Thursday, November 30, 2023

Little Acts of Mercy

Sometimes we may think of mercy as a character trait. That certainly is true when we think of God's mercy, in coming from heaven to earth, to reconcile people to himself. Here we are in this dark world, had to see a mercy of Jesus, the Christ, who lived and breathed mercy every day of his life.

We can see the acts of mercy down here, in real time by those who profess to follow him! A few simple acts to consider doing this Christmas:

1. Speak the truth in love. Jesus did!

2. Forgive others and keep forgiving others. Jesus did. Even to the cross.

3. Notice the poor.

4. Give financial help to the needy. Jesus did.

5. Tell people stories that make a point and that they can understand. Jesus did.

6. Stop when you see someone grieving and do something for them. Jesus did.

7. Allow mercy to control you when dealing with disturbed people. Jesus did.

8. Stop thinking of yourself and your desires. Jesus did.

9. Watch out and hit the breaks, so you can take notice of the little children near you.  Jesus did.

Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Encouraging Others

When Project Lost Sheep was just getting underway, I had a chance to speak at a community group with about 75 people attending. Many there that day were seniors. I was nervous but made it through the lunch and finally got to speak.

As Project Lost Sheep had just formed, I gave only an appeal that we needed to reach out to children and especially to those who were needy in our community. Several people said encouraging words to me as the meeting ended. I had some information on the table which included the mailing address for our group. So about once a week I would check the P.O. Box in Menlo Park. (Yes, the same one you see today.)

Slowly a trickle of financial encouragement came in. Lots of times, the box was empty but I noticed that there was one envelope a month that came, without fail.  It was a small donation but it was regular and someone was validating that what we were about was important.

So one day I went and met this encourager. Mildred lived in a small rented apartment. She was about 80. She seemed glad to entertain me, she brought out tea and cookies for us to enjoy. We chatted a bit. All the while I was just sitting there wondering how I could express how much she meant to me. I felt in some ways, we were friends because she was behind me in her envelope giving. 

Finally, as our time was ending I got out a few words of thanks to her for her faithful gifts. She smiled and said: "Oh my dear I have 20 organizations that I support each month. I like that you reaching out to help children."

It seemed amazing to me that she could give to so many out of her little and was so committed to doing it each month. It was hard to say goodbye to Mildred that day. Her support was a huge encouragement to me. She validated what I was starting. Project Lost Sheep was all about reaching out to children.

Do we ever outgrow our need to "encourage one another"? I wonder how many endeavors would still be moving forward if they had a Mildred in their box. We need smiles and words of encouragement. We need people to listen and pray and catch the vision for helping children.

I am thankful for each of you who have prayed and listened to me and have shared with your gifts over all these years. Never underestimate the impact of your giving small to back something good for the kingdom of God.