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Archive for September, 2011

“This is my commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. ‘Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends’” (John 15:12, 13).

“But he who sins against me injures himself; all those who hate me love death” (Proverbs 8:36).  “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44).

There is no place where the contrast between believers in life and truth and believers in death and lies is more evident than in the war against the unborn in our country.

As human beings we live our lives as one package. Those who love God also love truth and life. Women who love the Lord are also unselfish enough to love others more than themselves. They reach out and protect those who are too helpless to protect themselves often at great personal risk for their own lives. For these women truth is God’s truth, and life is valuable and precious because God created it.

Just the opposite of this are the women who hate God, life, and truth.  This is because they can only act in accordance with their sinful, selfish nature. Everything is subordinated to their wish to have their own way. They don’t want to submit to a holy God, so anything that stands in their way must go, including God’s truth and God’s authority in creating and sustaining life.

This week I want to share the story of a courageous woman who loves life and truth. I will then contrast that with a story about a woman who is a liar and a hater of the unborn. I believe that when you look at these stories, you will see that the wisdom in God’s Word is as true today as it ever was. Those who love the Lord are willing to lay down their lives for others. Those who hate God love death.

These stories are taken from articles published by LifeSiteNews. I encourage you to go to their website – LifeSiteNews.com, and read the entire articles. Please consider supporting this organization; they continually do a fantastic job keeping us current on what is happening in the battle for the lives of the unborn.

Story Number One

WARSAW, Poland, September 26, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – “After a two and a half year battle, a Warsaw court this month found that Polish pro-life leader Joanna Najfeld was “not guilty” of defamation against the country’s most infamous abortion activist when Najfeld claimed the activist was on the “payroll” of the abortion and contraception industry.

Wanda Nowicka, head of Poland’s Federation for Women and Family Planning, launched a criminal lawsuit against Najfeld after she had made the comments in a February 13, 2009 television debate.  Najfeld faced 2 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if found guilty.

Nowicka’s organization includes the Polish branch of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which is the world’s largest abortion provider.  She was responsible for inviting the infamous Dutch abortion ship that arrived in Poland in 2003 to carry out illegal abortions.  And her group was behind several “wrongful birth” cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights in an effort to force Poland to liberalize its abortion law.

In 2008, Nowicka was accused of pressuring a 14-year-old girl to abort her child and of creating false claims that the girl had been raped in order to use the girl as a poster child for her campaign to legalize abortion.”

I encourage you to go to the LifeSiteNews website and read the entire story. What is clear here is that Joanna Najfeld is a very courageous woman who told the truth. Here is a woman who was willing to go to prison rather than back down from her passionate fight to help save unborn babies. Others in Poland had been fined for calling abortion “killing”. It takes a lot of courage to go against the political correctness in that society as it does in our society. Many will not say anything for fear of being sued. Joanna Najfeld faced a traumatic lawsuit and possible prison sentence, but she stood firm and won a victory for truth and justice.

In contrast to Joanna was Ms. Nowicka who used illegal means and lied publicly as a way to furthering her cause in doing away with unborn persons. If we knew nothing else about abortion, it should be obvious that those who are for it must lie in order to continue it. Pro-death women think nothing of breaking their country’s laws as well as God’s laws.

Story Number Two

September 27, 2011 (HLIWorldWatch.org) – “Senator Barbara Boxer is in a tough situation: she thinks there are too many children in the developing world, she thinks abortion and contraception are the answer to this problem, and she has to try to convince the majority of Americans who are deeply offended by her views that she actually wants something good and just.” So, Ms. Boxer has decided to recast population control as “free speech” and “democracy promotion.” What American could possibly argue with her about these values?

But the pro-death crowd has tried to get their way by redefining the issues many times. For example, they want to say they are “pro-choice”, but they are not. The person whose life is at stake is the unborn baby. If they really believed in choice, they should give the choice to the baby. But remember, death, lies, and selfishness all go together. A selfish woman who finds her pregnancy “inconvenient” will grab any excuse to do away with the “inconvenience”.

