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  • Mar 27 / 2017
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We Just Sinned Sexually

The content for this post comes from a portion of Letters to a Romantic: On Dating which will be released in September, 2017 by P&R Publishing. 


Shame, fear, disappointment, and regret are emotions that often come after a couple has sinned sexually together. Perhaps you have just sinned in some way with your partner and you are wondering what to do. Should you be concerned? Is it really that big of a deal? Should you take a break, break-up, or continue to date?

The Path to Healing

Our human nature has the knee-jerk reaction to run and cover up sin. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and realized they were naked, they hid from God. The very first act of sin in this world was followed by a cover up attempt. Adam and Eve grasped for fig leaves to cover their shame and they retreated back from the presence of God (Genesis 3:7-8).

Perhaps you have sinned with your partner and are tempted to run away from the presence of Jesus. I want to encourage you to do the exact opposite.

The way to heal sexual sin is to run to Jesus as quickly as you can. God is a tender and gracious Father who is on the lookout for his children to repent (Luke 15:20). Jesus did not come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it (John 3:17). I can guarantee this because Jesus bled on a wooden cross in order forgive anyone who turns away from disobedience. Jesus will forgive anyone who believes that he will wipe away his or her sins.

God promises sweet relief for a troubled conscience in the book of Hebrews:

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Hebrews 10:19-22)

Jesus takes dirty hearts and broken consciences and makes them clean and clear. There is nothing better than a clear conscience before God, and Jesus can give you forgiveness today if you ask him. There has never been a better time to enter into the presence of God. His arms are open wide and the only thing keeping him from you is your pride and fear of judgment.

Hope through Honesty

The way to healing only comes through honesty. The Bible offers hope for everyone who walks in the light. If we do not walk in the light of truthfulness, we cannot have a relationship with God.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. (1 John 1:5-7)

If you are unwilling to confess your sin to God and mature Christians, then you are snuffing out all hope for healing. If you remain in the dark, sexual sin will become enslaving and will lead to death (Romans 6:23). It is so serious that God says those who continue in sexual immorality will not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Revelation 21:8).

I specifically want to encourage you to avoid “technicalities” with your sin.  “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3). A heart that wants to come clean is not concerned with whether or not they are a “technical virgin.” The Pharisees who were very good at parsing all the minutiae of sin will be cast into the lake of fire, but the prostitutes who were broken and weeping at the feet of Jesus found life and peace.

Sexual sin will suffocate you unless you completely come clean. I have known couples only willing to confess parts of their sin. They said verbally they wanted to change, but they held onto aspects of their sin with clinched fists and did not give a full confession. If you are tempted to only turn away from half of your sin, you are still holding onto all of it.

The Path to Holiness

All of this raises the question: “Should we end our relationship because we have sinned sexually together?” There are many factors that play into answering this question, but one of the first questions that needs to be answered is “How often has this sin occurred?” “Is this sin an isolated incident or a pattern?” “Or is it a mixture of both?”

Patterns of sin often reveal hearts that are not in love with Jesus. If you are noticing sexual sins in your relationship together, now is the time to seek out a mentor and give attention to your personal walk with Christ. Though it can be painful, ending a romantic relationship that is fueling sexual sin is the best course of action. If you are habitually falling into sin, breaking-up will allow you to focus on pursuing holiness before romance. There is nothing more important than knowing the presence of Christ. (Psalm 27:4)

If this sexual sin was a one-time event for you, you need to know that sexual activity does not randomly take place. By the time someone commits a physical sexual sin, there have been numerous transgressions that have been committed at the heart level. All physical acts of sin come from the heart.

After confession of sin has taken place, there must be an intentional path charted away from that disobedience. This change must occur in the heart, head, and hands. It is best to reach out to a godly, wise couple for assistance in making a plan for change.

When charting a new course towards purity, the following steps need to be taken:

  • ·       Confess to a spiritual authority. It is best if this is someone who can hold you accountable and offer you mature advice.
  • ·       Clear boundaries must be re-established. Jesus talks about being radical in your efforts to fight against sin and temptation. In Matthew 5:29-32, He talks about cutting off hands and plucking out eyes in order to attack sin. What were the circumstances around the sin? Have you been alone and been in compromising situation, why did this happen? How can it be prevented?
  • ·       Evaluate the entire relationship. Are both of you at a spiritually mature level to consider pursuing marriage? Are you ready to love each other by setting the bar of purity high in order to protect one another? Do you both want to honor God more than enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin?

