Saturday, March 16, 2019

Standing Against the Flood For What is Right



I grieve this morning. I got a text last night that a mother was miscarrying her child. Miscarriage is always sad, but in this case, it was even sadder because it never had to happen. It was the direct result of a culture of death, of devaluation of human life, irresponsibility, and disregard of God or any moral anchor. I was standing in the rain on the sidewalks of the abortion center pleading with moms to choose life when my dear friend Courtney snapped this photo from her car and added the text. Our team joined me a few minutes later, but I was alone when she took this picture. The picture encapsulates what I believe is the position so often of faithful Christians who love the Lord and the Scripture, and stand on the truth of what God’s word proclaims.

A young woman came to us in tears. The man with her hung back, clearly not happy with her for approaching us. The woman was pregnant, overwhelmed with her situation, called abortion the taking of innocent life, but didn’t know what else to do. I told her we could help and would she come on the RV with our mobile ultrasound, let us talk with her, and see her baby? She agreed. 

The angry man joined her. She told him not to be negative so he settled into sullen silence. The few times he spoke it was to let me know that he had other kids and another on the way with a different woman. He sure didn’t want this one. He didn’t work, nor did he accept our offers of helping him find work. He didn’t feel like working. I don’t want anyone to miss this. Abortion laws helped this man continue a life of serial  preying on women sexually without consequence.

As the woman revealed her situation, I countered each obstacle with concrete, tangible help and resources through our vast network of loving Christians. EVERY. SINGLE. OBSTACLE.

The woman agreed every single obstacle was included on the list I had written, with a corresponding plan of action to help. 

Then I asked if the young couple knew God. They both said they did. They both said they had submitted their lives to Jesus as Lord. I shared these verses with them: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

I asked them what they made of these verses. If Jesus is Lord, we are to do what He says. Is He Lord of our lives if we disobey Him? I asked them if they knew the truth of what God’s word says about innocent human life. The woman nodded, tears plopping onto her cheeks. 
“He says don’t shed innocent blood.”

They saw their baby on the ultrasound. We prayed with them. We shared all we knew to share about human development in the womb, God’s clear word, and tangible help we had to offer. They sat in their car afterwards for ten minutes as the “pro-choice” escorts held umbrellas blocking them from the sight of the line of our counselors silently praying for them. Then they walked into the abortion center. The “pro-choice” people were beaming. Big smiles. Laughter. A baby was successfully to be exterminated and they expressed joy. Accomplishment. No matter the woman was being coerced or that she was crying off and on the whole morning. 

Later I texted her, offering help with healing post-abortive counseling. Her response made it clear she regretted taking the pill. I told her about abortionpillreversal.com, and connected her with an abortion pill reversal nurse. She felt hopeful and thanked me for all we had done. She was grateful we had been there, and even after what she had done, expressed nothing but kindness and offers of help. Our network of loving Christians were alerted to pray for a mom who was trying now to save her baby.

Later I received another text. She was bleeding. She was apparently miscarrying. The tiny baby had not won the battle against the abortion pill before help could arrive.

So I am sitting in the darkness of early morning now, waging a battle of my own. A battle of despair is clashing against optimism as I consider the spiritual forces of darkness that have deceived my nation. What happened to my country that was formed on Biblical values and a founding declaration: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”?

A young man is freed from any responsibility or consequence of promiscuous sexual activity. A young woman now bears the deep guilt and sorrow over her child’s death after her own disastrous choice. The truth of Jesus Christ as Lord is mocked. Under the guise of “choice” a little baby whose tiny life was just beginning is flushed away, and those who ushered him to his death laugh and rejoice.

Meanwhile, school shootings increase and we wonder why our children devalue their classmates’ lives.  More African American babies are aborted than born in cities like New York City. Charlotte, site of the Southeast’s largest abortion center is a capitol of the sex trafficking trade. Drugs continue to destroy lives. Suicide in America is the highest it has been in fifty years. Violent crime is rising. 

When innocent vulnerable life is legally expendable, and God is mocked, none of those staggering truths are a surprise.

So I sit here alone, mourning that little one’s death, and waiting for the first rays of sun to rise like a sword and pierce the darkness.

************

Luke 13:3 


No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.

Matthew 7:21-23 


“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Proverbs 28:13


Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Trapped With No Way Out...But God




I dreamt that I was awake all night trapped in a corner with a sheer concrete wall behind me and the rising ocean before me. The waves crashed higher and harder. I was terribly cold and wet. But I cupped a tiny creature in my hand, and I was not going to let the tiny creature die. Not as long as I could stay above the waves.

When I awoke, more crushing news  greeted my inbox of state after state proposing bills to expand abortion upon demand for any reason to the moment of birth. The Girl Scouts just gave their highest award to a young lady exalting the right to abortion. A 17 year old mother birthed her child and then stabbed it to death. Another grandmother killed her daughter’s newborn baby and had the whole family involved in hiding and then burying the child in order to avoid “family shame” over unwed motherhood.

What is happening to our world?

Sin is engulfing common sense, human decency, understanding of clear boundaries of right and wrong. If we think we can legally destroy the most vulnerable among us, sever the most important bond in humanity- that of the mother and her child, and not expect the entire fabric of society to unravel, we are deluded. 

      Evil.

          And if we do and say nothing....

                            Complicit.

At the end of the dream, I had somehow clambered up the concrete wall at my back, followed an impossible route to safety and presented the tiny creature safely to those who were called upon to protect it...

And they dropped the container in which the tiny creature was nestled, and a heavy rock fell upon it.

Church, please awaken.

*************

James 4:17 


So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

She Chose Homelessness Over Abortion



J greets my dog in her New Winter Coat

This week, in the middle of a flood of weeklong rain, a young lady pulled over to the side of the road in front of the abortion center. When I reached her, along with one of our new Cities4life counselors, her face reflected the weather. Tears rolled out of her eyes accompanied by gut wrenching sobs. I instantly put my arms around her and told her it was obvious she didn’t want to abort. Was I correct? She nodded, unable to speak. I told her we could help her and asked would she be willing to come on our RV for an ultrasound of her baby? She nodded again.

“J” showed little emotion once she stopped crying. She didn’t smile and spoke quietly with terse answers. Her boyfriend sent her for the abortion. He magnanimously would pay for it. J was certain that the aunt with whom she lived would kick her out if the pregnancy was divulged. There was no choice but abortion. She was all alone in this, and felt trapped with a choice she didn’t want to make.

“But you don’t want the abortion?” I asked again.
“No...it is murder.”  Again tears.

I wrote down all the obstacles she faced as she listed them, and told her we could help with each one. We would provide a mentor through Lovelife Charlotte , housing resources, counseling, financial help, and a baby shower that would provide all the baby would need for the first two years of life. Would that all help her situation? She nodded.

Normally, we share the Gospel with the women who come aboard the Monroe Help Pregnancy RV because we know the power of Christ alone can truly change a heart inclined to abortion. However, due to circumstances beyond our control, the ultrasound took a long time, and the young woman had to leave. I told her I would call later to check on her, and she could call me at any time with any needs. I hoped I could share the hope and truth of Jesus with her at that time.

For the next three days, I texted and called. No response. I feared she had decided to abort anyway. Then late last night, in the wee dark hours, she called. My phone was off, but I saw that she had called when I got up early the next morning. I emailed her to let her know I was awake, had noticed she called, and I was available. Instantly, she called.

She had been in a bad accident last night. The car that hit her took off, and the police were unable to find the driver. Her own car was totalled, but since it had been a hit and run, there would be no insurance to cover her car. She was taken to the hospital with abdominal pain and head injury. Her aunt was called. The hospital revealed that they were checking the health of the baby. The aunt, now informed of the pregnancy, called J all kinds of awful things and told her she was no longer welcome in the home. When J was released  from the hospital in the early morning, the aunt told her to pack her bags and get out.

“What did your boyfriend say?” I asked, “Did he end the relationship?”
“No. I did. I didn’t want anything to do with him after he told me to kill my baby.”

She was penniless, homeless, and sore but blessedly otherwise uninjured from the accident. She had a small suitcase of belongings. No coat, hat or mittens. 

“Where are you now?” I asked.
“At the bus station. I am going home to my sister.” The sister lived across the country in a very cold place. A two day bus trip. J had no warm winter clothes.

