3 Things about Sex that Nobody Talks About

Dear Christian Sisters,

It’s Valentine’s Day, and here in the USA we not only commercialize everything but we also get our belief systems from TV, movies, and the media.

As a result, many of us have a concept of love that is not biblical. For example, we say “making love” when we mean “having sex.”

We know from 1 Corinthians 13 what love is and is not. Sex is not mentioned at all.

So, on this Valentine’s Day, I want to share with you a bible teaching on sex.

My friend Katharine Wang, Founder of Master the Bible Ministries, has a wonderful teaching on sex and graciously wrote a guest blog for all of you. I pray that Katharine’s teaching blesses your understanding of how God sees sex.

Lord, open our minds to understanding the scriptures (Luke 24:45)—in Jesus’ name, Amen!

3 Things about Sex that Nobody Talks About

by Katharine Wang, Founder of Master the Bible Ministries

Sex is everywhere you turn in our culture. There’s no easy way—well, really no way—to avoid sexual temptation. It’s calling to us on every corner.

So what do you do when you start getting pressure to have sex before marriage or to look at or listen to sexually explicit stuff?

Before doing something you can never take back, there are three things you should know about sex that nobody talks about.

But first, we need a little sex education from the One who designed sex.

Sex & Our Bodies, Souls, and Spirits

Sex impacts three parts of us—our bodies, our souls (our emotions and mind), and our spirits.

God designed sex to create a physical, emotional, and spiritual connection for us. Anytime we engage in sex—or even think about it or look at something that arouses those desires within us, those three areas are triggered.

When we engage in sex as God designed it—in marriage to one person of the other gender—it gives life to our bodies, souls, and spirits.

Marital Sex & Good Health

Sex in marriage actually makes us healthier. It decreases stress levels, which makes us less likely to get sick. It creates an emotional bond with our spouse.

But more than that, it actually expands the capacity we have within us to have deeper emotional connections with anyone.

And it gives us a spiritual connection—not just to our spouse but to God and to others, too. It deepens our capacity to relate to people spiritually.

Extra-Marital Sex & Sickness

But what happens when we engage in sex-related things not how God designed us to do it? Sex still impacts our bodies, souls, and spirits.

Instead of making us healthier, sex outside God’s design opens us up to illness. Any sin will open our bodies to getting sick.

Numerous medical studies have documented the connection between illness and things like stress, anger, and even unforgiveness.

When it comes to sexual sin, doctors have an entire category of illnesses caused by these temptations.

Maybe you had heard that one. But here are three more things about sex that nobody talks about.

1. When Sex Can Make You Stupid and Feel Alone

First, giving in to sexual temptation numbs our conscious faster and in a more deadly way than a lot of other things.

You’re no longer as sensitive as you were before to the difference between truth and error, good and bad. That causes you to make more blunders, bad choices, and poor judgments in life.

2. When Sex Can Make It Harder to Relate Normally

Second, certain sexual sins will block your ability to relate normally to people of the other gender. It becomes hard to see them as anything but an object of your pleasure. That robs you of deep relationships that God designed your soul to have.

It’s harder to make deep connections with people. You may feel empty, lonely, disconnected—almost like the walking dead.  Relationships can become more shallow and more focused on what people can do for you rather than being focused on deep and satisfying mutuality.

You may find yourself less and less fulfilled with your relationships because you’re losing the capacity for satisfaction through relationships.

3. When Sex Can Make It Harder to Form Spiritual Connections

Third, giving into sexual temptation shrinks your capacity for deep spiritual connection with others and with God. It becomes harder to perceive what God is communicating to you. You may feel disconnected to God or like he’s being silent or hard to find.

And you may find it harder to have deep, satisfying spiritual connections with other people.

God’s Purposeful Design

Sex was designed by God to expand and bring life to our bodies, souls, and spirits. When we engage in sex as intended, we see our health and capacity for deep connections grow in all those areas.

But when we give in to sexual temptation, we will be impacted in all three areas of our being.

Maybe you’re experiencing some of the negative things that can happen when we give into sexual temptation. God will completely heal, forgive, and restore when you reach out to him.

But why be the one that needs healing? Use sex to help you—in your marriage with your spouse—not to bring you down.

I pray that Katharine’s teaching helps you understand God’s design for sex. You can find more great biblical teachings by Katharine Wang at the Master the Bible Ministries website.

