Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Prodigal at an Abortion Center





I often get calls from abortion minded moms as a Cities4Life counselor. Our teams are on the sidewalks of the Charlotte abortion centers every day they are open. Contrary to what many people think, many of those moms are conflicted and even praying God would place someone in their path to stop them!  I put my name and phone number on the literature we hand out. Sometimes, moms call me months later. Yesterday, one such call came through. It was  God-ordained on so many levels.

I had spent the morning watching a YouTube video about rationally presenting the case for protecting the unborn. Much of the material was familiar to me, and I use many of the suggested arguments already in my work as a prolife counselor. Nonetheless, when the video showed aborted fetuses, I crumpled in a mass of ugly tears and gulping sobs, remembering my own abortion forty years ago. I was consumed with sorrow. I had done that to my own child. How could I have been so foolish, so evil?

Shortly after the video ended, I received a text message. It was from a mom I had apparently counseled many months ago. She had stopped communicating to us and we assumed she had aborted. Now, she told me that she had miscarried, and was so distraught and depressed that she stopped texting all of us who were trying to help her. She was pregnant once more, but determined she would never consider abortion again. However, she needed help.

I told her of course we could offer help and asked her if she wanted me to call her. She did. I was in the middle of a boatload of work, but I felt God whisper, “Talk to her. Now.” I called her immediately.

One of the instantly apparent issues was that this poor woman, L, was feeling immense sorrow and guilt over the miscarriage. She wondered if she was being punished for considering abortion. I told her that no matter what, we would connect her with people who could help with her current pregnancy, but would she allow me to talk with her about God? I felt she carried an enormous burden of grief, and I believed I could help her. (Not really I, but God could...)

She agreed. 

I shared my own history of abortion and atheism. Then I told her that very day, I had been crying about what I had done to my child. I said the consequence of abortion may not be removed, but that healing was possible with God. Then I shared my journey of faith, and the Gospel. She interrupted several times with excellent questions.

“How could a merciful God take my child’s life after I decided NOT to abort??”

“Was my sin the cause of my child’s death in miscarriage?”

“Why would God bring so much suffering when I had tried to turn back to Him?”

Over the next two hours, I shared the truth of the Gospel. I talked about Job, and his questions that mirrored her own. I shared the suffering that Jesus endured to pay the penalty that we deserved. I told her about how we all sin, how God is a God of justice and has no choice but to demand a penalty for sin, and how justice kisses mercy at the cross. I explained how we all have a choice to accept or deny God’s incredible merciful offer to pay the penalty for sin we owe.

“But how could God want me back?”she said, crying. I knew how she felt. I had felt it myself.

So then, I shared the story of the prodigal son. I told her how Jesus tells a parable of a father who lets his profligate son leave home with his inheritance. I described the wayward, rebellious boy wasting his father’s money on women, food, and wine. And when the son had nothing left, he realized with abject despair that he had no hope. His only hope at survival was to return to his father. So he headed back home. The father saw him from afar, and ignoring the dignity of his position and the custom of his people, he RAN to greet his son. (By now I was crying, as I pictured the father running to his son...) He called his servants to prepare a feast. His son who was lost now was found. And the father ran as fast as he could to embrace the son who had returned to him.

“That is how God welcomes you back,” I said. 

Both of us were sobbing now. She said she was ready. She wanted to give her life to her Heavenly Father.  As she prayed out loud to receive Jesus as her Lord, I don’t know which of us was more joyful.

“I have wanted to do this for such a long time,” she said, while weeping.
******

Luke 15:32
“But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, 
and was lost and has been found.'"




Monday, November 11, 2019

Sadness and Killing Averted






An old man stopped his car to talk to me as I was pacing up the street from the Abortion center. Our Cities4Life team was spread out along the street, offering hope and help to abortion minded women.  I often stand on the side of the road offering our help and information to women on the way to the abortion center. I sometimes have great discussions with passerby’s who want to chat about why we do what we do. Sometimes those discussions are confrontational. Often they are from people who support what we are doing, speaking for the unborn at that last-ditch place.

The man rolled down his window and told me he was against abortion. However, he worried very much for our safety in this terrible world. He feared there were people who would oppose us in harmful ways.

“Thank you so much for your concern,” I told him, “However, I trust that since God has called me here, He will protect me. And if He doesn’t, He has a reason and purpose in that as well.”

