God’s view of the unborn baby

Psalm 139:13-16 “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; Marvellous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skilfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they are were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them”

Even at the point of conception God sees the unborn baby as a living being. The Bible says that God sees the substance of the baby, even though it is still unformed – when it’s still a mass and there are no discernible parts.

Not only that, but the Bible talks about the baby being fearfully and wonderfully made – he or she has a Creator  who loves him or her. The child has been created with the skill of the Master Creator – the one who made the Heaven and Earth, who painted the zebra and the giraffe, who created sky-topped mountains and sensational sunsets. He’s the one who gives life to every human being.

In His book are written all the days fashioned for each child, even when it’s just a mass of cells, when as yet there are no days – just the time of darkness, growth and development in the womb – a specific plan and purpose for each specific human being .

God creates no child by accident. He has a plan and a purpose and a story for each one. Even when we can’t see a purpose – God sees it all.

When John the Baptist was in the womb of his mother, Elizabeth,(Luke 1:39-45) he leaped for joy when he heard the voice of Mary, who was carrying Jesus in her womb. He was fulfilling his purpose even in the womb – to be a forerunner and a proclaimer of Jesus, the Messiah.

To abort a child is to go against the very heart of God. Only God has the right to give and take away life. This is not a choice we should fight to have. Indeed, this is too great a  responsibility for us. Who are we to say that a child is unwanted – God loves that child immeasurably. Who are we to say that a child is too great a burden – God can give us strength to do all things. Who are we to say we can’t afford to have another child – God will provide all we need, according to His riches in glory.

If we abort a child, we are aborting the purpose of God in our own life, the life of others and the life of another human being.

What if Mary had decided to abort baby Jesus? To continue with the pregnancy meant that she had to face possible rejection by Joseph and the whole of her community. Not only that, she would have aborted God’s plan and purpose for the whole of mankind. We’d all be facing an eternity in Hell without the birth of Jesus into the world.

What if the child you are carrying is the one God plans to become the one who discovers a cure for cancer? What if the one you are carrying is the one who will carry revival to their generation;who will lead a country; who will invent new and wonderful products?

What if you discover that it’s greater to preserve a life than to destroy it? That in that clump of cells there is great purpose and potential.

All His works are marvellous.

adult affection baby belly

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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Be kind

Too many times I have watched grieving parents talking on TV about how their beloved children had been the targets of cyber bullying and had decided to commit suicide. This is heartbreaking. So today I want to remind all of you out there (and myself) to be kind.

In Proverbs 12:25 it says, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up”

Proverbs 11:16-17 says, “A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth. A kind man benefits himself, but a cruel man brings trouble on himself.”

1 Corinthians 13:4 says, “Love is patient, love is kind.”

Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

The definition of kindness in the Oxford Living Dictionary is “The quality of being friendly, generous and considerate.” It can also be used as a noun to mean “a kind act”.

Synonyms for kindness are ” affection, consideration, cordiality, courtesy, decency, forbearance, gentleness, good will, goodness, grace, graciousness, heart, helpfulness, humanity, indulgence, mildness, sweetness, sympathy, tenderness, thoughtfulness, tolerance, understanding, unselfishness.”

Antonyms for “kindness” are ” cruelty, harshness, meanness.” (all from Thesaurus.com)

Words are vitally important. They have the power to kill or to bring life. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Words can really hurt someone, conversely they can encourage someone too.

When I speak about words, I am also speaking about the written word on social media. I watched a clip today from the “This Morning” programme where a grieving mother was saying that her daughter had been bombarded with cruel messages , even in the middle of the night. It seemed there was no let up and no way to escape this cruelty. The last message recorded on her phone was, “Why don’t you hang yourself.”. The next day this teenager committed suicide.

Dear friends and readers, can I just urge you today to be kind to others. It doesn’t cost anything to have a kind word to say about someone. If you know of someone who is a victim of cruelty, stand with them and encourage them. If you see someone being excluded try and include them in your group. Be careful what you are writing about others on social media. Would you say that to their face? If you couldn’t, maybe it’s not something you should be writing at all. The Bible says you will give account of every word that you speak.

There is no profit at all in being mean to another human being – it hurts them and it dirties your own soul.

Be kind always.

The Parable of the Talents

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My cousin, Eleanor, sewed this tapestry by hand. It is absolutely beautiful.

Now I’m going to share a bit about my cousin’s life. Eleanor was born in Bradford in January 1974.  Later, the family moved to Leeds and Eleanor attended a special school in Bramhope, Leeds, called Hilton Grange.

She was a very strong and determined young woman who had a passion for sewing. She would sit for hours sewing various rugs and tapestries.

Eleanor had many limitations, and she spent a big part of her life battling an immune deficiency syndrome. Despite that, she had a loving family and later on, a son,  and still she kept on sewing. Eleanor sewed this beautiful tapestry of the Lord’s Supper.

Eleanor sadly passed away in August 2015 but her sewing is still here to inspire us.

I want you to understand today that you may have limitations in your life, but no matter who you are, God has given you talents. Read Matthew 25:14-30.You may have only one talent, you may have many. But, please, use whatever talent you have to bless others. Don’t let other people put limits on you and rise above your limitations. You have a blessing to offer us all.

