the importance of life

the importance of life

There is a lot of debate these days about pro-life and pro-choice. As a Christian, I look at things from the perspective that God created all life. Not only did He create us, He created us in His own image. (Genesis 1:27)

At the writing of this post, over 61 million babies have been aborted, and over 2,000 just today in the United States. Worldwide? 1.5 Billion so far. (Source: numberofabortions.com) )

When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I developed severe Hyperemesis gravidarum. It was so serious that I lost 15 pounds in one week and was admitted to the hospital. I was unable to keep any food down and suffered from malnutrition to the point that my bones protruded and I fainted twice. Everything I ate, I vomited. A few months later, I developed pneumonia and was again hospitalized. In all, I was on bed rest for the first five months of my pregnancy. The doctors weren’t sure if my daughter would be all right. They weren’t sure if I would make it. Our lives were in the balance.

God is faithful and brought us through that ordeal. It also brought me back to Him, which is a story for another time. However, I can’t imagine ever not having that little life that had begun to grow inside of me. I had already grown to love her. God had designed her before He ever placed her in my womb.

Life is valuable. My mom has severe chronic pain and is disabled from an accident less than a decade ago. But her life, as one who cannot walk or even use her hands to send a text message, is no less valuable than the athlete running ten miles on the treadmill. A person with Down Syndrome, a blind person, an elderly person, or a person confined to a wheelchair is no less important than another human being. The baby in the womb is no less valuable than the adorable toddler swinging on a swing in the park.

Not in God’s eyes.

And they shouldn’t be in ours.

When did we, as a society, decide that some life just wasn’t valuable? When did we, as a culture, decide that some life is not important and must be extinguished? When did we decide that it was our job to make that call?

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My cousin and his wife lost their precious newborn a short time after he was born due to complications. They knew that their baby would die soon after birth, but in a valiant act, they chose life.

I have friends and relatives who have had miscarriages. They know the pain of loss of a baby who never had a chance to live.

So that brings me to abortion. A hot topic right now with a new law in New York passed allowing abortion right up to birth. I struggle with this news. For days, it has weighed heavily on my mind. The “right” to kill another human being? Isn’t that called murder? While abortion has been around for a long time and made legal in 1973 with Roe v. Wade, the thought of people doing even more to snuff out life up until the last possible moment brings about a whole new wave of horror.

You can probably tell by now that I am 100% pro-life.

My daughters and I have attended many pro-life meetings, where we spoke for those who will never get a chance to speak, prayed for those who have had abortions and those who were contemplating abortions, and prayed for the dads of the babies they would never know.

Why pray for those who have had abortions?

A close friend of mine had an abortion years ago. She confided to me that, while she remains pro-choice, not a day goes by that she doesn’t think about her baby and what he or she may be like if she had chosen life. She struggles with forgiving herself.

Thankfully, we serve a mighty God, who can forgive us as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).

We should come alongside those who have had abortions. We should care about them. Reassure them of God’s forgiveness. Refuse to condemn.

Why pray for those contemplating abortions?

Because when you’re struggling with how you will support a new baby, or you are in high school and pregnant, or you were the victim of rape that resulted in a pregnancy, decisions can be even more difficult.

We pray for those who are in the midst of that struggle. That they would choose the other “a” word – adoption.

Why pray for the dads who will never know their child because of an abortion?

Because, in my opinion, they are some of the most forgotten in this scenario. As one who once worked in the social services field, I saw dads who were against their girlfriend or wife having an abortion. But they didn’t get a say.

So come alongside that young woman facing an unplanned pregnancy. Be there for her. Help her choose life. There are so many who would love to adopt a baby. To place your child for adoption, when you know you are unable to care for them, is one of the most courageous choices a woman can make. Support adoption. Support your local pregnancy center.

Come alongside those who have had abortions. Show the love of Christ to them. We don’t have to agree with someone to extend the hand of mercy.

And pray for the babies.

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Pray that someday abortion will be outlawed and that babies will have a chance to live and do all the fun things babies, toddlers, children, teens, and adults experience.

That we, as a society will truly see the importance and value of life. All life. Made by a Creator who loves us more than we could ever know. A Creator who desires for us to spend eternity with Him.

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the importance of priorities

the importance of priorities

Laura enjoys taking her three-year-old son to the playground. It gives her time to text her friends, catch up on Instagram and Facebook, and stream her favorite show on her phone. The only downside? Her son is constantly saying, “Mommy, look at me!” Without looking up, she usually just nods and continues spending time on her phone.

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Chuck doesn’t understand what the big deal is about going to church. Sunday is his only day off, and he’d much rather sleep in than wake up and attend some boring church service.

Megan seeks perfection. The perfect husband, the perfect kids, the perfect house in the most prestigious neighborhood (even though her mortgage has made it necessary for her husband to take on a second job), and the perfect SUV. Her children attend the best private schools in the area. In short, Megan wants – no demands – the perfect lifestyle. And she’ll do just about anything to get it. Besides, why would she want anyone to think she was anything less than perfect?

Damien is a workaholic. He is set on advancing up the career ladder as quickly as possible and trampling anyone who stands in his way. As such, he’s not a very popular guy at work. When he finally does arrive home in the evenings, he has no time for his wife and family and continues his work at home. Damien rarely clocks in more than four or five hours of sleep at night since he believes sleep is severely overrated.

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What do each of the above examples have in common?

They have mixed up priorities.

When we get off track, how do we get our priorities back in order?

We start by realizing what’s important in God’s eyes.

He places a great value on spending time in worship, fellowship, attending church, and spending time with Him. We are commanded to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” ~ Matthew 22:37.

The Lord also places a high value on loving your spouse and your children.

We are told in Matthew 6:24 that no one can serve two masters. Things such as money, status, and power can quickly overtake us.

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There is nothing wrong with having nice things, but they shouldn’t be our priority. Instead, Seek to make your priorities those that are eternal. Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. ~ Matthew 6:19-20

There’s nothing wrong with working hard at your job or enjoying texting friends or spending time on Facebook. It’s when we elevate those things and they become idols in our lives that they become issues.

Pray that the Lord would show you where you have erred in your priorities. Pray that He would assist you in getting back on track so that the important things in your life are Him, your family (both immediate and extended), your friends, and doing your job well (but not by being a workaholic or perfectionist). Do your job as if doing it for the Lord (Colossians 3:23).

Ask that the Lord teach you to number your days so that you may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12).

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the importance of new beginnings

new beginnings

At the beginning of every New Year, many make resolutions that they aim to keep throughout the year. Decisions to make them healthier, fitter, more organized, etc.

In the classic 80s song New Attitude, Patti LaBelle sings of starting a new beginning with a new attitude “from [her] head to [her] shoes.” Every time I hear that song, it brings to mind a crabby lady in need of a personality overhaul.

But what about a new beginning in Christ?

Paul in the Bible received a new beginning – a “start over”, if you will. A harsh man who made it his life’s goal to persecute Christians, Paul was the furthest thing from one who could be used effectively by God. Wasn’t he?

On the contrary. God used Paul in a mighty way. After Paul’s conversion, he was one of the greatest apostles who ever lived. He endured beatings and spent much time in prison for the sake of the Gospel.

Could you be used for God’s Kingdom?

Probably not if you have a “checkered” past, right? If you’ve done things you’re not proud of, sinned in ways you don’t care to admit, you certainly can’t be used. And definitely, God isn’t going to forgive you for all of those things you did. After all, we’re not talking “minor” sins here.

Again, on the contrary.

God can and will use you.

We serve a  God who is One of second chances, and third chances, and fourth chances. Jesus took all of our sins, past and present, upon Himself when He went to the Cross. Your new beginning means your dry erase board is wiped clean from all of the junk that once cluttered it.

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So how can you have a new beginning?

Commit your life to Him. If you have not made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, that is the first step.

After you have made a decision for Christ, you are forgiven. You have a new beginning. You also have eternal life and will spend eternity with Him. Nothing can ever take you from His hand (John 10:28). But it doesn’t stop there. Find a Bible-based church where the pastor digs into the Word and preaches it each week. Find a mature Christian to mentor you in your walk.

Spend time in the Bible. The Old Testament is wonderful, and I would highly recommend reading it, but as a new believer, the best place to start is in the New Testament in the Book of John.

Turn your eyes toward Him. Listen and watch things that aren’t contrary to your new faith.

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you (James 4:8).

This year, spend time in prayer to dedicate your life to a new beginning for Christ. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “the old is gone, the new is here.” And that is definitely something to celebrate!

2 Corinthians 5 17

 

 


 

 

Other posts in the “importance series:”

the importance of relying on God

the importance of gratitude

the importance of honesty

the importance of Christmas

The importance of Christmas

One of my favorite modern Christmas songs is This is Christmas by Kutless.  The words in the chorus are thought-provoking and profound:

What is Christmas?
If there never was a Savior wrapped in a manger
What is Christmas without Christ?

Indeed. What if a Baby, who would grow to be the Savior of mankind, was never born?

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For one, we would definitely not have the Christmas holiday. There would be nothing to celebrate.

I, for one, love the whole idea of Christmas. The day after Thanksgiving, my husband gets a calorie-burning workout hauling the numerous bins of decorations from our Christmas closet up the stairs. He then heads outside to set up “Wally and Eva,” our two laser light devices that shine brightly all over the front of our house and garage.

I love shopping for presents for my family and mailing packages to my extended family in several different states. My daughters and I find great joy in baking delicious goodies for our neighbors and close friends and delivering them a few weeks in advance.

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And don’t even get me started on Christmas music. Let’s just say my Christmas playlist somehow mysteriously (or not so mysteriously) found its way into playing two days before Thanksgiving. Nope, I just couldn’t wait. And I seemed to run even farther and faster on the treadmill while listening to that Christmas playlist.

All of those things in and of themselves are fine. It’s when we replace the real meaning of Christmas with temporary things – and put our focus solely on those things – that we find ourselves in error.

Anything can become an idol – anything that we make more important than God. Can Christmas presents, decorations, food, tinsel, and laser lights become idols?

Absolutely.

Especially presents.

Or add in the busyness of this time of year. The pressure to live up to expectations to create the holiday a certain way for others, as well as ourselves, can become a stress-fest.

Or the debt that we manage to accumulate while finding all those perfect presents for everyone on our gift list.

Do we even remember – and take time to realize – that the perfect present is right before us? The gift of eternal life.

So I’m reminding myself this year that it is all about the Savior that was born in the manger. It’s all about that Baby that was born on earth and grew to be a man who would give His life for all mankind. A brutal death with the sins of the world on His back, Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice.

For me.

For you.

For us all.

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This holiday season, let’s make Christ the ultimate reason we celebrate.  Let’s place Him in His rightful place of importance. Ahead of the trees, the food, the presents, the Christmas music, and the laser lights.

Let’s do more than celebrate Him. Let’s show our gratitude for what He has done for us. Not just on December 25, but on every day of the year.

 


 

Check out some of the other recent articles on this blog:

Interview and Giveaway with Author Debby Lee!

9 memorable Christmas traditions for families

8 great Christmas gift ideas for wives

5 things a man should never buy his wife for Christmas

Movie Monday – Christopher Robin

 

 

the importance of gratitude

the importance of gratitude

My oldest daughter is a logophile – someone who loves words. Every day, before I begin work, she opens a tab on my computer for Dictionary.com for the “word  of the day.”

Today’s word? Thanksgiver. The definition, according to Dictionary.com is a person who gives thanks.

An appropriate word for all times of the year, but perhaps more easily remembered during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Why should we express our gratitude to God?

Below are a few of the many reasons.

  • He is deserving of our praise.

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  • He tells us to “…give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thessalonians 5:18a). Not always easy in those times of trial that we all experience. But His grace and mercy sees us through even the worst of times.

 

  • He gave us eternal life. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) 

 

  • When we have a grateful heart, we are less apt to complain or look dismally at our circumstances, no matter how bleak they may seem.

Charles Dickens

  • It reminds us how dependent we are on Him.

 

  • His love endures forever (Psalm 136:1).

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  • It is a way to express worship to our Creator.

 

  • A grateful heart comes humbly before the  Lord and realizes all that He has done.

 

  • Gratitude reminds us of how much we have, not how much we lack.

Melody Beattie

One of the ways I have found to be especially important in showing thankfulness is by staring a gratitude journal.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. Any notebook will do. At the end of each day, list the things you are grateful for. It’s amazing the things we forget.

How often do I thank the Lord for His many blessings? The gift of His Son? Jesus’s sacrifice on the Cross? That He chose me to be His? For food on the table? Good health for my family and me? His protection? My husband’s job?

Speaking of His protection, how many times does God protect us and we don’t even realize it? The car accident that could have happened. The illness we avoided. The lurking, unseen dangers that He has saved us from. By His grace, we emerged unscathed from potential dangers we never even gave thought to.

Not only today, but everyday, be a thanksgiver. Come before the Throne with humility, thanksgiving, and praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

How do you express your gratitude to the Lord?


 

For another post about gratitude, see Thankful for the Small Things.

For more posts in The Importance Series, check out the following:

The Importance of Relying on God

The Importance of Friendship

The Importance of Compassion

The Importance of Honesty

The Importance of Avoiding the Gossip Trap

The Importance of Influence

The Importance of Kindness

The Importance of Voting

 

 

the importance of voting

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As we embark on yet another election, I’m reminded of why it’s important to vote.