“I spent my last penny on the bus ticket,” she said. “I haven’t slept in two days. The bus leaves tonight.”

I told her I would be there within an hour. Then I posted at our Cities4Life group page and asked for folks to share the story and see if anyone was willing to donate to this brave woman. Meanwhile, I quickly finished breakfast and went to the bus station. She was alone, except for two policemen standing nearby and one irate woman on the telephone. When I approached J, who was asleep, and quietly said her name, the policeman smiled at me and gave me a thumbs up. I suspect he knew her story. 

I hugged her, and she leaned against me as I walked her to my car. She hadn’t eaten since the day before so we went to breakfast. While she ate breakfast, texts began pouring in from people donating money. One woman offered her home for J to live in. Another donated a warm winter coat, hat, mittens, and a scarf. When I told her how much money we would be giving her for her trip to her sister, she began crying, overcome by the kindness of strangers. It was not enough to get her a car which I knew she would need, but she had plenty to take care of her immediate needs.

With all this good news, now was the perfect time to share the BEST Good News. I shared the Gospel, which I had been longing to do since I first met her. I know God brings people to me with a plan and a purpose, and most of the time, it is to connect them with Him. I am nothing special, but He sure is something extraordinary

As she listened to me, eating her breakfast, she asked many questions. I explained the truth of how we all are sinners deserving Hell but Jesus paid the penalty for sin that we owed by dying in our stead, rising from the dead to show not only that He was God but that He had the power to overcome death for Himself and for us, and when we “proclaim with our mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead, we will be saved.” (Romans 10:9). After a long discussion of what it means if He is truly Lord of our lives, she told me she had never asked Him to be her Lord...but she wanted to. Now. She bowed her head and submitted her life to the God she had just fully encountered.

I brought her home to a freshly made bed. She slept all day. In the evening, I returned her to the bus station. I hugged her goodbye and she promised to stay in touch.

Yesterday was the Day of Mourning for our nation’s sin of abortion. Thousands around the nation gathered to repent, pray, and mourn the horror of legalized murder of our own children. Many were moved to wailing and tears, prostrating themselves on the arena floor while crying out to God.

I pray that the emotion of the event does not end there. I pray that many will be moved to action. Speak for the unborn. Oppose those politicians who vote to continue and expand abortion. Help the desperate women who consider abortion.

J will need a car, both for work and for getting to church. It will bring us great joy to connect her with a body of believers who will continue to minister to her in that cold land where she is headed. If you are moved to help her, please click HERE to donate through Cities4Life, which has the highest rating of ministry financial accountability possible. In the notes section of the donation form, indicate that you desire the donation to be used for J. We will be sure the donations are used towards J’s needs. 

Romans 15:13 


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.



Saturday, February 23, 2019

When I awake I am still with You




“How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭139:17-18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

During my daily Bible reading I got stuck on this  verse. When I awake, I am still with you jumped out at me with poignant sorrow. I stand with other volunteers on the sidewalks of abortion centers for the ministry Cities4Life, proclaiming life and hope and help to the abortion-minded mothers. Most of the time they still abort. Those women will awaken this morning.  But the little babies they just slaughtered will never see the blue sky, the sparkling dew on the grass, or hear the song of an early spring Robin. They will not still be with us.

Today across 20 cities of our nation, an  event called Day of Mourning will be observed. People will hear the testimonies and prayers of a woman who Chose Life!, a young girl rescued from abortion, and people involved in the pro-life movement. We will collectively grieve the horrific evil of abortion that our nation has sanctified for decades. We will mourn for those babies who never had a voice and many of whom never had an advocate speaking on their behalf.

It is raining, and bone chilling cold, but our team will be faithfully proclaiming the hope of the Gospel as well as offering tangible help in front of the abortion center this morning. Maybe some of the mothers’ hearts will be turned to their children and their babies will be spared. When that happens, we all rejoice. It is sometimes hard to find new volunteers despite so many people who are repulsed by recent legislation adding new states to the roster of those who will abort a baby for any reason up to the moment of birth.

