January was Sanctity of Life Month. January 21st, specifically, was Sanctity of Life Sunday. What was Sanctity of Life Sunday like for you?
I know it was 2-1/2 weeks ago, which seems like a lifetime. But do you remember?
Many pastors across the United States preached on the Sanctity of Life. Mine did. His sermon was awesome.
But it was just a start.
I heard that a woman in our congregation changed from pro-choice to pro-life. Yay!
I heard that another woman said she was going home to her daughter, who is pregnant out of wedlock, and encouraging her to go through with the pregnancy whereas she had previously planned to promote abortion. YAY!
These are victories!
But they are just the start.
I went home simultaneously encouraged and disappointed.
I was encouraged because our pastor got so many things right.
He explained that God is the Creator of life, including the life of the pre-born.
He explained that God is both the judge of sin and the Savior for sinners!
He exhorted the church to go out and be the hands and feet of Jesus to love and serve women, men, and babies.
But that is just the start.
And so I was disappointed.
Until the Lord reminded me that He has lit a fire inside of me to get The Church to go even further. This is the mission the Lord has given me.
We, The Church, must talk more about abortion in the church than in politics—beyond Sanctity of Life Sunday.
We, The Church, must change the focus from saving the mortal lives of babies to saving the eternal lives of women and the men who get them pregnant. And when women choose to go through with the pregnancy, we need to focus on saving the eternal lives of those babies. The Great Commission tells us to do so (Matthew 28:19).
Friday was the 45th March for Life, a political march that started on the first anniversary of Roe v Wade.
This was my first march. It was my Women’s March. I marched for women.
I don’t like politics, so I resisted going. But as I was telling someone that I would miss the march because I had a commitment, I had a sinking feeling like I had to be there. So, I made arrangements to go.
Honestly, the intended audience for my sign was the other marchers. My message is for Christians.
I got a lot of looks, like I was making people think. Yay! That was exactly what I wanted.
One woman asked me if I bought my t-shirt at the march or had it made. I had it made! So I gave her my card, saying, “I’m trying to get people to understand that abortion is a Great Commission issue” (see my blog post “Abortion & the Great Commission”).
Attending the Evangelicals for Life Conference
On Thursday, I went to the Evangelicals for Life conference. That evening, I went to the March for Life worship event. On Friday, I went to the March for Life rally and then walked in the march.
What I really wanted to do was to listen. I wanted to listen to the conversation. I wanted to hear what people were saying. I wanted to hear whether I agree with what was said or whether speakers were harping on the message that the pro-choice movement hears–it’s all about the baby.
I was encouraged! At the Evangelicals for Life conference, I was most encouraged by Russell Moore’s presentation, which opened the conference. I didn’t know Russell Moore before the conference.
Honestly, I stayed away from the abortion conversation on purpose until a year ago when the Holy Spirit convicted me to speak loudly and raise my voice like a trumpet (Isaiah 58:1).
Russell Moore is the President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. I loved his message. He gave me hope that more and more Christians would understand that the abortion issue is a Great Commission issue. We don’t want people to just stop aborting babies. We want them also to accept the love of Christ.
During the day, I worshipped and heard from Evangelicals. That evening, worship was led by Pentecostals. I am not Pentecostal, but honestly I love how they pray! Their prayers are so much more bold than what I hear in my Evangelical church.
Abby Johnson, a Baptist turned Catholic, spoke. She is a former Planned Parenthood clinic director. She started a ministry called And Then There Were None. Her mission is to speak truth about Planned Parenthood while simultaneously helping workers in the abortion industry get out and get into new jobs.
What a life-giving ministry!
You should follow Abby Johnson on all her social media outlets.
The March for Life, My Women’s March
On Friday, I had the privilege and God-arranged opportunity to ride into Washington, DC and march with employees and volunteers of Mosaic Virginia, a crisis pregnancy center.
These women are so committed to saving other women from the heartbreak of abortion. Not only that, but Mosaic has purposely begun counseling men in the last few years.
