The Strangers In The Church.
Who is the stranger?
Alexis was in the bedroom picking out a warm sweater to wear with her new jeans. She zipped up her boot while searching in her closet thinking, 'I must give these clothes I do not wear to someone that could use them.' She did not want to be late for the worship music at church. It seemed Alexis was always a few minutes behind and a dollar short.
She chuckled at herself. How long had she promised herself to get better at being on time. Many years now. It occurred to her, she could pray about it. God is interested in all of us, not just part of us.With God all things are possible. Many friends and family teased her that she would be late for her own funeral. I am so sorry Father, please can you help me out with this. I just seem to be all over the place with projects here and there. I embarrass myself being late. It is not polite. I am willing. I have disregarded feeling's of others.Father I am humbled. I can not do this without you. I know because I have tried, and availed little. Oh sweet Jesus thank you for forgiveness. One thing is certain, Lord. The only church service I was late for was my first one. Like several years to late. Alexis visualized a smile on the face of Jesus.
'Hey, Daniel, honey maybe you could go start the car. It is cool and brisk out today. It looks like Jack Frost came last night and sprinkled the ground. It is so beautiful. Wow, check out the sky, blue as can be. Hello Daniel are you there?' Alexis laughed, she had been talking into the air. Daniel had beat her to the request. He had the car warmed up. He just walked inside. Excited for the morning out walked Alexis into the living room, 'Hey Daniel, I do not want to forget my Bible this week, have you seen it my sweet hubby?' 'Daniel in his low and gentle voice assured her, 'It is right where you put it, on the table by your purse. You know it is OK to breathe Alexis. I do not think God would mind.'
Alexis smiled, Daniel sure knew how to lighten the load from her own thinking. She thought of the scripture in Proverbs, 'two are better then one, because if one falls the other is there to pick up the one that fell. 'You are so right Daniel breathe in, breathe out, in, out.' Daniel chuckled as he locked the front door. Hand in hand Alexis led the way to the car. Daniel thought to himself, 'does this woman know how to go slow while he laughed out loud'. 'What are you laughing at ?' asked Alexis. 'Oh nothing much, just thinking about different things.'Sipping her coffee, Alexis noticed her handsome man and exclaimed, 'wow you look nice today in your sweater, very sweet' 'Why thank you beautiful, you are not to shabby yourself in those new jeans' They laughed and drove.
Once in the church Alexis whispered, 'Should we go see if our regular seats await us?' Daniel nodded his head. 'Creatures of habit,' thought Alexis. The power of the Holy Spirit was moving about in the church this morning. Daniel and Alexis felt His presence hovering around touching hearts and souls, from here to there. Moving like the wind to and fro. Many were standing with hands raised in praise and glory. Some stood with heads bowed and eyes closed. Some stood and sang. Many held hands, swaying to the music of 'How Great Is Our God.' A few had arms crossed across their chest. Alexis wanted to go and uncross those arms so the love and sentiment of the Spirit could flow inward. Alexis stood, grateful she raised her hands to the Lord.
Alexis bowed her head in thanksgiving and noticed the same man sitting in front of her from the last two Sundays. He wore the same red parka and had his brown work gloves and hat neatly folded next to him. He was slouched down with arms crossed over his chest like he needed to stay warm. He seemed frozen in position. He was so close to the edge of the pew Alexis thought he might slip out if the rails were not holding him in.
Her heart went out to him. She asked God to help her to be His hands and feet. His body language told her he did not want to be noticed. 'He is hiding from the wrong woman,' she thought. Alexis reached out to others and he was not an exception. She knew all to well how it felt to want to hide out and not be seen.
After her car accident eight years ago she hid from herself and others. Her once flawless skin was now imperfect. A 7.3 inch scar from the corner of her right eye moved down like a winding zipper along her cheek bone to her neck. Her face was scared. She had been pinned under the steering wheel and lost her right ear; tr was by sheer miracle the surgeons were able to attach it back on. She was told she was lucky to be alive. Alexis had felt ugly and obvious. Anyone and everyone that knew her or not looked and wondered what had happened to this fair skinned woman. Alexis spent a year in counseling working on her anger. The drunk woman that t-boned her car on the drivers side walked away without a scar. She spent time doing the jail house rock and Alexis was bitter not better in the year of counseling. It availed her little. Alexis was a recluse to her bedroom and even the urging of her best friends encou7raged her. After months of attempts from her friends they gave up on asking her to join in with them. She felt lonely.
It was not until Daniel her old high school friend came over to her house and asked her to go to a church dance with him. She decided to give going out again a try. She believed that in a church people might not be so obvious and stare at her or wonder. Little did Alexis realize that no one really stared. She had allowed her scar to own her life. Her attitude is what made her feel less then. The enemy tried to have his way but Our God is an awesome God and He went after Alexis, in spite of herself.
Alexis knew how it felt to hide. She felt everyone was a stranger at that time in her life. She knew now that she alienated people. Her unforgivingness made her bitter. She felt no one understood how she felt. In loneliness and despair it was on her third outing with Daniel that she invited Christ into her heart as her Lord and Saviour. She had nothing but misery to loose. For the first time in a long time she laughed. Her life changed. Her heart grew in the love of Christ. She forgave the woman that hurt her and prayed for her. She went to the prison and spoke with her about the love of Jesus. She knew because of her testimony she could help God and be a light for Him. She knew, that she knew beauty came from the inside to the outside. God made all beautiful in His sight. When He created us, He looked and 'it was good, very good. 'It is by our fruits that they will know us.' Over the next several years Alexis rarely noticed her scar it seemed like it was fading. She felt beautiful and knew she was loved by the King of Kings.I f she could help someone with Christ she would go to them a a witness. No soul needed to be miserable.
Her and Daniel were married six years ago. Alexis knew she had been rescued by angels sent from above because by all rights she should have died instantly. She came up with a new abbreviation for luck. 'Living Under Christ's Kindness' Many had told her she was so lucky but it was the miracle of God that spared her life. She used the abbreviation for luck often in her walk.
Alexis thought to herself, we are stranger's to this man in front of us. Maybe he does not know where us 'Christians' come from. Maybe he had been hurt in another church. Maybe he had not been acknowledged in a church. Maybe he felt he did not belong here or was not good enough to be here. Maybe his scars made him feel less then. Maybe he was nervous. Maybe this was a first for him to walk into a church. Maybe he did not understand all were sinners and we all fell short the Glory of God. Not many came into the church and to Jesus whistling Dixie on cloud nine. There was only one perfect and it was not us in the church. Maybe no one shared the Love of Christ with Him. Christ went to the Cross because he loved us first. Whatever the scenario Alexis and all believers had a commission for the cause for Christ. Maybe he felt strange because he felt love in this House of God and did not know what to make of it. What is important is the Love of Christ be spread to this gentleman and all. In her Spirit Alexis knew it was no mistake he sat in front of her and Daniel the last two weeks. In 'Gods World' there are no mistakes. God has His reasons for what he does.
Alexis felt the power of the Holy Spirit in a mighty way. Tears went down her cheek and trinkled onto her sweater. A woman a couple down from her handed her a tissue. She had came prepared and she too had tears in her warm and intense brown eyes. Pastor Reese walked up to the pulpit and said,' let us sing the last few verses again together.',.' The people were moved. The harmony sounded like a slice of heaven and hearts were touched as if on fire. If one ever felt love pour out it was truly in this moment in time. Only the Holy Spirit can hover over hearts and others in peace. This was a peace only the Lord could rain down.
Make the world go away
Years ago the song, 'Make the world go away, and just leave my shoulders' was how Alexis felt.Today she knew 'the world' needed the sweet llove of Jesus Christ. His Love conquered all and Blessed and exalted all that choose Him as Lord of their life.His love was the one that 'would never leave nor forsake us.' The gentlemen picked up his hat and gloves and walked out. Alexis had a stabbing pain in her heart for him. About ten minutes into the sermon on adversity and how Paul handdled it, in walked the gentlemen and took his seat. Alexis sighed and thanked God. Most everyone was busy looking up scriptures in second Timothy. Alexis felt gratitude to Christ for sending this man to the church here.
It was clear the Holy Spirit was moving on Pastor Reese today.The church was sitting on the edge of their seat, in great anticipation. The Pastor shared about Paul's life and how he faced adversity in the most trying of situations. Paul learned to be content where he was, no matter the trial or tribulation. He had plenty of them. He trusted in his Jesus and kept his eyes on the prize of eternal life with Christ. Paul was once known as Saul a Roman soldier, he persecuted Christians. When he was blinded by God and asked why did he do this, he then turned his life around for Jesus. The scales fell from his eyes and he lived a life as witness for our Lord. He went about and converted unbelievers and made disciples. He helped to start young church's. He suffered immensely. The religious did not want him sharing the Gospel. He was shipwrecked. He was left naked and hungry, he was stoned, he was left in a cold prison with nothing to warm him but the love of Christ. He was whipped and beaten. He was left for dead. He loved the young church's and had deep concern for them in their daily walks. He had much on his plate. Christ rescued him from all his battles and Paul gave God All the Glory in all of his comings and goings.Alexis thought, 'my plate looks like steak, Fillet Mignon compared to Paul's.' Paul knew he could do all things through Christ. He knew his permanent home waited for him with Christ in Heaven. He kept his eyes on things above, not on the situation. He believed Christ and His Word. Paul lived the Word.
'He may not feel safe. Let us help him Lord,' Daniel prayed. 'Let us be the Children of God you would have us to be.' After the sermon, there was an alter call for those that made a choice to take a step of Faith for their salvation. 'It would be the best day of their life,' thought Daniel. God desires for all is to live in the Blessing. God wanted all to live and none to perish. Oh just to think these individual's would not be in the dark any longer. They were lost but now they were found. Around twelve people walked up front and accepted Christ into their hearts. The band played 'How Great is Thy Love' Tears streamed down many faces. She heard the small still voice.'I am the potter, you are the clay, be you my child, just be you.' Alexis smiled.
The service ended and we were all reminded of coffee, sweets and fellowship in the front lobby. Alexis thought I will grab a donut and run, I have so much I need to do today. Daniel went to say hello to a brother. Alexis noticed the man in the pew at a table by himself. He was sitting with a hot coffee and a roll. Alexis walked up to him and held out her hand. He looked into her eyes. He had brown eyes and they seemed to have a bit of a twinkle in them. She took his hand, held and squeezed it. It is great to see you hear, will you be in the same spot next week?' He answered, 'yes.' 'Oh my he does talk,' thought Alexis. She knew she needed to open her wallet and in dig in. There was no doubt in her heart.She opened his hand and put a twenty dollar bill inside and closed his hand. 'I am being obedient to the Holy Spirit. I am Alexis and you are?' 'I am Randy, thank you so much. I do need to get my cat some food today and was concerned about what to feed him.' ' Well, Praise God Randy, you can both eat well today. My husband Daniel is coming this way.' The stranger nodded. Alexis introduced the two men. Daniel held out his hand and shook Randy's hand. 'Would you like a ride somewhere Randy?' No thank you I live over the hill, not to far from here, I will walk.'
Once outside Alexis told Daniel she gave their last twenty dollar bill to Randy. Daniel looked into his wifes eyes, ' We are so broke now, making way less Alexis'. As if Alexis did not know the situation she looke Daniel back.in the eye. 'Oops spoke Daniel, that was down right rude, I was wrong. I have been given so much. God has so Blessed us. God forgive me on that one HE is our supply and source. That was a good thing, a very good thing we had it to give. By the way little Alexis have you ever thought that we in the church are sometimes the strangers to those that come into the doors?' I do not think Randy knows anyone. He should not be a stranger to any in the church, we are in the House of the Lord. all are welcomed.'children of God should go out of there way to make all feel welcomed.'
'That was such an awesome service.' Alexis glowed, "Funny you ask, I have thought about strangers in the chruch and who is really the stranger.' The Holy Spirit was moving in a big way.' Daniel smiled, 'I wrote the scriptures Pastor Reese used to testify about Paul's journey. What an awesome God we serve.' Daniel smiled.
'I do hope Randy is at church next week,' Alexis spoke softly, I do believe he will be. I really do. I feel it in my heart. We all need Randy's more then he needs us.' 'We all need each other,' whispered Daniel. Alexis smiled and nodded yes.
© Copyright 2010 Skye Tudae
I left a video for you to enjoy. Take five and take care of you. Sit, breathe in, breathe out and savor the words. I know you will be Blessed.