What does it mean to be
made in the image of God? How does this
fact affect the way we work in our chosen vocations? As a pregnancy center
director I see daily evidence of how not understanding our worth in God’s eyes
tends to put people on the path to destructive habits and decisions in their
lives. It is part of my job to make sure
that this trend is reversed in the lives of my clients.
One of the most amazing parts of my job is seeing
the outcome of a pregnancy that God ordained.
This is equally true of out of wedlock pregnancies as it is for those
that happen inside a marriage. The trick
is as a Christian to not condone the sin of sex outside of marriage while still
celebrating a baby that was formed in the image of God. In Genesis 1:26-27 we read “Then
God said, Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let
them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the
cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the
earth. God created man in His own
image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Nowhere in these verses do we see that God only created those who were born
inside a legal marriage as being made in His image. Why do we see so many
pregnancies outside of marriage? Might I suggest that it is because people do
not understand what it means to be made in God’s image? Sadly, most of the clients I see do not
believe in God at all. They are blinded
to this amazing truth.
One of my favorite passages in the Bible
is Psalm 139:13-16 “For
You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s
womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and
wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My
frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in
secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of
the earth; Your eyes have seen my
unformed substance; And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.” What a powerful truth this is.
God has put His master craftsmanship into each and every one of us.
The real work of my
ministry surprisingly, is to show our precious clients their worth to God. I love to quote Jeremiah 29:11 where it
states “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” My clients don’t feel they have much hope or any real future much of the
time. This is a sad fact for me to deal
My very vocation was given to me
by God. On paper I’m not a good hire for
an executive director of a pregnancy center.
I have not yet earned a college degree and I do not have any leadership
positions in my work background. I did
not even want to apply for this job. I
knew I was under qualified and was unwilling to put myself in a position to
fail. I believe because of this, God
would not let me sleep during this period of my life. Sleep deprivation is not something I
enjoy. He made me toss and turn as I
considered what applying to this job would mean for my life. My husband was also after me to not be a
“Jonah”. I did not appreciate the tag
team between God and my husband. Long
story short, I applied knowing full well I would not get the job. The joke was on me. Two and a half years later I’m still
questioning this outcome. The most
amazing thing is that I know I was made for this purpose. The knowledge that God brought me to this
position and He plans to see me through it gives me great hope. That is the kind of hope I want to offer my
clients. Another quote I like from the
Bible is “but God has chosen the foolish
things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of
the world to shame the things which are strong" 1 Corinthians 1:27. I may be wrong, but I believe this verse to be about people like me.
On paper I don’t look good, but to God I’m chosen and made for a great purpose. This is a truth that could set many, if not
all, of my clients free if they could just believe it and move forward in the
truth of what God has made them to be.
As a Christian I know
there is no question that I’m made in the image of God. The Evangelical Dictionary of Theology states, “The Bible answers the question of the nature of humanity by pointing to
the imago Dei. That humanity by creation uniquely bears the
image of God is a fundamental biblical doctrine”. We know this to be true.
This is also a truth that I can impart in my vocation. My prayer is that God will let me see the fruit of this when I can see
clients come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior and to see Him bring healing
and change in their lives. That would be the most amazing outcome of this God-given vocation.
Recently I have been reading different articles about how we
as Christians treat people who find themselves caught in sinful
situations. I find myself wondering,
“How should we react?” How Jesus would react may be the better question. Today I will be writing on one specific instance I have been reading a lot about
lately - out of wedlock pregnancies.
I think, as Christians, we judge sins more harshly if they
present themselves in a physical way.
I’m speaking specifically about pregnancy outside of marriage. Now, before I get into this,I want to make
sure everyone understands thatI do not see having sex outside of marriage as
being a good choice. There is a great reason God asks us to wait until marriage to have sex, and I believe that those
who have not waited have reaped some painful consequences for not waiting. God’s rules are for the
protection of His children are not to limit our free will. My problem is, when we judge a pregnant woman
who is not married, we do so because we see the consequences of her actions in
the outward appearance of her expanding belly.
Do we have the same standard for those who are having sexual relations outside
of marriage but haven’t become pregnant? My next question is “Is the child the
sin or is the sex act?” Here is where we take a newly beginning innocent life,
a life ordained by God, and we add a penalty for the parent’s sin on to
How many women who are identifying as Christian or churched are
having abortions? According to the Orlando’s Women’s Center who is an abortion
provider “Women who obtain abortions represent every religious
affiliation. 43% of women obtaining abortion identify themselves as Protestant,
and 27% as Catholic; and 13% of abortion patients describe themselves as
born-again or Evangelical Christians.” How is this possible? Growing up in a
protestant church, I was taught from a very early age that abortion is
wrong. I also know the Catholic Church believes
that life begins at conception and that it should be protected. Where is the disconnect in our churches? Can
I suggest that maybe it is our attitudes towards unwed pregnancy that may help
those who attend our churches choose to have an abortion? Have Christian parents opted for their child
to have abortion so their family name would not be tainted? Have girls aborted their
child because they feared their parent’s reactions more than the consequences
that come from having an abortion?
