Monday, August 18, 2014


It is getting harder and harder these days to write something positive in my thrice-weekly stories. On the news I see depressing story after depressing story about the economy, unrest in Missouri over a police shooting, ISIS beheading my Christian brothers & sisters in Iraq while our president vacations and plays golf in Martha's Vineyard. This is a very frustrating time to be a follower of Jesus Christ.

When people talk to me about the things they see happening in this world and I hear about all the frustration they are feeling, I usually try to comfort them by telling them that "God is still on His throne. He is still in control" but that is proving to be a hard sell these days. This world we live in can be VERY frustrating. So how do I myself stay positive amidst all the negativity? That's easy. I remember The Cross and I volunteer at Ruby's Pantry.

I have been blessed to have been given the task of pre-registering our guests. I literally get to meet EVERYONE who walks through the doors to receive food at Ruby's. I'd like to tell you two short stories about two of the many positive people I have met at Ruby's Pantry in hopes that you too might become encouraged by their example.

The first such example I will call Joe. Joe looks to be in his 40's, a veteran I assume. He is a very positive person - always smiling and joking with everyone. We always greet each other with a smile and a hug. This past Saturday I saw Joe coming towards be and I stuck out my hand to shake his, but I missed the mark slightly and ended up grabbing his thumb. We shook anyway and I said, "Let's try that again. I missed your hand."

So we shook hands again and he said, "That's okay. There are times I miss my hand too." We both laughed. You see, Joe has no left arm. He has every right to be negative with the situation this world has placed him in yet he smiles widely and is always there at Ruby's to serve others. He is a very positive guy and encourages others by his example. And here's the key . . . he LOVES Jesus.

The second example I have for you about being positive in a negative world is my friend Jane. At least that's what I am calling her in this story. Jane stands out in a crowd because of her bubbly personality. She is always smiling and joking with others. Whenever we see each other we always give each other a rather long, extended hug and this week I gave her a kiss on the cheek. There is real love in our relationship. Not as the world loves. It is the love of Christ. One could say that Jane's love for others is as plain as the nose on her face. Except my friend doesn't have a nose. Doctors are rebuilding it. She has every right to be negative about the things that have happened to her, to hold her own pity party, yet she remains positive. Why? Perhaps this next example will explain.

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
- Romans 5:1-8

Jesus is our hope. Through His death on the cross with see what rightly awaits us all - death, punishment for our sins. Our only hope for life comes by placing our faith in Jesus. In His resurrection we find that hope. Knowing that Jesus defeated death and having heard His promise to us of eternal life through our faith in Him, how can we not rejoice in our hardships and through our pain? We live in Christ!

These bodies we have now. They will pass away. And we will be given new ones.

"For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home (our bodies) is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3 if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4 For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened - not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

6 So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8 Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him."
- 2 Corinthians 5:1-9

I look forward to the day I will see these two friends of mine in heaven. Somehow I think I will recognize then when we give each other hugs . . . all of us in our new bodies. And we all will praise God for His gifts of love that brought us together as brothers and sisters.

[Shortly after writing this story I can across a message by John MacArthur. It's about reconciliation. It's 30 minutes long but well worth your time. Please watch it and be blessed. Thank you.]

The Reconciling Gospel - John MacArthur

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