As we sat in front of the abortion clinic this Monday with 40 Days for Life, it rained and rained. Yet it didn’t seem to stop those going in and out of the abortion clinic. As we prayed under our tent we watched a pastor who faithfully drives an hour and fifteen minutes to be a witness for life each Monday and offers to talk to each one who walks into the clinic. There was no visible response to his kind words. I contemplated the mercy that each person is being offered and yet they continue on their way. I know not all of them are completely numb to the decision they are making. I realize fear is leading some of them; fear of losing their boyfriends, fear that their lives will be wrecked, fear about someone finding out the true story. I feel like some are confused and feel like this is the only solution they have. There are many factors that play into each decision to have an abortion.
I say all this to say what I am about to. When you pray for the ending of abortion, standing in front of the clinic there are times that you have to come to grips with the evil that is actually in front of you. There is an ongoing practice of absolute wickedness, innocent lives are being taken, babies are being murdered there. Oh, to say that makes me cringe at those who may take that as insensitive or condemning. Please hear me, I know God would meet any patient from the clinic, any staff worker, even the doctors with mercy and help if they chose to turn to Him in repentance. There is an opportunity for a transformed life, forgiveness, healing, and peace in Jesus. We stand in a spirit of mercy and compassion for all who are involved. And, we stand knowing we need His mercy and forgiveness for any sin in our own lives as well.
But there is a holocaust in our land and this is one of the death camps. There is a mass murder and this is one of the murder sites. There is a scheme of the enemy to kill the babies and it happens at the corner of State St. and Slaughter St. in Bristol, TN. Oh, it is like a ball of pain, grief, frustration, and anger that comes with knowing what is going on across the street from where we pray. It is a temptation to get bitter and angry in an unholy way. ABORTION IS WRONG: IT IS WRONG FOR THOSE WHO PERFORM THEM, FOR THOSE WHO ASSIST AND ENCOURGE ABORTION, AND FOR THOSE WHO GET THEM.
Indeed, there is a call to the church in the Tri-Cities to do something about it. We pray, we fast, we hold signs, we offer sidewalk counseling, we talk about it, and we respond. We cannot be as ostriches who stick their heads in the sand over this issue. Where is the church who will labor to see this clinic close, to see the murder stop? To see those who have had abortions receive healing and wholeness? To see women in crisis receive help and hope? It’s now time to respond to God. If not now, when?
I want to offer a measure of comfort to those who seek justice in the face of wickedness, who pray for the ending of abortion. Psalm 37 says
Vs 1Do not fret because of evildoers,
Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity.
2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass,
And wither as the green herb……
Vs 7Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret—it only causes harm.
9 For evildoers shall be cut off;
But those who wait on the Lord,
They shall inherit the earth.
10 For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more;
Indeed, you will look carefully for his place,
But it shall be no more….
Wait on the Lord,
And keep His way,
And He shall exalt you to inherit the land;
When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.
35 I have seen the wicked in great power,
And spreading himself like a native green tree.
36 Yet he passed away,[a] and behold, he was no more;
Indeed I sought him, but he could not be found.
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
He is their strength in the time of trouble.
40 And the Lord shall help them and deliver them;
He shall deliver them from the wicked,
And save them,
Because they trust in Him.
We put our trust in the Lord to ultimately deal with the wickedness we witness, especially when the current laws and culture give allowances for it. We trust He will deal with those who do evil and those who practice abortion. The wickedness will be judged and those who have been involved in it will face His judgment, and we look to Jesus for His mercy towards them. He stands as the one who took on their punishment. Rest in Him as you labor against abortion. Trust in Him as you stand for LIFE.
We continue to stand for the rest of the 40 Days for Life looking to the One who actually created babies in the womb and appeal to Him to bring justice for them. He will sooner or later. We pray sooner…. Let abortion end in the Tri-Cities and all across our nation.
We are well into the fall campaign of 40 days for Life, praying for the ending of abortion. Locally, we gather on State St. in Bristol, TN across from the abortion clinic and pray. I will be honest. This time of prayer can be difficult to endure. Sometimes, the thoughts of “When is this ever going to be over?” fill your mind. This is not necessarily referring to the campaign but the practice of abortion that is an atrocity in our region and throughout the nation. I mean, 8 years of praying regularly and the clinic is still open. We still see women going in the clinic for that purpose. It is heartbreaking but more than that, it is heart sickening sometimes.
