Sunday, September 24, 2017

Going Backwards Over Rapids


I eked out every second of kayaking I could this past weekend. This morning, I fly out of town to hang out with my super-cool nephew Anthony so his folks can go on a long-overdue vacation. I also get to take care of their very shiny and rascally pup, Susy. I expect the three of us are going to get into all kinds of trouble.

So knowing I would have a week without kayaking, I was on the river all weekend. At one point, I decided to hold my camera and videotape myself going over the rapids.. That event is memorialized HERE.  Since my hands were occupied with the camera and I couldn't paddle, I ended up in the midst of some pretty frothy water and spun around backwards. I traveled most of the rapids backwards. I could see where I'd been, but not where I was going.

I was zooming along at top speed without the slightest idea if there were rocks I was going to slam up against or how much longer I would be in the potentially dangerous wild waters. I had no control over my speed or direction. I was just going along for the ride, wherever the current would take me.

Isn't that just like life sometimes?

Yesterday at the abortion center one of our new volunteers stopped a car with a young couple headed to abort their baby. Our volunteer did a great job getting them our literature, discussing why they shouldn't abort, and urging them to go on our mobile unit. I always tell new volunteers that if they stop a car, go ahead and speak as we have trained them and as the Holy Spirit guides.. Meanwhile, one of the experienced volunteers will head over to help.

So I hurried over. The couple was clearly very conflicted. The young man even wore a shirt that talked about God's strength. Just as the new volunteer had done, I gave my all to try to convince them. They said, "It's all right. Thank you, but we are okay."
"Sir," I said, "You are not okay if you claim Christ, as you do on your shirt but then you plan to defy what He clearly commands."
They listened for about fifteen minutes, and agreed it was wrong to abort, God would not have them abort, they believed and claimed to know God, they knew it was a human being in the womb, they were sorrowful....they took our literature with the pictures of babies at different gestational ages....

BUT when I asked them to please pull over and let me bring them on the RV to see their child's heartbeat, they pulled away...and drove into the abortion center. Paddling backwards over rapids...

The Bible says that when we are without faith that God is at the helm, we are like waves in the ocean, tossed about at the mercy of the winds. When our foundation is anything but Christ, it is shifting sand. The Lord is the anchor for our soul. Over and over again, the Bible reminds us that if want to live a life that is steady and true, not tossed about in wavering doubt, we must trust God to take control. Otherwise, we are doomed to shoot over dangerous rapids backwards without a paddle.

Within a few minutes, the young couple emerged from the clinic. They had been the last in...but the first out. They did not have any papers in their hands or anything to indicate a supply of pills or discharge instructions. As they drove out, the young woman had our literature in her lap, and was looking at the pictures of babies in the womb. Maybe they had just recovered their paddle.
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James 1:6-8 


But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Hebrews 6:19 


We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,




Charlotte City Council and the Pro Choice Crowd Are At it AGAIN



                                                                     


A beautiful weekend, and I spent much of it in my favorite place: in my kayak on the river.  Before biking along the path with my kayak towed behind me, I spoke with a group of veteran kayakers. They had already kayaked 7 miles, and were resting before continuing 7 more miles downstream.  They knew the river well, so I pestered them with questions. I found out how to know how much water would be released from the dam upstream for one thing. This is critical info. If the release is substantial, it would be near impossible for my inflatable kayak to travel upstream against the current. If there is very little release, I bottom out on the rocks in the shallow water. Without this information, my safety could well be at risk.

Information is important and always helps in decision making, especially if a choice involves life and death.

For this reason, it is important that you know what the latest development is in Charlotte to silence any voice but those that agree with the "pro-choice" agenda. If you have followed my blog, you may remember that several months ago, City Council member Julie Eiselt led an attempt to zone quiet, wide Latrobe Dr. as a no-parking streeet. The abortion clinic, A Preferred Women's Health Center, where Cities4Life offers resources, hope, and help to abortion-minded women is on this street. There has NEVER been a traffic issue or safety issue regarding parking on Latrobe Drive. It was clear the attempt to rezone Latrobe Drive was based on a desire to silence and thwart the pro-life groups that have ministered on that street for over a decade without incident.

