Category archives: Health Care

World Abortion Leaders Exploit Pandemic to Advance Self-Managed Abortions

by Patrina Mosley

April 20, 2020

As part of their COVID-19 response, the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared abortion as an essential service. The U.K. has now issued temporary approval for chemical abortions to be completely done at home. The U.S. abortion lobby continues to call for the FDA to lift restrictions (REMs) off the abortion pill (U.S. brand “Mifeprex”), making way for complete “self-managed” abortions. Unfortunately, this is what the abortion industry all over the world has pursued even before the current pandemic—for abortions to be unrestricted, unregulated, and do-it-yourself.

The abortion pill is a two-drug regimen that is basically a do-it-yourself method anyways, but normally, the woman would have some type of interaction with a physician by taking the first pill (mifepristone) under their supervision at the clinic (although this is no longer a requirement in the U.S. since 2016) and then going home to take the second drug (misoprostol) 24-48 hours later.

Gone are the days of abortion activists calling for abortions to be “safe, legal, and rare” to protect against desperate women performing their own “back-alley” abortions. Now, abortion pills are the new back-alley method, credentialed by the world’s most prestigious medical institutions.

By placing the burden of inducing abortions completely on women—despite the fact that the health complications that often result from an induced chemical abortion are eerily similar to those of “back-alley” abortions—it is evident that the abortion industry has no regard for human dignity whatsoever—for the child or the mother.

The Future of Abortion

The abortion industry has favored dispensing abortion pills due to how easy they are to distribute and their ability to lower overhead costs of in-clinic surgical abortions. Chemical abortion is a way to shift costs and patient oversight from the surgical provider to the patient herself, particularly for use in “low-resource settings.” Thus, it is not surprising that world abortion leaders like International Planned Parenthood, Marie Stopes, and Doctors Without Borders have already made extensive use of  “medication” or “medical” abortion, a shift that has been supported by WHO.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion industry views the drug-based method as the future of abortion, so as they are expanding telemed activities they are actively experimenting on women in Burkina FasoColumbia, Mexico, and Vietnam to perform chemical abortions in the second trimester. Currently, this method has only been approved universally for first trimester pregnancies only.

The once abortion-neutral humanitarian aid group Doctors Without Borders (DWB) has now launched online instructional videos, credentialed by WHO, to train their “humanitarian” workers on how to use the abortion pill. Shockingly (or perhaps not), DWB acknowledges that they expect vulnerable women to use the site in order to learn how to induce their own abortion, with instructions for self-managing an abortion up to 22 weeks!  

The Unique Trauma of Chemical Abortion

A chemical abortion is a multi-day, traumatic process of cramping, contractions, and bleeding which culminates in the uterus expelling the embryo or fetus, and it comes with four times the risk of complications compared to surgical abortions. The risks of life-threatening and health-endangering complications only increase as the gestational age of the pregnancy progresses.

What makes chemical abortions uniquely traumatic is that a mother sees and must dispose of the remains of her aborted child. The psychological trauma of abortion on women cannot be underestimated, especially the trauma from of undergoing a chemical abortion. Mifeprex has been approved for inducing abortion on babies up to 10 weeks gestation, at which point the baby already has a head, hands, feet, fingers, and toes. For a woman to take in the visual devastation of a child that is half-way developed at 22 weeks is severely distressing, especially for women who thought they were getting care from “humanitarians.” Instead, they walk away with more trauma. In reality, they can’t walk away at all—they are left alone to “self-manage” the abortion.

For the WHO and DWB to endorse drug-induced abortions on women up to 22 weeks is bordering considerably on medical malpractice. The two most prevalent complications observed for chemical abortions comparatively, were hemorrhage and incomplete abortion. An incomplete abortion means there needed to be surgical intervention to extract any remaining parts of the unborn child from the woman’s uterus. Prolonged hemorrhage requiring blood transfusion can occur. It’s already been reported to the FDA that over 500 blood transfusions, over a thousand hospitalizations, and 24 deaths have taken place as a result of Mifeprex. And that is just what’s been reported.

In 2015, a peer-reviewed study to test the safety and feasibility of self-administered over-the-counter abortion pills found that when women take the pills past 63 days gestation, 62 percent of participants had incomplete abortions resulting in surgical intervention. Nearly 13 percent required surgical evacuation with blood transfusion. Yet in 2016 under the Obama administration, the FDA extended Mifeprex eligibility from 63 days to 70 days gestation and altered the drug dosage to make chemical abortions even more dangerous.

An “Essential” Medical Service?

Telemed abortion trials are currently taking place in 13 states to test the viability of women self-managing abortions through mail-order abortion pills. The FDA must be held accountable and not approve any drug trials and studies that intentionally destroy human embryos or fetuses.

Planned Parenthood has also announced plans to expand their telemed services to all 50 states, which would include pick-ups for contraceptives and abortion pills. This comes on the heels of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit decision in Planned Parenthood v. Abbott granting Planned Parenthood approval to proceed with chemical abortions even though abortion has been deemed non-essential in the state of Texas.

Even apart from the question of caring for the life of the unborn child, abortions require a high level of physical interaction between the mother and a physician who can examine, diagnosis, evaluate, and treat her.

Abortion activists routinely compare inducing a chemical abortion to taking Tylenol, but a chemical abortion involves heavy bleeding and cramping and carries life-threatening risks, so pretending for ideological reasons that chemical abortions can be done remotely (commonly using Skype) or even as a do-it-yourself, over-the-counter regimen is extremely dangerous and negligent. Furthermore, telemedicine is not suited to the provision of immediate emergency care.

We are now likely to see scenarios where women who have taken the abortion pill regimen will need blood transfusions, treatment for infections, and possible follow-up surgery to complete the abortion, which means they will need to go to the emergency room and wait for treatment next to possible victims of COVID-19. This does not conserve medical resources and puts the safety and health of women at risk. In addition, the woman, who may or may not have health insurance coverage, is expected to bear the additional cost of these complications of “self-managed” abortions.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and their allies put out a statement complaining that abortions are being left out of essential health care services that need to remain open at this time. Some more liberal-leaning states have deemed abortion as “essential,” but fortunately the U.S. currently has strong pro-life leadership from the top down, so at a national level it is unlikely that we will see abortion declared as an “essential service” at a time like this. But that will not stop the abortion industry from taking advantage of the pandemic to ramp up progression to their desired future of total “self-managed” abortions.

Encouraging women to self-manage an abortion and calling it a “paid” service is a dangerous practical joke the abortion industry is playing on women.

Thankfully, there are still some reputable medical leaders, such as the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG), who refuse to put women in this type of danger by categorizing abortion as an “essential service.”

Though the abortion industry markets itself as a champion for women’s reproductive rights, there is no way that professional medical institutions should willingly put women in the “back-alley” of their own bathrooms to induce their own abortions with drugs at the risk of death and call it “health care.”

Population Control Is the True Objective of World Abortion Leaders

World abortion leaders are not concerned about women, they are concerned with population control. That concern is undoubtedly heightened amid a pandemic that could produce a baby boom. The legacy of abortion is rooted in eugenics, and when defending “abortion access,” proponents will consistently dog-whistle about how any pro-life protection or common-sense abortion restriction will hurt “low-income people,” “people of color,” and those in “rural” or “underserved” communities. It is not a coincidence that abortion is promoted in predominantly African-American and Hispanic communities and promoted and performed in undeveloped countries. Elites like Bill Gates who heavily finance Planned Parenthood and the Population Council support abortion as a mechanism of alleviating poverty by eliminating the children of those who are impoverished. Interestingly, the Population Council was the lead sponsor in getting the abortion pill (RU-486) approved in the United States.

As of late, President Trump has decided to halt funds to the World Health Organization as an investigation takes place to assess their mishandling of the coronavirus. However, further concern is warranted when it comes to U.S. tax dollars being entangled with WHO’s pro-abortion agenda amid the reinstatement of the Protecting Life in Global Health Assistance Act, formerly known as the Mexico City Policy, which bans taxpayer funds for promoting or performing overseas abortion. The United States is the largest contributor to the WHO’s budget, providing “between $400 million and $500 million per year to the WHO.”

Over two-thirds of Americans continue to oppose taxpayer-funded abortions, and Trump’s election was super-charged by pro-life voters who continue to be a base of support. Assessing whether U.S. dollars should go to conflicting interests should be heavily weighed moving forward.

As world abortion leaders aggressively pursue “abortion access” at any cost, the U.S. is currently in a strong position to ensure that it is not a part of the population control agenda and to continue putting women and human dignity first.

In This Season of Loss, God Wants to Hear Our Hearts

by Adelaide Holmes

April 17, 2020

With lockdowns and stay at home orders in place, the coronavirus is affecting everyone’s life, and Christians are not exempt from the sorrows that the world is experiencing. Ever since the fall into sin in Genesis 3, death, loss, and grief have been a common human experience.

Even so, many Christians are hesitant to admit their disappointment or sorrow. This is because we often believe that grief shows a lack of faith in God. But the lamentations throughout Scripture disprove this misguided perception. In fact, the Bible contains many examples of people lamenting. Even Jesus wept openly over the death of his friend Lazarus (Luke 10:35). Experiencing grief reminds us that this world is not as it’s supposed to be. But Scripture also teaches that everything—including our grief—can work together for good (Rom. 8:28). In this coronavirus season, it’s time that Christians learned how to lament and embrace their sorrow as a way to hope in God.

Death, sickness, and suffering afflict everyone: Christians and unbelievers alike. But as Christians encounter afflictions, their grief should be different than an unbeliever’s. In Mark Vroegop’s article “Dare to Hope in God” he says, “To cry is human, but to lament is Christian.” Lamenting is different than natural grief because it turns grief into a prayer. Through the three stages of a lamentation—crying out to God, asking for help, and responding in trust and praise—Christians learn to be real with God about our pain, rely on Him, and acknowledge our trust in Him.

In the first step of lament, God invites us to cry out to Him. This is difficult for some Christians who believe we must approach the throne of God in a put-together fashion. This most certainly excludes deep grief. But we forget that God knows our every thought, and our darkness is not dark to Him (Ps. 139:2, 12). God is not put off by our grief or the possible doubts that accompany it. He wants to hear our heart. In this season, almost everyone is experiencing loss: loss of a loved one, a job, not being able to visit sick or elderly family members, loss of wedding plans, graduation ceremonies, and sport seasons for athletes and spectators. Everyone is affected in some way by this virus, and it is painful. No grievance is too little or big for God. We can tell God we’re frustrated, deeply hurting, or angered by changes or loss.

A biblical example of someone honestly voicing their aching heart to God is found in Psalm 10. In this passage, the psalmist boldly asks God, “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Ps. 10:1). Clearly, the writer feels abandoned by God and candidly tells Him: I don’t feel You here. This cry—and the affirmation of God’s goodness expressed at the psalm’s conclusion—demonstrate an important truth: God can handle our strongest emotions, even when we struggle to believe His promises.

Second, a lament’s raw cry to God is followed by a request for help. Sometimes we are uncomfortable with being needy towards God. But this is the foundation of the gospel: that we need Jesus to restore us to God. Paul reminds us that if God did “not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32). God is a good Father who encourages us to ask (Matt. 7:7-11). Whether we are asking God to provide the means to pay for groceries during this economic recession, asking for healing for a dying family member, or asking for a way to see college friends or a significant other, we do not need to be ashamed of the request, regardless of its perceived importance. He promises that He will supply every need of ours (Phil. 4:19).

