In Luke 9:23, Jesus told His followers they must take up their cross daily and follow Him.
To take up one’s cross sounds conceptual, old-fashioned, extreme. It certainly doesn’t seem realistic. However, living a fulfilled life that is committed to Christ requires self-sacrifice. It may be as simple as doing something that is socially uncomfortable. It may be simple but certainly not easy.
“I started thanking God that He had a plan for her and that He loves her.”
Deborah Peebles literally embraced an opportunity to step out of her comfort zone when she saw a homeless woman on her knees in the Austin, Texas, area. Rather than choosing to turn a blind eye, Peebles opened her heart to the woman she would come to know as Rebecca Grant — and prayed over her.
Peebles told Fox News San Antonio, “I put my arm around her and rubbed her back and started praying. I started thanking God that He had a plan for her and that He loves her.”
Now Rebecca Grant is being given the opportunity to start a new life. She is receiving support from the community around her and from Luke 4:18 Ministries. She simply fell on hard times and was in desperate need of loving support. Luke 4:18 Ministries works with women in crisis in the Austin area. They provide housing, prayer, and counseling. Their motto is “Heal, restore, transform.”
Deborah Peebles picked up her cross and followed the example of Christ by showing love to someone in need. Maybe she wasn’t comfortable touching a stranger or speaking to someone who was obviously in a different state of “being.” But she did it anyway. She allowed the love of God and light of hope to shine.
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In Matthew 5:14, Jesus says to Christians, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Light shines out. It overcomes darkness and despair. But the source of that light is God.
God shows us over and over in Scripture that when we are weak, He is strong. He is glorified when we rely on Him. God used a fallen prince of Egypt who had become a stammering fugitive to lead His people out of slavery. He enabled a shepherd boy to slay a giant and later become king. He used the womb of a young virgin woman to give all people a Savior. God makes mundane lives miraculous.
What did each of these people, including Deborah Peebles, have in common? First, each one had a relationship with God. Second, every one of them was willing to obey God and the calling that He placed on his or her life. Third, these people had humility to allow God to enable them to do what they felt was impossible.
It’s easy to focus on daily to-do lists and personal plans. It’s also easy to miss out on the blessings of God if we are not mindful of Him. Debbie Peebles and the Luke 4:18 Ministry are true examples of meeting the physical and spiritual needs of others, fulfilling the call of Christ to love our neighbor as ourselves.
Katie Nations has been married for 15 years and is a working mother of three young children. She lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.