by Jor-El Godsey, PresidentHeartbeat International
Do you ever have one of those moments when you hear a little bit of current culture while reading scripture that was written two and three millennia ago?
Usually, it happens when I remember that a phrase we commonly use today actually comes to us from scripture. Such as when I hear, or speak, phrases like “the skin of my teeth” (Job), or “handwriting is on the wall” (Daniel 5).
Then there are sayings that aren’t direct phrases from scripture but lean into biblical principle(s). An overly used one in recent years is when business conversations include the phrase, “come-to-Jesus moment.” When said in these contexts they really don’t want Jesus involved (mercifully) but want to have an intense conversation with an intended course correction. Of course, ironically, this leverages the very nature of a true encounter with Jesus which should inspire confession, repentance, and an intentional move toward righteousness.
Just today, while reading through the book of Job, a phrase jumped out at me. To be clear, the phrase itself, does not have traction in our modern lexicon. Though it does rhyme with a phrase used by rockers and is similar to one made popular by some Saturday Night Live characters.
Job is in dialogue with his “friends” who come to his side in his despair at losing everything important in his life (read Job 1-2 to set the scene). His companions spend much of their dialogue suggesting Job’s problems are his own doing. As their rant goes on, Job gets more and more exasperated at them and their accusation which he is certain is not true.
One of Job’s responses reveals his frustration.
“Bear with me, and I will speak, and after I have spoken, mock on.” (Job 21:3)
Can you hear your heavy metal friend say, “Rock on?” Or Wayne and Garth with their “Party on!?”
I did when I read that scripture. (Don’t judge me!)
But what I also heard was the exasperation of my own heart.
Job cannot fathom why he’s in such dire straits and attacked, seemingly, from all sides including heaven. He had been faithful to God and was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.” (Job 1:1, see also 1:22, 2:9-10). Those speaking to him and about him are not being helpful.
In the pregnancy help community we have been about the business God has called us to. We have been diligently laboring in the mission field created by abortion to champion the value and worth of each woman, the intrinsic sanctity of life, and the importance of God’s gift of family. And we have done this for each life we encounter without thought of compensation, but only thinking of what we know is God’s best for them.
And yet there are powerful and persistent voices that mock what we do. They fabricate scenarios intended only to defame us and our work. They invent narratives that serve their avarice and ambitions. Some of these voices likely won’t be satisfied until we, like Job, have been stripped of every good thing we have and know.
Not unlike the real antagonist in the book of Job (read Job 1) our detractors today have actively aligned themselves against God’s handiwork. That includes the good work of God that is pregnancy help. That means we can take heart with what Job eventually learns when God enters the conversation. That God’s power and sovereignty are not lessened when we encounter trials and tribulations.
Job’s closing comments inspire us with exactly what we need to remember for our current challenges. We can look to the Lord with the same confidence of Job when he says, “I know that You can do all things, And that no plan is impossible for You” (Job 42:2). Indeed, the Lord will hear us as He did Job, who said (v. 4) “Please listen, and I will speak; I will ask You, and You instruct me.”
Let us take heart! The Lord will set a table full of provision before our enemy (Psalm 23). He will supply all that we need for the work He has called us to (Philippians 4:19). Our greatest success is found, first, in our faithfulness to Him.
So to our detractors, we can say, like Job, “mock on.” Knowing that our God is mindful of those who mock Him and His work (Galatians 6:7).
by Jennifer Wright, Editor/Writer
Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent observed by many Christians. Over the 40 days leading up to Holy Week and the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, many Christians follow the example of Jesus spending time in fasting and prayer in the desert for 40 days from Matthew chapter 4.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was hungry. The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
Matthew 4:1-3 (NABRE)
I have to admit, Lent is by far my favorite season in the Church. I’m reminded of Jesus’ humanity that he shares with us, I take the opportunity to forgo something good to strengthen my resolve in denying temptation, and, my favorite part, the music is stunningly beautiful. Singing in my Church’s choir since I was about eight years old, I’ve done a lot of music, but nothing compares to the hauntingly beautiful ancient pieces of Lent and Holy Week. Just the words “Were You There?” can draw a tear as I imagine being present for the crucifixion.
But that’s not what I’m writing to share about today.
I’ve always been taught that for Lent, a good practice is to focus on three things: prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I can’t say I always manage (human as I am), but I do try, and I think taking a season to pay particular attention to these ways to draw closer to Christ is not only healthy, but necessary. And individuals don’t have to do it alone. Here are a couple ideas for your pregnancy help organization to participate in the Lenten season this year. Perhaps something new will carry into the rest of the year, or maybe it will just make the Easter celebration a little sweeter for you and your staff, but I encourage you to participate this Lent either way.
May your Lent be a blessed time for drawing nearer to the Lord. God bless you.
“By this all men will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
One of the easiest answers in the Bible is found when we pose the question, “How can I show others my faith?”
While there are a variety of characteristics a Christian might display—including the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control)—there is one salient attribute the outside world will never overlook: Love for one another.
Jesus’ words in John 13:35 often wind up on our refrigerators, in memes on the internet and on tee shirts. But here’s a question: Do we really get it?
I’ll be the first to admit, I enjoy digging around in scripture to find powerful truths and unique ways to highlight these thoughts. But in the middle of reading, studying and writing on these subjects, am I taking the time to love those who share this faith with me?
Am I making it the priority in my life to love my fellow believers so that others will know—without a doubt—we are all Christians, faithfully following Jesus Christ?
There are evangelism courses all over the place. There are writings on topics relating to defining our faith, sharing our faith and defending our faith. These are all good, and important. No question about it.
But I must ask the question of myself: Is living my faith by loving my fellow followers the key focus of my faith? Or is “the love thing” simply a sweet ditty of Jesus; a nice thing to hear, or a good subject for an occasional devotional?
Just before speaking the words above Jesus says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Do I take this command to heart so strongly that I truly believe our love for each other is all we need to identify ourselves to a hurting world?
Because if I believe “love for one another” will make everyone see the power and the impact of our faith, I also understand the first logical step in reaching more people with the message of Good News Jesus offered is . . . love.
“Love one another” is more than icing on the Christian cake. It is the nourishment which fuels a healthy body of Christ. When we love, we create a powerful, engaging incentive for those outside of the faith to say, “Can I join, too?”
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
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