Wednesday, May 24, 2017

A Reminder That God is All We Need

This mama goose was taking her job seriously. She made sure that her babies were safe, like all good mothers. I snapped several photos since the irony of the mama goose so ferociously protective of her babies on the sidewalk of an abortion center never ceases to inspire me.





God was reserving a special lesson for us. Our RV with the mobile ultrasound broke down, and will be out of commission for three weeks. This is one of our favorite tools to offer to the women: free ultrasounds. Most choose life if they see their baby's beating heart.

But now, no RV. To add to our sorrow, there was a mistake on the sound permit, so we would have no amplified sound. We know our voices can reach all the way to the abortion room at the back of the building when amplified. My small voice barely reaches the front porch unamplified. And the last tidbit, our two regular Tuesday counselors were not able to come. That means we had a bare-bones team of three with no ultrasound, no sound system, and then the rain began to pour out of the sky.

The geese marched down the street, herding their babies, taking advantage of the empty sidewalks.

Good thing God is all we need because He is all we have.

Oh...and my megaphone.

one of my favorite photos of me with my megaphone...old photo from newscast

I put it to good use. We were SOAKED by 1:00. One member of our tiny trio went home, but Daniel and I stayed long enough to have the wonderful bonus of knowing two women chose life. Perhaps the most gratifying one was a very young woman, probably between 16-18 years old, who entered the parking lot sobbing. She took our literature from Daniel, the director of Cities4Life, but despite all my pleas over the megaphone which I prayed she could hear, she went in to the center.

To our delight, she came out a while later, and sat in the car with her driver. I had a good hour to speak to them over the megaphone. I spoke non-stop since I was the only one with a megaphone, the rain was pouring down, and what else could I do? Besides, Daniel assured me that God would open the ears of the women so whatever they needed to hear, they would hear. The abortionist arrived, but still the young woman and her driver sat in the car.

We rejoiced when the driver started the car, and they drove away!


Maybe you are facing a life crisis, a point in your life when all that you had come to count on and to depend upon has been taken from you. Maybe your health has gone south, your physical abilities have waned, all that you have loved has slowly been wrenched away. What is left? Where is the meaning, the joy, the purpose that all those things used to satisfy? If life is precious, is it no longer precious when our capacity to do what our body was designed to do is gone?

Let me make a suggestion. Try God. Try praying that God would reveal Himself to you and that even now, the mission He has for you would become apparent. Maybe it is taking a long look at who you are and asking God to help you become who He wants you to become. Maybe it is studying His word and sharing those truths with other lonely, hurting, despondent people. Maybe it is praying diligently for your spouse, your neighbor, your children, your community, your state, your nation, your country, your world. Maybe it is opening your eyes for the first time to the reality that this world will pass away but God is eternal and you too were created for eternity. It gives all suffering a new perspective. What are you doing to prepare for that eternity if indeed it is real and if entrance is open to all, but God who created you tells you you can only enter through faith -- faith that He exists, that He is who He claims to be.  Who is He? Scour the Bible. If you seek Him, you WILL find Him.

My text to Daniel that morning when I found out we would have no RV, no sound, and no counselors except us in the pouring rain was that I thought God was sending us a message. By removing all we come to depend on, He is showing us that none of it is really the source of any result or any true hope.

God is the only hope we have. God is all we ever needed. Now and then, He reminds us of that.
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"It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us." - II Corinthians 1: 21,22
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Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Rescuing Those Stumbling to the Slaughter


I went on a walk yesterday after my time out on the sidewalks of the abortion center urging women to choose life. (Two did!) While enjoying the sun, the breeze, and the peaceful quiet street, I heard a voice call out, "No, stay....stay....hey, get back here!!!"

I looked up to see a little dog trotting over to me, hackles raised, lip curled back, emitting low growls. Slowly I pulled my mace out of my belt pack. I always bring mace since I am often out walking or biking or kayaking...and dangerous creatures could be anywhere.

The owner rolled her eyes at me.
"He won't bite," she said. I did not appreciate the condescending tone in her voice. Especially in light of the fact that her dog was now a few feet from me, growling. He was in the typical  ready-to-attack stealth crouch.

"Your dog is growling at me," I said, pointing the mace at him. "If he tries to bite, I will mace him."
"He's growling because you are in a defensive stance," she said.

I blinked at her, biting back my own growls. She had a loose dog, clearly not under voice control, who was now inches from my ankles with raised hackles and growling....and it was MY fault?

Fortunately, she snatched the dog before he pounced. He continued to growl as she petted him. I cannot tell you how badly I wanted to mace HER and tell her she was an idiot like all the idiots with untrained dogs who think they have the right to infringe on my right to walk safely down a public street.

Instead, I told her calmly that I have been bitten by dogs who the owners claim don't bite. Dogs sense when someone is nervous, and it is understandable that someone is nervous when they have been bitten in the past, and a dog approaches them growling.

The owner never apologized, and was clearly angry I had threatened to mace her dog. I thought of a verse I had quoted over the microphone at the abortion center sidewalks earlier in the day: "The heart is deceitful above all else...who can know it?"

We are so deceived in our little bubbles of self commendation and rationalization. NO ONE looking at that growling dog would have believed the dog doesn't bite. The owner didn't want to believe the truth that was smacking her in the face. She had a badly-trained, mean little dog who would gladly have bitten me given another minute of freedom.

That morning, on the abortion center sidewalks, I stopped a car with an abortion-minded woman. I spoke with her for forty minutes. Every question I asked her demonstrated a heart that was terribly deceived. She wore a necklace with a diamond studded cross, and claimed to know God. I asked what she felt God would think of this abortion she planned? She told me he would think it was evil...but she would do it anyway. Since He was a forgiving God, she would abort and then ask His forgiveness. When I asked what made her feel abortion was her only option, she shrugged. She didn't know. I told her I assumed her situation felt dire, or she wouldn't be here. She told me that was not really true. She just didn't want the baby.

She agreed the baby was indeed a baby, a human inside her womb. When I offered a free ultrasound, she said she'd already had one. She had already seen the baby's beating heart.

"I really need to go now to my appointment," she told me.
"You really need to go now to kill your baby?" I asked.
"Well, if you put it that way..."
"How would you put it?" I asked.
"You are making me really uncomfortable."
"Would I be making you uncomfortable if we were discussing you getting a tooth pulled? Or do you think you are uncomfortable because you know what you are doing is wrong?"

Her "friend" who was in the passenger seat continued to urge the woman to just drive on to the abortion center. The woman who was at least conflicted enough to engage with me for forty minutes was not the one with the pedal to the metal urge...it was the "friend."

I felt totally defeated when the woman thanked me for what I was doing there, even admired why we were there, but now she had to go. She drove into the abortion center.

******
As I said goodbye to the woman with the growling dog, I hoped that the next time someone was walking down her road, the little dog would be leashed. Had she learned anything by the encounter with me or was all I had said in vain?
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Proverbs 24:11-12

11 Rescue those who are being led away to death,
    and save those who stumble toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “Look here, we didn’t know about this,”
    doesn’t God,[a] who examines motives,[b] discern it?
Doesn’t the one who guards your soul
    know about it?
Won’t he repay each person
    according to what he has done?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Wasteful Use of Police Resources to Squash a Message




Three Policemen respond to 911 call Thursday at abortion center


With violent crime on the rise in Charlotte, one would think the city would be careful to allocate police resources to the areas and circumstances where violent crime occurs. Those who honestly care about the safety of our citizens would not squander the time and energy of Charlotte's brave officers in blue for frivolous concerns. Right?

This past week, three different police cars responded to a 911 call to come to A Preferred Women’s Health Center on Latrobe Avenue, where 15-50 or so abortions are performed daily. (SIX cars were summoned on Saturday.) Was this to respond to a woman bleeding to death from a botched abortion? Was a pro-life advocate threatening to storm into the center and assault the abortionist? Were guns being brandished, or gang fights erupting to necessitate three police cars with all the accompanying force behind them to protect our community?

No. The crime necessitating the 911 call from the pro-choice crowd  was they thought Cities4Life volunteers might be speaking above the allowed decibel level on our legally permitted sound system. (We were not.) The officers checked our permit to see if we had the legal right to amplify our voices.  (We did.) They measured the decibel level…twice. We were within the legal limit. 

