Can You Help a Sister Out

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)

Blessings, Dana

danakray.com

https://www.facebook.com/danakray/

@dklarsonray

danaklarsonray@gmail.com

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Flat Tire

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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My Amazing Daughter

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.

Santa May Need Food

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

Black Friday

After an amazing Thanksgiving Day with family I threw around the idea of whether or not to do any black Friday shopping. I had studied ads for a week and there was only one thing I really wanted at a major retail store. The sale started at 10 pm Thursday night. I’m not a stand in line kind of person so I laid on the couch trying to decide if I should go or not. Finally at 10:15 pm I thought I’d go. If I didn’t get the item it didn’t matter but it might be kind of fun to see all the people.

I took my daughter and we drove to the store. We found a parking space and as we walked through the parking lot we saw a lady struggling to get a 40 inch TV into her small car. I immediately wanted to help her so I asked her, assuring her that we weren’t there to steal her TV.

After getting the TV in her car, we went inside and of course, it was insanely crazy. Our mission was to keep a smile on our faces and to be nice to the clerks, to be courteous in everything we did. I didn’t get the item I wanted because the in stock was sold out but I did get a guarantee card that assured me they would ship the item, with the bonus 75.00 gift card, and it would arrive before Christmas. We stood in the long line to purchase the card.

When it was my turn at the register, the lady at the register next to ours had the same exact card and it shut down both registers. You can only imagine how the people behind us began to rant as we waited for managers. I kept a smile on my face and told the clerk it was fine, there was no rush even though the hundred people behind us thought there was.

We finally made our purchase and left. I told my daughters it was neat to be nice to others and show Jesus in a very hectic situation. We got home and I had to register my purchase online so they would ship it to the store. Don’t you know the website was down. In the morning when I could get online, I logged in only for it to tell me that I didn’t have enough money on the card to complete the purchase.

The clerk, in the rush of things, had given me the $75 off and said I could forgo the gift card. It didn’t work that way. I was told by customer service that I had to go back into the super store, load the $75.00 back on it then go back home and register it on line, which would then give me the $75.00 back.

I prayed quite a bit before I went back to the super store because it was irritating that I stood in line the night before and the clerk did it wrong which made me have to drive back to the store to fix it. My gas, my time. When I felt prepared, I went.

Thankfully, there was not a big crowd at customer service. I was happy, smiling, nice. I explained that the clerk was busy last night, it was no big deal. I got money loaded back on the card and headed home. I did great at the store. I was proud. I patted myself on the back. As soon as you do something right and feel good about it, Satan throws you a curve.

I stopped at our local fast food drive-thru for a diet Coke for myself, and 2 drinks for my kids. I ordered. I paid and pulled to the window to get my drinks. They asked me to pull ahead and wait.

Now I’m all for fast service but to pull ahead for three drinks when the drink dispenser is right there is ridiculous. The longer I waited the more irritated I got. By the time the lady came out to hand me my three drinks I couldn’t even look at her. When she said have a nice day I ignored her. I knew whatever was going to come out of my mouth was not going to be nice.

As I tried to cool down I knew the Holy Spirit was convicting me of my attitude. I asked myself this question; Why was I so prepared to be nice at the craziness of the super store yet totally lost it at the drive-thru?

I thought about the other disciples at the Transfiguration. Jesus had taken Peter, John and James up the mountain and left the others below. They were brought the demon possessed boy but couldn’t drive the demon out.

After Jesus came down and drove the demon out the other disciples asked why they couldn’t do it? Jesus mentions in Matthew it was lack of faith, Mark recorded that they needed to pray more and John doesn’t mention the question but proceeds to tell us the disciples began to argue about who would be the greatest. Lack of faith, need of prayer, who is the greatest? Jesus was not the center. He wasn’t even in their site.

When I walked into that store I was focused on Christ, ready for the battle, showing Him to others. When I walked out, I was proud. I started to pat myself on the back thinking that I did so well and as those thoughts ran through my head, my eyes went off Jesus and were on me which made the drive-thru a disaster.

We have to make sure to always keep Jesus first no matter what situation we are in or where we are. Whether it’s something as big as a crowded Black Friday sale or something as small as getting a diet Coke at a drive-thru. Show Jesus to everyone.

The Day After

I woke up this morning with the song Your Love Never Fails by Jesus Culture going through my head even though my heart was very heavy. The heaviness wasn’t so much because of who won or lost the election but because there is still so much hatred and un-unification in our country. I purposefully didn’t turn on the TV this morning because I didn’t want to be inundated with all the talk of the elections. As a mother, I strived very hard to teach my children to be gracious winners and graceful losers.  I just couldn’t see the TV commentators doing either.

I did, however, check out Facebook and was horrified with some of the posts. The most shocking against our military. Someone posted that their husband and about 1000 other military people in another country didn’t get absentee ballots in time to vote. If this is true, that, in itself, is sad, but the comment of the next person brought me to my knees. He said he thought it was crazy that we would think our military should put down their guns to vote. Does he not understand that that is the very freedom our military fights for?

Whether you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent, whether you wanted Obama or Romney, the task at hand is to set it all aside and unite in loving Jesus and loving people? Let’s focus our energy on showing Christ’s love to others regardless of our political stand then sit back and watch God bless this country.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says, If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.

The key is to do the four things to receive the three.  Humble yourself, pray, seek His face, and turn from your wicked ways THEN He will hear us, forgive us and heal our land!

Your Tail is Hanging Out

I am a Mizzou fan. When we drive to the football games in Columbia we always see cars with the tiger tails hanging out of the trunk. I always wanted one so the last game we went to, I bought one. I love reasons to let my tail hang out.

Last Friday we were at my kids’s high school football game. We are also the Ozark High School Tigers. We won 58-21 so my son and I thought we’d put the tiger tail out to support the OHS Tigers.

We sat in the car listening to music, waiting for my daughter to be dismissed from the marching band. All of a sudden an older man and a high school boy tapped on our window.

We rolled the window down and the younger kid said, “You have a tail hanging out of your trunk. I wouldn’t want you to ruin it.”

The older gentleman smiled and added, “We weren’t sure if you knew.”

I grinned and said, “Yeah, we knew. We are Ozark Tigers on Friday night and Mizzou Tigers on Saturday.”

He looked confused, gave us a wave, and walked away. I looked at my son and said, “They are obviously not Mizzou fans.”

I began to wonder what they really thought was going on? Did they think we had some giant stuffed tiger in the trunk and I didn’t get the tail tucked in? Maybe he thought we had the tiger mascot. Regardless of what they thought, they didn’t judge us. They tried to help.

Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

How many times have you walked by someone with their tail hanging out and you didn’t help because you came to a conclusion of what was going on, yet, in reality, you had no idea. You not only didn’t show them love but you missed an opportunity to minister.

When you see someone’s tail hanging out, it may be what you think but it may not be what you think, either way, lets just love.