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Authors: David Platt

Tags: #RELIGION / Christian Life / General

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BOOK: Because We Are Called to Counter Culture
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ABORTION

Across the world, more than forty-two million abortions occur every year. That’s 115,000 abortions every single day. I find it hard to fathom that number when I look at the faces of my four children each night as I put them to bed. I find it hard to imagine 115,000 other children who that day were introduced to the world with a tool or pill aimed at taking their lives. And I find it hardest to comprehend how I, for so long, could show no concern for this gruesome global reality.

Abortion is without question an assault on God’s grand creation of a human life. There is no way around it. Our lives and
language testify to this. I remember the pure joy when we found out that my wife, Heather, was pregnant. From the very beginning, we talked about our son like he was a person. He was never a clump of tissue that could become our son if we chose to have him. He was our child from the start, and we loved him as such.

My wife and I are not alone in this. Even abortion advocates join with us, albeit unintentionally, in talking about unborn babies as exactly that:
babies
. I remember when reports announced that Prince William and his wife, Kate, were expecting their first child. Even the most secular news outlets immediately began talking about the child in the womb as an heir to the throne. They made much of the significance of this baby, and no one spoke in terms of a “blastocyst” or “blob of cells.” We would loathe the journalist who dared to use such language. But doesn’t the
dignity we conferred on a “royal” baby apply also to countless other “ordinary” babies whose lives are no less significant?

PRAY

Ask God to:

  • End the injustice of abortion in our country and around the world.
  • Forgive you for whatever part you have played in abortion
     
    —even silence.
  • Convict those in positions of power to use their influence to end abortion.
PARTICIPATE

Prayerfully consider taking these steps:

  • Write to your representatives in Congress and clearly and respectfully lay out why abortion in this country must stop.
  • Work with ministries or participate in events (e.g., Sanctity of Human
    Life Sunday, 40 Days for Life, prayer walks) that seek to uphold the value of unborn human life.
  • Volunteer with a crisis pregnancy center in your city to aid in their work of showing women in desperate situations that there are options other than abortion.
PROCLAIM

Consider the following truths from Scripture:

  • Psalm 139:15-16: “My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
  • Proverbs 24:10-12: “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is
    small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?”
  • Matthew 19:14: “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”

For more (and more specific) suggestions, visit
CounterCultureBook.com/Abortion
.

ORPHANS AND WIDOWS

When you read the Bible, you see over and over God’s passion to demonstrate his power and love in the life of orphans and widows. “The
L
ORD
your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow” (Deuteronomy 10:17-18). “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation” (Psalm 68:5). Continually throughout their history, God exhorts his people, “Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice
to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (Isaiah 1:17).

We live in the midst of an orphan crisis. Approximately 153 million children live as orphans, meaning they have lost at least one parent. Included in that number are about 18 million children who have lost both parents. Not included in that number, though, are the millions of effectively orphaned children who live in institutions or on the streets, in addition to vast multitudes who live as “social orphans,” meaning that even if a parent is alive, the children rarely, if ever, see that parent or experience life as part of a family.

More than that, orphans and widows often live in the same home. When Scripture speaks of the orphan and the widow, doubtless it refers primarily to those who were orphaned or widowed due to a parent’s or husband’s death. But at the present time, well over a third of children in the United States
are living in a home with only one parent, and nearly half of all births are to unmarried women
 
—both inevitable realities in a culture that minimizes the priority and permanence of marriage. The result is a growing number of children and women who lack a parent or husband in the home.

The implications of this are mammoth for the church in contemporary culture. Now, possibly more than at any other point in history, the church has an opportunity to rise up and show God’s love not just to children and women whose parents or husbands have died but also to children and women whose parents or husbands have disappeared from their lives. Christ compels us to counter culture by stepping in to care for orphans and widows when significant people have stepped out of their lives. Indeed, the Father to the fatherless and the Defender of the widow is
calling his people to care for these children and women as our own families.

PRAY

Ask God to:

  • Open your eyes to see the orphans and widows around you.
  • Empower Christians around the world to protect the most vulnerable.
  • Remind you of the way he has adopted you as his child in Christ.
PARTICIPATE

Prayerfully consider taking these steps:

  • Start the process of foster care or adoption, or find tangible ways to support families who are fostering or adopting children.
  • Either on your own or with your family, consider reaching out to, spending time with, and serving a
    specific orphan or widow in your church or neighborhood.
  • Sponsor an orphan or widow in another country through a gospel-driven Christian ministry and maintain contact with the person you are sponsoring.
PROCLAIM

Consider the following truths from Scripture:

  • Psalm 68:5-6: “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation. God settles the solitary in a home.”
  • Galatians 4:4-5: “When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
  • James 1:27: “Religion that is pure and
    undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

For more (and more specific) suggestions, visit
CounterCultureBook.com/OrphansandWidows
.

