4-7-18 Unexpected Gifts

4.7.18

Both women, in their respective houses had an expectant air about them. They both knew that The Stranger only brought good things to them. They were not apprehensive at all, because he had brought them peace, and love, and this new way of living their lives through Jesus. They were waiting in their homes, both of them were tidying up waiting for the delivery man. There was a knock on the Little Girls door. Her mother answered and said yes? There was a delivery man there, he had credentials. He says ‘ma’am I’m the delivery guy to deliver something here for you.’

She said “yes, I’ve been expecting you please come in.”

The man said, I just needed to check that this was the right house. I got to go get my helper, if you could move everything out of the way in the hall then it will make it easier please. She said oh my yes! So he went back to the truck to get his helper and she moved all the stuff out of the hall. She stood in the kitchen which is just off of the hall of the front door, and she watched as the men brought in a stove for heating. They put it in the living room, on top of the pad that was already there for a stove that had been there years ago.

The man said, you don’t have to worry ma’am, these pads are good for this stove. And also that against the wall is good. So he and his partner hooked it up through the plating on the wall and hooked all the chimneys and everything up. And dust it off their hands and step back to survey their work. The woman said ‘oh my, it’s beautiful!’

The man said “yes it’s, it’s the best one that we have. We also have pellets to go in the stove, we have quite a bit they’re in bags, where would you like us to put them ma’am?” She thought for a moment and she said how about the back porch? It’s covered. So the man said okay, and he and his partner went out to get the bags of pellets. There were 50 bags of pellets.

They stacked them on the back porch, over on the left side, and they hung the screens that were canvas covered in plastic of some sort, on the side and the front to protect it from the elements. They anchored it at the bottom with special anchors that they put in.

They also put in a plastic barrel on a low table that had a lid. The barrel fit a bag, so they could just scoop it out instead of having to lift a heavy bag. At the bottom of the barrel was a Little door, that they could open up for when it got low to the bottom to get all the stuff out.

“Thank you so much! You’ve done so much!”  she said.

The man said “oh  you’re welcome ma’am, we have one more stove to bring in.” So they brought in a gas stove for the kitchen. First they had to unhook the stove that was there that did not work, and they took it out and then they brought in this shiny brand-new gas cooking stove with an oven in it. They hooked it up to the gas and did everything they were supposed to do and said “okay ma’am we’re done now.”  She said “oh! Thank you so much! Oh this is just beautiful!”

The man said, oh! Just a moment there’s a couple of boxes I forgot to bring in. And he had his helper help him bring in the boxes. There were five boxes. he set them down on the counter and the kitchen table. And he said “that’s it ma’am, I’ll be on my way now.”

She shook his hand, saying “thank you so much.”  He said “you’re welcome, bye now”.

She was so excited! She got a knife out of the drawer and cut open the tape from the first box and opened it up and saw pots and pans. She opened up the next box and saw cookie sheets and cake pans and baking things, she opened up the next box and saw kitchen gadgets and tools spatulas, whisks, all kinds of kitchen gadgets, she opened up the fourth box and it was full of plates and cups and saucers and glassware in the color that she loved. Then she opened up the fifth box…

She gasped! Inside this box were tablecloths, lace tablecloths, plastic tablecloths, linen table cloths, silk tablecloths, placemats, napkins- both paper and cloth that matched all the tablecloths, napkin rings, kitchen towels, sponges, dishcloths, magnets that had flowers on them, a copper tea kettle, an assortment of teas, a tea strainer that was porcelain, glass tea cups.

She looked at all of this, and she began to cry. She had never had such wealth before in her life! Everything in the Box were her favorite colors. How did he know? she thought to herself, how did he know?

She sat there crying. Then she got up and put away everything that was in the boxes, she wiped off – with one of the new dishcloths, the table, and put one of the lace tablecloth on it. She put a colored tablecloth underneath, and she set the table with her new dishes. She had stemware for water, she put cloth napkins in the napkin rings, then got her Bible and sat at the kitchen table and read Psalm 92.

