Here are some of the reasons that people give -- 

Science: “Human development is a continuous process beginning with fertilization and continuing throughout pregnancy, birth, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and into old age.” (The Endowment for Human Development)

Natural law: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” (The Declaration of Independence)

Revelation: “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’” (Genesis 1:26)

Does one carry more weight with you than another? Why? And, is that important?

In 2007, Carolyn Cavanaugh shared the story of how she and her husband adopted their son from Korea. It was a tale of joy and of learning forgiveness. As we'll see in the following update, the legacy that began in 1924 when her father was adopted has not yet ended.

About four years ago, the phone rang. It was our son, asking if we still had any of his old toys. He and his wife had become foster parents for four young children. 

We said yes, and planned a quick trip from Michigan to Tennessee to deliver the them and meet our foster grandchildren. 

This was not their first time as foster parents. Some experiences were very brief, some ended in the children being adopted by other families. We didn't always get updates on the children, but we prayed they were thriving in good homes.

The path to becoming a foster parent is very rigorous, about the same as for adoption. It's not easy to handle children who've been in less-than-ideal situations. I admire foster parents so much because they try to help troubled kids. 

We arrived at their home at suppertime. Our son introduced us to the children between bites of pizza. The youngest was a six-month old baby. Her brother and sisters were two, four, and six years old -- all eager for us to play with them.

After eating, my son asked me to wash the four-year-old's hands. We went into the bathroom, I turned on the water, and she looked up at me with big, innocent eyes and asked, “Are you Grandma?” 

Oh my! I gulped and tried to think of an answer, since we weren’t yet officially Grandpa and Grandma, only FOSTER Grandpa and Grandma. I evaded the issue until I could talk to our son. 

He said they'd been telling the kids, "Grandpa and Grandma are coming," so yes, I was a Grandma. Wow! The thought overwhelmed me. I’m suddenly a Grandma four times over!

The next morning they were all up early, ready to play. Soon all four were bouncing and crawling around on our bed. What a hoot! This Grandpa and Grandma gig could be fun!

Too soon, it was time to head home. A bigger piece of our hearts was left in Tennessee, and we began to seriously consider moving there. 

The old saying, “Man plans, God laughs,” became very apparent to us. Not long after our trip, my husband learned he was being laid off. But then, a couple days later, he was offered a position with the same company . . . in Nashville!

From our new vantage point we were able to follow first-hand the court proceedings for our son and daughter-in-law to adopt the children. There were many ups and downs, with progress being made by fits and starts. 

In November of 2012, my husband and I watched the kids for a week while Mommy and Daddy took a trip. Being over the Thanksgiving holiday, this kept Grandpa and Grandma busy!

While still "recovering" from this adventure, a text message arrived on the following Tuesday saying, “Congratulations, Grandma! The adoptions are finalized!” 

Was the wait really over? Were they finally and forever part of the family? It was so hard to believe, but our praises ascended to God. 

Christmas that year was certainly extra special. Since then, the grandkids have really settled in. Three out of four are now in school. They've all come a long way, and we're so proud of them.

It's been amazing to see the hand of God at work, even when it has required patience and looking back with a clearer eye than when you're in the midst of the situation. 

Thus continues the story of building a family through love, acceptance, and adoption. A number of cousins, great-nieces and nephews, and others have joined my family through adoption. It all began with the adoption of my father as a very young infant by a young couple, Alex and Edwina Wingeier, ninety years ago.

Who knows what the Lord has in store for our family as the years go on? Stay tuned! God is not finished with us yet.

Christians are good givers. Amid the shopping frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, we give as we always have to our churches, to Christian ministries, and to the less fortunate. 

Giving Tuesday is about inviting friends to join you in support of favorite charities. Share this link so they can support biblical pro-life ministries that change lives.

Something else to keep in mind: Opponents of life use Giving Tuesday as a major fundraising tool. Let your giving and/or social-media sharing on December 2 make a difference for life!

Samples and order forms are on their way to churches. Pastors, watch your mail!

Or get a head start and order now.

Featured resources include:


The focus this year is on men and abortion, and the actual "war on women." Life Matters Worldwide welcomes men in the battle for life. They make a big difference by working, praying, and giving alongside women all over the world. READ MORE

Whether we’re enthusiastic about an election or not, Christians are not excused from political participation. We deserve the government we get, by our own inaction as much as by the actions of others. Is there a biblical pattern for citizenship?

Titus 3:1-2 says, “Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men” (NASV). This passage is an overview of how believers should generally live in the world, and includes phrases pertaining to our participation in an election.

“Be ready for every good deed.” A constant theme in the New Testament, it fits a discussion on voting because that is one good deed we can perform on behalf of “all men” (Galatians 6:10, 1 Thessalonians 5:15). Good works are God’s purpose in redeeming us (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:14). Careful voting will coincide with and reinforce any type of compassion ministry that we may do.

“Malign no one.” This admonition can apply not only to the tone of a campaign, but also to the way Christians speak and write about a candidate. Could that email we pass along be considered slanderous? What about a comment we make on Facebook?

“Be peaceable.” As we submit to government, we can be grateful for the extent to which this God-given institution maintains peace in society. 1 Thessalonians 4:11 says our ambition in life should be quiet industriousness. We contribute to the peace by performing good deeds and by participating in government – whether it involves service on a local board or in some higher office.

“Showing every consideration for all men.” Take that thought with you into the voting booth this November, not only your concern over the economy’s effect on your wallet. On Election Day, will your choices reflect consideration for people beyond your circle? How will the decisions made by the candidates you support affect those who are too often forgotten – the unborn, the disabled, and the terminally ill?

CHRISTIANS VOTE BECAUSE . . . 

  • Government is God’s good gift to Fallen people. It is therefore appropriate for Christians to participate in government. 
  • Voting is our duty as citizens of a country in which the leaders rule by the consent of the governed (Romans 13:1-7). 
  • Although we are “aliens and strangers,” we should seek the good of our neighbors (Matthew 22:36-40, Jeremiah 29:7).
  • Participating in government does not mean we replace our trust in God with trust in “princes” (Psalm 146:3).
  • We please God when we pray for those in authority over us (1 Timothy 2:1-3), and also when we act (James 2:17). 
  • As salt and light in the world, we are called to promote truth and justice in word and deed (Matthew 5:13-16, 1 John 3:18) and yet leave the results to God (Proverbs 21:1).
  • God grants His children the ability to discern and expects us to exercise it (1 Corinthians 2:15).
  • We lose credibility if we complain about our leaders but don’t participate in the political process. 
  • Leaders at both the state and federal levels influence the direction our nation will take on matters of clear, biblical import, such as the sanctity of human life (as well as the sanctity of marriage). 



VOTING Q & A

Aren’t there other important issues beside abortion? Yes, but a candidate’s position on abortion reveals much about his or her character and worldview.

What if the office a candidate is running for doesn’t involve any decisions about abortion? Once a candidate is elected to one office it often leads to other, higher offices. 

Should we impose our views on others? Abortion is not a view; it is a violent act perpetrated on the weak by the strong. 

Shouldn’t elected officials represent all their constituents, including those who support abortion on demand? They should not ignore the group that Roe v. Wade excludes from society, the helpless unborn.  

Should the government be involved in a private, medical decision? Many laws already exist to prevent abuses of medical practice. Government is ordained by God to protect human life, not defend those who either openly or secretly destroy it. 

What if a candidate says he or she is personally opposed to abortion but supports a woman’s “right” to choose? This candidate is not pro-life, but has placed personal freedom above the sanctity of human life. Abortion is one issue that defies neutrality.

What about a candidate who claims that compassion for the sick requires support for embryonic stem cell research? This candidate is neither pro-life nor compassionate because sacrificial love would never require the death of one non-consenting individual for another.

