Category Archives: Religion

The Pope Made A Mistake With The Lord’s Prayer

The Pope says we should change the Lord’s Prayer.  Pope Francis is the world leader of the Roman Catholic Church. News reports say that he believes our English rendering of one phrase in the Lord’s prayer is wrong.

The phrase in question is this: “Lead us not into temptation.” Jesus taught his followers to ask God in prayer not to lead them into circumstances that would tempt them to sin (to disobey God).

The Pope takes issue with this because he believes a loving Father is never “pushing” his children into temptation (note: the prayer says “lead” not “push”). The Pope endorses the following rendering: “Do not let us fall into temptation.”

Apparently Pope Francis thinks that his version makes God sound more friendly. Did Jesus reveal an unfriendly God? Was Jesus having a bad day when taught the Lord’s Prayer? Should we listen to the Pope over Jesus?

First, the Pope’s suggestion finds zero support from the thousands of ancient Bible manuscripts. Matthew’s Gospel is clear and has been faithfully rendered for generations. The Pope has no linguistic leg to stand on. The word is “lead,” not “fall.” His view sounds more like a surrender to popular opinion than a scholarly treatment of the biblical text.

Second, the Pope’s suggestion is out of step with the rest of the Bible. From Genesis to Revelation we find clear examples of God testing his people by leading them into temptation.

Job would be surprised by the Pope’s understanding of God. God allowed Satan to wreak havoc in his life. As a result, Job’s wife tempted him with this advice, “Curse God and die!” Job refused.

Peter would be surprised by the Pope. Jesus told him, “Satan has asked to sift you like wheat.” What did Jesus do? He said that he would pray for Peter, not that the temptation would be removed, but that Peter’s faith would not fail.

Jesus would be surprised by the Pope. The Bible tells us that God’s Holy Spirit led him into the wilderness. Why? To be tempted by the devil!

True, in the book of James we read that God cannot be tempted by evil and he never tempts anyone to do evil. Is this a mixed message? No. A clear distinction exists between temptations meant to cause defeat and tests meant to encourage growth.

Testing is a teaching tool meant to identify strengths and weaknesses. God sometimes tests his people by leading us into temptations. His desire is to reveal our weak spots and inspire us to trust his word and to walk in his ways.

Satan is the Tempter. He tempts us to destroy us. God’s plan for us is not doubt and destruction, but faith and deliverance. God trains us to walk in the power and wisdom of his Spirit.

The Pope’s suggestion misrepresents God. Wrong expectations about God are dangerous. If we believe that God will never lead us into temptation, we may have a crisis of faith when he does.

Better to accept the Bible’s clear testimony about God’s ways and live accordingly. In other words, let’s build our lives on God’s truth, not on popular opinion.

May the Spirit of God not lead us into temptation,

Brother Richard Foster

 

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Teaching Kids About God

In Psalm 78 the people of God say, “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord . . . so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children” (NIV).

The Bible addresses this subject frequently. God instructs his people to tell their children about him. God’s work of redemption is multi-generational. Stretching from Genesis to Revelation, God’s plan spans this entire age.

This is our generation. We are a link in the chain of God’s work that reaches back to Jesus and even further to the patriarchs of faith, a chain that will be forged into the future until the day Jesus returns. Those who came before us taught us about God. Now it is our turn.

We teach children about God.

Teaching children about God can be intimidating. God is a big subject. So the Lord has given us a method for teaching kids about him which is tried and true: Bible stories. The Bible is filled with accounts of God working in various people’s lives.

By telling kids the stories in the Bible we transmit great theological truths to them. As they grow and reflect on the accounts in Scripture, God’s Spirit will continue revealing himself to them. Every Bible story is a theological package filled with eternal truth. Telling Bible stories and hearing them is a theological journey that unfolds over a lifetime.

What a joy it is to be the first one to tell children about Adam and Eve, Noah and the ark, Moses and the Ten Commandments, David and Goliath, Daniel and the lions’ den, Jesus feeding the 5,000, Jesus’s death and resurrection, and so much more.

We teach children about God by telling them Bible stories.

Psalm 78 goes on to say, “Then they would put their trust in God” (NIV). The goal of telling kids about God is not just to inform them. The goal is to inspire trust in them, to encourage them to exercise saving faith in the Lord.

As New Testament believers, we understand that trust in God means faith in Jesus Christ. We want children to become followers of Jesus, filled with God’s Spirit and fulfilling God’s call on their lives, which includes telling kids about God when they become adults.

