Thanksgiving Celebration and what is means to me. First, let me share my love of books with you. My latest interest, “ministry with the homeless,” in light of once again celebrating Thanksgiving. I love story and thoughts as shared and told by others. So, turn some pages with me:
– John Flowers and Karen Vannoy
“Not Just a One-Night Stand…”ministry with the homeless
“IN THE OLD TESTAMENT, hesed is a practice of welcome and hospitality among the Hebrew people. Hesed requires that the host and the sojourner eat together to signify welcoming and connecting with the stranger. It is clear to me that eating together is the sign of real community more than any other behavior named in the Hebrew or Christian Scriptures. …
It is not enough to feed persons who happen to be poor. If we are to be in community and have hope for our transformation as well as the transformation of those who happen to be poor, then we have to eat together.”
The latest daily news this week keeps repeating how many Americans are going to bed hungry and I hear figures like over 49 million? I’m not thinking on numbers to either confirm or debate. Why, one without food is one too many in my eyes. As, I celebrate and give thanks for a table overflowing with food this Thanksgiving may I include ways to implement the practice of ‘hesed’ throughout the year as well as today.
Thanksgiving for me is Building Hope whereever Hope is needed! I hope you will join me at this table in sharing Hope to all that will join us! Have a Happy Thanksgiving,
21 thoughts on “Build us together in Hope”
Sara, this is a high and lofty goal…thoughts like God has in His compassion for humankind.
The Lord asks in Is.58:7,” Isn’t this the fast that I have asked of you; to divide your bread with the hungry and bring homeless poor into your house and to clothe those who have no warm garments to wear?” …and then He says something else that rings true at the holiday seasons, especially…”to not hide yourselves from the needs of your own flesh and blood.”
The FEAST TABLE should be one of peace and thanksgiving as we as Christians, first, and Americans must remember when we gather with relatives and friends around the Table of Peace.
And also, James warns us that if a ”brother or sister” is hungry or poorly clad, don’t just say ‘bye! stay warm and well fed’, without giving him/her the necessities to attain your blessing…what good does that do? ‘Faith without works and deeds is dead’
Oh God, enable us to share with the right heart motives; to give out of a pure heart, with clean hands of compassion, like Jesus has for His people and for all humanity. Jesus said, ‘the poor you always have with you and you can give and help them anytime you wish’
Oh Lord, GIve us WISDOM to bring the homeless poor into community with ourselves, to comfort them and to win souls for the Kingdom, in Jesus name.
When bowels of mercy are poured out life changes for all…
“Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;” (Colossians 3:12) now, step back to vs 11…”a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.”
True…and to prove that Jesus added that ‘whoever does an act of mercy to the least of these…has done it unto Me. and…whoever give a cup of cold water to one of these My prophets He receives a prophet’s reward.
Yes, amen! His Word is full of beauty and exactness. What a daily pleasure to know Him, serve Him and love him!
It seems an act of mercy or kindness placed at the right time and in the right location can be a building block that may help someone feeling hopeless and, perhaps, helpless, get a fresh perspective of hope. That could give a spark that could help strengthen or ease the weight on their shoulders.
Today, as I prepare my menu and guest list I hope I am asking God all the right questions. What do you want me to do? I hope my communication with the creator is in order. Where, what, when? And, please Heavenly Father, gift me with hearing.
The great ”W’s” where, what, when, and let us not forget, WHO or Whom as the case may be. I guess that’s where I might get stuck, a bit. Jesus said, ” but when you give a feast…..etc.” Yikes!
Determining HOW-TO is another question although it doesn’t start with “W” …but still could be perplexing. HOW-TO minister to those in need, as Debi writes,…”the right ‘building block’, deed, gesture, good works that could give that HOPE and encouragement to someone in need and then allow the Holy Spirit to complete that action by His grace. As it says in Isaiah 26:12, [paraphrased] You, Oh Lord, have wrought the works in us and for us to do.” It’s He that generates the grace and dunamis power to do it.
