WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES THIS BLOG MAKE?

I read the following early this morning, and decided to share it with our readers.  I must admit…I often wonder the same thing about our blog.

ARE we making a difference…making an impact on the Kingdom of God? Are folks coming to KNOW Jesus in a personal way?  Are those in bondage being set free from their chains and shackles by the words that are put forth in our blog?  I certainly hope so!  If we are making a difference in your life-let us know…encourage us to continue to proclaim the TRUTH…because the TRUTH will set men free!   Thanks X for once again causing us to look a “little deeper.” -anita

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What DIFFERENCE Does This Blog Make?

I have an ongoing conversation with 2 (sometimes more) blog readers and a fellow minister in the field.  The conversation varies a bit in depth and content with each, but I am talking specifically about a conversation in which Jesus vis-à-vis the homeless and the church is the topic.  In these few individuals, I get a fair bit of regular feedback (making it a conversation).  Of all the others who stop by here to look (whether regularly, once in a while, or just one time), I get very little feedback – beyond a “like”.  Sometimes… but usually not much.

One of my blog readers and I speak frequently about whether we are making a difference in the world with our blogs.  It FEELS like we have joined a vanity club where we basically “like” each other’s stuff, and where that is about the extent of our “difference” in the world.  This is ironic for a blog that purposefully stinks (see this post for more on that https://fatbeggars.wordpress.com/2017/01/17/if-my-blog-stinks/comment-page-1/).

“Like”…. What does it mean?

Probably it means someone likes your post.  But that is a bit broad.  It almost certainly (though possibly not) means that person actually read your post.  There was something favorable about it, but that really could be as little as stroking your ego in hopes that you will come stroke mine.  It could mean the post deeply inspired a reader or brought profound conviction.  That, however, would suppose a bit more response in the comments or by email, so… it is not all that likely.

So, I wonder…

If you read here, have you found something challenging?  Convicting?  Inspirational?  Encouraging?

I would love to find a homeless person responding saying, “Your blog gives me hope, and makes me feel valued.  I bear the image of God, and there is no greater vocation.”  – Yeah.  I would love that!  I would love it if a reader responded saying, “I have read here a bit, and I see where our church could be doing so much more to serve Jesus among the homeless….”  – Yeah.  I would really love that!!!

But I think if those things were happening, I would get that feedback unsolicited.  And after two years without getting such feedback, I am wondering what difference this blog actually makes.  It is time, it seems, for such assessment.  I don’t write here just to write or collect “likes”.  I write here because I was encouraged to get on the grid with my message after years of refusing to get on the grid with it.  Those encouraging me to do that seemed very insightful and sure it would make a difference.  As far as getting on the grid is concerned, this is as far as I want to go seeking limelight.  I do not seek personal notoriety.  I seek that proverbial “difference”, and I am wondering if this is the way to go about it.

There are other avenues of service I am actively involved in and pursuing.  This is not the only one.  And for that matter, I could go back to printing my “Revolutionary Rag” for the streets.  I really think I was reaching Lubbock’s homeless by that method with far greater frequency and depth.  (Stories on that by request.)

So, I am open to the opinion(s) of others.  Does anyone care?  I am open to opinions that I might normally resist, but I want to hear them… if they are out there.

Any thoughts?

Agent X-Fat Beggars School of Prophets

IT’S THE WAITING…THAT’S THE HARD PART!

I found myself in earnest prayer this morning for one of my children.  I KNOW what God’s Word says…”Bring up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it…” –Proverbs 22:6; but when you’re going through it…watching them struggle and make huge mistakes that are irreversible, it’s difficult as a parent to wait until they come to their senses!

So, I went to my Promise Box for some comforting words from the Lord.  These promises in my box usually have one verse, and a little poem.  God must have known I needed a little more….  The promise I drew, has four verses on it!  Here is what it says…

Prayer:  “Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness!” -Psalm 4:1

Promise:  “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I WILL deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” -Psalm 50:15

Prayer:  “Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low.” -Psalm 142:6

Promise:  “The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” -Deut 33:27

These verses are an encouragement to us all.  If we have a need or request, these verses assure us that God will hear our cry, and not only be our refuge, but WILL deliver us and our children!

