Thursday, March 23, 2017

From 40 Days For Life: DAY 23: Sweet Southern charm

Deacon John,
Not everyone likes 40 Days for Life, of course. But those who express their opposition often get unexpected reactions.
There are reasons why 40 Days for Life succeeds:
  • It's peaceful
  • It’s prayerful
  • It’s joyful
  • It’s loving
And after a while, sometimes even the hardest of hearts start to soften.
Here’s what I mean.

Atlanta, Georgia

At the most recent 40 Days for Life campaign, the volunteers heard often from a staff member at a school near the abortion center. And it wasn’t very friendly.
He yelled at the volunteers … and said the extra cars that vigil participants parked in the area were a danger for the school’s clients.
The police said it was both safe and legal for them to be there, but that didn’t seem to matter.
One day, he sped towards the sidewalk and slammed his brakes hard. The skidding wheels sprayed gravel at the women who were peacefully praying.
They barely reacted. They just moved a bit so their signs were still visible from the street … kept on praying … and said nothing to the angry driver.
This man still didn’t give up, and convinced the county to make the entire section of the street a no-parking zone, which took away about half of the spaces the vigil participants were accustomed to using.
“We prayed much for him,” said Margarita, the 40 Days for Life coordinator in Atlanta, “for healing of whatever was causing such rage.”
This time around, it’s totally different. As he was driving to school one day recently, this same man – the guy with the angry voice and squealing tires – smiled and waved ... and even spoke to the volunteers.
“He said he hopes some women will change their minds at the clinic this time,” Margarita said. “He looked amazed and embarrassed.”
What spurred the change in attitude?
He said he'd been researching “all this” and decided “it’s terrible.” He repeated the comment about hoping more women change their minds and said he hopes abortion will soon become illegal again.
“Praise God!” Margarita said. “Praying he comes to know the Lord if he hasn’t already.”

Mendoza, Argentina

“We are doing a 24-hour vigil,” said Carmen, the 40 Days for Life coordinator in Mendoza.
“During the weekends entire families participate with their little children – some of them with 5, 6 or 7 children. There are many large families here!”
Carmen said because abortion is not legal in Argentina, “we don’t know how many lives our prayers have saved. But I feel certain that our prayers are heard.”
Argentina has seen a number of pro-abortion demonstrations recently, some of which she described as “revolting. It is very unpleasant.”
She said “this has caused many people to reject abortion ... and many lukewarm Christians are waking up to their faith.” During this period of pro-abortion unrest, Carmen said, “the campaign is like a ray of light.”

Birmingham, England

“More good news!” said one of the Birmingham team leaders.
“A couple took one of our leaflets as they drove into the Marie Stopes abortion centre,” the volunteer said. After their initial appointment they came out and thanked the vigil participants.
They said the information had made them think … and they would now be keeping their baby.
Later, a man told the vigil participants that he had a change of heart, found his girlfriend inside Marie Stopes and encouraged her to leave.
“Please keep these people in your prayers,” the Birmingham team member said, “and join in your nearest 40 Days for Life campaign.”
But the Lord said "You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in the night and perished in the night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left, and much livestock? Should I not be concerned about that great city?"
-- Jonah 4:10-11
Gracious God, loving our enemies seems like one of most difficult things you could ask of us. Please remind us that this is how you love and that if you ask it of us then you will give us the grace to do it.
See today's full devotional
For life,
Shawn D. Carney
President, 40 Days for Life
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