Nothing Compares to knowing Him

 

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There is nothing in our lives we should not be willing to let go of in order to be closer to Him.

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Homeless in Seattle

homeless

I live in a city where there are a lot of homeless people. LOTS of homeless people.

I am a city girl, I have mostly always lived in cities. I grew up in NYC, so that should give you some idea of what I mean by cities. I have traveled to most major cities across the U.S. and I have seen some good places and some “shady” places.

I recently moved to Seattle, WA and there are a lot of homeless people here. Lots of homeless people!

Not quite knowing the city yet, I used to catch the bus on Jackson Street. It was a close walk from my office. Now this bus stop had a lot of shady characters around it. Usually the bus stop was filled with people waiting for a bus, so I wasn’t alone and there was some false sense of security of being safe in a crowd of people. Until someone got gunned down in broad daylight right behind the bus stop (again). That was my clue to find a different bus stop.

(I pause for a moment here for a quick disclaimer: I am not suggesting all homeless people are violent.)

As a single mom, relocated to the other side of the country, for a job that is heavily bonus based, I am reminded many of us are just one paycheck away from being homeless. So, I do get that little taste of fear when the office is not producing what they should be and how it will reflect on my paychecks. Thankfully God has not failed me! He provides.

Yet, still I am sometimes still taken aback when I see such hopelessness on the streets.

I recall back in the 80’s when they released people onto the streets because the hospitals and prisons were over crowded. Many of these people needed to be in a hospital, with medication, and psychiatric help. Yet, these poor people were released onto the streets, a danger to themselves and to others.

This is what I see everyday here.

Pike and Pine Streets are busy streets. They are bustling with people. Tourists, homeless, hustlers, business people, drunks, street performers, street beggars, police on bikes, etc… You see the best of humanity here and the worse.

When you see this everyday it is hard to not become hardened to it; indifferent. Every block you are approached by someone asking for money, a smoke, or whatever, and you learn to point your face gaze straight ahead and act like they don’t even exist (I haven’t yet perfected this) as if they aren’t even human. Sad, isn’t it?

Yet, I can’t help but to wonder, what is their story? How did they end up here? Did they have families?

I befriended one of these homeless people. His name is Charlie. Charlie is a street prophet. He has been homeless for over a year and everyday he stands on the same corner ministering to people. He can always be found praying for people. He holds a sign saying “Hold on, Jesus is coming”

Every time Charlie sees me he smiles and says, “Hello my little friend,  are you well?”

I am learning quite a bit from Charlie. I compare him to a modern day Job. Before now, Charlie used to be a successful business man. He never wanted for money. He was in love. He was living the life. A little while before he lost everything, God tried to warn him, he sent a prophet to him and told him he was going to lose everything (you see, Charlie put his success before God. He got wrapped up in it, caught up in the “fame” and no longer acknowledged Who his blessings came from.) Soon after, the prophecy came true. He lost everything and everyone.

Now, for those of us who know Job’s story, we know Job was a righteous man. I am not suggesting Charlie was living a righteous life. But, I am believing Charlie will experience the same kind of restoration as Job did.  Everyday Charlie is out there witnessing for God. He is not bitter. And he is a giver.

Today I saw Charlie, and he asked me… “Friend, did you eat today?” I told him I haven’t because I was too busy to eat. I will eat when I get home. He reached into his bag and gave me a gift card for a local restaurant and told me to go get something to eat, he wanted to bless me because I am his friend.

My first thought was to not take the gift card. I mean, he is a homeless man, he should use it. I felt if I took it it would be robbing him. But, just as quick as I thought that, another thought told me to take it and say thank you. You see, Charlie was giving out of his own need. He wanted to be a blessing and he was truly showing great faith in God.

So, I accepted the gift card from him. I thanked him for it and his face lit up. He told me people will not accept gifts from him, even though he wants to give them, because they pity him. They feel because he is homeless he is somehow less of a man. He gave me a hug and thanked me, as if it were him who received a gift.

Now, remember what I said about how hard it is to not become hardened when you see homelessness all around you? Do you think it is because they are a reminder to our own humanity? Could it be we are afraid? Maybe not so much afraid of them, but afraid because it could happen to us? Could we possibly think if we ignore them they will go away? Are we who have homes, jobs, families, health, really better? Superior? More righteous?

I am reminded of a couple things. 

First, Jesus said in Matthew 25:35-45…

 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me,you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Second…

Hebrews 13:2 forewarns us… Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Am I saying Charlie is an angel? No, probably not. But, I am saying he is a man, a human, a brother in Christ, and if I were to just judge him by his appearance I would never know it.

How many more Charlies are there out there?

I hope you got something out of this post. I hope you remember Charlie the next time you see someone who looks unlovely, maybe doesn’t smell so good, or just looks like a “bum”. Be careful my friend, everyone has a story. The same God Who created you also created him.

If you love God you will love others. Because let us not forget, the smell of a homeless person smells like the sweetest of colognes when we compare to the stench of our own righteousness in Gods nostrils.

Pure and unblemished religion [as it is expressed in outward acts] in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit and look after the fatherless and the widows in their distress, and to keep oneself uncontaminated by the [secular] world. James 1:27

Be kind. Walk in love. Share His joy.

 

 

Hunger for Fathers Love

Gods love

It doesn’t matter how old we are, we still want the love of a father.

There is something about a fathers love, his acceptance, his stamp of approval, we crave. There is a feeling of safety in the love and acceptance of a father. You know, it is like having a safety net. It gives us courage and boldness. We can venture out and not be afraid of failing, because even if we don’t succeed, the father is still there.

A father provides, loves unconditionally, and is proud.

Maybe this is why we settle for relationships that aren’t beneficial to us? Because the temporary feeling of being loved and accepted is a warm shower, a comforting blanket, a gentle kiss on the forehead. But we aren’t fooled, we know it is just temporary. That is why we hold on and struggle to let it go.

A fathers love is not to be found in a lover, a spouse. This is a different kind of love. But when we are so starving for the attention and affection of a man we regard as “strong,” we will put up with all kinds of nonsense. Dysfunctional “love” is ingrained in us from birth when we do not know the love of a father.

We have wild imaginations of what love is suppose to look like and we play our part hoping the lead character will play his part too. And he does,but it is not the love story you hoped for.

Why?

Because the heart of a father can’t be found in any other man. You can’t create what you never had. But the heart of THE FATHER can only be found in One and He says we can call Him Abba.

Abba is the Daddy who meets the boys at the door and determines if he is good enough for His daughter. Abba is the Daddy who protects us and provides for us. Abba is the One who sits us on His knee and talks with us and listens to us.

Are you tired yet? Tired of waiting for someone else to tell you how valuable you are? Tired of waiting for the promise made by someone else that will never come? Is there a little voice of truth whispering in your ear, deep into your heart, telling you to turn back?

When we consider our time here is but a vapor and that we do have a purpose, there is really no more time to be wasted with someone who is just wasting your time.

I am not crying any more. Sure I miss him. But if I am honest with myself, it may not be him that I am missing, but the “feeling” of being loved and accepted. And if I am even more real, I never even truly felt that.

So, where do we find this kind of love? This kind of protection and safety? Only through Jesus. He is the only One to lay His life down for us. He is our Father, our Redeemer, our Salvation.

 

Right from the beginning, He has called you by name. You are His. Do not be afraid when He removes someone from your life. He is Abba Daddy, He has something better for you.

You can not find yourself in another person. It is not the attention of another that defines who you are.

If you carry His Name, the Name of God, then you are someone to be cherished and loved.

He/she who finds a wife/husband, finds a good thing. Because God can and will love you through the marriage relationship. But, until that time, let Him love you right where you are. Because only when you know who you are in Him, and Who He is, will you be able to recognize and not destroy, the one He has for you.

Oh, God, may we feel You, may we feel Your hug and Your protection. May we hear You tell us how very much You love us and are proud of us. May we fully understand that through Jesus we ARE accepted by You. Anything or anyone that is not of You, please remove them and give us the strength to let go.

A Perfect Love, Acceptance

godslove

When I think about how great God is, I am left with no words. There are no words to describe His love, mercy, grace, and compassion.

When I think about how many times I have failed Him, retreated in fear, been selfish, juvenile, and unfaithful, I am humbled.

With all of my failures I am reminded I am in good company with Paul, Peter, David, Abraham, Sarah, and Thomas, just to name a few. So many times in my impatience I tried to manipulate, bring forth His promise to me before it’s time, grew weary and doubted Him. Oh yea, sometimes I got my way, but you know, my way was never as good as it could have been had I just waited on Him.

