Sunday, September 28, 2014

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 5: Bold shepherds

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,
Pastors are shepherds. And where the shepherds go, the flock follows.
40 Days for Life has spread to 27 countries because many pastors have boldly led their flocks – by word and example – to defend those being led to the slaughter.
When people see their pastor at the peaceful vigil, it’s a great encouragement to get involved ... and join in the prayer for an end to abortion. It also a powerful sight for those entering and working in the abortion facility.
Thank your pastor today. Their lives are not easy ... and they need and appreciate our prayers and encouragement.
Cobleskill, New York
Pat, the 40 Days for Life leader in Cobleskill, was grateful for the people who turned out for an early-morning rally with Steve Karlen, 40 Days for Life’s North American outreach director.
But Pat was especially thankful for the area pastors who helped with the rally ... or prayed at the vigil during the campaign. “We thank the clergy who are leading the faithful in such a bold way.”
Specifically cited for their leadership were the pastors of Calvary Chapel of the Hills, St. Christopher Episcopal Church and Sacred Heart Catholic Church.
Steve encouraged the crowd and gave witness to what the power of prayer can do in a community. “On average, 80 babies are killed by abortion each year in Schoharie County,” Pat said, “and we can make a difference.”
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Dan Miller, the 40 Days for Life leader in Milwaukee, and Bishop Donald Hying are smiling in the photo that Dan sent us. Why would anyone smile in front of an abortion center? Dan can explain.
“For three days in a row, they were not open for abortions,” he said. “There was no abortionist present each of those days.”
Dan also said a unique prayer event will return to the Milwaukee campaign during this 40 Days for Life effort.
Milwaukee-area Orthodox clergy will be leading an intercessory prayer service – moljebens, it’s called – for victims of abortion, their parents, clinic workers and all others involved in crisis pregnancies. The prayers will be offered outside the abortion center on Sunday afternoons during the campaign.
Anchorage, Alaska
It’s always good to have a goal, and the 40 Days for Life team in Anchorage has one.
“One near-term goal,” said Jon, the local coordinator, “is to see this facility close ... and the destruction of innocent life end at this location.”
The volunteers are encouraged because there was once another abortion center in Anchorage, not far from the Planned Parenthood facility where they’ll be praying. That other abortion business closed four years ago.
“Our Lord answered that prayer then ... and will do so again here,” Jon said.
Of course, there are other prayer intentions as well. The volunteers know that lives have been saved and many hearts changed due to the prayerful, loving presence outside Planned Parenthood.
“Once again,” Jon said, “we humbly place ourselves in our Father’s hands to use us for life … however events unfold each day.”
Here's today's devotional from Rev. Ben Sheldon, president emeritus of Presbyterians Pro-Life...
Day 5 intention
May the truth of the final judgment shape our thoughts, priorities, and choices here on earth.
The King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me."

— Matthew 25:31-46
Caring for others is not optional.

Jesus' picture of the final judgment concludes with this sobering word: the wicked, who failed to care for others in their various needs (e.g., the hungry, the thirsty, the aliens, the naked, the sick, the imprisoned) will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous who did seek to meet those needs will end up with him, enjoying eternal life.

We know that this was no parable! Jesus has given us fair warning! Everything in God's Word points to the truth that compassionate concern and practical care for all people, especially for the poor, the destitute, the weak and needy is required of us, if indeed we hope to escape the punishment of the fire of hell.

And who are the poor and needy, if not helpless, unborn babies, as well as the aged and infirm at the other end of life? Surely the "least of these" embraces not only those at both ends of the continuum of life, but all others in between.

Just how we, as Christ's true followers, respond to his admonition "inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me" will determine whether we enjoy eternal bliss in his presence or the bleak and dreadful reality of eternal punishment in hell. Nothing in God's Word could be clearer!
Gracious and merciful Father, we gladly embrace your Word that counsels us to care for the least of your children, and we renew our dedication to defending the unborn and all whose right to life is compromised by our godless society's selfish lack of concern. Free us from our own failures and sins so that we will be truly pro-life in every area of our lives. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Printable devotional
To download today's devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:
For Life,
 Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life