Archive for December, 2008

How to Help When You Don’t Have Much

December 31, 2008

Its been a hard year for many of us.  Even so, many of us look around at those worse off and wonder how we can eke out something to help.  If we can’t give money because we don’t have it, we may have something quite valuable tucked away in the house.  I have resolved to start the new year by going through my things and giving away when I don’t use/need.  My favorite charity is the Salvation Army, because I really believe they make the most out of whatever they are given.  There is a Salvation Army thrift store near me, and I take my contributions there.

Some things to consider are:  clothing in good condition (especially winter clothing right now); bedding (those extra blankets or sheets you never really use, extra towels and washcloths); games, puzzles and other toys (people will buy these for their kids to use when the weather is bad); unused kitchen items (you probably have several you haven’t used in the last year or so); books (if you haven’t read them yet, you aren’t going to); magazines (current only); and other things in the miscellaneous category.

The Salvation Army benefits from the profits on their thrift shop sales, and people in need benefit by being able to buy things at a very good price.  You can no longer get a tax deduction for used items (there may be the occasional exception), but think of it this way, you are helping someone else and simplifying your life.  All that unused stuff keeps your garage and closets messy, and it takes time to take care of  “stuff”.  My mother always taught me its a sin to “sit on” things when someone else can use them.   Now if I can just persuade myself to get rid of some more books…. they are my weakness when it comes to hoarding.

Why would God allow suffering?

December 19, 2008

People have often asked how a good God could allow suffering.  I thought about very good parents I know who, in a sense, allowed their children to suffer.  These parents subjected their children to painful medical procedures, surgeries and debilitating chemotherapy.  They did it to save their children’s lives in the face of cancer.  These same parents suffered along with their children, holding and comforting them through many ordeals and long sleepless nights.  The children who were too young to understand the meaning of it all, had to trust the goodness of their parents.

Our heavenly Father, in caring for us, has to deal with a cancer called sin.  It is present in every one of us.  We can’t begin to understand the enormity of it, how dangerous it is to our eternal life, or the mysteries surrounding it.  God, who must sometimes allow pain and trouble in our lives, nevertheless comforts us and stays with us through everything.

This Christmas

December 18, 2008

This Christmas lets each of us give each other the gift of a fresh start.

 

Lets each of us take our hurt feelings, grievances and differences of opinion and lay them on the altar before Jesus.  Lets leave them there for Him to deal with.

 

“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.”  Ps. 55:22

 

“Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”  I Peter 5:7

 

 

We can trust Jesus to take care of everyone in our lives with both wisdom and compassion.

 

We also know that God, who alone knows the intentions and motivations of every person, is a compassionate God.

 

So, lets give each other the same fresh start that God gives us every day.  It’s a gift that pleases Him.  It’s our Christmas offering to Him as well as a gift to one another.