She read it out loud, pausing to wipe her eyes and blow her nose because she was crying. Crying happy tears, crying thankful tears. Thank you Lord for this bounty she exclaimed. Thank you for this abundance, Thank you Father.

——–

At the Little Boy’s house, his mom was expectantly looking forward to whatever the delivery man was going to bring. She tied up her house got the breakfast dishes washed, move things out of the hallway because if they were delivering the made need room to come in she thought, and she was in the process of trying to plump up the cushions on the sofa, when someone knocked at the door. She went to open it. There was a delivery man there, with credentials. He said ma’am I have been sent here to deliver something to you are you the Little Boy’s mom? She said “yes I am.”

May I come in ma’am I need to remove the furniture in your living room. Her eyes got big and with a sharp intake of air she said oh! Yes! Do come in! So the man wave to the people in his delivery truck and three men came in with him and they went into the living room.

They emptied the living room of everything. Rug, lamp, chair, sofa, trash cans, everything. The Little Boy’s Mama was crying. Silently. You could see wet spots on her shirt. Men took everything out of the living room, then they came in and they washed the windows, washed the floor, buffed the wood, till it shone, they could see their faces in it. They painted the walls and the ceiling.

Then they took the buffer and the cleaning equipment back to the truck.

They came in with long pieces of wood and put wood at the ceiling and around the windows and the door ways, they put crown molding in her home. She had read in a magazine of crown molding. It was beautiful she thought.

They then started bringing in things. They brought in a rug first the woman saw it and she gasped. It was her favorite colors. The exact colors that she had dreamed about decorating in. They put the rug down, then they brought in a huge sectional sofa, it had a lounge chair off to one side so two people could sit in it, it had lounge chairs in it itself, there was areas in the sectional that had tables and you could put your drink there, they brought in side tables, she’d never had side tables. They brought in a lamp that had a table attached to it, they brought in floor lamps, that with directional lighting, they brought in two rocker recliners, they brought in trash cans that fit the decor, they even put a fan in the ceiling, that matched everything and they wired it in. They hung new drapes at the windows. They installed some bookshelves attached to the wall, and they brought in boxes and put them on the shelves. They brought in a container to hold logs by the fireplace, and they brought in logs.

The man said, ma’am I have more logs where would you like me to put them? She said how about the front porch over on the side? He said, ma’am it would be better if I put them in the back there’s quite a few of them, and I see you have chairs on the front porch so there wouldn’t be enough room. Her eyes got big, she says oh yes fine the back porch is fine. So the 4-man crew started carrying logs around the side of the house to the back porch and there was a huge stack of wood. It took four men 45 minutes to stack up all this wood. The man gave her a small box and said”Iif you sprinkle this on the fire every so often, it’ll make the fire turn colors and I think your boy will really enjoy it.” She smiled and said “Thank you.” The man said, “Well we’re done now, is there anything that you would like to do for you?” The woman said no thank you you’ve done so much. The man said, “Okay glad to be of service! Thank you. Bye now. The woman went to the door and waved goodbye to them all as they left.

She went to the doorway of the living room and just stared, no words came out. She just stared.

She made herself a cup of coffee and took it in to her brand new living room. She sat on the sofa that was decorated with pillows, put her feet up and started reading her Bible, ps. 93.

———–

The kids got to school and the teacher said, “Good morning children!” The kids said good morning teacher. The teacher said “Okay, today is the first day of me having an assistant. Most of you know the Little Girl’s mother, she is our new assistant. She will be assisting me in all sorts of projects. I am so glad she’s here. You may call her Ms. Amazing, going along with the theme for the rest of this year.

Today is the first day of using these necklaces and Miss Amazing will hand them out to each child. I want you to line up, I want you to start from the back rows. So the little girl over there” -and she pointed to her left of the room – “over by the counter where the hearts are, you start, then it’ll be the next person in front of you and it will go up and down the rows like that.”