And It’s true that Sara is seeking the Lord in all these questions to get His preferences. That is important to do the will of the Father as it says in Eph. 2:10,
‘being recreated in Christ Jesus that we may do those GOOD WORKS which God planned beforehand for each of us to do….the AMP says which He prearranged and made ready for us. to do” OH my!
I DO want to do those works that God has for me to do. I pray that i can recognize and identify them…that the Lord is teaching me which ones I should chosse. as in
This week has been a serving week which all weeks should be but the week of Thanksgiving should especially be one of those weeks of the 52 weeks this year. God in his word has said to much has been given much is expected. (Luke 12: 48) First I had the opportunity to serve a preThanksgiving meal on Wednesday. Serving allowed others to fellowship. About 350 people came together. Then a different type of serving came with the Drop Center for Operation Christmas Child has taken place all week and I have had the joyful opportunity to serve and watch as box after box has come in to the center. This is feeding the hunger of people in a different way than physical hunger. A hunger that only Jesus can fill. I have looked through the materials that will be used for classes and they are most excellent for teaching children about our Lord Jesus Christ. I will tell you of one little child who came in early yesterday. She had packed boxes with her mother and had chosen everything that went into the box. We stood in a circle and prayed for the boxes which would eventlually make their way into the hands of children in a different countries. Then she had a cookie and hot cocoa. Something happened that the cocoa spilled. Trying to keep the cocoa from spilling onto the floor, the child caught the hot liquid in her hand and stood even though it was burning. We immediately got napkins and soaked the liquid up before it did anymore damage to her precious hands. She left there happy that she had given to other children about her age and we at the center were touched by her giving of the boxes and that she did not want to waste anything given to her.
Here is another story and that is of a 16 year old that started serving at a Samaritan Purse Drop Center since she was 5 with her mother. She told me she has done this for 11 years and that she just loves serving and the project is so reaching other for Jesus. Her goal is to one day be able to go and give the boxes out personally to the children.
As the question is asked about doing. Perhaps we will also if not this year wiill have the opportunity to serve others by caring for them physically in our communities through giving or serving, and in caring enough – to give show the love of Jesus.
Serving in this beautiful capacity as Rena’s story is told hangs a new ornament on the tree of ‘Christ Birth’ that has been hand painted with serving hands, I bloomed where I was planted. Sure makes a beautiful tree for life with blooming life giving ornaments. Rena, thanks for sharing and for serving!
I love the saving of ” my hot chocolate” ….precious one was faithful over the small…I am reminded of the wonderful words given in Matthew 25:23 ”
“The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” I see she has a shoebox full of Promises!
It seems at times, even I, trained to conserve, give and share fall short when I flock with wasteful birds. I love Samaritian Purse Shoebox giving. It was a story of my life as Santa came in my shoebox with nuts, fruit and toy! As family we all shared in making, buying and giving. It has served me well to have been taught and modeled by family that loved me enough to show me the glory and rewards of giving and sharing. I love those sharing children Rena worked with to give. Their joy is contagious!
Sara, Rena’s story does certainly sound like a “Giving Tree” story.
I heard a preacher say the other day, ” The heart of God is the FATHER. The face of God is the SON. The voice of God is the HOLY SPIRIT….and the HANDS of God is the church…the Body of Christ.
I will strive while I still have time, for the work of my “hands” to be one of the lovley ORNAMENTS on the GIVING TREE that you mention. And someday to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
From MG’s comment where she heard, “heart, face, voice, hands makes the church”…and, the hands here being the body of Christ. We understand by scripture that Christ is the head of the church and we are the body. In keeping with the speakers analogy the Holy Spirit is the voice….I think I have understood the point.
I have noticed in my observations that actions in word, deeds and personal behavior can put a gag order on the Spirit. So, our hands work with no joy or rewards except the reward of tickling the flesh. When we lose our voice we shrink back from working by faith. Hebrews 10:38 gives us a view of God’s reward for this action….”And I take no pleasure in the one who shrinks back.” Selah, where is the heart and face?
What you wrote sure is sobering to think on how God sees it. I went on and read the next verse in Hebrews and it said the one who shrinks back is destroyed.
Debi, while you are busy thinking maybe you could add this to your thinking pipe; when you work in team with all the moving parts we are speaking of we get more work! Wonder if that is truth or a old saying we hear and pass along from one to another?
You said and asked, Sara, “when you work in team with all the moving parts we are speaking of we get more work! Wonder if that is truth or a old saying we hear and pass along from one to another?”
If I understand Matt 25:21 and Ephesians 4 correctly, it is truth.
We each have a particular function and are equipped for works of service; we need the whole team pulling together and supporting to then build, mature and grow stronger as each does his work. And if each does the kind of work Matt 25:21 talks about, then we will get more responsibility, which is more work.
“Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities.”
Debi has given Matt 25:21 and Ephesians 4 showing that we need to work together to have the ability to do more. Like getting a promotion. Which brings us full circle to the title of this blog “Build us together in Hope.” Oh, that our prayers and work will go beyond over comfort zone to touch and help in poverty, wars, from a burden that’s too big for me. I pray that God’s righteousness will come like a flood, that the hopeless will know hope.
Another question I have for all you thinkers, has anyone ever thought what is termed, “outside the box?” What, did it render to you, church, community, etc.
Sara, now you’ve done it! Your challenge sent me scurrying about the net looking for fodder to discover different definitions of ‘out of the box; and how they [definitions of such] could help me open my mind to the proposition that you have been challenging us Lilies with for ‘eons’. And….. our seldom coming up with a solution..
I started perusing several ‘industry-speak’ articles but quickly became ensconced in a morass of ideas and industrial jargon. So I gave up on that !
This is my limited [and that’s part of the problem, I suppose] comprehension of what you are REALLY asking.
Sadly, the answer may be right in front of my nose, but rigid thinking, lackadaisical assessment of a situation or incorrect assessment has hindered; not listening to ALL the facts or directives or reading all the directions or fear of failure in my attempts plague my ability to think ‘outside the box’ when you have asked me, before.
One thing I did read that piqued my imagination is a quote from Brian Clark….”there is no box.”
My imagination & out of the box thinking lies scantily with the community of young students with whom I’ve worked in Music classes. Going beyond the ‘American Idol’ and America’s Got Talent” concept…incidentally, one of my students became the runner up in the first American Idol Show… but I tried to use students of greater and lesser and much lesser musical ability to be able to participate by grooming them and adapting whatever they had to offer… to my musical productions, concerts, Chorales, etc. If they could play one chord on the guitar…we used that . If they could run a mallet across a chime….we used that. If they wanted to sing a solo and could’nt hold the tune I changed the key of the composition or wrote a special part for them…. even if it was a monotone or “pedal point”. No one who desired to participate was “left behind” so to speak. In that one thing they were successful. Sometimes I messed up more than they did in the concerts. Some made stunning improvements, accomplishments and many increased in self-worth. But all of them had a part. All made music!
I hope this will help exonerate my soul to some small degree of the “boxism plague” that seems to plague me in many situations.
I thank the Lord and ask for new ways to show the Love of Jesus Christ in creative and fruitful ways. To be able to be relevant to what The Holy Spirit is doing and not to hinder His work which is our work. And to think dream or dream outside the box…inside the box and without the box.
The thinker, Brian Clark, that MG quotes as there is “no box” when he was trying to help people start something new says just like Neo needed to understand, “there is no spoon,” in the film The Matrix, goes on to say…”You create your own imaginary boxes simply by living life and accepting certain things as “real” when they are just as illusory as the beliefs of a paranoid delusional…”
Let me think, what did Jesus say to those thinkers?
I agree, Sara. Yesterday, as I thought about that quote from Brian Clark that ‘there is no box’….I came to some conclusions that I am the box builder in my life. I tried to look at it in another perspective. The materials with which I build that box and its dimensions is founded on the decisions and choices I make. Jesus said that if I build my Box on the sand it is going to fall. But if I build on the ROCK then it will withstand the storms.
Jesus also gave us another good Word…”Choose life!!”
I found this definition on a blog this morning and enhanced it a bit….
Benevolence: the intention and inclination to do good, to do well.
I love that! INTEND to do well. Be inclined to do good…Holy Spirit is the inspiration for ‘doing well’.