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  • The Reading Room

    Articles, devotionals, short stories, and other written expressions by ChristianWriters.com members

    JimRannells
    other

    Certainly, the political climate in the Nation is partially guided by the abortion issue as Kavanaugh’s recent appointment was to get that 5th Vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.
     
    Ever since Roe was handed down in 1973 I have paid a lot of attention to the abortion debate as my deceased wife and I chose that route in 1978. She was to die in a car accident 9 years after that abortion that both of us agreed upon.
     
    Even though we both might have listened to our inner sense [Romans 1:19] that might have told us that abortion was wrong, we still made that decision. A regional hospital even advertised for their services back then, --- and what could be safer and more sanitary that a hospital?
     
    Or misguided rationale was that since we already had 2 children, we felt we could not afford a third child.  The after-effects of that abortion caused an underlying strain on our marriage immediately afterwards as neither of us were Christians at the time. I was to find a Faith in Christ later-- few years after she died. One of the things Christ caused me to address was MY responsibility for this abortion that both of us decided upon so many years ago.
     
     I sorely needed the forgiveness of Christ and I noted in the Bible of Paul’s wonderful example of being a part in murdering many Christians as formerly Saul of Tarsus. He did not personally murder Christians, but he had a part in it all. He brings up his story in many of his letters to the different Churches and I have no doubt that when he started those churches, he admitted to the same when he was saved by Christ on the Road to Damascus. From Paul’s example of his admittance, I have found my Peace with God as I tend to share my part in that abortion 40 years ago.
    From my studies of the Bible over the years .
     
    I sensed that the traditional pro-life side that essentially started with Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority was incomplete.  In my ever-growing familiarity with the God’s Word, I eventually found out why it was incomplete. So many of these pro-life Groups have simply  taken the man’s responsibility out of the equation and made it wrongly black versus white. That the product of any pregnancy and the possible abortion is with both from the mother and the father.  A woman does not get pregnant on her own and so there is a shared responsibility for both the mother and the father and then the decision to abort. Many women do not tell the father of her pregnancy and her eventual decision to abort, but that does not really let these men off the hook in Christ’s eventual Judgement.
     
    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.
     
    The product of adultery is in many cases, an unwanted child. Scripture does not tell us if there were children as the result of the adultery issue with the woman, but we can apply Christ’ s admonition to the Pharisees to how we want our Laws to reflect.
     
    From a few pro-life sources, I find there are statistics that tell us that it is problem in our churches that won’t disappear after we  overturn Roe. One such Group called Care Net tells us that 4 out of 10 women who are regular church-goers have had an abortion. Of those women, only 7% admit that they shared their decision with someone in their Church. These statistics are from this site: https://www.care-net.org/churches-blog/new-survey-women-go-silently-from-church-to-abortion-clinic
     
    With these and other statistics, it shows to me that abortion is very stigmatized and personal, and it does not address the men for their part in the woman’s eventual decision. We simply have to share with others in our churches what we did or might be deciding to  do and hopefully  receive the  Mercy of Christ and not man and his rendering of the law. We simply cannot change the world when we have the same problems inside our churches.
     
    I am old enough to remember what it was like before the Roe decision was handed down in 1973.  In College for part of that time, there was much talk as to a decision to abort. The product of the Free-Love society that I was in at the time, was unexpected pregnancies so often. Mexico, for an abortion, was always an option and many States somewhat looked the other way in enforcing the abortion issue. There was a lot of talk about certain chemicals a woman could take to induce an abortion which eventually produced the modern drugs like RU-486 and other drugs to induce an abortion, even now sold at such pharmacies such as Walgreen's. And “coat-hanger abortions” and the problems with that option was discussed as well.
     
    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.

    Pastor John

    If You Could See

    By Pastor John, in The Reading Room,

    poetry

    Although poetry is not my main venue, I wrote this a few years back. I do appreciate constructive criticism, but I share it with the thought that someone out there needs to read it.
     
    IF YOU COULD SEE
     
    Sometimes our eyes are clouded,
    Our vision dimmed by the storms of life.
    Sometimes the darkness in our souls can hide the Light.
     
    Trying to see ourselves from within the shadows, we cannot.
    Faint points of light seem so distant. Illusions?
    Hard to say, with eyes blurred by welling tears of hopelessness.
     
    But if, for a moment, you could see yourself through my eyes;
    If you could, for just a trice, step out of the darkness;
    You would see the light of your spirit piercing the shadows.
     
    You would feel the radiance of your soul warming the world.
    You would see God's hand holding you upright, sustaining you.
    You would see a fragile, wounded child in need of tender care.
     
    You would see a gentle spirit, desperate for her Father's love.
    But you would see that love shining from His daughter’s face.
    You would see a frightened child straining for her Abba's hand.
    You would see faith. You would see hope. You would see love.
     
    So, dear one, I offer my eyes. Glimpse yourself as I see you.
    I offer my ears. Hear the strength in your voice, the beauty in your words.
    I offer my hand. Know the gentleness of your touch.
     
    I offer my spirit. Feel the imprint of your life upon it.
    I offer my heart. Feel the love of your soul, His Spirit within.
     
    If you could see through my eyes, you’d see the Savior standing at the darkness’ edge,
    With arms outstretched, coaxing His child to emerge from shadow.
    If you could see through my eyes, you’d see the gifts He bears.
     
    The gifts of Peace for your spirit, joy for your heart, and love.
     
     For my daughter Sarah on her birthday
    Her suicide was 3 1/2 years later. She saw for a while.

    William D'Andrea
    other

    Halloween Thoughts and Memories
     
    I remember once reading an interview with the actress Margaret Hamilton, who portrayed the Wicked Witch in the "Wizard of Oz". She said that for many years after that, whenever Halloween came around, she'd put on the old black dress and pointed hat. Then when the kids came to her door, she'd greet them in full portrayal of the Witch.

