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Archive for the ‘poverty’ Category

 
What counts is whether we have been
transformed into a new creation.
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Galatians 6:15
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My sons enjoy playing with “Transformers”, so I like to tell them that God is the Master Transformer.  I explain that God doesn’t change, but He transforms us by changing the way we think (Romans 12:2).  This transformation is a radical process!
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God wants to transform each of us into people who:
These things are only possible through God’s creative power.
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On Ash Wednesday, I shared a YouTube video about butterflies to a group of children.  We talked about how butterflies can be a symbol for Easter and how Lent is like being in a chrysalis (a time that God can change us) and how Easter is a time for celebrating God’s life-changing power.  I think the butterfly is the most incredible example of God’s ability to transform.  The caterpillar has to be broken down and reconstructed before the beautiful butterfly can be created.
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Please take a moment to watch this video clip about butterflies. My hope is that by watching this video, you will be awed at God’s power to bring about change and reminded that an astonishing metamorphosis can also take place in your life.
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Let God transform you into a new person
 by changing the way you think.  Romans 12:2
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Dedicated to Lea and Melanie, my book club friends, who inspired this post and shared this video at the Word Made Flesh Advent 2011 Retreat
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Defend the weak & the fatherless;
 
uphold the cause of the poor
 
& the oppressed.
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Psalm 82:3
 
 
 
Ty Osman II had a passion for helping the poor.  He developed this passion by imitating his parents, who began taking him with them on their annual mission trips to Honduras when he was ten years old.  Ty’s family returned to the same village, and over the years Ty became extremely attached to the children.  When they saw one another, it seemed as though they had never been apart.  This year, those children will be asking the question, “Where is Ty?”  While we can hope their heartache will be eased by knowing Ty is in a glorious place, we can continue Ty’s work by contributing to the needs of the orphans.
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Both Hands, an amazing non-profit organization that helps both orphans and widows, is honoring Ty and providing us with a way to contribute. Here is information from their website:
Nashville Big Build 2012 in Memory of Ty Osman II
A team of volunteers will be working on a widow’s house to help raise money for an orphanage in Honduras. 550 children live and attend school on the Escalon Project Campus in La Entrada, Honduras.100% of the money raised from our Nashville Big Build project will help provide education, food, housing, and facilities for this orphanage.
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Since Ms. Sharon’s husband passed away, it has become difficult to keep up with the necessary improvements and repairs to her home.

So on April 14, a team of volunteers will be working on her home. Think of fundraisers where people raise sponsorship for a charity golf tournament or 5K race. Only with this project, instead of golfing or running, we’ll be helping a widow in need.

The widow benefits, an orphanage in Honduras is blessed, and a group of individuals are able to spend the day serving others. The more money raised, the more children can be provided for through this orphanage in Honduras.
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Ty Osman II was a young man of character with a true servant’s heart. He brought laughter and joy to everyone he met. Ty passionately served others, and in all things, he glorified the Lord. He took annual trips with his family to serve at an orphanage. The 2012 Nashville Big Build Project is named in memory of Ty Osman II.
This past Sunday, I visited Ty’s church where the preacher Dean Barham showed us a way that all of us can give more. He told us that the early Christians would fast for a few days and then give the money they saved to those in need.
And if there is among them any that is poor and needy, and if they have no spare food, they fast two or three days in order to supply to the needy their lack of food.
–The Apology of Aristides ~ 130 AD
I would like to propose a challenge: for the next month, let’s fast from “fast food” and give that money to continue Ty’s love and work with the orphans in Honduras. 
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How can you help?
Join the Both Hands Team for the Nashville Big Build
In Memory of Ty Osman II!~
 

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My times are in your hands.
 
Psalm 31:15
 
 
As I was filling out paperwork to have my medical records sent to a new doctor I noticed something unusual.  Under “date of birth” was the heading “date of death.”  I could have been clever and written “only God knows”, but I instead I just left it blank and moved on.  But the question made me wonder: what if I did know my “date of death”? Would I be living differently?
 
Yesterday was the “date of death” for our dear family friend Bill Frey.  Bill helped shape me into the person I am today.  His quiet generosity made it possible for me to go on mission trips to third world countries as a teenager.  These mission trips opened my eyes to a level of poverty I never knew existed.  My mom says I never complained about my clothes again after returning home.  I didn’t know at the time that it was Bill who had provided the way for me to go, but I was aware of many other ways he blessed my family.
 