Yet I can step back and breathe and thank the Lord for those who have been raised up who ask to talk to those women going in and out of the clinic and offer another solution and hope. They are voices for LIFE that have chosen to continue on past 40 Days for Life and they stand all year to serve the Lord in front of that clinic. When we started praying 8 years ago in Bristol, there were few to pray and hardly anyone offering help directly in front of the clinic. I thank God for the consistent voices crying out. I thank God for the constant witness of life and truth. I thank Him for the other LIFE victories in our nation and region.
Sometimes in the prayer time we hold signs by the road and pray. Signs saying, “Pray for the Ending of Abortion”, “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood”, “Women Regret Abortions”, “Choose Life”” etc. Passersby in cars have all sorts of reactions. We have profanity yelled at us, people who throw trash, and many not so nice gestures. We also have many honks and waves. We also get a lot of thumbs up. One particular day earlier in the campaign, I was particularly burdened by both the issue for life and areas of personal struggle. A car passed by and both in the front seat gave me a thumb’s down. It was more than just general discouragement. I was weighed down with “Will this ever change?” As I talked to the Lord about it. I asked Him to give me 2 thumbs up to encourage my heart. The rest of the morning passed and I never saw it. I encouraged myself in the Lord and kept going.
One day last week I was pained by what was going on in the clinic. It’s easy for me to get upset by what we witness when we are down there. We chose to stand with signs by the road. A car honked and I looked up to see 2 thumbs up from the two in the front seat. I was surprised. I forgot about what I asked of the Lord. Tears started streaming down my face as He ministered to me. Through that little incident, I was encouraged that He is smiling over me. It was an affirmation and approval of my choice to stand for LIFE, that I was doing the right thing and that He was proud of me, an affirmation of the sacrifices I have made to stand for the unborn. Even an affirmation of my choice to respond to His calling on my life overall. He used 2 thumbs up to encourage me. And I am thankful for that. God is like that. He wants to encourage us in the assignments He gives us. He never leaves us alone.
So, I say to all those who stand up for LIFE, for those who are part of 40 Days in various cities across America and the world, “2 THUMBS UP” and I remind you of an instruction from the Scripture (that is actually on one of the signs we hold at 40 Days for Life)
“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die.” Proverbs 31:8
It is interesting how the Spirit leads. We had arranged for Ian Wilson to lead worship at this meeting, but earlier in the week, I (Julie) had felt like I should prepare to lead worship just in case. And, that day we discovered that Ian was feeling under the weather and so I stepped in to lead with a thankful heart that the Lord had prepared me ahead of time! I felt that there was such grace to enter in and to go before the throne boldly together.
Matthew shared briefly about being fascinated by the Lord and beholding him. This has been our inspiration in digging deeper into some Biblical topics that will help us fix our hearts on Jesus and behold Him.
I shared from Revelation 4 and 5. I gave a brief overview of these chapters looking at the context of them within the full picture of the book of Revelation. John is in prison on an island and he has had an encounter with Jesus and then he is instructed to write messages to seven churches. Then as chapter 4 opens, he sees an open door into the heavens and he hears a voice (it is Jesus) inviting him up to "see what must take place after this." But, before John is given the revelation of the things that will come to fulfill all of history, he sees a throne.
This is truly the kindness of the Lord that He invites us to see everything from the vantage point of His throne. Once we behold the throne and really study this incredible scene, we have greater grace to see BIG things as BIG and small things as SMALL.
So, why bother to study this rather fantastical scene in a rather fantastical book? Because the Scripture makes it clear that we are destined for that place! Colossians 3:1-4 says that we are seated with Christ in heavenly places, and exhorts us to fix our minds and hearts on those heavenly places.
None of the details of that scene have changed since John caught a glimpse of it! It is so worth our time to look at the details and the big picture of it in order to understand that this is where our hearts are called to be even now, but also this will be a beautiful familiar place to us for all of eternity.
Jesus, in Matthew 24:6-8, commands us not to be alarmed in light of terrible things that will occur on earth. How are we not to be alarmed? Even today we see so many troubling things happening around us and so how can we avoid a response of fear? I would argue that fixing our gaze for significant amounts of time on the throne of God that is firmly fixed in the eternal places gives us confidence to stand firm in difficult times.
We will look again in more detail at these passages in our next Lampstand meeting!
We took time again to go before the throne, inviting the presence of the Lord to stir our hearts and seal His word in us.
Prayer for needs: We always take time to pray for personal needs, as we feel this is important that people can find encouragement in agreement. We also prayed for our national leaders to have wisdom as hurricanes were tearing through parts of the country.
What a sweet blessing these times of fellowship with the Lord are for us! Thank you to all who come and join us!
Matthew or Julie Wine