Tag Archives: Servanthood

Happy Givingthanks!


From the bottom of our hearts, my family and I wish you all a very happy and blessed Givingthanks day! No, I’m not linguistically challenged; I spelled it that way intentionally.

In just a few days our whole nation will be sitting down to sumptuous feasts, ones which reflect the bounty and prosperity which God has so graciously bestowed upon us. Hopefully we will all take the time to reflect on those blessings and firmly resolve afresh to never take them for granted.

Indeed, giving thanks is at the heart of Thanksgiving Day. How excellent it is that our nation still remembers to do so! Even so, I think it would be so wonderful if we all emphasized the giving part more this year. Wouldn’t you agree that as God’s children-His hands extended, we should be giving more than just simple thanks?

That’s why I am wishing everyone happy Givingthanks Day this year. I want my greeting to be a reminder to myself and to others that it would be magnanimous to put giving first.

I know a few families that spend their entire Thanksgiving Day filling plates and cleaning tables in a homeless shelter so that those facing difficulties and hardships don’t miss out on a wonderful home-cooked meal and fellowship on this special day. Their main reason for being there, however, is to share God’s love, not through bible tracts or words, but through action. I am not suggesting that everyone head to a shelter and serve likewise, but there are sundry ways that we can all give something special on Thanksgiving.

We could, for instance, donate food to homeless shelters or battered women’s shelters, etcetera. Or, we could volunteer a few hours to a nursing home this week. One of the nursing homes in my area is always in need of volunteers to simply help the residents play bingo. Anyone can do that and it would surely make someone’s holiday a lot less lonely. We could even obtain a list of the resident’s first names and bless them all with a Thanksgiving card (with permission of course). If nothing else, we should consider sharing the wonderful gift of compassion by inviting someone to our homes which has no place else to go, perhaps a widow or a college student who cannot afford to travel home.

I’m sure that if we all pray about how we might give more of ourselves this Thanksgiving, the Lord will show us how to individually bless Him by blessing others. It goes without saying that our Heavenly Father always desires us to be thankful, but it delights Him abundantly when we give gifts of love to others because this is a sacrifice of praise unto Him.

Again, happy Givingthanks Day!

May God be pleased with your giving of thanks, and others blessed by your giving.

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

Downcast and Desperate

Today, our vehicle just happened to stop at the very spot where a homeless man stood holding a sign begging for help. Sadly, this occurs more frequently with every passing day, and to be honest, I do not feel that I always have the heart of Christ when I see someone professing homelessness and desperation, at least not anymore. With each daily bombardment of phone scammers, telemarketers, charities and everyone else holding out their hand wanting money, money and more money, my heart has gradually grown suspicious – especially towards those standing on street corners wanting a hand-out, because lately there have been so very many on the streets, alleging to be homeless, which have been proven, without a doubt, to be con artists, some of which rake-in thousands of dollars each month from unsuspecting but well-meaning folks.

How then, does one know when to give and when not to? The only logical answer for me is to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God. It seems, though, that I have not felt led to give to those professing homelessness very much in recent times, and this leads me to wonder if I am really listening or if I am allowing the cares of the world to distract or harden my heart so that I cannot ‘hear’ the Holy Spirit clearly. Surely, not everyone standing alongside the road begging for money is a con artist – especially after so many have been hit so hard by the pandemic.

Today it was easy to pay attention. I clearly felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to give to this man -very clearly- and I was obedient. Yes, I know the Bible says when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing [Matthew 6:3], and I always try to be obedient to that as well. However, I felt every bit as prompted to share with you today, dear reader, what happened next.

The only money we had with us in the car was a mere dollar and some change, hardly enough to buy any food or necessities, but we gave it, wishing it could have been more. The man took the money and he thanked us but there was no hint of gratitude. This didn’t bother me; obedience does not demand anything at all from the receiver. What did bother me was the man’s eyes! They were empty and void of any semblance of hope.  I have seen this before. In fact, I felt this way myself in my youth, which is perhaps why it was so easily recognizable to me.  What I saw in this man could only be described as someone who has completely and utterly given up, someone who was merely waiting for physical death to catch up to his emotional state.

