“A Person’s a Person No Matter How Small”

“A person’s a person no matter how small.”   This is the line that kept reverberating in my brain this morning as I read a number of gag worthy news articles about the murder, dismemberment, and sales of aborted babies.   You can watch the footage here if you can stomach it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjxwVuozMnU

I was trying to think of where the quote came from and it finally dawned on me that it came from a Dr. Suess’ book that I used to read to my children called, “Horton Hears a Who.” This little line from this children’s book written in 1954 embodies what we have all known to be true since we were children.

EVERY LIFE MATTERS!  

This is what the Bible says, “for YOU formed my inward parts. YOU knit me together in my mother’s womb.   I praise YOU for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.   Wonderful are YOUR works and my soul knows it very well.”

The Declaration of Independence says, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are LIFE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Your conscience bears witness. No matter what your belief system, inside every person is a core belief that life has value. This is what we know in our hearts and minds to be true. People…Human beings are the pinnacles of Creation.   We are made with intrinsic value and worth.

What do we do? How do we respond?

We weep!

James 4:9 “Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy.”

We weep for the children who are the victims of these murders.

Our hearts should break. We must not become so numb to the wicked acceptance of killing babies in the womb that we no longer feel it. This dismembered child could have been your child. These are not clumps of cells but people. These are little people full of potential to love, dream, hope and have families of their own. They are future neighbors, friends, and co-workers. They are the future businessmen, farmers, teachers, and mothers, fathers, and leaders that will never be.   They are a picture of potential that has been stolen, destroyed, and extinguished. We weep for the babies.

We weep for the mothers!

We weep for women who are so scared and so fearful that they feel abortion is their only option. Our hearts should break for the young girl who is 15, 16, or 17 who has lost her virtue and has been left alone. We weep that no one is there to support her and help her raise the life that is within her. She has no mother or father with sense enough to tell her to do what is hard and right instead of what is quick and easy.   ‘Quick and easy’ is a lie she will have to live with for the rest of her life. We weep for the woman who has had multiple abortions. We weep for her because she is so lost that she does not value herself or the babies within her body. We weep that she has not been taught that she is valuable, that God loves her and God loves her babies that she is choosing to abort.

We weep for the men.

We weep for the men that view women as objects to meet their sexual needs. We weep that they do not understand that sex is designed to be tied to accountability. We weep that they will not know the joy of being a responsible father to the child that has been aborted. We weep because they do not know that true joy is not found in taking from others but giving of yourself as a protector and provider.

Jesus wept over a city in Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”

I wonder if He is looking over America today He might say, “O America, America the nation that kills its children and mocks God’s messengers. How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”

Those of us who believe in the value of human life must speak up.

Use your voice.

Use your voice in social media. Be loving but truthful in this area.   The truth is that social media is so much more fun when it is birthday cakes, summer vacation selfies, and pictures of what people are eating for dinner. But if you have a voice you need to use it for good.   Talk to people about the value of life.

Use your actual voice. Call your Senators and Representatives and tell them that this must stop!   Beg them to pass legislation that will end the brutal practice of abortion.   Plead with them to not allow any more taxpayer money to go to Planned Parenthood and other abortion industries.

Use your pen. Write letters to you political and church leaders and ask them to stand up for these children.

Use your parenting. Raise your children to value life. Tell your little girls that abortion is never an option. Let them know that even if they make bad decisions you will be there to support them and their child if needed. Teach your sons to be responsible men.   Talk to your children about the value of waiting till marriage to have sex.

Use your prayers.   This is the time that every believer of Jesus Christ should be calling out to Him on behalf of these children.

Share your faith. Your neighbor next door or your coworker down the hall may be contemplating abortion. You need to know them. You need to share with them the hope of Jesus Christ.   It is only in finding hope that you can erase hopelessness.

Use your pocketbooks. Give to agencies that seek to help women that have an unexpected or unwanted pregnancy. These places are called Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Thousands of children every year are saved because of organizations like these.

Proverbs 31:8 could not speak more clearly, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.”

