We are drawing closer to another Christmas and another opportunity to reach out to our brothers and sisters in need. Need doesn’t just mean in need of money for holiday buying but it means the lonely, the brokenhearted, the oppressed or imprisoned. Let look at who these people may be and how we can help in Jesus name.
I do want to start with others that don’t have money for gifts and progress on to the ones listed above. I have been a single mother making very little money and anxiety would set in about Thanksgiving when I would think about how I would be able to afford gifts for my daughter. I made $19,000 a year and had a $1,100 house payment plus other basic expenses. I remember having only $45 one Christmas to buy gifts for my daughter. I had to be very creative and relied on the goodness of others. My aunt and uncle would always pay for brunch with Santa and supply the gift for Santa to give my daughter. They knew I wouldn’t be able to take Lexie if they didn’t pay. It did make me feel sad I couldn’t provide but then I focused on the blessing of this gift. We made beautiful family memories at this brunch that can never be taken away from me. They invited us every year until we moved to Dallas.
I was one of the poor that year but now that God has blessed me and provided for my needs I am giving to others this holiday season. Now most of it is not monetary because having a ministry I don’t take a salary from the nonprofit but I have other ways to help. I participated in a secret sister gift exchange that brought me 12 beautiful gifts that I am sharing with those in need. I received blankets, bath soaps, bracelets, candles and a poetry book. I would love to keep these gifts but God is calling me to share them as a blessing to others. I do want to say I did send thanks you notes to all my gift givers and stated upfront I was sharing these gifts.
Hebrews 13:16 16And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
I have a lady I see every week at a networking event that sets up our breakfast and makes our coffee. She speaks very little English but always has a smile on her face. I am gifting her a bracelet and bath bombs to open on Christmas morning. I also do a lot of talks at senior retirement communities and I am going to gift the two blankets to a couple of sweet ladies that I know won’t see their families this holiday season. They always complain they are cold when I see them so I think they will love these lap blankets.
Next let’s move to the brokenhearted. I come across many people that are at odds with family members and they are estranged from their family. I think it is so sad when families fall apart primarily when I hear the reason for the fight. I always feel compelled to sit and visit with people that have been rejected or disappointed by family. We should all be nurturing to our family members but I know sometimes this is tough when emotions run high. I just want to listen and tell these people I care and most of all God cares. Brokenhearted people just want to be heard and know someone cares. This costs nothing but time and time is a gift from God.
Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
There are many people around us that are imprisoned. When I say imprisoned I mean living with secrets, addicted to drugs and/or alcohol or living in fear. I don’t really mean those in jail although they are too imprisoned physically and emotionally. These people are functioning on the outside but tormented on the inside. Keeping secrets eats at your health and can disrupt sleep. Being addicted to a drug or alcohol is an illness just like cancer or diabetes. You have to get medical help to be cured from this disease. This is a very challenging group because this help has to come from within. I can help them to know Jesus but outside of praying for them and holding their hand I am pretty helpless. This group gets much of my prayer time with God asking for His intercession.
Psalm 146:5-7 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel as their helper, whose hope is in the LORD their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He keeps every promise forever. He gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The LORD frees the prisoners.
Many people are oppressed by being bullied over their religious beliefs, their race or cultural beliefs. We have become a very judgmental and unkind nation. We are hurting others because of our beliefs instead of loving others for their uniqueness. We must not forget that we are all God’s children, placed here for God’s purpose and yet we continue to judge and tear others down. I try to help this group of people by reminding them that it only matters what God thinks and no one else. The people here on earth are not perfect and that people attack others when they lack self-confidence. These attackers have moved far from God and need to replenish their spirituality. I always shared a gratitude heart with anyone oppressed because I want them to know God is with them everywhere and I am grateful I had the opportunity to spend time with them. They can look at the heart and know I care and God loves them.
Ephesians 4:29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.
I visited with an amazing man today that drives for Uber and Lyft and says he does it for his ministry on wheels. He likes to share the Gospel with riders open to hearing God’s Word. A few weeks back he bought a few gratitude hearts from me and he said he gave them to people that got in his car for a ride. If the feeling was right then he presented the heart to the rider and spoke about Jesus. I was blown away that he was using our hearts in his ministry. I am so touched and I told him I would fundraiser for his ministry to have hearts for him to share. He soon found out like I knew that almost everyone you come across can benefit from our hearts and you can only afford to buy so many. I feel that by giving him hearts for his kindness and respect for others that more people can be touched by our ministry and God’s love as well as his ministry.
1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
I once heard the we are not here to watch history but to make history. Let’s work together this holiday season to love one another and make a difference in the lives of others. My love and gratitude-LoLo