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Posts Tagged ‘creation’

My husband, Paul, and I just returned from a 35-day road trip through British Columbia and the Yukon of Canada to Alaska and back.  The wonders of God’s creation were always before us… but so were little “lessons for life.”

34-time outSometimes, a gal just needs “time out” from resisting the darkness of the world to be renewed by the Creator of light and life.

 

55-placer mining67-Dredge 8 stories highWhat is the value of one human life? Up in the Klondike of the Yukon, a gold dredge eight stories high running 24/7 that cost $25 million (today’s dollar) and brought in $75,000/day in gold (today’s dollar) was shut down for three days in order to find the body of a man caught in the conveyor and buried in the tailings.

 

79-Matanuska ferry87a-sunset from ferryFor two days, we were aboard the Matanuska Ferry that carried us (and our car) from Haines, Alaska, to Prince Rupert, B.C. The views were breathtaking, but most encouraging and hopeful was the father and his daughter sitting next to us at dinner who bowed their heads and began their meal with “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest… .”

 

1-Paul Linda best Cassiar Hwy - CopyLook at this couple. Do we appear dangerous? A threat to society?  At 2:30 a.m., after driving off the Matanuska ferry and showing our passports at Prince Rupert, B.C., customs, we were pulled out of the line and asked to exit our car while it was searched. Eventually (and with a smile), the border patrol guard gave us permission to proceed. After 3:00 a.m., we were driving the streets in rain and fog hoping to locate our hotel when a fine officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police turned on his lights and pulled us over for “weaving across the yellow line.” When he realized that we had not “been drinking,” but were strangers in a foreign land just off the ferry and seeking safe haven, he graciously gave us directions (with a smile).  The words of Ezekiel 34:12 are comforting: “As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.”

 

22d-smouldering21-grapes at Osoyoos“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire . . .”  After crossing the border between British Columbia and Washington, we drove in dense smoke; in fact, the forest ground along our highway was still smoldering and I saw flames consuming a fallen tree. The acrid smell permeated our car and clothing. Here and there, it was evident that firefighters, national guardsmen, and neighbors joined to save a house from untamed and restless tongues of fire.  Our tongues are too often untamed and restless. With our tongues, “we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the image of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not be so . . .” (James 3:5,10). Instead, like the grapevines that we saw persevering even as fires raged all around, may we bear the good fruit of mercy, patience and kindness.

 

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Bill O'ReillyMany people attempt to speak for God.  But it is a dangerous thing to play fast and loose with God’s Word.  Bill O’Reilly, who consistently reminds his listeners that he attended Catholic school, is one example.  He recently told his guest, a priest, that the whole homosexual thing doesn’t trouble him.  Really?  And, I wonder, why might that be?

Two thoughts come to mind.  O’Reilly is a deceived creature who has raised himself above the Creator. He dangerously follows the example of Eve who, after putting herself in God’s place, spoke for Him.  When Satan asked, “Did God really say . . . ?” Eve responded, adding words that God never spoke (compare Genesis 3:2-3 with 2:16-17). Does O’Reilly doubt that Jesus Christ is The Word (John 1:1-5, 14)?  Jesus, who is God, calls homosexuality a sin in both the Old and New Testaments.

Second, it’s quite possible that O’Reilly has no difficulty with two men or two women living a gay or lesbian lifestyle because of another deception.  It is much easier to accept homosexuality as just a personal form of sexual expression when we are deceived by false identity.  That false identity is sexuality.

Identifying humans as primarily sexual beings is what motivates women to aggressively support “reproductive rights” and an American president who blesses Planned Parenthood.  But with little or no fear of God, men and women worship the created rather than the Creator.

Once we have been deceived to see ourselves as “sexual from birth,” our thinking, speech, clothing and behavior soon reflect the lie.  When we celebrate our sexuality — rather than the God who made us — we are more easily captive to the flesh.  We may, indeed, proclaim: This is who God made me to be!

Homosexuality is accepted when we believe the lie: “my body, my choice.”  At the core of all issues of life — abortion, marriage, homosexuality and euthanasia – is identity.   We will most certainly have an identity problem when we deny or doubt the Word of God.

God identifies us not as sexual beings, but as holy beings.  God is holy.  He calls us to be holy.  Holiness means seeking after the things of God, not the things of the flesh.  It means denying self and, instead, being a vessel for noble purpose.  This goes against the grain of the world’s thinking.  “Express yourself,” we’re told.  “Satisfy your natural desires.”  And, in this present culture, what could be more natural than expression of our sexuality which appears to be the sum total of who we are.

O’Reilly (and the rest of us who call upon the name of Christ) should take care.  It is a dangerous thing to play fast and loose with things of God.  Our identity – and with it, our behavior – is defined by God.

To everyone who is called by God’s name, who has been created for His glory, He says, “. . . I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1, 7).

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I really don’t understand my generation nor do I understand my parents’ generation.  We cry out for ourselves.  We want government health care, government assistance, government support.  We worry that someone will take away Medicare, Medicaid, and access to inexpensive prescription drugs.  “These are our rights!” we claim.

