A Pick’me up story for today

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Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

2 Corinthians 9:6-11 (NIV) [my emphasis]

I came across a story the other day, that really brightened my day. I hope it does the same for. Here it is:

Olivia, Eric, and their three daughters — an infant, toddler and 5-year-old — were living in a partially converted school bus. The family of five had been moving across the U.S. when they broke down in Greeley, Colorado.

Broke and homeless, Olivia was certain this holiday season would be nonexistent for her kids.

Meanwhile, Virginia Finch and her daughters were preparing Thanksgiving meals for the homeless. They heard about a family living behind the nearby gas station and went to deliver the food to them.

It was Olivia and her brood.

Finch and her daughters listened to their heartbreaking story. The second they got home, they began putting a plan in place for what they could do for the troubled family. With the cold season approaching, the Finch family could not bear to think of the babies suffering in the cold.

“There’s no way I’m going to leave a baby with no crib for a bed on the holidays,” Finch thought to herself.

That’s when she thought of the second house that her family was preparing to sell or rent. She returned to Olivia with a proposition, and at first, the struggling mom of three thought it was some kind of cruel joke: Finch asked the homeless family if they would like to live in the house.

Story from Littlethings.com

We may not all have a house to give, but we all have a life to spend giving.

We love each other because he loved us first.

1 John 4:19 (NLT)

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Dear Church, Stop Giving Your Crap to the Poor 

John McDermott is a Formerly Homeless Man Who Now Has Housing

Re-posted from faithit.com

I was getting ready to leave for a trip to Kenya a couple of years ago, when a church emailed and asked if Mercy House had any specific needs. I quickly responded and told them I wanted to give Maureen, our Kenyan Director, an iPhone, so we could communicate during (almost weekly) power outages. I told them if they would buy one instead, we could use the money for other needed items.

On the church’s Facebook feed a few days later, I saw an appeal that said something like, “We want to support a ministry with a used iPhone. If you have an old one you can donate, please let us know.”

 I was given an older iPhone a week later. On the ground in Kenya, I realized it wouldn’t hold a charge for more than 10 minutes. The phone was junk.

So, when I left Kenya, I gave Maureen my used one that worked.

The church contacted me after the trip and asked how Maureen liked her new phone? I told them it was useless and said, “Don’t worry about it. I gave her mine.”

“Oh, we feel badly, please let us replace your phone! We want to buy you a brand new one, an upgrade. You deserve it,” I told them I used my husband’s upgrade and already had a replacement phone. “OK. Instead we would like to write you a $500 check for the inconvenience.”

Give it to Maureen, I said.

And they did.

While the church tried to make it right, I was bothered by the fact they were more than willing to buy me a new phone I didn’t need. I have noticed this mentality permeates the church as a whole: The poor will be happy with our leftovers. They don’t know any better. They live in Africa or Honduras, they don’t need the latest technology or the best brands like we do. They will appreciate anything we give because something is more than nothing.

Why do we give others—often those in service to the poor or the poor themselves—something we wouldn’t keep or give ourselves?

Somehow collecting clothes for immigrants has become the perfect opportunity to get rid of stuff we don’t want and gathering baby items for new moms is the perfect excuse to toss out stained and worn clothing we wouldn’t dare use again. I’ve packed suitcases with beautiful donations, but mostly I’ve pilfered through piles of junk donated in the name of Jesus.

It’s time to stop giving our crap to the poor.

There’s nothing wrong with used or second-hand. It’s often my first and favorite choice. Many organizations and ministries depend on used gifts. But if we give used, it should be our best. I’m not saying when we clean out older clothes or toys or things we don’t use any longer and donate them—that this is wrong. I am saying if we give it away, it should be something we would use ourselves.

The poor may not have wealth, but they have dignity. I’ve met people without electricity or running water who swept their dirt floors daily, pressed their clothes neatly, walked miles to work on muddy roads, dodging sewage, and never had a speck of dirt on them. They value their own worth, we should too.

I’ll never forget meeting a woman in Africa who supported her large family by reselling used clothes from America. But when she held up clothes to show me what was for sale—clothes Americans had donated in clothing drives—they were tattered and stained. I was embarrassed.

Her best depended on our worst.

Just because our donation feels like we are helping, in reality, we could be hurting. Bales of used clothes are sold to African countries for resell and they end up flooding the market and often put local textile businesses and seamstresses out of business.

It’s time to think about not only what we give and how we give it, but also why we give it. Just because it makes us feel better (and cleans out our garage at the same time) doesn’t mean it’s the best for those in need. Perhaps we should look a little deeper into our hearts and wallets when we can say, I don’t have money to give to the poor, but I have a lot of stuff. Maybe we need to buy less stuff, so we have more to give?

“We’re not giving what we’re called to give, unless that giving affects how we live—affects what we put on our plate and where we make our home and hang our hat and what kind of threads we’ve got to have on our back. Surplus Giving is the leftover you can afford to give; Sacrificial Giving is the love gift that changes how you live—because the love of Christ has changed you. God doesn’t want your leftovers. God wants your love overtures, your first-overs, because He is your first love.” Ann Voskamp

There have been times over the years I’ve gasped and grinned at the beautiful items I’ve sorted and packed  for the impoverished. When we give our best, we are living our best. We are saying with our donation, you are valuable. We are whispering with our gift, you are worthy of the best. We have the opportunity to speak self worth when we give generously.

It’s a promise for them.

It’s a promise for us.

Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Proverbs 19:17

The next time we have the opportunity to share what we have with someone who is in need, let’s give from the pile we want to keep, not from the one we want to throw out.

by: Kristen Welch

Paying Attention to Your Christianity – Old Path Musings

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Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.

Paying Attention to Your Christianity

Paying attention to how your Christian life is going is important.  As things in this world get more and more debased, we need to pay closer attention to what is being taught.  That is because the heart and mind can easily be drawn off course.  In the book, Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian, more than once, got off the Celestial Pathway for one reason or another.  Most of the time, it was because he failed to heed Evangelist’s instructions.  He let some things slip in his life and listened to other people, like Mr. Civility, Mr. Worldly Wiseman, and others.

An Urgency to Living Right

When we give earnest heed to something, we make it a priority in our life.  Earnest means that it is urgent, it needs to happen now and cannot be put off.  It takes an urgency to live right.  There is often just a short time from when a temptation is presented and a decision is made to move toward sin.  You need to be paying attention so that you are not drawn away by your own lusts, that reside in your heart.  When you let something slip, it means you lose traction, you lose stability.  When we let Bible teaching and doctrine slip out of our heart and mind, we are letting our walk with God slip.  That is why we need to be in church regularly, read our Bible each day, and put good, godly thoughts in our mind all day long.  Make sure you are paying attention to your Christianity today.  If you don’t, eventually, you are getting out of the race.

by Dan Cler | Nov 4, 2016 | 

https://apple.news/AlfqUk5ICQOKeZJYVjRxj9A

5 Characteristics Of A Lasting Legacy

5 Characteristics Of A Lasting Legacy.

This is a very thought provoking post that challenges us to live intentionally towards impacted others with these short years we have.  James reminds us, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14)

“Fundamental to building a lasting legacy is living a life focused outward, on others, more than you.  Day to day, this can be most commonly lived out by serving others instead of desiring to be served.” -Tim Bartlett