“May I ask you something?”he asked.
“Sure.”
“When God doesn’t answer your prayers, when you can’t hear Him, what does that mean?”

“That is a great question,” I said, “And one that I suspect most people ask. Here is what I believe. I think God is always speaking but sometimes we miss it. For example, the Bible says all creation declares the glory of God. Just looking out the window when you wake up and seeing the beautiful colors, and taking a breath...I think all those are reminders that God is declaring His glory to you. But if you open your Bible, He is speaking very clearly on many things. Sometimes you can find your answer there. 

“Or maybe His answer is one you are not ready to understand. Like in the book of Job, Job asks God why he is suffering so terribly and the wicked prosper. God doesn’t answer why. Not directly. Instead, He reveals Himself to Job and describes many things God can do that Job cannot. In the end, Job says I had heard of you but now I see you. Your ways are too marvelous for me to understand, and I repent in dust and ashes. Sometimes we have to just trust that God is working and He knows best. He created the universe and loves us deeply. His ways are not our ways, but they are always best.”

His eyes were red. He seemed to hang on my every word.
“I suspect there is a heavy burden you carry,” I said, “And your prayer is going seemingly unanswered.”

“Well see...now can I ask you something else? No one loves me except my wife. I have a hard time trusting that God would love me.”

“Do you know Jesus as your Lord?” I asked.
“Oh yes.”

“Well, I don’t know about all the others in your life... whether they love you or not. But I do know God loves you immeasurably. The Bible says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. That means before you ever submitted your life to Jesus, He was willing to die a gruesome death on the cross to pay the penalty for sin you deserved. He saw you completely. Unlike all the people in your life, He saw every ugly thought, every sin. He knows everything about you. And He was still willing to die for you. THAT is love...unfathomable love.”

He grew teary-eyed as I spoke. Then he grasped my hand tightly. 

“May I make one more request? Will you pray for me this week?”

I told him I would pray for him for this week and beyond. “But please understand that you can do nothing to earn God’s love. He already loves you, from the moment of creation.  The Bible says: It is by faith not works that we are saved, lest any man should boast.” There is nothing you can do to lose His love either. The Bible says you are engraved on the very hands of God and that nothing can separate you from the love of God!

“You are made in the image of  our Holy God and even now, at your age, He has a divine plan and purpose for your life. He will help you to understand and know what that is. If you have truly repented of your sins, submitted your life to Jesus, believed He died to pay the penalty for sin that you deserved, you have the Holy Spirit in you. The Holy Spirit will guide and lead you. He will help you understand all you need to know. Mostly, He will help you to believe you are loved, absolutely loved by God.”

Then I asked if I could pray for him right now. He nodded and closed his eyes. I prayed mostly that God would truly reveal to this poor man how deeply loved he is. When I finished, the man squeezed my hand and thanked me. “This was a divine meeting,” he said softly.

Right after he drove away, a young couple stopped their car beside me. They were on their way to abort. I talked with them a long time. Much of our discussion centered on the Gospel, who God is and what He would have them do. Finally, they said they would leave and think over what I had said. To my surprise, they did. And they did not return. 

The abortionist arrived and the deadly slaughter began. I stayed long enough to be certain the young couple had truly had a change of heart and missed their appointment with death. The baby was safe, at least for today.

The full parking lot slowly disgorged women with sad faces. They averted their eyes as we tried to hand them healing literature for post-abortive women.

One would think my heart would be filled with angst, but it wasn’t. It was filled with hope and worship for the Lord that had allowed me to comfort a hurting old man with the Gospel, and one young couple who recognized that killing their baby was not what He would have them do.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

“I’m good....” As She Drives into Abortion Center






“Please let us help you...”
“Oh, it’s ok. I’m good.”
She smiles weakly, and then drives into the abortion center determined to kill her baby.

I have had this conversation a thousand times or so in the past six years on the sidewalk in front of the southeast’s busiest abortion center. 

Today, I perused an article in The NY Times about elderly people traveling to Peruvian jungles to take part in ayahuasca healing ceremonies. Ayahuasca is a psychedelic drug that causes hallucinations, vomiting, and diarrhea. Sounds fun, doesn’t it? The kind of healing we all can sink our soul into.

Apparently, it is touted as bringing about momentous healing to one’s tortured soul. One person in the article is described as saying after she took the hallucinogen, her soul told her it had been trying to talk to her a long time to say, “I’m okay.”

The increasing numbers of elderly people engaging in these healing ceremonies are described as seeking to find their purpose in life. The hallucinations, vomiting, and diarrhea apparently lead them to find it.

“Do you know the Lord?” I asked the woman who stopped to talk to me outside the abortion center yesterday.
“Of course,” she said.
“Would He have you abort your baby?”
She opened her mouth...but then closed it. With reluctance, she admitted He would not, shaking her head slowly.
“Please, let us help you. Let me talk to you about your situation and resources that can help. Let me show you your baby on the ultrasound before you make this life or death decision.”
“Oh it’s ok. I’m good...”

“They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. Were they ashamed because of the abomination they have done? They were not even ashamed at all; They did not even know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They shall be cast down,” says the LORD. Thus says the LORD, “Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it. ’”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭6:14-16‬ ‭





Sunday, October 13, 2019

Pausing in the Face of Fear





A mother recently chose life at the abortion center, but she was as determined as anyone I have met to kill her child when I first encountered her. She stopped her car and looked at me, giving me an opportunity to speak. I think she was a little bit lost and was hoping I would direct her. 

I DID direct her…to Jesus rather than the abortion clinic.

Her window opened just the teeniest crack.

“Are you headed to the women’s center?” I asked.
“Yes…is this where it is?”
“We have information that can help you. Would you take it? We have so many resources including a free ultrasound on the RV parked just down the street.”

She shook her head and didn’t open the window any further.
“I CANNOT have this baby.”
I saw the tiniest tear creep out of the corner of one eye.

“You really don’t want to abort, do you? Do you know how far along you are?”

“I think eleven weeks.”

I opened my booklet and showed her the photo of an 11-week baby in the womb. “By now your baby has a heart beat, brain waves, ten fingers and ten toes, unique finger prints, every organ in place. What is your situation that makes you feel you have to abort?”

The window rolled down a crack further.

“I can’t have this baby. I can barely provide for the one I have.”

“Do you love that child at home?”

She nodded.

“Would you send that child back? Listen, I don’t know the specifics of what you face, but I know we can help. For example, we provide baby showers that give up to two years of the clothes and supplies your baby will need. We have so many other resources we can point you to. Please, take my booklet. My name and number are on it so you can contact me at any time, no matter what you decide.”

The window rolled down a little more. She reached for the booklet. I slipped it in to her.

“Do you know God?”

Now the tears began to cascade.

“What would He have you do?” I asked.

She cried out as though in pain, and slammed her fist down in a torrent of tears. Her shoulders shook with her cries. I think she knew exactly what Jesus would have her do…and abortion was not it.

“Oh honey,” I said, “would you consider coming on the RV and let’s talk about how we can help you?”

She lifted her head and looked down the street at our Cities4Life team stretched along the sidewalk.

“Are those protesters? I don’t want them to pressure me. They cannot talk to me at all!”

“They are with me. They are not protesters, they are offering hope and help. But they won’t talk to you.”

Honestly, I didn’t know how I could guarantee that. They are a friendly, loving group. They often offer help and encouragement to the moms who approach us. How could I telegraph to them this mom didn’t want them to come near?

“Drive down and park behind the RV,” I said. “I’ll meet you there.”

She nodded, rolled the window back up, and drove down the street. As I jogged behind her, I prayed she did not turn instead into the abortion center. She didn’t. She parked behind the RV. Our team, sensing the situation, didn’t speak to her. They smiled, but then continued reaching out to other moms entering the center. I am convinced the Holy Spirit guided all of them in that perfect response.

I walked the woman (who I will call Sarah) into the RV where the HELP Pregnancy Center sonographer, Kelly, met us. Kelly set up for the ultrasound while I talked with Sarah about her situation. As she listed her concerns, I wrote each one down. I then explained how we could help in each area. A friend who was meeting her at the abortion center arrived. That friend was visibly pregnant. In fact, she told us she had come to abort her baby just a few months ago at this very place. In the end, she changed her mind but didn’t tell any of us on the sidewalk. 

“I am so glad I didn’t abort,” she said.

I offered her the same resources we now offered Sarah. Then we went to see Sarah’s baby on the mobile ultrasound. When the baby’s image appeared on the screen, Sarah’s mouth fell open and she cried out in a voice filled with wonder. “I thought it was just a clump of cells! Oh my. This is really real. Oh my.”

She continued to gasp in shock and delight as the little baby moved and stretched. I knew at that point there was little doubt the baby was safe now. His mama had seen him for what he was — her child. A precious tiny vulnerable human whom God had perfectly designed Sarah to protect.

When I walked her to her car, she stopped before getting in. “Thank you so much. I feel so much better. And I feel humbled. I learned that I should not be in such a rush. I need to think more before I take action.”

“You were in a crisis and let fear take over,” I said.

“Yes.”

“Fear is a nasty liar. A life and death decision should never be made on the basis of fear. Trust God to guide you instead.”

*****
Psalm 34:4
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears.

*****

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

God Meant it For Good



Our city council recently passed a buffer quiet zone ordinance prohibiting amplified sound within 150 feet of medical facilities, schools, and churches. It was all a big smokescreen to prevent amplified sound from being used in front of the three local abortion centers. One of the brave city council members who voted against it was quite vocal in saying this was the case. He saw it as a sneaky subterfuge to silence the first amendment rights of the peaceful pro-life group offering hope and help in front of the abortion centers. Our presence affects their profit margin. I’m pretty sure they don’t like that at all.

Despite a huge outcry from the pro-life community, the ordinance passed and went into effect Monday, October 1.  For the ordinance to be applied, the facilities are required to post a sign declaring themselves a quiet zone. As far as I know, not a single school, church, hospital, or legitimate health care facility posted such a sign. Only the abortion centers. Notice the photograph of the professional sign posted at the “health center” where 20-50 babies lose their lives every day but Sunday. You would think with the millions they make off of the extermination of little people that they would spring for a professionally produced sign, but they probably need to save their money for all their “health” promotion.




Of course, the ‘pro-choice’ side was gleeful. As the women streamed in for abortions, the ‘pro-choice’ escorts went on, business as usual. They approached the cars with amplified music blaring under umbrellas they carry to block us. They smiled at the young man who blasted his car radio to drown us out as we called out with our un-amplified voices to offer baby showers and myriad resources, free ultrasounds, free mentorship programs, the truth of fetal development, and the clear Biblical truth regarding sanctity of life.

Fortunately, our director is well versed on the ordinance and our rights. He summoned the police. After they examined the ordinance and likely consulted with superiors, the car owner was told to shut off his blasting car radio. The umbrella ladies were told to silence their music. We had a clear quiet zone to call out to the women who have been deceived into believing abortion will solve anything or that taking an innocent baby’s life is a valid answer to struggles.

At the end of the day, a woman who was meeting a friend was cutting through the parking lot. She approached me immediately as I called out to her. She was not there for an abortion but was just cutting through from a neighborhood behind the center. As soon as I told her what we were there for, her eyes teared. I immediately knew she had an abortion in her past. When I asked, she began crying in earnest and I urged her to come to a quiet place across the street to talk with me. She told me a terrible tale of rape that led her to abort. And then she broke down. The abortion had not healed the trauma but in fact, had made it worse. She was filled with remorse, self-revulsion, suicidal despair, and deep shame. She knew God, but she did not know how she could be forgiven.

Out of my own past and sorrow, God had brought me to a place where I could minister to this grieving woman. After five years of suffering from what she had done,  now she listened as I shared the truth of the Gospel. I didn’t sugarcoat abortion. There is no healing if terrible sin is not recognized for what it is. She knew that. I spoke of sin, repentance, confession which leads to forgiveness through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, and upon following that process, the creator of the universe would love and heal her. Her tears flowed and then she threw her arms around me and thanked me. I gave her a list of abortion recovery programs in our area, as well as my name and number. “Call me anytime if you want to talk.”

No blaring music trying to cover up the horror and sin of abortion ever healed her soul.  “For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said, “In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.” But you were not willing,”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭

Praise God for that quiet zone.

********
If you are interested in joining us in speaking for life on the sidewalks of the abortion center, please click on the following links:


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Witnessing to Robo-Callers



The phone rings as I’m driving. I answer it. I can tell right away it’s a salesman because of the long pause. As soon as he says hello, this is So-and-so from so-and-so company, I said “I am so glad you called! Is Jesus your Lord and Savior?“
“Well yes ma’am, he is.“
“That is fantastic! What do you think it means for Jesus to be Lord?“
“Savior?“
“ Yes. And if he is Lord and your Savior, what does that mean to you?“
Silence.
“For example, if money was Lord of your life, would you do anything for money?“
“Well I assure you, it is not.“
“Well that’s good, but if it was, would you do anything to get money?“
“Well yes, I guess I would then.“
“ So if Jesus is Lord of your life, would you do anything that Jesus asks of you?“
“Yes.“
“Fantastic! So I volunteer on the sidewalks of abortion centers and you know that most of the women there claim that Jesus is Lord while they’re about to abort their baby. What do you think of that?“
“Well that’s a touchy subject for me. I believe they have a right to do that and I don’t really wanna get into it.“
“But if Jesus is Lord we do what he says, right? Is it OK to take that innocent human being’s life?“
“This is a really touchy subject. I don’t want to discuss it.“
“Well if it’s a touchy subject for you and you are claiming Jesus is Lord, I would strongly encourage you to examine why it is a touchy subject and what Jesus would have you do.“
“I see where you’re coming from. I hope you have a blessed day and thank you for taking this call.“
“Yes thank you for talking to me.“
Click.
I am loving my new ministry of witnessing to Robo callers.





Wednesday, August 28, 2019

In Our Hour of Desolation





Today my bible reading was about Jesus feeding the 4,000 with just seven loaves and a few small fish. It is a miracle, of course, but I noticed things in that passage I had never focused on before. For the past two weeks, I have been counseling a scared, pregnant young teen. She has made an amazing transformation in that time from abortion-determined and in her words hell-bound to submitting her life to Jesus and determined to carry her baby to term. But she is terrified. I text her often, every day. I thought of her and wrote to her of my thoughts as I pondered this often quoted miracle of our Lord.

 “In those days, when there was again a large crowd and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called His disciples and *said to them, “I feel compassion for the people because they have remained with Me now three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will faint on the way; and some of them have come from a great distance.” And His disciples answered Him, “Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy these people?” And He was asking them, “How many loaves do you have?” And they said, “Seven.” And He *directed the people to sit down on the ground; and taking the seven loaves, He gave thanks and broke them, and started giving them to His disciples to serve to them, and they served them to the people. They also had a few small fish; and after He had blessed them, He ordered these to be served as well. And they ate and were satisfied; and they picked up seven large baskets full of what was left over of the broken pieces. About four thousand were there; and He sent them away.”
‭‭Mark‬ ‭8:1-9‬ ‭

Notice Jesus’ disciples ask him, “ Where will anyone be able to find enough bread here in this desolate place to satisfy all these people?” First, they KNOW there is not enough bread to feed 40 people, let alone 4,000. Secondly, they recognize that the people are in a DESOLATE place. That is a place that is lonely, empty, with no food or help for them. There is no way to satisfy the overwhelming need. It is a place so many of us find ourselves. 

I have often been in such a place. Likely, you have too. We all have or will find ourselves in a desperate, desolate place with no hope of sustenance or provision. We hunger for something we cannot possibly hope to find in that terrible desolation. Maybe that is where you feel you are right now! 

But look at what Jesus does. First, He gives THANKS. He knows that His Father will provide against impossible odds more than enough to not only take the edge off their hunger but SATISFY all those people. He doesn’t wait till after His Father comes through with the goods. He gives thanks FIRST. Then, He divides (or actually multiplies) the food and not only cares for the immediate needs of all those people, but abundantly, overwhelmingly meets the needs, with leftovers for the journey home...

Remember, the Gospel was written when some of those people were still alive. Why weren’t they pouring out of the woodwork screaming that Christianity was based on a lie? Instead, the followers of Christ grew at a phenomenal rate in those early years.

Those who had been in the wilderness with Jesus at this time KNEW personally of this miracle. They KNEW it wasn’t a lie. 

And what Jesus did for them in that desolate place, He can do for you and He can do for me. In gratitude to our Heavenly Father, we can and should FIRST give thanks for His provision when we are in a desperate, desolate place. Then, trust Him. He who numbers every hair on our head is standing with us right now. In the hour of our deepest need, He will satisfy.


Everything is possible with God