Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Cornerstone

The room was overflowing with baby gifts - two years of all the baby's needs, wrapped and beautifully presented, the work of many devoted Christians over several months. I ran my first Cities4life baby shower yesterday for a young woman I helped counsel who chose life rather than abortion for her precious baby. A small church spearheaded by a dynamo, Pam, begged to collect the items for the shower. A Cities4Life partner, Truth and Mercy Ministries, filled in the gaps for items we couldn't collect. A Facebook friend from across the country mailed me supplies. Mary Rushing, a fellow counselor who was pivotal in helping this young woman choose life filled in other gaps in our "loot" and one of her friends provided a "diaper cake." Mary's entire family assisted in transportation and loading of two van-fulls of baby items. The common link in all these donors was love of Jesus, and the desire to not only encourage women in crisis pregnancies to choose life, but to help with resources to raise that precious child. An essential part of the Cities4life ministry to the abortion mills is that we bring the only true hope any of us have to these women in crisis: Jesus.

I really can think of nothing better to write, with my heart filled with the blessings of the day, than to share my "letter" to L, which I presented at the end of our shower. So here it is. May it bless you. When I finished and asked L if she had anything she wanted to say, she said, "Amen."



My Prayers and Thoughts For You As you Enter Life with Your New Child

We have given you many gifts today, but the most important gift is this last one, a Bible.
As a new mother, you will have many new experiences, and you will probably feel unprepared to handle them. Most new mothers manage, and most of us feel like it is impossible at times. The power of your love for this new little baby will carry you both through many tough situations and sleepless nights. Nonetheless, I have found that nothing has guided me more or helped me more in my role as a parent than the word of God. I believe the most precious gift you can give your child is a strong faith in the One who created her and loves her even more than you do.
The first step in teaching her to have a life-long faith that will uphold her through the inevitable hard times in life is to have an assurance of your own faith.

So I have some questions for you.

Do you know where you would be going if you walked out of here and were hit by a car and killed? Would you be in heaven…or in hell?
Most of us hope we have been “good” and that that might earn us a spot in heaven. However, that is not what the Bible says. The Bible tells us that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that “All our works are as filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6.) We are told that there is only one way to salvation, or eternal life in heaven: "Jesus is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone.’ Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." Acts 4:11-12

Therefore, I have some more questions:
Have you ever lied? What does that make you? A liar
Have you ever stolen? What does that make you? A thief
Have you ever taken the Lord’s name in vain? What does that make you? A blasphemer
Have you ever looked on someone with lust? The Bible says that makes you an adulterer.
Have you ever spoken angrily and unkindly of others? The Bible says that even when we call our brother “fool”, we are murderers in our heart!
Most people, if not all, answer yes to these questions. That means we have already broken 5 of the Ten Commandments. We are liars, thieves, blasphemers, adulterers and murderers. We try to be good, but we will fail. No one can remain perfectly good. So, we have established, we are all sinners. We all fall short of the glory of God.

The Bible also tells us that God looks upon sin as a very serious matter. He is the perfect judge and His character requires that He be perfectly just. So if He is to be perfect in justice, is He obligated to punish sin? Couldn’t He just overlook some sin? Sometimes we think that while we admit to sinning, we had valid reasons, or difficult circumstances, or terrible backgrounds. God will weigh all that, won’t He? Shouldn’t He take it into consideration and let us into Heaven even though we sin?
Let’s think about that with an example. A murderer came before a judge and the judge asked him, “I am ready to declare your punishment. Since you have killed someone, you will receive the just penalty which is the death sentence. What do you have to say for yourself?”
The murderer answered, “I am really sorry. I tried really hard not to murder…but if you knew the guy I killed. Well he really deserved it! And besides, I was having a very terrible day, and if you knew how hard my life was, you would see why I lost my temper. I promise I won’t murder anymore. I don’t think I should go to jail.”
Should the judge let him go free?
No, of course not. We all know that lawbreakers must be punished. When we let lawbreakers go free, we endanger society. We all have within us the desire for justice, and punishing a murderer is just.

Well, perhaps you see God’s dilemma. We all have broken God’s laws. As I pointed out, most of us have broken at least five of the Ten Commandments, and we haven’t even looked at the other five. So what is God to do? He must punish law-breakers. But He is also perfectly merciful and He loves us. He desires that none of us should perish and be separated from Him for all eternity. Therefore, He has provided a perfect solution. 