It’s not just about the women. Men, the fathers of the babies, are the most influential person in the abortion decision, according to Cindy Hopkins of CareNet.
These women of Mosaic are real. They are practical. They totally understand that abortion is as much about the women and men as it is about the baby.
God is grieved not just for the loss of babies, which are truly child sacrifices (), but for the women–and the men–who are lost for eternity until they seek the loving forgiveness of Christ. Healing is available to all who seek Him. This I know.
Caitlin was one of the women in the car. She is a singer who has a heart for the pro-life movement. What a lovely woman of God. Listen to her pro-life message given through music.
At the rally, I heard mostly messages that conveyed Christ’s love for women.
And, unfortunately, that message has not been conveyed in the news. The theme for the 2018 March for Life was #LoveSavesLives. Not just the love of babies, but the love of the women and men who created the babies.
Conceived through Rape
I saw people marching for children conceived through rape!
God doesn’t make mistakes. The last pain that I felt for my own abortion was all about God. I realized that I was mad at God for letting me get pregnant.
I mean really. We like to explain pregnancy through science. But as believers in Christ, we know that God is in control.
God decides which eggs get fertilized.
God decides which babies make it without miscarriage.
God decides which babies make it through physical and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
I was mad at God.
No, I wasn’t raped. But I was still mad at God for letting me get pregnant. I had to confess that sin. And once I did, I was able to write again, to move forward, to continue in the task that God had given me to speak loudly and not hold back (Isaiah 58:1).
March for Life Rally
I liked most of the message at the March for Life Rally. It was clear to me which speakers “got it” that abortion is not just about babies but also about men and women.
But there were still some who were solely focused on the baby. That made me sad.
But it also confirmed the reason the Lord wants me to speak loudly and not hold back (Isaiah 58:1).
God is not just grieved over the babies–and He is grieved over lost babies!
But God is also grieved over the women who are spiritually lost.
God is also grieved by the men not standing up to be the men God has called them to be.
The March for Life
The March for Life was about showing our legislators that pro-life legislation is still important. We have not given up on reversing Roe v Wade. The numbers of people marching are what was important. And the weather was in our favor.
I was not able to find good estimates on the numbers other than “fewer than 500,000.” Take a look for yourself:
Today, January 22nd, is the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade.
Although I am heartbroken that our country has given in to satan’s* lies, let us not be deceived into thinking that reversing Roe v Wade will end abortion. It won’t.
Abortion is illegal in countries all over the world, yet the abortion rate is still high in those countries.
Uganda’s Abortion Rate
In Uganda, where abortion is illegal, the abortion rate is thought to be as high as 70%. What will change that?
Changing the abortion rate requires a societal change away from pre-marital sex, adultery, and tribal traditions of having multiple wives to following what the Bible says about sex—that is, only having sex with the one person whom you marry.
The whole society has to change, and that change needs to begin within the church. For that very reason, I have been preaching sexual integrity in Uganda.
Now to do the same here in the United States. (New ministry beginning this year: MybodyMyworship, which you can find on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.)
The Effects of Reversing Roe v Wade
More Needs in the United States
When (not if) we reverse Roe v Wade, the need to care for women will rise.
We will have more women in crisis pregnancy centers.
We will have more women in emergency rooms because women will go to unsafe doctors or take homemade concoctions that not only kill the babies but hurt themselves.
We will have more children in the foster care system.
We will also have more children born with disabilities.
Are you ready for that reality?
What are you doing through your church to get ready?
Further, you will have even more women angry at Christians because, from their perspective, we are putting them into bondage.
We need to stand firm. We need to convince them that we are protecting them from satan’s* bondage of lies and darkness.
Influencing the Abortion Rate Worldwide
Reversing Roe v Wade will also reduce the abortion rate worldwide.
Why? Because with legalized abortion, we are telling the rest of the world that abortion is okay. Despite their own laws, they are following our example.
Whether we like it or not, we are watched by the world. Whether we agree or not, we are perceived to be a Christian country.
Because we are perceived to be a Christian country, we are telling the rest of the world that Christ approves of abortion at any point in the pregnancy.
By restricting pro-abortion laws and eventually reversing Roe v Wade, we are telling the world that Christ is against abortion.
Simultaneously Pro-Active in Politics and Pro-Active in Our Communities
I am Cheryl Krichbaum, a wife, a mom, a former web-based training project manager, a prayer warrior, and the founder of MyBodyMyWorship, which you can find on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
I am an outspoken Christian, just telling it like it is. And I have a mission.
My mission is to change the conversation about abortion. Perhaps as a result, Christians will think and talk differently about abortion and then accomplish the Great Commission one hurting woman—and man—at a time.
I firmly believe that the pro-life movement is a Great Commission opportunity:
Rather than just pro-life, let’s be pro-eternal-life.
Naming my website with my name rather than a created name for my ministry provides me the opportunity to write about whatever the Lord places on my heart, even if that’s something other than abortion and purity. For the foreseeable future, though, my posts will address those issues.
Naming my website CherylKrichbaum.com may seem arrogant to you, but for me it’s recognition that “Cheryl Krichbaum” is my Christian name, a name taken in humbleness and gratitude to my Father above.
Cheryl Krichbaum is my married name, the name I took when I married Russ. Just five months before we got married, I chose to have a personal relationship with Christ. That is, I changed from being a Christian by birth to a Christian by choice. I changed from being a hearer of The Word to a doer of The Word. I changed from being a Christian by title to a disciple of Christ.
Russ is my second husband. When I was married the first time (before I became a Christian), I did not change my name. So, until I married Russ (after I became a Christian), I had always had my birth name.
When Russ and I got engaged, I did not want to change my name. I remember that we argued about it. Russ felt emasculated, but I was offended, too. For me, it wasn’t about Russ. It was about wanting to feel valued for me.
Somewhere in those four months that we were engaged, the Lord softened my heart and made me realize that Hewas giving me a new name. So Cheryl Krichbaum not only is my married name, not only the name that I chose, but the name that reflects both Russ’ love for me and God’s love for me.
Someday you’ll be able to read many more details in my memoir, which I am editing and preparing for publication right now.
I believe that we need to change the focus from babies who have no voice to women who are in charge of their own bodies. The pro-choice movement is all about the women, so we need to address their issues head on (know thy audience!). That’s what a true Aristotelian rhetorician would do. That’s what the Apostle Paul, a classical rhetorician, would do. That’s what we need to do, too.
We need to:
focus on saving eternal lives, not just mortal lives.
talk about abortion and sexual integrity more in church than in politics. Why? Because abortion is illegal in most countries throughout the world, yet the abortion rate in those countries is still very high. Yes, we need to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Yes, we need to reverse Roe v Wade. But we also need to understand that the law won’t change hearts. Only Christ can do that.
teach men, women, and children to be obedient to God’s rules about sex. Just think about how many fewer abortions would be “needed” if there were fewer crisis pregnancies.
repent over our own sexual sins and our own silence about abortion and sexual immorality.
help men and women heal from abortion so that they do not abort again and heal from sexual immorality so that they have sex only within marriage.
Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood Director turned pro-life advocate, sent an email about billboards like this one in Cleveland, OH:
I can’t afford billboards, but I can afford social media, which has the potential to reach far more people. So, I’m countering these billboards with social media “billboards.”
But unlike the pro-choice movement, I am making mine personal. Mine don’t say “abortion causes.” Mine focus on the women who have abortions–because abortion does not just affect the baby; it affects the woman. And if you want women to stop aborting, then you need to make the message about them.
If you are on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, please like and share my billboards @MyBodyMyWorship. Or send the images below via email.
A year ago, I came home from Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, where I had been on my first short-term mission trip. While teaching the Bible to children, I met a 5-year-old boy with Down Syndrome. His left eye was closed, just his left eye.
I was born with my left eye closed, too. But, even though my family had little money, we did have insurance, so I have had 4 surgeries to open the lid. (As a result, the lid doesn’t like to close any more, and I wink at everyone!)
I have boys with mild special needs, and I am in a small group of moms of special needs children.
Raising children isn’t easy. Raising a child with special needs is outright challenging.
I can’t imagine how challenging it is for that mother to raise a boy with Down Syndrome in a developing country where her son not only will never go to school but is thought to be a curse or demon possessed.
As I asked our pastors what happens to children with special needs, I was confronted by the horror of murder.
Often, African women who have children with obvious physical deformities will drop their children into a pit. And by pit, I mean an outhouse with no seat. A toilet. An African squatty potty.
In the U.S., we don’t wait until the child is born. If the results of the amniocentesis indicate Down Syndrome, we abort.
What’s the difference?
Size—The baby may be smaller.
Location—The baby is inside a womb instead of outside.
It’s still murder.
I asked whether abortion was legal in Uganda. No, it’s not legal. But women still abort.
Keep that in mind when you think about abortion as a political issue. Yes, we need to change the law. But the law doesn’t change hearts. Only Christ can do that.
One of the pastors on the mission trip went on to talk about one of his pet peeves—how we talk to our daughters sends them to abort. He preached there in Uganda against telling our daughters not to come home pregnant because when we say that, our daughters abort rather than shaming their families.
Is it really any different in the U.S.?
With that, I knew what the Lord was calling me to do. He was calling me to change the conversation about abortion.
As I’ve been speaking and blogging over the last year, the Lord gave me His vision for a new ministry. My friend and I have named it MyBodyMyWorship—all together because they are intertwined.
You may have seen the pro-choice movement called “My body. My choice.” MyBodyMyWorship is God’s counter-movement.
While again in Uganda over New Year’s, it all came together. I understood what the Lord wants MyBodyMyWorship to do—teach Christians what it means to worship Him in all ways:
Kneeling in reverence
—just to name a few. But also to worship Him with our bodies:
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Romans 12:1 NASB
Because Christians need to get out of abortion clinics.
Because Christians need to obey Christ’s commands about sex.
Because people who say they are Christians need to become Christ followers.
So MyBodyMyWorship will teach:
What it means to worship God
The psychological effects of abortion
The biblical reasons to not abort
What science says about how we bond to our sex partners—all of them
The biblical reasons to have sex with only your spouse
How to heal from abortion and from sexual immorality
Today, we celebrate Jesus’ birthday by remembering that God the Son gave up His heavenly dwelling for about 33 years to become fully human and yet still fully God.
Through His sacrifice, Jesus knew what it was to be human:
to be tempted,
to be dishonored,
to be distrusted,
to be frustrated,
to be hated,
to be betrayed,
to be in great physical pain,
to be loved by His friends,
to be loved His siblings,
to be loved by His earthly father and
to be loved by his mother.
Today, we celebrate that we have a God who can fully empathize with us.
Let us also celebrate all that Mary and Joseph did to bring Jesus into this world.
We left off with Joseph taking Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Today, that would be a 2-hour drive, but Mary and Joseph would have walked 5-7 days.
Can you imagine walking and riding a donkey for 5-7 days while 9 months pregnant?
My only consolation is that Mary and Joseph would have been traveling in a caravan for safety. Certainly there were other women in the caravan to console her.
While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. Luke 2:6
I’d be ready to give birth, too, after that trip!
And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:7
Many people were traveling for the census, so it’s no surprise that there was no room for them in the inn. They would also be looking for privacy so that she could give birth.
With so many people in the inn, certainly there were women there to help Mary give birth.
After giving birth, Mary settled in for a little sleep for giving birth after such a long trip would certainly make a woman exhausted.
But people wanted to admire the baby, including some some who were unexpected.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:8-14
We sing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” but the angels said it.
When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.”
So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. Luke 2:15-18
“All who heart it”… Today, this would be like all the visitors at the hospital stopping to admire baby Jesus and then a group of homeless people come in to see the baby and tell this wild story of seeing angels.
Consider this: Mary knows that she gave birth to the King of Israel. All the Jews expected a political savior. Yet instead of Jewish Priests and Hollywood stars coming by to congratulate her, homeless people show up.
Would you believe them?
But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. Luke 2:19-20
May we spend today glorifying and praising God for all that we have heard and seen of Jesus in our lives. May we also appreciate Mary and Joseph all the more, understanding just how brave they were.
P.S. What about the wise men, you ask? Well, they didn’t arrive in Bethlehem until almost 2 years later! (Matthew 2:7, 16)
In my post, What about Mary’s Parents, we considered how Mary’s parents might have reacted to her news. Today, let’s talk about Joseph.
Mary was looked upon with favor by the Lord and considered herself a bondslave of God. I would expect someone with that much integrity would tell her fiancé her news before traveling a long distance to visit Elizabeth.
Joseph must have been upset both at her news and that she left town before their wedding. We know that Mary told Joseph that she was carrying the Messiah, for Matthew says:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.
How much of these three verses happened before Mary left for Judah?
Perhaps Mary told Joseph just as she was leaving.
Perhaps Joseph took the whole 3 months Mary was gone to consider this.
Perhaps, while Mary was gone, Joseph met with his rabbi to discuss what to do.
Perhaps Joseph thought it was best for Mary to stay in Judah so that she would be safe, protected from stoning.
Perhaps the angel visited Joseph while Mary was in Judah.
Perhaps Mary returned to Nazareth shortly after Joseph had the dream.
But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.”
And Joseph awoke from his sleep…
Knock. Knock. Knock.
“Mary, you’re back! You wouldn’t believe the dream I just had. Well, maybe you would! I believe that you are carrying the Messiah! I will marry you. We will raise the Messiah together.”
And Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife, but kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus.
Then shortly after,
In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.
And they looked at each other in shared understanding. Scripture said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). They knew that the decree was part of God’s plan, and they went.
Lord, may our Christian men be as brave as Joseph, saying “yes” to Jesus by loving Christian women and raising our children with us for God’s glory. Amen!
As we have seen, Elizabeth’s story of giving birth to John the Baptist is intertwined with Mary’s story of giving birth to Jesus.
And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month.
And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.
Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son.
Luke 1:36, 56-57 NASB
John the Baptist is just 6 months older than Jesus. Mary and Elizabeth are relatives, so John the Baptist and Jesus grew up as cousins, cousins who lived 4 days away from each other.
But Elizabeth and Zacharias lived closer to Jerusalem (Luke 1:39-40) than Mary and Joseph did. So when Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover (Luke 2:41)—and likely Pentecost (50 days after Passover) and Tabernacles (in the fall), since these are the pilgrimage festivals—where do you think they stayed?
John the Baptist and Jesus must have played together during the pilgrimage festivals until Elizabeth and Zacharias died.
Now we don’t know whether Elizabeth and Zacharias died before or after 12-year-old Jesus stayed behind at the temple (Luke 2:41-52), but I would guess before since Mary and Joseph seem to be traveling home in a caravan (Luke 2:44) rather than traveling to Elizabeth and Zacharias’ home.
Think ahead to what you know about John the Baptist’s story. At what point do you think John realized that he knew Jesus when they were children?
As you think about all the things not recorded in the Bible, enjoy the story of John’s birth:
Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.
And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, after his father. But his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.”
And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called.
They thought that because Zacharias couldn’t talk, he also couldn’t hear!
And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God.
Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.
And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people,
And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant—
As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old—
Salvation FROM OUR ENEMIES,
And FROM THE HAND OF ALL WHO HATE US (Psalm 106:10);
To show mercy toward our fathers,
And to remember His holy covenant,
The oath which He swore to Abraham our father,
To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies,
Might serve Him without fear,
In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days.
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
For you will go on BEFORE THE LORD TO PREPARE HIS WAYS (Malachi 3:1);
To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
TO SHINE UPON THOSE WHO SIT IN DARKNESS AND THE SHADOW OF DEATH (Isaiah 9:2),
To guide our feet into the way of peace” (Isaiah 59:8).
And the child continued to grow and to become strong in spirit, and he lived in the deserts until the day of his public appearance to Israel.