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DEVOTIONAL (November 22, 2017): “Give Thanks”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life (with contributions from Chantel Poisel)

Verses: “Give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known His deeds among the people.” — 1 Chronicles 16:8 (KJV)

Reflection: This week, many of us in the U.S. will be celebrating Thanksgiving, a time of celebration with family and friends where we share a meal and count our blessings to give thanks for all the Lord has done!  We have so much to be thankful for!

This Thanksgiving, I encourage you to “give thanks unto the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people.” Thank Him for all he has done in your life and in the lives of your loved ones. Thank Him for the 2,600 lives that have been spared from abortion, for those families that have been forever changed for the better, and for the eternal souls that have been impacted through this ministry.  Make known His deeds among the people: Share those blessings with those around you and people you meet so they can rejoice, too, and know what an amazing God we serve!

Let us pray: Dear Lord, we come to you in humble thanks, first and foremost for your son, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins. Thank you for your Word, so we may learn and know the truth about life, you, and your plan of salvation for our lives.  Thank you for your abundant love and your grace and mercy!

Lord, we thank you for the 2,600 lives that have been spared from abortion and for the those that have been forever changed as they’ve come to know you. Thank you for each person who has answered your call to be a Sidewalk Advocate, Prayer Partner, or financial supporter of this ministry.  Thank you for our Board and National Team and their families who make so many sacrifices to run this ministry in order to serve and shine your light to those they meet.  Thank you for this ministry where we can, by your grace, impact lives and souls for all of eternity.

We have nothing without you, Lord, and as we count our blessings and all that you have done for us, through us, and with those around us, we give our heartfelt thanks and praise to you.  AMEN!

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.