Abide with me

dsc_0095Tonight at my children’s brass band rehearsal they played this beautiful hymn, so I’m just going to pen a few thoughts about it.

Abide with Me” is a Christian hymn by Scottish Anglican Henry Francis Lyte most often sung to English composer William Henry Monk’s tune entitled “Eventide”. Lyte wrote the poem in 1847 and set it to music while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.

The definition of “abide” is to accept or bear (someone or something bad, unpleasant, etc.),to stay or live somewhere or to remain or continue.


Abide with me, fast falls the eventide

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide;
the darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide:
when other helpers fail and comforts flee,
help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
change and decay in all around I see:
O thou who changest not, abide with me.

I need thy presence every passing hour;
what but thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with thee at hand to bless;
ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s dark sting? where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if thou abide with me.

Hold thou thy cross before my closing eyes;
shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies;
heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
in life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

, , ,

There are three additional verses which originally followed verse 2 (rarely used after the nineteenth century)

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
but as thou dwell’st with thy disciples, Lord,
familiar, condescending, patient, free.
come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
but kind and good, with healing in thy wings,
tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
and, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
thou hast not left me, oft as I left thee,
on to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

This beautiful hymn is often sung at funerals; it was very popular in the trenches of the First World War, and was sung by Nurse Edith Cavell  the night before the Germans shot her for helping British soldiers to escape from occupied Belgium. It has been played at a few Royal Weddings and was played at Ground Zero on September 21st, 2001 by a Salvation Army band during the commemoration of the September 11th attacks.Traditionally the first verse is always sung at the opening of the FA Cup.

God is there when other helpers fail and other comforts flee. When we are facing eternity, there will only be God – there won’t be our earthly comforts, our mobile phones, our nice food, our social media. There will only be God. As we face our own mortality we realise this. The writer is looking into eternity and asking God to abide with him, to stay with him. All the joys and glories that the man has experienced have faded away in the light of eternity. He celebrates the God who never changes – our bodies grow old, relationships change, society changes – but God never changes.

God is our guide and stay – through cloud and sunshine He will abide with us. He is the one who steadies us through life’s turbulent times. He is our true North.

Finding true north is essential for accurate navigation.

Hence the metaphor. In life’s journey we are often uncertain where we stand, where we are going and what is the right path for us personally. Knowing our true north would enable us to follow the right path.” (from Websters online) When we know God personally and let Him guide us He will lead us in the right way to go.

With God in our corner, we need not fear our enemies and death and the grave have no victory over us. The Bible says that because of Jesus’ death on the cross He overcame the power of sin and death. We have that assurance that in death, just like in life, we are with God and He is with us. Heavens morning breaks – our death signifies our new life starting in Heaven. Our life on earth is classed as vain shadows, compared to the glory of eternity with God.

As Christians, God is with us in life, in death and in Heaven for all eternity.

“Not a brief glance” etc. The writer doesn’t want the Lord to sojourn, just visit him, but to abide with him – to have that same personal relationship as Jesus had with His disciples.

“Come not in terrors, as the King of Kings” – Jesus will be coming to us in judgement or as our Saviour. That is our choice. If we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Saviour it will be the latter. If Jesus is our Saviour we have nothing to fear – He will come to us as one kind and good with healing in His wings.

Today let us use this song as our prayer – that God will abide with us and give us that assurance of His continual presence in our lives, both now and for eternity.

Stir up your spiritual gifts

Tonight I watched my daughters play their instruments at their school music concert. I saw a variety of instruments being played by players at different levels of ability. Instruments included the keyboard, cornet, tenor horn, guitar, flute, viola, saxophone and cello. There was a young boy who could just play a simple tune and some more experienced players. Together, in the diversity of their music, they made a superb concert.

But they all had a go. Some made mistakes, but nobody minded and parents waited with bated breath when a child struggled with the notes and applauded loudly when they managed to finish!

I think this is the attitude we should have when exercising spiritual gifts. God has distributed spiritual gifts to all believers in the church – In 1 Corinthians 12 it says, “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit , to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things , distributing to each one individually as He wills”

Sometimes, people hold back from exercising their spiritual gift because they’re afraid of making a mistake. I have done this myself. I really think God, like those proud parents, just wants us to step out in faith and try. It doesn’t matter if we make a mistake. Everyone, when they first start out learning an instrument, makes mistakes. That is no reason not to learn or to give up. They need to keep practising and develop their musical gift. Similarly, as we keep using the gifts of the Spirit, we will develop those gifts and they will grow and we will get more confidence.

It might mean praying for a sick person to be healed. You might think, “What if they don’t get healed?” Well, what if they do? Let God handle the results of your prayer. It’s not your responsibility to heal someone (and you can’t). That part is up to God. But it’s your responsibility to pray and present someone to God.

It might mean speaking out a word that God has given you. Just speak it out, You might only get a sentence. That doesn’t matter, It could still make a difference to someone’s life.

