Does Your Food Pantry Empower or Oppress?

Ecclesiastes 4:1 Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed – and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors – and they have no comforter.

Since I am out of work I figured that I should save the little money that I have left and utilize food pantries. This has been very humbling and yet very enlightening.

I went to one pantry with a friend and at this church they had somebody sit with you while you waited your turn. This person was there to get to know you, hear your story, give you resources and pray with you. This made an uncomfortable situation so much less uncomfortable and it left you feeling like they cared about who you are and not just your need. The food there was balanced so you could make meals and very little of it was expired, but it is only enough for about a week and you can only go once a month.

Another day we went to another church for fresh produce. I received about 5 lbs of cilantro, really rotten broccoli and 5 eggplants. Nobody asked me about myself or if they could pray with me and just wanted to hurry me out of there.

So today I told myself I was going to try one of my local food pantries by myself. I didn’t really want to go so I kept telling myself that these people are here to help others, it brings them purpose and they won’t judge me. After all this was at a local church and these people know God and love others. I also see this as an opportunity to see how others live on a daily basis and what they have to go through.

So when I showed up it was immediately dark and sad, I could feel it in the air. Everyone was roaming the tables with their heads down, not one smile or kind word from anyone. Then I saw a worker who had her head down and she was very focused on wiping a table that looked clean already. I was roaming around for a bit not knowing where to start and had to get her attention to ask what the process was. I was pointed to a hall where another very cold volunteer asked me what my name was. Thing is she wasn’t asking because she wanted to know me but she wants to make sure I am in the system so I don’t come back for another month. She asked if I was on food stamps and I said “No”, I was expecting her to give me information on applying but all she did was hand me a card saying I can’t come back until Nov 12th and then she told me to pick 8 items from the rack behind me. Then she screamed “next”. So I turned to collect my items and moved down the line. Another volunteer said “two” and pushed two bags onto a counter. I just stood there and then she stared at me and I said “are those mine”? In a very nasty tone she said “You do have 2 in your family, don’t you”? I then said “yes”. Thing is that I had 8 boxes and bags in my arms and now I had 2 large bags to grab, so I said “Can I leave this here and grab a cart” to which she replied “no, they aren’t allowed in here”. So I said “Okay, thank you”, she said “Your welcome” but she didn’t even seem to mean it. So I went back and forth outside of that area and put all my stuff on a table so I could get a cart. Then I was able to grab other items and leave.

When I got home I set everything on my table and checked the expiration dates. This is what I was sent home with…

Meal Items
4 frozen chicken fajita meals
2 boxes macaroni – expired
4 cans of chicken
2 packs of Quinoa
1 pack of green beans
1 box of pasta
1 can of spaghetti sauce – expired by 5 months
1 can of soup- expired
9 ice cream bars
12 packs of mini cinnamon rolls – expired
1 pack fudge bars – expired by 6 months
2 boxes of candy
1 pack of oatmeal cookies – expired by 10 months
1 bag vanilla cupcake goldfish – expired
1 pack sugar cookies – expired
1 pumpkin cookie mix – expired
1 box corn flakes
1 pack of gum – expired
3 pies – expired

So as you can see most of what I received was expired, which would tell me that people in my situation get the bottom of the barrel, the items not good enough for those at stores to consume. I got enough actual meal items to make 2 different dinners that would last 6 nights. I also have candy for dessert. So I get the bottom food supply and I can get fatter. Plus, how I was treated will bring shame upon people when they are already full of shame and make them feel like even more of a burden to society.

I am not being ungrateful by any means, I am just telling it like it is. Food pantries are one of the main avenues in which the Church serves the impoverished. We think it is so easy to utilize a food pantry and government program to have all of the impoverished people’s needs met. But it takes more work to survive than it is to have a full time job and pay for your own stuff. I would have to go to at least 3 more food pantries to hopefully provide dinner for my daughter for the next month. Which means 3 more opportunities to be put further into oppression. I say this because I have heard that most pantries are like the last two that I visited. Where is the love? Where is the empowerment? Where is God?

So my worst experience with visiting these pantries was not all the expired/rotten food it was the lack of God and the presence of the enemy (oppression).

Jesus said “Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. John 6: 49-51

So shouldn’t we be viewing food as an opportunity to treat people in a way that will lead them to the living bread, instead of a way to check off our serving box so that we can sleep better at night?

