October 22 – Living From Hand to Mouth

From the fruit of his words a man shall be satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hands shall come back to him [as a harvest]. Proverbs 12:14 AMP

Old Zan and I quickly became friends. Every couple of months or so he would come by the church hustling a “few dollars.” Most of the time we would give him enough to stay out of too much trouble and send him on his way.

But one day, I decided to bring him in my office and learn a little bit of his story. I was serving a church in Oklahoma City at the time as an Administrative Pastor and I was located in one of the poorest neighborhoods in town. Zan was one of many recipients who frequented the doors of that church in need of basic food, clothing, and shelter.

What I learned that day changed my perspective on the poor. For all practical purposes, on the surface, Zan appeared pretty needy. But in all actuality, through his disability check and other benefits he received from his military service days, we were clearing about the same amount. That was a wake-up call for sure.

So why was I working at the church while he was begging from the church? Why was my money feeding and clothing seven people at that time and he wasn’t even covering himself? It was because my friend was a broken man on the inside. I don’t know if there were issues before his accident in the service, but in an effort to heal up, addiction to the meds set in and never let him go.

At the time, that was all new to me. But any more, Zan’s story is commonplace. Though he never let me in deep enough to help with the real “monster,” he did hang around long enough to change some of his conversation about himself and his attitude about using his hands constructively…even if he couldn’t do what he used to could do before he got hurt.

In this life, things happen and sometimes they are life-altering and unfortunate. But today’s Proverb assures that if we will find ourselves saying the right things with our mouths, doing the right things with our hands will happen. And we will look up from the ashes and see a harvest of good things all around us.

September 29 – You’re So Bad

Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.  Proverbs 8:6,7 KJV

I was a new momma, feeding my baby in our church’s “cry room” at the back of the sanctuary.  Being the serious and practical girl that I am, I was learning something every day about my new special position.  (i.e. I was only 22 years old and I didn’t know a darn thing about it.)

That morning, a little two year-old boy suddenly shot in the door dragging an exhausted and disheveled momma behind him.  As I mentioned, I knew I didn’t know much, so I just watched the drama unfold and promised myself I could gain a little wisdom.

As the frantic momma tried to get a handful of the little guy’s shirt, he continued to elude her and run as fast as he could all over the small room.  Up on the couch, right by baby Hannah’s head, over the top of the couch, underneath the changing table, you get the idea.  And here’s what she did.  Over and over.  She kept saying, “You’re so bad! Do you hear me little boy? You’re so bad, so bad!”

Yep, I was learning, and fast.  Because it occurred to me that morning, as it was happening right before my eyes, that frantic momma was a prophet.  Now I’m not trying to spiritualize this; I do mean it in a most literal sense.  Essentially, she was “getting” what she was “saying.”

It was such a cool thing that God allowed me to see and ponder such a moment before my first little one could even walk.  And thankfully I happened to “happen” upon a scripture not long after that confirmed my deductions. Check out Genesis 17 and Romans 4. These scriptures tell the account of God calling Abraham “father of many nations” when, you guessed it, he had no children!

Even if it took awhile for God to orchestrate the birth of Isaac (along with some detours on Abraham and Sarah’s parts), what God said DID come to pass.  Whoohoo!!

There’s a lot of reasons to be very excited about this. Though at times it can be difficult, our tongue is most definitely something we can control. There is joy in realizing we can say something good and the harvest of our words should be a lot better to stomach.

As a side note, don’t be deceived into thinking I’ve got this “glass half full” concept under wraps.  On the contrary, it’s still one of my biggest challenges.  But let’s just say this: When I mess up and say something I really don’t mean or really don’t want, getting back up again is my only option.

(So, I do take this mighty seriously. If you hear me saying to our babes “you’re so good,” even if they appear to be giving me a run for my money at the time, now you know the rest of the story!)

Jennifer 🙂