Daily Devotions

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE: Is Abortion Murder?

“Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed…do not defile yourself in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled; so I punished them for their sins, and vomited out their inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:21, 24-25)

While the word abortion is not explicitly used in any text, the concept of killing an unborn child and its consequences could not be clearer!

Scripture even goes so far as to mandate punishment to those that bring harm to an unborn child.

“If men who are fighting hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined…but if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise (Ex 21:22-25).”

The debate over physician assisted suicides, passive and active euthanasia, and abortion begs the question of the sanctity of life and elevates human desire over subjection to divine will. It places function ahead of human uniqueness. However, know this. No matter how many there might be who align themselves against God and the sanctity of human life; dismembering an embryo, killing a fetus, and heart stopping injections to the elderly are all indisputable murder. It has always been and it always will be. Regardless of what our earthly judges hold, our heavenly Judge will soon have His day in court and everyone will be held accountable for their actions.

Devotion taken from Pastor John Hagee’s book Bible Positions on Political Issues

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE: Post Abortion Syndrome

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

How can God forgive me when I can’t forgive myself?

Statistics show that 43 percent of American women will have an abortion in their lifetime, making abortion as common an experience as divorce. In addition to this, more than twice as many women have abortions as get college degrees.

Yet, for many, an abortion is a carefully guarded secret shared with only a few close friends, if at all. In turn, many post-abortive women never fully understand the root of their anger, their depression, their damaged self-esteem or their self-destructive and sometimes compulsive behaviors.

Many veterans of wars carried images of horrors they could not express nor purge from their memories. They were later diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). In the same way, research suggests that post-abortive women are prone to suffer a similar disorder termed Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). In both syndromes, the outward symptoms may lay dormant for years before surfacing.

While PAS mainly affects post-abortive women; the symptoms can extend to the fathers of aborted children, parents who encouraged abortion in their teen-aged daughters, or friends who were simply supportive of the decision.

Devotion taken from the website of the North American Mission Board (SBC).

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE: Abortion in America

“These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16-18)

On January 22nd, 1973, the United States Supreme Court, in a decision known as Roe v. Wade, ruled that state laws banning abortion were unconstitutional. The court ruled that a woman’s privacy was more important than the interest of any state in protecting unborn children.

This decision was neither voted on by the populace nor mandated by the legislative or executive branches of the government. With a stroke of a pen, the Supreme Court struck down abortion laws in over 40 states and declared that the unborn child was not a “person” and had no constitutional rights.

The 7-2 ruling in Roe v. Wade stated:

(1) A woman’s constitutional right to privacy includes the right to determine the outcome  of her pregnancy.

(2) An unborn child is not a “person” within the meaning of our Constitution.

(3) A state may only ban abortions in cases when the unborn child has already reached  viability and there is no threat to the woman’s health.

A second, and even more far-reaching, decision known as Doe v. Bolton was also handed down by the Supreme Court on that same day. In this ruling, the Court issued the following definition of “health” of the mother:

“[T]he medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors—physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age—relevant to the well being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.” Doe v. Bolton, 410 U.S. 179, 192 (1973).

Doe v. Bolton, in effect, made abortion on demand through the ninth month of pregnancy the law of the land.

Since 1973, over one million legal abortions have been performed annually in the United States. Estimates are that in excess of 51 million unborn children have been aborted as a result of these two United States Supreme Court rulings.

Devotion taken from the website of the North American Mission Board (SBC).

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE: “I am Fearfully and Wonderfully Made…”

“You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” (Ps 139:13-16 NLT)

This month marks the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision commonly known as Roe v. Wade. In its ruling, the court decided that a woman has the legal right to choose, for whatever reason, to end the life of her unborn child. Those who agree with this decision argue that it is a ‘woman’s right to choose’ and therefore such supporters are often said to be ‘Pro-Choice.’ On the other hand, there are those who argue that it is wrong for anyone to end the life of an innocent child. Opponents of abortion are often said to be “Pro-Life” and in favor of a child’s right to live over a woman’s right to choose. According to the National Right to Life Organization – 93% of the 3,700 daily abortions in the US are done for social reasons (unready for child responsibility, can’t afford the child, single motherhood, etc.). Only 7% of the abortions in America are done for issues of rape, incest or health.

I love the way the King James Version translates part of Psalm 139 – “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” With these words, David reveals to us two very important truths. The first truth focuses on God as the Creator and the second truth focuses on us as the creation.