So each child came up and the teacher picked up one of the necklaces and put it on their neck. Some said ‘amazing’, ‘wonderful’, ‘stunning’, ‘smart’, ‘fun’, and other wonderful words.

The teacher said “since we did not have scripture school this morning, we’re going to pass on giving out stars for a scripture. So you will give a star to anyone who says something nice to you today, or who treats you nicely. If someone says something mean to you, then their heart will get dark in one spot. If you will look over here children”…the teacher was over at the counter…”you will see there is a shelf here now. Everyone’s heart is on their own, covered, shelf. There are no names on these shelves, because you all know how to find your own heart and if someone thinks something bad, or says something bad, or does something bad, no one else needs to know whose heart it was that went dark.

Now you’re all going to go outside for recess and when you hear the recess bell, I want the littlest ones to line up in front. I want you to line up according to size. I want you to come in one at a time. Miss Amazing will be at the door and she will let you know when to come in. Each child is to come over to the shelves and stretch out their hand so they know which heart is theirs. When they know which heart is theirs, then I want you to go back outside and stand in a line.”

So the kids all went outside to play, but they didn’t really play, they all just stood around talking. They all gathered around the Little Boy, talking and looking at each other’s necklaces. The Little Boy said to the Little Girl “Hi beautiful, you really are you know.” Her name on her card was ‘beautiful’.

So she gave him a star out of the packet that was attached to the back of the necklace. She gave him a purple star because that was her favorite color. She said “Thank you’ fun’, I’m glad we’re friends.” The Little Boy’s name on the card was ‘fun’, so he gave her a green star because that was his favorite color. And so it went with all the children on the playground.

They each tried this out.

The recess bell rang, and they ran over to where their class was and they all lined up with the littlest one in front. Miss Amazing came to the doorway, where she ushered in the first child, who went over and stretched her hand along the row of hearts until she found hers. Then she went back outside.

Then the next child and the next. So it went until all 20 children had come in and found the location of their hearts, then went back outside.

The teacher then came out and stood next to Miss Amazing. “Ok children, you all know where your heart is located now right?”

“Yes ma’am,” they replied.

“Okay, I want you to come in now and we will do our math studies.” You could hear a few groans from the kids, but they all went to their desks and pulled out their books.

—————

Meanwhile, The Stranger was in town. One of the men, who was one of the five who had come up at the luncheon saying he would be happy to lead a Bible study, had a cafe in town.

The Stranger had gone over to have a cup of coffee and while he was there, he began talking to the owner. They were talking about using the cafe for a Bible study. The Stranger said, “I see there is a vacant lot next to your Cafe, the man said “Yes it’s been there for years.” “My employer would like to buy it and lease it to you for $1 a year. He wants to turn it into an annex to your Cafe. He believes that more people will be coming into your Cafe and he wants to help you enlarge it. So there would be room for a Bible study, meetings, and people just coming in to sit and read while they had their coffee and food. Do you think you would like that?”

“Oh gosh yes! I’ve wanted to expand for years, but I just haven’t been able to scrape together the cash.”

The Stranger stuck out his hand to shake the owner’s hand and said “great, that’s settled then, I’ll let him know and he can buy the property and start construction. Do you know fellas in town who would like to be hired to build it”?

“Yes I do. There’s quite a few people that are out of work in town that could use the work. We also have a Commercial contractor here.”

“Fine,” said The Stranger, “Why don’t you round them up and get them here say, 3 p.m. today? I will have the plans and we can start work in the morning”!

“So soon? That’s short notice, but yes, I’ll have them here at 3.”

The Stranger left the cafe and went next door to the bookstore. Once he was inside he went over to the children’s books.

He was looking for a particular type of book. But he couldn’t find it. He went up to the employee and asked her if they had any of this type of book, it was about heroes and heroines in the Bible. The employee looked it up on the computer, and she said “No sir we don’t have anything like that.”

“Thank you for looking.” “You’re welcome sir.”