I read a story on Facebook recently about a woman who was praying for a friend with cancer. She asked God to send  words of wisdom for her. What God spoke to her was, “Let there be light.” She did not understand this and it seemed strange but she shared it with her friend and her friend prayed into it. Her friend kept praying, “Let there be light”.  Later, when she went for an appointment her doctor told her that , “What we’re looking for are flashes of light because that’s where your antibodies are defeating the cancer.” The woman didn’t know that, but God knew that. So, maybe God will give you a word to share that doesn’t make any sense to you, but if you’ll just have faith to speak it out, it will bless someone.

 

 

Duty or Delight?

I will never forget a prayer for me by Pastor Ronnie Moore to know the delight of God and not just duty. It really struck a chord within me, as I had recently left a church that was quite legalistic in nature. Today I feel led to write about this.

`The definition of duty, according to the Oxford dictionary is 1. A moral or legal obligation; a responsibility or 1.1  (of a visit or another undertaking) done from a sense of moral obligation rather than for pleasure)

Do you serve God and obey His Word out of a moral obligation, because you feel it’s the right thing to do, or is it a delight to you? God does not want anyone to feel obligated to serve Him. Even about giving, in 2 Corinthians 9:7 the apostle Paul writes that we should give thoughtfully and with purpose, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. I don’t think God wants us to do anything for Him grudgingly or because we have to, but because we want to – because we love Him.

This is the privilege that we have as Christians to be in a relationship with God. A Father does not only want to give to his children because he must – he gives and provides because it is a delight to him to see his happy children. This is the product of relationship.

Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Obeying the Law was not enough then for people to be made right with God, and it’s not enough now.

Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us i.e. by dying on the cross so that we could be made right with God.

In Galatians 3:26 it says, “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” If you are a Christian and you have faith in Jesus you have entered into a relationship with Him. You can be called his child.

I believe what God wants from us now is to delight in Him. Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”

The definition of the word delight in the Oxford dictionary is “great pleasure”. Synonyms for delight are happiness, joy, joyfulness, glee, gladness, gratification, relish, excitement, amusement, bliss, rapture, ecstasy, elation, euphoria.

Psalm 1: 1-3  says, ” Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”

Job 23:12 says, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.”

There has been times when I have got so caught up in studying the Bible that I have kept writing for several hours and haven’t thought about eating or doing anything else, because I love the Word of God. God wants us to treasure His Word to us – it is important, it is precious and it is liberating. The Bible was written by various people who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. It is God’s message to mankind.

BIBLE = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

When you delight in someone you want to be with them, and that  desire is a priority in your life. You are excited about that relationship and you do as much as you can to spend time with them.

In Revelation 2:4 it says, “Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love” The church in Ephesus did many good things – they worked hard for God; they had patience; they did not tolerate evil; they persevered; they had discernment about false apostles – but they were admonished for leaving their first love.

Likewise, we can do many good things for God and we can have many good qualities, but God wants our hearts, our love, our devotion and our total surrender.

What does God say to the loveless Church of Ephesus? He tells them to “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works” (verse 5)

Today, can I encourage you to fall in love with Jesus again? Repent of your coldness of heart, of the business and activity that is draining your soul and draw near to Jesus again. Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. He delights in you.

 

Raising the Dead – Hopeless cases continued

I have a busy day ahead so I’ll just write a few thoughts.  More to follow on this topic.

People say, “Where there’s life,  theres’s hope”  Conversely it could be said then that,  “Where there’s no life,  there’s no hope”. There’s no hope for a dead person.

That didn’t stop Jesus.

Jesus raised dead people to life;so did quite a few of his followers. This is also our heritage,  as believers.

MARK 10 verse 8 says, “Heal the sick,  cleanse the lepers,  raise the dead,  cast out demons.” This is our commission too.

Hopeless cases

The definition of a hopeless case, according to the Babylon Dictionary is “a situation or instance incapable of improvement, irreparable specimen, lost cause.”

There is no such thing as a hopeless case with God. There are many times in the Bible where hopeless cases received hope.

In Acts 3 Peter and John were going to the temple to pray. On their way they met a man who had been crippled from birth. He was in his forties and he had never known how to walk. He was not expecting to receive healing – when he saw Peter and John he just expected them to give him some money. He was totally resigned to the situation he was in and did not expect things to change.

Yet suddenly , there were two men in front of him who decided to intervene. They said to him, “In the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” And the man, who had never known how to walk started to walk, leap and praise God. No longer an outcast, the previously lame man went into the temple with Peter and John.

When all the people saw him walking and praising God they were filled with wonder and amazement.

There are hopeless cases in your town that God is going to do a miracle for.

Nothing is impossible with God.

In Mark 5:25-29 the woman had an issue of blood for twelve years. She had been to see many doctors. She had spent all that she had to try and receive a healing but instead she grew worse, not better. Her situation was hopeless – the doctors did not know what to do or she would have been healed. Yet, she was healed by Jesus.

Saul hated Christians and believed he was doing God a service to kill them. Yet he became one because he had a personal experience with God.

No-one is a hopeless case in God’s eyes. Every sickness can be healed in Jesus’ Name; every sin can be forgiven; every family can be restored; every burden lifted.

Bring your hopeless case to God. Let Him do a miracle.lame-man-healed