“God moves in mysteries ways.” That is what a man told me tonight, as I handed him and his two friends a: Little Bag of Hope.” They had been standing on the corner of 3rd and Pacific discussing where they could get something to eat tonight.
~ Transcribed from one of my old journals – late 1980’s ~
~ M ~
November 20, 1989: “My thoughts have been interrupted – yesterday we gave out hot food – turkey – instead of P & J, our first real help (well beside my Mother who has given us money for the Little Bags of Hope Smiley Jesus) has come from the little boy lives downstairs – Jeremy is 15, he lives with his grandmother, his mother won’t let him live at home, he will not go to school, and can be very mean – but for some reason he has always responded well to Kate, my mom, and me. I think he just needs love, attention, maybe to feel needed, so we have been spending time with him, he helped me cook Wednesday P.M., cutting, chopping, peeling – he was very helpful – then he and Kate made cookies – she has been taking him to play basketball, Frisbee … he also has been helping her paint. He is so lonely, bored, it is sad. Well anyways, last night he went and passed out dinners with us, he was great, and he wants to go again. I feel hope.”
My sister wrote me and asked if I had any “Smiley Jesus” tracks; I wrote back and said no. Unfortunately, the company that makes them has gone out of business, she wrote back sending a link and after several exchanges, it is not that the ministry has closed, but rather that they are not making the tracks any longer; a source of great sadness, in our family.
We had tried to buy them before, but they were no longer available; thus what we call “Smiley Jesus” are the tracks that replaced “The Four Spiritual Laws”, as my Mother’s go to track – she was a woman, that up until the very end of her life was passing out tracks and spreading the message of salvation.
I concluded the exchange with my sister by suggesting that she and her husband, both who have excellent skills in graphics, computers, design, and writing, should produce “Smiley Jesus”, she did not feel this was something they could take on, at the moment, so this is my attempt, at making “Smiley Jesus” available; it will not be as good as the original nor what I think Caroline and Doug could do, but never-the-less, it is a message worth getting out there and especially appropriate at this time of year. Again, as we are not wanting to infringe on the original publishers, That Is All For Now. Com, does not have advertisers and does not make any money, from these pages, my desire is to publish this for the value of its content and to honor my Mother.
My Mother would always put one of these tracks in our correspondence, and I remember once getting upset with her, about the track, and telling her “Mother, I am a Christian, you do not have to keep sending me tracks.” She brilliantly responded: “Jill, I am sending it to you so that you can give it to someone else.”
When Kate and I began to make our “Little Bags of Hope”, a response to a period of homelessness, and a nice woman, that we had met at the park, who left us a ten dollar bill, on the windshield of our car, my Mother was the first person who took an interest in our outreach. We would take a brown paper bag, write “Little Bag of Hope” on one side, and “Jesus Loves You” on the other.
As I said, we had been homeless, thus we were just getting on our feet, so the contents of the bags were mostly humble, a peanut butter sandwich, a piece of fruit, and either a cookie or piece of candy. In the first bag, that was given out in front of our apartment, on Ocean Boulevard, in Long Beach, California, we also put a dollar, for the man to be able to buy a soft drink – that was back in the day before bottled water became a common commodity in our homes.
We had seen the man, resting on a bus bench, he appeared homeless, and we looked at him and thought what can we do for him? Honestly, giving him the dollar was a stretch, but food can always be shared!
The moment impacted us enough that we decided to see how many more bags we could make; the need was certainly there, in those days Long Beach, and eventually Los Angeles, had quite a few people living on the streets. When we moved to Florida, we tried to continue “Little Bags of Hope” but were soon met by a very nice Police Officer who told us that we could not pass out food, in the park, without proper paperwork, none of which we had.
Anyway, after telling my Mother what we were doing, she immediately offered to buy tracks for the bags – “Smiley Jesus” – which we added to the bags, going forward.
A bit off topic, but occasionally “our people” would get a treat, because Lia would buy almond butter, from Trader Joes, for the bags! Joy would have the children in her church decorate the bags and different people would share what they could – not money, we never wanted money, just food, bags, tracks, and toward the end we distributed clothes and toiletries – but we always appreciate the help, like Lisa coming with her children, to help us fill the bags.
