The amazing power of generosity. . .heals.
Has a friend generously listened to you? Who has noticed that you need a helping hand? Or, when you show generosity to a friend or stranger? Perhaps you sent a Get Well card to a relative or wished Happy Birthday to a Facebook friend.
Your generosity matters. It helps to heal the hurting. Here’s an amazing story of generosity. Read on.
Homeless. Need Food. Please Help.
Pulling up to a red light, Kate noticed a young man clutching a sign. It read, “HOMELESS. NEED FOOD. PLEASE HELP.” The icy wind reddened his hands. She knew what she had to do, even though it inconvenienced her.
She drove to a store, bought men’s gloves and returned to the sign holder. She rolled down her window and handed them to him.
And she prayed for his mother.
Kate has a grown son too. Addicted to drugs. Sleeping somewhere. She couldn’t warm her own child but she could show Jesus to a stranger.
Debbie Macomber shares this true story in her book One Simple Act: Discovering the Power of Generosity. A sister in Christ and fiction author, she understands the need to give love. She’s dyslexic and her third grade teacher told her mother, “She’ll never do well in school.” And she didn’t.
But her love of words and her parent’s encouragement, and later her husband’s, gave her the boost to sign up for a writers’ conference in New York, and — to use a cliche — the rest is history.
Finding Hope Through Generosity
This post isn’t about Debbie or Kate. It’s about you and overcoming your struggles in Jesus’ power. I want you to find hope and healing. One thing I learned:
Sometimes to find healing you need to reach out to a hurting soul and help her.
Here’s an example: A woman I counseled by Skype — whom I’ll call Sandy — spied a lady dumpster-diving for food scraps behind a fast-food joint. She maneuvered her car from the drive-thru lane and into a parking spot. Sandy had bought two lunches, one for herself and one for the lady. She handed one bag of food to the lady. She said, “I don’t want your food. I don’t take no charity.”
Sandy put the bag of food just inside the dumpster and walked back to her car, glancing backward to see what the lady would do.
She took the food.
Now Sandy and the lady made a game of sorts. Sandy places food by the dumpster when she sees the lady and the lady eats. Sandy feels she is making a difference. She feels less alone.
Generosity Reveals Jesus to a Hurting World
This simple act of generosity reveals Jesus to a lady and to a hurting world.
Click & Tweet!
You can show Jesus too, like Kate, like Sandy, like the little boy who gave his little lunch to a big Jesus who multiplied it and fed 5,000 men and probably as many women and children. The boy willingly gave what he had and received so much more.
“There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. (John 6:9-10, NIV)
This boy’s generosity is forever told worldwide. How blessed he is.
When you and I are kind to others, we are blessed too.
Click & Tweet!
Be generous. Show Jesus. Give thanks. You belong to Someone big who cares. Your generosity takes your eyes off yourself and on Him.
Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16, NIV).
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Did you know the Jesus prays for you — yes, you — at all times? Nothing can separate you from God’s love!
Click & Tweet!
Once loved, you can now deeply love others!
When Satan accuses one of the saints – that’s you, me, and every believer – Jesus tells our Heavenly Father, “I got her covered. She’s mine.” Isn’t it comforting to know that Jesus sees your sorrows and your joys, your trials and your triumphs. . .and he prays tor you? and protects you?
Jesus prays for you when you. . .
- fret over a loved one’s poor health
- your husband fails to communicate
- are lonely or scared
- call yourself ugly names
What difficulty are you facing now? Do you know Jesus’ followers are forever loved by him and that absolutely nothing “wlll be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39)?
Jesus Prays with Power
Listen to the gospel — the Good News — in the Apostle Paul’s words to the Christians in Rome,
Jesus Christ, who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? (Rom. 8:34-35, NIV).
Jesus lived a sinless life, was crucified, buried, and rose again on the third day, defeating Death and guaranteeing eternal life to those who love him.
Even more, when you have trouble praying, the Holy Spirit prays for you.
The Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will” (Rom. 8:26, 27, NIV).
Isn’t amazing that the God of the universe would bother to even to take note of us? He made man from dust. Our lives are a mist. But he is all-sufficient, all-knowing, all-good. How unlike God are you and me!
He doesn’t need me.
Or anyone else.
He is God. He is love.
Jesus Prays with Love
God invites you and me to know him deeply, experience his love, and follow him. When you know you are forever loved by Jesus, don’t you desire to love others? Even the “unlovables.”
Among today’s unlovables are gangbangers, the homeless, Syrian refugees, and many more. Who comes to your mind? The lady at church who gossips? Maybe your onery neighbor?
