Day 35 – October 30, 2012

We are now in the final week of the 40 Days for Life Campaign around the world.  The campaign officially ends this Sunday, November 4, 2012.  The scheduling of prayer and vigil around the clock before abortion clinics will come to end for awhile, but the prayer to end abortion will never stop until an abortion-free nation becomes a reality.

This week, I want to focus my prayer on the counselors who work so diligently to show women the truth about their pregnancy and the truth about abortion.  But today, as I reflected on the woman who is potentially 5 months pregnant and seeking a late term abortion, I thought about adoption.  I guess I still do not understand how someone could have carried their child for five months and know that they will deliver their child in four months or less and yet they are still willing to kill that child.  This mother has felt her child kick and has watched the child grow as she has grown and certainly there is no way that she can deny she is carry a human life.  Why not finish out those last few months and allow the child a chance to live and fulfill a destiny.

There are many arguments that say that there are plenty of children in foster care who should be adopted first.  Well, you know what, that’s true.  But, what is also true is that those children are not being adopted for a variety of reasons.  According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, an organization of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in February of 2011 published an article on adoption trends.  This article stated that there were 115,000 children in foster care in 2011 but those seeking to adopt do not want children who are older, or who have a sibling, or who may have endured maltreatment.  Overwhelmingly, those who are seeking to adopt want a child who is 2 years old or younger and is a single child without any behavioral issues.  Interestingly, physical illnesses are not an impediment to adoption.  LiveAction published an article in May of 2012 in which they quoted a source known as the Business Library which said:  “there are up to 36 couples waiting for every one baby placed for adoption.” The quote goes on to say:

 “In the USA, there are approximately two million infertile couples waiting to adopt, many times regardless of the child’s medical problems such as Down Syndrome, Spina Bifida, HIV infection or terminally ill. Dr. Brad Imler, President of America’s Pregnancy Helpline, confirms the challenge of waiting couples by stating: “Only 1% of the Helpline’s annual 40,000 clients inquires about adoption.”

Pray this week for an increase in adoptions nationwide.  This is so much safer and healthier for everyone involved and the child has a chance.

References:

Brown, Kristi B.  Abortion vs. Adoption: Why So Many Choose the First and What We Can Do. May 15, 2012. Retrieved on October 30, 2012.  http://liveactionnews.org/culture/abortion-vs-adoption-why-so-many-choose-the-first-and-what-we-can-do/

Child Welfare Information Gateway.  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Persons Seeking to Adopt – Numbers and Trends.  February 2011.  Retrieved on October 30, 2012 http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/s_seek.pdf#Page=2&view=Fit

Day 31 – October 26, 2012

HEADLINE: No abortions in Germantown this week!!!

 

Praise God for the amazing news!  I received an email last night from the Germantown campaign director who told us that Leroy Carhart did not even come into town this week.  The campaign is soon to be over but the battle is far from over.  However, during these past 31 days, the 40 days for life campaign, worldwide has seen almost 400 lives saved and some abortion clinic workers leave the industry, which of course is amazing.  

As I have focused on spiritual warfare this week, this morning I was reflecting on Elijah’s encounter with Ahab and the 450 prophets of Baal (I Kings 18).  In reading that passage of scripture, I became acutely aware of how much the battle is the Lords.  Elijah prepared his offering in obedience to the Lord, which on the surface looked a bit ridiculous.  Not only did the Lord say they could not create the fire themselves, but Elijah poured 12 pitchers of water over his offering before praying to God to bring down the fire.  As we know, the dry offering just remained untouched and dry, but Elijah’s offering was completely consumed and even the water was lapped up by the fire.  The battle is the Lords and our job is to get in step with Him in obedience and do as He says no matter how silly the situation may look.  The other piece of this was the protection that Elijah had.  When he meets Obadiah on the road and tells him to let Ahab know he is coming, even Obadiah knows, Elijah is the most wanted man in all of Israel.  Elijah could have been walking into a trap, but instead, because he was walking in obedience to the Lord, he walked into a situation where he prevailed and killed all of the false prophets in the end.

The battle will be won as we remember that it is His to win and ours to be obedient.

Day 28 – October 23, 2012

For Such A Time As This

Spiritual warfare can take on many forms.  Sometimes we march around the city in order to see the walls fall down and sometimes it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time with an ear that is close to the heart of God.  Such was the case with Esther.  She literally found herself in the right place at the right time to make an enormous difference in the lives of her people in a foreign land.  Had it not been for her uncle’s willingness to sit at the gate of the King to make sure that he was fully aware of all that was going on in the kingdom and Esther’s willingness and courage to stand up for those who had no voice, the Jewish people may have been annihilated.

The book of Esther indicates that she could have chosen to do nothing to help her people, but her uncle warns her that just because she is the queen does not mean that she will escape the fate of the Jewish people that is coming.  But, instead, he presents her with the idea that she may have been placed in this position precisely because she was meant to do something about the situation that was coming.  I imagine this was a very difficult decision for Esther, one that took a great deal of courage.  In short, her life was on the line here.  For Esther to act on her uncle’s request meant that she had approach the king without being summoned by him.  If he happened to be in a particularly bad mood the day she decided to go and speak with him, she may very well have been the first Jewish person executed in that kingdom.  But Esther went to prayer – she fasted and prayed for three days before deciding on how to approach the king and God heard her prayer!

The story of Esther is a wonderful picture of how God answers prayer and shows us how the battle belongs to the Lord.  The battle is not won through human strategies but in the place of prayer and fasting and by employing God’s strategies.  In the fight against abortion, we have to be careful to always seek to obtain God’s strategy for each battle.  We each need to ask ourselves what the Lord would have us do in this fight – what is our place in His army?  Like Esther, we may find ourselves in unusual situations with regard to either speaking out on behalf of the unborn or protesting on behalf of the unborn, or even being willing to be arrested on behalf of the unborn.  Whatever the Lord asks us to do, we need to have the faith that He has equipped us to accomplish the task.  Let us always remember the words of the book of Esther that say “yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)

Day 27 – October 22, 2012

” Take up the ark of the covenant of the Lord and have seven priests carry trumpets in front of it.”  And he ordered the army, “Advance! March around the city, with an armed guard going ahead of the ark of the Lord.  The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!” (Joshua 6:6-7, 16)

Today is Monday and the start of a new week of prayer and a new focus on a prayer for me at the Germantown clinic.  I have sensed from the Lord that I should continue to use the Rosary as a means of prayer but to add to the intention this week spiritual warfare.  I will look at five events in scripture that speak of spiritual warfare, the first of which is the falling of the city of Jericho.  At the end of Joshua chapter 5, Joshua has an encounter the Commander of the Army of the Lord, where Joshua falls on his face and  is told to remove his sandals because he is on holy ground.  This is all we know about this encounter but obviously the Commander instructed Joshua to take the city of Jericho because in the next chapter Lord says that He has given the city of Jericho into the hands of Joshua along with its king and fighting men.  The Lord proceeds to give him instructions on how to take the city.  It all looks a little strange when you first read the account of the fall of Jericho.  March around the city once a day for six days behind the ark of covenant, blowing trumpets the whole time.  Do not raise a battle cry, don’t say anything until you’re told to.  Then on day seven, march around the city seven times, blowing the trumpets, circling the city, but now on the seventh time, they are commanded to SHOUT!!  The Lord has given them the city!

That story has always excited me because it is completely the opposite of what one might think of doing when it comes to a battle.  No fighting, no bloodshed, just obedience to the Lord.  In fact, it is the bloodshed that we are fighting against in this battle for the unborn.  In obedience to the Lord, the 40 Days for Life campaign is promoting peaceful, prayerful vigil outside of the abortion clinic in order to see an end to the bloodshed of abortion.  In fact, today on day 27 of the campaign, it has been reported that 341 lives have been saved through this unusual form of spiritual warfare.  Yet we are in a battle.  We are fighting for the life of the unborn child and for the life of the mother of the unborn child as well.

God’s ways are not our ways to be sure, but His ways are always the best ways!

Day 25 – October 20, 2012

Today is the last day of a week that has been focused on praying for women who have had abortions.  I’ve spent time this week trying to focus my prayer on the tremendous need for healing for women who’ve had an abortion, and who need healing from the pain and agony suffered over having made the decision to kill her unborn child.  This may be experienced immediately or it may not be felt for years after.  I thought back to something I mentioned earlier in the week about those who promote abortion as not only a justifiable option but as a woman’s right.  I become angry when I hear the term “Reproductive Rights” and I wonder who came up with that terminology anyway.  I decided to do a little research on the term, looking for a good working definition and found something interesting.  According to the World Health Organization, Reproductive Rights are defined as:

“the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. They also include the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence.”

Wow, now that is interesting.  We need whole organizations and lawyers (I’m thinking of NARAL and the National Women’s Law Center) to protect this?  The last time I checked, no one in America is told when to have a child and how many children they must have and we already have plenty of laws against discrimination and violence.  This is crazy.  This term is thrown around like women can’t already make this decision, ideally with their husband.  It’s the “responsibly” part of this definition that pro-aborts ignore.  They want women to believe that it’s OK to make the decision to have that one night stand and if they get pregnant, well just get rid of it, it’s part of your reproductive rights.  There is no reason to be responsible for the life you just participated in creating.

God says differently.  In the book of Jeremiah he says “before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you were born I sanctified you” (Jeremiah 1:5).  God also played a part in creating the life inside the womb.  In fact, He has known from all eternity about the life of that child and has planned for that child to accomplish something in this life.  God also says in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 29, verse 11, “for I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Today as I prayed, I felt a particular burden for those who promote the pro-choice idea as something that is good for women.  It is not good for women.  It is harmful to women.  It is devastating to women.  The lives of 50 million children have been lost to this lie. 50 million children that God had plans for, plans for hope and plans for the future.  God’s plan does not include children being unwanted or abandoned.  That argument is thin at best.  And, yes even in  the cases of rape and incest, while the acts committed against a woman are violent and inexcusable, if a life has been conceived through that act, then God has a plan and it is a plan that can be trusted.

Pray for those at the forefront of promoting abortion as a reproductive right.  Pray that their eyes are opened to the lie that they have bought into, but also that their eyes will be opened to a loving and merciful God who waits for them with open arms.

Day 22 – October 17, 2012

I know I’ve mentioned this before, today, being Wednesday, is the day that the babies are delivered by dismemberment in Germantown and I was so grieved for the lives of these children today.  I have no idea how many children died in Germantown this week, but just one is too many.  This morning was very different for me, something I’m generally not used to doing.  The Lord had me keep a silent vigil this morning in honor of those who died today.  I didn’t pray anything this morning, I just was there in silence and after about a half an hour I decided to read the scripture.  I felt impressed to read the book of Habakkuk, which is probably not one of those books that is read so frequently or that one would just of think of reading as I did this morning.  But, as is so true with the Lord, it was the right book to read today.  The book only has three chapters, so it’s a quick read.  Habakkuk’s name means to wrestle with or embrace as in a particularly bothersome issue, i.e. ABORTION.  The prophet attempts to explore the issues of why God has allowed evil.

A study by Hampton Keathley at Bible.org does a good job of looking at the book of Habakkuk and explaining the idea of questioning God or wrestling with God over the evil and injustice seen in the world and why this okay to do.  But more than that, this book is about faithfulness.  It is about the faithfulness of God to redeem His people and bring justice where there is evil and it is about the rewards we receive for being a faithful people.   I must remember to remain faithful to that which God has called me and recognize His sovereignty.  I must also realize that the answers I want may not come when I want them or in the way I want.  It is important to remember that God does not condone evil and His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!  By the end of the book Habakkuk was able to see this and proclaim praises to God.

Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Day 21 – October 16, 2012

Some days just feel like they are  far more difficult than you think they should be and this morning was one of those mornings where prayer was very difficult.  I was not understanding at first why today just felt so hard.  I’m mean, I’ve had a few days, so far, where prayer seemed like more work than usual but today was different. Today, I felt almost stuck.  I felt as if I had been silenced.

About half way through the hour I came to some conclusions.  First, this week, I’m focusing my prayer on the women who have abortions and who’ve had them in the past.  But the main difference of course in Germantown is that you really only get one shot at seeing a woman change her mind.  If someone is not able to reach her on a Sunday in Germantown, before she goes into the clinic, then the damage is done and there is no going back, there is no changing your mind, this woman now has a dead baby in her womb for three days until it is delivered on Wednesday.  The second conclusion I came to this morning was that I was feeling completely hopeless.  Why was I there today, there was nothing that I could do to change the situation this week.  Today, I could really feel the atmosphere of death.  My heart just ached for these women though.  How many of them must have gone through this process and in doing so wished that they could change their minds?  How many women have suffered through those three days after their baby has received the fatal injection of  Digoxin hoping they weren’t carry a dead fetus in their womb?  I would dare say that many found themselves in that place over the years.

But what about that hopelessness I sensed today?  The Lord is gracious and He reminded me that He is victorious, that He is risen, and that He has conquered sin and death.  Is He saddened by all of this?  Yes, of course He is.  But everyday, I receive email reports that provide updates around the world from the various 40 days for life campaigns that encourage me when I read about the number of lives that are saved.  I’m encouraged every time I hear about even one woman who changes her mind, walks out of Carhart’s clinic, and instead walks across the parking lot to the office of Germantown Pregnancy Choices where she will find out about real help and real options that will save her life and the life of her baby.  I’m sure those moments also make the Lord happy.

As we persevere in this fight for the lives of the unborn “let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)