A mobile ultrasound unit on the Monroe  HELP Pregnancy Center RV is parked on the curb outside the abortion clinic. Many women use that RV to see their babies on the ultrasound, ask our nurses medical questions, confer with our counselors about available resources, and share the reality of their situations which we are often able to help them overcome. That valuable resource to offer ongoing help to moms in crisis would not be there if Latrobe Dr. was zoned no-parking. Ninety percent of the moms who see their baby on the ultrasound choose life. It seems that is at cross-purposes with the Preferred Women's Health Center, particuarly in light of the fact that many women who leave the center tell us they were not allowed to see their child on the ultrasound inside the building, even when they requested they be allowed to do so.

The zoning attempt was defeated. Then Charlotte officials began misapplying the sign ordinance in order to unjustly seize and destroy Cities4Life signs. Cities4Life's rights in this matter are being legally pursued. Charlotte City officials seized our shade tent, which again we have used for years without incident. Police were required to come twice a morning to check our sound permit, and test our decibel level. Sometimes as many as four to six officers are diverted from fighting the rising violent crime rate in Charlotte so they can perform this task. 

Despite the obvious attempts by the city and Abortion Center to try to silence and frustrate the pro-life groups, there have been on the order of 8-15 women each week that choose life with our help and intervention. We continue to offer resources, mentorship programs, and tangible assistance in whatever obstacles they face, largely without using a single taxpayer funded service. Countless babies have been saved and cherished as a direct result of our presence on the sidewalks.

Does the City applaud our compassion to those innocent unborn children who would otherwise be victims of abortion? Do they thank us for guiding women to life-changing resources to help them better their situations and reduce their reliance on government programs? 

Not exactly.

One of the wonderful Cities4Life volunteers chanced upon a call -to-action to all Charlotte "pro-choice" advocates.  She uncovered a petition to City Council to reopen the zoning NO PARKING status for Latrobe Dr.  The rally, scheduled for Monday night, September 25th,  during the City Council meeting is being proposed with the help of National Organization of Women. We have seen people we suspect are lawyers speaking with the clinic staff and prochoice escorts. We have seen many reporters with cameras, video, and notes....interviewing and chumming with the pro-choice group...but not a word spoken with us. Many articles have been written by Huffington Post, Charlotte Observer, and others without interviewing a single pro-life representative. 

Vi Lyles, mayor pro tem, was at the facility about a month ago. She spoke extensively with the abortion center workers. Not a word to us. In fact, she berated me as I counseled a sobbing woman on the curb who was overcome with the obstacles she faced and then overwhelmed with all the help we were able to offer. (I remain in contact with this woman, who is doing well and so grateful we were there to encourage her to choose life, and then help her.) This woman remembers that incident well. Neither of us could understand the anger and nastiness of someone who is supposed to represent the citizens of her city.

The NOW rally information was pulled down from Facebook very shortly after we discovered it and began circulating the information on Facebook. We do not know if it has been canceled, or just gone undercover so no pro-life voice might be raised to offer an alternative choice to the "pro-choice" agenda.

We have been informed that a group of council members are indeed looking at the zoning issue again, although NOTHING about the street has changed since the zoning issue was last tabled. NOTHING has changed except perhaps an exiting mayor and hopeful Democrat replacement both of whom have not been exactly supportive of the group of constituents who seek to protect and speak on behalf of the  most vulnerable little ones in their city.
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Please be in prayer over the continual attempts to silence Cities4Life volunteers and dissuade us from our mission to build a culture of life in our city. If you are able to attend our prolife prayer time Monday night, many folks will be gathering in front of the Government building, 600 E. 4th Street, at 5:30. If you have one, please wear the blue Love Life shirt...or just wear a blue shirt in solidarity with our pro-life presence.
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Isaiah 55:8-9 


For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Micah 7:7 


But as for me, I will look to the Lord; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.

