Showing posts with label Homeless. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Homeless. Show all posts

Sunday, September 17, 2023

We Gave Each Other Something That Day

Many years ago on a bus, I sat down beside a 40-ish, clean-cut, well-spoken man who offered me his neatly folded newspaper. 

I brightly replied, “Thank you. I need this today!” I am a woman of color and he was white. This is only significant in that I am always grateful for cross-cultural friendliness where ever I find it because there is so much hatred and prejudice still being practiced and promoted.

After I accepted the paper with a smile, he replied, “I picked it up at TCC.”

“Do you want some change for it,” I offered.

“No,” he replied. “They set them out for free.” After a pause, he humorously said, “I can always use a little change. No just kidding.”

I laughed and said, “We can all use a little change, sometimes. You take classes at TCC,” I inquired, assuming that he was enrolled in some MBA-type program or something.

“No, I stay at the Union Mission,” he quietly replied.

“Oh,” I said, thinking how sad but restful his spirit seemed.

“I work two part-time jobs,” I confessed. “They are both minimum wage and it’s difficult to get on my feet.”

“It’s hard for everyone isn’t it?” he empathized.

I began to dig in my purse for change, because not only have I had a desire to help others from my teenaged years but also because I’ve been in various types of financial and employment struggles. I have empathy for others who are struggling.

He said quickly and quietly, “Oh, you don’t have to do that,” as he waved his hand from side to side.

“But will you accept it anyway,” I quietly pleaded.

“Yes,” he said with purpose.
I grabbed as much change as my hand could hold.
The bus was slowing for my stop and I grasped as much change as my fingers could touch. It felt like a lot of quarters and I was glad. 

As I warmly placed them in his open hand, I felt his spirit soar as he looked down at his palm. He seemed so happy about that handful of change and I felt the angels singing.

When he said “God bless you,” I really felt the blessings of God being bestowed upon me. I just felt it, and spoke the same blessing to him.
I really needed the newspaper that morning.
 As I got up, I said, “See you around.”

“Certainly,” he said, or something like that.

As I walked to the McDonald’s to get my cup of coffee, I was happy to have the paper to read. I reflected on how much I seemed to have in the eyes of that man. I actually had not just one job but two compared to his none. They were both retail and didn’t even make up 35 hours a week but how blessed I must have seemed to him.

Suddenly, I thought I probably don't have enough for the cup of coffee I was so looking forward to. I had given him a lot of my change and was not thinking about my coffee. When I got inside, I found that I still had enough change for the coffee and then some. I had not even considered the amount that I was giving him when I dug into my purse. I just wanted him to have it. In doing so, I was provided for.

Amazingly, I still had enough change to buy my coffee.
My situation must really have seemed almost like paradise to him. To be finished with the job search process. To be done with standing in line with five-hundred and fifty other people for a handful of positions. To have the interviews behind me. To actually have some funds coming in. To have already received a paycheck. He had a bed for an extended but limited period of time in a residential shelter. There are so many others who don't even have that.

Just think about all of the others who don't have a bed in a shelter. Think about those who want a better life but can't get into the right position at the right time to make it work. Think about the mentally-challenged who would not hurt anyone but who are wandering the streets without anyone to assist them because not enough people are helping. Think about all of those who fall through the cracks, because not enough people are helping. Think about the elderly on the streets.

Think about those who are hungry and want something to eat but no one gives them a dollar because they decide that the person just wants a drink of wine. Think about those who were cheated and mistreated and are now living homeless as a result of it. Think about the veterans who are homeless and the mothers with children who don't have anywhere to sleep at night. Think about the children who are absolutely alone on the streets everywhere in the world...

Remember those who are struggling and who are less fortunate than you. The numbers are exploding and most of them don't want to be homeless and jobless. Reach out today. Help someone. If you can help one person one time in your life, you have done a lot.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Charity From The Heart & Soul

Today I decided to read my old favorite scripture passage, I Corin 13. I think it is one of the most beautiful passages in the Bible. It opens like a great play or an outstanding opera, a magnificent pronouncement that swiftly reprimands and then immediately elevates. I can't read it without feeling lofty and so uplifted and inspired, with a new desire to feel and exude God's type of love towards self and others.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I give all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.

Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes in all things, endures all things. Charity never fails: but where there are prophecies, they shall fail; where there are tongues, they shall cease; where there is knowledge, it shall vanish away.

We think of charity as the cutesy little song "Have faith, hope and charity. That's the way you live successfully. How do I know the Bible tells me so, the Bible tells me so!" Then we learn that charity means love. Maybe that is why organizations that help those in need are called charities. How can you reach out and give to others of yourself, your time and your money without having love for the recipients?

The Merriam-Webster online dictionary  shows the well-known meanings of charity:
  • generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering,
  • aid given to those in need,
  • benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity.
The definition shown there that I think is most significant, and upon which the others are able to operate, is this:
  • lenient judgment of others.
In order to reach out and give to others we begin by choosing to think favorably upon their situations, their behaviors and their lives. We develop a considerate and forgiving spirit towards any offenses from them. We choose to believe that no matter who they are, what they are or how they arrived at where they are, they are worthy of our ministrations. They may not have taken our routes in life or think and believe like us, but they are worthy of our charity.

We should do better at remembering ourselves, as well. Often we strive to learn to love others unconditionally, but forget about ourselves. We should remember that true, pure, God-centered love is an outpouring of what is inside and a reflection of how we feel about ourselves. That other well-known saying that most of us have grown up on is charity begins at home.

