Archive for the ‘Encouragement’ Category

Homeless can collector gets his teeth stolen

December 19, 2014

Had a bad day? How would you like to be homeless and collecting cans for a living, and then have someone take your coat which had your dentures in the pocket?

I just got on to the train platform from the bus today when i noticed him sitting at a bench and then jumped out of his seat in anger. He was very upset about something for sure. He kept talking out loud as he went through his backpack in hast looking for something. I walked behind him and went down a little and prayed for him.

Over the last two years we have had some good conversations with him. He is a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and knows the Bible better than most I’ve seen. I will never forget one time about a year ago. I was on the back of the bus talking to a young guy about his need to be saved, when all of a sudden this homeless friend jumps in with all the right scriptures. I just sat back in amazement as to how the Holy Spirit orchestrates at just the precise time with just the right scriptures and the right people. This friend captured this young guys attention by not only sharing the scriptures, but by giving his testimony that made the guy really listen to him.

So after standing there and watching him in his frustration, I walked over to him and said “Hi”. He immediately calmed down and shared with me what had happened. He said that two days ago he was doing his usual thing of taking his cans to a local Walmart to get money. While he was there, he took off his coat which unfortunately had his dentures in the pocket. After he had finished putting all his cans into the counter machine, he turned around to get his coat and it was gone. Somebody had lifted it. Its winter here and stealing from everyone is a common way of life for most of the homeless. He was the victim.

After telling me what had happened, he began to change and thank God for what he still had. The clothes on his back. His shoes. His health. He also gave testimony about a couple of healing’s that God had done in the past for him.

After listening to him change by remembering how good God has been to him and what he has done, I asked if I could pray for him and could we believe that God would bring his teeth back to him. He also shared how there might be a possibility of getting a new pair through the place that he had got this pair from. He said that he is checking into it. We then prayed and believed that God was going to be glorified through this provision.

The train soon came and we both got on. We continued to listen to him share about his life and how it fails in comparison to the apostle Paul. He brought up all kinds of scriptures that related to the apostles trials, testimony’s etc. He then shared something with me that didn’t surprise me, but I didn’t know it about him. At one time in his life he taught the scriptures to other believers in his church. This didn’t surprise me because I knew from past experiences with him, that he indeed did have the gift of teaching.

I mention to him the scripture that says that “the gifts and callings of God are without repentance”. His eyes began to water and he wipes them with his hand. God is reminding him of his love for him. I just assured him that all he has to do is turn back to God at times like these and be obedient to what God shows him.

While he was getting encouraged and excited by sharing the scriptures with me, his stop comes. He shakes my hand and says goodbye, then goes out the door only to turn right around and come back in. He said that he couldn’t leave. This was too good. So for the next few more stops we continued to be blessed together. Finally, he gets his pack together and leaves out the door on the next stop. As he leaves, he says, “Wow! Every time you show up, God really gets a hold of me!”. I point my finger up and say, “It’s all God! He loves you!”. He smiles, and off he goes.

Please pray for him.

Disqualified in the race?

November 12, 2013

download         As a kid growing up with “stock car racing” in the family, I remember the “Black Flag”. If you were racing on the track and the official waived that flag as you went by, you were disqualified and you had to pull off the track and go to the pits immediately.

After the Apostle Paul had just finished writing about how he “became all things to all men that he might save some” and “for the gospel’s sake”, he then likens it to a “Race”.

If we have been born again, we are put into this race. We should look at this race as if “one is going to receive the prize”. We should thus run as one who is going to run in such a way that we will “obtain”, or “win the prize”.

In this race to win, there is no indication of sitting back folding the arms and enjoying the ride. If that were the case, then of course, one would not even be in the race in the first place. Sitting on the sidelines watching and doing nothing would be the case.

The Apostle Paul then lists the key to “obtaining the prize”. And what might that be?

TEMPERANCE. Basically, self-control. It is one of the “fruits of the Spirit”. He said that everyone who “competes for the prize”, or actually is in the race, is temperate in ALL THINGS. What! All things? Whoa!

And what might this “prize” be that he is referring to? It is an “imperishable crown”. Nothing of this world. This is not a literal crown. This is “THE CROWN OF LIFE”. It’s the crown that Jesus refers to that will be given to all those that will be “faithful unto death”. (Rev.2:10)

Paul goes on to say, that because of this, he runs “not with uncertainty”. There is NO not knowing where one is going. No haphazardly living involved here. One is to be “striving to win”. He likens it to a “fight”. It’s a battle. And if we are not in the race, there is NO battle, NO striving.