They remained parked nearby for at least a half hour, and returned an hour later to watch our dangerous recitation of Bible verses, and offers of tangible assistance to the mothers in crisis. The police were not at fault. They were required to respond to the 911 calls and have been alerted by the city manager and city council to keep the peace on Latrobe Ave. 

Meanwhile, that same week, the 31st homicide to date in Charlotte took place. That same day, a shooting occurred in the afternoon in the 2900 block of Mulberry Church Road (Nowhere near Latrobe Ave.) Police reported that a call had been made regarding an assault with a deadly weapon, and when officers arrived, one person was found with serious injuries.

Please don’t misunderstand. The shooting took place in the afternoon, probably after the police had departed from Latrobe. I don’t wish to mislead you. However, the police know the hot spots in the city where the rate of violent crime is likely. It is NOT on Latrobe avenue, and it is NOT from the gentle Christians gathering to pray and help women in desperate situations.

The only violence that is happening on Latrobe Ave is the daily slaughter of an average of 20-30 babies each day by abortion. The pro-choice crowd has instigated violence against the pro-life group, and we are regularly threatened. It's interesting that despite that fact, the vast bulk of 911 calls are from the pro-choice folks.
The loving non-judgmental messages from the pro-choice crowd
 I personally spend 3-4 days a week on the sidewalks of the abortion center on Latrobe Ave, peacefully presenting women with free help and resources other than abortion. The ministry I work with, Cities4Life, has been a peaceful and useful presence for the past seven years with many women choosing life as a result of our intervention. We have helped countless women cope with their unplanned pregnancies through our network of private supporters without a dime of tax dollars spent. Not once have I seen a member of our ministry instigate a single act of violence, or even use bad language. The same cannot be said of the pro-choice contingency.

A friend of the abortion center security guard who storms towards us threatening to beat us up if we don't shut up
Yet regularly, the pro-choice counter-protesters at the abortion center call the police. Every day, at least two policemen come to check our sound system permit, or respond to complaints that we are blocking traffic on a street with very low traffic that is wide enough for four cars to fit. 

Between October 2016 - March 21, 2017, there were sixty-one 911 calls in which a minimum of two policemen were required to come to assess the emergency. Six of those calls were from the pro-life groups and fifty-five were from the pro-choice group. I remember one of those calls because I made it. An angry driver came within inches of my face, fist balled, and told me she was going to make me shut up, though she said it with choice words I cannot repeat. The clinic "security" did nothing to move her away from me. He was quick to tell me not to put a toe over the black pavement of the private driveway, however, or the police would be called. I called the police when the woman continued to threaten me, inches from my nose which has never yet been broken in sixty years and it was looking like it would not make it to sixty-one.

On the other hand, the calls from the pro-choice group never involved a danger of violence. The calls were always related to wanting police to check our legally obtained sound permit, to be sure the decibel level of our sound system was within legal limits, and to insure we never stopped cars on the street to hand out our literature of free, helpful resources.

Dangerous pro-life advocate shutting down sound system because of typo on permit. Children risking life and limb dancing as he sings Bible songs to them
Many times, I have seen three or even four police cars come because of the pro-choice people's complaints. Meanwhile, Charlotte is having a banner year of violent crime. In the first quarter of 2017, violent crime increased by 14.4% (http://www.charlottenc.gov/CMPD/Safety/Pages/CrimeStats.aspx). Perhaps the leadership that feels a police presence is necessary to see if the street is being blocked for ten seconds or the sound is a decibel above the legal limit for three accented words on the sidewalks of Latrobe Ave. should instead consider diverting Charlotte's precious police resources to places where people (other than the unborn) are being murdered. Let the one group that is making a dent in the slaughter of the unborn continue their peaceful attempt to provide real alternatives that save lives.

If this wasteful use of tax dollars concerns you, please contact the city manager, Marcus Jones, at 704-336-2241 or Mayor Roberts at Email: mayor@charlottenc.gov, 704-336-2241.

Meanwhile, this morning, my team and I return to the sidewalks of the Southeast's busiest abortion center, knowing if we are not there, 50-60 little babies will die today with no one speaking against this horror. One day last year, our presence convinced eight women to choose life. Please pray that today the many police likely to be there will witness a mob: a mob of women rushing away from the carnage with their babies still safe in their wombs. It is possible our shouts of rejoicing may exceed the legal decibel sound limit.
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Please join us. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. We need weekday volunteers. Contact me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com
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Mark 8:36-37

For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? For what can a man give in return for his soul?

