As we move from 2012 to 2013 – a few thoughts

As we have crossed over from 2012 into 2013 I’m taking some time to reflect on events of this past year in light of the circumstances we are about to find ourselves in across this nation.  As the media tells us in this 11th hour that we are indeed about to go over the “fiscal cliff”, even if for only one day, I have to wonder how we got here.  While great minds in Washington try to solve enormous problems of trillion dollar deficits, raising taxes or not raising taxes, and cutting spending our nation continues to suffer.  We hope and pray that someone somewhere comes up with the solution to solve these problems; we hope that suddenly there will be a creative solution that no one has yet thought of, but sadly that will not be the case.

Why is that?  Why can’t someone come up with the creative solution that will make everyone happy and solve this great looming crisis?  Well, the truth is that no matter what great plan is conceived it will not work if it is not God ordained.  We pray for God to bless our nation, but can He really do that?  We are a nation that has seen fit to murder more than 55 million of her children.  America has become the valley of slaughter as mentioned in Jeremiah chapter 7 (see Jeremiah 7:30-34).   This passage in Jeremiah says that because the people of Judah allowed their children to pass through the fire and be burned, something the Lord DID NOT command, Jerusalem will become a desolate place.  American has allowed her children to pass through the fires of burning saline abortions and worse for the past forty years.  That essentially amounts to entire generation of children that have been lost and we wonder why the nation is in such bad shape.  The Lord says He will bring an end to joy and gladness in the city because of this behavior.

The thing that everyone is so focused on right now is the financial side of this cliff, but the cliff truly has many sides.  Some will go over the cliff and others will get caught in the landslide at the bottom. In just this past year we seemed to have had one tragedy after another related to the violent use of guns.  Seriously troubled individuals are moved by evil to kill many innocent and unsuspecting people and no one is off limits, not even small children.  Crazy weather continues plague the nation and cause devastation and loss that is unimaginable and there is more fear about the world ending and the destruction of global warming than ever before.  Man just continues to respond to these tragic events with more calls for gun control and laws to create a greener more sustainable environments.  Honestly, I think that we have just continued shaking our fists at God and saying we don’t need You!  We can take care of this all by ourselves, go away!  The government is working on becoming more and more involved in our individual lives by mandating the kind of health care that is offered, by trying to create greener safer environments through energy legislation, and creating a false sense of security for its citizens through the promise of more gun control.  These government solutions will never be the answers we so desperately need.  Our answer is found only in God.  If we do not turn our hearts back to God and stop apologizing for our Judeo/Christian heritage, we will end up desolate just as Jerusalem did in Jeremiah’s day.

Where do we begin?  We start by ending the slaughter of the innocent.  On January 25, 2013, the 40th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade will be marked by the march in Washington, DC.  Over the years great progress has been made in slowing down the advances of Planned Parenthood and others whose sole purpose is promoting abortion.  Ministries such as 40 Days for Life have seen great successes, not only in women who change their minds about having an abortion, but also in seeing abortion clinics close down.  Abby Johnson’s ministry (And Then There Were None) has seen 40 clinic workers leave the industry in its first year of operation (2012).  These are great victories but there is so much more work to be done.  There is always hope though – we have not become completely desolate yet.  God says His mercies are new every morning, His compassion does not fail, and above all, He is faithful.  The Lord is good to those who wait for Him and who seek Him (Lamentations 3:22-25).  Please join me in 2013 as I purpose to seek the Lord more earnestly and pray more faithfully for those in the seats of power.  It is only in Him that our nation will be saved.

Post Election Pro-Life Persistence

Planned Parenthood has released a brand new logo in celebration of their victory this week by the re-election of Barack Obama.  In a press release that the abortion giant put out on Tuesday they claim:

“This is a resounding victory for women. More than ever before, women’s health was a decisive issue in this election. Americans today voted to ensure that women will have access to affordable health care and be able to make their own medical decisions,” said Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund.

“This election sends a powerful and unmistakable message to members of Congress and state legislatures all around the country that the American people do not want politicians to meddle in our personal medical decisions, and that politicians demean and dismiss women at their own peril,” Richards said.

 This is hardly a victory for women.  Along with the new logo, the new tag line is “Care. No matter what.”  Really?  I’m wondering how are women being cared for when there is story after story from organizations such as Live Action, Life News, and Life Site News concerning the number of women who are injured from botched abortions performed at Planned Parenthood clinics.  I’m also baffled about the issues around sex selection and abortion that is so heavily promoted by Planned Parenthood.  Thanks to Live Action, this horror has been exposed.  Is this “Care.  No matter what” to encourage women to abort their child because it happens to be a girl?  What has happened to us in America?  Planned Parenthood invested $15 million dollars in getting Barack Obama re-elected.   Now that’s been accomplished and Cecile Richards further states that“we will focus on working with lawmakers at all levels, from all political parties, to ensure that millions more Americans can get the health care they need.”

This is all very confusing.  On the one hand, Ms. Richards states that the American people do not want politicians to meddle in our personal medical decisions, yet on the other hand, she suddenly wants to begin working with politicians on both sides of the aisle to make sure that we all get the health care we need.  Well, which is it Ms. Richards?  You can’t have it both ways.  Either Planned Parenthood wants the government involved, so they can continue funneling our tax dollars into the abortion industry or Planned Parenthood doesn’t want them to “meddle”.

So, what do we do with all of this?  We NEVER  give up.  We are the church militant!  We continue to be persistent in our pro-life efforts.  We continue to pray at abortion clinics, we continue to march for life, and we continue to reach people one soul at a time.  The best thing that I’ve read so far are the words of Archbishop Craig Bates, the Patriarch of the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church.  He said the following – “We must reach out to single women who have been deceived into believing that the right to choose an abortion is freedom rather than inflicting upon themselves guilt and torment that could last for years.”  Preserving the sanctity of life is the most important issue facing our nation today, not the economy as some may think.  I believe God will bless the economy when we honor Him by preserving the sanctity of human life.  It is the image and likeness of God that is being destroyed in every abortion and as we reach out to single women, as Archbishop Bates suggests, we have the opportunity to reach them with the truth that they were fearfully and wonderfully made as well as the child they carry.

Final Thoughts on the 40 Days for Life Campaign – November 6, 2012

I can only say what a blessing it was to me to have the opportunity to participate in the 40 Days for Life campaign for the very first time.  I had no idea what to expect or how this was going to work out, especially since the time slot I ended up choosing was a 6AM slot.  God’s grace was definitely with me throughout the time, enabling me to keep the commitment and be on site to pray everyday of my commitment with a few exceptions – the morning I blew a tire on my way to the clinic and the 2 mornings after hurricane Sandy – I prayed without being at the abortion clinic.

Some mornings were harder than others, no doubt, but God was so faithful to meet me in prayer and to give me amazing things to pray.  There were times that I surprised myself with some of things I heard myself praying.

As far as Dr. Carhart’s Germantown abortion clinic is concerned, I believe we accomplished much in the Spirit.  The campaign director for Germantown sent out this information to all of us:

700+ hours of prayerful presence on Wisteria

-over 500 prayer warriors from 20 churches joining together

-2 abortion workers are no longer at Germantown Reproductive Health Services

-No abortions for two weeks!

This is exciting news, especially the fact that there were no abortions for two weeks in row in Germantown.  The information out of the international campaign is just as exciting.  The final numbers are not in yet but so far we know that globally 608 babies have been saved from abortion.

The devotional below that was sent out to all 40 Days for Life prayer warriors after the 40th day.  It makes realize that there are multiple ways to storm the gates of Hell.  Prayer, of course is number one.  But today is election day in the United States and by casting our votes on behalf of life is another way of coming against the gates of Hell!

INTENTION
Pray that the witness of 40 Days for Life bears abundant fruit, and that we begin again each day to storm the gates of hell until God welcomes us into the gates of heaven.

SCRIPTURE
On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.
— Matthew 16:18

REFLECTION by Fr. Frank Pavone

When we read this verse, we usually think that the Lord is promising that the church, which is His Body, will withstand all the attacks launched against it.  Of course, that is true.  But when we think about it more carefully, we realize that in a battle, the gates do not run out into the battlefield to attack the enemy. Rather, they stand still to defend the city from the enemy attacking it.  So when the Lord says that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, who is doing the attacking? It is the church storming the gates!  The church, all of  God’s people in Christ, is called to take the offensive, to run into enemy territory, and to gain ground for Jesus Christ. We do not wait for an invitation; we already have a command. We  prepare, but we do not wait for circumstances to be perfect; we already have one who has gone before us.

During these 40 days, we have stormed the gates. We have taken the offensive. We have pushed forward the boundaries of the kingdom. And we must keep doing so, in numerous ways. Indeed, the gates of hell will not prevail. The gates of falsehood will flee in the presence of truth. The gates of sin will melt in the presence of grace. The gates of death will fall in the  presence of the church, the People of Life!

PRAYER

Father, we praise you. We have heard the voice of your Son, and therefore we can make our voices heard.  We have done battle with the power of evil, and therefore we can have compassion on those still within its grip. We have been freed from the kingdom of darkness, and therefore we can bear witness to your Kingdom of Light.

May the witness of all your people through these 40 Days for Life bear abundant fruit, and may we begin again each day to storm the gates of hell until You welcome us into the gates of heaven. We pray in the victorious name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

 

Day 38 – November 2, 2012

Sandy’s Silver Lining?

Hurricane Sandy left such devastation along the Eastern seaboard that it is hard to imagine how one could think there could ever be a silver lining.  But the news is that because of Hurricane Sandy, there were no abortions in Germantown again this week!  Dr. Carhart was unable to travel in from the mid west to his Maryland abortion clinic due to the weather.  That makes two weeks in a row now that there were no abortions in Germantown, which is wonderful and amazing all at the same time. 

While it’s great to rejoice in the fact that no abortions were performed in Germantown this week, let’s not forget to continue praying for the folks in New Jersey and New York who continue to suffer because of the storm.  People are starting to run out food and water and it is cold outside and getting colder inside.  The Salvation Army and the America Red Cross  are two organizations that are working hard to help bring disaster relief  to this part of the country.

I’d like to share a reflection by Father Frank Pavone from today’s 40 Days for Life campaign:

INTENTION
Pray that we become vessels of hope to all around us,
especially to those who minister in the pro-life
movement.

SCRIPTURE

On the first day of the week, very early in the
morning, the women took the spices they had prepared
and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled
away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did
not find the body of the Lord Jesus. “Why do you look
for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has
risen!”

— Luke 24:1-5

REFLECTION by Fr. Frank Pavone

This meditation, based on a sermon I once heard, is
adapted for pro-life concerns.

It’s Friday. Jesus is on the cross. He has been
killed by his enemies; he is off the scene. But
that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’!

It’s Friday. Abortionists continue their work 3,300
times a day, tearing off the arms and legs of little
babies and crushing their heads. But that’s because
it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’! It’s Friday.
Pro-abortion groups receive blood money from
billionaires who are as deceived as they are. But
that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’!

It’s Friday. Liars attempt to speak for all women and
hide the pain of abortion, and ignore the evidence of
how it harms women, and call abortion a blessing. But
that’s because it’s Friday. Sunday’s comin’! It’s
Friday. People of hardened hearts guard the clinics
and usher desperate women in to have their abortions,
while keeping them from the pro-life people who want
to give them hope. But that’s because it’s Friday.
Sunday’s comin’!

Hope does not mean that we ignore or minimize the
evils around us. It means, rather, that we see the
whole picture, which is that evil is conquered
because of what happened one Sunday morning. The
power of sin and death has been broken by the
Resurrection of Christ. We are called to proclaim,
celebrate, and serve that victory, waiting in joyful
hope for Christ’s return and the full flowering of
the Culture of Life! Indeed, Sunday’s comin’!

PRAYER

Lord, fill your people with new hope. Make us vessels
of hope to all around us, especially to those who
minister in the pro-life movement, that as we engage
in the difficult work ahead, we may experience the
peace and joy that come only from you and that nobody
can take away from us. We ask this through Christ our
Lord, Amen.

Day 37 – November 1, 2012

It’s a Romans 1 kind of world!  I’m praying this week for the pro-life counselors and for the Lord to shine through these courageous people as they meet the lie of the culture head on.  Pro-life counselors are faced with trying to show abortion minded women the truth and combat all of the lies that have been fed to women in our society by the likes of Planned Parenthood and even other people of faith who choose to believe their own truth.  In Romans chapter 1, in The Message it says:

“But the basic reality of God is plain enough. Open your eyes and there it is! By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can’t see: eternal power, for instance, and the mystery of his divine being. So nobody has a good excuse. What happened was this: People knew God perfectly well, but when they didn’t treat him like God, refusing to worship him, they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life. They traded the glory of God who holds the whole world in his hands for cheap figurines you can buy at any roadside stand.”

These verses of scripture say a lot.  It says people know full well who God is and they know what is right and what is wrong and therefore they have no excuses.  However, the bottom line is that people decided they know it all and they know better than God.  They decided they could be God.  But hasn’t that been going on since the Garden?  Satan convinced Eve that the reason God did not want her to eat of the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden was because it would make her like Him, as if God were threatened by Eve becoming like Him.  What Eve did not realize was that she was already like God.  She was created in His image and likeness and this is what Satan has been trying destroy since that moment!

Please continue to pray for the courageous pro-life counselors who are fighting against the lies perpetuated by the abortion industry.  Please pray for the pro-life counselor who is faced with trying speak the truth to the abortion minded woman who believed the lie and traded the glory of God for a cheap figurine.

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.