Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Take Time for the Elderly

Have you ever noticed how that in American culture the elderly often seem forgotten? Indeed, we have a culture that seems to worship youthfulness to our own loss and detriment. But, the truth is, the elderly have much wisdom and experience to offer those of us who are younger. Today’s challenge in my series on Ten Ways to Demonstrate His Heart, My Hands is this: “Take time for the elderly.”

Leviticus 19:32 (ESV) says, “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.”

Proverbs 16:31 exclaims, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.”

Proverbs 20:29 states, “The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.”

1 Timothy 5:1-2 says, “Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father . . . older women as mothers.”

The elderly are deserving of our respect, attention and time. Many times they are abandoned and ignored by family members after being placed in a nursing home. Elderly persons typically enjoy visiting with those from younger generations. They like to tell stories about their own youth, upbringing, and reminisce regarding their rich, and often colorful, life experiences.

All it takes on our part is the willingness to make some time for the elderly and lend a listening ear. Seek out opportunities to visit with elderly persons from your community, congregation, and extended family. This is just one more way to demonstrate Christ’s heart and be his hands in this world. And, remember, we reap what we sow! If we wish to be visited one day when we are old, frail, and lonely, we need to be proactive in visiting the elderly ourselves now!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Visit the Sick and Lonely

Hello everyone!

Today's vlog addresses the approach to compassion that may be called a ministry of presence. I particularly focus on the idea of visiting the sick and lonely, or anyone who is in need. Jesus's style of caring was very hands on and by nature, incarnational. For us to emulate him, we need to also be people who "show up" when people need encouragement and support.

In my vlog, I use James 1:27 and Matthew 25:31-40 as Scriptures to give us a more accurate understanding and proper bearings regarding the meaning of true religion--which is relational. The way Christ will someday judge us will hinge on the degree to which we extended ourselve to reach out with his love and compassion to those around us.

One way for us to do this is to visit the sick and lonely in their time of distress in order to bring hope and comfort to them, and thereby be Christ's loving hands.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Pray in Secret for Someone You Know

A powerful way in which we can demonstrate Christ's love in our lives is to pray for someone we know in secret. There are friends, family members, and acquaintances we know who are going through tough times in their lives. Perhaps they are enduring a prolonged illness (or have a spouse, child, or parent who is). Maybe they have recently come on hard times, having lost their job and now struggling with unemployment. Or, what if they have gone through a recent divorce or another loss in their life? Possibly, they are struggling with depression or loneliness.

We can pray for such individuals consistently and faithfully, asking God to bless them and be with them. Then, we can sit back and see how God moves in their life. This could be a tremendous way to strengthen our own faith as we watch God's power at work. Romans 12:12 says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” We are called to be prayerful in our lives!

The apostle Paul also says in Eph. 1:16-18, “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints.” Let's be praying for God to open the minds and hearts of those we know are suffering to his love and spiritual healing. Prayer works! Prayer changes things because God hears and responds.

Let's have Christ's heart and be his hands in our secret prayer life!