Tributes 2 Life

Welcome to Tributes2Life:

This site was created because life is a great gift and sometimes we need to be reminded of that.  And sometimes we need extra encouragement or revelation to believe that!  And maybe, just maybe, life has been so hard for you that you need to understand what this life is all about!  The stories posted on this page are from the every day experiences of a street minister.  They are meant to highlight the ways that God is at work in promoting life.  Some stories will show you that He is at work in the small daily things that are too miraculous to be a mere coincidence and some will show He is at work in the weightier matters of life.  This site is also so people will know that life is meant to be an eternal matter.  There is a life that goes beyond the things of this world.  I hope that the stories, that will be continually added to this site, will uplift and encourage and people. I hope they will also answer some questions you may be having and prove to you that God is not absent from us though it may feel that way sometimes.  I also think they will reveal that sometimes we humans reject the message (and messenger) God has sent us and that is why we feel He's abandoned us.  One the second page called Revelations for Life you will find pieces I've written prompted by the Holy Spirit and from reflecting on the Word of God and life circumstances.  That page begins with my own revelation of True Life found in Christ. The Bread of Life page is the beautiful Book of John which is shear perfection in explaining who God is and how much He loves us! The Video for Life page has a short film called A Man Falls Into A Hole and I find this to be the most inspirational and beautiful video I have ever seen so please definitely visit that page! The last link called Testimonies of Life is where I will continue to add videos and testimony stories from other people who have found in Jesus Christ what they were looking for and needed from God. Thank you for taking your time to visit my site!  Please be sure to sign the Guestbook!  God bless you!

Tribute to Gracey

Some animals are so special that they deserve to be immortalized in people's memories. Gracey was such a cat, and this story is my way to share her love to those not fortunate enough to have met her.

I am a street minister in a not-so-good neighborhood and as I would go out there week after week, I noticed stray cats that looked like they needed a good meal. I began to bring cans of cat food out there and they would run to greet me, but they would only come as close as the food. Then they would devour it! I reasoned with myself that their eagerness to gobble it up was their way of saying thanks. You see I needed some thanks because out in my mission-field neighborhood not many people want to hear my testimony of how I met Jesus and how I know He loves them too. I usually get greeted with rejection so I was grateful for the crew of cats that looked forward to seeing me each week and how they readily took what I offered!

One week I parked in a new spot and was walking through a restaurant parking lot to get to my street outreach area, when I heard a faint meow. I turned and saw a young, pretty gray tabby cat. As per my usual, I opened a can of cat food and set it down, but she paid no attention to it. I walked on toward the street but she followed me, meowing as if to talk to me. So I turned to talk with her and she came up for some rubs. She rubbed my legs and let me pet her face for a considerable amount of time and then she slowly moved over to the can of food. It was at that point that I decided to name her Gracey because she thanked me thoroughly for the food before eating it!

This became Gracey's and my routine for about a month when I realized I should probably get her fixed because she was at that age where she could get pregnant. She had begun to climb in my car to say hello to me so I was contemplating just driving off with her, maybe even keeping her, after I got her fixed. But as soon as I thought that, I felt I heard God say to me, "she already has kittens". I was confused a little by this message because I had never seen her with any babies before but I decided not to take her at that time, just incase she did indeed have babies hidden somewhere.

A few nights later as I got out of my car to feed Gracey, there she was sitting with four of the prettiest kittens I have ever seen! There were three gray tabbies and one Siamese looking one and they appeared to be about five weeks old! I put down extra food and Gracey gave me the usual fifteen minutes of thank you rubs as her babies ate. Then when Gracey had thanked me sufficiently, she moved on to eat too. I drove home elated at knowing she had such precious babies to care for!

I never again saw the babies in that spot and shortly afterwards Gracey stopped meeting my car there too. I was worried but I also suspected it had something to do with the rainy season that was upon us. So I drove around looking for where she might have a safe, warm den. It took me a few days but I did discover her spot, it was behind a car dealership warehouse underneath their large trash recycle bin. I also saw that someone was leaving water and dry food out for the family! This made me very happy to see them again and to know that someone else was helping care for them!

I began driving to the warehouse every night to leave canned food and to give some attention to Gracey. I must confess, I was the one who was gaining the most from the kisses she gave. She and I had become friends and I so looked forward to seeing my friend and her precious babies every night for a short visit. I enjoyed watching what a good mom Gracey was to those kittens! She protected that territory around her recycle bin like she was a lioness out in the wild. And the babies would play like they had no worry in the world! They would roll around with each other and other times they would stalk a weed and bat it like crazy. What a joy it was to watch this little family!

One night when I was out there I had the owner of the dealership approach me and we got into conversation about Gracey and her kittens. He told me how much they all loved her and that the whole dealership of people were cat lovers. He said that one of the ladies there was trapping the kittens and letting them live with her in her home. I was glad to hear that because I did notice there were two less kittens lately; I was so glad to know they had not died. I told him that I met Gracey because of my ministry outreach to that neighborhood and we began to talk about faith in God. He told me he had had his faith tested and shaken pretty badly over the years and I asked him if I could tell him my testimony of how I came to know of Jesus' love. He was very interested and listened and when he left me that evening, he sounded a lot more bold about his faith in God! I knew as I drove home that night that God had orchestrated that meeting and that He had used Gracey to allow me to reach someone with His love that I would've never met otherwise.

