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  1. Yeah, um...you lost me. I didn't reference John 8:7. Anyway, thoughts on that: Some versions have this as "let the one...", so, it's actually a third person all-inclusive kind of statement. To label this as gender-specific is making a stretch that most biblical scholars wouldn't agree with even after two martini's. And, yes, we agree. They were testing him. There was only one law that they were attempting to apply in this matter. Exodus 20:14; "Do not commit adultery." I reiterate my point: Jesus didn't condemn her. Next: There is no abortion matter in this passage of Scripture. There is the matter of adultery. To make the jump from adultery to abortion requires more knowledge about the situation. There is no baby that anyone would know of if a man and a woman were caught in the act of adultery. To try and extrapolate the man's lack of accountability based on whether or not the baby would be carried to term (if one is conceived) is exactly where Jesus was going when he called them out. They undoubtedly heard these words from him during the sermon on the mount: "But I tell you, everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt. 5:28 HCSB) Getting caught in bed with a woman, or looking lustfully at a woman are considered the same thing, according to the eternal Law Giver. What the Pharisees were attempting to do, and what people do today with Olympic effort, is to play semantics. The Pharisees wanted to argue the letter of the law. Jesus wanted to show them the condition of their heart. What if the same finger of God that wrote the original 10 Commandments was stooping down and writing them again on ground right in front of these self-righteous men? Seeing him write out Exodus 20:14 just as it had been written so many years before may have caused these men to rethink their strategy and work on beating down the dark issues of lust within their own hearts. I don't know about others, but my friends and I don't let the guy off the hook just because there's no baby conceived and carried to term. In summation: To say that a guy bears no responsibility in the act of adultery because no baby resulted is the hypocritical Pharisaical approach that Jesus was crushing while writing on the ground the same words he wrote in stone on top of a mountain.
  2. Ok, I'll jump in the pool for this one. Let's start with this statement first: "I find that our Laws are very skewed when the man only then becomes responsible when the baby is carried to term when child-support Laws that are then, hopefully enforced. It is all very much like the woman caught in adultery which the Pharisees presented to Christ for His Judgement on her. His eventual answer to them was “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”.[John 8::7, NKJV].. The audience that Christ was proclaiming this to was likely all male and the question of adultery should have been first on their minds as to their own sins. Moses’ Law that they were making their judgement against this woman, of course applied to both the woman and the man." I think you missed something. They didn't bring the woman to Jesus for his judgment. The Pharisees were setting a trap. Jesus, however, didn't take the bait and turned the trap back on this group of hypocrites. Let's look at what Jesus said: "Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:10-11 NIV) This is the most important message in this story. "Then neither do I condemn you." We're all familiar with "there is therefore now no condemnation through Christ Jesus our Lord..." (if you're not familiar, do a search on www.bible.com). But Jesus came preaching a different kind of Gospel than what we get presented with sometimes. You're right, in that we have left the man out of this. In the story of the woman caught in adultery, if I had been there I would have been asking "Where's the dude?" He was likely one of the group that grabbed her out of bed and drug her down the street to Jesus. The problem is that we condemn women who have abortions. We shouldn't. Most women who have abortions have that feeling without any outside help. Is what they are doing wrong? Is it a sin? I believe that abortion is murder, and is, therefore, a sin. But since we have no levels of sin according to Scripture, and lying is a sin, when are we going to start condemning the liars and dragging them out in the streets to be stoned to death? When do we start the list of people who have taken the Lord's name in vain? What about the Sabbath breakers? A friend of mine called me to tell me that she was pregnant without the benefit of marriage. She waited patiently on the phone for me to really dress her down. I told her that I had no right to condemn her. The only difference between the two of us is that the evidence of her sin would soon show. My sin would remain hidden away. We both are sinful people. That's why we need a savior, and he offers grace, forgiveness and mercy freely. He offers no condemnation. "For the Son of Man did not come into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world, through him, might be saved." (John 3:17) It is in this area that the church fails miserably. We shoot the wounded people who walk through our doors, instead of binding up their wounds, praying for them, and helping them as Jesus would have. I also wouldn't through Dr. Falwell too far under the bus on this. He brought an awareness to the abortion issue that was previously hidden away. "I strongly suspect that if Roe is overturned we will go back as a society to similar conditions that were there at that time. Abortion will likely be even more stigmatized with real women and men more unwilling to share in their problems once it is criminalized. Real people with real problems that chose OR will choose the path of abortion----which we must first start to recognize in our churches." If Roe v. Wade is overturned, then the Constitutional responsibility will fall to the States. States like Texas can reinstate their laws against abortion and the clinics that perform these procedures will be outlawed in the state. Funding will then start flowing freely to crisis pregnancy centers that many churches across the state of Texas operate to help young women make the choice to carry the baby to term. There also organizations that work with this young women, often teenagers, to find a home for their baby after birth, or to help them prepare to raise a child. What about the guys that get these girls pregnant? Until the Church steps up to hold men accountable, it will not change. Until the Church steps up to educate young boys about "responsibility" and what that means (take a look at Adam and Eve in Genesis. Eve sinned first, but God held Adam responsible.) it will not change. Until the Church adopts the same attitude as Jesus, and stops condemning people for their sin, none of this will change. Until the Church starts to act more like the bride of Christ, the watching world will not listen to a word we have to say.
  3. You're welcome. Glad you enjoyed it.
  4. The End? Elizabeth dabbed at the tears with her last tissue. Her tears had flowed freely and now she was in danger of being without anything to dry them with. Standing in the hospital hallway, she started to dig through her purse when Marie walked into the hallway. Older by fifteen months, Marie sensed her sister needed something and had come out to check on her. Marie offered a tissue to the distracted Elizabeth who started to say something about finding one in her purse, but then once more was reduced to tears. “I don’t want daddy to go, but I know I can’t keep him here.” she said through sobs as Marie embraced her only sister. “I know. Daddy’s tired. He’s ready to go home.” Marie replied in her best reassuring voice. Douglas stepped into the hallway. The oldest of the three sibling and only boy, Douglas was his father’s doppelganger. Like his father in almost every way, Douglas was trying to be a rock in this troubling situation. He gathered both of his sisters in a large embrace from his long arms. “It’s our turn to be strong for dad. Ninety-three years is a long time.” Douglas looked at each sister. He gave them a small smile. “Dad said he has one final battle to face.” Daniel lay in the hospital bed with an oxygen mask over his face. He had indeed reached ninety-three years of age. From his great-grandfather to him, each patriarch of the family had lived into their nineties. Daniel had lived to see his great-grandchildren born, but had buried his sister too many years before. His wife of fifty-two years, Katrina, sat by his bedside and held his hand. She sat daily reading to him from the Bible and describing what was happening outside with the birds, trees and animals that played in the courtyard below. They talked much of heaven and what it would be like. They talked of Jesus and how they had both wished to see His return to make all things new before they had to part. Daniel felt something change and he felt it deep into his bones. He squeezed Katrina’s hand and she turned her attention back to him from the book she was reading while he dozed. “Someone is coming” he said. “Who, babe?” Katrina adjusted his mask and wiped the excess condensation from his face. “Someone is coming.” Katrina called out to Douglas to come back in to the room. Douglas returned holding a cup of coffee his brother-in-law, Mark had brought to him. Mark was Elizabeth’s husband and a secret favorite to Daniel. Mark had been an Air Force pilot and gave Daniel a dream flight in an F-38 SeaHawk. “Doug, is someone coming down the hall? Are we expecting anyone else? Katrina asked. “No, there’s no one in the hall beside the girls, Mark and AJ” he replied. AJ was Marie’s husband. He led worship at their non-denominational church and had walked away from a career in Nashville for the sake of a girl. Marie had fallen for AJ, much like Katrina had fallen for Daniel. She loved a man who sang from his heart for an audience of One. Orphaned at an early age, AJ loved being around family and gave it greater value than fame could ever give him. AJ had sat most nights in the hospital playing his acoustic guitar and singing old “Chris Tomlin” and “Mercy Me” tunes to his father-in-law. Daniel would listen with eyes shut and tears rolling down his face. When the tears stopped, AJ would stop. That’s how he knew Daniel had finally fallen asleep. With the no one else in the hall, Katrina turned back to Daniel and said, “There’s no one else out there, Babe. Who do you think is coming?” Daniel knew who was coming. It was Death. He had heard hoof beats. During his lucid times Daniel would talk of heaven and also of facing death. Katrina would read the verse over and over to him from Hosea 13:14: “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?” The hoof beats echoed through the halls. A cold wind seemed to blow inside the hospital. Covered by many blankets, Daniel felt the cold and Katrina could feel the goose bumps on his skin. “Babe, what’s wrong?” she asked. “Someone is coming” he replied. This was the final battle. The hoof beats stopped and the sound of a rider dismounting, though with some difficulty, filled Daniel’s ears. Shuffling steps with what sounded like a walking stick hitting the marble floor seemed to echo through the whole building. Shrouded in a tattered black robe and cowl, Death walked into the room. “You…” Daniel said, “I know who you are.” Death stopped at the window and seemed to block out the sun. The colors of the room seemed to run into blacks, whites and grays. Hope seemed to have been banished in an instant, and Death was pleased. He smiled a toothy grin. Missing some teeth, Death’s jaw looked as it had been broken and not repaired. He bore a scar across his face that had not healed all the way. Death did not walk with purpose, but with a limp. He indeed had his scythe, but he did not bear it in a menacing way. The once-powerful scythe was more of a walking stick to hold him upright. His right leg seemed to drag behind and he could not walk with much speed. Ever since the incident at the garden tomb, Death had not been the same. Gabriel had come to move the stone. Death objected and Gabriel began the assault by moving the stone covering the tomb and Death with it. Death had tried holding the stone in place against the might of the Arch Angel. After moving the stone, Gabriel had turned his attention to Death and the one-sided fight was on. It was an awful beating for Death. Jesus had won the day and Death could not keep him buried. Death had lost most of his power and was no longer feared by many Christians. “You know me?” Death mused. “You don’t know me that well or you would be begging me to go away.” Daniel started breathing a little faster. His heart monitor sped up a bit, which caused the girls and their husbands to enter the room. Sadie walked in last. Douglas’ wife and a nurse, she walked over and put her hand on Daniel’s exposed foot. “Danny boy” she said, “You need to slow that thing down.” Her moist eyes twinkled at her father-in-law. “Kat doesn’t like you making all this noise.” To everyone else, Daniel pointed at no one, but summoning his remaining strength he raised an index finger towards Death and said, “You are not in charge!” The siblings looked at each other. Confused they started to ask each other who their dad was pointing at. Katrina held his hand tighter, leaned over and whispered in Daniel’s ear, “You put him in his place, babe. Jesus will be here soon.” The first footstep sounded like a wooly mammoth had been unleashed inside the hospital building. It shook Daniel and the foundation of the building. Daniel held his finger in place, pointing at Death and smirked when the first deafening footstep hit. Death lost his smile in realization that he was indeed, not in charge. The massive footsteps pounded their way up hallway and stopped outside Daniel’s door. What walked through the door was astounding. Nearly eight feet tall with muscles looking like he had laid waste to the weight machines at a local gym, the angel walked through the door that flexed wide enough to accommodate his frame. His hair seemed translucent, but glowed a faint bluish hue. He had no eyes, but in the eye sockets there glowed a white light that lit the room wherever he looked. The grieves on his forearms and gauntlets on his shins were made of bronze with inlaid jewels of unknown origin; the angel had crossing leather straps over his massive chest. The straps held dual swords behind him, with hilts sticking up over each shoulder. His boots were golden, but looked like they could have been leather. He wore battle dress similar to an old Roman soldier, with a dagger sheathed on his belt. His shield was hung outside the crossed blades on his back. The angel moved past the gathered family who could not see him, and went over to the window side of Daniel’s hospital bed, and stood between Death and Daniel. The angel folded his arms and fixed his unblinking gaze on Death. Death shrank at the light coming from the angel’s eyes. Death began to blubber about what was his. Gathering all of the courage he could muster, Death finally shouted, “Out of my way! I will not be denied my prey! This day his life is required of him and I have come to collect!” Death had screamed out his demand and then began to hurl insults at the un-moving angel. The angel’s translucent hair had glowed blue, but now it seemed as if his whole body began to glow the same blue color. Daniel lowered his hand to his side. His breathing slowed and so did his heart rate. “Babe?” Katrina pushed back his white hair. His eyes met hers. He smirked again. “I do love you, you know.” Daniel closed his eyes as Katrina continued to stroke his head. Elizabeth began to fight the tears. She went over and kissed Daniel’s forehead like he had done so many times to her. “I love you, daddy.” Her tears turned into sobs and Mark gathered her into his arms. Mark reached down and squeezed Daniel’s left hand. “Love you, old man. No need for a scramjet fighter tonight.” As they moved away, Marie and AJ moved in to Daniel’s side. Marie pressed her cheek to Daniel’s forehead and said, “I love you, daddy. Why don’t you go rest now? We’re ok. AJ will look after me.” AJ also reached down to hug his father-in-law one last time. “It’s time to go sing with the saints. Go find grandpa and sing with him.” Sadie was next. She took the blood pressure cuff off of his arm and turned off the heart monitor. She put her hand on his face and fought back the tears. “Danny boy, time to go home.” She kissed his cheek and backed away into Douglas’ arms. He squeezed her then went to his dad. “Dad, you said you always wanted to go sit on the Father’s lap, lay your head against His chest, feel His heartbeat, and rest. You go ahead. It’s time for you to rest. We’ll be along soon.” Katrina still stroked his head and looked at his face for a long time. Tears rolled down her face. She wanted one last look into Daniel’s eyes. One last recognition. One last moment of goodbye. The cold had left the room, as if forced out by a change in the barometric pressure. The angel hadn’t moved. Death was finishing his first burst of threats when the atmosphere changed. Flowers in the room began to bloom out and turn towards the door. Clouds that had started to gather outside changed direction. Light seemed to come from everywhere. Darkness scattered and shadows in the room vanished. A white-robed figure with long, dark curly hair, dark beard and olive skin strode into the room. Daniel’s eyes shot open and looked immediately at the One who had seen eternity. Looking directly at Death, Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Fatherʼs hand. I and the Father are one.” Turning and looking at Daniel, Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;” [ii] Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.[iii] Hey, Daniel, what say we get out of here?” Daniel focused his gaze back to Katrina one last time. “I just love you.” “I love you, too, Babe. Thanks.” Daniel closed his eyes and his breathing slowed even further. Jesus looked at Death and said, “This one is mine! You can have what’s left.” He took Daniel’s hand. “Now, I say to you, get up!” Daniel breathed out one last time and his heart beat stopped. His family wept and began to mourn. The family patriarch and spiritual leader was now gone. Frail and broken his body finally gave out. Daniel jumped out of the bed. He looked at his hands and feet. His skin was like that of the angel; translucent. It was smooth. No wrinkles. He lifted his arm and felt his bicep flex. Daniel could feel the strength of a hundred men in his arm. He looked around the room at his weeping family and said, “I’m ok! Jesus is here! I’m ok!” They couldn’t hear him. Jesus smiled and said, “It’s not their time. It’s yours. I promised that I would make all things new. I’ve made you new. Now, we have someplace to go!” The two stepped outside of the hospital room and were instantly walking along a path of a green field. Bluebonnets lined the path. Blackfoot daisy’s and rainbow cactus were scattered along the path. “A far greener country than I could ever dream.” Daniel said. Ahead he saw the gleaming City of God. As they walked along, Jesus and Daniel talked about many things. Daniel’s mind was opened up to many mysteries of life and of God. The “why’s” of life’s challenges and trials. The reasons became clear. The mysterious ways of God’s plan became clear. Back at the hospital, Sadie pulled the sheet over Daniel’s head after Katrina had kissed him one last time. Marie and Elizabeth leaned on each other and cried as they walked out of the room. AJ and Mark followed them out. Sadie helped Katrina to her feet as she softly began to cry. Her mother-in-law was her champion, pushing her to complete her nursing degree. It was Sadie’s turn now to be the safe place for Katrina to lean. Douglas stood at the end of the bed. He picked up his dad’s Bible and flipped over to the book of Luke. He scanned down and found the words that had come to mind. Swallowing hard and wiping away tears he read out loud the words of Simeon, giving them a slight personal emphasis: “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For his eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.”[iv] “Goodbye, dad. I love you. Always have, always will.” Holding the Bible close to his chest, the only part of his dad’s estate that mattered to him and his sisters, Douglas wiped more tears as he turned to leave. Death picked himself up off the floor. With the pronouncement that Daniel belonged to the Master, the angel grabbed Death by the front of his cloak with his left hand. With his right he hammered Death on the crown of the head with a blow that made Death buckle at the knees and hit the floor. Death looked at the bed. All that was left was an empty shell made of dust and clay. He had no trophy. John 10:27-30, NIV [ii] John 11:25, NIV [iii] Revelation 1:17-18, NIV [iv] Luke 2:29-32, NIV Copyright (c) 2017, David Eric Shelton, ASCAP, All Rights reserved. May not be transmitted, published or resubmitted without permission.
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