Monday, May 20, 2013

Psalm 119:105-112 The Lamp

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Psalm 119:105-112  (MSG)
105-112 By your words I can see where I’m going;
they throw a beam of light on my dark path.
I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back
from living by your righteous order.
Everything’s falling apart on me, God;
put me together again with your Word.
Festoon me with your finest sayings, God;
teach me your holy rules.
My life is as close as my own hands,
but I don’t forget what you have revealed.
The wicked do their best to throw me off track,
but I don’t swerve an inch from your course.
I inherited your book on living; it’s mine forever—
what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
I concentrate on doing exactly what you say—
I always have and always will.

By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path. 
When the way seems dark before me I look around to see where is there light. Who is it that brings hope and encouragement. Who see's Gods potential and spark in me. Who affirms the calling of God on my life. I go back to the things that I know to be true. I go back to the word and build upon what I know to be true. Sometimes we need to wait for the fog to clear and the sun to rise with healing in its wings. The fog lifts and I can look around and realize I thought I was lost but I am still moving towards Jesus. 

I’ve committed myself and I’ll never turn back from living by your righteous order.
I have committed myself to Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you. I can hold my life up to the lives of others who may appear to me have been more successful with their lives. Then I look at my day yesterday. I had finished the things I needed to do at the church and I had not decided if I would go home or stay and help with the homeless feed. So I was kind of waiting to see if I was needed. About that time a friend shows up in my office and says I need your help. This couple who are homeless friends of ours miscarried their baby yesterday. He wanted to see if the church would help put them up for a night in a hotel so they could rest and catch their breath from this loss. I said well lets go and talk to them. So I spent the next 45 minutes talking to them and encouraging. They were not married and were living in the shelters, trying to find work and a place to be able to raise their baby. Everything had been progressing fine as of the last doctor's visit when suddenly they miscarried. The baby was so tiny and the mom got to hold it for a moment before she was told by the medics to place it in a plastic bag. She was horrified that her tiny precious dead infant was tossed like garbage into the ambulance. The next day motivated by their grief and loss they went to church. The first time they had been to church since his mom had died. They shared their story and asked if that church would put them up in a hotel for a night. They were told no you are not married and you are sinners. The man told me he just wanted a safe place to be able to comfort his girlfriend who's whole body ached, who was exhausted from grief. I was able to share their story with our board and we put them up for the night in a near by hotel. I told them one night is not going to get you through the grieving process and I assured them that I and others would walk beside them if they wanted support. I think that sometimes we as Christians get hung up in our religion and self righteous and want to point out the failures in others rather than extend to them grace, love, comfort. They already knew they were sinners a lot in their lives was a mess. He shared that he had been sober for a month now and the he had thought about drinking in light of this tragedy but decided his girlfriend needed him to be strong. Sometimes we think evangelism is getting folks to say a sinners prayer. It is so much more we need to walk with people, making sure they are grounded in the word and supported by a family of believers. It is a process and we may not be able to help everyone but we each could help someone. We are sent out to make disciples not just converts. To disciple someones means walking along side of them. Teaching them what you know. Modeling and mentoring them. Helping them to resist the enemy and to stand firm on the truth of the Word. 

Everything’s falling apart on me, God; put me together again with your Word.
For this grieving couple everything has fallen apart and they need to be put back together with the Word. Maybe your world is falling apart, Jesus desires to put you back together according to his wonderful design. He knew us in the secret place before we were born. He has seen how we have made a mess of things trying to live life on our own terms. I'm sure you can all quote John 3:16 but here is the part that many Christians miss. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. If you have a grieving couple come to you - you should comfort and love them not wag your finger at them and point out what horrible sinners they are. Broken people don't need our condemnation, they need to see God's mercy and love demonstrated in real ways.  Will a hotel room change this couples life. Probably not, but that someone bothered to care for them and love them in their grief and speak hope into their life that might become a turning point in their life. We don't know when God will bring people across our path. There have been plenty of people who have taken advantage of us. Honestly I can't even fault that other church for saying no to them. There have been times in my own compassion fatigue that I am sure I have made some less than gracious calls in dealing with homeless and poor people. ( If you are new to this blog, I work with homeless and poor people through the ministries of our small urban church in Spokane.)

Festoon me with your finest sayings, God; teach me your holy rules.  Some of our finest sayings are "People accepted, lives changed." We accept people where they are but we know that God will begin a transforming work and their lives over time will be changes. We say "love them till they ask you why?" Why would you spend time caring for drunks, addicts, mentally ill, homeless, poor people each week. Let me tell you it is not for the big offerings. Some of the folks that attend my church go out and pan handle so they can be part of the $2.00 a week giving club. We did an offering to help people in other places in the world recently. What was amazing was to see homeless people coming forward to give the change in their pockets to help a child in a foreign land have a chicken or a goat, or a the supplies to plant a family garden. We serve a God who transforms us through His kindness and mercy.

My life is as close as my own hands, but I don’t forget what you have revealed.
The wicked do their best to throw me off track, but I don’t swerve an inch from your course. 
Hold on to the things that God has revealed to you. Hold on to the dreams and the visions, the confirming words. Sometimes we can get so close to what God has for us and then give up and turn back when the finish line was around the next bend. 

I inherited your book on living; it’s mine forever— what a gift! And how happy it makes me!
I concentrate on doing exactly what you say— I always have and always will.
You may not have everything figured out. There may yet be big areas of sin and brokenness in your life but you should celebrate the little victories along the way. If you have had a month with out a drink that is a victory. If you have walked in hope and joy rather than depression and guilt for the week or a month that is a victory. If you are moving towards the things of God even if you are still a mess, at least you are moving in the right direction. Don't loose hope. Keep taking those steps of faith. You may not know everything the bible says but do the stuff that you do know. 

Lord I lift up this homeless couple who has lost their precious baby in miscarriage on Saturday. I pray that your kindness would lead them to want to know you. I pray that they would be loved to wholeness in you and that you would surround them with believers who would believe for God's best in their lives. I pray for people who will help them up when they fall down and encourage them when they are overcoming the old dead life and putting on your new life.  I pray Lord, that you would comfort them both in their grief. That out of this sadness and grief that you would do a incredible transforming work in both of their lives. 

Want to Help?
Here is our church website if you would like to help us minister to homeless and hurting people. I have no idea who is reading and who might be moved to help. It would mean a lot to me if you would put in the memo that you heard about this from Margot's blog. 

• If you would like to help us feed the homeless use the tab that says Streetwise and you will find a link to donate. We feed a hot meal on Sunday afternoons. 

• If you would like to donate to help us as a mission church to minister to the spiritual needs of homeless and very low income people you can use the About tab and give an offering to help the church.  

• If you would like to give to help me keep writing you can use the donate button on the right side of my blog page. I don't get paid for the work with the homeless or the writing that I do. God is my supply. 

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