Sunday, July 23, 2017

Doing the Will of the Father -- The Steadfast Commitment of a Sidewalk Counselor

Angela - long time Cities4Life volunteer, homeschool mom, business owner
As the Cities4Life volunteer coordinator, I hear a huge variety of reasons for why people cannot volunteer on the sidewalks of our busy abortion center where 20-30 babies die each day. The top ten excuses include: family responsibilities, work responsibilities, too far to travel and too much time involved, too many children with too busy schedules.

Angela is a homeschool mom of four children, aged 18 to 9. She co-manages and owns a recruiting business with her husband. She lives an hour away from the abortion center. She has been a sidewalk counselor for about five years. Any one of these responsibilities or situations could keep her off the sidewalk.

When I asked Angela why she keeps showing up when she could legitimately find reasons not to, she said, "Oh, I'm a firm believer that if it is important, you will find a way to make it work. So that's what Mark and I have done. It can make for a busy week, but we definitely feel called to tear down our excuses and be there."

So what prompted Angela to go to the sidewalks in the first place? Here is her answer in her own words. 

Since high school, I've considered myself a supporter of the pro-life movement. I've voted for pro-life leaders and given financially to support local pro-life organizations. That seemed "committed" to me until I was invited to join a friend on the sidewalks outside the abortion clinic on Latrobe. 


On that day, I stood on the sidewalk and watched 30 women walk in and within a matter of a few hours 30 babies were dead. I was shaken to the core. I literally felt sick to my stomach. I came under huge conviction that my previous pro-life support was no longer enough. Although those things were good, it just wasn't enough. God was calling me to do more. I wasn't just compelled by the dozens of babies that died that day, but I was also overwhelmingly burdened for the women who exited the clinic with empty wombs and broken hearts. 

I now stand on the sidewalks once a week to offer abortion-determined women the truth about abortion, the truth of the life within them and the truth of God's love for them. The work as a sidewalk counselor is physically, emotionally and spiritually demanding, but God has blessed me beyond measure as I watch the lives of men and women be changed by the life-giving words of the Gospel.

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If, like Angela, God had convicted you that you desire to do more to stop the scourge of abortion in our city, please email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com for info and training.
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2 Corinthians 5:10

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

Matthew 7:21

“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.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

One Plants, One Waters, But God Makes it Grow: An Incredible, Unbelievable Miracle

New Volunteer Mike Already a Bold and Fruitful Volunteer
One of our on-fire new volunteers, Mike, was on the sidewalks of the busy abortion center yesterday and stopped a guy leaving the parking lot carrying fishing poles. He was going fishing while the woman he brought aborted her baby. He said he was pro-choice and it was none of his business what she chose to do. Mike spoke to him with truth and God's word, but the guy said Mike was too aggressive and he walked away. Mike was frustrated, feeling he had been speaking to a brick wall. We Cities4Life counselors all know that feeling-- keep it in mind as I finish the story.

Mike had already left for home when the fisherman walked by me. I offered him our literature for post-abortive women since I knew the woman had probably already aborted by then. I told him she might need it and just in case she was grieving, it would be best for him to offer it to her. He agreed and took it.

Later, as everyone else was packing up, I was by the center's driveway when the fisherman had finished fishing and walked by me again. He thanked me for the literature, saying another friend with them had agreed the post-abortive woman might need it. His friend was grateful to us for the offer.

I can't quite remember how the conversation about God started, but the young man and I talked at least an hour. Everyone but the RV driver, Patrick, left. Patrick NEVER leaves me alone on the sidewalk. He is a veteran and I know would protect me to the death should any danger present itself.

The young man was an atheist. He said he was raised in a Christian home but at age 11 kept asking God for a sign to prove He was real. God never gave him a sign, so he decided God was not real.

From there, we spent an hour as I shared the Gospel and several of my own stories as an atheist when God was sending me signs and I didn't understand or see them. The guy had no trouble understanding sin, and agreed fully he was a sinner. He also understood the need for there to be a penalty for sin. He even understood that God, being perfectly just, would have no choice but to punish sin. What he had never quite understood was what Jesus did on the cross. He had an "ah-ha" moment when I asked him why Jesus HAD to rise from the grave...what was He overcoming?

"Death!!!" the young man said with a huge smile. I think for whatever reason, that clicked and a lot of things fell in place for him.

We talked alot about all our appetites and desires (thirst, hunger, fatigue...etc) and how in every case, the desire can be satisfied. Why would evolution OR God design us with a desire that could not be satisfied? I asked if he longed for eternity. He said, "Yes." I told him that desire could be satisfied as well... in Christ!

When I finished the full Gospel presentation, I asked, as I always do, if he wanted to ask Jesus into his heart right now, proclaim Him as Lord, and trust in Him from this moment forward. I was SHOCKED when he said yes. He prayed aloud and said, "Jesus is Lord, and I believe He died for my sins and rose from the dead..."

I honestly COULD NOT BELIEVE IT...except I was there.....

And get this: His name is Cristo...Greek for Christ.

I told him if he was looking for a sign from God, just look at his name!!!!! When we were praying, I said, "Lord, Cristo has been looking for a sign from you for years. I am making an AUDACIOUS request. I pray that you would send him an unmistakable sign that you are there."

YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED. You will have to read to the end to find out.

Anyway, I introduced him to Patrick then, we told Patrick what Cristo had just done and he agreed to let us take his photo and share it wherever we liked. He kept hugging us and shaking our hands. I have NEVER seen a transformation like that.