You see, this is the beauty of His love for us. His love is perfect! When He looks at us, it is not us He sees, but His Son. His blood shed for us also covers us. Because of His sacrifice for us, we are a sweet scent of love. Nothing we do catches Him by surprise. He knows us so intimately, yet He loves us. We pout and throw our tantrums, and being the good Father He is He waits and then quietly asks, “Are you finished now?”

Oh, God, that I have come to the end of myself only to find in You there is no end.

I am in awe of His love and acceptance of me. The love of a Father with no bounds, no end, eternal and unconditional.

Pause for a moment, my friend, let this sink in… He loves you. Nothing will separate you from His love.  For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

We fall down, but we get back up. In our weakness He is strong. He is mighty to save. He is faithful.

Be Strengthened and Be Encouraged.

Be Free & Stay Free

 

I Am Back… you all still there?

back

It has been awhile since I last posted. A lot has happened the last couple months.

You know that circle of insanity? Yea, the one where if you keep repeating the same thing you keep getting the same results? You know, it’s like you expect a different result and you do not change things. Yea, that’s crazy, right?  Well, I do believe that is what they call the definition of insanity.

Well, the guy and I got back together for a few months. Things were going well, at first. But, doesn’t it always in the honeymoon stage? We are no longer together… surprise, surprise, but this ending is different. I am not broken this time.

You see, God prepared me for this. Really, I should have stayed away, but I didn’t.

Dysfunctional relationships are like an addiction. Let’s say it is like an addiction to pain killers. You receive a temporary reprieve from pain, but then you have to start upping the doses or face withdraw. Because even though pain killers do not treat the problem (the source, the root) they do offer a temporary high to make you forget the pain (even for a moment). But, you know, eventually you will have to deal with the issue if you truly want to be free and healed. Anything else we do to numb the pain is just applying a band-aid; the blood still flows beneath the band-aid.

What I have finally learned is:

  • even with a new start, some things you should not re-open
  • pay attention to the gut, the inner voice
  • trust your friends, the ones who know you and love you
  • I am capable of forgiveness
  • My worth is not in a relationship (other than with God)
  • I can love
  • I am stronger than I think
  • Life goes on
  • Above all else, Trust God!

Did I make a mistake getting back with him? Maybe.

Do I regret it? No.

Does it hurt? Yes, of course. It does hurt when you lose someone you love. But that does not mean it is a bad thing.

Now, the positives are this….

  • God opened new doors for me
  • God continues to provide
  • God continues to speak to me, love me, and will never leave me
  • I have a whole new perspective

I am better, not bitter.

When we put things in proper perspective, we can say with assurance, “For I consider [from the standpoint of faith] that the sufferings of the present life are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us!” Romans 8:18

You see, when God has called you, when He starts a work, He will finish it! Nothing can stop Him! He will remove the obstacles, no matter if they are people, things, places, or vocations. He says to trust Him with ALL things! Nothing is too small, trivial, or too big. Trust Him with all things!

So, things may not have happened as I have hoped, or planned, but this is one thing I can be sure of… NOTHING catches Him by surprise. NOTHING!

As I am getting back into the writing of my posts, I want to finish my step back with this reminder from Isaiah 55:8-9

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

I hope you are all still there and are doing well.

I am back, so let us grow together, heal together, and celebrate together!

Love you!

I Will Rise

Sometimes when I think about His goodness to me… I just have to pause and inhale and take it in

It is humbling to know how much He loves me, even when I find it hard to love myself

When all is silent, when I can just get alone with Him, He speaks to me…

I feel His whisper caress my soul as He beckons me to come closer, to surrender, to be still

It is in these moments when the tears change..

they become tears of ….

oh, how do I say? How do I describe the tears that flow in the beauty of His presence? You know, the embrace from Him that makes all the burdens and fears…. vanish? How do I describe the tears, thick, heavy, slow… but not tears of sorrow, but tears that flow in response to His love and acceptance, because words fail me?

In His presence I want to fall to my knees and raise my arms to Him and call “Abba.”

Suddenly what seemed surmountable is now flat, what I thought would drown me has become a cool cup of water, and when I didn’t want to wake up or go to sleep, I am soothed with the lullaby of His heart beating my name

My God, my God, You are so good to me.

It is in the stillness He shows Himself strong. Forgive me for striving, forgive me for being afraid, forgive me for complaining.

I love You, Jesus.