Notebook

Sutures & Seams

Welcome to our blogsite! Below you will find a collection of articles written by Robert, a family physician, and Carlotta, a talented seamstress.

 

The Insanity of Transgenderism

by Robert E. Jackson and Hannah Miller

William Thomas/Lia Thomas, CeCe Telfer, Mary Gregory, Terry Miller, Andraya Yearwood and Rachel McKinnon – who are they and what do they have in common? All are biological men competing against biological women and setting new women's records in their respective sporting events. None have apparently reported a DSD, a disorder of sexual development or more recently called differences of sexual development - a topic for another day. They just choose to identify as women and have taken hormone therapy to reduce their testosterone levels.


Testosterone levels are measured in nanograms or nanomoles. The NCAA and other governing bodies in sports use nanomoles. Normal testosterone levels are 10 – 35 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) in males and 0.5 – 2.4 nmol/L in females. According to the NCAA website updated on February 10, 2022, the approved testosterone threshold level applicable to transgender student athletes is <10 nmol/L for all of women's sports except ice hockey at < 5 nmol/L. Now, we are certainly not mathematicians, but our calculations show that 5 is twice the normal levels in females and 10 is quadruple the normal! The NCAA just recently ruled that they will defer to each sport's governing body, so even though USA Swimming says the threshold should be < 5 nmol/L, that is still more than twice the normal female level. No wonder William Thomas (aka Lia Thomas) won his race against the women. Whether twice or quadruple, the transgender female will have the advantage.


According to the new USA Swimming rules, "transgender athletes hoping to compete in women’s events would also have to provide evidence that the prior physical development of the athlete as a male, as mitigated by any medical intervention, does not give the athlete a competitive advantage over the athlete’s cisgender female competitors.” To believe this is possible is ludicrous. Even Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn Jenner pointed out, “She [Lia Thomas] was born as a biological boy. She was raised as a biological boy. Her cardiovascular system is bigger. Her respiratory system is bigger. Her hands are bigger. She can swim faster.” Well, it's because she is a dude!


Until male puberty, girls can compete against and even defeat boys in sports events, but after puberty a boy's testosterone levels most assuredly enhance his athletic performance over girls. Additionally, many changes, especially skeletal, produced by male puberty are permanent. Reducing testosterone may reduce muscle strength but not to the level of a female. Joanna Harper, a medical physicist, long distance runner, and advisor to the International Olympic Committee, who is also transgender with 15 years of hormone therapy, says, "I carry more muscle mass than a woman my size, absolutely."


Amby Burfoot, guest writer for Letsrun.com wrote, “I believe it’s the most difficult issue that sports has ever faced. It’s the most complicated for sure, and the most emotional as well, dealing with the most private and verboten subject: sex. Everyone’s struggling for the best solution, but there’s no easy answer in sight.”


Yes, there is. Dudes are dudes and women are women. Wingspan doesn’t matter. Height doesn’t matter. Weight doesn’t matter. Even testosterone levels don’t matter. Does this person have XX or XY chromosomes? The answer to that question levels the playing field, and all the other answers we need fall into place. (As mentioned previously, a rare mixing of these chromosomes is the topic for another day.)


Elite athletes are elite for a reason. Surely hard work and sacrifice contribute to their eliteness, but they often have some type of genetic or physical advantage. If a person is born with XY chromosomes but also has naturally high levels of testosterone, we would have no problem with her competing against other women because that’s the advantage she has been given. Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer in the world, capitalized on his God-given wingspan. The average male with a 50/50 ratio of fast vs slow twitch muscle fibers in his legs will never be faster than Usain Bolt who has a God-given 80/20 ratio. Hannah says no matter how many voice lessons she could take nor how often she sings on her praise team, she will never have the vocal talent of her sister Miriam. God gave Secretariat a heart one-and-a-half times the average horse empowering him to run faster, harder, and further than any other Thoroughbred to run the Triple Crown.


Our point is this - when we try to equivocate on this issue by making the criteria about gender identity, testosterone, wingspan, height, or any other attribute other than biological sex, we slowly begin to eliminate the exceptions that most often make elite athletes the top of their field. That’s a disservice to those athletes and will eventually lead to them being excluded from competition.


But lest you think that this is merely a struggle over who can compete in various sports, let me remind you that the enemy of our soul has been undermining God's truth on multiple fronts all along substituting evil for good, darkness for light, bitter for sweet (Isaiah 5:20). When we as a culture depart from the plumbline of God's Word then every foundation is off kilter. There is no absolute standard for determining truth from error. Even biological sex, which is as plain as the nose on your face, is no longer sufficient.


Our generation has become Biblically obtuse, so much so that the bedrock Biblical statement that "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them" is not just ignored but mocked as meaningless. If you think we're kidding, just imagine the response if a swim coach objects to the USA Swimming or the NCAA transgender policy based on this scripture alone. The media outcry and mocking would be immediate and brutal – like a crucifixion. The LGBTQ-driven media would hound him/her out of their coaching position. The former USC swimming coach McGee Moody reported o the Palmetto Family Matters podcast that over 50 collegiate swim coaches were polled. None agreed with the NCAA transgender policy but none would speak out or defend their female athletes. He said in two seconds (the time by which William/Lia Thomas won his event over a female competitor) female sports were set back 100 years.


Where are the coaches who have the courage to speak up for their female athletes and against the imposters? Where are the legislators who will pass legislation to put an end to such foolishness? We are delighted to report that as of 9:15 p.m. tonight (April 5th), the South Carolina House passed H. 6408 – Save Women's Sports Act despite much opposition from both sides, but why did it take a Lia Thomas (and an upcoming election) to produce common sense? Where are the men and women of God who will rise up in righteous indignation and say enough is enough? Boys are boys and girls are girls. God made us that way – and He said it was good!

 

Devote Your Heart

by Robert E. Jackson

In I Chronicles 22, King David called together all the leaders of Israel and his son Solomon, who would soon be king in his place. He challenged them to build a temple for the Lord their God and reminded them of all the gold, silver, bronze, and cedar he had accumulated for that purpose. He charged Solomon to obey all the law given by Moses and to be strong and courageous. He reminded them that God would be with them.


As he is rehearsing the amount of gold, silver, and bronze available, the skilled craftsmen available to them, and how God would be with them, the king inserts this admonition, "Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God."


Bless the Lord, King David, the man after God's own heart, the psalm-writer of Israel, never forgets the main thing!! After giving all the laws to Moses, God reminded the people, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength." God knew and David knew that we become preoccupied with the outward forms of worship, and our hearts will be far from Him. David knew that it would always be a "matter of the heart." 


We get preoccupied with work, children, finances, relationships, the future, or whatever, and we forget to devote ourselves, "heart and soul, to seeking the Lord" as David advises.


Isaiah said, "Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near." You understand that this doesn't happen easily or by accident. Seeking the Lord is a Christian discipline that requires time, focus, concentration, commitment, and sacrifice. He is worthy of our time and sacrifice. It pays dividends in our spiritual life, i.e. the peace, joy, patience, and wisdom that often eludes us. 


Here is my suggestion. I'm going to challenge you to practice the discipline of meditation and solitude for two hours in the next week. Take two hours alone with God and His word to meditate on the Psalms. No phones, music, or other people. Of course, no sleeping! Just you and God – reading the Psalms and meditating and resting in Jesus.


This is a discipline. It takes effort, self-control, and preparation. Some of you will simply freak out. Some of you will realize that you benefit greatly and will make it a regular habit. This has been true for me – just me and Jesus and the Word of God - reading, meditating, praying, and writing. I often wish I could stay much longer than I do. This is when I rest in Jesus and come away with the "peace of God that passes understanding." This is where the spirit of God imparts to me "the joy of the Lord which is my strength." This is where the spirit of the Lord instructs me in the truth of the scripture that I am able to share with you in the blogs I post, the Sunday School lessons I teach, and the books I write. This is where I have such fellowship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit causing me to love Him more and more every day. The words of the hymn are truer in my life than ever before – "every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before." 


As David challenged Solomon, "Devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God." I dee-double-dog-dare you. 

 

Father and Son: Contrasting Styles

by Robert E. Jackson

     In I Samuel 15:26, Samuel the prophet, informed Saul, the king, that God has rejected him as king and has chosen another more worthy than he. That next chosen king turned out to be David, the son of Jesse. 


     Now consider this. Eli, the priest, earlier had received similar bad news regarding himself and his sons from an unnamed prophet. What was his response? Eli said, "He is the Lord. Let Him do what is good in His eyes." Eli accepted both blessing and adversity from the hand of the Lord with equanimity and without kicking against the ox goads. 


     How did Saul respond to bad news from the prophet? He spent the next seven years clutching to power and position with all of his might, and he began to view David with suspicion, then jealousy, throwing spears at David and pursuing him all over the countryside to capture and to kill him. He murdered 85 priests at Nob whom he falsely accused of conspiracy with David and his men. In order to retain the throne, Saul became a cruel, grasping, and conniving, murderous man. 


     Now consider Jonathan, the king's son and next in line for the throne. You would think he would be as fearful of David's popularity as Saul was. You would think wrongly. The Bible tells us that "Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself." Even when it became apparent to Jonathan that David would become the next king of Israel, he did not allow that to interfere with his covenant relationship with his good friend David. His friendship superseded any personal desire for the throne. He would rather see David prosper and succeed than to personally accede to the throne even when his father scolded him for taking actions that would endanger his future prospects for the throne. He defended his friend David in front of his angry father and the entire court at which point his father hurled a spear at him in fury. 


     What a contrast in styles! What a contrast in responses to the revealed will of God! There is Eli calmly accepting bad news. There is Saul rejecting Samuel's prophesy of bad news. Then there is Jonathan, the best friend a man could ever ask for, loyal to the end, defending David before everyone, willing to sacrifice his own future to support his friend, and ultimately receiving well the manifest will of God.


     It all boils down to what's in your heart. That's why Proverbs tells us to "watch over [our] heart(s) with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life." You see, Saul had a "heart attach." His heart was attached to the throne and it caused him to commit all manner of crimes. Jonathan's heart was attached to his friend David in a binding commitment of loyalty, and it drove him to deeds of faithful friendship. 


To whom or what is your heart attached? Your deeds will reveal those attachments. Guard you heart carefully. Those attachments will inevitably flow out of your heart. 

 

Why Samson?

by Robert E. Jackson

Dr. Papa (Robert) is once again in the book of Judges in his quiet time, so he wrote up a post about Samson, forgetting that he's already done so twice, but it makes sense if one reads through the Bible every year like he does. Scripture never gets old though and there are always new lessons from the exact same passage. 


Why would God use a man like Samson? He disregarded his parents' advice. He violated the Nazarite vow by which he was bound all of his life. He insisted on cavorting with Gentile women, his first wife, the prostitute in Gaza, and Delilah. He was prone to intense anger and vengeance. He was carnal and corrupt. Nevertheless, on multiple occasions the spirit of the Lord came upon this judge of Israel, giving him enormous physical strength and enabling him to tear a young lion as if it were a young goat, to slay 30 men and take their clothes, to slay 1,000 men with the jawbone of a donkey, and ultimately to bring down the house of Dagon upon thousands of Philistines. 


This begs the question – why would God use me or you? Anytime He does, He uses a morally flawed, crooked stick. None of us are perfect. Whenever God uses men and women, He is always using people with feet of clay and hearts that are prone to wonder. Moses was a murderer before he was the lawgiver. David was an adulterer and conspirator to murder but was still the psalmist of Israel and the man after God's own heart. 


To some extent we all have failed God and our families and ourselves, and yet God still loves us. He is quick and ready to forgive; plus, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 


God can use you and me. Clean up your act, confess your sin, walk in the spirit, and let God strike a mighty good lick with your crooked stick!

 

A Little Girl's Prayer

by Robert E. Jackson

Have you ever been offended? I mean really offended? Not just a little bit slighted, but rocked to the core by an untrue, slanderous accusation or a sexual assault or identity theft in which you lost your life savings? I'm talking about a serious violation of your personal sanctity? You catch my drift? How do you recover from that? How do you heal? Do you become a victim the rest of your life or do you move on with your life?


Jesus advised an odd counter cultural healing method. He advised us to 1) forgive those who offend us (Matthew 6:12), and 2) to pray for those who despitefully use us (Luke 6:28). Sadly, our lower nature tells us to get even and to get revenge. Our natural inclination, supported by our culture, is to prosecute to the full extent of the law! But then Jesus, the counter cultural revolutionary, comes along sowing seeds of peace and harmony and suggests that we forgive those who assault us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who despitefully use us in any way. What? Is He crazy? Who can do that? Who would even think of doing that? 


Brett Kavanaugh's ten-year-old daughter would. As their family prayed together, she spontaneously suggested, "Daddy, we should pray for the woman." Stop the show. Drop the mic. Where did that come from? From a pure, innocent heart untainted by the corruption in the world. She intuitively knew that the right thing to do would be to pray for "the woman." I suspect that was because she had detected no malice in the heart of her parents toward Ms. Ford. Children automatically take up the offense of their parents. If there had been ill will in the heart of her parents toward Ms. Ford, that precious little ten-year-old girl would have recognized and easily adopted it as her own. But seeing none, she was able to pray the Holy Spirit prompted, counter cultural prayer for Ms. Ford that left the secular world agape. Once again, I ask, "Where did that come from?"


I'll tell you that kind of genuine concern for others, even potential opposition, only comes from the Holy Spirit in us. It does not come naturally; it only comes supernaturally.


I have a medical practice full of patients who have been grievously wounded in one way or another who continue to view themselves as the victims of that event years later, never having moved beyond the physical and emotional wounds inflicted by that event. I submit to you very respectfully that the formula for emotional and spiritual healing was prescribed by the greatest Physician on a dusty Galilean hillside two millennia ago. It shocked the audience then as its practical application by a ten-year-old girl shocked the media today.  The beauty of it all is that it works. 


I personally have been liberated from the pain of serious offense by granting forgiveness and praying God's blessing on one who embezzled almost two hundred thousand dollars from me some years ago. That took some serious soul-searching and heart-wrenching praying over months of time, but Holy Spirit in me made it possible and Holy Spirit in me brought healing to my wounded heart from the bitterness and unforgiveness. He set me free from the carnal passions enough to begin praying a blessing over the one who "despitefully used me." I'm not blowing smoke here. I know from personal experience that Jesus' formula works to liberate and bring peace. 


Do I need to write it out on a prescription pad for you? 

You can't get this at a local pharmacy. You can only obtain this at the altar. You will probably have to linger at the altar for weeks like I did before God's grace becomes sufficient, but, trust me, His grace is sufficient and His healing is complete.

 

The Priest and the King: Contrasting Leaders

by Robert E. Jackson

God called Samuel in the middle of the night, and Samuel answered, "Speak, Lord, thy servant is listening." God called Saul through His prophet Samuel and Saul responded, "Why do you say such a thing to me?"


Samuel was the last judge of Israel. Saul was its first king. The Bible says that the "Lord was with Samuel, and He let none of Samuel's words fall to the ground." Saul, on the other hand, was inconsistent, disobedient, and self-willed, so much so that "the Lord regretted that He had made Saul king over Israel." Saul never really had a heart for God, which is why God rejected him, choosing instead another "who was a man after God's own heart."

Samuel, the judge, lived a life characterized by consistency, obedience, and a deep desire for God's will. He was grieved deeply by Saul's sin, refusing to associate with Saul for the rest of his life.


At his death Samuel challenged the people to convict him of any crime or injustice against them after serving as their judge/deliverer for 40 years. They exclaimed that he had never taken or accepted a bribe or perverted justice. The scripture says that "all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord." Saul, on the other hand, conscripted many of their young men against their will into his army. He tried to murder David and deprived him of justice. Saul ended up appealing to a medium rather than calling on the Lord. He had drifted so far away from God that he could no longer hear the voice of God. 


Samuel ended well. Saul ended poorly. What a contrast in leadership for the last judge in Israel and the first king in Israel. 


What kind of leader are you? We all lead someone - our children, our family, a group at work or at church, a civil organization, a neighborhood organization or something even more extensive. Ponder the lessons of these two men's lives and choose wisely for yourself so that the good hand of the Lord will be upon you and that none of your words will fall to the ground.

 

The 2 Seconds that Set Back Women's Sports

by Robert E. Jackson & Hannah Miller

William Thomas/Lia Thomas, CeCe Telfer, Mary Gregory, Terry Miller, Andraya Yearwood and Rachel McKinnon – who are they and what do they have in common? All are biological men competing against biological women and setting new women's records in their respective sporting events. None have apparently reported a DSD, a disorder of sexual development or more recently called differences of sexual development - a topic for another day. They just choose to identify as women and have taken hormone therapy to reduce their testosterone levels. 


Testosterone levels are measured in nanograms or nanomoles. The NCAA and other governing bodies in sports use nanomoles. Normal testosterone levels are 10 – 35 nanomoles per liter (nmol/L) in males and 0.5 – 2.4 nmol/L in females. According to the NCAA website updated on February 10, 2022, the approved testosterone threshold level applicable to transgender student athletes is <10 nmol/L for all of women's sports except ice hockey at < 5 nmol/L. Now, we are certainly not mathematicians, but our calculations show that 5 is twice the normal levels in females and 10 is quadruple the normal! The NCAA just recently ruled that they will defer to each sport's governing body, so even though USA Swimming says the threshold should be < 5 nmol/L, that is still more than twice the normal female level. No wonder William Thomas (aka Lia Thomas) won his race against the women. Whether twice or quadruple, the transgender female will have the advantage.


According to the new USA Swimming rules, "transgender athletes hoping to compete in women’s events would also have to provide evidence that the prior physical development of the athlete as a male, as mitigated by any medical intervention, does not give the athlete a competitive advantage over the athlete’s cisgender female competitors.” To believe this is possible is ludicrous. Even Bruce Jenner/Caitlyn Jenner pointed out, “She [Lia Thomas] was born as a biological boy. She was raised as a biological boy. Her cardiovascular system is bigger. Her respiratory system is bigger. Her hands are bigger. She can swim faster.” Well, it's because she is a dude! 


Until male puberty, girls can compete against and even defeat boys in sports events, but after puberty a boy's testosterone levels most assuredly enhance his athletic performance over girls. Additionally, many changes, especially skeletal, produced by male puberty are permanent. Reducing testosterone may reduce muscle strength but not to the level of a female. Joanna Harper, a medical physicist, long distance runner, and advisor to the International Olympic Committee, who is also transgender with 15 years of hormone therapy, says, "I carry more muscle mass than a woman my size, absolutely."


Amby Burfoot, guest writer for Letsrun.com wrote, “I believe it’s the most difficult issue that sports has ever faced. It’s the most complicated for sure, and the most emotional as well, dealing with the most private and verboten subject: sex. Everyone’s struggling for the best solution, but there’s no easy answer in sight.” 


Yes, there is. Dudes are dudes and women are women. Wingspan doesn’t matter. Height doesn’t matter. Weight doesn’t matter. Even testosterone levels don’t matter. Does this person have XX or XY chromosomes? The answer to that question levels the playing field, and all the other answers we need fall into place. (As mentioned previously, a rare mixing of these chromosomes is the topic for another day.)


Elite athletes are elite for a reason. Surely hard work and sacrifice contribute to their eliteness, but they often have some type of genetic or physical advantage. If a person is born with XY chromosomes but also has naturally high levels of testosterone, we would have no problem with her competing against other women because that’s the advantage she has been given. Michael Phelps, the most decorated swimmer in the world, capitalized on his God-given wingspan. The average male with a 50/50 ratio of fast vs slow twitch muscle fibers in his legs will never be faster than Usain Bolt who has a God-given 80/20 ratio. Hannah says no matter how many voice lessons she could take nor how often she sings on her praise team, she will never have the vocal talent of her sister Miriam. God gave Secretariat a heart one-and-a-half times the average horse empowering him to run faster, harder, and further than any other Thoroughbred to run the Triple Crown.


Our point is this - when we try to equivocate on this issue by making the criteria about gender identity, testosterone, wingspan, height, or any other attribute other than biological sex, we slowly begin to eliminate the exceptions that most often make elite athletes the top of their field. That’s a disservice to those athletes and will eventually lead to them being excluded from competition.


But lest you think that this is merely a struggle over who can compete in various sports, let us remind you that the enemy of our soul has been undermining God's truth on multiple fronts all along substituting evil for good, darkness for light, bitter for sweet (Isaiah 5:20). When we as a culture depart from the plumbline of God's Word then every foundation is off kilter. There is no absolute standard for determining truth from error. Even biological sex, which is as plain as the nose on your face, is no longer sufficient.


Our generation has become Biblically obtuse, so much so that the bedrock Biblical statement that "God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them" is not just ignored but mocked as meaningless. If you think we're kidding, just imagine the response if a swim coach objects to the USA Swimming or the NCAA transgender policy based on this scripture alone. The media outcry and mocking would be immediate and brutal – like a crucifixion. The LGBTQ-driven media would hound him/her out of their coaching position. The former USC swimming coach McGee Moody reported o the Palmetto Family Matters podcast that over 50 collegiate swim coaches were polled. None agreed with the NCAA transgender policy but none would speak out or defend their female athletes. He said in two seconds (the time by which William/Lia Thomas won his event over a female competitor) female sports were set back 100 years.


Where are the coaches who have the courage to speak up for their female athletes and against the imposters? Where are the legislators who will pass legislation to put an end to such foolishness? We are delighted to report that as of 9:15 p.m. tonight (April 5th), the South Carolina House passed H. 6408 – Save Women's Sports Act despite much opposition from both sides, but why did it take a Lia Thomas (and an upcoming election) to produce common sense? Where are the men and women of God who will rise up in righteous indignation and say enough is enough? Boys are boys and girls are girls. God made us that way – and He said it was good! 

 

Is Abortion the Unpardonable Sin?

by Robert E. Jackson

"Dr. Jackson, I'm a murderer. I killed my own baby. Twenty-five years ago, before I was married, I became pregnant. Out of fear and shame, I had an abortion. Nobody knows it. Not my parents. Not my husband. Nobody, except now you. I can't teach Sunday School or serve anywhere in the church. I'm not qualified. I have blood on my hands. I helped to kill my own baby!" 


I grasped her hands, looked her in the eye, and said plainly and confidently, "Ma'am, the blood of Jesus makes the foulest clean. If Saul, the Christian killer, can be transformed into Paul, the missionary planting churches all over eastern Europe and writing most of the New Testament, and Moses, the murderer of an Egyptian soldier, can be used by God to lead His people out of Egypt-land and up to the Promised Land, He can certainly change you into a Sunday School teacher."


Before we leave Sanctity of Human Life Month, we cannot leave anyone out there in cyber land believing that abortion is the unpardonable sin. IT IS NOT! I repeat. IT IS NOT! 


If you read my book, you will remember my statement to an abortionist and her response. I said, "Ma'am, guilt is a function of the Spirit of God, and when you involve yourself in a terrible thing like abortion, I promise you, you are going to have guilt and remorse for the rest of your life!" She sat back in her chair, pondered her statement, and conceded, "Robert, I just happen to believe you are right." This came from the abortionist herself!!


Now I know what the secularists say; you can google "consequences of abortion" and find articles that refute major psychological effects of abortion. I encourage you to read Forbidden Grief:  The Unspoken Pain of Abortion. You will find that a large percentage of women struggle with revealing the truth about their abortions – the shame, the pain, the guilt - and the consequences are devastating. 


Hear me well! Just as sin tore at the very heart of King David upon his sinning with Bathsheba, so will the sin of abortion tear at the heart of women and their partners. Sin blinds, sin separates, and sin has consequences.


Now hear me well again! I am not pointing an ugly, bony finger at anyone today. I am beckoning you to run, don't walk, to a crisis pregnancy center. The women in those centers, some who have had abortions themselves, are ready to wrap loving arms around you. My patient in the story above did just that. I learned later that she was teaching a teenage girls' Sunday School class! Private message my wife and me. We stand ready to share with you the good grace of Jesus, the same amazing grace that set us free from our sin. 


"COME NOW, AND LET US REASON TOGETHER," SAYS THE LORD. "THOUGH YOUR SINS ARE AS SCARLET, THEY WILL BE AS WHITE AS SNOW…"

 

A Devotion with Dr. Papa

Judges 6:36-40

Gideon was the youngest in his family, and his family was the least in their clan. Yet God chose him to lead the Hebrews against the marauding Midianites. Gideon was also a fearful man. Despite the angel of the Lord appearing to Gideon personally to call him to leadership and validating that call by making fire spring out of a rock to consume his sacrifice (6:21), Gideon was still fearful.


What did Gideon do? He tested God further by putting out a fleece, not once but twice. He knew this might displease the Lord and even asked God not to be angry. Why – because he was asking for further confirmation after God had clearly spoken to him. His fear and doubt were overcoming him. Gideon's problem was not that he needed more information from God. His issue was that he really didn't want to obey God in leading the army against Midian.


Don't be so hard on Gideon. He eventually overcame his fears and God used him to accomplish a great military victory over the Midianites with just 300 men. God accomplished an extraordinary thing through an ordinary person so He received the glory.


You and I are like Gideon. We are always trying to discern God's will for our lives. We attend Bible studies on "knowing God's will" and we pray for God to reveal His will for our lives. Yet we are just like Gideon. God had revealed to Gideon personally what was required of him but Gideon wanted more. God has revealed to us 95% of His will for our lives in His Holy Word and yet we want more. If we busied ourselves doing what God revealed in His Word, sharing the gospel, making disciples, caring for the widows, orphans, and the poor, then most of our time would be consumed. Why do we expect God to reveal something more when we haven't yet obeyed the things explicitly revealed? We're just like Gideon – that fearful guy we like to ridicule for putting out, not one, but two fleeces. Oh, my!

 

Fear of the King

by Robert E. Jackson

In II Samuel 9, King David searched for anyone left in Saul's household to whom he could show kindness. Remember he had promised Jonathan, his close friend, to deal generously with his family when he became king. The trend in that day was to kill all the family of the previous king to eliminate anyone who might lay claim to the throne. So when David invited Jonathan's son, Mephibosheth, to appear before him, he came with fear and trepidation, knowing he might very well be executed.


David immediately put him at ease by saying, "Don't be afraid for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table." Mephibosheth bowed down and said, "What is your servant that you should notice a dead dog like me?" (II Samuel 9:7-8)


Please pay particular attention to a few details.


  1. Mephibosheth was afraid to enter into the presence of the king. We can understand why. He thought his life was in jeopardy.

  2. Mephibosheth understood the great gulf in social status that separated him from David the king. That's why he referred to himself as a "dead dog." He was lame in both feet. He belonged to a royal family that had been rejected by God. Indeed, his father had performed poorly at the end. David was clearly God's chosen king and everything he did pleased all the people.

  3. David extended grace to this lame and crippled survivor of Saul's family even though Saul had tormented him for years depriving him of justice and trying to kill him on multiple occasions.


Now let's bring this home to us today. Have you ever invited a lost friend to church? Why is it so hard for lost folks to agree to go with you to church? Why does it take a team of wild horses to drag your lost friend to church with you? It's simple. They are afraid. Like Mephibosheth they are afraid of the king, not King David, but the true King who is holy and whose eyes are too pure to look upon iniquity. Somehow even lost folks have an innate sense of God's holiness and recognize that they don't belong in a holy place like a church without some kind of cleansing first. They are fearful of God and His house and people. They just don't want to admit it.


Ask your lost friend to read the Bible. You might as well ask them to drink poison or hold a rattlesnake. It scares the bejeebers out of them. Why?  It's a holy book. Somehow they know deep down inside that reading God's book will require them to change their evil ways. It will shine the light on the darkness in their heart. It will make them see the face of the King. That is too terrifying for those alienated from God.


Now skip over to us Christian folks. Why do Christian folks who serve faithfully in the church suddenly fall away and just quit coming to church. Usually, it's because of sin in their lives, and they are afraid to look the King in the face week after week. They can't stand being in the presence of holiness when there is sinfulness in their own lives. Their hypocrisy and God's faithfulness can't coexist. Either they have to repent and receive God's grace or they just fade away.


David extended grace to Mephibosheth and gave him a place of royalty at this banquet table for the rest of his life. Guess what?  You and I were crippled by sin just like Mephibosheth. There was nothing Mephibosheth could do to earn the king's favor. David granted favor out of the goodness of his heart. Does that sound familiar to you?  Sure it does! Bless God! Jesus extended grace to you and me after we were crippled by sin. There was nothing we could do to earn God's favor. Out of His goodness, lovingkindness, and tender mercy, Jesus extended grace to you and me!


Mephibosheth could have spurned David's offer out of ill will, jealousy, or hatred, but he gladly accepted the help offered and enjoyed the king's table for the rest of his life.


What about you? Are you afraid of God? Do you hate God?  Are you suspicious of God? Will you gladly accept His gracious offer to pardon your sin? He will then allow you to be a part of His royal family and to sit at His banquet table forever.

 

Why Can't We Love Them Both?

by Robert E. Jackson

Mike was a mechanical engineer excited about his new career opportunities while Joy was a nurse working at a local hospital. They were thrilled to be pregnant a second time and were hoping this pregnancy would progress without complications, especially after being warned a blood test revealed their first baby had an 80% chance of having Down Syndrome. Their doctor compelled them to watch a video about having an abortion, encouraging them to abort their baby. If they had done so, they would have aborted a perfectly normal little girl. 


Joy eagerly anticipated her first OB ultrasound in the middle of this second pregnancy. While the ultrasound was being performed, Joy intently watched the face of the technician. Her eager anticipation slowly turned to concern as the facial expression of the tech turned from soft to hard, from warm to cold. The casual conversation stopped, replaced by stony silence. Not saying a word, the tech left the room, leaving Joy alone with her confused jumble of thoughts. "What's wrong? What did she see?"


Momentarily, the doctor entered the room wearing his long white coat and carrying Joy's chart in his hand. He viewed the ultrasound screen and then asked Joy to get dressed and come into his office. Closing the door and sitting at his large desk across from her, the doctor informed Joy that "the ultrasound revealed your baby has serious issues. The baby's head is much too small indicating chromosomal anomalies. We will need to do further tests to confirm all of this, but I don't believe your baby will survive. The baby will probably die before birth or immediately after and will be seriously deformed. You don't have to go through with the pregnancy. We can terminate it now and end the emotional pain of it all."


The doctor was talking but Joy was not hearing. She didn't hear anything past "your baby has serious issues" at which point her mind flew in a thousand directions. "Where is Mike? Why is he not here? How am I going to tell my mother? How am I going to tell my friends? What will everybody think about me having a 'baby with issues?'" She was looking at the doctor but not seeing his face or hearing his voice. She came back to the present moment as he asked, "Do you understand?" She nodded slowly, not understanding at all. She walked out to her car and began to weep silently, praying with an anguished heart, "Lord, how can this be happening to me?"


There was much praying and crying in their home over the next few days. Terminating the pregnancy to avoid emotional distress was never even a consideration for this devout young Christian couple who valued the sanctity of life. Cupping his wife's lovely face and staring into her blue eyes rimmed with tears, he inquired, "Why can't we love you both?" That question settled the issue for them although Joy had to decline the OB doctor's persistent pressure for her to "end this pregnancy now and avoid the emotional turmoil?" to which she replied, "I would rather do the right thing now - even though it's hard - than endure a lifetime of knowing I killed my baby." The doctor pressured her so much that her young and determined husband showed up at the doctor's office to tell him to "back off because we have made our decision."


At 30 weeks Robin Starr was born. She was beautiful in the eyes of God and in the eyes of her parents. As they gazed at their precious newborn daughter they realized that "God had woven her in her mother's womb" and that " she "was fearfully and wonderfully made." She lived for four hours before she breathed her last breath and went to be with Jesus where she waits for Mike and Joy and her four sisters to join her. "And in Your book were all written the days (minutes) that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them" (Ps. 139: 16 NASB).


"If I had ended that pregnancy early," Joy concluded, "merely to avoid ten weeks of emotional distress, I would have violated all of my biblical convictions and my conscience. I would have ruined my testimony forever. I'm not saying it was easy, but it was better than having a lifetime of regret."


Moses challenged all of us when he instructed the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 30:19 (NASB), which says, "I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have placed before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants."


In choosing life Mike's question will always be pertinent. Why can't we love them both?

 

Enthusiasm Without Obedience

by Robert E. Jackson

I CHRONICLES 13


King David had called together all the leaders of Israel. Today they would move the ark of the covenant up to Jerusalem, his new capital city. There was great rejoicing and singing of music. "David and all Israel were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, timbrels, cymbals, and trumpets," Then suddenly the oxen stumbled, the ox cart tipped, Uzzah reached out to steady the ark; when he touched the ark itself, God struck him dead on the spot. "So he died there before God." The celebration came to a crashing halt, everyone went home puzzled, and David was afraid of God, saying, "How can I ever bring the ark of God to me?"


David's desire was good. His motive was pure. His worship was enthusiastic. But his method was all wrong. God had given specific instructions for moving the ark – using long poles on the shoulders of the Levites and the ark should never be touched, (Numbers 7:9). It was the pagan Philistines who carried the ark on an ox cart, (I Samuel 6:8). Uzzah, though sincere in his desire to protect the ark, had to face the consequence of his sin. David was reminded that his obedience to God's laws was more important than enthusiastic worship.


Are we not like that in our lives sometime? We run off half-cocked, full of energy and enthusiasm about a new idea, but we fail to ask God or consider God's way of doing things. Did you notice that David conferred with his military commanders in verse 1, but failed to inquire of God? Was he ignorant of the method of moving the ark or just too impatient to do it the God-prescribed way? Sounds like you and me at times, doesn't it? Sometimes we just don't know the Biblical principle of life that applies to the family issues in front of us or the financial struggles that we're facing. Sometimes we do know the Biblical principles, and we just ignore it because it's not convenient or we're in a hurry. God's way is just too slow.


Jesus told the woman at the well that those who worship Him must do so "in spirit and in truth." David had the correct motivation, but the wrong method. Are we guilty of enthusiasm without knowledge of the truth or obedience to the truth?

 

Rethinking the Covid Jab

by Robert E. Jackson

A defining characteristic of honest medical clinicians is the ability to admit when they are wrong when confronted with new data. Well, with the thimble full of humility that I possess I am here to tell you I was wrong about the so-called Covid vaccine (actually it's a genetic therapeutic agent). 


Let me back up a few steps. I have never recommended a new medication or vaccine to my patients until it has been on the market for at least one year. I've seen multiple medications recalled in the first year due to serious adverse events including deaths. For example, the Swine Flu vaccine was recalled within 90 days due to 54 deaths. I was dismayed that the Covid shot was approved under EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) after only six months of research. The least amount of time devoted to R & D (Research and Development) for any prior vaccine has been 10 years. Most required 20+ years. Nevertheless, because of the exigencies of the Covid pandemic, I advised my patients that if things looked good after six months (six months of research and six months on the market), I would recommend the shot, which I began to do in June of 2021, albeit, somewhat reluctantly.


I recommended the shot for over 65 with co-morbidities (diabetes, COPD, hypertension, obesity, etc.), but not for those under 65 who were healthy. Within three months - by August of 2021 - I realized I had made a mistake. Some of my own patients came back to me with reports of SAEs (serious adverse events). One patient was paralyzed in both legs for 48 hours one day after the shot. Several others developed rashes/hives that persisted for months. Another 42-year-old male without any co-morbidities died of a heart attack two days after the shot. An ER nurse told me that numerous patients with strokes and heart attacks presented to her ED within days of receiving the shot. Everyone knew something was wrong, but no one would say anything because the hospital policy was to promote the so-called vaccine.


I was still uncertain until the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) data began to roll in. VAERS relies on doctors and nurses to report serious vaccine related events. Due to busy schedules and the difficulty of reporting, everyone acknowledges that VAERS is underreported by a factor of 4-5. Within 90 days there were 189 deaths reported. That's more than all deaths reported for all other vaccines in the previous 20 years! Within six months there were more than 4,000 cases of myocarditis, which is also more than all similar cases for the previous 20 years. Within 18 months of the Covid shot being on the market, VAERS reported 26,622 deaths, 50% within two days of the shot, and 80% within one week. Additionally, there were 20,560 episodes of myocarditis reported. The total number of SAE reported were 983,756 with 108,522 hospitalizations, and 107,860 urgent care visits. There were 10,429 heart attacks and 34,615 people were permanently disabled by "the safe and effective" vaccine. Compare this to flu shots which resulted in 906 deaths over the last 10 years.


I am apologizing to my patients. I was wrong to recommend the vaccine to the over 65 age group, even those with co-morbidities. The risk of the so-called vaccine outweighs the supposed benefit.


I am distressed beyond words that the CDC is advising young people to receive the shot, especially when healthy young people have essentially no serious illness from Covid. Serious illness and/or death among young patients in the United States have been among patients with pre-existing serious illnesses such as cancer or autoimmune illnesses. To advise blanket immunization for a potentially harmful and inadequately tested GTD (genetic therapeutic agent) in healthy young patients who will universally recover from Covid infection is utter foolishness and borders on malpractice. Over 300 elite professional and college level athletes have collapsed or died, some on the playing field in the last 18 months after receiving the shot. Dr. Kirk Milhoan, a pediatric cardiologist states that 50% of Big Ten athletes have asymptomatic myocarditis detectable by MRI after the Covid shot. According to Dr. Milhoan, this puts them at serious risk of developing congestive heart failure or sudden death.


So what are my patients to do:


  1. Educate yourself and your family to the dangers of the Covid shots (Johnson and Johnson and Astra Zeneca shots were recalled in the last two weeks due to causing blood clots), and the benefit of safe, alternative treatment options like Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine. (A massive study in Brazil released last week showed a 68% reduction in Covid mortality from those using IVM and 67% reduction in hospitalizations.)


  1. Don't allow yourself or your children to be manipulated into taking the Covid shot. Your life is more valuable than a job or an educational opportunity. For more specific information, listen in to my podcast More Than Medicine dated January 8, 2022.


  1. Pray against the spiritual deception affecting our medical authorities. The army that advances on its knees will never retreat.


  1. Speak the truth in love. In the end, the truth will prevail and truth speakers will be vindicated. Education is our only strategy and truth is our only weapon. 

 

The Truth About Truth and the Tar Baby

by Robert E. Jackson

Funny thing about truth – it is tenacious; it is like the Dermabond that we physicians use to adhere margins of wounds together. That stuff is so sticky and tenacious that if you get it on your fingers they are stuck together for hours. One of my doctor friends accidentally allowed a drop of the Dermabond to fall on a patient's eyelid. The upper and lower lids were glued shut for two days. Oh, my!! 


Truth is irrepressible. Suppressing truth is like nailing jello to a tree. It is like trying to hold a giant beach ball under water by yourself. It is exhausting and pert near impossible. The beach ball always eventually finds a way to the surface. Truth, when suppressed, is like this also. It always finds a way to the surface, to the light.


In Jesus' day the ruling authorities tried to suppress Him, who is the Way, the TRUTH, and the Life. They crucified Him, buried Him in a tomb, rubbed their hands together, and said, "There, that takes care of Him." Yet the darkness could not overcome the light or the truth. He, who was the light of the world and the truth of God, burst forth from the grave to become the light of life. Truth cannot be suppressed. It is unconquerable and indomitable.


This month is Sanctity of Human Life Month. The truth about life in the womb is a sticky wicket. Like any contact with the "tar baby" (of The Tale of Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby), any knowledge of the status of the unborn child contaminates you with the truth. Once informed, now you know the truth – that which grows in the mother's womb is a human being, deserving of every right/protection that we deserve as born citizens of the U.S.A. That truth is inescapable. You can't get the tar off your hands or your conscience. It's indelibly imprinted on there forever. That thing you once were in your mother's womb is a baby, not a blob of tissue, not a meaningless mass of cells, not a product of conception, but a living human being created in the image of God and special in the economy of God.


The truth about the resurrection spread like wildfire only because of eyewitnesses who told everyone they met the truth despite 300 years of unbelievable persecution. The truth could not be suppressed. Truth is like that. It is a sticky, tenacious thing.


Consider the truth about life – the life in the womb. It is intuitively obvious even to the casual observer that there is human life of infinite value in the mother's womb. Only the blind try to deny this. When will an army of those whose eyes are wide open to the truth rise up in righteous indignation and speak the truth about life so loudly and earnestly that no one can deny the truth any longer and those who try will be shamed into silence?


Truth always wins. Truth always prevails in the end, but truth requires a voice to speak it like those who proclaimed the resurrection.


Funny thing about truth. It's quite tenacious once you know it. I see a little tar on your cheek. What will you do about it?

#jfm #jacksonfamilyministry #sanctityofhumanlifemonth

 

Praying for Patients

by Robert E. Jackson

"Dr. Jackson, aren't you going to pray for me before you leave?" I have patients who won't let me leave the exam room unless I pray for them. They perceive me to be the priest in their lives. I gladly pray for the health and family issues that confront them. It is my privilege.


How about you? Are you really a member of the royal priesthood? Do people ask you to pray for them? Do they have confidence that you can connect them with God?


Here are some suggestions. Keep a prayer card in your pocket. Ask people routinely, "What can I pray for you about?" Not just Christian folks but lost folks as well. They have issues that warrant prayer and will appreciate your intervention, especially when God supernaturally intervenes in specific answer to your prayer. Talk about an evangelistic opening/opportunity!


Then write down the request in their presence and pray for them right then. Hold their hand if it is appropriate. Invite them to get back to you with how things turn out.


By all means remember to pray for them in your daily devotions and send them a card or email to let them know you're praying. That's what a priest/shepherd would do. 


My 82-year-old curmudgeon/gruff patient broke down in tears when I showed up at 6:00 a.m. to pray for him before his knee surgery. Through his tears he said, "Doc, I'm 82 years old, and I've never had anybody pray over me." Then he dissolved into sobbing tears. That really got to me, but it taught me the importance of praying for people. It really ministers to them.


"What can I pray for you about?" What a great evangelistic question!

 

Who or What Do You Worship?

by Robert E. Jackson

 II KINGS 16


Ahaz was a pagan king of Judah who "did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God"…"and even sacrificed his son in the fire, engaging in the detestable practices of the nations the Lord had driven out before the Israelites."


When a foreign nation besieged Jerusalem, he purchased relief with all the silver and gold in the temple of the Lord. He then went to Damascus to meet his deliverer, Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria. There he saw a pagan altar that intrigued him. He immediately had a similar altar constructed for him in Jerusalem. He began to present his offerings on this new altar which he had placed in the temple in Jerusalem. He set aside the bronze altar that God had decreed in lieu of his new altar. Why would he do this? The scripture tells us in verse 18, he did this "in deference to the king of Assyria."


King Ahaz had become a vassal of the king of Assyria. Now he owed him allegiance and respect and probably tribute (i.e. financial payments) annually. Out of deference/respect for his new king, he set aside the worship of the true God, the Lord God Almighty, who had delivered them from captivity in Egypt, who had made them His chosen people, who had shepherded them forty years in the wilderness, who had made a covenant with them through Moses, and had ushered them into the promised land, driving out other nations more numerous and more powerful than they were. Forgetting all of this and forgetting God's protection and provision, Ahaz defected to a pagan king and a pagan altar setting aside God's prescribed pattern of worship.


So this begs a question or two. What unholy alliance have you made in your life? Has that alliance led you to compromise your convictions and set aside your worship of God, either personal or corporate?


What are the idols of today that lure good people away from God? For most of us, they aren't made of stone or metal nor do they contain a raging hot fire. The enemy clothes them in socially acceptable garb.


Let's consider the god of recreation. Many people I know live for their LTAs (leisure time activities). They live for the weekend when they can follow their recreational pursuits. So what if they miss church every weekend. "We can worship God at the beach or the mountains. Besides we're together as a family." Whatever happened to worshiping God as a family and teaching your children to value Christian community. Don't be surprised if they abandon the church after high school. You trained them that way when you set aside the worship of God.


What about the looming ninety-foot tall golden calf of sports. "Shh…. Don't say anything. You'll offend somebody." The truth is the truth. I have Christian friends who are gone every other weekend to follow their favorite college or professional team. Every other weekend is a party. "Look, those tickets are expensive. I can't not use them. Most all the games are on Sunday. I can't help that." Don't even get me started on travel ball where parents train their kids that sports are more important than God, church, or Christian community and do so for their entire growing up years. Talk about setting aside the worship of God for a pagan idol and a pipe dream. "But my kid will never have a chance at playing Division I sports if he doesn't participate in a travel team!" Then go sacrifice your child's spiritual life on the altar of Division I sports. Just don't be surprised when they walk away from church after high school. You trained them that way and taught them that their spiritual life was of secondary importance. Sports is the real god.


Consider hunting, fishing, and golf. During certain seasons of the year, my male friends are scarce. Can't find them. They're worshiping God in the woods, on the lakes, or on the golf courses. They set aside the true worship of God, Bible teaching, and Christian community in deference, i.e. pursuit of a big buck, a big tom, an eight-pound largemouth, or a golf course they've never played. That pursuit often takes an entire weekend and leaves family behind. When it is every weekend, one has become like Ahaz who "did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God."


How about social media? How much of your or your children's time does it consume? Has it taken the place of good morning or evening time formerly spent with the Lord or, for that matter, with family?


God told us "to have no other gods before Him." Ahaz capitulated. What about you?

 

If Abortion is Murder

by Robert E. Jackson

Recently, in the Capitol Rotunda, proponents revealed that the Personhood Bill this year had language in it that would allow a prosecutor to bring criminal charges against abortion doctors, their assistants, and their clients. Their contention is that women receiving abortions are not victims but rather willing accomplices in the killing of their unborn children. Let's contemplate this sensitive issue.


As a pro-life physician, I have wondered for many years why the pro-life community has not called for legislation that would prosecute abortion doctors for murder, for in fact, that's what we call them - baby murderers. I have wondered why we do not similarly call for legislation to prosecute women who seek abortion services since we know that the majority (not all) do so willingly and in full awareness of what they are doing. (If this awareness is not legitimate, then why do depression, suicide, and post abortion syndrome skyrocket after an abortion procedure? (See Forbidden Grief by Reardon and Burke.) If the pro-life community is convinced that an unborn child is a human being created in the image of God, deserving of every right to life that we enjoy as born citizens of South Carolina, then why would we not prosecute a woman who knowingly kills her unborn child by paying a hired assassin (abortion doctor) to kill her unborn child for her. The circumstances that might drive her to do so are immaterial. There are no circumstances, no matter how desperate, that justify the killing of an innocent, unborn human being. Anyone who does so should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.


If my wife decides that my ninth child, who happens to be Downs, is too problematic, too costly, or too emotionally difficult, would it be legal for her to pay me as a physician to extinguish his life? Of course not, heaven forbid! But if his condition had been diagnosed before birth, she could have paid an abortion doctor $300, and he could have killed my Thomas by abortion legally. In fact, 62-76% of Downs babies in America diagnosed prenatally are killed by abortion. Pray tell – what's the difference between me snuffing his life out now and the abortion doctor doing it prenatally? Only his location relative to the mother's womb. He was still my Thomas and still a human being. We just couldn't see him yet and be emotionally attached. His location didn't change his status as a human being who deserved equal protection under the law.


My contention is that if I can be prosecuted for killing Thomas whom we all know and love, abortion doctors should be prosecuted for killing babies that we don't know, and so should the mothers who pay doctors to do their dirty work. This is the hard truth that we have avoided for years. It is time pro-lifers quit catering to weak-willed politicians and quit operating in fear of the critical media. It is time to call a spade a spade and call the truth the truth. This position is logically consistent, morally consistent, and legally consistent. How quickly abortion would disappear if a few abortion doctors and their accomplices were prosecuted for murder! Ponder that! 

If the unborn of South Carolina are human beings deserving of equal protection under the law and if abortion is murder as we clearly understand it to be then:


  1. Abortion doctors are baby murderers and deserve to be prosecuted for murder.

  2. Women who obtain abortions are not victims but accomplices to murder and should be prosecuted for murder.

  3. Prosecutors who fail to prosecute are derelict in their duty and should be removed from office.

  4. Judges who fail to provide justice to unborn victims of murder are unworthy of their positions and should be removed.

  5. Legislatures who decide who can and who cannot live by their law-making are tyrants by definition and should be voted out of office.

  6. Pastors who fail to protest baby-killing in the strongest terms have lost their prophetic voice should be ashamed before God.

  7. Christian laymen who do not clamor for justice for the unborn should repent of their apathy and unconcern and beg for God's mercy.


If that which grows in the mother's womb is a human being, created in the image of God and special in the economy of God, then none of us should put our head on the pillow any night unless we have satisfied our conscience that we have done all within our personal resources to put a stop to what amounts to the wholesale slaughter of innocent, unborn human beings. What have you done to stop abortion in South Carolina? What have you done today to promote Personhood in South Carolina? 


(Check out https://personhood.sc/  for more information.)

 

Procrastination

by Robert E. Jackson

Back when I was a "baby" doctor about twenty-nine years old, I was running through the hospital one day, running with my hair on fire as usual. At the time, I got up every morning at approximately 5:00 a.m. to have my morning devotional, and then I left the house by 5:45 a.m. to visit three hospitals to see anywhere from five to ten medical patients and usually two obstetric patients. It wasn't unusual to have one or two patients in intensive care with either a heart attack, stroke, or congestive heart failure. We family doctors used to take care of everything in those days before hospitalists existed. I almost always had someone in the hospital with uncontrolled diabetes, asthma, or pneumonia. Now, most of the time I can manage all of these as an outpatient with the availability of home glucose monitors, home nebulizer machines, and newer long acting, injectable antibiotics. It's a new world!

      I was in a hurry, as usual, this particular day. I planned to discharge from the hospital a forty-five-year old man who had just had an inferior myocardial infarction (heart attack). He had been cleared by the cardiologist for discharge since he was now symptom free with follow-up appointments at the cardiologist's office and my office. As I was writing his discharge orders at his bedside, the Spirit of God very plainly prompted me, "Share the gospel with him."

     I stopped, looked at him, looked at my watch, and made a portentous decision. I decided to share the gospel with him when he came to my office the next week when I would not be in such a rush. I signed off on his discharge orders, patted him on the shoulder, and told him, "See you in one week." 

     Sure enough, one week later I saw his chart in my chart box at the office. I remembered the subtle prompting of the Holy Spirit the week before and determined in my heart I would share the gospel with him that very day. As I entered the exam room across the hall from his room, I heard a loud and heavy thud. I quickly crossed the hall, opened the door to his room, and found him lying face down on the floor in full cardiac arrest! I shouted for the nurses, and we began a thirty-minute CPR attempt that ultimately failed. We never got the least pulse or BP. He was dead when he hit the floor. He is the only patient who has actually died in our medical office during my thirty-seven plus years of medical practice. Our entire staff was visibly shaken.

     His two sisters were in the waiting room, so I called them into my private office to inform them of his demise. Still trembling myself, I tried to comfort them. During this difficult conversation,  they informed me he was not a believer, which stabbed me in the heart as I remembered the Holy Spirit had prompted me to speak to him one week previously. I didn't know what to say at that point. I really lost my composure then. I said something dumb like, "Well, he lived a good life" to which they both shook their heads negatively in unison. Then I really felt even dumber. Not only was that theologically incorrect, they knew it to be actually inaccurate. Man, I was sinking fast. Even his sisters were shaking their heads at me sadly. What must the Holy Spirit be thinking?

     That has been over twenty-five years ago, and as you can tell, I haven't gotten over it yet. Why - because I procrastinated. I didn't immediately listen to the subtle prompting of Holy Spirit in my life to share the gospel. I have a conviction that when Holy Spirit tells us to share the gospel with someone, He has also prepared that person’s heart on the other end.  This certainly makes sense. Why would He send me to speak to someone whose heart is hardened and unprepared? Sometimes the window of opportunity is narrow - point in case with my patient's abbreviated life. That is why immediate obedience to the Holy Spirit is crucial. I don't know everything that goes on behind the curtains in other people's lives. However, the Holy Spirit does. 

 

Integrity

by Robert E. Jackson

 Some years ago, two little piebald does showed up on my farm. They looked like little goats because they had so much white coloration. I enjoyed standing on my upstairs porch at night and shining spotlights on them during the off season. Their white colors made them stand out like a beacon. I caught a good picture of them on a game camera that I still keep in my wallet. I grew fond of them over a three-year period of time. 

     However, after those three years I decided I would harvest them the next deer season before someone else did to collect their hides, which would make unique rugs or wall hangings. I calculated that if I let them live much longer they would die by another hunter or by a vehicle collision. We watched them all summer. My friends kept saying to me, "You better go ahead and take those deer or somebody else will." I would respond, "It's not deer season. I'll just have to wait." Even some of my family members warned me, "If you wait too long, you're going to lose those piebalds." Again I said, "No, it's not deer season. I'll just have to wait."

     Well, you guessed it. They disappeared before the season opened. We never saw them again. I don't know if a coyote or a poacher got them, or if they died from a vehicle collision. Nevertheless, I didn't get them! I still miss those pretty little deer, and I still wish I had those hides. I'll show you the picture sometime. 

     This wasn't the only time I've been tempted to fudge on the game laws. I was showing a friend around my property one time, and I showed him where we planted food plots and put out corn for the deer. He commented, "I don't see any corn." I responded, "It's turkey season next week. The DNR doesn't allow any corn on the ground two weeks before turkey season." He looked at me incredulously, "How long have you lived here?" "Twenty-two years," I said. "Has a DNR agent ever visited your farm?" he asked. "No, sir." "Well, then, what does it matter. Feed those turkeys. They'll never know." "You may be right, but I'll know. My sons and sons-in-law will know and God will know. I don't break the DNR rules even when no one knows." He looked at me in surprise and shrugged his shoulders. Our conversation revealed a lot about him for you see the real test of a man's character is what he does when no one is looking. Hunters are often all alone in the woods far away from prying eyes, just them and God. Integrity counts with hunters.

     Jesus said, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much" (Luke 16:10 NASB). If we can't be trusted to abide by DNR rules out in the middle of nowhere, we can't be trusted anywhere.

(an excerpt from Dr. Jackson's book The Family Doctor Speaks:  Turkey Tales and Bible Truths)

 

James

by Robert E. Jackson

James spent most of his incarceration in a Columbia (SC) prison, but his "father" picked him up at a prison closer to us then brought him straight to our house.  When he arrived, he had few earthly possessions. He didn't know me and I didn't know him. I just knew his "father." I had  picked up his "father" at the Greenville Detention Center years before and took him home; that very day he went on our very first family camping experience in the middle of a cow pasture. Yep, we slept out in nowhere with an ex-con with a brand, new baby. Carlotta was excited about that.  That was 1989. 


The entire Jackson tribe met and fell in love with James, a tall, handsome man with a radiant smile who had been in prison for two terms, totaling 20 years. His first request – "I want to be baptized." He went into prison a 16-year-old thieving rebel; he came out a respectful, God-fearing Christian man after a guard led him to the Lord. Upon a careful review of his testimony, our church baptized James in the Pacolet River down behind my house. I still remember his great, big smile as he came up out of the water. What a great day!


Our church helped his "father" with housing and transportation, and then also James. Ultimately, however, he ended up in our "mission" house, a little house that happens to sit on our property. (Currently, we have a consistent renter, but, oh, the stories that house could tell. I feel a book coming.) 


James struggled to get and maintain a job. Twenty years in prison makes that hard, so we asked him to occasionally do some minor tasks for us in return for food, lodging, and transportation - nothing we wouldn't ask our children to do. In fact, we treated him like a family member because that is what he was. Carlotta and Rachel taught him how to drive and took him to the DMV to get a license. We helped him get a car. Carlotta cut his hair. He dined at our table. He went to church with us and attended our small group. 


I asked him to do some weed eating one time for me, and he promptly burned up a brand, new Ryobi weed eater because he didn't know to mix oil with the gas. How would he know? We soon realized James needed detailed instructions for many small responsibilities, including how to relate to and understand people. He had no skill sets, absolutely none. 


I realize that children make their own choices. My own children have made less than ideal choices; plus, I know many godly parents who have had rebel children, but it surely did not give James the best "jumping off place" for his own "father" to be in and out of prison for most, if not all, of James' childhood. His "father" was an absent renegade with multiple girlfriends and multiple children by multiple women. Thankfully, by God's grace, his "father", who is my now longtime friend, has been transformed into a hard-working, God-honoring man who hasn't been to prison for many years, and he deeply regrets the damage he did in the lives of his children.


Here's my point. This past Sunday was Father's Day.


Fathers, we only get one chance to do things right with our children. "Father, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord," (Ephesians 6:4). Exasperate here means to aggravate or frustrate your children with your hypocritical or childish behavior (my definition.) 


Don't embarrass your children with infantile, selfish behavior. Be a man. Be the spiritual leader in your home, but you can't lead where you've never been. Get on your knees personally and seek God's face. Cry out to Him for mercy and help. Confess your sins and weaknesses. Read God's Word for instruction and wisdom; then, be the priest in your family.


Be present. Be pure. Be prepared. Your children will love you for it, and one day they will call you blessed (and they won't burn up your weed eaters.)


P.S. So where is James now? Gone to Jesus. 

 

An Alabama Legislator's Attitude Toward the Unborn

by Robert E. Jackson

If one were to poll the average legislative assembly, I suspect there would be more than a few who had overcome poverty and adverse beginnings to achieve success in life. Some of them, no doubt, have overcome difficult family lives fraught with alcohol or drug abuse or even domestic violence to become successful business people and elected officials, enjoying the esteem of the voters. Unless they were to share their childhood experiences, no one would be any the wiser. No one would understand how overcoming those adversities has made them stronger, wiser, and more determined.


Not so John Rogers, a legislator from Alabama who arrogated to himself the right to prognosticate the future of all children born into difficult situations. His solution – "you bring them into the world unwanted, unloved, you send them to the electric chair. So, you kill them now or you kill them later." He predicts that all children born into adverse home situations are destined to become murderers, thieves, and rapists, deserving of the electric chair. Now we intuitively know that is patently false because many of us have been born into poverty or other adversity, and we haven't become criminals, deserving of capital punishment. 


My sister and I were born into poverty when my parents were starting out in life. We lived in government housing for a while, paying rent according to dad's income. My mother said, "We had so little income that they should have paid us to live there." My sister and I turned out to be hard-working, upstanding, tax-paying citizens. Mr. Rogers' logic does not bear out for me, for you, or in general.


What disturbs me further is his total misunderstanding of the real issue at hand, which is the humanity of the unborn child who bears the image of God and is special in the economy of God. He doesn't comprehend that there is no circumstance no matter how desperate or difficult that justifies the killing of an innocent unborn human being who has been created in the image of God. These circumstances include unwed teenagers, rape, incest, and handicapped children. All of these difficult moral and ethical dilemmas do not diminish the image of God in the life of the unborn child one iota. Neither do these circumstances change the fact that abortion kills an unborn human being.


Mr. Rogers went on to say, "Some parents can't handle a child with problems. It could be retarded." So what? I have two "retarded" sons. Their lives are precious to me and my family. If he suggests otherwise, I'll give him a righteous fat lip! There is no life that is not worth living. God accomplishes His eternal purpose in the life of my special boys in ways that I cannot predict or anticipate. Mr. Rogers would never understand that. He needs to meet my John Richard and Thomas. They could teach him a thing or two. Imagine that – two "retarded" boys teaching an arrogant know-it-all like him!


Lastly, what hurts my heart is that this man is a tyrant. He is an elected official in a position of authority. His God-given responsibility is to protect life, to protect the weak and defenseless. It is obvious that he would kill the weak and defenseless. Tyrants arrogate to themselves the right to decide who will live and who will die. Mr. Rogers, like many legislators, is in a position to protect the lives of innocent unborn children. By his words and actions, he intends to kill them much like a tyrant in a third world country. As I said, he is not alone. My heart grieves to consider how easily and callously our lawmakers regard or disregard the unborn citizens of our states, voting on their lives as if they were mere chattel. Seems like we've heard that before!


Mr. Rogers' statement may have been shocking, but what is alarming is that his words represent the attitude of the hearts of a multitude just like him. 

 

Keeping God's Eternal Values in Mind

by Robert E. Jackson

While reading through the book of Ruth a few months ago, I wrote this little devotional and never posted it. I saw it this week on my desk and pondered it in light of having just spent precious vacation time with my grandchildren and time pondering the loss of my dad.  Describing the events between Boaz and Ruth, the book of Ruth has multiple themes – the sovereignty of God and the consequences of decisions for starters. 


Ruth, a woman of kindness and "noble character", decided to follow her mother-in-law Naomi back to Israel with those well-known words beginning with, "Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God." Boaz, a man of principle and strong, decisive action, responded to Ruth's kindness with his own kindness by allowing her to gather barley in his field. Finally, Boaz "acquired" Ruth as his wife in what was initially a traditional Jewish business transaction as a kinsman-redeemer, but the relationship evolved into one of love and respect. 


Neither Ruth nor Boaz understood the consequences of their decisions, their generosity, and their concern in advance. Watch this. Ruth and Boaz had a son named Obed who was the father of Jesse who was the father of King David, the most famous king of Israel. From his lineage came the King of Kings and Lord of Lords -  Jesus. Neither of them was aware of this larger purpose for their lives. Furthermore, one was a foreigner, a non-Jew, a Moabitess, and the other a descendant of Rahab, a former prostitute from Jericho!!!


Like them we must make our choices with God's eternal values in mind. The primary investment of mine and Carlotta's lives has been in our nine children, a delightful and wise investment in our opinion. Who knows what the long-range consequences of this investment will be? Now we have eight precious grandchildren and another one on the way. We pray for them the same prayer we prayed over our children every day – that they would be mighty in Spirit, discerning right from wrong and always choosing the good and right way. We also prayed that when they grew up they would be mighty warriors in the kingdom of God and influential leaders in their generation.


Live in faithfulness to God making right choices in the short run knowing that the significance of your life will extend far beyond your lifetime. Who knows what missionary, pastor, or Bible teacher may be in your and my future generations? 

 

The Emblem of Freedom

by Robert E. Jackson

    One football Friday night when I was in college, I followed my dad to our local high school football game. He was the team physician. After we arrived and then walked under the goal posts, "The Star-Spangled Banner" started playing. My dad immediately stood at attention, ramrod straight with his hand over his heart. Of course, I did the same. I glanced at the stands and noticed people talking and moving about. Dad's eyes were straight ahead and fixed on the flag. 


     At the conclusion in a moment of candor, he looked at me and said, "Son, that flag represents freedom everywhere in the world." I simply nodded. He continued, "When I was in Southeast Asia, I was often choppered into a remote village on goodwill missions to provide medical care to the Laotian people, who responded with extreme gratefulness. When it was time to leave and my chopper returned to retrieve me, I could see the fear and anxiety in the faces of the people. They never knew if the sound of a chopper represented the North Vietnamese who killed their old men, kidnapped their young men, and raped their young women, or if it meant the Americans who brought food, medicines, and security. Only when they saw the American flag on the side of the chopper did they relax and smile. Truthfully, I felt the same way. That flag represented freedom."


     Then my dad held up his hands in front of him. His lip quivered but there was steel in his eyes. "With these hands I tried to stop the flow of blood of American soldiers – wounded in  battle, fighting in a place to which they'd never been and to which they'd never return, for a people they little understood. Nevertheless, they believed in exporting freedom, the same freedom they enjoyed, to other parts of the world. They were willing to bleed and die to liberate oppressed peoples, and they did so proudly under the banner of that flag of freedom. Son, these hands tried to stop the flow of blood of brave, proud American soldiers who called the names of their mothers or their wives before the light went out of their eyes." 


     He was visibly shaking now as we stood under the goal posts all alone in the glow of the stadium lights. I can see him now, the picture of him in one of his favorite sport coats, yellow in color, seared in my memory. He finished by saying defiantly, "I'll never forget those young soldiers or the oppressed people of Laos. I will always stand tall under that flag. It represents freedom."


     About that time six cheerleaders came running up and stood in a row under the goal posts. We looked up and the home team was on the field, ready to receive the kick off. I backed up three steps. My dad just grabbed a pompom from one of the cheerleaders and stood there waving a pompom like it was the natural thing to do. Now you know why everybody loved my dad. Now you know why I stand straight at the Pledge of Allegiance and sing loud and proud at the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" – the banner that is freedom!

 

It Is That Simple

by Robert E. Jackson

    Recently, I discussed the current civil unrest with a friend. I shared with her an account of a man in whose life I had the privilege of planting the seed of the gospel. The transformation in his life was quite remarkable. Here is his story.

     We will call my friend "John." I met him in my medical office one Saturday morning. He suffered from anxiety and panic attacks after the loss of a business and a close friend by suicide. He shared with me quite frankly that he had been an outlaw all of his life. He had been in prison in multiple states. He had been married five times and was not married to the woman with whom he currently lived. He had been a gambler all of his adult life, at one time managing numerous casinos and hotels in Sparks, Nevada, where, he bragged, he never had to pay for women, booze, or lodging. Nevertheless, God was at work in his life, orchestrating the events of his life. He had recently seen an evangelistic video in a motel room that had captivated his attention. Now he was in my office listening to my testimony and a gospel presentation. 

     A few days later this lifelong gambler, womanizer, and outlaw sat in my Sunday School class listening to me teach a lesson on "for by grace are you saved through faith …" That same morning, he heard an evangelistic sermon in our worship service in a rural Baptist church. Astonished, I watched John walk down the aisle of our church during the invitation. I quickly followed and asked him, "John, are you certain this is what you want to do? Are you really wanting to give all of your life to Jesus for the rest of your life?" He smiled and responded confidently, "That's exactly what I want to do." He kneeled at the front pew, repented, and gave his life to Jesus that same day. Jesus gained a soul and Satan lost a good (hmm…), right arm!

     The next several months produced an amazing transformation in John's life. He had been a lifelong prochoice advocate, telling me he thought "abortion was the best thing that ever happened to women." Suddenly, without any input from me, he became a prolifer and started going to prolife rallies with our church. Shortly thereafter, he gave up working in a saloon and making money as a card shark, once again without any suggestions from me. He then sent his girlfriend back to her home saying, "It's not right for us to live together like this." Every Sunday after lunch he would look at me and say, "Teach me something more from the Bible." Again - what a remarkable life transformation! 

     I shared this account with my friend and said, "Like Andrae Crouch used to sing, 'Jesus is the answer for the world today. Above Him there's no other. Jesus is the way.' The answer for the civil unrest is for you and me to share Jesus with one person at a time and then allow Jesus to transform their lives in the same way He changed the life of John."

     She thought about it for a moment and responded, "Sadly, I wish it were that simple." 

     Ah, my friend, but it is that simple – simple and yet profound. Simple in that our responsibility is merely to share the gospel message – unashamedly and unapologetically (Romans 1:16). Profound in that the power of the gospel message to transform lives is supernatural, mysterious, and inexplicable. Unless we are convinced in our heart of hearts that Jesus is enough and that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (including complete life-transformation), then we will never be the effective seed planters God has called us to be.

     Trust me when I say that complicated government reforms and added layers of legislation will not solve the issues that confront our nation. It will not change the condition of a single human heart. Only Jesus can do that. 

     It is that simple – but only if we are convinced of the life transformation power of the gospel.  



(You can read the full account of John's life transformation in Dr. Jackson's book The Family Doctor Speaks:  The Truth About Life)

 

Disqualified

by Robert E. Jackson

Last Saturday, my family and a few friends gathered at my home to celebrate Jehu's graduation from North Greenville University. After we ate my wife's famous lasagna per Jehu's request, someone suddenly remembered the Kentucky Derby was about to start. Now, for most of my life, I could have cared less about a horse race, but since we have been owners of over a dozen horses and raised children to love horses, we try to watch the Triple Crown races every year. Therefore, we interrupted our plans and turned the television on to watch the race, knowing full well we could go back to our event in about 2 minutes and a few seconds because that is how long the Derby usually takes. Unbeknownst to us, our interruption would become a little longer than usual as we watched history take place.


Maximum Security was the apparent winner of the 145th run of the Kentucky Derby -- or so everyone thought! After the initial excitement and congratulations, the stewards announced that a possible foul may have occurred when Maximum Security, ridden by Luis Saez, drifted into the path of War of Will. All the smiles disappeared, replaced by uncertainty on everyone's faces. The entire stadium waited 22 long, soul wrenching minutes as the stewards reviewed the film from every angle, checking to see if the move caused a cascade of course changes among the horses. Was that drifting a race-riding foul to the point of disqualification?


At long last the stewards made the pronouncement. For the first time in the history of the Kentucky Derby, the apparent winner was, indeed, disqualified for an "in-race" foul! Happy faces turned to anguish and tears while other faces exuded excitement and joy. The stadium was all in a buzz. Every observer had his or her own opinion, discussing and second guessing the stewards endlessly. The television commentators were breathless and talking nonstop.   Those who bet on the longshot Country House were happiest of all! As of Monday, the decision the judges made was final when an appeal of the disqualification was denied.


The apostle Paul told his readers in I Corinthians 9:24 and 27 to "run in such a way as to get the prize" and that he must "discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified." I'm certain he had seen runners disqualified for stepping out of their lane as athletic events were common in his day just like in ours. It's heartbreaking for any athlete to train for so long in order to compete only to be disqualified on some technicality.


Paul cautioned you and me as Christian folks to run carefully and cautiously in order not to be disqualified. What can cause you and me to be sidelined by a rules infraction in the Christian life? Probably too many things to name them in detail, but I suggest two overarching categories under which fall all manner of potentially disqualifying infractions. These two are 1) unconfessed sin and 2) becoming enamored with the world. 


Nothing will disqualify you faster in the Christian life than failing to confess and repent of sin that Holy Spirit has revealed to our hearts. "How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long" (Psalm 32:1, 3). When we fail to deal with sin, the Judge of the earth says, "Disqualified," and all the happy faces turn off sad and gloomy, and "vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer" (Psalm 32:4). 


Being enamored with the world will also disable us. Paul told us that "no soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life." He compared us to soldiers who should be fighting a spiritual battle for the Kingdom of God, not vacationing on the beach of life, partying our way through until Jesus comes back. John tells us in 1 John 2:15-17 that loving the world more than loving Jesus is an immediate disqualifier because it means the "love of the Father is not in him." 


Do you want to be put on a shelf? Do you want to lose your opportunities to serve and wallow in shame and sorrow for the rest of your life? Or do you desire for your life to count toward His glory to the very end? Lord, help me to be careful in order to not be disqualified. "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

 

Abortion - A Function of Spiritual Blindness

by Robert E. Jackson

"John" walked into my office one day in the 1990s along with his lady friend. He was blind, not physically but spiritually. At some point I asked him where he went to church. He stared at me like a calf looking at a new gate, and answered, "Huh, we don't go to church … Doc, I've been an outlaw all my life. I've never even been to church."


"Where did you get married, then?"


"Well, I've been married five times, but I've never been married in a church." It turns out he was not even married to the woman who lived with him. 


To make a short story shorter, he went to church with me, heard my class lesson on Ephesians 2:8-9, and heard the pastor's sermon about the healing of the Syrian Naaman in II Kings 5; then, to my utter shock he walked straight down the aisle and said, "I want to be a Christian." As far as I knew at that point, this was his first exposure to the gospel (I learned later that this was not true and that God had him on a spiritual journey prior to our meeting). I asked him if he was sure as well as a few other questions. He said, "That is exactly what I want to do." He immediately knelt at the front pew to receive Christ as the Lord of his life.


Transformation began. For a short while after he became a believer, he continued to work in a small saloon in Spartanburg, dealing cards to make ends meet. On Sundays after church, he ate lunch at my house then left to work in the saloon. I never said anything to John about this, leaving it to the Spirit of God to bring about conviction in his life. 


So every Sunday John and his girlfriend ate with my five children, my pregnant wife, and me. Here was the runway model and the king of gambling – who used to parcel out $50 - $100,000 in perks to high rolling gamblers to entice them to attend his casinos – sitting down to eat mashed potatoes, fried okra, and meatloaf with a homeschooling family who memorized scripture and worked through the catechism with five children under the age of ten every Sunday lunch. What was he thinking? What a culture shock - for all of us!! What a sense of humor our God has! I bet the angels in heaven were belly laughing every Sunday lunch. 


After about six weeks, I noticed John did not leave early after lunch one Sunday. A bit puzzled, I queried, "Aren't you going to be late for your afternoon job?


He replied, "I don't have that job any longer."


"So what happened?"


"I gave it up; I did not think it was appropriate for a Christian to work in a saloon." That was all either one of us ever said about it. 

Ultimately, John bought his live-in girlfriend a one-way ticket back to her family; and that was all either one of us ever said about that. (We did share the gospel with her – praying and crying with her – to no avail.)


Several days later, I invited John to attend a pro-life rally. We rode with about twelve other people in a little, old church van with holes in its floor. It was freezing cold in January, and the van had no heat. As we rode, John started laughing. I asked, "What are you laughing at?"


He replied, "If my old friends could just see me now!"


I asked, "Why?"


In a very serious voice, John replied "All of my life I thought abortion was the best thing that could happen to women, and now I find myself riding in a church van with a bunch of Baptists going to a prolife rally. Yep, if they could just see me now!"


I pondered his statement for a moment, then I began to laugh as well; and that was all either one of us ever said about it. 


What happened to John?


I never talked to him about abortion. I never debated with him about the abortion issue. I never even discussed any moral issues with him up to that point. 


So what happened? I'll tell you – the Holy Spirit of God illumined his mind, and he was transferred from the domain of darkness into the kingdom of God's beloved Son. He was transferred from darkness into light. He could see the light and walk in the light. He went from being a pro-choice, pro-death advocate to being a pro-life advocate  – without the benefit of any discussion.


First Corinthians 2:14 says, "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God', for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 


John now saw clearly that that which grows in the mother's womb is a baby – because his eyes were opened by the Spirit of God. No amount of debate or logic or education will win this issue in the public or political arena. If that were true, the ultrasound machine – that magical window into the womb – would have settled this issue a long time ago. This machine makes it plain from early on, for all to see, that that which grows in the mother's womb is a baby, a miniature human being. Debate closed. No further discussion. 


So why is there further debate? Spiritual blindness. 


The answer – prayer and evangelism. Only God can take the spiritual blinders off.

 

The Perfect Lamb

by Robert E. Jackson

A lifelong pastor friend, Michael Cloer, tells the story of a man who worked in a Mississippi slaughterhouse. He thought nothing of his job slaughtering beef cattle for the market until he was asked to slaughter a lamb. A lamb came through the chute. The man said, "It was my responsibility to cut the throat of that lamb. I had never done that before. For years, I had grabbed the heads of those steers and they would wrestle and fight and do all they could to get away. But when I took that lamb, it did not do one thing. I pulled its head back, put in the knife, and the blood poured out onto my hand. Then that little lamb looked up at me and licked the blood off my hand until it died." That strong man said, "I then laid down my knife, resigned my job, and have never gone back since."


Upon Jesus's entry into Jerusalem, the crowds, hoping for a savior from Roman oppression and thinking deliverance might occur during the celebration of Passover, unwittingly selected Jesus as their Passover Lamb. 


Just as the Passover lambs must pass inspection and be without a blemish, Jesus must pass inspection.


"The chief priests and teachers of the law (scribes) with the elders came up to Him" not with honest inquiry but challenging questions designed to trap Him into saying something they might use to accuse Him of violating the Law – Mosaic law or Roman law – either one would suffice. 


Peeved by His popularity with the people, perplexed by His miraculous signs, and provoked by His cleansing of the temple, the verbal assault began with this question – "By what authority do you do these things?" Jesus could have answered them straight up in a direct answer that asserted His authority due to His direct descent from His Father, but He chose to confront them with a question for them first - "Was John's baptism from heaven or from men?"


This was a no-win question for the religious leaders. Luke 20:5-6 says, " They reasoned among themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ He will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’  But if we say, ‘From men,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” 


So they capitulated and answered, "We don't know where it came from." This question frustrated and angered them because these prideful, know-it-all religious men had to admit they didn't know something to this itinerant carpenter and because He refused to answer their question or fall into their trap. Jesus exposed the hypocrisy of their question and unmasked their motives in full view of the crowd. Some of these men were known as the teacher of teachers, yet they couldn't answer one question from this presumptuous imposter. Therefore, it revealed to the crowd their very real impotence in the presence of deity. 


Jesus couldn't be trapped. He answered every question soundly. The Lamb could not be disqualified by one spot or one blemish. 


Jesus was perfect – in every way. 

 

Teachable Moment

by Carlotta Jackson

At VBS a few summers ago the teacher asked this question during our Bible lesson – if you knew somebody had done something wrong and they would be punished for it, would you take their punishment? Most of the children answered, "No." One answered, "It depends." I wanted to jump up and tell the following story as my thoughts went back in time to one of my favorite stories of our early parenting years.


It was a Sunday night in 1991 at Rock Hill Baptist Church (now Lake Bowen BC) when we used to hang around for hours and talk after church. Does anyone do this anymore? We had four children at the time, all girls - six years of age and younger. Those little girls loved to run and play, and Robert and I were just beginning to learn how to get a handle on that running and playing in the church and other public places. In fact, here's a side story. One day during Robert's lunch hour we were at Mr. Gattis, a pizza restaurant, when it was on the west side of town. We loved to go meet Daddy for lunch. We were the only customers at the time over in one section with the exception of one man, so we had let the children get up and run around for a few minutes, thinking no one would care and having grown immune to it. However, someone did care. That one man came over to us and gently and gracefully admonished us as young parents that their behavior was inappropriate and to get control now or we would regret it later. He wasn't angry. He was simply concerned. We listened to his sage advice and acted upon it, to the point where we began to receive compliments regarding the behavior of our children in public places, especially as our tribe grew to a multitude. 


Back to my original story - I don't remember if this particular night at church was before or after the Mr. Gattis incident, but one child in particular was running all over the front of the church. Robert went over to Miriam and told her to stop, explaining why and that there would be consequences if she didn't. She didn't listen and kept right on running. I think he gave her one more warning to no avail. 


Then "Nanny" Garrett (the mother of Pat Burress), who could be as forthright as anybody can be, went up to Robert and said, "Now you know you're going to have to hand out the consequences when you get home and do what you said you'd do, right? She hasn't stopped running and she is disobeying you."


Robert looked at Nanny, sighed, and said, "Yes, ma'am, I know and I will."


Robert and I collected our brood and got in our car, discussing the whole scene and agreeing together with Nanny that we had to carry out the discipline that Robert promised Miriam upon her disobedience. This discussion took place all the way home. Unbeknownst to us, little Miss Rebecca had watched and heard the entire scene play out at church and in our car. When we pulled into our driveway, she unbuckled herself somehow and came up between our bucket seats in our minivan with her thumb in her mouth and tears in her big blue baby-doll eyes. We turned back to look at her; then, she pulled that thumb out and asked a question we have NEVER forgotten -  "Can I take Mimi's punishment for her?" 


Robert and I turned and looked at each other with tears beginning to collect (as they are now just thinking about it). In that moment of parenting, we knew we had just heard rare words come out of a child's mouth or anyone's for that matter, and we also knew we had a teaching moment on our hands because the words were a powerful reminder of Jesus taking the punishment for each of us. We also knew Rebecca was not saved, and, if ever a child needed saving, it was her. We knew if Holy Spirit didn't get a hold of her life, we would be in big trouble. She was like a bull in a China shop. Things broke and children screamed when she walked in the door. No kidding! We called her "Bruno." We read Dobson's Strong-Willed Child book and every other child-rearing book with desperation, and we begged people to pray for her.


BUT we knew it came down to Rebecca needing an encounter with Jesus Christ and a personal acknowledgement of sin and her need for a Savior in order for Holy Spirit to direct her indomitable spirit towards good and holy things. This was the perfect opportunity to gather our children around us and give them the truth of the gospel one more time, including the part of Jesus taking our punishment for us. Rebecca gave her heart to the Lord, and as her parents, we can attest to the fact that she has not been the same since, and the Lord has used and will continue to use that strong but Spirit-controlled spirit to do good things for Him. (This is the daughter who served as a missionary in the Middle East for three years, having to be evacuated from her country during tense days of the "Arab Spring." She and her husband serve faithfully in their church as small group leaders, Sunday School teachers, etc., as well as in their local crisis pregnancy center. If you need a friend, Rebecca will be in the foxhole with you.)


Parents, we can do all the right things, but your child must meet Jesus and call Him Lord and Savior. 


P.S. Little Mimi still got her "consequences" that night.

 

Margie Watson and Contentment

by Carlotta Jackson

Hebrews 13:5-6 

Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,"  so that we confidently say, “the lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”


I did not know I would read these verses in my quiet time this morning, especially in light of having awakened during the night thinking about my mom. I guess it was because I had facetimed her during the late afternoon yesterday. As I tried to go back to sleep, I thought of her and who she is. Godincidentally (spelling intended) and truly, I thought about her ever-present contentment. If ever anyone on this planet was "free from the love of money", it was my mom. Financial struggles abounded in my parents' earlier years, probably into their forties, but I did not hear my mom utter a word of complaint. You say maybe I just didn't hear it but she said it. Nope, not her. Complaining wasn't in her. She was perfectly content with what she wore, what furniture she had, what car she drove, what food she ate, what work she had to do, what hung on the walls. I'm serious. There was no evidence of any inner turmoil. Peace surrounded her. Dad would agree. Ask all of her children and anybody who knows her. Once again, I say, "Oh, to be more like my mom." 


In Philippians, Paul said to be more like him (4:9); then in verse ten, he wrote, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." But how? How -  when life is churning like a hurricane, when life takes me to an abyss?  By immersing myself in "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you… The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?" 

 

Vomit Class 101

by Carlotta Jackson

At our house I used to have what I called Vomit Class 101. Someone in the family alluded to this on FB a couple of years ago. In this “class” I demonstrated for my children what one should do when one’s stomach started feeling funny and one thought something bad was about to happen. I informed them that they got an A in the class if they threw up in the toilet, a B if they threw up in a trash can, a C if they threw up in the bed, and an F if on the carpet. “Whatever you do, do NOT throw up on the carpet,” I begged them. I don’t know of too many things worse than cleaning up vomit from carpet. In fact, my carpet cleaner friend and I were very good friends during those days. He cleaned up a lot of disasters for us – like the time some child threw a bar of soap in the toilet, and our first warning was water pouring through the ceiling downstairs at the light fixtures and door jams, all while we were entertaining company. By that time it was two inches deep in our bedroom and had soaked the carpet.  I wish I could say this was the only time this happened. I finally had my ceiling repaired in our current home from where the toilet had overflowed so many times causing the ceiling to begin to fall down. 


Most of my children started receiving As in my vomit class pretty early except for … you guessed it … Thomas. He is now 18 and the day I wrote this I had just gotten up off my hands and knees from scrubbing the carpet where he threw up and didn’t even tell anyone. Carla reported it after noticing her “welcome home” on her carpet in her room hours later. 


Recently, I posted a picture of my special boys and me as we traveled home from my daughter’s home in Pennsylvania. I commented on what fun we were having; however, that fun became less fun the next day about two hours from home. At least I had the good sense to pull into a Chic-fil-A restaurant. I will attempt to sum it all up in a few sterile sentences. After hearing Thomas wailing on the other side of the men’s bathroom door, I had the dubious honor of spending about 45 minutes with him in the men’s bathroom stall while men came and went, taking care of business, on the other side of the stall. John Richard stayed with him while I ran out to the car to get a change of clothes. Needless to say, we left some clothes behind in the trash. 


Then the next Sunday about ten minutes into Robert’s pro-life message at Stable Life Church, Thomas began to sob on my shoulder, and again I had the good sense to take him to the bathroom, which was within earshot of Robert’s voice. While standing in or out of the bathroom, I could hear every word. I could hear him talk about Professors Thomas and John Richard – how they have taught our entire family to be servants and how they are all grown up now and unlike the other children, they will never fly away and we will forever be their servants, etc., etc., etc. I could hear him quote that verse we always quote, “Jesus came to serve and not to be served and to give His life a ransom for many.” I could hear Robert sing, “More like the Master I would ever be; more of His meekness, more humility.”


I thought to myself, “How ironic is this. I am standing in the men’s bathroom with my full-grown Downs man-boy going through a whole roll of toilet paper and hoping I won’t have to ask for more while Robert is talking about showering with Thomas to give him a really good bath on occasion. ‘He needs one right now,’ I wanted to shout at my husband while he waxed eloquently across the way. Lord, are we going to be doing this when we’re 80?” Needless to say  - again, we left clothes in that trash can, too. (Sorry to those from Stable Life who read this.)


Do I look like Jesus yet? I know I don’t smell like Him. 


Lord, I really do want to be more like You so if this is what it takes to make me more like Jesus in every way then so be it, but could You possibly help Thomas pass Vomit Class 101?

 

Just Be Engaged

by Carlotta Jackson

Recently I made about 150 cookies. My house smelled like I had been baking all day, and I felt so domestic and motherly. My family arrived to the smell of baking cookies, so they immediately plopped down with a glass of milk and a chocolate chip cookie - all before the company arrived.  Is there anything better?


Trouble is – I had really only spent about one hour baking all of those goodies because once I discovered those flats of rounded cookie dough pieces in the grocery store, they became my best friend. I just cut them apart, put them on the cookie sheet, and pop them in the oven, timing them exactly with my oven timer – no flour, no sugar, no butter flying everywhere, and no significant time consumed in the kitchen. Yes!!


Trouble is – in my mind’s eye I see all of my more kitchen-loving friends and the moms before “the flats”, even myself, and they and I look so motherly with our hair astray, our aprons covered with sugar, and flour on our cheeks. 


The wonderful thing is – my children and your children love us just as much whether we spent one hour or ten hours in the kitchen. Yes!! 


Something happened to my cooking skills about the time I had the sixth child, probably before then. When the quantity went up, the quality went down. You see – I’m a nurse (well, I was 33 years ago). In nutrition classes I learned I was to serve a meat, a starch, a yellow vegetable, a green vegetable, and a fruit with every meal. That was my goal, but when I started feeding the masses, I started looking for those simpler recipes and my goals became, let’s say, less ambitious.  My husband advised me to become the “crockpot queen” and I did. With those $5.00 pizzas, Little Caesar’s became my best friend. Before there were $1.00 hamburgers at McDonald’s, the old Burger King in Boiling Springs had $1.00 meals on Tuesdays. Plus, we knew every restaurant in town that had “kids eat free” when adults paid because – can I just say – taking nine children out to eat was a little expensive!! So I had to cook – right? I learned every “meal-in-one” casseroles and soups known to mankind!


No one starved! No one died of hunger! And they still love me!


Moms and dads, you don’t have to be like somebody else’s mom and dad. Just be you and be engaged with your set of talents and gifts. Your kids will think you are the bomb! 

 

Jesus Can

by Carlotta Jackson

You know what – 


I don't like to fly, especially 20 hours in a plane, not counting the 14 1/2 hours of layovers.

I don't like Indian food.

I don't like the filth.

I don't like the oppressive atmosphere caused by the worship of over a million gods.

I don't like the traffic and the driving habits of our drivers. Last time we drove 95 mph for over 

          an hour to get to the airport at midnight. When we pulled over, I fell out and 

          cried, "Land, land!" (reminiscent of some movie – LOL – and I'm not teasing). Plus, there   

          truly are cows and brahma bulls everywhere in the roads.

I don't like leaving my family, especially my special boys for whom we had to devise an 

          intricate care plan.


So what did I like – 


I didn't "like" – I love the people, especially those in our people group.

I didn't "like" - I loved sharing the good news with over 400 people.

                       I loved watching the children protecting their simple crafts and throwing their 

                              frisbees  – all with the good news written on them.

                       I loved speaking to about 80 women on how to grow as a Daughter of the King 

                        and how to use His Word.   

                       I loved it when the women expressed gratitude with hugs and tears. 


On our final day we traveled three hours to another town (now this trip's issue was not a traffic problem, but let's just say my teeth were nearly jolted out of my head – again – not teasing). Here the women and children suffered from the effects of drug use by their husbands and fathers. Many were abused. Many are widows and orphans and some have HIV passed on by the men or developed by prostituting themselves just to make ends meet.  


During my message to the women, I sensed the difficulties these women faced, and, in particular, l watched the blank and dismal expressions on one woman's face. I felt this overwhelming desire to do all I could to solve every problem in her life, but, alas, my resources are limited and I was about to get on a plane the next day. However, I left her with tools to grasp the truth that "JESUS CAN MEET EVERY NEED OF THE HUMAN HEART," and with tears in my eyes looking straight into hers, I all but shouted, "Jesus can meet every need of your human heart!" 


With all that is in me, I believe Jesus can meet the need of every human heart. 

Here's the question. Do you believe the same and are you compelled by the love of Christ to share the good news, the powerful life-changing message of the gospel with people whose lives are lived out in quiet desperation – across the street or across the globe? 

 

Somebody's Son

by Carlotta Jackson

Another VBS story and a "must read" poem – 


For eight years I (CJ, aka "Mama Jack" and "Nana Jack") taught writing classes for homeschool students. Each week in my younger high school class, one student had to pick out a poem and read it to the class. Every year I read the following poem when we met for the first time, and every year I struggled to get through it. Why am I telling you this now, and what does this have to do with VBS?


Every night during VBS a young man bounced happily into our Bible Discovery class. It was obvious he was glad to be there as were most, if not all, of the children. Harold, Robert, and I were so pleased with all of the children's countenances and participation, but this one boy expressed himself just a little more – in a positive way. He participated with extra enthusiasm and eagerly attempted to answer questions – politely. He also was watching – watching our interaction with Thomas, our Downs boy who sat in our class the first three nights. He listened as Robert told the story of the prodigal son, and he watched as Robert, the father, ran to hug on Thomas, the impromptu prodigal son.


On the third night the boy arrived with exuberance and said, "This is a great class. It's just so much fun." That made us old codgers feel good about our class.


However, on the fifth night is when he said something that caused Robert and me to look at each other with a knowing look and to nod our heads in misty-eyed agreement.  He arrived in our room with his usual sunshine and joy; then he went straight up to Robert and announced with these exact words, "You've got to be the luckiest dad to have Thomas as your son. I wish he were my brother." 


As Thomas's parents, fewer words could bring us greater satisfaction and joy, especially from someone who isn't related to Thomas. He took off his name tag and threw it on the table so he could participate in an activity. I walked over to pick it up and made a mental note of that boy's name. Thomas's mother will be praying for this boy. Yes, young man, we are blessed beyond measure, and I pray God's richest blessings on you and that you will serve Him faithfully for all of your days.


We saw Pastor George baptize him on Friday night. Some other mother's prayer was answered.


Somebody's Mother

By Mary Dow Brine (1816-1913)
    

The woman was old and ragged and gray 
    And bent with the chill of the Winter's day.

The street was wet with a recent snow 
    And the woman's feet were aged and slow.

She stood at the crossing and waited long, 
    Alone, uncared for, amid the throng.

Of human beings who passed her by 
    Nor heeded the glance of her anxious eyes.

Down the street, with laughter and shout, 
    Glad in the freedom of "school let out,"

Came the boys like a flock of sheep, 
    Hailing the snow piled white and deep.

Past the woman so old and gray 
    Hastened the children on their way.

Nor offered a helping hand to her - 
    So meek, so timid, afraid to stir

Lest the carriage wheels or the horses' feet 
    Should crowd her down in the slippery street.

At last came one of the merry troop, 
    The gayest laddie of all the group;

He paused beside her and whispered low, 
    "I'll help you cross, if you wish to go."

Her aged hand on his strong young arm 
    She placed, and so, without hurt or harm,

He guided the trembling feet along, 
    Proud that his own were firm and strong.

Then back again to his friends he went, 
    His young heart happy and well content.

"She's somebody's mother, boys, you know, 
    For all she's aged and poor and slow,

"And I hope some fellow will lend a hand 
    To help my mother, you understand,

"If ever she's poor and old and gray, 
    When her own dear boy is far away."

And "somebody's mother" bowed low her head 
    In her home that night, and the prayer she said

Was "God be kind to the noble boy, 
    Who is somebody's son, and pride and joy!"

 

My Stories and I Lived to Tell Them

by Carlotta Jackson

                                                             

     While in Pennsylvania (I'm from SC) in early December, I sat reminiscing about all nine of my deliveries with my second daughter, who had just had her third baby - in the hallway on the gurney on the way to the delivery room - almost there but not quite. 

     She said, "Mom, you have to write a funny blog about your delivery and postpartum stories. You don't always have to be serious." 

     I replied, "Rebecca, I am not known as a funny person. I try to be, but how can I be when I can't remember the punch lines to jokes?" I read this aloud to my daughter and her husband, and we all thought it was funny. I mean we laughed - at something I wrote! Maybe they were just being nice! 

     To all my friends out there who have heard the litany and watched from afar or up close, I apologize for the repetition, but I have lots of new friends in my life since my birthing days.  

     This is certainly not to minimize everyone's normal deliveries and postpartum stories, and I'm sure some have been more exciting than mine (Alyssa Lancaster). I prayed for normal stories. Despite having 10 pregnancies, normality was just few and far between. What's normal anyway? In fact, my doctor-husband says delivering babies is 99% boredom and 1% sheer terror! LOL 

     #1 - At 8 months of pregnancy, I fell and broke a bone in my right foot. Therefore, I had the delightful experience of delivering my first baby with a short leg cast on. A few days later the orthopedist removed my cast only to then x-ray my foot and discover it wasn't healed. He put me back on crutches and told me "no weight bearing" on it yet. My eyes are still bugging out at that news. I'm still asking, "How do you carry a newborn baby around and use crutches at the same time?" You don't. You crawl around your house on your knees and carry your baby. This baby also had a bilirubin level that shot up into the 20s. Every day, then every other day for about two weeks, someone or I had to drive my baby to the hospital for a blood check. When I drove (with my left foot), the nurses came down to my car to stick her heel or draw her blood. That was back in the days! 

     #2 - This one arrived shortly after arrival at the hospital. A friend, Robbin Corn, drove me to the hospital because my husband was nowhere around. Robert did make it in time to deliver her, albeit in his camouflage clothes, because despite being two days past my due date, he went turkey hunting anyway. I promise I felt the first pain right as he walked out the door. Nevertheless, we had a plan in those dinosaur days called pre-cell phone archaism. If something happened and it did, I was to call the owner of the property who would go find Robert and his hunting partner. After my phone call, the property owner had to shoot off a gun multiple times while frantically driving around his land until my husband came running, gasping for breath and imagining me bleeding to death, out of the woods. I accomplished birth #2 without an epidural (kudos to me, I guess) because the technician convinced me #2 was coming very quickly. Three weeks after the birth of #2, she started projectile vomiting. At five weeks she weighed less than her birth weight; finally, she had surgery for pyloric stenosis at 5 weeks of age. 

     #3 - What a pleasant time of year to have a baby - November - or so I thought! This was #3. I had the same technician as with #2. Again she convinced me not to get an epidural because "this baby is coming soon." Well, such technicians are not always correct and this time, sadly for me, she was far off the mark, but I listened to her. No epidural. Hours and hours and hours later, after the time-honored experience of agonizing, horrific pain, I finally had her, determining in my heart to never go without an epidural ever again! I told myself that my doctor husband will have an epidural waiting on me upon arrival for the next delivery!!! I wouldn't care what anyone said! 

     So I had her on a Monday, came home on Wednesday, and Robert, who suffers from migraines, began to complain of a strange headache. Providentially, instead of calling his neurologist, he called his opthamologist on Thursday. It was the right thing to do because it was discovered that he was having his first glaucoma crisis. The pressure was in the 60s (normal is 10-21). Remember I just had a baby four days earlier, but I drove him twice every day for four days to see the opthamologist, who pulled every trick out of his bag to get the pressure down to no avail. Robert had emergency eye surgery on Sunday, which then required daily trips to the doctor for I don't remember how long - a long time. Bless that doctor! Robert was his only patient for a week! The doctor had canceled all of his appointments in order to be the keynote speaker at an opthamological conference in California, but he stayed behind just for Robert. No wonder we love that doctor! 

     #4 - A May baby! I didn't have to go through the summer! Plus, this is one of my more normal stories if you call Hannah "normal" although, quite frankly, I remember nothing, absolutely nothing about her delivery EXCEPT I know I got my epidural. I politely demanded it upon my arrival at the hospital. LOL It's a good thing she looks like us, or I would question whether or not she's our child because I just don't remember. 

     Oh, Robert did have another glaucoma crisis in the other eye 8 weeks later. You know the routine! 

     #5 - A late September baby - all the way through summer, yay me, but the only thing abnormal this time - he was a boy!! Our first boy!! I know this account is very short, but the next 18 years were veerrrryyy looonnng! Just teasing – I love him so and am so grateful for who he is.

     #6 - This story is in our book. Another late and hot September delivery - yay me - but another boy - on my birthday! I did have my epidural, but because they discovered he was breech they turned it off and increased the Pitocin - again - yay me! Oh, and he was indeed breech upon delivery - yay me! The story is long, and I doubt you are up for it now, so let's suffice it to say this boy was born with laryngotrachealbronchial malacia and brain damage. After all these years I can still spell it. The diagnosis came in two parts - at one month and four months and only after a respiratory arrest and trips to every doctor known to mankind. An ICU moved into our house. #6 had a respirator for 10 months and a tracheostomy for 1 1/2 years - the longest 1 1/2 years of my life!!!! 

     #6 1/2 - A miscarriage! We could have been the Jackson Twelve. Some of my children reproved me for saying “1/2”, but my numbers will be off as we have talked about nine children all of these years in this post if I call him/her #7. You understand? 

     #7 - When I realized I was in labor with #7, I called Faye Bridges who met me at Robert's office to get the other children. I sat in his office in labor for awhile until he finished a good day's work and had seen all of his patients. (Where's the red-faced emoji button when you need it? I wanted that epidural - yesterday!!) So the tv was on in my delivery room, and all eyes but mine, including the nurses and my doctor husband, were watching the 9-11 movie (remember those). They were watching that movie over their shoulders while I delivered #7 at 11:10 p.m. We still don't know that #7 is normal (just teasing - again), but his actual delivery was fine. However, we were ready to get #6's trach out, so ten days after I had #7, #6 was having surgery and in the PICU in Greenville for a couple of days, then home - trach free!!!! 

     #8 - After 3 boys, we went back to what we knew best and our normality - having another girl. We wanted another boy, but oh, well. LOL We built a house and moved in while pregnant, but otherwise all was well on the Jackson front. My children also reproved me for shortening Carla’s account, but, hey, she’s short, right?

     #9 - Well, what can I say? What do you expect when you're 44? Not being sarcastic here. It is what it is, and you all know we love him so. He's Downs - with a major heart defect. Before he finally had open-heart surgery at two months, he and we survived near death experiences and multiple ambulance rides due to heart failure. Read our book! 

     So there you have the short version, but I can't stop without some sort of spiritual take away. Here's my punch line (oh, it's not a joke!) - God is good - all the time; all the time - God is good! It's the truth! You can believe it! Oh, and He's faithful - faithful and true, and I still love Him (and every single one of these babies - just as they are). They are my babies and I wouldn’t send a single one of them back. I love being a mama!

Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas!

 

A Marriage Moment with Mama Jack

by Carlotta Jackson

Our post today comes from a conversation Carlotta had in recent days. It wasn't about marriage; it was about divorce. 


Divorce is NOT the unforgiveable sin. The sin leading up to divorce is NOT unforgiveable. It's ALL under the blood. It's ALL under the blood. It's ALL under the blood. Did we say it enough?


Make no mistake – in Malachi 2:16, the Lord says very clearly, "I hate divorce." These words should cause us to pause, but because He knew the condition of our hearts, He gave room for divorce. Our purpose today is not to go into the "room for divorce", but to assure those suffering with guilt over any perceived or real sin connected with a divorce of the absolute truth of 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness."  You are loved with an everlasting love, and you can walk into any room, any church, and any home with the full knowledge of His love and forgiveness that knows no bounds. 

 

Waiting Well

by Carlotta Jackson

We wait for our children to sit up, to crawl, to eat solid food, to walk, to potty-train, to start school, to finish school, to marry, to have our grandchildren – and the whole time there can be wailing and gnashing of teeth as each phase can bring some sort of difficulty – more or less or monumental! 


What does "waiting well" mean during the parenting years? What does it look like? I, Carlotta, read today in the book of Esther where Mordecai put on sackcloth and ashes and wailed and wept "loudly and bitterly" in the middle of the city over what was about to happen to his people, the Jews, including his cousin Esther for whom he had responsibility as her surrogate parent. That doesn't sound like "waiting well", does it? 


Then there's Job. Although scripture says, "Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God" in the very first chapter of Job as he responded to hearing of the death of his children, later, in chapter three, it says he "cursed the day of his birth"; plus, chapter two ends with his friends sitting with him for seven days and seven nights without a word "for they saw that his pain was very great." Chapter 13:3 says, "But I (Job) would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue with God." Whoa, Job! This certainly does not sound like "waiting well!" 


Wait well?!? Oh, God, how hard it is – especially when we want a foolish child or grandchild to hurry up and get out of the gutter or off of the wrong track that we know will for sure lead to disaster! Are you kidding me? Wait well???


Yes, there is a time for weeping and a time for mourning (Ecclesiastes 3), for throwing ourselves desperately at God's feet in humility and repentance as Mordecai did and as Job ultimately did in the very last chapter of Job. However, "waiting well" does NOT mean dramatic, angry shouting matches with our children. It does NOT include fretful, fear-filled anxiety over what may or may not happen to them. It does NOT mean constant, never-ending complaining about the circumstances of our family life.


"Waiting well" means casting aside the weeping of the night, giving a shout of joy in the morning (Psalm 30:5), and submitting ourselves and our children into the sovereign and perfect will of a loving Father who is in the foxhole with us and is "full of compassion and is merciful."


Our children need to see us "wait well."


 

The Tongue is a Reflection of What?

by Carlotta Jackson

The tongue is a reflection of what's in the heart whether it be affirmation, encouragement, gossip, slang, profanity, criticism, etc., etc., etc. Before you try to get the speck out the sister or brother's eye of whom you are thinking about right now, including Samantha Bee, you and I both need to get the log out of our own eyes. We are all guilty of misusing our tongues in one way or another! 


My point today refers to this shared blog and the incident and issue discussed in it. Samantha Bee revealed what is in her heart for all the world to hear, and "Samantha, it isn't lovely." When one throws out even commonly accepted slang words in frustration, to get attention, or obtain "shock value", our children and society become desensitized and we move on down the slippery slope. Some would say I am revealing my age or propriety when I cringe at "common" slang words, but I'd like to think it's Jesus in me cringing because I cannot imagine Him using any of those words even as He threw the tables over in the temple. NOT ONE! Here – let the Word of God speak to all of our hearts.


Matthew 12:36 - "But I tell you that every careless (idle, empty) word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment." 


Matthew 15:18 - "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart…"


Ephesians 4:29 - "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."

 

Schizophrenic Culture

by Robert E. Jackson

As a physician, I have on occasion treated patients with schizophrenia. I provide medical consultation for the Behavioral Health Center (psych ward). Every patient with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, drug addiction or dementia have to has to have a medical consult to manage their coexisting medical conditions. Over the years I have become quite familiar with schizophrenic patients and their characteristics. This is a blog and not a medical treatise, so I only intend to mention a couple of behavioral characteristics in order to make my eventual point.


Patients with schizophrenia often have difficulty differentiating reality from what is false, i.e. their hallucinations. They may present experiencing auditory or visual hallucinations that are quite disturbing to them, even commanding them to harm themselves or others. More than that, their judgment/insight is poor. Their ability to discern their own condition is quite limited. They are often blind to the bad choices they make and deleterious consequences of those choices. Their sense of right and wrong, good and bad is sometimes blurred. That is why schizophrenic (and bipolar) patients are disproportionately involved with illicit drugs and illicit sex. Please understand this is a generalization because I know evangelical Christian patients afflicted with these conditions whose internal moral compass (Holy Spirit) steers them away from such conduct.


Now here's my point. What happens when our entire culture becomes schizophrenic? When society at large cannot discern reality from falsehood, truth from lies? What happens when those in positions of authority lose their ability to judge fairly and their insight is compromised? When pro-life counselors at an abortion clinic in North Carolina were arrested for providing options to clients at an abortion in Charlotte while shoppers at nearby retail outlets were unmolested, what does this say about our culture? What kind of viewpoint discrimination is that? How schizophrenic is that? 


When appearing before a magistrate this pro-lifer,  David Benham was asked by the female magistrate, "Don't you realize you could give the virus to the baby?" Stunned, Mr. Benham responded, "Do you not know what they do in that clinic? Those mothers plan to kill their babies in there." Is that magistrate blind or ignorant, or has she lost touch with reality – like my schizophrenic patients? 


In Mississippi, folks can buy flowers, mulch, and landscape timbers on Sunday during the COVID crisis, but they are issued $500 citations for sitting separately in their cars in a church parking lot in an attempt to worship God. What happened to our First Amendment rights? Why can we buy and sell but not worship God? Whose judgment is impaired in this instance? 


As our culture becomes increasingly post-Christian/biblical illiterate and loses its appreciation for the value of our constitution, such double standards and legal schizophrenia will be on the rise. Those in authority will always impose their worldview bias, which will be increasingly divorced from Judeo-Christian values and the Constitution. When this occurs, a schizophrenic application of the laws fraught with double standards is inevitable. As the book of Judges concludes – every man will do what is right in his own eyes.