Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Living Gratitude ~ #GivingTuesday

Dear brothers, what’s the use of saying that you have faith and are Christians if you aren’t proving it by helping others? Will that kind of faith save anyone? If you have a friend who is in need of food and clothing, and you say to him, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat hearty,” and then don’t give him clothes or food, what good does that do?

So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. You must also do good to prove that you have it. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good works is no faith at all—it is dead and useless. 

But someone may well argue, “You say the way to God is by faith alone, plus nothing; well, I say that good works are important too, for without good works you can’t prove whether you have faith or not; but anyone can see that I have faith by the way I act.” 

Are there still some among you who hold that “only believing” is enough? Believing in one God? Well, remember that the demons believe this too—so strongly that they tremble in terror! Fool! When will you ever learn that “believing” is useless without doing what God wants you to? Faith that does not result in good deeds is not real faith. 

Don’t you remember that even our father Abraham was declared good because of what he did when he was willing to obey God, even if it meant offering his son Isaac to die on the altar? You see, he was trusting God so much that he was willing to do whatever God told him to; his faith was made complete by what he did—by his actions, his good deeds. And so it happened just as the Scriptures say, that Abraham trusted God, and the Lord declared him good in God’s sight, and he was even called “the friend of God.” So you see, a man is saved by what he does, as well as by what he believes. 

Rahab, the prostitute, is another example of this. She was saved because of what she did when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road. Just as the body is dead when there is no spirit in it, so faith is dead if it is not the kind that results in good deeds.
~ James 2:14-26, TLB ~

Thanksgiving. It doesn't take a very deep examination to reveal those who have truly cultivated the habit of gratitude and those who make a cursory statement once a year. There are those who go through the motions because it's a holiday and those who express what spills out of their heart every single day.

For those who measure their lives in simple blessing by simple blessing, generosity can't help but pour out. Grateful people are charitable people. Their thankfulness enlarges their hearts which naturally produces kindness. That sounds an awful lot like the fruit of the Spirit to me. It is proof of a love that flows back and forth.

Even in a life that includes major difficulties with our children, their health, their schooling, their behavior, we have more to appreciate than to dread. Over the past 16 years, I have repeatedly reminded myself and my children that we are incredibly blessed to have access to the medical care we receive in this country. God has given us the gift of one another as a family. We have a roof over our head, food on our table, clothes on our back. Most of all, because of Jesus, we know how the story ends -- We are guaranteed the glory of heaven with no more pain, sorrow, or tears. That is more than so many other hurting people around the globe enjoy.

One week from today, we have the opportunity to celebrate a living, active gratitude for all these boundless blessings on #GivingTuesday. Our prayer is that each person touched by our ministry will not only give generously but will also encourage their friends and family members to support our work. We have created some very simple ways to donate online:

Every single dollar that is given goes to work immediately. An amount as small as $10 can buy a cup of coffee for that weary parent. Only $25 provides gas for all of the back-and-forth during a hospital stay. While dates are common for the average couple, they rarely occur for parents of kids with special needs, so a $50 donation will make a date happen. It's just that simple to display our faith through our generous actions.
Let's make our faith reality by sharing lavishly this #GivingTuesday. After all, we can't out-give God! Let's show the world and parents walking this difficult path what the practical love of Jesus looks like. Please give today.

PRAY: Lord, we want a living faith. We don't just want to be smarter sinners who know Bible verses as demons do. Pour Your generosity through us and motivate us to give as an act of thanks and praise to You.

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