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Here is a beautiful video representing the miraculous formation of human life from conception.  Right now, such precious lives hang in the balance.  For years, the majority of our nation has turned the other way, pretending that abortion is merely a clinical procedure, that a fetus magically becomes a baby when it is wanted, yet reverts to a subhuman mass of tissue when it is not.  Because of this, such hidden scenes of tender majesty are cut short in the butchery of abortion.  (For those with cast iron stomachs, one can easily find videos online to confirm.)

How long will we speak for our wallets?  For our private interests?  For our unbridled appetites?  How long will we vote for what is superficial, doubtful, or secondary at best, and support what is altogether unthinkable?

God help our land.  And God help those precious lives waiting for us self-absorbed Americans to give them a voice.

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Listen to a message on the plight of the unborn.  Or, download here.

Unborn child at 17 weeks, sucking thumb and wavingTu fuiste un milagro. Ellos tambien.

Diez dias despues de la concepcion, el cuerpo de tu madre empezo a cambiar.  Para ti.  Pasando once días mas, tu corazon estaba latiendo y bombeando sangre.  Con un tipo de sangre distinto de el de tu madre.  

“Tu me hiciste en el vientre de mi madre.”

A seis y media semanas, tenias brotes de dientes. En dos mas, estuvieron presentes todos los sistemas de tu cuerpo.  Podias chupar tu pulgar.  Por diez semanas podias entrecerrar tus ojitos, tragar, y mover la lengua. Tus dedos podian agarrar.  No habias nacido.  Pero estabas ahi.  Muy humano y muy vivo.

“Te alabare; porque formidables, maravillosas son tus obras; Estoy maravillado.”

Por tu tercer mes, estabas respirando liquido.  Pronto respirarias aire!  Para ese tiempo tenias uñas. A la decimosexta semana, tenias pestañas. Para el cuarto mes despues de la concepcion, tenias huellas digitales desarrolladas, y tus papilas gustativas estaban funcionales.  Eras una maravilla en construccion, aunque ocultado en un velo de carne.  

“No fue encubierto de ti mi cuerpo, bien que en oculto fui formado, y entretejido en lo mas profundo de la tierra.”

Y asi creciste.  Te durmiste, despertaste — y durmiste de nuevo. Te dio hipo. Bailaste. Hasta soñaste.  Podias estar feliz y hasta sentir molesto. Padre y Madre no te podian ver.  Hermano y hermana no podian hechar un vistazo.  Pero no te vio alguien alli?

“Mi embrion vieron tus ojos, y en tu libro estaban escritas todas aquellas cosas que fueron luego formadas, sin faltar una de ellas.”

Y asi creciste.  Hasta que comenzaron las contracciones.  Involuntariamente, pero por diseño.  Planeado por Dios.  Un Dios bueno, un Dios todopoderoso y sabio, para mostrar su mano de obra al mundo.

“Cuan preciosos me son, oh Dios, tus pensamientos! Cuan grande es la suma de ellos!”

Dios te hizo.  Y les hizo a ellos.  Pero tu viviste.  Tu vida fue salvada.  Otros viven, pero sus preciosas vidas estan amenazadas.  No son una “eleccion,” son una vida—una vida humana, es mas.  Estan ahi donde nosotros una ves estuvimos.

Debemos protegerlos.  Debemos hablar y no guardar silencio.  Porque aun no pueden hablar por si mismos.

“Abre tu boca por el mudo en el juicio de todos los desvalidos.”

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Llame si necesita ayuda o consejo: 401-528-7613.

Society is imploding.  And marriage is ground zero.  O God, spare us, and grant us repentance and reconciliation!

Recent days have shown how far some judges will go to impose their views on the majority of citizens.  Just yesterday, one solitary judge in Utah by fiat overturned that state’s constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.  This right on the heels of the same in New Mexico.  On a purely political level, this trend ought to be alarming.

And yet, this cannot be alarming merely because the will of the citizens of Utah or other such states has been steamrolled.  In our democratic America, it is ever and always “we the people.”  If a judge overrules the will of the people, then there is a defiant outcry.  But if a judge rubber-stamps the current of popular opinion, applause erupts.  Yet, what if the majority of the people are wrong?  (Cue gasps.)  Yes, I did just suggest the unthinkable.  But there it is.  And if they ever are wrong, a judge could and should overrule their wrong decisions.  And deal with the fallout unflinchingly.

