Devotional: 9 Ways to Help Natural Disaster Victims

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

imageLet me first say that I’m not an expert on overcoming things out of our control but in light of the natural disaster that happened here in Louisiana, I thought I would share a few thoughts.

It can feel devastating to some who have lost mementos of memories; pictures of great-great grandparents or baby clothes held onto for grandchildren. It can be hard to move past the effects, but it can be done over time.

There is one thing that may help to remember and that is: “there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9c HCSB) In the past, there have been floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, and many other natural disasters. This means you are not alone. Someone has been in a similar situation. There are people around you who have a good idea of what you’re going through.

If you know someone who has been through a natural disaster and you want to help but don’t know how, here is a list to consider:

  1. Pray for them.
  2. Pray asking God what He wants you to do.
  3. Go through your closets; yours, your spouse’s, your children’s.
  4. imageIf you have the time and/or ability help clean up, move out, and/or build.
  5. Prepare meals to give away if that’s what you’re good at.
  6. Some churches and organizations put meals together either to be picked up or delivered. You can spend time helping with that.
  7. Care packages could be put together. You could do that on your own or with a group, organization, or church.
  8. Some churches and organizations collected school supplies, cleaning supplies, and bottled water. If you have the means, buy extra of these items to give away.
  9. If your time can’t be given to any of these endeavors, give a donation if you can.

As you can see there are quite a few things that can be done to help. These are only a few of the things that were done here in Louisiana. I have to admit that I’m proud of what I saw my community do. I heard several stories that went beyond the list above.

My favorite story comes from a friend of mine. She and her husband are barbers. Many of their clients are in the military. When the flood waters rose, the military was called as first responders. One of my friend’s customers was videoed rescuing a man by helicopter at the same time his own home was being flooded. He was not able to go check on it until he could be relieved from duty.

When the flood waters receded, my church sent out crews to help clean up homes. My friend put her customer’s name on the list but there were so many homes that it would be a while.
By the end of the week, my friend and her husband were going to help after work, but before the day was over his home was taken care of. Now for my favorite part: when a local bank found out that while he was rescuing others as  his own home flooded, they decided to go clean up his home for him. They did such a thorough job, too. They sanitized the baby’s high chair, cleaned and packed all the dishes, and washed and packed all the clothes.

There is something wonderful in the act of helping and receiving. Everyone benefits.

Lord, I understand that bad things happen beyond my control, but it’s sometimes just the way of things. I believe with all my heart that You don’t want these things to happen, but when they do You will protect me and not let more than I can handle happen.

Devotional: Pray for Louisiana

 

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FreeImages.com/Chee Kong Teo

“I confirm My covenant with you that never again will every creature be wiped out by the waters of a flood; there will never again be a flood to destroy the earth.” Genesis 9:11 (HCSB)

 

I’m sorry I didn’t post last week. It’s crazy, but it slipped my mind. I try not to make excuses because I don’t think people like to hear them. But, I will tell you that I have started on a new journey in writing.

Last month, I joined the American Christian Fiction Writer’s (ACFW). Once a month they start a new member’s training for those who want to submit chapters of their work for critiquing. There are quite a few guidelines and I won’t bore you with the details, but I was so wrapped up in reading critiques, writing critiques, and submitting that by Thursday I realized I hadn’t written a blog post.

On Friday, the flood waters came and closed school. I debated whether to write or wait. I chose to wait. As the weekend progressed and a new week began, I learned more and more people’s homes had taken on water.

Seems the flood is worse than it was in March. In our church alone, 14 people’s homes were flooded. In March, 4 people had been affected.

In times like this, I am reminded of one of God’s promises. He promised Noah He would never destroy the earth with water. Then He said,

I have placed My bow in the clouds,
and it will be a sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.
Genesis 9:13 (HCSB)

A rainbow. The very first one. Did it stretch across the sky from one end to the other? Regardless, I love them. Not only because they are pretty but because they come with a promise. A promise that God will always keep his promises.

So, now as we help each other clean up, feed, and donate much-needed items, let’s remember all the other promises God has made to us. Promises to never forsake us, to never put more on us than we can handle, to love us unconditionally, and much more. Remember that the next time you see a rainbow.

For now, I ask that you will pray for us in Louisiana. Thanks.

Lord, many have experienced damage to their homes. A few have lost their lives. Please be with those families who have. Give us strength to carry ourselves through and to help those around us in need. Help us to remember your promises.

Devotional: The Right Kind of Armor

Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,

(Ephesians 6:14 HCSB)

Righteousness, what is it?

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FreeImages.com/Adam Ciesielski

A search in a Bible app for the word pulled up more than 250 verses. Many of them referred to God’s righteousness, God placing righteousness on his people, or righteousness through Jesus Christ. I wonder if I can be righteous without God’s help, but I know the answer is “no”.

A dictionary definition only refers to the word to mean righteous, uprightness, and morality. Again, what does that mean? For me to understand righteousness, I have to break the word down. I have to understand the root of the word; right. What does “right” mean? It’s an adjective meaning good, proper, just, fact, correct. Synonyms for the word: appropriate, good, honest, honorable, legal, proper, suitable, true. Antonyms: dishonest, evil, false, fraudulent, illegal, improper, invalid, misbehaving, unacceptable, wrong.

By adding the suffix “eous” we change the mean of the word to “full of”. In essence, changing the word from “right” to “righteous” means to change the meaning to “full of truth”. Then, by adding the suffix “ness” to the end of the word, we are creating the “state of being”. So, from “righteous” to “righteousness” changes the meaning to “the state of being full of truth”. I ask again, can I have righteousness without God’s help?

In Ecclesiastes, it says:

There is certainly no righteous man on the earth
who does good and never sins. (Ecclesiastes 7:20 HCSB)

Solomon is said to be the author of Ecclesiastes. We know him to be the smartest man to live in his time, but even more important than that, God gave him discernment. The ability to see the “truth” in a way that can only come from God. Certainly, in Solomon’s time, there was no man who was without sin. But then Jesus came, was born, grew up, and died. Jesus was without sin. He walked the earth and was good and never sinned. One last time, can I have righteousness without God’s help?

No. The only way to do that is to accept the truth and wear it like a belt, as we established in last week’s blog. If “righteousness” means “state of being full of truth,” then “righteousness like armor on your chest” means the “state of being full of Jesus Christ.” So, to be full of Jesus Christ means to wear him like armor. Because to have Christ in your heart is better than any man-made armor covering your chest.

Lord, thank you for protecting my heart. Keep it safe from the falsehoods of this world. Let me have discernment.