Please go to LifeSiteNews and read the rest of the article. Ms. Boxer knows that most Americans are against giving money to organizations who use abortion as a primary means of population control. She is willing to be deceitful in order to get her way. Like so many others in the abortion industry, she is following her father, the devil, and lying in order to accomplish her purposes. For Barbara Boxer, the ends justify the means. The ungodly’s love of death and hatred for God is their excuse for their lying and immorality.

Let us remember to pray for all of the brave women who will give up so much to stand for the truth, who place the love of God and life ahead of their own personal safety and lifestyle. Continue to pray for the unborn and for the efforts of all those who are on the front lines trying to defend life.

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“And a certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the land of Moab with his wife and his two sons.” His name was Elimelech and one of the sons, Mahlon, took for himself a Moabite woman as a wife. Her name was Ruth. (See the book of “Ruth”).

The story of Ruth is one of the most beautiful love stories ever told. It is also one of the most amazing stories of God’s love and providential care for His children.

We all experience tough situations from time to time. But in our culture, since the day our country was founded, we can turn to God in prayer. All through our country’s history, the wars, the Great Depression, the tornadoes and hurricanes, and the bombing of the World Trade Center, people have turned to God for help. We often ignore God when things are going well, but as soon as disaster strikes, we know where to go for aid. And our God has been gracious and compassionate time and time again.

There was no such history of a loving God for the Moabites. The false gods of this people were cruel. The chief god, Chemosh, demanded worship that involved erotic imagery and unspeakably lewd conduct. Everything you could imagine that was abominable was practiced by the Moabites. In fact, this idol worship often involved human sacrifices.

There was a famine going on in Moab at this time as well as in Israel. Apparently the famine was not quite as bad in Moab, and so Elimelech and Naomi and their sons moved there. We are absolutely shocked that he would do this, that he would leave the land of Israel where they could pray to Yahweh for sustenance. Time and again, God had rescued the Israelites from their troubles. (This story occurs during the time of the Judges.) Moab had been cursed by God, and the pagans living there could not presume on Yahweh for help while worshiping their idols. It was a bold move on Elimelech’s part to take his family into this evil land.

Soon tragedy struck. We do not know why Elimelech and his sons died (Ruth 1:2, 5). Perhaps it was due to disease from the famine. In any event, God spared Naomi and her two daughters-in-law. We can see from subsequent events that Naomi had remained faithful in her practice of worshiping Yahweh throughout all of these hard times.

The Scriptures do not tell us exactly why Ruth followed Naomi by embracing the Israelite God. But we can only imagine that Yahweh must have seemed gentle and loving to her in comparison to the pagan gods of Moab. The practices of the Israelite family that she married into must have been just the opposite of the wickedness of the worship of Chemosh.

And so we might think it’s not too surprising that Ruth would want to adopt the religion of her godly mother-in-law. But Ruth’s sister-in-law did not adopt the Israelite religion. Orpah returned “to her people and her gods” (Ruth 1:15).  They were both in the same situation. Orpah wanted to stay in Moab. Why did Ruth choose Yahweh and return to Bethlehem with Naomi?

It is because Ruth had already had a genuine conversion experience and would trust God to take care of her no matter what. She wanted to return to the land of Yahweh’s people when the possibility presented itself. Here are her words, familiar to many as promises made in wedding ceremonies, but the promises are to Naomi and Yahweh.

“But Ruth said, ‘Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. Thus may the Lord do to me, and worse, if anything but death parts you and me.’”

This petition is actually the response of a grateful woman. This woman had been saved by grace and was anxious to follow God after her redemption. She believed at this time that she could show her gratitude to God by taking care of Naomi.

We know the rest of this wonderful story. Ruth helped Naomi by gleaning in the grain fields of a kinsman named Boaz. Boaz fell deeply in love with Ruth. When he realized that he was in a position to be the “kinsman redeemer” for Elimelech’s family, and would therefore be able to marry Ruth, he went to work right away to accomplish their redemption.

What this means is that Boaz, as a near relative, was an official guardian of the honor and the property of his relatives. In Old Testament times, if a man died and left no heirs, the “kinsman redeemer”, a male relative who was still single, could marry the widow and father offspring who would inherit the name and the property of the one who had died.

Boaz was obviously deeply in love with Ruth and wanted to marry her. We might wonder why he just didn’t ask Naomi for Ruth’s hand in marriage. But Boaz was also a devout Israelite and he knew the proper thing to do. There was another relative who was closer who could have redeemed the family property of Elimelech. So Boaz met with the man and went through a ceremony whereby they settled the issue. Ruth was the widow of Mahlon, who should be the inheritor of Elimelech’s property. The closer relative was not willing to marry Ruth; he felt that his own inheritance would somehow be in jeopardy. And so, he passed over the privilege and responsibility to Boaz (Ruth 4:1-11).

So, Ruth and Boaz were married and we know that she was blessed very soon with a son. This son, Obed would be the father of Jesse who would be the father of David. And so, God made Ruth a believer, a happily married woman, and a mother. And more than that, He actually put her in the very line of the ancestry of the Lord Jesus Christ!

We see that hand of God in every step of the way in Ruth’s life. The Lord allowed the famine in the land of Israel. God led Elimelech and his family to Moab. Somehow, God arranged for Ruth to be in the right place at the right time to be chosen as Mahlon’s wife. He did not give Mahlon and Ruth any children. Yahweh preserved the faith of Naomi, and moved her to desire to return to Bethlehem. God changed Ruth’s heart and she grew to love Him and desire to worship Him. God blessed her and Naomi with relatives to love and care for them in Bethlehem. The Lord brought an unmarried near relative to redeem Naomi’s property and marry Ruth. God blessed them with a son.

Before God intervened in her life, Ruth had nothing to look forward to. She lived in a horribly evil land. She may have died from the famine or been forced into a marriage with an idolatrous man. She would have probably participated in lewd customs. She would have died a nobody and gone to Hell like just about everybody else in her country.

Instead, a gracious, wonderful God rescued her from all of that. She had the courage to recognize the hand of God and the determination to follow Him. She grew into a loving relationship with her Lord and her new family. What a wonderful Savior!

When we read Ruth’s story, our hearts should be filled to overflowing with thankfulness as we remember that this same God has redeemed us too.

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Then the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.’” (Genesis 3:13).

In the last posting, we saw how Adam and Eve led an idyllic life in the Garden of Eden. There was no sin as yet. They did not experience any pain, sorrow, sickness, or suffering of any kind. They walked with God every day and enjoyed complete fellowship with Him. They operated in a mutual, loving partnership, tending the garden.

Then along came the Devil and tempted Eve and she ate the fruit. She offered it to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it too. Immediately, their beautiful, carefree, guilt-free fellowship was broken with God. They had not cared before about being naked, but now they were ashamed and try to cover themselves with sewn fig leaves. They tried to hide from God.

Thankfully, the Lord came looking for them and called out to Adam. We all know what happened. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. God made pronouncements about what the future would be like. He cursed the serpent. In the midst of this curse, He also promised the Savior Who would come and defeat Satan.

Some say that God went on to curse Eve and Adam, but as in part I, let us be careful to read what the Bible says. Does God say He’s cursing Eve? The only other curse is against the ground. Adam and Eve will have to work really hard now to cultivate it and get their food.

Let’s look at what God did say to Eve and what the consequences would be for her life, and for the lives of all women for the entire history of this world.

He said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children” (Genesis 3:16). One consequence of eating the fruit is that our bodies will now get old and we will die. We will have sickness and disease. Having babies will not be as easy as it would have been before Eve sinned. But having a child would still be the wonderful blessing it was meant to be; that is not a curse.

Our egalitarian and hierarchical friends actually focus their attention and their disagreements on the next part of God’s pronouncement, “Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” I guess if you are a far-left liberal feminist, desire for a husband who would rule over you would be a curse!

I do not believe that the interpretation given to this verse by our patriarchal friends is correct either. They insert the idea that the woman’s desire will be to rule over her husband. They make this statement categorically because it fits in with their own patriarchal agenda. They compare this verse to Genesis 4:7, where God tells Cain, “Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Therefore, the only thing women desire is to rule over their husbands. I believe that we are all selfish sinners; we all want to get our own way. But may we please just go with what the verse says and not read something into it? A desire for a husband is not the same thing as a desire to rule over him.

