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Stephanie and I were blessed to be able to attend a Directors conference in Columbus, Georgia a few weeks ago. Pastor Andy Merritt of Edgewood Baptist Church brought an awesome message that we wanted to share with you. Whether you're a PRC Director - or simply a Believer attempting to live for Christ in this culture - his message is for all of us!
...the sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.
1 Chronicles 12:32
"The Christian worldview, in which a person's beliefs, morality and decision making are rooted in the Bible and a personal relationship with Christ, is no longer dominiant in America. Instead, the secular (materialistic/humanistic worldview, which for all practical purposes eliminates God and provides no basis for meaning or absolutes, has become the dominant worldview in America.
"How has Christianity become so marginalized in America? Although Christians have nobly fought against the secular worldview in an effort to maintain Christian values and moraility, we have retreated from sharing the need for a personal relationship with Christ. In other words, we have tried to produce the fruits of Christianity, while neglecting its root. The reality is a culture will never embrace the morals of Christianity without first being reconciled and submitted to the Lord of Christianity.
"American stands under the judgment of God (Romans 1: 18-32)
*The slide to judgment began with idolatry, which is forsaking God to seek fulfillment in following other gods (Jeremiah 2: 11-13). America's gods are prosperity (success judged by an increasing standard of living) and personal peace (the desire to be left undisturbed to do as one pleases regardless of the consequences to future generations).
*Idolatry led to immorality which is a focus on gratifying self instead of glorifying God (Ephesians 4: 18-19). When God is removed from a culture there is no basis for moral absolutes, which results in a lack of restraint where anything goes. (2 Chronicles 28:19).
*Immorality inevitably led to inhumanity (abortion, infanticide, euthanasia), because any nation that turns from God loses the basis for the worth of human life. The sin of inhumanity is the line God has drawn in the sand, which when crossed, brings God's judgment. 2 Kings 21-24; Jeremiah 3:10; 2 Chronicles 36:15-17; Amos 1-2; Jeremiah 15:1-4; Ezekiel 14: 12-20; Ezekiel 9
"Although the recent presidential election may slow down America's race towards judgment, and provide Christians an opportunity to change the direction of America, the reality is, no executive order or legislative action can avert God's judgment on America or make America great again. True greatness (Godliness makes a nation great but sin is a disgrace to any people. Proverbs 14:34) will only come when America repents of her sin and is committed to making God great again. Only one thing has the power to do that - the gospel - the message of Christ's death, burial and resurrection which has the power to save a person from his sins and change his heart to love and obey God.
"The number one priority in our churches and pregnancy centers must be to boldly live and share the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16), realizing that the abortion issue provides the perfect platform to do so. We are to visually display the gospel of Christ through practical demonstrations of Christ's love in serving our clients and saving their babies; we are to verbally declare the gospel of Christ by sharing the good news of salvation with our clients and how they can enter a personal relationship with Christ; we are to virally spread the gospel by confronting our culture with the God who is the Judge of the sin of abortion, but also the Savior of sinners who come to Him in repentance and faith. Only one thing can silence the cry for justice from the blood of the innocent, and that would be for our nation to cry out for salvation through the blood of Christ. The bottom line is that pregnancy center ministry is to be conducted, not just out of a commitment to the pro-life cause, but out of a commitment to the Lordship of Christ and to advance His gospel.
"In advancing the gospel of Christ, we must be prepared for increasing persecution from a secular America and be prepared to follow Christ no matter the consequences. Why is persecution inevitable?
*The Christian belief is that there are moral absolutes rooted in God's character and revealed in God's Word for which all men will be accountable to God. This is in direct opposition to a secular society which says "the only absolute allowed is the absolute insistence that there are no absolutes" (Francis Schaffer). Therefore, there can be no tolerance of Christians who possess the absolutes of God's Word by which all men will be judged.
*The exclusivity of Christ (Jesus is the only way to heaven), is a death blow to the autonomy of man since Christianity requires man to turn from going his own way and submitting to God's way. Therefore, it is easier to attack Christians as being narrow minded bigots, than to relinquish control and surrender to God.