In Christ,

Cheryl

Let’s Get Serious, Church: A Reaction to John Piper’s Post

Dear Christian Sisters,

I applaud every pastor who speaks about abortion. I am pleased that John Piper wrote a blog post about abortion and that his Desiring God ministry shared it on Facebook once again earlier this week on the anniversary of Roe v Wade.One Sanctity of Life sermon per year is not enough

However, we—The Church—have so much more to do.

I am a member of a big church with a famous pastor who is willing to speak against abortion on Sanctity of Life Sunday. I so appreciate his willingness to do so because so many pastors don’t or won’t.

Yet at the same time, I know that one 40-minute sermon once per year is not enough. About 30% of abortions in the United States are by Christian women. That’s 30% too many.

We have so much more that we need to do.

Sanctity of Life

What Do We Teach?

When our churches have classes and small groups, do they teach why abortion is a sin? Do they provide the bible verses that show that God knows all of us when we were formed in the womb? Do they teach the spiritual consequences of abortion?

To Whom Do We Teach?

Do we teach not just to teenagers but to the young adults and to the adults? Remember, everyone 64 and younger has known Roe v Wade their whole adult lives—and four states legalized abortion before Roe v Wade (Hawaii, New York, Oregon, and Alaska).

My church does not teach these things.

Sanctity of Sex

Most abortions could be eliminated simply by people waiting until they are married to have sex. Do the classes at our churches teach the sanctity of sex?

Do we teach sex education in our teen programs? Or do we leave sex education to our public schools?

Do we teach in our young adult or adult programs? Because, once again, our adults don’t even know—and many don’t practice—the sanctity of sex.

So, let’s get started. Pray, asking the Lord to start providing Sanctity of Life and Sanctity of Sex classes in your church to everyone—not just teens. Talk to other like-minded members about getting something started. Talk to your church leadership.

Let’s make the biblical teaching of abortion and sex normal in our churches. We need to end abortion in The Church. It’s up to us to make that happen.

In Christ,

Cheryl

MybodyMyworship on the Radio

Dear Christian Sisters,

A couple weeks ago, Katharine Wang of Master the Bible Ministries interviewed my friend Michele and me about our new ministry, MybodyMyworship.

You can listen to the recording below of the radio show or read the transcript.

MybodyMyworship battles abortion with worship, prayer, and teaching. Our mission is to inspire spiritual acts of worship (Romans 12:1) by teaching biblically sound science of sexual integrity and psychological effects of abortion (1 Corinthians 6:19).

We offer conferences full of worship, prayer, and teaching. Please contact us to bring MybodyMyworship to your church anywhere in the United States or around the world.

We also offer worship inspiration on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Follow us on social media to fill your social media feed with God.

In Christ,

Cheryl

Announcing MybodyMyworship!

Dear Christian Sisters,

I had the privilege of being interviewed on the radio about my new ministry, MybodyMyworship. When the audio recording becomes available, I’ll share it with you, but in the meantime, here is the transcript.

Katharine: I’m Katharine Wang and you’re listening Radio Fairfax in Fairfax, VA. This is Keys to Spiritual Growth. Today we’re going to answer listener questions live on the radio.

But first a reminder that you’re listening to Radio Fairfax, Fairfax, VA. Cablecast on Cox and Verizon FIOS Channel 37 and Comcast channel 27 in Reston, VA. Webcast worldwide on the internet at www.radiofairfax.org.Katharine Wang on the radio

We’re live once a month answering questions about God and the Bible. I like to think of it as the type of question you’d like to ask God if you could pull up and chair and maybe grab a cup of tea and ask him something. We take questions in advance and also live right now. The call in number is 703-560-TALK. That’s 703-560-8255. Or on Facebook at facebook.com/mbministries.

Katharine: I’m here with my friend Lorelei, who’s going to tell us what questions we’ve received from listeners this past month. Lorelei, you couldn’t be with us last month. It’s good to have you back.

Lorelei: It’s good to be back.

Katharine: Before you tell us the first question from listeners, did I tell you we have two special guests on the show?

Lorelei: You did. I’m excited about meeting them.

Katharine: Yes, Cheryl Krichbaum is here with Michele Bair. Cheryl is the founder of a new ministry called My body My worship, which I’m excited to hear about. Michele is going to be part of this ministry, too.

