2 John 1:6 "Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning."
Remember when your parents used to say, "I've told you so many times.....!" John is saying it in a nicer way, but he is saying the same thing. (My paraphrase--O.K. so listen up, God our Father has told us from the very beginning to love one another. This is nothing new to any of us so let's go out there and get the job done!!! o.k. now on 3...break!!!) Loving one another is what propels us into action.....
Love is what makes me ask each kid in line on North First Street if he has his school supplies....if he is registered for school??? Education will give these kids the tools to try and get out of their current living conditions- It is hard to be successful in school when you don't have things that your teacher requires of the other students. My human side wants to think- It is someone else's problem. I'm sure the teacher will find materials for this student. Then the Lord whispers in my ear.....ask them....I will supply the resources...just ask them. And sure enough by asking, it bring the awareness to some new parents that they need to get their kids registered for school. It isn't just an optional kind of thing.... their kids need to be in school! As we were handing out school supplies to kids we had adults ask for some paper and a pen or pencil....we take so many things for granted....
Love is what propelled people to donate school supplies over the last few weeks. It propelled someone to drop by 6 huge watermelon! Someone else was propelled to gather up baby clothes and wash them all, fold them, and drop them by. Another person brought by 2 big boxes of granola bars to hand out in line and another was propelled to donate ice cream, yes ice cream!! The owners of Baskin Robins gave us about 150 cups of pre-scooped ice cream to hand out. They even let us borrow their portable freezer to serve it out of. None of these people had to do what they did....but they did it out of love. Love shown to people who had nothing to offer back. Those are incredible seeds sown into the Kingdom of God!! Those seeds do not go unnoticed...those seeds are making a difference in lives!!
Love propelled the large number of volunteers to show up today. It set Alicia and a few of her friends from her bible group to make the main dish this week for 150+ people on a beautiful Labor Day weekend!! Thank you ladies!!! Love moves Megan to make yummy zucchini muffins. People look at us sometimes like we are crazy for what we do, but to me, it makes logical sense. Let me explain.... if I was making soup and it tasted bland.... I would add spices to make it taste better because that was what was missing. If a child is crying because he can't find a toy, I would help him look for it because that is what is missing. The people on North First Street are missing love....rich or poor, people need love and when it is missing- they do crazy things to make up for it.....drinking, eating, gambling, over-exercising, using drugs, sex....people use these things to hide their pain... pain usually caused by someone they loved.
The Lord instructs us to love one another... over and over throughout His word... love one another. God is facilitating the healing that needs to take place in all of us! We all have hurts from a lack of love... it may be from a parent, betrayal from a friend or love, or someone who we loved more than they loved us. God propels some to reach out in love so that he can heal the hurts in the giver....meanwhile he works on the heart of the receiver through the act of love shown. Everyone has hurts... Chris had to have hurts to lead her to a life of prostitution and heroine. She recently got out out of jail and says that she only does "meth" and drinks now.....Chris has hurts that God's love needs to heal. Sophiya is a high school girl who looked very sad today. "How is it going?" I asked her. "Not great," she responded as she sat down on the cement with her head in her hands. She looked like a poster child for depression-hopelessness. I didn't act in love- I was busy running around getting things set up and didn't stop to ask for the rest of the story. She ended up sharing with Keith that her family was going to be moving to Tuscaloosa, Alabama today. She was not very happy. In love Keith told her and her brother to do whatever they could do to get themselves to the Church of the Highlands. He shared with them that if they could just make sure and get there...they would be able to find people who would be able to help them get on their feet. So how did Keith know without a doubt that they could be helped here? Because he has listened to the church's sermons on line for a couple years now and he knows that they share the same beliefs in the merciful glorious God that we serve....the same God that tells us continually to love one another. I pray that Sophiya begins to see that a live with God blasts hopelessness out the window!! God love covers every square inch of this world!!
Sherrie's life certainly needs more love. How do I know?? Because anyone who lives with a man who beats her..."but only when he gets angry" needs some more love. I could talk until I was blue in the face, but only God can impart the kind of love that she needs to heal all of her hurts. On Sundays at North First Street- people are guaranteed to find roughly 2 hours of love poured all over them. It is a time of celebration, laughter, fellow-ship, peace, and safety. It is a couple hours of love that goes beyond us. Love that is exponentially grown and dispersed by God!
Some may say that it is rather "bold" to make such statements, but I can safely say that it is true...because everyone can feel it... it doesn't matter if you are volunteering or if you are receiving the help....God's healing love is radiant! Some weeks when I head down to North First Street I am tired or distracted with my own life issues, but it never fails....once I get there....the love of Jesus sweeps through and the day is changed...my attitude is changed....my heart is changed!
We had a lot of people down here today for a first Sunday of the month. It was more like a 2nd or 3rd Sunday. Blessedly there was plenty of food, plenty of volunteers, and plenty of love. God has made us so relational...we all need someone. Lucy came by today to tell us that she got a job at Walmart this week~ Praise God and I am so glad that she wanted to come and share her good news with us. Amanda and Dennis are always looking out for each other. If one gets food, they always share it with the other. They are there for each other for protection, but also for friendship. We all need someone, we all need love.
Today while we were driving down to North First St I saw Michelle sitting on a bench by himself in the park. He was dressed like a girl and talking to the air.... nobody was around, but he was having a conversation with someone.....Michelle is a meth/heroine addict who is a male prostitute. He stays with a guy who beats him, but his desire to be loved over rides his desire to be respected. Michelle has so many hurts that he is trying to numb. I pray that the Love of Jesus can eventually heal the vast expanse of pain that he must be in before his lifestyle kills him.
There were so many kids there today....kids who are being raised in extreme dysfunction. We can't save people from the consequences of life...but we can choose to love not judge... we can choose to allow the Love of Jesus to propel us forward....to do things that don't have another explanation other than love. I think that God mentions loving others so often in the bible because he knew that it would take repeating over and over in order to penetrate our selfish lives.
Right at the end of the day on North First Street after the rigs were all packed up two different ladies came up to us. Both apologized for being late, but wondered if we had food and water which thankfully we did. After we took care of the first lady and she left, we started helping the second lady. She and her boyfriend had walked from the other side of town. She was hot and sweaty and a bit out of breath. She said, "We knew if we could just get here that you might still have some food." They were trusting... if they could just get there....What they were counting on whether they knew it or not was that Jesus' love would cover their needs....and that is exactly what happened. The lady had one more request. She asked, "Could you please remember us in your prayers? We are trying to find jobs." We did not say anything about church or about Jesus but when we act in His love....the message is transmitted. It crosses all language barriers, age barriers, and race barriers. Everyone...Everyone...Everyone...needs the Love of God!!! Take time today to receive the love of Our Father and to share the love of Our Father...Your life will take on so much more joy!!!! Have a great God filled ....love filled Week!! :0)