We teach children about God so that they will trust and obey Jesus.

May God’s Spirit inspire us to be faithful in our generation,

Brother Richard Foster

See also What Happens When We Fail to Tell Our Children Bible Stories?

 

 

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Ready For Jesus To Return?

Jesus is coming back! What a day that will be! But are we ready? Jesus warned his disciples to be ready for his return.

What does it take to be ready for Jesus’ Second Coming? The Lord told a parable to illustrate. A man went on a long journey. He entrusted his possessions to his servants, five talents to one, two talents to another, and a single talent to another.

After a long time, the man returned and settled accounts with his servants. The first two servants had put their master’s talents to work and doubled them. They were commended by the master.

The parable is a picture of Jesus’ Second Coming, also known as the Day of the Lord, or Judgment Day. For believers it will not be a day of condemnation. It will be a day of reward. Faithful servants will hear the most wonderful words, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

This parable raises an important question. What do the talents represent? Our English word talent comes from this parable. It means natural abilities. We say that someone has a talent for music, or baseball, or art, and so forth.

Our natural abilities certainly do come from God and God wants us to be good stewards of everything he gives us including our natural abilities, but is that all Jesus is saying in this parable? Just go out and be the best musician or baseball player or artist that you can be?

We must remember that Jesus’ parable is about the kingdom of God. Whatever the talents represent, they must benefit God’s kingdom, his benevolent rule over his people. That sounds bigger than music or baseball or art, bigger than our natural abilities.

Students of the Bible have suggested many possibilities for the talents. Perhaps they represent God’s forgiveness, God’s Spirit, God’s word, spiritual gifts, or something else. All of these things are given to us by God and can be put to use in ways that benefit God’s kingdom. But can we be more specific?

Instead of asking what God gives us, let’s ask what we give back to God. In Jesus’ parable, the servants present talents to their master when he returns to settle accounts with them. What will the Lord expect us to present to him when he settles accounts with us? Certainly we will not give our natural abilities back to God. Nor will we give back to him spiritual gifts, forgiveness, grace, or any of these things.

There is one thing that we can present to God which is of greatest value to him. When the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he asked, “What is the crown in which I will glory in the presence of the Lord Jesus when he comes?” The answer? The people in the church, the Thessalonian believers.

When Jesus comes and settles accounts with us, we will not present him with songs or sermons, buildings or bank accounts, professional degrees or career successes. All these things will be left behind in this world. What we take with us and present to God will be the lives of people we have influenced with God’s truth, people we have introduced to Jesus and built up in Christ.

The last servant in Jesus’ parable received a single talent from the master. This servant buried his master’s talent in the ground and had nothing more to present when the time came for settling accounts. He thought the master was a hard man, unfair, and frightening. The third servant was unwilling to serve the master.

This unproductive servant was expelled from the presence of the master, thrown into outer darkness (representing hell). The productive servants were invited by their master to continue serving him. In fact, they were entrusted with even greater opportunities for service (representing heaven).

Fruitful service for Jesus now is a sign that we belong to him. It is a sign that we are bound for heaven, where we will enjoy even more fruitful labor for the Lord.

A lack of desire to serve Jesus now in this life is a warning that one is not right with God. Nobody should think that they are bound for eternal joyful service in heaven if they refuse to participate in heaven’s gospel work here and now.

Serving the Master’s kingdom interests is not the price we pay for a home in heaven. We cannot afford heaven, cannot earn heaven, and do not deserve God’s eternal blessings. Jesus paid the price for us to be forgiven and to be heirs of God’s kingdom. His grace awaits our response. We can accept by faith or reject by cold indifference (or hot rebellion).

Fruitful labor for God is the one sure sign that we already belong to the Master. And the Master has given his sons and daughters ‘talents’ which will multiply when faithfully put to work. The increase in souls saved by Jesus and strengthened in Christ will be our presentation to the Lord when he returns.

God has blessed us all with at least one life, our own. Our one life can be used to influence people and bring them to saving faith in Christ, teaching them to walk in the wisdom and power of God’s Spirit. Most of us have contact with many lives, many opportunities to share the gospel, to speak the truth in love, to build up the body of Christ.

Let’s be fruitful for our Lord! Let’s be ready for Jesus to return!

May God’s Spirit enable us to bear fruit that will last,

Brother Richard Foster

 

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Using The Gospel Tool

I always enjoy watching professionals work. The experienced and accomplished craftsman is poetry in motion. And my appreciation for their fine-tuned abilities is amplified when I try to use the same tools!