This truth is evidenced again by the psalmist when he pleads with God: “Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted” (Ps. 10:12). Evidently, there were times in the writer’s life when he needed help. He knew that God was able to rescue him from any situation, so he persisted and didn’t hold back in asking his Creator for help.

The final stage of a lamentation focuses on expressing praise to God and declaring our trust in Him. Despite our feelings, God has promised to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). When we praise God for how He specifically provided in our personal lives or praise Him for the promises that He gives us in His Word, we shift our minds from our changing and uncertain situations to the unchanging, faithful Savior. While God wants to hear our worries about the coronavirus or hear about what is breaking our heart in this season of loss, His deeper desire is to see us learn to rely on Him, regardless of our situation.

Despite the psalmist’s own feelings that God had abandoned him, he ends by saying, “O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more” (Ps. 10:17-18).

As the coronavirus continues to rage around the globe, Christians must remember that we can grieve the losses in our lives. Whatever the loss, God wants to hear our hearts. In this stretching and trying time, it is important to be honest with God about our pain and learn to rely on Him for help. As we do this, we can say with David, “But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me” (Ps. 13:5-6).

Love in the Time of Coronavirus: How to Respond When Your Wedding Plans Change

by Laura Grossberndt

April 15, 2020

Has the coronavirus left you feeling lonely, helpless, angry, or blindsided? If so, that’s okay. All of these are natural human responses. Add a wedding into the mix, and you may be experiencing a particularly heart-wrenching season of life. Maybe you had hoped to have all your family and friends with you when you exchanged vows. Maybe you had hoped to get married on a particular date or at a certain venue. Maybe you had hoped to travel on a honeymoon. And now, the current global pandemic has completely upended all those good dreams, desires, and plans.

How is a couple to make sense of all this?

Several of my friends have seen their wedding plans changed in one way or another due to the coronavirus. One couple kept their original date but had to limit the number of attendees in accordance with social distancing regulations. Another received their marriage license one day, finished premarital counseling the next day, and was married in a small ceremony the third day—two months earlier than initially planned. Another postponed their wedding.

I interviewed these friends, asking what they would say to other brides and grooms facing similar complications. What follows are five truths to remember, all grounded in God’s Word. I hope reflecting on them soothes your heart and edifies your soul.

Remember God’s Sovereignty

Are you frustrated by feelings of helplessness? Are you grappling to make sense of the unthinkable?

Although you may be disappointed and still struggling to cope with the prospect of relinquishing your dream wedding, God was not surprised or taken off guard by the sudden changes. All of your days, including your wedding day, were written in His book before even one had come to pass (Psalm 139:16). What is unknown to us is entirely known to Him. Furthermore, He is completely in control and will accomplish all of His purposes and fulfill all of His promises to His people. The pandemic might have changed your plans, but it changes nothing about God or His care for you. Consider the following truths from Scripture:

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. (Psalm 147:5)

Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. (Psalm 139:4)

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. (Isaiah 40:28)

I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’ (Isaiah 46:9b-10)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:28-32)

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33-36)

From cover to cover, the Bible reminds us of God’s sovereignty. As believers, we must trust that God is using all things in our lives—even the coronavirus and the changes it is forcing us to make—for His glory and our good.

Remember God’s Compassion

Are you grieving the beautiful plans you had for your wedding day? All the time, thought, and energy you poured into preparing for a celebration that now may never happen the way you had envisioned?

If so, be comforted to know that the God who knows all things and preordains your days is also the God who cares deeply about you, more deeply than anyone else. The very same God who, in order to reconcile us to Himself, became a man (Colossians 1:19-20, John 1:14) and experienced the same kind of human sufferings and sorrows that you and I do (Isaiah 53:3). He is not ignorant of His children’s sorrow and pain. He does not begrudge or belittle your grief. Consider just a few verses that describe God’s compassionate and loving disposition toward His children:

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. (Psalm 147:3)

Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (Isaiah 49:15)

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

By meditating and holding on to these promises, we are reminded of God’s kind and gentle character in the midst of the current trial. And despite lost opportunities such as a traditional wedding with family and friends in attendance, or an overseas honeymoon, we can trust that God still loves us and has amazing plans for these new marriages.

Remember What Marriage Symbolizes

Those who desire a wedding and marriage desire a good thing. The union of a husband and wife was instituted by God Himself at the very beginning of human history (Genesis 2). Declaring that it was “not good that the man should be alone,” God created woman—“a helper fit for him”—and brought her to the man. He then gave them a command: to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28). Even today, those who engage in a marriage covenant are participants in God’s good design for human relationships and flourishing.

But God’s plans for your marriage do not stop with relational intimacy and building a family. God also intends married couples to reflect the gospel. Consider the apostle Paul’s words to the Ephesians:

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:25-32)

By citing Genesis 2:24, Paul intentionally draws a parallel between the union of a husband and wife in marriage and the union between Christ and His church. God has always intended marriage to be a means of understanding the profound love Christ has for His bride, the church. Even if your wedding plans were taken away, be comforted in knowing that your participation in this glorious reflection of the gospel (and your participation in the gospel itself! Romans 8:35-39) is a privilege that the coronavirus has not taken away.

Remember to Embrace an Eternal Perspective

Getting married during a global pandemic involves a great deal of deferred or sacrificed hopes. As we have already covered, God is not ignorant or unfeeling towards these present disappointments. In fact, if you have been forced to delay celebrating your marriage with friends and family, no one can understand your situation better than God, because He, too, is waiting on a wedding celebration! Consider:

  • Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to women waiting up all night for the bridegroom—who was delayed—to appear for the wedding feast (Matthew 25:1-13). We, like these women, must wait for the bridegroom to appear before the wedding celebration can begin.
  • When He instituted the Lord’s Supper (symbolizing the covenant between Himself and the church) the night before His crucifixion, Jesus told His disciples that he would not drink of the fruit of the vine until the day He would drink it again in His Father’s kingdom (Matthew 26:29). Jesus will not drink the wine until He is finally united with His bride.
  • We know from Revelation 19 that the wedding feast of the Lamb will not occur until the second coming of Christ.

