Tag Archives: world hunger

Before the Giving of Thanks…A Blessing

Another beautiful photo by Patrick Latter // hikingphoto.com

With tomorrow being a day for the ‘Giving of Thanks’, today felt like a “Blessing” kinda day.  A time to Bless and be Blessed.  So here ya go . . .

I’m usually not a big fan of The Message, but I love the way Pastor Peterson paraphrases the beatitudes:

You’re Blessed

1-2 When Jesus saw his ministry drawing huge crowds, he climbed a hillside. Those who were apprenticed to him, the committed, climbed with him. Arriving at a quiet place, he sat down and taught his climbing companions. This is what he said:

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

“You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

“You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

“You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

“You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

“You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

10 “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

11-12 “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.

And the Amplified version defines “Blessed” amongst the beatitudes as:

Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction, possessing the happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His grace and salvation—regardless of their outward conditions).

So have a Blessed, safe and happy holiday season.  Eat way too much; sleep lots; and overindulge on football and parades.  May all the games be close (but no upsets).  May there be no arguments; fighting; stomach-aches; ulcers; or 7-float pileups in front of Macy’s.  In other words, “Be Blessed and Bless”.  Have a great rest of the week!

Photo Friday ~ To Serve Man

 For those who think,
“I don’t have the ‘gift’ of service.”
“I wouldn’t know how to help.”
“I don’t know what I could do for my fellow man.”
It’s time to get out of the box!*

* And you don’t need an epic storm to begin . . .

Bless those in public service, and all those who have stepped up to help their friends and neighbors in this time of need.  Please continue in prayer for all the families affected by the storms on the U.S. East Coast as well as their families and friends around the world!

Crushin’ Cars, Crushin’ Stereotypes, and Living By Example

Okay, so . . .

I luvs my Monster Jam!! The speed. The power. The high flyin’. The car crushin’. The back flips! Love it, love it, love it!

There’s a few drivers in particular I follow, one of which is a guy named John Seasock. For years he drove a truck named Batman and lately he’s been driving as part of the team for A.A.P.’s Grinder.  One of the main reasons I like Seasock is that he’s just such an open, friendly and genuine guy. If there’s a Monster Jam event at local schools; if there’s a gathering for kids with special needs; if there’s audience participation events at Monster Jam shows, John Seasock is right in the thick of it.

I went online the other day, just to see if–by chance–Seasock was a Christian.  And, as I’m poking around Wikipedia, Facebook, et.al., I start to wonder . . .

Why do I care if this guy’s a Christ follower? What difference does it make? Continue reading Crushin’ Cars, Crushin’ Stereotypes, and Living By Example

Un/Entitlement

I had an interesting exchange at our church’s food bank today. Of the foods we intended to drop off, we included several boxes of cereal that were a part of our “stash” as we like to call it. Yes, it would be safe to call my wife an “extreme couponer” (not the shelf-clearing kind . . . that’s just rude) and she’s gotten so good at it that we’ve built up quite a little stockpile of items; sauces & condiments, chips & chilies, soaps & shampoos, etc. Our stash!

Well, after the wake-up call the other day (Stepping Away From the Self-Righteous Abyss) I felt obliged to put our stash where my mouth (or, at least, my keyboard) is; and that included these several boxes of cereal. However, what we had done was remove the UPC code from the bottom of some of these boxes to be included in a rebate towards future purchases. (See, that’s how extreme couponing works!) As it turns out, the kind volunteers at the food bank said they wouldn’t be able to take the boxes because the people who use the food bank “won’t take it because they think it’s been opened.”

Okay, fair enough. Honestly, that was a concern we had before even going in but we thought we’d at least try. It was the next comment that actually caught us out of the blue.

“You’d be surprised at what we end up throwing out around here.”

Really? A food bank has food that actually goes to waste? That people actually don’t want?

Really??!!

That opened up a whole Pandora’s Box of questions swirling around my overactive imagination: Most obviously, “why?”

My trusting/hopeful self would then ask, “Could the food bank, like any other store, have food that spoils or goes past expiration date?”

Well sure, it’s possible.

My cynical/jaded self would then ask, “Has our society developed such an entitlement attitude that there is even free food that is not good enough for those impoverished to the point they find themselves with no other means of providing for their family?”

I’ve been on this earth long enough—and worked in the public sector long enough—that I have a definite opinion on the subject. I would like to think I’m wrong. But I can’t escape the thought that this gentleman wouldn’t have made that comment to me about, say, fresh produce or other perishables as he was handing me back my box of “opened” cereal. Was that just a hint of frustration bubbling underneath the words he spoke?

Again, I’d like to think I’m wrong, but right or wrong there’s something I think we, as a society, as a culture, as Americans—born into the top 2% of all the world’s wealth, whether we feel “rich” or not—need to see. Something we need to understand . . .

Other people don’t live like us. Other people don’t have a sense of entitlement that we do. They would love to have food, ANY food. Yet there are people in the world, GENERATIONS of people, who live like this . . .

I would like to think that, like any other “store”, the food bank occasionally does have food that spoils or goes past expiration date. But even that seems far-fetched given the amount of relative poverty I know is in this area I live; the amount of families, kids that miss meals or that thank God for the public school lunch program so they can have at least one healthy meal today.

I would like to listen to my trusting/hopeful side. I would like to think the best of people. I really would.

I just know too many of them . . .

Including myself . . .