Tonight was my 8th or 9th trip downtown St. Paul to fellowship with the homeless. I have to say up until tonight my main goal was to try to meet them, pray for them and speak some truth about God into their lives. Over the past weeks the Lord has been gently bringing me into their world one step at a time. I have wanted to get to know them, meet them at their point of need and be an encouragement to them.
This morning I read Matthew 4 and reread a verse that I had memorized a few years ago. The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light. To those living in the shadow of death; a great light has dawned. I have always felt that this verse was about bringing the light of God to the lost. However this morning the Lord brought another verse to my mind; it was in Psalm 23. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil. Throughout the day I have pondered these two verses. I paid particular attention to the verbs, sat, living and walk. I realized that these verses describe people and their walk with or without God.
There are those people sitting in darkness (evil); I believe that these people are believers that are bound to darkness. They are stuck in their sin and aren’t moving at all. Then there are those that are living (dwelling) in darkness (evil); I believe that these are unbelievers that are surrounded and overcome by evil. In Psalm 23 it also uses the verb walk through the valley of the shadow of death which specifies movement and advancement. They are not sitting or living in darkness; nor are they taking up residence and building houses in the darkness; they are on the move.
Then there is the subject of light, those that were sitting in darkness, the Light is seen (like a beacon in a storm). Those living in darkness, the Light dawned (a beginning, an awakening). Psalm 23 describes those that walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It doesn’t say darkness, it says shadow; to me this means that Light (God) is present. Though sometimes our valleys can seem very dim, as believers we know that Jesus has our hand and He is leading us. We may not be able to see what is in front of us, but we know that He (the Light) is bringing us out and we will eventually be on the mountaintop with Him. Praise be to God!
I believe that this is what we are to those living on the streets of St. Paul. We are the Light in the darkness; a great Beacon of Hope. My goal hasn’t changed I still want to meet the people that live on the streets, bring them the Light of the World, the Hope of Salvation and a whole lot of Peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
Tonight I arrived at Breakthrough Ministries at 7:20. I had been praying in the spirit all the way in and thanking God for making my paths straight. My time downtown is so limited 7:20-9:00 on most given nights unless I have Carolyn close the store for me and I get down there by 4:30, which I just love!
John: After I dropped off my clothing donations with Sheri I started to walk around. Looking back, it wasn’t a meander, but a determined walk towards the sidewalk where I came up along side of a man named John. We walked a few steps together as I introduced myself and asked his name. He stopped and smiled and we exchanged a bit of small talk. He had a warm smile and a kind heart and kept mentioning how so many wonderful things had been happening in his life. For example, he was able to get registered with photo ID at the Dorothy Day Center quicker than usual. I mentioned that it was favor from God and he quickly agreed. As I listened to him, his story seemed to unfold before me. He talked of living in Chicago and having only come to St. Paul 8 days ago quite by accident. He had been drinking heavily with some buddies in Chicago and they apparently took a wrong turn and ended up in St. Paul where he was picked up by the police and released without getting a DWI. I mentioned that this was also a blessing and John again agreed. (As he talked I asked God what He wanted me to say to John.)
As we talked I could smell liquor on his breath, but I continued to listen and make a few comments about God’s blessings. He said he was Catholic and I said that I was inter-denominational, as I believed that we are all God’s children. He smiled and liked that idea. I asked him if I could pray for him and he said yes. He took my hand, stepped forward and leaned his head on my right shoulder. At this point I decided to pray for him right there even though the prayer tent was only 15 feet behind me. I prayed a blessing over him and asked for God’s favor in finding a job, among other things. He started to walk away when he turned and started talking about drinking and smoking. So I gave him my testimony about being addicted to alcohol and smoking and God’s divine deliverance from it. He was shocked, stating that I didn’t look like that kind of a person. I asked him if I could pray for him about the alcohol. He lifted up a bag in his hand and said no; he was carrying alcohol and planned on drinking. I told him that I was there every Tuesday night and when he was ready for prayer that I would love to pray for him.
He started to walk away again and I told him that God loved him very much. He said that it”s had to know how much that is. So I told him that if he was the only person that ever existed on this earth that Jesus still would have come to earth and died on the cross for him. That is how much God loved him. He was overwhelmed by that thought. I think that he is going to mull that one over for awhile. He made three big steps towards me, kissed me on the cheek and thanked me before walking away. It was my turn to be shocked.
I pray that God’s angels would continue to minister to him throughout the night and until we meet again. I ask the Holy Spirit to remind him of those words of love and truth that I spoke into his life. And I also ask for the Lord to send divine appointments into his life that would continue to sow, water and fertilize until a great harvest of joy, peace and love flow out of him.
Paula: She walked right up to me and thanked me for praying for her last week. She said that she had already received prayer that afternoon and felt better. She stated that she knew that she needed to start reading the bible. I offered her one that I had in my back seat and she turned me down. I could see a bondage to confusion all over her, but didn’t feel led to pray for her again. She really needs to start reading the Word, as I believe that this will transform her mind. Next week I am going to bring the copy of the Father’s Love Letter that I had printed out last night, but left at work accidently.
Alexander: It was already dark and the tent was coming down when I met Alexander. What a bright light in the darkness he is!! He is homeless and living at the Dorothy Day Center. I really didn’t get to hear any of his story, but I assume that he is from Africa, based on his accent. I asked him if he had come down for dinner and he said no that he came for the church service. We talked back and forth about the Word being the real food that we need and how it sustains us through any drought or famine.
He talked of trying to be an encouragement to those that he meets and of being persecuted and of those that wouldn’t listen to him when He told them about God. I tried to encourage him that the Holy Spirit can use anything he says, and that it wasn’t up to him to change the people. He was doing exactly what God wanted him to do…plant seeds. If they don’t want to receive it, then he should brush the dust from his shoes and go on to the next person. Just bless them and let the Holy Spirit do His job. I told him that he was a bright light and just by showing up with the Light of the World inside of him was enough for the Holy Spirit to use.
He was concerned that he doesn’t always do things right and that he is constantly tempted. He’s struggling not to get wrapped up in the world system, but it’s hard sometimes. I told him not to focus so much on the world, but to keep his focus on Jesus. He seemed to be so hard on himself. I told him that we all fall short of the glory of God. We all have our weaknesses, and that’s where grace comes in. I told him that I could see Jesus in his eyes and that he was a mighty warrior for the Kingdom.
I asked him if he received prayer, and he said no. The prayer tent was gone and there were only 2 other men left, Cooper and his friend Robert. So I thank God for this mighty warrior and prayed a blessing and the blood of Jesus over him & asked for favor. He didn’t seem to want to leave, but wanted to keep talking about God. I knew it was late, so I shook his hand and walked towards the truck.
By this time Pete was surrounded by a few homeless men, both of which I had seen many times, but had not met. I thank God for the honor of being able meet these people, His children, tonight. I thank Him for bringing me into this ministry slowly and teaching me how to minister to them at their point of need. I also thank Him for helping me to listen more closely to what they are saying and waiting for the Holy Spirit to speak. I have been praying so much for the Lord to speak through me. I don’t want to express my opinions or earthly advice. I just want to be a friend to them that can speak truth, love and encouragement from God into their lives.