Thank you Lord for being such a GOOD, GOOD FATHER!

Anita

 

THEY DESERVE IT!

I just want to take this opportunity to say “Thank you!” to my dear husband!  He works so hard everyday to provide for us, and I realized I should say thank you to him more often!

Just like today; it is Saturday…his real only day off…and he is out working a gig in the mountains, trying to make more money for his family.  He had to get up early like every other day, get ready, load up the car with sound equipment, drive for 2 hours or more, unload, set up, monitor, tear down, load up, drive back….  Not much of a “day off!”

I guess my point is this…I’m retired.  Yes, my day is full of “home” work, yard work, supervising children, and the like…but I can take a break when I want or need to.  I know there are a lot of us stay at home moms, and yes, we have our hands full with the needs of our families and every day life; but let’s not forget our husbands and the sacrifices they make for us on a daily basis as well!

Let’s show our husbands a little extra love and gratitude.  After all…they deserve it!

anita

GODLY FATHERS…

Below are some verses telling men, how to become godly fathers.  These are a few of my favorites! Enjoy! -anita
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6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.
7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.
8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.
9 Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. –Deuteronomy 6:6-9
13 As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; –Psalm 103:13
…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” –Joshua 24:15b
Children are a heritage from the LORD, offspring a reward from him.
4 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth.
5 Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. -Psalm 127:3-5
6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. -Proverbs 22:6
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.
2“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—
3 “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. -Ephesians 6:1-4
 This last verse in Ephesians is one verse that we as parents (not only fathers), should remember to follow!  We sometimes provoke our children, and they show their anger.  We need to do all things in our discipline with LOVE!  
Read verse 4 again…  
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!
anita

High-G Foster Care

You all know I’m a huge fan of Fat Beggars School of Prophets blog site!  Since Father’s Day is coming up shortly…I thought the following would be a great one to share!

X…May God richly bless you and Mrs. X for your compassion!

Look at the verses below…this is what God Almighty has to say about this…I gave two different versions for you to consider.  Enjoy! -anita

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 Anyone who sets himself up as “religious” by talking a good game is self-deceived. This kind of religion is hot air and only hot air. Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight, and guard against corruption from the godless world.  -James 1:26-27 (The Message)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. -James 1:27 (NIV)

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When I was young, I used to test drive cars and trucks for General Motors on their Desert Proving Ground in Mesa, Arizona.  I was a durability driver.  My certification was good up to 100 mph, which we often did on the 5-mile circle track.  That was cool.  But the High-G certification required lots of specialized training.

The High-G training car was a 1969 Pontiac GTO with the strangest hose apparatus you ever saw mounted to the wheels on one side.  It was a very old, classic car even when I was there in the 1990s.  A legendary car that no one had ever wrecked in all those years of training – the techs bored out the engine block in numerous rebuilds and the management kept it in service because no one in training wanted to be the first to wreck it.  But the hard part of the High-G certification test was that at 100 mph on the circle track, the trainer could simulate a blow out in two wheels with a rapid inflate/deflate air tank mounted in the back seat!

Then for those drivers who passed the certification process, they would test cars over 100 mph, riding high in the “glory lane” on the high berm track in test cars outfitted with special safety gear and wigwag head lights so that other drivers would see them in the rear view mirror and drop down a lane to let them pass.  Any tests over 150 mph, and the traffic safety crew would shut down the track to all other traffic, bring out an ambulance on standby and then the track was limitless.

I have been thinking about that in recent days.  When you drive a car in excess of 100 mph, the telephone poles on the side of the road become a blur.  You must focus very intentionally on the road ahead while things in your peripheral vision go unattended.  And well, just last week, the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners just took on a third foster child.

Yeah, we have THREE NOW!

OMG!!!

And they are all in diapers!

I posted a year ago about washing dishes with one hand… (I was such a rookie!)  This is getting intense now.  Ms. Agent X and I went to a Bible study last weekend with some new friends and took the kids.  It lasted until nearly 9 pm on a Saturday night.  We were exhausted when our heads finally hit the pillow at about 11:30.  We woke up waaaaaay too late to make it to regular Sunday School the next morning, and found we could not get ready in time for worship at all – not even the late service.  But there was another home Bible study group Sunday night, so we went to that.  And again, we were wasted by bed time that night.

Then Ms. Agent X and I finally had a few minutes to debrief on our experiences a couple days later.  I told her I had managed to go out one day to lunch with family and only after we were all sitting down to eat, I realized I had not brushed my own teeth yet that morning!  She had realized that she wore a pair of pants to the Saturday night Bible study inside out with the tag hanging out and did not know it until we got home!  She caught herself throwing away the laundry and putting the diapers in the washing machine!

We are having a wild time here.  And I am just thinking that if any of my readers spend much time in prayer, I hope you will remember the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners next time you pray.  I hope God hears about us and gives us strength, and any friends we have that could help with that would be deeply appreciated.

Yeah, at these speeds, diapers whiz by like a blur!

Agent X-Fat Beggars School of Prophets

TOP 10 BIBLE VERSES ABOUT THE FATHER

I found the following this morning as I was looking for verses that talk about The Father, and His love for us.  It was on the Emmanuel Fellowship Church web site with the option to reblog.  Enjoy! -anita
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 The following is a compilation of my ten favorite verses about our Father in Heaven.  All but two of them are spoken directly by Jesus Himself.  May you experience His love as you read the truth about your Abba.

1 0. Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  –Matthew 6:26

9.  “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.  –Matthew 18:12-14

8.  But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.  –Luke 6:35-36

7.  “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.  –Luke 12:32

6.  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.”  –John 14:1-2

5.  “No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  — John 16:27

4.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.  — Romans 8:15-16

3.  “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”  — Matthew 7:9-11

2.  How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  –1 John 3:1

And what is the message all of these verses are hammering into our hearts?

  • You have a daddy who loves you.
  • He is strong enough to protect you.
  • He is engaged enough to teach you.
  • He is tender enough to hug you.
  • He is alive enough to play with you.

And the Number One verse regarding the love of the Father is this amazing truth–  no matter how far you have wondered, you can still come home!  Regarding the prodigal son, Jesus tells us:

1.  “When he came to his senses, he said…I will set out and go back to my father”  –Luke 15:17

Pastor Eric

A MIRACLE

I don’t believe I have posted the following before.  It is from one of my inherited books.

Since Sunday is Father’s Day…I wanted to give honor and praise to the best Father of all-God Almighty!  Thank you Father, for always being here for me…for being my Shepherd …for being my all! -anita

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My heart was just a wilderness,

Walled in with self and pride;

The brambles of deceit grew there,

And weeds on every side.

 

The gate was closed and tightly locked,

By Satan made secure;

For he was master of my heart,

His seeds he planted there.

 

And then came One who had a key,

The gate He opened wide;

The key was love; His fragrance filled

The garden like a tide.

 

For with His presence came the light,

And with His light came life;

A resurrection now began

To end despair and strife.

 

The walls of pride He now cast down,

He built there walls of grace;

Blossoms of hope spring all around

And flowers in every place.

 

And oh, this blessed Gardener,

How patiently He tills,

To make the soil more pliable,

To cure the many ills

 

He is the Water, Food, and Strength,

The Sun with its blest ray;

To this the garden of my heart

He is my all today.

Olga J. Weiss

IT IS FINISHED!

I was watching something on TV the other day and the following statement was made:
WHEN YOU LIVE IN THE PAST…IT COSTS YOU THE PRESENT!
The Word of God has a lot to say about forgetting the past.  If we can’t let go of the past, we forfeit the present, and there will be no future!
Let’s face it…we ALL have a past that, at least in part, we would like to forget.  However, those things are the very things that haunt us in our present.  We keep remembering what we used to be…or used to do…or used to think.  And, unfortunately, if we do manage to forget these things and move forward…there always seems to be someone in our past that is quick to remind us of our old ways…””Remember the good old days?!” Well, truth is…they really weren’t good…not until we came to KNOW Jesus and had our sins forgiven!
But Jesus said, and I’m paraphrasing…”Forget it!  It’s over!  It’s past!  I’ve covered it with My blood…it’s forgiven…IT IS FINISHED!
Below are just a few verses that talk about this very subject.
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. -Phillippians 3: 13-14
18 “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. -Isaiah 43: 18-19
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! -2 Corinthians 5:17
62 Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” -Luke 9:62 …(God’s way of saying, Don’t look back!  Move forward in ME!)
Yes.  We have all made terrible mistakes; but let’s not dwell on those things…rather, let’s move forward so it won’t cost us our present, nor forfeit our future!
Anita

NOT FUNGIBLE

The following is from a blogger -M. Dennis.  He visited our site, so naturally,  I wanted check his out.  I only read a few of his entries, but I was impressed with his insight on Scripture and perception of everyday life.  This is a good one!  Enjoy! -anita

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A friend of mine at work likes to use the word, “fungible”.  You can read a dictionary definition at the link below, but in general, my definition is “interchangeable”.  Two things are fungible if you can swap one out for the other, with no impact on the outcome.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fungible

If you’re really thirsty when you get home, a glass or a mug are fungible, since you can fill up either of them, take a drink, and quench your thirst.  If someone gives you an important phone number or address, a pencil or pen is fungible (as long as you have a piece of paper – otherwise, the pen will show up better when you write on your hand).

However, not everything is fungible.  Some Ford people won’t drive a Chevy (even if it’s a rental), and vice versa.  Either a cheeseburger or a salad can stave off hunger, but they’re not the same.  A hammer and a wrench are both classified as tools (and I’ve used both as a prybar, in a pinch), but sometimes you need one or the other.

In the same way, the body of Christ is made up of people who each have their own contributions:

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
1 Corinthians 12:4‭-‬7 NASB

http://bible.com/100/1co.12.4-7.NASB

While many of us may share the same spiritual gifts as others around us, we each have a part to play.  God has prepared good works for each of us:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10 NASB

http://bible.com/100/eph.2.10.NASB

As a result, I don’t think that the people who make up the body of Christ are fungible.  Even when there is overlap between our respective capabilities and ministries, I believe that each Christian has a contribution to make, based on his or her combination of gifts, talents, resources, experiences, current location, and opportunities.

When someone needs help – whether material, emotional, social, or otherwise – sometimes the right person to step in is you…or me.  Not every opportunity is meant for either of us, but certain opportunities are meant for exactly one of us.  Today, there is probably a need from someone else that you are meant to fill.

Side Thought

It’s at this point that some of us check out, or go into defensive mode (“shields up!”).  When a pastor or teacher talks about everyone having a role in God’s plan, we start to hear voices telling us that we don’t have anything to contribute.  It’s easy to think that we are somehow the exceptions – that we don’t have anything to offer to the body of Christ.

If we’re honest, though: When we think that – we’re wrong.  We may not know God’s plan for us, or what He has pre-qualified us to do, but if we believe we don’t have anything to offer (usually because we are comparing ourselves to someone else), we probably need to look a little closer – or just step out, do what we can, and trust God to make use of what He leads us to do.

Even if we serve in roles with many others (like welcoming visitors to church, or passing an offering basket), we bring something unique.  We may present a reliable face to those who come to our church.  We might be learning subtle cues to communicate with the other ushers when serving the congregation.  Or, we may be called to minister to others who serve alongside us.  Alternatively, our role may be outside of the church building (and, in fact, most Christians probably have at least part of their role, there).

We can spend too much time trying to “figure out” what God has in mind for us.  Or, we could just follow His leading, listen for His course corrections, and watch Him work.  Remember that no one else’s part in God’s plan is fungible with your own role, so be sure that you’re trying to make use of the opportunities to do exactly what you were made to do.

M. Dennis-Those Who Sin Differently

WHINE…WHINE…WHINE!

Let me just start out by saying, I’m a little more than perturbed, so…if you’re not up for a rant, you better stop reading now!

I’m sure some of you will be calling me a hypocrite and reminding me of my post yesterday about being merciful.  Well, let me tell you…I am being merciful!  If I felt the freedom to say what I would like to say to some folks, I’d let them have it with both barrels…right between the eyes!

I’m talking about folks that always have something to whine and complain about!   Everything offends them!  If you say something to them…they are hurt and mad.  If you don’t get involved, and don’t say anything to them…then they are angry about that as well.

These self-righteous, never-do-anything-wrong, perfect folks can’t see past the end of their noses!  They come to you with their problems, and want to be treated with kid-gloves.  They just want you to listen… not give advice or pass judgement.

However, they never ask how you are doing-because they think you have maturity in the Lord, therefore, in their eyes…you never have any problems!  Wrong!

But just let you not measure up to their standards…and you will get an ear-full of how awful you were to them, and how mistreated they are by your lack of concern for their dilemma.

They forget that you possibly have more commitments than they.  They go to a 9-5 Job, come home to an empty house and have no one to be responsible for but themselves.  They can sit down in their easy chair and fall asleep in front of the T.V.  They have no husband, no children, no one they home school.  They don’t have to cook or clean unless they feel like it.  They only have their own laundry to do…not mountains of it to face almost on a daily basis.  They can leave the dinner dishes in the sink for a week if they want…

But then there are some of us ladies out there that DO have husbands.  We DO have children, and we DO home school.  Our husbands like to find a clean house when they return from work, have dinner ready, laundry done, and kids acting with respect.

Now…I’m not saying that these men should expect anything less.  We as Christian women realize we are to model the Proverbs 31 women; and for most of us, that is acceptable. But it is far from easy!  Our day starts the moment our feet hit the floor, and doesn’t stop until we are in bed; and even then… we are “on call” should something occur in the middle of the night that needs our attention…like mopping up vomit from our sick children…

Some of these folks don’t have a clue as to what being exhausted is!  And…a lot of times, they much younger than I am!

At times, these “friends” or neighbors, come and tell you all their problems.   You tell them that you’ll be sure to pray for them…but, that doesn’t seem to be enough.  When you fail to go beyond your promise, they call you from your open patio door and climb down your throat because you didn’t go and check in on them, take them dinner, or some other such nonsense!  Am I mad right now?  You bet your boots I am!

I think this is so hard for me to swallow, because as a child, I had to deal with this attitude even then.  My dad was a preacher, and as a preacher’s kid, I was expected to be the example…the role model.  If the other church kids were into stuff they had no business being into, my brother and I got the blame for it…and half the time, we weren’t even in on it.

So now, here I am at 65, and short on patience for this kind of thinking.  Here’s the deal…Everyone is responsible to God for themselves.  When I tell folks I will pray for them…I DO!  If I would have said I would take a meal over,  or check in on them…I would have done that as well.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this…Don’t expect more from someone else unless you are willing to do the same for them!  Put yourself in someone else’s shoes.  Think about what they are responsible for.  And truly…that isn’t YOU.

If, on the other hand, you have promised to do something for someone, as in pray, take meals, visit, etc. then you should keep your word and fulfill it.

The “giver” should do so gladly…and the “receiver” should be grateful-however small the gift, it may be all that someone can give!

If this isn’t you…then ignore me.  But…if the shoe fits…

Anita