Fighting to win the crown of life. Not “effortless” living, but spiritual fighting, spiritual living.

He then closes his discourse with the main subject that he is referring to. “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection”. There is NO winning without discipline. Any coach will tell us that. And here, the Apostle Paul is coaching us. Not only here, but throughout God’s word we find almost unlimited references to spiritual discipline. We find how very important it is to keep our fleshly appetites at bay. Why? Because the Spirit wars against them. One is going to win. The question is, which one?

The bottom line is this. There can be NO winning the crown without discipline/temperance. NONE.

He sums up the reason why this is so important. Because all of us are “preaching” to other’s. We might not be up on the podium at church, or on the street corner preaching, but our lives are preaching to other’s everyday. They are watching and listening.

Would we want to become “disqualified” in this race?

(see 1Cor.9:19-27)

Have you believed in God’s love for you yet?

October 16, 2013

God in his love provided a way for you to not come into judgement for your offences and what they require. He has provided a way to be forgiven and justified. It is only through His Son, Christ Jesus, who was the provision, the atonement for sin. That’s God’s love for you!

You don’t have to come into condemnation (judgement) for that which your offences require. You get to escape the just due penalty that they deserve, by believing on the Christ that was provided for you by God’s great love for you.

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation (atonement) for our sins.” (1Jn.4:10)

“By this was the love of God towards us made known, for God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” (4:9)

We can’t live in God unless we believe on the Son and his atonement for us. Why? Because sin demands death. It goes all the way back to the beginning of mankind with Adam and Eve. God gave them one commandment and said that if they broke that command, “they would surely die”.

To live we must receive the love that He provided through his Sons atonement. This is how we receive life, and life eternal.

Believe and receive.

God the ORCHESTRATOR

September 3, 2012

Another orchestration of God for his glory.
Last week, I’m heading down on the bus to Milwaukie. This time, I figured that I would sit in the middle seat at the back. Something that I used to do all the time. As the bus made its stops and people got on, I noticed that no one was coming to the back seats to sit. I thought it was strange. Did I look that ugly or what?
Finally after a few more stops, I jumped over to the corner seat. The next stop, one guy gets on. Guess where he sits? You got it. Right in the middle seat.

I immediately thought that there must be something to this. So I strike up a conversation with him. Come to find out, he just got out of the “drunk tank” in Portland after spending the night there. It wasn’t long before he begin to be sorry as our conversation turned to God. He knew that it was no happen chance that we had met. He once walked with God, but had strayed in recent years.
God had allowed him to spend the night in a cold cell with a chrome toilet, to get up the next morning and get on a bus and meet someone who would remind him about Himself. What a God! The ORCHESTRATOR!

“Will you trust me?”

June 29, 2012

God is so big. His ways are far above our ways. He sees the big picture, we don’t. For us personally, when something or someone is getting in the way of His plan and purpose for us, it is totally likely and possible for Him to remove the obstacle from us so that His will can be done. It could be very hard. But this is where TRUST comes into play. If we are quite enough, we might even hear the words “will you trust me?”

The onward progression of trusting Him

May 3, 2012

Trusting God to provide your needs is a choice we have to make. It is also a “new life” long process. Like anything else in this life with God, when you think you have arrived, look out. And, it doesn’t matter how long you have been trusting Him, it will always have new challenges, trials and testings. Of course, this is how we grow in trusting Him more, right? And, do we ever completely learn?

I have been blessed to have a guy who sells me a bus pass each month for half price. Our relationship has been going on for about six month’s now. This month however, I came up short for the money. I had been praying as the month drew close to the end and I knew that I would have to contact him again to set up a place and time to get it. I was believing on the last day of the month that the money would come. I even believed when I had went to bed that the money would arrive some way, some how.

The morning came, and no money. Now, what was I to do with this guy who I had been getting the pass from each month? I had always had the money before each time. Was I to tell him that I just don’t have the money this month? I couldn’t do that. After all, we have this good thing going and I didn’t want to jeopardize that. So, I prayed on and off through out the day. Finally, later in the afternoon, I shot him a text and explained to him that I still wanted the pass, but ran short this month and was waiting for the money. He understood and said that it would be no problem.

That night as I was heading to the mall for our weekly gathering, I was still expecting. Long story short, I had mentioned during the testimony time that I was trusting God this month for rent because I was a little short. And, that I was able to take in some change for bus fare to ride in that night. Also, I had forgotten that I had a couple of dollars in my savings account and transferred that to pay rent. So, I praised God for that.

When the meeting was all over, a brother opened up his wallet and pulled out a pass and handed it to me. At first I said, “what’s this? But this is your pass!” He said not to worry about him. Wow! I thought.  I thanked him and God.

So that night, I thought to myself, what about my pass guy? What now? What am I supposed to tell him now?

This morning after study, I thought that I would text him sometime during the day and tell him that I still wanted the pass and was still waiting for the money. However, if he had to sell it, go right ahead and that I understood. (I was figuring that I would get the pass either before the 10th or on the 10th when I got paid. I could always find someone who needed it). This way, I would not jeopardize my relationship with this guy, right?

So this afternoon, as I got off the bus and walked down the sidewalk, I looked at my phone and noticed that he had called me. I thought, “hmm. Well, I needed to rehearse my line to him before I call”, right? Without delay and thinking, I just called him. I just unloaded on him what had happened the night before. But, I also said that I would still get it from him when I had the money. He said, “are you sure? But you have a pass now, and could save yourself the money”. I said, “yeah, but I can probably find someone to give it to so don’t worry”.

He says, “Hey, don’t worry. I have someone who wants it this month anyways. We can hook up next month and continue on as before”. Wow, I thought, as it all flashed before my eyes. How God worked this whole thing out. Once again, what a God! I was so thankful as I walked up my stairs to my room. You would think, that after the countless times of provision it would be easy and not so thought-provoking, wouldn’t you?

Ah, the onward progression of trusting Him. It comes home new and fresh every time.

Afraid to witness and missing out on God

April 20, 2012

“Hey you were sitting way down there before”. “How is your day going?” “What’s God doing in your life?”

If we are not careful we will want our space and our time to relax. Certainly there is time and place for this, but when God places a person “close to us” (our neighbor) shouldn’t we take notice? And should we be listening as to what we might say or do? Also of course bearing in mind, “love thy neighbor”, right?

Today I was headed up to one of the many coffee shops in the city to take a break from “ministering”. The key word here is “take a break”, right? Well not exactly. But, one of the best breaks in a while. And it was truly awesome how it all turned out.

I had just sat down with my bagel and tea on one of the long tables that face looking out the window. After a few minutes, I noticed this lady sit way on the other end, about 6 chairs down. She was busy eating a snack and drinking her coffee. I figured that she was too far down there to say “boo”. So, I settled back and enjoyed my tea and bagel.

After about 20 minutes, she gets up to go to restroom and takes her food with her. I didn’t think anything of it. Soon she returned, and her seat was taken. She moved to the middle which was two seats away from me. I smiled and knotted my head. She smiled back.

Five minutes went by and I was prompted by the Spirit to say something. So, I said “hey weren’t you sitting way down there?” She assured me that yes that was the case. I then asked her how her day was going. She went into telling me a little of how it went. I said something about it to her, then she smiled and went back to enjoying her break.

A few minutes went by, then I was moved upon to say something to her about God. So, I did.

Now this is where I would like to chime in and try to offer some encouragement to those that might be afraid to share or “witness” (as it has been called) to a perfect stranger. First, we must remember that the main thing that keeps us from sharing is Fear. There is only one way to overcome fear, and that is Love. More love for God through loving people, overcomes all fear of people. As one practices this more and more, the love overcomes the fear. Also as a reminder, if you have been “born of water (regenerated) and “born of the Spirit” (baptized in the Holy Spirit) then you have all the “tools” to be a “witness”. This is where the ability/power comes from. Sure, you can take “witness” classes, read books on witnessing etc. but you already got the power, and believe me, that the source! I have been witnessing for over 30+yrs, and never have taken a “witness” course/class. I have looked at some books on the subject, but never ever really found anywhere close to the power of the Holy Spirit that can just take over. And, take over to a point where you will not even know what the next word is that you are going to say. And, if someone would ask you what did you say to them, you would be at a lost to fully described it. Why? Because that way, man doesn’t get any credit whatsoever. It wasn’t you, but the Holy Spirit working through you.

On the natural side of witnessing, it is also true that the more you practice it, the more you will get used to it. Will it ever be easy? I would like to think so. Possibly, for some people it comes more natural with “breaking the ice” so to speak with strangers. I wasn’t blessed with that natural gift.

So, back to the lady at the coffee shop. After our five-minute silence, I said to her, “so what has God been doing in your life?” She smiled and said, “Oh, a whole lot”. I said, “awesome, is Jesus you Lord and Savior?” She smiled and said a most definitely “yes!”. So, the next 30 minutes, we had one awesome visit. She shared some of her struggles being a single mother of two, and a former husband who doesn’t pay child support.

Soon she asked me what I did, so I told her. We spent a little time with that, but here is where the story gets really all about God and how he works and what He is up to and what He wants to do in and through people.

After I had shared with her where I worked part-time, she said “really? I just applied their last week!”. Just to let you the reader know, the place where she applied to work was about 25 miles south of where we were enjoying our God visit. She said that she really needed a job and went into sharing a little about her finances. I encouraged her that God is going to supply her with a job as she seeks Him and remains obedient. She agreed.

Before we parted, we had prayer and said our goodbyes.

ARE YOU READY FOR WHAT IS NEXT?

That afternoon she texted me and thanked me for our visit and the encouragement. I assured her that it’s all God. That night, I earnestly prayed for her and believed. The next morning I received a text from her saying “THEY CALLED ME AND I HAVE AN INTERVIEW TODAY!” I texted her back and said “What a God!” Then I went to prayer believing again.

That afternoon she texted me and it said “I GOT THE JOB!”. Just like that He provided. Now of course, God gets all the glory for every single bit of how He moved and provided. BUT……….

How does God work most of the time when people are involved? Who does He usually use? Do you know?

PEOPLE (period). The apex of His creation, He chooses to work through. It’s really a “no brainer” when you look into His word, right? I believe that some of the main reasons for Him working through people is, so that people will be encouraged to seek out people. To love on people. To pray for people. To love your neighbor as yourself. To want to see people provided for, and doing what we can with the abilities that He alone provides. The old adage “were all family” goes a long way. We must do what He lays on our hearts, and then watch Him provide in some of the most awesome ways, right?

People. Give us eyes to see them as you see them Father. Amen

A “Hit and miss” life

January 28, 2012

But the “Hit” is always temporary.

What’s the definition of a “Hit and miss” life? Going through out life and always trying something new. Always running after something different. Always waiting for the weekend and thus miss living through out the week. Going from one job to the next. Going from one house to the next. Going from one relationship to the next. Always wanting, but never finding true peace, true contentment, true joy and satisfaction. In the end, it will be a wasted like.

Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and that they may have life more abundantly” (Jn.10:10b). The “abundant” life is living for God and experiencing Him while your on this earth. Then life takes on real peace, contentment, joy and satisfaction. It’s the only way to have and to experience it.

“God doesn’t answer my prayers”

November 26, 2011

Or, “I’ve tried God, it didn’t work for me”.

In ministry, I have heard many people make these kind of remarks. Basically, whenever they were in need, or had a crisis in their life, they cried out to God for his help. When they became desperate they needed or wanted God. This is common when we as human’s need something, or someone.

It is certainly not wrong to cry out to God in times of need. This is how most people come to have a relationship with Him. Most come when their backs are against the wall, so to speak. He does allow difficulties, and He also does cause them in some cases. Of course, when you mention “cause” that is very touchy ground. If I were to say that He caused some kind of tragedy, or unfortunate circumstance, most, if not all would run away from God, not towards Him. We of course, can’t know for sure whither He allowed it or cause it. In any case however, God is over all, and he is in control of all. Nothing happens in one’s life without Him not knowing, and not knowing why and how.

Everybody would jump on board if God was a “Santa Clause” God. If all he did was treat us like spoiled children and give, give and give without no obedience, no acting right, what kind of people would we be? I guarantee we would be as a people, way worse off than we are now. If there were no restraints with God? What happens with children when they are spoiled and given everything they want? What happens when they become adults? The answer is easily available, take a look around.

So, it’s hard to confront the reason why “God doesn’t answer our prayers”. Why? Because you have to deal with the most honest, difficult and hard realization there is. What is that? SIN. Nobody wants to talk about it. Nobody wants to bring it up. It’s offensive. It gets more personal than anything else you have to deal with in life. It’s the “hardest of hard”.

Now, there are two classes of people. Those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and have trusted him for the forgiveness of their sins, and have allowed Him to be Lord of their lives. Then, there are those who have not yet believed and received.

In this post, I am not going to take the time to address “God not answering my prayers” to those who have yet to receive Christ. If you are one of these, this of course must be your first step. He is a God who does answer our prayers. But, the prayer He is waiting to hear from you, is that of crying out to Him in repentance (wanting to turn and give up sin) and asking for forgiveness for the offences that you have done against Him. It’s hard, but it must be done.

For those who have received Christ at one time, but are not currently living for Him and allowing Him to be above all in their lives, this is for you.

The Prophet Isaiah very clearly and pointedly puts forward the key for God answering our prayers. We would all agree, that one would have to first be able to “hear” our prayer before one could answer, right? So, the question would go out, why doesn’t God hear my prayer?

In the passage of Isaiah 59:1-3, it very clearly speaks of being separated from God. While the passage can also be used to teach us that sin separates us from God, when we are outside of a relationship with God, it also speaks to those who may have at one time had that relationship and walked with him. However, because of sin, they have become strayed from Him, and the wall of separation is being built, brick (sin) by brick. Where they might have had a one time relationship with Him, there is now no “hearing” from God for their prayers.

One must ask, “why is this the case!”. “Why doesn’t God answer my prayers!” These questions could very well be the best ones to ask. They could lead to finding the answer as to why doesn’t He hear me.

Isaiah speaks:

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities (perversity) have separated you from your God; and your SINS have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue has muttered perversity.”

It’s a hard passage, but true. It gives the answer as to why God will not “hear”. Again, he has to hear first to be able to answer.

So, if you want your prayers to be answered (and of course, answered according to the one who knows best what our needs are) or more importantly, heard, so He can began to move, repair, make new etc. his will for you, turn in prayer towards Him. Cry out to Him for help. Really desire to turn from sin. Realize that you are bound up in it, and that you cannot turn from it on your own. You want deliverance!

For He has said, “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the sinner forsake his way, and the unrighteous person his thoughts; let them return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isa.55:6-7)

There you have it. Come to the God of Mercy and Pardon. He is waiting to Forgive.

“I Refuse!”

March 7, 2011

 

Like I have said many times, it’s all by choice. You and I can choose each day how we want to live. I am not talking about circumstances that are beyond our choice. In life, there are many things that happen to us that we have no choice over. But, we must not camp there. We must take a hard look at our life, and see how we are living. Are we satisfied? Are we content? I am talking about deep down inside. Only we can answer these questions. We can all put on a real front to the outside world.

The main reasons why most people are not truly satisfied, is because first off, they are living for themselves. Our world cries out for us to live more for ourselves than for anyone or anything. It is and has raised, more self-seeking individuals then ever before. It yells out to us, “it’s all about me”.

So, we must ponder within ourselves what must change? I have lived on this earth for X amount of years, am I truly satisfied? Do I enjoy daily living? Or, is the only time I enjoy living is when I am off doing my own thing? Off somewhere besides work?

In my life, I have found out what makes true peace, contentment, joy and satisfaction. It is coming into a relationship with our creator. It is getting to know Him on a personal basis. I am not talking about some religious siff-coat life. I am not even talking about church going. While, church can be good and encouraging, that is only 2 to 3 hours a week, out of 168. I am talking about daily living for something other than ourselves.

Besides this developing relationship with God, which has to do with people, life takes on real meaning and purpose. You began to live for God and for others. Does this mean that it will always be easy? No. But satisfying? Yes. I have tried both in this life, and I can truly say that not living for myself is far more meaningful and purposeful.

If you have been living for yourself up until this point in your life, why not choose to change? If you’re not truly happy and content with daily living, then what have you got to lose? I can’t stress enough that I am talking “Daily living” here. Not “evening living” or “weekend living” or not even “vacations” or “retirement”. No, I am talking “Daily living”.

The following is a song by Josh Wilson. You can go to the video at the end and hear it. God bless you!

Sometimes I,
I just want to close my eyes
And act like everyone’s alright
When I know they’re not.
This world needs God
But it’s easier to stand and watch.
I could pray a prayer and just move on
Like nothing’s wrong.

But I refuse.

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care.
I don’t want to say another empty prayer.
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse.

I can hear the least of these
Crying out so desperately,
And I know we are the hands and feet
Of you, oh God.
So, if you say move,
Then it’s time for me to follow through,
And do what I was made to do.
Show them who you are.

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care.
I don’t want to say another empty prayer.
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
Oh, I could choose
Not to move but I refuse.

To stand and watch
The weary and lost
Cry out for help.
I refuse
To turn my back
And try and act like all is well.
I refuse
To stay unchanged,
To wait another day,
To die to myself.
I refuse
To make one more excuse.

‘Cause I don’t want to live like I don’t care.
I don’t want to say another empty prayer.
Oh, I refuse to
Sit around and wait for someone else
To do what God has called me to do myself.
Oh, I could choose
Not to move, but I refuse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PY4iILWisIg