WORLD VISION … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 31]


How will you allow your life today to show brotherly love? How will you go about caring for others? How will you go about concentrating on others? How will you go about remembering others? How will you show hospitality to others? How will you go about caring and sharing with others, others you may not even know? How will you go about caring for those who are imprisoned? How will you go about caring for those who are being mistreated, neglected, and abused?

Today’s reading comes to us from Hebrews 13:

Sacrifices Pleasing to God

1Let brotherly love continue. 2Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.3Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. 4Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. 5Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” 6So we can confidently say,

“The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”

7Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. 9Do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. 10We have an altar from which those who serve the tent have no right to eat. 11For the bodies of those animals whose blood is brought into the holy places by the high priest as a sacrifice for sin are burned outside the camp. 12So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. 13Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. 14For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. 15Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. 16Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
17Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
18Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.

Benediction

20Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Final Greetings

22I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. 23You should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon. 24Greet all your leaders and all the saints. Those who come from Italy send you greetings. 25Grace be with all of you.

Hebrews 13

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of World Vision, Jubilee 2000, and International Justice Mission. We learn about World Vision‘s work in serving worldwide needs including being among the first groups to promote aid programs for HIV and AIDS in Africa. We learn about Jubilee 2000 which is a religious coalition that advocates for debt relief for highly indebted poor countries. We then learn about International Justice Mission and how they help the poor and oppressed around the world obtain legal protection and advancement in human rights on every continent in the world except Antarctica. Today’s devotional points to today’s reading from Hebrews 13:1-3 and how they have impacted and influenced these few and many other charities and human rights organizations around the world.

‘Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body. ‘

Hebrews 13:1-3

Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. Thank You Lord for an incredible journey through Your Word and how it has impacted and influence the world around me. As I prepare to change patterns as this year comes to an end and as I prepare for the year that is ahead, I will take hold of the incredible message preached this past weekend and look to make my prayers S.M.A.R.T. – Specific. Measurable. Attainable. Realistic. and Time bound. I thank You Lord for making a way for me to be able to not only receive such a timely message but also to get to serve even if but for only 1 of the days. I give this day that ends the year up into Your hands and ask that You will help me to live it out in a way that will bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

FIGHTING HIV IN AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITIES … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 30]


As this year is coming to an end is there any reconciliation that you need to consider or make so that you can close out 2018 clean and go into 2019 without the weight of the past? Is it with a friend or family member? Is it a coworker or a boss? Is it with God? Why not take time today and close out 2018 strong?


Today’s reading comes from 2 Corinthians 5:

Our Heavenly Dwelling

1For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, 3if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. 4For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.
6So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, 7for we walk by faith, not by sight. 8Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. 10For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

The Ministry of Reconciliation

11Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others. But what we are is known to God, and I hope it is known also to your conscience. 12We are not commending ourselves to you again but giving you cause to boast about us, so that you may be able to answer those who boast about outward appearance and not about what is in the heart. 13For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; 15and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.
16From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

–2 Corinthians 5

Let’s check our hearts today and make sure there isn’t anything in the way that will keep us from being all we should and need to be stepping into the new year. Let’s be walking out the new year as the new creation God makes in us through reconciliation. Let’s be ambassadors for Christ and so that through us others may come to learn and know and be reconciled to God.


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of fighting HIV in African American communities. We learn in today’s devotional how statistically even though African Americans make up 13% of the US population, they make up 41% of those living with HIV and about 44% of all new infections. We learn in today’s devotional how the crisis has been identified and as such the African American Church along with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) have partnered together through an initiative called “The Church and HIV: The Social Justice Imperative“. Looking up more details, I found:

In the United States, the Black community bears the greatest burden of the HIV epidemic, more than any other racial or ethnic group. While African Americans represent just 12% of the total population, they account for 41% of all people living with HIV and 44% of all new infections. In fact, if the African-American community were its own country, it would rank 11th in the world for new HIV infections. Today, the HIV epidemic is one of the most pressing health issues facing the Black community.
To address the urgent need for action, The Black Church & HIV initiative was established to form a national network of faith leaders, religious institutions, and community members committed to making change and ending the HIV epidemic in Black America. There is an immediate need for faith leaders to take action for what is happening with HIV in the Black community. For generations, the Black Church has been a leader for change in the Black community on issues of social justice, including voting rights and employment opportunities. Today, we are applying this tradition of social justice advocacy to the HIV epidemic.
The NAACP, in partnership with Gilead Sciences, Inc., made a Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action in 2013 to further the initiative and enlist faith leaders as change agents to address the disparate and severe impact of HIV on African Americans. The initiative is working to overcome stigma and address HIV as an issue of social justice by:
> Conducting faith leader trainings across the 30 U.S. cities with the greatest HIV burden
> Obtaining formal resolutions from mainline denominations to incorporate HIV messaging into Church activities
> Integrating HIV-related materials into required course curricula in predominantly Black seminaries.


Why It Matters

We believe in social justice. We believe in a sustained commitment to create a society that is equal and fair for all people. We believe that health equity is a social justice challenge, and that no one should be denied the possibility to be healthy because they belong to a group that has historically been economically and socially disadvantaged.
On average, African Americans are likely to experience worse health outcomes than any other racial or ethnic group. As a high-risk population, African Americans are:
> More likely to progress from HIV to AIDS within one year of being diagnosed with HIV
> Less likely to know they have HIV
> Less likely to seek treatment
> More likely to die as a result of complications from AIDS than any other race
When we see anything disproportionally affecting one group of people more than others, whether it is poverty, education or health, we must question if the root cause has to do with social injustices. HIV disparities have more to do with the systematic realities of health care and society than individual or group behaviors. The high rates of HIV among Black people in the U.S. point to the overwhelming injustices in the political, healthcare, economic, and educational systems.
This threat to the survival and well-being of our community is a social injustice. HIV is impacting our community, and it is our responsibility to speak out and fight the systems that make and keep us vulnerable to HIV infection. We invite you to join our fight for a system that ensures that we all have access to the information, insurance, prevention, care, and treatment that we deserve.

About The Black Church & HIV: The Social Justice Imperative

Visit their website and see the stats and how you can be a part of it.

We learn in today’s devotional how they are partnering with churches to ensure that the necessary information is being provided to educate people of the issue as well as on the topic which can tend to be controversial. We learn also how the initiative includes the words from today’s reading from verse 20 which reads:

‘Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. ‘

2 Corinthians 5:20

on the cover of their activity manual in the NIV translation which is slightly different from our ESV translation:

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)

We learn in the closing of today’s devotional how the initiative uses the verse to suggest their belief that people of faith are called by God to work on His behalf in the fight against HIV. The Bible’s influence on the contemporary social justice issues is revealed in and through this.