Lorelei: Welcome to Keys to Spiritual Growth with Katharine Wang. We’re excited to have you on the show today.

Cheryl: We’re excited to be here.

Katharine: So Cheryl, you grew up in Minnesota going to church with your family, but it was more of a tradition that you did and you didn’t really believe Christianity or have its power.

Cheryl: Yeah, I didn’t understand what Christ’s sacrifice was about. I knew all the Bible stories, but I didn’t understand what they meant for me. When life got difficult, I turned my back on church and on God then made some pretty big mistakes. I became even more bitter against God. But then I met a man who wasn’t scared away by my life. In retrospect, I can see that he was showing me what the love of Christ was like. To make a long story short, he prayed for me, I accepted Christ, and then we got married.

Katharine: Let’s fast forward. Tell us about your trip to Africa.

Cheryl: I was in Uganda just over a year ago on a short-term mission trip. I had taught your Bible studies to children and had met a 5-year-old boy with Down Syndrome. That night I was asking one of the pastors about special needs children in Uganda and Africa which led to a discussion about abortion. The pastor said that he preaches on how our words often send women to have abortions. And that’s when I knew I needed to change the conversation about abortion.

Cheryl Krichbaum on the radioKatharine: So you realized that the way the church talks about abortion can be damaging to women? How should the conversation change?

Cheryl: The pro-life movement usually talks about babies, trying to convince the abortion-minded that killing babies is wrong–and it is wrong. But the pro-choice movement is talking about women and women’s rights, not babies. Women choose abortion because they think it’s best for themselves. We are ego-centric people and Millenials even more so. We need to have conversations about women and the psychological damage that results from abortion. If they are Christians, then we also need to talk about the spiritual darkness they plunge themselves into when they have abortions. We need to have loving conversations that draw women into life–physically and spiritually.

Katharine: So women-centered, eternally-focused conversations about abortion. I like that. This topic has a personal interest to you, doesn’t it?

Cheryl: Yes, when life got difficult and I left the church and God, I went looking for love elsewhere. I spent more time with my boyfriend than in my parents’ home because life was difficult at home but pleasant with my boyfriend. Not surprisingly, I got pregnant. Because I didn’t want the shame of pregnancy in high school and because I wanted to stay on track with my education, I had an abortion. And then I made more bad choices, like living with my boyfriend, buying a house with him, and eventually marrying him even though I knew deep inside that I shouldn’t have. That marriage ended in divorce. And, by the way, I still had the shame of pregnancy in high school, and my education was not completed on schedule.

Katharine: What a powerful personal story. And now you’re founding a ministry called My Body My Worship. How is your work different from what other pro-life groups do?

Cheryl: We battle abortion in a way different than all other pro-life ministries–through true worship and teaching the nations all that Jesus commanded (Romans 12:1, Matthew 28:20). We do this through women’s conferences and social media posts.

Our mission is to inspire spiritual acts of worship by teaching biblically sound science of sexual integrity and psychological effects of abortion–based on Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

Katharine: Michele, that’s where you come in. You’ve been a worshipper and a worship leader at your church for more than 20 years.

Michele: Yes, one thing I’ve learned in over 20 years of leading worship is that our bodies, souls, and spirits are intertwined. When we worship, it washes out our spirits and souls. It’s like taking a spiritual shower. All the filth and grime of the day washes off, and we’re filled with God’s presence.

Katharine: And you’ve named the ministry My body my worship? Why?

Cheryl: The pro-choice movement says, “My body. My choice.” We say that it’s our choice to worship with our bodies. As Michele says, our worship and our bodies are intertwined. There are many ways to worship–with hymns, on our knees, with lifted hands, even dancing. But the New Testament believer should also worship with their whole bodies in a Levitical sense, meaning that they should be pure before the Lord.

We get this from Romans 12:1, which says: 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.

Michele: We are also using worship as King Jehoshaphat in the Bible did to defeat his enemies. In 2 Chronicles 20, we see that the kingdom of Judah was about to be attacked by many enemies. King Jehoshaphat immediately went to the Lord. He called the country to pray and fast. Then he sent out a worship team ahead of the army. And GOD defeated their enemies.

Cheryl: We too are at war–spiritual war. Women (and men, but most obviously women) are under attack–even from other women. Women are fooled into thinking that abortion is no big deal. We are fooled into believing that we can have safe sex outside of marriage. We abort in order to avoid the shame of being caught pregnant out of wedlock, and then we hide our abortions because we are ashamed.

Katharine: A lot of people think of abortion as a political issue. But you don’t. Explain.

Cheryl: We don’t think God sees abortion as a political issue. When you embrace Daniel chapter 4, you can’t help but realize that God is in control of who is in office. I do believe that God is unhappy with His Christian nation legalizing abortion, so yes, we need to de-fund Planned Parenthood and reverse Roe v Wade.

But God is unhappy with our hearts and is waiting for us, for Christians, to act like Christ. The real victory in this spiritual war is saving eternal lives of abortion-minded women and men here in the United States and around the world. The Church is bigger than our country and so is spiritual war.

So, we’re going to battle by worshipping through music, lifted hands, etc. and by teaching what both the Bible and science say about abortion and about sex.

Katharine: That’s intriguing. Both the Bible and science.

Cheryl: Yes, both the Bible and science because scientific research supports all the biblical laws about sex–Which is no surprise, right? since God created science.

Katharine: Can you tell me just one thing scientific research has found that supports what the Bible says about sex and abortion?

Cheryl: The hormones that are activated in us when we have sex bond us with our partner. So when people have heterosexual or homosexual sex, they feel bonded to that person. The Bible says, the two shall become one, which is reiterated in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. When women break that bond, their emotions are affected and often they become depressed or develop anxiety. When men break that bond, they often become jealous ex-boyfriends.

Katharine: Wow. So our bodies were physically designed to operate best when we make a marriage connection to just one person. Alright, shifting gears a little, I’d love to hear what you would say to a woman who has an unplanned pregnancy right now who is thinking about an abortion?

Cheryl: When I had my abortion, I plunged myself into darkness. Even before there was a TV show called “The Walking Dead,” I described myself as the walking dead. I looked alive. I acted happy. But I wasn’t. I was dead inside. When you choose death for what is growing inside of you, you also choose death for yourself and Satan wins. God loves you so much that He doesn’t want the pain of abortion for you.

Katharine: What would you say to a young woman thinking about having sex before getting married?

Michele: As young women, we were told it’s OK to have sex as long as you use birth control. Today they called it “safer” sex. But the Bible doesn’t say that it’s okay to have sex if we use birth control. God says the only way to fully experience the beauty that He made sex to be is to have it with just the one person of the opposite sex to whom you are married. In fact, sex outside marriage is so dangerous–both physically and spiritually–it can scar our bodies, emotions, and spirits forever. Until we ask Jesus to heal those wounds.

Cheryl: The biggest advantage of sexual purity, of course, is obeying God–this is your spiritual act of worship (Romans 12:1) and your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). When our spirits are pure, we can hear more clearly from the Lord and become like spiritual superheroes. Nothing is impossible for us spiritually. When we live with sin, it’s like Superman meets kryptonite. Sin drains our spiritual power. Sex outside of marriage makes us weaklings spiritually. We can’t hear God, and we can be easily defeated. Sexual purity gives us spiritual super-strength. It keeps our emotions free of deep wounds.

But it also keeps our physical bodies free of so many diseases. For example, HPV is so prevalent now that we have a vaccine for it. Women are biologically more susceptible to HPV than men and get it even if the condom works perfectly.

We need to change the conversation about abortion. We need to talk about abortion and sex more in church than in politics. We need to teach our generation and the generations after us. This is not a young person’s issue. This is a heart issue of all the generations. All the generations need healing. And in a 2 Chronicles 7:14 way, all generations need to repent and seek God’s face if we want revival–and we believe our conferences will spark revival.

Katharine: What about a woman who has already had an abortion, like yourself, Cheryl? What would you say to someone like you?

Cheryl: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). If we want life, if we want to stop being the walking dead, then we have to accept Jesus’ love for us. I chose Christ and then later admitted to Him that I was wrong to have an abortion. And He immediately washed away my sins, and I felt clean and alive. You can have that freedom, too. Start with Psalm 51 and then contact your local pregnancy center for a post-abortion healing class. You can also seek a healing ministry or attend one of our conferences.

Katharine: I’ve never had an abortion, but I lost two children in utero, so I understand the guilt and feelings of loss that we feel anytime we lose a pregnancy. And I can also tell you that our children are with God. I believe I will spend eternity with them. And they always have a place in our hearts. Their short lives served a purpose here even if they were never born.

Cheryl: Yes. And our babies love us and forgive us. They are in heaven waiting for their moms. And those babies whose moms do not know Christ are crying. We Christians have got to share the Gospel with post-abortive women so that those babies are consoled and reconciled some day with their mothers in heaven.

Katharine: Amazing work you’re both doing Cheryl and Michele. If someone wanted to find out more about your work, how could they do it?

Cheryl: Our website is MybodyMyworship.org. We’re also on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We also do MybodyMyworship conferences at churches. You can find out information about how to get involved or how to bring a conference to your church on our website. We honestly believe that worshipping the Lord in this way will spark revival.

Katharine: It’s been a delight to have you on our show today.

Cheryl: Thank you for having us!

In Christ,

Cheryl

Sex Does Not Equal Love

Dear Christian Sisters,

If we want to end abortion, then we need to end sexual immorality. Share posts from @MybodyMyworship today!

If we want revival, then we need to worship God with our whole bodies (Romans 1:1, 1 Corinthians 6:19).

Today, Valentine’s Day, is a great day to dispel the lies about sex. Sex does not equal love.

Follow @MybodyMyworship on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, then like and share the posts to reach the generations with the truth about the consequences of pre-marital sex.

In Christ,

Cheryl

Legalized Abortion & the Anniversary of Roe v Wade

Dear Christian Sisters,

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.

Cheryl preaching sexual integrity in Kigumba, Uganda
Crazy Hair Krichbaum, or as my mission-trip teammates called me, Chastity Krichbaum. Pic taken in Kigumba, Uganda January 3, 2018

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

So let’s get ready. In politics:

Through your church:

The abortion rate is not going to change with us sitting here idly reading blog posts. Let’s get to work.

In Christ,

Cheryl

* I refuse to capitalize “satan.” He does not deserve the respect of a capitalized name.

MyBodyMyWorship—God’s Counter to “My body. My choice.”

Dear Christian Sisters,

It all came together in Uganda.

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.Ugandan boy with Down Syndrome

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.

Abortion: Changing the ConversationAs 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.MyBodyMyWorship

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:

  • Song
  • Lifting hands
  • Dance
  • Kneeling in reverence
  • Serving others

—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

Why Christians?

  • 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

And will include:

  • Worship music
  • Testimonies
  • Prayer

based on Romans 12:1-2 and 1 Corinthians 6:12-20.

I had the opportunity to teach a shortened version while in Uganda, and it was well received. People are hungry for the truth.

Stay tuned for MyBodyMyWorship events.

Ask us to schedule an event at your church.

Follow @MyBodyMyWorship on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

In Christ,

Cheryl

The Lord Wants to Talk with Us #BraveLikeMary Series

And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:28-34

Mary’s question is not one of doubt, like Zacharias’ doubt in verse 18. This is a young woman, a virgin, trying understand how she was going to get pregnant.

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”

Isaiah 7:14

Certainly Mary knew the prophesy.

Certainly all the Jews were talking about the prophesy because they would have figured out, based on Daniel 9:24-27, that the Messiah would soon be born.

Certainly all the young women were talking about who would be the chosen virgin and wondering how a virgin would conceive.

Mary doesn’t understanding how this is going to happen, so she asks. This passage gives me peace that it’s okay to ask God how He’s going to accomplish His promises.

The Lord wants to have a conversation with us. He wants us to ask—because He loves us.

In Christ,

Cheryl

God Can Use Anyone’s Story for His Glory

Dear Christian Sisters,

Mary, the center of the #bravelikeMary series, enters the story.

Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
Luke 1:26-27

Certainly Jewish scholars had done the math based on the book of Daniel (9:24-27) and figured out that a woman would soon become pregnant with the promised Messiah.

Young women who were descendants of David (2 Samuel 7:12-16) were all hopeful that they would be the mother of the Messiah.

But she had to be a virgin:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
Isaiah 7:14 NKJV

As you know, many genealogies are listed in the Bible. It’s one of the reasons people find the Bible hard to read. Unless you’re a genealogist (like my mom!), you probably do not get excited about reading a list of names.