Most tools take time and effort to master. The right tool in the right hands is sweet harmony. As Christians laboring to carry out God’s mission in this age, we must be accomplished at using the right tools. Our primary tool is the gospel. We must work to be experts at using the gospel.

The final mention of the gospel in the New Testament is in the Book of Revelation (14:6). The Apostle John sees an angel flying in the sky and proclaiming the eternal gospel to those on earth, to every nation, tribe, tongue and people. In other words, this is the one true gospel for all peoples, everywhere and always.

The words spoken by this angel may come as a surprise. In a loud voice he says, “Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship the one who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and the springs of waters.”

When we hear the term “gospel,” we expect the story of Jesus’ death on the cross to forgive our sins and his resurrection from the grave to be our Lord. The angel’s eternal gospel sounds different. It consists of three commands: Fear God, give him glory, and worship him.

Is this a different gospel? No. The Bible assures us that there is only one gospel. But we should distinguish between the gospel and the plan of salvation. The plan of salvation is for God to give eternal life to all who exercise saving faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

The gospel (the word means “good news”) is something bigger than the plan of salvation. When Jesus began preaching, his subject was the good news of God’s kingdom. God’s kingdom is every person submitted to God’s rule in their lives. It is true that God rules over everyone, even those who oppose him. But anyone who persists in rejecting him will not enter and enjoy the blessings of his eternal kingdom.

Is the angel’s call for actions other than faith a call to “works salvation”? In other words, if we must do these things to get saved, then salvation is not truly from faith alone, right? But the angel is not denying that salvation is by faith. The angel with the eternal gospel is reminding us of the rest of the story. Once saved, we live saved.

So the plan of salvation is saving faith in Jesus, which is the entryway into God’s kingdom. Once in, what do we do? We fear God, give him glory, and worship him. Anyone who does not want to fear God, give him glory, and worship him does not want to be saved.

To proclaim the plan of salvation without explaining the purposes of salvation would be misleading. Our mission is to share the good news about being saved and living saved. God saves us completely so that we can serve him joyfully.

May God’s Spirit enable us to be faithful in proclaiming his gospel,

Brother Richard Foster

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A New Christian Cult?

Some proponents of the LGBT movement insist that it is compatible with Christianity. Is that true? Christianity is defined by the Bible. Does the Bible allow for a new or evolving Christian sexual ethic?

Early in the Bible God established his design for human sexuality. Immediately following the account of God presenting Eve to Adam in Genesis 2, God’s word says, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh.”

More than a thousand years later Jesus was questioned about marriage and divorce by the Jewish religious leaders. In his response, in Matthew 19, he affirmed God’s original design for marriage. Jesus asked the religious leaders, “Have you not read? ‘In the beginning he created them male and female,’ and ‘for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and will be joined to his wife and the two will become one flesh’?” The joining of male and female is fundamental to God’s creation.

After Adam and Eve disobeyed God they were cut off from God’s presence and blessing. They began to suffer under the curse that comes from rebellion against God’s word. In the generations that followed, disobedience to God became a sad but predictable trait of humanity.

God was not finished with humanity. In Moses’ day the Lord established a covenant with the Hebrew people, his chosen nation (Israel). That covenant included a body of law that is summarized in the Ten Commandments. The details of God’s law forbade sexual relationships that departed from his established design, which was revealed early in Scripture and subsequently affirmed by Jesus.

The prohibited sexual relationships in God’s law included premarital sex, adultery, incest, bestiality, and same-sex relationships (Leviticus 18). Only the original design for marriage and family was endorsed: One man and one woman freely committed to one another for a lifetime. The prohibitions from Leviticus are affirmed by the New Testament. Regarding same-sex relationships, the letter to the Romans affirms God’s prohibition (chapter 1). We are warned that those who persist in participating and promoting such sinful behavior will be “given over.”

Jesus acknowledged that his appearance and ministry fulfilled certain aspects of the Old Testament law, thus relieving God’s people of their need to observe them. For instance, in an argument with the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus proclaimed all foods clean (Mark 7). Prior to this, certain foods were considered ritually unclean by the Mosaic Law.

Jesus never advanced any deviation or alteration in God’s design for human sexuality. Indeed, he never acknowledged any change in God’s prohibitions against murder, adultery, lying, and many other commandments. In other words, Jesus himself revealed certain changes in the relationship of God’s people to Mosaic legislation, but not regarding human sexuality. There is no positive statement about same-sex relationships anywhere in Scripture.