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Eat My Flesh…

John 6: 51 I am the living bread that came down from Heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” 53: Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 56: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 

I have been trying to let go of some sin and I have been asking God how I can do this. I have the Holy Spirit so therefore I should have the power to overcome. So far he has been focusing on teaching me how to see and utilize each part of the trinity for what they have to offer. The Spirit is with me to guide me, teach me, help me find a way out and show me God’s heart. But today God has taken me into lessons about Jesus being the bread of life. As I read the verses above it became clear to me again that the only way to overcome sin is through sacrifice. And in order to sacrifice we need the Holy Spirit to help us to resist and change.

A crowd was following Jesus because he fed them bread and fish. They saw how he performed a miracle by increasing the food supply. When they came to him again they wanted more bread. So Jesus told them about the bread that will give life. He tells them that this bread is his flesh and that they have to eat it to receive life. So then I pondered on how you eat his flesh. Is it by taking a wafer once a month? NO, it is about sacrifice. God sacrificed himself on the cross in the flesh. He did this so he could be risen and send the Spirit to us in order to receive eternal life. He also shed his blood on that cross to become the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

He also mentions that whoever eats his flesh and drinks his blood will remain in him and him in them. So again, do we really think that going to take communion once a month is what he means? That is only putting wine and bread in your stomach in remembrance of what he did. But what he is speaking of is being filled Spiritually. So to be filled Spiritually we need to eat his flesh Spiritually.

He shed his blood so that we can have forgiveness for our sins if we choose to confess them. He sacrificed his body so that we can share in his sacrifice and repent, which requires us to turn from our sin by sacrifice. And he rose from the grave and overcame death so that we could receive the Holy Spirit and have the power to overcome our sin and death by confessing and repenting.

In verse 66 it says that many of Jesus’ disciples turned away and stopped following him. I have been like them. I have wanted God to just perform a miracle but he says I have to sacrifice but that he will help me through the Spirit.

How many of us choose to just turn and walk away from him because we feel that he requires to much? When we do this we have no life and we suffer anyways. So I rather suffer for a time in order to have full life eternally and while here in this world.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is He Trying To Tell You Something?

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine (Jesus), and my Father is the gardener (God). He cuts off every branch (Christian) in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

I Hear You Calling – Click Here

Since I lost my job I have become more disciplined in my daily ALONE time with God. I used to think that talking with God throughout my day was enough but I am realizing that ALONE time with Him is necessary to move into a deeper relationship with Him.

God has been speaking to me a lot through John. He showed me that I still struggle with sin because I don’t truly grasp “I AM”. He has taken me through a series of moments that keep confirming that I should be reading John. I even looked up “what does I AM mean” and Jesus refers to himself as “I AM” 7 times and they all happen to be in John.

I have always known that “I AM” means the beginning, the end and everything in between. But there is something deeper that I am missing and that is what he is going to show me. Today I turned on my Roku and on ABC family it said that Boy Meets World was on, so I turned the station and Joyce Meyers was starting instead. She was teaching on John 15. This is crazy to me, since I am getting even closer to Him, he is clearly speaking to me and clearly coming through.

Joyce was talking about remaining in Him and if we don’t remain in Him then we can do nothing. Remaining would include listening to the Spirit, worship, being in the Word daily etc. It is anything that will bring us closer to God so that we can be pruned (transformed). It was confirmed to me that I am on the right track in my thinking, that if I keep getting closer to Him then sin will fall away.

Yesterday, I read John 4:34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. I always knew that the bread he is speaking of is the Word and it is to fill us up but what I realized yesterday is that it is also the actions that we take. It made me think back on all the times that God has really taken me deep into His will for me by helping others. He has had me take families to homeless shelters, He has told me to let others stay with me for a time and most recently He has asked me to let someone who is homeless shower in my home. These times are times when I was being so filled with Him and doing His will that I didn’t even think about things such as smoking because I was being fed and that is all I needed.

At times I ask God, “why did you put us here, why did you start this world” and yesterday I heard a teaching and the person teaching said that we were put here to show God’s glory. So what I am learning is that life here is lived to the fullest when we are walking life daily with God and this is why we were put here. But remember I was walking with Him, He was using me and changing me but now He is telling me there is more, that I can go even deeper with Him.