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. I thank You Lord for the safe travel and favor found in going to pick up my sister from the airport. I thank You Lord for the great conversation and getting us home safe. Lord, I ask that You will bless our time together and that You will provide the wisdom and the guidance so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE RED CROSS … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 29]


What comes to mind when you see the Red Cross symbol? What would come to mind if you were in a war zone? What would come to mind if you were someone who was hurt in the war? What would come to mind if you were someone who was on the attack? How would you respond?


Today’s reading comes to us from 1 Corinthians 1:

Greeting

1Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,
2To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:
3Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Thanksgiving

4I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Divisions in the Church

10I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

18For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19For it is written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

20Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

1 Corinthians 1

Ever considered the biblical themes of the Red Cross? The red cross against the white background? The themes of purity and sacrifice? Ever taken hold of the purpose and direction of the organization to advocate human rights and humanitarian treatment of all people?

So who is this Red Cross that today’s devotional speaks of?

Established in 1863, the ICRC operates worldwide, helping people affected by conflict and armed violence and promoting the laws that protect victims of war. An independent and neutral organization, its mandate stems essentially from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. We are based in Geneva, Switzerland, and employ some 16,000 people in more than 80 countries. The ICRC is funded mainly by voluntary donations from governments and from National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The work of the ICRC is based on the Geneva Conventions of 1949, their Additional Protocols, its Statutes those of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and the resolutions of the International Conferences of the Red Cross and Red Crescent. The ICRC is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence. It takes action in response to emergencies and promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law.

To protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and violence and to provide them with assistance.

The ICRC’s Mission Statement

The International Committee of the Red Cross is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance.
The ICRC also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles.

Who we are – International Committee of the Red Cross.

And what do they do?

The ICRC responds quickly and efficiently to help people affected by armed conflict. We also respond to disasters in conflict zones, because the effects of a disaster are compounded if a country is already at war. Emergencies are unpredictable, so our rapid deployment capability is hugely important.


Our activities on behalf of people affected by war

– Addressing sexual violence

– Building respect for the law

– Cooperating with National Societies

– Economic security

– Enabling people with disabilities

– Forensic science

– Health

– Helping detainees

– Humanitarian diplomacy

– Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers

– Mine action

– Restoring family links

– Water and habitat

– Working with the corporate sector

What we do – International Committee of the Red Cross

Some additional details found in today’s devotional that didn’t get captured above include how the organization was inspired by Henry Dunant‘s 1862 book Un Souvenir de Solférino (A memory of Solferino) which called for better care of wounded soldiers in wartime.


What if we all took time to reflect on the environment around us and how people are being treated? What if we all took time to consider our roles and our responsibilities within them? What if we then did something about it?

Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. Heavenly Father, as I look towards today and consider what can, what could, and what should be my part in it, I ask Lord for Your wisdom and discernment for every situation and conversation and how I will respond to it. Help me Lord to respond as You would respond. Help me Lord with wisdom and discernment to understand the situation. Help me Lord with boldness and courage to respond in a way that will bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

THE WORK OF AMY CARMICHAEL … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 28]


Do you think you are working hard? Are you working hard on the right things? I’ve heard working harder only works if you aren’t working hard. Are you working hard at helping the weak? Are working remembering the words “it is more blessed to give than to receive“? Are you trying to live your life generously? Are you trying to live your life as a servant? Are you realizing that people are watching you? Are you realizing that as a leader it is best to be a servant leader? How will you head up your day today? Are you ready and willing to accomplish all that God has created and purposed for you to do and to be?


Today’s reading comes to us from Acts 20:

Paul in Macedonia and Greece

1After the uproar ceased, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them, he said farewell and departed for Macedonia. 2When he had gone through those regions and had given them much encouragement, he came to Greece. 3There he spent three months, and when a plot was made against him by the Jews as he was about to set sail for Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. 4Sopater the Berean, son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tychicus and Trophimus. 5These went on ahead and were waiting for us at Troas, 6but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days we came to them at Troas, where we stayed for seven days.

Eutychus Raised from the Dead

7On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. 9And a young man named Eutychus, sitting at the window, sank into a deep sleep as Paul talked still longer. And being overcome by sleep, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10But Paul went down and bent over him, and taking him in his arms, said, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” 11And when Paul had gone up and had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed. 12And they took the youth away alive, and were not a little comforted.
13But going ahead to the ship, we set sail for Assos, intending to take Paul aboard there, for so he had arranged, intending himself to go by land. 14And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and went to Mitylene. 15And sailing from there we came the following day opposite Chios; the next day we touched at Samos; and the day after that we went to Miletus. 16For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he might not have to spend time in Asia, for he was hastening to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the day of Pentecost.

Paul Speaks to the Ephesian Elders

17Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. 18And when they came to him, he said to them:
“You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, 19serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews; 20how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 22And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, constrained by the Spirit, not knowing what will happen to me there, 23except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me. 24But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. 25And now, behold, I know that none of you among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom will see my face again. 26Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, 27for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. 28Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears. 32And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. 34You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me. 35In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”
36And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. 37And there was much weeping on the part of all; they embraced Paul and kissed him, 38being sorrowful most of all because of the word he had spoken, that they would not see his face again. And they accompanied him to the ship.

Acts 20

Are you doing things and saying things that are profitable? Are you sharing the truth of God’s Word that is good for teaching and helping people and for correcting them and showing them how to live. Are you willing to be a good shepherd to all the lambs and sheep God has put into your care? Are you willing to not flee as a worker would but stand like the owner and shepherd and do for your flock as David did for his and stand up to the bear, stand up to the lion, and even be willing to go and seek and find the lost?


