Courage, Life

Taking Jesus literally

Have you ever read one of those books that just gut punches you like Muhammad Ali? It convicts you on the spot. To the point where you put it down and go save the world right then and there. Yeah, this book will do it to you…almost guarantee.

I really struggle with living in America today. This has nothing to do with politics, gun control, women’s rights or anything of the sort so relax. It has to do with being a Christian. Ok so now, if you need to…this would be the time to close out of this post, there’s a lot of Jesus in here!

If you’re still hanging on, you’re probably trying to figure out if my issues are the same as yours. My struggle? Believing the Bible and taking Jesus literally.

My conviction? God put me in this country, during this generation. He put me in a place where we need instant gratification, to turn the TV down so we can hear the video playing on our tablets then texting it to our friends with our newest seventy thousand dollar phone.

We post something online after we’ve researched how to get the most “likes” and “follows” on it. Then, we learn from the responses how to better adjust for next time. People spend money on “courses” and “classes” for this! Whatever…let’s not go down that rabbit hole.

We go to the store and see babies, yes babies, with phones propped up on their strollers or car seats to keep them quiet. Who needs to know how to self soothe now days? Who needs to explore and see the world anyway?

I begin to question God. Why in the world, of all places…am I here? Why this spoiled beyond comprehension country? So oblivious to real life. Totally oblivious to basic human needs like food and clothing.

While grocery shopping last week, I found myself mulling over bread choices. This bread is only $1.19 but this bread, which is on my list, is $3.49. I began thinking that I’m not the one eating the bread in the first place, it’s for the boys lunches. Although, I do want them to have nutritious foods and if I wouldn’t eat it, why would I feed it to them.

Right there.

That’s the moment it all hit me. My family was too good for the dollar bread? My heart turned into a brick. Probably not a yellow one either sent by Glenda the good witch. I felt like a house landed on me. I felt like the Wicked Witch of the East. Caught off guard and emotions flooding. I was a true blue American mom. I hated it. I pulled myself together and threw the dollar bread in my cart.

During this event, I thought of Jesus. I thought of the people He hung around with. I thought of the homeless, the sick, weary, and hungry. I thought of children in Haiti, Kenya, Somalia – I thought of children in the streets downtown. I wondered how they would respond if they saw me saying this bread wasn’t good enough for me.

I wondered how they would have reacted if I had given them some of that bread. Would they have cared that it wasn’t the healthiest? More than likely, they would have thought of it as a treat. As cake bread (way to go America). They would be overjoyed to have something in their bellies. I could literally see their sweet smiles in my mind.

If these precious children would be overjoyed with food, my family should be too.

That’s now how it is though. My family doesn’t know what it’s like to be poor. We don’t know what it’s like to live in poverty, what it means to be really hungry. To not know when we will eat again or where the food is coming from is a struggle we’ve never faced.

We’ve never worn clothes that were painfully too small, shot gunned with holes, or discolored from filth. Our shoes have never fallen apart where our toes peeked out. We’ve never been more than a phone call away from a doctor if we’re sick or in pain.

Our family has never been bored. The toys, books, game devices (manual or systems), tablets, computers, board games, playgrounds have always been abundant. My children wouldn’t know what to do if you gave them an empty can or a bean bag.

Why here Jesus? Why did You put me here and make our family rich? Seriously, in the realm of the world…we’re rich. My husband works as an elementary PE teacher and I stay home so that should give you an idea of how much money we make in a year. Americans definitely wouldn’t consider us rich.

Why am I here in this selfish, all about me and my success part of the world?

If you ask enough and earnestly seek Him, He will answer. Be ready for it though because it might make you uncomfortable.

In this country, we ARE rich.
We do have more than enough food.
We do have enough money.

The biggest part? We are free to worship Him. We don’t have to have underground church. We don’t have to meet in the woods disguising our gatherings as picnics or celebrations. We don’t have to hide. Mums NOT the word.

We can freely praise Him, celebrate Him, tell others about Him without being persecuted. We can openly attend church as frequently as we desire. We can go to any store and purchase a Bible and nobody would bat an eye. Christian book stores are everywhere and literature even floods the internet.

We can even go to BIBLE COLLEGE and Seminary if we choose.

God put me here to soak Him up as much as I can. He put me in this country, during this generation to learn His truth. He put me here to share what I’ve learned and experienced with the world.

People all across the world are persecuted, arrested, beaten, killed for God. People across the world will never hear the name of Jesus or His promise of eternal life. They won’t hear about His forgiveness or His love. Why not? Because there is nobody there to tell them. It’s not allowed. They only know what they’ve been taught and they haven’t been taught about God.

So, God put Christians like you and me here to go.

To love one another (John 13:34-35), to make disciples (Matthew 28:19) – feed the hungry (Matthew 25:35-46), care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27).

Does that mean we have to go to Haiti, Kenya, or Somalia? Maybe not but sponsoring a child doesn’t hurt. Some families average $25 a month to live on in these countries…how much do you make a month?

What else can we do here? We want to make an impact for our Jesus! We want to be obedient, we want to be part of His movement and change the way people look at Christians and the church. We want to do better. We want to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. We want to be true Jesus followers here! We don’t want to just go through the motions any more, we don’t want to be consumed with our overly blessed mundane lives.

We want to take Jesus seriously. When we surrendered our lives to Him, it meant just that! This is HIS life, our lives are to be used for HIS glory and HIS use.

When we meet Him face to face and He ask us why we didn’t do these things for Him, what will we say? Oh well…I was busy living my own life…doing my own thing..sorry about that..I meant to but…

So sweet friends, go buy a dollar loaf of bread, peanut butter and jelly, a bag of apples, a box of clif bars and a bag of paper bags and go make some lunches.

Not ready to do that yet? Look up your local street ministry and see what their needs are. Contact your women’s shelters and see what they are in desperate need of.

Ladies, go to Goodwill – buy some purses, fill them up with tampons, pads, body wash, soap, razors, deodorant, panties, and socks…and give those away.

Take some canned and boxed goods to your local food bank.

Call a school close by and pay off some outstanding lunch debts. While you’re on the phone with them, ask how many students need food in the evenings and weekends – ask how you can donate and become a backpack buddy.

Donate your time! Some schools have programs set up longing for volunteers to mentor students during the day. Maybe you can go eat lunch or play during recess with a sweet kiddo who desperately needs attention.

But here’s the thing…don’t just do it once. Do it often. These problems will never go away. Just because you donated once? Don’t pat yourself on the back, did you even sacrifice? Did you give until it hurt?

Helping the people who Jesus hung out with one time doesn’t mean much because they’ll still continue to hurt and suffer. So can’t we continue to give and donate?

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