Put on Your Sunday Clothes

Mighty to Save video

Isaiah 61:10 – 12

10 I delight greatly in the LORD;
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
11 For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations.

The first medical clinic day was in a remote mountain village.  Remote being a vertical term.  The drive took well over 2 hours, but we traveled less than 40 miles over roads that at times were not even trails.  How the driver knew where to go I will never know.  This was a village that had seen few if any white people.

The first thing I noticed was their clothing.  These people showed up in their very best clothing to stand in line all day to speak to someone about their physical needs.  All of the women wore traditional Mayan garments of hand-woven skirts and hand embroidered blouses.  Even the old women had their hair braided with colorful ribbons.  What were we wearing?  Jeans, t-shirts, sweats.  I wonder what they thought about our clothing?  I wondered then at the level of respect and honor they showed us that we did not show them.  I hadn’t even brought nice clothes along.  I felt so humbled by their attire and what it represented.  I’ve rarely ever seen such beautiful craftsmanship.

Breaking the ice with this village was a bit more difficult than it had been at the village where we’d built the houses.  These villagers had no reason to trust us beyond the words spoken to them by the native employees of the mission base.  It didn’t take too long to coax the children into games of catch, jump rope, frisbee, coloring and nail polish.  I had taken along some yarn and a crochet hook and decided to see what would happen if I sat down and started to crochet.  A simple rosette bracelet took about 5 minutes to work up.  After I got started a couple of grandmas came over to see what I was up to.  When I gave the first one away to one of them I was soon flocked with mammas, grandmas and girls who wanted a bracelet.  I kept working on them until it got too dark to see.  As I was sitting there surrounded by women in beautiful hand crafted clothes, children laughing and chasing the members of the team, Guatemalan men standing around keeping a watchful yet entertained eye on their family members and the beauty of the Guatemalan mountains around us… I couldn’t stop thinking about my grandmother.  Grandma taught me how to crochet when I was 9-years-old.  I wonder if she ever dreamed that I would be sitting in a tiny Guatemalan village crocheting rosette bracelets to show a bit of Jesus’ love.  I doubt it, but I’m sure she was smiling that day!

After the sun went down the movie came out.  The Jesus movie.  For many of them this was the first time they’d ever seen a movie at all.  After the movie Hermanos Jesus got up to preach about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We didn’t need to understand his words to be touched by his passion for his Savior.  When he gave out the opportunity for Salvation, nearly the entire village came forward to receive this priceless gift.  The energy in that small one room school was even more overwhelming than it had been at the home dedications.  The lights seemed to glow brighter, the tears that gathered in every eye glimmered with the hope of the cross.  Hugs and prayers and smiles and joy.  The mission director told us later that one of them came to him and requested more leadership and discipleship.  God is so amazing.

To Be Continued………

Hello, my name is………

He Knows My Name video

Isaiah 61:7

7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.

Today I’m going to back up a bit and fill in some of the details.  Details with names like Heidi, Linda, Henry, Willy, Yenifer, Elder, and Dolce Maria.  Details with smiles, tears, giggles and hands.  Lots of hands.  Hands reaching and holding, leading and helping, praying and preparing.  Hands with arms that hug and hold on.

Heidi is a beautiful 17-year-old wife and mama.  Her 14-month-old son Austin is an adorable little chubba with soft black curls.  The team that Noah and I were on built the home for Heidi and her husband Anabel and their son.  Heidi was somewhat shy, but determined to help out however she could with her new home.  She was often working with one hand while holding Austin on her hip.  Heidi’s joy and gentle pride in her new home was far greater than my joy in my new home.  We were blessed and privileged to be a part of their lives and kneel with them as the committed their lives to Jesus Christ in a moment so powerful that I cannot even begin to find the words for it.  Heidi was as much a gift to us as we were to her.

You can see a picture of Heidi, Anabel and Austin in yesterday’s post.

Linda is my little scarf.  Her favorite place was in my arms with her arms wrapped around my neck and her head on my shoulder.  Her sweet whispers for “dolce” or sweets were more often rewarded with a kiss on her cheek than actual candy.  Mostly because as soon as one child had a piece of candy you were swarmed by the rest of the children in the village and the candy was soon gone.  We each had one or two children who we became attached to emotionally.  Linda was mine.  She would come take my hand, regardless of what I was doing, and pull me somewhere in the village to show me what I could not understand.  The love and trust that Linda poured into me during those few days were a gift beyond measure.  Linda’s family had already received their house and they never missed a discipleship meeting.  When we gathered around to pray for the houses little Linda was right beside me with her hands on the houses as well.  A tiny little wisp of a girl with more power in her simple prayers than the rest of us put together.

Henry, oh Henry!  Henry is a deaf and mute little boy that the mission nurse has unofficially adopted.  He was cast aside by the village and Erin was told not to bother with him because he was nothing.  Erin is now referred to as his “white mama”.  For someone who can’t speak, Henry made sure that he was well known by all of us.  He has no trouble communicating what he wants.  Henry loves to draw.  He will cover every tiny space on the small pieces of paper he can find with pictures and tug at your hand to show you his artistry.  I would not be surprised at all if I see Henry’s artwork on display in museums one day.  He is quite a gifted artist.

Willy is an adorable little boy with a huge smile and ginormous sweet tooth.  I don’t really know any details about Willy’s life, I just know Willy.  Everyone knew Willy and Willy made sure that he made each of us smile.  Willy was Noah’s favorite while we were there.  He loved playing with Willy.

Yenifer is absolutely beautiful!  She is maybe three years old at most.  Beautiful eyes the color of chocolate pudding.  A smile that would light up your soul.  Soft black hair that always seemed to be attempting to caress her kissable cheeks.  The first two days anyone could pick Yenifer up and carry her around.  She giggled and hugged freely.  The third day Yenifer was fine as long as none of us picked her up.  As soon as one of us tried she would start to cry very loudly.  The common remark when holding Yenifer was that we all wanted to take her home with us.  Somehow that remark had been translated to Yenifer and she was suddenly terrified that we were going to take her away from her family.  We all felt terrible.  She had been so full of joy until she felt threatened.  These children were all full of joy at the simplest things that we never think twice about.   Seeing themselves on our cameras was something they never tired of.   If we had been able to bring them home with us we would destroy them.  In our desire to give them the world we would remove from them their contagious joy and replace it with the same restless boredom that our own children have.  Thank God we could not bring Yenfier home with us.  Her light needs to shine!

Elder is a 19-year-old young man who should be strong and vibrant.  His body has been so invaded by the parasites present in the water supply that his kidneys are shutting down and he can no longer even walk.  Elder’s family was one of the four families that our teams built houses for.   For Elder this new home was amazing.  He could now see during the daylight hours and there would be the possibility of a cross breeze to cool his feverish body with the window and door on their new house.  There was a tangible energy surrounding the house when the team was inside as the Gospel was presented, almost as if the house itself were preparing to receive Jesus Christ.  The team members who were in with the family had tears in their eyes as they described Elder’s hands reaching for heaven to receive the love of the Savior.  This was the final dedication of homes and at the end we all packed in to the room as much as we could to pray for Elder and his family, all of them now our family as well; adopted children of the one true God.

Dolce Maria….. Sweet Marie.  While we were in Guatemala the orphanage that is attached to the mission base received a new guest in the form of a 2 week old premie baby girl.  I’ve seen baby dolls that were bigger than Dolce.  If she had been born in the U.S. she would still be in an incubator in a hospital until she weighed enough to bring her home.  This sweet baby is blessed beyond what she will ever know.  She is in the care of loving, committed Christians who will raise her in a veritable castle.  The conditions at the base are so far beyond what she would have experienced had she not been brought here.  Holding the little peanut was a nightly competition. 🙂

These are but a few of the “details” of the trip.  I cannot sufficiently express the gifts I received …. in the details.

To Be Continued…….