The Stranger got a bag and he gathered up Bibles; New Living Translations, New King James translations and Study Bibles. He purchased 5 of Adam Clarke’s commentary.

He purchased pens and notebooks, knowing that people will retain more if they write it out in long hand. He purchased bookmarks and highlighters and Bible covers in an array of colors. He left the store with his packages.

He wanted to sit down and watch the townspeople for a little bit, so he sat at a round table outside the bookstore. The man from the cafe came over and asked him if he’d like a cup of coffee and The Stranger said “yes thank you. A latte please.”

While he sat there drinking his coffee, one of the men that was at the luncheon – but did not come up when the invitation was given – came over and asked The Stranger if he minded if he sat down.

The Stranger said “No, sit down please.” The Stranger saw that the man’s arms were all bruised. Clearly he has been struggling with learning how to walk on the rocky road. He asked The Stranger about walking on the road. “Is there any trick to it? Everytime I think that I have a handle on it, it seems to rise up and hit me in the face again.”

“Well, there are different ways to go about it, you can take very small steps, or you can take giant steps and thereby pass over quite a few of the rocks. You can pull the rocks out of the road where you’re going to be walking everyday, or you can learn the ways of walking on this road.”

The man said, “Sir, I have been walking on roads all my life, the cork road I really enjoyed. It was good for my hips because it was so soft and it didn’t jar my body. But this rocky road, I know the kids meant good by it, but it’s just really hard on my body.”

The Stranger asked him, “Sir, have you read 1st John in the Bible”? The man said “no I don’t believe I have.” The Stranger pulled a Bible out of his bag. He opened it up. He asked the man “do you mind looking up First John chapter one? I don’t have my glasses with me.” The man said “oh sure, I’ll do that for you. Shall I read it too?” He asked when he found the chapter. The Stranger said “yes please.”

The man read the whole chapter out loud. He was totally silent when he stopped reading. The Stranger was also silent. The man finally said, “sir, do you think after all these years and this long life I’ve lived and done things that were not right, that this Jesus Son of God would accept me into his kingdom”? The Stranger said quietly, “Yes, I know he would. He’s been waiting for you with outstretched arms. He has been wanting to hold you and love on you ever since you were born. He has just been waiting for you to come to him.” The man said “what do I do? How do I talk to him?” The Stranger replied, “Just talk to him like you’re talking to me. Tell him that you’re sorry for the wrong things you’ve done. So the man bowed his head and closed his eyes. The Stranger saw tears splash on the hands that were covered in age spots.

The man said very quietly, “Lord sir, if you’ll have me, I’d be proud to be one of your sons. I ask that you forgive this old man for his wandering ways and everything I have done in my life that did not line up with you, your purity, your holiness. I ask that you will come into my life and direct me, direct my mind and my steps and I ask that you forgive this old man.”

The man looked up and smiled. He said to The Stranger “You know, I feel better. I feel like my head is clear. Like there’s no more fog. And I do believe that I will be able to walk on that road with a lighter step now.” The Stranger said, “I believe you will also. Here take this Bible as your own, here’s some highlighters and bookmarks. There will be a Bible study starting this Friday at the Little Boy’s house. Why don’t you come on over? There will be coffee and iced tea, refreshments. And you will meet others that have just begun their new walk in the Lord as well.”

The man said, “I believe I will come. And I’ll bring my wife to.” The Stranger said “that’s excellent!”

The man said, “maybe I’ll be able to convince her that this is the right way before we come over in two days.”

The Stranger said, “I will pray that you are able to speak to her about this and that her heart will be open.” The man said “Thank you sir,” as he stood up from the table shaking The Stranger’s hand. “Thank you for the Bible and all the goodies. Is there anything that I can do for you? I’m a cabinet maker and I can make almost anything with wood. I make cabinets, chairs, tables.  I made this table you’re sitting at.”

The Stranger said “Now that you mention it, yes!” And he began telling him about the annex to the cafe. He said “there’s going to be a meeting at the cafe at 3 p.m. today regarding the construction of the annex. Why don’t you go on over there at that time?”