As Christians, we are assured of our Savior’s love. We are betrothed to Him, sealed with the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22). However, we have yet to see that love’s full fruition. We still live in a fallen, broken world that groans for redemption, and we must wait with patience (Romans 8:18-25). In this way, your deferred hopes for your wedding celebration are not unlike our present spiritual circumstances.

Be comforted that God knows what it is to wait for a wedding celebration! Live in expectant hope, learning to embrace the now and not yet of the promises we have in Christ.

Remember to Delight in Your Beloved

The most important component of a wedding is not the ceremony, not the reception, but the marriage it commences. I say this not to belittle the secondary things—which are themselves precious and good—but to remind you that the thing that remains—your spouse—is the better portion.

If the coronavirus changed your wedding plans, you now face a choice as to how you will respond. Choose to treasure your unique wedding story—even if it in no way resembles what you had planned. Choose to glorify God through your marriage and your response to this temporary adversity. Choose to delight in the one you love.

I hope you and your spouse will choose to delight in this better portion.

Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. (Proverbs 5:18-19)

I found him whom my soul loves. I held him, and would not let him go. (Song of Solomon 3:4)

COVID-19 Poses Yet Another Grave Threat to North Korea’s Christians

by Arielle Del Turco

April 14, 2020

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues to ramp up efforts to contain the coronavirus even as the regime claims the country has zero cases—a telltale sign that the virus has not left the world’s most secretive country untouched. Unfortunately, coronavirus in the so-called “hermit kingdom” may have particularly dangerous ramifications for the country’s Christians.

While many North Koreans are sure to suffer if coronavirus ravages the country, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Sam Brownback recently emphasized the unique threat posed to Christians. Brownback cited “individual reporting, the eyewitnesses of people that have gotten out and escaped North Korea” who testify to “the horrific conditions in those areas.”

Brownback called on the North Korean regime to release its prisoners of conscience—many of whom are Christians—in light of the risk that coronavirus poses to religious and other political prisoners held in filthy and densely populated prison camps.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) also urged governments around the world to release prisoners wrongly detained for exercising their freedom of religion.

Christianity is illegal in North Korea, and even the smallest expression of faith will land believers in a brutal prison or forced labor camp. The worst of these camps are reserved for political prisoners, including Christians.

Open Doors estimates that at least 50,000 Christians are trapped in North Korea’s network of prison camps, and approximately 75 percent die in detention. Survivors detail horrific accounts of torture and brutality in the camps.

Last year, Family Research Council hosted an event that featured Ji Hyeon-a, a North Korean Christian who was beaten for her faith. When she was taken to a prison camp as punishment for attempting to escape North Korea, authorities forcibly aborted her preborn child in the cruelest way imaginable.

The living conditions of North Korean prisoners of conscience are deplorable. Detainees are reportedly locked in cages, routinely tortured, forced to perform hard labor, and endure starvation and unhygienic living situations. Should a highly contagious disease like the coronavirus make its way into the camps, the effects would be disastrous. Brownback is right to call for the release of North Korean political prisoners in light of COVID-19—as all Western countries should be calling for their release always.

Is Kim Jong-un, the stubborn and insecure dictator of the world’s most secretive country, likely to take the advice of a U.S. official to release prisoners of conscience? Almost certainly not.

However, North Korea is under heightened pressure, the likes of which it has never experienced before.

Like other parts of the world, the coronavirus will affect much more than North Korea’s shoddy health care system. The economic toll on this already cash-strapped country is likely to worsen. North Korean authorities closed its border with China, its main trading partner, putting a halt to legal and illegal trade. This alone has the potential to put pressure on the North Korean regime in ways Western sanctions failed to do.

The coronavirus crisis is putting an unexpected strain on countries around the world, and that has the potential to shift long-term regional dynamics and political structures—for good and ill.

As American Christians pray for our country and an end to the coronavirus, we can also be remembering persecuted believers in North Korea—that God would strengthen the faith of the persecuted, bring an end to the prison camps and tyrannical government of North Korea, and protect the hermit kingdom’s most vulnerable people.

Ways to Read the Bible (Part 2): Reading the Bible Start-to-Finish

by Patrina Mosley

April 14, 2020

Read Part 1 and Part 3

Before attempting to study the Bible, I would highly encourage that you first read the Bible in its entirety, from start to finish. If you are a believer, ask yourself, “Have I ever read all of God’s word?” If we say we are followers of Christ, we should read all of what he has said. Moreover, God has sovereignly preserved his word for us in a language that we can understand. In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Paul writes, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” Because every word in Scripture is “breathed-out by God,” every follower of Jesus ought to prioritize reading the Bible in its entirety.

Reading the Bible cover-to-cover will also give you an overview of the story God is telling before digging into the nitty-gritty of specific texts. Without a full understanding of the Bible’s metanarrative, it will be more difficult to understand the big picture. In other words, trying to study the Bible without having read it is like trying to dissect a scene in a movie you’ve never watched. Things won’t make sense because you will be missing a lot of context. Take it nice and slow and read the Bible like you would any other book—start to finish.

There are a lot of different ways to read the Bible because the 66 books contained in it can be easily separated by the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Gospels as well as different genres (such as narratives, poetry, prophecies, epistles, etc.), but my recommendation is that before you start breaking off into different segments of the Bible, read the Bible like a real book within its complete context! The story will come alive for you and you will be fascinated at how much you’re learning just by reading. 

Here are two ways to do this:

  1. Simply pick up your Bible and start from Genesis! Here is a two-year Bible reading plan from Family Research Council that will take you through the entire Bible, day-by-day.
  2. Follow a chronological Bible reading plan or read through a chronological study Bible. Although the majority of the books of the Bible are in order, some events and books are not arranged in chronological sequence. Reading chronologically will open up your understanding even more because you will have greater context by the sequence of events.

Bible Translations Remember that when you read the Bible you are reading a translation (the Bible was originally written in Hebrew (Old Testament; a few portions were written in Aramaic) and Greek (New Testament). Here is a short list of some easy-to-read versions of the Bible: English Standard Version (ESV), Christian Standard Bible (CSB), New International Version (NIV), and New Living Translation (NLT). These Bible translations strike a good balance between literal word-for-word translation and contemporary phraseology.

Write it Down: As you’re reading, keep in mind that you are not reading to make theological applications (although that will come to you naturally over time as you learn good Bible study methods) but you are reading to get to know God. Whatever you don’t understand you can always go back and study later, so write down your questions. Often you will find that the more you keep reading, the more will make sense. But when that doesn’t happen, you can come back to all of your questions when you’re ready to study the Bible. Here is where I would highly recommend having a study Bible. For those who can’t wait to have their questions answered until they’ve read all 66 books, a good study Bible will provide a fuller understanding of a specific passage that might confuse you.

Study Bibles: All of the aforementioned translations are available in study Bible versions. Study Bibles typically include extra materials for greater understanding of the text by providing historical context, geographical information, character profiles, word dictionaries, commentary, etc. Some even provide book introductions for each of the 66 books, so the reader gets an overview of what they are about to read. I cannot  overemphasize the advantages of having a good study Bible. There are libraries full of resources to help you study the Bible, but for the average person who is not writing a doctoral thesis, a simple study Bible that combines several of these tools into one volume is a sufficient tool for better understanding God’s word..

Tip: You can choose a book or a passage of the Bible to read along with a helpful commentary during your daily devotional reading or study time!

Prayer: Don’t forget to pray before you start seeking God. Ask him to “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions” (Psalms 119:18).

Looking for Good Family TV During the Quarantine? Here’s What We Are Watching

by Cathy Ruse

April 13, 2020

If your family is like ours, television is a rarity in our house. We gave up cable television years ago, but we stream movies on the weekends and can “earn” a television program or two during the week for good behavior (adults and children alike).

But now that COVID-19 is keeping us all at home all day and every night, there is greater demand than ever for “Family TV.” Believe it or not, there are some good options that are both entertaining and appropriate for children.

We have become very serious fans of The Great British Baking Show, and a new discovery is the television network produced by Brigham Young University, BYU-TV. It is a font of totally family-friendly fare. Our favorite program is Show-Offs, featuring a team of improv actors and special guests who are given script ideas from a studio audience. I have always loved improv, but it seems always to be geared to the raunchier side of things (where the cheapest laughs are). But this show is 100 percent “appropriate”—our family’s watchword—and the actors are really talented. It routinely has us in stitches. We also love Studio C, a sketch comedy team similar to Saturday Night Live, but totally clean and appropriate for all audiences. Our teen and tween daughters love Dwight in Shining Armor about a teen boy who travels back in time and returns with a posse of hilarious medieval friends. There are a dozen others. BYU-TV is the only network our children are allowed to surf freely. All great shows, all “appropriate,” no commercials. And for anyone who may be wondering, we have not seen any proselytizing of the LDS faith.

We research movies, old and new, and watch them as a family. Recent movies that we have watched and enjoyed include oldies like Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock, and new movies like Midway (lots of obscenities, but in context it was tolerable). We have 12 Angry Men ready to go, and Bird Man of Alcatraz. We also highly recommend anything with Rowan Atkinson, from his Mr. Bean features (my favorite is Mr. Bean’s Holiday, I could watch it every week) to Johnny English. We howl with family laughter.

My go-to review sites are Movie Guide and Dove, and I check both each time. Why? Because even the best review team can miss things, so you have to be vigilant. Generally, we have been happy with their reviews. They are very detailed, going beyond counting obscenities and profanities and describing violence and nudity to explaining storyline ethos and underlying messaging, with scene-based evidence to back up their conclusions. But once they both let us down. We like musicals, and were excited about watching the award-winning new musical, Lala Land. I read the reviews carefully, and thought I knew what to expect: some language, no nudity, no sex, no violence. Fine. Yet, as we watched, the two young lovers crawled into bed together. They were clothed. They only talked. But then, flash, it is the next morning, and they are sitting on the bed. Sorry kids, let’s turn on BYU-TV. (Movie Guide has revised its review to include a more detailed discussion of this scene.)

One service that has met with mixed reviews in our household is Vid Angel. I love it, my husband does not. For a low monthly fee, you can calibrate each movie that you stream to your family’s standards, based on that particular movie’s details. The service allows you to filter content in dozens of areas of concern, including language, violence, sexual content, and drug and alcohol use. You can literally take a PG-13 movie and turn it into a slightly shorter, sloppily-spliced G movie. Our first try with Vid Angel was hilarious. We rented Kenneth Branagh’s Much Ado About Nothing and just set all filters to ON. We watched it, or tried to watch, as it abruptly skipped from scene to scene like it had a terminal case of the hiccups. We realized, upon investigation, that a cleavage filter was responsible for much of the 30 minutes that were cut from the movie! If missing elements of plot and watching herky-jerky scene splicing are a problem for you (they are not for me, but they are for my husband), then this service is not for you. Another problem is the absence of Disney, or the “Evil Mouse” as we call it. The service does not work with any of the hugely-popular Disney-produced movies due to a protracted copyright lawsuit Disney slapped on Vid Angel. (Hey Evil Mouse, why don’t you just make your movies family-friendly and we won’t have to use this service!)

So, life is strange right now, but let’s look on the bright side. We all have more time to spend with our families, and with some attention and planning, that time can include the joy of watching good television, together.

Coronavirus-Related Change in FDA Blood Donor Policy Threatens Public Health Instead of Protecting It

by Peter Sprigg

April 13, 2020

On April 2nd, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced an easing of restrictions on blood donors. Concern has been raised that there may be a shortage of donated blood due to the cancellation of blood drives as a result of current social distancing rules.

Political pressure, not medical necessity, may have driven the most significant of the changes, however—involving the “deferral” as blood donors of men who have sex with men (“MSM”). Since 2015, the FDA has recommended excluding as blood donors any man who had sex with another man in the last 12 months. That deferral period has now been reduced to three months since the last male-male sexual contact.

Until 2015, however, MSM were subject to a lifetime deferral, prohibiting men from giving blood if they have had sex with another man even once since 1977. In the early days of the AIDS epidemic, it was discovered both that HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) could be transmitted via blood transfusions and that men who have sex with men are at extraordinarily high risk of being infected. The lifetime ban was imposed in 1985 and lasted for 30 years.

LGBT activists, however, lobbied vigorously for lifting the deferral because of the “stigma” it imposed on MSM (note: the restriction does not apply to women who have sex with women, as they are not at significantly elevated risk of HIV). Family Research Council was active in opposing the change to the lifetime deferral.

Despite the dramatic change from a lifetime deferral to a 12-month one, LGBT groups have continued to lobby for further easing of the restriction. Almost as soon as the coronavirus was declared a national emergency, they jumped to exploit the crisis as an opportunity to advance their agenda. GLAAD posted a petition demanding that the limit on donations by MSM be lifted altogether. Although an FDA spokesman told the Washington Blade on March 19 that the restriction remained in place, only two weeks later it was revised, “[a]fter weeks of pressure from GLAAD and others.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledge that “Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are the population most affected by HIV in the United States. In 2017, adult and adolescent gay and bisexual men made up 70% … [of] new HIV diagnoses in the United States (US) and dependent areas.” And this is despite the fact that men who have ever had sexual contact with men represent only about three percent of the population. Prior to removing the lifetime ban in 2015, the FDA noted that HIV prevalence among MSM is “60 times higher than the general population in the U.S., 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8000 times higher than repeat blood donors.”

It’s not as though men who have sex with men are going to be the solution to any potential blood shortages anyway. Out of that 3 percent of the population, one must still subtract any who have had male-male sexual contact in the last three months, and subtract any of this high-risk population who have ever had a positive test for HIV. The remainder would be so tiny that it would hardly make a measurable impact on the blood supply—except for making it somewhat more dangerous.

The most troubling part of the FDA’s announcement was where it said, “These changes are being put forth for immediate implementation and are expected to remain in place after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.” It would be a tragic irony if a public health crisis cements in place a policy that threatens the public health instead of protecting it.

Open the Doors? The Vast Majority of Churches are Not Defying Government Orders

by Quena Gonzalez , David Closson

April 9, 2020

On Sunday, the Washington Post ran a story on churches that are continuing to meet despite most states having banned assemblies of more than 10 people. The article cites only seven churches, yet suggests a nationwide pattern of recalcitrant Protestants who are defying government orders and continuing to meet.

But is this portrait accurate?

At first glance, the Post’s claims seem to be backed up by data from a respected polling firm. The article cites LifeWay’s recent report on whether Protestant churches are meeting. To be fair, the top-line numbers in LifeWay’s chart are striking; one religion reporter cited the 7 percent figure and mused, “if this is still happening in areas that have had outbreaks, it’s a serious, serious issue.”

Three questions need to be answered: Did Protestant churches defy government bans on public gatherings? Are a large number of churches continuing to meet in person? And, if not, what are they doing instead?

Did Churches Defy Government Orders?

The answer is, by and large, no. A quick search for recent news stories reveals that most of the headlines are traceable to a handful of high-profile churches, some of which (including at least two churches featured in the Washington Post article) stopped meeting weeks ago.

These findings are backed up by the LifeWay report, which notably only covers the month of March. Many states did not impose bans on public gatherings until only very recently, and according to the Washington Post, “more than a dozen states” exempted churches from stay-at-home orders as late as April 5th. State orders lagged behind the CDC’s March 15th recommendation to pause all gatherings of more than 10 people. Even so, the LifeWay data show that the sharpest drop-off of in-person meetings was on Sunday, March 22nd, suggesting that most churches took the CDC’s nonbinding recommendation (announced the previous Sunday night) seriously.

State bans on public gatherings were soon followed by stay-at-home orders, but according to a New York Times timeline, only nine states had a stay-at-home order as of Monday, March 23rd. By then, 89 percent of Protestant churches had stopped meeting. Furthermore, many state bans on public gatherings were amended several times and would have initially applied only to large churches. For example, Maryland initially banned gatherings of more than 250 people on March 12th; its March 16th order banning gatherings larger than 50 would not have applied to churches with fewer than 250 attendees that met on Sunday, March 15th.

This is an easily-overlooked point: Small congregations, which make up the vast majority of American churches, tend to be overlooked in media reporting in favor of megachurches. The Hartford Institute for Religion Research, for example, cites research indicating that half of all churches have an attendance of less than 75, that 59 percent of non-Catholic/Orthodox churches have less than 100 attendees, and that the average church size for all churches is 186. The Hartford Institute also estimates that there are 314,000 Protestant churches in the U.S., of which less than 1 percent are megachurches.

Stay-at-home orders rolled in throughout March: By Thursday, March 26th, 21 states had stay-at-home orders. By the following Monday, March 30th—one day after 93 percent of Protestant churches did not meet in-person—20 states still did not have statewide stay-at-home orders.