Restoring Places Long Devastated

Until the Whole World Hears

March 6, 2012

Daily Devotions written by Shelley Brandon, Grief and Encouragement Coach

Isaiah 61: 4 – 6

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,
and in their riches you will boast.

The village that we worked in building houses is situated on land that was once a thriving but now abandoned plantation.  Few of the original concrete buildings remain.  Anyone who had been fortunate enough to claim one was blessed indeed.  Most of the dwellings were mere shanties thrown together with rusted scrap metal.  No light, no window, a blanket for a door, dirt the only floor.  The floors were swept every morning by women who carefully tended their meager homes, grateful for some type of shelter from the elements.

The homes that we built for them were smaller than my bedroom.  One 8’x10’ room with one window, a plastic skylight in the center of the metal roof, a real metal door, cement floor, dry-walled inside and cement board with stucco on the outside made a home.  A metal awning in front for a covered porch nearly doubled the living space.  Most of their days are spent outdoors and this awning provided both shelter and shade.  This modest building was more than most of these families has ever known.  The simple gifts we brought along for the families were for them more extravagant and overwhelming than any Christmas I’ve ever experienced.  Tears of gratitude and joy filled their eyes as their new homes were dedicated to them.  Tears of overwhelming humility filled ours.

As each home was dedicated, the team that built the dwelling went inside with the family, the mission directors and a Guatemalan Pastor named Hermanos Jesus (does it get any cooler than that???  Sir Jesus!)  The other teams surrounded the house in a human chain of prayer.  As Hermanos Jesus presented each family with the Gospel of Jesus we all prayed for the Holy Spirit to break through the bond of Mayan religion that had been co-mingled with Catholicism into a warped and twisted belief system that had glass-topped coffins in the churches with a wax Jesus inside.  In two of the houses that bond was broken!! In another it was cracked as the mother committed her life to Jesus in spite of the controlling fear that had been instilled into her children by her absent husband. The fourth family was not yet ready to make the commitment, but did not outright reject our Savior asking that the evangelism team come back to talk with them more.  This evangelism team held discipleship meetings in the village every week.  They would not be forgotten.

We weren’t prepared for the spiritual battle that we’d been warned about.  Everything from the noise of the village children, dogs fighting with each other near us that had been napping together earlier, loud music from somewhere that had not been heard all week, a Pepsi truck driving back and forth on the narrow dirt road trying to sell his sodas to the villagers and some guy with a P.A. system on his truck verbally running his own commercial for whatever it was that he was trying to sell.  Anything that could distract us from our prayer vigil was used against us, even the weather.  The only rain we encountered all week fell in those few hours.  Our mission for the eternal destination of the wonderful people was under attack.  When the distractions became too much, we sang.  Any song we could remember the words to we sang, from Jesus Loves Me to Revelation Song.  I have never been so spiritually exhausted as I was when we were finished but I have never been so content in the moment either.

To Be Continued…….Image

Now You go….

March 5, 2012

Devotions written by Shelley Brandon, Grief and Encouragement Coach

Isaiah 61

The Year of the LORD’s Favor

Moses with Radiant Face (1638 painting by José...
Image via Wikipedia

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me

to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;
they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations.
5 Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.
6 And you will be called priests of the LORD,
you will be named ministers of our God.
You will feed on the wealth of nations,

and in their riches you will boast.

Every night in Guatemala, after we ate and cleaned up, we had a time of praise & worship and devotions.  In the mornings before we left we were each to spend time alone with God.  It was during the personal time with God that my eyes were brought to Isaiah 61.  I was floored by the first verses and continued to feel my jaw sagging to my feet as I continued to read the entire chapter.  This was my personal devotion during the whole trip and it will be my focus this week as well.

The first verse brought to mind Moses when he was talking to God through the combustible bush, I could almost hear Him whispering to me, “I have heard the cries of my people in Guatemala and I’ve come down to help them….. now you go and do my work.”  I felt so inadequate and small compared to the enormity of the needs there.  I’m sure Moses felt like he was ready to conquer the world and shouted out, “CHARGE!” Or not.  I heard Ken Davis say once that the part of Moses should have been played by Martin Short.  If that’s the case then I’ve got to be the I Love Lucy version, “Whaaaaaaaaaa!”

At the same time I was also very hopeful and felt the stirrings of something I’d not felt in a long time.  Life.  In the hours spent in the sun, at the base of an active volcano called “Fuego” or fire, I felt life in my achy, sweaty, dirty veins.  I’m sadly overweight and prone to migraines, but each day I knew that I had a purpose.

And I was not alone.  For the first time in more than two years I was surrounded by new friends every moment of every day.  Community.  We were not created for isolation.  In the villages I found a new meaning to community.  These beautiful people had more community than I’ve ever known.  It wasn’t just a matter of meeting with your neighbors for coffee; it was so much more than that.  They were dependent on each other for the very necessities of life.  I’ve never personally experienced that level of poverty and I’ve never been blessed with level of joy.

To Be Continued…….

It’s All In The Attitude

Philippians 2:13-17 New International Version (NIV)

13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 14 Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.”[a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you.

I love the book of Philippians. It’s so full of positive attitude. Depending on the version you have the words “joy” and “rejoice” are mentioned about 10 times in Philippians, a book with only 4 short chapters. It is also the home of the “whatever’s”.

Philippians 4:8


Image by bridget_willard via Flickr

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

It is the former verses that hit home today however. “Do everything without grumbling or arguing”. I want to quote this verse to my son, like constantly. I think it would be more productive if I modeled this verse to him instead. Lately I’ve been a grumbler. My energy level is down to zero. I don’t want to do anything. My attitude is….”who will care anyway?”

Who will care? God cares. He cares if I give in to the desire to sleep all day long. He cares if I make a promise and then decide that keeping it isn’t important. He cares about all of it because He cares about me. It’s not so much the condition of my floors that concern God as it is the attitude of obedience and gratitude.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing”. Everything? Yes, everything! But there is so much to do, I don’t know where to start. Where do I start? It doesn’t matter where you start…. Just start. Complete something, gives thanks for the energy that you had to finish it and move to the next thing. Pray for the energy to complete that next thing and when it’s finished give thanks again. Everything we need can be found in Jesus. Jesus can give us the drive to carry on. Do everything without grumbling or arguing…. Even to yourself. Don’t grumble, pray. And then change your “whatever’s” to the “whatever’s” listed in Philippians. It’s a short book, give it a look and start your days with an attitude boost.

Open The Eyes of My Heart sung by 10-year-old Autistic, deaf boy.

What do you do with your old clothes?

Clothing in history
Image via Wikipedia

Galatians 3:25-29 The Message (MSG)

But now you have arrived at your destination: By faith in Christ you are in direct relationship with God. Your baptism in Christ was not just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe—Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s original promise. In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham‘s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.

Who doesn’t love getting new clothes? I love clothes. I love shopping the outlet pages of my favorite catalogs on line. I love when the new clothes arrive. I love digging them out of the box, taking them out of the plastic bag and trying them on. Sometimes I’m thrilled with the fit and look of the new clothes. Other times I’m not so thrilled. The anticipation of the new garment did not get validated in the way the garment looked on me. This is not the garments fault of course, it’s me. My anticipation of how wonderful the garment would look on me was not realistic. Even if the garment fits perfectly and I enjoy wearing it, the excitement doesn’t last. The garment isn’t new for very long. My closet is a living testimony to my search for something new to wear that will stay new and exciting to wear. How easy it is for me to walk into my closet, look at the clothes and think…. “I’ve got nothing to wear”.

We try to do this with our faith too. We search for the right song, the right verse, the right moment to hang onto , pouring our religion into that song or verse or moment. “This is what it’s all about!” But soon the song becomes boring, the verse becomes mundane and the moments fade. We look around our “closet” and think, “I’ve got nothing to wear”. So we search again. I love this version of the Bible; I love the expressive-ness of it. “Your baptism in Christ was no just washing you up for a fresh start. It also involved dressing you in an adult faith wardrobe.” I would venture to guess that the majority of us don’t have a clue to what an adult faith wardrobe is. We won’t find it in any outlet catalog. As much as music is soothing and inspiring, we won’t find this wardrobe on YouTube either. The only place this wardrobe can be found is in the Bible. It’s not just a couple of verses that clothe us in the adult faith wardrobe, it’s the entire Bible. That is where we will find Christ’s life, the fulfillment of God’s promises to us. The next time you feel like you’ve got nothing to wear, open God’s Word instead of the latest catalog. It’s better for the soul and the budget.

Gracious God, thank you for our ability to clothe ourselves in Jesus!  Remind us daily that the only garment that makes a difference is salvation.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Been Through the Water ~ Kyle Matthews

Jesus Came For The World

Corcovado jesus
Image by @Doug88888 via Flickr

2 Corinthians 5:18-21 (MSG)

16-20Because of this decision we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong, as you know. We certainly don’t look at him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons! Look at it! All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ‘s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

21How? you ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.

Matthew 28:16-20 (NIV)

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Jesus Christ is the Savior.  Not just my savior, not just your savior.  He is the world’s Savior!  This song is the most expressive visual of that fact than any I’ve ever heard or seen.  It’s a fairly familiar song, but don’t pass by this version of it.

Not much else to say…..   🙂Revelation Song

Stop, Look, and Rejoice in the Day

Psalm 118:1,5-9, 22-29

1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

5 In my distress I prayed to the Lord,
and the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?
7 Yes, the Lord is for me; he will help me.
I will look in triumph at those who hate me.
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in people.
9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in princes.

22 The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing,
and it is wonderful to see.
24 This is the day the Lord has made.
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
 25 Please, Lord, please save us.
Please, Lord, please give us success.
26 Bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God, shining upon us.
Take the sacrifice and bind it with cords on the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise you!
You are my God, and I will exalt you!

29 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.


Yesterday morning was one of those mornings when all I could do was marvel at God’s day as it was unfolding before me.  I was driving to see my bestest of all best buds.  The drive takes about 20 minutes.  This was a crisp January morning; cold but strangely void of snow.  The sleeping countryside shimmered beneath a fresh veil of morning frost.  A full moon was still suspended in the early morning sky, shining brighter as the sun approached the eastern horizon, reluctant to relinquish her hold on the night.  As the morning dawn began to give way to sunlight I could see a light fog hugging the curves of the landscape dancing with the low clouds of smoke drifting about from the wood furnaces hard at work in the farm houses I passed.  With each moment the sun advanced turning the sky everywhere that beautiful pale blue and soft blush pink that beckons us to start the day.  Still the moon shone brightly, clinging to western horizon, just above the tree line.  The country highway I drove was a quiet one so I was able to drive slower than I usually would to soak in as much of this beauty as I could, knowing this gift would soon disappear as the minute hand marched forward into the day.  Even the cows lazing about seemed a lovely gift on this morning, almost as if they were encouraging me to slow down and fill my soul with this incredible morning.

This is the day that the Lord has made.  I’m afraid to say that I don’t normally take the time to enjoy the beauty of the Michigan countryside surrounding the tiny town that I live in.  I’m always much too busy with the busyness of doing nothing it seems, to even notice the beauty in the places I take for granted.  I’m so very grateful that I did not do that yesterday.  The memory of that beautiful morning hangs in the art gallery of my mind as an exceptionally precious gift.

This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it!!!


His Love Endures Forever ~ Chris Tomlin

Who can take it along?

“[Treasures in Heaven] “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NIV

Treasures on earth.  Big house(s), big shiny cars, lots of “stuff”.  Earthly comforts that we as members of the “civilized” world feel entitled to.  We strive for it from the day we get our first paycheck.  Television shows about constant remodeling and upgrading certainly don’t help me in this area.

My parents were raised in the depression era.  They are very frugal and as a result are now quite comfortably retired.  Growing up though, I saw this as a major drawback.  Having been told by some girls during my Jr. High years that I could no longer be friends with them because my family didn’t have enough money didn’t help that.  I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to prove them wrong.  Child-ish I know, but it’s still there buried in my accumulated pain.

My husband’s family lived very modestly as well.  They lacked for nothing overall, but he could still feel that tug to have more.  He spent his life being an over-achiever to reach his target of more.

When you combine these two personalities you come up with a “More Mentality” out of control.  We had the big vacation home in AZ, we had two shiny (used) Jaguar cars.  We always planned for bigger and better, regardless of the debt.  Just weeks before Larry was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, we’d been strategizing ways to get “enough” for him to be able to retire early.   We could always justify our extravagance by our giving.  We weren’t stingy with the money God had blessed us with, so surely God must want us to have all of this, right?

That all changed so quickly.  One day life was going on as normal.  The next day our world fell apart.  All of our “more” meant nothing.  There was no way that our vacation home could make the cancer go away.  The cars became nothing more than a way to get to daily radiation treatments.  All of the money quickly flew out the window.  We discovered very quickly that all of these earthly treasures were useless.  The only treasure we had in the end was our relationship with Jesus.  For Larry, this relationship was everything!  For me, it was my sole source of comfort.

People remember Larry for many different things, but they all remember his extraordinary faith.

Where are your treasures?

Lose My Soul ~ Toby Mac

You want me to go where???

Isaiah 6

Isaiah’s Commission

 1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3And they were calling to one another:

   “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty;
   the whole earth is full of his glory.”

 4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

 5 “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.”

 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

 8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

   And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”Isaiah 6

How easy would it be for us to say, “Here I am Lord, send me!”, when faced with magnificence that Isaiah saw in his vision?  I think I would be much like Arnold Horschach from Welcome Back Kotter.   “OOH, OOH, OOH!  I’ll go, I’ll do it! Send me!!!”  Just the thought of such holiness brings waves of longing and contentedness and wonder.  Looking around at the broken world around us, who among us wouldn’t desire to gaze on the glory of the Lord?

And yet it is this broken world around us that claims the gaze of God.  It is this world that He desires us to go out into on His behalf, shining His radiance to the ones He loves.  But whom is it that God loves?  Whom are we to love on His behalf.  Surely not the homeless man who sleeps in the trees at the park each night and searches for pop cans during the day to buy enough alcohol to keep him numb during the long frigid winter nights.  God would not want us to love the young woman who walks the streets looking for her next “job”, oblivious to her beauty and worth in the Lord’s sight.  Would He really ask us to help the fatherless boy who walks alone, head down and paints incredible works of art on the side of the buildings while his mom works three jobs.  His artwork is just graffiti after all, not potential.

We can come up with a million reasons why we should just stay to ourselves.  Money, time, safety, “that job belongs to someone else, God didn’t wire me that way.”  “I’m too shy, I wouldn’t know what to say.”  Yes, these are my reasons.  It’s so easy to say, “God, send me!”, and yet when He says GO, I say, “Ummmmmmmm, I didn’t really mean that exactly Lord, could you just send me somewhere else?  Maybe somewhere not quite so …  real.  OK?”  But where we live is real.

Start with a smile.  Progress to a “Hello”.  Maybe even, “How are you?” and then wait for a real answer.  Pray for them, then ask to pray with them.  Pack a lunch for the homeless guy.  Look the young woman in the eyes and smile.  Show her that you truly see her.  Maybe bring the young man some paints and paper.  Service to God doesn’t have to be hard.  It doesn’t take much to show people that you care about them.

Heavenly Father, we long to see your glory.  Remind us that we do see you everywhere we are, everywhere we look.  We see you in the world that Jesus came to serve.  Help us to see that the places Jesus walked are the same places we are to walk.  Among the broken, the poor, the hopeless.  It’s grungy work, but we are grungy people too.  Our mission is here and now.  Forgive us Lord, for wanting to walk away instead of walk toward your world.  In Jesus’ name, Amen

Mercy in Me