Monday, December 20, 2010

A Chance Meeting?

So much to do and so little time! That is my new motto! Saturday was no different for me. I was trying to get through my busy day when I remembered I had forgotten to buy balloons for a going away party I was throwing for a friend. I decided I would go to a store on Church street in Concord to pick them up. If I left early enough, I could stop off at Music and More (A local music store also located on Church street) and pick up three Christmas presents that I needed to pick up this weekend. So I hurried and got dressed just in time to leave my home an hour before the party was to start. Plenty of time to get there and do what needed to be done.

As I was pulling out of my driveway, I kept hearing a small voice in my mind telling me to go to the guitar shop located on Union street in downtown, historic Concord. I brushed it off telling myself that it would be much more expensive and was not on the way. However, before I turned on church street, I felt like I really needed to go to Union street. The urge was so strong that I found myself making the left and driving in the opposite direction of the Church street music store. As I thought about it, I felt like maybe God was telling me I would save some money or find the perfect gift on Union street; so I settled it in my mind and was soon parking in the rear of the shops on Union street.

Hopping out of my car; anyone could see I was on a mission as I headed toward the Union Street sidewalks... anyone except, that is, for one individual. As I was scurrying, I heard someone yelling, "hey lady. Hey You! Lady!" My first reaction, I admit, was not pleasant. I stopped dead in my tracks and thought to myself, "I know she 'ain't' talking to me." As I turned toward the voice, I made eye contact with a lady, every bit of six feet tall, dressed in rags and holding a plastic bag and a large tin can. She immediately cast her gaze down at the brick sidewalk and mumbled in my direction, "thank you for stopping."

I walked up to her thinking to myself, "I sure hope I have a dollar or two on me. This lady is obviously begging money." I stood in front of her listening for a little while as she told me about her life and all that she had been through. Her eyes were empty and her voice harsh. Then she handed me her North Carolina ID card. "I want you to know I am telling the truth," she said. As she fumbled through some papers from a doctor's office. I read through it as she talked. She was HIV positive and had Hepatitis C. She had been raped three times in the last few years of living on the street. One of these encounters, she stated, had produced (she handed me a picture) what she described as her world. The picture was of a little boy whom shared her facial features. She said she was out there that day just trying to get the money up to buy him a present for Christmas. He was in the custody of the state; but, she was going to get to see him Christmas day.

At that I felt led to stop her story. I asked her if I could pray for her. She started crying and asked me why would I want to do that? "Because God loves you," I said. I stood there for quite some time telling her about the love of The Father and how important she was to Him. Through the tears she was crying, I saw hope in her eyes for the first time since she had been standing there. After we prayed, she started to walk away with a smile on her face. She turned one last time and looked at me again asking one simple question, "He really loves me?" "Yes," I said then I stopped her and handed her the only money I had. See, as we were talking, she had even forgotten to ask for the one thing she had been seeking that morning. I like to think it is because she had found what her heart was truly searching for.

All smiles, I walked into the music store and paid more than I should have for what I bought. But in the end, I am reminded it is not about me anyway.

Spread His love today.

1 John 3:1 "See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him."

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Secret to Success; in 120 Words or Less

Growing up, I can't tell you the number of times I have heard the expression, "well life didn't come with an instruction manual." I used to think to myself, if life did come with a manual, you would truly spend your lifetime trying to read it as it would be so incredibly long. As I was reading in my Bible this morning, my mind skipped across a passage and I had to stop and read it again and again. It was just a few verses; honestly less than maybe 120 words (depending on what version you are reading). It was an outline for success in all life's decisions... Proverbs 3:5-12.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to Him,
and He will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the first fruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.

To break it down: 1). Trust in God and not in yourself 2). Submit to Him all your ways 3). Humble yourself 4). Honor God 5).stay clear of all evil 6). Tithe from all your first fruits 7). Accept rebuke for what it is (discipline from the One who loves you).

7 simple keys to success.