(1) God as the Creator –  We are “fearfully made”

The phrase ‘fearfully made’  focuses on the majesty of the Creator.  As many of you know, whenever we find the word ‘fear’ in the Bible, it can refer to those who are afraid or to those who are in awe. To be fearfully made does not mean that David is afraid of his creation, but rather that he is in awe of his Creator. When he considered the complexity of his life and the fact that God Himself was the one who formed him in his mother’s womb, David was struck with awe and forced to bow himself before God and give Him worship. The Bible teaches us that unborn babies are not ‘things’ that someone can choose to abort. They are products of a divine Creator.

(2) Man as the creation – We are “wonderfully made”

The phrase ‘wonderfully made’  focuses on the making of the creation. Most of us struggle with something about our bodies. We’re either too tall, too short, too big or too small. Some wish that their hair was thicker and their waste was thinner; their legs longer and their nose shorter. Yet according to scripture, we all are wonderfully made.  To be wonderfully made means to be ‘distinctly’ made. We are who we are because God has knitted us together in our mother’s womb. Added to that is God’s involvement in our lives even after our birth. According to David, every moment of every day of our life has already been laid out and recorded in God’s divine book, even before a single day of it comes to pass.

The Bible teaches us that life comes from God and therefore it belongs to Him and Him alone. No one has the right to choose something that is contrary to His will. January 23 will be “Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.” Please pray for our services as we prepare for a special Sunday on which we will celebrate God’s gift of life.

Devotion by Terry Covey

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE: Sanctity of Human Life Week

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 139:13 NIV)

January 16-23 has been designated “Sanctity of Human Life Week.”  In light of that, we offer a few devotional thoughts based on Psalm 139:13.

Recently, a popular cable television channel began airing a series based on what happens to animals in utero. Week by week we watch as baby dolphins, baby elephants, and baby puppies develop, computer graphics and 4-D ultrasound imagery taking us inside the womb to watch the growth process day by day. Fascinating stuff!

It makes me wonder what it might be like to use the same state-of-the-art graphics to explore the process human babies undergo as they develop in their mother’s womb. Awe-inspiring, no doubt! I’m confident the experience would movingly illustrate the words of Psalm 139:13.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Thinking about all this, I must admit that too often I take God’s gifts for granted. You, too? This verse points that out as it describes the intimate care our Creator used as he brought each one of us to life. The slope of your nose. The shape of my ear lobes. The blood vessels of our heart, our lungs. The cells that make up our spleen and kidneys—and all those other organs we so seldom think about.

All of these drew God’s close, personal attention. My chin is not an accident. Your hair color isn’t either. Our lips and eyes, our mouths and foreheads, our biceps and big toes all brought a smile of approval to our Father God’s face—even before we fought our way through the birth canal and took our first big breath.

You and I were uniquely formed, “knitted together” as the psalmist puts it, in our mother’s womb.

That implies a lot! For example, when we fret about being too tall or too short, we insult the divine Artist who made us just so. When we neglect the bodies God has given, failing to get enough rest, eating too much of the wrong foods, neglecting the exercise that would keep us strong and vibrant—these are sins. When we fail to care for the hungry, to honor the elderly, to protect the innocent (yes, even the innocent in the womb), or to respect individuals who are different from us, we offend the one who made us all.

When we consider all this, we can draw only one conclusion. We’re all guilty before God. It’s bad news. Worse, we deserve eternal death because of it.

The good news, though, is that our Creator willingly became our Redeemer. Our Judge is also our Brother. Jesus heals and forgives. He really does! Calvary’s cross proves it. That cross is the ultimate irony—an instrument designed to bring the cruelest death imaginable has brought life, eternal life. It’s the life Christians celebrate most of all. It’s the life we will celebrate forever. All because of what Jesus did for us.

So now, today, what are you going to do with the life your Creator-Redeemer has give you?

Devotion by Jane Fryar

SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE: The Importance of Human Life

“Know that the LORD Himself is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves…” (Psalm 100:3)

The American Constitution – normally a bastion for the dignity of mankind and protector of liberty – originally declared that some members of our society only counted as three-fifths of a human being. What evil this label generated, as America justified slavery for another eighty years! Think about what happened in World War II. The fascist philosophy of the Nazis said that Jewish people were less than fully human. So, there was a justification for the slaughter and the murder of six million innocent Jews? Throughout history, declaring any human life as less than fully human has always led to grotesque evil.

And it continues today. Beginning in the late 1960’s, we began referring to an unborn child as merely a “fetus.” This clinical word dehumanized the child, turning it from a person into a blob of tissue, thus making it easier to destroy. And since the horrific Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, estimates show that over fifty-one million unborn children have been murdered. Add that to the estimated fifty-four million killed in the rest of the world every single year. Compare those numbers to the Holocaust and you will realize that when it comes to the scope of eternal history, abortion may well be the most grotesque evil of all time.

