Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sunday Encounters

This past Saturday evening, our family finished Week 2 of Hope Lives, a Bible Study resource that we are going through together {a Summer Splash Bible Study resource recommended by our church} in preparation for our Summer Missions Immersion trip to the Philippines.

Week 2 is entitled God Is Not Silent. We learned that God has provided a map for our journey in loving others. We explored what the Bible has to say about serving the poor, the widows, and the orphans, and how God desires for us to show his love to those in need.

One of the action items that concluded this week's study challenged us to be Christ for someone in need this week. Since the following day is Sunday... our thoughts drifted to the woman we often see standing at the off-ramp of the highway begging for money as we drive onto the on-ramp as we exit the shopping mall complex after church. Sad to say... we have never before stopped to help her.

We decided that this time, it was going to be different. We deduced that we only see her if we stay to have lunch at the mall after church {and never see her there if we leave right after service}. So, we made an intentional decision to stay for lunch. After lunch, we bought an extra lunch and drink to go and headed for our car in the parking lot.

We didn't know where we could stop safely as the spot she usually stands at is an off-ramp from a major highway, adjacent to the on-ramp we take to head home. We drove towards that spot... trusting that God will arrange a way if we are indeed meant to bless this woman with a lunch!

And God did just that! Just before we were to enter the on-ramp... we saw her! She wasn't standing at her usual spot... instead, she was walking straight towards our vehicle! I rolled down my window excitedly as hubby slowly coasted to a stop... we were even able to stop as there were no other vehicles behind us... another peculiarly amazing God-detail!

I handed her the lunch and drink... explaining that we see her often there on Sunday mornings and wanted to bless her with something to eat and drink. She thanked me profusely... saying, "God bless you! God loves you!" All I could say in return at the moment was... "He loves you too!"

As we drove onto the on-ramp, I looked in the passenger side mirror... and saw her delve into the lunch we brought right there on the sidewalk!

We had another stop on this Sunday {afternoon, by now} before heading home. We needed to get a camera bag to bring with us on our trip to the Philippines. So we headed to a bag store downtown, which we found on the Internet... amazed that God had given us the opportunity to be a blessing to someone in need and thinking that we were done helping the needy for the day.

Little did we know, God wasn't done yet. After parking our vehicle, hubby and I were standing in front of the parking meter waiting for it to finish authorizing our credit card... when a young man approached us. He said, "Excuse me, but I really just need something to eat!" At this very moment, I was wishing I had the camera out so that I could take a photo of my kids faces... it's the look of "I can't believe it! God means serious business." :-)

Hubby took this young man to a nearby coffee shop and bought him something to eat. Then, we went to buy our camera bag. At this point, our kids were hoping that God would send us one more person to help... well, He didn't anymore but our hearts were full nevertheless!

My thoughts went back to the lyrics of a Chris Tomlin song we sang at church earlier in the day...
Great is Your love and justice, God of Jacob
You use the weak to lead the strong
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough
Your grace is enough for me
With His relentless love and overflowing grace, God sent two homeless people to lead our family... in blessing them, we in turn were the ones blessed!

As I started my week on this Monday morning with my daily Bible reading, this is what I read:
After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.”
“Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him.
Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”
Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep.
~ John 21:15-17 (NLT)
As Ann Voskamp writes in her book One Thousand Gifts...
God calls me to do thanks. To give the thanks away. That thanks-giving might literally become thanks-living. That our lives become the very blessings we have received.
I am blessed. I can bless. Imagine! I could let Him make me the gift!
I could be the joy!
In an endless cycle of grace, He gives us gifts to serve the world. Here I can become the blessing, a little life that multiplies joy, making the larger world a better place.
May it be so for our family, Lord Jesus... all because of Your love for us!

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1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful day you had! God is so good and so faithful! I can even say that through the jet lag :o)! I can't wait to see what He will do in you and through you during your time in the Philippines!! What a beautiful country! We can't wait to go back some day, Lord willing!