I don’t really see a curse here. Wanting marriage and family is a good thing. We do see here that the relationship between husband and wife has changed. Before the fall, Adam and Eve were equal partners. Eve could make her own decisions because they would be right and good. After all, she had God right there and she would know what to do because of her intimacy with Him. When she made the autonomous decision to eat the fruit, she was disobeying God. Adam also ate and now all human beings would be sinful creatures. Now, because of her sin nature, she would desire to get her own way. She would be married to a sinful man who could be wrong once in a while and she would want to go against him. We all live with this desire – to be like God, deciding on good and evil for ourselves. At the heart of all sin is a selfish, willful nature.

And so, God set up a government structure to prevent chaos that would be caused by sinful people all wanting to be “god” themselves. Though the woman took the first bite, Adam took the rap. We are told that death and sin came through our “federal head” – Adam (see Romans 5:12-21). He would shoulder the final blame.

God’s design for the family now is for the husband to be the head. Yes, Adam would rule over Eve now. But we also know that the husband’s leadership is to be like the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ over His church. Christ died for his bride. Jesus also said that the ones who would be great, need to be servants (Matthew 20:26). Jesus Himself was the most humble of all and is our example of humility and unselfishness (Phil. 2:3-5). The picture we see of marriage in the New Testament is of a loving, humble husband whose wife is joyfully submitting to this good man. This is an ideal.

The Scriptures don’t tell us a lot more about Eve and Adam. We know that they lived over nine hundred years and had many children. We have hints that Eve had repented and put her faith and trust in God. When Cain was born she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord” (Gen. 4:1). Clearly she was rejoicing in God’s grace, compassion, forgiveness, and promises.

There was sadness as sin showed just how ugly it could be when Eve’s firstborn son, Cain, killed his brother, Abel. But God blessed Eve with another son, Seth. We are told that some years later, “men began to call on the name of the Lord” (Gen 4:26). Where would these descendants of Eve have gotten the knowledge of God unless it was from their mother and father? And of course, Adam and Eve would have had the best knowledge of God since it was first hand. What a shame that they lost that close fellowship and had to live in a world of sin. But it seems that Eve was a faithful mother teaching her children to honor God.

Eve, the mother of us all, gave birth to a godly line that still exists today. There have been millions of believers who have put their faith in the One Who crushed the serpent’s head. The second legacy that Eve has left will last for eternity. Happily, millions of her redeemed offspring will be united in Heaven with her celebrating at the banquet with the Lord.

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Imagine a perfect world where everyone is kind to one another and you never hear any negative words. Imagine being able to pluck your dinner from a tree without having to labor for it. Imagine being able to have your babies in ease and comfort. Perhaps the scenario would go something like this:

Eve:  “Husband, it’s time for our child to make her appearance. I think I’ll just go over to that nice spot we picked out and wait for her.”
Adam:  “Ok, wife. You go on over and rest. I’ll go pick us some extra fruit while you deliver that baby.”
The Lord, Who is walking in the garden, comes along and says, “Well, done, good and faithful servants. You are doing a fine job as My vice-regents taking care of the earth. The animals are all happy.  Oh, I see that you are about to procreate. That is exciting! You will be blessed with many children. There is enough food for everyone in this beautiful garden.”
A short time later:
Eve:  “Wow! It’s a girl child. What shall we name her?”
Adam:  “Honey, you are the mother of all living. You name her.”

Does this scene look too fanciful? Is it out of the bounds of possibility?
We really don’t know what life may have been like for Adam and Eve if they would not have eaten the forbidden fruit. The Scriptures do not tell us. We can only look at what God did say to our original parents after they sinned. There we can get some clues as to what life should have been like forever in the Garden of Eden.

Everyone is familiar with the story. The serpent (who we really know was the devil, Revelation 12:9) came along and tempted Eve to eat from a tree that had been forbidden to her and Adam. We could all wish that she wouldn’t have done it, but she did when “she saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.” (Genesis 3:6).

