In 2022, we can’t imagine any 21-year-old seriously vowing to dedicate her life to the service of others. But then Princess Elizabeth knew that she would one day become the queen of England and all its realms.
She also knew that she would inherit this responsibility because her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne a few years earlier so that he could marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee. His sacrifice for “the woman I love” sounds romantic, but it forced King George VI to assume the monarchy. Young Elizabeth blamed her uncle for her father’s ill health, and perhaps for failing to marry a woman who could produce a suitable heir. I believe witnessing the detrimental effects of her uncle’s selfishness instilled a heightened sense of duty in her.
We can debate whether or not Queen Elizabeth took her sense of duty too far at the expense of her family, but today wouldn’t be the day for that discussion. Rather, we should admire her own self-denial as she served her kingdom. Many articles I’ve read since her passing indicate that Queen Elizabeth II had a genuine Christian faith, suggesting that she understood the value of putting others before herself.
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. ~~Philippians 2:1-4
I’m challenged by Queen Elizabeth II’s example. She lived her life honoring the astounding promise she made as a 21-year-old girl.
Friday stunned me at first. I was still creating graphics for that day’s and Saturday’s blog posts, so I hadn’t yet gone online. John, however, was online, and suddenly exclaimed, “They overturned Roe!” I mumbled the obligatory “Praise God,” but kept working on my drawing, It took almost five minutes for me to realize that prayers I’d been praying for 42 years had finally been answered!
I’ve actually lived to see one of the most vile Supreme Court rulings in history declared unconstitutional!
My mumbled response turned to exuberant joy as I started thinking about His grace in giving us Supreme Court Justices with the courage to stand against culture in order to support the original intent of the Constitution. I’d prayed for this wonderful day, having been involved in pro-life ministry back in the 1980s. Like most pro-life people, weariness had discouraged me to the point that I didn’t seriously expect to see Roe overturned in my lifetime. What an amazing day! What a day to celebrate and rejoice in the Lord!
Saturday morning, John turned on our local news station. Living near Boston, I expected a little rain on the parade, so I braced myself a bit. Evidently, I didn’t brace well enough, because the first story announced (almost with a tone of reassurance) that Governor Charlie Baker had immediately issued an Executive Order “protecting reproductive rights.”
I shouldn’t have gone on his Facebook page the other day. I knew I’d find photos of him with his new “husband,” along with posts condemning Christians who dare to say that homosexuality is a sin. And I should have known that I’d come away feeling saddened once again by his rejection of the truth that he used to proclaim.
He has chosen the world’s distortion of sexuality, and he takes pride in his choice. But Scripture has a much different view of the relationship between worldliness and pride.
15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. ~~1 John 2:15-17 (NASB95)
As we enter Gay Pride Month, I think of my many friends from those years in ex-gay ministry who decided the fight against that particular sin wasn’t worth the effort. Each of them accepted the lie that God made them gay and wanted them to embrace their sexuality. A few settled for living in celibacy while “celebrating” their same sex attractions (I’m not sure how that works) while others pursued committed relationships. One or two remained in heterosexual marriages, expecting their spouses to understand that these are “mixed marriages.” I gather that they all are talking about Pride right now.
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another. ~~Galatians 5:13-15 (NASB95)
Maybe my memory deceives me. If any of you were involved in the pro-life movement prior to 1987, I’d welcome your correction if I remember things wrongly. I’m about to make an assertion based on my personal recollections of being in pro-life ministry, and I know full well that people who usually agree with me will adamantly oppose my convictions on this matter. I’m therefore open to hearing correction from people of my generation who fought to save unborn lives.
As I remember those early years when Francis Schaeffer and Dr. C. Everett Koop galvanized evangelicals to oppose abortion, infanticide and euthanasia with their film series, What Ever Happened To The Human Race?, I recall our unwillingness for any compromise. We understood the urgency of overturning Roe v. Wade. Precious babies were being slaughtered, and we needed to stand against laws that permitted such evil. We had no time to waste, and we wouldn’t settle for anything less than complete abolition of this horrible practice!
After several years of seeing absolutely nothing happen, we began to consider incremental steps to stopping abortion. Make no mistake — we continued praying for the total eradication of abortion, but we believed our all or nothing approach actually retarded our efforts. We decided that victory is best won by winning small battles first.
Tuesday night Fox News kept showing footage of angry protesters (mostly young women in less than modest attire) outside the Supreme Court building demanding that the justices not overturn Roe v. Wade. I wasn’t really surprised, but I still felt sad that they couldn’t understand that abortion takes the lives of the most vulnerable and innocent human beings. I also felt angered by their obvious selfishness. Essentially, they want sexual pleasure without its consequential responsibilities.
How odd to watch such a display mere days before Mother’s Day. Does anyone else see the irony of it? The commercials bookending shots of the protesters showed airbrushed images of devoted mothers who clearly cherished their children, urging fathers to buy them roses, chocolate and jewelry as tokens of appreciation. The mothers in the commercials clearly glowed with joy over the privilege of having brought little lives into the world. How different from the young women outside the Supreme Court who demanded to destroy their children before those children were even born!
Motherhood sometimes is inconvenient and difficult, certainly. Airbrushed commercials neglect to mention the countless sacrifices women make in order to bear and raise children. Please understand that I don’t ignore the truth that moms go through a lot of hardships and disappointments. Perhaps many of those protesters fear the challenges of motherhood precisely for those reasons. But, while I don’t want to minimize the downside of being a mom, I think it’s important to remember what Scripture teaches about children.
Recently a few people have expressed opinions about someone close to me. They don’t know her, but they see how her actions have caused unpleasant effects on my life. As a result, they’ve judged her, and judged her pretty much harshly. Additionally, they wanted me to join in their judgment and act according to their expectations.
For a while, they almost persuaded me to make a decision that promised to alleviate my predicament at her expense. In a way, it’s a bit tempting, I admit. But then I remember all the factors involved in her situation — factors that those criticizing her don’t know about or don’t understand. And I realize that those other people have no right to pass judgment on her. In fact, since I’ve never experienced her circumstances, I have no right to pass judgment on her.
My years as a discernment blogger have conditioned me to feel a little queasy when people quote Matthew 7:1.
Over the years, various people have described me as opinionated. Yes. I certainly am. And sometimes, my opinions are actually grounded in Scripture, making them right. Being opinionated, though often considered as a negative personality trait, can show that a person knows what he or she believes and why he or she believes it. Such certainty may be arrogant, or (depending on the context) it may reveal confident wisdom.
Hopefully my opinions reveal confident wisdom.
If you subscribe to The Outspoken TULIP, you may wonder why I haven’t written a word about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Surely someone as opinionated as I would have plenty to say about this situation, and would come out swinging! I usually do things like that.
The invasion does trouble me. John and I have acquaintances from Ukraine who left their parents and siblings to build a life for their children here in Massachusetts. We attended church with them, often entertained by their little boy’s absolute fascination with John. Just a year ago, the mother spent considerable time in Ukraine visiting a sick family member. So when I heard the initial rumblings about the invasion, I began praying for her family and her husband’s family.
Praise God that John MacArthur never shies away from an attack on God’s Word! In support of Canadian Christians who now face criminal penalties for upholding the Biblical model for gender and sexual identity, MacArthur is calling for American pastors to preach on Biblical sexuality this coming Sunday (January 16). You can read the details here.
Although I am certainly not a pastor and you are certainly not my congregation, I want to support faithful men who will stand in their pulpits and boldly proclaim the truth about sexuality this weekend. Several pastors in Canada know that they will probably be arrested for preaching the truth, and I applaud them for obeying God rather than the unjust laws of their secular government. American pastors won’t face the same repercussions, of course, but I admire their solidarity with their Canadian counterparts. I’m writing this post simply to add my Amen.
A year ago, we all breathed a sigh of relief. 2020, with its lockdowns, social distancing and masks, was finally receding into the rear view mirror. Two vaccines had been approved, and a third was pending. We heard vague promises that schools would reopen and we’d be eating indoors at our favorite restaurants again. My doctor assured me that, once people got their shots, mask mandates would end and I could use para-transit and public transportation without anyone questioning her note exempting me from wearing a mask. We greeted New Year’s Day 2021 enthusiastically. This year would be better!
Almost everything she posted on Facebook swelled with her hatred of President Trump, though she never really explained why she felt such animosity toward him. Her relentless vitriol seemed unbecoming to a Christian. Her disagreement with his policies, though confusing to me, didn’t bother me too much, but the intensity of her anger certainly did. After weeks of scrolling though her rants about him, I finally asked if she prayed for him.
“Yes,” she answered. “I pray daily that he’ll be removed from office!”
Now we have a president that I dislike. Most of my friends share my feelings about his socialist agenda, his support of abortion and his mishandling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan, I noticed an increasing number of Christians admitting to praying imprecatory prayers since his inauguration.
Imprecatory prayers are prayers for God to exercise curses or judgment on our enemies, as in Psalm 35:4-6, Psalm 55:15, and (most germane to our discussion) Psalm 109:6-20 with the particular emphasis on verse 8.
Let his days be few; Let another take his office. (NASB95)
I’ve seen several Christians lately argue that the current administration calls for imprecatory prayers, just as my Facebook friend believed the last administration called for them. I must admit that praying that way has sounded more tempting in these last 8 months. But I have to step back from my emotions and seriously question whether or not Christians really ought to use this method of prayer.