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DEVOTIONAL (June 1-15, 2019): “The Power of Motherhood”

By Christina Faucett, Communications Director, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s):  “One day two women came to King Solomon, and one of them said: ‘Your Majesty, this woman and I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home, and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us. One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died. Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me. In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.’

‘No!’ the other woman shouted. ‘He was your son. My baby is alive!’

‘The dead baby is yours,’ the first woman yelled. ‘Mine is alive!’

They argued back and forth in front of Solomon, until finally he said, ‘Both of you say this live baby is yours. Someone bring me a sword.’ A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, ‘Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.’

‘Please don’t kill my son,’ the baby’s mother screamed. ‘Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.’

The other woman shouted, ‘Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.’
Solomon said, ‘Don’t kill the baby.’ Then he pointed to the first woman, ‘She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.’

Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realized that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.” – 1 Kings 3:16-28 (CEV)

Reflection:  If you don’t understand what’s going on in this story, you might think that King Solomon is a monster: What kind of person commands his guards to slice an innocent baby in half? And yet, the Bible shows us how this seemingly cruel command revealed Solomon’s great wisdom. Solomon understood the power of motherhood. Solomon knew that no true mother could bear to see her child harmed – even if it meant giving up her own rights as a mother to save him.

Here at Sidewalk Advocates for Life, we see the powerful love of mothers every day: women who, like the mothers in this story, are raising their children alone without the help of a father. Women with the strength to do exactly what this mother was willing to do – give up custody of her child in order to give him or her the best chance at life. Women willing to sacrifice everything: relationships, jobs, education, even health, for the sake of their children. Motherhood is never an easy road, but it is always worth it.

Solomon wasn’t reckless when he asked for that sword; he knew exactly what he was doing. Solomon knew that to a mother, nothing matters more than her child. He knew that the best way to find the child’s true mother was to see which woman would protect him at all costs.

Many women don’t protect their children from abortion because they’ve been lied to by the abortion industry.  In the vast majority of cases, they don’t know what they’re really doing.

Solomon used both his God-given power and wisdom to not only save a child’s life, but ensure he was raised by a loving, caring mother – one who would not sacrifice him for anything, even her own opportunity to raise him.  We at Sidewalk Advocates for Life pray for the same God-given wisdom when offering help to a mother and letting her know the truth of the harm of abortion so we can empower her to be the mother she’s called to be.

For that, Solomon is remembered throughout history as one of the wisest men who ever lived.

Faith Challenge:  Ask God how He wants you to use the power and wisdom He has given you, and do what He reveals to you, no matter how difficult. Make a point to pray each day that God increases your wisdom for the benefit of others.

DEVOTIONAL (February 1- 15, 2019): “Fixing the World”

by Jeff Reedy, Store Manager, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s):  “At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, ‘Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.'” – Matthew 18:1-3

Reflection:  Jesus is answering the disciples’ foolish questions about who will be greatest in the kingdom. The questions are foolish because they don’t understand how things work in the Kingdom. Yet.

So Jesus gives them a little lesson: He welcomes a small child to come sit with Him, and He tells the disciples that they must become like little children in order to even ENTER the Kingdom of Heaven. And then He goes on to give very serious consequences to those who harm the little ones.

We start at home. I begin fixing my own “stupid.” In my life, I’ve had the gift of tutoring children with different kinds of challenges. The way I challenge myself, for example, is by learning to be patient with those who are slower at learning, and helping them along their way. Teach them, rather than ridicule them. That’s helping the little ones Jesus talked about, not hurting them.

Obviously, we can’t FORCE anyone to leave their foolishness and stupidity behind and move into the light — we aren’t responsible for MAKING them change. We are responsible for how WE act, and for setting an example that they can follow if they are willing.

We can fix stupid — our own stupid. And then we can help those who are willing to fix theirs, too. Maybe if enough of us start doing that, we can help to begin healing our broken world.

God, thanks for reminding us that fixing the world begins with fixing ourselves.

Faith Challenge:  What in your life is not healthy, happy, or holy? Begin with one thing — one virtue that you resolve to pray about and grow in. Ask God to help you walk more closely with Him as He uses you to be a docile, powerful light to those in need.

DEVOTIONAL (January 22 – 31, 2019): “You Knit Me”

by Kristi Noem, Governor of South Dakota

(the following appeared at liferunners.org)

Verse(s):  “You created my innermost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful.” – Psalm 139:13-14

Reflection: 46 years ago today, our Supreme Court justified the killing of unborn babies. Since that day when abortion was legalized, more than 60 million babies in America have been murdered – their potential ripped away, their laughter silenced before it had a chance to start.

I believe every life, starting from the time of conception, has dignity and value. I understood that even deeper the first time Bryon and I heard our oldest daughter Kassidy’s heartbeat. As believers, we know that value not only comes from the existence of life, but from the very fabric of our being. Scripture states that we are made in the very image of our Creator – we are the product of His hands. He created our innermost being. Life must be valued because He is life. Dignity must be valued because He created us in His image; it’s His breath in our lungs.

Faith Challenge:  I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer. As we recognize this momentous date in our nation’s history, may we also pray prophetically over the future of our nation. Pray that eyes will be opened to the evil of abortion. Pray that the Lord would place people in power who are able to confront this injustice and defend unborn lives.

DEVOTIONAL (January 1 – January 31, 2019): “The Laborers Are Few”

by Christina Faucett, Program Administrator, Sidewalk Advocates for Life

Verse(s): “After this, the Lord appointed 72 others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go. And he said to them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.'”

– Luke 10:1-2

Reflection: It seems odd to think that God needs us for anything. He is God, after all. He can do all things. He made us, and to Him, we are like the dust of the earth or the clay in His hands. Without Him we could not live. And yet, that is what he says to us over and over again: “I need you. I need you to come forward, choose me, step out in faith.” God can do great things in us and through us, but He wants us to participate. As Paul says in Ephesians, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Jesus points to that reality here: A harvest is waiting to be reaped – but where are the workers? Without workers in a farmer’s field, the grapes rot on the vine, the grain molds in the field. And without workers in the spiritual field souls perish in the darkness. God has planted many seeds in the hearts of those all around us: Will we reap what He has sown? Or will we remain blind to the harvest all around us, focusing only on our own measly patch of dirt?

Faith Challenge: Will you do the good works God has created you to do? Will you do it even if the work means standing in the rain tirelessly, day after day, fingers numb, and legs sore? If you are willing to take on this tedious work, Jesus has a promise for you – with His help, you will reap the rewards! The reward is the Bread of Life.

DEVOTIONAL (December 15 – 31, 2018): “The World Turned Upside Down”

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 isn’t always predictable; things don’t always 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.

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