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DEVOTIONAL (June 15 – June 30, 2018): “The Answer is Love”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

(originally published at liferunners.org)

Verse(s): “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.  This I command you:  love one another.”

– John 15:16-17

Reflection: Many debate in the pro-life movement about the best tactic for ending abortion.  Is it more political prowess?  Media connections?  The greatest advertising campaign — or even pooling the greatest amount of money or resources?

While these things can aid the battle for life, we must recognize that Jesus has already answered this question: It is LOVE.  Love is what led Christ to the cross to redeem all sin and death, and Love raised Him from the dead.  Love is what heals relationships, transforms broken hearts, and gives us the ability to persevere and do what’s right.

At the end of the day, the abortion decision rests with a mother — we recognize that she doesn’t have a moral right to take the life of her preborn child, but unfortunately, she does have the legal option to do so.  Maybe the boyfriend left her, the family is pressuring her and she sees all of her future plans crumbling before her eyes; ironically, she may feel she has NO choice.  The world keeps telling her that for $500, her biggest problem will be solved.

When we head out to the sidewalk to pray and love these mothers through faith-in-action, miracles can happen.  In all of my time as a sidewalk counselor, I have never seen a mother change her mind because of a mere political or philosophical argument.  But I can tell you about the countless number of times I’ve witnessed lives saved and hearts transformed because a peaceful person on the sidewalk was willing to pray and offer love and assistance without judgment to that mother-in-crisis.

We are called to bring His love and light out to the sidewalk, knowing that He can work miracles through us, if we let Him.

Faith Challenge: Grab a friend and go out to an abortion facility this week and peacefully pray on the public right-of-way, even if just for 15 minutes.  Also, consider getting trained as a Sidewalk Advocate!  Find your nearest location HERE: http://sidewalkadvocates.org/locations/  Contact the Program Director(s), and ask when the next training will be!

DEVOTIONAL (June 1-15, 2018): “First of All”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s):

“One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
‘Which is the first of all the commandments?’
Jesus replied, ‘The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these.'”

– Mark 12:28-31

Reflection: Loving our neighbor — sounds great on paper! But in real life, especially on the sidewalk?

We’re so tempted — based on our righteous anger about abortion — to forget to love our neighbors as ourselves…

– The woman walking into the abortion facility, confused, scared, and misled
– The boyfriend who washes his hands of his involvement in the abortion
– The abortion worker, working in the industry due to pain from past abortions
– Clergy and community who seemingly don’t care that there’s an abortion facility right down the road from them

…and so many others who cross our path in this great battle for life.

Yes, we can be righteously angry that they “condone” this great act of evil in some way, but the Lord calls us, first, to love them, knowing that they might be misled by their own pain. When we resolve to start with love, the Holy Spirit can more aptly guide us because our hearts are open to His love.

Perhaps we start with a smile and an invitation to talk. Of course, it doesn’t mean that, at some point, we may not say something to convict their hearts as the Lord directs, but it means that we start, first, with love.

Faith Challenge: Pray for all those who anger you, and ask the Lord to give you a great love for each one.

DEVOTIONAL (May 8 – 31, 2018): “Do Not Give Up”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s): “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

Reflection: We hope to be “lucky” — in other words, successful — in all our endeavors concerning work, life, and love.  But is it luck that leads to true success in this life?

The Scriptures point us to a different model when it comes to success:  It’s one that perseveres in faith, hope, and love.  When we face challenges in the Christian life, we don’t hope against hope — we are told that we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  And as we persevere, everything we do should be covered in prayer which is the ultimate power source for the Christian life.

In that way, we cooperate with God’s grace which is abundantly available to us as believers.  God does His part — and He admonishes us to do ours.  Let’s pray, work and persevere — and then, we’ll no doubt be “lucky.”

Faith Challenge: What challenges are you facing today — whether on the sidewalk or in your personal life?  Are you submitting those in prayer to the Lord and asking for His guidance?  Then, are you doing the part that He is asking you to do to see victory in that challenge?

DEVOTIONAL (April 2 – May 7, 2018): “We’re Not Worthy”

by Jeff Reedy, Shipping Coordinator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verses: “As John finished his work, he said, ‘Who do you suppose I am?  I am not the one you are looking for.  But there is one coming after me whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.'” – Acts 13:25

Reflection: Working for a pro-life cause can be a struggle!  The work that we do each day is very counter-cultural.  And it is directly opposed to the designs of our enemy, who wants a culture of death to be accepted by everyone. 

But it’s our God who has called us to do this work, and it’s good for us to remember, like John did, that we are His instruments in accomplishing His will.  We “prepare the way” in the hearts of those we talk to each day for the work that God wants to do in their lives.  We are unworthy instruments, of course.  None of us “deserve” to do this important work of saving lives.  On the other hand, it is a high and holy calling that He’s given us.

As C.S. Lewis said, the fact that we are sinners called to His service is “both honor enough to raise the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth.”  It is good for us to remember that we are voices crying out in the wilderness, protecting the vulnerable, and preparing the way for God’s work in the lives of those we speak to.

Call to Action: This week, challenge yourself to spend time in His presence, reminding yourself of your great worth and your great need for His work in us, without which the work that we do is empty.  Then, pray over this great mission, and ask God to bless and protect it, not for our glory, but for His.

DEVOTIONAL (March 11 – April 1, 2018): “Overjoyed”

by Lauren Muzyka, Executive Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verses:

“When they looked up,
they saw that the stone had been rolled back;
it was very large.
On entering the tomb they saw a young man
sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe,
and they were utterly amazed.
He said to them, ‘Do not be amazed!
You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified.
He has been raised; he is not here.
Behold the place where they laid him.
But go and tell his disciples and Peter,
‘He is going before you to Galilee;
there you will see him, as he told you.””

— Mark 16: 4-7

Reflection: When the idea of Sidewalk Advocates for Life 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 to expect.

And yet, here we are, rejoicing in almost 4,000 precious babies saved, along with so many other amazing blessings!

Our Lord tells us 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!

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.  A grateful heart opens us to new, amazing blessings in the future!

Then, please consider joining us on our next big webcast event this Thursday night, ENDING ABORTION Through the Power of Love, where you can learn how to keep the life-saving moment going!

GRAB ONE OF THE LIMITED SPOTS HERE: sidewalkadvocates.org/webcast

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