We Know What They Are Doing

Legal abortion in the United States turned 40 this January. In his stunning article “We Know They Are Killing The Children—All of Us Know“, John Piper gives 11 reasons why we as a nation know that abortion is the murder of innocent children. I would strongly recommend you read the entire article for yourself, or at the very least read my attempt at a summary of his points listed below.

1. Anecdotally, abortionists will admit they are killing children.
They argue the right for a mother to choose is more important than the right of the baby to live.

2. States treat the killing of the unborn as a homicide.
Is it not mind-bending that the desire of the mother determines if a developing fetus is a human or not?

3. Fetal surgery treats the unborn as children and patients.
It is certifiably insane to abort some children at 22 weeks while desperately trying to save others through intra-unterine surgeries.

4. Being small does not disqualify personhood.
A six-month-old has no less right to live than an 18-year-old.

5. Not having developed reasoning does not disqualify personhood.
A newborn cannot reason either, yet to take his life is universally recognized as murder.

6. Being in the womb does not disqualify human personhood.
A person’s humanity is not based on physical location.

7. Being dependent on mommy does not disqualify personhood.
You’re state of dependence upon another does not determine whether or not you are a human being.

8. The genetic makeup of humans is unique.
At conception a completely unique being comes into existence that didn’t exist before and will never exist again.

9. All the organs are present at eight weeks of gestation.
They’re still developing and not independent of the baby’s mother yet, but they’re there and will become independent if they’re given time.

10. We have seen the photographs.
(See for yourself here.)

11. When two rights conflict, the higher value should be protected.
The right of a baby to live is of higher value than the right of a woman to choose whether or not she wants to be pregnant.

Echoed throughout his article are the words, “We know what we are doing.” And he’s exactly right. We know. We all know. Please wake up. Please open your eyes and see. Yet precisely because we know, we are able to repent, and God can forgive.  God is near to those who call on his name.  Praise him for his steadfast love.

Then Boast

When your mind rocks because of your inept abilities
to judge obscure perplexities, then boast.

When Satan’s power overwhelms the senses, causing you to flit and flitter,
helpless as a falling autumn leaf, then boast.

When your weak flesh has failed in strength and you’re incapable
of bearing one more moment in the fray in your own might, then boast.

When insults well-deserved and laced with piercing truth
cut your already reeling heart like arrows from an expert archer’s bow, then boast.

When your fool mouth is speechless, words escaping your frail mind
in moments too imperative to pass, it seems, without divine remarks, then boast.

When your internal weaknesses inhibit you from tasting victor’s sweet reward
achieved in your own righteousness, then boast.

When messengers of Satan’s host draw near and buffet unrelentingly
the soul already at its breaking point, then boast.

When hardships tear away all earthly comforts,
leaving you without a single foothold as you struggle up the cliff’s sheer face, then boast.

Which mental illness, you may ask, has taken hold so forcefully
that I would bid one boast in utter brokenness?

Not mental illness but new sight affords
the heart sweet joy though it be brought down low.

For there, at rope’s despondent end
and empty barrel’s bottom, Jesus’ grace is found.

It’s there, amid the stench of human weaknesses,
that Jesus makes his power perfect.

So once again I bid your heart and mine to boast when our own frailty manifests itself
to all the world and shame would utterly consume all natural sensibilities.

For when I’m weak, I’m strong, and therefore I will boast so that Christ’s power
might fall hard upon my needy soul and he alone be glorified, not me.

© 2013 Eric Evans

A Single Compound Sentence That Changed My Life

A very well-read man has said, “Books don’t often change your life.  Single sentences from books change your life.”  Words, then—even a mere sentence-full of them—are very powerful.

One such sentence that has impacted me perhaps more than any other I’ve ever come to know is a single, compound sentence from Isaiah 41:10.  There, God says to his people,

Fear not, for I am with you.

I have never read a single sentence that has impacted me as much as that one has.  It is incredibly simple as far as sentences go—two independent clauses joined neatly together by a coordinating conjunction.  And yet, the truth behind such deceptively simple sentence construction is breath-taking.

To begin with, God tells his people, “Fear not.”  It’s a command.  What’s more, it’s a command regarding our emotions.  He’s commanding us not to be afraid.  He’s ordering us not to feel fear.

Why?  On what basis would he make such a claim?  He doesn’t leave us guessing.  He gives us a rock-solid reason as to why we should not be afraid, introduced by the little word “for,” meaning because.  He commands us not to fear because he is with us.

