DEVOTIONAL (November 15 – 30, 2017): “Sharing the Truth in Love”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s):  “Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.”  — Eph 4: 14-16

Reflection: Sometimes, because we speak earnestly about being “peaceful, loving, compassionate” Sidewalk Advocates, some might be tempted to think that we are doormats on the sidewalk who never say tough things about abortion!

It’s very true that we believe “people-skills” — knowing God created us, subject to our human condition, attracted to love — are essential on the sidewalk.  Indeed, I’m sure you can guess that we don’t win a life-saving conversation with a woman if we are ugly, confrontational, and shouting her head off!

Still, once we make contact and offer love and help and begin to assess the situation and her needs, we might need to be more direct with her about what abortion is and how it will affect her and her child.  (In the same way, if she is servicing that Planned Parenthood for something else like birth control, an unmarried woman needs to hear the glory of chastity — or an unmarried woman needs to hear about Natural Family Planning as an alternative to her abortifacient drug.)  Still, because the abortion facility has told her that we are “angry protesters” and warns them to stay away from us, we must go out of our way to be the opposite of that image so we have an opportunity to share that truth in love.

Additionally, research, testimony, and experience tell us that she doesn’t want us to “stay stuck” on the plight of abortion, but she needs to hear the “resurrection”: How she can do this, and how we pledge to walk with her as long as she needs us.

Faith Challenge: The next time you are conversing with someone about abortion, ask the Holy Spirit to give you proper discernment to know what the person on the receiving end needs: A listening ear?  Understanding and compassion?  Or is it time to  in love — share some tougher words?

DEVOTIONAL (SEPTEMBER 1 – NOVEMBER 15, 2017): “CELEBRATING GOD’S GOODNESS”

By Jeff Reedy, Shipping Coordinator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s): “And Mary said, ‘My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For He has looked on the humble state of His servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the mighty One has done great things for me. And holy is His name.’” – Luke 1:46-49

Reflection: How easy it is to take for granted all of the great things He has done for us. He gives us so much to be thankful for every day of our lives. So how can we learn to appreciate His blessings in our lives and not take them for granted?

The answer is also in Mary’s song of praise. He looks upon our humble state. When we learn humility, we learn to see our lives as they really are. Not regretting the past, not fearing the future, but living in the present, where God meets us and gives us so many blessings. Humility is not thinking less of ourselves, but thinking more about Him and what He has done for us. It’s learning not to be envious of what He’s done for others, because when we focus on Him, He puts His love in our hearts, and we can genuinely be happy for our friends who are also blessed.

Faith Challenge: As we humbly realize what great goods we’ve been given, let’s remember to pray for those who need our help and prayers. For mothers who face poverty and think that abortion is their only answer. For fathers to be real fathers and to take care of mothers and their children. And let’s be grateful for all of the times that He has answered our prayers — as we trust He will do in the future, again and again.

DEVOTIONAL (AUGUST 21 – 31, 2017): “CELEBRATING THE GIFTS IN OTHERS”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life
Verse(s): “Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” – Matthew 15b-16

Reflection: If we’re being totally honest, we’ve all felt a twinge of jealousy before… Someone else seems better at their job than we do.  Someone else gets recognized for their accomplishments more than we do.  Another sidewalk counselor is celebrating yet another victory on the sidewalk while we’re in a season of struggle.  Another organization gets the attention we were hoping to draw to a project we just launched.

And yet, the Lord doesn’t see it that way.  In the Kingdom of God, everything sacrificed and offered to Him, big and small, challenge or no challenge, is valuable and precious.  You have gifts and talents someone else doesn’t.  Seasons of life give us more of an opportunity to share at times than others.  And if our ultimate goal is to glorify God and give all the attention to Him where possible, it doesn’t really matter.  As long as we are utilizing the gifts, talents and time He has given to us – letting all be done in love – it is even more pleasing to Him!

And perhaps another’s success is the Holy Spirit whispering to us a challenge: Go run after and cultivate the gifts and dreams I’ve given you.

Meanwhile as we grow and seek His Will, God reassures us: Don’t focus on someone else, focus on what I can do through you.  And celebrate any victory — whether worked through us or someone else — as a victory for Him.

Faith Challenge: Pray for the gift of humility, and thank God for His many blessings.

DEVOTIONAL (AUGUST 21 – 31, 2017): “CELEBRATING THE GIFTS IN OTHERS”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s):

“Or are you envious because I am generous? So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” – Matthew 15b-16

Reflection:

If we’re being totally honest, we’ve all felt a twinge of jealousy before… Someone else seems better at their job than we do. Someone else gets recognized for their accomplishments more than we do. Another sidewalk counselor is celebrating yet another victory on the sidewalk while we’re in a season of struggle. Another organization gets the attention we were hoping to draw to a project we just launched.

And yet, the Lord doesn’t see it that way. In the Kingdom of God, everything sacrificed and offered to Him, big and small, challenge or no challenge, is valuable and precious. You have gifts and talents someone else doesn’t. Seasons of life give us more of an opportunity to share at times than others. And if our ultimate goal is to glorify God and give all the attention to Him where possible, it doesn’t really matter. As long as we are utilizing the gifts, talents and time He has given to us – letting all be done in love – it is even more pleasing to Him!

And perhaps another’s success is the Holy Spirit whispering to us a challenge: Go run after and cultivate the gifts and dreams I’ve given you.

Meanwhile as we grow and seek His Will, God reassures us: Don’t focus on someone else, focus on what I can do through you. And celebrate any victory — whether worked through us or someone else — as a victory for Him.

Faith Challenge:

Pray for the gift of humility, and thank God for His many blessings.

DEVOTIONAL (August 1 – 21, 2017): “For the Good of Those Who Love Him”

by Jeff Reedy, Shipping Coordinator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s):

“For we know that God works everything for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

Reflection:

The world seems to be in a tumult of scary news at times:  Political upheaval.  Police officers gunned down. Terrorist acts.

And yet, we know that God works everything for our good. Everything!  No matter who is in the Oval Office …no matter what laws get passed in our nation. God works everything for good under Nero just as He does under Constantine. If we but turn to Him, we can trust that He will work everything out in the end.

An example of this comes immediately to mind: It’s such a beautiful thing to see a baby spared from abortion and given the opportunity for a full and happy life. It makes people wonder, what can I do to help save babies like this?

Well, that brings us to our second example: Sidewalk Advocates for Life has applications open this month!  You can learn how to bring this peaceful, lawful, incredibly effective program to your town or city and build a team of trained Sidewalk Advocates in front of your local abortion facility.

Ever wondered what you can do to make a difference in the world? To be part of God “working everything for our good?” Here’s your chance to be part of the solution!

Faith Challenge:

Pray for God to work everything for good in our country and to begin with us, perhaps by bringing SAFL to YOUR area!

Devotional (July 15-31, 2017): “Children are a Gift from the Lord”

by Jenna Scott, Program Administrator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s):

“Behold, children are a gift of the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” — Psalm 127:3 (NASV)

Reflection:

Children are a gift from the Lord!  We know that as part of the pro-life community, but how do we show it?

It is easy to put on the pro-life hat and say that we are for ending abortion. We can — and should — be a witness for life in front of abortion facilities. But are we called to do more to affirm the truth that children are a blessing from the Lord?

We are pro-life not just when we go to the sidewalk, but also in how we live our daily lives. We have an opportunity to be a witness for life when we go to the grocery store, church, or make our daily commute. When we see a mother struggling with her children in the grocery store line, we can be a source of support when we step aside and let her check out first. When we go to church and the family is trying to hear God’s Word with a fussy baby, don’t encourage the family to leave — smile and affirm their valiant efforts.  If you take public transportation, offer the pregnant woman your seat.

When we show the world we care and support children and their parents in our day-to-day actions, we are showing the world what it truly means to be pro-life. And it may be those random acts of kindness that stick with someone when they encounter an unexpected pregnancy of their own.

Let Us Pray:

Lord, help us remember that children are a blessing every day throughout our day. Help us find ways to be kind and show love towards children and parents. Let our compassion and love for life spill over into everything that we do so that we may proclaim your truth with our actions and not just our words. Amen.

DEVOTIONAL (July 1 – 15, 2017): “Upheld and Strengthened”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse: “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Reflection: Sometimes, the truth of the violence of abortion overwhelms us.

When we hear the testimony of a woman who has experience abortion or listened to a former worker talk about the sad and obvious taking of human life inside the abortion facility, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the evident darkness so many have experienced.

Yet, His word tells us that He has conquered sin and darkness overwhelmingly, and He will completely heal us if we but turn to Him.  He promises to strengthen us in this battle, renew and refresh us, and “make all things new” (cf. Rev 21:5) through the power of his passion, death, and resurrection.

His love and grace truly makes all things new.

Faith Challenge: Pray for the healing of all those who have experience abortion personally in one way or another.

DEVOTIONAL (June 1 – 30, 2017): “Love in Action”

by Chantel Poisel, Communications Coordinator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse: “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” – Romans 12:9 (NIV)

Reflection: Most of us agree that abortion is evil.  It is the taking of a human life made in the image and likeness of God.  We are justified in hating abortion, as we are to hate what is evil.

Let’s not overlook the second part of this verse, however, or confuse hating evil for hating people.  The Lord created each and every person in His image and likeness which is to say we are inherently precious to Him and valuable.  He desires a personal relationship with all of us.

We are called to cling to what is good.  What could be greater than love?

Faith Challenge: This month, I want to challenge each of us to not only cling to love, but to sincerely put that love into action.

The next time you are having a conversation about abortion, try sharing from a position of love instead of anger.  When speaking to a woman considering abortion, sincerely love her as Christ loves her.  Offer her a blessing bag as a token of love and hope.  When speaking with abortion workers feeling trapped in the abortion industry, show them love and share news of abortionworker.com.

Pray that the Lord softens our own hearts so we can put His love in action in order totruly reach others.

DEVOTIONAL (March 22 – April 9, 2017): “Overjoyed”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verses: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” — Philippians 4:4

“But let all who take refuge in You be glad, Let them ever sing for joy; And may You shelter them, That those who love Your name may exult in You.” — Psalm 5:11

“Jesus replied: ‘A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.  At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready…’” — Luke 14:16-17

Reflection: Here we are, three years after our beginnings on the sidewalk: Giving God praise for a multitude of victories after a group of people took a leap of faith and launched Sidewalk Advocates for Life!

When the idea of SAFL was put on our hearts, we had no idea what this leap of faith might bring — but that’s the fun part with God!  He tugs …and we respond, many times, without any preview of what that leap might bring.

And yet, here we are a few years later, rewarded and rejoicing in almost 1,700 precious babies saved, 43 workers who have left the business, 5 facility closures by God’s amazing grace — along with so many other amazing blessings!

Psalm 5:11 and Luke 14:16-17 tells us, in essence, that we who rejoice in Him — in his ultimate victory over sin and death — should take that JOY, exult and trust in Him, and run to follow wherever He leads so we may partake of the many blessings He wants to give us.  He always has good things in store!

How many times have we been invited to the feast and missed out because we were afraid or refused to say YES?  And yet, we know that God will never invite us somewhere where he cannot transform, bless, and bring victory.

There is more work to do: More soil to till, more harvest to reap!  Together, let’s move forward in faith, expectantly waiting to see what other blessings God wants to bring us through this ministry!

Call to Action: As a part of our family and community of faith, please join us in a prayer of thanksgiving for all He’s done.  Our grateful heart opens us to new, amazing blessings in the future!

Then, please consider a gift of $30 to the life-saving ministry of Sidewalk Advocates for Life to help this work continue — just $10 every year we’ve been on the sidewalk!  (And it will double due to our matching fund challenge!)

You can make a financial gift of any amount at the secure giving link HERE: sidewalkadvocates.org/donate

THANK YOU for being on this exciting, life-saving journey with us!

DEVOTIONAL (March 1 – 21, 2017): “Free to Serve”

by Chantel Poisel, Communications Coordinator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verses: “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” — Galatians 5:13-14

Reflection: Wow.  We are called to be free!  What a beautiful, and sobering thought that is.

The Lord has given us the free choice to decide what paths we will take, who we will serve, how we will spend our time, how we will spend our talents, and how we will spend our treasure.

In this passage, we are being encouraged to choose to use that freedom to serve one another in love — give others our time, be that shoulder to cry on, offer up our talents and our treasure to support our brothers and sisters in their time of need.  Love them as ourselves.

What better way to do that than by being or aiding the hands and feet of Christ in front of the darkest place where a child’s chance for free choice is being taken away?

Get trained as a Sidewalk Advocate and learn how to peacefully and lovingly reach out to women-in-crisis.

Become a prayer volunteer, standing on the sidewalk, praying for all who pass by, praying for all who enter those dark doors, and praying for those who are reaching out in love to those-in-crisis.

Join us in partnership as a donor, sacrificing everything from supplies for training events, literature to be handed out on the sidewalk, water for those volunteers donating their time, and your treasure to support all of these efforts to save every life possible by the grace of God!

Today, I challenge you to exercise your free choice and choose to serve one another in whatever capacity the Lord calls you to!

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we thank you for the sacrifice you gave on the cross. We thank you for your grace and love that you continually pour out upon us. We thank you for the gifts you give us, including this gift of free choice. Help us to use the gifts you give us wisely. Help us to love our brothers and sisters as ourselves, and to freely give to others of our time, our talents, and our treasure. Help us to shine your light in the darkest of places, and to reach out in love with hope to those in crisis. Help us to better serve you by serving those we meet, and by showing your love to each and every one.

Lord, we give you praise and thanks for the blessings you have given each one of us, and the blessings you have revealed through this ministry. We thank you for the lives that have been saved, the women who have been helped, and for those who have been pointed toward you. Help us to continue being your hands and feet so that more may come to know you in a more personal way. Amen.