When does life begin?

Currently in Australia the Federal Parliament is debating a Bill that would potenitally allow an abortion pill (RU486) to be introduced and made available to the Australian public. When this pill is taken it causes a woman to mis-carriage.

On big issues like this I think it is important to look at what the Bible says. Whether or not you agree with abortion, I thought it would be good to have a look at some Bible versus that look at when life actually begins.

Job 10:8-12 – You formed me with your hands; you made me,…You guided my conception and formed me in the womb. You clothed me with skin and flesh, and you knit my bones and sinews together. You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love. My life was preserved by your care.

Psalms 139:13-16 – You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous–and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Isaiah 49:5 – And now the LORD speaks–he who formed me in my mother’s womb to be his servant, who commissioned me to bring his people of Israel back to him. The LORD has honored me, and my God has given me strength.

Jeremiah 1:4-5 – The LORD gave me a message. He said, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my spokesman to the world.

Memorising Scripture

When I first became a Christian back in 1989 I was given a discipleship workbook by a friend. This was to teach me the basics of the Christian faith.

One of the first lessons I learnt was to memorise Bible verses to help me in my everyday life. The first two verses I learnt have stuck in my mind until this day. They were Psalms 119:11 and Proverbs 3:5-6.

These are “I keep Your Word in my heart, so I won’t sin against You” (Psalm 119:11) and “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Reading God’s Word (the Bible) and keeping it in my heart has helped me to learn more about God. It has also helped me to make sure I am doing my best to live the right way. The verses from Proverbs chapter 3 have helped me to look to God in all I do and especially to look to Him when making decisions.

These two verses have helped me many times over the years. I am so glad my friend gave the that workbook many years ago. It really has made a difference!

Jesus’ words from the cross

Today I re-read over the crucifixion of Christ in my Bible. One thing that really stood out for me was the way Jesus died and how He remained focussed on those around Him and what He came for even during this horrifc event.

1. The first words that are recorded from Jesus on the cross show that even in this situation of great agony He is prepared to forgive His accusers, His torturers, His enemies, as He cries out, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”

2. Secondly, He turns to one of the thieves or criminals surrounding Him on the two crosses on either side of Him, who has cried out for remembrance when Jesus comes into His kingdom. Jesus replies, “Truly, today you will be with me in paradise.” As soon as they both die, they can enjoy the presence of God the Father in eternal bliss.

3. Thirdly, Jesus turns to his mother and to the beloved disciple, the apostle John, and says, “Woman, behold your son. Son, behold your mother” Even on the cross He has not forgotten those closest to Him.

4. Fourthly, Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” Jesus felt some awareness of now being separated from His heavenly Father. The closeness and intimacy that He had enjoyed throughout His life was broken.

5. Fifthly, He cries out, “I thirst.” And yet He refuses to drink what was either a painkiller or a poison, anything that would relieve His suffering or speed up the process of His death. And so His statement, “I thirst,” is probably not merely a statement of human anguish but also one of spiritual anguish following His acknowledgment of separation from God.

6. Sixthly, He says, “It is finished” —certainly referring to His life, but again perhaps we are meant to see the whole plan of salvation has now been accomplished.

7. Lastly, He cries out, “Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.”

So to summarise this event – Jesus asked for God to forgive the people who crucified Him, He offered salvation to one of the thieves, He asked John to care for His mother, he felt the separation from God for the first time and said He thirsted for God, He said the work of salvation is done, and then last but not least committed His Spirit to God.

Right until the end Jesus was focussed on us. The only detour in His Words were to say that He was feeling the pain of being separated from His Father.

Be courageous and confident

Recently I was reading the story of David and Goliath to my daughter before bed one evening. As we read through the story we were reminded that Goliath was 9 feet tall and was a powerful warrior who had killed all who had come before him. David was the exact opposite. He was small, young and inexperienced as a warrior.

On the surface of things it would have seemed like a simple victory to Goliath. Instead David was confident he would defeat Goliath as he knew God was with him and this was something God would help him with. He boldly proclaimed that he would defeat Goliath. He was courageous and confident.

One thing that stood out for me as read through the story was that David did not wait for Goliath to approach him and then start fighting. He was so confident and bold that he ran towards the battle line to engage Goliath front on (see 1 Samuel 17.48).

Now I don’t know about you, but running up to a 9 foot tall warrior who had defeated many of your countrymen is not high on my to do list! But I guess if it was something God had called and strengthened me to do I would feel a little more confident and courageous…just like David did all those years ago.

The example of Job

Recently I have been brushing up on some Bible studies at christiancourses.com. As I work through the Old Testament I am constantly reminded of how much God loves us and He wants us to follow Him and be obedient to Him no matter what we face.

One example of a person following God no matter what is Job. He lost all his family, his wealth and his health failed him. For me that would be pretty much it! But for Job he refused to curse God. Cursing God in those times basically meant that you were giving up and by cursing God it would allow Him to end your suffering and you would die.

While Job didn’t understand why it was happening or what the purpose in it all was, he knew that he had to trust God. He cried out to God and asked for release. Eventually it came and he was restored.

For me that is a great example. I have suffered a lot in my life through various illnesses and trials. Sometimes I have handled it well and trusted God. Sometimes I haven’t!

How about you? What do you do in times of suffering? Do you trust in God? Or do you put your faith in something or someone else?