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: Anarchy vs. Truth

Stand, therefore,

with truth like a belt around your waist,
righteousness like armor on your chest,
(Ephesians 6:14 HCSB)

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Scout troop visiting our local police station to bring cookies and to pray.

One of my favorite settings is the Medieval era. The idea of knights and damsels in distress; men willing to risk their lives to save and protect a lady. There has always been those in society who risk their lives to save and protect. Today’s knights are our policemen and women and our firemen. Let’s not forget our military, too.

Our everyday life could be very different without these men and women. I picture a society of pure anarchy. Where no one is safe, especial women and children.

If we go back further in time to the Era when Rome was the ruling nation, we can look at the Roman soldier. That is the basis of Paul’s description of the armor of God. He used it because the people of Ephesus readily understood. A belt around a soldier’s waist did several things, it protected you from the waist down, held your double edge sword, and dagger.

Why call it the belt of truth? Consider what the truth is from Paul’s point of view.

  • God is real.
  • God loves everyone.
  • Jesus is God’s son.
  • Jesus died for everyone’s sin.
  • We all sin and do wrong.
  • Jesus has the power to wipe our sin away.
  • All we have to do is ask.

When we accept these truths, they become our protection. They wrap around us.

Paul knew these things to be true. He had a very real encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. I believe with all my heart that if anyone truthfully wants to know if God is real, all they have to do is ask with a believing heart for God to reveal Himself.

The world wants us to believe God isn’t real. Or, they question whether God really said something or really meant something. But, if we read our Bible, asking God to show us the truth, I believe he will.

Lord, thank you for your Son, Jesus. Thank you for his willingness to die for me. I praise you because you protect me from evil when I call on you and trust you.

Devotional: Beautiful Creation

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

IMG_2033I’m at Boy Scout Summer Camp this week. We’re camping outside in tents, hiking short distances to the dining hall (which is not air conditioned), and learning many different skills while going without technology. Well, the boys are, I am sitting in the air conditioned Scoutmaster’s Lodge with air condition and wifi.

This week isn’t about me. It’s about the boys. Hopefully, they will come from this camp having learned something new that they will be able to use their whole life. Something that will make them better men, better husbands, and better fathers. Me, I get to sit back and try to guide them on the journey.

Today, I tried to get them to tell me one thing they liked so far. They’re teens, so there wasn’t much of a response. It was more of a mom question than a Scoutmaster question. I can’t hope for too much.

I can say that there are several things I like so far, but I won’t tell you all of them. I will tell you about one. We came a day early because we drove a long distance; almost 7 hours. Once we set up camp, we had to go to the closest town to eat dinner. On the way there, we came around a curve and saw something so beautiful there was an audible gasp from almost everyone. We had to pull over and take pictures.

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I am reminded that God created this. In the first chapter of Genesis, we read that God created the land on the third day. It says, “Then God said, ‘Let the water under the sky be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.’ And it was so.” (Genesis 1:9 HCSB) God didn’t stop there. He continued by adding plants fruit trees. He says that it was good.

One look at the picture my son took for me and you can’t help agreeing with God. The beauty of the Earth is good. More than good. It’s beautiful.

 

Thank You, Lord, for the beautiful creation we live in. Help us to take care of it so it can be appreciated for generations to come.