As I was scrolling through pictures trying to decide what I wanted to blog about today, I came across this picture that was taken a few short weeks ago. Ashley and I were on our way for some girl time.
It's amazing how your attitude reflex how you treat others. Day after day with the kids home for summer break and doing the same thing routinely can get old. I know you all know what I'm talking about. We decided that it was our time to have some quality time, do a little shopping (Ashley earned money from babysitting) and having a much needed freshman talk.
It's very important to spend this time with your children. They grow up fast and sooner than you know it, they are out of the house. That's how it was for me growing up. My mom being a single mom and working several jobs, my sister and I did the chores, and cooked for ourselves. We didn't have that quality time that I desired in my heart. Just like Ashley, God wants our quality time too. He wants our attention and a relationship with Him. He want's to give us His desires to love, accept and respect the people in our life. This is the same thing that I want for Ashley. She is growing so quickly and entering High School and my heart aches but I'm also joyful. The next two years is going to mold the person that Ashley is going to grow up to be, and the time her and I spend together is going to be the most important time in her life. Jonah also takes Ashley on dates or a coffee in the morning for a surprise treat.
The time I spend with Ashley is priceless. I am pouring my heart into her and teaching her and showing her Christ love. Of course we get silly sometimes and do silly things. We can't be serious all the time. After all God has a sense of humor too, right? :) Everyone desires a level of fulfillment in their relationship, whether it's in a friendship, a dating relationship, in parenting or in marriage. Keep in mind that Jesus always wants what is best for you. That means Christ wants to give you His desires to love, accept and respect the people in your life. Jesus is challenging you to surrender your agenda and accept the plans He has for you. The quality of our relationships is contingent on your acceptance and understanding of God's love for you. Rob Eager said, "Before you can truly love another person, however, you must first understand how much you are already loved."
Just as I am taking the time to spend with Ashley we all need to take the time to reflect on God's faithful love so you can share his love with those around you. Genuine love and affection comes from knowing and experiencing God's love through Jesus Christ.
I am blessed to have a wonderful and beautiful daughter. It's not to late to make a difference in those lives around you. Whether they are your children, or your neighbor or maybe someone at the grocery store, reflect Jesus' love. Remember Ephesians 5:1-2: Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Share HIS love today with the one's you LOVE and to those you encounter!
This is how the story goes:
Thursday morning I had a few errands I had to do. One was grocery shopping. Not only did it take me 3 hours to shop, I was exhausted from pushing the 70 lb cart around. I pulled up to the house and heard a few screeching noises as I got out of the van. Walked up to the house and it was even louder. I thought to myself, I know Jonah's not playing video games on a work day! I opened the front door and the noise was so loud I promise the pictures on the walls were shaking. And then I hear "hahaha they are chasing after you, you better get them." That was the voice from Alan.
Alan, (as most of you know) is a homeless guy who lives anywhere he can find a place to lay his head. Sometimes he's even found sleeping standing up. Mission U-Too has been serving people like Alan for 5 years. He is just one of "them" that we secretly talk about, mock, slander, and walk away from. Alan has been homeless for 4 years. It's not because of alcohol or drugs, it's because he was put on the streets for not taking care of his house and allowing other homeless people to live with him. He lost his parents and wasn't able to take care of himself or the house he was in. Instead he did the best he could do, while helping others.
Just as the bible tells us Jesus did LIFE with his disciples. He "hung out" with the tax collectors and prostitutes. Yes, Jesus Chist did hang out with sinners. Yes, He did hang out with those who were doing wrong in their life. However, we must understand why. Jesus Christ was NOT hanging out with these people because He preferred them to the righteous. He was NOT hanging out with them because He enjoyed sinful behaviors. He was NOT hanging out with them because He wanted to be exposed to wickedness.
Mark 2:15-17 reads: "And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they are sick: I came NOT to call the righteous, but the sinners in repentance." Jesus proclaims His purpose is to call sinners to repentance.
Back to my story:
I didn't know at the time if I should have been happy, excited, scared, angry, upset. I had been sick all week leading up to Thursday and my house was not kept up the way it should have been and Jonah was bringing people into the house, knowing how I felt about an unkept house. I continued to put the groceries away while listening to Alan and Jonah finish their video game. Alan was laughing and commenting on every move that Jonah made. He was enjoying himself and Jonah would gather in on the laughter and comments.
I began to change my mindset. What does an unkept house have to do with "hanging out" with those we are loving on, with those who battle illness, with a sinner, with a homeless man, with an unrighteous person. Alan didn't care my house wasn't organized and the floors weren't mopped, he was enjoying the air conditioned house, with a comfy couch, and most importantly someone who would listen and join in on the conversation. All Jonah and Alan were doing was just simply "hanging out."
I believe that we are ALL called to do ministry if your a believer in Christ. We are to make a difference in someone's life and witness to them just like Jesus did to the sinners. It doesn't have to be a homeless man, or a prostitute. The person can be someone in your life right now that you know are not a believer or maybe they are and they have turned away from Christ. All it takes is a little bit of your love, Jesus' light, and a simple conversation and smile to start changing someone's life. I ask you today is there someone like that in your life today, that you need to go and hang out with? To apologize and make things right? Or maybe it's someone you don't even know just simply give a hug and let someone know that you care. Max Lucado tells us "God wants us to know we are saved, for saved people are dangerous people, willing to face off with the world, unafraid of the consenquences since they know that, whatever happens, they will have eternal life."
John 15:9 I love you just as the Father loves me; remain in my love. If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands in his love.
~Go hang out with someone and make a difference in their life.
Peace and love to all
How many times have you passed a homeless person on the side of the street and kept going or thinking they've done it to themselves? I WAS one of them. Everyone of their stories are unique in there own way but we don't want to take the time to even acknowledge them. God tell us to make His word known. He also tells us to serve the homeless.
In the early stages of serving with Mission U-Too I had a hard time even engaging in a conversation with a homeless person let alone telling them about Jesus. As time went on and I began to listen and serve, I am now trusted by our homeless community. They just want a little tender loving care and an ear to listen.
The stories of these two men pictured are different in there own way. You see, they both had families and one of them is a recovering alcoholic who thought alcohol was more important. The other his house was taken from him and had no place to go. Neither of them drink or do drugs currently, however we are first to judge if we saw them standing on the street corner.
These men were brought up in loving homes and then released to society. One made a wrong choice and the other mentally ill. Because of poor choices they became homeless. That's all it takes is for you and for me to become homeless. Our community is against pan handling so its forbidden here. These men are not getting money from city people. They are just simply living a life without a home and because of a few people getting together and wanting to serve the poor in their community we now have several homeless men and women that serve with us daily. Their hearts are being changed from filth to peace and love. From betrayal to joy. From death to salvation.
The bible tells us to Love our neighbors and that's exactly what we do. It doesn't specify the color of your skin or what you look like, it's all neighbors. I am still guilty of this sin because I am one to judge quickly and I have to remind myself that I was one of those people before my life was changed by Christ. No one is perfect and without Christ's love flowing through us, our homeless men and women wouldn't even step a foot into church. Now a few are attending. Their hearts are being changed, their wrongdoings have been forgotten and we to continue to love them and guide them.
Lives are being changed by just a simple hug, prayer, and smile. Because of Mission U-Too we are making a difference in other peoples lives and we are showing and sharing the love of Christ. Never in a million years I thought I would be feeding homeless people and now we are inviting homeless people into our home and feeding them yet another hot meal. They are so thankful for so little and in return they give back by allowing others to eat before them, and by sharing joy and love. All it takes is faith of a mustard seed to be planted in ones heart and watch God do the rest!