But the genealogies become more interesting when you know something about the people in them.

For example, the women listed in Matthew’s genealogy each have an interesting story. Let’s take a quick look at the women named in Jesus’ genealogy:

  • Tamar (Matthew 1:3)
  • Rahab (Matthew 1:5)
  • Ruth (Matthew 1:5)
  • Bathsheba (Matthew 1:6)

Three, maybe all four, of the women were Gentiles! Tamar was a Canaanite. Rahab was an Amorite. Ruth was a Moabite.

Bathsheba may have been a Gentile. Her first husband was a Hittite, so she may have also been a Hittite as well. Also, her name is Canaanite in origin.

I love how God includes non-Jews in His heritage. It reminds me that eternal life is not just for the Jews, but for the all the people.

Non-Jews were included in Jesus’ story to remind us that His salvation is for all people and that God can use anyone for His glory.

Indeed He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.”
Isaiah 49:6 NKJV

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”
Luke 2:10 NKJV

Three of the women were not known for their sexual purity. Tamar, Rahab, and Bathsheba all had their children through sexual sins.

Tamar disguised herself as a prostitute in order to trick her father-in-law into giving her children. Of course this is not God glorifying for her or her father-in-law, Judah (one of Jacob’s 12 sons). (See Genesis 38.)

Rahab was the prostitute who helped the Israelites conquer Jericho. (See Joshua 2 and 6.)

Bathsheba had an affair with King David (2 Samuel 11:1-5), David killed her husband to cover up his indiscretion (2 Samuel 11:6-25), Bathsheba married David (2 Samuel 11:26-27), and she later gave birth to Solomon (2 Samuel 12:24-25), who became the next king even though he was not the oldest living son (1 Kings 2:15).

Even Ruth used her sexuality. She cozied up to Boaz while he was sleeping after he had partied the night before (Ruth 3:1-9).

What can we learn from this?

  • We learn that Gentiles are part of Jesus’ history as well as His future.
  • We learn that Jesus is not borne of perfect people.
  • We learn that even Jesus’ family had skeletons in the closet.
  • We learn that God can use anyone’s story for His glory.

In Christ,

Cheryl

P.S. If you’re wondering why Jesus’ genealogy as listed in Matthew 1 is different than Luke 3, read this article from Jews for Jesus.

Elizabeth’s Barrenness—Her Perspective vs God’s Perspective (#BraveLikeMary Series)

Dear Christian Sisters,

The story of Jesus’ birth actually begins with the story of John the Baptist’s birth.

John’s mother, Elizabeth, was a relative of Mary’s, so John and Jesus were cousins—not first cousins because Elizabeth and Mary were not sisters, but cousins in their larger, extended family.

Elizabeth plays an important role in Mary’s life. She was Mary’s mentor.

But before we talk about Elizabeth mentoring Mary, let’s try to see the story from Elizabeth’s perspective.

Introducing Zacharias and Elizabeth

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
Luke 1:5

So what Luke is telling us is that both Zacharias and Elizabeth were of the tribe of Levi. The Levites were the Jewish priests.

Elizabeth is Both Righteous and Barren

They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
Luke 1:6-7

So, Elizabeth’s clock had been ticking for some time. She wasn’t beyond childbearing years, that is, she had not yet entered menopause, but she was getting close.

Yet, she had no children.

In the Jewish culture of the time, big families were the norm. To not have children was rare. And as you may recall from my blog post titled, “Abortion & the Bible,” Old Testament Jews valued children.

It could have been that others shamed Elizabeth for not having children, yet she walked blamelessly.

Barrenness

Let me ask you this: Is an inability to have children a curse from God?

I hope you said no!

The answer is in Luke 1:6-7 (quoted above). Both Zacharias and Elizabeth were righteous in the Lord, yet they did not have children.

God is love (1 John 4:8). A curse cannot come from love.

If Elizabeth’s story is like your story, know that your challenge to conceive or to carry a child to term is not about how good you are.

It’s about furthering God’s kingdom.

God’s Perspective

We all have our stories. We tell our stories from our own perspectives.

“We can’t have kids” is Zacharias and Elizabeth’s story.

“When I will receive greater glory, Zacharias and Elizabeth will have a child” is God’s story.

We can look at every story in the Bible from the perspective of those who were there and from the perspective of God.

Now, our insights won’t be perfect because the culture of the time isn’t like ours today (especially that of the United States) and because it’s challenging to imagine God’s thoughts since He is so much greater than we are; however, taking time to consider other perspectives will help us to understand God.

We can also look at our own stories from our own perspective, from the perspective of others, and from the perspective of God.

It’s a whole new twist on He said/she said.

He Said / She Said

Have you ever told a story from childhood only to hear your parents or your siblings tell the story in a completely different way?

To encourage my older boy to write, we teamed up to write some he said/she said stories. We took the same event and each told the story. It was a great way for him to learn perspective!

Our favorite he said/she said story was about a trip from Minneapolis to Atlanta through Detroit, where we had a 5-hour delay. He absolutely loved that trip because he got to watch videos, explore the airport, ride the tram and the moving sidewalk, and go on a big airplane (777).

He was 7 at the time of this story. My other boy was a potty training toddler. The 7 pm flight ended up being a 12 midnight flight. Can you guess what the trip was like for me?

I carried my bag, my purse, a diaper bag, and a toddler.

I took all of us to the bathroom for diaper changes.

I walked boys in the moving sidewalk and took them on the tram over and over again.

When we finally got on the airplane, the boys wouldn’t go to sleep because they were so excited that they had their very own TV.

When we got to the Atlanta airport, the 2-story escalator going down to the tram was out-of-order. Thankfully it was going down, not up, but it was 3 am, and I was carrying several bags and a toddler!

What my son thought was fun, I thought was exhausting!

My Abortion Story from My Perspective or God’s Perspective

When I think of my own abortion story, I can think about it from my perspective (read “Faces of Abortions“)
OR
from my boyfriend’s perspective
OR
from my parents’ perspective
OR
from God’s perspective.

How does the story change?

She Said

When I had the abortion, I was relieved because I thought the crisis was over.

How else did I feel? Good question. I think that mostly I was angry that I got pregnant. It didn’t seem fair to me that men could have sex without consequences, but women were shamed for being pregnant out of wedlock.

I’m not saying that I was right. Feelings are not right or wrong. They just are.

He Said

I’m sure God cried when I aborted my baby. I’m also sure that God welcomed my baby girl into heaven that day.

I am also convinced that God decided to use my story to stop future abortions, to stop other women from hurting themselves through abortion.

And here I am today, redeemed by His love (read “Forgiveness“), compelled by the Lord to write this blog, and speaking in Uganda and in the U.S.

I traded my story for His story.

[Will you sponsor my next mission trip to Uganda? (Dec 26, 2017-Jan 6, 2018) Your tax-deductible donation can be made online.]

The United States’ Abortion History from Women’s Rights Perspective or God’s Perspective

When I think of crisis pregnancies and abortion throughout the history of the United States and the world, I can look at it from from the perspectives of women who are worried about bringing a child into this world
OR
from a women’s rights perspective
OR
from God’s perspective.

How does the story change?

She Said

Women’s reasons for aborting are varied. Here are just a few:

I can’t afford to raise a child. My parents will be so disappointed with me. The baby daddy will be so mad. Children put up for adoption feel abandoned and might be abused by their adoptive parents. I have the right to choose.

Again, I am not saying that these are right. They are feelings, mostly feelings of fear.

He Said

God cries for every woman who aborts. God welcomes every aborted baby into heaven.

I am also convinced that God is saddened by women not feeling valued by men even though we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).

As for our nation—as for all the nations that have legalized abortion—I’m sure God is angry. He founded the United States based on His commandments, yet as a nation we have decided that murder is okay in some cases and not others.

How is this different than King Ahaz burning his sons in fire as sacrifices to a foreign god (2 Kings 16:3; 2 Chron 28:3, 2 Kings 16:2; 2 Chron 28:1)?

(For more on King Ahaz, read the “What God Said About the Jew Who Did Not Value Children” section of my blog post “Abortion & the Bible.”)

A good friend of mine has a lot to say about this. I’ve asked her to be my guest blogger in January, which is Sanctity of Human Life month, so stay tuned!

I look forward to reading more of Zacharias and Elizabeth’s story with you tomorrow.

In Christ,

Cheryl

PS: Here is the link to my son’s He Said/She Said blog post titled, “My First Flight on a 777.”