John 14:27 


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

Psalm 46:10 


“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

More Lessons from the River


The gorgeous unseasonably warm week will end, and with it my kayaking season. So every chance I get, I have rushed out to my new favorite kayak spot. I was rewarded yesterday with a bald eagle sighting and the beautiful peace of God's glorious creation. There was a deflating moment however. I have been CRUISING through the rapids feeling like I am really HOT stuff. I am barely nervous at all. I often sit in my kayak and play in front of them, daring them to suck me away into a frothy danger. And these are class 2 rapids folks!

Except they are not.

As I was talking to some veteran kayakers, feeling pretty puffed up and proud of how I tangle with this dangerous river, I casually mentioned the ease with which my inflatable kayak sails over the CLASS 2 rapids.

"They are just Class 1," the veteran kayaker told me kindly.
"All of them?" I asked.
"Yes," he said.

God puts a pin in my inflated ego on a regular basis. I won't say I like it, but it must be necessary or He wouldn't do it. 

Still, I had fun even if they only were Class 1 rapids.

Click here to see class 1 rapids
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2 Corinthians 12:9 


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

When He Comes, He's Right on Time

                                  

Five women chose life over abortion yesterday while we were ministering on the sidewalks of the busy Charlotte abortion center. I was really excited to be wearing our new pink Cities4Life shirt. Sometimes it's the little things in life that pick you up. I had not been feeling well. Three days of headaches and vague ickiness were taking a toll. But as soon as I showed up on the sidewalk, Patrick our RV driver, prayed for me and told the headache to go away. Then Daniel, our director, showed up and asked me if I wanted a new pink Cities4Life shirt. Already, the morning was brighter.

                                     

One of the women who chose life pulled out of the abortion center in her car, and parked alongside the curb so we could give her a gift bag and offer our resources. Tears streamed down her face.
"This was an emotional decision for you, wasn't it?" I said.
She nodded, not quite able to speak.
"Do you want to see your baby on the ultrasound?"
She nodded again.

She shared later that she knew God, but was so overwhelmed by her circumstances that she ignored what she knew in her heart to be right and true. When she heard us on the microphone and calling out to the women, she felt God was sending her a clear message. Don't do this. She said He had been sending signs for days, and she had not listened. She was listening now. Her phone rang. While on the RV after choosing life, she received a job offer for a job she had very much wanted.

When I told her about all the resources we had that could help her, the tears flowed anew. All this poor woman needed to make a choice for life was the nudge of the truth she already knew in her soul and the offer of support and resources. As it turned out, she didn't even really need the resources. She just needed someone to say, "What would God have you do?"

The friend who had accompanied this young woman said she'd been praying the whole time her friend would turn from abortion. She gave me a high five and said, "When He comes, He's right on time."
Amen to that! I realized as I drove home, glancing happily in the mirror at my new pink Cities4Life shirt, that my headache was gone.
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Habakkuk 2:3 


For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

Psalm 27:14 


Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

Isaiah 40:31 


But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 


For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:



Friday, September 22, 2017

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, But Keep God First

Ragnar came to visit! He was off to a rocky start, being in the doghouse for pooping in his daddy's car. I think he was probably just so excited about coming to see Grandma. With good reason. Grandma is putty in his paws. For example....look at the surprise he got for dinner.


And then here was the result of his first encounter with unhealthy canned (delicious) hearty chicken chunks in gravy instead of dry little nibbles of cardboard.






Need I say anything more?

And then fun times like this:


Sometimes, enjoying life is more important than what is good for you. At least Ragnar thinks so. Not sure about the spiritual message which I always grope for. 

We are told that we are to enjoy the life God has so graciously granted us.  Ragnar always seems to remind me of that. Be joyful, whatever is in your plate and lick it clean, knowing God has provided you with all things for abundant and joyful LIFE!

However, always keep in mind that none of that is possible without God. Enjoy all God has provided, but never forget God is the author of our lives.  Charles Spurgeon said it beautifully: 
Be glad of heart, O believer, but take care that thy gladness has its spring in the Lord. 

Ecclesiastes 3:13 


Also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God's gift to man.








Thursday, September 21, 2017

If One Path is Impossible, Try the Next

 I learned something I didn’t know while kayaking yesterday. I decided to see how my inflatable kayak would perform going upstream against the current in a section of the river I have not tried before. While people who knew the river had told me there were rapids, they reported they were not as fast as the rapids on the section of the river I had already traversed. They felt I could go upstream against the rapids in this new section.

The reports were correct. That section of the river was not as fast as the lower section I’d already explored. However, the first significant rapids I came to almost did me in. I tried to paddle over what looked like the slowest segment of the rapids and failed. I almost gave up, not ten minutes into my journey!

Instead of giving up, I traveled parallel to the rapids searching for another wide enough break in the rocks with water that was not too raging to tackle. Surprisingly, a perfect break presented itself and I was able to paddle over the froth and managed (with difficulty) to move forward beyond the churning water. However, a second set of whitewater bubbled in front of me now. I was so tired, that I let the swirling water carry me, again figuring I’d just give up. I was befuddled when I moved right in front of a trough of water in front of a large rock to discover my kayak was sucked upstream. The back wash of the wave crashing over the rocks now pulled me towards the rapids. With a quick few paddles, I sailed upstream across the rapids! Yay me!

In this manner, I was able to make my way slowly upstream. I began to learn that if one path against the rapids was too difficult, another path just a few feet away was navigable. Eventually, I even began discerning the most likely pathways. I kayaked upstream for an hour. It was difficult and I did have to wedge myself between rocks to rest at times. However, I was elated! My light and fun inflatable kayak was safe and able to perform the task I had almost decided would be impossible.

I learned an important lesson. When one venture in life seems impossible, perhaps there is another route to the goal that will work. So often, when we hit obstacles, we give up. Maybe, if we had just considered other paths to the same destination, we would have been successful.


I am not sure WHY God was telling me this, but I am sure He WAS.
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Galatians 6:9
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Philippians 4:13
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
1 Corinthians 10:13
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Contrite Heart -- Lessons from the Abortion Center


I saw a woman at the abortion center two days ago who stopped to talk with one of our counselors. She told him she had aborted, “But it’s ok. I will fast and pray today.” She smiled. Not a tear. No suggestion of sorrow, or remorse. If there was any sense of the grief she caused in defying God, it was not evident.

Yesterday, I met another woman who also had aborted her child. As she told us about the abortion, she said all she felt was deep depression and sadness. She longed to have the baby back. I shared the gospel with her, and she told me she had never prayed to commit her life to God. She wanted to do so immediately. As we prayed with her, she began weeping. Her whole body trembled. I lay my hand across her knee as I sat beside her. With cracking voice, she begged God for forgiveness and told Him that she was done with her life of rebellion and sin. She wanted Him to be Lord of her life. She wanted to follow Him as best she could from this point forward.

The first woman showed no sorrow, no remorse, no understanding of the grievous nature of her sin before God. She thought the simple sacrifice of fasting and praying should suffice to remove the stain of the murder of her child.

The second made no excuses, and threw herself upon the mercy and grace of God. She came to Him utterly broken. Later she wrote me, thanking me.
“You all have made my day one to remember, even if things in my life don’t work out. I want to thank you very much.”

Psalm 51 is a lament by David as he comes to God in the despair and horror of his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband Uriah. David cries out:

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
    and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
    O God of my salvation,
    and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
    you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

A broken and contrite heart God will not despise. Of the two women I met the past two days, I suspect healing came to the second alone.
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Psalm 34:18
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.