Red Noses and True Compassion

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Today – May 26, 2016 – is Red Nose Day in the USA.

It’s a day for Comic Relief to raise money and it does a really good thing by bringing to America’s attention the need to fight child poverty. The money raised goes to, “the Red Nose Day Fund which distributes the money through programs to keep children and young people safe, healthy and educated. “ (from: https://www.rednoseday.com/what-is-red-nose-day).

I’d like to highlight a better alternative to giving to this fund: Compassion International.

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Another aspect of Red Nose Day Fund is this: “vision of a just world, free from poverty” (from: https://www.rednoseday.com/what-is-red-nose-day). Yes, it sounds great. The trouble is that Christians know that this world isn’t going to become just or free from poverty. The poor will be with us always (Mark 14:7).

While many organizations have the heart to feed and educate the poor, without proper long-term goals and values, the money raised and given will only relieve some issues, difficulties, and crises such as disasters and surgeries. But in the long-run, since the poor will be with us, it’s far better to look long-term, as Compassion does.

When you give monthly to Compassion, the money goes to providing a better future specifically for the child who you sponsor. Here are some ways that you get to show love to a child through Compassion. You get to send letters to and receive them from your child (or you can sponsor multiple children!). You can send them birthday and Christmas money, or send money anytime. They, however, don’t get money, but an age, family, and culturally appropriate gift – whoever is in charge of your child’s area (e.g., local pastor) determines what is best for your child. You get to be directly involved in a child’s life!

With a long-term view for each child, we help pave the way for each child we sponsor to have a better future by providing the basics now. That child will grow up, and will prayerfully use the opportunities that he’s been given to live well. But there will still be children after her that will need help.

Compassion operates on hope for the present AND hope for the future. There’s always a child to sponsor, and we need to carry on the hope. Those you help through Compassion aren’t just a multitude – they are children with names, families, and very little help in the present.

On this Red Nose Day, you have a reminder that there really are poverty-stricken children in the world. And you can go to compassion.com and see many children (they have names and faces!) who you can help right away.

Sanity

Chesterton says of the sane man: “His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that.”

Christians see just that way – they see both sides. People are mortal, and immortal. There is great good AND great evil. The earth is beautiful, and it’s tragic. One’s loved family member can be loving AND hurtful. Life is enjoyable, and downright drudgery. Youth is great, as is old age; and both are temporary. We can be happy and sad at one and the same time.

We’d like to see and experience just the comfortable points, but there’s more to life than comfort and ease – there’s Jesus’ lordship to ponder. He is Lord over evil, too, and we need to see and experience that. We can’t be conquerors if our only battle is what we should watch and wear.

Saved is Saved

If you were saved from drowning, would you say afterward “It would have been better if you used nicer equipment”?Or if you were pulled from a car wreck, would you say, “It would have been better if you had a PhD”?

Saved is saved.

It’s the same when it comes to spiritual salvation. When Christ saves you, you’re saved – there’s no “extra special” or “better” to it. People want to make salvation “better” by adding translations, special days, calendars, special people groups, degrees, commendations, and ministries. There’s nothing better than salvation, and nothing beyond.

It’s Christ, and Christ alone. There’s no way to extend it, expand it, or enhance it. No understanding of the Old Testament, no inclusion in a group, no special observance, no particular training will make one a better Christian than another. It’s knowing the Christ that makes the Christian.

At Christmas time, celebrating Christ is not made better by presents, trees, and cinnamon wreaths. Those things make our surroundings more comfortable and can promote nicer emotions (depends on why you bought things – to please God? or to please man?). But Christ is pleased only if we’re saved, and we should only be pleased by His work on the cross.

Family time, carols, gift-giving – we should enjoy them all. But is that the basis of my Christmas? If I wouldn’t be joyful and fulfilled just to breathe a prayer of thanks to God the Father for the gift of God the Son, then the carol bells will ring hollow, my tree will not bear fruit, and my songs will only be clamor.

Acorns and Peace

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Verlyn Verbrugge (Chapter 7 Genitive and Dative,Basic of Biblical Greek, William D Mounce) writes:

Peace on earth, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14, KJV).  You have probably all received Christmas cards containing this part of the angels’ song to the shepherds on the fields of Bethlehem.  But most modern translations read differently: “on earth peace to men on whom his [God’s] favor rests” (NIV); “and on earth peace among those whom he [God] favors” (NRSV). The difference between the KJV and the others is the difference between the nominative and the genitive.

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You Had One Job

When I read the account of Adam and Eve, starting in Genesis 3, the phrase that comes to mind is, “You had one job.” Adam’s job was to tend the garden. Eve’s job was to help Adam. And their job as a couple was twofold: have children and take dominion over the earth. So it wasn’t EXACTLY one job, but it’s what I think about.

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