Last Saturday, at Elevate Detroit’s Detroit CommuniD BBQ, I spent the afternoon with a friend of mine. His name is Mike. Mike is extremely poor and almost homeless. I haven’t known Mike for long. We’ve been friends for only the last 2 months. In that time, I’ve learned he’s a father, grandpa and great grandpa. He and his wife are also followers of Jesus.
Mike asked me for bus fare. He said he needed $1.25 and that he’d “pay me back next week.” I happened to have 5 quarters in my car so I gave it to him. Mike’s wife asked me separately if I could bring him some new socks sometime.
Over the past week I posted on Facebook asking for donations for socks. Someone generously donated $50! So I went to Wal-Mart and bought as many socks as $50 would buy. We distributed all, but one package to people at today’s BBQ. I kept one package to give to Mike if I saw him.
About half way through Mike’s wife came over and said, “Mike is home today because he hurt himself, but he asked me to come and tell you he has something for you. Stop by and see him before you go.”
I went to Mike’s door at the end of the BBQ. I was greeted with a hearty hug and $2. (He had to remind me I’d given him any money.) I then handed him the package of socks (which he didn’t know his wife has asked for). What a fantastic thing!!
This is how we give through CommuniD BBQs! Not handouts to poor strangers or passersby… Sharing with friends as we’re able. There is such beauty in generosity! And as beautiful and awesome as it is for the relatively comfortable to share… It’s so much more beautiful when the poor are allowed to share too!!
An epiphany moment for the day:
Look at what Jesus asks of this man, then skip to Peter’s response. Jesus wasn’t asking anything of this man that all the other disciples hadn’t already done! This was Jesus inviting this man to be a disciple! I never saw it this way before!
I wonder if the man came back and was a disciple or not? I hope I can meet him in Heaven…
As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother.’ ” “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.” Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.” Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!”
Today, I remember especially my old next door neighbor, Nick Kline. I believe he was an airplane mechanic in WWII. As a little kid, he always invited me over into his garage and taught me all kinds of things about mechanics and wood working. And he patiently listened to me talk about nothing for hours. Here’s to my good friend and neighbor, Nick… Who was about 70 years older than I was.
Today I remember especially my grandpa Schmitt. He was a medic/medical transport in the Korean War. The stories he had to share are so amazing. He was an incredible, incorrigible man and I admire him. He was a great hunter and fisherman. He loved the outdoors. I love him.
(My grandpa and I several years ago at Christmas.)
For a few days I keep thinking of how I think things should go in my life, I keep thinking (somewhat seriously, somewhat tongue in cheek), “If God would just do what I think he should do, all of this could be so worth it and so much better.” But I’m then reminded that, the only time I believe that, is when I don’t trust him.
“In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
Proverbs 16:9 NIV
From my devotions this morning… I did not write this. Instead, as happens so often in my devotional time, God had for me exactly what I needed to hear today. I bolded and underlined the sentence that struck right to my heart and filled it with Hope.
A PARENT’s PAIN
John 16:33: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (NIV).
You may identify with the concept, “A mother is only as happy as her unhappiest child.” It is hard not to get dragged down by the struggles of your children. Jesus recognized this tendency and offers a solutionÑan eternal perspective. When you are certain about your future, you are better able to face the present. An eternal mindset will help you maintain a hope-filled perspective because our home is not of this world!
When you or your kids are suffering, remember that Christ has conquered the world, and one day we will be with Him. Until then, beware of desiring pleasure on this earth more than Christ. Take comfort in knowing that this life is temporary and let your pain lead you towards dependence on Him.
Remember that your home is not in this world, but in heaven.
The silliness of sin comes not in the consequences that our sin deserves, but in the lack of thought or carelessness with which we regard those consequences.
If someone decides to do something dangerous, but they’ve weighed out the risks and consequences and then gone forward, that’s one thing. It may be a good or bad decision, but at least it was thought out. The consequences weren’t ignored, but instead deemed worthy of the risk/reward for the decision.
In sin, however, we decide to do what is dangerous and ignore the consequences and cost. In truth, if we thought about or took seriously the consequences of sin that are promised to come, we’d never make the decision to go forward with them. Scripture says this is foolishness.
This is the silliness of sin.
Feeling a lot of general anger and frustration today. It’s strange how some days one emotion seems so much stronger than others. Some days it’s sadness, some gratitude, today… frustration and anger.
I realized I hadn’t read the Bible in a couple days so I opened it up. I read the devotional that I was supposed to read yesterday. And it’s about perfect for that:
” BEING SEEN AND KNOWN Although she did not call out to him, Jesus saw the widow who had lost her son. How wonderful to be seen by the Son of God! Not only did He see her, but this verse says His heart went out to her. He connected with her suffering. What encouragement for us as parents. Jesus sees us, too, but not in a casual, indifferent way. He feels our pain and He knows our struggles. You can take comfort in knowing that as you walk the sometimes difficult and painful path of parenthood, His heart goes out to you as well. Remember that you are not alone. He is walking alongside you this very day. You are known and loved by the Son of God.”
With Luke 7:12-13:
As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”
I’m still feeling frustrated and angry. But I’m not afraid they’ll overtake me now. I’m not alone.
Every day hurts.
Every breath is difficult and restricted.
Every meal is small. And there are many less of them.
Every day my stomach is in knots.
Every day my head hurts.
Every day my jaw hurts.
Every morning is exhausting.
Every night is not restful.
Every dream is about you.
Every day my chest is constricted.
Every day my chest is so heavy.
Every day my heart hurts.
Every day without you.
When our lives are devoid of grace for our brothers and sisters who’ve wronged us and our foundation is not in the peace that surpasses understanding, there’s no end to the destruction we’ll create and inflict on every single person around us.
Just my thoughts from this morning…
I read this passage recently and was shown and reminded of how far I’ve fallen short.
Today I read it as showing me what God is like and everything that the devil is against. The devil is working hard for the exact opposite of everything in this passage.
God is amazing. God is good. The devil is evil.
God is for us. The devil is against us. God is about love, reconciliation, grace and forgiveness. The devil is out for division, destruction, isolation, fear and all things negative.