We are called to show His glory everyday through our transformation. To produce that Spiritual fruit which keeps us remaining in Him. So if we aren’t experiencing God and transformation daily then maybe we should question if we are a true believer or if we are falling away? And if we have doubts about our relationship we should do everything we can to fix this because nothing and nobody is worth sacrificing our relationship with Christ.

Joyce closed with saying that when God is trying to prune us or purge the things that are in us (the things that are disloyal to Him), He begins with speaking His Word to us, then He moves on to changing our circumstances or situations and although they may be changes that hurt in the beginning it is because he is trying to protect us and give us the best that He has to offer.

So I have gotten His Word (I didn’t listen) and now He has changed my circumstance. I now pray that I listen before He needs to take me farther down this hard road in order to become more obedient.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Life Through Sacrifice…

Ecclesiastes 3:3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

This has been the best fast ever. As you may know I lost my job recently and I sensed that God was telling me not to worry about anything and to just focus on Him and getting closer to Him. I also sensed and received confirmation through other Christians that I should fast. Other than getting closer to God, I am doing this to have strongholds such as smoking and drinking broken as well as to hear my next step toward work when the time comes.

One thing I have learned is that someone who has an issue with alcohol or is an alcoholic, can’t be defined by how much and how often they consume it. I used to drink just about everyday and a lot, but because of worldly standards I never considered myself an alcoholic. When I was saved my drinking went down considerably but God has shown me that even a couple drinks is suppressing my past pain and without letting it emerge and processing through it, I can’t be transformed in this area. I have been in counseling for a year and I have made great leaps in my Spiritual and personal life, but I still suppress at times.

God has given me time to overcome this once and for all. So I fasted the past two days. The first day I just felt tired and weak and then feelings started to emerge. I felt a sense of fear, loneliness and being insecure or unprotected. Then the Spirit brings up a moment in my past that I need to process through and if I process the feelings go away, I am no longer controlled by that moment or the feelings that go with it. I conquered the first day with no drinking or smoking.

Today was a bit more trying. I woke up consumed with the thought of smoking and fought it and prayed for about a half an hour, then I caved and had a smoke. I also had a cup of coffee. Then I just spent the whole day reading Scripture and this new book I got about how to submit to the Holy Spirit. As the day goes on those feelings from last night get stronger. I have no where to turn, no person or place could make me feel better. So I submit and let the Spirit take me there. It felt as if I was back in my past because the feelings were so real. I think, cry and process reminding myself that I am no longer there. Then I decide I need a break, some self care. So I take a bath and listen to meditation music and that is when God rewarded me.

I was asking the Spirit to reveal if I am supposed to change churches. I have felt him nudging me toward a particular one and it is called Treasure Seekers. I started thinking about the name and thought “they seek treasures” then it dawned on me that the treasures are what I consider the jewels that rise up in me when God changes me and I see a new part of myself emerge from within. As you process old stuff and release it to God a new piece of yourself emerges. Then I started to wonder what new jewel was about to emerge. Last time it was confidence. Then I started thinking about this other church, a church that the Spirit told me to ask for help. I am to ask them to help me pay for my counseling because I am to continue in it at this time. So I was thinking that I could repay them by sharing my testimony once this season is accomplished. Then I remembered a series of events, the first one being visions that God has given me, in these visions I am speaking to a large crowd. Then one time a missionary told me that I would be the DNA that would change the Church. I have also always had a heart for the Church and strengthening them. Then I remembered that a friend had asked me if I ever considered sharing my testimony with the Church, as a career.

It’s all coming together. I am being strengthened for my next move in my career. I might not have it all correct but I know it is going to be exciting. So God ended my hard work and those horrible feelings with a reward of Hope and excitement.

It is confirmed that this is a time to kill (the flesh) and to heal. What an awesome God.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Freaking Out!!!

If you read my last post you know that I am supposed to fast the next couple of days. I have been so excited about it because I know it will bring my next step in my walk with God, but now I am starting to freak out.

The thought of leaving certain things behind the rest of my life is so scary. I have been so dependent on some things for over 20 years that thinking about never having them again feels like being suffocated, I feel like the walls are closing in. In the morning I won’t have access to my computer either, so I won’t even be able to blog. I will actually need to use paper and pen to journal (:  That seem so funny to me because that is all there used to be.

