Saturday, July 23, 2016

Making a Peaceful Difference

Without laws being passed or mandates being made, people are choosing to make a peaceful difference during these days of turmoil.  Some actions are planned with much detail work while others are spur of the moment decisions.

* The Bertrami County Sheriff’s Office, in Minnesota, posted a note written to one of their deputies. 

“Hey, I’m the kid that mowed your lawn.  I’m 17 years old.  If it’s ok with you I would like to mow your lawn for you because your job is hard enough and I think people like you should know that we are behind you guys.  Take the extra hour that it takes to mow and spend time doing what you love.

* People of different races outside of the Lafayette, Louisiana, Police Department, Precinct #4 Office, had their hands outstretched touching the building while praying for their officers.

* I had the privilege of teaching with Sara Barrow at Mayde Creek Jr. High.  This week, Sara’s three children came to her concerned and not understanding why people were being mean to policemen.  After discussing the situation, her children and some of their friends made thank you signs, went shopping for a “Thank you KISD Cops” cookie cake, cupcakes, and soft drinks, and then took the treats and signs to the Katy ISD police.  I love how Sara is taking the time to teach her children, as well as other children, to make a positive difference and then giving them the opportunity to practice what they are learning.

* In Baton Rouge, Louisiana, a police officer and man embraced over a “Crime Scene” tape while praying with each other.

* At their conference in Dallas, the Texas FFA raised more than $10,000.00 for families of fallen officers by selling wrist bands that are half black and half blue.  Imprinted on the bands:  TXFFA DPD #Weareallinittogether.

* Citizens of different nationalities lined up shoulder to shoulder to show solidarity to the police on W. North Avenue in Baltimore.

* In Wichita, Kansas, the Black Lives Matter activists had planned a protest against the nation’s ongoing violence.  After activist A. J. Bohannon met with Police Chief Gordon Ramsey, they decided to plan a “First Step Community Cookout” instead.  Nearly 1,000 came out to the picnic.  Food was provided by the police and community members.  After addressing concerns, Chief Ramsey reminded everyone that, “It takes two parties to make a healthy relationship.”

* Sergeant Steve Wick, a member of Tallowood Baptist Church, has patrolled the streets of downtown Houston, on a bicycle, for more than 22 years.  He has close contact with the 500+ homeless people who shelter in Tranquility Park, on the banks of Buffalo Bayou, under the Pierce Elevated and other bridges, as well as other places in the city.  Last week, a picture was taken and posted of Sergeant Wick washing a homeless man’s feet.  Quintus is a regular who sells newspapers in that area.  After washing Quintus’ feet, Wick trimmed his long toenails so he would be more comfortable when walking.  Because of his glaucoma, it is hard for Quintus to see and be able to do that himself.  Then Wick and Officer Colin Mansfield found him a place to shower and cleanup.  They are working to find a doctor to help with Quintus’ glaucoma as well as finding him a place to live.  Steve Wick says, “Everyone is out there for a reason.  They are all broken in some way.  We just need to find out what the reason is and help them get off the street.”  Even when they could help the people get off the street, Wick realized it was usually short lived before they were back again.  In 2011, after much work and enlisting of other officers, the HPD’s Homeless Outreach Team was formed.  The unit of four officers works alongside case managers from the Harris County Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority to provide services and accountability to the homeless.  Every day as Sergeant Steve Wick goes to work, he is choosing to make a difference in the lives of others.

“God, please teach us to see with your eyes, hear with your ears, and love with your heart.  Help us to be quick to live in obedience when the opportunities come, even if we are the only one.  May they see Jesus in us so that they too will want to know and serve the Prince of Peace.”

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Romans 12:18

Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11 

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. 
James 3:17, 18

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14

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