Thursday, January 21, 2016

Love Never Fails

Serving the Homeless is sometimes fun, sometimes difficult, and sometimes hard to walk away from. Not all homeless want help. Ministries all want to help those who want help. Here in Japan, I have found three men that are on their own and really like it that way even when the temps dip below freezing. I can see their hands with the borderline frostbite. They say they are fine, They say they don't need anything, They say..."No thank you." So a few months ago I was thinking of cutting my losses and jumping ship. Go and find some new homeless who want help and who need ministering so I began to pray about this. Then in our Wednesday night Bible study we are currently in the book of  Numbers. In Chapter 14: The Israelites were stubborn people and fearful and didn't trust God. They rejected God's plan, God's promise land, God's protection. They wanted to go back to Egypt. Fear blinds us beyond our own ability to reason. So too the homeless fear the future and the discomfort of now is better than facing the unknown. God condemned the 20 somethings and above to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. It was their choice. They even said in their complaining "If we had only died in the wilderness it would have been better." So God gave them their hearts desire.
     Then we have Chapter 15, the Israelites are down, they are on death row, they are realizing they missed the opportunity.
 But God in his grace says, "I want you to remember when you do come into the Land I am giving you don't forget to offer up sacrifices of thanksgiving. That is God's grace. He is with them for the long run. But they rejected him. God in his grace is still supplying manna and water and meat. Their clothes are not wearing out. The pillar of cloud by day and fire by night is still there. Life will continue. It is amazing how blessed these people were by God. So as a ministry how can I give up on those whom God has called me to serve? They are his and
So as I minister to these men. I am not going to give up on them until 1. The Lord clearly says to. 2. They ask me to leave them alone. or 3. I die. The hard thing that is coming will be when I have different homeless who want help. I'll be tempted to go where the work is. God did not forget the Israelites and may he help me to not give up on these guys. I've shared the gospel we've read the scripture together for two years. They are more educated about the Bible than 98% of the rest of the population of Japan. I'm serious. Most Japanese people have never read the Bible. Most even own one but they have never read it cover to cover. Sad part is many evangelical pastors haven't done it either. Serving the homeless is not a right, or a call, but it is a ministry I am privileged to do. God calls someone to serve Him. I say yes sir how can I serve you? He puts a desire in my heart to go and love on these guys. I bought this man $40.00 boots last year. He hawked them for food. I'm not mad I love him. I can only come one day a week. We offer them winter clothes they take what they need. I don't get upset because they reject what I offer. I offer him help to get out of this situation but he's not ready. He is fearful. The Israelites were fearful. They rejected what God had to offer. He didn't give up but still even to this day pursue them with a love that hasn't changed on iota.  Paul says it is the love of Christ that constrains us. God has given me a heart to stand by and be ready to help when they want it. Love does not: 1Corinthians 13:5-8a "...Love does not behave rudely, love does not seek it's own... Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things. Love never fails."

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