When leaving the hospital in St. Louis, I approached the parking validation machine so I could pay for parking. The machines are inside the hospital but outside the skywalk that leads to the parking garage elevators. A public safety officer sat next to them.
I squinted at the machine in an attempt to read the instructions without my glasses. The officer saw my struggle and was very helpful, pointing out where the ticket went then where to place my money. We may small talk about why I was visiting St. Louis.
He sat back down next the glass doors to the skywalk and the elevators to the parking garage. I turned the wrong way and went onto another skywalk and before I knew it, I was at the entrance of the medical university. I sighed, turned around and headed back to where the validation machines were.
As I rounded the corner from the wrong direction, the safety officer looked at me oddly.
I pointed up to the parking garage sign. “Is this the way to the garage?”
“Yes,” He tilted his head. “But weren’t you just here?”
“I went the wrong way.” I playfully smacked his arm and laughed. “Way to help a sister out. I was over at the medical hospital before I figured it out.”
“Sorry,” he snickered. “I didn’t even pay attention.”
As I rode the elevator up to the level where my car was parked, I wondered how many times we don’t pay attention to what’s really important—people. We may hear them, but do we listen? We look, but do we see them? Do we sit back and watch them go the wrong way never saying a word?
Let’s take the time to see and listen to the people God puts in front of us. When the Spirit prompts us to open our mouths, let’s speak. It could be something as simple as offering directions, saying a kind word or sharing the Gospel. No matter what you do or say, you may just be helping a sister, or brother, out.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 (ESV)
The other day I approached an intersection and heard a loud flapping sound. I pulled up next to a six-wheeled pickup truck that had a tire cage in the bed and was hauling new tires. I looked over at the truck and noticed one of his inside tires was blown and the rubber was pounding against the pavement.
We continued down the road. I found it amusing that this truck had a blown tire and he’s hauling around a hundred tires in the back of his truck. He had everything he needed to fix the flat, but never stopped to use it. He drove on because he could. He still had five good tires, but no doubt the ride wasn’t as smooth, enjoyable or efficient.
Often times, we walk around this earth hurt, unfulfilled, attacked or spiritually drained. God has given us everything we need only we never tap into it. We continue on because we can, only we aren’t happy or content.
Do you have a tire blown and you just keep driving using the other five wheels. This leads to a mediocre life. Pull over. Change it. Look up and use the tools God has given us. His Word. Pray. Believe. Trust in Him. He came so we may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance. John 10:10
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I was preparing for an important task and I needed help. Help is one of the hardest things for me to ask for, but I have learned to yield to God in this. I swallowed my pride and asked Tammy (name changed) to help me. Of course she willingly said yes, even seemed excited. The day before the task, I got the dreaded text. Tammy had to back out. In the Spirit I understood and was very pleasant. In the flesh I irritated.
I’m whining to God about Tammy and having to do the task alone as I stopped for my morning coffee. It was already ninety degrees so I swayed from the hot coffee and decided to grab a diet Coke instead. Very rarely do I buy a screw top diet Coke. I prefer the fountain drink but today, for some odd reason (God) I grabbed the screw top bottle and took it to the checkout.
The checkout person held the bottle up and in an almost too cheerful way, said, “Look, you get to share a coke with Tammy.”
I said, “What?”
He held the diet Coke up, spun the bottle around and there was Tammy’s name printed on the label. “This is Coke’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign. They put names on the bottles of a person and you’re supposed to find someone with that name and buy them a Coke, or you could bless them in some other way, I guess. Your call.”
I walked to my car and once inside, held the bottle up and looked at the name in big black letters. Tammy. I laughed with God for a long moment. God, through a diet Coke, had to remind me that sometimes I don’t have the right heart or attitude. I might have done the right thing outwardly, I understood and was nice, but my heart wasn’t right.
I’ve heard preachers say that even when you don’t want to do the right thing do it anyway, your heart will catch up. I’m once step closer to my heart catching up. Next time, it won’t be a forced ‘do the right thing,’ but it will just come naturally in the Spirit.
Last Friday my oldest daughter fell at college and broke her ankle really bad. I mean, really bad. Two broken bones, plus two fractures in the fibula, and dislocated it. Because it happened Friday afternoon, they told us she would have to wait until the morning for surgery.
We got her admitted to the hospital and waited for the doctor to approve pain meds. She was in a lot of pain. I think it was more painful because it was dislocated. After a horribly painful night mixed with tears and morphine, the nurse came in and explained how the Ortho Surgeon planned his day. He would rate the breaks and then do surgery accordingly, worse goes first and so on. We didn’t want my daughters to be the worst but we sure wanted her in there getting operated on first.
