Serving Jesus through discipleship

Archive for the month “December, 2012”

The Faith to Follow

Jesus Walks on the Sea

Jesus Walks on the Sea (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As a rabbi, Jesus prepared His disciples for everything. The way used to prepare His disciples was that they followed Him everywhere. They lived with Him, they watched as He met with friends, acquaintances, officials and enemies. It was the disciple’s (singular: talmid; plural: talmidim) responsibility to watch everything that the rabbi did in order to emulate him. The disciples consuming passion was to be like his rabbi.

An example of this can be found in Matthew 14:22 – 33 where Jesus walks across the sea of Galilee. You will recall that when Peter discovered that it was his rabbi walking on the lake, he said to Him, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to you on the water.” Do you believe that Peter thought he could walk on water? Peter, after all, was a fisherman. He had been in and around the sea all his life and every time he got in the water he sank like a stone. Yet, he wanted to be like his rabbi so much that he was willing to risk drowning to walk on water like his rabbi. So when Jesus said to Peter, “Come”, he had the temerity to get out of the boat. Peter actually succeeded in walking on the surface of the sea. But, seeing the wind and the waves, he became afraid and began to sink. He cried out to Jesus to save him. Jesus reached out His hand, took hole of Peter and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Who did Peter lose faith in? He was walking on the water; he did it! Did he lose faith in Jesus? I submit that is not the faith that Jesus was talking about. After seeing that he could walk on water, Peter’s faith should have increased. I submit that Peter lost faith in himself. He did not trust that he, a lowly fisherman, could have the ability to walk on water. And so he began to sink.

I believe that we are like that. God has promised that His power is perfected in our weakness. So why don’t we see displays of God’s power in our daily lives. It is because we are even too afraid to get out of the boat. We have been called. Jesus has told us “Come”. Still we are too afraid of the embarrassment of failure, or even more of success. What will people think of me if I behave in this manner?

“Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Think about this. The Jews in Galilee generally had access to the Scriptures only in their local synagogue, so they memorized Scripture throughout their lifetimes because they were determined to know and live by the word of God and pass on their faith to their children. They were intensely spiritual people, and even those who did not advance to further study and interpretation of the Torah and the Prophets already had memorized far more Scripture than most Christians know today.

Because of technology, we do not need to memorize Scripture. We can carry printed versions of scripture with us. We can put the Bible on our smart phones so that it is with us all the time. We do need to be familiar enough with Scripture so that we know what it says and where to find it. We have all had that moment where a certain passage applies and we can’t find it. Remember, Satan deceived Eve by questioning the word of God; “Has God said, “You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?” He also tempted Jesus by misapplying Scripture. Keep in mind God’s command to Joshua, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.”

Remember also the words of Jesus in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you.” You can say, “I will not be a disciple of Jesus.” But Jesus believes in you and your potential to be His disciple. That is why He chose you!


A Woman’s Right

Have you ever wondered why liberals disguise their actions and motives with altruistic labels? As an example, take the American Civil Liberties Union. This organization’s name engenders visions of a good fight for freedom. The consequences of their activities are quite different. “Silent Night” can’t be sung at school; the Defense Department must stop sponsoring Boy Scout troops; a tiny Christian cross must be removed from the Los Angeles County seal; Nativity scenes on a courthouse lawn are unconstitutional. Americans’ heads are spinning, as they wonder what the next judicial outrage will be: Removing “In God We Trust” from U.S. currency? Firing all military chaplains? Expunging all references to God in America’s founding documents?

Another example is Planned Parenthood. In recent years, they have been the subject of several investigations which have resulted in the involved clinics closing. In some cases, they are violating law to peddle their services.

I want to talk about the so called “Pro Choice” movement. To most conservative thinkers, this is a euphemism for “Pro Abortion“. Let’s examine the choice.

I totally agree that a woman has the right to choose! She has the right to choose whether or not she will engage in sexual activity. As far as I know, no one is trying to take that choice away. There are Christian and other conservative groups that believe a woman should be encouraged to abstain from sex before marriage. But there is no effort afoot to make pre marital sex illegal. Every woman has the right to choose if she will have sex or not.

If the woman chooses to have sex, the logical consequences of which is pregnancy, she has to choose whether or not to become pregnant. If she chooses not to become pregnant, she again has many choices available to effect that choice. The most radical is sterilization. I can certainly understand why that would be a very undesirable choice; it is however very effective and permanent. Too permanent!

