I Hope He Felt Like a King 2

“How pathetically emaciated,”  I thought to myself.
My husband was talking to me, but his words drifted from my ears as my attention turned to a small, dirty, skinny figure with wildly matted gray hair.  I couldn’t tell the gender but this figure was hunched over the public garbage can on the sidewalk, near the curb.


Randy and I had just come from a matinee of the new movie Courageous and were discussing things. 


I’m not so sure why this guy was invisible to everyone else walking by, but he wasn’t to us.  Obviously, God put him in front of us to do something.

“Look” I said, “Let’s get him some food.” 


Randy approached cautiously and introduced himself, extending his hand.  This diminutive man extended his blackened hand slowly, eyes wide.  His name was Simon.  I reached out my hand as well as Randy introduced me.  Simon was very reluctant to touch mine with all his filthiness.  I grabbed his hand anyway, smiled and shook it!


“Wouldn’t you rather have something from inside here?” Randy asked, gesturing toward a shop famous for juicing.  There was nothing else close by.  “Taken-aback” could hardly describe this fellow’s reaction. 


Still a little stunned, Simon followed us inside while I marched up to the counter.  The little girl looked at us and then at him.  He was a horrible sight, for sure, head downcast, shuffling behind us.   We got on either side of him, blocking curious onlookers.  


“We’re going to get him a little something to eat”, I responded to her inquisitive eyes. 


The food selection was limited, but we managed coffee, a muffin, some Protein bars for later and – – a banana.  Simon wanted a banana.


“This seat has your name on it,” said Randy rather loudly. 


By now all eyes were on the three of us.  Obviously we were the subject of speculation.  Simon was tenuous, but he sat. 


As I continued to bring things back to our table, the two girls behind the counter couldn’t seem to do enough to help us.  The one who waited on me directly began to cry. 


“I love it when people do this kinda stuff” she blubbered.  “You just don’t see it enough.”  She kept going on with things like, “you guys are so great,” – – this is wonderful” and so forth.


Among other things, I told her that God has been good to us, and that we had to extend His love in return.  She just stood there staring and shaking her head.


Simon’s vision wasn’t so good.  He nearly knocked over my coffee.   When he went for his muffin, I about gagged!  Those hands!  Up close!  Gross!  I hadn’t been able to wash mine yet either.


“Simon, they have a really nice bathroom – – why don’t you go wash up before you eat?”  I offered.


He stopped, as if to process this monumental suggestion.   “Right,” he mumbled.  “Wash your hands before you eat – – that’s right – okay.”


Off he went.  Several minutes later, I started to get concerned.  No Simon.  After ten minutes, I got queasy and the “what-ifs” pushed me to go check.


As I got up, the bathroom door burst open, and a clean little man with blue-gray eyes emerged.  His clothing was righted – sleeves rolled up. The ratty coat was off and draped over his arm.  Slicked-back hair was not unlike those wild-yet-tame haircuts of some of today’s Celebs.     I stared.  


What a change!  Time and hunger had taken its toll, but one could see that this fellow, was once – – dare I say it – – even handsome.  What had happened?


Simon grabbed his chair and sat up straight, this time reaching for his food with confidence.
When I told him that God had sent us to feed him, his eyes went back in time.  I waited. 
“I used to go to youth group – -”  his voice faded. He was somewhere else.  I prayed.
Randy had to run to pick up the truck before we got a ticket.  Sitting and sipping, I stayed quietly with Simon.  God was dealing with him, I could tell.  
A couple of hecklers took the table nearby.  Snide comments and looks were tossed in our direction.  I asked God to cover us.   Suddenly someone’s phone rang.  The guy with the ‘attitude started in,
    “I AM!  …..the coffee shop….no …I will….no!   Okay,  I’ll come home!”
    
Those two men fairly bolted out of that place! 
  
Evidently the “other half” on the other end  of the phone wasn’t too happy.  I got a big snicker out of that one!   “Thanks Lord!”
Randy called me on my phone and it was time for me to leave Simon.  I explained to him, gave him some final encouragement and a few dollars.  The girls behind the counter were still watching.  I charged them to make sure he had a place there until he was done.  They said they would make sure.  
Both Randy and pondered the situation, and, as always, I wish I could have done more.  We prayed that the Lord would send a “Laborer-of- the-Harvest” to Simon. Later that evening, God began speaking to me about something.  He reminded me that we acted for Simon, much like the Holy Spirit does for us.
We stood up for Simon, and because of our presence, he could enter into a place that he knew he could not go otherwise.  He was welcomed because we stood at his side.  He received service because we ordered, and paid and sat down at the table with him.
Simon humbly received our gift and followed our suggestions so he could be made acceptable to those others who were, and would be, eating in the establishment.  By the time we had to leave, unless one looked very closely, they would not have been able to tell that Simon was a destitute, homeless individual.
His face and hands were washed and cleaned.  He sat with shoulders high and erect, munching his food and drinking his coffee.  
I hope he felt like a King – – at least for a while.
Thank God for the Precious Holy Spirit.  He is our Re-reward – our rear-guard!  He comes up beside us.  The Bible calls Him our Paraclete:  our Advocate – our Helper – our Comforter.
I continued to ponder.  Goosebumps prickled my arms and neck.  Paraclete also means, “The Summoner.” 


How fitting.  Hadn’t we summoned Simon to a better way?  Hadn’t we stood by Him?  Hadn’t we given him comfort and help?  
How much MORE does The Precious Holy Spirit do for us and act in our behalf? 


I am humbled . . . and amazed….

“Father God . . . thank You for your amazing gifts….and….bless ( empower) Simon.  Draw him to the full, deep and clear knowledge of Salvation”

 This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

Crabby Wanda 2

Oh – You mean Crabby Wanda ??
Saturday morning came early, but we were up for it.  Perko’s had their early morning breakfast special for those who could make it between 5am and 8am.  

Randy and I scrambled, because we had a date!  A couple of things popped up just as we were leaving home, so and we didn’t quite make it on time.  Nuts!


We decided to stay anyway, and have a simple breakfast before tackling all our weekend errands. The place was packed! 

A veteran’s group was in the banquet room for a special meeting and most of the tables all over the restaurant were full……. except for one.


She sat staring out the window, coffee in hand.  My view of her was partially blocked by some rowdy good ‘ole boys who talked to each other as if they were deaf!


Randy and I ordered, but my gaze kept going back to the well-coiffed senior citizen sitting alone across the room. 

I contemplated her for a bit, and then, almost before I realized it, I was already up and running, while calling out to Randy that I’d be right back.  He knows me by now, and just shook his head, smiling.

She seemed surprised as I approached her table.  I introduced myself and asked her if she would allow me to pay for her meal.   She appeared a bit startled. 


“Wh-wh-why?” she asked, eyes wide open connecting with mine.   


Her hair was perfect and she was well put together.  Obviously she didn’t need ME to pay for her meal.   

I told her that I’d like to be a blessing to her and let her know God loved her. 

We exchanged names, chatted a little more and then she consented, still wide-eyed.  I patted her hand, took the check and proceeded immediately to the cashier.

At my explanation of whose ticket I was covering, the cashier said,  “Who?  Crabby Wanda?”

Wanda was her name, so I said yes.  A couple of restaurant staff started to chuckle.  Someone was paying for Crabby Wanda. They told me she was always crabby, so they gave her that nickname.  Apparently she came everyday for the breakfast special – always alone.  She had been there longer than usual that morning. 
“Well, now maybe she won’t be so crabby anymore,” I said brightly as I finished paying.  
They quit snickering, and asked if I was doing this because it was the Christmas season.  I let them know that I thought it was important to live “Giving” all year long, and that people had to be on the lookout for opportunities.

The opportunities are always there. Often they are not grand or press-worthy.  That $6.33 was a small investment.  Hopefully, at least three people’s lives were touched that day!

This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

Two Fields

As I drove along near fields green
The Holy Spirit prodded,
“See those two fields, side by side?”
I looked, and quietly nodded.

“So, what’s the difference you can see?  
They both have had some rain.
And come the summer, soon there’ll stand,
Some lofty stalks of grain!”

My gaze revealed the difference clear, 
One field, worked and plowed,
Had been made ready for the seed.
“I see,” I cried out loud!

Of those two fields, side by side,
Both could bring forth grain.
But one of the fields had been prepared;
The yield would not be the same

God’s Word is seed, as well I know,
And, my heart the veritable field.
How I prepare myself today,
Will certainly affect the yield.

My lack of fruit is not God’s fault, 
Nor are feelings of despair,
If I will only prep my soil,
I’ll find He’s answered my prayer.

 This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”

Amazing Grace through Tears2

Amazing Grace
I could hardly do it!   Sing “Amazing Grace”, that is. 


I dearly love that song, but when hear it or I sing it, it’s hard to shoo away some of the memories to which it has become attached. 


When I was dating, I had broken up with a young man because his Christian commitment kept taking a backseat to reckless and not-so-Godly desires.  They eventually killed him in his early 20’s.   
Intoxicated and driving too fast, he crashed into the side of a bridge after partying at a wedding. His brother and a friend survived, but his already-compromised lungs began to collapse.  He was DOA at the hospital.


We had been apart for a while and he had a new girlfriend, but, in the ambulance, he made his brother promise to have me sing  “Amazing Grace”.   


Once at the church, I could hardly do it!  Feeling like I could crumble at any minute, I sang through tears.  My heart ached!! Thankfully, the casket was closed and I didn’t have to see his face.  


Except for the Lord, I honestly, I don’t know how I would have managed.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Fast forward a few years, a family called me and asked me to lead worship at their mother’s funeral.  Of course, they also wanted me to sing, “Amazing Grace.”   


My sweet friend, Fran, discovered that she had an incurable form of cancer.   Twenty years older than me, she always exuded extreme energy and liveliness!  After the diagnosis, a laughingly, bright face suddenly gave way to sullenness.  She lost her joy and just seemed to give up.  All too quickly, she passed! 


She had recently given her life to the Lord.  I know she loved God,  but there had been little time to lay a strong foundation in the knowledge of His Word or His promises.  The Bible says that a lack of knowledge ( therefore a weak foundation) may actually determine some outcomes.  


On my knees, my heart struggled with God.   Then, Fran’s husband called.  He explained that many of their children were unsaved and needed to see real worship and thanksgiving.   He wanted a celebration! 


It was settled.  God gave me the proper songs to present.  Upheld by HIS strength, apparently things went well.   With lumps in my throat and a crackling, husky voice, I managed to belt out “Amazing Grace” in such a way that I was keenly aware of God’s special anointing for that time.  It was all from Him.   


Afterward, the kids, who were about my age, ran right up to me, heartily thanking me.
I understand that some of them gave their lives to the Lord later on. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Yesterday was yet another funeral.  That makes four in the past three years.


He was very close to the age one of my youngest children.   I still remember him as “Baby Daniel”, and now they were laying him to rest. 


With people packed like sardines into a small mortuary chapel, the humid room was almost a warm as the summer afternoon outside. 


My heart turned on the faucets to my eyes and all I could do was pray throughout the service. 


That his family was still very raw was an understatement.  


People who shared memories recounted the funny stuff and the mischievous stuff.  They remembered a Daniel’s heart of gold.   


So many people mentioned stupid things like,  “God takes his best angels first.”  I guess they didn’t now how else to explain these things.   


There were a myriad of other stories, but I was sharply aware that there was little mention of Daniel’s faith or trust in God.  CDs provided trending music but no worship. Then, some lady began explaining chanting and how it was necessary in order to release a person’s soul to God.  Weird music and voices began.  Oh really? Give me a break! I prayed that stuff wouldn’t get a foothold on anyone.
My gut hurt by then.   I wished I could open their eyes. 


As a young child, Daniel had given his life to God.  The home situation had been rough with an abusive father who finally abdicated his role and took off.   Our families, which had grown close over several years, were separated by my friend’s move to different state.  After that, various struggles continued for my friend and her four boys.  Daniel’s mother struggled, and her boys went various directions.   


Over the years, I have found myself praying over them, intensely. Now, a moment of poor judgment and the ensuing fatal motorcycle accident had taken one of those boys. 


At the service, the Pastor did a good job acknowledging God’s goodness, His love, and His forgiveness.  In the prayer he stated, “I know YOU didn’t take him”.  He talked about establishing a relationship with God before it’s too late.   He mentioned that mistakes are made that may cost us in this life, but the one BIG mistake is to reject God’s Grace. 


Suddenly, I WANTED to belt out “Amazing Grace” with all my heart!  I wanted to SING!  I wanted to tell everyone there just how amazing GOD is and that there is always HOPE – now – while we are yet alive!   


The faucets are still running and I’m out of tissues.   I don’t know for sure, but I am hopeful that the amazing Grace of My God met Daniel, as he left this life, and carried him to heaven.   


I am trusting that the same Grace will bring comfort to my friend and her family….and bring them back to The One and ONLY  – –
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. 

This post is shared at “Tell Me a True Story.”