our place, being slain on our behalf. When we focus on what seems to be taken away from us, we must consider the One who had everything taken from Him - even fellowship with His Heavenly Father - all so we could be rescued! When we reflect on this, it is then that we can praise Him. It is in these meditations that we can bless His name and worship Him most purely.

Here are a few lines from the song:

Though You slay me, yet I will praise You
Though You take from me, I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me, still I will worship
Sing a song to the One who's all I need

Friday, April 12, 2013

Satan's campaign waged in the abortion clinics

One of my favorite sermons that I return to over and over when interacting on issues like abortion and homosexuality is from Dr. John MacArthur, entitled, Abortion and the Campaign for Immorality. In it, Dr. MacArthur lays out a pivotal case for why we can identify the agenda of pro-abortion movements as being a campaign for evil.

It is this evil campaign that we see in our current media outlets and the justice system. The same groups wanting us to jump on their bandwagons for civil rights and helping the starving in Africa, are the same ones wanting to bind our mouths shut and turn a blind eye to the wailing screams of those precious babies who are being torn to pieces coming from their mother’s wombs! Dr. MacArthur says, “To me it is ironic that those who pride themselves on defending the rights of the weak, murder them in the womb when they are the most weak. What kind of hypocrisy if that? Self-congratulating pseudo-humanitarians advocate a deadly force of violence unleashed against infants that makes the Nazi Holocaust look mild by comparison.”

He goes on to quote Planned Parenthood as claiming that unwanted pregnancy has essentially become a sexually transmitted disease. This debased mindset of our current culture has resulted in a demand for an instantaneous “solution” to this “disease” – those who find themselves in this predicament, as well as those who service such clients, believe that there should be a quick, relatively painless and simple method by which they can rid themselves of it and get right back to the daily grind as usual.

How have we come this far? And who is the author of this despicable movement? The liberal culture? The media? The legal entities that first pursued the Roe v. Wade case decades ago? No, the author of all evil is Satan. Dr. MacArthur says, “We just have to go back and understand that Satan is a murderer from the beginning, right? This is a satanic thing. He is the father of lies and he’s the father of murder…Satan particularly goes after babies. He did in Moses’ day; he did in Jesus’ day. He wanted to kill all the young children in Egypt because of the fear that a deliverer would come.”

Where do we find encouragement and hope amidst such darkness? Of course, in God’s Word, but to be more specific, we anchor our soul’s hope in knowing that all will be set right when Christ returns for His Bride! This doesn’t mean that we ignore what is happening or lie down in defeat, but it does mold our thinking and our interactions with those we have opportunity to influence on such topics. While the horrors of the Gosnell case are alarming and we ought to bring attention to it, the greater horror is that so many remain without Christ.

We are often very quick to speak up on issues of morality, such as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, etc. We even devote an entire day to spearheading our efforts in unison with the hope that others may realize what a devastating occurrence takes place each time a young woman enters an abortion clinic. These are noble and helpful things. More importantly, though, we must call those who remain in darkness to the healing and merciful light of Christ Jesus.

Kermit Gosnell needs a savior, and so do the thousands of people who work in such places, as well as the patients who must often be divided in their hearts at what they are doing. Satan has captured their hearts and overtaken their minds with the deceptions of hatred and murder. In love, we must share with them that this does not have to be. Again, Dr. MacArthur provides some gentle relief here, stating, “Can murder be forgiven? Ask the apostle Paul. He was a murderer and a blasphemer and he found grace. There’s forgiveness and restoration completely available in Christ.”