Long after “Little Bags of Hope” cease to be, “Smiley Jesus” continued to be a major part of our life; my Mother never stopped passing them out and spreading the Good News. In Florida, by now on a walker, my Mother would go through my neighborhood, no longer able to make it up to the door, with ease, so she would toss the tracks as if they were newspapers – I guess they were Good News. My neighbors, would sometimes bring them back to me, saying Jill your Mother left this at my house, but I am still Jewish, or your Mother dropped this on my driveway . . . I cherish all of those memories and I cherish the few tracks I have left.
So, I cannot put a “Smiley Jesus” in my Christmas cards this year, but I am going to share it here with you and tell you that Jesus does love you and regardless of what you may be going through this holiday season, you are not alone and there are people who care for you. God bless you.
Jesus Loves You
“Do you ever feel like nobody really cares?
Well, God cares!
He knows all about you and He sends you this message.
What is a Christian?
Are you a Christian?
After you have answered this question, read the next four Bible verses. Then you will know whether you really are a Christian as taught by the World of God.
The Bible says,
“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
~Roman 3: 23 ~
Have you ever lied or taken anything that belonged to someone else? Then you have sinned, haven’t you?
The Bible says,
“For the wages of sin is death: but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
~ Romans 6:23 ~
That’s right, sin separates us from God.
If we die in our sins, we are eternally lost and forever separated from God. But God offers another way. Since you now admit your sin, and Jesus as the only way, we can have eternal life free as a gift. This means we can’t earn it by being good, or by going to church, or by baptism, or anything else. We simply receive it as a free gift through Jesus Christ, God’s Son.
The Bible says,
“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God. . .”
~ John 1:12 ~
Suppose you had an incurable disease, and one day you read of a doctor who had discovered the cure for that disease. Let’s suppose he offered to give this cure free.
What would your answer be – receive it and be cured, or refuse it and be lost?
You can have faith that the doctor’s medicine will cure you, but unless you receive it personally, you are still lost.
Have you taken the step of faith to receive Jesus Christ personally, as your savior?
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him. . . .”
~ Revelation 3:20 ~
When the Lord says, “behold, I stand at the door,” He is speaking about the very door of your heart.
If your best friend knocked at the door of your house, what would you say to him?
You would say ‘come in,’ wouldn’t you?
Friends, the Lord Jesus is knocking at your heart’s door right now.
Will you receive Him? Will you invite Him into your heart and life?
What will your answer be?
You can receive Jesus right now if this prayer expresses the desires of your heart.
Lord Jesus, believing I am lost and separated from you by my sins, and you are the only way to eternal life. I receive you as the Savior and Lord of my life. Thank you, Jesus, for coming into my heart and life as you promised. Amen.
Which choice did you make?
Jesus Christ as my personal savor
“He that is not with me is against me.”
~ Matthew 12:30 ~
Who is a Christian?
You are a Christian if you saw your need of help and accepted Jesus as the only way, and personally invited Jesus Christ to become Lord of your life.
Now that you have prayed and received Jesus, where is He right now?
Answer: He is in your heart and life.
How do you know?
“I will come in.”
~ Revelations 3:20 ~
~ 1st John 5: 11-13 ~
God can now accept you into His family because all of your sins-past, present, and future – have been place on His Son, Jesus Christ. The Bible says that God was in Christ no longer counting men’s sins against them but blotting them out.
For God took the sinless Christ and laid on Him our sins. Then, in exchange, He gives God’s goodness to us!
Read these verses in your Bible:
1 John 1:9
Ephesians 2: 8-9
II Corinthians 5: 17
Romans 10: 9-10
Share a Smile Today”
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
~1 John 1:9 ~
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”
~Ephesians 2: 8-9 ~
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
~ II Corinthians 5: 17 ~
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
~ Romans 10: 9-10 ~
The four Bible Verses quoted, at the end, are courtesy of Biblegateway.com
The people responsible for “Smile Jesus Loves You”, to whom our family owes a debt of gratitude – thank you!