Let’s return to our murderer before the judge. The judge says, “No, you must be sentenced to death, as that is what the punishment for murder is.” But suddenly, a young man who has done no wrong, with his whole life before him, stands up and says, “Your Honor! Please, do not take the life of that man! I will go to the gas chamber for him. Kill me instead.”

That is what Jesus did for us. He offered to die in our place.

If the prisoner turned to the young man and said, “No, I will not accept that gift you have offered,” then the prisoner will still be killed for his sin. That is what it is like when we refuse to trust God, to believe in what Jesus did, and to reject His offer of eternal life through the gift of His sacrifice. We will be punished for our sin, which will result in being eternally separated from God. The Bible tells us we will go to Hell, and it is a terrible place.

However, if we accept God’s gift, if we admit we are sinners, are sorry for our sin, and accept the offer Jesus makes to substitute His life for ours, our sins are washed away, completely forgiven. The penalty for our sin is paid by Jesus, and God accepts us into His kingdom. The Bible says, in John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

When we accept Jesus’ gift, we are “saved” from our sin, and given eternal life with God in Heaven.
If you read your Bible, God will help you understand this. He will also give you many guidelines in this book that are meant for your good, to help and to protect you.

One of the most important things you can do for your baby is pray about all this and if you believe, ask Jesus to forgive you for your sins. Accept His gift of salvation, and pledge to live your life from this moment forward as He wants you to live it. Trust Him as Lord and Savior. If we believe Jesus really died for us on the cross, then we should be filled with gratitude and love. And if we love Him, we will do what He wants us to do. We will live in a way that honors Him. If we don’t, we need to ask ourselves if we really love Him…if we really believe in Him.

There is a very important thing about living for Jesus that you must consider. God designed us so that we can only have babies when a mother and father join together. He gives very clear guidance in the best situation for a baby to be raised. He tells us that man and woman were created specifically to help and love each other. From the first book of the Bible, Genesis, God tells us: Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24

In other words, from the beginning God tells us that one man and one woman are to marry and become one. Children came after Adam and Eve were joined together in marriage by God, not before. Marriage is to be permanent, for “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Mark 10:9) There are many verses in the Bible that warn us that sex outside of marriage is “fornication” and adultery. Old fashioned words, perhaps, but there is no wiggle room. God intends sex to be beautiful, but only within the confines of marriage. He does this not because He is a spoil sport and wants us to have no fun, but because He wants what is best for us, and what is best for any children that come from the union of a husband and wife.

All the research in how children most thrive indicates that a stable mother and father family is by far best for children to feel secure and do well in life. That is not to say that there are no single moms who manage to raise great kids. There are, but it is a very hard path, and there is a much greater incidence of poverty, teen pregnancy, depression, and government dependency in families without a mother and father married and jointly raising the children.

So God’s plan is for our good, and makes sense. From this point forward, you can make good choices to follow God’s plan, and to raise your daughter to follow God’s plan. To do that, you need to know God’s plan. And God makes His plan very clear in this Book I am giving you today. Read it, know it, teach it to your child, obey it, and God guarantees we will be blessed.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3: 1-4

If we do this, if we obey God and strive to follow Him, God Himself tells us: in Romans 6:22-23: But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We will be blessed beyond measure, and we will have eternal life and we can be secure that when we die, we will go to Heaven. There is nothing more important to think about, or to teach your child. Just as you want what is best for your child, God wants what is best for you. My prayer for you today is that you will yield your life to God, follow Him, and love Him so completely that your little baby will want nothing more than to do the same.



4 comments:

  1. Praying God gives her a strong desire to read, & meditate and obey his word! That letter is beautifully true!😊

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. amen! thank you so much for your prayers on her behalf

      Delete
  2. Great report, Vicky! Thank you for your faithful service to this mama! May God reveal Himself to her, even beyond this amazing baby shower, and may she raise her child to know Him, too! Beautiful, beautiful story! Sheryl Chandler, Truth & Mercy Prolife Ministries

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see why you do these showers so faithfully Sheryl -- it is a powerful testimony to God's love and provision, and provides such a beautiful open door to the Gospel message. Thank you for all your help.

      Delete