Friday, October 30, 2020

Murders That Won’t Go Viral: The Quiet Injustice Too Few Protest

Murders That Won’t Go Viral

Our society forgets about aborted babies. We Christians cannot forget them too.

It is all too easy to forget about aborted babies. It is all too easy to forget faces we never see and little ones we never hold. We don’t witness viral videos of preborn babies being killed as they squirm helpless. We don’t see little caskets lined up for their little bodies.

Their deaths are hidden, and their deaths are often forgotten.

Over the last several months of COVID-19, we have remembered the oldest among us, but have we forgotten about the youngest among us? As we remember perceived police brutality against black people, have we forgotten Planned Parenthood’s brutality against (black) babies?

Speak for Those Who Can’t

Even as politicians attempt to protect vulnerable people from the coronavirus, they label abortion against vulnerable preborn babies an essential service. And even as Black Lives Matter and other social justice groups protest, and riots break out, against perceived police brutality against black Americans, many also defend abortion against (black) babies.

Preborn babies cannot socially distance themselves from Planned Parenthood. They cannot beg parents and abortionists to stop killing them — they can’t speak yet. And they cannot march for their lives — they can’t walk yet.

Preborn babies need me and you to speak for them. They need me and you to march for them. They need us to remember them. But how many of us, who know these children to be precious in the sight of God, have forgotten about them?

Commit to Life

Aborted babies are not just victims of Planned Parenthood; they are also victims of our priorities. Are many of us bothered enough that we live in a culture that celebrates the mass murder of preborn babies? Abortion is the greatest systemic injustice in the world today, but its victims are the most forgotten members in the world today.

Many of us, understandably, remember the names of unarmed black people who died after encounters with police officers this year — especially George Floyd. But how many times have we really stopped to consider that it’s illegal to murder George Floyd, but it’s legal to murder preborn George Floyds. And it happens over 800,000 times a year in the United States.

Since George Floyd’s death 169 days ago, over 400,000 babies have died by abortion. Since Roe v. Wade in 1973, almost 60 million babies have been aborted in America. That is the equivalent of the population of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and Arkansas — combined.

The most pervasive and horrific systemic injustice in our culture shouldn’t receive the least attention. We Christians should be more committed to saving babies than Planned Parenthood is to killing them.

Rescue Children Taken for Death

Have you considered the means of execution for these babies recently? Abortion crushes the baby’s head. It rips them apart, limb by limb. And this unthinkable horror happens nearly a million times a year in America alone. What are we doing about it?

Our God says,

Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work? (Proverbs 24:11–12)

Thousands of preborn babies are taken away to death every day. What are we doing to protect babies from being taken to the slaughter? What are we doing to remember the forgotten? What should we do about it?

Don’t Forget the Forgotten

We should pray for vulnerable preborn babies and their parents. We should pray for abortionists and abortion advocates — we should pray that God would compel them to repent and relent of their sins. We should pray that God would raise up more men and women with a deep hatred for abortion and a deeper love for babies, men and women who will commit their lives to establishing justice for preborn babies (Amos 5:15).

And remember, as we ask God to raise up more pro-life advocates, we might be praying for ourselves. Consider committing yourself to pro-life advocacy. The pro-life movement desperately needs more Christians — preborn babies desperately need more Christians speaking for them. Consider becoming a full-time pro-life advocate, or consider becoming a volunteer at a pro-life organization.

Now, not many of us are in a position to commit to working or volunteering at a pro-life organization full-time. If possible, we should consider financially supporting pro-life advocates. Preborn babies need pro-life advocates, and pro-life advocates need financial support.

God doesn’t forget about preborn babies, and as his people we cannot forget about them either.



from Desiring God http://rss.desiringgod.org/link/10732/14014254/murders-that-wont-go-viral
via DG

When Does God Harden a Sinner’s Heart?

Does God harden sinners’ hearts only in response to their persistent sin, or is their sin a result of his prior hardening?

Listen Now



from Desiring God http://rss.desiringgod.org/link/10732/14014255/when-does-god-harden-a-sinners-heart
via DG

相談相手が必要

私はピリピリした気持ちで新しい上司の部屋に入りました。前の上司は部下に冷淡で、私たちはよく泣かされました。次はどんな人でしょう。しかし、間もなく、不安は消え去りました。その人は私を温かく迎えて、私のことや、仕事の悩みを尋ねてくれました。そして、話に耳を傾けてくれました。その表情と穏やかな言葉から、本当に相手を思っていると分かりました。彼はキリスト者として、仕事の良き相談相手、励まし役、そして友人になってくれました。

使徒パウロはテトスの相談役でした。テトスは「同じ信仰による真実のわが子」とパウロに呼ばれています(テト1:4)。パウロはこの手紙で牧会に関する指針と指示を与えています。聖書を教えるだけでなく、健全な教義にふさわしいことを話し(2:1)、「良いわざの模範となり、…威厳を保ち、…健全なことばを用いなさい」と勧めました(7-8節)。その結果、テトスは、パウロの仲間、兄弟、同労者となり(Ⅱコリ2:13、8:23)、他の人々の相談役になりました。

私たちの多くは、教師やコーチ、両親、祖父母、牧師など、私たちを知恵や知識で励まし、指針を与えてくれた人たちに助けられてきました。今度は、自分がイエスとともに歩いて学んだことを教える番かもしれません。そういう相手はいませんか。


from デイリーブレッド

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Only His Heart Can Heal Yours

Only His Heart Can Heal Yours

We all walk through this fallen world on streets of shattered promises. Believer or unbeliever, wealthy or poor, young or old, few, if any, remain exempt. For some, a father vowed much but was present little. For others, a trusted friend finally retreated from you in the hour of need. For still others, an unfaithful wife deserted, leaving the serrated memory of her empty vow, “’til death do us part.” We know what it is to expose our hearts and feel them bleed.