Some people find themselves living in a home that’s unloving. What can they do? What can you do? If this describes you, would you take this challenge?
For three months (or any time frame you choose) in the morning prayerfully yourself two questions:
- Who in my home needs my love right now?
- How can I show love to him or her love?
Then pray and ask God to help you follow through. The goal is not to get others in your home to love you back. It’s to love others and pray for them.
Did you know that in Jesus, you have all the love you need?
Click & Tweet!
An Offer or Two
First, if life is hard now, may I encourage you to contact me so we can talk about the possibility of counseling? I counsel by Skype around the world and in person in greater Chicago. Contact me and request a complimentary 15-minute phone consultation.
Second, are you enjoying my blog posts? Please sign up with receive them in your inbox along with my “Transform Your Thoughts Journal.” Thanks!
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Did you know you can have a forward-focused, loving attitude about almost anything?
In this post you’ll learn how to improve your attitude by
- Choosing an attitude like Christ’s.
- Taking a very practical step.
Choose God’s Way
True happiness comes to you as you choose God’s plan for your life.
Choosing God’s way over your own isn’t necessarily easy, is it? It’s humbling! My friend Kara wants to serve women at her church but her offer has been rejected. This discourages Kara. She has adopted the attitude that God has another plan, a better plan. Kara has adopted a God-centered attitude.
Not my will, but yours be done: This is the heart’s cry of a believer who desires God’s plan for her life.
Click & Tweet!
Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done. (Luke 22:42, ESV)
Are you in. . .
Choose God’s way and you’ve won more than half the battle.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12, ESV)
Ready to learn HOW to improve your attitude?
Try this simple exercise. In a journal or on an index card, write:
“I choose to _________ (a godly action) so I will ___________ (a godly result).
Here a few ideas to get you started.
- I choose to deepen my friendships so I will have people to turn to when life gets tough.
- I choose to save an extra $100 a month so I will build savings and avoid using credit cards for surprise expenses like a car repair.
- I choose to talk with the kids about skipping their chores so I will stop holding in my anger toward them.
Do you see how a God-honoring attitude helps you move forward?
Your turn: I choose to ______________ so I will ___________________.
As you make God-honoring choices, you will rid the junk that blocks you. As John Piper said,
So the point is: Don’t stroll. Don’t meander. And don’t wander about aimlessly. Run as in a race with a finish line where everything hangs on the race.
May I encourage you to subscribe to my blog? When you subscribe, you receive a complimentary eBook.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Adoption. . .my story of how God made my family. If adoption has touched you — perhaps you’re a birth mom, an adoptive mom, of a woman who was adopted — I pray my story helps you understand how God makes some families.
You won’t find “three quick steps to a successful adoption” here. Just a story of pain and beauty and God everywhere. If you’re touched by adoption, why not send me a short message? I’d love to encourage you.
Adoption: Not Second Best
Some say adoption is second best, an afterthought, the backup plan. May I say, It’s not “second best”?
Yes, my husband and I tried the usual way. When it didn’t happen — the it of morning sickness and ultrasounds, prenatal vitamins and expanding waistlines — we adopted a baby then another and another. Two girls and a boy. Now they’re grown up: one married, one in college, one in high school.
Yes, I asked God, “Women strung out on drugs are getting pregnant and having babies, so why infertility for us?” No booming voice from a burning bush in Charlton Heston’s Ten Commandments. I found comfort in the Bible that God is love and he loves orphans and had a child for us (James 1:27).
I concluded that my family isn’t second best because God designed it. Isn’t God’s design the best design? Didn’t he know before my birth and my husband’s — and the births of our great-great-great grandparents — that we’d make a family by adoption? Of course he did. The all-knowing God knew.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16, NIV
Infertility is usually the woman’s problem, right? Ah, no. According to WebMD, statistics suggest that 35 to 40 percent of the problems are caused by male problems, another 35 to 40 percent by female problems, and the last 20 to 30 percent a combination of the two, plus a small percentage of unknown causes.
When I didn’t get pregnant after trying for a year, I figured my doctor would prescribe me Clomid, and I’d soon be painting the nursery with a baby bump. Instead she followed protocol and wrote orders for my husband to have a test first. We thought, “Whatever. No problem.”
A bunch of tests and three months later, another doctor sat us down and gave us the news. No baby. Ever.
I felt numb, sad, even relieved because the findings were fast and crystal. I did not want to walk the infertility treadmill I had heard about. Awful, just awful. In you’re on this treadmill, my heart aches for you, sister. Know God is with you in your hurt.
How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you. Psalm 139:17-18
Baby in Arms
Steve and I jumped into adoption, eyes wide open, knowing it may take a long time before we’d hold the little one God had planned for us.
Typically when a couple decides to adopt a child, the labor of paper work lasts many years. Laura came along nine months later. Poetic justice, yes?
Our next two adoptions averaged 18 months each. We adoptive couples have love-hate relationships with social workers employed by adoptions agencies, which is the route we chose. (Some couples prefer adopting children by arrangement through attorneys.) Steve and I answered the social workers’ invasive questions. We jumped through their hoops.
With our last adoption, even the cat needed a physical!
Click & Tweet!
I felt like I had to impress them, these gatekeepers. They opened and closed our chances to adding to our little family, didn’t they?
Then I’d remember that God is in control. He designs my family–and yours. I didn’t have to worry or be a people-pleaser. I just had to be me. . .
because God is God, right?
If you have experienced infertility or adoption (as an adoptive mom or a birth mother who placed her child for adoption), I’d love to here from you.
Sharing Hope with Your Heart,
Feel down, lonely, or overwhelmed? Then you need the CPR solution: Care, Prayer, Repair.
Marianne felt lonely.
On the outside she seemed fine. She had the good looks of Jennifer Aniston, a caring husband, three busy and healthy school-aged daughters, and a Master’s in education. But inside she hurt badly and didn’t know who to tell or how to express her emotional pain.
What Marianne needed was CPR for the soul. She needed someone to CARE. She needed PRAYER. And her heart needed REPAIR.
But first someone needed to notice her and take the time to help. Have you wanted someone to notice your hurt or difficult situation, but no one helped you? How did you feel? What did you think? Did you feel forgotten? Do you want help now?
Stop and Look
If you and I stop and look, we would see hurting women in our churches and neighborhoods. They’re as plentiful as dandelions in late Spring. In the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10, two passersby passed by the bleeding guy on the roadside. The Good Samaritan noticed and did something.
A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead.
A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side.
But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
The Good Samaritan saw the half-dead man he and cared for him. The parable doesn’t say whether he prayed. You and I know that prayer is Jesus’ love language. It doesn’t say if the man was repaired, or made as good as new. Making things new is God’s specialty, isn’t it?
Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
A new heart is given by God at salvation. Only he can change the human heart. The heart is the immaterial part of a person that includes our motivations and desires. From out heart flows are thoughts, emotions, and actions.
When you have a hurting heart like Marianne’s, you need spiritual CPR too.
Step One: Care
What does spiritual care in CPR look like? As the parable revealed, it’s a combination of seeing the hurting, listening, and being empathetic. It may include meeting immediate needs. The Good Samaritan needed medical care.
What are your immediate needs? A ride to a doctor’s appointment? Groceries? A night out without the kids?
Do you need someone to to listen? As someone listens to your pain, your healing begins. Listening is only the beginning.
Step Two: Prayer
Tell Jesus your needs, your hopes, and your fears. The prayer in CPR will increase your connection to him. Ask him for wisdom concerning your next steps. The Holy Spirit will guide you. He wants you to experience his peace.
I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27 NLT).
Step Three: Repair
Now identify your real pain in order to have the repair of CPR. Often you need someone to help you do this. For example, when I asked Marianne why she felt sad, she said she missed being in the workplace. Her real pain was much deeper; her heart issue was unbelief. Though a Christian, she has trouble believing God would accepted her.
Do you have unresolved pain too? Do you struggle with worry or unforgiveness? Any of these can contribute to ungodly thoughts flowing from your hurting heart. Your thoughts impact your emotions and actions.
Have you ever made the connection between stress eating, for instance, and the lies you believe? These hellish lies infiltrate your thoughts. The good news: the Bible lets you know how to change your thinking.
CPR in Action
When Marianne and I shared iced tea as her children played, she talked and I listened — a lot. I learned she had two major life transitions: she was newer to our community and she had left a job she loved. We talked many more times. Once she realized that these transitions — and her fear of rejection — had led to her mild depression she stopped fretting. She joined a moms’ group at church and contributed her gifts of leadership.
God had not abandoned her as she feared. He brought her a friend who listened and cared. He provided direction through the Bible. Most of all, he gave her Jesus.
OFFER: Want to know more about biblical counseling? Find out more here. I offer a complimentary consultation by phone. Send me a message.
OPPORTUNITY: Are you a biblical counselor who’d like to be listed in the Counselors’ Directory on my website, please contact me. Thank you.
Sharing hope for your heart,