Activated - - ACTIVATED - By Linda Cross Linda Cross is a stay-at-home mom to seven wild and won­der­ful chil­dren in Swe­den.

“Re­main in me,

as I also re­main in you. No branch can bear fruit by it­self; it must re­main in the vine. Nei­ther can you bear fruit un­less you re­main in me. … If you re­main in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do noth­ing.”

1 This verse is prov­ing so true in my life. When I make the ef­fort 1. John 15:4–5 NIV 2. 1 Sa­muel 16:7 NLT 3. See 1 Corinthi­ans 4:10. to put Je­sus in first place in my life, op­por­tu­ni­ties drop in my lap and doors open to share my faith with oth­ers—of­ten­times, as I’m go­ing about my every­day rou­tine, such as while trav­el­ing by pub­lic trans­porta­tion.

On one such trip, as I ap­proached the bus sta­tion, which was teem­ing with peo­ple, I no­ticed two men who were ob­vi­ously in­tox­i­cated. One man was hold­ing a plas­tic bag filled with beer cans. They seemed noisy and ob­nox­ious, and my ini­tial re­ac­tion was to keep at a dis­tance, as I didn’t want to be in­con­ve­nienced.

But then I felt God’s nudge: “Talk to them!” It dawned on me how quickly I had judged them by their ap­pear­ance and be­hav­ior. The Bi­ble says, “Peo­ple judge by out­ward ap­pear­ance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Je­sus didn’t care what

2 so­cial stand­ing or la­bel peo­ple had when He chose to give them love and at­ten­tion. He was even ac­cused of be­ing a drunk and de­nounced for frat­er­niz­ing with the wrong crowd.

He chose love above rep­u­ta­tion and com­fort.

I strug­gled with doubts whether I should fol­low the Lord’s nudge but de­cided to give it a shot. I handed each man a gospel tract and told them I hoped it would make their day. The man with the beer cans told me he’d had plenty of bad ex­pe­ri­ences with Chris­tians that talked about Je­sus’ love but were con­de­scend­ing. “I want noth­ing to do with them!” he added.

As more and more peo­ple be­gan fill­ing the bus sta­tion, they qui­etly lis­tened to our out-of-the-or­di­nary con­ver­sa­tion about sal­va­tion.

Fi­nally, the ruder one of the two smirked and said loudly and clearly, “I’ll take Je­sus if I can get into your pants!” I re­al­ized that it was just an at­tempt to scan­dal­ize and em­bar­rass a be­liever, and I was right, as be­fore I had a chance to an­swer, he added with a sigh, “—Or if you just give me some food!”

“When was the last time you ate?” I asked.

“I haven’t had a meal in two days,” was his re­sponse. There was si­lence. I asked God to show me how to pro­ceed. I knew this was His op­por­tu­nity to reach out to this lost man to show him He re­ally does love him.

“Okay,” I replied. “I’m cook­ing spaghetti tonight for my fam­ily. I can meet you here with a warm meal by din­ner­time.” He hap­pily agreed on a time to meet, and with that, his at­ti­tude changed from scorn­ful to re­spect­ful.

Time was short, as the bus would be ar­riv­ing any minute, so I felt God’s lead to of­fer to pray for him.

In re­sponse, his drink­ing buddy, who had been the gen­tler of the two, started yelling an­grily. “How’s Je­sus gonna help him?!”

But the man I was talk­ing with told him off, say­ing, “Re­spect prayer, man! She’s gonna pray for me!”

I put my hand on his shoul­der and we both bowed our heads in front of a star­ing crowd while I prayed for his sal­va­tion, for him to un­der­stand how much Je­sus loves him, and for his de­liv­er­ance from al­co­holism.

He was moved and said in a choked voice, “I felt a warm sen­sa­tion in my heart when you prayed. I’ve never felt that be­fore!”

The bus ar­rived and I got on. “Thank you!” he said, as we parted.

When cook­ing din­ner that evening, we made enough ex­tra food for two and packed it with plas­tic sil­ver­ware and nap­kins.

I was won­der­ing if the man would ac­tu­ally show up at the ap­pointed time, and he did, now sober. We stood in the empty bus sta­tion and talked for a while longer about Je­sus’ heal­ing power. As I handed him the food, I ex­plained that we had added enough for two meals. “Thanks!” he ex­claimed. “My room­mate is hun­gry as well, and I was plan­ning on shar­ing this meal with him!”

“No­body’s ever done a thing like this for me be­fore!” he said.

I was so in­spired at the re­sult that came from be­ing will­ing to be avail­able when Je­sus asked me to step out of my com­fort zone to wit­ness to and show His love to this man, even if it was hard at first be­cause of the on­look­ers. It makes me want to dare to be a fool for Christ, no mat­ter what He

3 asks of me or how dif­fi­cult it may be ini­tially. As the chal­lenge goes, “I’m a fool for Christ. Whose fool are you?”

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