Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pro Death

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Nancy Pelosi’s interview has set off a fire storm of commentary on the age old debate of when life begins. Apparently her argument is that since no one is sure when life begins, then the mother that carries the child in her womb should have the free choice as to whether the child is to live or die.

Pelosi supports her argument by citing a church father from the fifth century, Augustine of Hippo, did not know when life begins either. Further she stated that this particular church leader thought that life begins at three months of age and thus implying that he would support infanticide.

In the first place our decisions should not be made on the opinion of a single church leader.There are a number of early church leaders and sources that directly address this issue. For example,


Barnabas AD 70

"You shall not kill the child by obtaining an abortion. Nor, again, shall you destroy him after he is born."

The Didache AD 80-140

"You shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one who has been born."

Tertullian AD 197

"In our case, murder is once for all forbidden. Therefor, we may not destroy even the fetus in the womb, while as yet the human being derives blood from other parts of the body for its sustenance. To hinder a birth is merely a speedier way to kill a human. It does not matter whether you take away a life that has been born or destroy one that is not yet born."

Cyprian AD 250

"The womb of his wife was hit by a blow of his heel. And, in the miscarriage that soon followed, the offspring was brought forth, the fruit of a father's murder."


Lacatantius AD 304-313

"The soul is not introduced into the body after birth, as some philosophers think. Rather, it is introduced immediately after conception, when the divine necessity has formed the offspring in the womb."

Apostolic Constitutions AD 390

"You shall not slay your child by causing abortion, nor kill the baby that is born."


Further, it is clear that she totally misunderstands Augustine’s position. In context he was talking about the resurrection. He did say that he did not know when life began. However, in the next paragraph he went on to say not only that fetuses are a living being, but that they will share in the resurrection of the dead.

“To deny, for example, that those fetuses ever lived at all which are cut away limb by limb and cast out of the wombs of pregnant women, lest the mothers die also if the fetuses were left there dead, would seem much too rash. But, in any case, once a man begins to live, it is thereafter possible for him to die. And, once dead, wheresoever death overtook him, I cannot find the basis on which he would not have a share in the resurrection of the dead.”


Augustine’s point was that those who die as a result of being cut out from the womb will be restored with a perfectly formed resurrected body. Unfortunately, Nancy Pelosi only quoted the phrase that seems to support her argument. Augustine would not support the pro-death position of abortionists.

Denying the fact that life begins at conception is treasonous to your own conscience and simple logic. If life does not begin at conception then there would be no need for contraceptives.

Perhaps it may have been better to quote David, Isaiah, Solomon, or Jeremiah. After all their statements are inspired by God.

"Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me." (Psalm 51:5, NKJV)


"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:13-16, NKJV)


"Thus says the Lord who made you And formed you from the womb, who will help you: ‘Fear not, O Jacob My servant; And you, Jeshurun, whom I have chosen." (Isaiah 44:2, NKJV)


"As you do not know what is the way of the wind, Or how the bones grow in the womb of her who is with child, So you do not know the works of God who makes everything." (Ecclesiastes 11:5, NKJV)


"“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”" (Jeremiah 1:5, NKJV)


Today about 3,700 people in the United States will die today as a result of an abortive procedure. Around the world the number the total number will reach about 115,000 people.


Some will justify their actions by denying that the child in their body is not yet a human, but should a pregnant woman be murdered the crime is rightly prosecuted as a double homicide.


Why do women have abortions?


1% of all abortions occur because of rape or incest; 6% of abortions occur because of potential health problems regarding either the mother or child, and 93% of all abortions occur for social reasons (i.e. the child is unwanted or inconvenient).

What can we do?

Educate our children (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Encourage our fellow Christians (Galatians 6:1)

Elect leaders who support our values (1 Timothy 2:1-2)


Additional Reading:

What the Bible Says About the Beginning of Life

Monday, August 25, 2008

Vegetarianism: To Eat Meat or Not to Eat Meat



Vegetarianism is the practice of subsisting on vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and etcetera and avoiding eating meat such as fish, fowl, or beef. In some cases a vegetarian will avoid any food that is derived from animals such as eggs, cheese, milk, or butter. There are a number of reasons people may choose a vegetarian diet, but it should not be for religious reasons. In fact there is a stronger argument for eating meat than not eating meat.

CREATION: PLANTS ONLY

To get the right perspective on this issue it may be helpful to go back to the beginning. Genesis records the account of God’s creation. We can deduce from this account that initially all creatures were vegetarians.

And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food. Also, to every beast of the earth, to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, in which there is life, I have given every green herb for food”; and it was so. Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. Genesis 1:29-31 (NKJV)

Genesis chapter 3 records the fall of man, and well you probably know the rest of the story. Adam’s sin affected all life as we know it. Pain, suffering, disease, and death were all part of the self inflicted curse that fallen man brought upon himself.

To the woman He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”
Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’: “Cursed is the ground for your sake; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, And you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:16-19 (NKJV)

The consequences of sin weaved it into the fabric of society to such a degree that very heart of God was grieved. God determined to bring deserved judgment on the earth and bestowing grace on Noah and his family.

"Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord." (Genesis 6:5-8, NKJV)

FLOOD: ALL FOODS

Noah and his family were charged with repopulating the earth. In addition they were given dietary instructions. All animals now were specifically given for food. The only prohibition was not to eat raw blood.


So God blessed Noah and his sons, and said to them: “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand.
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely for your lifeblood I will demand a reckoning; from the hand of every beast I will require it, and from the hand of man. From the hand of every man’s brother I will require the life of man. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man. And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; Bring forth abundantly in the earth And multiply in it.” Genesis 9:1-7 (NKJV)

LAW: SOME RESTRICTIONS

The next major event that affected man’s diet was the giving of the law. Those under the Law of Moses were given certain dietary restrictions. They could eat certain types of meat, but some foods were off limits.

" Now the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘These are the animals which you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth: Among the animals, whatever divides the hoof, having cloven hooves and chewing the cud—that you may eat. Nevertheless these you shall not eat among those that chew the cud or those that have cloven hooves: the camel, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; the rock hyrax, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; the hare, because it chews the cud but does not have cloven hooves, is unclean to you; and the swine, though it divides the hoof, having cloven hooves, yet does not chew the cud, is unclean to you." (Leviticus 11:1-7, NKJV)

Some have suggested the purpose of this was for their health benefit; however, these restrictions were not imposed until Moses. If this was the “chosen” diet then surely it would have been implemented with Noah. Remember Noah had no such restrictions.

A closer look at the Law reveals that there were many restrictions and some of which seem to be more arbitrary, such as mixing certain threads of animals. One of the purposes for these restrictions was to help keep the people special.

"“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth." (Deuteronomy 7:6, NKJV)

The imposed restrictions would make it difficult for Israel to assimilate into the culture. They were to be uniquely God’s people.

The ultimate reason for all of the requirements of the Law was to lead the people to recognize that they could not keep the law and need to cry out for mercy, for salvation.

"Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24, NKJV)

NEW COVENANT: ALL FOODS

The New Covenant initiated by Christ brought with it freedom from the Law.

"Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Galatians 3:24, NKJV)

Peter had to have his conscience directly informed by God on this matter. He had lived his entire life under the dietary restrictions of the Old Covenant and felt that a violation of those restrictions would dishonor God. Through a supernatural vision Peter was told not once but three times that it is okay now to eat previously restricted meat.

" The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again." (Acts 10:9-16, NKJV)

Those who are in Christ are no longer subject to the ceremonial aspects of the law including the dietary prohibitions.

"So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ." (Colossians 2:16-17, NKJV)

Unless you have a medical condition such as an allergy that prohibits eating of meat, it may be more glorifying to God to eat meat in honor of the New Covenant in Christ than to refuse what God told Peter to do three times. Once should be sufficient, but sometimes we can be hard of hearing.

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31, NKJV)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Who Am I

" To the Chief Musician. On the Instrument of Gath. A Psalm of David. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth, Who have set Your glory above the heavens! Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength, Because of Your enemies, That You may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained, What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him? For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor. You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen— Even the beasts of the field, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea That pass through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth!" (Psalm 8, NKJV)



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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Image of God


Deuteronomy 4:14-19 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might observe them in the land which you cross over to possess. 15 “Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth. 19 And take heed, lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun, the moon, and the stars, all the host of heaven, you feel driven to worship them and serve them, which the Lord your God has given to all the peoples under the whole heaven as a heritage.

Israel was given a prohibition to making an image of the real God. Now it is easy to understand why we should not make an image of false god, but why is it also important not to make an image of the true God? This was the question we posed in our study on worship yesterday evening.

Several answers were forwarded.

1. One may worship the object that represents God.

Exodus 20:5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,

2. The object is less glorious than God and so diminishes His glory.

Isaiah 48:11 For My own sake, for My own sake, I will do it; For how should My name be profaned? And I will not give My glory to another.

3. God has put forth a perfect physical image in the person of Christ.

Hebrews 1:3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

The practical implications of this truth should cause us to be cautious about producing anything that physically represents God. Movies such as the 1977 movie “Oh God”

staring George Burns as God or the more recent 2003 movie “Bruce Almighty” where Morgan Freeman portrays God, both diminish the character of God.

"“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, And the

knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." (Proverbs 9:10)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Prayer Requests


1 Thessalonians 5:17 pray without ceasing,

I thank the Lord for the technology that allows us to communicate in unique ways even when we are at great distances or are out of our routine. Since I was out of town yesterday I could not directly participate in the prayer time at LABC. However I did receive the prayer letter that April puts together each week. Receiving that prayer letter helped me to participate to some degree and reminded me to pray today for the requests that were put forth.

Remember if you have anything we can pray for you about please be sure to send us a request at prayer@lyndonavenue.org If you are a regular participant in our prayer meetings and would like to get a copy of the prayer list emailed to you be sure to send us that request as well and we will be sure to put you on the list.

Grace be with you,

Wayne

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Praise God


" The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, And night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language Where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, And their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, And rejoices like a strong man to run its race. Its rising is from one end of heaven, And its circuit to the other end; And there is nothing hidden from its heat." (Psalm 19:1-6, NKJV)

On Wednesday evenings here at LABC we have been studying worship. One of the specific text we discussed was Psalm 19. This Psalm clearly communicates that God’s glory is seen generally through the beauty of the World and specifically through the beauty of the Word.

This week I have had to see some of His glory displayed in the beauty that surrounds Destin, Florida. One nice thing about not being from around here is that everything seems unique and is worth admiring. Yesterday I took my youngest child on a children’s fishing trip. In addition to catching a few fish we were also able to see a lot of ocean life. From jelly fish, sting rays, sea turtles, dolphins, and crabs were some of the unique creations of God that we had a privilege to see close up. Each of these creatures are uniquely designed to function in an environment that is mostly hostile to man. We can spend a few hours in the water with the right gear, but these created beings spend their life in this domain. God made some awesome creations.


Psalm 19 helps me recognize that the beauty of the ocean and the various living creatures only serve to exalt their creator and designer, the God of the universe. His name be praised, His name be worshiped.

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.