Wednesday, October 7, 2015

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 15: We can't do this alone

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,

The one message our Lord makes clear during a 40 Days for Life campaign is this: “Apart from me you can do nothing” – John 15:5.
If you are participating – or even considering going out to pray at an abortion facility – you are correct to think, “I can’t do this.”

You’re right. You can’t! But God can – and will – work through you.

There are often obstacles that our human eyes see very clearly – like the location of the abortion center. But there are other obstacles we can’t see that are more powerful ... like discouragement.

Sometimes it’s our own feeling of inadequacy or despair ... but our feelings come and go while God’s faithfulness endures all of the trails and tribulations.Here’s how He’s doing it:

Buffalo, New York

The 40 Days for Life team in Buffalo reports two babies saved from abortion including one amazing story that certainly cannot be a coincidence.

Two prayer volunteers met with a young woman outside the abortion center.

She’s about 20 years old and was 11 weeks pregnant and she told them when she was inside, the abortion procedure was about to begin. The staff had set up an IV, but for some reason it just wasn’t working. So they had to start over and try again.

When they were trying for the second time to administer the IV, the woman called out, “Stop, stop, stop!”

So they did – and she left the building!

Volunteers were able to give her information about the local pregnancy outreach center as well as additional resources. She took the material smiled and waved goodbye.

Tallahassee, Florida 

“Sometimes when I'm the only person in front of the abortion clinic praying,” said a 40 Days for Life team member in Tallahassee, “I wonder if there is any point in doing this.”

It’s not unusual to feel this way. You’re one person. You’re just offering your small sacrifice. What can you do? But keep in mind where this doubt comes from. It does not come from the Lord!

“I need to remember that Christ calls us to persevere in the face of doubt, difficulty, and even persecution,” the volunteer said. “If only one child is saved, then all the effort is worth it.”

It has already been worth it – four times over!

The director of a local pregnancy help center has reported that four expectant mothers had come to them after deciding not to have their abortions, because of the people praying in front of the abortion facility.

Said the Tallahassee team member, “Please give thanks to Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Memphis, Tennessee 

Kathy in Memphis knew it was going to be a great 40 Days for Life campaign when it all started with prayer from six area pastors at their kickoff event.

Abortions are done on Tuesdays so she spread the word to volunteers that as young women approached Planned Parenthood, especially on Tuesdays, to simply ask them, “Can I pray with you?”

One woman smiled and said, “Hey! I’ve changed my mind! I’m not getting an abortion and I’m keeping my baby.”

Kathy said another went into Planned Parenthood, but then came out we went to the life-affirming pregnancy help center next door. “She was so grateful and keeping her baby!”

Here's today's devotional from Rev. Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action. 
Day 15 intention 

May God's people awaken to the fact that we are our brothers' keepers. 

Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the Lord said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?" He said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?" And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground." 

— Genesis 4:8-10 
Reflection from Rev. Rob Schenck  

"Methinks he doth protest too much ...

The Bible is filled with passages that speak to our obligation to care for our fellow human beings. From the many commands in the books of Moses enjoining love of family, neighbors and even strangers, to Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan, the injunction to care for others is inescapable. 

In this account, the guilt-stricken Cain tries to shrug off his obligation to his own kin by dismissing it as an unreasonable duty. A la Shakespeare, though, "methinks he doth protest too much." Cain's objection doesn't stem from his sense of proper boundaries of responsibility, but from his own self-centered sense of self-preservation. 

Christ said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13). This is the standard of divine love. It required God to sacrifice what was most precious to Him for the temporal and eternal well being of all humankind (see John 3:16). Though on a much-reduced scale, he expects us to do the same. 

Trying to duck our obligation to others is futile. We can't get away with simply dismissing others, especially the most vulnerable among us: the pre-born, the disabled, the sick and the aged. As with Cain, God sees and hears their suffering and will call us to account for what we do -- or do not do -- for them. 

Father, help us to embrace the fact that we are our "brother's keeper." When, due to selfish motives, we try to cast off this responsibility please call to us to account. We would be pleasing to you and to our "brother." Through the help and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen. 
Printable devotional  

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For life,
 Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life