My life is about to change a lot and even though I know every step I take with God is so much more amazing than I can even imagine it is still unknown. I remember when I was first saved and I went through this identity crisis because I was losing the person I used to be yet I still hadn’t found who I was in Christ and it was a horrible feeling. I guess that is what it’s feeling like right now. I know who I am in Christ more now than I did then, but I am still becoming a new creation and the unknown is freaking me out.

I am still losing my old self, my old identity and anytime you lose a piece of your identity it is scary even though God brings those jewels up from within you. Those jewels are pieces of your true identity that you didn’t know existed and they are transforming, yet I resist them. It’s amazing how much our flesh or natural desires keep us in the same comfort zone, even though it is a really bad experience, because it is what we know. The enemy is so slick we don’t even realize he is there. We try for that picket fence life and it ends up falling apart because we don’t seek God’s guidance because we think we know better.

Anyway, I am really scared and I am starting to panic so please pray for me. I guess this is a good sign because I am not panicking because I am out of work but because I am about to change again, change for the better. That means God is true to His word and all I have to focus on is Him and me.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A New Season In My life…

John 15:5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

Start With Me – Click for Video

Hello, I am back (:   It’s been a while. I have been so busy working in my ministry job that I haven’t even had time to blog. But I was let go this past Monday, so now I have plenty of time on my hands.

Losing my job was such a blessing for me. I have had so much peace and Faith through the past few days. I have sought Godly counsel and realized how much support I have and how many new people care about me. I also realized that this isn’t about losing my job but gaining new life. I have some things that I need to submit to God and he has been reminding me about this lately. I keep asking him how to do this and he keeps telling me that I need to be more intimate with him. He hooked me up financially for the next month and a half and is telling me to have Faith and be patient. God has also been speaking right to me through Scripture.

For example, the verse above was a time when He answered me right away. I was looking at my kale because it is turning yellow and I use it for juicing, I said “it’s okay, I only need the stems”. Then I started to think about how the stems or roots supply all the nutrients to the rest of the plant. Then I started to think about God being the root and us being the branches. I sat down and opened my email and the verse above was what I read. I couldn’t believe it, I had just got done thinking about this and he said “Yes, I am the vine”. He wants me to be so rooted in him that I can let go of all other comforts in my life. So here I am with the time to seek Him and become stronger.

I will be fasting and praying for the next couple of days. I will be shedding my blood and killing my flesh. I can’t wait to be drawn closer to him, to hear him more clearly and to know my next step. I know it will be hard and the enemy will try to temp and attack me, but it will all be so worth it in the end. I have been transformed so much already and I can’t even imagine the woman I will become through this next season of submission. So I just ask for prayer, for me to remember all the events and confirmation that he has brought to me so that I don’t start to worry about anything but being with Him.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to process through…

When you have experienced traumatic events in your childhood, and never had the guidance to process through it, the pain and feelings are still stuck deep down inside.

That scared little girl is still inside of you. As an adult, you need to take her hand, help her process those feelings that she felt, and let God take her hand. This way you stop holding onto her and live in freedom from what you experienced.

God will bring to mind one piece at a time. The first reaction is to stuff and numb the feelings. You can do this by using money, material items, TV, video games, food, drugs, and alcohol etc.

Whatever you choose is probably passed down by seeing the example of how your family coped.

Now when a thought comes to mind, when something is triggered is me, instead of running to stuff it down, I stop. I then connect to how my little girl felt. I acknowledge her feelings (which can feel real again) and let her know that it is no longer reality. I grieve what she endured and then I visually put her hand in God’s hand and let him take her away. I set her free.

This is not an easy process. Maybe not even an instant process, but overtime she becomes less, until she is no longer there.

Nobody wants to feel those feelings again, but if she is imprisoned within you, you will not move forward. You will be forever stuck in the pain and bitterness.

It is important to have support that you can reach out to in case you can’t process on your own. It is important to have a relationship with Jesus, so that you have someone to hand her and those old feelings over to.

As I have walked through these steps my urge to numb has lessened and I have slowly started to see the real me come to life.

Remember He is there and if you recognize that He will set you free.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment