Eight months ago, I met a homeless girl on the side of the road. I gave my phone number to her and resources for her pregnancy. Fast forward to this week. I ran into her outside of Chick-fil-A where she was asking for money. I pulled up my car and called her by name. I reshared my phone number and gave her resources for her baby boy who is four months old. I quickly invited her to church and left so I could meet my husband for lunch. I felt the Lord telling me to go back and see if she was still there. Long story short, she was. I got an on the spot interview for her with the Christian manager of Chick-fil-a. I had confidence that the Lord would pour out His love into her life.
The people at Chick-fil-a overlooked her appearance. The manager even told her that two workers had been praying for her for quite a while. We got an appointment set up for her at the local ministry center to meet with a case manager to have clothes, food, and life skill training. It was amazing to see her go from a position of shame, annoyed, and stressed to a place of hope and joy. All because a Christian organization took a chance on her to say your current reality is not a fixed position, but your value in the Lord is rock solid. Goodness, I love our community of people and the organizations that pay attention, give regard, and use their platforms for God's glory!
In last week's podcast, Andrea and Bethany talked about how we can live a radiant life for Jesus Christ. Looking at the original intent and language of the scripture found in Psalm 34:5, we were reminded that “those who look to Him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.”
The psalmist tells us that as he looked to the Lord, his spirits were lifted. By nature, we think of ourselves first and foremost. We worry about our reputation and image before just having immediate obedience to the Lord. Yet, Psalm 34:5 tells us that when we look to the Lord, thinking about Him, the better our situations will rest in our hearts. Believing God is good, faithful, and unconditionally loving, God keeps our hearts and heads steady even in the deep waters of life. Andrea tells us not to be ruled by our emotions but led by the Spirit. Often our perception of our current reality is not always factual. Sin has a way of blurring our vision of God's truth.
1 Thessalonians 5:15 says to seek what is good for one another and all men by providing comfort. James 5:16 says to pray for others. It makes me think about the parable of the mustard seed in Matthew 13. How a seed is ordinary. We don’t pay much attention to a seed for it's not only small but it’s also common. It speaks to my heart that as we look to the Lord in all situations, we are equipped spiritually to plant the small ordinary common every day seed of hope, love, and joy to a lost world around us. A simple hug, smile, listening ear, encouraging word, or opening a door can be a little seed of God's grace that later may produce an extraordinary harvest.
Bethany and Andrea asked us to ponder the question, “Where is my focus?” Most days we are rushed, hurried, and consumed with our check list. We forget to love the person in front of our faces. What I love about a seed is that it's faithful and reliable in doing what God meant for it to do, when it's sown. A sown seed always produces much fruit in due season. We must trust the seed and the One who makes it grow! Andrea shared that the word "look" in Psalm 34:5 means, "to pay attention, to give regard, to concentrate with a spiritual focus." One of my favorite thoughts from the podcast was shared by Andrea. Our quiet times with the Lord should launch us into our day to help sow seeds that bring God glory so His presence here on earth transforms shame into radiate joy.
The take away from the podcast for me was a call to action that prepared me for my Chick-fil-a encounter. When we take spiritual action, we become a doer of the word, so it's not just intellectual knowledge that we are storing up for ourselves, but practical application flowing through our lives. The advantage of looking to Jesus is true peace. As we look to Him, we radiate light and become a picture of the plan of God. Daily we can step into the light, and not be stuck in fear. God gives us courage to move forward despite our past. Let's be people who point others to Jesus, instilling hope. Let's walk in the fullness of God, taking our eyes off ourselves and our circumstances!
You will be challenged to GO, as you listen to Bethany and Andrea in this podcast. Learning how to turn from yourself and look to God in order to put off shame and radiate His joy!
True Vine Ministry Blogger