You Don’t Have To Be Rich to Feed the World

Amy, Richard, Jake and I went out on Saturday to feed people along the rail road tracks in downtown Phoenix. It was 105 degrees and the heat just lingered over the hot pavement. Some people we fed were beaten, raped, all outcasts for one reason or another.

I enjoyed talking to the homeless ladies, but my heart was particularly drawn to one lady about my age, although, she looked much older. Her name was Roberta. She appeared to be hooked on something. She was very thin and sores all over her. I went home and brought her some clean clothes to wear. She was beaten by her husband and taken in by this man …we will call him…Judas. He also has treated her worse than most farm animals and is she is now sleeping along the tracks because it is safer than in the shelter. I asked her what it was like out there at night? She said, sometimes it is very lonely and desperate. She has days she goes without food. She had a jar of peanut butter and bread, but that was stolen. I fumbled for the right words and told her Jesus loved her.

There was another older lady who appeared to be really hungry. She could not get enough food. She even licked the little butter and jelly container. She said, “she didn’t know when she would eat again.” It reminded me of Chere’s post about desperate people. The stench of urine around her was unbearable and many people had to step back to get cleaner air.   Amy and I found some clothes for her to wear and a place for her to change. We took her old clothes to throw them away. Just as I was putting them in the trash maggots fell out of the legs.

I ask myself…How can this be? How can people live out here with nothing and we sit in our cozy homes and do nothing?

All in all, Jake and I really enjoyed spending the day with Amy and Richard….aka Rich..ard. He is very nice. I know some of you have warned me that he might beat Amy, but I don’t see that at all. He appears to be a very Godly man. What do I know?

Jake and I talked about the day when we got home. We made a decision to save money each week to buy food for the people out on the streets. We can’t give them money because they might buy drugs with it. We can show them God’s love by taking food and clothes out to them.

What decisions will you make this week to change how you live so your life will reflect Jesus?

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Joy Continued

Some of you might not know, but I have been on this search for Joy. What is the Joy of the Lord? How do you describe it to others?

Mary brought two bible dictionaries today for me to look up joy. They were much more helpful. She is such a jem. This is what we looked up today…

The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary said: “Joy is a delight of the mind arising from the consideration of a present or assured possession of a future good. When moderate- it is called gladness; raised suddenly to the highest degree- it is exultation”.  Sounds nice doesn’t it…”A delight of the mind”. It also claims it is usually in some form of the Hebrew word “gil, which means to leap or spin around with pleasure”.

Mary gave me this verse to meditate on… “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corth. 2:9). Think about it …to leap or spin around in our mind thinking about the assured possession of heaven and all God has in store for us. I get goose bumps just sitting here writing about it.

Next, we looked joy up in the Student Bible Dictionary: “Gladness, rejoicing. An evidence of a Holy Spirit-filled life”. They might be on to something. Joy is the evidence of a Holy Spirit-filled life. The bible says “when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law” (Gal 5:22 NLT). “At that time, Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit…” (Luke 10:21 NIV). Mary knows all the verses!

The world is searching for joy but the true pure joy only comes from God through the Holy Spirit filled life. People who aren’t believers may search for it, want it, and need it, but they will only have the imitation joy provided by the world. The joy of the godless lasts but a moment (Job 20:5 NIV).  So true so true.

Now that’s something I can joyfully share when I harvest my crop.

What did I learn?  I know that pure joy comes from God through the Holy Spirit.  I learned that it is “a delight of the mind” stemming from meditating or thinking about the assured future God has in store for us.  It is not found in the false promises of the world, but in assured promises of our Lord.   I know that joy is evidence of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  As one matures in their walk, the fruit of the Spirit should be more evident and therefore they should have more peace and more joy resting in the promises of the Lord. 

Question to ponder:  Who has the pure joy from the Holy Spirit available to them?

Where’s the harvest?

Reading update…John Chapter 4
Jesus is talking to the Samaritan woman at the well. It appears he already knows about her past and present living arrangements. She has had 5 “husbands.” The one she is living with now is not her husband. He doesn’t seem phased or surprised by her life style. He knows all about her past and still cares about her.

That means, even though my past is dark he must still care about me. He already knows my past. I don’t need to tell him. WOW. All those voices in my head telling me, “How could he care about you after some of the things you have done?” or “Once he finds out who you really are you won’t be wanted.” It’s just voices of my doubt. Not Jesus. He already knows. Cool beans.

literail

Harvest…
The disciples come back after Jesus talks to the woman. He tells them the harvest is ripe. He tells them to open your eyes and look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest.

Looking for the harvest…
I decided to ride my bike to the light rail and take a tour of the city. I wanted to discover where the harvest is ripe.

llightrail

I rode the entire loop stopping in downtown Phoenix to walk around. I didn’t see the harvest –  just lots of people. I couldn’t tell if anyone was ready. How do you tell? How do you harvest the crop?

I could not see where the harvest was ripe but, maybe that was because it was ripe all around me. I was in the middle of the field, kind of like being on a ship in the middle of the ocean. You don’t see land because all you see is water. Oh, I get it. The field where God has planted me is Phoenix and the harvest is ripe all around me.

But how do I harvest the crop? Any ideas?

Healing

I finally called Mary and told her what I did last week-end. She just said, “huh”. Is that is good or bad? She turned in the bible where Peter denied Jesus. We talked about it. I still feel sore on the inside. I feel like I let Jake and her down. More importantly I let Jesus down. She explained there is nothing I can do to earn God’s love. I already have it. He loves me despite of myself. I tried to tell her I’ve done some pretty horrible things. “How could God forgive me?” “He already has”, she replied. Now you need to. I need to reflect on what she said.


Meanwhile…

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what my friend TeriTeri said about the “scent of our home”. I thought about when I go home to visit my parents and the aroma of fresh bread and cookies that fills the air. How I take a deep breath and fill my heart with the love and affection from my Mom. It is pleasing and comforting to enter her kitchen and step back in time. I could not get that thought out of my mind so I decided, just for kicks, to look up the word “aroma” in the concordance of my bible.

There were many passages on our sacrifices being a “pleasing aroma to the Lord”. It caused me to reflect on my life. I don’t really make any sacrifices for Jesus. I don’t have any aroma that is pleasing to the Lord. I started to ask…”What can I sacrifice to make a pleasing offering to God? I came up with an idea. I can help with the church group that feeds the homeless. Once a month, a group of people get together and take food out along the rail road tracks in Phoenix to the homeless that might not make it into shelters. I am going to sign up and help out.

Have a great rest of the week.

What can you do to make your life a “pleasing aroma to the Lord?”

Broken

wb051448I sit here broken. I am ashamed of what I did this week-end and am embarrassed to even tell you.

I went to visit Jenn and Mary. Jenn and I were roommates in college. We became instant friends and have remained confidants. It didn’t matter to me she was a lesbian. We were roommates and helped each other get through some pretty hard times. She met Mary just before graduation. We all became friends. Their sexual preference was never an issue that came up between us. She was the maid of honor in my wedding and we knew we would always be friends.

If you remember, this week-end I went to visit them. They are doing great; same old same old, good times, lots of laughs, movies and memories. Saturday night Jenn came in my room and we were talking about Jake, our careers, etc. She saw my bible. She asked in her direct cutting tone, “What’s this?”  I explained it was my bible.  She said, “I know what it is, but what are you doing with one?” I shrugged. She shot back, “You aren’t turning into one of them are you?” I said no, no, I’m just checking this out for Jake. I’m not one of them.”

It all happened in a matter of seconds. I lied about what had happened. I denied my belief in Jesus. I question, maybe I’m not really a follower if I’m afraid to tell people. Maybe it didn’t take. Maybe God doesn’t want me. I can’t believe what I did. I don’t know how I am ever going to tell Jake. I’m not ashamed of Jesus, but why did I say those things?

I am heart broken today. I am ashamed of my reactions. I don’t know how God could ever love someone like me. I can’t even make it through one day without something going wrong. I’m a loser.

Please forgive me my friends. I’m hoping my confession will bring some relief to my broken heart.

One of those weeks!

Well, I must say it has been one of those weeks…..and it’s only Wed! Jake’s car broke down, I had to take his Uncle to the Dr, and the love of my life died (my Blackberry)! But, I did get a chance to do some reading. Have you?

I shamefully admit I have had to make several calls to Mary to ask questions. Like, Who is Word? Come to find out, Word is Jesus and He was with God in the beginning of it all. “Mary, Shut Up!” I replied.  She means….IT ALL!

Reading Update

I finished chapter one. I know I’m behind schedule (me putting my hand in your face…talk to the hand (T2TH)) but, Mary said it was more important to go slow and understand than keep a schedule…so there!

Anyway, I wanted to tell you something cool about my bible. It is a red letter bible, which means all the words of Jesus are in red. I thought maybe I could do the cliff notes version and just read the red words. Right, make up for lost time. Get this….the first red words in John were, “What do you want?” That just jumped out at me. I have goose bumps right now just telling you. I started to think…What do I want? I want calmness, happiness, I don’t want to keep screwing up, I want a red sports car, unlimited credit cards, no house payment…..I want to know how to do this whole Christian walk thing. The next words were, “Come and you will see”. At that point I slowed down, went back and read what I had skipped. I thought to myself, “Maybe cliff notes aren’t such a good idea for spiritual training….If I’m going to be a spiritual athlete I need to know the whole story”. The “Dragnet” version, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! 

The law (10 commandments) were given to us by Moses but, Jesus gave us grace. It puts a whole new spin on the saying….”thank you Jesus”!  I think I’m going to start singing.

Going to lunch with Sylvia tomorrow. Some of you know her. She is an agent in the office and a good friend. Everyone loves Sylvia. She knows everything about everyone’s family, names, birthdays, who’s sick and whose kids are in college/military/married. I am in awe of her people skills and a force to be reckoned with.

Onward to chapter two!

Pure Joy continued…

IMG_1426Still on my quest to discover Pure Joy (5/17). Looking for answers in all the wrong places!

What is this pure joy James is talking about? I turned to the internet searching for answers, and discovered it has a lot to say about joy! I discovered in my internet research we live in a world where people are searching for joy in everything and anything. And I mean everything!

People are searching to fill a need. There are articles on the Joy of Soap Making, Joy of Squirrels!, The Joy of Pop-ups (as if there is joy in a computer pop-up!)., Joy in Online Retailing World., The Joy of Socks., Technology Boom Spreads Xmas Joy, Joy of Singles, Joy of Home Remodeling (anyone who has ever had a home remodeling project knows that is a lie straight from the devil!), The Joy of Gingerbread Sex (What!), Joy of Stir-frying, Joy of Conflict, The Joy Next Door, Joy of Hail, and the list goes on and on. What must God think of the ants down here so desperate for His pure joy that they are deceived into searching for it in socks or home remodeling?!

Well, the internet turned out not to be the place to search for clues on pure joy!
What does the dictionary say? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary says joy is “1. The feeling of happiness that comes from success, good fortune or a sense of well-being, 2. A source of happiness”.

There are a lot of successful people that are not joyful! The good fortune of winning the lottery often doesn’t make one joyful. It usually causes more problems that tend to steal our joy. I was deceived into thinking joy comes from success, money or good fortune! I was wrong…dead wrong. It’s funny how the Webster Dictionary can lead us astray.

Onward in my discovery of Pure Joy…  

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