The man said “Why yes I will! I’ll be there promptly at 3. Thank you again sir.” The Stranger said, “My pleasure.”

The Stranger drank the rest of his coffee, and watched people walking on the rocky road, going in and out of stores. It was very good coffee he thought to himself. When it was done he threw the cup in the nearby trash can and started walking to the Little Boy’s house.

When he arrived at their house, he knocked on the door. The Little Boy’s Mama answered and she threw her arms around his neck when she saw who it was and just hugged him. “Thank you! Thank you! What a wonderful gift you have given us! And we will be able to leave it here for the family that comes and lives here after us.” What a wonderful wonderful thing you have done”! The Stranger said “you’re welcome. My employer thought it would be helpful”. “Oh, it’s more than helpful” she said. “It’s in the colors that I’ve always dreamed about decorating in, it’s the latest furniture, it’s comfortable, there’s enough seating here for 20 people! I didn’t even know that the floors would shine like they do. It’s all so much and I thank you, I thank you.”

The Stranger smiled, “may I come in and see it”? “Oh! Pardon me! Yes, yes! Please come in, come in to this gorgeous living room.”

The Stranger came in and nodded his head. “Good” he said, “they did a good job”. She said “oh they did a wonderful job! They buffed the floors and painted the walls and washed the windows and hung protection over the wood outside, they put crown molding up, it’s just so much, it’s so much. I can’t get over this. It’s, it’s wonderful!”

The Stranger gave his bags to the woman, and said, “Here this is for the Bible study that you and your husband will be having weekly starting this Friday.” She said, “how did you know? My husband and I just decided to do that this morning at breakfast.” The Stranger smiled and just nodded his head. The woman had already started opening up the bags when she asked that. The Stranger knew he didn’t have to elaborate on anything because she was lost in what was in the bags.

“Oh my”! She exclaimed. “There’s so many bibles and so many different kinds of Bibles and so much here. This is wonderful! Thank you!” The Stranger said “You’re welcome. And there is something for you and your husband in that bag over there on the kitchen counter. She hadn’t noticed the bag. She knew she didn’t put it on the kitchen counter, how did it get there she wondered. However, she dismissed the thought. She went over to the bag, much smaller than the other bags and it had pretty tissue paper sticking out of the top.

She asked The Stranger, “It’s for both of us?” “Yes.”

“I think I will wait for my husband to get home. This has been so much, I want him to be able to open something that’s a surprise. Do you mind?” The Stranger said with a smile in his voice, “No I don’t mind at all. Feel free to open it whenever you’d like.”

“Good. Thank you for it.” “You’re most welcome. You have done a lot for your family and for the Little Girl’s family and you will continue to do more and more the deeper you grow in your walk with the Lord. The further down the road you go in your later years, you will still continue to do much. It will be different than the things you are doing now, but you will be used until the day you die by the Lord himself.”

The woman just looked at him. All of a sudden it’s as if her eyes were opened into another dimension. As she continued looking at The Stranger while he spoke, she realized he had a glow about him. She realized this was an angel of God.

The Stranger said, “yes, I see that you see who I am. You may tell your husband, but I ask you to not speak of this to anyone else in the town. It would be impossible for me to continue my work.” The woman slowly came over to the chair at the kitchen table and sat down. She said “No, I won’t tell a soul. Other than my husband,” she hastened to add.

“Good! Now, how about I help you put these books on the bookshelf?”

“Oh yes! That would be great!” They went into the living room and set about getting everything on the book shelf. All the bookmarks in little baskets and the highlighters in other baskets. She turned to The Stranger and asked,

“Is this why we felt so much peace after the first time you came? Is this why all these things have happened? Because of you?”

The Stranger said “no, it’s because of Jesus. The Lord. He saw your need, he saw the needs of this town and he sent me here to help. The one that had the most open heart was your son.” “Oh, he is such a special boy. The Stranger said “he is very special both to you and to the Lord. He will have an extraordinary life as an evangelist and healer, and when he speaks, his words will have power.”

