HE WILL CHANGE THE BAD…FOR YOUR GOOD!

This past week-end brought many opportunities to witness and share the Gospel.  I thought about writing of some of those experiences, but did not want to betray confidences; so I was unsure of what I should post today.  I pondered on this from the time I got up (5:15 a.m.) until this very minute (8:10 a.m.).  God whispered that I should go to my Promise Box…I obeyed, and drew two promises this morning.

“He that believeth on Him shall not be confounded.” -I Peter 2:6

The attached poem said this:

“The crowd of cares, the weightiest cross;

Seem trifles less than light,

Earth looks so little and so low,

When faith shines full and bright.” -Unknown

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The other verse…

“We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” -Romans 8:28

The prayer that followed that verse said this:

Dear Lord, as you give all on a day-to-day basis, help me to accept it in just that way…

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Sometimes, when God directs me to witness…I KNOW exactly what I should say.  However, at other times,  a conversation is broached, and I am unsure of how to approach the subject of the Gospel.  Yesterday was one of those times.  But God knows my heart, and the hearts of those I was in conversation with.  He knows who is walking in darkness…desperately searching for the Truth; so of course…He led the subject matter in a certain direction, and opened the door for me to witness.

As I shared past experiences, I was reminded of “WHY” God lets us go through some things,  that at the time, we may not understand the reasoning behind it.  But, we must always remember that God not only sees today…but tomorrow…and the next day…and every day after that!  He knows when the experience you are going through today, will be recounted at a later date and it will be used for His Honor and Glory!  And that is exactly what happened yesterday!

Always trust Him…even when your situation is rough…He will work it all out for your good AND for the good of others that hear your story!  God never orchestrates bad things in our lives…but He does work them all out for our good!

Those heart-breaking, unbearable situations that I had suffered through years ago, were used yesterday, to introduce Heaven, and the ease of death IF you KNOW Jesus as your personal Savior!

A seed was planted…that is our job as Christians.  It’s up to God to bring it to harvest!

Anita

WILL THE REAL PASTOR PLEASE STAND UP?

I found this post on Fat Beggars School of Prophets.  It was written seven days ago by Agent X.  This one will make you think!

Sometimes we believe that just because we have been in church our whole lives (because we were brought up in a Christian home), OR given our lives to Christ at an early age and tried to do His will, OR have a title such as Deacon, Elder, Assistant  Pastor, or even Pastor…does NOT mean we are sanctified (fit for use) in the eyes of Almighty God!  God looks at our hearts…He searches the depths within…sees the motives we have.  GOD doesn’t care what your title is!  If He did, he would have had Peter, whom He later built His Church upon, come to the open tomb and tell the message of His resurection instead of the known prostitue, Mary Magdalene!

Remember this...OUR ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS; and I will go on to say that OUR ACTIONS BEAR MORE WEIGHT WITH GOD THAN  OUR TITLES DO!  Keep that in mind as you read the following… Then ask yourself…where do you stand? -anita

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At 10 O’clock in the evening on a recent Tuesday night as a cool front rolled in, near a dumpster in an alley behind a church in the downtown district, a group of homeless people gathered behind the wind break of the back wall of the sanctuary.  One of them was a middle-aged woman whose only protection from the cold was a light jacket, under which she shivered as she huddled close to the wall of the church.  We’ll call her “Angel” so as to hide identities in an effort to protect the innocent and the guilty.

There were two ministers in that town, both of them praying for “Angel” at just that moment.  One of them was a fellow homeless man who got out of the hospital earlier that day.  The nurse who discharged him showed pity and sent him out with a blanket she secured from the linen closet.  At first, he thought about how he might trade the blanket for a pack of cigarettes.  But then he thought more of it as night fell.  This homeless man knew “Angel” would be cold, and he knew where she likely would claim a spot for the night – shelter behind a locked up church.  He would begin the search for her and take a lengthy path to find her if necessary.

The other minister was the pastor of the church behind which “Angel” lay shivering.  A man who from the time he was 14 years old, devoted himself to being a church leader.  It just so happened he was reading a copy of When Helping Hurts, which he piously kept by his night stand.  He had met “Angel” earlier that day, and she had made an impression on him.  He thought she reminded him of his own mother.  But as he prayed, he considered how that if he helped “Angel”, he would need to do so wisely, so as not to enable her broken lifestyle.  Thus he contented himself with the thought that he would allow her in to pray in the morning and get a cup of coffee then, but certainly would not open his family’s door to her and let her sleep in the guest room.  He slept very snug that night in his bed.

Meanwhile, the homeless man leaving the hospital walked two and a half miles in the blowing wind at 10 O’clock at night to find “Angel” and give her his blanket.  When he found her, she was so grateful for his kindness that she devoted herself to his friendship which would last into the Age to Come.

Now, I must ask:  Which minister was a deacon of the church?  Which minister was the pastor???

Agent X

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

DRIVE-BY CHRISTIANS

Here’s a really good one from T. F. Thompson at Hard Times Ministries.  Great analogy of today’s “Christians”, and those in the story of The Good Samaritan.  A lot of us reading this today, give homeless folks a little change from time to time…and maybe we even give them a meal; but do we give them the story of Salvation?  Do we urge them to come to Jesus?  HE, JESUS is the MOST important thing you will ever give to anyone-whatever circumstance they find themselves in!  This post will make you think! …. -anita

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Luke 10:29-37

 29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

In drive-byes, the resultant product is mayhem, suffering, death, revenge, grief and generally even more hostilities.

A major consequent of a Christian driving by the extremely poor and homeless is the same.  This is real, genuine suffering we are speaking about with the eventual death of the victim.  In driving by in our autos and boosted up with our Bluetooth, cell phones, and air conditioning, our experience in opulence does nothing for those who are in such desperate need.

For the woman we glimpse at shifting through the garbage cans:  that listless woman, that no-account is someone’s mother.  More than likely that useless bum, that man is probably a father and a military veteran.

And so then, what is it that I seek?  Do I ask you to give all these people a house, to put them into your homes? No, that is not my request.  My request is for the Christian to treat these people with compassion, with love and to stop:  to get to know them and assess their needs as our Lord, Jesus as instructed us to do.

A drive-by performed either by bullets or by neglect produces the same effect.  The only difference is that with neglect, death is longer and prolonged suffering.  I pray for the day when people fail to walk or ride by us wistfully, but instead stop and know who we are as brothers and as children of God—All of whom Christians claim that they are.

T. F. Thompson -Hard Times Ministries

FRIENDS…

When Job’s three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him.” -Job 2:11

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Last night, we were blessed to have a wonderful time of fellowship with two of our dear friends.  We enjoyed good food together.  We laughed.  We voiced concerns.  We admitted faults.  We reminisced times with other friends, sharing funny moments.  We spoke of angels.  We blessed God for His goodness…and when all was said and done, and the evening came to an end…the sweetness of our time together with them,  lingered on.

True friendship is like a healing balm!  Your faults are known, but you are loved anyway.  There is no judgement, only compassion…no shame, only comfort…no fault-finding, only forgiveness…no harsh words, only love.

This is the same kind of relationship God wants us to have with Him. When He saw us in our sin, He didn’t judge us…He had compassion.  The Bible I puts it this way:  ” But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” -Romans 5:8  When we confess our sin, there is no shame, only comfort…no fault-finding, only forgiveness…no reprimands, only LOVE!

I read a book, I believe it was by Randy Alcorn.  I can’t even remember the title of it, but it was about a persecuted Christian in China.  When the missionary came to this man’s house for dinner, he saw three places set at the table.  When they sat down to partake, it was only the Chinese man and him.  The other seat was empty.  The missionary asked where the person that was set at the HEAD of the table was.  The Chinese man replied, that seat if for my Lord Jesus.  I always set a place for Him…He’s invited to every meal!

We should invite Jesus to eat with us…to be with us all the time.  We should ask for His Presence… then we can voice our concerns to Him, admit our faults, ask Him to show us the mysteries in His Word, reminisce with Him regarding the good friends He’s given us, thank Him for His goodness to us.  And when the evening comes to an end, the sweetness of our time together with Him will linger on….  For, “…there is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” -Proverbs 18:24b

Anita

FAMILY MOVIE NIGHT AT THE SHACK…

My husband, my son Joe and I had such a wonderful family movie night yesterday as we watched “The Shack.”

I’ve  read the book several times, and watching the movie made it real!  It was a stark reminder to me of how we blame God for the bad things that happen to us, even though He has nothing to do with it at all!

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Here is an excerpt from the back of the book:

Mackenzie Allen Phillips’s youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness.  Four years later, in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment  he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare.  What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.”

“In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant THE SHACK wrestles with the timeless question: where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?  The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him.  You’ll want everyone you know to read this book!”

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If you haven’t read the book, or watched the movie, I suggest you do both.  It is based on a true story.  The Missy Project has even been started to make this book available to others at a wider level.

Here is what some have to say about the book:

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“Not only is this a compelling and provocative story, … it offers one of the most poignant views of God and how he relates to humanity….  It will not only encourage those who already know him but also engage those who have not yet recognized his work in their lives…”  Here is a link:  http://www.theshackbook.com.

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The movie is out on Apple, as well as Amazon I believe.  It may be at Red Box as well.  Believe me when I say, “It is worth a look!”

Here is the first paragraph from the Foreword…

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 “Who wouldn’t be skeptical when a man claims to have spent an entire weekend with God, in a shack no less?  And this was the shack.”

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Check it out!  You won’t be disappointed!

Anita

MOM (& HOME AND HOMELESS MOMS)

I know Mother’s Day has passed…but this is so good, we all need to read it!  Agent X seems to get to the “heart” of the matter, regarding many things.  This post covers mothers and their value to society.  Please read this with an open heart, and if your children are grown, or if you still have a house full… you can still be a mother to someone in need.  Kind words, thoughtful actions, a listening ear can be lifesavers to those who have lost their guide, their rock, their mom. -anita

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When Mom dies, HOME just ain’t the same.  Surely, when God created the world he did not intend for mom’s to die.  Surely the death of Mom is one of the saddest parts about sin and death coming into the good creation God made.

We just buried my last grandmother (my last grandparent) this past week.  She suffered Alzheimer’s for the last 10 years.  She has been gone a long, long time already.  And when I went to the service, I saw kin folk who are now spread out all over the nation – family I have not laid eyes on in many years.  Some were kids when last I saw them, now they have kids.  Some were young when last I saw them, they all look much older now.

HOME felt like it forgot me.

When I grew up, my parents were Neil Diamond fans, and I remembered the line from his song: I Am… I Said.

Well, I’m New York City born and raised

But nowadays, I’m lost between two shores

L.A.’s fine, but it ain’t home —New York’s home

but it ain’t mine no more…

Diamond did not link his homelessness to his mother, or lack thereof, but I see a strong coincidence there all the same.  And for me, thinking of his music always recalls my mom to my mind, because she loved it so much – may she rest in peace.

My wife is a mother through and through.  It is because of her Mother’s Heart that our homeless ministry features foster children.  She makes a HOME, and a HOME should be filled with children, so ours is.  I tell people that I married the little old lady who lived in a shoe, she had so many children, she didn’t know what to do….

Yeah, when God created the Mother’s Heart, he created the very lynchpin of HOME.  We must all honor our Mother’s Hearts.  Don’t break it, cherish it.  Don’t do like I have done and “leave home”; call, write, visit, and even stay as much as possible.  Our society has turned its back on that and all of us kids “left home” for college, for the military, or to become famous.  We just assumed, I think, that Mom would always be there, though we killed her.

And when you see homeless people on the streets, consider them motherless.  A good Mom in their life would likely go a loooooooooong way toward helping them.  (No one ever says that; I don’t know why.)  Our streets are filling up more and more with the refuse of humanity, but those are human souls whose compasses naturally point toward Mom.  Why would we not take advantage of that as our whole society comes under this threat?  Even Jesus displays a Mother’s Heart when he laments over Jerusalem and says, ““O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matt. 23:37).  Hens do that for their chicks while the barnyard burns down around them.  When the smoke clears, the farmer finds his hen cooked to a crisp, but the chicks survive under this mother’s love.

But then there are those lost mothers out there too.  They need loads of support.  Let’s face it; a mother needs a mother.  Without one, she does not know her way.  When your mother is on drugs, you are lost.  (And there is a LOT of that going around these days!)  But if ever there was a place for us to focus our thoughts, prayers, and ministry, surely it would be to rehabilitate those hurting mothers.  Even that kind, when she thinks of her children, wishes she was true to them and feels deep regret.  And no matter how awful a mother might be, it is her that dying soldier on the battlefield cries for in his last moments.

The compass points here.

I recall the first year they opened Tent City in Lubbock.  On Mother’s Day I took a basket full of flowers out there with a note on the side directing the Mothers to take one.  I was stunned at how fast that basket emptied out.

Yeah, we need to tend to the Mother’s Heart.  It is the lynchpin God made to hold HOME together.

Agent X

Fat Beggars School of Prophets

THE MULE AND THE CARROT…

Let me start off by saying, I’ve wrestled with this since Friday afternoon.  God put it on my heart (literally!) to write about this, but I gave Him excuses of having to post “Mother’s Day” things.  I went on to tell Him that this feeling…this anger, was MY problem, and I need not burden blog readers with it.  But He would not let it go.

Let me explain…

My dear husband used one of his vacation days on Friday so that we could work on our son’s adoption.  In my mind, it was all going to be settled.  I had everything worked out. We would get my background check, turn it in to CBI (Colorado Bureau of Investigation), obtain the needed forms from the court-house, fill them out, file them, and set a court date to finally finish this nine-year journey.

I KNEW it was all going to work out for us in that manner, because…after all- we had been praying, and trusting God to work a miracle!

I can’t begin to tell you how very disappointed I was early on in the day!  I flew through my background check without any obstacles.  However, when we left there, everything fell apart!  We drove from Commerce City to the CBI office on 6th and Kipling in Lakewood, walked in to file that report and was told that we needed to file it with the FBI…and that could take them up to 3 months to finish it!  In less than one minute, my plans came crashing down!  MY PLANS just got put on hold!  There was no way to move forward with the rest of the process until the first piece-the background check, was completed.  Hence, the title to this post came about.

I told my husband when we got in the car to leave…”Do you ever feel like the mule with the carrot dangling right in front of your nose…so close…but you can never seem to taste it?

“Why is this happening?

“We have run into obstacles at every turn for the last nine years!

“We are trying to do what God says to do in His Word, to take care of widows and orphans; we pray fervently to Him regarding this matter…and we do our best to trust Him; and His Word says, “O taste and see that the Lord, is good!” (Psalm 34:8) …but we can never seem to taste that bit of reality…that carrot that has dangled in front of our noses for the last nine years!  I’m tired!  I’m REALLY tired!”

Then, to top it all off,  you have all of this  discouragement backed up by Unbelievers, be it family, friends, or outsiders, out right saying to you…or giving you that ‘look’ that says,  “Where is your God now?”  And, right or wrong, in that moment of your weakness…you must silently admit that you are wondering the same thing!

This morning, I looked around for something other than the above to write about…but to no avail.  So, I went to my Promise Box, thinking God would change His mind and give me something ‘sweet’ to latch on to.  Well…He did…but it was regarding the above situation!  When I read it, I said, “OK Lord!  I’ll write about it!”

Here is the Promise…

“…If GOD be for us, who can be against us?” -Romans 8:31

This little poem was attached as well…

“When we in darkness walk,

Nor feel the heavenly flame,

Then is the time to trust our God,

And rest upon His name!”  -Unknown

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So, I’ll keep my running shoes on, and like that stubborn mule, I’ll keep on moving forward…trusting…believing, that someday I will taste that carrot…  or like it says in Hebrews 12: “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith…

Anita

 

NOT BARREN YEARS

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted this poem before, but since tomorrow is Mother’s Day, I thought it would be a good reminder to all of us moms out there who have children that have left the Truths we taught them, and gone their own way, following the world and it’s teachings.

This poem really resonates with me.  Sometimes we think we’ve failed as moms…but then, out of nowhere, your ear catches a phrase…maybe just a word, and you KNOW  in your heart, that God is still at work in your child!  You hear them say something about Him that they learned from you long ago; It brings such joy!

God promised He would save you…and your household!  Don’t ever forget that!  I know the following verse to be true…” The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”  -2 Peter 3:9 (KJV) but, I remind the Lord almost daily of His promise to save my children and grandchildren; I think perhaps, I’m really reminding myself of His promise, for I have doubts and fear.  But then I remember that   He also said this concerning our children…” Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6 KJV

Hang on to these promises as you read the following poem! -anita

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One day while bending low in deep contrition,

My heart seemed broken for the years gone by;

They seemed to me, but barren years, and wasted.

And then the Lord stooped down and heard my cry.

 

“Those years, those bygone years,” He gently told me

“They are not barren, though they seem to be;

For in those years you gently rocked a cradle,

And prayed that each new life belong to Me.

 

“And when those falt’ring feet began the journey

Along life’s rugged road, and times were hard;

With tender hands in yours, and yours in Mine, child,

You borrowed strength to lead them to their Lord.

 

“The first new word you taught them lisp was ‘Jesus,’

And they have found salvation in that Name;

And though the years will bring both joys and sorrows,

Because you prayed, they’ll never be the same.

 

“Some day before the throne you’ll stand in glory

And hear from Me these words of comfort clear:

‘Those years of motherhood, they were not wasted,

For lo, dear one, your children are all here.’ ”  -Olga J. Weiss

BEATITUDES FOR HOMEMAKERS…

The following is from my Grandmother’s cookbook. Enjoy! -anita

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.  Blessed is she whose daily tasks are of love; for her willing hands and happy heart transform duty into joyous service to all her family and God.

.  Blessed is she who opens the door to welcome both stranger and well-loved friend; for gracious hospitality is a test of brotherly love.

.  Blessed is she who mends stockings and toys and broken hearts; for her understanding is a balm to her husband and children.

.  Blessed is she who scours and scrubs; for well she knows that cleanliness is one expression of godliness.

.  Blessed is she whom children love; for the love of a child is of greater value than fortune or fame.

.  Blessed is she who sings at her work; for music lightens the heaviest load and brightens the dullest chore.

.  Blessed is she who dusts away doubt and fear and sweeps out the cobwebs of confusion, for her faith will triumph over all adversity.

.  Blessed is she who serves laughter and smiles with every meal; for her cheerfulness is an aid to mental and physical digestion.

.  Blessed is she who introduces Jesus Christ to her children; for godly sons and daughters shall be her reward.

.  Blessed is she who preserves the sacredness of the Christian home; for hers is a divine trust that crowns her with dignity.

-Unknown

MOTHER’S INFLUENCE

We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the LORD, about his power and his mighty wonders. -Psalm 78:4

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The following poem is from my Grandmother’s cookbook.  She was a very Godly woman, and followed the Mennonite way.  Hope you enjoy this! -anita

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I took a piece of plastic clay

And idly fashioned it one day.

And as my fingers pressed it still,

It moved and yielded at my will.

 

I came again when days were past,

The bit of clay was hard at last;

The form I gave it, still it bore,

But I could change that form no more.

 

I took a piece of living clay,

And gently formed it day by day,

And molded with my power and art,

A young child’s soft and yielding heart.

 

I came again when days were gone,

It was a man I looked upon,

He still that early impress bore

And I could change it nevermore.

-Unknown