Something Of Good Report

Something else happened during our vacation, something of good report that I would like to share with you. It happened in Morro Bay, California.

I was struggling to carry my purse, with all the water bottles in it, (enough for all of us to use for lunch,) so I had my kids take turns in helping me to carry it while we walked amongst the ocean front shops in Morro Bay. Normally I make sure to carry my own purse, for I usually feel somehow bereft without it.

When we came to the restaurant where we were to have lunch, the kids took their water out, and I went back to carrying it myself.

There were long lines to use the lady’s room, and as I stood in line waiting, I got to know a few of them who were nearest to me. We talked about general things, mostly about Morro Bay and how each of our days were going there. After I used the lady’s room, I went back out to where my family was still in line to order. We waited a while, till it was finally our turn to order. We ordered, and sat down to wait for the food. When it came up, and was brought back to our table, I suddenly realized that my purse was missing.

I quickly asked my kids and husband, but they did not have it either.

I knew then that I had left it somewhere.

I went back to the line at the lady’s bathrooms, and asked those who were next in line, if they could check for me if they had seen it in there. They answered me with a no. No one had seen it.

Do you know what it is like, to suddenly know that your whole life that was in your purse, is simply gone? It wasn’t the loss of cash that bothered me, (I only had fifteen dollars in it,) but it was the thought of having to cancel my three bank cards, re-apply for a driver’s license, somehow manage to order and re-pay for the three prescription eye glasses that had I kept in it, and of course having to deal with the loss of my cell phone. Then there was the concern that someone would steal my identity and write out checks from my check book.

As I stood there on the busy restaurant’s patio, I looked all around me, at all the faces of those who were eating there, and I suddenly struggled just to breathe.

“Oh Jesus!” I exclaimed under my breath. “Please help me!”
(I was thinking in terms of being able to breathe and not to pass out, but in the end the Lord helped me even beyond those immediate concerns.)

One of the workers there, had overheard me asking others about the missing purse, and he came up to me, and told me to check up front to see if it was in their lost and found.

I went up to ask them, but they did not have it. They told me to ask those at the next store, just in case.

When I asked them, they let me know that they had a purse given to them not too long ago, and they were just about to call out over their intercom system my name, in an effort to reach the owner of it.

They were reluctant to hand it over to me, and asked me for identification, to prove I was who I said I was. But all my identification was in my purse. (Sadly, my driver’s license photo has me with my hair down and all fuzzy, and not up in a pony tail as I wore on that day. So the likeness was not immediate to see.) Finally, I had given them so many other pieces of information about what was in the purse, that they came to believe that it really was mine, and so they returned it to me.

As I walked back to the place where our food was, I seen two ladies sitting there at another nearby table, no longer eating, but simply watching. One of them said to the other with great excitement: “See? That is her! She got it back!”

I walked up to them, and asked them if they were the ones who had found it and turned it in to that store.

They said yes, and then the one who had found it began to tell of how she found it in the lady’s room, and couldn’t find me to return it to me, and how she wasn’t really sure of what I exactly looked like. (She remembered me with my jacket on, but I had taken it off to eat.) She was concerned that I would think that she had gone through my purse, so she just handed it over to the restaurant, who brought it to the other shop. (Apparently the shops are owned by the same person.)
I then asked her if I could give her a hug, of which she returned somewhat reluctantly. But I sensed somehow, that she was spiritually clean, and therefore o.k. to hug. I heard her then tell me that the Lord told her what to do with it, for it had happened to her many times before in her life. “That’s why I don’t carry purses anymore!,” she exclaimed to me. I excitedly asked her “You ARE a believer, aren’t you!” She gave a startled nod of agreement, and I motioned to her to give me a high-five, which she reluctantly did. At this point, I realized that she must not be too comfortable with my displays of emotion, and was probably older than I was. Her friend had all gray hair, but hers was a solid brown color. (Mine is just beginning to get streaks in it.) I figured she must have colored her hair to conceal her age. (It worked!) So I thanked her profusely several times, blessed her even more times in the name of Jesus, before leaving.

After they had left, I suddenly realized that I had forgot to offer her a monetary reward. Twice before I had lost my purse, and each time it was returned to me, I would give the finder a few twenties, as a way of thanking them. But this time, I did not have that cash to offer. Just the fifteen dollars, which seemed to be a pittance in return to what she had done for me.

“Oh Lord!” I said under my breath, “I sure wished I could have offered her a monetary reward!”

But the Lord responded to me immediately. “No Ma Petite. She would have been insulted.”

I was shocked at this. “Really? She would have?”

“Yes.”

So I sat there, and wondered what else I could do for her. Then I figured that being a believer, prayers would be the logical answer. I could do that for her instead.

So several times, during the trip, and even to this day, whenever I feel my purse, or think of her good work that she did in Jesus name, I give thanks to God for her, and I then ask the Lord to please bless her and her friend greatly, and answer whatever prayers that they are petitioning Him for. Whatever that is on their heart, whatever they desire, may the Lord give it to them with overflowing abundance! I ask this in the name of Jesus! I sensed that their need was not monetary, but was more for a loved ones salvation. Whatever it is, I ask the Lord to please grant it to them on my behalf.

For “…if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:19 ESV)

Thank you Jesus for answering my prayers!

Even more than the return of my purse, I greatly appreciated the meeting of another believer. After surviving the stronghold of San Luis Obispo, just knowing that there was another believer near by, and being able to worship the Lord together with them, was a gem in and of itself!

Thank you sisters, where ever you are now. Your good deed in His name will not be forgotten. Indeed, I still give glory to the Father, for what He did in you both on that day!

*

Matthew 5:16 (KJV)
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

John 14:13-14 (KJV)
“And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

John 16:23-24 (ESV)
“…Truly, truly, I say to you, whatever you ask of the Father in my name, He will give it to you. Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

John 15:16 (ESV)
“You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

John 15:7 (ESV)
“If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

James 1:5-6 (ESV)
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.”

1 John 3:22 (ESV)
“and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.”

1 John 5:14-15 (CJB)
“This is the confidence we have in his presence: if we ask anything that accords with his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us — whatever we ask — then we know that we have what we have asked from him.”

Hebrews 13:21 (NLT)
“may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.”

I Tim. 5:22, Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins; keep thyself pure.

Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
* * * *

Thankful For The Food I Had Been Given

A dream…

I was going to meet a friend of mine
So we could spend some time talking to each other
And get caught up on what was going on in each others families. (To hear the latest news)

She asked me to meet her
At the local food bank
For that was the only time she had open.
(She had young children.)

When I pulled into the parking lot,
I could see it was very busy. There was just one or two spots left for a car to park.

I found one not too far away from my friend’s,
And caught up to her as she was walking up to the building.

There were many people waiting in line
To receive their free food,
And we were towards the end of the line.

We talked and chatted,
Until we were close to the food.

Then my friend was next.
She reached down and grabbed her box of food,
And as I was about to follow her,
A man stopped me and insisted that I take a box of food.

So I took one, feeling like a fraud,
For I still had enough food to last us for another week,
Or maybe two if we didn’t eat too much.
After that, I’d be out of food just like everyone else.
But I still had hope that my husband would find a job
So we could get some money to buy some food.
He’d only been out of work for about a year and a half.
We had been living off the food we had stored up,
When we had the money to put into it.
But I kept thinking that there must be others there,
That needed the food far more than I did.

As we both walked back to our cars,
I could see the police man watching us,
Watching everyone,
And I felt a moment of fear,
That I would somehow be caught,
And prosecuted
For taking food while I still had some.

But no one was checking for identification,
Nor asking for proof of need,
So we continued on
Till we reached our cars.

I found myself wondering if I looked that poor,
That I would need such items.
But I then realized with a sinking heart, that I was indeed, thin and gaunt. I had thought that to be so thin was in fashion, but I sensed then, that I had become too thin.

I felt shame at this, for I could well remember the days when I myself had donated food to the food pantry,
Or given them money to buy whatever food they had needed to help feed the poor.

But I never thought it would be our family
That would need the help.

When my friend and I came to her car,
I offered her the box of food that had been given to me.
But she insisted that I keep it for myself.

She drove off, waving to me,
While I still stood there holding my box of free food.

I looked down at the box,
And realized that there was enough to keep a family of four going for only about three days or so.

Most of it, (all of it?) was dry goods.
Rice, beans, boxed side dishes that needed water added to cook it, pancake mixes and other such items. There was even an opened bag of white flour, rolled closed and taped shut. There looked to be about three cups of the flour inside it.
The box was an open pallet type box, that might have once been used for fruit or vegetables,
But there was no fruit or vegetables in it now.
Fresh produce of any kind, was hard to find.
I realized, that they had put all the items in the boxes,
So that everyone could see that everyone was getting the same thing as everyone else. (They feared food riots otherwise.)

I then wondered, if my friend knew that I’d probably have to be there next week, to ask for the free food right along with her, and figured that I could probably use a head start.

I thanked her in my mind, (and resolved myself to thank her next week when I seen her here again,) for giving me the nudge I needed.

As I was putting the food into the back of the car,
I seen that they were putting out some fresh baked goods,
As an added bonus for the people.

Many of the people had already left,
But there were still enough people left,
To receive the handout.

So I walked up to where they were giving out the bread,
But by the time I got there,
All the loaves were gone. A man there offered me to have three cinnamon rolls (dry and stale ones,) in liew of the loaf of bread. I gladly accepted it with thanks.
He gave me a brisk hug, and then told me to come again, and get the free food, and to not suffer so because of my pride.
(He reminded me of a dear elderly gentleman that I had once known in my church, who was always caring for and helping out others.) He then motioned to me to get in line for the cinnamon rolls with icing on them, that they would be handing out next.

So I did.

They gave me a huge piece of green plastic,
(not quite as thick as a tarp,)
But I was confused and went back and then told them that I had wanted the roll instead. (I realized that the plastic was given out to those who didn’t even have a roof over their heads or a tent to shelter in. We were not that bad yet! We had a nice tent waiting for us at home if we needed it.)

But by this time, the workers were in a battle between themselves, concerning some trivial matter of who said what to whom, and left the food to go argue it out inside.

The people were left there, waiting for the food.

I got tired of waiting for them,
Even though I was next in line,
(I had already waited for over a half an hour,)
So I lunged forward towards one of the tables that had a roll with icing on it, (not the ones with lots of icing on it that I had hoped for, but one with some on it all the same,) and was able to pick up the one on the corner of the tray.

Gasps of the people closest to me could be heard,
(and one saying “Hey! That’s not fair!”,)
But I walked back to my car, licking my fingers from the icing, and quickly, thankfully, devoured the entire roll.
(I think some of the others behind me in line, also tried to grab a roll for themselves, while the workers bickered away the time inside the building.) The workers finally came back out and finished helping the people, till all the rolls were gone.

I drove home, my stomach no longer growling at me, thankful for the food that I had been given.

I then woke up form the dream.

When I went back to bed,
I dreamed that I had somehow been given,
(inherited?) a bunch of rabbits and a pair of hamsters.
Even the cages were now mine.

I knew how to take care of them,
For the one who had them before me,
Had been teaching me how to care for them.
He was an old, old man, with no relatives left to care about him. He had recently died in his sleep, and left them to me.

The rabbits were quite big in size,
And I knew that they would fetch me a good price if I wished to sell them. But I vowed to do things just like the old man did, and not sell too many off at one time. I needed to retain enough good stock to keep the rabbits breeding.
I also needed to keep enough for myself.

The pair of hamsters were due to have a litter any day now. They would grow quickly, and also be sold to others, though maybe not as quickly as the rabbits.

Most people could handle the thought of eating rabbit.
But not too many could handle the thought of eating a hamster. The hamsters were enough to flavor a pot of soup though, and for those who could afford little else, it was still edible meat.

Some purchased a male and a female rabbit from me,
Just so they could start their own tiny rabbit farm in their back yard. Others wanted one to eat. I charged them extra, to kill it and skin it for them. Most found a way to do it themselves, for they did not have that extra money. Sometimes they paid me to do it in front of them, so they would be able to do it next time by themselves. I didn’t mind showing them. If I knew I would be killing one soon, I would let them know so they could come and learn for free. I wasn’t one of those charlatans who was out just to gouge their customer. I (and the old man before me,) were ones that the people trusted.

There were those of course, who still greatly struggled with the thought of killing a rabbit for food, but sooner or later, their bellies would growl louder than their conscience, and they would break down and buy one to eat. I would try to sell them the older ones, telling them that they had already lived a good long life in rabbit years, and would soon die of old age before too long anyways. They seemed to appreciate this thought.

I also stretched the skins out and scraped them clean, and then sold the pelts later to be used to help keep one warm. (I was not a good sewer, but I was good enough to piece some together for me to stay warm enough in the winter.) Some people didn’t want to be bothered with the skin, and I then told them that I would buy it back from them, for a little bit of money. It would take me quite a bit of work to clean up the fur, but if they had done a half way decent job of skinning it, then the work left was not too much for me to do. I could then sell it for a small profit, or keep it myself to use.

The pelts were not as big of a seller, as the rabbits themselves were. The meat, the protein, is what was in the highest demand.

I then woke up.

* * * *