*The godly lifestyle and witness of believers serves as a light exposing sin and pointing to Jesus. Since men love the darkness more than the light they find it easier to extinguish the light than be exposed by the light (John 3: 19-20).
*The believers' conviction is that no person, authority, or government has the right to command what is contrary to God's laws, and if they do, it is the duty of Christians to disobey (Acts 5: 28-32). Faith in God calls the believer to stand alone in obedience to God regardless of the consequences.
"If we are to boldly advance the gospel in the coming storm of opposition and persecution and not retreat in fear, we must return to the spirit of ths apostles who rejoiced in persecution, counting it an honor to suffer for Christ (Acts 5: 40-42)."
And this was just Friday night's session!
By: Catherine Coyle, Ph.D.
[More than forty] years have passed since the legalization of abortion in the United States. In those years, numerous studies have documented the potential negative effects of abortion on women. The effects of abortion on men, however, have been largely ignored by both the scientific community and American society.
The few published studies concerning men suggest that, like women, men may experience grief,1 anxiety, guilt, helplessness,2 and anger.3 The fact that men tend to repress their emotions may also make it more difficult for them to resolve their grief.4 Even men who support their partners’ abortion may experience ambivalent feelings such as relief along with anxiety, anguish, grief, and guilt.5 About half of the men interviewed by these authors reported that one year after the abortion occurred, they still had frequent (monthly) thoughts about it.6.
A study by Lauzon et al. (2000) compared men and women involved in first-trimester abortions with a control group of men and women who had not experienced abortion. After the abortion, participants were given a follow-up questionnaire and “three weeks after the abortion, 41.7 percent of women and 30.9 percent of the men were still highly distressed.” The authors concluded that “being involved in a first-trimester abortion can be highly distressing for both women and men."7
The most comprehensive work pertaining to men and abortion was published by Shostak and McLouth in 1984. These authors surveyed 1,000 men in 30 abortion clinics across the United States and followed up with post-abortion interviews involving 75 of those men. The persistence of occasional thoughts about the fetus was evident among the majority of post-abortion men interviewed. Of those men surveyed, 11 percent stated that they were opposed to their partners’ decision to abort and were described as experiencing a very profound sense of personal loss.3
If Shostak and McLouth’s sample is representative of males in the United States, we may extrapolate in terms of current abortion statistics. Given that approximately 50 million abortions have been performed since its legalization in 1973, there may be as many as 5 million men who have been negatively affected by abortion.
This inference may be too conservative since it is based only on the fact that 11 percent of men were opposed to abortion in the Shostak and McLouth study and does not account for many other men who may not experience or even be aware of negative effects until quite some time after the abortion. As men are not acknowledged by society as having any role in the abortion decision, they may be confused by the intensity of their emotions following abortion and/or unlikely to seek the help they need.
The effect of legalized abortion on children has been obvious with nearly fifty million children losing their lives before being born. The effects on women are well-documented and many clinicians are now aware of the existence of Post Abortion Syndrome8 among women. The effects of abortion on men continue to be overlooked although the limited research strongly suggests that abortion may have detrimental effects on men.
Abortion may contribute to a host of problems among men such as anger, helplessness, guilt, grief, relationship problems, sexual problems, risk-taking behaviors (e.g. substance abuse), sleep disturbances (e.g. nightmares), anniversary reactions, clinical depression, and confusion about masculinity.
This is unfortunate for both the men involved and for society as a whole as abortion has damaged the very fabric of our society. As children, mothers, and fathers are devalued, so too is the family, the foundational structure of a civilized society. It does not seem too far-reaching to suggest that abortion has sickened all of our culture The symptoms seem obvious as men and women struggle with unresolved grief, families break down, and even living children wonder at the precariousness of their existence.
Catherine Coyle, author of Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing, earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin. She is a registered nurse and holds a master's degree in psychiatric nursing. Dr Coyle is an associate of the International Forgiveness Institute and continues to pursue research in the areas of both forgiveness and post-abortive trauma among men. Information on her most recent study can be found here.
"Planned Parenthood boss Cecile Richards is tweeting again … and further showing Planned Parenthood’s disconnect with humanity.
"Richards took to social media to proclaim, 'Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion – a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings.'" (Their own records show that the number of cancer screenings they actually provide have been going down annually - and NO Planned Parenthood anywhere in the United States offers mammogram services.)
"But what about the women who have abortions at Planned Parenthood? You will not see pride on their faces — or peace. Only despair and loneliness. Planned Parenthood is finished with them at that point." (The women in our Post Abortion Healing & Recovery groups who went to PP for their abortions all say the same thing - they felt like cattle being herded through an inhumane, uncaring process. They all left through the back door because they were a mess - physically and emotionally. PP knows that if the women in the waiting room see their condition they will think twice about going through with their own abortion.)
"Pride in abortion is simply nowhere to be found in the parking lots of Planned Parenthood. Their disconnect from the women they claim to serve has never been more pronounced."
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Abortion rates dropped 27 percent in California in the past six years, with various theories attributed to the cause of the decline, the Sacramento Bee reported.
The numbers come from the Guttmacher Institute, the former pro-abortion research arm of Planned Parenthood. According to its report, there were about 157,000 abortions in 2014, a 27-percent drop from the 214,000 in 2008.
“The national abortion rate dipped 25 percent during the same period. All but six states nationwide saw a decrease in abortion numbers between 2011 and 2014,” according to the news report.
There are multiple reasons being speculated as the root cause of the decline.
“In general we think fewer women are getting pregnant when they don’t want to, which means fewer abortions,” Rachel Jones, Principal Scientist Researcher at the Guttmacher Institute, told the Sacramento Bee. “For some women in some states it was decreased access to abortion. The states that had fewer clinics over the years, for about half it seemed clear that they changed the laws and that had attributed to the decline.”
The report continues to say that 99 percent of California’s women live in a county with access to an abortion facility, unlike Wyoming where only 4 percent of women live in a county with access to an abortion center. Furthermore, the report states that California has some of the nation’s most liberal abortion laws including the ability for minors to seek abortions without parental consent or notification.
“States that have policies and that attempt to uphold women’s rights may just have a climate where women are freer to discuss and access health care coverage,” said Julie Anderson, Senior Research Associate for the Guttmacher Institute. “Maybe contraception is more understood, acceptable, available.”
Others cite the current political climate and the efforts of the pro-life message to reach more people and effectively close down abortion facilities throughout the country as shifting the momentum toward life.
Randall O’Bannon, Director of Education and Research for the National Right to Life, told the news outlet the decline could have to do with greater pro-life educational and outreach efforts.
“We believe that when women have the chance to hear other views, when given information about private and public assistance that is available to them, when ultrasound images confirm their gut feelings about the humanity of their unborn child, when they understand more clearly that abortion will not be the answer to their problems but can indeed make things worse, they’ll choose to let their babies live,” O’Bannon said.
Others attribute increased sex education to the decline in California’s abortion statistics.
“When you think about it, there’s no woman that says ‘I want to have an abortion. The more education and prevention we provide our women, the more they’ll be able to plan their pregnancies and take care of their bodies, as opposed to not providing access and then saying, ‘Now you’re pregnant,’” stated Socorro Santillan, Director of Barrios Unidos, a non-profit group in Fresno whose mission is focused on sex education, sexually transmitted disease testing, pregnancy testing and subsequent referrals as needed, the Fresno Bee continued.
The abortion rate mirrors a national decline that even abortion advocates are attributing to the work of pro-lifers.
In January, Guttmacher, considered to have the most comprehensive abortion numbers for the U.S., reported an estimated 926,200 abortions in 2014 and 958,700 in 2013. The abortion rate (the number of abortions per 1,000 women of childbearing age) also dropped to 14.6 per 1,000 in 2014, down 14 percent from 2011, according to the report.
The numbers are the lowest since 1975, two years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, allowing abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.
Notably, the pro-abortion researchers partially attributed the decline to pro-life efforts. In the past, Guttmacher and other abortion advocacy groups have avoided giving pro-lifers credit for the declines.
SOURCE: Erin Parfet
50 Shades Darker opens in movie theaters across the country next week. This movie, based on the 50 Shades of Grey book trilogy, tells the story of fictional lovers Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey.
Parents be aware; this is not your typical fairy-tale romance. The film 50 Shades Darker paints a distorted, dangerous image of love. Not only does the movie endorse sadism, masochism and sexual bondage, it also endorses pornographic messages in an attempt to normalize an unhealthy view of love.
Regardless of whether or not your child would feel tempted to see the film, he or she does need to be educated on how to reject these harmful and dysfunctional messages about sex. Here are two ways you can be pro-active as a parent:
1. Be the first to talk to your child about sex and pornography.
It is essential that parents be the first to bring up conversations involving sex and pornography. Using examples of how your spouse loves you and emphasizing that abusive behavior is not a part of love can help debunk the belief that abusive love equates to real love in the mind of a child.
In a recent post, author and speaker Jessica Harris wrote, “A common mistake parents make is thinking that talking to their children about something will rob them of their innocence or make them more curious. It’s important to remember that the first person to tell your children about sex will often be the person they listen to.”
2. Affirm your daughters value as a woman.
Your daughter has a voice. Encourage her to express her opinion and desires for future relationships. For example, it is OK to say no to sexual contact with a future boyfriend. Exercising the virtue of self-control and purity should never be downplayed.
Source: National Abstinence Clearinghouse
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I have yet to meet a single woman who has taken birth control without experiencing any side effects at all. When I meet women who say they don’t experience any ill effects, I usually ask some specific questions.
I can guarantee these ladies have health issues and likely have no idea they are being caused by their birth control “frienemy”. Now I know that there are women who would swear by their birth control and that’s totally cool (everyone has to make their own decision), but the reality is that not all women are created equal. While the pill might be a good experience for some, it can be equally awful for others because we all have different kinds of hormone receptors. Women with less sensitive hormone receptors tend to have a lot more birth control side effects.
What I do know for sure is that birth control does not allow our beautiful bodies to function optimally. In fact, one study found that 32 percent of 1,657 women who started taking oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) discontinued them within six months; 46 percent of the discontinuations were due to side effects. Yes, almost half!
You should be concerned if you have experienced any of the following birth control side effects:My
Some women experience migraines when they first begin taking birth control pills. Basically a drop in estrogen levels can trigger migraines, and if you’re on a low dose pill, your estrogen will likely be lower than what your body is accustomed to making naturally. What is frightening to me is that if you are experiencing migraines while on the pill the majority of doctors will start adjusting your hormone dosages to figure out a way to balance out your hormones chemically, which can only cause additional health issues down the road. If the source of the migraines is the synthetic hormones in birth control, then the only solution is to eliminate the culprit and figure out a healthier alternative to prevent pregnancy.
Spotting is for the Gym Ladies
As if bleeding during “that week” isn’t bad enough for many women, some forms of birth control actually cause spotting or breakthrough bleeding throughout the month. This is usually caused by an imbalance between estrogen and progesterone. Progestin-only methods like the Mirena IUD, Depo-Provera shot, and Nexplanon implant are the most common offenders. Additionally, progestin-only pills need to be taken at the exact same time every day and even a little deviation can cause irregular bleeding.
Sore Breasts are for the Birds
Since most birth control methods are created to make your body feel “as if” it were pregnant it shouldn’t be a big surprise that your body will feel pregnancy-like symptoms. Anything from mild breast tenderness to don’t-touch-me sore boobs may occur as a side effect of birth control.
What’s up with all these stomach problems!
Do you know that the birth control pill actually messes with your gut bacteria? Yup, many women become estrogen dominant while taking hormonal birth control which can lead to an overgrowth of yeast. This overgrowth can cause constipation, diarrhea, gas/bloating – all of which are commonly diagnosed as IBS. I was plagued with horrible digestive problems for the four years I was on the pill and it took me ages to reverse the damage. And I see women on a daily basis whose gut problems all began while on the pill.
Ack, yeast infections too?
I was also plagued by chronic yeast infections when I was on the pill because of the imbalance in my gut bacteria. Unfortunately for women, that bacteria can easily travel from the anus to the vagina, especially if you’re wiping in the wrong direction. No fun! Quitting the BC usually puts an end to these bacterial infections and just FYI, these kinds of infections can mess with your ability to get pregnant.
What is not usually discussed is the fact that in order for the liver to metabolize birth control pills, it requires extra amounts of B-complex vitamins (especially B2, B6 and B12), vitamin C, magnesium and zinc. If you’re taking birth control for years on end, as are most women, you’re creating serious deficiencies of these crucial nutrients. Most women don’t realize this until after they have come off they pill and they’re contending with bouts of cystic acne, mood disorders, weight gain, sporadic periods and infertility.
Why Can’t I Fit Into These Jeans?
Ever had a PMS-fueled late night munchies session? Yeah, I know, who hasn’t right? While studies show that hormonal birth control does not cause weight gain, I’ve seen enough women in my practice who say otherwise! I don’t think most women take the pill and suddenly put on 15lbs, but it definitely seems to have a more indirect effect on appetite and weight gain.
Women who use a combination of estrogen and progesterone show lower levels of ghrelin (“I’m hungry” hormone) and higher levels of leptin (“I’m full” hormone) than do women who use estrogen-only birth control. Which means that combination pills might mean less weight gain than estrogen-only pills or progestin-only birth control options.
It appears the biggest offender of birth control-induced weight gain is the Depo-Provera shot with some women gaining 11 pounds and going up 2 dress sizes!
No Boom Boom in the Bedroom
In most cases you went on the pill to not get pregnant. Well, there’s no better way to not get pregnant than to not have sex. It is widely known that birth control pills can lower your libido but it can also have other unpleasant effects. First, birth control pills thicken and dry up your cervical fluid creating the dreaded “dry down there” issue. This eventually leads to painful sex…And we all know if it’s painful we ain’t gonna’ do it.
Testosterone is almost entirely responsible for our sex drive and vaginal lubrication. And guess what? The pill causes the liver to increase production of a protein called Sex-Hormone Binding Globulin which binds to testosterone and makes it inactive. This is a no-no for your libido my friends. The only solution is to get OFF the pill. And post haste for you and your relationship’s sake.
My Mood is Swinging
Nothing drives me more insane than hearing someone suggest that it must be “her time of the month.” Uggggh! I know from my own personal experience – and from my experience with countless clients – that depression and anxiety can be balanced out naturally with diet and lifestyle changes in conjunction with coming off hormonal birth control. This is because estrogen is intricately linked with serotonin (that feel-good brain transmitter) so when estrogen drops (on low dose BC pills for instance) it takes down serotonin and your mood with it.
By using natural birth control methods you will not only ease the dreaded mood swings but you can communicate with your body in a new and exciting way. And I guarantee you will be able to say that you’ve never been happier or more even-keeled.
Adult Acne, Are You Kidding Me?
Aren’t breakouts supposed to be for teenagers? It turns out that even as an adult the hormonal ups and downs over the course of your cycle can cause unwanted zits. Many women go on birth control to reduce acne but the only reason their acne goes away is because the BC has a testosterone-lowering effect. Once they come off, their testosterone and other androgenic hormones begin to rise again and the acne comes back. The best way to help over-production of androgens is through food and supplements. I highly recommend making food and lifestyle changes about 4-8 weeks before going off the pill the ease the transition. Remember, your body can go into a frenzy trying to balance things out so a little patience goes a long way.
My Period Has Gone Missing! (Amenorrhea)
Taking your birth control pills correctly, every day, at the exact time, doesn’t guarantee that everything will go perfectly. In fact, some women on birth control will not get their period at all.
While you might rejoice at the thought of experiencing no period, it is no laughing matter. Amenorrhea is caused by too little estrogen and progesterone and if a doctor just prescribes a different birth control, it will just mask the issue instead of fixing it. The only way to address birth control-related amenorrhea is to come off the birth control and begin beefing up your diet and supplement regimen.
Source: Birth Control Side Effects/Nicole Jardim
Sharon Pearce has served as the Director of Silent Voices since 1984, and has dedicated her life to speaking up for the unborn - and for the women who have been hurt by abortion.