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Life at Conception?

Posted on November 11, 2008 at 12:19 PM Comments comments (0)

I'll tell you why I believe life starts at conception (that doesn't mean I may learn something later that changes my mind). First, there are the Bible references to God knowing us before we were even a thought in someone's head. Here are just two of them:

 

 

Ps. 139:13-16

 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be

 

 

Jeremiah 1:4-5

 

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

 

 

Second, the moment that the egg and sperm join, certain things are already determined: eye/hair/skin color, fingerprints, and even some aspects of personality (the last one is heavily documented in twin studies). Not only that, but just by what defines "life" in the scientific sense, we see that even just with 2 cells, the embryo is alive:

 

Conventional definition: The consensus is that life is a characteristic of organisms that exhibit all or most of the following phenomena:

  1. Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.

     

  2. Organization: Being composed of one or more cells, which are the basic units of life.

     

  3. Metabolism: Consumption of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.

     

  4. Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of synthesis than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter. The particular species begins to multiply and expand as the evolution continues to flourish.

     

  5. Adaptation: The ability to change over a period of time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of [micro]evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity as well as the composition of metabolized substances, and external factors present.

     

  6. Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of higher animals. A response is often expressed by motion, for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism) and chemotaxis.

     

  7. Reproduction: The ability to produce new organisms. Reproduction can be the division of one cell to form two new cells. Usually the term is applied to the production of a new individual (either asexually, from a single parent organism, or sexually, from at least two differing parent organisms), although strictly speaking it also describes the production of new cells in the process of growth. 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life

     

There are Bible verses that people site that they believe support the idea that "life" doesn't begin till the baby takes its first breath. I've read those verses, but I don't see what they see. What has been revealed to me thus far makes it very clear that God's definition of life is far more inclusive than our own. You'll have to make up your own mind.

More on Less Talking

Posted on November 10, 2008 at 5:37 PM Comments comments (0)

Over the last few days, I tried talking less. I was very deliberate about what I chose to say and not say. If it was just because I wanted to share a thought, I kept it to myself. If it was information that might interest the person I was with, I shared. After a while, I didn't even want to talk. Yes, absolutely amazing. I don't think my mother appreciated it, though. I usually call her right after church on the way home, but I didn't call her at all. She finally called me at 5 or 6, but I still didn't have much to say. Never thought I'd say that.

 

I have also been taking baby steps toward times of silence, so I've worked on not automatically turning on the TV. or music. This has given me time to practice my flute, which I haven't done in MONTHS; and I've had time to actually sit and read the Bible. That's definitely something that I need to do. How else can I know how to hear God's voice unless I'm familiar with his Word?

Vow of Silence?

Posted on November 8, 2008 at 12:59 PM Comments comments (0)

Yes, I'm thinking of taking a short vow of silence. Anyone who knows me knows that I generally have a lot to say about many things. I think part of that is just who I am, but it's also the result of being an only child (for 16 years) of a single parent. I seem to comment on whatever goes through my head. Many may not believe this, but I already do filter out 90% of what actually runs around in my head. It's true. Anyway, I was thinking about trying to be silent more often. No, seriously.  

 

What interests me may not interest those around me, so why do I feel the compulsion to share it? More importantly, if I'm always talking, how can I hear the still, quiet voice of God? Now, that's not to say that I'm not good listener (all of my friends know that I am), but that's when there's a specific reason to listen. If not, I tend to be the one talking or I'm concentrating on TV or music, etc. None of that leaves me open to hear something that God might be trying to share with me. I tried talking less the other day, and it was really difficult. I mentioned this to a friend, and he suggested starting off with a set amount of time. Obviously, I can't be totally silent; I answer phones for a living. However, I could do it on one of my days off, any talking outside of work, etc. I'm thinking I'll just start with 1-3 days. I welcome any feedback on this.

 

 

Verses that support less talking:

 

Pr 10:19 - When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.

 

Pr 17:9 - Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.

 

Pr 17:27 - The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding.

 

Pr 17:28 - Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning, when he seals his lips.

 

Pr 13:3 - He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.

 

Pr 12:18 - Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

 

Jas 1:26 - If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.  

 

That's not to say that we should never speak; just that we must be careful with our words. I'm going to try this as well as trying to have more time without outside stimulation. I'll be left alone with my thoughts (yes, I'm very scared about that) and hopefully with anything God wishes to share with me.

Our President

Posted on November 5, 2008 at 10:50 PM Comments comments (0)

I could say that I couldn't have said it better myself, but we all know that's not exactly true (love you, Tom). :)

 

"Obama is President ? Now What?

I have always believed in voting but I have never been a political geek. I get the basics information about the causes I care about to see how I wish to vote or, on topics I don't understand or know enough about, I abstain. However, this presidential race was different. I wasn't glued to the TV like some (though I did finally get to see "The Incredible Hulk" on DVD last night), but my lap top was open the whole time I watched the movie as I hit refresh every five minutes or so to get the latest results...:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

I think my peeked interest had to do with the fact that I was conflicted this election. I struggled with if I was going to vote for the guy that I thought was the best for the economy, health care, the war in Iraq, and so forth, then I must admit I was leaning towards Obama. If I voted for the guy who has the most experience, stood where I do on many morality issues, that I respect, and the like, then I would vote for McCain.

