Category Archives: Abortion

In Praise of Godly Mothers

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 31

Our scripture reading in the Book of Proverbs concludes with one of the most beloved chapters in the book, Proverbs 31.  The identification of the author has been the subject of debate; however, I believe the author was King Solomon.  We read in the opening salutation, “The words [discourse; law] of king Lemuel, the prophecy [burden; tribute] that his mother taught him [instructed; discipline; chasten] (Proverbs 31:1).

Perhaps Bathsheba gave her son a nick name that held deep meaning for her.  Having sorrowed the loss of her firstborn son, Lemuel’s name held deep meaning for his mother.  The literal meaning of Lemuel is “unto God”, meaning dedicated to God, and no doubt expressed her heart’s desire.

I suggest two sections or divisions of Proverbs 31.  The first, Proverbs 31:1-9, contains a Queen mother’s instructions to her son who would one day serve the nation as king.

The second division, Proverbs 31:10-31, is perhaps the most beautiful tribute ever written by a son in praise of his mother.  Countless books and innumerable quotes exist in praise of motherhood; however, I know of no other source that paints the blessed picture of motherhood more perfect than Proverbs 31.  Alas, my task is a brief devotional commentary and to that end I suggest one from a devotional I first penned March 31, 2015.

Proverbs 31:29-30 – 29 Many daughters have done virtuously [served with strength; courage; excellence], but thou excellest [ascend; go beyond] them all. 30 Favour [charm; grace] is deceitful [lies; unreliable], and beauty is vain [temporal; passing]: but a woman that feareth [reverences] the LORD, she shall be praised.”

One of the great tragedies of our 21st century society is the void of godly, virtuous daughters, wives and mothers.  The strength of femininity has served mankind well and the influence of daughters, wives and mothers on society is immeasurable.  Like salt seasons and flavors, women have the power to season their homes, communities and society with feminine, preserving grace.

Historically, mothers served not only as the womb of life, but also as the moral compass for a family, community and nation.  Make no mistake, the influence of organizations like NOW, and the rise to leadership of women who crusade for and encourage the slaughter of the unborn infant in a mother’s womb has dethroned America’s daughters, wives and mothers.

Proverbs 31:31 – Give [Deliver; yield; recompense; pay; apportion] her of the fruit [reward; results] of her hands [labor; consecration]; and let her own works [labor; deeds; achievements; behavior] praise [boast; glory] her in the gates [gates of the city where the elders sat and exercised judgment].”

A husband, son and daughter of a virtuous wife and mother can never compliment or praise a woman of virtue too much!   In his letter to the scattered and persecuted Christians of the 1st century church the apostle Peter challenged husbands: Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them [wife] according to knowledge [understanding], giving honour [cherish; treat as priceless] unto the wife…” (1 Peter 3:7).

It is my prayer this brief devotional has inspired daughters, wives and mothers to love the Lord and know, in spite of what this godless society might tell you, your influence is beyond your comprehension.  Many have said, “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

I close with an illustration and am at a lost to cite its origin.

Illust. – A man stopped at the flower shop to order some flowers to be wired to his mother who lived 200 miles away. As he got out of his car he noticed a girl sitting on the curb sobbing. He asked her what was wrong and she replied: “I wanted to buy a red rose for my mother, but I only have 75 cents and a rose cost $2.00.”

The man smiled and said, “Come on in with me. I will buy you a rose for your mother.”  He placed his FTD order of flowers to his mother and bought a rose for the girl.  As they were leaving he offered the girl a ride.

She responded, “Yes, please, if you could. Take me to my mother,” and she directed him to a cemetery where she placed the rose on a freshly dug grave.

The man returned to the flower shop, canceled the wire order, picked up the flowers and drove the 200 miles to his mother’s home.

Wives and mother’s long for their family’s affection and nothing will compare to the praise of her family.   By the way, to my wife, daughters and mothers in my life…I love you!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“A Nation’s Character Is Oft Reflected in the Character of Its Leaders!”

October 5, 2017

Scripture reading – Proverbs 28

Our scripture reading this Thursday, October 5, 2017 is Proverbs 28.  Remembering the Book of Proverbs is in a real sense, “sounds bites of wisdom”, brief statements of truth Solomon imparted to a son who would one day be king, it comes as no surprise that many of the statements in Proverbs 28 reflect on the reign of righteous leaders contrasted with the rule of wicked men who abuse the people.  Two proverbs will be the subject of today’s devotional commentary.

Proverbs 28:2  “For the transgression [sin; rebellion] of a land [nation] many are the princes [chief; commander; rulers] thereof: but by a man of understanding [discernment] and knowledge [by observation and experience] the state [rightness; well-being; preparation] thereof [the land, i.e. nation] shall be prolonged [lengthened].”

Solomon’s political proverb reveals one of the afflictions of a rebellious nation—many leaders!  The implication is that a country, which turns its back on God, will be weak and divided by its leaders.  An obvious illustration of a divided nation is civil war; however, the two-party rhetoric of our day portends to the same rift without taking up arms.

The vitriolic, venomous speeches of our leaders reflect the sins of a divided nation.  We are a nation of many leaders, few of whom desire to see America on a righteous course.   Our leaders have distorted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; systematically taking the lives of nearly 60 million unborn and attacking the sanctity of marriage and family with a deluded definition of equal rights in the name of diversity, we are a rebellious nation!

Proverbs 28:2 also reminds us leaders with wisdom, insight and discernment are a blessing to a nation.   It is the character of the leader, not the office he holds, that defines such a leader.   His integrity and dependence on God imparts to the nation stability and security that prolongs the nation’s life and prosperity.

Proverbs 28:5 is the second proverb I invite you to ponder.

Proverbs 28:5  “Evil men [wicked, sinful] understand [consider; perceive; discern] not judgment [rights; order; verdict; cause]: but they that seek [strive after; enquire; desire; search out] the LORD [Eternal, Self-existent Jehovah] understand [consider; discern] all things.”

The exercise of law and justice and keeping and preserving the law are subjects of this proverb.  While the righteous consider God’s commandments and fear His judgment, the wicked have no immutable standard of right and wrong.

Such has become the malady of America’s judicial system.  Once the envy of the world, our judicial system is corrupt and “Lady Justice” is no longer blind.   Sadly, the weight of the law is often balanced in favor of the wicked and their cronies.

With rare exceptions, the day has passed when good men and women go into the practice of law driven by a passion for justice and dedicated to upholding the Constitution and laws of the land.   For decades, our citizenry has elected corrupt officials who, once in office, appoint judges like themselves.

We are a nation in decline and have lost our role as the world’s leader and force for good.   One need look no further than the character of the men and women we have elected to office and who sit in places of judgment to understand, a nation’s leaders are indicative of that nation’s character—they are who we are!

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Woe to the Nation That Celebrates Perversity and Attacks Morality!

September 15, 2017

Scripture Reading – Amos 1-4

Borrowing the modern vernacular of politics, the prophet Amos was an outsider when God called him to deliver a word of prophecy against Judah and Israel (Amos 1:1).  He lived and worked in obscurity as a common herdsman with no political ties or religious lineage.   When God called him to prophecy, Israel and Judah were enjoying a season of peace and prosperity and the thought of God’s displeasure and judgment was far from them.

“Uzziah king of Judah” (1:1) presided over the southern kingdom and the nation maintained an outward form of worshipping the LORD (5:21-22); however, the hearts of the king and people were far from Him.  “Jeroboam the son of Joash” was king of Israel (1:1), the northern kingdom; making no pretense of worshipping the LORD, that nation built an altar in Bethel and offered sacrifices to a golden calf.

Amos, a layperson “who was among the herdmen of Tekoa” (1:1), was a courageous prophet.  With the word of the LORD upon his lips, he delivered a series of prophecies against six Gentile nations: Syria, identified as Damascus (1:3-5)… Philistia, identified by its principal cities, Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron (1:6-8)… Tyre (1:9-10)… Edom (1:11-12)… Ammon (1:13-15)… and Moab (2:1-3) all were warned the judgment of God was imminent.

Turning his focus from the six Gentile nations, Amos warned Judah the nation would be judged “because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments” (2:4).

Amos then declared the sins and wickedness of the kingdom of Israel and warned the nation would suffer God’s judgment (2:6-16).  Lest any doubt the grace and longsuffering of God, the prophet reminded the nation how the LORD had brought them out of Egypt (2:9) and given them the land of the Amorites (2:9-10).  God sent prophets, but the people said, “Prophesy not” (2:12).

In chapter 3 Amos prophesied reminding the people the LORD had chosen the “children of Israel” (meaning both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah) as His people and made Himself known to them (3:1-2).  Israel, however, rejected the LORD and He set Himself against them saying, “I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:1).

Adding to the Israel’s humiliation, God commanded Amos to summon two Gentile nations, Ashdod, a Philistine city, and Egypt to witness God’s judgment against Israel (whose capital was Samaria).  A sad commentary on the deception of sin is the condemnation: For they know not to do right, saith the LORD” (3:10).

How did the nation to whom the LORD had revealed Himself, His Law and Commandments come to this?  How could they be so blind they lost sense and discernment of right and wrong?

Warning: Here is the beguiling way of sin and wickedness.  When a people make light of God’s Truth, trivialize and rationalize sin, eventually their hearts becomes desensitized to wickedness, they no longer know how to do right.  Perhaps an oversimplification, but I believe an accurate one:  Israel had strayed so far from God’s law the people no longer had “common sense”—they had no sense of right (3:10).

My friend, the same condemnation is true of our beloved United States!

The lunacy of atheism coupled with the perversity of humanism is so entrenched in government, education, religion and media it has crippled our judgment as a society.   Having rejected God and His Laws, our moral judgment as a nation is twisted and perverted and we “know not to do right” (3:10).

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

“The Hand that Rocks the Cradle is the Hand that Rules the World”

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Proverbs 14-15

Today’s scripture reading is Proverbs 14 and Proverbs 15. I encourage you to read both chapters and remind you my devotional commentary for the Book of Proverbs is found on my website, HeartofAShepherd.com. For today’s devotional, I will reprise one written January 14, 2014.

Proverbs 14:1 – “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.”

The feminist movement of the 20th century, sometimes referred to as the “Women’s Liberation Movement”, did much to seek equality in areas that were justified [i.e. a woman’s right to vote; equal pay for equal work—are two of the major issues I applaud as right and just].   However, the diminishing of the role of wife and mother by the same movement has hastened the decay of marriage, family and our nation.  In an effort to break what they viewed as the constraints of traditional marriage and home, feminist have attacked and distorted God’s design for man and woman (Genesis 2:18, 21-25).

The Biblical role of a husband to his wife is that of provider, protector, lover and friend; after all, God’s observation was that “It is not good that the man should be alone”  (Genesis 2:18).   The woman’s role is that of “help meet” to her husband (Genesis 2:18) and “nurturing” mother to her sons and daughters (Proverbs 31).  Sadly, it is the very essence of womanhood and the powerful influence that women have in their traditional roles that feminist have distorted and nearly destroyed.

The powerful influence of the women in our lives and homes is the theme of the opening verse in Proverbs 14.  Solomon draws a contrast between the influence of a woman of wisdom and a foolish woman.

Proverbs 14:1 – “Every wise woman buildeth [establish; construct; manufacture] her house: but the foolish [woman who rejects wisdom and instruction] plucketh it down [beat down; break down; destroy] with her hands.”

wise woman builds her family (14:1a). The quality of wisdom implied is more than a “love of knowledge”; the implication is that she loves the Lord and His commandments. She is wise because she is spiritually minded and exercises spiritual discernment.

Prov 1:7 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

By contrast, a foolish woman (14:1b) destroys her family; she “plucketh it down with her hands”. She is a rebel…rejecting her God-given role, refusing instruction and bristling at correction. She is not spiritually minded, lacks discernment and destroys those closest to her.

For those who have been so blessed, thank God for godly wives and nurturing mothers. Pray for the women in your life, family and church—the responsibility of being a wise woman has never been greater or more needed.  Encourage them; thank them; and praise them.

 [P.S. On a personal note: Every day there are scores of readers from all over the world who find their way to my devotionals on Proverbs. I aspire to edit and one day publish my practical ponderings in Proverbs in a devotional book and e-book format; unfortunately, unpublished authors have to “self-publish”!]

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Ever Wonder Why Wickedness is Parading in Our Cities?

womens-marchWednesday, February 1, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Psalm 12-14

My focus for today’s devotional is Psalm 12:8.

Psalm 12:8 “The wicked [ungodly; evil; immoral] walk on every side [encircle; surround; unrestrained], when the vilest [worthless; weak; i.e. gluttoness] men are exalted .”

madonnaToday, more than at any time in my lifetime, the essence of Psalm 12:8 is on full display for the world to see. Permit me to put the words of Psalm 12:8 in my own words:

The wicked, immoral, and ungodly are embolden, proud, and unashamed of their sin when worthless, undisciplined, narcissistic men and women are applauded, admired, and promoted.

hillaryWonder why lawlessness, depravity, and wickedness parade shamelessly in our cities?   Wonder no longer!  The pleasures of sin and the debauchery of sexual depravity is a consuming passion of the American public because we have put on political pedestals, stage, and theater screens the purveyors of immorality and rebellion.   Wickedness and rebellion are cancers eroding the moral fiber of our homes, churches, schools, communities, and nation. Consider the following as supporting evidence.

When a villainous, lying woman receives the majority of the American vote for president, “the wicked walk on every side”.judd

When Hollywood stars and Rock musicians swear and curse the nation’s leaders, “the wicked walk on every side”.

When college campuses promote the wicked and despise the righteous, “the wicked walk on every side”.

Is the same not true of the church?  When carnality is the entertainment diet of church members and immorality is tolerated in her leaders, “the wicked walk on every side”.

Christian friend, God has called us to be Salt and Light in the world.  Salt is a natural preservative; however, when contaminated, salt becomes in the words of Christ, “good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” (Mt. 5:13).  light-of-the-worldSadly, I find that statement is true of many church members; too many Christians tolerate sin and have “lost their savor”.

It is easy to condemn the world’s sinful darkness, but I remind you, if the church were Light, there would be less darkness (Mt. 5:14-15)!

Matthew 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

Warning: A Biblical Perspective on Liberalism and the Women’s March

womens-marchWednesday, January 25, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Psalms 9-11

Today’s devotional reading consists of three chapters, Psalms 9-11. Psalm 9 is a psalm of praise and thanksgiving for God executing judgment upon the wicked and delivering the righteous. The pride and oppressive ways of the wicked is the focus of Psalm 10, reminding us that, though times have changed, the nature of man has not. Contrary to their rhetoric, the nature of the wicked is and has always been to oppress the poor and helpless (10:2-3, 7-11).

madonnaOn a personal note and one not meant as an offense, it is my observation that we have witnessed the unveiled demagoguery of the wicked for the past eight years. The recent Women’s March on Washington, DC put on display for all the world to see, the vented anger of the wicked who call abortion a virtue and whose mouths are vile. Such has always been the way of the wicked.

Psalm 10:7-8 – “[The wicked’s] mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity. 8  He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.”

I am uncertain of the historical context of Psalm 11; however, David was certainly facing the threat of an enemy and weighing the counsel of his advisers who urged him to flee.

There are times that retreat and flight at the threat of assault is a wise choice.  David fled from the presence of Saul when the king attacked him.  David fled Jerusalem after his son Absalom stole the affections of the people and led an insurrection against his father the king.   We do not know if the enemy David faced was a foe within or without his kingdom; however the threat was significant enough for the king’s counselors to advise him to flee (11:1b-2). David asserted his faith in the LORD and asked his frightened counselors, would you have me flee like a frightened bird? (11:1)psalm-11-3

Psalm 11:1 – “In the LORD put I my trust [confide; flee for protection; make refuge]: how say [speak; command] ye to my soul [life; person; mind], Flee [disappear; remove] as a bird to your mountain?

The king’s counselors reminded David the plot of the wicked was to destroy the just and upright (11:2) and as king, he was the moral pillar, the foundation of the nation (11:3a).

Psalm 11:2-3 – “For, lo, the wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] bend their bow, they make ready [prepare; set up; fix] their arrow upon the string, that they may privily [secretly in the darkness] shoot at the upright [right; just; righteous] in heart [mind]. 3  If the foundations [purpose; support; moral pillars] be destroyed [thrown down; pull down; broken in pieces], what can the righteous [just] do?”

The counselors reasoned not only was the king’s life at risk, but also the lives and future of the nation (11:3b). In other words, what would become of the righteous should the king, representing not only human authority, but the nation’s spiritual relationship with God fail?

Psalm 11:4-7 is David’s answer to the questions and counsel of his frightened, faithless advisors.

Psalm 11:4-5 – “The LORD is in his holy [sacred; hallowed] temple, the LORD’S throne [seat] is in heaven: his eyes behold [perceive; look; gaze], his eyelids try [examine; prove], the children of men. 5 The LORD trieth [proves; examines] the righteous [just; law-abiding]: but the wicked [ungodly; immoral; guilty] and him that loveth violence [cruelty; injustice] his soul hateth [as a foe].”

isisFor the sake of application to current events, I invite you to consider the violence, reign of terror, and wickedness afflicting the world in the Middle East in the name of Islam. Beheadings, burnings, rapes, and a swath of destruction perpetrated against humanity in the name of Allah is an example of the depraved nature of man.  Rather than condemning and calling for the annihilation of these zealots of evil, liberal politicians, educators, religious leaders, and the media cultivate a tone of political correctness, but are swift to condemn any who point out the wickedness of this 21st century crusade against humanity.

David reminds the righteous that God is on His throne and the wicked will not escape His wrath (11:6). Not unlike the weapons of modern warfare, David describes the terror of God’s judgment raining down upon the wicked who oppose Him and despise the righteous.

Our devotion ends with an assurance the LORD’s love for the righteous never wanes and His eyes are ever upon those who are moral, just and upright (11:7).  There are times that flight and retreat from an adversary is prudent; however, too many preachers in America fear to speak the Truth and cater to the wealthy and powerful in politically correct terms lest they raise the ire of a few.  Sadly, the occupants of the pulpit and the pew seem ambivalent to the wickedness that has painted the Middle East in blood and is slowly being assimilated into our schools, communities, churches and government.isaiah-40-31

Christians in America still have freedom to speak against enemies who wish to drive the Gospel underground and silence any who dare speak the Truth concerning the moral decadence of our nation.  Don’t be blind to the reality that liberal media, educators, politicians, and a generation of spiritual rebels who have rejected God (Psalm 14:1, 53:1) are foes of righteousness and intent on intimidating and silencing any who dare speak Truth.

The challenge for believers and the true church is whether or not we will trust the LORD, confident He is Sovereign of creation, and seek our refuge in Him.

Isaiah 40:31 – “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith

The Case for Capital Punishment

case-for-death-penaltyTuesday, January 24, 2017

Daily reading assignment: Joshua 16-20

The patriarch Joseph, the 11th of twelve sons born to Jacob the father of Israel’s twelve tribes, was abundantly blessed for his faithfulness to the LORD when the descendants of his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, both born in Egypt, were each given their own inheritance in the land (Joshua 16:1-4).  The inheritance of the tribe of Ephraim, Joseph’s youngest son, is delineated in Joshua 16:5-10.  Joshua 17 defines the geographical lands that were assigned to the tribe of Manasseh, Joseph’s firstborn son (17:1-13).

12-tribesTwo phrases reveal a failing of both tribes descended from Joseph.  Of Ephraim we read, “they drave not out the Canaanites that dwelt in Gezer” (Joshua 16:10).  The same malady is stated of Manasseh, for we read, “the children of Manasseh could not drive out the inhabitants of those cities; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land… did not utterly drive them out” (Joshua 17:12-13).  The failure to drive the pagan, idol worshipping Canaanites out of the land would become a major spiritual stumbling block to the generations to follow.

When both tribes of Joseph boasted they were a “great people” (17:14) and complained they had not been given enough land for their inheritance, Joshua challenged them to go to war against the “Perizzites” and the “giants” in the land and claim the land for their children (17:15).  Instead of trusting God’s promises and rising to the challenge to conquer the enemies of the land, the “children of Joseph” (the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh), objected the enemy was great (17:16-18).joshua-18

The narrative concerning the dividing of the land among the twelve tribes of Israel continues in Joshua 18 revealing seven tribes who had failed to drive the pagan nations out of their inheritance (18:1-3).  Joshua devised a new plan for dividing up the remaining territories among the seven remaining tribes (18:4-28).  Joshua 19 continues with the work of dividing and assigning the land to the seven tribes who had yet not conquered their lands.  After assigning all the tribes their inheritance, Joshua is given his inheritance, “Timnathserah in Ephraim” (19:50) where he built a city.

joshua-20-cities-of-refugeIn Joshua 20 we read that the LORD commanded Joshua to establish six “cities of refuge” in the land (20:1-2).  Reflecting the “sanctity of human life” and the principle of capital punishment established by God in Genesis 9:5-6, the cities of refuge afforded a safe place for those who had unintentionally taken the life of another man (20:3-4).  Because there was no law enforcement, the cities of refuge provided a place where a man’s case could be judged by the elders of the city and his life protected from those who felt compelled to avenge the death of a loved one (20:5).

Several thoughts come to mind as I close.  The first is the justice and deterrence that capital punishment brings to a society. The tragedy of violence and murder in our world today is a reflection of our government’s departure from God’s law.  Long before the commandment, “Thou shalt not kill”, God established that those guilty of willfully murdering another should pay for their crime with the forfeiture of their own life (Genesis 9:5-6; Exodus 20:13).  Finally, realizing we are all guilty of breaking God’s law, Christians can take comfort in the knowledge that Jesus Christ is our refuge.

Romans 8:1 – “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith