Sunday, April 28, 2013

Filling the Air With Christ' Praise!!!!

Philippians 3: 2 “The real believers are the ones the Spirit of God leads to work away at this ministry, filling the air with Christ’s praise as we do it. We couldn’t carry this off by our own efforts, and we know it—“

Dear God, I want to be one of those real believers.  I want to work on Your Ministry.  I want to fill the air with Your Praise!!!  I want to carry through with Your work, not my work.  Lord I want to be a real believer… one who truly is following Your will.  I know that we are all fallible and no one is perfect, but I want to keep improving in hearing and obeying Your voice!! 

To God be the Glory for the great things He has done!!! I want my praise to God to fill the atmosphere!!!!

The sun shone brilliantly today on North First St.  The line was long and people were hungry, but always so grateful and kind.  Today the staff from Chesterley Meadows Assisted Living Home prepared and donated bar-b-q beef sandwiches, macaroni salad, corn on the cob, and rice krispy treats!  It was wonderful!!! We appreciate it beyond words.  The Lord knew the load was getting too big for me to carry and He has blessed us with amazing people to walk with us and help pick up the load.  I am so grateful and appreciative.  We also have our regular volunteers who never cease to amaze me.  They faithfully bring down cookies, fruit, water, toilet paper, hot dishes….like big hot dishes that took a lot of time to make.  They donate their time, their money, and their love.  I am humbled by how the Lord hears the cry of our hearts…God wants His kids to keep asking…and so lovingly and creatively supplies our needs. 

One of my favorite parts today was when in all of the racing and running…I looked over and saw one of my beautiful friends sitting on the curb with her guitar in hand singing so beautifully to the Lord while another young woman sat next to her hungrily attacking her food with a ferocious appetite!  What a contrast…one woman addicted to meth….the other addicted to Jesus….both beautiful women living their lives.  The music continued throughout the day and it was such a joy!  It just set such a beautiful atmosphere! 

Another beautiful event of the day was when Keith brought out a power chair for one of North First St. friends who desperately needed one due to the pain that he suffers from.  The man was so so happy!  He sat down in it and drove all around with a huge smile on his face, but not before he and Keith prayed over it…. The guy was so appreciative! 

This last week the West Valley Interact Club got together and made over 800 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in about 1 ½ hours.  It was amazing and very fun….well those sandwiches blessed so many people today.  They were able to take them to eat later this evening or tomorrow.  Again…our friends on North First St. were so appreciative….so grateful!

A bike was donated a couple weeks ago which blessed the young man, Tad so much!  Today when Keith was visiting with him he shared with Keith that he went to massage school.  Keith shared with me that he thought….wow…..things happen….somewhere along the way in this young man’s life…. “stuff” happened….stuff that tripped him up and caused him to fall off the path that he was on…..  It is so easy to say that “those people” got themselves into the situations that they are in…you know…in that judgmental way that drips with the underlying statement….”They deserve what they get…and if they would only work harder…and try then they wouldn’t be there.”   Contrary to that thought process I would like to share another conversation that occurred today….One of the North First St. friends shared that he had a normal life until he got in a very bad car wreck that left him in the hospital for weeks.  When he got out and the circumstances/bills unraveled…he had lost everything “And here I am,” he said matter of factly.  “Stuff happens…” Sometimes really bad “stuff”.  I thank God that He cares about all of us….that He provides for all of us…to those who have bad things happen…..even those who have “really bad things happen.”