What happened in Utah should outrage the people, within and without the state.  But not because a single judge crossed their will, enshrined by law.  What should shock the folks of Utah and the rest of the United States is that God’s law has been overturned.

That is evident for those who do not willfully close their eyes.  Nature speaks.  The male and female bodies were designed for each other.  Pick up that anatomy book again and review.  In detail.  Behold the signature craftsmanship of God!  The unnaturalness of man and man or woman and woman is obvious.  How?  Barrenness is not a painful exception in such unions; it is an inflexible law.  This barrier to conception and childbearing is a clear stamp of God’s total disapproval.

To this testimony of nature, God adds His revealed Word.  “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Lev. 18:22).

Judges who overturn God’s law will have to reckon with God.  And citizens who – by their elected representatives – overturn God’s will will answer to Him as well.  We have great reason to fear, both people and officials, elected and unelected.  We have been transgressing God’s law for decades, flagrantly disregarding His commandments and sanctioning them after the fact by law or decree.  Yesterday was but another step in a long process.  Having given our stamp of approval to sex outside of marriage, to no-fault divorce, and even to the inhumanity of abortion, it is not terribly surprising that same-sex marriage eventually gets a pass.  Most heterosexuals have abandoned their moral high ground to critique anything they may not prefer.

We are effectively writing a new declaration of independence.  From God.  And the real alarm should be that we are sorely trying His patience, and that His patience will at some point come to an abrupt and jarring end.  How long will God withhold His hand of judgment?  How long will He indulge our prodigal orgy of lawlessness?  I genuinely fear that our day of reckoning is coming.  Whether by cyber-terrorism, or by an unstoppable epidemic, or by some other fearful national calamity, it is coming.  And that is only the beginning, when one reckons with the fact that temporal judgments are omens of those beyond death.  “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Psa. 9:17).

O, that we might come to our senses!  All of us – “we the people.”  And with broken hearts and tears of sorrow, that we might pledge our allegiance to God once again, and to His Christ.

George_Henry_Durrie_-_Going_to_Church1. Above all, God  commands it.  “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.”  “Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is.”

2. God lets you have six days for yourself.  One for God, six for us.  That’s pretty generous.

3. God deserves our gratitude.  Think about it.  He formed you when you were in your mother’s womb.  He gave you life, breath, and all things.  He makes His sun shine on you, His rain fall on you, His earth to produce for you.  In short, He gives you everything.  Coming into His house is giving credit where credit is due.

4. God deserves public, not just private honor.  We publicly recognize accomplishments, especially those who are especially worthy.  When we gather together in the house of God, we unite our voices to express His greatness.   Officially.  “Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised.”  The purple heart isn’t awarded in a dark basement, but in a public forum.  And God is greater than our greatest heroes.

5. You were meant to worship.  Theologians have well said that each of us have “the seed of religion” within us.  Having been made by God and for God, we cannot escape our fundamental religiousness.  Not to worship is to act against our humanity.  It is animalistic.  Look  in the mirror.  You’re not an animal, meant to eat, drink, and become compost.  You have a soul, a God-shaped hole that only He can fill.

6. Your children were meant to worship.  They are little humans.  And they need you to fear God and to lead them to Him.  They won’t do it otherwise. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  And if they complain, remember – God put you in the driver’s seat, not them.  You make them eat broccoli, even if they don’t like it.  Get over their foot-dragging.  If you hold the line, they will thank you for it.

7. You will improve your physical health.  Our bodies can be overworked, especially in our fast-paced society.  We weren’t made to do 90 in a 25 mph zone.  God tells us to slow down!  Further, when we give rest to our souls in the Church, the hospital of Christ, our souls are healed and reinvigorated.  And a healthy mind contributes to a healthy body.

8. You will recover your sanity.  When God speaks by His Word, light shines and clouds are dispelled.  A calm there descends on the storm of our thoughts.

9. You will improve all your relationships.  The more we are distant from God, the more alienated we become with husbands, wives,  parents, children.  Back to God is back to family, back to community.

10. The doors to God’s house will one day close.   Now there is an open house.  Now there is easy access to this place of forgiveness, renewal, and restoration.  It is an oasis in a desert, available for all the thirsty to drink and be satisfied.  But not forever.  There is a day, unknown to men, in which God’s offers of grace and  mercy shall be withdrawn, and men shall then face a God-less eternity.  “As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the days of the Son of man.”  The doors then closed, and the rain fell.

The following testimony was delivered before the Rhode Island House Judiciary Committee  on Tuesday, January  15, 2013, in anticipation of a vote to redefine marriage.

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Respected members of the House Judiciary Committee, I am grateful to address you today. I speak against the proposed legislation not only as a private citizen, but as an ordained Christian minister.

This public service is often a very thankless task. Such ministers are under orders to speak for their Lord unequivocally. Often, they must contradict men and women of power and influence.  And suffer the consequences, knowing that they have a greater reward in heaven.

Oftentimes, they must touch the sensitive nerve of sexuality and run the risk of spiting those who know what they want and are used to getting it. They must address sexual ethics and its bearing on public policy.

As I speak to you today, I am reminded of John the Baptist. John was a quintessential man of God, a new Elijah, calling on his people to nothing less than radical brokenness for sin and lifestyle change. They must repent, for “the axe is laid at the root of the tree.”

He also happened to have the ear of a powerful man, King Herod. Herod respected him. But Herod was used to getting what he wanted. So was his wife. But his wife was already married to another man – to his own brother. To make a long story short, John didn’t roll over and play dead. He spoke. “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife.” John had touched a very sensitive nerve, and for that he lost his head.

We also must at times touch sensitive nerves. Today, we must affirm the holy ordinance of marriage to be between one man and one woman, in covenant, for life. Other sexuality is thereby forbidden. Fornication, adultery, no-fault divorce, and yes, homosexual sex is, to use the language of the Baptist, “unlawful.” In point of fact, the Scripture brands the latter as “abomination.”

But please understand. We, as John of old, have no relish for controversy. Nor do we have some personal animus against those on the other side.

Like John, we are simply under orders. Much inside us shrinks from the public light, especially when our stance is increasingly unpopular. But we have been called to obey, not do as we please. Even if that makes us misunderstood, or worse.

And like John, we in fact dearly love our fellow-men. John didn’t hate Herod or his wife, but spoke the truth for their sake. Please understand, I speak not for self-righteous bigots. We love our neighbors. And we plead with them to stop courting judgment. Your honors, I beg you in the name of God, take heed. “God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

We’re all still reeling from the news.  The absolute senselessness of it all falls like a dense, dark fog on your heart.  We can’t suppress the mental images of horror.  The unthinkable end of those precious little ones – just like our children.  Your mind just wants to hit the brakes.  Just stop thinking about it.  But try as you might, it lingers.  And haunts.

But then we snap to and begin the collective reappraisal.  We can’t let this kind of thing happen again.  Hence the renewed debate over gun control.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I fully agree that this is an issue that warrants rethink.  The principle that firearms should be regulated is a no-brainer.  But Newtown demands infinitely more than policy or enforcement reappraisal.  Newtown demands deep, meaningful, national introspection.

By introspection, I don’t mean seriously rethinking the 2nd Amendment.  Guns are a necessary evil in a world of bad guys.  As long as there are bad guys, we’ll need guns.  Of various sorts.  And as long as government is prone to fall into the hands of bad guys, private citizens will need them.  I wish it weren’t so.  But let’s face the music.  Until the Kingdom comes and the violent “beat their swords into ploughshares,” guns are here to stay.

But that’s not really my point.  My point is that we need introspection on the national soul in the most radical sense.  Gun control is a superficial solution – and arguably a big distraction – when the core, the heart, the very control-center of our national being is quite out of control. 

Even if we craft better gun legislation or simply enforce existing legislation better, will it change the fact that across every index, America is driving well in excess of the speed limit, music blaring, weaving back and forth over the double yellow lines?

Will it change the fact that we cannot control our marriages?  Or for that matter, our tempers?  Will it restrain our sexual overindulgence?  Or put a curfew on our decades-long bacchanalia?

Will it help us control our waistlines, the widest in the world?  Will it curb our spending?   It’s not just government going off the fiscal cliff.  Before we wag our fingers at our politicians, let’s just watch the grainy security videos from Black Friday.  Yes, that’s us, America.   And now we stampede on Thursdays, while the stuffing is still warm.

And perhaps most painful to ask, will any legislation help us control our own dear children?  They see that we cannot control ourselves, so why should they?

I wish it were all a matter of better policy, better enforcement, or both.  But it just isn’t.  Newtown was hardly an isolated event.  It is an obvious link in a chain.  And it points to something much, much deeper.  Something systemic.  Something spiritual.  Nor is it just about them.  Whoever they are.  This is about us – all of us.  Right here in our sleepy, little law-abiding towns.

