Sunday, March 25, 2012

Rejoicing and Blossoming

God spoke to Jeremiah and spoke very encouraging words to him.  God said in Jeremiah 1:5 
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you:
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Then Jeremiah replied, “Ah, Lord God!          Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
Then Lord replied, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ For you shall go to all  whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.  Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you.  Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.”

     These words were specific to Jeremiah, but His words ring true to all of us now also. Luke 21:15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.   Sometimes I feel nervous when we are headed out to North First Street because I think, “How will I know what to say?  What if I don’t have the words?”  It brings great peace to know that the words come from the Lord and all we have to do is step out and open our mouths.  He gives us the right words for the person in front of us. 
     There is so much joy in serving others.  When we come back from serving on North 1st, we feel like we could do anything for the Lord.  God just gives so much back as you are giving.  You think that it is all about having the right thing to give, but the fact is that it is the act of meeting someone’s needs with the love of Jesus behind it that acts like a boomerang.  Remember the old saying, “Bounces off me and back on you?”  Well when you serve the Lord, you give the love of Jesus and He in turn fills you up to overflowing with His love.  Amazing!!!   Thank you Jesus!!!
     Isaiah 35:1-2 is so beautiful!! “The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them.  And the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose; It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice, Even with joy and singing.  The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, The excellence of Carmel and Sharon,  They shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God. 
     I just plug in North 1st Street here.  North 1st street shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.  It was a wilderness and a wasteland, but now it is blossoming abundantly and rejoicing!  The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, North 1st street shall see the glory of the Lord, The excellency of our God!!!!
     Praise God!  This week was beautiful.  We had new volunteers with us as well as our awesome hard core weekly devoted crew!  We needed the numbers today because there was a huge group of people that were served. In the end- 75 to 100 people, 150 hot dogs, bottled water, cookies/baked goods, snacks, wonderful “Don’s Donuts”, clothes, toilet paper…. Wonderful!! 
     There was an awesome joy that seemed to be prevalent amongst the crowd.  People had to wait in line for food but it went quickly and it gave us time to walk along and visit with them as they waited for food.  There is such joy in shaking someone’s hand, look at them straight in the eye, smile, ask their name, find out where they are staying…… I felt like today I could see the wilderness and wasteland of the old lot we use transformed into a family reunion of hugs, handshakes, smiles, thanksgiving, laughter, full stomachs, and needs met.  Praise God! 
     Isaiah goes on to say, “With everlasting joy on their heads, they shall obtain joy and gladness and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”  I honestly think that joy and gladness is showing up more and more and that sorrow and sighing is fleeing….. I think that with spring coming… that hearts are softening.  A trust has been established over the last 6 months and they know that we come every week.  We are not asking anything of them or judging them, just extending the love of Jesus.
     It felt very natural today to say, “Can I pray for you?”, then reach out and lay hands on them,  and pray.  A young girl and her boyfriend talked with me about the fact that the girl has missed her period for the past 3 months.  We talked about where she could get prenatal care and the importance of being followed by a physician for the health of the baby.  They were so receptive and they let me pray for them which was wonderful.  We were able to celebrate and be excited about their new baby growing in her tummy.  I prayed blessings upon the baby and the parents and then wrote down a list of things that they could use including things like: bras, under clothes, bigger shirts, stretchy pants etc.  God is so cool…. I felt honored to be able to celebrate with them and pray blessings with them. 
     Another young gal (15) who had recently had her baby, brought her little guy out to show us.  So again, we were able to celebrate a new life and pray over him.  She was afraid because CPS was going to be investigating her living situation to make sure it was safe for the baby.  We talked about how their job is to make sure that the baby is safe and that they want her to be able to keep it.  She just needs to listen to the recommendations that they give and follow through.  Again, we prayed for the baby, the mother, and the situation…. Doors are opening on North First St.  Halleluiah!!!!! 
      Easter is fast approaching and with it we feel led to have an Easter celebration with our friends on North First Street.  Keith would like to lead a small service and then share communion together with our homeless friends.  Please be in prayer for hearts to continue to open and for bondage to be broken!  We pray for love and freedom from oppression for all of North First Street as well as the whole city of Yakima!  In Jesus Holy Name!! Amen :0)

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