Friday, February 28, 2014

Answering the Call

I want you to think about evangelism in a different light today. Normally, we think of evangelism as going out into the world around us with the message of salvation by the cross of Jesus. However, I want to submit to you that evangelism/salvation can take place when we spread the love and encouragement of Christ as well. Evangelism is anything, which we can do that enables others to reach their full potential and bring total salvation and freedom to our fleshly souls.   

This past weekend I went to a writer’s conference with my friend, Jamie, who needed my set of eyes because hers have been blind since birth. Although, she can do all her computer work independently and has an excellent memory, she still needed help getting to class or an editor, and fixing her plate at mealtime. Jamie joked about her blindness so I joked back. At one point, Jamie started leading me because she walked faster then me!

After Saturday’s lunch, Jamie and I had some time alone. She requested my help with the discouragement she felt in her situation. She wanted to be reassured that God was with her. 

I told her about my own battle with discouragement and fear. Then, I wanted her to know that she was not “less than” because she was blind. She was deeply loved and highly favored by her Savior. God made her special and had a plan for her life in spite of what her present negative situation told her. Then later, after she arrived back home, discouragement wanted to return, I typed in Psalm 91 so she would be able to listen to it over and over again. I sensed she would need the reassurance that only God speaking through the scriptures could bring.

Later I got this email:

Hey precious friend,

I wanted to tell you thank you. This may seem strange, but before the weekend, I was praying and asking God if I could have some time together. And, obviously He answered that prayer. I loved the conference but I was at a place where I needed ministering to myself. I love the ministry God has given me, but I needed to not be the one ministering. And you sensed that I think. I needed to hear you say, "you're not less-than. That's the way I feel at times.  God really used you this weekend.

Love you, sweet friend! 

Jamie needs the help of others from time to time to get to where God has appointed her to be. I want Jamie to know, it was my privilege, pleasure and purpose to be of service to her as she seeks to do the will of the Father.

Are there people around you that God is beckoning you to approach and give of your time? People may need our help to advance to all that God has for them. The challenge may or may not be out of our comfort zone or take a lot of time, but the value of our generous encouragement and shared experience is priceless to the salvation of the soul on its way to full renewal.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Ministry at McDonald's

It had been a long night at the hospital waiting on the arrival of the little one. I had not eaten much all day so about midnight; I was getting hungry. The only place to get anything to eat in the hospital was McDonald’s. I’m not a big fan of theirs but I decided a hamburger would do until morning.

I waited my turn in line along with the other hospital personal on their ‘lunch breaks’. When I got up to the counter, I ordered a hamburger and ice water. When the server brought it over, she told me it would be a dollar even. I reached in my purse for my wallet but it was not there. Frustrated, I told the server my wallet was missing and would have to go back upstairs before I could pay for it. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a nurse hand over a dollar bill to pay for my burger. I graciously thanked her. She responded that she was glad to help out others when she could. I never saw her again.
When I returned to the waiting room upstairs, I found my wallet and told my son about the kindness and how much I appreciated God blessing me in that moment. He agreed.

The next morning, my son went down to the McDonald’s to have breakfast with two other relatives. He shared my story from the night before and then he declared,

“I would like to help others who are in need of a meal too.
Help was given to me and now I want to do the same for others.”

It wasn’t five minutes later until a scruffy old woman walked up to my son and asked if he would buy her a hamburger. He escorted the woman over to the counter. She ordered two hamburgers with extra mayo. Silence surrounded them as they waited together. After she received her meal, she left as quietly as she came.

As I pondered on this story, two questions kept coming to mind.

Was my missing wallet part of a ‘setup’ by God to start a chain of events He was already orchestrating? So many times in my life, when I have taken the time to look back, I can see how God was working for the good in a situation I think are worthless. I have allowed my frustration, disappointment in myself, or my embarrassment to overshadow the process. Focus on my negative feelings instead of allowing my praises to arise for God’s provision. The choice to fine-tune my attitude encouraged further ministry. My son caught the wind of the Spirit and pledged himself to do the same. My son not only helped with a meal but he also gave a living testimony to the relatives who had accompanied him for breakfast.

What if the nurse had not responded to the Spirit’s leading with a heart of generosity? She never got to see what her simple act of obedience fostered. When we submit to a prompting in a similar moment, we may never know what God has planned either. But the goal is not the credit but to have a heart that chooses to bless others.

When we choose to be apart of His plan, the Spirit can do amazing things!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Becoming Grandma

I became a Grandma on January 21 in Louisville, KY. My son and his wife celebrated the birth of their first child, Andrew Marshall Downs, 5lbs. 3oz., and 19 in. long. The pregnancy was high-risk because my daughter in law developed a blood clot in the groin area. Everything had to be tailored around her blood thinner during the birthing. We were up 3 days straight. Finally, I went into the hospital chapel, knelt down and prayed a quick prayer, “Lord, I’ve had enough. You are going to have to do something.” Within an hour, a healthy baby boy was delivered. Being there at the delivery and becoming a Grandma is priceless.

Andrew came fresh from heaven and our Heavenly Father’s Presence. God has placed a ‘seed of need’ for Jesus within Andrew’s heart already. His giftings and calling are calculated, too. Nothing has been forgotten or left to chance. Andrew has been placed here for a specific purpose. It will be up to Andrew to draw close to God as he grows and matures in this life. As Andrew draws near, God will be able to reveal the wonderful plan He has for Andrew’s life.

Becoming a Grandma will remain a great blessing for years to come. However, this honor does not come with fun and games alone. There are responsibilities attached. As a grandparent, I need to make sure that Andrew hears and understands the richness of the Bible. I need to share my experiences of faith and the wisdom I have gained. And…I need to tell him about the miracles I have seen and the value of fervent prayer. If I do not teach Andrew about the love of Jesus and help him to experience a life in God’s Presence, then I will be in danger of robbing him of a life of joy and peace in the Lord along with the destiny God has planned for him. Worldly wisdom will invade but I want him to have a godly foundation in place so that he can choose his direction wisely.

Do you have children around you that need to know the love of God? They may or may not be your own family. It doesn’t really matter. Children everywhere need good Christian counsel. The older generations need to help the younger generations to know these basic truths:

1.    God is real and wants to be in a close relationship with each of us.
2.    Jesus loves everyone no matter what and sacrificed his life for our salvation and other benefits.
3.    The Holy Spirit will teach us how to expedience the abundant life through our Christ-like character development.

We all need to consider where our responsibility lies in teaching the young ones the faith. If we don’t share, then how will they know? Not telling the little ones about Jesus would be like keeping them from the one who loves them the most.

“But Jesus called them unto him, and said, let little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.” 
Luke 18:16

When God sends the gift of a child, sharing the love of Christ with them is safeguarding the gift and helping the gift return back to Him eternally. You witness of love will mean everything to the one who gets to hear.