Saturday, November 8, 2014

Death With Dignity: Are We Playing God?

Here is a guest blog by James Emery White which he posted on November 6, 2014. I'd be interested in your thoughts on this.

A 29-year-old woman named Brittany Maynard, suffering from an aggressive brain tumor, died this past Saturday.
But not from the tumor.
She took her own life in the name of "death with dignity."
It became national news because she had taken to social media to announce her decision to take her life. She even landed on the cover of People Magazine. Collectively, it brought the issue of "right to die" to the forefront of public conversation.
The Bible is very clear about the taking of a human life. In Exodus 20:13, in the sixth of the Ten Commandments, God says, "You shall not murder" (Exodus 20:13, NIV).
The key word there is "murder."
Murder is the deliberate, willful, pre-meditated taking of a human life out of hatred, anger, greed, or self-centered convenience. The sixth commandment is not talking about the killing that takes place in war, in self-defense, or even in capital punishment. Those are important discussions, but they're not the focus of the sixth commandment.
And the sixth commandment doesn't speak to the killing of other creatures - such as animals,
…but of human beings.
The reason is simple - it's because life is sacred. Not just some lives, but every life. The fact that each and every one of us was created in the image of God gives each and every one of us infinite worth and value. Taking it upon ourselves to end a life is the ultimate act of defiance against God, for life is His and His alone to give and take.
It doesn't matter what the quality of life is for that person. It doesn't matter what the cost of their life will be to society. It doesn't matter how productive they are, smart they are, beautiful they are. It doesn't matter whether we like them or not.
All human beings have infinite worth because they are made in the image of God. And the taking of a life - any life - is showing contempt for God and His image. Life is sacred. It is not ours to do with as we please.
Only God can end it or direct its ending.
Euthanasia is the practice of assisting or enabling death, usually because the person is old, in pain, or terminally ill. The word "euthanasia" is from two Greek words, "eu", which means good, and "thanatos," which means death.
So the word literally means "good death."
And those who support euthanasia use terms carrying that sentiment, such as "mercy killing" and "death with dignity." The rationale is that individuals or family members have the right to end their own or someone else's life if they feel it seems unbearable.
There are two kinds of euthanasia – passive, and active.
Passive euthanasia is when the individual or family members decide not to use extraordinary means to extend the process of dying when there is no hope for extending life.
Very few Christian ethicists would challenge that choice. They would add, however, that food and water are not extraordinary efforts. That is basic to anyone living.
The real issue is active euthanasia, which is the direct killing of a patient because a disease may be terminal, or the choice to withhold basic assistance that would prolong life in a substantive way,
...simply to avoid pain or difficulty.
The more direct term is assisted suicide.
And it is every bit as much the taking of a human life as any other form, because it's not our life to take, or our decision to make.
Compassion can be poured out on people who are suffering, and we can and should stand with them, pray for them, and encourage them to take advantage of everything that is available in terms of pain management and hospice care,...
...but the taking of a life, for the sake of the quality of life, is against the sanctity of life.
So while ending our life on "our" terms sounds like a statement of personal rights that should be embraced, it's not.
It's playing God with our own lives.
And we're not God.

~James Emery White
"Brittany Maynard, face of right-to-die movement, died as she planned," Cathy Lynn Grossman and Jessica Durando, Religion News Service, November 2, 2014, read online.
"Joni Eareckson Tada to Brittany Maynard: God alone chooses the day you die, not you," Joni Eareckson Tada, Religion News Service, October 15, 2014, read online.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Heath & Paisley White

Who would have expected a national media platform like ESPN to feature such a powerful pro-life story?  It’s a very well produced story about the time when Heath White chased perfection. E:60′s Tom Rinaldi tells the story of a how the birth of a girl with Down Syndrome led to the re-birth of a man who thought he had everything, until he discovered the joy of pushing Paisley.  Watch the 15 minute video, and share it – it’s a powerful story that is worth your time:

Friday, May 3, 2013

Why Pray If God Already Knows What You Need?

If God knows what we need, why bother praying? Because prayer is not like sending an order form to a supplier. Prayer develops an intimate personal relationship with an abundantly loving God, who also happens to know us deeply. His knowledge of us should encourage us toward confident and focused prayer. A child may feel an immediate need for candy but a parent considers the child's long-term needs. Stretch that parent's concern and perspective to an infinite dimension, and there you find God's loving care.

Prayer does not beg favors from a reluctant shopkeeper. Prayer develops the trust that says, "Father, you know best." Bring your requests confidently to God.

~Life Application Bible Commentary, Matthew

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hallowing God's Name

A thought on prayer for all of us today: One of the great mysteries of God is he has allowed the holiness of his name on this earth to be bound up with the character and conduct of his people. We are a reflection of the character of God in the eyes of a watching world. To pray "hallowed be your name" and really mean it - not just recite the words - is to say, "All right, God, I hereby give up sin as best I can with your help. I will live each moment of my day in such a way that you'll be able to sign your name to my day."

But the truth sometimes is, that when we come to that part of our prayer we really have to confess, "Father, all too often other names dominate my day. Some other important person or a spouse or a boss, a girlfriend or a boyfriend or other gods named money or health or achievement. So once more I come to you, Father, and I repent. And so I come to you Father, and renew the cry of my heart: hallowed be your name in my every moment today."

What would happen if every follower of Jesus prayed along those lines? How would that transform your family? Your work-place? Your school? Your marriage? Your friendships? Your church?

And what if we started praying that kind of prayer for those around us? What would it look like for a growing number of people in our community and across the world for God's name to be hallowed in their lives?

This prayer that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13 is a GAME CHANGER. Begin praying today along these lines,

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And  lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV)