Monthly Archives: October 2016

Born Again!

born-againA man named Nicodemus once asked a question of Jesus, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Turns out, though, he can! Well, not exactly, but one recent story from the news is pretty incredible!

Lynlee Hope Boemer had Sacrococcygeal Teratoma (SCT), a rare, life-threatening tumor on the tailbone area. It pulls much-needed blood from the heart while the baby is in utero. Doctors recommended termination, but the Boemers researched and found Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye and Dr. Darrell Cass, doctors who had developed the Texas Children’s Fetal Center at Texas Children’s Hospital. They had successfully cared for a baby with SCT before, and it was exactly what the Boemers needed.

Amazingly, the surgery to remove the life-threatening tumor required opening the amniotic sac to perform surgery on Lynlee. Technically, she was “born” in the sense that she was removed from the womb, uterus, and amniotic sac. After the surgery, she was put back in her mother’s uterus, and then, 13 weeks later, she was “born again!”

It took a team of 14 doctors and specialists to assist in the surgery, but thankfully, Lynlee is doing well. To say the least, it is an amazing feat – a success in an incredibly difficult procedure with an extremely rare disorder. But for most of us, being born again is an entirely different procedure altogether!

When Nicodemus responded to Jesus’ statement, he didn’t understand what Jesus meant by, “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Born again? Of course a fully-grown person cannot climb back into the womb!

But Jesus wasn’t talking about physical re-birth. Rather, we must have a spiritual birth in order to enter the kingdom of God. Those who hear and believe the good news of Jesus will gladly turn toward the spiritual and away from the worldly, confessing Jesus as the Son of God, being baptized for the forgiveness of sins, and walking in the example of Christ.

Born again…with the help of the great physician!

He’s Got Time For You…For Real!

911-hang-upJim Moten called 911 to report two vehicles dangerously speeding on the highway. Crenshanda Williams was the 911 operator who answered the call. Well, sort of. Williams picked up the phone, heard the complaint, and hung up. Then, on the 911 recording, she can be heard saying, “Ain’t no one got time for this…for real!”

It turns out, Williams hangs up a lot. From October 2015 to March of 2016, Williams handled thousands of calls that lasted an abnormally short time – fewer than 20 seconds. Williams was charged with interfering in emergency calls, and is waiting for her court date. When asked why she hung up on all those calls, she said she “didn’t feel like talking to anyone” at those times.

Many people have expressed outrage over Williams’ lackadaisical attitude toward emergency calls. In one instance, she can be heard sighing right before she hangs up; it was an armed robbery that ended in the death of a storeowner! Clearly she was not a good fit for this job.

911 calls should be answered. The caller’s concerns should be heard. The appropriate action should be taken. None of that happens if the operator hangs up arbitrarily.

Thankfully, God doesn’t answer prayers that way! In fact, God answers before we call and knows our needs before we speak (Isaiah 65:24). God wants to hear from His children – in all things:

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing;”
  • Psalm 50:15, “call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you;”
  • Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Of course, God does not delight in the prayers of those who reject Him. We must believe that He exists and that He answers prayers (11:6). We must not dedicate our lives to evil (Micah 3:4). We must ask according to His will (1 John 5:14-15).

But one thing is certain – God doesn’t arbitrarily hang up. God never says, “ain’t no one got time for this,” because He does…“for real!”

The Compassionate Judge

compassionate-judgeJoe Serna was in trouble for violating his parole. After a DUI, he had been ordered to stay sober and submit to tests every two weeks. On April 12th, though, his urinalysis came back positive.

Now, there are no excuses for DUI’s. People who drink and drive are a serious danger to society. Judge Lou Olivera knows that. And he knew that Joe had to be held accountable. But he also considered Serna’s condition as he passed judgment.

You see, Joe Serna suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder after 3 tours in Afghanistan. He received 2 purple hearts, and several other medals for his service. He survived IED’s and a suicide bomber. One night he was the sole survivor when he was trapped in a vehicle that filled with water, drowning his fellow soldiers. Because of that, he was terrified of being locked in a cell overnight.

So…what happened next is unique.

Judge Olivera was a Gulf War vet. He knows something about serving. And knowing Joe’s condition, he decided to spend the night in Serna’s prison cell with him. They ate dinner together, they talked through the night, and Joe Serna learned a new respect and appreciation for a compassionate judge.

Of course, Judge Olivera’s actions remind us of a greater love shown by the most compassionate Judge. Not only did God show compassion on us as He sentenced us, but He also took the punishment on Himself! He showed the greatest love and the greatest compassion any judge could. God is both just and the one who justifies (Romans 3:24).

God came to the earth in the form of man, His Son, Jesus, and suffered on the cross and experienced death on our behalf. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24).

Rejoice! Our Judge has removed the penalty for those who love Him and have faith in His Son. He is with us in our hour of need. I say again, rejoice!