In the book “Horton Hears A Who,” these powerful words are given, “Don’t give up! I believe in you all. 
A person’s a person, no matter how small! 
And you very small persons will not have to die 
If you make yourselves heard! So come on, now, and TRY!

God, help us to make these little people heard.

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Selling Death To 4 Year Old Girls

It seems to be increasingly difficult to raise God honoring children in a culture that celebrates dishonoring the things of God. Halloween is a particularly frustrating time for me as a parent because every store I take my children in is filled with scary and creepy things.

I recently took my 7-year-old son and 4-year-old twin girls to get a happy meal at McDonalds. As you probably remember yourself this is quite a highlight for small children. Any time I ask my children where they want to get something to eat it is always McDonalds. It is not because of the salty fries, crusty cheeseburger or overly processed nuggets. It is always because they know they will get a toy. McDonalds is a genius at marketing to children. They usually put a toy in the box that is really popular in the culture. This particular trip my little girls got a toy from “Monster High.” I have never seen the show and I do not really plan on it, but the toy is a box filled with activities that feature teenage vampires and monster girls who are dressed like prostitutes. The activities on the inside are two sticker books filled with stickers of crossbones, skulls, vampire teeth, and hearts with teeth in them. Also in the activity box are pictures that teach you how to draw a skull with a bow on it.

The dictionary defines a vampire as “a preternatural being, commonly believed to be a reanimated corpse, that is said to suck the blood of sleeping persons at night.”

For our children the line of what is good and evil is becoming more elusive. Vampires are no longer evil. They now sparkle, fall in love with humans, and only suck the blood of deer…unless they get real hungry, then humans watch out.

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I took the toys from my girls and threw them in the trash. I was not cold hearted and I told them I would replace them with a more appropriate toys. I tried to use this moment as a teaching moment. I told my son and my girls that as followers of Jesus we do not celebrate death. I tell them that Jesus came and died the death we deserved so that we might have eternal life. (John 10:10)

Death is not our friend.
Sin brought death into the world.
We will not and cannot celebrate what sin brings.
We cannot celebrate that which separates us from our loved ones.
Death brings depression and despair.
We celebrate joy, hope and life.

I think there has been a not so subtle shift to an acceptance of satanic things and most parents have not even noticed. Horror movies, teen vampire romance novels, and a host of other things that focus on the occult, demons, monsters, evil spirits and witchcraft have been infused into the lives of our children. Is it any wonder that so many young people are taking their lives.

Children and teenagers are naturally drawn to spiritual things. Even if children are not brought up in church or have no religious affiliation they will seek out that which is spiritual, be it good or evil. There is an unseen battle going on for the hearts of my children and for the hearts of your children (if you have them).

With Halloween on its way if you are a Christian parent you should pause and think about how you want to direct your children to think about the Holiday.

In our culture Halloween is largely a celebration of fear and death. If you do not believe me then go to your local Wal-Mart or CVS and count the number of skeleton, witch, and zombie paraphernalia available. As a kid Halloween was one of my favorite Holidays. Cool weather, candy, and dressing up are fun for any kid.

Here are some ways I am going to enjoy October 31st with my family without embracing the culture of death.

1) Have Fun – Not every day do you have a chance to dress up with your kids and walk around and get free candy. I am going to take tons of pictures of my kids and let them be princesses, a flower and a super hero…heck I might even dress up myself.

2) Change the Focus – We celebrate Fall. We celebrate the cool weather. We celebrate dressing up as our favorite characters. We celebrate candy. We celebrate Reformation Day (October 31 is the day the Martin Luther nailed his 95 Thesis to the door of the church at Wittenberg. If you don’t know what that means then you should really Google “Martin Luther Reformer”…it’s kind of important)

3) Dress Up – Every child likes to dress up for Halloween. It is one of the highlights of their year. I can remember being a kid and all of the thrill and excitement that came with finding the perfect costume. I only allow my children to dress as something positive and not scary or evil.

4) Teach Your Children why you do not celebrate scary things at Halloween.

5) Use Halloween to the Glory of God – be kind to your neighbors. Do not hide in your basement or turn all the lights out in your home. This is the one time a year you actually have people coming to your home. Buy the best candy on the street. Be the house every kid wants to go to because you give out full candy bars. Have a block party in your yard. My Brother-in-law looks forward to Halloween every year. He gets to know his neighbors and grills hotdogs for everyone that comes by. He told me he gave out something like 200 hot dogs last year and all of the neighbors were so appreciative.

6) Love the Zombies – I have to be real honest, it bothers me when I see a cute 5 year old dressed as a zombie and he is holding a pretend severed head in his hand. I want to slap his parents for allowing him to dress like that. But I am not his parent so my job is just to love him and make sure I give him some good candy. He may come to my church one Sunday.

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Ebola May Be The Catalyst You Need

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Ebola! The word alone can strike terror into every person in the world. I mean, seriously, a deadly virus with a 70% mortality rate. That means that if you get it you have a 70% chance of dying…not cool. Right now the word on the Internet is that it’s not super easy to catch. You must come in contact with some form of body fluid in order to acquire this lethal disease. However, viruses are known to mutate and it could possibly change and become a virus that is more easily transmitted through the air (heaven forbid).

The question that we must think about is the same question we must always think about when news comes our way.

What should I do because of this?
What should I do because of Ebola?

How should I live my life now that this virus is on American soil and could potentially have an outbreak all over the country?

Don’t Panic!

Panic never helps anyone. Panic is an emotional reaction that keeps us from clearly thinking. Now is not the time to stop going to work, to buy years worth of canned goods, or go into your bunker. Fear is the most crippling emotion that robs your joy and paralyses you with inaction. Wash your hands, carry some hand sanitizer with you and stay away from places that may have Ebola (Unless you work in the healthcare industry…Praise God for you and your willingness to help people heal).

Ask The Big Question: Am I ready to die?

This is THE question.

One year ago before there was an outbreak of Ebola you were guaranteed that one day you would die. Today you have the same guarantee.

A deadly disease only makes what is imminent become more plausible.

We know we will die but we all believe it is in the distant future. Fear of a deadly virus articulates that our death could be soon. It might not be…but it could be. So now would be a good time to ask the “what happens when I die” question.

Is there a God?
If so who is it?
How do I know?
Will I just cease to exist or will there be a life after this in which my soul will continue?

Everyone has to answer these questions and if there is an afterlife your eternity hinges on how you answer them. I believe I have found the answer in History.   History shows us that something happened in Jerusalem about 2000 years ago that has completely altered the course of world events. It also seems quite obvious from history that mankind is sinful and wicked to the core.

If there were a God or a Divine Being the very fact that He is God would make Him perfect.

The Bible is a spiritual history book of the Jewish people in the first half (Old Testament) and a history of God stepping into the world to save the world in the second half (New Testament). It says that because the first man and woman disobeyed God, God punished their rebellion with death. Death and sin spread to all mankind. Death is THE ultimate deadly virus.

The Bible reveals God’s character as good, loving, just, and compassionate. He did not leave man to himself but chose to give man a chance at redemption.   God would empty Himself of His divine characteristics and become a man.

This man was known as Jesus Christ.
He lived 2000 years ago.
He did miracles, never sinned, and taught like no one else to confirm He was in fact God.
He was born in a very small town.
Thousands would come from all around to hear his teachings and see His miracles.
He made the most audacious claims of any man. He claimed to be God’s Son.
The claims of Jesus would make Him either a liar, a crazy man, or the actual Savior of the world.
He gave up His life in death at the hands of cruel and sinful men in order to pay the debt that man owed God.

In order to further prove He was God, He rose from death in resurrection and was seen by hundreds of people who attested to this fact. These “Christians” gave their lives for the belief that the Resurrection of Jesus did in fact take place.   Salvation, a relationship with God, and eternal life are offered to all men who put their faith in Jesus Christ.

While Ebola can surely cause death, Jesus brings life. He gives new and abundant life to those who will follow Him. He gives eternal life and a new body (after death) to those who will put their faith and trust in Him.

While all this may sound very fanciful the question every fearful person must ask is “could it be true?”

I have been a follower of Jesus Christ for around half of my life. I have found that what the Bible teaches is not only comforting when facing the prospect of impending death and zombie apocalypse, but it is incredibly practical in helping with all areas of day to day living.

I am a better worker, husband, father, and friend because I seek to follow what Jesus taught in all areas of life.

Following Jesus has simplified my life and taken away much of the fear and sting that comes with facing death. My life is filled with purpose and meaning. My goal in life is so simple. I try to honor and Glorify Jesus in all I do.

I no longer ask questions like, “If God is good then why would He allow a terrible virus like Ebola to kill so many.”

God has made Himself clear through the Bible. God is GOOD!   God has made a way for all to have eternal life through the Death and Resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. He has allowed sin and evil to affect the world for a time but He will soon come again and judge the world and at that time He will end evil once and for all.

This is the hope of Glory.

Maybe you are not a religious person and have never really bought into the “Christian” thing. I implore to find a Bible and read the book of John.

Ask yourself if the words of Jesus are like the words of any other person who has ever lived?

Read the words that He spoke and see if they do not awaken something in your soul you did not know was there.

I have found every promise that Lord gives in His word to be true. I have experienced the peace of God in my life and I have witnessed the hand of God through my life.

All good things that I have are from above.

It is my hope that a fear of Ebola would send you to search for hope and purpose. If you are truly searching for those things they will take you on a collision course with Jesus.

A Little Girl Died Today

There is a little girl named Annie Golden who died today.   She was a beautiful soul with a smile that could light up a room.   She died because she didn’t get a heart transplant. She died because she was not thought “worthy” enough to even be put on the list. Annie had Down syndrome.   This cognitive disability would prevent her from even being put on the transplant list.   My heart absolutely breaks for the family of this girl.

Little Annie Golden

You see, I have a little girl with Down syndrome.   She turned 6 months old yesterday.   My little girl’s name is Joy.   She is the youngest of my four children.   The last 6 months have changed my life in so many ways.

My journey started as most parents who have any child with special needs. It started out with ignorance. Like most people, I had been around people with special needs, but I’d never been a parent of a child with special needs, nor did I have a close family member with special needs to know and love.

So, in the beginning when my precious girl was born, I was ignorant. I only knew what I had been told by the culture at large. I only knew fear. Fear for the future. Fear of what others would think.   I had fear of my life being over or completely re-directed.   Fear that my child would be nothing more than a despised member of society by the culture at large.

LIES!! These were all lies!

After 6 months, I CANNOT adequately express how much joy, love, and hope my little Joy has brought into my life and the lives of the people around her. She is every bit as valuable as any of my other children.   In fact, I often feel sorry for my other three children because anyone who meets Joy is such a fool about her.   She is full of life!   She is full of love!   SHE IS A GIFT!   She is just how God wanted her to be. I wouldn’t change anything about my little girl. As a dad I would do whatever is in my power to help her if she was sick. I would try to move mountains to get her a heart if she needed it.

I was ignorant about how wonderful my daughter would be. I was also ignorant to a heinous evil that is going on towards people with Down syndrome.

They are being MURDERED!   They are being systematically eliminated by those who are called to protect life. It seems one of the main enemies of little children like mine are the very doctors who take an oath to protect and to save lives.

The reality is that the blood tests performed in a woman’s pregnancy are solely done so that the mother can choose to terminate her baby, and 90% of the time they do in the case of Down syndrome. So many times my wife and I have heard stories from parents of children with Down syndrome that their doctors actually advised an abortion or presented it as an option when they did not present it as an option before the test.   It is obvious that these children are not deemed “worthy” by the medical community as a whole.

Back to little Annie…she died this morning. It seems that the deciding factor to her being able to get a heart transplant was her cognitive ability. Did she have other factors? I am sure she did.   Anyone who needs a heart transplant will have some other factors, but once again, it seems the deciding factor was her IQ.

So now it seems an IQ test is needed for who lives and who dies. If you can score high enough on a standardized test then you are valuable enough to be given a chance at life. This is sick and it is wrong.

This is an actual CIVIL RIGHTS issue.   People with Down syndrome did not choose Down syndrome. It is part of their DNA. Where are the parades of people crying out that the murder of innocent children with disabilities be stopped?   Where is the outrage over little ANNIE?

What is valuable?

American Culture values net worth, IQ, and sex appeal. The God I serve values something different.   Here is what He says.

“1 Corinthians 13:1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.”

Joy

My daughter may never have the highest score on the ACT. Little Annie may have never won the Spelling Bee, but I can promise you that my daughter and thousands of other children and adults like her with DS have been given an extra dose of what God says is most important: LOVE!!   I propose to you that just maybe those whom the culture is murdering are the ones we NEED THE MOST

JOY

Frail

This morning I had one of those frustrating and eye opening moments as I dropped my son off for school.  As I approached the school there was a small SUV in front of me that dropped off a precious little blonde haired girl excited to start her day.   She waved back to her mother and blew her a kiss.  It just so happened that this car was going the same direction as me.   I followed this car for about 5-6 miles.   As I followed this busy mom I became so frustrated I was literally SCREAMING at her from inside my truck.  Not once, not twice, but three times this mom ran across the center line of traffic and halfway into the lane of oncoming traffic before she would quickly correct her course.   One of these times she came very close to hitting an oncoming truck.  Even after this near brush with death the woman continued her erratic driving.  I was so tempted to follow her to where she was going and remind her that her little daughter and possibly husband needed her and she needed to stop looking at her phone and pay attention to the road!  I abstained from giving this woman a tongue-lashing.  I have all too often done the same thing.  My wife has gently scolded me as she reminds me that one glance at my phone could end my life.   This morning’s encounter reminded me that life is frail but so many other things have been reminding me of the same truth today.

Here are a few gentle nudges the Holy Spirit has given me.  Last night me healthy 38-year-old brother had a major surgery removing part of his colon.  The doctor said he would be in the hospital for at least two weeks with a very difficult recovery ensuing.   This morning I picked up the local paper and it had a picture of an awful wreck that killed a local man in my community.  Kenny Chesney’s song, “Don’t Blink” was on the radio this morning as I was driving to work.  All of these incidents remind me of the frail existence I take for granted most days.

The Bible tells us over and over again that life is short, frail, and fleeting.   The Bible describes the brevity of life as a blade of grass, a flower, and a vapor.  It is here one minute and gone the next.  This series of events in my life led me to the question as I was driving to work this morning, “If I died today would I be satisfied with the life that I’ve lived?”  The basic answer I came up with was, “yes and no.”  Yes, I am very satisfied! I am thankful for the job I have.  I am blessed with the best family and friends a person could ask for.  And, no, there are so many moments I am wasting and so many people I need to help and encourage.

I simply enjoy life.  I hurt…I go through trouble…I face people that do not like me, but when I take a step back and look at all my blessings it is vital to just stop, thank God, and enjoy life.

3 TRUTHS WE CANNOT AVOID

1)  Time does not stop nor does it slow down. 

2)  Our health is more fragile than we think it is.

3)  Death is coming to every one of us sooner than we think it is.

20-30 MINUTES EACH DAY THAT WILL MAKE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE BETTER 

I want to make my life count, as I am sure you do as well.  I want to challenge you for one week to do 4 things that busyness has prevented you from doing.

1)   HUG AND KISS YOUR SPOUSE (If you have one) FOR 1 FULL MINUTE EACH DAY – No, not the peck on the cheek or the quick hug as you are running out the door.  Take a solid minute…a whole minute…just wrap yourself up in their embrace and with all that you can, remind them that you deeply love them.

2)   REPEAT STEP ONE WITH YOUR CHILDREN

3)   HAVE MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS WITH THE MOST MEANINGFUL PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE.  Most parents are so busy taking their children places they never take the time to stop and look their children in the eyes and just talk with them.  Would you take 5 minutes of your time today to talk to them…no phone…no distractions…just them and you.

4)   PRAY FOR 10 SOLID MINUTES.  No phone.  No Internet.  No Ipad.  No prayer sheet.   Take 10 minutes.  Sit in His presence.  Listen.  Talk.  This will radically change your life.

Do these 4 things for a week and I will promise you they will enrich your life. Water-Glass