This moment of failure can become a moment of victory. This sin may be the very act God uses to get your attention and pursue holiness. Jesus loves to take our weaknesses and make us strong. Let us plan and pray for grace to become pure in heart and hands in order that we might see God.

Until then,

Sean


Sean Perron is the Chief of Staff with the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors. He is a graduate of Southern Seminary and a Ph.D. student at Southwestern Seminary. He lives in Jacksonville, FL and is married to the lovely Jennifer Perron. Sean is a co-author with Spencer Harmon of the forthcoming books Letters to a Romantic: On Dating and Letters to a Romantic: On Engagement (P&R, 2017). Sean and Spencer write together at unspokenblog.org

  • Mar 13 / 2017
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Why You Probably Don’t Need a Quiet Time

You’ve always believed you should have what evangelicals commonly call a “quiet time.” Sometimes called “daily devotions,” a quiet time typically consists of Bible reading and prayer. Beyond these, the event can be highly individualized in terms of timing, duration, location, and content. Many add meditation on Scripture to their reading of it. Others will include some form of journaling. Some will append a brief devotional reading from another book. Generally, the goal is to feed the soul and commune with God.

Lately, however, your devotional habits have languished. In light of the struggle, privately you’ve been doing a little spiritual cost/benefit analysis about the whole enterprise.

Relax. Why stress about it? Who wants their spiritual life to be a struggle? Let me help you see why you probably don’t need a quiet time anyway.

For starters, you’re incredibly busy. In fact, you’ve never been busier. God has given you many responsibilities, and you try to be faithful with them. If you take time for Bible intake and prayer every day, you’ll lose valuable time you could devote to other important God-given tasks.

Second, you can’t be in two places at once. With so many needs to meet and people to help, isn’t it a bit selfish to get alone with God and sacrifice time you could use in ministering to others? True, even Jesus frequently withdrew from teaching and ministering to the crowds who sought Him in order to strengthen His soul in prayer. But does that mean He’s an example to us in this?

Third, you’re already spiritually mature. Think of all the Christian books and blogs you’ve read in your life. Didn’t they draw a lot from Scripture? Think of how many sermons and Bible lessons you’ve heard. By now, haven’t you reached a level of spiritual maturity where daily devotions simply repeat material you already know? Do you think God expects you to meditate on His Word day and night?

Fourth, you don’t want to be a copycat. Just because the great Christian heroes of the past had a regular commitment to prayer and meditation on Scripture doesn’t mean you should. After all, you’re helped by resources they never had. You have a smartphone and the Internet.

Fifth, you don’t want to become legalistic. To think that your soul needs to feed on God’s Word and seek communion with Him every day would almost be tantamount to saying that your body should have food virtually every day. And who would want to fall into the legalistic trap of feeding one’s body daily? Moderation is so important when it comes to the things of God, isn’t it? As Ecclesiastes 7:16 warns, “Do not be overly righteous.”

Still feeling remorse about an inconsistent devotional life? Don’t worry; you can always start again someday when life slows down.

Convinced? Well, before you completely forsake your daily devotional time, you might consider a few things.

First, making a priority of time with God is a mark of grace. It’s hard to argue with Jonathan Edwards here:

A true Christian. . . delights at times to retire from all mankind, to converse with God in solitary places. . . . True religion disposes persons to be much alone in solitary places, for holy meditation and prayer. . . . It is the nature of true grace, that however it loves Christian society in its place, yet it in a peculiar manner delights in retirement, and secret converse with God.

Next, Jesus is indeed the great example of personal piety. Yes, you could serve others more if you abandoned your devotional life. But the same could be said for the time you spend eating and sleeping. Would you discard them to meet people’s needs? While there are times to minister to others instead of replenishing your soul or body, as a long-term practice this is neither wise nor fruitful. Jesus could have met literally every need presented to Him. But even He sometimes walked away from needy crowds to pray. Jesus is our example of all things good, including the priority of meeting with the Father.

Third, even until death, the Apostle Paul wanted to saturate his soul in Scripture. In the last inspired letter he wrote, Paul pleaded with Timothy, “When you come, bring . . . the books, and above all the parchments” (2 Tim. 4:13). These writings almost certainly included a copy of the Old Testament. If a Christian as spiritually mature as the Apostle Paul required the regular intake of Scripture until death, dare we ever think we’ve “outgrown” the need for it?

Fourth, we are called to imitate spiritual heroes. In Hebrews 13:7, God commands us to remember, consider, and imitate Christian leaders of the past. We’re told, “Remember your leaders, those who spoke the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” The consensus of the spiritual giants of Christian history that testifies to the indispensability of a believer’s devotional life should not be forgotten nor their example forsaken.

Fifth, rightly motivated devotional habits are never legalistic. Neither the strictest obedience to the Word of God nor the most zealous pursuit of holiness is ever legalistic if one’s motives are right. The measurement of legalism is not the consistency of one’s devotional practices but the heart’s reason for doing them.

Finally, you’ll likely never be less busy. If you can’t make time to meet God through the Bible and prayer now, it’s very unlikely you will when—if—life does slow down.

Significant changes in your life may indeed be needed. But think: How can less time with God be the answer?


This article was originally posted in Ligonier Tabletalk Magazine here.


Dr. Donald S. Whitney serves on the advisory board of Speak for the Unborn. He is Professor of Biblical Spirituality and Associate Dean at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., and Founder and President of the Center for Biblical Spirituality.

  • Mar 06 / 2017
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A Prodigal Pro-Lifer: My Journey to Pro-Choice and How God Brought Me Back

I always thought I was pro-life until I was sixteen and faced with an unwanted pregnancy. It was at that time that I realized I was mostly pro-my-own-life. After having my first abortion in high school, I became timidly pro-choice. It was not until my third abortion failed that God brought me back to Him and revealed what it truly meant to be pro-life.

Becoming pro-choice

My parents supported my abortion when I was a teenager and, again, when I was a freshman in college. They thought my life would be ruined if I had a child outside of marriage and at such a young age. I told myself that all my reasons for choosing abortion were good reasons and that I made the best choice at the time. I wanted to have children one day, but just not now. While I knew deep in my heart what I had done was immoral, I could not quite grasp the damage that destroying these beautiful creations had done to me.

I spent the years after my first abortion discussing the merits of the pro-choice stance on abortion. I talked about how I was personally against it, but that it was not right to take the choice away from someone who really needed it. I would even defend abortions and women who received them when I would hear disparaging remarks by saying, “You can’t know their situation. You can’t understand how terrifying it is to be faced with that decision.” I had no idea how destructive that fear could be or how deeply the effects of destroying another life would plague me.

The price of destroying life

See, though I had grown up in church, I had never been taught that we are all image bearers and, as such, every life created by our Father is a precious gift. Destroying His most prized creation always comes at a price. My heart was hardened toward others, and I missed out on the value of the life around me and within me. After I was married, I had five miscarriages. I never really mourned the loss of these priceless children. Instead, I became bitter towards a God who would allow me to suffer the pain of infertility. When I had a son with autism, I did not treasure his unique life, but rather bathed in my self-pity all while asking why God would do this to me.

Everything with our first child felt so hard. He did not do anything on time, and he always acted very different from his peers. I gave up on trying to raise him the “right way.” He was not “normal,” so we did not have to follow all the “normal” rules when teaching him about life and how we treat other people. I had no idea that God would use his special place on the autism spectrum to teach me the importance of loving all life — even lives I do not understand.

Only God can give true life

Years later, after spiraling into sin and rebellion, I became pregnant as the result of an affair. Already having three children with my husband, I could not keep this “pregnancy.” I would not even think of this “pregnancy” as a person. It was a menace sent to destroy my life. God was trying to teach me a lesson and punish me for my sin. I had to get rid of the thing.

Three weeks after my attempted abortion, an ultrasound showed me what God truly had for me: life. Not only was I dead inside from all of my rebellion, I had tried to destroy all of the life within me. Being confronted with the reality of this thriving little person inside of me showed me that God gives life. It was shortly after this time that I finally and fully submitted my own life to Christ. He did a mighty work in me when he saved my son from my selfish desires. He opened my eyes with His Word and He transformed my heart through His holy spirit.

The prodigal comes home

The fear I felt from having a child created from infidelity turned to joy upon his arrival. Not only has he been the perfect addition to our family, he remains a wonderful, daily reminder of God’s goodness and mercy. At this pivotal moment in my life when God showed His sovereignty, I was not only a wayward pro-lifer brought back, I was also a prodigal child returning home to my Father. I finally saw that His image-bearers are all valuable, no matter their circumstances.