But, where are the arms of the government?  Where are the hands?  The heart?  The soul?  Where is the government when we need encouragement in times of loneliness, difficulty, or loss?

Government is not a person.  It does not think.  It does not care.  It is only what the people shape it to be.

Government can only provide programs and assistance for its citizens when the citizens provide the funds.  These funds are called taxes.  We have to pay them… or suffer penalty of law.  In other words, we are depending on the coerced charity of people who don’t know us and maybe don’t even care.

My generation had not a brain in its collective head when it demanded uninhibited sexual freedoms and legalized abortion.  “I am a sexual being; therefore, it’s my right.”  “I deserve to be happy.”  “It’s all about me.”

Well, now what?  Sexualized, “all about me” Boomers want their Viagra for “performance edge in the bedroom” AND a government health care plan.   Tell me, Boomers, is there anything else we’d like on the backs of our children and grandchildren?

Government is an institution without a heart, mind or soul.  It doesn’t know us.  It is not in touch with us.  It cannot love us or help bear our burdens.  America’s older citizens clamor for care and support, but – duh! – what were we thinking?  Fearing any inconvenience, so many of my generation aborted the living souls who would have grown up to care for us.  My generation aborted the very flesh and blood that, unlike government, would have had bonded relationally with parents and grandparents.

We aborted those feared to be “inconvenient” or “burdensome.”  But, allowed to live, those children would have lessened the fears of parents who may be labeled by a “death panel” as a financial burden to society.

God does not scratch His head, wondering how He will care for all the people.  That’s what generations are for!  Fifty million babies (the number of those aborted in the U.S. since 1973) would have pumped energy, creativity, and consumer dollars into a now dead economy.

People my age and older – who should know better – proclaim, “It’s the economy, stupid!”  We dismiss what are called “social issues.”  Well, dismissing social issues — the sanctity of human life, marriage, and family – helped create the mess we’re in.  Refusing to dialogue about personal responsibility, moral ethics, and values made an already spoiled citizenry more selfish and lazy.  Tolerant of everything except discussions of “right and wrong,” we listen to a sound bite here, read a headline there, and vote for whoever will send the most financial assistance our direction.

“It’s the economy, stupid!”  No, I disagree.  The economy is the way it is because we’ve been living off the investments of our Founding Fathers and every father who worked honestly and faithfully to provide for his family.  We’ve been living off the investments of mothers who understood that a nation is built upon vibrant homes and children taught self-restraint.  We’ve been living off the investments of others but, as my husband says, invested very little – if anything – ourselves.  Now that’s stupid.  And, as it’s been said, you can’t fix stupid.

A long time ago I was compelled to become involved with pro-life and family ministries as a volunteer.  Although probably considered “illiterate” by university-types, I have been hungry to learn through reading and research.  My worth cannot be measured by a salary, but I have been blessed to travel the country speaking with and listening to countless people from all walks of life.  My Biblical worldview allows me to see all people of every color, ethnicity, and culture as part of the human family because they are all creations of God.  That means that people – and the conundrum of social issues – matter to me.

Government can’t do what I do.  It can’t do what anyone who cares for their neighbor can do.  My arms have reached out to comfort women hurting years after their abortion choice.  The Spirit of my Baptism moves me to love complete strangers with no strings attached.  A great number of these “strangers” have become my friends and fellow sojourners.

With the desire to help eliminate costly health problems such as sexually transmitted diseases, pre-marital sex, and abortion, I joined with two other moms to start a caring pregnancy center (CPC).   Every service we offer is freely and willingly provided, not coerced by compulsory “taxation.”  When funds are needed, we work to raise them.  We invite – never demand – our community to join with us in making a positive difference for people in times of fear or need.  We provide at no charge the pregnancy tests for which Planned Parenthood charges (in spite of all our tax dollars sitting in their coffers).  We mentor toward personal accountability and the stability of marriage.

Government is not a person.  Government is without hands, heart and soul.  Government does not love its neighbor as itself.  Government can provide assistance only when its citizens provide the funds.  And, in too many cases, government welfare tends to enslave the people.

For this reason, I’m going to the voting booth not to vote for a Republican or Democrat.  Not to vote for one personality over another.  But, to vote for leaders who will defend human life in the womb and, therefore, human life in old age.

To vote for leaders who will defend the sanctity of marriage as the institution created by God for a civilized world.  Who will defend the freedom of more than worship, but expression of faith in daily life.

The economy will begin to fix itself when life, marriage and family begin to matter more.

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In response to a previous post, “Not a Scientist” asked: “Would you mind quoting where Jesus says that homosexuality is a sin?”

Where does Jesus speak against homosexuality?  Everywhere that God does!

