Warming Our Streets

Today, we partnered with The Adullam Project to deliver sandwiches and blankets to the homeless. It was an amazing day.

First, we helped make the sandwiches.

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Then we loaded up backpacks with hand warmers, socks and hats, and blankets and headed out. Here are the four teams who went out.

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Pictures can not capture what God did. But, it was truly amazing. And very humbling. At one point, a team went to a local soup kitchen only to discover they’d run out of food and still had people to feed. Several sandwiches were handed out, as well as socks, gloves, and hats. The team prayed for a guy who’d been beaten with a metal pipe. Another team was able to give a guy a ride to the Teen Challenge shelter, where he could get in from the cold, at least for a little while. One group spoke to someone for over an hour, helping him connect with his children, and even singing with them on the phone.

It only took a few hours, but lives were changed today…and probably not the ones you think. No one who participated will ever be the same.

 

 

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Lessons at the Foot of a Giant

Life has been pretty rough lately. I have been wounded, deeply, by someoneI thought I could trust, and whose opinion I respected.It feels like I have been betrayed, by this person and by God. After all, I have chosen to serve the Lord full-time, sacrificing so many things for the purpose of furthering His Kingdom. A hint of “older brother” attitude, from tImagehe Parable of the Prodigal Son, I admit. But I am beyond pretense at this point.

 

Honestly, I’m very disappointed. As a spiritual life coach, I know what I should do. That doesn’t mean I want to do it anymore than the next guy (or gal). Choosing to live as though God’s Word is true, regardless of circumstances, emotions, or cultural trends can, quite frankly, be a bummer! But it is obedience, and that is all God requires.

Unfortunately, obedience is not all the world requires. Performance determines both success and value. Sometimes, honestly, I don’t perform all that well. And then I don’t feel very good. It doesn’t matter what God’s Word says about who I am or how valuable I am; I still don’t feel very good.

Struggling with the swirling emotions over the last few days, my children have definitely noticed. One of my girls shared the song “Voice of Truth” by Casting Crowns. It highlights David battle with Goliath, and struggling to sleep, I turned to 1 Samuel 17, where the story is recorded in Scripture. It has been very enlightening.

The first observation I made in meditating on this passage is, Goliath taunted the Army of the Living God twice a day for forty days! Every day, for forty days, Goliath went out and talked smack about the Israeli army and the God they served. And every day, twice a day, for forty days, the warriors charged with defending Israel hid in fear because a giant hurled insults at them.  Forty days is a long time to be at an impasse simply because someone is yelling at you. Yes, that someone was a giant, and yes, he was really scary; but he was still only yelling at them. These men had lives and families, waiting for them somewhere. They didn’t have time to hide, but they did.

Another reflection: David was very interested in the reward offered for the man who killed Goliath. It isn’t wrong to be interested in rewards. But, David’s motivation was not the reward. He was motivated because that giant was defying his God.

Did you know that David ran towards Goliath? That’s right; this shepherd boy, who was probably 14 or 15 years old, ran towards a giant over nine feet tall, who’d held the entire army of ImageIsrael in fear, for forty days! I don’t know about you, but I’m not in the habit of running towards giants, of any kind. 

Something new I learned was that David didn’t necessarily kill Goliath with that stone he hurled with his slingshot. The New Living Translation says that David prevailed over Goliath without a sword instead of saying he killed Goliath without a sword, like the English Standard Version. Both, however, record that David killed Goliath with Goliath’s own sword, and then cut off his head. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t ever really been interested in walking towards a monster, just because he was lying on the ground?! Then to pull a sword from its sheath, attached to the body of that monster…not at the top of my bucket list, I can certainly tell you that!

The final observation I made is probably the most significant; the reason David was crazy enough to run towards a giant in the first place was because he truly knew God. David had complete confidence in the God who had already delivered him from the lion and the bear. He chose to live in light of what he knew to be true about God, and it gave him supernatural confidence.

Just for a minute, I want to draw attention to David’s reason for confidence; he’d already seen God deliver him from a lion and a bear. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never faced either, and I would not intentionally engage either one of them, unless I had a high-powered rifle and plenty of ammunition. Actually, even then I wouldn’t intentionally engage one. Facing bears and lions doesn’t happen every day, at least in my life. That was, in itself, a pretty amazing feat of courage, if you ask me. But, back to the main focus of this story.

David knew God. He knew God in a very real and life-changing way. He had experienced the supernatural power of intimacy with his Creator. That was the source of his overwhelming, almost fool-hardy confidence. To borrow Carolyn Custis James’ perspective, David was a good theologian. Wow.

The other really amazing thing about David was, he kept his focus on the Lord even though he didn’t know what the outcome would be. David believed God would deliver him from Goliath, but it hadn’t happened yet!

Right now, I truly don’t know what will happen as a result of the wound in my heart or the circumstances that caused it. I don’t know what the consequences of this situation will be. I know that I’m struggling to focus on Jesus because the giants I’m looking at are really big. And the waves crashing around me are dark, and cold, and scary. I don’t know what will happen, and instead of trusting the God who has proven so faithful over my entire life, I’m looking at giants and getting wet. It is pretty crazy, when I step back and look at it objectively.

Which brings me back to my choice…will I choose to live at though it is true that God gives shepherd boys victory over giants, and lions, and bears? Or will I cower in fear because the evil one is taunting me? After remembering who God is, and reflecting on what He has done, not only in Scripture, but also in my life, I’m choosing to live as though He gives victory over giants. I’m choosing to stand on the rock and (mostly) ignore the waves.

Does that mean my struggles are over? Oh no…far from it, honestly. But as the waves crash and as the voice of the “giant” taunts me, I can set my sights on my Creator, the Lover of my soul, and be at peace.