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 fo
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 bringingSidewalk Advocates for Life to YOUR area!
by Jeff Reedy, Shipping Coordinator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life
Verse(s): “Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom He wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed Twelve, whom He also named Apostles, that they might be with Him and He might send them forth to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” — Mark 3:13
Reflection: Jesus is calling us. He is summoning you for some important work that He wants you to do.
When we go on to read the rest of the story, we see clearly that the disciples were first called to be with Him. That’s what all of us are called to above anything else. Every disciple who followed Jesus was called to “be with Him.” And when we’re with Him, He reveals to us very important things that we wouldn’t otherwise have the grace of knowing — things essential for our unique mission in life.
Quite often, He shows us the gifts that He has already given us: Some of us are given the gift of having big hearts with a special mission to care for others. Some are given the gifts of healing. Some can write well. Some are given the gift of boldness through speech.
Whatever the gift He’s given you, He now wants you to use it. He calls us to be with Him, find our gifts, and then GO OUT to “preach and have authority to drive out demons.” We are all called to go out, sharing the love that He’s given us, pushing back the darkness.
Faith Challenge: Spend time “with Him” this week, and ask Him what gifts He’s given you that you might not have uncovered until now. And then ask Him to show you how to use your gifts in a greater way to drive back the darkness and spread His glorious light.
by Christina Faucett, Program Administrator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life
Verses: In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” – Luke 1:26-33
Reflection: The world was saved by an unplanned pregnancy. I know it’s a bit cliché, but this is the season for remembering those things we have heard a hundred times before. We should remember how messy it was: an unwed mother, a father who wasn’t really the baby’s father – whom everyone must have considered either a sinner or a fool – a birth in a stable surrounded by animals and strangers, fleeing to a foreign country in terror in the middle of the night. It’s not the way any of us would choose to start a family, but it’s the way God choose to bring us into His.
It wasn’t really unplanned, of course. It had been planned from before the beginning of the world. It was foretold in the Garden of Eden: “[H]e will crush your head, and you will strike his heel,” (Genesis 3:15). But to everyone but God it must have been surprising. In the words of one of my favorite Christmas songs: such a strange way to save the world.
The birth of Christ turned the world upside down, starting with the lives of two ordinary small-town people. Two people willing to have their lives upended for the sake of a baby they were told would save his people from their sins.
For most women, the news that they are going to have a child isn’t brought by angels. For many, the news isn’t joy-bringing, but fear-instilling. Their life is about to change dramatically. No one is going to tell the man they love in a dream that he shouldn’t abandon them. No one is bringing gold to the birthing suite to pay the hospital bill. They may feel just as alone and scared as Mary must have felt in a strange town with no family and friends to support her. But the same truth the angel told Mary is true for all women: the Lord is with you. God may have made the lives of the Holy Family more chaotic than they planned, but He also provided for them every step of the way. He used everyone from poor shepherds to rich kings to do it.
Faith Challenge: We may be neither kings nor shepherds. No angelic choir or strange star may guide our path, but we can still heed the voice of the Lord when He calls us to help the single mother, to encourage the poor father, to take in the stranger, or simply to come and marvel at the newborn baby. Life is unpredictable and often scary. Things don’t go the way we planned. But God is always there, whether in the form of an angelic message, or a simple manger in which to rest our head.
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!
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?