Sunday, May 26, 2013

You Plant the Seeds but God Gives the Harvest!

Matthew 9:37  "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few."..... This may be true, but the Lord supplied plenty of wonderful volunteers this Memorial Day weekend to help serve up enough love to spread all over North First Street!  We had a great turn out of people who were ready to step up and share the work load today.  We never know how many people will show up or who will shoe up to help.  We do not have a sign up sheet or scheduled workers, we truly just rely on the Lord to provide the workers he needs and we have always had enough people..... God is 100/100!! Plenty of food was provided today by some wonderful cooks who gave of their time, talents, and treasures... we are so very grateful!!!

In my kitchen above the sink hangs a sign that says, "You plant the seeds but God gives the harvest." and yes He does!!!! Galatians 6:9 says:

Galatians 6:9

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

It is so fun to watch this happen right before your eyes.  A tall slender man who is probably in his late 50's or early 60's has been around for at least a year.  His name is Chuck... now Chuck is probably about 6'2 and is as thin as a flag pole.... He always wears his jean jacket and plaid shirt...most of the time walking with a cane.  He looks like he would have fought in Vietnam...Chuck sports a long full grey beard and we call him "Sy" because he looks like "Sy" from Duck Dynasty.  We've helped Chuck here and there throughout the last year but nothing very extreme.... Well today Chuck came up to Keith, leaned in close, and said with tears in his eyes and an incredibly humble spirit, "I got saved today."  It was harvest day on North First today!  We have ministered to Chuck over the year and have sprinkled our fair share of seed, but the Lord knows that there have probably been many other people speaking into his life Chuck opened up a little brochure from the church that he had attended and it read "Open Bible"....this is the church that Keith's brother Brian attends....Chuck accepted the Lord in His heart today and is confident in his eternity.... Thank You Jesus!!!!

See it not only takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a village or a community of believers ministering to one another to help plant the seeds that the Lord uses to reap a harvest of believers for eternity!!  If each person listens to the Holy Spirit and obeys the directions they are given then they plant the seeds, or add the water, or the fertilizer that eventually becomes the harvest for God.  It wasn't our ministry that saved Chuck and it wasn't Open Bible that saved Chuck.... it was God's incredible love and mercy that saved Chuck.  It was Chuck being open to God's love and mercy.  It was the cummulative acts of obedience by believers who shared the love of end in Chuck's acceptance of God's love.  Praise God!!!  We all need to not become weary in doing good... for at the proper time God will reap a harvest!!! I want to be apart of that Farm Team!!!! (Pick me, pick me!!!)  We are in this together!!

God's love is so magnificent!!! His love softly seeps into the hearts of those around us and in God's sweet time...He harvests His crops! 

Today in line as Keith was shaking hands with people as they waited for their food, one of our regulars asked for prayer.  Keith prayed with him in line and when he looked up one of my favorite older Hispanic men asked Keith for prayer also.  See this man is in his early 60's, has seen his share of rough life I would think given the tear drops tattooed next to his eye and the prison tat's on his hands.  I don't know what he was like back in the day, but as long as I have known him... I have sensed a very sweet spirit.  This is the same man that ended up getting my son's old Michael Jordan shoes last year... he is the same man that I see all over town and I can't help leaning out the window with a big wave and smile for him....every time I see him I give him a big hug and tell him to "stay safe"....I have never preached to him or had any talks about Jesus with him... but God's perfect timing....he asked Keith for prayer.  Keith prayed for him, for his heart, for his safety, and for his future.  Evidently the prayer for his heart was right on because the man nodded enthusiastically in agreement.... God knows his needs.... and in God's perfect timing... I know that God will harvest His people.   I am so blessed and humbled to be witness to His work.  I am sure that many people see God's work every day and it is the "norm", but for me... in my life.... I sometimes run around in a tunnel of my own "agenda", with my own "stresses", and my own "to do lists" that I probably miss a lot of God's workings around me.  When I do quiet my life... hear His words... and obey....I am ALWAYS blown away at the beauty of His works!!!

