Nine months until Christmas — A solid reason to oppose abortion

From Abortion and Christmas by Scott Stiegemeyer:

Even though we are still basking in the glory of the Festival of the Resurrection, today my mind turns toward Christmas. That’s because today is the commemoration of the Annunciation, the scene in Luke’s Gospel where the angel tells Mary that she will bear a son who will be called the Son of God. March 25 is exactly nine months before Christmas which, of course, is the the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Thus today is really the celebration of the impregnation of Mary, the incarnation of God’s one eternally begotten son in the Virgin’s womb. As St. John wrote: The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.

I never seem to get past this date without needing to comment on the great atrocity of abortion. It is simply not possible to take the incarnation of God’s Son seriously and not be opposed to abortion. The Eternal Son did not begin his earthly pilgrimage as an infant in Bethlehem. He began it as a zygote in Nazareth.

Grace and Peace

Thanks to: Cranach

Anne Rice on faith

Gene Edward Veith (Cranach) quotes Anne Rice, former atheist and vampire novel author, on her conversion to Christianity:

Anne Rice, who became famous for writing highly literate vampire novels, gives more details about her conversion to Christianity in a forum on the Washington Post online: On Faith: Guest Voices: My Trust in My Lord. Sample:

Look: I believe in Him. It’s that simple and that complex. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, the God Man who came to earth, born as a tiny baby and then lived over thirty years in our midst. I believe in what we celebrate this week: the scandal of the cross and the miracle of the Resurrection. My belief is total. And I know that I cannot convince anyone of it by reason, anymore than an atheist can convince me, by reason, that there is no God.

A long life of historical study and biblical research led me to my belief, and when faith returned to me, the return was total. It transformed my existence completely; it changed the direction of the journey I was traveling through the world. Within a few years of my return to Christ, I dedicated my work to Him, vowing to write for Him and Him alone. My study of Scripture deepened; my study of New Testament scholarship became a daily commitment. My prayers and my meditation were centered on Christ.

And my writing for Him became a vocation that eclipsed my profession as a writer that had existed before.

Why did faith come back to me? I don’t claim to know the answer. But what I want to talk about right now is trust. Faith for me was intimately involved with love for God and trust in Him, and that trust in Him was as transformative as the love. . . .

Before my consecration to Christ, I became familiar with a whole range of arguments against the Savior to whom I committed my life. In the end I didn’t find the skeptics particularly convincing, while at the same time the power of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John swept me off my feet. And above all, when I began to talk to Jesus Christ again it was with trust.

On the afternoon in 1998 when faith returned, I experienced a sense of the limitless power and majesty of God that left me convinced that He knew all the answers to the theological and sociological questions that had tormented me for years. I saw, in one enduring moment, that the God who could make the Double Helix and the snow flake, the God who could make the Black holes in space, and the lilies of the field, could do absolutely anything and must know everything — even why good people suffer, why genocide and war plague our planet, and why Christians have lost, in America and in other lands, so much credibility as people who know how to love. I felt a trust in this all-knowing God; I felt a sudden release of all my doubts. Indeed, my questions became petty in the face of the greatness I beheld. I felt a deep and irreversible assurance that God knew and understood every single moment of every life that had ever been lived, or would be lived on Earth. I saw the universe as an immense and intricate tapestry, and I perceived that the Maker of the tapestry saw interwoven in that tapestry all our experiences in a way that we could not hope, on this Earth, to understand.

This was not a joyful moment for me. It wasn’t an easy moment. It was an admission that I loved and believed in God, and that my old atheism was a façade. I knew it was going to be difficult to return to the Maker, to give over my life to Him, and become a member of a huge quarreling religion that had broken into many denominations and factions and cults worldwide. But I knew that the Lord was going to help me with this return to Him. I trusted that He would help me. And that trust is what under girds my faith to this day.

Cranach is one of the few blogs I read every day.

Grace and Peace

The Cat’s Eye

catseye.jpg

From today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Cat’s Eye Hubble Remix

Explanation: Staring across interstellar space, the alluring Cat’s Eye Nebula lies three thousand light-years from Earth. One of the most famous planetary nebulae in the sky, the Cat’s Eye (NGC 6543) is over half a light-year across and represents a final, brief yet glorious phase in the life of a sun-like star. This nebula’s dying central star may have produced the simple, outer pattern of dusty concentric shells by shrugging off outer layers in a series of regular convulsions. But the formation of the beautiful, more complex inner structures is not well understood. Here, Hubble Space Telescope archival image data has been reprocessed to create another look the cosmic cat’s eye. Compared to well-known Hubble pictures, the alternative processing strives to sharpen and improve the visiblility of details in light and dark areas of the nebula and also applies a more complex color palette. Of course, gazing into the Cat’s Eye, astronomers may well be seeing the fate of our Sun, destined to enter its own planetary nebula phase of evolution … in about 5 billion years.

Incredible beauty in God’s creation.

Grace and Peace

Another spring flooding image

Here’s another image related to this week’s heavy rainfall and flooding in Missouri and adjoining states:

missouri_flooding.jpg

In this image, red areas (very tiny) received greater than 200 mm (8 in) of precipitation, orange areas receive more than 150 mm (6 in), and yellow areas received more than 100 mm (4 in).

The image and a more complete description can be found at the NASA Earth Observatory Natural Hazards site.

Grace and Peace

Spring flooding

The USGS has an online map called WaterWatch, which portrays conditions from stream gaging stations. Parts of Missouri and Arkansas have received a foot of rain this week, and that storm system has spread to the east. Black dots on the map are areas that are currently the highest above normal.

waterwatch.jpg

The map is clickable–you can go to a state, and then to specific stream gauges.

Grace and peace

The Bad News of the Gospel

This item was originally posted in March, 2006. (Wow! That reminds me—The GeoChristian is two years old this week!) It is now part of my blog recycling program. Because I have new readers at The GeoChristian, I will occasionally go back and re-use some of my favorite blog entries.

As a teacher, I’ve seen a few kids who regularly get D’s and F’s on their tests. I know how they feel, because I get a zero on this test every time I take it!

I got an “F” on a test today.

I have become increasingly aware that, for whatever reason, some of my children do not have a good grasp of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of this, I am directing more conversations in our family to this critical topic. Before one can comprehend the good news of the Gospel, they need to really understand the bad news about sin.

A primary purpose of the “Law” portions of Scripture is to point us to the fact that we are sinners in need of a Savior. This morning, my family read the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and then took a quiz out of the book Tell the Truth, by Will Metzger. Here’s the quiz:

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GOD’S TEST FOR EVERYONE: MEASURE YOURSELF BY GOD’S LAW

  1. (Yes or No) I have never put anything else before God in my life. I have always given God first place in my thinking, affections and actions.
  2. (Yes or No) I have never had any wrong conceptions about God nor worshipped Him in a way not recommended by Him. I have always rejected any wrong imaginations or images of God that I’ve seen or thought and refused to remake God according to my liking.
  3. (Yes or No) I have never slighted or abused the character of the true God by using His holy name as a swear word or using it in a thoughtless manner, such as by calling myself a follower of God yet not obeying. I have always held the name of God, which signifies His character, in highest respect, invoking it with thoughtfulness and reverence.
  4. (Yes or No) I have never done less than a full week’s work, and never done any of my normal work on the day set aside to worship God. I have always worked hard and willingly at whatever task is set before me, seeing it as a God-given service each day, and consistently remembered to set apart one day weekly to worship God with others.
  5. (Yes or No) I have never disobeyed nor dishonored my parents or any others in authority over me. I have always respected and been thankful for my parents and given them honor and willing obedience, as well as other authorities over me.
  6. (Yes or No) I have never murdered anyone nor had hateful thoughts or taken the slightest pleasure in seeing harm done to another human. I have always thought more of others than I have of myself and practiced the highest regard for human life and justice.
  7. (Yes or No) I have never practiced any sexual impurity, either physically engaging in sex before marriage or mentally having impure thoughts about someone. I have always treated others’ sexuality with respect and dignity in both my physical actions and mental attitudes.
  8. (Yes or No) I have never taken anything that doesn’t belong to me nor been deceitful in any attitudes or unwilling to work for my needs. I have always respected the belongings, rights and creations of others and been completely truthful and fair.
  9. (Yes or No) I have never lied nor slandered another person or group of people. I have always told the truth in every situation regarding every person I have known.
  10. (Yes or No) I have never been greedy for something that wasn’t mine, nor jealous even of the abilities, looks, or status of others. I have always shared and given of my possessions and myself to others and I have been thankful in my heart for what they have and content with my possessions and situation.

(from Metzger, Will, 2002, Tell the Truth, A Training Manual on the Message & Methods of God-Centered Witnessing, 3rd ed., InterVarsity Press)

I scored 0/10 on this one.

Praise God that I have one who speaks to the Father in my defense: “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2 ESV).

Grace and Peace