Friday, October 31, 2003

Cutting Away Your Soul

The Psalmist wrote about the Israelites: “They did not destroy the peoples as the LORD had commanded them, but they mingled with the nations and adopted their customs. They worshiped their idols, which became a snare to them” (Ps 106:34-36). They enjoyed the land God had given them unconcerned with their gradual departure from the ways of God. Though warned, they didn’t believe they were destroying their lives. Though called to repent, they focused on the milk and honey while sin consumed their souls.
George Orwell tells a story about a trick he once played on a wasp. “He (the wasp) was sucking jam on my plate, and I cut him in half. He paid no attention, merely went on with his meal, while a tiny stream of jam trickled out of his severed esophagus. Only when he tried to fly away did he grasp the dreadful thing that had happened to him. It is the same with modern man. The thing that has been cut away is his soul, and there was a period ... during which he did not notice it.”
Look at what you are doing and what its doing to you. That’s Life at Work!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Abortion Lies

“You won’t die! God doesn’t want you to eat the fruit because when you do, you’ll be like him.”
“Her? No, she’s not my wife, she’s my sister. Sarah, come on over and meet these good Egyptians.”
“Yeah, I know what God told you, but I am a prophet, too. He told me to tell you to come to my house in Bethel and eat supper with me.”
“Look, we sold our land and here is all the money from that sale. Every bit of it.”
“Tell me what makes you so strong, Samson. I love you, but you’re making fun of me.”

Did you recognize those statements as lies from Bible history? Each of those lies had real potential to harm either the liar or the one believing the lie. Adam and Eve were banished from the garden because they believed Satan’s lie. The young prophet who believed the lie of the old prophet was killed by a lion on his way home. Ananias and Saphira were immediately struck dead because of their lie concerning the money for the sale of their land. Samson was captured because he believed Delilah’s lie when she said, “I love you.” The only lie mentioned above was Abraham’s lie that Sarah was not his wife. The only reason that was remedied is because God stepped into the picture to keep Pharaoh from sleeping with her.

“This type of late-term abortion is performed rarely and only to save a mother’s life or to abort malformed fetuses.” That was a lie, too. It was told by Ron Fitzsimmons and the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League according to the Cleveland Daily Banner of February 27, 1997. What has been the result of this lie? Thousands of babies since then, having been partially delivered, have had their brains sucked out of their heads. These babies had actually come part way through the birth canal - they were seconds from seeing the faces of their mothers - and they were killed.
Congress passed a bill to ban the procedure in 1997. President Clinton vetoed the bill, then Congress failed to override the veto. Why did President Clinton veto the bill? He explained that it was because the procedure was used on a few hundred women per year whose babies would be born with terrible deformities. He believed a lie. Why wouldn’t enough Congressmen vote to override the veto? Because they believed a lie. It was not a few hundred, it was a few thousand. It was not just on women whose babies were terribly deformed, many of the babies were perfectly healthy. Fitzsimmons admitted that he lied.
I’m so glad that Congress has passed the ban again, and that it will, no doubt, be signed by President Bush. Consider, whether these might be more lies told by pro-abortionists and believed by a nation ready to be deceived.
“The phrase sanctity of life has no meaning. Life is not sacred.”
“It’s not God’s body. It’s your body and you can do whatever you want with it.”
“Your should have the right to do whatever makes you happy regardless of its effect on the child in your womb.”
Dangerous lies, destined to bring harm. Please don’t believe them!

~~Richard May

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Eternal Furlough
"Everything's been great so far, Mom. And it ain't over yet." The New York Times ran an article about the visit of Juan Castillo to Daytona. That’s Specialist Juan Castillo, by the way. He is visiting because he is an American soldier on a 14-day furlough from Iraq. He was talking to him mom on day twelve.
The Army is hoping that the furlough, close to mid-way in a year long deployment, will make the year more tolerable. Probably won’t happen. Castillo will be happy when he can wake up in his own bed knowing that, Lord willing, he will get to do that for the rest of his life.
The quote from Castillo that opened this article reminded me of the last verse of the wonderful Christian song “Amazing Grace.” “When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun; we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.”
If you ask his family, Specialist Castillo was hiding his true feelings. He wanted the furlough to be eternal. In Heaven it will be. “My sheep listen to my voice;” Jesus said. “I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). That’s Life at Work!

~Richard May

Thursday, October 09, 2003

What Does Love Look Like?

The first is like the second, the second like the first. They are tied together. Like conjoined twins sharing a single heart, the commands to love God and love your neighbor must not be, cannot be, separated.

To define love is possible. Love like Jesus commanded in Matthew 22 is good will even for enemies, not dependent on the lovability of the person loved, always accompanied with action. But love is shown better than defined. In lieu of defining love, Jesus illustrated it with personal example and story. He gave us pictures of love that we can examine and imitate.

He told the story that Luke records about a man beaten and left for dead. Two “spiritual leaders” passed by, unwilling to help. An outcast saw the beaten man, though, tended to his wounds, carried him to a place where he could heal, and paid for the services he needed. That’s Love. The Pharisee, eager to justify himself, still could miss the point.

Jesus “showed the full extent of his love” (NIV) when he washed the feet of his followers, his students, his servants. That’s Love. The disciples understood that they weren’t worthy; they were loved.

The theologian Augustine answered the question, “What does love look like?” saying, It (love) has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”

Richard May

Monday, October 06, 2003

Love Your Neighbor

When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?” he responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And, love your neighbor as yourself.”
The quick question in return was, “Who is my neighbor?”
Jesus didn’t define a neighbor as the person who lives next door or down the street. Jesus didn’t say your neighbor is someone who you’ve befriended because of common backgrounds. Your neighbor, according to Jesus, is not someone who looks like you, spends money like you, is part of the same group as you, or goes to the same places as you.
Instead of defining “neighbor,” Jesus illustrated neighbor with a story. You are probably familiar with the story about a beaten man, a priest, a Levi, and a Samaritan recorded by Luke that Jesus told. The story was such a powerful illustration that even the Pharisee who was interested in self-justification couldn’t misunderstand. Your neighbor is anyone, anywhere who needs your help. Could Jesus tell a story about you to illustrate who a neighbor is? That’s Life at Work!

Richard May

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Love the Lord Your God

“Ah, blessed Lord, I wish I knew how I might best love you and please you, that my love were as sweet to you as your love is to me.” Margery Kempe

What a grand prayer! And an important prayer because Jesus said to the testing Pharisees that the greatest command is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37; NIV).
God’s love for us consumed him, so much that John says about him, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). His love for us is so intense, such a part of his nature, that “nothing shall separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39; NIV).
Could anything separate God from your love for him? Jesus said to love him with:

All your heart - every bit of your emotion.
All your soul - every part of your being.
All your mind - every bit of your intellect.

When we love him that much, the tragedies of life, the prayers that seem unheard, the injustices we perceive, and the sacrifices we make without immediate reward will not cause us to turn from our relationship with him.
To love God is to obey God (John 14:15). Obeying God means giving it all up for him. That’s he did for us. Paul wrote that God showed his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). In the context of God’s love, Paul wrote that if God didn’t withhold his Son, there is nothing he wouldn’t give for us (Romans 8:32).
Does God see, in your choices, love for him? Do you believe that your choices reflect the prayer “that your love be as sweet to God as his love is to you”?