 

I struggled personally (though you may have it all figured out) if I should vote for government positions on the questions of who would do the best on the morality issues or the who would do the best on the issues of the land (yes they can be considered the same). Who did I vote for then? A guy by the name of None Ya. To be quite honest, it has nothing to do with the real reason for this post anyways.

 

It is the day after and Obama is the president elect. You may be thrilled like those highlighted in that park in Chicago last night or you may be grieving that McCain will not be in White House. I know it has been a passionate issue for many including those in the Christian community.

 

I have to say, that there have been moments that we as the body of Christ shined during this process (bringing issues to the public that God cares about), moments we took our hits (I love the "Daily Show" but Christian beliefs are often punned or jabbed), and we have embarrassed ourselves (Obama is not the Anti-Christ and I was saddened by the "letter from a future Christian" from Focus on the Family). That all said, it's in the past. What matters now?

 

Well, Obama is a done deal so deal with it. Whatever your political beliefs, we have our first African American President (if you don't like what I'm saying because he is African American, then that's a whole other prayer request that you can get over it in love and truth) and it's time to stand together as a nation behind him.

 

We do not need to come together because it's the "American" thing to do. We need to come together because it is Biblically right to do so.

 

Romans 13: 1-3

 

Submission to the Authorities

 

"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you."

 

 

These words Paul wrote to Christians in Rome were under a much tougher government than you and I. They were under the very government that would soon put Paul to death for his faith. Keep this in mind as you read his instruction. Paul did not submit to authority when it conflicted with the highest authority of Christ but he did in any other way.

 

 

"But Tom, our country is nose diving! The economy is crashing, the war is still raging, millions are without jobs and health care, pro life causes are on the ropes, should homosexuals be able to get married, gas prices are soaring (actually they are not, I would love to see the TV commercials saying that go away), and the like??. What are we going to do!?!"

 

 

I hear ya (on most of that). I am a small business owner of a Christian bookstore that is on the ropes. I am a pastor in a community where I am talking to many who are scared, hurting, and challenged. My wife and I are making some decisions now we have not even considered our first 8 years of marriage. However, we remember this?.

 

 

Psalm 42:11 

 

"Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

 

So if my hope is in God, and if no man receives authority outside of God's direction, then it is time to unify. If any president deviates from God's will, we use our voice to protest and stand up. However, it is way too early for that right now. You may feel strongly against that but I pray you may be able to submit yourself to some time of quiet before the Lord and see if the Holy Spirit ministers to you to be angry and fearful or if the Holy Spirit ministers to you to pray.

 

Wow, aren't I on a little tangent? What sparked this?

 

Well, to be honest, an email I received from a friend of mine named Sarah from My Space this morning. We do not know each other well and I am quite humbled that she thought of me. I pray it is with her blessing that I share a part of the email I received from her now?.

 

"Hi Tom! I was hoping now that the election is over, you would send out a bulletin or post a blog reminding people to pray!... I am quite sick of hearing people complain about both candidates. It doesn't matter who they voted for what matters now is that we pray for the safety of our President elect, the safety of our country, the courage and strength to continue forward out of this path of destruction we're on. Most of the world sees this as a huge barrier broken, so why can't we? I know you can put this into better words than I can, and elaborate further?

 

God Bless!

Sarah"

 

I am not a political pastor and I have said VERY little outside of my closest friends about the election. However, Sarah's heart inspired me that this call to pray is too important to not be a part of. The only thing that I disagree with Sarah on is this, she put it much better words than I could.

 

Let's get on our knees America and pray for our new president elect!"

Copied from Tom's site.

Cynical?

Posted on October 24, 2008 at 2:01 PM Comments comments (0)

I'm pretty cynical, at least about our government. Well, really it's about the people in our government. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being all-out, perfect trust and a belief in an unerring government, I'm about a 3. I can't say that I'm a 0; if I did, then I should move out of the country. If I say it's 0, but I stay here, then I better shut-up about the government or do something about it. In theory, our set-up is a pretty good one. Unfortunately, it has to be run by people who are fallible, greedy, and ambition-driven. I do not believe that anyone can work in our government for any length of time without becoming part of the corruption, back-scratching, etc. They are there for themselves, not us. Don't kid yourself. Anyone who knows me knows that I can't stand politicians.

 

 

Anyway, this leads me to what our role is as Christians. We have to understand that God is the one who chooses who is or is not the President, whether we think they agree with us or not. He chooses them for a reason, and we are not here to judge Him. Even if I don't like what a President has done (I have yet to be happy with one, by the way), I still have to respect the office.

 

 

Our pastor talked about respect in relation to the fifth Commandment. There are three levels to the kind of respect we're to show to one another:

·         Respect based upon human dignity (James 3:9-10)

 

·         Respect based upon position (1 Peter 2:17)

 

·         Respect based upon character and deeds (1 Timothy 5:17)

 

Yes, Pastor Terry was talking about within the family, but I think it's pretty obvious that this kind of respect extends from there. He may/may not engender respect by his character or deeds, but just the fact that he's a fellow human (and a child of God) and is in a position of authority, I should show him respect. Even if I don't like what the President is doing, it's no call for disrespect. Period.

 

 

I'll be watching this in myself, will you?