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of the work of Amy Carmichael. It starts with an introduction of who Amy Carmichael is:

“You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”

Amy Carmichael said

Looking up more information, I found the following introduction of who she was:

Amy Carmichael (1867-1951) was an Irish born missionary to Japan and India. She spent her early years reaching out to the marginalized in Belfast, Ireland and later Manchester, England. At age 25, she was sent out as the first Keswick missionary to Japan. She served there as an evangelist for 15 months but developed what was called “Japan head” (she suffered with neuralgia) and was told to move to a more suitable climate.  She arrived in India at age 28 and immediately came down with Dengue fever. But having reached the land of her calling, where she would spend the next 50+ years, she set out to learn Tamil, and after 14 strenuous months, passed her language exam. Amy began evangelizing with a team of young Indian women whom she called “The Starry Cluster.” She loved itinerant preaching and sharing the gospel across southern India, fully expecting to carry on in this way indefinitely.
BUT ONE DAY, AS HE DOES, GOD CHANGED EVERYTHING.
He sent her a little girl, who had run away from the Hindu temple women, who were preparing her to be “married to the gods.” She was seven years old, and having heard of Amy and her love of children, had run away in hopes of finding her. As she told her story, Amy thought, “If these things are true, something must be done.” This was the beginning of the season Amy referred to as having “her feet tied.” In the Tamil culture, when a woman bore children, it was said that the children tied her feet to the home. Amy wrote, “Children tie the mother’s feet, the Tamils say…We knew we could not be too careful of our children’s earliest years. So we let our feet be tied for love of Him whose feet were pierced.” 
IN THE ENSUING YEARS, AMY RESCUED NUMEROUS CHILDREN FROM BEING SOLD INTO SLAVERY, WHILE OTHERS WERE BROUGHT TO HER FOR REFUGE, OR LIKE THE VERY FIRST CHILD, FOUND THEIR WAY TO HER.
Biographer Iain Murray wrote, “She would not have let her feet be so tied had she not been convinced that God meant her to be the full time ‘mother’ of the family now gathered. Most of the children Amy took care of and taught were former temple children, entrapped in a dark life of temple prostitution.” She sacrificed what she loved most, sharing the gospel, itinerant preaching, evangelizing across Southern India, so that those little ones “could know not just physical freedom from slavery but ultimately spiritual freedom.”
HER HIGHEST CALLING BECAME TEACHING EACH CHILD GOD’S LOVE FOR THEM.
As the Tamil proverb said, Amy’s feet may have been tied, but not so of the feet of hundreds upon hundreds of little children that were raised to know and love Jesus and later sent out to love and serve their countrymen. Although her feet were tied, in her 50s, Amy was known to drop everything and set off in the old Ford, with kindred spirits, to go out evangelizing. Amy’s children remember how she would suddenly appear and call them to go out preaching with her, and off they flew! Those journeys were exciting, with plenty of laughter as well as evangelizing. Though her feet were tied, Amy’s heart was ever free.  Amy’s home in Southern India became known as Dohnavur Fellowship and continues today. According to their website: “During the past 113 years, about 1875 girls and 670 boys have been rescued from situations of moral and physical danger and brought into the safety and love of the Dohnavur Family.” For more information, visit their website

THE TENACITY OF AMY CARMICHAEL by Debbie Alnutt  May 23, 2017

Going back to today’s devotional it speak of how she rescued thousands of girls and young women over her five decades from forced temple prostitution. We learn how in 1901 she founded an orphanage and a mission named the Dohnavur Fellowship that continues to help children in India even today. We learn how deeply moved she was by the difficult and dangerous situation that these children were finding themselves in and as such she worked tirelessly to help them. It was so important that she sacrificed her own safety in order to save the children from a life of slavery. We see how today’s devotional concludes with something written by Amy as she reflected on words from today’s reading from Acts 20:35

‘In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” ‘

Acts 20:35

where she wrote:

Have you ever wondered who remembered and told St. Paul
that lovely word of our Lord, which no one records in the
Gospels? We can picture the sorrowful people standing on the
shore listening to it, and treasuring it in their hearts.
Paul had been speaking of ordinary work and of working so
that we have something to give. But perhaps there was a further
thought in his mind. The people wanted to keep him. Others
needed him. We are not here to enjoy one another. Love must
not be selfish. Love, the truest, deepest kind of love, gives and
goes on giving—like the sea upon whose shore they stood
together.
It is more blessed (more very happy) to give than to receive.
He Who knew all kinds of happiness said that. So it must be true.
It is true.

Whispers of His Power: Selections for Daily Reading (Day January 21)

So will reflect on Paul’s words? Will you reflect on Amy’s words? Will you reflect on Jesus’s words?


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. Help me Lord to have Your eyes as I walk out my today. Help me Lord to have Your ears as I walk out my today. Help me Lord to have Your wisdom as I walk out my today. Help me Lord to live out my today to see needs I can help with, hear needs that I can help with, and grant me the wisdom to hear and see it and then to understand what it is that You would have me do. Fill me with Your generosity so that in and through my life and my words and my actions that You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

CARING FOR THE POOR … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 27]


Who are you caring for? What are you caring about? How are you being a good steward? Where are you storing up your treasures? When do you decide? Why do you care? Why do you give? Why do you steward? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to give you the words to explain your faith when you are asked? They may not even realize what they are asking you and it may even make the answer that more powerful. Will you obey God rather than be held back by the fear of men?

Today’s reading comes to us from Acts 4:

Peter and John Before the Council

1And as they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple and the Sadducees came upon them, 2greatly annoyed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand.
5On the next day their rulers and elders and scribes gathered together in Jerusalem, 6with Annas the high priest and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of the high-priestly family. 7And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?” 8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders, 9if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed, 10let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by him this man is standing before you well. 11This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. 12And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
13Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus. 14But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition. 15But when they had commanded them to leave the council, they conferred with one another, 16saying, “What shall we do with these men? For that a notable sign has been performed through them is evident to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. 17But in order that it may spread no further among the people, let us warn them to speak no more to anyone in this name.” 18So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, 20for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” 21And when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people, for all were praising God for what had happened. 22For the man on whom this sign of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

The Believers Pray for Boldness

23When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, 25who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit,

“‘Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

27for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place. 29And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, 30while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

They Had Everything in Common

32Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common. 33And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all. 34There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold 35and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. 36Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, 37sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

Acts 4

Are you prepared to use what God has given you to serve Him and meet the needs that cross your path? Are you prepared to be God’s hands and arms extended to allow people to know and feel God’s love? Are you prepared to be used by God and walk in obedience to His commandments and instruction through the Holy Spirit?