So encouraging on so many levels but here was the major take-away for me. Mike was sad and frustrated, feeling he had not seen fruit, though he had tried so hard with Cristo. And yet look, Mike and the other counselors who called out to Cristo were the ones who planted the seed which I watered, and God brought the harvest. We are out there as a team all of whom play such an integral part in everything that happens that brings souls to the Lord and to life.

So that is a long introduction to Mike, one of our new volunteers. Here is what he said when I asked: what compels you to be out on that sidewalk? 

The desire to minister to those at the abortion mill started initially when I walked with Love Life Charlotte back in December of 2016.  I felt a deep sadness and burden for the children whose lives are cut short because of the abortion industry.  I remember walking down Latrobe and seeing the Mill in the distance nearly surrounded on all sides by a combination of pro-life and pro-choice individuals.  Seeing the very real "war" for the lives of the innocent was very convicting to me.  It wasn't however until around May of 2017 that God directed me back to the sidewalk on Latrobe.  I was on my way to a meeting off Sardis road when it was suddenly canceled.  Almost immediately after getting the notice of the canceled meeting I felt the Holy Spirit tell me go to the abortion mill.

Since that day I have been out every week, mostly Wednesdays or Thursdays.  The Lord has placed the pro-choice escorts on my heart as my specific calling.  I truly believe the method to end abortion is to preach the gospel.  To simply try and convince someone that the life inside a woman's womb is a person is not going to save souls.  Once someone becomes a Christian there is no need of convincing, the Holy Spirit will move and convict.  As hard as it is to hear and see the things these pro-choice escorts do, I feel a true love for them and hope to see them come to Christ.  

The Rest of the Story....
 Later, in the evening, I received this text from Christo:

C: I just wanted to let you know I may have gotten that sign [from God]....

Me: Tell me the sign!!!!!

C: The clinic would not let my friend go through with the abortion because she was too emotional.

Me: WHAT!!!!!!! Will she call me????We can provide all kinds of help!

C: I will let her know.  I love and appreciate you for everything. It takes a special type of love to do what you do!

Me: Christ's love!


WOW. Pray with AUDACIOUS confidence. We serve an AUDACIOUS God.
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To volunteer, please email Vicky at vkaseorg@cities4life.com
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I Corinthians 3: 5-7
What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? They are servants through whom you believed, as the Lord has assigned to each his role. I planted the seed and Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.…

Friday, July 21, 2017

What God Intends As a Blessing : Gentle Reminder from a Sidewalk Counselor


Ernie- a grandfather ministering on the sidewalks of an abortion center
Every Tuesday, rain, snow, or HOT sunshine, Ernie shows up at the busiest abortion center in the Southeast. He wore a sunhat this week in the brutally scorching sun. Ernie is a Cities4Life volunteer who speaks gently over the microphone to the women rushing in to abort their children. He appeals to them in his grandfatherly voice with a heart that is inclined deeply to the Lord, but also to the joy of grandchildren.

When we asked Ernie why he volunteers on the sidewalk of an abortion center faithfully each week, he answered: Abortion is against God's word first and foremost. Also, I'm a grandfather of 8 grandchildren, 2 of which are adopted, and I want grandparents to have the blessings I have with my grandchildren.

So often, when called by the Lord to do something outside our comfort zone, like speak to those who don't know God about the incredible joyful truth of the Gospel, we feel we are ill-equipped. We wonder: Why would anyone listen to me?? 

However, God made each of us with a unique and valuable insight based on our sum of experiences that no one else on earth shares. Every person is perfectly designed and equipped by God to tell their story for His glory. Ernie's words remind me of that. He is an unassuming man with a simple message. Abortion is wrong, and deprives families of the love and joy of grandchildren.

It is easy to be so caught up in the present that you lose sight of the future. I love the gentle wisdom of this kind man, called by the Lord to remind women not to destroy what God intends as a blessing.
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For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,

To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Two Babies Saved and Up Close and Personal With a Veteran Sidewalk Counselor

Chrissy- counsels three times a week on the sidewalk of Charlotte Abortion Center


Yesterday was another blistering hot day on the sidewalks of the busy abortion center. As usual, Chrissy was there for her second time this week. She will be back again today. Two babies we know of were saved because Cities4Life counselors were present on the sidewalk and available by phone.

Chrissy has been a sidewalk counselor for years. She is one of our most persistent, determined counselors, never giving up when a woman is in sight that she can call out to. She is a humble and gentle soul, and is likely responsible alone for hundreds of babies being alive today. Was she always this determined to be a force to reckon with on the sidewalks of abortion centers?

You might be surprised by her answer:

I went kicking and screaming to the abortion mill. Obviously I did not feel led by God to go.  My brother had been trying to coerce me into this ministry for a long time so to appease him, I went. He fed me to the wolves but by the grace of God, when I saw the picture of baby Malachi, the aborted baby, my heart broke. All of these women swarming into the abortion mill to do the same thing to their little one in the womb overwhelmed me. I didn't know what to do and then I remembered what my brother said: my job was to suit up and show up, and God's job was to do the saving.

Praise God He did the saving yesterday, and Lord willing, more precious babies will be saved today. So many counselors (myself  included) start off kicking and screaming, saying I could NEVER do this sort of work. What a surprise for Chrissy and for me that what began in protest became our passion. Funny how God sometimes works that way...
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For more information on how to become a sidewalk counselor, please email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com
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Deuteronomy 20:4 

For the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’

You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors

Daniel Parks - Executive Director Cites4Life
Every day but Sunday if you drive down Latrobe Dr. in Charlotte, NC, you will see a small group of men and women gathered on the sidewalk in front of a brick building. These are the volunteers of Cities4Life, committed to speaking on behalf of the babies who will die there. That building is among the busiest, if not the busiest, abortion center in the Southeast. At least 20-30 babies die in the back room of 3220 Latrobe Dr. every day of the week except Sunday. One can only wonder why they take Sundays off...

This week, the temperature is expected to hit 98 degrees or so with 90% humidity. A sauna. As the morning progresses, any shade on the sidewalk is gone. The volunteers wilt in the ferocious sun for hours, sweat pouring off of them.

Human beings are 98% water. By the end of the morning, you can imagine what shriveled, baked pieces of them remain as the sun sucks all the H2O from their molecules. Yet, they keep calling out to the abortion-minded women with offers of hope, help, and truth.

Why do they do this?

Every Cities4Life volunteer is a committed Christian who takes seriously the Biblical admonition to help those being led to the slaughter, to protect the innocent, and defend those who cannot defend themselves. They all sign a code of conduct, pledging to maintain a peaceful and God-honoring presence. They are often sworn at, threatened, intimidated by pro-choice protesters or clients, and lately, harassed by city officials. (Charlotte zoning authority seized and removed our shade canopy, citing obstruction laws though the canopy did not obstruct a single human being from walking under its comforting shade on that sidewalk.)

Why do they endure this?

Today will be the beginning of an ongoing series spotlighting Cities4Life volunteers. The volunteers will answer those questions in their own words. Daniel Parks is the Executive Director of Cities4Life and has been involved in pro-life ministry for many years. He will be our lead-off batter in this series introducing our sidewalk counselors.

Daniel Parks:

I got involved on the sidewalks about 12 years ago when the church we attended, FIRE Church, brought their children's group out to sing and pray. I came as a chaperone for my daughter but the Lord set me up. As I stood there in front of the clinic watching women go in and out, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart, "100 feet from where you are standing babies are being killed. Not at some other time or some other place... right here, right now." I knew then and there that my family and I had to do what we can to end abortion in this city. 

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Please consider visiting the sidewalks and shadowing experienced volunteers. Click HERE to express interest in joining us in this vital life-saving ministry.
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Romans 12:21

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

She's Almost 89 and Speaking for the Unborn ... What's your excuse?


This is Kitty. She's 88 years old and on next Monday turns 89 years old. Kitty ministers out at the southeast's busiest Abortion Center three times a week. She had double knee surgery a few months ago but is already back on the sidewalk, calling out to those who feel that abortion is the only answer and trying to convince them that Jesus is the answer.

Kitty is opening my birthday gift to her a week early. I told her that no one who is almost 89 has to wait to open her gifts. I gave her my Unlikely Friends series. I promise a full set of my series to any sidewalk counselor who is out there three days a week for their 89th birthday!

Kitty is a huge inspiration to me. She never complains no matter how cold or how hot it is out there. She is always smiling, and always loving to those that are driving in to exterminate their child. She often stops cars probably because no one can believe that this elderly woman is actually offering anything while standing on her own two feet in the blistering hot day.

As the Cities4life volunteer coordinator, I have been privy to a whole host of excuses for why people do not feel they can give any of their time or resources to help stem the terrible tide of abortion. I, of course, must always be polite and encouraging. But then I see people like Kitty who has every right to sit down and relax. She has earned it. And yet the burden of the unborn fills her spirit and so she's out there week after week, as she will be next Monday on her 89th birthday.
What's your excuse?

As I drove into the abortion center yesterday, I heard a sermon about Hebrews 11 which lists the heroes of the faith. Yesterday with my new wonderful iPhone 7 plus, I took portraits of some modern heroes of the faith that stand with me every Monday out on the sidewalk speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.








Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who opposed Hitler and was eventually killed in the Nazi death camp said, "Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act."

The death of innocent human beings at the permission of their own parents is evil. A society that remains silent and even condones this slaughter is complicit. God WILL hold us to account.

The Bible echoes this sentiment: Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will take a stand for me against evildoers? Psalm 94:16

My near 89-year-old friend holds up her age worn hands and says, "Me!" 
What do you say?


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We would love to have you stand with us! Please email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com for info, or fill out a volunteer contact form by clicking HERE.
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Psalm 92:14

They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,

So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent.

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Little Lesson About Abundance and Need And God's Providence in Both


Look who came to visit! My granddog, Ragnar! Oh, and he brought my daughter and son-in-law with him. Whenever we make ribs we invite them over. It was Asherel's favorite dish growing up so we like to include her when ribs are on the menu.
My husband makes stupendous rib sauce, and a potato/onion/bacon dish to DIE for that goes perfectly with ribs. We were all stuffed to the gills. The kids left Ragnar with us while they went grocery shopping after our sumptuous lunch.


I sat outside with Ragnar in  the shade of an umbrella but he wasn't super thrilled.  90 degrees didn't sit well with his 6" fur coat.
"I'm from Siberia," he reminded me.
"No you're not, You're from North Carolina."
"My ancestors were from  Siberia."

We went inside to the air-conditioned  house until his people returned from grocery shopping.


When Ragnar and his folks departed, I hurried off to kayak. By this time, it was late afternoon and the sun was low enough that the trees blocked the sun. I could kayak close to shore in the shade. I almost didn't go because it was so late in the day. Also, the ferocity of the pop-up storm the last time I had kayaked gave me pause. What if that happened again?

In the end, the desire to LIVE life in all its beauty and danger overcame my desire for safety. How glad I am that I went! There was a breeze wafting over a very quiet river since everyone else was on their way home for dinner. The trees hanging over the shore provided a cool shade. I even saw an owl in one tree, watching me with his big unblinking eyes. It was inexpressibly pleasant.

