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Sunday, December 25, 2011

You are so rich, Merry Christmas....

Recently I came across a article about a local homeless shelter in the Tri State in need. They are in need of food supplies, money towards a new grill. That of course was bad enough but it was also stated that 12 kids live at the shelter and in the midst of all those needs I wonder about those kids and how they are spending their holidays? What are they waking up to Christmas morning? Obviously I know this goes on by the thousands in bigger cities. But to me in a small community it just seems like this should be "taken care of" from a few dollars from individuals to the churches throughout the area this Rescue Mission should never be in need. I know of 4 churches in the area that have built "gyms" for outreach opportunities. If loans and checks can be written out for such surely this Need can be taken care of as well. This also goes on a personal level in how I spend my money and many times think nothing of it. Although I have read the stats, figures several times its still hard for me to realize I am a rich, very rich according to the majority of the world. According to the World Bank low income people in the world, percentage of people in the world that make $825.00 or less, 37 percent, a year. $825.00 a year or less, 37 percent. Next, lower middle income, up to $3,000.00 plus, 38 percent. So that’s about 5 billion people right there living on less than $3,000.00 a year. Now, you’re in the upper middle class of the world, up to about $10,000.00, that’s 9 percent, and then the highest incomes in the world, $10,000.00 or more, 16 percent. It’s interesting, if you just kind of get in your mind maybe your salary. If you keep taking the salary higher, you make $25,000.00 a year, you’re in the top 10 percent of the world’s wealthiest people. You make $50,000.00 a year, you’re in the top 1 percent of the world’s wealthiest people, $50,000.00 a year. Average annual American Christian household income, $42,409.00, $42,409.00. That is in the top 2 and a half percent of the richest people in the world.
Today, over a billion people live and die in desperate poverty and live on less than a dollar a day. Just to give you a little glimpse, that’s 700 million in slums, 500 million on the verge of starvation, 93 million beggars, 200 million children exploited for labor. We say poverty, desperate poverty, what is poverty? What does that represent? Lack of food and water. Over a billion people on the planet today who do not have access to safe drinking water. Illiteracy, huge illiteracy rates in places like India and Africa. Inadequate medical care, disease. You’ve got a disease like AIDS, there are 6,000 people who die every day in Africa of AIDS alone. And then you’ve got easily curable disease and sickness. There are millions of people this year who will die of diarrhea. They will die from it. Brain damage. It’s one of the most devastating pictures of poverty in the world, permanent brain damage. Most of your brain development, 80 percent of it happens in the first two years of your life, and if that is not provided for, enough protein and nutrients, then your brain is deformed for the rest of your life.
Over a billion people in desperate poverty, close to two billion others living on less than $2.00 a day. That’s close to half the world living on what you and I would pay for French fries for lunch. It gets worse. According to UNICEF, 26,000 children will die today due to either starvation or preventable disease, a disease like diarrhea or pneumonia or malaria, 26,000…And those numbers unfortunately just stay numbers for most of us. If you are reading this do indeed enjoy the holiday season and if you love to buy gifts for others, then by all means go for it but may season by season our excessiveness lead to blessing others and even or should I say especially those who have little or nothing and simply could not give back in return. And may your joy be found that its truly better to give then to receive, Merry Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Boogie Man...

As a kid growing up I don’t recall ever believing in any form of the “boogie man”. The ironic thing is 40 plus years later I started considering there just might be one. And no influence whatsoever from my 2 year old son. First the boogie man enter my mind just a little, like one foot in the door then my mind was no longer for rent for the boogie man was alive and “not so well” in my mind. I was diagnosed with skin cancer and there were several spots on my body. And Immediately I went from thinking bad to worst. Ironic thing is when somebody shares a concern or prayer request with me most times I am thinking, I actually believe good will come from it, Miracle will take place. I recently heard Andy Stanley said when a friend is in need we simply say we will pray for them. But when its ourselves in need we usually pull out the “not fair” card to God. There is selfishness in that one, indeed.
So anyway the thoughts went to skin cancer to the “what ifs” and from there the battle was on Believing in Gods Healing touch and then giving in to Im not ready to go in that I want to be here for my son and wife. Again Im just blogging my thoughts I know thousands go through this every day the sun rises and sets. But with all my prayers there were so many people that had me in their thoughts and prayers.
During this time we had a local concert. And well everything seem to be going wrong with the concert but in my running back and forth I met a friend outside which led to “counsel” with a beautiful ache and after the concert I talked to a band member about what’s going on and he said he wanted the whole band to pray for me which led to the members sharing struggles for them as well and for me to Believe and trust that the next time they saw me it would be nothing but Good news of Gods healing/sustaining hand. So a year or so later I continue to get treatment off and on for the skin cancer. A few months later I went to get my first physical in years(i mean years) and the results came back good/perfect ( i was in awe to say the least) but I was stil having this pain and ultimately this boogie man led to gall bladder surgery. So the "worries" have let up a good bit and far less of a struggle. And as Rich Mullins penned I know I am not as strong as I think I am…But through it all even in the midst of a world of doubt I still believe for there is nowhere, no one else to turn to but the Creator and lover of my soul. Through it all He is much bigger than any boogie man and the only one who can get pass these walls of " self". Along this journey when I was wondering what was going on with my health I told a friend of mine I wanted to be here for Noah. His simple reply was "You are here now".. True very true, make the most of the day we are given, its a gift of time that can only be used once and may we use it wisely and be bless that we would be a blessing to those around us.