These are the consequences whenever man declares a human life as being less than a human. After all, we were all made by the same Creator. And God doesn’t make mistakes. So, let’s respect the sanctity of human life – from conception through old age.

Devotion by Jim Murphy, Executive Director, Right From The Heart Ministries

Great Advice for the New Year (Part 4)

Philippians 3:15-16

Having already admonished us to “GO ON” and to “GIVE OUR ALL,” Paul now teaches us to “GROW UP.” In order to be grownup and mature believers in 2011 we need to do three things, two of which Paul has already addressed in this passage (vs. 12-14) and another that he addresses in our two verses today (vs. 15-16).

First, we need to live up to our present spiritual potential (vs. 15-16). We need to do all that we know to do, as well as all that we are capable of doing. By doing so, our service of Christ will be both commemorated and commended by Him (Mark 14:8-9).

Next, as we learned Sunday, we need to be perpetually dissatisfied with our spiritual progress (vs. 12-13a). It is often said that “Satisfaction is the graveyard of progress.” When we’re through learning and growing we’re through. Mature Christians, like the Apostle Paul, realize that they will never arrive spiritually in this life. No matter how far they’ve come there is still farther for them to go. No matter what they know there is still much more for them to learn.

Finally, and most importantly, to grow up in 2011 we need a single spiritual purpose. Notice, Paul said, “…but this one thing I do…” (v.13).  The “one thing” of which Paul spoke was his sole focus in life; namely, his conformity to Christ through his communion with Christ (see verses 7-11).

Our single focus in 2011 ought to be our imitation of Christ through our intimacy with Christ. In other words, we should live everyday of the New Year wanting to become more Christ-like by getting to know Christ better than we ever have before. Contrary to popular opinion, the mature pulpit is not filled with a man wanting a bigger church; nor is the mature pew filled with people wanting a better life. Instead, both the mature pulpit and pew are filled with those seeking conformity to Christ through intimacy with Him.

“But how about all of those other important things in life,” you protest. Well, according to Jesus, they’ll take care of themselves if we’ll only “seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). If we’ll GO ON, GIVE OUR ALL, and GROW UP in 2011, God will take care of everything else.

Great Advice for the New Year (Part 3)

Philippians 3:14

In Philippians 3:14, Paul admonishes us to GIVE OUR ALL—“press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul paints a picture here of a runner running a race zeroed in on the finish line and putting every ounce of his strength and every fiber of his being into crossing it victoriously.

Nothing apart from our very best is worthy of God. Anything less is both insulting to God and an ignominy to us. Although many may feel that giving our all is an unreasonable request for God to make of us, Paul teaches us that it is really the only “reasonable” thing for us to do (Romans 12:1-2). Since Christ gave His all on the cross when He was dying for us, how can we give anything less than our all while we’re living for Him?

IS YOUR ALL ON THE ALTAR? (Elisha A. Hoffman)

You have longed for sweet peace,

And for faith to increase,

And have earnestly, fervently prayed;

But you cannot have rest,

Or be perfectly blest,

Until all on the altar is laid.

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?

Your heart does the Spirit control?

You can only be blest,

And have peace and sweet rest,

As you yield Him your body and soul.

Great Advice for the New Year (Part 2)

Philippians 3:13

In Philippians 3:13, the Apostle Paul instructs us to GO ON; that is, to “forget those things which are behind.” No Christian should live in their past memories. Living in the past only serves to rob us of our present and to ruin our future.

Another common mistake of many Christians is to live today with past transgressions. Too many of us have fallen in the past and we can’t get up. We’re haunted by our past mistakes. In this New Year, exorcise all the ghosts from your past. If God has forgiven you and forgotten your sins, what right do you have to keep bringing them up against you and bludgeoning yourself with them?

In addition to refusing to live any longer in our memories and with our past mistakes, we should also refuse to live on our past merits. Past performance never justifies present action. Many laggards and lowlifes attempt to justify their present lives on the basis of their past laurels. However, what matters today is not what you’ve done, but what you’re doing. It’s not how you’ve lived, but how you’re living.

In order to go on with our lives in 2011, we must also adhere to the Apostle Paul’s additional admonition to “reach forth unto those things which are before” us. While there is nothing wrong with learning from the past and planning for the future, we must live in the present. As someone has astutely observed: “Yesterday is but a memory and tomorrow but a dream; today is all we’re promised.”