Below are a small handful of ideas of ways to give our love this Christmas season - and always.
Sponsor a child, write to a prisoner, contribute to provide clean water, help new life enter this world safely, rescue the oppressed, love on veterans & much more; by your giving may you encourage others to do the same.
Matthew 6:3-4But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
2 Corinthians 8:7But just as you excel in everything-in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us-see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "
Matthew 25:34 - 40
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
1. Glory Reborn 2. Veterans of Foreign Wars 3. Food for the Hungry 4. Steps of Faith/Hope Women's Center 5. Samaritan's Purse 6. Voice of the Martyrs
Little Abear and I spent some time capturing glimpses of the American spirit on this Veterans Day - enjoy.
Thank you to all of the men and women who have sacrificed so much for this land.
Specifically, thank you to my late grandfather & uncle, and my father-in-law. What a gift our service people and their self-sacrificing families have given us in the comfort of safety and the opposition of tyranny.
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronising nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. ... Now it seems to me obvious that He was neither a lunatic nor a fiend: and consequently, however strange or terrifying or unlikely it may seem, I have to accept the view that He was and is God."
- C.S. Lewis
Today my parents cut me a check, which to most people probably wouldn't be so surprising since I do office work for them sometimes. To me, for the first time, it took me aback. My parents fed/clothed/gifted/provided for me for 21 years under their roof - and they have taken care of my little family in a multitude of ways. It's just this love that I can't wrap my mind around - and when it all boils down it ultimately has nothing to do with the check.
I have been rebellious. I have been ungrateful. Wretched. They lost sleep over me, and I more then likely own the rights to a couple of their grey hairs (sorry mom & dad).
I'm in disbelief that they held out their patience through those awful toddler/preteen/teenage/post-adolescent years.
And yet, every waking minute I do so much of that and more to God. (You probably saw it going in this direction, right?) If we tend to think any moral code was humanly devised we'd be delusional. We, in and of ourselves are just outright terrible. We are gossips, slanderers, manipulators and (insert your regret from the past 24 hours here). And yet God gives us a place to live. He allows fields to grow and flourish so we can have nourishment. He blesses us with these desires that we didn't even know we had. It's as simple as covering our shame of nakedness as in that day the first couple wore animal skins because of grace. And the tip of the iceberg still lies underwater.
God Himself put on human attire. Grew up blameless in the sight of the law, gave it all away to the least of these, and paid our debt. The human race has greedily accepted many Heavenly gifts with soiled hands (sun rising/breathing/a repopulating population to name 3/1B) and in addition Jesus paid off an eternal debt - and we had to kill Him to make that happen. I can't even fathom that. Admittedly so I am short on patience. One of my biggest regrets is losing it on a guy in a McD's drive thru some years back - over his sour attitude. The fact that I'm still here to type about it after treating someone else Jesus died for that way is pretty extraordinarily unbelievable. I'm sure we would all have zap fried someone at some point or another, mercifully it's not up to us. And mercifully we live under the blue sky roof of an incomprehensibly merciful God.