First, one must believe that God is who He says He is.  “In the beginning, God created . . . ” (Genesis 1).  He created male and female to be equal, but not the same.  He didn’t created them at the same time, in the same way, or for the same purpose (Genesis 2:7, 18, 21-22).  He gave them to each other, male and female, to be one union or one flesh in marriage (Genesis 2:24).  Woman was created to be a “helper fit for him.”  Did you know that “fit for him” literally means “like his opposite”?  Consider how man and woman are, in many ways, opposite yet, in marriage, fit together perfectly.  God brings new life into the world through their procreative act of sex.  Marriage, childbirth, and growth of the human community were part of God’s plan for humankind from before The Fall.  Throughout the Old Testament, the Word of God speaks against homosexuality or sodomy.  It is not His design.

Where does Jesus speak against homosexuality?  Everywhere that God does.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any think made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it . . . And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-5; 14).  Jesus is God.  He is the Creator.  He is the Word.  He is Law and Gospel.

Jesus did not come to abolish the Law (Old Testament) of God.  He came to fulfill it.  He did not disregard it.  He is it!  Inspired by The Word Jesus, St. Paul wrote many times about the sin of homosexuality.  To be sure, we humans think we have evolved in our thinking.  We seek our own way.  We set ourselves up as gods of our own lives.  The consequences are always the same.  “. . . They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator . . . For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.  For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:25-28).

Jesus is the Word.  He is God.  He is the Creator.  The Creator knows intimately what He has created.  He is the Creator of anatomy and biology.  He knows what works and what does not.  God is incapable of imperfection.  He would not create a man “fit for” another man, and then laugh when they don’t fit.

My Biblical worldview — CREATION, THE FALL & REDEMPTION — explains to me the wonder of God’s perfect creation of male, female, marriage, and generational society, but it also explains what went wrong and why we struggle so with ourselves and others.  Sin happened.  Man and woman were deceived and failed to trust God’s Word.  That first sin affected us all.  We put ourselves in place of God.  We doubt that Jesus said any more than what is printed in red letters in the New Testament.  But, He did say it all!  He is the Word.  And, because He calls Himself the Word, he is either that… or a liar.

Every day, I am in awe.  Things go bad because of sin.  We struggle heterosexually and homosexually.  But, because of that struggle with our sinful flesh, The Word Jesus came in perfect flesh.  Because of The Word — Jesus — there is hope.  Because of Christ, I am redeemed!  Set free of the chains that bind me to sin.  I may continue to do battle with my feelings and desires, but Satan and my own sinful flesh do not have dominion over me.

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I’m thinking of a particular woman.  When she is feeling energetic, creative and loving, she desires to help people have a good time.  She wants to help everyone around her have fun.  She is high on life and wants to help others experience that exuberance, too.

But, when she is not feeling so energetic, creative or loving, she descends to a dark place.  She is unhappy.  Burdened with sadness.  Discontent.  Instead of helping others to have fun and enjoy the high of life, she helps them descend to a low place with her.

I don’t pretend to know all I need to know.  I am not a psychiatrist, counselor, or therapist of any kind.  But, I know this.  I know that God created woman to be a helper.  It is a woman’s nature to help.  A woman is constantly helping — to the good or the bad.  To build up or tear down.  With discipline and restraint, or without.  With discernment, or without.  With patience or impatience.  To meet the real needs of others or to meet her own perceived needs.

For the sake of others, we women do well to recognize and accept our identity.  We are unique creations of God lovingly shaped to be helpers for men and, therefore, our world.  We are helpers by nature.  We cannot help but help.  The question is, how will we choose to help?  To what end will we help?  Will we exhibit self-discipline and restraint, or will we do whatever we want whenever we want?  Will we withhold our help when others need it?  Will we overwhelm others with the help we feel like giving when they do not need it?

Will we let our feelings set the course for our actions?  Or will we pause to think about what we are doing and why?

Is it all about us as we insist on helping our way?   Or is it all about serving God by helping others His way?

It does make a difference.  It matters.

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Today, I was invited to speak for a few minutes on Issues, Etc. — Lutheran Talk Radio.  How does one “speak for a few minutes” on two life-sized topics: Abortion and Sex Education?  It was impossible!

I’ve posted multiple blogs in recent weeks on sex education, yet have only covered the surface.  There is so much history!  So much experience!  Such bold contrast between the world’s idea of sex education and God’s command to instruct in purity.  Identity — how the world defines us vs. how God defines us — is core in this discussion.  At the very least, I hope one person was made more curious.

Well, go ahead…  if you wish.  Click on the link and listen 🙂

Abortion and Forgiveness & Sex Education, with Linda Bartlett, 11/16/2011

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Every idea has a consequence.

“Man is descended from a hairy-tailed quadruped, probably arboreal in his habits.”  (Charles Darwin)

“Children are sexual beings.”  (Alfred Kinsey)

“The entire culture war is being fought over the issue of sex.”  (Phillip Johnson)

“Sexual liberty has become the ultimate virtue in American life.”  (Charles Colson)

Should we be surprised to hear:

“Aborting my baby is the ultimate sacrifice I have to make for myself.”  (American woman)

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