Archive for January, 2012

Are we as a nation heading down a slippery slope?  Consider that 1,500,000 unborn children die each year from abortion. Consider that states have legalized medically assisted suicides for those who supposedly have six months or less to live.  We are witnessing the devaluation of human life on a massive scale.

Forty years ago, this would have been unbelievable.  How is it that we have a come to a place in our society when there is such a low regard for human life?  Mother Teresa said, “If a mother can kill her own children, then what can be next?”

What can be next?  Will a society that has legalized the killing of infants in the womb because they are unwanted, imperfect or inconvenient; will that society have difficulty in  legalizing the killing of other humans, especially older adults who are unwanted, or considered mentally or physically imperfect?

In Genesis 1:26 we read, “Let us make man in our image.”  Only human life possesses the image of God.  It should be no surprise when we turn to Exodus 20:13 that we read “Thou shall not murder.”

We should not be surprised because there is something distinctly precious and unique about human life.  In God’s estimation, it is so precious and so unique He commands that it must be protected and it must be preserved.  It alone represents “the image of God”.

In 1977, Jesse Jackson made the following statement which addresses the matter directly: “What happens to the mind of a  person, and the moral fabric of a nation, that accepts the aborting of the life of a baby without a pang of conscience?  What kind of a person and what kind of a society will we have twenty years hence if life can be taken so casually?  It is that question, the question of our attitude, our value system, and our mind set with regard to the nature and worth of life itself that is the central question confronting mankind.  Failure to answer that question affirmatively may leave us with a hell right here on earth.”

The only way to stop the slide down the slippery slope is to acknowledge that we are made in the “image of God” and that from God’s perspective, life is precious.

Stand Firm

Posted: January 25, 2012 in Uncategorized
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I would like to introduce you to a little known character from the Bible.  We can learn something from the character of Shammah.  In a day and age where traditional values are discarded and it seems like everyone else is doing it, one thing we can learn from him is to Stand Firm.

“And next to him was Shammah, the son of Agee the Hararite.  The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils; and the men fled from the Philistines.  But he took his stand in the midst of the plot, and defended it, and slew the Philistine; and the Lord wrought a great victory”

(2 Samuel 23:11-12).

Notice where Shammah stood.  He  took his stand over a field of lentils. And he stood in the midst.  He did not stand to the side or in the ivory tower or over in the comfort of the grandstand.

He stood right in the middle for everyone to see.  That is the way you and I need to stand.  It is easy to fire off an anonymous letter or an anonymous phone call but very few people will stand up and speak their conviction and let people know this is where I stand: Stand Firm.

Notice the way he stood. He stood alone.  The scripture says “the men fled”.  Shammah chose not to flee but to take his stand.  It would have been easy for Shammah to flee because everybody else fled.  When you feel like you are the only one standing: Stand Firm.

He took his stand in the midst of a crisis.  Here he was in the midst of this field of lentils that is besieged by the enemy, the Philistines.  The Philistinian army is on him before he knows it and he was left standing alone.  Can you imagine the thoughts going through the mind of Shammah?  In times of crisis, we are tempted to give up or give in: Stand Firm.

Why did he stand?  It was just a plot of ground filled with lentils.  It may seem insignificant, a patch of lentils, but the line had to be drawn some place. Some things are not worth fighting over and there are some things that are worth fighting over and you better fight for them.  Shammah decided this was worth fighting over.  Shammah defended this pea patch  because it was Gods patch of lentils and he was going to take a stand.  The line has been drawn,  you may try to hide it, to ignore it, to cover it up but the line has been drawn.  Stand Firm.

One of the funniest and most provocative commercials, features Clara Peller, an elderly woman and her friends opening their hamburger buns and finds it virtually bare. The perceptive old lady, who was able to see beyond the obvious, asked, “Where’s the beef?” That response became a popular catchphrase for the essence of something, its core, its central point, its ultimate foundation. We may not realize it, but most people ask the same question about life. They find themselves sandwiched between birth and death, and unfortunately, they often find themselves in a sandwich without substance, a sandwich without any meat. Struggling to find meaning in life, they ask, “Where’s the beef?” “What is life about?” “What am I here for?” “What’s my mission in life?”

Jesus knew His mission.  In John 17:4 He says “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.” How would you like to be able to say that about your life?  The purpose of man is to bring glory to God. We bring glory to God by fulfilling our purpose, by completing the work God gave me to do. The problem is that many go through life not knowing their life’s purpose, or the work that God gave them to do.

How can I discover my mission in life? You are going to have to discover it over time. It is a process,  not a one shot deal. The first decision you have to make is “what will be the center of my life?” Who or what am I going to live for? This is the starting point. You need something at the center, which everything else builds around. There are many options you can center your life on; career, family, money, pleasure, popular. None of these things are going to last.

God made you to center your life around him. The first purpose is that God made me to know and love Him. You were made as an object of God’s love.

Why am I here? You were made to be loved by God. The Bible says God is love, not that He has love, but that He IS love. Love is worthless unless you bestow it on something. You can say you are full of love but unless you bestow it on something, it is worthless. God said He made you to love you. God knows everything about you and He still loves you. He wants you to know Him. Not just know about Him but to know Him and love Him back. Human beings were the only creature created to respond back to God. We were made in his image. Your first purpose in life is to know and to love God, because He knows and loves you. Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-38 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment.”

Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.” Understand who God is, then you are going to understand who you are. Ask, Why am I here? Who am I? Where did I come from? Where am I going? You will not get any answers until first, you understand who God is. Until you know God, you’re just speculating on the purpose for your life. Understanding who God is, is the beginning of wisdom. That’s why Paul said in Philippians 3:10 above all else “I want to know Christ.” Do you know Christ or do you just know about Him?