As I cruised along the shoreline, I passed two fishermen. They did not have a fishing pole, just a line to which they had attached bait on one end and flung into the water. Their clothes looked tattered. I suspected any fish they caught would be dinner. My own tummy was still uncomfortably stuffed with ribs and potatoes with bacon and onions.

"Any luck?" I asked.
"No ma'am," they said. They smiled, despite their threadbare clothes and hopes of dinner resting on the thin hope of a bit of string and a worm.
"Well, I'll be praying your luck changes."
"Thank you," they said, tossing the baited line into the water again.

I don't believe in luck. It is just a saying for me. I believe all life events are woven together in a grand plan of which I usually only can catch a glimpse. It is just more cumbersome to say, "Hi fisherman, any divine providence of God displaying Himself in this particular venture?" That is what I meant. However, I did offer a prayer for the fishermen, a small prayer. I talk continually with God while I am out in nature. It is one of the reasons I spend any rare spare moments I have in the midst of God's beautiful, natural creation.

I kayaked on, enjoying the peaceful late afternoon river in the exquisite light of a sun dipping in the sky and casting long shadows.


Reluctantly, I turned around when I reached the bridge and headed back downriver. As I passed the fishermen again, they were smiling.

"Did you catch a fish?" I asked.
"Yes! A big one!"
"Oh good! I am glad!"



I was so full from lunch that I didn't have dinner. But I really was grateful to God that the men in the tattered clothes without a fishing pole had been blessed with a big fat fish for their dinner. How much I take for granted!

I pondered the fishermen's thin hope of a bit of string and a worm. We had just sung a song in church that morning: "My hope is built on nothing less" by Edward Mote.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

2. When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

3. His oath, His covenant, and blood
Support me in the whelming flood;
When every earthly prop gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

 
Today I return to the sidewalks of the Southeast's busiest abortion center with the rest of my Cities4Life team. In our own strength or ability, we have no hope of helping anyone. However, my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness, On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. Those words encourage me in that dark and evil place.

I toss the meager thread of obedience into water. It is God who provides the catch. His providence prevails in feast or famine. In every storm, His anchor holds. When every earthly prop gives way, He then is ALL my hope and stay!
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Join us! Email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com for training and information.

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Luke 14:12-14

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Ponderings While I Recharge

On my bicycle, the place where I commune with God, whispering His Love to me
Life has become exponentially more busy since I became the volunteer coordinator for Cities4Life.  Besides being busier, I have more and more people who are awesome in my life since every volunteer I work with is beyond amazing. I love all of them but like most introverts, I recharge when I am alone...and I have very little alone time anymore.

To FULLY recharge, I need to not only be alone, but ideally, alone in nature. Even my weekends have been busy with Cities4Life issues of late, and it is hard to back off since real lives hang in the balance. But this Saturday, I took off early in the morning to bike ride. I biked on the green-way near my house, and only fielded a couple of work related texts.

Then, after resting, I dashed out again after lunch to kayak. I didn't realize a MAJOR nasty storm was on the way. I kayaked peacefully along quiet coves and even saw deer scattered among the lake mansions. The solitude was very restorative.

Deer watches me in my kayak from the shore

I sat and bobbed in the water taking lots of water breaks since it was so hot. The scenery on Lake Wylie is spectacular. I could feel God's hands rocking my boat and soothing my soul. I also had a lot of fun playing with my new iPhone 7 plus camera.



I got out and sat in the water to cool off, and then noticed there were some rather terrifying dark clouds filling the sky. A very sharp clear jagged streak of lightning blazed across the billowing thunderhead.
Clueless that major storm brewing in the portion of sky NOT pictured in the photo
Where did that come from??? It was blue sky and puffy white clouds on one horizon! But the other horizon was not at all a comforting sight. I paddled as fast as I could back to the dock. Just in time. The wind was getting ferocious, and churning up ocean sized white-caps.

As I drove home, listening to the radio, a weather alert interrupted with news that in my very area, 60 mph gusts were reported, with hail, and dangerous lightning. Hubby texted me asking if I was okay as a nasty storm was pelting our home. When I returned to our neighborhood, I was diverted by people in the streets, waving me to detours because trees were down all over the neighborhood!

I'd escaped from the lake in the nick of time!

This made me ponder a deeper truth. So many people I care about are looking at blue skies and have no idea that a storm is gathering at their back. They choose not to turn around and look on the threat that is so close to overtaking them. I cry out in warning, but seemingly to no avail. My heart is heavy for them, knowing that fatal storms can engulf us at any time.

Oh please, dear friends, family, and even strangers. Before it is too late. Please turn to the creator of the universe, the one who loves you and longs for you to come to Him.

He says, I listened to you at the right time, and I helped you on the day of salvation. Look, now is the right time! Look, now is the day of salvation! 2 Corinthians 6:2

Maybe you wait, wondering where God is and why He is not seeking retribution now for all the evil and horror of the world. He is waiting as long as possible, that none should perish. He wants every soul to turn back to Him. He longs for you. He loves you. Please heed His call. Now. Before you are stuck inescapably in the final storm.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 






Friday, July 14, 2017

Our Struggle is Not Against Flesh and Blood


It never gets old holding a baby saved from abortion

It was grand central station on the RV with the mobile ultrasound yesterday out at the busy abortion center sidewalk. Our RV, from Monroe HELP Pregnancy Center is brand new and was being utilized fully!  We had three pregnant women on at one point, with a fourth who thought she was pregnant but turned out not to be. It was controlled chaos. All three pregnant women chose life. A fourth mom at another Charlotte abortion center chose life as well with the counsel of a Cities4life volunteer. What a blessed day!

There was one piece of disturbing news. If you have been following this blog, you know that Charlotte Zoning Authority has seized four of our signs under the guise of an ordinance that says NOTHING about it being illegal (as they claim) to hold our signs the way we do. I read the ordinance carefully. It is clear the city has targeted us to silence us, and our 1st and 4th amendment rights have been violated. We just found out that those signs, totaling about $400 of precious ministry funds, were destroyed by the city.

The little guy in the photo above was the son of a mom who dropped by for a visit. She chose life a few months ago and received a lavish baby shower from our partner ministry, Truth and Mercy Prolife Ministry. It is always a joy to see the babies who might not have been here if Cities4Life hadn't been here.

With our signs.

Which the city destroyed.

One of the moms who came on the RV cried because she knew abortion was wrong, and it broke her heart to consider abortion. However, she was losing her home the next day, and had no idea who to turn to. While she was with me, I called an agency that I thought might help from our list of resources and set up a meeting that afternoon. They assured her she would have immediate housing.

I am a high energy person who LOVES long walks and runs and bikeriding and kayaking. I got home from the very intense day of counseling moms who chose life, and collapsed. I sat in my recliner and wondered why our city would destroy the signs of a ministry that today alone helped save the lives of four little people, found housing for a desperate family, and brought hope and joy to people who had thought all was lost.

As my dear team members reminded me today, we do not fight against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of darkness. I dragged my tired carcass off the recliner and went for a walk, praying for the forces of good to light the way.
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Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.


Speak Lord, For Your Servant Hears

Yesterday one of our brand new volunteer families stopped a car and got the woman driving to take our literature at the abortion center sidewalk. I hurried over and spoke to her as she walked into the abortion center. I spoke as fast as I could to optimally use the thirty seconds I had till she entered the building.


I told the family of volunteers, "Great job getting the literature in her hands! She is very conflicted. I can tell. Now we pray." I saw the volunteer mom and dad talking to their children and knew they were all praying.

The young lady emerged very shortly thereafter. As she walked to her car, again I begged her to let us help her. She looked at me and smiled, and I knew she had chosen life. As she got in her car, the security person came to talk to her. I suspect she was telling the young woman not to stop and talk with us on her way out. I would not be surprised if she was encouraging the woman to go back in and just do what she came to do. I do not say this in spite but because we know for a fact this happens.

A woman who chose life that we helped in the aftermath of her decision told us that every week after she left the abortion center, she received ongoing calls from them encouraging her to return to abort. This continued until her 20th week of pregnancy, at which point she could no longer (legally) abort at the clinic.

Now, as the car backed out, the volunteer family and I exchanged joyful glances. The little children who had been holding our signs were all smiling. "This is very good!" I whispered to them. When she reached the driveway, she rolled down her window.

"Did you change your mind?" I asked.
"No speak English," she said, still smiling. I reached in my belly pack for our Spanish literature.
"Espanol," I said handing her the pamphlet. I opened it to the name and number of our Spanish counselor and repeated, "Espanol."
She nodded.
"Bebe?" I asked patting my own stomach and then pointing to her midriff.
She nodded, smiling broadly.
I cradled my arms as though rocking a baby and pointed to her. She nodded again.
"Wait!" I said, "Gift! We have a gift!"
Unbelievably, she waited. I ran to my car, got a huge gift basket a donor had made for moms who choose life, and brought it to her. She laughed as I handed it to her.
"Gracias!"
"Dios te ama!" I said. (I hope I was saying God loved her.) I pointed upward, and then at her.
She nodded again, and drove away.

I have never spoken in tongues, but I had to wonder if God had opened her ears to hear our pleas in her own language. I don't know what changed her mind, but clearly she had chosen not to abort. The little family was overjoyed.

"We would do this whether women chose life or not," the father said, "Out of obedience to God's call."
"Yes," I said, "Me too. But man it feels good to see them choose life and know we were used in that choice, doesn't it!"
The children nodded.


This week, one of our Cities4Life network supporters called and asked if I had a mom I worked with who needed a washer/dryer. She had one to donate. I instantly thought of V, a mom I have worked with for three years and who has recently had a spate of struggles. She never asks for help, though I call regularly to check on her and usually offer some resource to help her. I emailed and asked is she wanted the washer/dryer.

"Oh my!!!! Jesus, yes!!!!" she wrote. Her washer/dryer had died a month ago, and with all the terrible setbacks of late including a terrible accident that totaled her car, she had no hope of replacing them. Another wonderful new volunteer will be picking up and delivering the appliances.

God lets us hear the language we need to hear when we open our ears. Sometimes it is the language that speaks without words to a mother's heart, and sometimes it is the language of unvoiced despair that whispers in our ears compelling us to action.

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If God is whispering to you to be a part of our team spreading a culture of life in our city one precious baby at a time, please email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com for info and training.
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1 Samuel 3:9 

Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

John 10:27-28

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Charlotte City Officials Apprehend Signs From the Clutches of Dangerous Gospel Singing Pro-Lifers


 
We have a group of young adults from Harmony Believers Fellowship in Harmony, NC who drive an hour each Tuesday to volunteer on the sidewalks of the Southeast's busiest abortion center. They are unassuming, gentle, and shy young ladies and men with sweet demeanors and conservative modest dress and actions. They have the voices of angels and often gather after the abortionist arrives to sing with achingly beautiful words of redemption and hope.

Their explanation of why they want to volunteer on their Cities4Life applications state reasons such as: I desire to fulfill Christ's great commission despite my feeling of inadequacy, or I want to show the love of Christ through building relationships with the women who come to abort, or I want to minister to hurting people and save lives, or my heart breaks for dear innocent souls and I want to be a voice for them.

You can see why Charlotte officials are so eager to silence these obvious threats to our fair city.

Bravely, Charlotte Zoning Officials snatched the signs from the hands of these extremists about a week ago. They cited Ordinance 10-212 as their reason for the confiscation of our signs from the hands of the shy and peaceful, quiet young lady who DARED to hold a sign in a manner the officials interpreted as an obstruction, a threat, and a violation of the safety restrictions on signage.



Below is Ordinance 10-212. That's the ordinance which the zoning officials wrote on the citations they issued to Cities4Life director, Daniel Parks, as they seized the signs.


Maybe I am just not as smart as the Charlotte city officials, but I don't see where this ordinance requires that a sign being held by a person shall have no portion of it touch the ground or it will be seized by the Zoning Authorities. Do you? AND if that is what the city insists upon, does that seem like a good use of taxpayer money, sending three city officials to snag a sign from the hands of a shy and unassuming 18-year old young lady who smiles and offers help to women in crisis?

Their courageous seizure of the sign from the hands of our sweet female volunteer was for the subversive and frightening danger posed by the sign resting on her shoes, thus legally off the ground as the ordinance they claim insists...but, GASP, her feet were not in her shoes. 

Yes. You read that correctly. The sign was seized because it rested on her shoes with no little piggies in them. The officials took their lives in their hands to look more closely. No doubt! Her feet were naked on the grass and the sign was resting on empty shoes!!!! A HUGE constitutional crisis was brewing and they had NO CHOICE but to stem this dangerous tide.


Can you imagine the horrifying situation created by this scenario they describe in the video below?

Perhaps it was because the young woman held the sign of a baby who was a victim of abortion. It is indeed a horrific sign. I find it difficult to look at. Many have told us the sign is offensive. Let that thought sink in. The sign is offensive but the reality of the law that allows 20-30 babies each day at that single abortion center to end up as the baby the sign depicts is not? We have seen women look at that sign and change their minds about aborting their child because of that sign alone. The truthful portrayal of consequences of what we do has a way of helping us consider our actions more carefully.

However, it didn't seem to be that particular sign's graphic message that so worried our city officials about the risks posed to Charlotte. Before their brave intervention with the sign depicting the truth of abortion, they tackled the terrifying problem of the young man who held a sign of a baby saved from abortion. That baby is particularly adorable with a huge smile and a flower in her hair. It is a photo of an actual child born in Charlotte and saved through the efforts of Cities4Life from abortion.

What could be the danger of that sign...other than people might reconsider which reality they wanted to be theirs that day: the mangled aborted dead baby or the smiling joyful saved baby? Who knows what unknown catastrophes the officials felt might come of the sign-wielding pro-life Harmony Believers Fellowship singers? The baby on the sign is very cute, and maybe the Charlotte Zoning officials felt people driving by might ooh and aah right into the car in front of them. An accident waiting to happen.

The young man, unlike the young woman, had his feet inside his shoes. They removed the sign from his hands without having to resort to violence, for which we all breathed a sigh of relief. These people sure know how to take control in a crisis situation. I just pray if ISIS comes to Charlotte, those city officials are there with as much authority and courage as exhibited in wrenching our signs into their cars.




As you ponder this valiant effort of Charlotte Zoning Authority to rid the city of dangerous and reckless sign behavior, you might want to take a gander at a recent article about the very issue of signs that are taking over our city! In the case of the signs mentioned in the news release, no one is holding the signs-- they are being tacked up on every available structure all over our fair city. Unlike our signs which are held or strapped to our cars and removed each and every time we leave our volunteer shift, these signs remain for months at times! What are Charlotte city officials quoted as saying they are doing about THIS clear and present danger?

In that article, the following telling statement is made: But the city said it doesn't pursue fines, saying that "non-punitive methods have proven most effective and efficient when compared to the outlay of resources necessary to identify and cite each offender"


WE must be special! We received citations for both signs the officials seized; signs NOT left for months unattended on street lamp posts but signs held by volunteers who let one edge of the sign touch the ground.

We pay a lot of money in taxes. Charlotte's violent crime rate continues to rise but tax dollars, resources, and energy are diverted to render citations to sweet volunteers just barely into adulthood, to remove signs they are holding because a two-foot wide edge of cardboard is resting on the ground. These signs are expensive and help a small privately funded ministry do such good work as typified by the past few weeks when we sheltered a homeless family for a month, fixed their car, bought groceries and clothes for their children, and gained them entrance into a private program that will provide housing and life training skills so they will never find themselves homeless again. Not a CENT of taxpayer money was expended in this effort. And by the way, they are excited about the baby they chose not to abort.

Meanwhile, instead of helping others in devastating situations, our funds and energy might be diverted to regaining our signs from the city of Charlotte. Does anything upset you about this use of government power?


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If you are concerned about this harassment of volunteers who routinely help homeless women find housing, rescue babies led to the slaughter of abortion, provide gas and groceries and support to those who choose life along with a host of other immediate helpful resources, please contact the Charlotte zoning department, specifically Ben Krise 704-336-2485

Perhaps this encourages you to join us ministering to women who feel they have no choice but abortion, and yet though our vital ministry, find out there is a better choice and real hope and help.
Email vkaseorg@cities4life.com for information on shadowing experienced volunteers and training sessions.
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Jeremiah 22:17

"But your eyes and your heart Are intent only upon your own dishonest gain, And on shedding innocent blood And on practicing oppression and extortion."
 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Charlotte City Officials Seize Cities4Life Private Property Without a Warrant


"I feel constitutionally violated," Daniel Parks, Cities4Life Executive Director said after Charlotte City officials seized two of Cities4Life signs. "I don't feel like my constitutional rights are protected in the city of Charlotte. To imagine the city has the right to seize private property without a warrant is very unsettling."