The study cited by the Washington Post does not necessarily support the notion that a significant number of Protestant churches were meeting in defiance of government orders.

Are a Large Number of Churches Continuing to Meet?

Less data exists on how many churches are currently meeting. However, despite the implication by the Washington Post story that this is a national phenomenon, the available data suggests that an overwhelming majority of churches are abiding by the CDC’s recommendation and are not holding in-person services.

LifeWay’s report only covers the month of March, but a deeper dive into their data is instructive. According to the report, 64 percent of churches met in-person on March 15th, 11 percent on March 22nd, and 7 percent on March 29th. Significantly, the report also shows that only 45 percent of churches with more than 200 attendees met on the 15th, fewer than 1 percent met on the 22nd, and 0 percent met on the 29th.

In other words, more than half of all churches with congregations numbering 200 or more had ceased meeting in person by the middle of March, 99 percent of them were not meeting by the fourth Sunday, and a statistically negligible number were meeting by the last Sunday of the month.

Clearly, churches still meeting after the end of March are statistical outliers. Yet the Washington Post story suggests that a significant number of churches are still meeting in defiance of government orders, despite strong evidence to the contrary. The very few churches that are still meeting are attracting outsized attention from the media.

How are Churches Adapting?

Instead of flaunting the government’s orders and continuing to meet in large groups, churches across the country are adapting to serve their congregations and communities in creative ways. For example, many churches are using live-streaming technology such as Zoom, YouTube live, and other streaming platforms to hold weekly services and prayer meetings with their members. Others, such as 3D Church, in Lithonia, Georgia, Genoa Church in Westerville, Ohio, and Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, are holding “Drive-In” services where members stay in their cars and listen to a message delivered by their pastor from a small stage (or even from a forklift!) near the front of the parking lot. These services allow churches to meet while still maintaining social distance and honoring the government’s ban on public gatherings.  

Churches are also looking outward, seeking ways to serve their communities in tangible ways despite limitations on public meetings. For example, Faith Life Church in New Albany, Ohio, has delivered lunch to nurses and doctors and has provided meals to needy people in the community. Resurrection Lutheran Church, in Juneau, Alaska, and Canyon Hills Friends Church in Yorba Linda, California, are running food pantries in their communities, and I-Town Church in Fishers, Indiana, set up a pantry at a local school. Trinity Church in Temple, Texas, set up a “prayer tent” and prays and ministers to anyone who pulls into the parking lot. OpenDoor Church, in Burleson, Texas, created a national hotline for people to call in to receive prayer or to submit requests for help with grocery shopping. Even smaller church plants, such as the Oaks Church in Cincinnati, Ohio, are providing free childcare to healthcare workers and buying groceries for those in need. 

Other churches are focusing on helping vulnerable people groups. St. Paul Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is serving refugees with their food bank, and River City Church in Montgomery, Alabama, is providing showers and laundry services to the homeless. Still others, like the Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, Alabama, are serving their community by opening a virus testing site at one of their church campuses.  

These stories, and many others like them, represent the response of the vast majority of churches to the pandemic. Although the hearts of believers around the country are heavy because they cannot meet with their brothers and sisters on Easter, it is encouraging to see so many congregations walking in obedience to our risen Lord while also obeying Scripture’s mandate to honor governing rulers (Rom. 13:1-7).

Ways to Read the Bible (Part 1): Devotional Bible Reading

by Patrina Mosley

April 8, 2020

Recently, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell announced at the White House that his company would repurpose their production facilities to make 50,000 face masks a day for health care workers combatting the pandemic. You would think there would be united praise for his patriotism. But left-wing, anti-God critics have ostracized him for simply encouraging Americans to use this extra time at home to read their Bible and connect with God.

He is right.

As many of us are doing our part to #StaySafeStayHome in the midst of the coronavirus, some of us have more time and fewer excuses to do the things we’ve been putting off for a while. Perhaps one of those things is reading the Bible more. There is no better way to get to know God than by spending time in his word. And there is no better time than now.

When it comes to studying the Bible, there are a lot of options. There are different methods, Bible translations, commentaries, podcasts, and sermons. Even within the Bible there are different genres (epistle, historical narrative, poetry, etc.) that can seem confusing if you are unfamiliar with how to interpret the particular genre. The goal of every Christian should be to rightly interpret the Bible.

My hope and prayer is that this blog series will help you learn to read the Bible and have it become a habitual part of your life. More tools will also be mentioned for going deeper in your journey to learning God’s word. It is a journey—not a destination.

So, let’s get started!

The first thing we should always do before reading God’s word is to pray.

Prayer: Starting with sincere prayer humbles us and focuses our heart to hear from God. When we are engaging his word, we are engaging God himself. Praying first helps eliminate distractions by pouring out our heart to God (Psalm 62:8) and laying our burdens down at his feet (Psalm 55:22). After praying, you will often find that God speaks to you through his word about the very things you prayed about. Knowing that he hears you will encourage your faith.

Before Bible study, pray that the Holy Spirit will guide you and help you understand God’s word. John 16:13-15 teaches us that the Holy Spirit is the one who reveals truth to us. Pray that he makes your time in Scripture fruitful.

You can pray the Scriptures as well. What better way to pray for God’s will in your life and others than by praying his word! For example, you can pray, “Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in your instructions” (Psalms 119:18).

Devotional vs. Inductive Bible Study

Two components essential to getting closer to God and having our lives transformed are devotional Bible reading and inductive Bible study. What’s the difference?   

Simply put, inductive Bible study (which will be covered in the third part of this series), is where you are spending time looking into the Bible to see what it says about itself, God, and humanity. Devotional Bible reading is time spent looking into your own heart to see where God’s truth needs to be applied to your current circumstances.

Let’s start with devotional reading.