Our first home is our heart and soul, that inner dwelling from which all thoughts and actions originate. We are worthy of our own charity, first of all. When we work with God to turn charity inwards, what we give will be untainted by unreliable, fleshly origins. It will be pure, true and long-lasting, and overflow and spill over to all in our paths, like rivers of living waters.

If you would like to give to yourself the greatest charity that exists, which is to be sure that you are Saved, say this simple prayer:

Jesus, I believe that you are the Son of God, and the only Savior. Come into my heart, and save me. I was born in sin and you died for me so that I can know God and not be blamed anymore. Thank you for my new life. Show me the way to understand and turn away from bad things. I don't have to fear death anymore, and thank you for Eternal Life. Amen 

Bible scriptures: KJV paraphrased (old English endings on words have been dropped)
Word definitions:  Merriam-Webster online dictionary

Sunday, September 27, 2015

In Adversity His Power Is Most Strong

Have you ever asked God to send someone to you who is in need, so that you can help them? Ever asked him to show you those who need special prayer? Anyone who has any time under their belt with God knows that the answer often comes in ways that we don't expect, can't recognize and often don't want to embrace.

God sometimes directs to us a person who needs special prayer, but who presents in a disappointing, frustrating or even fearful way.

In other words, he will often allow circumstances in which our fleshly focus will be the offense that a person causes. We then have a choice to allow the anger, frustration or fear to reign and flourish, or we can step back into the Spirit and pray the prayer that God desires for the person. We can then reestablish our faith in God's authority in our lives, and how He protects us through his Holy Spirit and his mighty army of angels.

A young, female stranger in a green hoodie had knocked on our door twice, before I could answer. When I peeked out, she was looking in our mailbox, which was in the yard near the porch. I opened the door, demanding to know what she was doing, and she brushed it off as nothing. I demanded more answers to more questions, including that she must know it is against the law to open mailboxes. She agreed to some of my statements and gave questionable answers to others. At times her attitude seemed to border on belligerence, though I was not yelling or verbally abusing her.

Wanting her to know that she could not take advantage of me, but not wanting to be abusive, I told her strongly that she needed to leave, which she nervously did. I watched her pick up her backpack and jacket from the sidewalk and walk away. I knew that at any time there were many drifters moving through this area. Faith aside, for safety's sake and in respect of our neighbors, we could not invite any of them to stop at our house, when we otherwise would have wanted to help. This is one of the reasons that I told her firmly that she needed to leave, to discourage her from returning.  Also she was trying to con me and seeking to steal from our mailbox.The best thing to do was to get her off of our property, and I did not feel led of the Spirit to report it to the police.

Naturally (the keyword is naturally, or fleshly), after she left I was infuriated by a feeling of helplessness. How could we protect our property from wanderers? It is on a busy 3-lane street and not facing another house. The 2 houses to the left and right diagonally across the street, and the 1 to the side are all facing away and either privacy-fenced or blocked by foliage. To the right was an old, private cemetery. What had seemed like a blessing in privacy was beginning to feel like a liability in safety.

The frustration mounted and then my intercessory prayer spirit kicked in as I thought to pray for this deceitful trespasser.

I have been growing in my ability to look past the person and try to see a need. So I prayed for her. Then I began to think of how God sometimes will test us by sending a person who seems to be a threat, but for whom he wants us to pray a special prayer. God knows where that person is mentally, emotionally and spiritually. God know what he is about to do in that person's heart. God knows when it is time, or almost time. So I went back to my prayer room.

I prayed a 2nd prayer for her, more detailed and more fervent. Then I prayed for myself and our property, reestablishing God's power and authority over his property. How were we going to protect our mail from now on? It was already an ongoing issue to monitor the outgoing and incoming mail, and the arrival of packages. Today though it seemed as if we were being attacked and that the way was being opened for us to be assaulted by trespassers. Isn't that the way that the flesh operates? It breeds never-ending fear and anxiety. I prayed again, and reestablished my belief that God has an army of angels dispatched to protect us and this property from assault. I reasserted that whatever he allows is for a reason and will be recycled for our good.

Why does God sometimes allow us to be tested in this way? Well, it's often twofold. He'll send someone into our mist who now needs a special prayer about something or another. God knows where the person is at, and all that we need to do is pray what we feel, and allow the Holy Spirit to take it from there. Then, God allows to come with the person some annoying or frustrating circumstance so that we can see what we are made of. He already knows where we are at in our walk with him. He also knows where we think we are. The adverse circumstance helps us to see where we are, and to reach up a little higher.

So he often allows a two-fold circumstance so that we can become more adept at choosing to allow his power to work.

It is in a circumstance of adversity that his power will most strongly work for us. It's when we don't feel like it, or are suffering too much, or are too afraid or frustrated, or feel violated when we have a choice to take his power, which we've been claiming and asking for more of everyday, and apply it. It is a choice. We can feel that we are at the mercy of evil, and allow that dreaded fear to take over and multiply, or we can step from our flesh back into our reborn spirit, rise up and invite the power of God that we have been boasting about to take over.

Do I know for sure that God was in this invasion, that it was him who allowed the stranger to enter our property, try to steal from our mailbox and become belligerent and shifty when questioned? No, I don't know for sure. But, I choose to believe that it was God and that he is in control, and that his purpose is to bless her and me through the experience. The only other option is to believe that it was not him and that he is not in control, and that we are at the mercy of anyone who walks by. Go with God. It's as simple as that.

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