Monday, January 29, 2018

Exodus: New Direction, New Life #3 "Stranger in a Strange Land" Chp 2

Exodus Chap. 2: New Direction, New Life #3 

"Stranger in a Strange Land" 

 And there went a man of the house of Levi, and took to wife a daughter of Levi.  And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months.  And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink.  And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.  And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it.  And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children.  Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?  And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother.  And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it.  And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water.

Adopted by the Princess but still a stranger

Moses is born, hidden and then saved by his parents by placing him in a small boat and floated in a calm place in the river. There he is rescued when the princess of Egypt, one of Pharaoh’s daughters sees the child and rescues him. His sister Miriam who was set to watch over her little brother, runs to the princess and tell her she knows a nursemaid who can care for the child. Miriam goes and gets Moses own mother and she nurses her child in the courts of Pharaoh and I’m sure teaches him who he really is and most importantly who his God is.

He is raised in the Egyptian courts as a prince of Egypt but taught by his Mother, a Hebrew slave. Because of this he knew that the Pharaoh’s palace was not his real home.
Despite being adopted into the luxury, ease, and the privilege of royal life, Moses knew he was a stranger in the palace.

We are adopted by this world Christians are still strangers.

I see a parallel in Moses in the palace and us as Christians in this world.
Both have been adopted both have been accepted, both have access to what their adopted homes have to offer but both are truly strangers and must never feel completely at home.

Scripture: Philippians 3:20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

Ephesians 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

It would have been easier for Moses to remain a prince of Egypt but he knew he was a Hebrew, a wanderer, looking for God’s place and it was not the palace of Egypt. Many times as Christians I fear we lose sight of the place we are destined for. We forget that we are here for only a short time and that our real home is not of this world.

Illustration: (Song) This world is not my home
A song my grandmother used to tell me her father’s used to sing when he was approaching death. When she passed away, I played it on my harmonica at her funeral.

This World Is Not My Home

This world is not my home I'm just a passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore

Oh lord you know I have no friend like you
If heaven's not my home then lord what will I do
The angels beckon me from heaven's open door
And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Transition: Moses is not just a stranger in the courts of Pharaoh.

Stranger In Goshen Exodus 2:11-15

And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.

Rejected by His Own

Moses moves to protect his true people from this adopted ones.

Hebrews 11: 24-25  By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.

He makes the choice to reject the false gods of Egypt for the one true God or Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and he rejects his family in the palace for his true family, the Hebrews.
Yet even in making this choice he still does not find his true home.
His own people rejected him, refused to listen to him and he had to flee his adopted place and his adapted people.

Reality of Rejection by Our Own

Can you imagine anything more painful, more schocking?
After having made the choice to stand God’s people to be rejected by God’s people?
Is this an exception or is it more commonplace than we like to imagine? Are God’s people hurtful to one another? Are they hurtful to God’s leaders?
You know the answer don’t you. They were then and they are now.

Joke: Where You Calling From
  One Sunday morning, I got up and was looking through the paper, reading the death notices and lo and behold was my name. I thought, "I wonder if the deacons have seen it?"
   I got on the phone and called one of them and said, "Have you read the morning paper yet?"
   He said, "Yes, sir."
   I said, "Did you see my name in the death notices?"
   He said, "Yes, I did.  (Silence) Preacher, where are you calling from?"
     - Rev. George Goldtrap, Madison, TN, The Preacher Joke Book, p. 54.

The reality is that God’s people are not infallible, they are not sinless. They still leave in a sinful world and are subject to sin’s influence. This doesn’t excuse the sin of rejection but it does make us understand why it happens. People make mistakes, people are selfish, people are just sinners even when they go to church.

You see the next lesson we should learn from this passage is that not only is this world not my home but God’s people in this world can fail me. I can’t begin to put my trust into people rather than in God.

People will fail you, family will fail you, not because they don’t love you, or aren’t saved but because they are people with all the weaknesses and failings of people.

Moses learned and we must learn that our only sure place of absolute trust and faith is in Jesus Christ. When I truly learn this then the disappointment of others will not drive me further from Him but indeed will drive me closer to Him.

Illustration: David, who was betrayed by the commander of his army and by his own son Absalom wrote this -

Psalm 27:7-14 Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.  When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.  Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.  When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.  Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.  Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.  I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.  Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Transition: Moses flees Goshen the land where the Hebrews had dwelt and now finds himself in Midian and there he starts a family, yet even there he knows he is a stranger in a strange land.

Stranger in Midian Exodus 2:16-22

 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock.  And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.  And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?  And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock.  And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? why is it that ye have left the man? call him, that he may eat bread.  And Moses was content to dwell with the man: and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.  And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

Moses Dwells In Midian but It Is Not Home.

At the birth of his son he names him Gershom. The name literally means foreigner.
Moses had learned the hard but necessary truth, he was a stranger in a stranger land and would remain so. If Moses was to lead God’s people to their true home, if he was to bring them to the land of Canaan that God had promised to Abraham, then he could never settle for any country other than the Promised land.

Only after the birth of his son and after realizing who he was, a stranger in a strange land, that God then could use him to one day deliver his people from Egypt. Moses had lost all that Pharaoh had to offer, he lost all that his own people had to offer but he then found all that only God would give him.

We Dwell Here But We Must Be Strangers In a Strange Land

Listen to what the Bible says about Abraham

Hebrews 11:8-10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.  By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

Abraham looked for a city whose builder and maker was God. Isn’t this what Moses did, isn’t it what Paul did, isn’t it what John did? Isn’t this what all the great heroes of the faith did?
And isn’t this what we are called to do?

Looking must be looking for a city whose builder and maker is God.
We cannot get comfortable in this world. We can’t rely on its relationships. We can’t allow ourselves to get used to the sin, the sorrow and the suffering of this world. The world isn’t home, we are just passing through. We are pilgrims on our way to that fair city whose builder and maker is God. That is our home, that is where we are headed.

2 Corinthians 4:18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

2 Corinthians 5:1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

The reason is so important that we know and understand that heaven is my home is because if we believe it then we are willing to sacrifice for it, we are willing to invest in it, we are willing to go wherever God may send us in order to tell others about it’s glory and wonder.

Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Illustration: Missionaries return to find no one waiting for them.
  An old missionary couple had been working in Africa for years and were returning to New York to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they were defeated, discouraged, and afraid. They discovered they were booked on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions.

  No one paid any attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President's entourage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man.

  As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, "Something is wrong. Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us."

  "Dear, you shouldn't feel that way," his wife said.

  "I can't help it; it doesn't seem right."

  When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President's arrival, but no one noticed this missionary couple. They slipped off the ship and found a cheap flat on the East Side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.

  That night the man's spirit broke. He said to his wife, "I can't take this; God is not treating us fairly."

  His wife replied, "Why don't you go in the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?"

  A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"

  "The Lord settled it with me," he said. "I told him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and simply said, 'But you're not home yet!'"


You’re not home yet either.
Don’t settle for a place in this world, it isn’t permanent. Don’t put your trust in others instead of in the Lord, they will fail you. Let us all look for that city whose builder and maker is God and we’ll have the strength to be “Strangers in a Strange Land.” And when the time comes that God needs us we will be ready to server and ready to go.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Exodus: New Direction, New Life #2 The Sanctity of Life

Exodus: New Direction, New Life

The Sanctity of Life

Text: Exodus 1:15-21

Introduction: This is Sanctity f life Sunday a day  when we focus on God’s gift of Life and our nation’s disregarding this truth by legalizing abortion. Some try to justify abortion with Situational Ethics. Here are some examples that ask would you consider abortion in the following 4 situations ?

1. There's a preacher and wife who are very, very poor. They already have 14 kids. Now she finds out she's pregnant with15th.  They're living in tremendous poverty. Considering their poverty the excessive world population, would you consider recommending  she get an  abortion?

2. The father is sick with syphilis, the mother has TB. They have 4 children. 1st is blind, 2nd is dead, 3rd is deaf, 4th has TB.  She finds she’s pregnant again. Given the extreme situation, would you consider recommending abortion?

3. A white man raped a 13 year old black girl and she got pregnant. If you
were her parents, would you consider recommending abortion?

4. A young girl is pregnant, though engaged, she's not married yet.  Her fiancĂ© though is not the father of the baby. Would you consider recommending abortion?

In the first case of the poor preacher and his wife with 14 children, the 15th child was John Wesley. One of the great evangelists in the 19th century.

In the second case of the father with a deadly disease and a mother with Tuberculosis and all the children born so sick, the child she has is Ludwig Von Beethoven and with his birth comes all his music that filled the world.

In the third case of rape, the child born was Ethel Waters, the great gospel singer.

And in the final scenario of the child born from a teenager girl pregnant with a baby that was not her fiancĂ©’s, you may have realized we were talking about Mary, Joseph and of course Jesus Christ.

Today is National Sanctity of Life Day first declared as a national observance by Ronald Reagan in 1984 on the 11th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade that made abortion legal and accepted in our nation. Today it is more than just accepted, it is celebrated by those on the far left and the Democratic party. Some say you shouldn’t deal with politics from the pulpit and I would agree with that until such a restriction means that you will not speak out on those issues that God and the prophets of the Old Testament spoke out about even reprimanding the Kings of Israel, Samaria and the nations that surrounded them. This sermon isn’t about politics its about life, especially the life of the weakest members of our society infants and the unborn. We find a parallel to our nation and its acceptance of abortion in the story of Pharaoh and the Midwives. It is a story of heroism, bravery and goodness in the face of evil, a story of God’s blessing and protection in the face of governmental laws that were evil.

The Stopping of Life Exodus 1:15-16

 And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:  And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live

The Supreme ruler of Egypt orders the Hebrew boys killed.

These women, Shiphrah and Puah were Egyptian midwives to the Hebrew people. They were ordered to stop the life of the child, to murder it as the helpless little boys were being born on the birthing stools. This terrible act of genocide upon the most helpless of all, strictly for the sake of convenience and with the authority of the government of Egypt. But God in his providence made sure that Shiphrah and Puah were the midwives to the Hebrews and they were brave women who disobeyed the horrific order of the king of Egypt.

Now, let’s draw a parallel between ancient Egypt and our country today.
The Supreme Court in 1973 allowed babies to be killed.
Just as a Supreme power in Egypt commanded babies to be killed, another Supreme this time the Supreme Court ruled in 1973 to let babies of both genders be killed.
And the slaughter of the innocents by Egypt was nothing compared to the genocide of the innocents in our country.

Abortion Statistics of Shame in the United States.

Number of procedures per year:  the highest was 1.6 Million in 1990, is now down to 926,000 in 2107. That means that 2,500 abortions are done per day in the US. That makes it by far the single highest cause of death in our nation, much, much higher than cancer, heart disease or even car accidents which claimed 37,000 lives in all of 2016.

Since 1973 almost 60 million babies have been legally killed.
And lest you think this is someone else who is having the procedure. Understand that…
Women identifying themselves as Protestants obtain 37.4% of all abortions in the U.S.; Catholic women account for 31.3%, Jewish women account for 1.3%, and women with no religious affiliation obtain 23.7% of all the procedures. 18% of all the procedures are performed on women who identify themselves as "Born-again/Evangelical".

93% of all abortions occur because the child is simply unwanted or inconvenient.

As of 2017, 1 in 4 women will have the procedure by the time they are 30.
In New York City in 2013 the procedure rate was 60% of the birth rate. That means 6 out of 10 babies that could have been born to live and breathe in this world instead had their tiny hearts stopped.
We rightly think that Pharaoh was a monster for trying to kill the Hebrew boys but he was an amateur in comparison to those who provide the procedure in our nation today.
It should not be this way.

Illustration: Refusing to abort God’s gift

I have a friend that I went to college with, Jess Colgrove. After college, he went to Portugal as a missionary and later pastor a church in Big Spring, Texas. We used to go to summer camp together and one summer as we were talking Jess and his wife Thelma asked LeeOra and I to pray. Their only daughter was pregnant and at the same time had been diagnosed with cancer. The doctors told the family that they could not treat the cancer without killing the baby in the womb. I wonder what one of us would have said. I know what Jess’s daughter said, “She said no treatment until after the baby is born.” They told here it would be too late and they recommended taking the child to save the mother. She refused, and God was good that baby was born healthy and strong and the mother received chemo therapy and was also healed. But she was willing to give her life for her child because that is how God made mothers.

Transition: Now let’s go back to Exodus vs 17 and see others who refused, the heroes of this story, the midwives.

The Sanctity of Life Exodus 1:17-19

 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.  And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?  And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.

The Midwives refused to murder the Hebrew boys

These women, who had given themselves to the service of birthing children, refused to be turned into the murderers of children. They believed that life was sacred and that every child whether Egyptian or Hebrew, male or female, free or slave was a precious gift. The Bible says the feared God, that means they honored His person, respected his commands and feared His judgment. Their fear of God was much greater than their fear of Pharaoh.

They told the King that the Hebrew women were very quick in their delivery and before the midwives could arrive the baby was already born.

Now if you think that is a flimsy excuse, remind me sometime to tell you about the birth of our children. LeeOra just didn’t mess around. I don’t think we were in the delivery room for more than an hour for any of our four and one almost came while on the way to the hospital. We would have had to named her Ford or maybe Taurus.

Is the life of the unborn sacred? Is human life sacred? Is there really a sanctity of life?

What makes an unborn child or any human life sacred? It is sacred because life was created by God and human kind was created in the image of God Himself.

God created man and gave him life.

Genesis 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
God’s declared that human life was sacred because we are in His image and anyone who takes that life must pay with their own life. This and this alone is the only fitting punishment.

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

The Bible is emphatic in telling us that children are the gift of God.

Psalm 127:3 Behold, children are a gift from the Lord.

Genesis 17:16, I will bless her Sarah and give you a son from her, and she shall be the mother of nations.

Ruth 4:13 So Boaz took Ruth, and she was his wife: and when he went in unto her, the LORD gave her conception, and she bare a son.

Boaz, took Ruth as his wife, "And when he went in unto her, the Lord gave her conception." What a statement! "The Lord gave her conception." We should understand that no conception occurs ever, anywhere on the face of the earth, through all of human history, that is not a result of God's creative and providential purpose.

The Bible says very plainly that God made us.

Job 10:8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.
That word "together" literally in the Hebrew means "together all around," comprehensively, in every sense, You made me.

God knew us as a person, before we were born.

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 
"I knew you," (Hebrew, yaddah), as a rational creature.

Psalm 139:14-16 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Illustration: John the Baptist

We see the undeniable truth of an unborn baby, in God’s eyes, being a fully functioning, viable human being in the story of John the Baptist. The Bible tells us that he was filled with the Holy Spirit even from his mother's womb in Luke 1:15. And it says, "the baby leaped in her womb." It means that somehow that child in Elizabeth’s womb responded to being in the presence of Jesus, his cousin and the messiah, who was in Mary’s womb. The Holy Spirit moved that little life inside Elizabeth and he jumped for joy in the presence of his savior.

The Surety of God Exodus 1:20-21

 Therefore God dealt well with the midwives: and the people multiplied, and waxed very mighty.  And it came to pass, because the midwives feared God, that he made them houses.

God blessed the midwives in Egypt

It says He dealt well with them. He blessed them in multiple and countless ways because they honored Him and the sanctity of the lives He created.

As time went on for the midwives, the Bible say that because they honored God, He made them houses. Now isn’t that interesting blessing. It doesn’t mean he turned them into houses, it means he blessed them with their own household, their own husbands and children. Barnes commentary says, “They married Hebrews and became mothers in Israel.” 

If that is the case it means that when God struck Egypt with the plagues and millions died, these women’s families were spared because they who had been faithful to God and the sanctity of life. It also means that when Israel left for the promised land, their children and grandchildren went with them to reap the blessings of God that sprang from the seeds of obedience planted by their grandmothers.

Isn’t that a precious thought to all of us who are parents and grandparents. That what we do today in following God will be a seed planted in the lives of our descendants. We may never see it, but we can believe it.

God Blesses those who cherish Life today

Galatians 6:7-9 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

This is one of the most foundational verses in the Bible for God’s people in this present world. “We will reap if we faint not!” The scripture promises blessings to those who refuse to accept the death of innocent babies and blessings to those who trust God to provide for themselves and their children.
You can have the blessing of God or we as a nation can suffer the removal of those blessing. And for those poor women who have made the wrong decision the consequences can be terrible.

Somewhere between 400% and 800% of suicide rates increase in women who have had abortions.
Hypochondria, depression, withdrawal, guilt, shame, drugs, alcohol dependency, serious emotional trauma—all of these come from abortions.

Six to seven times more women die each year from legal than illegal abortions.

Miscarriages are almost twice as common for women who have aborted.

A study of 26,000 births indicated a more than threefold increase in the number of stillborn babies and deaths of newborns among mothers who have had an abortion.

There is about twice the risk of breast cancer when abortions were performed in the first trimester, before completing a full-term pregnancy.

After an abortion a woman is far more likely to break up with her partner, whether she is married or not. Abortion just destroys everybody.

Please also never forget that in all of this, God is a God of forgiveness and love and that no matter what has happened in the past there is hope and healing with our Lord. There can be still be blessings. Oh I pray for those blessing upon our nation, for the remnant of people who still is refuse to accept the death of the most innocent among us as a right. To those who pray and give and march and preach. Those who refuse abort the future.


Several years ago, a fragile young woman came to my (a doctor's) office, expecting her first baby.  One month before she was due, the baby was in a breech position.  The death rate of breech babies is high because of the difficulty in delivering the after-coming head and the imperative need of delivering it quickly after the body is born.

During the delivery, I waited as patiently as I could for the natural forces of expulsion to thoroughly dilate the firm maternal structures.  At last the time had come, and I gently drew down one little foot.  I grasped the other, but it would not come beside the first one.  To my consternation, I saw the other little foot would never be beside the first one.  The entire thigh from the hip to the knee was missing.
I knew what a dreadful effect this would have upon the unstable nervous system of the mother.  The family would almost certainly impoverish itself in taking the child to every famous orthopedist in the world.  I saw this little girl sitting sadly by herself, while the other girls danced and ran and played.
I could slow my hand; I could delay those few short moments.  No one in this world would ever know.  The mother, after the first shock of grief, would be glad she had lost a child so handicapped.
The little pink foot on the good side bobbed out from its protecting towel and pressed firmly against my slowly moving hand into whose keeping the safety of the mother and baby had been entrusted.
I couldn't do it.  I delivered the baby with her pitiful little leg.  Every foreboding came true.  The mother was in the hospital several months-she looked like a wraith of her former self.  As the years went on, I blamed myself bitterly for not having had the strength to yield to my temptation.
Our hospital stages an elaborate Christmas party each year for the staff.  This past year, three lovely young musicians on the stage played softly in unison with the organ.  I was especially fascinated by the young harpist.  She played extraordinarily well, as if she loved it.  Her slender fingers flicked across the strings, and her face was upturned as if the world that moment were a wonderful and holy place.

When the short program was over, there came running down the aisle a woman I did not know.  "Oh, you saw her," she cried.  "You must have recognized your baby.  That was my daughter who played the harp-the little girl who was born with only one good leg 17 years ago.  We tried everything at first, but now she has a whole artificial leg on that side.  Best of all, through all those years, she learned to use her hands so wonderfully.  She is going to be one of the world's greatest harpists.  She is my whole life and now she is so happy .  .  .  And here she is!" The sweet young girl had quietly approached us, her eyes glowing.
Impulsively, I took the child in my arms.  Across her warm young shoulder I saw the creeping clock of the delivery room 17 years before. I lived again those awful moments when her life was in my hand.  As the last the last strains of "Silent Night" faded, I found comfort I had waited for so long.
-(Adapted from "Family News From Dr. James Dobson," December 1993, as condensed from the book, Christmas in My Heart, by Joe Wheeler, Review & Herald Publishing Co., 1993.)


This is not an easy sermon to preach or to hear but it is an important one, a necessary one. For if God’s preachers won’t stand in the pulpit and plead for the innocents then who will? If God’s people won’t hear the truth and act upon it, who will? And if we don’t go to God for forgiveness both for our nation and our selves then where can we find forgiveness.

Many times in the Old Testament the prophets of Israel called for their nation to pray and to repent that God would once withdraw His judgment and restore their nation.

Ezekiel 18:27-32 Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.  Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.  Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?  Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.  Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.