This morning Keith went down to North First early in the morning to set up all of the tables.  While he was doing this, a couple came up to him and asked if they could help him set up.  As they worked side by side, the couple shared some of their story.  They had fallen onto hard times and were staying out "in the weeds" until the first of the month when they would have their money and be able to continue on their way to Coos Bay where they had family.  It was wonderful to be able to visit with them and hear their story.  See the thing about stories is that everybody has one.....Everybody has a story of how they got to where they are.  I am where I am because of the support that I had along the way.  Even though I grew up in a home with a mom who suffered from Bi-Polar Disorder...I had two parents who loved each other...and who were committed to each other.  When my mom would have episodes of depression or mania...we all felt it, but dad never left her.  That was not even an option in his mind....We had church together and we had a loyalty to one another.  Even though I did not understand at the time that Jesus forgave ALL sins and that I wanted salvation....Jesus was a very real part of my life....Keith and I in turn have been able to raise our own children with love, security, Jesus, faith, and a future..... The 18 years at home for each one has been a daily speaking life, training, shaping, and loving a vision of future and eternity into them.  What about those people who didn't have that.... we are always so quick to criticize those who are not "winners at the game of life", but who are definitely survivors!!  Many people have been raised seeing their own parents use drugs, share drugs with them, beat on each other, and beat on them.  They don't have the security of love or safety....for some the people who are supposed to be there to protect them are the very people who are violating them....survival is the name of their game.

If you took 10 baby tigers away from their mother at birth and put them in a jungle by would not surprise us if most if not all of the baby tigers did not survive because they did not have a mother train them how to care for themselves and hunt for their own food.  Many of the children in our world are in the same situation.  They basically have cared for themselves since they were under 5 and would be considered the 1 or 2 tigers that survived the wild.  These children grow up and have their own children....If I was talking about the tigers... I would say that those 1 or 2 tigers that survived were amazing and incredibly tough/brave to have survived on  their own.  In our society, the people who have survived this type of upbringing... are considered "losers", "a waste of life", bums.... in my eyes they are brave, strong, survivors that have endured in a life that has not offered them a lot of structure, encouragement, or training.  I do not blame our society for them.  I am just terribly sad for them....and thankful for the family that I was born into.  I encourage young people to make the most of their future, I try to breathe life into as many people as possible, and try to encourage them to make healthy choices for their lives.....but at the same time, I try not to judge the people who have not had as much success in life as I would want for them.  Willy told me today in line, "I'm a screw up.   I have screwed up my whole entire life.  I am good at that.."  Willy is also an older gentleman who is funny and very kind.  He is a "lover not a fighter" but often shows up with his face beat up because he often gets jumped when he is drunk.  "God don't make junk!!!" I tell him.....He just chuckles and moves a long.

Last week I didn't blog, but I had quite an experience with one of the women from the streets.  She told me through sobbing tears how her dad used to dress her up when she was a little girl and would put her in a cage with other little girls.  The men would try to lure the girls out with candy or toys and whoever they lured out... they would get to do whatever they wanted to do with the girls.  Through sobbing tears she shared how she hates dresses and bows, and shiny shoes!!!!  I don't know how you heal from things like that.... She said that meth helps ease the night mares and stabilize the emotions.  We discussed mental health and she expressed a desire to get the help that she needs.... I didn't see her this week, but I pray that she will accept the help that is offered.  I share this story not to shock or add drama, but to show that everyone has a story....and I can't judge how the person has managed to survive....I can only continue to plant seeds, water the soil, our on fertilizer, and love the plants that God puts in my life.  I pray for all of the people not only on North First St. but around the world who have experienced pain, sorrow, and loss.  Nobody deserves it....I pray that they turn to the One who can heal....the One who can comfort..... the One who can protect....the One who can provide....the One whose love is always enough....the One whose wisdom is right on....the One whose peace surpasses all understanding!!!  Dear Jesus, I want You!!! And I want the world to want You!!!! Thank You for this Memorial Day Weekend, for the freedom we have, for the home I was raised in, for the parents I have, for the people in my life who gave me support and encouragement... Thank You for Hope and Love!!!!

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