There’s a video going around social media. Maybe you’ve seen it (if not, you can watch it here.) It’s about why wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger. I’m not sure if it’s the actual reason, but it sure does bring home a point. When your hands are put together as shown in the photo you are able to separate your thumbs, (symbolizing your parents-”for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother” Genesis 2:24a) your index fingers (symbolizing your siblings) and your pinkies, (symbolizing your children) but try as you might, your ring fingers are stuck together. (symbolizing you and your spouse-”and the two shall become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24b)
Our family tried this one night around the dinner table. My daughter pointed out that when your middle fingers (symbolizing yourself) are tip to tip (above others and your relationships with them), your ring fingers easily come apart. But when your middle fingers are down (serving others), your ring fingers are glued together. “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate.” Mark 10:9
Wow! What a picture of marriage. How close a husband and wife become. Not just physically, but in all areas of life-emotionally, financially, intellectually, spiritually, even recreationally. So close, that it takes a ripping of the flesh (and the heart) to separate them.
Sometimes, as a wife, I get selfish. I put myself above my husband. Sometimes I put myself before my children, my parents and my sibling. Sometimes I like to think about what I want and need. Why didn’t they call on my birthday? Why aren’t they coming to visit? Why isn’t he coming home? Why don’t they just listen to me? Don’t they love me? It’s times like that when all the relationships in my life suffer, but especially my marriage. When I’m thinking of myself, my husband doesn’t look so good. But when I put myself last-let Christ fill me and let His love shine through me-it’s amazing how great my future looks! Empowered to take on challenges, able to see the blessings in the unexpected, willing to listen to my God and follow His lead. A marriage built on Christ is good indeed.
So what does all this have to do with living pro life?
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up, But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Unexpected pregnancies happen. They even happen within a marriage. An expectant mother with support is far more likely to carry her child. Maybe that support is her husband, maybe it’s her parents, maybe it’s you and your spouse.
The latest stats from 2014 show that married women are more likely to keep their child.
Copied from WI Dept. of Health Services Reported Induced Abortions
A woman that has the proper view of marriage, and has had a good example growing up, is less likely to become pregnant before marriage. In Wisconsin in 2014, almost 78% of abortions were the choice of unmarried women. Model a godly marriage for your children-and all those around you. Make marriage something they want, something they respect, something they’re willing to wait for. Build your marriage on Christ, putting yourself last (middle fingers down), and you will be a life-giving couple.
"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." Ephesians 5:1
Author: Katrina Meinel
Katrina is super psyched for the WELS Marriage Enrichment weekend this weekend!
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday 2016
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is this Sunday! What will you do to celebrate life this year? Invite a pro-life speaker to your congregation? Send a special gift to your local pregnancy help center? Volunteer? Set aside time this day to teach your children the truth of life from God's word?
Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart. - Jeremiah 1:5
We all have a God-given purpose.
For you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. - Psalm 139:13
God took great care in creating each one of us unique to fulfill our unique purpose. Praise God for how you are made, and help others see their God-given gifts.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. - Psalm 51:5-7
We are conceived in sin, and we all badly need a Saviour who will take away our sins. We look to God for deliverance.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6
Jesus came to pay the penalty of all sin for all time, so that we may have life and not death. Live life to the fullest in Christ! There is no sin too big for God's grace. There is no problem too big for God's power.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. - Proverbs 31:8
God uses his people to spread His word of truth, His water of life.
God bless your Sanctity of Human Life Sunday!
For all you people who enjoy the details, below is a nice synopsis of National Sanctity of Human Life Day from www.cute-calendar.com
National Sanctity of Human Life Day is celebrated on January 17, 2016. National Sanctity of Human Life Day is an observance declared by several U.S. Presidents who opposed abortion. President Ronald Reagan designated January 22, 1984 as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. The date was chosen to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court case that first recognized the constitutionally-protected status of abortion in the United States.
Reagan issued the proclamation annually thereafter, designating Sanctity of Human Life Day to be the third Sunday in January, which represents the closest Sunday to the original January 22 date. His successor, George H. W. Bush, continued the annual proclamation throughout his presidency. Bush's successor, Bill Clinton, discontinued the practice throughout his eight years in office, but Bush's son and Clinton's successor, George W. Bush, resumed the proclamation, and did so every year of his presidency. (With material from: Wikipedia)
Author: Philip Meinel
Philip is the current Chairman of the WELS Lutherans for Life (WLFL) Board of Directors, and also Chair of the Advancement Committee. If you would like to help advance the mission of WLFL, please contact Philip at Philip.Meinel@ALife2.com
Cling to Life
It’s everywhere in society nowadays, thanks to the emergence of the “Black Lives Matter” campaign. It’s been countered among the police force of America with “Blue Lives Matter” or “All Lives Matter.” Now this slogan is cause for accusations of hypocrisy, as those in favor of accepting Syrian refugees wonder why it looks like others contradict that axiom by wanting them kept out. Cutting through all the controversy, of course, it’s absolutely true. All lives matter! No one piece of the demographical pie is more – or LESS - valuable to God than another, nor should it be to us, his people.
But do we carry the implication of “All Lives Matter” far enough? Do we truly love and treasure all lives? I think if we call ourselves Christians, or followers of Christ, then we want to answer with a resounding “Yes!” So let us put that sentiment to the test.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to a people who lived in a society much like ours. Their Christian values were highly unpopular in their land, where Roman rule and influence made it risky to be a follower of Jesus, and where values of God’s people were trampled upon by man’s enlightenment and license to do whatever felt good. Lives weren’t valued. Sense of community was threatened. Honoring God over man, especially those in power, carried potentially lethal consequences.
Read his words to Roman Christians and apply them to us now.
“Love must be sincere.” Sincerity leads to action. It leads to “hating evil” and, conversely, “clinging to what is good.” What do we do when we hate something? Do we allow it? No! We only hate things that threaten that which we love. If we truly value something, and love it, then we must hate and directly oppose whatever is evil, that threatens it. In so doing, we cling to what is good. “Clinging” is what an overboard sailor does when the storm has sunk his vessel, and all he has left to keep him from drowning is a life ring bobbing in the waves. He clings to it.
For many of the years since 1973, America’s value of life in general, especially the lives of the precious unborn, has slipped away into the deep, dark waves of evil. In present day America, we watch a tally of abortions keep climbing past 57 million. Are we clinging to life? To every life? If we love and cherish the lives of the unborn, as we’d surely say we do if a microphone was put in front of us, then why are they slipping away?
Verse 10 helps us ask “Are we devoted to each other?” It asks “Do we value each other above ourselves?” Devotion is another mark of sincerity. Lest we fail to remember that the unborn child is a person just like you or I, King David reminded us in Psalm 139:13: “For you [God] created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
If we would all agree that honoring others above ourselves includes honoring the lives of those who cannot act for themselves, then what causes us to shrink back from acting upon that devotion to life? Personal comfort zones, busy schedules, fear of conflict, or believing the lie that one person’s efforts aren’t enough… These can be some of the culprits.
Remember that sailor clinging to his life ring, bobbing away in that vast sea, his vessel broken to pieces by the storm and sinking into the depths. He knows he may very well not make it til tomorrow. The sea is vast, and sharks may already be circling his kicking feet. Does he let go because his brain could calculate little chance of success? Would you let go?
Verse 11 pleads with us to never lose our zeal, and to keep our spiritual fervor. How zealous are we for this cause of saving lives that matter to the Lord? How hot do the fires of our spiritual fervor burn for the lives Jesus loves? Maybe if we’re unsure how our fervor stacks up, we need only think of the things in life we know we’re passionate about.
My favorite football team… My career… Providing care for my children, and being a great parent… My education… Deer hunting… Fishing… Traveling, gardening, or whatever hobbies I’ve earned the time to enjoy in retirement, after years of toil?
What would happen if we transferred the passion and fervor we have for those things in our personal lives, to the many things that are on the heart of our God. It’s not a question of whether the Lord approves of what I value in my life, it’s a question of what else outside of my little world God may also be calling me to value and defend (see Matthew 25:37-40).
I believe these verses in Romans 12 provide a great, sobering self-check, and a call to action. If we consider ourselves loving, but these verses don’t really describe us, or don’t describe our love for others, such as these millions of unborn children, then maybe we’re lacking in love.
Remember 1 Corinthians 13:1-3? Speaking in tongues of men and angels, gifts of prophecy, the intelligence to fathom all mysteries, even the very faith to move mountains, and charity and self sacrifice….they all mean nothing if not founded in love.
Without love we are nothing.
The awesome news is that God yearns to grant us every piece of his heart that we ask for in Jesus’ name! May God move our hearts to cling to the lives of the unborn, who need us to act in fervor and devotion on their behalf. May he give us the fortitude and zeal to take our love to the next level and bring it into action for his beloved children, whom he wants to gather into his arms.
Cling to life with me, brothers and sisters!
Author: Jeff Ulrich
Jeff is a husband, father, and graduate school student. He attends Hope Lutheran in Oconomowoc. Jeff’s background in ministry education and future in the counseling field reflect a heart that loves to serve others and make a difference. He shares his personal or spiritual reflections in his own time at www.missionpossiblejeffulrich.blogspot.com
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