Julie is a woman who lives on the streets of Yakima and suffers from serious mental illness.  She is probably in her early 40’s and lives in and out of reality.  When I drove up today, I saw her sitting on the side of the lot with bright red blood on her upper lip and nose.  I am not sure what happened to her this week.  The last couple weeks she has come for food totally beat up…some of the homeless people try to watch out for her, but it is rough out there.  When I left today I saw Julie sitting crouched down next to a fence with a camouflaged hat pulled down over her eyes and a camouflaged coat zipped up to her chin.  She crouched down trying to dodge the wind next to a grocery cart that carried her belongings.  It left a sad sinking feeling in my heart as I saw her disappear in my rearview mirror.  How will she survive the week?  How does she survive every week?  I pray that the Lord will protect her and keep her safe…I pray that people will stop abusing her and that somehow she will get some help.  The problem is….when adults have mental health problems….you can’t force them to get help.  You can’t force them to take their medicine….you can’t force them to live indoors.  I can only pray for Julie….I pray that if you read this…you too will pray for Julie…and for all of the people on North First St. who struggle with the pains of life….whether we understand them or not. 

One of the little mama’s that has come through the line for the past 4 or so months is pregnant with twins.  On my way out today she stood talking to her husband rubbing her large full tummy.  I told her that I thought that she had her baby last week.  She smiled widely and replied, “No, but I am 2 centimeters dilated!”  My comment back was, “Wow!  If possible….ask for an epidural!!! Lol! I will be praying for you and for your babies!”  Please pray for Cynthia, her twins, and her family…..It is awesome to be part of this community! 

The last story that I want to share with you touched my heart a lot.  A young man (19ish…) has been staying with various people down on North First.  He has some special needs and gets an SSI check each month.  He trusted some people who ended up letting him stay with them until the rent was paid with his money and then they kicked him out.  I am sure that this is not a real surprise to the people on North First St. This kind of thing probably happens a lot…one person taking advantage of another.  What is surprising is how this young man chose to react to the situation.  He shared, “I forgive them because that is what God asks us to do.  I don’t want my life to have hatred.”  He continued, “I try to tell people down here that we need to live in forgiveness and love.  God will take care of the rest.”  This young man may not have the cognitive abilities as many…but he does have a beautiful heart…the childlike love for God that is referred to in the bible.  It is the kind of heart that we as adults could all benefit from.  I pray that the Lord will continue to protect him, provide for him, and keep him from people who take advantage of him. 

Lord, I want to sit at Your divine feet and breathe the air You breathe… I want to fill the air with Your praise!!! I want my heart to beat to the same beat as You my Lord.  I want to shout on the mountain tops that Your are My Master, My Savior, My Lord! Praise You God for I am fearfully and wonderfully made by You!!!  Thank You for the opportunity to serve You and love on Your people.







Sunday, April 21, 2013

Be Evidence!!

John 17: 20-23  “I’m praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,

And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me. 

Amen Amen!!!  I love that it says “give the world evidence that you’ve sent me and loved them in the same way that you’ve loved me.”  We each have the wonderful honor of living our lives as evidence to the world that God’s love is real…..Every single day we have people in our sphere of influence who are watching….they may be watching how much you eat…whether you drop salad on your lap….whether you have lettuce left in your teeth… or they may be watching how you choose to treat those around you.  How you handle forgiveness, betrayal, or changes in your daily routine that you did not expect…people are watching whether we like it or not.  I want to live my live as evidence that God’s love is real…. I want to be that “gal”….”Pick me…ooohohhhh…. Pick me God!!!”. 

God has shown me such amazing love through the years.  He continues to heal my hurts through His loving grace.  So much is healed inside of me when we serve the people on North First St.  It is no physical evidence that I can show to say that my insides are healing….but my life is the evidence that God is healing a lot of past hurts.  It doesn’t matter how good of a life you have here on earth….everyone has hurts of one kind or another.  God has a beautiful way of healing those places when you reach out in love towards others.

This weekend we went to a wedding in Seattle for my husband’s second cousin.  His first cousins were the grooms mom and aunts who Keith hadn’t seen for at least 25+ years.  It was so fun to get together with them and visit.  I had never met them before and I did not know Keith’s mother who passed away before I ever met Keith…but by hanging out with them for the while that we did….I could see the “evidence” of God’s love in their lives.  They had the sweet aroma of God’s grace, his gentleness, and his kindness.  We had a great time visiting, sharing, and laughing….The bride’s family was Korean and so the wedding honored the beauty of the Korean traditions…food….respect.  It was a great experience.  I loved the fact that even though we couldn’t speak Korean to the older family members….we were able to communicate our happiness, our blessings,  thanks, love, and joy.  We didn’t speak the same language, but we were still able to communicate our love to one another…..Both sides were Christians and Christ’s love was evident in our interactions.  (It is amazing how quickly you can clean up and tear down a wedding/reception area when you all work together!) lol.  

As we drove home from Seattle up over the pass, the satellite radio would come in and out a couple times when the reception with the satellite wasn’t just right.  I am not very knowledgeable about satellite technology so I thought that they could reach anywhere….any time.  But sometimes there are places where the message can be sent out from the satellite with no problem, but because the receiver is tucked away in the crevices of the mountain….the message can’t reach.  I thought about how God always sends messages to us throughout our day, but sometimes we are in such a place where there are too many trees or we are too close to the mountain side to receive the message….therefore it gets scrambled.  There is nothing wrong with the sender….or with the message…but something is getting in the way of receiving the message.  I think that “the something” is different for each person…but we all have something that gets in our way of hearing the love and guidance from the heavenly father at times. As long as we are here on earth…there will be mountains….Praise God that HE can move mountains!!!

I think on Sundays we are honored to be able to help unscramble the message for our North First St. friends by reaching out in love to them.  I don’t know what messages they receive throughout their week, but I do know that on Sundays from 2:00 until about 3:30… there is a lot of “evidence” that God the Father loves them and cares for their well being.  The love is true and sincere and seems to be so concentrated for that period of time.  My prayer is that God’s love is infused into them and that it follows them throughout their week. 

I feel like each week…the love that is shown continues to soften and nourish the soil of all of our hearts.  Seeds are planted every week…some may germinate longer than others….and as the seeds sprout and grow…they can’t help but turn towards the “son” to continue to get its food.  My heart continues to grow and reach upward towards Jesus Christ….the “son” of God!

Today was no different….there was so much joy today…I don’t know if it was because we were all so happy that the sun came out or because of all the people but …..there were a ton of people today!!! There had to be close to 300 and it isn’t even the end of the month.  It was so fun watching the food multiply….yes I am serious…..we prayed that there would be enough and when we thought we were running out…someone found two more pans of mac-n-cheese with ham as well as more beans….God knows what we need and how much we need.  He promises to take care of His people and He does! 

One of the little mamas who has been coming down for months had her baby last Thursday and she brought him to show us.  He was so tiny and cute!  I love being “evidence” of God’s love!  It is so fun!  The mom’s sister is in the hospital today having twins….it will be a regular nursery out there! Lol  J  I got to pray with a different pregnant girl today who is having a baby in June.  She needs infant boy clothes and maternity clothes, so I am standing on God’s word that He provides and I know that He will bring more “evidence” to this girl that He is real, that He hears her needs, and that His love is real. 
As we were pulling out of the lot today "Cheeta"  ( a very cheery 40 something year old man) asked Keith for a ride.  Keith said, "You know that I don't give rides, but do you stuff for laundry??"  This question caught Cheeta off guard and he said "How do you know?" and Keith explained how he just listens to the Holy Spirit...Cheeta said, "You hear from the Holy Spirit??"  Keith explained how he doesn't hear an audible voice, but he gets a nudging in his spirit and knows it is the Holy Spirit.  Cheeta replied, "I have only heard the Holy Spirit once and I want to hear from him more!!!"  What a great conversation to have!!! That is a beautiful thing to want more of!! I pray that Cheeta hears much more of the Holy Spirit!!  I love walking in the evidence of Jesus' love!!!

Thank You Jesus for showing me every day that Your love is real and that our lives can be evidence to others that God’s love for them is real too.  It is an honor and a joy!  In Jesus Holy Name….Amen  :0)



Sunday, April 7, 2013

Live By Faith....

Galatians 2:20  "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

I have been reborn...I have taken Jesus into my heart...been baptized...buried in the water and risen out of the water... a new man (woman) in Christ Jesus...I live by faith....sometimes....and sometimes not....

See so many ways I walk by faith...North First St. is a great example of me walking by faith.  Every week in faith... we go down to North First without knowing if we will have enough volunteers or enough food...and for the last 67 weeks, we have had enough food, clothes, and volunteers.  We have had the blankets when we needed them and a tent or two right at the right time.  We have seen people come and people go...knowing that the Lord is working at all levels through people's lives.

So where is the problem???...Tomorrow we head back to work after a wonderful Spring Break. It has been so nice to not be under the stress of a normal work week. So like all nights before we go back, I feel nervous and anxious because I don't know if I can keep up with the schedule that is needed to do the job well.  Anyone who has a job that is too crammed and over scheduled to do it well can probably relate.  What I do know is that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.....and his promises never change.  God promises to never leave us or forsake us.... He gives us the strength to get through the things we need to get through...and He gives us wisdom...So this time I am going to try and approach it differently.  I am going to pray for wisdom to know how to balance my stress better during the work week and lean on God a little more and myself a little less.  It is arrogant of me to carry things myself and not let my faith and relationship with God guide me.

This week Arthur- one of our many friends on North First St. said it well.  He had asked for a trailer to hook on the back of his bike so we prayed that God would supply it.  In the back of my mind, I didn't think that we would get one (Oh ye of little faith). But despite my lack of faith... God brought us a bike trailer...I pulled into the driveway a couple days ago and there it was....I shared the story with Arthur this morning and in his half drunken state...he called me on it.  He said, "You say that your believe and you read your bible...but you are so surprised when He does."  "Jesus Christ is Lord!" he exclaimed as he turned to work his way down the rest of the food line.  Arthur was drunk...but he was also right.  I was in Awe of how Jesus provided...but I was also surprised.  My faith does have a long way to grow...but God never gives up on us.  Grow me dear Jesus....Give me ears to hear, eyes to see, and wisdom to walk the walk that You have for me.

That is what happened to me during this past week on North First...but I would like to also share some other things that happened today on North First.  Today we had another volunteer come to help us.  He had a wonderful testimony of how he has spent the last 7 years in prison.  He did his time and received Christ during his term.  He now is out, has a job, and wants to give back to the community.  God does change people....He does give 2nd chances...3rd many chances as we need.   See He does not love us because of what we have or have not done...He loves us because He created us...He loves us as today as He ever will....It is up to us to accept that love and believe in the relationship that begins upon that acceptance.

Chris came out today to get some food and dry clothes....she is an addict and a friend.  I hadn't seen her for about 2 or 3 months so it was nice to see that she was o.k.  It rained so hard last night that a lot of her things were wet so I asked her what she needed.  She told me that she could really use a sleeping bag or some blankets.  When I asked her where she was staying....she described where the tree was that she sleeps under......I got a sick feeling in my stomach thinking of her spending her nights under a tree, but I can't change it for Chris...I can't give her the strength to kick her addiction...I can't make it better for her...but I know that God can, so I pray that Chris will find the courage to call out to Jesus for help. 

My final story today is is about a friend named Joel.  Joel came through the food line and asked if he could talk to Keith.  Joel asked Keith if he would pray for him to get better.  He has been feeling sick and wanted prayer as well as communion.  In Joel's broken English he told Keith that he knows "the power of the blood"....the power of the blood of Jesus.  Despite a language barrier of sorts...Joel communicated with Keith quite well...They asked the Lord for healing and accepted the body and blood of communion together.  What a beautiful act of faith....I continue to learn and grow so much as we step out in faith to feed and clothe a group of people who have effected my life in such a positive way.

Thank You Jesus for Your continual love....In faith..I ask that You will follow me through the week...helping me to balance and juggle all that it brings...with peace and joy... In Jesus' Holy Name... Amen! :0)