Should we then celebrate pregnancies
outside of wedlock? No, but how about we celebrate a child who God has created in that precious mother’s womb? Can’t we support our moms without condoning the
actual sin? Jesus loves sinners (that is all of us) without condoning the sins
we all have in our lives. If He who is
holy and hates sin can do it, shouldn’t we who identify ourselves in Him do the
My challenge to all of us today is to take an honest look at
ourselves. We all sin and fall short of
God’s glory. As brothers and sisters in Christ we are called to love the least
among us. I believe these are the
innocents who are in the womb. Could we stop assessing a sin penalty to them? It is for God to judge.
Let’s change the abortion culture by starting in our own churches and
homes. We can be a beacon of light for
life to our culture.
This is Aaron, our first grandchild. He's modeling his GRUMPY face in this picture. He's the BEST grandchild in the world! He's only 7 weeks old, but he already knows how to "grumble".
Whether Grumpy or Happy this little man-child has been a joy since the day that his Grandma and Papa laid eyes on him.
So who out there has those days
(weeks, months, or years) when you are in a season of grumbling? I have had
many seasons of grumbling. I find myself
grumbling about politics, people, my church, my children, finances, and the general
state of the world. I realize it hurts
me to maintain this state of mind. How do we snap out of this? It can only
happen through praying for a better attitude, reading our bibles, having a true
love for others, deepening our faith walk, and the willingness to actually keep
working on it.
When we pray for a better
attitude we need to be prepared to actually do what is required for that to
happen. I don’t believe God waves a
magic wand and fixes us as soon as this prayer hits His ears. We need to work on the betterment of our
attitude. I need to push myself to think
positive. I’m a natural born pessimist
so this poses a challenge for me. I have
the horrible ability to think about everything that could ever possibly go
wrong and picture it too. I always watch
people who are optimistic with a mix of amazement and unbelief. I find myself wanting to be able to look at
things as they do. I know that the
things that are happening in the world right now are pretty bad, but I can trust
in the fact that God is in control. If I
can keep my mind centered on this fact I see my attitude getting better and my
life reflects that.
Reading our bibles is a
must. We will never be caught unawares
if we do this. Ecclesiastes
1:9 tells us “That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing
new under the sun.” I believe this verse is telling us
that everything we experience in this world has been experienced before in
history. There is no new sin or scheme
of man. I get fired up when I see
terrible injustices happening in the world and I can’t fathom they are even
possible. God says these things have
been around since the first sin happened in the garden. He is not shocked at the lengths people will
go to in pursuit of their own agendas. Neither should I be shocked. This does not mean
we simply accept these things, but we shouldn’t get blown out of the water by them either. God is in control and we can trust in that
We need to live a life that is
pleasing to Christ, pray for each other, and be a light in the darkness that
surrounds us. As we respond to God’s
word it will deepen our faith. If we
keep working on this our walk will match our talk. There is no better way to be a light in the
How can we have a true love for
others? This one is not as easy as it sounds.
Truly loving someone demands sacrifice.
This sacrifice includes giving our time in prayer for those we don’t
care for. I really struggle here. It is
easier to back bite people than to lovingly confront and pray for those who
push our buttons. The Holy Spirit is
great at letting me feel disgusted with myself when I indulge in a good gripe
session. We are never going to like
everyone we come in contact with but we can love everyone with work and
determination. Love is most certainly a
I find life is much more
enjoyable when I’ve chosen to not indulge in grumbling. What a relief it is to feel free from that
heavy weight. I have to work daily to
keep from going back to this habit. It
is amazing to me that the Savior loves me enough to give me do-overs. He sees
something in each of us that is way beyond where we are currently
situated. We truly are works in
progress. He is perfecting us for the
glorious day when we finally meet Him face to face. I’m eagerly anticipating that day!
I have been
thinking a lot about the state of our country lately. I find myself a little down every time I
watch the news. It seems like the values
I hold dearest as a Christian are disappearing in our nation only to be replaced
by an “anything goes” mentality. As I
have thought on this God has been revealing to me a different viewpoint. He has done this through my reading of my
Bible, my pastor’s teachings, my children, my co-workers, as well as many other
ways. Imagine taking the government out
of the picture and just concentrating on what God wants us to do as
Christians. He has revealed in the Bible
what that should look like. What does He want from His church? What is His
church? How are we to live a moral life in an immoral setting? This blog will
explore what I believe God is revealing to His people and how we are called to
listen and obey.