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of caring for the poor. We learn about the power of the example from today’s reading which reads:

‘There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold and laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need. Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement), a Levite, a native of Cyprus, sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. ‘

Acts 4:34-37

We learn about how the first century church kept a fund that the apostles used to care for the needy. We also learn about how those who had gave in order to give to the apostles to ensure all the needs were being met. We also learn of a human example of such generosity through Luke who is believed to have written the book of Acts when he shares the story of Barnabas. We learn about how these practices worked well in the early church so much so that we read in today’s reading how

‘There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold ‘

Acts 4:34

This hasn’t changed as you can find people to this day who are giving of their resources to the local churches and other worldwide organizations as a means of helping the poor.


How much we give is in perspective to our hearts. It can be as small as the widow’s mites or as great as selling off everything in order to give to the causes for God. We shouldn’t feel guilty if we give a little because we can or a lot because we can. We should be obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and allow God to take it and multiply it for the glory of His Kingdom.


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. Help me Lord as this year comes to an end to understand my role in Your plans and how You would have me respond. Help me Lord as this year comes to an end to not only finish strong but to also be prepared for the year that is about to start. Help me Lord to bless others because You have blessed me. Help me Lord to bless others because You are allowing me to be a blessing. Give me eyes to see and ears to hear. Give me wisdom and discernment so that I have direction and instruction into what I am to do. Help me Lord to live out my life in a way that will bring You all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

THE CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY MOVEMENT … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 26]


Have you received the power of the Holy Spirit yet? Have you waited on Him before stepping out? Do you realize going out on your own before the Holy Spirit directs you holds you back from what could of and should of and would have been? Imagine the world today had they not gone back and waited. Imagine the world today had they not believed and obeyed. Will you go beyond just receiving the call to first receiving the Holy Spirit so that you can answer the call with the power of God?

Today’s reading comes to us from Acts 1:

The Promise of the Holy Spirit

1In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

The Ascension

6So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

Matthias Chosen to Replace Judas

12Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
15In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16″Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18(Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20″For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

“‘May his camp become desolate,
and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

“‘Let another take his office.’

21So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Acts 1

Do you realize our calling in life may be different in terms of where we go or what we do but there is a core calling we are all to receive and to accomplish? Do you realize that without first receiving the Holy Spirit we aren’t working in the fullness of the power of God that could be and should be and would be if we had allowed the Holy Spirit to be the power behind our calling?


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of the Christian missionary movement. It begins pointing out Jesus’s command in Acts 1:8

‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” ‘

Acts 1:8

and how it has inspired thousands throughout the centuries to work as missionaries in countries and regions they were not from and many who travel vast distances away from their origins. We learn about the earliest European missionaries such members of the Franciscan, Dominican, and Jesuit religious orders who traveled with explorers into the new parts of the world. Today’s devotional then goes on to introduce us to the Protestant Reformation missionaries who went out to introduce people to the Bible. It teaches us about John Eliot who was a Puritan who worked with Native Americans and William Carey who was an English Baptist who worked in India as two prominent early protestant missionaries from England. We learn in the closing of today’s devotional how missionaries went beyond just teaching the Bible to serving in the communities, meeting their needs and in many cases since the languages were different even worked to translate the Bible into the local languages. We learn how some provided schooling and others provided medical care in their respective communities. Today’s devotional shares the impact of the missionaries work in going out into the world witnessing about Jesus to the point where the number of Christians in the world doubled from about 250 million in 1800 up to about 500 million in 1900.


So how about you?

As I read this and consider it I remember back in 2001 when God put what felt like a jetpack on my back. Going from salvation to baptism, from water baptism to baptism in the Holy Spirit, from Bible studies to Cleansing Stream, from visitor to a church to becoming a member, from an attender to someone who serves. God did incredible things that year both inside and outside of the church as He also called me to go out and serve in my new community. In amongst all of that He also helped me in my workplace to continue to share the good news and bring light and love into the workplace.


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. Lord as I prepare for this year ahead in 2019 I know that You have incredible plans in store. I know Lord that there will be needs but I know Lord that if I give what I have into Your hands that just as the boy who gave his lunch of loaves and fishes gave to Jesus, You can take what I have in my hands and multiply it and use it to meet the needs of the people You have brought into my life. Help me Lord to not get worried or frustrated but instead Lord give me wisdom, patience, perseverance, strength, courage, and boldness so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

GEORGE WASHINGTON ON CHARITABLE GIVING … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 25]


Ever considered our best example of giving? Ever considered how great a cost? Ever considered how great a reward? For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever would believe on Him would not perish but would have everlasting life. For to us a child is born, for us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Do you realize how giving is a matter of the heart? It is a love thing! It’s not about the size or the quantity but of the heart. In the case of Jesus the sacrifice that was given had to cover the sin of the world forever and so it took Jesus coming as the sinless lamb of God to make it right for all of us today and in the past as well as for all those who are yet to come. For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God but Jesus didn’t come this earth to condemn it but that through Him they could be saved. The road to salvation is narrow and few will find it whereas the road to destruction is wide – so come thru the narrow gate to eternal life rather than taking the easy route of the wide gate that will lead to destruction. Giving is a matter of the heart and we have seen through the story of the widow’s mite how it was so significant that Jesus called it out and it got captured for us all to see centuries later. So let’s jump into today’s reading and take hold of all that God has to say to us through it on today, Christmas day, when we remember and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Today’s reading comes to us from Luke 21:

The Widow’s Offering

1Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, 2and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. 3And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. 4For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.”

Jesus Foretells Destruction of the Temple

5And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, 6″As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 7And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” 8And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. 9And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the end will not be at once.”

Jesus Foretells Wars and Persecution

10Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your lives.

Jesus Foretells Destruction of Jerusalem

20″But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it,22for these are days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written.23Alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress upon the earth and wrath against this people. 24They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

The Coming of the Son of Man

25″And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

29And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Watch Yourselves

34″But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
37And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. 38And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.

Luke 21

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of George Washington on Charitable Giving. We learn how the story of the widow’s mite impacted and influenced George Washington.

‘Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” ‘

Luke 21:1-4

We learn that this story has become a model of sacrificial charity and a generous heart. We learn how George Washington incorporated this story into a letter written to his nephew Bushrod Washington, 15 January 1783. Today’s devotional concludes with the following snippet from that letter which says:

Let your heart feel for the affliction, & distresses of every one—and let your hand give, in proportion to your purse—remembering always, the estimation of the Widow’s mite. But, that it is not every one who asketh, that deserveth charity; all however are worthy of the enquiry—or the deserving may suffer.