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Cry of the Weak To the God of All Strength

Yesterday was our Cities4Life Volunteer Picnic. To my surprise, I was called up during the worship time so the board of directors could pray over me in my new "calling" as Volunteer Coordinator. I have never been prayed over by a group of godly people. It was incredibly moving and powerful.

I love what I do for Cities4Life. Being a volunteer for the past three and a half years on the sidewalks of the abortion center is the most rewarding work I have ever done, but it has come with a price. What happens out there is immense spiritual warfare -- the forces of evil that would destroy innocent human life and label it a "choice" and a "right" are deceptive and powerful forces. Our God is more powerful, but I have never lost sight that it is a ferocious battle between darkness and light. No one can stand that close to evil day after day, year after year, and not feel the heat of the battle.

It has been a difficult three years in nearly every important earthly aspect. YET, it has inexplicably and simultaneously been the three years where God has become the most important and closest presence in my life than He has ever been. I find myself describing it as the best three years of my life, and then wondering on what planet anyone would describe it as BEST. I won't share all the struggles over the past three years, but it is odd that my first thoughts about those years should be filled with wonder and joy.

"When you pass through the waters, I am with you," God promises us in Isaiah 43. No matter what floods overwhelm us or what desperate circumstances we are in, when we follow God, He does not abandon us.

However, sometimes it feels like He has.

There were many times of utter darkness -- family struggles, financial distress, breast cancer, the dog of my heart dying, parents with health issues and having to leave their home of half a century. It was a terrible three years in terms of many earthly pleasures, hopes, and dreams.

YET,  during those times when I prayed with tears streaming down my cheeks and with a despair too deep to voice, I could almost feel God's hand on my shoulder. I could hear His voice whisper, "It's okay, Honey," like I used to tell my children when they were hurting. I didn't always believe Him...but it was okay. It is okay. Honestly, it is even better than okay. There is nothing more humbling and exalting than knowing you are doing what God has asked you to do...even when you seem to be failing and your world is crumbling.

On the sidewalks of the abortion center, despite all my pains and struggles and faltering words, women were choosing life...and even coming to the Lord. I held baby after baby saved from death by our ministry and each time, I experienced the incredulous, lavish, miraculous love of God anew.


Why God so often uses suffering to bring about His purpose I do not know. But I am certainly in good company. Jesus suffered a wretched torment and death to make our reconciliation with God possible. Knowing that He rose from the grave conquering evil in the most bizarre twist of all history gives me hope when the waters threaten to engulf me.

So when all those Godly people laid their hands on me, and an entire room prayed for me, my heart swelled with praise for the Savior who brought me to this place and this ministry. I kept thinking while they prayed, "I am so small, so fragile, so weak, Lord. I cannot do what you have called me to do, what they think I can do. But I can trust you to do what I am unable to accomplish, and so, here am I in all my weakness. Use me."
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Isaiah 43:1-3
1But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;

Saturday, May 20, 2017

"My Boy" -- the Changing of a Mother's Heart

watching baby herons in the treetops when I finished speaking for the babies at the abortion center sidewalk
Yesterday, three mothers chose to leave the busiest abortion center in the Southeast with their babies still safe in their wombs. While I was there, I got a text picture from a mom who chose life for her baby two months ago. She sent me the ultrasound picture that showed her baby was a little boy. She had been hoping for a boy and was overjoyed.


She added the text message, "My boy."

Those two words meant the world to me. This was a mother I met at the abortion center who spoke no English, but through the miraculous appearance of an interpreter who spoke her language, we were able to convince her to choose life for her unborn child rather than abortion. Over the next two months, I often received texts in broken English,  saying, "Thanks you."

I recently had a training session for a passel of new Cities4Life volunteers. With my terrible technical skills, I managed to put together a slide show of some of the babies I have had the joy of holding as a result of my 3 1/2 years of ministering on the sidewalks of the abortion center. It was overwhelming to look back at the dozens of babies who were now present and being deeply loved by their mothers as a result of the work of Cities4Life.

In the session, I reminded the new volunteers that one of the most important messages (besides the Gospel) that we need to impart to these abortion minded women is the humanity of the baby. If the mothers can somehow distance themselves from the fact that what they carry in their womb is indeed their son or their daughter, they can more easily follow through with the terrible act of a mother killing her own child.

My boy.

Those two words told me all I needed to know about the young mother who had wanted to abort just a short time ago. Her heart had transformed. She had fallen in love. She had acknowledged the unmistakable fact that the child she carried was her son, a living, human being of sacred, inestimable value.

My boy. 

After leaving the abortion center sidewalks Friday, I hurried to the river. My kayak was already in my car. (It always is. You never know when you may drive by an irresistible body of water.) I arrived later to the river than I'd hoped as two other counselors and I waited hopefully for a conflicted mom to leave the abortion center. We waited a long time to a grievous conclusion. She had aborted her child.

The river is always a solace, and a place of restoration for me. God's beautiful world always speaks to me of His love and provision. Yesterday was no different. I glided along, letting the silky breeze do its restorative work across the day's ups and downs when I heard a raucous squawking in the treetops.

A mother heron had just returned to the nest with a fish, and her two babies were screeching with greedy hunger. She stuffed their mouths as fast as she could. I watched, transfixed by the selfless love of the mother for her young.
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Isaiah 49:15

“Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

God's Perfect Provision -- A lesson for Pro Life Laborers


HOT day. Rough day to be on the sidewalk of the abortion center, speaking for the babies who can't speak for themselves. Right afterwards, I drove my dripping-with-sweat-self and my kayak to the river. I kayaked upstream, then hopped out in a shallow section and sat in the river. AHHHHH!

Shortly after that cool dunk in the river, I kayaked by a fisherman.
"Look out for the snakes!" he called.
"Oh? Have you seen many?" I asked.
"Just saw a water moccasin ten feet from here."
Gulp.

Life is fraught with danger. If I listened to all my realistic fears, I'd be afraid to get out of bed. I certainly wouldn't kayak or ever submerge any body part in the river. And I doubt I would go to the sidewalks of the abortion center on the edge of a sketchy neighborhood to speak to people who didn't want to be spoken to about the sanctity of life they carried in their wombs. But when I am out there, the thought that I might be in danger never crosses my mind. Perhaps I trust that God will protect me, or maybe I am just stupid. There is compelling evidence of both.

After waving goodbye to the fisherman, I got a text from a woman I work with who chose life and is due very soon to deliver her baby. There has been a heat wave in Charlotte...and this very pregnant mom's AC died. Could I possibly find her a window AC unit? She really needed two, but she would be grateful for one...or even just a fan.

Oh boy. This is where the rubber of faith meets the road. How was I going to round up one, let alone two window AC units? And how would I get them to her even if I found them? I am not physically able nor medically allowed to lift heavy objects. Truth be told, I had a moment of the very ungodly thought: who does she think I am? Santa Claus??? 

Then I remembered (with hanging head and red cheeks of shame) that when women choose life, we promise them we will help them as best we can, whatever the need.

I put down my paddle and texted a message to Facebook. Within a couple of hours, I had money donations offered,  and TWO AC units, as well as a wonderful person willing to drive two hours to pick up the donated unit and bring/install it for the mom. And someone else donated two fans. All I still need is someone to pick up the second unit today and bring it/install it in the window for the mom. I am waiting to see how that need is answered.

I LOVE LIFE. I LOVE GOD.

THIS is what the body of Christ is all about -- people pouring out love and help to a poor mom in need, providing abundantly above and beyond what is asked. 



I continued on in my kayak. I didn't see a single snake. I know they are out there but so is the beautiful world God created for me. That bigger call to my soul drives away the fear.
******

I have 20 new volunteers signed up to come to my training for new sidewalk counselors tomorrow. My new job as Cities4Life Volunteer Coordinator was to find/train new volunteers. I started a month ago and look at the bounty God has dropped in my lap! Originally, the Cites4Life director and I thought it would be good to plan small gatherings of new volunteers regularly in my home for the formal training. I never expected 20! I gathered all the chairs in my home and set them up. Exactly twenty fit comfortably in the room. God's provision is perfect.
**********
*********
I got a text last night from the poor hot mom in response to my text telling her two AC units were on the way to her today.
"Oh Lord, thanks so much!"
Yes Lord. Thank you.
*********

Philippians 4:19

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Happy Mother's Day

My mom is an inspiration. She is lovely, smart, gentle, quiet, athletic, and a devoted mother of five. I praise God that I am able to call her today and still hear her voice. It hasn't been an easy year for her, with a couple of nasty falls, hospital visits, broken hip and elbow, and recent move to Arizona.

When she was fifty, she ran a marathon. I had not trained, but ran with her since I was in my running duds anyway. I almost died and told her she must leave me at mile 23 because I was never going to get up again. She insisted she would not finish the race unless I finished with her.

Oh brother. Do I have to, Mom???

I dragged my sorry untrained carcass off the road and limped along till I was able to run again. We crossed the finish line together.

There is a more important finish line I hope we cross if not simultaneously, at least in the end, together. The Bible tells us that when we finish the race of our earthly walk with Jesus, we will receive the prize to which we have been running. Philippians 3: 13-14 encourages us with this admonition: Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 

My prayer for my mother, and all mothers, is having fought the noble and glorious fight of raising the next generation, now keep pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. It is not so important how we run that race, but how we finish.

Happy Mother's Day Mom. I love you!


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

Hebrews 12: 1-3

12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Thirsty Despair Quenched By Hopeful Truth

Photos by Daniel Parks, Cities4Life Director

We are at the sidewalks of the abortion center primarily to speak for the babies, but it is not the only reason we are there. We are open to all the ways God may desire to use us. Sometimes, it is in very unexpected ways.

I brought several bouquets of daisies, hoping to hand them out to women who chose life. I was able to hand a bouquet to one woman who chose life but none of the other women stopped for me. What was I going to do with all these flowers?  I had been so eager to hand them out to droves streaming from the abortion center with their babies still safe in their wombs.

A man stopped his car across the street from us, and told me he just wanted to tell us how glad he was that we were there. He was grateful we were standing up for the babies who could not stand up for themselves.
"Do you have a wife?" I asked.
"Yes," he said, after a pause. He was probably wondering if I was about to proposition him.
"Here. Give her these," I said, handing him a bouquet.
"Why thank you! I am on my way home to her now!"

Shortly after that, I noticed a woman pull her car over a short distance up the street from us. I walked over to the car. I asked if she was intending to go in the clinic, and she told me she was not, but that her daughter had informed her not long ago that she had aborted at that very clinic. Her daughter didn't tell her at the time of the abortion. In fact, a very long time passed before she revealed that sorrowful news.

The woman now began crying, telling me how deeply she mourned the death of the grandchild she never had a chance to meet. She has been coming to that street every day to park and pray since the terrible revelation. We talked for a long time. I believe God sent her to me to provide some sort of solace in this sad situation. When we finished talking, I handed her the bouquet of flowers.

"This is my memorial to your grandchild," I said. 

Everyone had left, and just Sherry and I remained on the sidewalk. By now, I clutched my last bouquet of daisies. It was well into the afternoon by this time. It was a good day, with two women choosing life. Sherry called out to the group of pro-choice escorts who often taunt and laugh at us. One young man with them was initially furious with us, screaming at us, telling us we were hypocrites and judgmental. He seemed ready to attack us. However, when he calmed down, Sherry was able to discover he was a single dad with sole custody of young kids. He was furious about all the talk about mothers...what about the dads??

I held up a bouquet.
"Are any of your kids girls?" I asked.
He nodded.
"Would you like to bring them some flowers?"
He came over, and gratefully took the flowers. Bit by bit, he softened and shared his story with us. he had endured a sad and difficult life. We shared the love of Jesus with him, and explained the truth of the Gospel. He knew Jesus, but thought he had to earn his way to heaven. I think he was relieved to learn that the Bible says we cannot earn our way to heaven. Only by faith and proclaiming Jesus is Lord, and believing He rose from the dead can we be saved. We talked a long time with him, and prayed with him when we finished. We noticed that another man sitting in a truck waiting for his girlfriend to abort was leaning out of his car window, intently listening the whole time.

Two birds for one hope-laced stone of truth!

As we said goodbye, the young man told us he wanted to return another day, just to talk with us some more.

I dumped the water out of my empty vase and watched it soak into the parched cracked dirt of the abortion center lawn. Petals drifted onto the sidewalk. You just never know what thirsty lives you might pour living water into if you stand on the spot God has asked you to occupy for Him...or what hopeful beauty might rise from despair.


****************
I will be conducting a training session this Thursday, May 18, 6-7:30 PM. If interested in joining us on weekday mornings bringing truth, hope, and light to a very dark place, please email me at vkaseorg@cities4life.com
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Jonah 2

[a]From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. He said:
“In my distress I called to the Lord,
    and he answered me.
From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help,
    and you listened to my cry.
You hurled me into the depths,
    into the very heart of the seas,
    and the currents swirled about me;
all your waves and breakers
    swept over me.
I said, ‘I have been banished
    from your sight;
yet I will look again
    toward your holy temple.’
The engulfing waters threatened me,[b]
    the deep surrounded me;
    seaweed was wrapped around my head.
To the roots of the mountains I sank down;
    the earth beneath barred me in forever.
But you, Lord my God,
    brought my life up from the pit.
“When my life was ebbing away,
    I remembered you, Lord,
and my prayer rose to you,
    to your holy temple.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Cognitive Dissonance and Judging Rightly

ZERO percent chance of rain the weather.com forecast said. As I started off on my bike, I looked at the grey sky and thought the forecast might be a tad optimistic. I had even checked the hourly forecast and there was ZERO percent chance of rain all day long. No way was it going to rain. But those clouds sure looked ominous...and there was a quiet, heavy feel to the air...like right before it rains.

I had conflicting information- the info from the so-called experts versus what my senses and experience clearly discerned. This set up a tension inside me. Who is right? My gut...or the experts who study this day in and day out?

I should have trusted my gut.

It started raining within five minutes of me pedaling merrily along. It was warm out, and I had no place I had to be so I decided to keep riding. It never rained hard, but it sprinkled the entire bike ride. Oh well. That's what I get for trusting in weather forecasts.

That morning before my bike ride, I had listened to a broadcast by Albert Mohler. If you have never listened to him, I highly recommend you do. He interprets current events from a Christian world view.  Yesterday, he did a segment on cognitive dissonance. It was a piece about a woman with Cerebral Palsy who became a mother against the advice of all the experts. She was aghast by stories of other moms who had aborted children not only with a disability like her own, but for babies with an extra finger, or other minor issues. She clearly believed this was wrong. However, at the end of an article she wrote, she described herself as pro-choice. She said this created a tension for her because someone like she herself would have likely been aborted in the current climate of  "choice" for so many reasons, including gender of the baby.

Mohler made a statement that I said simultaneously with him out loud, having both of us arrived at the same conclusion. We Christians are not to just live with the tension of cognitive dissonance. We are to use scriptural guidance to RESOLVE it. This is what the woman with Cerebral Palsy did not do. She recognized the tension, but did not come to a conclusion of moral, or better, spiritual guidance consistent with what she knew in her soul to be true.

In other words, the woman with Cerebral Palsy who celebrates life and is very glad her mother did not abort her needed to examine her beliefs and then not be afraid to state that taking the life of a child because she or anyone else deems it unworthy is fundamentally wrong. It is what she believed, but she couldn't bring herself to admit it, or state that truth as a beacon to others.

We are so afraid of being called judgmental that we cower from stating obvious truths that might offend some. Babies in the womb should not be killed. The womb was not designed as a place of death but perfectly engineered as a place of ultimate protection. We ARE to judge -- but to judge righteously and with discernment and wisdom.

John 7:24  "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

Zechariah 8:16 'These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.

Luke 12:57 "And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right?

Back to my bikeride. I was right in my immediate judgment about the sky looking like rain was imminent. I trusted the so-called experts and got wet. That's ok. The rain on the hot day felt good. But other examples of cognitive dissonance, like whether a child in the womb should be killed because of an extra finger, or being the wrong sex, or having a physical issue is a much more serious matter to resolve.

If you need some help, here is what God says:

Psalm 127:3-5 

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Psalm 139:13-16

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.

All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.

Matthew 18:1-3 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers.