James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin..

I wasn’t really sure what verse to use but I thought I should use something. I am just going to speak straight from my heart today, probably a little more than usual. Most of you probably know by now that we had the H.O.P.E. Ministries backpack assembly on Saturday. I always enjoy this project because there is not the distraction of a bunch of gifts or anything else. The only group of people who are any closer to my heart than kids would be babies.

With that being said, this project is primarily geared toward elementary school kids. The reason we focus on this age group is because we figure that older girls can baby-sit, clean house, do laundry, or other things to earn money for their school supplies. Older boys can cut grass, wood, work hay or maybe tobacco, and general handy-man or farm work to earn their money for their supplies. Elementary school kids are too young and small to do most of the work the older kids are capable of so they don’t have the same opportunity for earning that the older kids do and babies do not need school supplies yet. Also, a lot of these kids come from homes where the parents are barely scraping by without having the annual expense of school supplies. Still other parents, for whatever reason, are neglectful of the needs of their kids. Some of these children’s lives are severely impacted by drugs and alcohol as well as other issues in the home that they have no control over but have to pay the price for.

That is the reason this project means so much is because we hear the stories each year about some mom shedding tears of appreciation because someone gave their child a backpack. Just this year I actually got to be indirectly involved with one of those stories that let me know that the things we do actually mean something and make a difference. I will not mention names due to the fact that it isn’t necessary for the story plus both of them are still minors. One of the little girls is about to begin her first year of school and is excited about it. I happen to know her and some of her history and her life has been adversely affected by drugs, alcohol, and who knows what else. Knowing some of her history, I can’t even begin to imagine some of the things that her little eyes have seen and the scared feeling she must have went to sleep with a lot of nights. Her situation has changed tremendously for the better and she is with a family that loves her dearly and also a wonderful church family. I was able to send this precious little lady a backpack by a relative and I also received a phone call during which I got to speak with her. I had been told that she was super excited and even received a video of her going through her backpack and said that she wished she could do that every day. It is pretty encouraging when you find out that the little thing you were able to do had that kind of impact on a kid. I do want to mention a couple of God-things as we call them, that happened concerning this backpack. Sometimes God just shows out and does things that may not seem all that important but it goes to show us that he is concerned about even the smallest details of our lives. I had enquired ahead of time this week to find out what this little girl liked and I was told she liked unicorns. My wife made it her job to start going through over 200 backpacks to try to find a unicorn. I don’t know how many she had gone through before she found one. She went through the rest of them and out of 510 backpacks we only had one with a unicorn. That is what I like to call a divine coincidence which is one of those coincidences that God orchestrates which means it isn’t really a coincidence at all. I didn’t know what her favorite color was until Saturday and I was told that it was blue. Do I really need to tell you what color the backpack was? Now, tell me that is just a coincidence. The odds of us picking out a blue backpack for her without knowing her favorite color would be 1 in 510 since that was the number of backpacks we had. The odds of the unicorn turned out to be 1 in 510. To have both a blue backpack with a unicorn would be 2 in 1020 or less if I remember correctly how to figure odds. That can’t be logically explained any other way than to say that God wanted that particular child to have that particular backpack. See, God really is concerned with the little details of even the youngest little person’s life. Like I always say when a story like this happens: “That’s what pays the bills”. Those are the type of things that make all the labor worthwhile and it is also like God is putting his seal of approval on what you are doing.

The blue unicorn backpack story along with the fact that, after over 40 years of being gone, I get to go back to my elementary school and hand out backpacks to some of God’s most precious people. The fact that Mayor Vehaun, a politician, is going to be walking the halls with a Baptist preacher giving out backpacks from a ministry, is just icing on the cake. God don’t miss a trick does he? All of this has already happened or been arranged and I haven’t even delivered but I think 5 backpacks. Oh yeah, just in case you still think little details are important to God I have another one for you. A few weeks ago when I first started working on this years project, I took 3 backpacks to a family that had lost their home in a fire. I also had been given some children’s sleeping bags from Help 4 Kids. Since they had lost everything in the fire, I took those three kids a sleeping bag of their own. When the mom saw the bag that her youngest boy had, she said “I have to tell you this. Out of everything he lost in the fire, he has been most upset over his sleeping bag. The one that got burnt up was one with the “Cars” movie characters on it exactly like the one you brought him. Thank you so much”. I hadn’t even asked her if they needed sleeping bags much less what he liked. This boy was about 6 or 7 years old. Do you think that since he lost his favorite possession in the world and God sent him another one just exactly like it that he will remember that sleeping bag when he gets to the age where God deals with his heart? I personally think that God planted a real seed that will eventually bring forth fruit. How is that for God being concerned about details? I rest my case. Oh, one last one. What do you think the odds are that a church youth group that had never come to help us before would come Saturday and have a young person that actually needed a backpack? Well, I don’t know the odds but it happened Saturday.

I guess I have rambled long enough but I can’t help it. I get excited when I see God putting his approval on our work in the ways that he has already and I still have 508 backpacks to deliver. God cares about the details and that is “When You Know It Means Something”. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!

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