One summer morning thirty years ago I crossed paths with a homeless fellow by the name of Mike Saavedra. What I didn’t realize at the time was this chance encounter was truly a godsend. It is one that has lead me on a journey to encourage not only the needy and homeless but to inspire others to “Rise Up” and help those who have stumbled along life’s path. Through my friendship with Mike, God pricked my heart and stirred my soul as he laid upon me the desire to help those less fortunate. Each year, I create a new painting for the Honor Card program. Now in its 32nd year, I am always humbled by the impact of God’s hand on this program and faithfully providing the inspiration for each new painting.
Joshua 1:9 says: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
There is a great treasure in each and every day no matter the circumstances we encounter. I see it on a weekly basis when I volunteer at our local shelter. People have been through a storm in their life, and their will has been broken. They are lost, can’t cope, and there is darkness all around, but that’s when the greatest opportunities arise out of the ashes. It’s the perfect opportunity to look for the good in the current circumstances, in the problems, in the disappointments and the frustrations of life. Often the rational response is to be cynical, sad, and to curse the darkness. But the darkness will remain, and your breath will have been wasted, or you can look for the good, and in so doing, begin to push away the darkness.
Across the state Outreach Agencies are the eyes which see opportunity and beauty in people. They’re the hands through which good work brings new hope and richness to those who see nothing but hopelessness. Every small opportunity they provide deepens life’s meaning, adding fulfillment and a fresh start. It’s through community outreach agencies that great progress is made for those who look for good, particularly when that good is not anywhere evident. Good is always there, somewhere, under the difficulty, behind the pain, hidden within the challenges.
It’s also shared in biblical truth. Joshua 1:9 says: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
God is the one that equips us to come along and stand by those in need. When you’ve done all you can do, and can’t cope, we’ll dry your eyes and hold you tight, won’t let you down because we know you’re gonna make it.
I’ve seen it time and time again. Sometimes there’s more than one stumble, but each and every time Outreach Agencies, staff and volunteers accept those whatever they are engaged in and look for the good and find it and continue to change each moment for the better.
This Holiday Season stand with us to help our neighbors that are struggling, those who have stumbled along life’s path and are homeless. The Honor Card is a great way to support these Outreach Agencies and share the message of need by honoring a friend or family member through its donation. One hundred percent goes directly to support counseling, hearty meals, and shelter.
May you be richly blessed in your support of this worthy outreach this Holiday Season.