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Posts Tagged ‘Homeless’

Are there any wordpress bloggers out there that attended this years Summit; either from Willow Creek or from one of the many satelite locations around the world. This was my first year. My son and I went.

There’s a lot to process, but the Lord has me thinking about the man, the message, the faith of Stephen Furtick, and a comment that was made about him by one of the other speakers. If you heard Furtick’s message, you know about digging trenches.

The other speaker who commented had been digging trenches for 35 years to alleviate hunger around the world. His comment about Furtick was the assurance that his (Furtick’s) generation, because of their great faith in God to do the impossible, would eradicate it.

When I started my latest series, A Journey of Faith, I didn’t have it all laid out. It is litterally a journey. As I learn, I write. As the Lord shows me things I wrestle them out and then I write.

Is it possible that while we want to see miracles, God is wanting to see the hungry fed? Has God just brought me to a major intersection in my journey, giving me the opportunity to get on the same road He is on? I would expect that I’ll be wrestling this out over the next little while.

Anyway, GLS attendees, if your out there I would especially like to hear from you. But also to any, if this strikes a chord with you, I would like to know your thoughts.

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In Luke 16 there is the familiar story of the rich man who lived in luxury and Lazarus the beggar who laid at the rich man’s gate. It stirs me to read that it is the beggar who ends up in heaven. Is that not a picture into where God’s heart is? Do we not all have beggars that have been laid at our gate? Are we not all beggars ourselves at the gate of God? The rich man did not see himself as one nor did he feel compelled to help one. He did not end up with God.

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By a couple different means I have become a little more acquainted lately with the homeless and imprisoned; the homeless through a book I read, Same Kind of Different as Me; the imprisoned through a book they read – mine. As a result of being a little more acquainted, I have also become a little more mindful and have the following thoughts in relation to them.

We all have an enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy us. The process of that destruction begins with the regular chipping away at our worth; accompanied by his convincing arguments that we are a disappointment to family, friends and God. Once he gets that firmly established in our minds, he then persuades us to believe, since we have disappointed God, that it is He who wants to destroy us. Throw in enough major setbacks in life and some simply can’t overcome them. Instead, they are overcome by them.

Two end-of-the-line destinations that people can find themselves in are homeless or prison. It is the final nail that our enemy would use to finish us off, trying to convince us that God has finally got us where He wants us; to pay for the disappointment we have been.

His lies never end. The truth is found in John 10:10; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. God has never wanted to destroy. Matthew 9:36 says, “When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless”. I have no doubt in my mind that he looks on many who are homeless and many who are in prison as some who have been harassed and destroyed by the ‘thief’. I have no doubt in my mind that God wants to restore what has been destroyed.

A person in that situation can, on their own, take a proper stand and look to God for his or her help. They can seek Him by reading His word (the Bible) and from it find the truth of how He sees them. With that truth they can take a stand against the lies that have been used to get them to where they are. A person can do that and some have.

But they can also be helped to see it by those of us who have fought through the lies. Those of us who have not been overcome can help by coming along side those who have. As I said in another piece of writing, we can ‘stop to help even the odds’.

By the time a person finds themselves in either of these situations, it is like being in a hole. Shovel by shovel they are buried until the enemy has them right where he wants them. Surely Jesus must have had something like this in mind when He said, “I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest”.

I write this partly to challenge myself. I write it partly to challenge others. There is a field that is before us. But I will add this with the chance that this might actually reach someone who is at their end. If you can identify with being harassed and destroyed, I promise you that it is not God. As much as your enemy has destroyed, God is able and longing to restore. As much as you may feel nearly buried, if you will bury yourself in the Bible with God, He will bring new life into you. Hopefully someone will come along to help you in that effort.

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“Jesus was driving out a demon that was mute. When the demon left, the man who had been mute spoke, and the crowd was amazed.”

There are quite a few references in the Bible to the ‘hand’ of God. There are some to the ‘strong arm’ of God. But this demon Jesus drove out by just “the finger of God”.

Afterwards Jesus tells the story of a strong man that kept a good watch over his home. But this strong man was attacked and overpowered. His armor is taken and he is utterly defenseless.

Jesus also tells about what happens when an evil spirit comes out of a man; that it goes and finds more evil spirits and goes back to the man it was driven out of. The spirits go in and the final condition of that man is worse than the first.

I believe this ‘man who had been mute’ was once the strong man that Jesus tells about? I believe He knew that at one time he had driven a demon or two out himself but was eventually attacked and overpowered. When Jesus found him, his condition was at its worst. But He did not see weakness and walk on by with criticism; He saw a man that used to be strong and stopped to even the odds.

While away on vacation, I read a book, given to me by a friend, called Same Kind of Different as Me. It is based on a true story that tracks a black man, ‘Denver’, who was born in Louisiana in the 40’s into modern day slavery. He was a good and strong man. But one day he tried to better himself and wound up homeless in Texas.

The book also tracks ‘Ron’, a white man that becomes fairly wealthy and lives in the same Texas area. Fortunately Ron had a wife, ‘Deborah’ that had a heart for God and winds up drawn to help out in a homeless mission where of course Ron and Deborah meet Denver.

Deborah did not see the homeless as weak and worthless. Instead she saw them as people, some of which were once strong and had simply been overpowered by life. They were people who just needed someone to stop and help even the odds.

In addition to the stories in this book, of the difference they made in some of the lives they touched, are the stories in the sequel, What Difference Do it Make, which is filled with stories of what others have been inspired to do as a result. The two are a compelling pair and a modern day example of the same thing Jesus did when He stopped to even the odds.

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