It is with this love for all human life that I teach my four children, not only their own value, but the value of others. My oldest son’s autism does not make him any less valuable. He is still a precious creation of God and just as much a gift as my daughters. In the same vein, my youngest son being the result of a sinful act does not make him a “mistake,” but rather reinforces that all life is a gift from our Father.

 


Lauren Sachitano lives in Kingwood, TX. She is a wife, mother, and lover of coffee and naps. She and her husband attend Northeast Houston Baptist Church with their 4 children.

  • Feb 27 / 2017
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Pure and Undefiled Religion: Keeping Oneself Unstained from the World

 

When we think of caring for the vulnerable, James 1:27 is often one of the first verses people think about. James tells us that caring for the widow and orphan is pure and undefiled religion. His powerful language evokes a sense of urgency in caring for the vulnerable. It is probably why many Christians use this verse for ministries and mission trips. We cannot hope to truly live for Christ if caring for the vulnerable is not part of that.

However, there is one portion of the verse that is sometimes overlooked. James tells us that pure religion is “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world (emphasis added).” Sometimes we may focus so intently on caring for orphans and widows that we completely miss keeping ourselves unstained from the world. Caring for the vulnerable is definitely a vital part of our Christian walk, but it is just as important to make sure we are not losing focus and compromising our faith in any way. In fact, sometimes caring for the vulnerable may be what draws our focus away.

There are so many ways to help those in need. You can look just about anywhere and find an opportunity to serve others. It is really encouraging to see the countless ways people can receive the help they need. It is also encouraging to see so many people wanting to help others. One of the best ways for Christians to show the love of Christ is to be actively involved in caring for the vulnerable. There is something to be said about those who sacrifice their time and resources for others. However, there is also a caution with this. When we are seeking out ways to help others, we need to be careful to guard ourselves from losing our focus on Christ and his gospel. It is helpful for Christ-followers to remember that, ultimately, our good deeds mean nothing if they are separated from the message of the gospel. When we water down the gospel, or eliminate it completely,  to help others, we are not remaining unstained from the world. Instead, we are compromising our faith.

Of course, leaving the gospel out is not always blatant or purposeful. How many times have I helped people without explicitly sharing the gospel with them? It is not an intentional thing. We often get busy with whatever we are doing that we do not give it much thought. James’s words may very well be more of a word of caution than anything else. Maybe he knew how easy it was to lose focus on the heart of the gospel message when busy doing good deeds for others. All of us have probably fallen into that at some point in our Christian walk.

In fact, James is not the only one to have mentioned the concept of remaining unstained by the world. Paul also tells us in Romans to not be conformed to the world (12:2). The things of this world can, and often will, cause distractions. We may only think of this in terms of the bad things around us. However, even good things can draw our focus away from the Lord. The good may actually be more likely to do so since we are not as guarded with it. The enemy is very crafty and loves to use the good things in our lives to distract us. He enjoys seeing God’s people move further and further away from their faith. When we allow ourselves to lose focus on the gospel, we slowly start to fall into worldly things. Before we know it, we find ourselves exactly where we should not be- stained by the world.

There is also the danger to be so concerned about compromising our faith that we think the best thing to do is to completely cut ourselves off from the world. However, we must guard ourselves against this thinking, too. All through James 1, James is making the case that the Christian life must have both faith and good works. They go hand in hand. When we have strong faith, our good deeds automatically flow out of it. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, so we are supposed to concern ourselves with the plight of others. The issue is not if we are supposed to be in the world helping others. The issue is if we are staying focused on the Lord while we are out in the world helping others. When Christ is praying to the Father in John 17, he says that he does not want his followers to be taken out of the world, only that they would be protected from falling into evil. He expects us to be out in the world sharing his love and helping those in need.

We need to continue to find ways to care for the widow and orphan. We must never lose this passion to help others. Our desire to care for those in need is a beautiful, God-given desire. However, we must also be sure to guard ourselves against the enemy and his schemes to make us lose focus on the One who gave us the desire in the first place. Only then will we be able to fully live out James’s words to care for the widow and orphan and remain unstained from the world.

 


Katie Van Dyke is the Assistant Director of Speak for the Unborn. She received an M.A. in Biblical Counseling from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She currently lives in Houston, TX where she teaches 5th and 6th grade girls at Northeast Houston Baptist Church. You can follow her on Twitter: @KatieJoVanDyke.

  • Feb 13 / 2017
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My Son Should Have Been Aborted

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I remember speaking to a pro-choice activist who worked for years in children’s services. She recounted the unfortunate conditions of some orphanages she had visited, made worse only by the high number of children that lived there. They had no family. They were totally dependent upon the system, just years away from being turned loose upon a society that largely had rejected them. In her mind, these were the epitome of “unwanted” children. Knowing my position on the sanctity of life, she challenged my pro-life convictions by touting a supposed lack of concern for children like these. After I asked for specific ways that our local churches could help, I couldn’t suppress the question that lingered in the back of my mind since the beginning of the conversation. I asked her, “Do you think that any of these children should have been aborted?” Without hesitation, she retorted, “Yes, each and every one of them.”

I thought about this conversation not too long ago as I stood in the middle of an African orphanage. The courtyard of the small complex was filled with young children. Some wore tattered clothes, likely hand-me-downs from those who came before them. Many had flies covering their faces like bees on a honeycomb. Most of them were abandoned as infants. All of them were laughing and smiling. One of them was my son. After nearly a five-year long adoption process, here we stood, watching our son kick a ball with the only family he had known to this point in his life. He didn’t understand it then, but he had a new last name. And while there are many questions surrounding the early weeks of my son’s life, we do know that by the world’s standards he was unwanted. Then it dawned on me: according to this pro-choice activist, this is precisely the kind of child that should have been aborted. As I watched him toddle around the courtyard with friends, I felt the chill of her cold and icy words. Yet my heart was warmed towards these children. Many of them may have been “unwanted,” but these were real people with real smiles and very real personalities.

It is hard for me now to imagine our family without my middle child. To be clear, my son did not become valuable as soon as we received the adoption referral. Human beings are not valuable because someone wants them; they are valuable because God made them. And we need to remember that this is exactly what we are talking about when we talk about abortion. We must never forget that beneath the compassionate rhetoric of the abortion industry is a beast that bears its fangs against actual human beings. The Scripture says that the Devil prowls like a lion seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). He is not simply interested in an issue; he is interested in image-bearers. The Adversary is unconcerned with who wins the abortion debate, so long as there are the bodies of men, women, and children left in the wake.

The pro-choice movement has sought consistently to dehumanize the unborn. Whether it is changing the terminology (“fetus,” “pregnancy tissue,” ect.), or shifting the focus to the rights and health of the woman, the abortion industry tries to make us forget that we are talking about human beings. We must remember, abortion is not simply about an issue to be debated, it is about lives to be defended. We cannot allow ourselves to be distracted from the fact that lives are taken through abortion. The rhetoric smokescreen filling our culture should never cloud our view on what is happening. For we know that life is precious at every stage.

How should Christians respond? Through our faithful witness, the people of God should display the glory of a gospel that leads to a high value of life. Our local churches should be beacons of hope in the midst of this culture. On any given Sunday, for instance, my local church is filled with families that reflect God’s love for the unwanted. There are transracial families united through adoption and foster care. There are men mentoring others recovering from destructive patterns of addiction. There are children with special needs being celebrated as fellow image-bearers. There are single mothers patiently teaching their children about the life-giving message of the gospel. There are brothers and sisters sacrificing time to serve children in the nursery. All of this is a declaration to the world that the kingdom of Jesus is different.

Jesus modeled this when he welcomed children (Matt 18:1–6; 19:13–15). Contrary to the expectations of the disciples, children have a place near Jesus. When the children did come, he did not separate them into those with stable home situations and those without. Both the ‘wanted’ and ‘unwanted’ were welcomed. Rather, he blessed them all, stating that “to such belongs the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 19:14). In the gospel, we see that privilege and priorities of the world are put to rest in an empty tomb. That is why for James it is unconscionable that a follower of Christ would not care for the vulnerable (James 1:27). This is integral to our Christian identity, because we too were orphaned and in need of rescue. While we were weak, says the Apostle Paul, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly (Rom 5:6). Before the creation of the world, God purposed believers to be part of His family. We love like this because we have been loved like this.

While they may not say it so bluntly, the world looks at my son as one whose life should have been cut short. Maybe his birthmother couldn’t afford an abortion. Maybe she lacked access to available “reproductive healthcare.” Maybe the cultural stigma of abortion was too much to bear. Either way, if she had taken the life in her womb, there would be a gaping hole in my family. But more than that, there would be one more image-bearer consumed by a prowling beast hell-bent on destruction.