If our enemies dealt roughly with us, we could bear it (Psalm 55:12). But when the culprit is our familiar friend, the knife goes deeper. In response, some choose to mummify their hearts rather than risk further injury. They know exactly what C.S. Lewis meant when he wrote,

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. (The Four Loves, 155–56)

You may have loved and lost and vowed never to love again. You keep outside of rifle range — both of love and of anguish. You will not, cannot, go through that again.

Hearts of Stone

And you have changed. Scales have grown. You forget the sound of your own laugh. You’ve set your affections on small things and sealed your heart in the motionless, airless, safe, dark coffin until only a stone remains. A victim to great loves now dead, what can be said to convince you to live again?

What can be said is that there exists a love so momentous, so steadfast, so piercing that it threatens — even now — to flood your lungs with air, shine light into your hiding place, and invade that selfish vault with a warmth long forgotten: hope. This love threatens to break through the deadbolt to overwhelm with life and to replace the stony heart with a beating one — as it has done for so many before. It threatens to enthrone itself — himself — to capture our being entirely and send us out to live (and be hurt) again with newfound delight.

This love does not dismiss but rather overcomes the real pain we feel, the real scars we bear, the real sins we’ve endured — as well as the real sins we have committed. We needed a Savior, a Redeemer, a Husband to save us and covenant himself to never forsake us because of our sin against him.

And hope against hope, he came. In a world of human loves that fall short, it was written of a man fully God: having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

He Loves to the End

Through painful discovery, many of our loves have been weighed and found wanting. Behold something different.

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. (John 13:1)

Jesus knew his hour had come. He knew what lay before him. He knew the horror ahead of time. He knew Isaiah 53 well. To date, he had escaped stones flying at him and crowds wanting to throw him off the cliff. But now nails, whips, mockery, shame — and his Father’s wrath — lay before him. His would not prove to be a spontaneous act of love, casting him into an unknown darkness he hadn’t fully considered. The cost of this love was premeditated, foreseen, foretold — even by himself.

And what a description John gives of Jesus’s brutal death — his departing “out of this world to the Father.” As John recalls that night, his pen moves in summary: “Having loved his own . . . he loved them to the end.” He loved them in teaching, revealing, healing, caring, and correcting. He loved them perfectly every second he was with them. And having begun loving them (before the foundation of the world), he would love them to the end — even to such an end.

His Unscarred Heart

He did not love them ninety percent of the way. He did not forsake; he did not falter. His promise of faithfulness to his spouse — then and now — was not to death but through it. His love for his people — a love likened to his Father’s love for him (John 15:9) — did not stop short but propelled him through the darkest day in history. The whips did not touch this love. The nails did not pierce it. His heart toward his people remained the only part of him unscarred.

And this love meets stony, unbreakable, impenetrable hearts today and replaces them. It meets rebellious, wounded, bleeding hearts and remakes them. It takes motionless hearts and makes them pulse with heavenly life.

Do you know the love of God? Have you repented and believed the good news that Christ died and rose so that the guilty might live forever with him as his beloved? Come thirsty. Come poor. Come in your mess. If we were him, we would not bear the wrath of God for us, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7–8).

Easily Moved to Love

Do we tell others of this love of Christ that has so beautifully captured us (2 Corinthians 2:14) and now controls us (2 Corinthians 5:14), gripping us with bonds that neither tribulation nor distress nor nakedness nor famine nor danger nor sword can break (Romans 8:35)?

Those of us who espouse Reformed theology must be especially warm on this point. Charles Spurgeon truly said,

Those who hear the Calvinistic preacher, are very apt to misrepresent God. . . . Many of our hearers, even through our assertions, when most guarded, are apt to get rather a caricature of God, than a true picture of him. They imagine that God is a severe being, angry and fierce, very easily to be moved to wrath, but not so easily to be induced to love.

Easily moved to wrath. Not easily induced to love. Is this the impression we give? Is this the impression we are tempted to believe ourselves?

Our big God possesses an unimaginably big heart toward sinners. He is incomparable in grandeur and incomparable in love. Christ was betrayed but did not betray, was forsaken while refusing to forsake, was abandoned to die, that his people might be where he is, forever. The love of his disciples shrunk and grew cold at the same hour when his blazed the warmest and glowed the fiercest.

His love can be trusted; his love endures till the end.



from Desiring God http://rss.desiringgod.org/link/10732/14010904/only-his-heart-can-heal-yours
via DG

トラック運転手の手

前立腺がんを克服した父が、今度は膵臓がんと診断されました。父は、母の介護をしています。私の生活もこれから大変になりそうです。

帰省して両親の教会で礼拝すると、ヘルムートという人が支援を申し出てくれ、翌々日には、チェックリストを手に訪ねてくれました。「抗がん剤治療が始まったら食事の配膳が必要でしょう。人を募って担当表を作ります。芝刈りは私がしましょう。ごみ収集日はいつですか。」彼は定年した元トラック運転手だそうですが、私たちにとっては天使でした。普段からひとり親やホームレス、高齢者を助けていると人づてに聞きました。

キリスト者は誰でも人を助けるべきですが(ルカ10:25-37)、その能力が特に高い人がいます。使徒パウロは、それを慈善の賜物と呼びます(ロマ12:8)。そういう人は、相手の必要を敏感に感じ取り、実際的な助けを結集させて実行します。聖霊に動かされ、キリストのからだの手となって働いてくれます(4-5節)。

最近、父は1回目の抗がん剤の投与を受けましたが、ヘルムートが病院の送迎をしてくれました。両親の冷蔵庫には料理が詰まっていました。

神のあわれみが、トラック運転手の手で届けられています。


from デイリーブレッド