SEX SLAVERY

I am ashamed to confess that it wasn’t until recently that I realized the severity of sex trafficking in the world around me. For a long time, the idea of slavery seemed to me a relic of a bygone era centuries before my time. I never could have imagined that there are more slaves today than were seized from Africa in four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade. I never could have comprehended that twenty-seven million people live in slavery today
 
—more than at any other time in history. I never could have fathomed that many of these millions are being bought, sold, and exploited for sex in
what has become one of the fastest-growing industries on earth.

But even when I heard these numbers, they still seemed distant to me. As long as they were mere numbers on a page, I could insulate and isolate myself from them. Quite honestly, I could live as if they didn’t exist
 
—both the numbers and the individuals they represent.

That all changed when I walked through a village in the Nupri valley of Nepal. For the first time in my life, I came face-to-face with the horrifying reality of what happens in those mountains. I heard story after story of girl after girl, and when I got back to the big city of Kathmandu, I walked past restaurant after restaurant with slaves waiting outside to provide services in cubicles inside. I saw where these girls once lived, and I saw where these girls now work, and no matter
how hard I try, I can’t get these sights out of my mind.

When I flew back from Nepal, I landed in Atlanta and drove along Interstate 20 to my home in Birmingham. I have grown up going up and down this interstate that spans all the way to west Texas, and I had no idea that it is the “sex-trafficking superhighway” of the United States. This same road that represents freedom for ten million travelers every year reflects the reality of slavery for countless girls every night. It changes your perspective to realize that the man and young woman at the table next to you at the rest stop may not be what you once thought.

Slavery still exists. And now that I know it does, I have no choice but to do something about it. Further, now that
you
know it does, you have no choice but to do something about it.

PRAY

Ask God to:

  • Intervene and rescue individuals around the world who are being used as sex slaves.
  • Open the eyes of Christians and churches to the plight of sex slaves.
  • Redeem the perpetrators of sex slavery or otherwise execute justice in light of their sin.
PARTICIPATE

Prayerfully consider taking these steps:

  • Support a ministry that addresses the problem of sex slavery and consider ways you can be involved in their work.
  • Make fellow church members or church leaders aware of this issue so that you can pray for the victims of
    sex slavery and strategize how to help them.
  • Call and write to your government representatives urging them to oppose sex trafficking as well as the pornography industry.
PROCLAIM

Consider the following truths from Scripture:

  • Psalm 24:1 (
    NIV
    ): “The earth is the L
    ORD
    ’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”
  • Psalm 82:4: “Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
  • Psalm 7:11: “God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.”

For more (and more specific) suggestions, visit
CounterCultureBook.com/SexSlavery
.

MARRIAGE

From the beginning of time, God designed marriage for a purpose. That purpose was not fully revealed until Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead, and instituted the church. After all of this, the Bible looks back to the institution of marriage and asserts, “This mystery [of marriage] is profound, and . . . it refers to Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32). When God made man, then woman, and then brought them together in a relationship called marriage, he wasn’t simply rolling dice, drawing straws, or flipping a coin. He was painting a picture.
His intent from the start was to illustrate his love for people.

Unfortunately, this is not the picture of marriage that the world most often perceives. And the primary reason is not the laws in various states, or the decision of judicial bodies to redefine what marriage is. The primary reason the gospel is not clear in marriage in our culture is that the gospel has not been clear in marriage in the church. Surely personal, not political, action is the primary starting point to counter culture in this area.

It is altogether right to be grieved about the redefinition of marriage in our culture. So-called “same-sex marriage” is now recognized as a legitimate entity in the eyes of our government. Such a designation by a government, however, does not change the definition God has established. And as spiritual darkness engulfs the biblical picture of marriage in our
culture, spiritual light will stand out even more starkly in the portrait of a husband who lays down his life for his wife and a wife who joyfully follows her husband’s loving leadership. Be sure of this: God’s design for marriage is far more breathtaking and much more satisfying than anything we could ever create on our own.

PRAY

Ask God to:

  • Empower you to be pure, faithful, and selfless in your own marriage or in your singleness.
  • Strengthen the church’s witness to the beauty of the gospel and to the biblical pattern of marriage.
  • Change the hearts and minds of legislative and judicial bodies on the issue of so-called same-sex marriage.
PARTICIPATE

Prayerfully consider taking these steps:

  • Humbly ask the leadership of your church to address the topic of marriage through the preaching and/or teaching ministries of the church.
  • Offer to talk to, pray with, or meet with individuals you know (of the same gender) who are struggling in their marriage.
  • Vote for political candidates who support a biblical view of marriage and actively encourage them to continue their support.
PROCLAIM

Consider the following truths from Scripture:

  • Genesis 2:24: “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
  • Ephesians 5:22, 25: “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. . . . Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
  • Hebrews 13:4: “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.”

For more (and more specific) suggestions, visit
CounterCultureBook.com/Marriage
.

BOOK: Because We Are Called to Counter Culture
9.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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