Hello Friend, I see you found your way over to my place. It’s kind of over the river and through the woods, so I’m glad you didn’t get (too) lost on your way. I loved being at Tricia Goyer’s place last week.http://www.triciagoyer.com/how-to-get-more-of-jesus/
Isn’t she great? Our mutual friend, creator of this Heart Wide Open Christmas idea, is Shellie. She is a “friend’s friend”. She gets people connected ’cause she’s a true honey of a gal. I am soooooo grateful. She blesses me. Hey there, Shellie Tomlinson! It’s so fun to be on this blog journey with you and all these friends who are here with us. If you want to see a little bit more of Shellie and her great idea for experiencing Christmas as truly a holy event, just slide on over to her blog. You will be SO blessed, I guarantee!
I’m going to get to spend a few days on my blog with you. I pray you are also blessed by a few things we’ll share. This is my brand new blog – in fact It’s a Spanking Brand new website – fresh out of the box. I’m so thankful you are visiting.
Don’t you think one of the most blessed things about the Christmas season is that people are thinking about others? Probably more than any other time, more Americans will spend more time and more money to help and bless other people than any other day of the year.
- During 2013, Total giving to charitable organizations was $335.17 billion(about 2% of GDP). This is an increase of 4.4% from 2012.
- Contributions are deductible in the year they are made. Donations charged to a credit card before the end of 2014 count for 2014. This is true even if the credit card bill isn’t paid until 2015. Also, checks count for 2014 as long as they are mailed in 2014.
- The wealthiest Americans are giving a smaller share of their income to charity, while poor and middle-income people are digging deeper into their wallets, according to a new analysis of IRS data.
As a Christian, one thing I’ve learned in my time in God’s Word is that he doesn’t suggest I help others. God doesn’t imply I should help others. God actually makes it very clear that He expects that I help those you are down on their luck, having a hard time, disenfranchised, impoverished, abandoned, neglected, hungry, hurting, ill.
Jesus tells good stories. His stories are simple, but they do get my attention. When it’s a story told by the King of King Himself I better pay attention.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 24:34-40
Jesus continues. The next few verses hold not such good news.
He explains the King says there will also be those who won’t enter the Kingdom of God because they refused to care for the hungry, homeless and needy. Uh-oh.
Can we get a show of hands of us that get it?
My kids, their dad and I have certainly had those days during the Christmas season when we felt closest to God’s will. When we pile food, clothes, shoes, laundry soap, and even toys into Christmas bags and deliver them to a struggling single mom. After delivering a decorated Christmas tree to five little kids who sleep in a home with little food, less toys and see their eyes sparkling with thankful wonder. On that day when we take a turkey to a widow whose dinner time knows meat is spare. Those are the days blessed by the true spirit of Christmas.
God tells us stories. In this one he tells us to help. But he doesn’t make me. He doesn’t coerce me to do his will. He could. But he has incredible restraint, this Mighty God Creator. He gives me the choice to obey. God has out-graced me, out-given me, undone me. I am compelled by this to abandon mine for His. How can I not?
After all that God did for me. That tiny baby Jesus. He left Heaven. For me.
I receive the Christmas blessing.
God is so good.
May His goodness just pour out of us in abundance on a hurting world.
Shellie has helped me think through this. Here’s a good thought with An Action that gets my rear in gear!
Merry Christmas Ya’ll!