All Washed Up

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When we pulled into the truck wash, a group of tattooed, bandana toting, life-lived-hard men descended on our truck and travel trailer. Brushes in hand, they worked vigorously, scrubbing every inch of its surface. Water sprayed, soapy bubbles cleaned, and the mud ran off. They made quick work of the dirty job.

It’s good to start out clean, don’t ya think? We are off on an adventure of uncharted waters. Newly retired, my husband and I are going to start with a bit of wandering across the countryside seeing things we have never seen. Perhaps it’s a bit symbolic to start this new phase of our lives clean, shedding of the layers of the old life’s demands that don’t belong on this journey.

This reminds of another fresh start,

a new beginning that would change my life forever. I decided to ask Jesus to save me from my sin. My initial decision, if the truth be known, was made because I recognized if hell was real, I didn’t want to go there. It was a start that allowed me to travel into a new life that would take me places I never imagined.

One thing that is not lost on me is the fact that there were a bunch of people in my life with scrub brushes in their hands. I know that it is Jesus who provided the forgiveness of my sins by His death and resurrection, but there were many who prayed, encouraged, and taught me along the way. They had hard-life experience and knew how to lead a wayward, teenaged girl to Jesus. I thank God that they did.

There is a story in the Bible in Mark 2 . . .

about some friends who would not let their friend go on with his usual life. You see, he was paralyzed and unable to do anything different than live his paralyzed life. The friends were not having it. They knew he needed healing, so they loaded him up on a stretcher and delivered him to Jesus. It was no easy task. Before the night was over, the man’s faithful friends would need to claw their way through a roof to get him face-to-face with Jesus. I imagine their bloody hands and knees were forgotten when their friend was forgiven and healed. It had all been worth the effort.

This story is one I learned in Sunday School as a kid. I have always pictured four friends carrying their buddy off to see Jesus, but the text actually says, “Some men came, bringing to him (Jesus) a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.” This was a lucky man to have friends that cared so much.

If you have been following me on Facebook or Twitter,

you have seen that I have been encouraging people to do something meaningful to change the world. This falls into that category. When was the last time you prayed for a friend to find Jesus? Most of us have a list of those who we know that need to have a face-to-face with Jesus but they are paralyzed and can’t get to Him. Are you willing to risk some bloody hands and knees to change their lives? It was because of the friends’ faith the man was forgiven and ultimately healed. Don’t waste any more time. Get the stretcher and haul your friends to Jesus.

“Some men came, bringing to him (Jesus) a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’”

Mark 2:3-5 NIV


Who do you know of that took the time to bring you to Jesus?

I have a list of the ones I suspect were instrumental in getting me into Jesus’ presence. I have been thanking them when I can for their faithfulness to changing the world for this once rebellious and unruly teenager. If anyone needed a good scrubbing, I did.

Check out this post about the benefits of showing gratitude—Navigating Customs: Give Thanks

 


 

“Therefore, as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in faith, just as you were taught, overflowing with gratitude.” Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

Mission: Love Thy Neighbor

Recently I received an article from a friend. It contained some pictures of place I had been when on a trip to Syria some years ago. The images were before and after shots showing the devastation that had taken place during the conflict there. My heart broke for the people who had lived their lives in these neighborhoods.

Never have I been somewhere that has later been destroyed. My feet had walked the streets that now lay in ruins. I had once bartered with merchants whose shops are now bombed out and empty. I had eaten in these now tumbled down restaurants that were once full of people who were enjoying their evening meals. It had been a safe, peaceful and secure place when I visited.

syria picMy prayers go out to this community. It is natural to feel sad for what has happened in their land, but it was more than that for me. I drank tea with these people and listened to their stories. I was invited into their homes and shared in their family life. That is what sets traveling and mission trips apart. Traveling lets you experience the place with all its sights and sounds, but a mission is altogether different. It allows you to experience the people. And that is exactly what has happened each time I have set out to follow God into places He wants to make a difference.

I found this to be true in Syria and in every other place where He has landed my feet for His purposes. It makes the world smaller as you discover how much alike you are. When you realize how the hopes and dreams of those you come in contact with look a whole lot like your own, compassion begins to build and a connection starts to grow.  One woman I met in Tajikistan said it this way, “We may not know each other’s language, but our hearts will understand one another perfectly.” This has been my experience every time I have said “Yes” to joining God where He is working.

Many of you who are reading this have become part of a mission by either going on a trip yourself or supporting someone with finances and prayers. If you have never participated in any of these things, I encourage you to try one of them soon. Also try seeking out and listening to the stories of people who have traveled on a mission trip. The wealth they will share with you cannot be gained any other way. Compassion is learned from hearing and knowing and experiencing how others live.

Your life will be better for it when you get acquainted with people and communities outside of your own. Knowledge brings understanding. Together with compassion you have very powerful tools in making yourself better at loving your neighbor. Don’t put off this kind of love a moment longer. Join a mission.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,

clothe yourselves with compassion—For the whole law is fulfilled in one word:

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Colossians 3:12; Galatians 5:14


Please take a look at the full article that shows more before and after photos

of the devastation in Syria here.