What’s more, the tragedy after the tragedy is that it seems the only way to regain control is to surrender it.  To hand the keys over to a sober driver.  Or the license back to the D.O.T.   It’s an answer to be sure, but a profoundly demoralizing one.  And quite scary, when you’re tempted to gaze into the murky, crystal ball.

But is it the only option?  There is, after all, the Author of control, from whom we’ve fled.  We can always go back Home – into the arms of the Father through His only-begotten Son.  There we can have forgiveness, welcome, structure, and peace.  But it will mean coming to our senses.  It will mean a full-stop to our superficiality and blame-shifting – and a total acceptance of our reckless folly and rebellion.  It will mean confession of sin, personal and corporate.  It will mean repentance.  Even amending our constitution to reflect it all.

Maybe, just maybe,  Newtown will be a turning point.  Where America goes deeper than mere policy or enforcement and instead rediscovers her God.  Now that’s a painless train of thought, with images you don’t have to shake.  A day when “the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets.”  You can think about that.  And you can pray for it, knowing that God will surely hear.  “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.”

You were a miracle.  And so are they.

Ten days after conception, your mother’s body began to change. For you. In another eleven days, your heart was beating and pumping blood.  With a blood type different from your mother’s.

“Thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.”

In six and a half weeks, you had teeth buds.  In two more, all your body systems were present.  You could suck your thumb.  By ten weeks, you could squint your tiny eyes, swallow, and move your tongue.  Your fingers could grip.  You were unborn.  But you were there.  Very human and very alive.

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and made: marvellous are thy works.”

By your third month, you were breathing fluid.  Soon you would be breathing air!  At this point, you had fingernails.  At week sixteen, you had eyelashes.  By your fourth month after conception, you even had completely established fingerprints, and your taste buds were in full working order. You were a wonder in the works, though hidden in a veil of flesh.

“My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.”

And so you grew.  You slept, you awoke – and slept again.  You hiccupped.  You danced.  You even dreamed.  You could be happy and even get fussy.  Father and mother could not see you. Brother and sister could not peek in.  But Someone saw you there, didn’t He?

“Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.”

And so you grew.  Until  the contractions began. Involuntarily, yet by design.  Planned by God.  A good God, an almighty and all-wise God, to display at last His craftsmanship to the world.

“How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”

God made you. And He made them. But you lived. You were spared.  Others live, yet their precious lives are threatened.  They are not a “choice,” but a life – and a human life at that.  They are there as we once were.

We must protect them.  We must speak and not be silent.  For they cannot yet speak for themselves.

“Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.”

 

 

Our busy world  is full of noise.  It is about inescapable it seems.  And what is worse, most get the jitters without their incessant tunes and tweets.  Silence is a disturbance, no longer a retreat.

On  a recent Sunday morning, my wife and I sat on our deck enjoying the cool breeze.  All was calm and serene, fitting for a day of meditation and devotion.  Then an unknown neighbor to the back fires up his circular saw.   The little bubble of sacred silence burst.

And yet, there is a sound that, quite frankly, I wish I heard more in those often quiet moments.  Every once in a rare while, the silence of a (sadly) sleepy Sunday morning is broken by the chiming of church bells.  Strange!  And yet, the sound brings pleasure.  It is a reminder of a day when Americans were more contemplative, more content, and of course, much more devout. Those bells used to chime, calling worshipers to the house of  God.  But such pleasure is mixed.  Those sounds may be quaint, perhaps, to those with a taste for nostalgia but little taste for organized religion.  Yet  they don’t belong today as they were once regarded, as a symbol of religious authority.  Aesthetic pleasing, but hardly a summons.

But God continues to call, to speak amid the bustle.  And those who have ears to hear will turn down the volume and listen.  And come.

Over the last number of weeks and months, the American people have been repeatedly warned of the consequences of Congress’ failure to raise the debt ceiling.  Many prognosticate that the consequences would be catastrophic for the economy, the initial portent being the loss of our prized AAA credit rating

But while everyone gets the jitters over the verdict of Standard & Poor’s, it is not their decision that is to be feared.  Nor is it the Chinese government, who has for so long banked on the credibility of the U.S. economic machine.  The U.S. is fast losing credit with God.  Our fiscal profligacy is but a symptom of our deeper irreligion and but one of many heads in our hydra of moral decadence.  How long can we party before God pulls the plug?   It very well may be a total economic collapse.  But that will be only the beginning of birthpangs. 

We must hear heaven’s alarm within these omens.  And we must repent and humble ourselves before the Most High.  For against Him, Him only, have we sinned, and done this evil in His sight.

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