Remember, votes for the presidency of the United States aren’t the only important ones. Every election -- state, local, and federal -- is vital. Our chosen leaders leave significant marks on the landscape of life. And, no matter who wins, God expects us to pray for them at every level (1 Timothy 2:1-4).


LEARN WHERE THE CANDIDATES STAND:


Please watch Start with Life and I Vote Pro-Life First, then share this post with friends and family. If you need help on races outside Michigan, contact us.

RELATED: "Whatsoever" . . . Voting

Reading Erwin Lutzer's Hitler's Cross (Moody Publishers, 1995) over the past week, I came across a passage that underscores the reason Life Matters Worldwide has always focused on the primacy of evangelism in pro-life ministry:

For years evangelicals have cooperated with a broad spectrum of religious groups to fight such scourges as abortion, pornography, and the imposition of special laws that favor homosexuals. They have worked together to form crisis pregnancy centers and provide food for the hungry. That work is of course commendable since in a democracy we must join forces with all those who hold to family values, regardless of their religious commitment or lack of it.

We can organize a moral crusade, raise a flag, and work with anyone who will salute it. But let us not be so naive as to think that this is America's great hope. Darkness can only be dispelled by light, and light comers through the gospel of God's grace. Let us never forget that the world's greatest need is always to see Jesus, to understand why He alone can reconcile us to God.

Even when we engage in our cultural and political battles our primary objective should be that the world might see Christ. Yes, we can be grateful for our political and legal victories, but what have we won if people are not introduced to a Savior who can reconcile them to God? That does not mean that we preach a sermon every time we attend the PTA or help a young woman choose to give her unborn child life. It does mean, however, that we conduct ourselves in such a way that we have credibility in sharing the Good News.

And if the choice should be between winning our "cultural war" and maintaining our commitment to a pure gospel, we must let the cultural battles take second place so that the Cross gets a hearing in the hearts of men and women. Of course the choice is never that clear-cut, but we must remember that God did not put us on this earth to save America but to save Americans.

When eighteenth-century England was decadent, with alcoholism, the exploitation of children, and rampant immorality raging, God graciously sent a spiritual awakening through the preaching of George Whitefield and John Wesley. Some historians believe this revival spared the nation from a fate similar to the French revolution.

While we pray and wait for a revival we can do nothing better than to revive our confidence in the power of the Cross to do what moral reform cannot. Let us remember that the reentry of evangelicals into politics is commendable, but it is not the answer; it is only a means to the answer. Whether evangelicals act as lawyers in a court of law, protesters in a pro-life demonstration, or politicians, every vocation if s bridge to witness to the saving grace of God in Christ. (pp. 202-203)

Related: What is the Gospel?

For the most part, our mailbox at the Post Office contains checks, bills, and advertisements, but very little personal correspondence. That's why a pink, hand-written envelope stood out this week. Inside was a thank-you card. What had we ever done for Crystal in West Virginia?

Turns out she wanted to express gratitude to us "for defending our unborn neighbors," and to share her testimony. She wrote:

I am a birthmother in open adoption. I placed my only child with a wonderful adoptive family I chose for him at the time of his birth 11 years ago.

Since then we have formed a loving, open relationship. We stay in touch by email and snail mail, telephone, and visits a few times a year. They consider me a part of their extended family. He knows the "whole" story and calls me by my first name. He won't have to wonder who he is biologically, or suffer the "primal wound" symptoms that those in the closed adoption system endure.

I chose adoption for his life because I have no family here. . . . He is safe, loved, and has a beautiful stable family that love me too.

I saw the hand of God move during my crisis pregnancy and my prayers are for every unborn child and person in a crisis pregnancy on this earth.

I pray that our story will move others by giving them an option of life and still being able to show love to their child.

I thank God my son is safe.