A letter written to his nephew Bushrod Washington, 15 January 1783

It is better to give than to receive. It is better to love and lost than to never have loved. So let’s take hold of this incredible day where God love us so much that He gave us all freewill in order that we may be able to decide and choose to receive His grace and mercy and love. Don’t miss your chance and why not make today your day if you haven’t decided os that You can celebrate Christmas the way it should be with Jesus in your heart.


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. I ask Lord as I prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus with my family that You will give me opportunities to share how You have worked in and through my life so that they will have the hope that is within me and will be able to walk out their lives to the fullest trusting and believing in You all the days of their lives. I ask all this so that You will receive all the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

MOTHER TERESA OF CALCUTTA … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 24]


Ever run into a situation where it is so closed you aren’t sure it could ever be opened? Ever had a situation where you wish there was an opening to make it better? Ever wondered what it would take to open something that has been closed for so long? Did you turn somewhere or ask someone to help? Did you find a source to make it a reality? Was there a miracle that took place? Were you able to hear the difference? Were you able to see the difference? Were you able to make a difference?

Today’s reading comes to us from Mark 7:

Traditions and Commandments

1Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3(For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) 5And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” 6And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

“‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’

8You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
9And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God in order to establish your tradition! 10For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 11But you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever you would have gained from me is Corban”‘ (that is, given to God)— 12then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, 13thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do.”

What Defiles a Person

14And he called the people to him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” 17And when he had entered the house and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, 19since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) 20And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. 21For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.23All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

The Syrophoenician Woman’s Faith

24And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and did not want anyone to know, yet he could not be hidden. 25But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Gentile, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. 27And he said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 28But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” 29And he said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.” 30And she went home and found the child lying in bed and the demon gone.

Jesus Heals a Deaf Man

31Then he returned from the region of Tyre and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, in the region of the Decapolis. 32And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment, and they begged him to lay his hand on him. 33And taking him aside from the crowd privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and after spitting touched his tongue. 34And looking up to heaven, he sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.” 35And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. 36And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. 37And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Mark 7

Do you believe? Do you receive? Do you give? What role are you playing?


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of Mother Teresa of Calcutta. Today’s devotional points to her motivation as being that she loves Jesus. Today’s devotional also speaks to how the New Testament has inspired his followers to build hospitals and provide services for the disabled and elderly. Today’s devotional also give us details about Mother Teresa. Looking up Mother Teresa, I found the following supporting details.

Overview:

Mother Teresa, known in the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta[6] (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, Albanian: 
[aˈɲɛzə ˈɡɔndʒɛ bɔjaˈdʒiu]; 26 August 1910 – 5 September 1997), was an AlbanianIndian[4] Roman Catholic nun and missionary.[7] She was born in Skopje (now the capital of Macedonia), then part of the Kosovo Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire. After living in Macedonia for eighteen years she moved to Ireland and then to India, where she lived for most of her life.
In 1950 Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation which had over 4,500 sisters and was active in 133 countries in 2012. The congregation manages homes for people dying of HIV/AIDSleprosy and tuberculosissoup kitchens; dispensaries and mobile clinics; children’s- and family-counselling programmes; orphanages, and schools. Members, who take vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, also profess a fourth vow: to give “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor.”[8]
Teresa received a number of honours, including the 1962 Ramon Magsaysay Peace Prize and 1979 Nobel Peace Prize. She was canonised (recognised by the church as a saint) on 4 September 2016, and the anniversary of her death (5 September) is her feast day.
A controversial figure during her life and after her death, Teresa was admired by many for her charitable work. She was praised and criticised for her opposition to abortion, and criticised for poor conditions in her houses for the dying. Her authorised biography was written by Navin Chawla and published in 1992, and she has been the subject of films and other books. On September 6, 2017, Teresa was named co-patron of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Calcutta, alongside St. Francis Xavier.

Missionaries of Charity

On 10 September 1946, Teresa experienced what she later described as “the call within the call” when she travelled by train to the Loreto convent in Darjeeling from Calcutta for her annual retreat. “I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was an order. To fail would have been to break the faith.”[34] Joseph Langford later wrote, “Though no one knew it at the time, Sister Teresa had just become Mother Teresa”.[35]
She began missionary work with the poor in 1948,[23] replacing her traditional Loreto habit with a simple, white cotton sari with a blue border. Teresa adopted Indian citizenship, spent several months in Patna to receive basic medical training at Holy Family Hospital and ventured into the slums.[36][37] She founded a school in Motijhil, Kolkata, before she began tending to the poor and hungry.[38] At the beginning of 1949 Teresa was joined in her effort by a group of young women, and she laid the foundation for a new religious community helping the “poorest among the poor”.[39]

About Mother Teresa

There is something each of us can do. We have each been created on purpose, with purpose and for a purpose. Have you receive a call from God on your life and how and what you are to do? With it being Christmas time will you be willing to ask Jesus for a calling for your present and future as your gift? With it being Christmas time will you be willing to ask Jesus for a gift that will help you with the calling that God has given you and you are pursuing?

Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. Lord I ask today for Your help in the callings You have put on my life. Help me to be the husband You desire for me to be. Help me to be the father You desire for me to be. Help me to be the employee You desire for me to be. Help me to be the leader to Your people and servant to Your teens as You desire for me to be with T.R.A.C. Help me Lord to be the servant as I serve in Your church so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory, in Jesus’s name. Amen.

LOAVES AND FISHES … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 23]


Do you realize that what you have might be what is needed to make a difference? Do you realize that what you have might seem like it is insufficient but when we put it into Jesus’s hands it can multiply and meet the need? Do you realize that what you have be it your lunch or your lunch money that when we use it for God’s purposes it can be multiplied and not only meet the needs around you but also leave enough for leftovers? How big is your faith? How big is your hope? How much will you trust Jesus with what you have? Are you willing to trust Him enough to give Him the little you have?


Today’s reading comes to us from Mark 6 which reads:

Jesus Rejected at Nazareth

1He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. 2And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. 4And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.” 5And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6And he marveled because of their unbelief.
And he went about among the villages teaching.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles

7And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits. 8He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in their belts— 9but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics. 10And he said to them, “Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11And if any place will not receive you and they will not listen to you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet as a testimony against them.” 12So they went out and proclaimed that people should repent. 13And they cast out many demons and anointed with oil many who were sick and healed them.