Devotional: This is where we spend time meditating on God’s word to be encouraged and directed by God’s truth. Devotional reading can be done by reading a Bible-based devotional book, a passage of scripture, or both. During devotional time you are looking into your own heart and asking God to illuminate his truth and apply it to your present circumstances. Knowing and thinking (meditating) about God’s word is how we can learn to follow God more closely. Some good questions to ask while meditating on God’s word are:

  • What does this passage say about God? What does it say about me? My sin? My struggles?
  • What is the lesson I need to learn? What example is given that I need to follow?
  • What is the command I need to obey?
  • What fruit or character development needs to take place in my life?
  • What is blocking God’s work in me? What sins do I need to avoid? Consider how you are spending your time, your thought life, your motivations, and relationships.
  • What promise does God have for me to receive? How am I encouraged and strengthened?
  • What is God asking me to surrender or submit to him?

Write it Down: This is where I would encourage you to write down your reflections, pray, and ask God how you can implement his truths in your life. Writing down reflections and truths God reveals to us helps to focus our minds and disentangle our thoughts. By having this record, we can look back and remember what God has said to us. Psalm 1:1-3 tells us that meditating on God’s word day and night brings much fruitfulness in our lives. Beginning and ending our day by thinking about what we have read will bring us into closer fellowship with God and help us to become more like him.

Helpful Tool: The YouVersion Bible app is a free resource that is jam-packed with a variety of Bible reading plans that include devotionals; some even include videos. Take some time to scroll through the app and choose something that speaks to you.

Bible Translations: Remember that when you read the Bible you are reading a translation (the Bible was originally written in Hebrew (Old Testament; a few portions were written in Aramaic) and Greek (New Testament). Here is a short list of some easy-to-read English translations of the Bible: English Standard Version (ESV), Christian Standard Bible (CSB), New International Version (NIV), and New Living Translation (NLT). These Bible translations strike a good balance between literal word-for-word translation and contemporary phraseology.

Tip: There are study Bibles that provides helpful commentary and notes. You can choose a book or a passage from the Bible and read the accompanying notes as part of your daily devotional reading or study time!

Read Part 2

Prayer Point #7: Pray for a Spirit of Generosity

by David Closson

April 8, 2020

The world is reeling from the threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19). For many, our entire way of life has been upended by a novel virus that health experts say presents a particular risk to our elderly and immunocompromised friends and neighbors.

As Christians, we know that one of our greatest spiritual weapons is prayer (Eph. 6:18). But what exactly should Christians pray about amidst these trying times? FRC’s President, Tony Perkins, recently released nine prayer points to guide us in prayer. Each point provides a specific way for Christians to pray during the ongoing crisis.

Over the last few weeks, churches have responded to the coronavirus in heroic and creative ways. Across the country, churches have hosted “Drive-In” worship services, purchased meals for nurses and doctors, provided groceries for needy families, and ministered to their hurting neighbors. In this dark hour, God’s people have sacrificially served one another and their communities and demonstrated remarkable faith. As the pandemic continues to disrupt our normal rhythms of life, opportunities for the church to meet practical needs are increasing. While the government is providing support to churches in the form of forgivable loans (for more information about these loans, see our full analysis), churches are beginning to feel the pinch as charitable giving and tithing declines. Therefore, especially over the next few weeks, Christians need to pray for a spirit of generosity. Here are a few specific ways to pray.

First, pray that Christians will be faithful to give to their local churches. According to a recent poll from LifeWay Christian Resources, 52 percent of pastors have already reported a decrease in giving due to their church’s limited ability to gather. Of those who have seen a giving decline, 60 percent say it has dropped by at least 25 percent. This decline is significant because, according to a recent LifeWay study, 26 percent of churches only have enough operating reserves to cover seven or fewer weeks. For many churches, a sharp decline in giving represents an enormous challenge. Therefore, during these trying times, Christians should commit to praying for and financially supporting their churches.

Second, pray for ministry opportunities. Many people have fallen on hard times: unemployment claims are up, workers are being let go or furloughed, and there is a pervading uncertainty in many communities. As tens of millions of Americans comply with stay-at-home orders and practice social distancing, many are finding themselves lonely, afraid, and uncertain about the future. Amid this social context, the church has an opportunity to serve people and share with them the hope of the gospel. We should pray for Christians to think of creative, outside-the-box ways to generously meet the physical and spiritual needs of their friends and neighbors.

Incredibly, in many places, people are coming to faith as the result of church members thinking outside the box. For example, Trinity Church in Temple, Texas, has seen people put their trust in Christ after a member of the congregation suggested setting up a “prayer tent” in the church parking lot. Over the last two weeks, members of the community have pulled into the parking lot for prayer and counsel. As Senior Pastor Ed Dowell recently told me, “People have given their life to Christ” as a result of the prayer tent ministry.

Third, believers should remember what the Bible says about generosity. In the Old Testament, the prophet Malachi spoke for God when he said, “Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need” (Mal. 3:10). A similar promise is found in Proverbs 11:25: “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.” In the New Testament, Jesus tells His followers, “[G]ive, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Of course, Christians should reject the empty promises of the “prosperity gospel,” which falsely guarantees financial blessing in exchange for sowing a seed in a particular ministry. However, Scripture is clear that God honors the generosity of His people. Although some churches and ministries have tragically misunderstood, abused, and exploited these promises, we should not blunt the message of Scripture, which is that God honors and blesses those who are generous. As Christians are able, we should strive to give to our churches and other ministries engaged in gospel work.

Finally, in his second letter to the church in Corinth, Paul addresses the issue of generosity and financial giving. He says, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8).

As the country grapples with the realities of the coronavirus, Christians have opportunities to serve their neighbors and communities. In many of these communities, churches are on the front lines of meeting practical needs. Let’s pray for a spirit of generosity among God’s people, so the courageous, creative, and winsome witness of the church may continue to go forth during these uncertain times.

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