Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Breaking News...kind of

I was working on finding information for a new post...it was going to be way well researched, but I came across some news that needed to take top priority.

The abortion bill in South Dakota is being petitioned against, right now. South Dakota Campaign for Healthy Families has begun circulating a petition that would put the new law on the ballot, this November. If they can get 17,000 signatures by June 19, the law will not go into effect in July as slated, but rather be decided upon by popular vote. According to their homepage, they are hoping to get this law repealed. Volunteers are going door to door soliciting signatures (Keloland.com). I guess we'll have to wait and see what happens, but I urge each and every one of you to continue to hold South Dakota in your prayers, and for those of you in the state, if it comes to a vote, please stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves. God bless you all.

Wait for Him

Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will stay awake just to watch you sleep. Wait for the guy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in your sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends. Wait for the one who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares about you and how lucky he is to have you. Wait for the one who turns to his friends and says, "....that's her."

I got that from my friend Molly. Let it be a reminder to all of you girls never to settle. God has a great and godly man for you, a man who will take care of you and treat you like the treasure you are. Be patient and wait for him.

Isaiah 26:3 "Thou wilt keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because he trusteth in Thee."

A Man's Experience with Abortion

Words from a Father--Anonymous

How ever can I explain it? Tell me, where do I begin,
to try and justify the cause of just another sin?
I remember the day she told me, and the fear within her eyes.
I hid my love for you behind "it's-your-decision" lies.
How could I fight a verdict that she so quickly made?
All I could do was love her, and try to ease her pain.
I guess I always thought that atonement could be mine--
if we had another child someday, we could undo this tragic crime.

I wish that I could blame her, to help relieve my guilt,
But I only blame myself, and I know I always will.
I should have protected you, instead of her or me.
But I loved her so much, living for her touch....
That's what I hope you'll see.

Now, I see you up in heaven, your finger pointing down,
upon the lap of Christ, millions of innocents, gathered 'round.
Knowing you are in heaven, offers some relief to me
because our all-forgiving God has promised to set me free.

I know we'll be joined together, as family once again
when our time on earth is over and our eternity can begin.
So please forgive us both, for such a selfish task.
Just let her know you love her; it's all I'll ever ask.

I got this poem from The Jericho Plan by David C. Reardon .

Monday, March 27, 2006

God's promise to each of us

When you are sad.....I will dry your tears.
When you are scared....I will comfort your fears.
When you are worried.....I will give you hope.
When you are confused.....I will help you cope
And when you are lost....And can't see the light,
I shall be your beacon.....Shining ever so bright.
This is my oath.....I pledge till the end.
Why you may ask?.....Because you're my friend.


I'd heard this story before, but it's something to keep in mind. Because we have access to forgiveness and miracles for a discounted price thanks to the grace of Jesus. That and it shows what good God can work through each of us. I hope you all enjoy it.

A little girl went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door.

She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!

"And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy! a miracle."

" I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.

" His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy

"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little.

"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs."

The pharmacist's brother was a well dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother need?"

" I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money."

" How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.

"One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly. "And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to."

"Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven cents---the exact price of a miracle for little brothers. "

He took her money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the miracle you need"

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon, specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed free of charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well. Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place.

"That surgery," Tess's Mom whispered. "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost...one dollar and eleven cents ... plus the faith of a little child..

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Malachi 3:3

Malachi 3:3 says: "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver."

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God. One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible Study. That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot;then she thought again about the verse that says: "He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver." She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. If the silver was left amoment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed. The woman was silent for a moment.

Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's easy -- when I see my image in it"

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has his eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

What a thought, eh? I mean, seriously. That is our God. He is always wathing us, even through the hardest of times. Whether you look at this verse as applying to your life in general or to a relationship, it's true. God is working in your life. He is working to purify you and make you more like Him...so He can see His image in you. If we trust in Him and allow Him to work His will in our lives, others will be able to see His image in us as well. Now, that's evangelism. "Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words."

Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A beautiful story about a beautiful boy.

At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning disabled
children, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would
never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its
dedicated staff, he offered a question:

"When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does is
done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other
children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the
natural order of things in my son?"

The audience was stilled by the query.

The! father continued. "I believe, that when a child like Shay, physically
and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an opportunity to realize
true human nature presents itself, and it comes, in the way other people
treat that child. "Then he told the following story:

Shay and his father had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were
playing baseball. Shay asked, "Do you think they'll let me play?" Shay's
father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their
team, but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play,
it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to
be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked if Shay
could play, not expecting much. The boy looked around for guidance and
said, "We're losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I
guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth

Shay struggled over to the team's bench put on a team shirt with a broad
smile and his Father had a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart.
The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of
the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a few runs but was still behind by
three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in
the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously
ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear
as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth
inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded,
the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at

At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win
the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit
was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat
properly, much less connect with the ball.

However, as Shay stepped up! to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the
other team putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a
few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least be able to make
contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The
pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards
Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground
ball right back to the pitcher.

The game would now be over, but the pitcher picked up the soft grounder and
could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have
been out and that would have been the end of the game.

Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the head of the first
baseman, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both
teams started yelling, "Shay, run to first! Run to first!" Never in his
life had Shay ever ran that far but made it to first base. He scampered
down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled!

Everyone yelled, "Run to second, run to second!"
Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and
struggling to make it to second base. By the time Shay rounded towards
second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their
team, who had a chance to be the hero for his team for the first time. He
could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he
understood the pitcher's intentions and he too intentionally threw the ball
high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward second base
deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.

All were screaming, "Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay"

Shay reached second base, the opposing shortstop ran to help him and turned
him in the direction of third base, and shouted, "Run to third! Shay, run
to third" As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams and those
watching were on their feet were screaming, "Shay, run home! Shay ran to
home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the "grand
slam" and won the game for his team.

That day, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, the
boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into
this world.

Shay didn't make it to another summer and died that winter, having never
forgotten being the hero and making his Father so happy and coming home and
seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Yay for abstinence!

Laura Bush was in Africa, and do you know what topic she addressed? Abstinence! She talked about how absitnence needed to be promoted in Africa to help curb the AIDS epidemic. She said condoms weren't the answer!

"’I'm always a little bit irritated when I hear the criticism of abstinence, because abstinence is absolutely 100 percent effective in eradicating a sexually transmitted disease,’" Mrs. Laura Bush said.

"’In a country or a part of the world where one in three people have a sexually transmitted deadly disease, you have to talk about abstinence, you really have to,’ she said. ‘In many countries where girls feel obligated to comply with the wishes of men, girls need to know that abstinence is a choice.’"

Mrs. Bush was in Africa for Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s inauguration as the first elected female president in Africa.

Reporters asked her why US President George W. Bush and she defended abstinence. One reporter said that it sounded too much like "’Christian moralism.’" That kind of questioning elicited Mrs. Bush sound response.

There are those who would push condoms rather than abstinence. Realism: many don’t use condoms when they’re put in their hands. Each sex encounter demands a new condom. How many condoms are going to be distributed daily to each sexually active African? Who is going to dole out the millions of condoms? How do condoms help the female coerced into sex when the male may use the condom on the first try and then abandon condoms in other intrusions?

In other words, Mrs. Bush’s response is absolutely accurate. Abstinence is 100 percent effective "in eradicating a sexually transmitted disease." That is fact. It is fact. That is fact.

According to The Washington Times’ Bill Sammon: "She also said AIDS can be curbed by the correct use of condoms and by being faithful to one's partner.

"Mrs. Bush is leading the U.S. delegation, which also includes her daughter Barbara and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, to today's swearing-in of Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf, a U.S.-educated economist and former World Bank official.

"’We're really, really excited to be at such a historic inauguration,’ Mrs. Bush told reporters en route to Africa.

"’Because traditionally, women have been excluded in many African cultures -- not all of them, but in many.’

"The first lady said Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf ‘serves as a very important role model for little girls on the continent, as well as around the world.’ The Bush administration hopes the inauguration will mark a turning point for Liberia, which was wracked by violence that killed about 250,000 people from 1989 to 2003. Since then, a transitional government has ruled the continent's oldest republic, which was established in 1847 by freed American slaves.

"Mrs. Bush said the new president can begin the healing process in earnest and pledged U.S. help to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

"’She ran on a platform of reconciliation and reconstruction, and it's going to take the help of a lot of countries, including the United States, which has a special relationship with Liberia, for her and the people of Liberia to be able to do the reconstruction they need,’ she said."

Copyright © 2006 by J. Grant Swank, Jr.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Stories Abound

Most scientific minded people refuse to use anecdotes as evidence, but I must admit, I care about people, and I care about what they have to say. I mean, who we minister to people if we don't know how they feel, if we don't know what's on their minds? I mean, sometimes, listening to someone's story helps them to work towards healing. Listening and speaking are both excellent tools for ministry.

That's all I could think of when I say a news story entitled One procedure, two perspectives . (The link has video as well.) Anyway, it includes interviews with two women who had abortions at a young age. One of which, lived with regret and remorse, the other staunchly feels that her decision was the correct one. How could these two women make the same decision but be so different in their reactions to it? It breaks my heart to think of it...and yet, I have yet to understand.

If your curiousity is piqued as much as mine, He Invites and I'm Not Sorry are filled with first-hand stories of women who have aborted. Love Matters has stories from men affected by abortion. If you have the time, check them out. God bless.

Things are heating up...what will happen next?

The abortion bill signed into law by Governor Rounds is under a lot of scrutiny by pro-choice groups in South Dakota as well as those across the country. Most recently, a group from Wisconsin, "Basic-Abortion-Rights Network", has filed a petition in Pierre to try to put the abortion law on the November ballot. If that were to happen, the law would need to have the majority of the public vote to remain on the books. To get the law on the ballot, the petition will need 17,000 signatures by mid June. I know that any group can begin a petition, making what this group did entirely kosher, but I'm unsure as to where the signatures must come from. Few groups in South Dakota are truly in favor of this petition, not even the pro-choicers. The bill will either go to the public vote or to the courts or even both. This petition may delay the legal process...it also gives another opportunity for the law to get shot down. This is another obstacle, it seems, and one I'm unsure how to approach, individually or in the context of a group. If anyone has suggestions, let me know. Definitely, though, continue to hold this law and the people of South Dakota in your prayers. God bless you all.

*edit* I just read in an article on Keloland.com that the petition can only be signed by South Dakota residents. The group that has sponsored this petition has remained elusive and their efforts are not supported by pro-choicers or pro-lifers. That kind of throws things up in the air? What will happen next? Only God knows...this story has already been exciting...Yay, God!

Tuesday, March 14, 2006


First of all, I apologize for my recent period of silence. I was down in New Orleans working with Lutheran Disaster Response to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina clean out their houses. It was remarkable to see Christ's body at work...Maybe I'll devote a blog to my trip, later, when I have pictures. Otherwise, e-mail me if you want to hear about the trip or if you have any questions.

In other news, while I was in Louisiana, Governor Rounds signed HB 1215 into law. For those of you new to this blog, that means that abortion is banned in South Dakota, as of July. Whoa! It's soooooo awesome!

Governor Rounds released a statement, saying:

"I have signed House Bill 1215 into law. It is An Act to establish certain legislative findings, to reinstate the prohibition against certain acts causing the termination of an unborn human life, to prescribe a penalty therefore, and to provide for the implementation of such provisions under certain circumstances.

HB 1215 passed South Dakota's legislature with bi-partisan sponsorship and strong bi-partisan support in both houses. Its purpose is to eliminate most abortions in South Dakota. It does allow doctors to perform abortions in order to save the life of the mother. It does not prohibit the taking of contraceptive drugs before a pregnancy is determined, such as in the case of rape or incest.

In the history of the world, the true test of a civilization is how well people treat the most vulnerable and most helpless in their society. The sponsors and supporters of this bill believe that abortion is wrong because unborn children are the most vulnerable and most helpless persons in our society. I agree with them.
Because this new law is a direct challenge to the Roe versus Wade interpretation of the Constitution, I expect this law will be taken to court and prevented from going into effect this July. That challenge will likely take years to be settled and it may ultimately be decided by the United States Supreme Court. Our existing laws regulating abortions will remain in effect.

The reversal of a Supreme Court opinion is possible. For example, in 1896, the United States Supreme Court ruled in the Plessy versus Ferguson case that a state could require racial segregation in public facilities if the facilities offered to different races were equal. However, fifty-eight years later, the Supreme Court reconsidered that opinion and reversed itself in Brown versus Board of Education. It proclaimed that separate could not produce equal. The 1954 Court realized that the earlier interpretation of our Constitution was wrong.

HB 1215 will give the United States Supreme Court a similar opportunity to reconsider an earlier opinion.

While this is a state and national issue, I want to emphasize that whatever the courts decide, South Dakotans will continue to care about both the unborn child and mother. If we are pro-life, we must recognize the need to take care of women who are faced with a difficult pregnancy. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy, we cannot protect the innocent child, unless we protect and care for the mother. We must help each mother to see the value of the gift that is a child, and nurture the mother for her own sake and for the sake of her child.
Our state is committed to helping greater numbers of pregnant woman who will allow their babies to grow inside them and be born. In both the private and public sector in South Dakota, we have healthcare options, economic assistance before and after birth, adoption services, and, most importantly, people who want to help pregnant women, young mothers and their children.

There are also many people in South Dakota who will continue to help those women who have had abortions in the past. We want those women to know that we care about them, too." (courtesy of
Keloland.com )

Wow! That was awesome! I ended up making a lot more bold than planned...but...it's just soo exciting.

For anyone interested, the full text of the bill can be found at the site for the

South Dakota State Legislature

I also want to take this opportunity to thank Dan Lacey at faithmouse.blogspot.com for his support, especially through this remarkable cartoon he drew.

Thank you for everyone who has prayed for South Dakota during this process. However, I must ask that you would continue your prayers. The battle has just begun. The signing of this bill has created quite a stir. Many groups, primarily pro-choice groups (go fig) have begun protesting and picketing. Governor Rounds has come under attack along with the framers and supporters of this bill. Blogs and news stations across the country have picked up this story, and those who are upset, like normal, are becoming the most vocal. There are groups threatening to boycott tourism in South Dakota, a move that would greatly hurt the economy. As reported at Keloland.com , Mount Rushmore is having to prepare for what be a very slow season, based on the nature of the phone calls they've been receiving. So, pray for our economy and for the court battles that were more than likely come about.

*sigh* Life is great...I'm glad we are working to share it with young people... :D God bless you all.