We thank God too! What a wonderful testimony of the blessing of adoption. As she noted from Deuteronomy 30:19, "Choose life so that you and your children may live."

A friend in Zambia wants to know why Christians in his country haven't led the way in caring for people with disabilities. He related abuses by religious and political forces. As recently as the 1990s, the disabled were considered tormented and demon possessed. The ruling political party herded the blind and handicapped off the streets and into remote rural areas where they had to compete with monkeys for food.

Nsomekela Daniel, of Disability Integration Initiatives for Africa, says, "We believe and acknowledge the impact the clergy has on our communities and if they deliberately turn a blind eye to issues of disability then how will the disabled be integrated in the mainstream society? Today, there are many churches that have AIDS/HIV programs and some have even prison ministries but none has ministries for the disabled. Why? . . . How are they going to live?"

Sadly, this isn't just a Zambian or African problem. In Attitudes Toward People with Disabilities, I trace historical perspectives from northern European folk legends to social Darwinism, eugenics, and Nazi Germany. It's not a pretty picture. 

The account of the man born blind in John 9 is indicative of attitudes toward people with disabilities in Jesus’ day. The disciples supposed that blindness was a punishment for sin, either the man’s or his parents’. This idea flowed from an Old Testament explanation of blessing for obedience and curses for unconfessed sin, as found in Deuteronomy 28. 

As the book of Job makes clear, however, there’s not always a one-for-one relationship between sin and its consequences. Jesus corrected the disciples by saying that sometimes a person has a disability in order to show the glory of God. This is exactly what happened when Jesus healed the paralytic (Luke 5:25-26).

Jesus encountered many people with disabilities during his sojourn on earth. One notable instance was when he healed Bartimaeus, a blind man (Mark 10:46-52). Points to ponder:

  • Society hadn't figured out how to help a blind man, other than letting him beg by the side of the road.
  • This blind man was capable of greater insight than most sighted people. He knew who Jesus was!
  • Jesus called Bartimaeus to Himself. He truly does fill His banquet hall with "the crippled and blind and lame" (Luke 14:21).

The early church adopted a gracious and sacrificial response toward people with disabilities, literally rescuing them from the trash heaps of the Roman Empire. How do you think we're doing today?

Which of the following are being immodest?

  1. Zach is loud and demanding. He acts up in class and loves being the center of attention. Every story he tells is about him, and he’ll interrupt your story to try to top it with one of his own.
  2. Samantha is always concerned about how she looks, and usually dresses better than everyone else. She spends a lot of time on her hair, and money on her clothes, and is always asking her friends, “Do you like my new outfit?” and “Does it look good on me?”
  3. Brett doesn’t care how he looks and expects others to “accept him as is.” He’s known for dressing like a slob no matter what the occasion is. It doesn’t look like he brushes his teeth very often, and sometimes his body odor is offensive.
  4. Aaliyah studies fashion magazines so she can copy the styles of her favorite celebrities and she likes dressing older than her age. Now that her body is starting to mature, she wears clothes that show it off – short skirts and tight-fitting, low-cut tops.

If you answered "all of the above," you'd be able to proceed to the next activity on our Powered by God website for children. It reflects the idea that modesty is about more than how you dress. It's a virtue for all Christians -- not just women and girls.

I bring it up because there's a controversy brewing in the world of modesty programs. A Facebook posting of a Dannah Gresh's Secret Keeper Girls blog post -- Does Teaching Modesty Harm My Daughter's Body Image? -- led me to other entries in the conversation. 

First, way back in December 2011, Sharon Hodde Miller raised the issue in How 'Modest is the Hottest' is Hurting Christian Women (Her.Meneutics blog, Christianity Today). Then came Jonathan Merritt's question, Is the Modesty Movement Harmful to Women? (3/11/13), with a response from Dannah Gresh in A Modest Proposal to My Critics. Emily Timbol's Modesty Culture's Hidden Victims appeared in the Huffington Post August 6, 2013. 