Please consider joining us. If you can’t volunteer on the sidewalk, consider a donation of your time or money in other areas in which we need support and help. Maybe then you will receive a text one day like this one from a woman who Chose Life! and submitted her life to Jesus as the result of the faithful witnesses of many of our counselors:

L







Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Yoked With Jesus



Posted with permission by my Mom

With the recent death of my Dad, I am in Tucson with my mom for the next couple of weeks. I try to listen to her and respond whenever possible with words of the only comfort and hope I know — the promises of Jesus. It is also how I respond to every abortion-minded mom I counsel as a sidewalk counselor with Cities4Life. I pray always not only that God will open the doors of opportunity to share the Gospel, but that He would give me wisdom, courage, and discernment in walking through them.

Yesterday, I told my mother about a vivid recurring dream I have that I had again just the previous night. She told me she had a recurring dream as well, but in the past few days, it had a new ending. The dream was that she was falling. She was scared, and would cry out, but always awoke before she hit the ground. A few days ago, she had the dream that she was falling. She was afraid as always, but instead of waking up, she smashed to the ground.

“What do you think it means?” I asked.
“I don’t know,” she said. “What do you think?”
“Well if it was my dream, I would think that you were very afraid of terrible things happening, but then it happened, and you survived.”
She looked at me and said, “That resonates with me.”

“It is how I felt when I had breast cancer,” I told her. “I didn’t want breast cancer, I would not want it again…but once I had it, I realized that I could handle it. I knew I was in God’s hands, I knew where I was going if I died, and I knew that God was with me through it all. In fact I never felt closer to God than while I was in the midst of that very terrible struggle.”

She was silent, still looking at me very intently. I knew she was processing what I was saying. 

“Recently I was reading verses I have read a thousand times, and I had an epiphany that relates to this. The verses are in Matthew 11:28-30. Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” I always paid attention to the comforting fact that Jesus would help our weary souls and give us rest. But as I was reading it recently, I paused on that verse about taking His yoke. 

“Wait a minute! He just offered us rest…but He was telling us we had to take his yoke. That doesn’t sound restful.

“I went to the dictionary to look up yoke to be sure I understood. This was the definition: a wooden cross piece in which two animals are hitched together to pull a load.

“Well, that made me take notice. First, a wooden cross! Jesus died for me on a wooden cross to pay the penalty for sin that I owed. But then the yoke is used for two creatures to pull a load together. See, Jesus may not remove our burden, but He is right beside us pulling it with us. That is exactly what I felt while I was struggling with cancer. He was right there with me.”

My mom was still quiet, peering at me with deep concentration. I am not sure what she was thinking, but I hope it was how much she longed for that relationship; that eternal, loving presence especially in the wake of her husband’s death. Her family surrounds her and we do our best to help her through this, but we are NOTHING compared to the hope and love of our Lord.

The women I counsel who are on the brink of abortion feel they have an unbearable burden. They see no way out of the crushing circumstances in which they find themselves. Whether we view the burden as heavy or not is of no consequence. They feel trapped by the pregnancy, and they need help.

The only truly transformative help we can offer is to trust Jesus, follow His commands, and let Him help them bear the burdens of life. He does not often remove the burden, but His presence certainly lightens it.

At least it has for me.
**********

Revelation 21:4 


He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”


Tuesday, January 29, 2019

My Daddy



My dad passed away Saturday morning. I was in the remote wilderness of Yellowstone with my sister, with limited, spotty cell service. The text made it through that he had died. We could not easily leave the wilderness till our allotted snowcoach could take us out Sunday. We cross-country skied in the magnificent beauty of Yellowstone knowing Dad would have wanted us to do this crazy adventure. 

Dad was the most unusual man I know. He was a genius and valued learning, inquisitive minds, creative problem solving, and his family. 

I was an animal lover and desperately wanted a cat when I was little. Dad got me the cat and then suffered years of asthma as a result. He never told me nor urged us to get rid of Frisky. It was a living example of sacrificial love.

He bought me a bicycle instead of the horse I wanted. However, the love of biking became as ardent a passion for me as animals. My bike became my best friend. 

He also loved biking himself. In 1976, he sent me on a bicycle trip across Virginia, one of the most exciting times of my young life. It was not a cheap trip but he knew how much I would love it.He always tried to nurture our passions, especially unusual quirky ones.

Around that same time, despite being a very heavy man, he wanted to do a century ride – 100 miles on his bike and asked me to accompany him. In one day we covered 100 miles. We tiredly pedaled across the finish line in the dark, but we had made it. The course officials had already all packed up and gone home. We were the last of the finishers to complete the course, but we completed it and my dad and I both knew that is what mattered.           

Every Sunday, Dad took the family on a drive. He always found new, free adventures, like little league baseball games and ice cream. Dad had a gorgeous booming voice and shared a love of musicals with me. We would sing together as loud as we could as our family drove through the countryside. I loved those rides. 

It’s funny how sometimes the things that mortify us as children become our fondest memories. My loud, opinionated, always right, quirky dad had a gift closet. Whoever came to visit never left without a gift. The gifts were as nutty as he was but his love language was giving. And he gave abundantly. I would often cringe at the gifts he would pull out. I didn’t realize then the generosity of spirit those gifts represented. 

I do now. 

Whenever my world fell apart, Dad was there for me. Always. I love him so much and deeply miss him. 

In the last few months, he seemed to be thinking more and more about God. We’d catch him watching religious shows. When I shared the Gospel(again) as I often do and did, he told me if he had known all he knew now about the evidence for God, he may have arrived at a different conclusion. I told him it was not too late. He could still come to the conclusion that God exists and sent Jesus to bear the penalty for sin that we deserved. 

Near the very end, he told my cousin that he would rather be in heaven than here on earth. For Dad, that was a major concession and I cling to the hope that Jesus had finally become his truth as He is mine. 

There is never enough time or energy or understanding to write a full tribute to such a complex men who lived such a long life. These are just snippets of a father I deeply loved and I am praying that when I leave this world, I will see him again. 

Further, I urge that whoever is reading this would carefully analyze the scripture that speaks of our heavenly Father’s deep love for us and how He longs for all of us to return to Him and submit our hearts and our souls and our lives to His will. 

May this verse be true for you:

2 Timothy 4:7-8 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Elijah calling down fire from heaven



1 Kings 18:24,31-39 
[24] Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire---he is God.” Then all the people said, “What you say is good.” [31] Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord had come, saying, “Your name shall be Israel.” [32] With the stones he built an altar in the name of the Lord, and he dug a trench around it large enough to hold two seahs of seed. [33] He arranged the wood, cut the bull into pieces and laid it on the wood. Then he said to them, “Fill four large jars with water and pour it on the offering and on the wood.” [34] “Do it again,” he said, and they did it again. “Do it a third time,” he ordered, and they did it the third time. [35] The water ran down around the altar and even filled the trench. [36] At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. [37] Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” [38] Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. [39] When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord---he is God! The Lord---he is God!”


Miracles always abound at the sidewalks of the abortion center if we open our eyes to see them. I have many wonderful stories that have built my faith steadily over the years that I’ve been a Sidewalk Counselor with Cities 4 Life in front of the busiest abortion center in the Southeast. But yesterday‘s event may have been one of my favorites.

Elijah,  a fellow Sidewalk Counselor pictured in the photo above, was up the street from the abortion center offering our free help, hope, and resources. One of the “pro-choice” women followed him telling him she was going to show him that her God was stronger than his God.

No car will stop for you, proving that my God is stronger than yours,“ she said.
“We will see whose God is stronger,” Elijah answered, “If my God stops a car, you will know that my God is stronger than yours.”


A few cars passed without stopping, and the “pro-choice“ woman was smirking. But then, a car stopped. Elijah spoke with the driver, offering our resources and told her that her child was precious in the sight of God. It turns out, she had been praying for words from God that would turn her from this path she really did not want to be on. She accepted his offer to go on the HELP Monroe Pregnancy Center RV with the mobile ultrasound unit parked on the curb while the “pro-choice” women watched. 

The woman went on the RV, saw her baby, and was astonished by how developed the little tyke was. She’d had no idea about the extent of the miracle of eager life she carried. She unequivocally and joyfully Chose Life! for her child and Cities 4 Life will be helping her along with our partner ministries.

God does not always show up in this immediate, specific manner. When he does, silencing the spiritual forces of evil so soundly, my heart rejoices.

When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord---he is God! The Lord---he is God!”

Cities 4 Life