God want from His church? He wants us to
have a love of God above all else first, and then loving our neighbor more than
ourselves. These are the two greatest commandments. It sounds simple enough but it isn’t being
done. Loving God above all else means
just that. We are to love Him more than
ourselves, our spouses, our money, our cars, our houses, our children, and everything
else. When we don’t look like a follower
of Christ it takes away our testimony
with others who have not accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. What stands out to our neighbors that would
make them want what we have? Who are our
neighbors? The whole world is our neighborhood.
Our enemies are also our neighbors.
We are called to look out for each other. God especially calls us to remember the
widows and orphans among us. There should be no hungry children in our
neighborhoods (the whole world). There
should be no person out there who feels hopeless and alone. We as the church are called to reach out in
love to the hurting. He has blessed
America abundantly with resources. Why
would we not turn around and use them to give a hand up to those who are not as
So how are
Christians supposed to live during these times? We can find
the answer in the Bible. 2 Peter 3:17-18 tells us You
therefore Beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on
your guard so that you are not carried away by the
error of unprincipled men and fall
from your own steadfastness, but grow in the grace and knowledge
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the
glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” The times we’re living in
are not a surprise to God. We can read
this in His word the Bible. We are instructed
to grow in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. We are to remain grounded in the principles we
learn when reading our Bibles. We have
to read the Word in order to know these principles. When we don’t know the Word we react to the
world. Let’s try not reacting and
instead follow the commandments that the Bible laid out for us. How different would the world be if
Christians did this? We would stand out.
People would see the difference not only in our words but also in deeds.
I believe whole heartedly that this would bring about change in many people. This needs to happen no matter what the times
are bringing about for Christians. This
is an exciting time for Christians because I believe God is using all this
adversity to raise His church up. He is
calling us to what He originally wanted His people, the church to look like. Just
read about the New Testament church to understand what God’s blueprint is for
His church today.
I will end my soapbox thoughts today with this
verse from James 1:19-22: “This you know, my
beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow
to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness God. Therefore, putting
aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in
humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. But
prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude
Have you ever done something to hide something you don’t
like in your life? I have many times. Most recently I went and had acrylic nails
put on right before our spring banquet. These
covered up my less than stellar real nails but there is more to the story. This
blog covers the lesson I learned from having fake nails.
My finger nails have never been something I wanted to
showcase. I have very brittle nails that
crack and peel. I’m also a nail biter
from way back so they tend to be pretty short. My nails are something I like to
keep out of eyesight of most people.
Right before New Life’s spring banquet I decided to remedy my problem
with acrylic nails. I was pretty
impressed by how they turned out. They
were long and done in a French manicure.
It felt “out of this world” to look so glam. They served their purpose for the evening and
life went on.
As I went about my life and my work duties I started
realizing I had a problem with these nails.
I no longer had the use of my fingertips. I couldn’t pick up anything off the floor, a
table, my desk, or anywhere for that matter.
I also had trouble using my phone.
I really started hating my fancy nails. I made the decision to get them
off and headed to the nail salon. Relief
was finally in sight.
As the nail tech started working on my nail I thought about
my daughter’s upcoming wedding. Wouldn’t
it be nice to have my nails look good for that? I had the tech fill in where my
nails had grown and file them down shorter to give me control of my fingertips
again. My nails looked great for the
wedding. I was really happy until I realized that I still didn’t have the full
use of my fingertips and again I wanted them off.
Once again I find myself at the nail salon. The nail tech cuts the acrylics down and
proceeds to remove them from my nails.
It was a slightly uncomfortable experience but I made it through because
I knew relief was in reach. The nail
tech asked me if I wanted new acrylic nails. I answered “no”. He said I would feel naked without them, to
which I answered “I will feel normal without them”. He filed my real nails a
little, put a little clear coat on them, and he sent me on my way.
I was happy for just a short time after I left the
salon. I now had fingertips again and my
life would return to normal. Not so
much. What I had was razor sharp,
chipped, grooved, and weak nails. I
couldn’t wait to get home to file them down and apply some nail polish to
them. I did this but I could not achieve
very good results because my real nails were now damaged.
So what is the point of this story? Never try to disguise or
something you find lacking with yourself. The real problem is still there lurking
underneath. By trying to cover my
problem up I made it worse. I now have
scarred nails that will take quite some time to heal.
This is true of my life also. Anytime I have tried to be someone I was not, it left me scarred. It took a lot of
time, energy, and prayer to heal from these missteps in my life. It took a kind of silly life experience to
remind me to live the best I can as the person God created me to be.