GHFGM – Christ is Coming 12/5/2013

What I love the most about the Christmas holiday is the anticipation, expectation, hoping, and the waiting that can best be witnessed through the eyes of a child. As an adult once we’ve faced life in ways common to us all and uniquely our own if we’re not careful we’ll become jaded and  that’s the very reason why I began to celebrate Advent which is the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas, observed in commemoration of the coming of Christ into the world.  Also during that same period of time I was introduced to the Prison Fellowship Angel Tree Ministry by Dolores Alleyne who passed away two years ago but left a legacy of love that continues to live on via myself and the many lives she touched.  This ministry provides gifts for children whose parents are incarcerated God’s Hands & Feet Global Ministry yearly hosts an Angel Tree Luncheon for the children we’ve been assigned and their families and the fellowship, the opportunity to serve, and the sharing of a meal is priceless!

It is my prayer that we all as the children of God live in hope and expectancy as we await the coming Christ child which is the greatest gift one could ever receive. Blessings, Love, & Peace Elder Tracy

Luke 1:28-31 (NIV)

28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.

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Tracy M. Porter CEO/Founder & Executive Director of
God’s Hands & Feet Global Ministry
PO Box 92202
Pasadena, California 91109-2202
(323) 989-3658
God’s Hands & Feet Global Ministry is a nonprofit ministry 501c3 registered with the State of California

GHFGM – Where is Your Faith

I recently had an encounter with a homeless man who impacted me in a tremendous way, it was during one of the coldest nights on record for the city and as I, my daughter, and son scurried to the shelter and pending warmth of our car we met a homeless man who was not at all dressed for the weather, who had a cup in his hand, and was having words with another homeless person about a recent fire that this person had set which caused the homeless people who called that particular place home to have to leave.

I was awestruck at how while clearly disagreeing this homeless man did so articulately and peaceably and as the car heated up I reached into my purse and grasped two dollars that I had and when I pulled to the stop light where he was standing I rolled down the window and I said “sir I wanted to give you this and commend you for how you handled the disagreement you were having” to which he replied “people think that because we’re homeless we don’t have feelings but we do” and as I placed the money in his cup I blessed him and said “I hope this helps you to find shelter and warmth to which he replied in a voice that was more clear and crisp than the cold wind that was blowing “ma’am God is going to take care of us all that’s what he planned isn’t that what Jeremiah 29:11 says which he articulated from start to finish!

That homeless man then proceeded to quote various other scriptures that spoke of faith and hope and at that moment the light changed to green and I had to move as there was a line of cars behind me but as I looked at that man in my rear view mirror my daughter said “Mommy I don’t think that was a homeless man I think that was an angel masquerading as a homeless man and while I didn’t say it I thought the same thing too. I also thought here I sit in the warmth of my car headed to the shelter, warmth, and safety of my home and this homeless man seemed to exude more faith than many of us who appear to have more reason to believe God than he did and this passage of scripture spoke to my heart:

Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Blessings, Love, & Peace Elder Tracy

GHFGM – Advent Season- Sorrow & The Season

As a bereavement counselor I’m confronted by those who are wrestling with grief, sadness, and sorrow on a regular basis and those feelings are particularly heightened at this time of the year. I was recently talking with a sister-friend and she revealed to me that every year during this season she struggles to find balance, hope, joy, and peace and it seems as if her issues of grief become overwhelming.

I shared with her that I often provide those who are grieving with a Journeys Winter Holidays bereavement newsletter created by the Hospice Foundation of America as a resource to assist them with coping as they navigate the grief process and she asked that I forward a copy to her. I thought of my sister-friend and all those who I don’t know personally that are struggling with sorrow during this Advent Season and I silently prayed that the Lord grant them comfort, peace, and that a new purpose is born out of their pain.

Psalm 126:5-6 (NIV)

Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.

As I prepared for my day this morning and I read The Upper Room Daily Devotional I was blessed as it spoke to my heart I pray it speaks to yours too. Blessings, Love, & Peace Tracy

Clearing out my father’s house after his death was a daunting and depressing task. Packing up my father’s personal possessions felt like removing tangible evidence of his existence. I hugged his clothes and caressed his books before donating them to non-profit organizations. Then I opened a closet and saw shelves filled with personal-care items.

I stared at unopened boxes of soap, bottles of shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, packages of razors, and tubes of toothpaste, wondering what to do with them. Then I recalled reading an article in the newspaper about a homeless shelter with an ongoing need for these items, so I contacted the shelter.

That phone call inspired a ministry. I enlisted people in my church to help supply these items. On what would have been my father’s 78th birthday, we made the first delivery. The generosity of our church members overwhelmed me as boxes of personal-care items were carried into the shelter. God used my grief to spur ministry to those in need; God used my pain to propel me toward a purpose I never would have imagined.

Helping those with needs far greater than my own brought me comfort and healing. I smiled, feeling my sorrow subside when homeless recipients thanked me for the gifts. God taught me that sowing in tears can bring a harvest of joy.

Debra Pierce (Massachusetts, USA)

 

GHFGM – Advent Season Immanuel –12/6/2012

As we journey this Advent Season towards Christmas Day I find myself drawn to the story of the birth of Jesus in this passage of scripture:

Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV)

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

We need Immanuel (God with us) and as we prepare our hearts for his arrival and unending love I pray that we don’t allow the sales, sights, and sounds to sway us from embracing the real reason for the season which is Jesus and that is the greatest gift we could ever give or receive.

On December 22, 2012 God’s Hands & Feet Global Ministry will be hosting an Angel Tree Prison Fellowship Ministry party if you’d like further information on how you can lend your support to this effort please contact me at (323)989-3658.

Blessings, Love, & Peace Elder Tracy M. Porter

GHFGM – 1st Sunday of Advent

Today is the first Sunday of Advent and it is my prayer that as we prepare for the coming Christ child we shift our focus from how much we can spend to how much we can give from our heart. During this time of the year we often mistakenly think that everyone is celebratory and happy when the reality is many are grieving as they’ve lost loved ones, their job, their homes, and in some cases their hope.

I pray that the following passages of scripture and The Upper Room Daily Devotional that I read this morning bless, encourage, inform, and inspire you as it did me:

Matthew 1:18-24 (NIV)

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. Blessings, Love, & Peace Tracy

This season is a time of conflicting emotions for me. My husband died just two days after Christmas, and, even after many years, I clearly remember how I felt coming home from the hospital — seeing the red bows fluttering on our fence posts, the wreath brightening our door, the Christmas tree sparkling in our living room. I remember thinking that all the color, all the festivity seemed almost obscene on this, the worst day of my life. That afternoon I took everything down and packed it away. I have never regained any interest in decorating for Christmas.

On the other hand, the true meaning of Christmas has become very precious to me. It’s the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. My relationship with Christ has become closer and more comforting as time has passed, and I have come to trust and cling to his promises: “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28, NRSV). “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:18, KJV).

I don’t decorate my home with lights and garlands or a Christmas tree. Folks who don’t know me may think I don’t celebrate Christmas, but I do. Instead of gifts and feasting, I set aside that day to reflect on all that the birth of Jesus means to me. I am not alone. I will never be alone. That is the precious gift of Christmas.

Ruby Truax (Ontario, Canada)

 

 

GHFGM – Train Up A Child

As a mother who’s raised seven children I hopefully and prayerfully believe that I’ve influenced many others but recently I received some disturbing heartbreaking news via social media about one of my youngest daughter’s friend who spent time in my home with our family as she’s headed down a destructive path and when my daughter and several of her friends commented to her she deleted their comments and wrote these words “don’t knock my hustle and don’t judge me!”

As tears formed in my eyes I immediately pictured this sweet girl who broke bread with our family, went on errand runs and outings, and sat around the housing talking and laughing as one of my own and I wondered aloud “how is her mother feeling about the current choices her daughter has made and did I miss something or not set a good example for her and this passage of scripture came to mind as I prayed for this wayward child, her mother, and wayward children all over the world:

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

While those of us who profess to be children of God are divided and fighting among ourselves we’re losing a generation of children and their souls are being stolen right before our very eyes! Many pride ourselves on having great faith but we live in fear, we don’t respect one another and at every opportunity we speak negatively and put each other down in front of our children. We are quick to criticize our youth but when youth Sunday rolls around in most churches the older children of God don’t attend that service because we don’t like the music or the upbeat tempo as one older church member stated “the youth worship service is too happy clappy for me!”

Mean while our children are falling pray to alcohol, bullies, drugs, gangs, promiscuity, self-mutilation, and violence just to name a few as wrong doing always begins as an open door to acceptance that many of our youth are seeking. And perhaps you thinking I have my own children to contend with and if that’s the case then it’s all the more reason that you should include youth (yours, mine, & ours) in your daily prayers. Training up a child is more than you providing them with clothing, food, & shelter it’s also you giving and showing them love and being a living example, spending time in meditation and prayer for our youth, and extending yourself to every child or young person that you encounter in or outside of your home. There is child or youth that needs you today make it your goal and quest to be available to help train up a child.

Blessings, Love, & Peace Tracy

 

God’s Hands & Feet Global Ministry is a registered Non-Profit 501 (c)3