A Conversation on: How Should We Live in Light of the SCOTUS Ruling on Marriage? (PART 2)

A couple of week ago we discussed the ruling by SCOTUS concerning marriage and how we ought to think about this issue.  In part 2 of this segment we discuss more practical concerns on how one ought to live in light of this ruling.  How does this affect our persona, family, work, and church life?  This is the focus of this conversation.  May this round table discussion serve you well.

Blessings!

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Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?

I don’t enjoy writing on such a subject.  And I hope to be brief, because there are much more exhaustive and researched books available out there on the topic.  However,  I am incredibly burdened, because many who believe life begins at conception are users of the pill which can and has caused abortions.  In other words, many are engaged in a practice unknown to them that undermines their own principles and beliefs.  And I believe I have a responsibility to inform to the best of my ability.

At the outset let me just commend to you a fantastic book that proves what I will only state.  Randy Alcorn has written a book called, “Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?”  Alcorn talks with pharmacist, doctors, and the distributors themselves to prove that the pill does indeed cause abortions.

BCP’s (Birth Control Pills) have three functions to family planning.  The first two are contraceptive in nature the third is abortificient in nature.  Contraceptives goals attempt to stop a conception.  In other words, contraceptive attempt to prevent life from beginning.  Their goal is to stop an egg from getting conceived.  Abortificients goal is terminate a pregnancy or kill a conceived life (early or late). 

Here’s just one quote from the  Physicians Desk Reference Ortho-Cept the largest pill distributor:

Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus, which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus, and changes in the endometrium, which reduce the likelihood of implantation.

For the record, implantation only happens when the egg has conceived.  Unfertilized eggs do not implant.  In other words, this reducing the “likelihood of implantation” is aborting the conceived child.

Now that I have shared this info with you, you are responsible for what you do with it.  I hope this serves you brother or sister in Christ.

Blessings!

P.S.

It is likely that you could feel horrendous guilt and shame after discovering all of this.  I have attached an article that helps those struggling with  this here.

Dear Elealeh

Dearest Elealeh,

Today is the day we anticipated as the day you would enter the world and fill our arms and our hearts. A special due date of 11/11/11 made even more special by the fact that it would have been your great-grandfather’s birthday. A due date close to your uncle and grandfather’s birthday, my own birthday, Thanksgiving, and your little cousin’s birthday. A time of much celebration would have been made even more joyous by your eagerly awaited arrival. Instead, I enter the month of November with a hollowness in my chest, an emptiness in my arms, and an unspeakable sense of loss.

I remember the morning I found out you were on your way. I couldn’t sleep for anticipation of waking your Daddy to tell him we were going to have another baby. As usual, we couldn’t contain our excitement that we were expecting you, and we joyfully spread the news as quickly as we could. Knowing you were a little girl gave us such a thrill, too! We could hardly wait to see what your little girl face would look like and how you would resemble each of us and your brother.

Months before that joyful morning, I had felt the Lord whisper to my heart that our next little girl would be named Elealeh Grace, a Hebrew word which means “The LORD has ascended and reigns.” When I saw the second line appear on that pregnancy test and we realized you were a girl, I knew that you were Elealeh, our little Elsie, that would grace our home with your beautiful presence.

But you were named Elealeh for a reason only God knew at the time. The Lord knew your name before the foundations of the earth, and he gave you the name of His Sovereignty to comfort us in the days ahead.

When we thought we might be losing you, Elealeh pointed us to the One who was in control of all things, even this.

When we knew we were losing you, Elealeh reminded us that our reigning King is the giver of all good gifts, and no good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

When we had lost you, Elealeh reminded us that no sorrow could overwhelm us that our hope in Christ could not overcome.

People told me it would get easier. It hasn’t. People told me as soon as I was pregnant again I would be comforted and get over your loss. I am not. Comforted, yes, by God’s goodness in giving us another good gift. But how can the promise of another baby fill the void of a life that is lost? I am expecting your brother or sister, yes, but I will still never hold you. I will never see your face, I will never stroke your hair, I will never know what color your eyes were, or if you have your daddy’s nose. I will never hear your name called in our home or read you the Elsie Dinsmore books from where you got your nickname.

It is tempting to dwell, especially today, on all of the things that “might have been.” But the truth is, you lived out exactly the number of days the Lord ordained for you to have on this earth. In reality, there is no “should have been” or “might have been.” There is only what is. And we choose to accept your loss with the faith and hope that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

We are so thankful for the gift that God gave us in you, my sweet Elsie, even for the brief time I held you close inside of me. We wouldn’t trade the weeks we had with you to escape the lonely sorrow that envelops us now. We wouldn’t trade the dreams that were never realized to have never dreamt them in the first place. We are so thankful for every minute we had you. And we anxiously await the day when we will, Lord willing, see your darling face and finally hold you in our arms.

Love always and forever,

Mama and Daddy

Miscarriage, Suffering, and the Gospel

“I think I miscarried our baby,”  my wife said.

“Are you sure?” I questioned.

“I think so….”

I was sitting in my work truck in the parking lot of Wal-Mart just about to make some deliveries.  I didn’t cry right away.  I didn’t really know what to do.  I didn’t know how I was supposed to process the loss of my first baby girl, the one we’d named Elealeh Grace.  The rest of the day at work I just kept praying, “LORD, please be gracious to us.  Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy.  Please don’t take my baby girl.”

Jesus said, “which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” -Matthew 7:9b-11

Elealeh Grace died.

When I got home from work my wife and I sat on our cranberry red couch in our living room and cried.  “I just wanted to meet her and hold her so bad!” I cried.  “I wanted to see Shuah be a good big brother and teach him to lead by love and humility.”

Two nights before Elealeh Grace died (at this point we had suspicions of a potential miscarriage) my wife and I laid in bed and prayed.  After praying, I looked over at my wife and said, “Isn’t it crazy that God knew our baby in eternity past, numbered her days, and loves her more than we do?  She won’t live any shorter or longer than He sees is good.”

“Yeah, it is really comforting,” she replied, smiling softly.

It’s been 4 months since the miscarriage.  I don’t think I will ever be the same.  There are still moments (like while I am writing this) when I am reminded of the loss.  And it hurts so badly.

But without sounding flippant about our loss, I never doubted God’s love or care for us.  The strange thing is, I kept being overwhelmed throughout the whole season with how incredibly blessed I was to be entrusted with such a trial (please note this is extremely abnormal for me.  I can have an ungrateful heart for simply being stuck behind someone driving slowly in front of me). God was very present in the suffering.  The Holy Spirit continually brought Scripture to mind to comfort.

What did the Gospel have to say about this circumstance?

First, God can relate.  He also lost His Son on the crossSecond, even if I never had the joy of having any children I have received far more than I deserve.  For I was a rebel and wicked servant only worthy of God’s wrath.  Third,  God not only could relate to me but He willingly sacrificed His Son so that I could be delivered from my penalty and be in a right relationship with Him.  Fourth, if I surrender all I have and trust in His sacrifice, I become a co-heir with His Son.

I know most (if not all) of us understand these statements.  But it is another thing to believe them. God was so good to me and gracious to give me the faith to trust in Him and His promises in the storm.

Our battle as Christians is not to grit our teeth and just work through it.  Nor is it to simply “let go, and let God.”  Our hope is God.  To where else will we go?

Let us humble ourselves in the sight of the LORD, and leave all our burdens with Him.  Let us plead with the LORD that He will fill us with a knowledge and love for the Savior.  Let us confess to the LORD that we don’t trust Him as we ought.  Let us confess that His promises don’t stir our hearts as the common things of this world do.  And let us fix our gaze on the cross until He acts!

Jesus promises that our Heavenly Father will give us good gifts if we simply ask Him.  I believe that passage even though Elealeh Grace died.  I asked Him for a fish and He didn’t give me a snake.  I asked Him for bread and He didn’t give me a stone.

But you know what? He didn’t give me a fish or bread either (that is to say he didn’t give me what I asked for).  He gave me something so much better.  He gave me Himself!  A treasure I would NOT trade in for all the world and it’s treasure!  God gave Himself to me in a way I could not have otherwise had without the loss.

“On CHRIST the solid rock I stand!  All other ground is sinking sand.  All other ground is sinking sand!”

God was removing the sinking sand of my heart and fixing it more fully on the solid rock that does not change.  Dear friends, will you trust Him?

Where is my hope and stay??? (family update and lessons learned)

These past weeks have been a whirlwind of major decisions.  All of them God has been gracious to grant us with clarity of mind to think rightly.  God also has been so good to surround us around such wise counsel and encouragement.

Some of the major decision have been:  new church, new job, moving back to my hometown, and becoming a first-time home buyer.

Just making one of these decisions would be normally a huge deal to us.  But to be making all of them was a good and trying time of pleading with the LORD for wisdom (of which He promises to give) and direction (which He also promises to give).

All of the decision have now been made and it is just a matter of a couple of weeks before they become a normal part of our living.  This has become very exciting for us!

The idea of being home with the family every night and having weekends to study, fellowship, and rest are all things I have never had since we got married four and half years ago.

Since we have moved to the West suburbs Ashley-Nicole and I have both struggled with depression (something completely new to me).  This has been for a number of reasons.  One of the main reasons have been due to the lack of fellowship we have had.  This has no reflection on the church we have been attending and everything to do with my odd work schedule.

To make a long story short, Ashley-Nicole and I are super excited for what’s ahead for us in the Quad Cities.  Having “normal” hours for work, being able to have regular fellowship with friends, family, and the saints, having a home and a neighborhood to be “salt” and “light” to, going to church more than once a week, having more so that we can give more, and being closer to both our families are some of the things we are thankful for!

However, this has lead to two things for me.  One is a false guilt.  I find myself feeling guilty for choosing this road.  Our choice, we believe, was founded upon a desire to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.”  But this road happens to appear to be much much easier.  And it is for this I feel guilty.  Is it wrong when God blesses one with a so-called “easy life?”

The other thing that has arisen is a wrongful fear.  This all seems to be too good to be true.  Which has lead me to think, “something has to go wrong…right?”  As these thoughts and fears come to mind I am tempted to be afraid.  However, God has taught me how to think in all of this.

First, it is not wrong to delight in and enjoy the good gifts God gives.  In fact, it is wrong not too!

Second, it wrong to place our hope and joy in circumstances rather than sovereign LORD of our circumstances.  I call this “current” or “present hope.”

All may go well for us or it may not.  That is life here on earth.  And yet we are creatures bent on hope.  The Bible teaches us that , “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”  So, how do we reconcile both of these truths?  This leads me to the last thing I have learned…

Lastly, we can and should place our current hope in God and His character, and our future hope in the promises found in Scripture.  Both of these hopes are true and certain.  My home will not last forever and things will go wrong with it.  However, God has an imperishable place for me in eternity.  My health will deteriorate as I get older.  BUT, this body will one day be raised imperishable and glorified!  The fellowship here on earth will not be perfect and will be tainted with sin and strife.  But God’s word promises perfect peace and fellowship with Himself and the saints of all ages in the New Heavens and New Earth!!!!

All this to say, we excited for what God has for us in the QC, we know God has directed us here, but our hope, we pray, will always be in God and His promises!

God bless,

Stephen