The main concern is that modesty programs not further objectify women and girls by making them ashamed of their bodies. Dannah Gresh, to her credit, yields to that criticism.

This controversy differs from another raging over whether Christian women should wear yoga pants. To get a sampling of that debate, go here and here. Some of the arguments sound like the ones Muslim men use for enwrapping their women head to toe. Frankly, I'm more concerned about Christians attending yoga classes than what they're wearing to class.

I'm glad Powered by God -- both website and curriculum -- has its focus on the attitude of modesty and not on feminine body parts. The Bible uses the word only once (in 1 Timothy 2:9-10) and, according to Strong's Concordance, the Greek term indicates "a sense of shame or honor, modesty, bashfulness, reverence, regard for others, respect." The passage warns against drawing attention to oneself through displays of wealth -- not necessarily sexual provocation -- urges propriety and moderation, and advocates the adornments of godliness and good works instead.

While our clothing choices should not accentuate body parts, we'll be truly modest when we consider other questions as well: 

  • Does my clothes-sense overshadow the good works I'm doing? 
  • By copying the clothing, hair, and makeup styles of ungodly celebrities am I sending a mixed message? 
  • Is more time and money spent on how I look rather than on helping others? 
  • Do I assume that looking good is more important than being good? (Or that a person who looks good is good?) 
  • Do I care more about "expressing a personal style" than about the feelings of others?
  • Must I always be the center of attention?
  • How much gratification do I receive when someone says I look nice?
  • Do I have to make every occasion about me and what I'm wearing?
  • Do I show respect for the needs of others with my grooming habits and clothing selections?

Perhaps all modesty programs could benefit from that emphasis. 

Helpful addenda to the discussion:
Is Feminine Modesty about Sex? on Desiring God
The Gospel on our Sleeves: Where I went wrong teaching about modesty on The Gospel Coalition

  • Suicide or assisted suicide?

  • Experiments with animals or embryos?

  • Having sex outside the bonds of marriage or having a baby out of wedlock?

Since about 2001, the Gallup News Service has been tracking American beliefs about various moral issues. They ask people whether an issue is morally acceptable, morally wrong, or not a moral issue at all. Not only is it interesting to see how viewpoints have changed, but how responses can be ranked in relation to one another.

For instance, the latest results reveal that only 19% of Americans think suicide is acceptable, but 52% agree assisted suicide is okay. Essentially this says if a young, healthy person wants to kill himself we should try to prevent it, but if someone old or sick is suicidal we should help him die. Do you see what’s wrong with that picture? 

It's fairly obvious that Americans have become tolerant of what was formerly unthinkable. Would it surprise you to learn that people are more comfortable with medical research that destroys human embryos than they are with experiments on animals (65% to 57%)? 

According to recent results, having a baby outside marriage is less acceptable than the act between unmarried partners that leads to such a pregnancy (58% to 66%). The implication is that you can have sex outside marriage, just don't bring any resulting babies into the world. 

Something is out of whack. Our nation’s moral compass is clearly “off.” We do not value human life the way we once did.

Jesus looked at a crowd of people one day and likened them to “sheep without a shepherd.” Our society fits that description, doesn't it? And, while we might be tempted to shake our heads and mutter "tsk, tsk," we don't have that luxury. We must do as Jesus did -- feel compassion for the lost and carry on teaching them.  

Support for Life Matters Worldwide enables us to produce teaching materials addressing matters of life and purity. I invite you to browse store.lifemattersww.org for resources such as Powered by God curriculum for children and LIFT (Living in Faith Together) for end-of-life caregiving. And if we can help you another way, please let us know.


Source material -- Gallup Poll Social Series: Values and Beliefs, Gallup News Service, May 8-11, 2014, http://www.gallup.com/file/poll/170798/Moral_Acceptability_140530.pdf, http://www.gallup.com/poll/170789/new-record-highs-moral-acceptability.aspx; accessed 7/7/2014.
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