As the people of God, we proclaim and display the glory of a better lion, one who has jaws strong enough to swallow death. In Him, we are reminded that the unwanted and unlovable are safe. I journeyed to Africa to bring my son home; God came from heaven to rescue His. And He will stop at nothing to make sure all His children make it to the place he has prepared for them. As we uphold the sanctity of human life, we make clear that people are valuable, not because they are wanted, but because they bear the image of their creator. This may be counter-cultural proclamation, but such is life in the kingdom.


Andrew King is the Executive Director of Speak for the Unborn. He holds degrees from Mississippi State University (B.A.) and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div., Ph.D. candidate). He lives with wife and three children in Louisville, KY. He is a member of Immanuel Baptist Church.

 

  • Jan 30 / 2017
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Win Signed Copies of the Gospel for Life Books

 

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The Gospel for Life series, edited by Russell Moore and Andrew T. Walker, is designed to apply the truths of Scripture to issues that we all face in ordinary life. These excellent books are an easily-accessible resource for helping Christians cultivate a Kingdom mentality on a number of important issues.

We are excited to give away signed copies of four books in this series. Gain entries for the giveaway below! The winners will be notified Monday, February 6th.

 

 

  • Oct 12 / 2013
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A Woman’s Choice and Necole’s Place: Celebrating 25 years

Last night some of us had the privilege of attending our local crisis pregnancy center, A Woman’s Choice annual banquet.  This year marked the 25th anniversary of the ministry helping women and unborn children. It was a special celebration of honoring those who laid the foundation for the ministry as well as an opportunity to hear the history of A Woman’s Choice and Necole’s Place.  The ministry estimates that 8,000 children have been saved during the course of its 25 years!

awc wall at banquet

The wall behind the stage displayed 25 pictures of saved babies, one for each year the ministry has existed.  Some of the mothers of these children gave testimonials in a video played later in the program.  Many of them gave testimony as to how glad they were that they went into the wrong building on the day of their abortion appointment, but decided to stay at AWC for an ultrasound. One mother wept with emotion stating that she couldn’t imagine her life without her son she nearly aborted  Others gave thanks to AWC and Necole’s Place for the ongoing support they themselves have received after having their babies. Praise God!

Dr. Russell Moore was the keynote speaker and he reminded Christians about the spiritual warfare they face while defending image-bearers of God.  Thankfully, Christians “stand with a gospel that is unabortable!” he encouraged those listening. He later tweeted:
awc tweet

If you’d like to hear Dr. Moore’s address, please contact A Woman’s Choice.  Praise the Lord for the 25 years of faithful labor and service in Christ’s name!

awc wall

  • Nov 23 / 2012
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A Twisted Black Friday Deal

This makes me sad (and sick) for so many reasons.  A discount at Planned Parenthood is not the same as going to Target at 9pm to snag a deal on your favorite DVD. But that is exactly what Planned Parenthood and our culture want us to believe.  Planned Parenthood wants us to see their “special discount” on equal terms with online shopping, shoes, and electronics. This is a direct lie from Satan himself.

Abortion cannot be returned or exchanged. It permanently hurts and haunts women, and it has stolen over 50 million lives in the United States. May we stand vehemently against this scheme of the devil.

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Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.–Ephesians 5:11

[HT: reader Anne at Jill Stanek]

  • Aug 25 / 2012
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The Apostle Paul was an Abortion Clinic Escort (in a manner of speaking)

Allow me to explain. At one time, the Apostle Paul was convinced he could best serve his community and his God by ridding the world of an unwanted people group. He zealously volunteered his time to help systematically identify and subsequently eliminate a serious threat to his culture’s advancement– namely a crazed group of religious fanatics called Christians.

Like abortion clinic escorts, Paul was not directly responsible for the imprisonment or killing of Christians; rather all he did was ensure they made it to the doorsteps of the people who’d finish the job. Every one of his “escort” endeavors was sanctioned by his government, applauded by his religious leaders, and encouraged by his peers.

But it was still horrifically wrong.

Later in life, Paul would look back on this time with severe regret. He would refer to himself as “the worst of sinners,” “a violent man,” guilty of “persecuting the church” and he would completely repent of these actions. So why the radical shift?