Another choice is the rhythm method of birth control. This method is not very reliable and does not allow for spontaneity. I can understand why this would not be a preferred choice as well.

Another choice is the use of condoms. Studies have shown that condom use can be 98% effective in the prevention of pregnancy. In addition, condoms can be made more effective by including the use of a spermicidal agent. They are inexpensive, readily available at drug, department and grocery stores and even some gas stations. Some brands include a spermicide. Many contain a lubricating agent. Some have features that are said to enhance pleasure of both the male and female during the sex act; they even come in colors! There are condoms that are made for women as well as for men. The condom is the only choice, other than abstinence, that will prevent sexually transmitted diseases. This sounds like a pretty good choice if pregnancy is to be avoided.

Another choice is the vaginal diaphragm. This method is slightly less effective than the condom. It relies on a perfect fit to prevent the sperm from entering the cervix. This perfect fit is very hard to achieve given the flexibility of the supporting tissue. As with a condom, its effectiveness can be increased by incorporating a spermicide.

Another choice is the Intra Uterine Device (IUD). This is more effective than most other forms of birth control. It is reported that the IUD is 99.4% effective. However, the following risks have been reported: increased menstrual bleeding, uterine perforation and expulsion. Other disadvantages are the high cost of insertion, it doesn’t prevent disease and it will need to be removed by a doctor.

Finally, there are several methods of hormonal therapies that are effective at preventing pregnancy, the most common is the birth control pill. According to Contraceptive Technology magazine, this form of birth control is 99.7% effective. The disadvantages are that it requires a prescription, can be relatively expensive and may have some side effects associated with the use of steroids.

I forgot. There is one more choice. A woman may choose to ignore the possibility that sex may lead to pregnancy and choose to not take precautions. So far, I count seven choices that a woman must make. Wait! There are more!

So Now You’re Pregnant

The choices some women make may lead to undesirable results! What now? Well, you have choices.

You may choose to carry and keep the baby. I understand that for some women, this is just not possible. They are too young and their parents would never allow it. A baby would be a terrible inconvenience. It may interrupt your career plans or even demolish them. Becoming a mother just isn’t feasible.

You could choose to put the baby up for adoption. Thousands of young couples spend millions of dollars to adopt children from overseas. The reason they choose overseas babies is that there are no babies to adopt in this country. Out of about 130,000 adoptions in the US each year, 13% are foreign adoptions.

Some states provide for the parents of unwanted children to just drop off their children at a designated facility. No questions asked!

What The Pro Choice movement wants, is to encourage the expectant mother to murder her unborn or just born baby. The method used to perform this murder, in some cases, would, if performed on animals, cause some animal right groups extreme consternation. Yet, the outrage about the methods used in this murder and even about the murder itself is conspicuous in its absence.

The justification for all of this? “It’s just a blob of tissue!”   Remember a few years ago the scientific community was super excited about the possibility of life on Mars. They thought they had found a meteorite from Mars that, under an electron microscope, revealed a bacteria-like structure. This bacteria-like structure was evidence of life. However, a fully formed child in the womb with lungs, a beating heart, a brain, arms, legs, fingers and toes is not life. It’s just a blob of tissue.

“It’s my body!” is another of the feminist’s mantras. Let’s examine that claim. Take a look at the fetus’ DNA. It is definitely human. It is definitely not the mother’s DNA! Just the fact that DNA is present is evidence of life and the fact that the DNA of the child is not the DNA of the mother shows that the claim of “It’s my body” isn’t a valid argument. It is true that the developing child cannot survive outside of the mother’s body, yet. It is also true that some abortions are performed long after the point where the fetus could survive outside of the mother’s body.

As a society, we have endued women with the ability to chose the fate of our most helpless of citizens, our unborn children. When we try to proclaim that no one person should have the authority to end the life of another, we are accused of waging a war on women.

As a method of birth control, not even abortion is 100% effective. There are many stories of children being born after the mother attempted an abortion. You can read the stories of the children of these failed abortions here. We almost never hear of the psychological effects an abortion has on the mother. The feeling of guild and despondency.

I believe that the reason that the Pro Choice movement even exists is because abortion is big business. The abortion industry’s annual revenue is nearly half a billion dollars. Planned Parenthood alone accounts for about $345 million of that. Today, in the United States, over three thousand babies will be murdered at the hand of their mother and we don’t even raise an eyebrow.

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