If you, dear reader, have read any of my previous posts, you know that I always try to write only positive and uplifting messages, words of hope and healing and this message certainly seems contrary, but again, I was prompted by the Holy Spirit of God to share this with you because God cares! He cares about you and me and He cares about the homeless. This man probably is homeless (I can’t know for certain), but regardless, he is a man in great desperation and need. I know this because as the light turned green and we pulled away, a tight knot formed in my stomach and tears unwillingly streamed down my face – and this continued all the way home.  I have rarely felt anything this intense in all my years of ministry.

I prayed for this man and will continue to do so. If you are a Christian, dear reader, I ask that you lift him up in prayer as well. I don’t know his name nor anything about him, but God does.

Neither do I know why the Holy Spirit prompted me so strongly to share any of this with you. But He knows! I can only assume that someone needs to hear this. One thing I do know for sure, though, is that God cares for humanity, for those who trust in Him and those who do not, and He desires people like you and me to be His hands and heart extended to a hurting world. Perhaps, dear reader, you can be the one that reminds a hurting soul that “the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted perish forever” Psalms 9:18. Verse 9 of that same chapter reminds us that The Lord also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. In context, these verses speak to those who are in relationship with the Lord God already, but they certainly apply to the unbeliever as well. And who knows, perhaps a mere dollar and some change, or a kind deed, or just an encouraging word might be the very thing the God uses to draw a desperate and hopeless soul to Himself. Or maybe, just maybe, it might be the thing that God uses to show us that we have become a bit too skeptical or uncharitable in a world fraught with deception, and consequently desensitized to genuine need.

As for this nameless man, I believe His need, whatever it is, is great and very pressing. And there are so many like him, so I close with this prayer:

Dear Lord, there are so many in our world facing very dire circumstances, some of which are life and death! We cannot help them all, and sometimes, we cannot help them much, but so much as we are able, Lord, let us be faithful to do so. I pray that we do not grow weary in well-doing, not that we may reap if we faint not [Galatians 6:9] but rather because we have a love for all humanity as you do. May we truly be your hearts and hands extended and may our spirits be in tune with yours so that we can clearly hear the promptings of your Holy Spirit and be obedient no matter the cost! Here I am, Lord, send me.

Image by truthseeker08 from Pixabay

                                                                               

Knights in Daze

Photo: © Jørgen Erik Christensen

Photo: © Jørgen Erik Christensen

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand (Ephesians 6:13).

Like any good soldier, I put my armor on daily –at least most of it- but this old armor is dented, scratched and tarnished from battle. Come to think of it, so is my husband’s. I can only look back with amusement to those long-ago days when I, like most foolish schoolgirls, dreamt of my very own knight in shining armor whisking me away to the land of happily ever-after.

My knight did finally come along –and he was tall, dark and handsome- but his armor was certainly not fancy or impressive. Truthfully, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Yes, I could have settled for some dazzling knight in shining armor. Nevertheless, by the time my would-be husband entered my life I had matured enough to realize that true warriors were experienced in battle and their armors were well-worn. The Lord had sent me a man who was quiet and unpretentious on the outside but spiritually robust inwardly. I knew that whatever battles we would face in life, my rugged knight would be up for the fight.

That is not to say, however, that we have never been injured in battle. The Bible says that we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12). Therefore, the battles we face are often arduous and exhausting, leaving us battle-weary and dazed.

Consequently, putting on the full armor of God is absolutely essential if we are to overcome these forces. Scripture instructs us to put on the armor so that we can withstand (resist) in the evil day, having done all, to stand. The Greek word for stand, pronounced his’-tay-mee, is speaking of abiding in steadfast faithfulness.

In other words; if we clothe ourselves in our spiritual armor each day -which is truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation- we will be equipped to overcome every battle –never faltering in our relationship with the Lord and never retreating from His service.

The whole concept of medieval knights has been greatly glamorized over time, but in reality the average knight, although well-respected, rarely achieved the fame and status that modern legend has portrayed. Though born of nobility, they were very hard-working soldiers who were trained in battle from the earliest days of their youth. They devoted their entire lives to serving their lords and protecting the general populace, laying down their own lives when necessary. The knights of old, like soldiers of Christ, never retreated from service.

Furthermore, the average knight rarely wore a shining, unblemished armor. Those who did were generally the lazy, uncaring men who flaunted their wealth and self-professed superiority. These men loved to don their most elaborate armor and participate in exhibition events. Not much has changed. There are a lot of folks walking around in shiny spiritual armor. They may look the part, but I would much rather be surrounded by the soldiers in God’s army whose armors show signs of use.

Why? Because there are times when I need other warriors to fight on my behalf. Sometimes “I drop my sword and cry for just awhile, ‘cause deep inside this armor, the warrior is a child. Unafraid because His armor is the best, but even soldiers need a quiet place to rest…” (Twila Paris song, The Warrior is a Child)

What about you? Do you feel that life’s battles have left you battle-weary and dazed? Jesus lovingly admonished: Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).

The seasons of rest we now enjoy may be temporary, but always remember, someday soon the Lord will return to whisk us all away to the land of happy ever-after. I can hardly wait. Till then, I plan to keep this battered old armor; it has served me well.

Too Heavenly Minded?

stairway

Through the years I have heard a few preachers say that we can be “too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.” Modern translation: Radicals need not apply. When I read my bible, however, I find numerous accounts of “radical” servants of the Most High who turned their worlds upside down with their passion for God and His kingdom.

The first sermons of Jesus recorded in scripture were about the kingdom of Heaven. In fact, everything He taught, every miracle He performed, every body He healed, even His death on the cross, were all about the kingdom of Heaven. Who amongst us would ever think Him to be so heavenly minded as to be of no earthly good? And we are supposed to be imitators of Jesus Christ aren’t we?

No, I don’t think it possible to be too heavenly minded. In regard to God’s instructions, scripture commands that you impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
In other words, all the time!

Furthermore, blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. (Psalms 1:2)

Why is he blessed? When a man meditates on God’s word, he acts on God’s word. It is the heavenly minded who does this world the most good –that which lasts for eternity. The more “radical” believers are, the more likely they are to turn this world upside down for the furtherance of God’s kingdom.

So then, can a believer be too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good? Again, I don’t think so. I doubt that is what we should be asking anyway. Perhaps we should be asking the opposite:

Can a person be too earthly minded to be of any heavenly good?

–just a little food for thought.

Too Heavenly Minded?

stairway

Through the years I have heard a few preachers say that we can be “too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.” Modern translation: Radicals need not apply. When I read my bible, however, I find numerous accounts of “radical” servants of the Most High who turned their worlds upside down with their passion for God and His kingdom.

The first sermons of Jesus recorded in scripture were about the kingdom of Heaven. In fact, everything He taught, every miracle He performed, every body He healed, even His death on the cross, were all about the kingdom of Heaven. Who amongst us would ever think Him to be so heavenly minded as to be of no earthly good? And we are supposed to be imitators of Jesus Christ aren’t we?

No, I don’t think it possible to be too heavenly minded. In regard to God’s instructions, scripture commands that you impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
In other words, all the time!

Furthermore, blessed is the man whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night. (Psalms 1:2)

Why is he blessed? When a man meditates on God’s word, he acts on God’s word. It is the heavenly minded who does this world the most good –that which lasts for eternity. The more “radical” believers are, the more likely they are to turn this world upside down for the furtherance of God’s kingdom.

So then, can a believer be too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good? Again, I don’t think so. I doubt that is what we should be asking anyway. Perhaps we should be asking the opposite:

Can a person be too earthly minded to be of any heavenly good?

–just a little food for thought.