After Adam ate some of the fruit, they were ashamed and tried to hide from God. The Lord confronted them with their sin and told them what life would now be like. First, God cursed the devil for his part in destroying their beautiful life.

Before He spoke to Eve and Adam, He promised a way to save mankind. We believe that Genesis 3:15 is the promise of our Savior, Jesus Christ, the One Who would “bruise (Satan) on the head.” Though Eve was standing there, ashamed and miserable, she could hear these words of encouragement. All was not lost. The same serpent who deceived her would one day be destroyed.

Then, “To the woman He said, ‘I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you will bring forth children; yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you’” (Genesis 3:16).

Next, God told Adam how hard it would be to get something to eat. The ground would be cursed. Not only that, but now instead of fellowship forever with God in the garden, Adam would die and return to the dust from which he was taken.

Lastly, the Lord sent Adam and Eve out of the garden into the world to cultivate the ground and live their lives. Adam named Eve “the mother of all living.” Soon she would bear Cain and Abel and then other children, including Seth.

The Bible doesn’t tell us anything further about Eve’s life. I believe that she and Adam repented and were saved as they looked forward to the coming Messiah. They worked hard and lived lives that were as pleasing to God as possible in the now sin infected world.

Since so much has been written about the meaning of Eve’s actions during the fall of man, I would like to make some observations.

First, of all, let us please just read what the Scripture says and do not read our own biases and emotions into Eve’s part in the fall. The fact that people believe everything from extreme egalitarianism to extreme hierarchy just shows that there is much speculating going on. I would caution following either of these views. Both groups have an agenda. I don’t believe that their agendas are Biblical. I believe that both groups are displeasing to God.

The truth, as is so often the case, is somewhere in the middle. Let’s just start with a recap:
1.  “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:26). At this point, men and women are equals. In this great first chapter of the Bible we see God’s wonderful creative activity. Everything God made was good, and the first couple was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). God told them to be fruitful and multiply and to rule over everything else He had made. This job as vice-regents was given to both of them equally.

2.  In Genesis, chapter 2, we are given a few more details about what God made specifically for the earth. Special attention is given to the Garden of Eden. There He placed the man that He had just formed out of dust. Adam was to cultivate the garden.

3.  Now, God says that “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 218). Here might be a good spot for Eve’s appearance, but instead God brings the animals to Adam for their naming. The Bible does not tell us why this is the order of things, and the point I want to make is that this is one of those places where there is much speculating going on. The folks who favor a strong patriarchy in society will say that the fact that Adam was created first, and was given the authority to name the animals (and subsequently his helper) proves that he was meant to be in charge of the woman as he was the animals. But, does the Scripture say that Adam is to be in charge of the woman? May we please just go with what the text says, “It is not good for man to be alone.”

4.  God creates the woman out of one of Adam’s ribs. Two things are of interest here. One is that while man was brought forth out of non-living dust, woman was made out of living material. Our egalitarian friends believe that this shows the superiority of the woman. Again, I ask, let’s please just stick with what the Bible says and not read into it.

The other thing to note is that we are actually given the reason for the creation of woman out of the side of the man and it is not so that he can rule over her. Adam tells us himself that this special creation has to do with marriage. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Gen. 2:24). God gave us a very graphic picture of the oneness of a married couple in the creation of Eve.

So far, we have a married couple ruling together as co-vice-regents in a beautiful garden where no sin has entered as of yet.

Things are about to change; but how?

Let’s stop and think. Ponder on the following questions and next week in Part II, we will explore some possible answers.
1.  Did Eve enjoy the same fellowship with God as Adam did in the garden? Was she aware of God’s prohibition against eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil? How did she find out since she was not there when God told Adam?

2.  Is there anything in the first two chapters of the Bible that suggests that Eve was inferior to Adam in any way? I mean inferior as a person, intellectually, emotionally, or willfully?

3. What does the manner of Eve’s creation mean to you?
Next time we will talk about the fall, the “curse”, and what life is like for women because of those events.

In the meantime, rejoice because the promised Messiah has come bringing new life for us.

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