I could not overstate the staggering implications of the fact that God is with me.  The thought has filled me with the deepest sense of awe and peace more times than I can now count.  The very being who stretched out the stars with his fingers (Psalm 8:3) and who actively upholds the universe by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3) is, right now as I type these words, with me.  He is present.  He is here.  He is with me.

I think this verse has meant so much to me over the past few years because of all that I see in that word “with.”  He’s not against me.  He’s for me.  He’s not distant.  He’s close.  He’s not working in opposition to me.  He’s working for my good.  He’s not aloof of my doings.  He’s involved at the very minutest detail of everything I do.  He’s not cold and indifferent to my needs and wants.  He knows me inside and out because he’s right here with me.

Ever needed someone to simply be with you?  It is impressive to me how someone’s mere presence, sometimes, is enough.  God is always with me.  He is good, and he is powerful, and he is with me.  As the psalmist said, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it” (Psalm 139:6).  It is beyond my ability to fully grasp.

May you come to know God this way.  So I say to you as God has so often whispered to me, “Fear not, for I am with you.”

The Best of 2012

The results are in.  The counts have been finalized.  The numbers are clear.  Here is a list of the most popular posts made to this blog in 2012.  Drum roll please!

Number 5

Beginning the list at number five is “Lessons From Job, Part 6,” published on January 10.  This was the last installment of a six-part series on truths that had impacted me greatly from the book of Job.

Number 4

Number four on the list is “Living (and Dying) in Hope,” posted September 8.  I wrote these words after receiving the news that a dear high school music teacher of mine, Gary Fiscus, had succumbed to his long battle with cancer.

Number 3

The third most popular post of 2012 is “Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting,” published December 15, written in the wake of the terror in a school in Connecticut.

Number 2

Coming in at number two is “Time for a (Real) Change,” posted on April 10.  This post delves into a realization I came to shortly after my wife and I moved to a new house.  While all my surroundings were new, it turned out I was the same ol’ guy.

Number 1

And the most popular post made to this blog in 2012 is “Shots Fired,” written and published on November 23.  This post recounts the events that took place while my wife, mom, and mother-in-law were at a mall in Omaha, NE, early in the morning on Black Friday.

There you have it, folks.  The top five posts of 2012.  May they be a blessing.  Grace and peace to you as you begin 2013.

A Rock in a Hurricane

There is incomprehensible suffering in this world.  It shouldn’t be! our hearts cry out.  And our hearts are right.  A gunman shouldn’t shoot 26 people in cold blood, 20 of them defenseless children, in an elementary school. A group of men shouldn’t gang rape a woman on a public bus and then throw her off it for dead. Terrorists shouldn’t run airplanes into buildings. A country’s entire economic system shouldn’t be dependent upon labor inhumanely exacted from black slaves. A husband shouldn’t be so arrogant and self-centered when his wife is tired and needs encouragement.

And yet these things happen. They happen every day. We hear about some in the news. Most don’t draw much media coverage at all. And in light of such horrors, people begin to look for relief from the horrors that surround them—and from the horrors that torment them.

Christianity has the answer, but it might not be exactly what you think it is. To be very clear, Jesus is the answer. What you need in the middle of terror—any terror or calamity or sorrow or hardship that you’ve ever faced, are facing right now, or ever will face—is Jesus right there, right beside you, with his strong, sovereign arms around you ensuring you that this pain won’t consume you.

I would gently and lovingly caution you, however, from misunderstanding what I mean when I say that Jesus is the answer. What I don’t mean is that you need Jesus so that big, strong Jesus can remove you from your terror or calamity or sorrow or hardship. In fact, Jesus and the inspired biblical writers make it very clear that following him would increase the tribulations you face in this world (John 16:33; Romans 8:17; Philippians 1:29; 2 Thessalonians 3:2-4; 1 Peter 2:20). What I mean when I say that Jesus is the answer to your deepest longings and most pointed pains is that you need Jesus to be the rock under your feet so that when the winds blow and when the storm comes, while you may be struck hard by the merciless waves, you won’t be utterly shaken and washed away.

Jesus doesn’t promise to remove all your heartache. He promises to walk beside you through it and ensure it doesn’t consume you. That is the hope we have in him. This rock-solid truth is what the world longs for and can’t find. As we enter 2013, I pray that you wouldn’t be one of those left wanting.