  • Voting is a right not every country has. We are blessed to have a say in who governs us. It is our chance to have a voice in the topics that matter most to us.
  • Voting is our duty to our country. We thank those who died for our freedom to vote by utilizing that freedom.
  • Voting is a privilege. A right. A benefit of living in this wonderful country where men and women have given their lives for this right. I have an old saying that I say each year: “If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain about the outcome.”

My grandma, Nanie, was the trusted investigator for our entire extended family, which included five families, all with the same political leanings. Months before the election, she would thoroughly investigate and see which candidates in all of the races, from local, to state, to federal, espoused our same belief system in the things that were important to our families. My mom and dad showed my siblings and me the importance of voting, as neither ever missed an election.

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So how do you model the importance of voting to your children or grandchildren?

  • From an early age, let your children go with you when you vote if possible. My girls, from the time they were in our double baby-jogger stroller, accompanied me to the voting venue.
  • Express your beliefs and values with your children. Discuss the criticality of voting for those who share your morals and beliefs. What’s most important to you? Where do you stand on life vs. abortion? The Second Amendment? Religious liberties? Taxes? The role of government? What type of candidate do you want to see in the role of leadership? Why?
  • Encourage your children to ask questions. When they are adults, they will have their own opinions, but you can set the foundation for the values you hope they will emulate.
  • Don’t shy away from the hard questions. Your kids are growing up in an increasingly difficult and hostile world. Things we’ve never seen before have suddenly become commonplace. Don’t be afraid to open up the lines of communication, especially with tweens and teens.
  • Go over the sample ballot with them. Our local newspaper prints a sample ballot each election year. Our family sits at the dining room table and discusses the objectives of the candidates, based on public forums, debates, and their websites. Our daughters weigh in on who they would vote for if given the chance.
  • Engage in a mock election. When I taught Constitutional Literacy at our local homeschool co-op two years ago, we had a mock election on everything from president to the city council. We conducted it like a real election – discussing the candidates’ views on the hot-button issues. Each of my students voted in private. We then tallied the scores and watched in coming weeks to see how closely they resembled the real outcome.

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Modeling truth and aligning your beliefs with the Word of God is critical. When your children are grown, they will make their own decisions. What they choose is not up to you, but how you give them the tools to make the right choices is.

Get out there and let your voice be heard!

 

 

the importance of relying on God

Relying on God

Everyday I rely on God for the big things: every breath, health and safety for my family, food, clothing, shelter, my husband’s job, help and healing for my mom, nephew, and niece for their chronic illnesses and pain; and the list goes on.

But what about the seemingly “small” things? The things that some people don’t even give a second thought to? What about relying on God for those things?

Take, for instance, my fear of needles. I have to prepare myself a week in advance for my annual wellness blood draw, and I have to lie down to avoid fainting during the procedure. It doesn’t help they can never find a vein, and that when they do, my little teeny selfish veins refuse to give up blood no matter how hydrated I am. Or the recent crown the dentist put on a cracked tooth. The several needles she used to numb me was traumatic.

But to others, needles are not a big deal. But for those of us with what I call “glitches in our systems” who have strange, but common fears like needles, relying on God to get us through the needle moments is huge.

Relying on God is an essential part of our faith. We need Him. Everyday. He tells us to trust Him, to rely on Him, that He will supply our needs and strengthen us.

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I’m thankful in a way that I do have needle phobia. When my recent crown was completed (my daughters called this my “coronation,” so I have officially been crowned, lol!) the gratitude and humility that washed over me was immense. Tears filled my eyes, as I praised God for yet again getting me through another “needle moment in life.”

Had I not struggled with the crown or the annual blood draw, or the times throughout my life when I’ve had IVs (pregnancy, appendicitis, and a dental surgery), then I would not have been overwhelmed with the gratitude of God’s provision for the small things as well as the big things.

So how do we show our gratitude to our Creator for all that we rely upon Him for?

  • Praise Him often. For everything we know about and everything that He has protected us from that we may not even have realized.
  • Praise Him with sincerity.  True devout humility to the One who gives us our every breath.
  • Praise Him with worship. Praise Him with a song and exalt His holy name. I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.

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  • Praise His name when talking to others. Tell them of His wondrous works and how you relied on Him – and He came through for you.
  • Praise Him through a gratitude journal. Keeping track of answered prayers and the times you relied on Him is a good way to help remember all He has done.

What seemingly “small” things have you relied on God for lately?