The radical shift came when Paul had an encounter with the one, true God he’d never met before. He thought he knew Him. After all, think of the countless hours Paul spent studying and teaching what he thought God’s Bible said. Or consider how he traveled long distances to find these offenders and protect God’s church from the harassment of pushy Christ-followers. Inevitably, Paul thought he was preserving God’s teachings by quelling the offensive preaching and degrading message of the obnoxious Christian club.

Surely Paul expected a pat on the back from God for all his hard efforts and consistent commitment to the cause. He thought he had served God well and there was a prison full of Christians to prove it. During his time, Paul (then known as Saul) was indeed the ultimate of escorts having earned a reputation so widespread that all the opposition knew him by name. But how was this famed escort greeted by the God he thought he served?

“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” He replied. “Now go up… and you will be told what you must do.”

Every abortion clinic escort that you meet thinks they are doing the right thing. Regardless of their varying motivations, all hold a conviction that helping with abortions is the best thing for them to do. They too will feel the shock of the apostle Paul who, having dedicated his life to a single cause learned in a single phrase it was all for naught. It must have absolutely shattered him to realize not only was he wrong, but he’d fought with all his might to oppose those who had it right.

In the most unexpected of plot twists, God decided He wanted to save this elite escort and have Saul work for Him. To do that, God miraculously confronted Saul with the same truth that had previously just riled him up. He saw that Jesus Christ wasn’t simply some heretical fad, but the Son of God Who came to fulfill God’s plan and save His people from their sins. All the trite pushy sayings he once found offensive finally sank in.

Saul was wrong. He was raging against God. And he needed to humbly follow this Jesus Who for some reason wanted to bear his punishment for him.

Once Saul actually encountered the almighty Jesus, he realized Christ was worth getting fanatical about. Saul became Paul and joined hands with those crazy Christians he thought he couldn’t stand. Let us remember that the man who once “breathed murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples” was also the man God decided would be “[His] chosen instrument to proclaim [His] name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel.”

Who knows the plans God has for the volunteer escorts outside our local abortion clinics! Let us pray for Him to once again glorify Himself with an escort’s radical and genuine conversion. And let us purposely use our interactions with escorts to this end!

If our God can remove the blinders from Paul’s eyes, let us request and expect Him to do that again!

  • Aug 10 / 2012
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Sidewalk Spiritual Warfare

I think we can all agree there are few places darker than the sidewalk at  7:00 in the morning. I am not just referring to the physical darkness, but the spiritual darkness that is real and active.  Here are a few basic truths that I have come to realize concerning spiritual warfare  on the sidewalk:

1. Absolutely Expect to Experience It
1 Peter 5:8 tells us “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” In the same book Peter writes ”Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you (4:12).

I have not met anyone involved in the last three years who has been exempt from spiritual warfare while participating in this ministry. It may manifest itself in nightmares, fear, impatience, doubt, marital strife, discouragement, or other forms of attack.  I myself, have failed in many ways in remembering these passages periodically. I have not been sober-minded or watchful. I have been surprised at the struggles I have faced as a result of participating in this ministry. Yet, God’s Word reminds us that we have an enemy who would delight in destroying us. Instead of ignoring these attacks, we can and must expect to experience spiritual warfare.

2. Arm Yourself With the Word

As we are watching, Praise the Lord that we have the best weapon in defending ourselves ! We have the Word of God. Paul writes that we have “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, “(Eph 6:17). As I have sought to do things outside of my comfort zone and/or strength, I have found it most helpful to give myself to the Word daily, and to memorize passages or complete chapters of Scripture. This way, I can recite them to myself at any given moment, or to others (whether it be clients or fellow Christians).  Had I never experienced this kind of spiritual warfare, I would most likely never have done so.  I thank the Lord for these opportunities.

3. Give Yourself to Prayer
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him. – 1 John 5:14-15
We must be praying constantly! (1 Thes 5:17).  Our Resource Guide includes two pages (21-22) dedicated to guiding us in prayer throughout the week.  Commit to praying daily for those going in for abortions, and for the abortion clinic to close to the glory of God.  Pray for your brothers and sisters doing sidewalk counseling that they would not believe Satan’s lies. (If you don’t pray for them, who will?) Fast and Pray. Pray against any schemes of the devil, not just Friday night, but daily. What a privilege that we can have constant communication with the God of the universe who hears our prayers and is able to answer them far more abundantly than we ask or think!

Praise the Lord that He sees us worthy to walk through these trials!

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

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