Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Angels we have heard on high! Has this ever happened to you?

                        
 

Sometimes we wonder why we have to do something we don't want to do. And then, we find out...

Like the Saturday night I decided to get a haircut. Saturdays are typically ‘date night’ for my husband and me, so it broke routine. But something kept nagging me to get a haircut that day. Finally, late afternoon, I dialed the salon.

“They’re probably closed,” I thought. But the receptionist said they could take me if I came right away….
……………..

Simultaneously, a hefty woman, with unkempt, dark curly hair, stepped outside her tenement, looked to the heavens and heaved a great sigh. She began shifting one foot in front of the other, laboring her way past sub-shops, clothing stores and restaurants. Cars, trucks and buses dashed by, oblivious to the lone, lumbering figure. When she finally stopped to rest at a roadside bench, shoppers zipped by without a smile or kind word.

Odd, what she needed the most surrounded her, but she had no way to get it. She was hungry, but she had no food. There was a grocery, but she had no money. She’d walked a long way from home, but she didn’t have the strength to return.

Finally, dejected and weary, she sat on a bench outside the salon, placed her head in her hands and surrendered to the tears. “Please Jesus,” she prayed, “Please send someone to help me.”

------------------------------

I pulled my van alongside the curb, threw the gearshift in park, exited, and raced inside the salon. In passing, I spotted the woman sitting on the bench, but I dismissed her.

My stylist scrubbed my hair and clipped the strands, rattling incessantly about a recent movie she saw. When I finally left, the first brushes of nighttime blanketed the street.

I fetched my keys and stepped off the curb when someone approached. It was the hefty woman with shabby, dark curly hair.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” she said, stepping into the light. “Can you help me?”

I bristled, but something told me not to fear.

“What do you need?” I asked.

“I don’t have any food,” she said. As she explained her plight, I knew I could help.

“Hop in the car,” I said. “We can go to the grocery store across the street.”

She climbed into my van. 

“I knew God would send someone to help me,” she said. “And when I saw you walking into the hair-cutting place, I knew you were my angel.”

We started talking. She told me she became a Christian as a teen, and that God always met her needs in desperate situations, like this one. She admitted she didn’t really know where she was going when she started walking that evening and I confessed the salon wasn’t my normal Saturday night stop.

As our stories unraveled, I sensed her faith and it seemed a privilege to help her.

Although I’ll probably never see her again, I’ll never forget our encounter, her devotion, and the wonder of a God who brought us together.



Continue to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without even knowing it.  (Hebrews 13:2)


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Go ahead! Give up the sweets for Lent!



Go ahead! Give up the sweets for Lent! 

But just don't stop there...

While fasting is a necessary part of Lent, its not the only component...Lent is a three- legged stool composed of prayer, fasting and almsgiving (performing acts of charity).

1.  So go ahead and fast. Abstain from your favorite foods. Deny yourself.  

Why? Because when you hunger..you can embrace the words of Jesus...Man shall not live on bread alone...but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matt 4:4)...

2.  So...get to know what comes from the mouth of God. Study God's word. Pray.  And pray more. Listen to holy music. Lift your heart and your soul to God...

3.  And give...because when you deny yourself...by fasting, eating lighter meals, giving up the Starbucks coffee, the chocolate shake, the dinner out... you can donate the money you save...or you can volunteer the time you gain...

No matter the amount. Just do it. Give it away. Help someone else.

Abandon yourself. Put others first. Each day. Love...just a little bit more.  

And there you have it. 

Prayer, fasting and almsgiving....the 3 tenets of Lent...all wrapped up into a simple, focused agenda. 


Wishing you a blessed Lent as we prepare to celebrate the greatest mystery of all time...

What about you?  How will you observe Lent? Why?







Monday, February 12, 2018

Ever wonder if anyone is listening when you pray?



My heart is heavy. So many prayer intentions...so many prayer requests...for a family member struggling with cancer...for the family of a young man who died in a car crash this week...for a friend who is unemployed...for a cousin who had surgery...

I'd gathered my rosary beads and headed outside to pray. A gentle breeze welcomed me as the late afternoon sun cast streaks of white clouds against a vibrant blue sky.   

I slipped the beads through my fingers with each Hail Mary. Take care of my friends, I'd pray. We trust in you. You are Lord. 

Around the third decade, I leaned back in my chair and looked up.  

Surprisingly, two white lines had formed a cross against the stark blue sky. At the time, the dimensions and clarity of the cross were perfect! (I wish I hadn't waited so long to snap this picture, as the image already lost some of it's shape in the picture attached here.) 

My heart jumped! It was clearly a cross. Nothing more. Nothing less. It was definitive. It was distinct. There was a cross in the sky.  While I was praying, the clouds had formed a cross in the sky!  

The image, however, brief as it was, sent a clear message. It was, in a sense, an answer to prayer. I knew it was no mistake that I happened to see the fleeting image moments before it disappeared. It had a message to deliver.  

Oh, yes. Up there in the heavenly realms, someone's listening. Our prayers are not in vain.  The Lord hears us when we reach out to him.  We may not understand everything now, but that's okay.  We can trust our Lord. We can lean on him for strength. Our God really is an awesome God. 



Happy Monday!  I hope your week goes well, and thank you for being here! 
Click here for a song! We Are Here For You by Matt Redman.


Announcing....a (soon-to-be) new arrival!! This one's for YOU!

Get ready!!! It's coming soon!!!!  My newest book, My Emmaus Walk through Stormy Waters will soon be available!   Be in...