The PA came in, checked things out, explained how it would work then left. The nurse came back in and asked if he told us the order of the surgeries. Since he didn’t, she explained that the surgeon was going to do a hip replacement first. Then it was she wasn’t sure who was next. It was between my daughter and a little girl next door who had a pretty bad brake on her elbow.
My daughter, although still in excruciating pain, looked up at the nurse and she said, “You know, you can give me more pain meds and go ahead and let the little girl go first.”
Tears filled my eyes. I couldn’t believe that she was willing to sacrifice, to lay in excruciating pain longer so this little girl, this total stranger, could go into surgery first. I wanted to scream no, take my baby first but I didn’t. Instead I stood by, a proud mom.
They took my daughter next. Doctors go by worse case not sacrifice. But my daughter showed what true sacrifice it. Her willingness to endure more pain to help a total stranger reminded me of Jesus and His ultimate sacrifice.
He knew the pain He was going to go through on the cross, yet, He was willing to do it anyway. Jesus knew us, my daughter didn’t know this little girl, but she was willing to take the pain longer so this little girl didn’t have to suffer anymore. Amazing.
As we go through our daily lives, let’s keep our eyes open and see who we can be Jesus to others.
There is a corner that I pass almost every day and it’s a prime spot for panhandlers. Their signs often read homeless, need food, need money, and will work for food. I’ve helped some when I feel the Spirit nudging, never giving money but I have given food.
My concern has always been whether or not they are really in need. I’ve watched some of them “change shifts”. They walk a block down to the local grocery store, climb into a car nicer then mine, another person climbs out with the sign and takes his post on the corner. I’ve also seen one holding the sign while playing on his iPhone.
This morning the in need guy is standing in a Santa outfit. Not a dirty, I found this in the dumpster, Santa outfit, but a new or very clean Santa outfit. White beard, white hair, black boots, back belt, red coat, red pants, red hat and black gloves. I wondered where he get it and what money did he use? Was Santa truly hungry?
As I began questioning how this man got a Santa outfit I thought of Satan. He loves imitations. To obscure the truth in a way we become so calloused we don’t help anyone. I’m not saying this man was without need, I don’t know, but he did make me think of the needy. I wonder if some of them are overlooked because of the impostors out there.
So how do you know who to help? There are many great organizations to give to. I also know that if you’re in tune with the Holy Spirit, He can guide you. When I see someone struggling and my heart begins to pound and the Spirit tells me to do something, I do it.
In this holiday season we will come across many impostors that Satan has set before us to callous our hearts to the true needy but lets not let him. Instead, lets get out there and be the hands and feet of Jesus. Santa may just need food.
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of min, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:40
I wrote this one in 2004, I LOVE the reminder!!
My four-year-old son would live on Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups if I’d let him. Often times I buy an extra package of them and hide it in the refrigerator so I am able to surprise him.
This particular morning I needed him to get up and get ready quickly because we had to be somewhere. I bent down on my knees and said, “Collins, I’ve got a surprise for you but you can’t have it until you are completely ready to go.”
His eyes widened and his face lit up then a smile spread from ear to ear. “Okay, Mommy.”
He got dressed, ate his breakfast, brushed his teeth then stood proudly before me with a grin on his face. “I’m all ready!” he proclaimed.
“You sure are,” I said proudly, smiling. He even had his shoes on the right feet.
He began to jump up and down, the anticipation of the surprise was overwhelming. “What is my surprise?” he shouted, “Is it a dollar?”
“Is it gum?”
He’s now dancing in excitement. “Is it a new toy?”
“No,” I giggled, “it’s better.”
“Better?” his eyes widened and I knew he’d explode in excitement if I didn’t hurry so I opened the fridge and stuck my hand into the secret stash and pulled out a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
He squealed in pure delight. “A Reese’s? Yes, oh baby, oh baby,” he said dancing in the room then reached for the candy bar.
“Isn’t that better then a toy, a dollar or gum?” I exclaimed.
He ripped the wrapper open and shoved a peanut butter cup into his mouth, “Yes, but it’s not better then God or Jesus.”
“That’s true,” I said, in utter amazement at his strong love for our Lord.
I can picture God sitting on His mighty thrown, a greater blessing or two hidden away while He waits for that opportune moment to offer them to us. Then, one day, He reaches His mighty hand out, grasps the blessing, bends down and offers us something so much better. He says, “Here my beloved, isn’t this better than anything you’ve asked or imagined?”
Do you simply agree with Him or do you squeal in utter delight and shout, “Ah, yes it is better then what I asked or imagined but it isn’t better then You!”
Oswald Chambers says, “The full flood of my life is not in bodily health, not in external happenings, not in seeing God’s work succeed, but in the perfect understanding of God, and in the communion with Him that Jesus Himself had.”
Look for the Reese’s but remember, pure joy is when you simply bask in Him!