    Could you imagine some 8 year old in a cute costume ringing her bell, and being greeted by the Wicked Witch herself?

    "Trick or treat! Trick or Treat! I'll give you trick or treat! Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!"

    Then after that, she'd host a party for all the kids in the neighborhood; and who would have a better Halloween Party than the Wicked Witch herself?

    Yesterday I bought packages of miniature Milky Way, Snickers and Mounds chocolate bars, to be ready for anyone who comes to my door this Halloween. The thing is, that I live in a single, rented room that is entered through the back of the house, and Trick or Treaters usually come to the front door. They hardly ever come to mine. So if things go as usual, miniature Milky Way, Snickers and Mounds chocolate bars, will probably be my evening dessert, until Thanksgiving, or maybe even beyond that.

    I don't mind when the kids come around asking for treats. That's a good tradition. What I object to is the older kids who come around later, doing damage. I don't mean the broken eggs or shaving cream, or the trees wrapped in toilet paper. I mean acts of actual vandalism. That's one tradition that we can all do without..

    Another thing about the vandalism.  When the kids who engage in these acts are caught, too many adults excuse it by saying "It's just boys being boys."

    I've also noticed that the "Boys who are just being boys." are usually spoiled rich kids. When other kids who aren't spoiled or rich, engage in the same activity, they're called "Youthful Offenders".

    I'm not saying that all Halloween pranksters are "Youthful Offenders". I know the difference. I remember more than 30 years ago, when Halloween occurred on a Saturday night. The next morning, there were broken eggs, shaving cream and toilet paper all over town. There were even two broken eggs on a window of my Church, where I'd come to attend Sunday Worship.

    About an hour before Worship, one of our neighbors, an elderly Jewish man, stepped inside. He was horrified by what he saw as "A House of Worship being desecrated."

    He said, "Dont wash it off! I'm going to call Newsday, and have them send a reporter and a photographer!"

    That would have made more out of a Halloween prank than it was. The man may have been a Holocaust survivor, so I understood his feelings, and I wasn't going to tell him that he was over reacting.

    After he departed the window was washed off before too many people showed up for worship. I don't know if our neighbor showed up accompanied by any reporter or photographer . If they did, and there was nothing to see, I hope he didn't think that we were being disrespectful to him.

    People should also remember, that Halloween is actually "The Eve of All Hallows (Saints) Day" 
     
    Back in 2015, Halloween also occurred on a Saturday.  I don't remember if there were any broken eggs or anything else found on the Church walls, doors or windows.  What I remember is the Pastor's choice of scripture being read that day.
     
    The scripture was Ezekiel in the Valley of Dry Bones; (Ezekiel 37: 1-14).  That scripture is just right for Halloween.  It is one spooky tale, in which the Prophet hears the rattling of bones.  But there is more to it than that.  It may be a prophetic vision of the Resurrection of all believers, at the Time when Christ Returns.
     
    Hallelujah!  Amen! 

    Debora Yarmy
    devotionals

    Hello everyone.  I have already introduced myself, but I should mention that I am an older woman, 62 years old.,  As I have gotten older my need to serve God has increased and I feel even more convicted that I owe God my service to Him.  God holds us into account for sin, yes, but He demands service from us as a crucial part of our walk with Him.  I found a passage that cuts right to that issue, from Hebrews 4:12; ' For the word of God is living and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."  I wrote a poem, a villanelle, which among many of its attributes utilizes the power of refrains.  Here is my villanelle that addresses my thoughts about my service to God:
     
    The Word of God: A Two-edged Sword
     
    Cut deep within my soul Your two-edged sword
    and wound my heart, draw blood for those who need.
    Loose forth my life flow with Your Word, Oh Lord!
     
    I serve myself and others are ignored
    when I am low, my troubles take the lead.
    Cut deep within my soul Your two-edged sword.
     
    You heard my cries for help, my hope's restored.
    Now others' tears I'll wipe, Your laws to heed.
    Loose forth my life flow with Your Word, Oh Lord!
     
    Please help me stem the floods that others ford
    to save them when they're drowning; this I plead;
    Cut deep within my soul Your two-edged sword.
     
    For all the lowly hearts whose blood has poured,
    please help me heal the wounds from which they bleed.
    Loose forth my life flow with Your Word, Oh Lord!
     
    The light of love and humble heart leads toward
    the One who bled for us, a saving deed.
    Cut deep within my soul Your two-edged sword.
    Loose forth my life flow with Your Word, Oh Lord!
     
    I hope to use many styles of formal poetry to express my love for our Saviour and our Heavenly Father as I proceed forward.

    Shadowjess
    devotionals

    Psalm 69:
     
    13 But as for me, my prayer is to You,
    O Lord, in the acceptable time;
    O God, in the multitude of Your mercy,
    Hear me in the truth of Your salvation.
    14 Deliver me out of the mire,
    And let me not sink;
    Let me be delivered from those who hate me,
    And out of the deep waters.
    15 Let not the floodwater overflow me,
    Nor let the deep swallow me up;
    And let not the pit shut its mouth on me.
    16 Hear me, O Lord, for Your lovingkindness is good;
    Turn to me according to the multitude of Your tender mercies.
    17 And do not hide Your face from Your servant,
    For I am in trouble;
    Hear me speedily.
    18 Draw near to my soul, and redeem it;
    Deliver me because of my enemies.
    19 You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor;
    My adversaries are all before You.
    20 Reproach has broken my heart,
    And I am full of heaviness;
    I looked for someone to take pity, but there was none;
    And for comforters, but I found none.
     
    I just finished this picture today.  It's been a work in progress for a while.  I'd love to get your thoughts on the picture and Psalm combination.

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