My dad worked for a small church in the suburbs of Boston from the time I was ten until I was twenty.  Bill Frey and his family welcomed and cared for all of us as if we were their own family.  Because of Bill, I have wonderful memories of being in their home, swimming in their pool, and going with them on vacation to Nantucket.  They exemplified 1 Timothy 1:18-19:
 
Command them to do good, be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.  In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  — Paul
 
Bill Frey made great investments assuring treasures in heaven, and he did take hold of the “life that is truly life.”
 
 Dedicated to Bunny and Melissa
 
 

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His saints

 

 Precious in the sight of the Lord

 

 is the death of His saints.

 

Psalm 116:15

 

Many people died last week due to the tornadoes in the south.  There was another sudden death on April 27, 2011.  David Wilkerson, who passionately loved God, died instantly in a car accident.  Although I did not know him personally, his words touched me deeply.

This is what he wrote on his blog the day he died:

To those going through the valley and shadow of death, hear this word: Weeping will last through some dark, awful nights—and in that darkness you will soon hear the Father whisper, “I am with you. I cannot tell you why right now, but one day it will all make sense. You will see it was all part of my plan. It was no accident. It was no failure on your part. Hold fast. Let me embrace you in your hour of pain.”

Beloved, God has never failed to act but in goodness and love. When all means fail—his love prevails. Hold fast to your faith. Stand fast in his Word. There is no other hope in this world.”

David Wilkerson’s last mission on earth was to be an advocate for the poorest of the poor”.  Gary Wilkerson

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Jesus turned and saw her.
Matthew 9:22

 

Seeing how Jesus turned and not only saw the people in his path, but also responded to their needs, inspires me to do the same.  It is so easy to focus on my own life and the plans I have made.  My heart’s desire, however, is to steep my life in God-reality and God-initiative and to give my entire attention to what God is doing (based on Matthew 6, The Message).

I can remember a time when I saw a woman who needed help, but I didn’t stop to help her.  She was standing on a corner by a broken-down car and I was at a stoplight.  I could tell she needed help, but I didn’t want to become involved in her problems.  I had a really “good” reason for not having time for her, so I drove away.  I know I could not have rescued her, but I could have offered her a “cup of cold water” (Matthew 10:42).   

A continual challenge is to turn and see the people that God puts in our path, and willingly give them whatever we have to offer.

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“If you knew the generosity of God … 
you would be asking me for a drink, and
 I would give you fresh, living water.”
Jesus
 
 
When my dad was only eight years old, his mother abandoned her family.  He found her, years later, after I was born.  She was a modern day “woman at the well”.  She had been married five times, and the man she was living with was not her husband.  Like the woman in John 4, my grandmother (after a lot of care and love) experienced the grace of God.
  
As I have been thinking about my grandmother and reading about the “woman at the well”, I have been struck by the verse, “For the Jews do not associate with Samaritans” (John 4:9).  Many Christians would not have associated with someone like my grandmother.  She was an alcoholic, an adulteress, and poor. 
 
Recently, I have been thinking, “Why are there people that Christians do not associate with today?”  Intentionally, and more often unintentionally, there are people that many Christians do not include in their circle of friends.  The people that we do not associate with are the very people Jesus would be around.
 
As author Mary Snyder states, “We, as Christians, have turned faith in Jesus into something that requires you to fit into a mold that is of our own making.  I know that Jesus is not pleased with what we are doing.”
 
“I’m after mercy, not religion, I’m here
 to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” 
 Jesus
 
 
 
Thank you Landon Saunders and Mary Snyder, for contributing to this post.  Scripture references from John 4:10 and Matthew 9:13, The Message.

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If one part suffers, every part suffers with it…
1 Corinthians 12:26
 
 
One thing I enjoy is helping women transition into motherhood.  I like to send letters to my friends with the wisdom that has been shared with me and the helpful tips I have learned as the mom of three children. 
 
However, it is easy to forget that some women do not have even a minimal amount of support.  Over at Flowerdust.net, I read a story that broke my heart.  It is a story about a woman and a newborn baby rescued by the International Justice Mission.
 
Today our staff, in cooperation with the local police, were able to bring many laborers out of a slavery facility. One of the laborers was a woman who had been forced to work up to the moment of delivering her baby (without a doctor – the owner refused), and then forced to continue work immediately following. She was unable even to pause to bathe her newborn or to get food for herself. Today, the day of this rescue, the baby is 1 day old. 
 
Questions of the day:
What does it look like to suffer with those living in desperation?
Will I let myself truly feel other’s pain and respond to their needs?
 
“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”
 
 
“The International Justice Mission Institute is a community of Christian leaders advancing solutions for overcoming injustice. It is a place for sharing ideas, resources and tools to raise awareness of injustice and move the Body of Christ to action.”

Anne Jackson’s eloquent response to this story at Flowerdust.net.

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