A ‘rare disease’ is one that affects fewer than 200,000 people in the United States. There are more than 6,000 of these diseases! Most cause debilitating disabilities.
And God is sovereign over every one of them. No exceptions.
Together, they impact almost one in 20 people. That’s a lot of people!
And a great mission field for the church. Let’s begin by praying that more families experiencing a rare disease become part of our church families – so much so that the next time they make a video they reference families, professionals AND churches!
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Sometimes I read things that just make me want to stand and cheer at their insight and clarity on hard issues. Tim Challies, discussing a new technology designed to eliminate genetic abnormalities, does that by reminding us that God has a perspective on this issue – and it is glorious and good!
We do well to end suffering when we are able to. We do well to cure disease and eliminate curable pain. But we dare not step into God’s place as those who will design babies according to our plan rather than his. We dare not trust our goodness ahead of his goodness, our wisdom ahead of his wisdom. Sometimes God’s good and wise plans involve something we would not choose and would never design, such as a child with a severe genetic abnormality. But when we trust a good and wise God, we rejoice that the works of God might be displayed in all of these. (Emphasis mine)
You’ll want to read the entire article by Tim Challies, The Dawn of the Designer Babies.
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The conference is only for women, though. Bummer for me, but I’m still excited she’s coming back to the Twin Cities.
In addition to writing one of the most helpful books on suffering and God’s sovereignty, Holding on to Hope, and regularly speaking on the topic of suffering, Nancy Guthrie and her husband, David started a ministry for families who have lost a child.
And if that doesn’t convince you, please read this interview with Mary Horning on the impact Nancy Guthrie has had on her life.
The Bethlehem Women’s Spring Conference, is Friday and Saturday, April 25 and 26, 2014. Nancy Guthrie will be speaking on, “Be Holy For I Am Holy; Growing in Holiness…How?”
More information and online registration can be found here.
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At the 2014 Desiring God Conference for Pastors last week, Sinclair Ferguson offered a great vision, and challenge, to churches around communion:
Do you agree? And do you think we could actually pull this off?
The entire panel discussion can be viewed here.
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In the busy-ness of my week I nearly missed this post by Vaneetha Rendall Demski at Desiring God, and it is too powerful to miss!
Countless childhood surgeries. Yearlong stints in the hospital. Verbal and physical bullying from classmates. Multiple miscarriages as a young wife. The unexpected death of a child. A debilitating progressive disease. Riveting pain. Betrayal. A husband who leaves.
If it were up to me, I would have written my story differently. Not one of those phrases would be included. Each line represents something hard. Gut wrenching. Life changing.
But now, in retrospect, I wouldn’t erase a single line.
You can read the entire post here: When God Does the Miracle We Didn’t Ask For
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One of the most frustrating, repeated arguments I hear about killing some people – the unborn, the frail elderly, those with disabilities – is that they have no real value. Only productive people have value in that twisted view.
Writing for Bethlehem College and Seminary’s weekly update, Joe Rigney points out that NONE of us has value in ourselves – but we still have real value:
. . . Edwards knows that human sinners, in our quest for autonomy, love to affirm creation from nothing while smuggling in some notion of our own inherent value and worth. Edwards insists in the strongest possible terms that we have nothing apart from God. We have no autonomous or independent value. When it comes to God, we bring nothing of our own to the table. He gives to all things, life and breath and everything else, including value. “What do you have that you did not receive?” Paul asks (1 Cor. 4:7).
At the same time, Edwards does not leave man as a nothing. We may not have any autonomous, intrinsic value, but we do have real value. And we have value because God values us. Our worth is derived wholly from the fact that God makes us and calls us good. Even in our fallen state, we still retain the remnants of God’s image, an image that God is restoring in Christ. What’s more, in Christ God has given himself to us, so that his Holy Spirit now dwells within us and enlivens our thoughts, affections, and actions. Though we are nothing, God has invited us into his own triune life, extending his fullness and glory to us in the gospel.
Joe Rigney, Assistant Professor of Theology and Christian Worldview, Bethlehem College and Seminary
God values us! God makes us! Yes, this is much better news than believing we – or any human being of any size, ethnicity or ability – only have value as long as we are productive.
On a weekly basis members of Bethlehem College and Seminary provide helpful commentary and insights from their disciplines and observations. I highly recommend subscribing to their weekly email, which you can do here.
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Pastor John and Pastor Jason do not handle the issue of abortion in a trite way. They bring deadly seriousness to it, appropriate to how we should consider this murderous practice.
Yet, a happy, deep ‘yes’ welled up within me as Pastor Jason reached into his pocket, much as Pastor John had done four years before. You’ll see what I mean in this 3 1/2 minute video:
Symbols have power in our lives, and that little reminder of an unborn baby has had a huge impact on my pastors, and they have a huge impact on me.
So I wonder, if a little model can have that kind of impact, what sort of impact does a real child have on my leaders at my home church?
Actually I don’t wonder about it at all. I know the love and regard my pastors have for my son. I know my son has had an impact on how they think about the little ones who come who are different because of disability.
And I know they won’t even hesitate when asked if their pro-life stand includes unborn babies with disabilities and the ones who will die – in fact, they will up the ante significantly by proclaiming, ‘yes, they are GIFTS!’
May all pastors everywhere say the same about the little image-bearers with disabilities in their churches!
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