Wednesday, March 2, 2016

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 22: Peace silences anger

40 Days for Life
Dear Deacon John,
Angry. Bigoted. Intimidating. Rude.

Those are the stereotypes that the media – and the abortion industry – give to those who peacefully pray outside abortion facilities.

And how we respond either validates or refutes those stereotypes.

Today we all get a textbook lesson in how to share the love of Christ ... and how to respond to the anger that abortion causes in our world.

The example comes from some I know and respect very much. Planned Parenthood can’t help but know him; he practically lives his life praying for them where they work!

Meet Joe ... learn his story ... and see how God works through those who are peacemakers.
Montgomery County, Texas
“Clients began gathering at Planned Parenthood’s front door,” said Joe, one of the volunteers, “waiting for them to open. And that’s when it happened.”
A driver passing by yelled angrily – then took a U-turn at the corner and returned to yell some more. But she wasn’t finished.
“She got out of her car with eyes flashing and lit into me,” he said. “She was so angry her face was red as a beet.” Even Planned Parenthood’s clients were now watching.    
“I didn’t know what to say or do,” Joe said. “God took over.”
At first he just let her vent. Then she started flinging questions. Why wasn’t he doing something useful like helping the homeless? Why was he trying to cause trouble for a provider of affordable healthcare like Planned Parenthood? Who will take care of the babies if women don’t have “choice”?
“I waited for opportunities to respond as quietly and objectively as I could,” Joe said.
And then he talked about his daughter … her abortion, her resulting depression and the taking of her own life.  
There was an instant change in the agitated woman.
“She was no longer angry with me,” he said. “She looked at me with compassion and hugged me. Said she gained a peace from me. She said she believes in a woman’s right to choose but now sees another side and will have a different opinion about us standing out there.
She took a gift bag and gave Joe her card.  
“My dear God,” he thought, “only You could reach the heart of a very upset pro-choice person and compel her to hug a pro-lifer and accept a gift bag filled with alternatives to abortion!” 
Wenatchee, Washington
“Planned Parenthood has quietly merged with four existing Family Planning clinics in Central Washington,” said Teresa in Wenatchee.
“This was just the incentive we needed,” she said, “the realization that Planned Parenthood had arrived in our town. We begged people to pray and sacrifice as never before, and to join us in a 24-hour vigil every day for 40 days.” 
Teresa said the team especially invited men to participate – “to be the protectors of our community and to team up for prayer for each of those nighttime hours. The response has been truly humbling, and inspiring.” 
One of these men was used to working the “graveyard” shift, and volunteered to do the whole campaign from 11 pm to 7 am.

“So with God,” Teresa said, “the impossible is happening! Wenatchee is praying up a storm, trusting that God will hear our prayers!”

Here's today's devotional from Georgette Forney, president of Anglicans for Life.
Day 22 intention

May those who hold life as trivial realize that we live because God wills it so.

Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.

— Job 12:9-10
Reflection from Georgette Forney

Job was a man acquainted with grief, trials and tribulation. He had everything taken from him, including his family. He endured sickness, ridicule and judgment from his friends. Everyone gave him advice about his situation, questioning his spirituality and his God.

Job's circumstances were bad but he never loses faith. Why? Because "the hand of the Lord has made all life." Created by God, he knows his life has meaning and purpose, regardless of the circumstances.

In our present culture, we've lost that basic truth; every life is made and allowed to live by God's sovereign authority. As people who pride ourselves on our independence, we have a hard time acknowledging our dependence on God.

From our creation, when we were knit together in our mother's womb to our last breath, God's word is clear that "in His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."

It's time for us as individuals, and as a society, to recognize that we exist by God's grace and turn back to Him, honoring His word and His teachings. Why? Because our world is full of Jobs, people who are dealing with trials and tribulations and hurting desperately.

Job's response should be ours as well. Regardless of what we face (even an unplanned pregnancy) God in His wisdom and mercy will redeem it.

How do I know? Job's friends who doubted God's sovereignty cry out to God asking for help, God instructs Job to pray for his friends and after he does, God restores all that Job had lost.

In other words, because Job never lost faith and knew and trusted His Creator, the Lord blessed Job.

Thank you Father God for being the Creator of my life and every life. Please give me, and the society in which I live, an appreciation for your gift of life. Please help us set aside our pride and acknowledge that we need you.

Show me how I can honor you today in response to all the blessings you bestow so freely. In the name of Jesus, Amen.
Printable devotional

To download today's devotional as a formatted, printable PDF to share with friends:
For life,
 Shawn Carney
40 Days for Life