Any attempt to use Old Testament legislation about trimming hair, making clothes or planting crops as a comparison with human sexuality fails to recognize the special position of marriage and family in God’s plan and his word.

The Bible treats sexual relationships as unique. Although it is true that all sin is alike because all sin separates us from the love and blessing of God, Scripture notes the special status of sexual union. The letter to the Corinthian church warned believers that all other sins are outside one’s body, but sexual sin defiles one’s inner self, a serious matter for any Christian since all believers are living stones in the single structure of God’s temple, his church (1 Corinthians 6; 1 Peter 2).

Why should human sexuality be treated differently from all other sins? God’s gift of sexuality is meant to do more than provide for procreation and pleasure. The marriage relationship is designed by God to reflect his love for his people (Ephesians 5). A Christian marriage is meant to be a living parable of the love relationship between Christ and his church. The church is the Bride of Christ (not any one believer, but the church in total). The Christian wife submits to her husband as the church submits to Christ. The Christian husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church and gave himself for her, a love willing to sacrifice self.

Are faithful, loving, monogamous same-sex relationships true to the intent of Scripture? The “B” in LGBT creates problems with this proposal. To be active bisexually requires more than one partner, thus raising serious questions about fidelity. Since the L and the G stand in solidarity with the B, they apparently express approval of polyamory against the clear design of Scripture.

It is true that the Bible reports times when God’s people engaged in polygamy, but never with approval. In fact, God’s word always highlights the inevitable failures of alternative designs of marriage and family (see Jacob and his wives in Genesis).

Are same-sex relationships in modern times different from those in Bible times? If that were so, it would be logically possible that God did not address modern relationships in the Bible. This would be either a terrible omission by God (creating conflict among us unnecessarily) or evidence that God cannot see the future (discrediting his sovereignty). Neither option is true to the claims made for God in Scripture. God is sovereign and he made no mistakes in his word. His design for human sexuality stands, just as his prohibitions against murder and adultery stand.

Another possibility would be that God has only recently decided to reveal this new view about same-sex relationships. This would put proponents of the New Sex Ethic into the same category as Joseph Smith, who assured his wife that God told him he could have other wives in addition to her. Smith tried to make the case that Christian churches had been wrong for more than a thousand years about human relationships (among other things). He claimed a new revelation directly from God, one which apparently undermined centuries of Christianity.

Proponents of forcing LGBT on God’s church are in the unfortunate position of being another pseudo Christian cult, like Joseph Smith’s group (Mormons), or Charles Taze Russell’s (Jehovah’s Witnesses), or Mary Baker Eddy’s (Christian Science), or one of countless others. Each of these false teachers also claimed special revelation from God that disagreed with the clear word of the Bible.

Those who question the clear word of God are risking association with the Father of all lies (John 8). He was the first to utter the words, “Did God really say. . .?” (Genesis 3). In fact, the biblical prohibitions about human sexuality are stated in clear language. Circumventing them requires twisted and strained logic which serves to justify sinful human desires and passions.

The LGBT community insists on defining personal identity by sexual orientation. Followers of Jesus find their identity in Christ. Jesus calls on anyone who would follow him to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow him (Matthew 16). Jesus will not take second place to any human ideology, desire, or philosophy. His followers must renounce all idols, including sinful notions of human sexuality.

When responding to skeptics about the resurrection, Jesus surprised his listeners by revealing that marriage will be absent in heaven (Matthew 22). We may conclude from this that sexual orientation is a matter for this age only. At best, sexual orientation is a temporary part of our identity. Our eternal identity will not depend on our sexuality. For those who have taken the blessing of sex and perverted it into the ultimate goal of life and the cornerstone of their identity, Jesus’ heaven may sound more like hell.

The great missionary Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote to the believers in Rome, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the ways of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Romans 12).

“Living sacrifices” is a reminder of Jesus’ exhortation to “deny self.” The follower of Jesus is not pulled through life by the ebb and flow of human desire. Jesus’ people find their pathway in life from him, from his example. Jesus was willing to deny himself of his very life in order to complete his mission. These are the footprints he has left for all who wish to be his disciples (1 Peter 2).

So what about the one who is attracted to the same sex? What is he or she to do? Predictably, the Bible’s answers have already been attacked, mocked, and deemed to be completely unacceptable by pop-culture proponents of LGBT. Nevertheless, like God’s design for sex, his word to those with same-sex attractions stands.

First, God’s word to the one with same-sex attraction is the same as it is to all people: Seek him in prayer. Don’t misquote me. I am not saying “Pray away the gay.” Despite the derogatory tone of this phrase, I know from first-hand experience that God has the power to change our desires. But God works according to his time table and his agenda. We must patiently endure. Prayer is not merely about persuading God to do something now. Prayer is communion with God which includes listening for his Spirit and gaining wisdom from our experiences in life (see the Book of Job).

Second, God sometimes calls people to celibacy. It is no surprise that worldly minds reject this option without any serious consideration. The world says, “Indulge yourself!” Jesus says, “Deny yourself.” Jesus recognized celibacy as a special calling in God’s kingdom (Matthew 19). The Bible envisions a church where most are married but some are freed from the commitments of an intimate physical relationship in order to invest more time and energy in kingdom pursuits (1 Corinthians 7).

Same-sex relationships undoubtedly include authentic human desire and affection. But human emotions are notoriously prone to manipulation and to unpredictable fluctuations. Human affection is not a dependable moral compass. In fact, the power of sexual attraction has shipwrecked many a life and family. Any who choose to “follow their heart” instead of submitting to God’s word should beware the consequences.

The ways of this world have always pulled God’s people away from his truth. Pop-culture in the West has embraced LGBT in a rapid and unprecedented way, sweeping away established cultural norms and laws about marriage and family while threatening to ruin any who stand in the way. To disagree with this New Ethic is to risk being charged with hate speech, a circumstance that reveals the intolerance of the LGBT movement. But we must choose between God’s word and those who claim that God’s word doesn’t mean what it clearly says.

Any attempts to promote prohibited sexual relationships as acceptable expressions of human sexuality misunderstand and misrepresent God’s word. Unfaithful relationships do not reflect the pure and faithful love that God has for his people and that his people are to aspire to for him. Same-sex relationships do not reflect the joining of what is different yet compatible, God and his church, husband and wife.

The writer of this article is sympathetic with those who find themselves attracted to people of the same sex. Human affections are strong. God made us passionate people. He is a passionate God and we are made in his image. But our passions are wounded by sin and subject to manipulation, temptation and deception.

If you are struggling with same-sex attractions, please do not despair. The story of your life is yet to be finished. We all struggle with sin. Sinners are not the enemy of the church. Sinners are the intended targets of God’s grace and mercy! God’s word assures us that he opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4).

If you are promoting the erroneous idea that same-sex relationships are endorsed by God and working to persuade others to agree with you, I urge you to reconsider. Jesus warns that anyone who breaks the least of God’s commands and teaches others to do likewise will be called least in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5).

Christ Jesus assures us that heaven and earth will pass away, but his words will never pass away (Matthew 24). How many popular movements that questioned God’s word have come and gone in the past two millennia since he made that promise? Every generation sees its challenges to God’s truth, but the challengers have always eventually faded away and they always will. Each of us should decide to build on the rock of God’s faithful and unwavering truth, not the sand of the world’s shifting desires and ideas.

Brother Richard Foster

Please note: Bible references above give only book and chapter. This is by design. Too often debates about the Bible’s message employ verses and even smaller sections of Scripture without due consideration of their context, thus misrepresenting God’s intended meaning. I invite the reader to examine carefully the context of my biblical quotations, testing their applications for faithfulness to God’s word.

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Don’t Be Spiritually Shallow

Jesus criticized the religious leaders of Israel publicly and harshly. He denounced them for nit-picking away at minor issues and forgetting the “weightier matters” of the law. What are those weightier matters? Justice, mercy, and faith.

God has a special concern with justice. He is Judge of all the cosmos. He is personally holy and he loves righteousness.

After years of being a spectator to politics, I have noticed something about people’s notions of justice. In broad terms, people tend to see justice in a way that reflects their political viewpoint.

I freely admit to being politically conservative. We like to think of justice as something that operates mainly on the level of the individual. In other words, we believe strongly in personal responsibility.

People are responsible to make wise choices, to live according to the law. If they insist on living outside the law, they are sinning, and they deserve their punishment. Hopefully they will learn their lesson, ‘straighten up’ and ‘fly right.’

On the other hand, I have noticed that my liberal or progressive friends see justice from another perspective. They like to add the word “social” in front of justice. Social justice has a more collective focus.

The institutions and governments in our culture have a responsibility to treat people fairly, justly. When the powerful elites use these systems to oppress certain groups, it is sinful.

When the power structures of a society are unjust, then people have a responsibility to stand up and demand change. Unjust systems can and must be reformed to reflect God’s goodness.

Admittedly, these issues can be far more complex than the simple summary above. What about the separation of church and state? To what degree should God’s justice be reflected in a society’s laws?

Setting aside the related questions, my point is simple. In the Bible God clearly shows concern for both personal and social responsibility. As followers of Jesus, we must not ignore either half of God’s concern for justice.

Working to promote both individual and social justice would be enough to keep us busy, but Jesus adds in mercy. Mercy is a cousin to grace. Mercy and grace demand that people not get the justice they deserve, but instead receive the blessing they have not and cannot earn.

This is more than an empty academic philosophical dialogue. It is real life. For instance, how does a church decide who should get a baby shower?

If a young lady is pregnant out of wedlock shouldn’t we demonstrate grace, reach out to her, build a bridge into her life and the life of her child for the gospel?

But what message will that send to the young ladies who made better choices and waited until they were married to have children? Are we condoning sin and encouraging disobedience?

This is just the beginning. What about parents who learn that their children are gay or lesbian? What about the man who forced his girlfriend to have an abortion years ago? You get the idea.

These are not ‘lite’ concerns. These are the weighty matters that God has called us to address as his representatives in this age. How do we navigate the seemingly opposite poles of justice and mercy?

The third item in Jesus’ list is faith, faith in Christ Jesus. Christ is our one sure model of how to live according to God’s justice and mercy. By trusting in him as the Lord of our lives, we find insight, inspiration, and empowering to speak the truth in love.

Jesus held out one hand and grabbed hold of God’s justice and holiness. Then he held out the other hand and took hold of God grace and mercy. There at the cross on Calvary justice and mercy came together not in a formula or ideology but in a man, the Son of Man, the Son of God, in Christ Jesus.

Only as we follow the Crucified One, can we live successfully at the crossroads between God’s justice and his mercy. That’s why Jesus tells us to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow him. With his power and presence we can indeed succeed at the weighty things.

May we always act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God,

Brother Richard Foster

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Applauding The Deaths Of Our Little Ones

What a sad day. People stood and applauded. Buildings were lit up in festive pink to celebrate the event. New York State now allows abortions up to birth for any reason.

Considering the gravity of such a move, deciding whether a human being will be violently robbed of life, one might expect more somber looks. One might expect a sad-but-necessary attitude. No. They were happy.

The picture of the signing which circulated in the media shows people filled with joy. They look like a group who just declared a new holiday, another chance for fun and recreation. If this is a holiday, it is a holiday from sanity and common sense.

To add insult to injury, the New York bill is titled the “Reproductive Health Act.” The only accurate word in that title is “act.” This heinous act is an enemy to reproduction. Reproduction, new human life, will be extinguished because of this bill.

And there is nothing healthy about violently denying a baby its right to life. It is not healthy for the mother, her family, for the medical professional, for the community, and certainly not for the baby.

Advances in science over the past 20 to 30 years have consistently supported the fact that a fetus is a life. Successful surgeries on babies before they are born, amazing survival rates of children born long before their due dates, and other astounding medical treatments on little boys and girls developing inside their mothers’ wombs all place the burden of proof squarely on those who would de-humanize the fetus.

Perhaps even more powerful than the voice of science is the testimony of images. Imaging technology has enabled us to see with astonishing clarity the life of our unborn. And seeing is believing. The images are not of disease or random tissue, but of individual lives.

The persuasive power of these images is admitted by those who wish to kill more babies. More than 15 yeas ago a photographer was in the operating room when doctors were performing surgery on a little boy in his mother’s womb. The child stunned the world by reaching up and grabbing the doctor’s finger. The picture was taken, but almost destroyed.

By a strange turn of events the man who snapped that picture stood in my office several years ago. He told me about the outrageous efforts that were made to keep his picture from being published. Why? Because in this case one picture is worth millions of words and perhaps millions of lives.

As followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we stand for life. Each and every boy and girl is made in the image of God and deserves a chance to grow up and walk with God and enjoy his blessings.

We believe in more than just physical birth and life. We believe in spiritual life. Every person deserves to hear that God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, Jesus, so that anyone trusting in him will not perish (hell) but have eternal life (heaven), to be born again.

The voice of truth will not be denied. God’s Spirit will raise up men and women to courageously stand for life. Let’s answer that call. If our children see us retreat, then they will be more likely to retreat and our grandchildren will suffer. If our children see us stand firm, then they will be more likely to stand firm, and our grandchildren will benefit.

May God’s Spirit inspire and empower us to speak the truth in love,

Brother Richard

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