The Death of John the Baptist

14King Herod heard of it, for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead. That is why these miraculous powers are at work in him.” 15But others said, “He is Elijah.” And others said, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16But when Herod heard of it, he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17For it was Herod who had sent and seized John and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife, because he had married her. 18For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19And Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death. But she could not, 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. When he heard him, he was greatly perplexed, and yet he heard him gladly.
21But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his nobles and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee. 22For when Herodias’s daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests. And the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you.” 23And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom.” 24And she went out and said to her mother, “For what should I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the Baptist.” 25And she came in immediately with haste to the king and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26And the king was exceedingly sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27And immediately the king sent an executioner with orders to bring John’s head. He went and beheaded him in the prison 28and brought his head on a platter and gave it to the girl, and the girl gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

30The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. 31And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.33Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them.34When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things. 35And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late. 36Send them away to go into the surrounding countryside and villages and buy themselves something to eat.” 37But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give it to them to eat?” 38And he said to them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”39Then he commanded them all to sit down in groups on the green grass. 40So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties. 41And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people. And he divided the two fish among them all. 42And they all ate and were satisfied.43And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. 44And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

Jesus Walks on the Water

45Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray. 47And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, 49but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, 50for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”51And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded, 52for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

Jesus Heals the Sick in Gennesaret

53When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret and moored to the shore. 54And when they got out of the boat, the people immediately recognized him 55and ran about the whole region and began to bring the sick people on their beds to wherever they heard he was. 56And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or countryside, they laid the sick in the marketplaces and implored him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment. And as many as touched it were made well.

Mark 6

Don’t allow a hardened heart or a closed mind to keep you from being a part of a miracle from God. Imagine being a young boy and offering your lunch when a group of 5000 men + women and children are in need of food.


‘”There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” ‘

John 6:9

Consider the situation you are in right here and right now. Do you know of a need? Do you see a need? Are you concerned about what it might cost you? Are you unsure how such a great need could be met? Are you willing to invite Jesus into the situation and ask Him for wisdom? Are you willing to invite Jesus into the situation and obey His directions? Are you ready to be a part of a miracle planned by God? Worry changes nothing! Fear robs you! So fear not and just believe! Don’t allow the lies and roaring of the enemy that is trying to rob, kill, and destroy keep you not only from building up your faith by being a part of a miracle, but also being obedient and getting to see and hear and witness what can be done when we are willing to give, to go, and to serve as God asks.


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of Loaves and Fishes. We learn how today’s story from Mark 6:30-44 has been motivation and inspiration for many people to perform acts of compassion and charity. We also learn how many homeless shelters and soup kitchens take their names from just such a story taking on the name “Loaves and Fishes“. Today’s devotional points to a charity in Minnesota named Loaves and Fishes. Looking them up I found:

Mission 
To provide nutritious meals to people who are hungry across Minnesota in an atmosphere of hospitality at site locations where the need is greatest.


Vision
We are guided by our vision that all people, regardless of socioeconomic, cultural or ethnic background deserve to meet their basic needs for food, dignity and respect. It is only then that self-esteem and empowerment can move individuals to independence.
We are focused on the individual. Loaves & Fishes dining sites provide access to additional social services as available.

About Loaves and Fishes, MN

Today’s devotional continues to explain how this charity does what they do in order to provide an atmosphere of hospitality in order to help people who are hungry meet their basic needs for not only food but also dignity and respect no matter their background. Today’s devotional then points us to a charity in North Carolina by the name Loaves & Fishes.

Vision
It is our vision for all people in our community to meet their basic hunger needs by having access to nutritious food.
Mission
Our mission is to provide a week’s worth of nutritious groceries to people within our community facing economic hardships.
Values
We believe that access to nutritious food is a fundamental human right. Therefore, we are guided by the following core values:
Dignity:  We believe that all people have inherent worth. We are committed to equitable and inclusive treatment. We strive to provide quality service to our clients.
Stewardship: We efficiently leverage donated resources and volunteer time to further the mission of Loaves & Fishes.
Collaboration:  We will work with a diverse group of organizations, public and private, to ensure optimal service to our clients and to avoid duplication of services in our community.

About Loaves & Fishes, NC

Between their website and today’s devotional we learn that”

Loaves & Fishes provides a week’s worth of nutritionally balanced groceries to individuals and families experiencing a short-term crisis through a network of 30 emergency food pantries located throughout Mecklenburg County.

Loaves & Fishes uses a Client Choice model which allows clients to select groceries their family is most likely to eat.  Clients are able to choose a specified number of items in the areas of grains, proteins, vegetables, fruit, and dairy based on the size of the family. The number of choices is determined by a Registered Dietician to ensure that enough food is available to create three meals a day for a week. It is important to the dignity of our clients to feel they have some control and requires them to invest some time in the process.  It also allows for greater interaction between clients and volunteers.

About Loaves & Fishes, NC

Today’s devotional concludes pointing one more example from the Sacramento area also named Loaves and Fishes. Checking out their website, I learned:

Mission Statement
In an environment of welcome, hospitality, safety, and cleanliness we seek to provide an oasis for homeless men, women, and children seeking survival services.


Our Philosophy

Without passing judgment, and in a spirit of love and hospitality, Loaves & Fishes feeds the hungry and shelters the homeless. We provide an oasis of welcome, safety, and cleanliness for homeless men, women and children seeking survival services.
Founded in 1983, we are governed by a board of directors selected from Loaves & Fishes and from the community-at-large – people who have demonstrated compassion and concern about the needs of the homeless and the indigent poor.
We recognize the dignity and spiritual destiny of each person, and hope by our attitude of hospitality and love, to nourish not only the physical needs of those who come to Loaves & Fishes, but also their spiritual need for love, acceptance, respect, and friendship.
We serve each person with the belief that “as often as you did it for one of my least brothers and sisters, you did it for me.” (Matthew 25:40)

About Sacramento Loaves and Fishes

God’s Word never returns void. How is God asking you to help? Is he asking you to start something? Is he asking you to join something? Is he asking you to lead something? How is God wanting you to serve? I know it may not look like much but when you are willing to take what God has given you and allow Him to work in and through it, God’s plans, purposes, and will can be and will be accomplished. These questions make me flash back to a time when I was a new Christian and God was calling me to step up into a level of leadership I didn’t think I was qualified or able to do with the limited resources, knowledge, and experience I had. He got through to me after many times of me resisting and wow it was amazing to get to see what He was able to do because it was exceedingly, abundantly more than I could have ever asked or imagined. It doesn’t necessarily get easier but that is ok because it means God will show up and get you through it.