The following Friday night I drove up to feed my little family but there was no activity in the recycle bin area. I thought for a minute that maybe I was early but then I realized it was my usual time and Gracey was always there at that time. Then I thought maybe the lady had trapped the rest of the family already and they are living at her house. Just then a man from the warehouse came out and I asked him where the cats were. He came over to my car and told me the news I did not want to hear, and never imagined I would have to hear.. He said "the mother cat was killed last night by another animal that left fang marks in her neck and lacerations down her body and we buried her this morning". He continued, "the two remaining kittens are hiding under the recycle bin and they won't eat". He said the ladies at the dealership were crying all day and I assured him that I would be crying too as soon as the shock wore off. He told me a woman named Sandy would be going out first thing the next morning to try and trap the remaining kittens since now it was evident the area is unsafe. I gave him my phone number to give to her saying I would be there in the morning to help. I told him that it is the least I could do for my Gracey. Sandy called me as soon as I got home and we made plans to meet.

As I pulled up the next morning I saw another thing I did not want to be true – one of the kittens had been hit by a car and was lying dead in the restaurant parking lot. He must've been looking for his mom because he never ventured that far from the recycle bin. Sandy pulled up just then and we cried together over our tragic double-loss. She got a man from the dealership to bury the kitten in the same spot with it's mom, Gracey. Sandy and I set a trap and hoped the last kitten, the pretty Siamese one, would come out of hiding from underneath the recycle bin, so Sandy could give it a good home. She and I began to talk and I told her of my ministry outreach there. She looked uncomfortable at first that she was spending time with a minister but then a short while later she asked me to tell her my testimony of how Jesus had saved my life. I gladly did and we fell into a trusting friendship-type conversation after that. Unfortunately the Siamese kitten never came out and we suspected she went looking for her mom too and had left the area. We decided to keep up our efforts on an individual basis and tell each other if we had any luck. I left that day knowing God had ordained for me and Sandy to meet and to discuss faith in Jesus.

When I got home I was unable to hold in my grief any longer and I cried deep tears of grief over the loss of my Gracey and her killed kitten and the now lost kitten. I cried and I cried and I cried. I then heard God say to me "You see how hard you are crying over these kittens? This is how I cry when people die without me." Suddenly as if a light bulb went on in my head, I realized that I had never thought of God crying over the lost before. And I now knew it wasn't just little tears either, because I was crying big giant tears full of pain and He said His grief over the lost is just like that.

It is a week later and the Siamese kitten is still missing and the area behind the warehouse is quiet and empty. It is completely void of the life and love Gracey had brought there and I still cry about losing her and how I'll never see that playful kitten family there ever again. But as I look back on her life I know that Gracey was one of God's angels. She was an angel of love to all who knew her and she brought people together who would've never met one another, so they could be friends too. And God used her life and death to teach me how to be a better minister because now when I say to people "Jesus loves you", I have a deeper understanding of that love.



Gracey's Plate

I had two options after Gracey died: 1) Never go back to her area again because I was too grieved or 2) Put down food so other hungry kitties could benefit from hers and my friendship. While my thoughts went back and forth on this, I did feel God prompting me to continue to put food down.  I felt He was saying to me "Don't let death be a more prominent message than life". So I prayed for courage to push past my grief and decided to start what I called Gracey's Plate. 

The first couple of weeks as I drove through there I would cry -  especially because I had to pass the spot where she and one of her kittens was buried.  But I tried to focus on a new chapter and even thought maybe her white kitten will come back.

The first couple of nights I didn't see any kitties and I almost decided not to do this, but I somehow just couldn't let it go, so I continued each night.  A few nights into it, I did begin to see a shadow of a cat off in the distance watching me place down the food.  Then within a week this gray cat began to run over right after I drove off.  About a week after that I saw a small shadow following her and realized it was a momma kitty and her baby that were getting Gracey's Plate - how appropriate!  And then a few days after that I saw another little one following along and I realized this momma has two babies! 

Now its been several weeks and the momma and babies are always under the recycle bin just waiting for their evening meal.  And the babies, who in the beginning would never come near the spot until I had driven off, now run around my car with excitement!

So God has brought new life into my mission field for me to focus on so Gracey's death doesn't sting so bad.  Gracey is living on through Gracey's Plate and this momma and her babies are not the only one getting the benefit!  I enjoy seeing this new little family - they aren't Gracey and her kittens - but they are adorable and sweet in their own way.  And I have learned something valuable out of this - don't let tragedy stop you from being open to new joy.  

The Saving Power in the Name of Jesus

I woke up to the sound of heavy rain coming down and thought to myself, "Good, maybe I won't have to go out to witness today because of the rain." I needed an excuse because I had been sick for two weeks and I had woken up in the middle of the night with really bad body aches because of this bug I had. But I know me, if it stopped raining I would go out there to witness because deep down I believed the sickness was just the devil's way of preventing me from doing God's call on my life. Plus, I had a momentum going of being out there each Sunday morning and I did not want people to think I was going to be flaky and quit showing up. After an hour the rain stopped and I got up and prayed over the work I was about to go and do. I said to Jesus as I got in my car all grumpy from feeling sick, "I am not going out there today because I am your sweetest minister you have – I am going out there because I know what the truth is and I intend to tell it". You see the devil tries to shame me by pointing out all of the sweeter Christians that are out there compared to me but that's when I take the opportunity to say to Jesus that I know its by His grace that I can go out and share the Gospel, it's not on my merit.

I drove up to the intersection where I would be witnessing for Jesus and I saw a familiar face. It was a homeless man that I had met up in my neighborhood a couple of weeks ago. I remembered asking him when I gave him a couple of dollars and a Jesus tract if I knew him from Gandy Blvd, and he said "No, I only work up here on Kennedy." So pondering on this, I drove around the Gandy corner and parked my car in the shady spot I was so grateful to have discovered the week before, and I wondered if I would be speaking with him at all today. You see I wasn't sure because I don't give money to the homeless when I am out witnessing because I don't want to appear better than them and I want them to focus on my message rather than a hand-out. So I took out the 5 foot Cross that bears a big sign that says Jesus Loves You and I set out to my street corner where I "hold church" for about an hour each Sunday morning.

I stood there at the busy intersection holding up my Cross and silently praying for the passersby for about fifteen minutes when all of a sudden I heard something that sounded bad. I turned to see a man on a motorcycle sliding sideways on the street! His head and arm, which were thankfully properly attired for biking, were scraping on the cement, and parts were flying off of his bike. I held out my hand over him, as we Pentecostals do when we pray over someone, and I said rapidly and repeatedly Jesus, Jesus,Jesus, Jesus! God knew in my heart that I was saying "Help him,save him, protect him!" but the only word I could get out fast enough was the name of Jesus. But I also knew that was the most powerful Word I could say over the man too so I was grateful to be standing there ready and posed for out-reach. I nervously watched as two cars that were following fast behind him slammed on their brakes just in time to not drive over his head, but it was close! Seeing that they stopped in time and then seeing the man jump up and walk away from the fallen bike, my fear turned to relief. But the adrenaline was still pumping through me and the tears were starting to come out of my eyes as I realized I could've watched a man die just now. Then out of my spirit came loud praises to Jesus, "Thank you Jesus, Hallelujah! Praise you Jesus!, Thank you for saving his life"! I was praying loud enough for the homeless girl at the middle partition to hear me praise Jesus for sparing that man's life. I thought to myself, maybe Jesus is going to reach her today through saving that man and my praises so I continued to praise Jesus for allowing me the privilege to be there as His intercessor!

A few minutes later the homeless man I recognized from two weeks ago crossed over the street heading in my direction. As he got close I said to him, "That was so scary seeing that man almost get hit while crashing his bike" and he said "yes, we see that kind of thing all of the time out here". The man introduced himself as "Jerry" (name changed to protect his identity) and I told him my name and we shook hands. I continued on saying "I just held my hand over that man and prayed the name of Jesus over him and I know Jesus saved him from harm". He said "Well I know there is something up there" as he pointed up to heaven, "I do believe that and I think that's good enough to just believe and then we'll see God someday". I said "No, you need to believe in Jesus – He's God and He came to earth as a man to die for our sins so we could be with God someday in heaven. I explained the bloody beating Jesus took and I pointed up to the large Cross I was holding and I told Jerry how God allowed Jesus to be beaten beyond recognition because it gave us a physical understanding of how bad sin is. I told him that Jesus took on all of the sin of the world so that when people call on His name they can be forgiven and they can enter heaven because Jesus paid the price of sin. Jerry seemed interested and I continued, "See your sins are different than my sins but since Jesus paid for ALL of the sins of the world then you and I can enter heaven the same way by accepting Jesus as our Savior. I quickly followed with, "Would you like to say a prayer with me now and ask Jesus to be your Savior?" Jerry readily agreed and we entered into the sinner's prayer. A minute or so later I was celebrating with Jerry that now when he dies he will be met with the loving arms of Jesus rather than the devil who would throw him into a tormenting hell. Jerry happily said, "So now if I run across this street and get hit by a car, it won't be a bad thing, will it"? I said no, you will enter in through pearly gates and walk on gold streets and Jesus has built a mansion for you, so you have all of that to look forward to!

Jerry ran back across to his median strip and I held my Cross up thanking God that Jerry had just gotten saved! It was then I realized that I didn't feel sick anymore! So that's why the devil had been striking me with sickness so hard the last couple of weeks, he must've known that people were going to come to Christ by my new outreach. Jesus says in Scripture, "If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me." It was sort of my motto for standing out there with a large cross – I knew my foolish looking behavior was actually quite powerful according to Scripture.

I was nearing the end of my "church service" hour and Jerry came over with a coca-cola to offer me. I thanked him but told him I only drink Gatorade out there due to the heat and so he ran over to the other girl who was panhandling near me to offer it to her. I hollered over to Jerry that I was going to my car to get something for him and for her and to meet me back here. He nodded okay and the young girl smiled at me from a distance. I pulled around in my car and Jerry came over and sat at the open door. I told him my testimony of how I met Jesus and he told me his story of how he had stopped praying to God 20 years ago. He told me he was married and had a son and they would all go to Catholic church each week even though they didn't understand the services but then his wife and son were killed in a car wreck and he stopped praying. He lost his faith because of his heart-break but added that his whole life felt like God was against him. I explained how the devil comes to destroy people and he doesn't care if he does it inside out or outside in, he just wants them destroyed. And I reminded him that God knows his grief because it broke God's heart to see Jesus die on the Cross and to abandon Jesus at the end which is why Jesus called out "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" I told him there are so many reasons why Jesus suffered on the Cross and that it is so we can talk to him about all of our suffering and He will understand.

Jerry said that because of our meeting and talking about all of this he can believe God loves him again and in fact, he added, "I had another situation that just happened that proves to me that God is reaching out to me now".   He proceeded to tell me about an episode a few weeks back where he was across the bridge and had lost his money and his cell phone needed charging and he didn't have the charger with him and he didn't know how he was going to get across the bridge without walking the 10 mile distance. He said he was really stressed out and a man came and sat down next to him that had some kind of mental problem and was chattering on and on. Jerry said it was all he could do to not be rude to the guy since he had all of these problems to deal with but he listened and could barely make out that the guy was talking to him about God. He said when that man stood up and left, there on the ground where he had been sitting was a small plastic white Cross with $5 under it. Jerry said that was the first time in 20 years that he thought maybe God cared about him. I reminded Jerry that I had met him at Kennedy a couple of weeks ago too and that now for he and I to meet again like this, God is definitely reaching out to him. I gave him a Bible and my written testimony to keep and I gave him $5 and told him that when the devil comes trying to steal his faith to remember that God sent two people with His message and $5 to give to him. He smiled and said "thank you".

Just then the young girl came over and Jerry introduced her and me and I gave her a Bible with my testimony. She told me she had gotten born-again a while ago, not intending to, but went to a revival service just to have something to do. I smiled and said, "You didn't know God had a different plan for you did you?" She smiled and said "No" and thanked me for the Bible and ran back to raise some money. Another young man rode up on a bike waiting for Jerry and so I offered him a Bible and my testimony too. Jerry said "He stays with me" so I felt good knowing that he would most likely be sharing the Gospel more fully with the young man in the next few days and weeks.

I said my good-byes to the guys and to my busy intersection and drove home knowing that God indeed DID have church out there today! Praise God that the name of Jesus saves from motorcycle accidents to souls for all eternity – the name of Jesus is a High Tower in which all men, and women, can run to! Amen and Amen!

Jesus is the Answer, Not Suicide

I wasn't feeling good about this Sunday morning's outreach and I even felt the Holy Spirit tell me to pray my extra prayers before going out.  I showed up at my street corner and began to hold up the 5 ft Cross that says a few different messages on it, depending on which direction you are driving.  The main message is Jesus Loves You and He Gave His Life For You and Come to Christ. 

A homeless girl walked by me and I said hi but she kind of just smirked at me like I don't want to talk to you.  I stood there for another hour showing the cars passing by the signs hoping they would call on the name of Jesus, when I noticed the young lady who had passed me earlier to panhandle in the median area was starting to look over at the messages on the Cross.  I prayed God let her come over so we can talk.  Within a few minutes she walked over.  We chatted small talk for a minute and I asked her if I could share my testimony (in printed tract form) with her and she said yes.  She told me she hates panhandling but sometimes she has to do it.  She said she has an accounting degree but can't get work because she doesn't have an address and no one will hire someone who doesn't have a place to live.  She said "I am not like some of these people who panhandle for drugs, I just can't get work right now."  She then pointed out a guy standing at the other median and said "That guy just got finished taking pills for the last five days and he only comes out here to get money for more pills."  I mentioned how I know prescription drugs like Oxycontin are lethal and she said "Yes, that's what he's on".  She then walked back across the street and I really didn't know why she had crossed over to talk to me since she never did ask me anything about the Cross or its messages.  But I was glad she was nicer than I first thought and that we connected and she had my testimony tract. 

I looked over at the guy who she said was on pills and I began to pray for him as I watched him just shaking in his hands and standing off balance and even hiding his face behind his sign as if he couldn't face people in his condition.  I knew he was high on pills now.  I thought to myself I will go over to talk with him just as I am about to leave and hand him my Jesus card and just say to him "Before you kill yourself, call on the name of Jesus".  I continued to pray that these words would be the right ones or for God to tell me other words to say.  I heard nothing from God except when I did try and stay longer (to hold out the Cross for the cars to see) I felt God say not to. 

So I put down my Cross and walked across the street and handed that guy the Jesus card and said what I planned to say and he right away rebuffed me with what made no sense to me.  He said "You need to study religion, have you done that?"  I said "I am not talking to you about religion, I am here to tell you that if you find that you are about to overdose that you need to call on the name of Jesus and He will save you and keep you out of hell".  He goes "So you think you are better than me - is that what made you walk over to me from over there?"  I said "No, I am not saying I am better than you but I am saying that you need Jesus so you don't overdose on the drugs you are leaning on".  He said "You don't know I am on drugs, you don't know me!"  I was like "Yes, I can see you are on drugs right now" and he said "No, I am just not feeling good today."  I said "No, I know you take pills and that you take alot of them."  He again said "You can't know that about me, you don't know anything about me."  I said "Someone who knows you told me that you take pills and I just don't want you to overdose and die and go to hell".  He argued that I couldn't possibly know someone who knows him because he's never stood at that corner before and I assured him that I am out there each week and have made friends with people who know him.  He stopped arguing about that but still was talking defensively so I just put the card on the sidewalk (I couldn't get him to take it) and I said "I just came over here to tell you that Jesus loves you and that you need to call on his name if you start to overdose."  I walked away crossing the street and I heard him yelling at me as I walked away. 

I picked up the Cross and started heading back to my car when I saw the homeless girl sitting down in the CVS parking lot, so I sat down with her.  I warned her that I told him that someone had told me about his pill problem but that I didn't say it was her.  She said she didn't care and that she just wanted him to stay away from her because she felt he is so weird and she told me that he's been kicked out of alot of places; even the 7-11 didn't want him hanging around.  I changed the subject abit telling her I will pray that she gets a job and I told her a little bit of how reading the Bible each day helped me to get my life put together back when I first called out to Jesus.  I asked her if she had a Bible.  She said that she only had a very small one so I offered her one of the nice ones I give out and she accepted it. 

Just then that guy came over and I thought "Ah-oh"! But he just smiled at me and started talking to her.  She excused herself (whispering to me that she didn't want to be near him) and he said "Oh that's okay, I wanted to talk with this lady anyway."  He was being nice and he said he wanted to talk with me some more about what I had said to him when I approached him before and so I agreed.  I feared he was not right mentally but knew God wanted me to try and talk with him despite how badly the conversation went.  The poor guy was so under the influence of his pills that it was difficult holding a conversation with him, he kept zoning out and/or nodding off.  But praise be to God, after talking with him for a little while he agreed to accept Jesus as his Savior!  He prayed the sinner's prayer and then we continued to talk and I asked him if he wanted to commit suicide (because I knew he wanted to with his drug usage) and he admitted that he does sometimes.  He told me he has overdosed 2 times already but didn't die.  I asked him how old he was and he told me he is 27 years old, which was really sad to know he'd been through so much at such a young age!

I felt the leading of the Lord to lead him in a deliverance-from-drugs prayer and he followed me in praying that too!  He seemed to get into the prayers and soon took over the praying and he started praying real intensely saying how he didn't want to smoke pot, shoot up or take his pills anymore and that Jesus needed to take all of that from him!  I talked with him a bit more because he didn't want me to leave, I could sense he is really lonely, but it had been an hour since I started to leave for the day so I told him I would be praying for him and that he needed to keep calling on the name of Jesus and read his Bible and fight for himself because the devil will try and take his life if he doesn't realize he's in a battle for his life.  He agreed and reluctantly said good bye and thanked me and gave me a God bless you.  I left exhausted but grateful that God had a plan for the day that was really pretty amazing!

The Toy Run

As I pulled into the parking lot, where I always park to do my Sunday morning outreach, to my surprise there were about 200 motorcycles parked all throughout the lot!  And there were bikers standing all over the place!  This was a very unusual sight for this mostly vacant strip mall and of course I was curious! As I gazed over at them, it appeared to be some kind of rally and I thought to myself, "I can't let an opportunity like this go by!" 

Now when I say bikers, I don't mean, Bikers for Jesus, nor do I mean your casual Sunday afternoon bikers, or people who just ride bikes for cheap transportation  . . . . no I mean hard-core bikers!  These were biker gangs, each with their own group's name on their leather jackets. 

I parked my car and pulled out my 5 foot Cross and walked up through the crowd.  They were parked across four lanes of parking spots and since I didn't want to disturb their focus on whoever was speaking, I went up through one of the side lanes.  One man had walked back towards his parked bike so I asked him as I was moving forward, "What's going on here?"  He ignored me, which I knew had everything to do with the large Cross I was carrying, and so I asked him again.  He then answered me, "We're doing a Toy Run" which prompted me to ask "What does that mean?"  He said "We are riding for Toys for Tots".  I said "Oh, I saw all of the cops lined up over on the side and heard the applause so I was wondering . . . " and he interjected "Yes, the Marines are up there too and they are speaking right now."  I said "Cool, well God bless you!" to which he grunted uncomfortably.  I then saw this other biker guy who was carrying this little dog who had motorcycle goggles on and a little jacket.  I was so cuted-out by this little dog that I told the man with a big smile on my face "You're dog is so cute!"  He just darted away from me not acknowledging me at all. 

The main presentation seemed to end and alot of the bikers turned and started walking back toward their bikes.  Those that were on the far left lanes then saw me standing there in their midst holding a large Cross that said Jesus Loves You!  I wanted them to really get my message so I decided to continue to look up at the front like I was trying to listen to what was going on until finally the man at the microphone completely wrapped things up.  I then turned and walked amongst the crowd on out to my street corner.  Not one of them said a thing to me and they looked at me like "you don't belong here" but I didn't care because I was just so glad to have such a great audience with which to share the Gospel! 

I got to my street corner and I heard the Lord say to me "I am going to use you today".  I had no idea how He meant that statement but I was just glad to hear it!  A second later I heard police sirens and I saw two motorcycle cops stopping traffic.  I realized, and hoped, they might just be doing a police escort for the motorcylists I had just seen in that parking lot! This was my hope because I wanted them ALL to be able to see the Cross of Jesus Christ with the message that He loves them!  I positioned myself on that corner so that I was the most visible to that lane of traffic and sure enough here came the motorcyle brigade!  It was so exciting that God would bring this large group past my witnessing spot that I had tears of joy coming out of the corners of my eyes!  Motorcyle after motorcyle passed by me, some which had two riders!  Alot of them wouldn't look at me but that doesn't mean they didn't see me for a second before they made a point to look straight ahead.  And some did look at me and read the Cross signs Jesus Loves U / Jesus Gave His Life 4 U!  One lady biker actually said to me "Amen, sister" and gave me a thumbs up as she drove by!  And then one other waved at me as he went by.

The last biker went through the light and the police escorts took off too and I went back to my usual spot to proceed with my morning outreach.  Nothing else out of the ordinary happened on my mission field work today so I know from what the Lord said to me, that someone out of that large biker group was witnessed to this morning!  Maybe more than one!

Praise Jesus!

The Bible is 100% True

Today out on my mission field work of holding up a large Cross for those driving by on a busy street, I met men who feel self-assured they are in good relationship with the Lord and yet they don't take the Bible as seriously as it requires.  The first man that walked up to me was a homeless man I had given $5 to about 6 weeks ago because I believed him when he said he went to church all of the time.  He talks like someone who is on fire for Jesus and because he had told me his bus pass had been stolen when he was sleeping, I gave him the money to help him get to his church in Ybor.  Well a few weeks after that encounter a homeless woman told me how this man had been arrested for drunken & disorderly behavior including holding out a knife at the police.  I was glad she had told me that because when he walked up to me today and he held his arms out to give me a big hug, I told him, "Sorry I don't hug, I am just not like that" and he said "Oh that's okay."  He then proceeded to be "Mr. Personality and Mr. On-Fire-for-Jesus" and I knew he was just there for a hand-out and was "working me".  I sensed it in my spirit and sure enough, it took him all of about 2 minutes to mention how much he appreciated that $5 I had given him before.  In total he must've mentioned this about 4 times throughout the brief conversation, in which I simply replied "You're welcome - I don't have much, but I try and help once in awhile".  This seemed to back him off - my not having much.  He told me how he had gotten locked-up and when I said "Why?" He changed gears and said he is going to be on that show "Locked Up" in a few months and I said "What is that show about?"  He proceeded to lie to me that that show is about people who go to jail for Jesus Christ.  He also said a couple of other weird things such as he used to live in Topanga Canyon in California (he thinks this affirms his Christianity while it confirms to me that he's been exposed to the New Age), and that he prays for me every single day because I stand out there witnessing for Jesus (which I KNOW is NOT true!) and finally that it wasn't the wind that was making my eyes tear but it was the fact that he was speaking "truth".  This final statement I HAD to say, "That's not true, it is because of the wind."  Luckily he left and did not come back though he sat at the abandoned gas station for the rest of the time I was there - the same gas station where he had the altercation with the police.

About an hour later a nicely dressed clean-cut young man came up behind me and told me he wanted to commend me for what I was doing.  He said he also has the same interest as me as he pointed to my Cross and said "Jesus Christ".  He then handed me a small colorful book that had a picture of Jesus on it and said "I'd like you to read this, its all about Jesus, and then maybe next week I could stop by and we could discuss how you liked it."  I right away asked him, "Is this Jehovah's Witness?"  and he said "Well yes it is!"  I said "Well I cannot read this because I don't agree with Jehovah's Witness".  He asked "How come, we have the same common interest of Jesus Christ?" I began to shake because I was not in the mood to debate with a Jehovah's Witness, plus my brain was not bringing the facts forward that I needed to deal with him effectively.  (In my defense, he did come out of nowhere and who would've thought that I would attract someone who was trying to preach to me?) But anyway, I did have one point that I remembered and so I told him "I can't be a part of Jehovah's Witness because you all have a book that goes hand-in-hand with the Bible, just like the Mormons do, and I don't believe in that - the Bible stands alone!  He again pointed out that we both believe in Jesus Christ (I so wish I could've remembered to tell him that they don't believe He is the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, but they believe He is only one of many sons) but again I hit on the point that I cannot read his book or join his church because of how they use a book that they feel is equal to the Bible. Again I said "The Bible stands alone - it does not need another book to explain it."  I saw him back off but he still suggested maybe he could come back next week and just talk with me some.  I said "No, because I am out here trying to win souls for Christ, so I won't have time to talk with you."  He said "Oh, yes, I know about that because we knock on people's doors."  To that I gave him a very strained polite-type smile and said "Okay good-bye now" and I turned my back on him.  He left but I wouldn't be surprised if he shows up next week because he felt sure he was doing all of the right things to "proselytize" me.  I will be prepared next week if he does - I have a book on the cults and I will brush up on their false doctrines before the weekend.

Just before my time was up, another homeless man walked up to me wanting to give me a hug.  (Not sure why everyone wants to hug me all of a sudden?)  He must've seen the puzzled look on my face and the fact that I pulled back abit so he reminded me of who he was and how we had met several months back at a different location.  I remembered him as a nice man but I didn't lean into the hug just the same.  But as he leaned in to give the unaccomplished hug, I smelled a serious amount of alcohol on his breath.  It was 1:30 in the afternoon! He didn't appear to be drunk and he wasn't slurring his words or anything but it was definitely alcohol on his breath!  He proceeded to talk to me about his walk with God and how he had shown the pamphlet I gave him to his church and that they had really liked it.  He gave me an update about the men who used to be at the other location and then he then told me he was about to get $12K in back-social-security money and he is going to move to North Carolina and get an apartment.  I told him that he will need to be very careful when he gets that money and he will need to tithe off it right away of the devil will be able to steal it from him.  (I KNEW as soon as he told me he was getting a large sum of money that IF he truly gets that kind of money, it will get stolen or he will squander it, but I had to try and help him anyway.)  I used an example out of my life and how I literally felt the spiritual warfare over the money and that as soon as I tithed I felt the victory that the enemy would not be able to steal it from me - and I was correct, the money went to pay off debts just like it needed to go to.  I mentioned he should give his tithe to the church he's going to now and he said "No, I want to give to animals, that's the cause I want to give to."  I explained to him, "That is not tithing - tithing is giving to God so He can further the Gospel".  He didn't like that answer but I reiterated that when I give money to missions or to church it helps people come to know Christ and that is what we should be doing with our first 10 percent."  He listened but I could tell he's going to have a real struggle to actually do this when and IF that time does present itself to him.  I hate to say it but I am sure I will see him on the streets of Tampa this summer.  That's just the way money is when people don't know how to give to God first - it goes through the fingers like sand.  (And that illustration is in Scripture.)  He did ask me to pray for him so rather than lecture him on alcohol I just told him I would pray for him - and I did - that God would enable him to realize his drinking is serious sin and that he will repent and be able to get free from it.

So my prayer as I finished up this day's mission work is for these 3 men to understand, and anyone else who read the signs on my Cross today, that they need to get right with God through the Word of God.  The Bible says that drunkards will  not make it into the Kingdom of God and yet here were 2 men who say they are "good with God" and yet hit the bottle - 1 becoming violent when he does!  And the Jehovah's Witness young man needs to learn respect for the Bible too - he believes that the Watch Tower and their version of the Bible (which was created sometime in the 1940s) is above the God-breathed Book of the Apostles and Prophets. 

Jesus told me when He saved me 12 years ago that the Bible is 100% true and I know I have to continue to let His Word shape and transform me.  I can never assert my own thoughts or actions above the Bible's teachings.  And it grieves me that I continue to find that most of humanity is living like they are going to bargain with God when they die.  God will not entertain any of that - we must obey His Word in this life to get into heaven!

A Couple of Coincidences - NOT!

Its been several weeks since I've added a street witnessing story to my website, but coincidentally it follows back up today with the Jehovah's Witness young man from the last posting.  I had hardly been out on my corner (holding the Cross of Christ up) when I turned and saw this young man and an elderly man walking up to me.  They were dressed in expensive clothes to the ninth degree and were carrying their books.  I was glad I had packed my Christian tract specifically for Jehovah's Witnesses and I was ready for him too because I had just recently read in the Bible that I am not to entertain in the least anyone who is bringing a different gospel.  I had told this man this in so many words the last I spoke with him but I had been pretty nice about it and he obviously felt there was more room to manuever my faith.  Plus he brought what looked like an elder to his church with him - together they were going to try and reason with me that Jehovah's Witness IS the Gospel that I should be out there promoting.  So up they came and the young man said "Remember me, I talked with you a little while ago about our mutual faith in Jesus Christ?" I said "Yes, in fact I am going to hand you this and tell you that I am not interested in what you have to say to me."  He took the tract and said "I just wanted to come out here and say hi to you" and the elder man said "You are not interested in what we have to say?"  And I said "No, because my Bible says to have nothing to do with people who have another gospel."  I said it really stern, maybe even mean, but I was shaking on the inside from having to confront these two.  (My opinion is they are bullies to come over to me together like that when I've already rejected their bible and their faith.)  And with that statement I turned my back on them.  I had my headsets on and I was listening to music so I barely heard the young man say "Well then I am going to give you back your material".  I ignored him and kept my back to them and he said it again and I ignored him and then they left.  I saw their SUV cross the street and the elder man looked out his window at me.  I turned to see if he had thrown down my tract but I didn't see it at first, then I saw he had placed it almost underneath my foot.  The tract was entitled "Who is Knocking at Your Door?"  So hopefully from the title alone he and his friend knew that I consider Jehovah's Witness to be a group to be warned about.  The nervousness was with me for a few more minutes after they left but then I all of a sudden felt liberated.  I had done what the Bible said to do and I felt completely lifted up and free for having done so!  I pray those two men will take an honest look at their denomination's false teachings because of my stern rejection based on the Bible's teachings.

Another coincidence that happened out there today is a familiar and friendly face walked up to me.  I had just thought of him this morning too wondering where he was because it had been since August 28th since he said the sinner's prayer with me out there.  (His name is Jerry in the story above.)  Here it is mid-March and I had not seen him except for the one week after he accepted Christ.  He looked thinner than before and he explained he had been in the hospital two different times for braking things - first his ankle and then later his hip!  He went on to explain that he was drunk off of a super strong beer that mixes caffeine in its formula so he was really hyped up and fell off his bicycle.  I asked him if he had a long talk with God while he was laid up in the hospital telling God he would like to stop drinking and he said no and kind of blew the subject off, so I pressed the subject further and said "Well maybe God was being merciful to you because the Bible says that drunkards will not make it into the Kingdom of God, so the fact that you spent time in a hospital is better than if you had died while drunk.  He agreed and said "I wouldn't even want to think about ending up there!"  I asked him if he had been reading his Bible I gave him and he said yes a little here and there.  I suggested that he start reading it every day so he can learn what the Bible calls sin and told him that one Scripture even states that God's people perish for lack of knowledge.  I explained that when he accepted Christ, part of what he agreed to do was to repent, which means "to turn from sin" and to follow Christ.  I said "There will be things you will have to give up to follow Christ but if you read your Bible God will help you to see them and will help you step by step".  He agreed and then told me he has a new girlfriend and she gave him Hepatitis C but strain 1 that can be cured with a year's worth of medicine.  I interjected again kind of apologizing for sounding harsh but that the Bible also tells us that we should not have sex outside of marriage and when we do the devil has the right to pound us with sexually transmitted diseases.  I explained how God puts a blessing on married sex but He does not when its fornication.  He listened openly which I was very grateful for - I did not want to pound on my friend but I also have to tell the truth in order to help people too.  He said he would like to marry this girl because he really loves her but its also a new relationship and did not want to rush it.  I offered the suggestion that he could date her for awhile longer and just abstain from sex until they get married.  I told him my testimony of how I was in a 4 year relationship when I suddenly got saved and that I began to feel guilty about fornicating in that relationship.  I told him I prayed about it and asked God to tell me if I should marry my boyfriend or break up with him - we fought alot so I wasn't sure.  I told my boyfriend that I couldn't sleep with him anymore and of course he got very angry with me.  Eventually God revealed to me that this young man was not the one He had for me and I broke it off.  So I said "I know its difficult to tell the other person that you are not going to be able to sleep with them until you get married but the world's ways are not God's ways and we have to make a choice which we will obey".  He agreed that made sense.  Then I also said that he is lucky because God made men the leaders and women follow men, so he should have an easier time telling her that he would like to respect the Bible and respect her and not sleep with her until they get married.  I said "She should be fine with that as long as you give her affection and let her know you love her".  He said "Oh yes, I know she will be okay with that."  He asked me "Well, you know I used to be Catholic and the Catholic church tells me you can only get married once so would the Christian church let me marry my girlfriend?"  I explained again how Catholicism isn't Christianity, that it is a cult but that it is so rich and powerful most people are afraid to call it a cult."  He agreed and so I said "When you accepted Christ all old things passed away and all things became new, so yes, you can marry again"  He said, "Oh good so we could get married in a Christian church then and I said yes!"  He went onto explain how things were different with this girl and how they think alike and laugh at all of the same things.  I told him I was happy for him and that I would pray for him in this.  He also said this girl tried to keep his drinking down and I reminded him also that he had told me he was going to pretend he had a drinking problem to get one of the shelters to take him in and "dry him out" so that he could get off the streets (these organizations help people get work too) and I pointed out that maybe he really does have a drinking problem.  He said "Yes, I didn't realize that at that time but now I do kind of see that".  I said "Yes, it is hard for us to see our own flaws and that's where the Bible helps, it reveals stuff to us that we need to learn."  I explained how it took me 12 years to walk away from the Pentecostal denomination I had been brought into shortly after getting saved.  I said "I must have alot of pride or something because no matter how bad things were going for me as a Christian I was not going to give up being a Pentecostal Christian."  I continued, "But I started to get out of it all back in October due to suspicions about its roots and about 6 weeks ago I gave up my gift of tongues and I have had things go so much better for me."  I said "I learned that Hindu spirits operate in India the same way the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches operate and so alot of the stuff we think is of the Holy Spirit is really spiritism and not of God."  I continued, "The laughing in the spirit, falling down on the ground, running and screaming in services, these are things that Kundalini spirits do to Hindu worshiping people but I didn't know that until recently, and while my church didn't have all of the extreme stuff going on, it still was inviting spirits into my life to hurt me.  I also confessed to him, "I learned that the devil also has a gift of tongues and since Christians don't know what they are saying when they pray in tongues, its just best to not do it, even though it is in the Bible, it may not be a gift for now."  I told him that "I might've been praying curses on myself and thereby working against my happiness by trusting this gift in tongues that I got in my church denomination".  I added that I really don't tell too many people this because many people today are Pentecostal and Charismatic and get mad at you for speaking against it, but I just have to follow what I believe God has revealed to me in the Bible and that is to walk away from it for now.  (I have given myself a 6 month window to really investigate this whole situation from the outside, before I profess to be an expert of it.)  He listened and agreed that this made sense.  We stood silent for awhile because I couldn't think of anything else to talk about to help him and he finally said "Well I have to get out there" (panhandling) and I said "Well, it was nice to see you and I hope to see you again real soon".  He said "Yes, next Sunday, I'll be here again".  He also added that he was glad to see me out there still strong in my faith.  I knew as he walked away that God is faithful and when he prayed that sinners prayer 8 months ago, the Holy Spirit did come into his heart because otherwise he would NOT have listened to the things I told him - NOR would he have agreed with them.  So I praise God for His hand on the man's life and I pray that anyone reading this story will say a prayer for my friend . .  and his new girlfriend, that they both get strong in their faith and can receive the blessings God has for them both.