The Little Boy’s Mama just stared at the angel, who was glowing while he spoke these words. She brought her hand up to the top of her chest as if trying to prevent it from coming out of her chest.

The Stranger said, “Why don’t you go in the kitchen and fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea or something? I have to be going, I’m meeting the townspeople at 3. She found her voice and said, “yes, yes I’ll do that. Thank you very much.”

The Stranger left and the woman sat down at her kitchen table with a glass of tea. She went over everything in her mind. From when The Stranger first gave the clothes to her son, to when he came over to their house that first night and they all felt such peace. From her husband all of a sudden getting a job in another town to the children in town stopping the bullying of her son. She realized now, that it was all because of the Lord sending this angel, and that the glory of the angel is the glory that comes from God and so it was God’s spirit permeating everything and their lives. She was stunned, she just sat at the table stunned. This is how her husband found her when he came home 2 hours later.

————

The Stranger got to the cafe at 2:45. The men and some women were already starting to gather at the cafe. They were sitting at all the tables in the cafe and they all had purchased food or drinks from the cafe. Stranger smiled, ‘that’s as it should be’ he thought to himself. Everyone supporting each other. When he walked through the door everyone started talking to him at once. He went to the front where the cash register was and asked everyone to be quiet and to please sit down. He told them, “My employer has purchased the land next door to this cafe. He wanted to invest in this town and what better place to do it than where there’s food?” Everyone laughed. “So I need to hire townspeople to build an annex. It’s going to be an extension of the cafe and it’s going to have two extra rooms in it. One for Bible studies and one to rent out for meetings.

I have purchased all the wood, it will be here tomorrow morning at 7. I need to know what each one of you can do. I need to know what your skill set is and in what area. This man here,” he put his hand on the back of the man he talked to earlier that day, who was standing near him, “is the foreman of the project. Please turn in your resumes to him today by 6 p.m.

Tomorrow at 6, he will be assigning people to be supervisors and leaders over different divisions. After that, you all will be handling the arrival of the building materials. Why are you ladies here? Do you have construction skills?”

One lady said yes, she drives a forklift, another said she can use saws very well and another lady said she’s helped build the house that she and her husband live in. Her husband was there and he said, “yeah she’s an excellent carpenter”. The Stranger said, “Well, welcome!”

He went on to describe what this Annex was going to look like. There is going to be several windows, an area for a small lending library and other things. There is going to be free Wi-Fi throughout the whole cafe.

The Stranger said, “I believe that if everyone works hard and works together, that this Annex could be built in a week. That includes the plumbing, the wiring, everything. You have all the skilled labor here.”

Everyone looked at each other. Some raised their eyebrows, and then they thought, yes we can. We can! And they all said out loud “yes! We can!”

The meeting lasted a little over an hour, the men all brought up their resumes to the foreman. Some had to go home and type them up, but they were back in time to give them to the foreman. The Stranger looked at his watch and he said, “I’ve got to get going, so I’ll see you all tomorrow morning, bright and early for material arrival!”

The cafe owner shouted out “Everyone! Everyone!” Everyone stopped and listened to him. “There will be free coffee and scrambled eggs and sausage For the workers!”

The townspeople said “Wow! Ok! We’ll be here!”

They left the store and went home. The Stranger said, “Here’s some money to help you cover the expenses for tomorrow morning’s breakfast.” The man said, “Oh no sir! Thank you very much, but I’ve got it covered. This town has been good to me. I’ve got enough to feed and provide for my family and to send my daughter to college. I’m sure there’s enough money to cover breakfast.” The Stranger said “Nevertheless, it would bless me greatly if you would allow me to pitch in some money to help cover the cost.” The man said “Well since you put it that way, thank you very much I’ll accept your offer.”

The Stranger handed him an envelope and said, ‘I’ll see you in the morning.”