Sunday, December 16, 2012

Shine Bright!!

Now more than ever I hear the Lord say, “You are here to show the world My love…”  That is it.  It doesn’t matter what you get for Christmas, what you don’t get, if your house is decorated, if you win the best cookie award, or if you are sporting the newest look of the season…. It is just…. Love on the world!!! Shower the world with my love!!! Show love, compassion, empathy, encouragement, joy, give….. give…. Give of yourself, give of your time, give of your encouragement, give of your transparency,  give of your dedication, give of your belief in people…. It is through your love that people will see Jesus….
There were wonderful stories today out on North 1st Street where Jesus’ love was shown…
A Filipino man has come out to North 1st to get food and clothes since this past summer.  When Keith saw him the first time Keith said, “God is not mad at you.”  Now you need to know that Keith had never seen him before and has never since given that message to anyone out there.  It was a message specifically for this man.  Ever since that time, every time Keith sees him he always says, “God is not mad at you.”  Well fast forward to this week… The man is standing in line for clothes and Keith asks him what he needs followed by, “God is not mad at you.”  “No, not this time,” the man replies.   Keith responds, “No, He is never mad at you.”  The man just looked at Keith like, ‘Why do you keep saying that?’  Keith handed the man a pair of gloves, looked him square in the eyes, and said, “I love you.”  The man’s eyes filled with water as he gazed back with a questioning look.  Hopefully one day he will truly believe that “God is not mad at him.”
Another cool thing happened today.  We had some sleeping bags to hand out, not many, but some… Keith had one in his hand that he was about to give to a man who was sleeping down by the river.  Another man came up to Keith and well…. Long story short… ended up taking the sleeping bag leaving Keith standing there angry and feeling terrible for the man who was supposed to get the bag.  Keith asked one of the volunteers to check the car one more time to see if there were any,  even though he knew the last ones had been handed out.  But… never doubt God because Diane returned with one last sleeping bag that she was able to hand over to the desperate man who will sleep in it tonight as the snow comes down over head. 
OneOne particular homeless man who has come around since last winter didn’t follow through with his parole and ended up in prison.  He writes letters to Keith each week… The letters break my heart… his spelling and hand writing alone make me think of maybe a 3rd grader.  Very sad…. He has had a very terrible life filled with abuse, no parents around, drugs, etc.  but somewhere along he way he learned about Jesus and gave his heart to the Lord.  He writes about hope in Jesus and the things he is thankful for.  This man has himself been molested repeatedly, is a pedophile, and is locked up in jail, and yet he clings to the promises of Jesus and the hope of tomorrow.  Jesus has something for each one of us and no person is disqualified from being on God’s team unless they choose not to be.
Today I was talking to a woman who lives by the river.  She said, “I have a hard time with Jesus.  I have issues with men… and Jesus is a man.  How can I trust Him?”  We talked about how people in her life have hurt her badly and that God didn’t make those things happen, but how God has been with her the whole time.  God has never left her and never will even if people fail her.  She bowed her head with tears in her eyes…. She has to be so tough and mean so that people will leave her alone, but really her heart is so soft and injured and only wants to be loved, respected, and safe.  God is the only Christmas present that will fill her needs.

Jesus was born….He was crucified….He (past tense) rose from the dead…. All of these are past events except for this one…He currently sits at the right hand of God in Heaven and lives (present tense) in us through His Holy Spirit…..   The only way people will know that He is more than a story in history…. Is if we let Him live on through us… If we set ourselves aside and allow Him to work through us in our encounters with other people. 

I shared this with our volunteers today before we started serving, “The people out here need to be treated with Integrity, Respect, and Love.   Please let it show through you today!!  You may be the only Jesus they see- Please let your smile and your words reflect this.

This next week….let yourself be the “Big Screen HD TV” for God… Let others see God’s love, compassion, and joy projecting out of your very being…. Radiate God like the Bethlehem Star that shown so bright for the Shepherds.  It is a conscious choice every day…. Less of me…. More of Him!!!



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