Official taking private property without a warrant

One of our volunteers on the sidewalks of the southeast's busiest abortion center was holding two signs in the legally prescribed manner near his car. A policeman arrived while I was speaking on the microphone. The police come every day to check that we have the legally required sound permit. (We don't use the sound system if we don't have the permit.) The sign-holding volunteer was the permit holder. Daniel Parks, seeing the policeman approach the sound system alerted our volunteer to please get the permit and bring it to the officer.

The volunteer put down the signs, turned them facing his car and leaned them against the curbside of his vehicle. His car was parked on the curb of a wide street where at least three cars can easily pass abreast of each other. He got out the permit and walked across the street to stand near the sound system, waiting for the policeman to approach. The total elapsed time that the volunteer was away from the signs was approximately ten minutes, allowing the officer to approach him, look at the permit, and exchange a few pleasantries.

When the volunteer turned back around to return to his car, city officials from the zoning department were already walking to the signs from their car parked some distance up the street. The office of these city officials is estimated by Mapquest to be 14-17 minutes from the abortion center in light traffic. That means the officials received a call by the pro-choice defense team, leaped in their car, probably exceeded the speed limit or used a 5th dimension portal, and ran to the signs to get there in ten minutes. Either that, or they were lurking nearby, awaiting a call. They responded beautifully to the dire emergency of signs leaning for ten-minutes against a car parked on the curb. Thank God for our quick response Zoning Officials!

Two other officials tried to confiscate the sign of another volunteer. While he was holding it with two hands as prescribed by the city, the bottom of the sign was apparently touching the ground. This is VERY DANGEROUS and no city official in their right mind would let this infraction go unpunished. When the city officials tried to confiscate Patrick's sign, they told him it was because he could not let the sign touch the ground. As they tried to take it, Patrick put his sign down, and sat on it.

Patrick stands...er...sits...in defense of his private property rights despite the dangerous precedent of letting all parts of a sign touch the ground. Thankfully, no immediate catastrophes ensued from this gross overreach of safe sign behavior

He didn't speak much except to say that he was a veteran, and they were violating his 4th amendment rights he joined the military to preserve. The city official told him sitting on the sign was okay, and did not try to remove him or the sign forcibly. It could be they ran back to the office to research the 4th amendment.



Meanwhile, Daniel followed the official who had confiscated our signs demanding to see a warrant for the seizure of his property. This is what the official finally handed Daniel:


In case you can't read this "warrant", it says:
Section 19-241. Obstructions
It shall be unlawful to place or maintain an unnecessary obstruction in the public right of way. The city may require the person who has placed or maintains an obstruction in violation of this section to remove the obstruction and repair or restore the right of way within a reasonable period. of time, which time shall be set in consideration of the harm or risk created by the obstruction and the effort and expense of removal. In addition, the city may summarily remove an obstruction and charge the expense of the removal, restoration, and repair to the person who placed or maintained the obstruction.

Harm or risk? Remember, the signs were leaning against the curbside of a parked car for ten minutes.  Also keep in mind this is a 3-4 car width wide street with most of the curbside empty. The only thing those signs were obstructing was the smooth path of an inchworm across the car's side.

Vicky pondering a sign which was NOT seized despite clear violation of logic and the sign ordinance

Meanwhile, this sign in the picture above was right along the path of the brave zoning official clearing our city of obstructions that could cause imminent harm or risk to Charlotte citizens. The sign said "Keep off the grass". This is a clear violation of logic since the sign itself was not keeping off the grass, but the city has no ordinances about illogical sign usage (yet). Nonetheless, that sign which was breaking rules of logic AND the sign ordinance requiring someone to be HOLDING the sign was NOT seized and put in sign jail. Perhaps the official preferred that message to the one our signs proclaimed. Whatever the reason, that sign not being held and on the ground in CLEAR VIOLATION of the city sign ordinance was not seized. All signs are apparently NOT equal under Charlotte city zoning law.

By the way, don't lose sight of the fact that just a hundred feet away, four dozen or so little living human beings were being dismembered by an abortionist. Good thing the doctor of destruction didn't let a sign touch the ground in his operating chambers or those zoning officials would have been on him like vultures on a dead skunk.

Even with our signs seized, our attention distracted, and the hot sun beating down on us since the city officials had seized our shade canopy a few weeks ago, four mothers left the abortion center without killing their babies! Four babies saved from the forces that would find it illegal to let a sign touch the ground, but not illegal to dismember a living human child without anesthesia or even perhaps a molecule of shame.

Dangerous subversive sign holders pray before offering help to women in crisis

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If you are a constitutional lawyer and would be interested in taking this case pro-bono, we would be grateful for your help. Please contact Daniel Parks at dparks@cities4life.com
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Isaiah 5:20
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

This Baby is Going to Be Something Special

A text from a mom who chose life, my response in blue



These were two texts I received from a mom who chose life over abortion about a week ago. She was determined to abort then...but transformed before our eyes as we shared the truth of the gospel, the humanity of the baby, and the resources and help Cities4Life could offer to address the obstacles she faced.

Around midnight, she felt her baby kick for the first time and she knew her text might wake me up, but couldn't wait to tell me. And then later yesterday, she texted again, overcome with the "liberating" joy of knowing a special little human was developing in her womb.

The complete turn around in her is NOT unusual. The pro-choice people would suggest that all women who go to an abortion center have made up their minds and view us as a judgmental and hurtful enemy. These texts, similar to many I receive regularly, show the fallacy of that view.

A young lady who came on our Monroe HELP Pregnancy Center RV yesterday for an ultrasound told us, "You people are doing God's work." She blinked at me in incredulous wonder as I listed all the ways we would help her. She was an abortion minded woman who expected us to be terrible, condemning, and telling her how wrong she was. Unexpectedly, she saw "God working" and said, "I never thought I would enjoy coming on here...but I did. I have so much to think about."  It turned out she was NOT pregnant, but I feel optimistic that one day if she is, abortion will no longer be considered.

A second woman on the RV chose life. When she came on, she told me she was wavering and had considered abortion, that she was overwhelmed, afraid, and stressed beyond her ability to bear. She opened the first page of our pamphlet and read this verse: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations." (Jeremiah 1:5)

"I read this verse," she said, "And it really startled me. Before my baby was formed...God knew him."
I nodded as she gazed in wonder at the photo of the baby 8-weeks-old in utero.


Later, after an hour with us, she hugged the nurse Sherry and me and told us that she was "inspired" and knew she could do what she needed to do to keep her baby. Again, Cities4Life is helping her with a vast network of resources.

"I can't believe you all would do all that for me," she said, as I listed the assistance we would provide.
"God loves you and your baby," I told her, "Immeasurably. We believe so strongly that God hates abortion that we are committed to helping women who choose life every way we can."

Do you want to know the most amazing part of this story? Yesterday morning, before heading to the abortion center sidewalks, I read an article by a pro-choice advocate. Her scathing remarks about pro-life counselors side-swiped my assurance that we are helping women. I drove to the sidewalk of the abortion center praying the whole way that God would show me that I was doing what He wanted me to do.

I think God answered my prayer.
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Please join us. The rewards are enormous. Contact me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com for information and training on how you can help an abortion minded mom realize her baby is going to be something special.
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Jeremiah 1: 4-9

The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
    before you were born I set you apart;
    I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.

Monday, July 10, 2017

A God of Second Chances and The Proper Response

I came home from a week in the 111 degree Tucson desert to have my granddog Ragnar with us for the day while his family was off to the beach. It was a cool 80 degrees when we went for a morning walk. Ragnar, a Siberian Husky, does not love the heat. He made it clear that two miles was his limit.

"You don't know heat," I chided him. Dry heat or not, 111 degrees is HOT. I dropped him home to finish out my walk, thinking how wonderful it is to have a granddog. None of the responsibility and all the joy of a dog.

After my walk we had an amazing sermon at church from a guest pastor. He spoke about the book of Jonah, but with a depth and clarity I had not heard before. Three points he made struck me. They mirrored concepts I voice often in my work at the sidewalks of the abortion center encouraging women that this pregnancy was not a disaster, but choosing to destroy their child surely was.

1. Jonah being swallowed by the "great fish" was NOT punishment. It was grace! Jonah was on a ship to Tarshish while running from God's presence when given a command he did not wish to fulfill. The sailors threw Jonah overboard to calm the raging storm when Jonah admitted that his God was probably ticked off and the one arousing the waves. In the middle of the tumultuous ocean, Jonah had NO hope of making it to shore on his own power. BUT GOD "appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah..." (Jonah 1:17)  It was God's gracious provision of the whale that carried him across the ocean and eventually spit him out on dry land. Being in the stinking gut of the whale saved his life.

Immediately I began thinking of how often I view calamity with the wrong lens. It might not be punishment...it might be provision. I need to cogitate on that.

2. One wrong choice tends to lead to a series of wrong choices. The same is true of good choices. When Jonah chose to run from God, it endangered both him and the sailors on the ship in which he tried to escape. As the storm raged and the sailors were in a panic, Jonah was sleeping!

How often do we become immune to God's warnings and God's voice...dull our senses to the degree that we do not appreciate or respond to danger and sin!? This is another point I often make at the abortion center sidewalk. So many of these women have made terrible choices that move them further and further from God. Abortion, killing their own child, is not a choice probably any of them ever envisioned having to face one day, but that is the nature of bad choices. They tend to snowball until we have fallen so far from God that we are justifying unthinkable actions.

Blessedly, the opposite is true as well. One good choice tends to pave the way for the next good choice. Each moment with each new choice, we are given an opportunity. Will we move towards God or away from Him?

3. One of the greatest verses in the Bible that I had never really thought deeply about is in Jonah 3:
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

God is the God of second chances. Jonah had not only disobeyed God's command to go to Nineveh the first time, but ran away from the Lord, and admitted to the sailors that was what he was doing. Yet God didn't give up on Jonah. He gave Jonah another chance.



After church and that inspiring message, I hurried off to the river to kayak. I thought about all the second chances I have been given in life after so many truly God-less choices. As I paddled into my fourth mile,  I mused about how last year battling breast cancer, I thought I might never be able to kayak again. I remembered the pain of moving my arm at all.

But God...

From the depths of the despair of cancer, so much was revealed to me. The most important truth of that journey was that God would not abandon me and God was all I needed. If I could focus on Him and trust in His essential goodness, then where He sent me would lead to good. Instead of fighting God or running from God or blaming God or doubting God, I submitted to God. How freeing it was to put my life in His hands. It was never my life anyway. It was always His. Cancer gave me a second chance to trust God in the midst of a terrible storm. I didn't want to die, but if I did, I knew He would bring me safely to His shore.

God is the God of provision, and second chances. This is the message I hope to convey to the women at the abortion center today. As I struggled to sleep last night, a woman who chose life after being certain she would abort texted me: "Oh my!!! I know it's late but I had to tell you. I just felt the baby move!"

Don't run from God, run to Him.
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Jonah 3:

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.
When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:
“By the decree of the king and his nobles:
Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”
10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.