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. Thank You Lord for having prompted me to start this blog back in 2005. Thank You Lord for having prompted me to step up and step out into things I wouldn’t have ever thought or imagined I could do. Thank You for never leaving me and never abandoning me. Thank You for helping me to grow and become the man and the follower You purposed and created me to be. I know You aren’t done with me yet. I know that this blog will continue till I get to spend eternity with You. And so Lord help us all to take hold of Your promptings and leading so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

TALITHA KOUM INSTITUTE … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 22]


Are you living your life with passion? Are you living your life with compassion? Are you living your life on purpose? Are you living your life with purpose? Are you living your life with vision? Are you living your life with a mission? Are you living your life to make a difference? Are you seeing opportunities to help in the healing process? As the year closes how will you make a difference? As a new year is arrive how will you plan to make a difference in the new year? Are you willing to make it personal? Are you willing to meet people right where they are at with respect, dignity, and love?


Today’s reading comes to use from Mark 5:

Jesus Heals a Man with a Demon

1They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. 2And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. 3He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, 4for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. 5Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. 6And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. 7And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” 8For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”10And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. 11Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, 12and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” 13So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.
14The herdsmen fled and told it in the city and in the country. And people came to see what it was that had happened. 15And they came to Jesus and saw the demon-possessed man, the one who had had the legion, sitting there, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. 16And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. 17And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region.18As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him.19And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Jesus Heals a Woman and Jairus’s Daughter

21And when Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a great crowd gathered about him, and he was beside the sea. 22Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet 23and implored him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay your hands on her, so that she may be made well and live.” 24And he went with him.
And a great crowd followed him and thronged about him. 25And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, 26and who had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse. 27She had heard the reports about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his garment. 28For she said, “If I touch even his garments, I will be made well.” 29And immediately the flow of blood dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed of her disease. 30And Jesus, perceiving in himself that power had gone out from him, immediately turned about in the crowd and said, “Who touched my garments?” 31And his disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing around you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?'” 32And he looked around to see who had done it. 33But the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came in fear and trembling and fell down before him and told him the whole truth. 34And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”
35While he was still speaking, there came from the ruler’s house some who said, “Your daughter is dead. Why trouble the Teacher any further?” 36But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.” 37And he allowed no one to follow him except Peter and James and John the brother of James. 38They came to the house of the ruler of the synagogue, and Jesus saw a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. 39And when he had entered, he said to them, “Why are you making a commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but sleeping.” 40And they laughed at him. But he put them all outside and took the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and went in where the child was. 41Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” 42And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement. 43And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.

Mark 5 (ESV)

Imagine being the woman and how the encounter with Jesus transformed her life. Imagine how her faith moment would have grown from believing to seeing the miraculous healing of her body. Imagine being the man and how his encounter with Jesus transformed his life. Imagine learning how God’s timing is perfect and that what we might consider a delay might be another opportunity to witness a miracle. Imagine learning how God’s purpose is greater than our ways when Jesus not only restored his daughter but also restored the life of the woman on the way to his house. What about you? Have you had a Jesus encounter that has transformed your life? Are you living that transformed life that others may come to know Jesus?


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of Talitha Koum Institute. Checking out the organization, I found that their mission is:

In a context of loving relationship, and using research-based therapeutic intervention, Talitha Koum partners with parents to raise children who are intellectually capable, emotionally resilient and prepared to be contributing members of the community.

About Talitha Koum Institute

I also learned that they have programs for MENTAL HEALTH THERAPEUTIC NURSERY, EARLY CHILDHOOD CURRICULUM, and PARENTING PROGRAM. Today’s devotional points to how today’s reading was the core inspiration for this ministry and organization. Today’s story of healing and compassion inspired the mission of Talitha Koum Institute in Waco, TX. Today’s devotional teaches us how the institute works with at-risk infants and children who are living in multigenerational poverty. We learn how they define their purpose as we read above from their mission statement. We learn in the closing of today’s devotional how they got their name from the Aramaic words found in Mark 5:41

‘Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.” ‘

Mark 5:41

We also learn as the devotional closes that the institute has helped children from difficult situations and backgrounds to obtain higher test scores, better grades, lower truancy rates, and reduced behavioral issues.


Let’s stop and consider how we can make a difference. Let’s stop and consider who God’s Word may motivate us to step up and step out and help. Let’s stop and pray for wisdom and guidance not only for the idea but also for the passion, the wisdom, and the direction to make it so. Let’s also ask for others who can come alongside us to support the vision that God is bringing into our lives. Let’s prepare to be the person God has created us to be.


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. Lord, I thank You for my children and the heart to serve children be it through giving of time and resources, serving and ministering, or leading and going that You have been and continue to be able to work in and through me for the better of others. Help me Lord as this year is coming to and end to reflect on this past year and to get a new vision for what it is You will have me do in this new year to come. Give me vision on those who will serve alongside me. Give me vision on those who will lead with me. Give me vision for things that can be improved or changed in order to better serve the youth. I give this all into Your hands as I take this time away from work to focus on You and my family and friends so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

HEALTH CARE, JESUS STYLE … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 21]


Ever lived somewhere that says healthcare if free? Ever lived somewhere that says healthcare is affordable? Ever lived somewhere with good healthcare? Ever lived somewhere that made it feel like you would have to wait forever to see someone? Have you found a place where healthcare is perfect? Have you found a place where healthcare meets everyone’s needs? What makes it good? What makes it bad? What gaps need to be filled? Does it need a full overhaul or would some strategic fixes do the trick? What’s the value? How much should it cost? How will you know when it is right? How will you know when it is good enough? How can it go from good to great? Is there a trick? Is there an equation? Is there a plan?

Today’s reading comes to us from Matthew 10:

The Twelve Apostles

1And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. 2The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; 4Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Jesus Sends Out the Twelve Apostles

5These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ 8Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9Acquire no gold or silver or copper for your belts, 10no bag for your journey, or two tunics or sandals or a staff, for the laborer deserves his food.11And whatever town or village you enter, find out who is worthy in it and stay there until you depart. 12As you enter the house, greet it. 13And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. 15Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.

Persecution Will Come

16″Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues, 18and you will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them and the Gentiles.19When they deliver you over, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. 20For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. 21Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 23When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24″A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25It is enough for the disciple to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign those of his household.

Have No Fear

26″So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. 27What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. 28And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 31Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. 32So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, 33but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Not Peace, but a Sword

34″Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Rewards

40″Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. 41The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

Matthew 10

Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of Health Care, Jesus Style. It points to verse 8 from today’s reading:

‘Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. ‘

Matthew 10:8

Today’s devotional points to the various types of sicknesses and diseases that Jesus encountered during His time on earth. It included skin diseases like leprosy, lameness, blindness, deafness, and even demon possession. We learn how at that time the Greeks and Romans were charging for healing through offerings in the various temples, we see how Jesus and His disciples were healing for free, no charge everywhere they found the need and encountered the sick. We also learn how they ministered in spite of the risk to themselves. Have you ever noticed all the stories in the New Testament about the encounters and the healings? Have you ever considered the radical transformation that took place through those encounters with Jesus and the power of God? As we read in today’s devotional, as followers of Jesus, we are to do the same. We aren’t to consider the person’s religion, social class, or ability to pay when God directs us to such an encounter. We learn through Jesus’s teaching that we are to extend mercy and healing and grace and love to everyone. It is great to be a part of a church who believes and pursues God’s direction. Today’s devotional even points out how some churches provide services like pregnancy care, dental buses and clinics, and eye exams.


So whose responsibility is it to help and serve? Whose responsibility is it to heal the sick? Is it supposed to be the government that collects all the taxes who are supposed to be taking care of everyone? Is it supposed to be companies or corporations that collect money who are supposed to be taking care of everyone? Or should it be one another? Should it be something that as the body of Christ we should be coming together and each doing their part in helping and serving one another and others? Should it be corporations that are out there like the Greek and Romans collecting money? Should it be something that is made available in a way that people’s lives – mind, body, and soul can be touched and healed? What would healthcare look like if it were being done Jesus’s style? What would society be like if we were trying to help one another in and through each situation? What would society be like if it wasn’t looking for handouts but rather a hand up? What would society be like if we were all going out seeking to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, and casting out demons? What would society be like if all of a sudden people’s eyes were looking to God rather than people for the answers? What would life be like if we put our hope and trust in God and believed? What would life be like if we were open to be a part of the solution? What would life be like if we were open to be God’s hand extended in those moments of need?


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord for Your Word that never returns void. I thank You Lord for Your Word that is alive and speaks truth in love forever. I thank You Lord for the insight and the perspective on something that everyone is facing no matter where in the world they live today. Lord when we put things into the hands of man, nothing is free. We learn in Your Word how we have received freely and so we are to give freely. We learn in Your Word how Jesus came freely to be the ultimate sacrifice in order that we can be reconciled to You and be called children of God. Help me today Lord to have eyes to see and ears to hear so that I can be Your hands extended to speak life and to take action in a way that will bring You praise, honor, and glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.

THE MOLOKAI LEPER COLONY … THE BIBLE’S IMPACT ON ACTS OF CHARITY) [DEC 20]


Do they look alone? Do they look left out? Do they look like they have a need? Do they look like they are missing something? If you are noticing it then what are you going to do about it? There are many needs in this world. There are those in need in order to survive. There are those in need of support and encouragement. There are those in need of core nutritional essentials. There are those in need of a job. There are those in need of transportation. There are those in need of a place to stay. There are so many needs that it is impossible to list them. So is there something you can do today? Is there something practical that will show true and selfless love that you can do today? Keep your eyes open and ask God to give you eyes to see and ears to hear and wisdom on how to respond. Then Do It.


Today’s reading comes to us from Matthew 8:

Matthew 8

Are you willing? Will you so do it? Don’t allow fear to rob you of the miracles and powers of God! Don’t be dismayed if there people who push you away because of your good works. God created you on purpose, with purpose, for a purpose, so let’s take hold of God’s plans that He has prepared in advance for us to accomplish in order that in all things and at all times He will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory because we are operating in His will out of love and obedience. Don’t abandon those God has sent you to serve! Lean into it and accomplish all that He has in store for you for the glory of His Kingdom.


Today’s devotional from The Global Impact Bible on the theme of the Bible’s impact on Acts of Charity on the subject of  The Molokai Leper Colony. We learn in today’s devotional how the first story from today’s reading inspired Father Damien who was a Belgian priest to help lepers on the Hawaiian island of Molokai.


‘When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.” And Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I will; be clean.” And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to them.” ‘

Matthew 8:1-4

Looking it up I found:


Father Damien or Saint Damien of Molokai, SS.CC. or Saint Damien De Veuster, born Jozef De Veuster, was a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium and member of the Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, a missionary religious institute. He won recognition for his ministry from 1873 to 1889 in the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi to people with leprosy, who were required to live under a government-sanctioned medical quarantine on the island of Molokaʻi on the Kalaupapa Peninsula.

Father Damien

We learn how the government of Hawaii moved the people with leprosy to Molokai in order to contain the disease. Today’s devotional shows how Father Damien wasn’t willing to leave the people he had come to serve and as such in 1889 died from leprosy at age 49. Abandoning the people he had been pouring his life into for all those years wasn’t an option on the table for him. We also learn how the state of Hawaii has put a statue in memory of him Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol. We then learn how he was beatified in 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI.


What will you do with the call God has put on your life? What if he called you out of something you had been doing for nearly 20 years to go do something else? What if he gave you signs and wonders of where you were to go and so you went? What if he gave you direction and wisdom that you are to stay there and serve the people? Will you stay? Will you obey? Will you pour the love of God into each of the people God brings into your life? Will you take hold of it and not become overwhelmed? Will you lean into God rather than your own understanding, trusting Him and knowing that because He called you to it that He will walk with you through it?


Let’s pray… Let’s first pray to commit our lives back to God


Next as we prepare for this day, let’s take hold of the Lord’s Prayer and align with God’s plans and purpose for today…

Now let’s get going with today and live out our lives as living sacrifices so that in and through it all God will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Let’s pray to forgive others…


Heavenly Father,
I thank You Lord for this new day and for everything that will be in it. I thank You Lord for allowing me to be a part of Your purpose and Your plan. I thank You Lord for reminding the importance and power of faith, perseverance, and trust in You. I thank You Lord that I don’t have to try to figure it all out on my own but that Lord in Your Word which is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path that You can speak to me. Thank You Lord for helping me to focus and to take hold of what You are saying. Thank You Lord as we head into Christmas and the new year that You are preparing me in advance for what is about to come and giving me time to rest and be refreshed and love on my family. Help me today Lord to take hold of this and to prepare for all that You have in store for what is yet to come. I give this day into Your hands so that in and through it all You will receive the praise, the honor, and the glory in Jesus’s name. Amen.