Dear Salvation Army, Earthquakes, Fires, Disaster…We Are There!

Today I write with encouragement.
Today I take off my critical lenses on this army that I love and I wish to encourage you.
Every one of these entries on pastorsponderings known as “Dear Salvation Army” has a purpose.  All of these postings and articles are intentional and purposeful.  All of them are constructive in nature, geared for the purposes of improving our Army, not tearing it down.  I want us to work together in this.  I want us to march onward (so to speak) and continue to win souls for Christ.  If we lose this momentum we will fail at our mission.  If we lose this momentum we will never achieve our vision.
katmandu
Today: (News From IHQ)
http://www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/news/inr290415

Nepal.
The Salvation Army is in Nepal.
We are providing aid and much needed funds and supplies.
I know that we care.
I know that lives matter.
I know that it’s not just about winning souls, but taking care of men, women and children.
What happened to one of the poorest, most congested cities in the world is horrible…but I know that we, among others, are there!

When utter disaster faces occurs, people are desperate for help.
We can be that source.
We can be that life line.
We are that life line.

I am not painting a perfect picture of The Salvation Army.
I am not proclaiming us “the best organization” in the world.
I am not saying “look at us, look at us”…BUT I believe God has placed us here to be His hands and feet to the world.  We have access to many places in the world where other organizations can’t go.  Our soldiers are on the ground in some of the most remote places in the world.  This is no accident.  This is no coincidence.  I firmly believe that God has placed us in those places.   How we react and how we offer salve to those hurts matters!

Questions to Ponder:
Has God called you to serve in this Army?
Are you responding to His calling every day?
Will you go if He tells you to go?
What can you do for Him?

May it never be about how flashy or how good we look in a uniform, but may it always be about responding to God’s calling in faithfulness, humility and love.  When everything is stripped away, may our Army of Salvation be genuine…may our Army be true…may our Army be forever compassionate to the hurting and the lost wheresoever they may live in our world.

Will you be there?
Will we provide aid, love, hope, compassion, joy, light?
Something more for our Army to ponder today!

Please keep Nepal in your prayers, and seek out ways that you can support these vital efforts!
To God be the glory!

For more links and ways to help please visit the sites below:
https://secure20.salvationarmy.org/donation.jsp
http://www.salvationarmy.org/ihq/nepalearthquake;jsessionid=BC2A283C79B7CC9AB73273B5C55AA3AD
https://secure20.salvationarmy.org/donation.jsp?projectId=IHQ-NepalEarthquake

#Bringbackourgirls

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Human trafficking is still real.  It is still a blight in our world.  The recent stories of the kidnapped school girls in Nigeria and Chad by terrorist/militant organization Boko Haram has once again brought it to the forefront of the minds of many in our world.  Human slavery and the sex trade market needs to end.  How horrifying to be awakened in the middle of the night by kidnappers in your room.  How terrifying to be taken by men and young kids armed with automatic rifles.  How tragic that young girls aren’t safe within the confines of a school…in any country.  Human trafficking is abhorrent, despicable and disgusting.  

How can we fight Human Trafficking and modern day slavery?  

1. Pray – 
This might sound like a “wish” making task, but prayer works!  Pray to the Lord.  Ask Him to intercede.  Pray about legal actions you can take as a citizen in your country.  Pray for the lives of those who are affected by human trafficking and also pray for the men, women and children who are victims of human trafficking.  God hears our prayers and He does bring justice to those who are powerless and without advocates.  Begin with prayer.

2. Get involved – 
There are countless website of organizations that offer tangible, real advice and ways in which we can get involved in fighting human trafficking.  Here are a few websites to check out and decide which might best aid you in your involvement:
           The Salvation Army:
http://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/combating-human-trafficking 

http://www.humantrafficking.org/organizations/362
http://www.humantrafficking.org/combat_trafficking
http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/2013/august/how-you-can-combat-sex-trafficking.html

3. Write or call elected officials and/your state representatives –
http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml (If you are from another country look up the phone numbers and addresses to your elected officials and contact them!) 

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Call or write those who have the power to write laws and spend tax payer monies to combat human trafficking. Be aware and knowledgeable of the organization (listed above) that assist in fighting these causes and research the areas of our world affected by human trafficking.  The truth is every country has trouble with this horrifying social disease.  Calling elected officials or writing to them can add pressure for your country to take action and crack down on proprietors of human slavery.  

4.  Start a social media campaign – 

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Hashtags and posting news stories of these horrific events can continue to draw people’s attention to this serious issue.  Don’t be afraid to take a stand and to start something around your community and/or on your social media sites to generate action and support.  

We must fight this!  We can change lives and bring victims of human trafficking home and/or to shelters of safety.  
We can do this together!  We can save those without a voice.  Take a stand today and do something!!

 

It’s about the $$$

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Money is an inevitability in modern society.  No matter if you have a little bit of money or a lot of money, it affects our lives.  So how do we utilize money that we have for good?  

There is an old saying that has been used for years.  I’m sure you’ve heard it before; “Money is the root of all evil”.  Did you know that this saying is actually a bible verse that has been taken out of context?  The actual verse puts it this way, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

Did you catch that, it’s not that money is inherently evil, it is the LOVE of money.  In other words if we covet and obsess over money and how we scrounge and scrape for it, then money becomes a problem. Money has the potential of becoming an idol in our lives.  An idol is something of great importance to us and many times it replaces God in our list of priorities.  This is the true danger and warning that Paul is talking about in 1 Timothy.

That being said how can we use money for good instead of evil?   

Here are five suggestions that can help us to priorities our lives and our financial resources: 

5 Uses of $ for Good:

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1) Tithe to your church.

This might sound overly simplistic to you, but before we even receive our pay check we should already have budgeted this as an act of worship to God.  

Randy Alcorn in his book, “Money, Possession and Eternity” says this about tithing; “..tithing isn’t something I do to clear my conscience so I can do whatever I want with the 90 percent–it also belongs to God! I must seek his direction and permission for whatever I do with the full amount. I may discover that God has different ideas than I do.” 

The principle of tithing shouldn’t be some sort of obligation or forced habit.  It should be an act of worship which sets our priorities in order – “God first” which implies all of our resources including our finances belong to Him!  Tithing is a leap of faith which, if done properly, frees us and allows Him to lead us in all other ventures.  This discipline isn’t easy, but can be very rewarding. 

 

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2) Support local and global charities 

Beware!! Do your research before writing a check to any charitable organization.  First find out how much of your donation will go to direct services (or the cause you are supporting)!  Pray about the kinds of things you are looking at support and make sure God is directing you so support these causes.  Another wise thing to consider is taxable donations.  Each year nonprofits who we support can write you a receipt of your donations.  It might not be much but it could help you come April 15th.  Along with our tithe and support of our places of worship supporting a cause with our financial donations can make a difference in other people’s lives. 

 

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3) Live within your means!

This can be a very difficult thing to do if we don’t first set God as our top priority.  We live in a very commercialize, media saturated society.  This drives the market and propels people to spend, spend, spend.  We think we need the latest and newest of everything.  Again the LOVE of what money can buy can be a root of evil if we allow it into our hearts.  Let’s be honest this type of trapping of materialism is very easy to fall into.  Beware of this trap and the lie that we aren’t valuable until we have that next best thing!  Live on the income you make…if that isn’t enough perhaps find a second source of income or another job!  

Second budget your income.  Make a budget.  Don’t know where to start?  Check out this simple budget by Dave Ramsey:  

 http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/   Let me recommend the middle downloadable form called “Monthly Cash Flow Plan”

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Live within your means also implies that we must beware of the use of credit cards!  These are funds which are loaned to us and we have to pay back the balance with interest.  Again don’t spend money that you do not have and isn’t guaranteed to be there in the future.  Millions of Americans are facing financial troubles because they have lived far above their means and used and abused credit cards.  Beware of this “easy fix” because if can have long term consequences!

 

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4) Teach your children! 

This is an education that will be the legacy that you leave for your children and their children’s children!  Education of financial responsibility needs to be taught to our children!  Don’t rely on teachers or the government to teach your children about money!  Take responsibility to educate them and PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t teach them in the form of “Don’t do as I do, but do as I say”!  In other words LEAD BY EXAMPLE!  The best teachers are those who take it upon themselves to educate by example in living and lifestyle!  Show your child (if they’re old enough) how to balance a check book or how to create a monthly/weekly budget.  

 

 

 

5) Be generous!  

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We all have family members, church friends, and neighbors who might be going through touch times.  Use your money for good by giving generously.  Be mindful though that you are discerning in how and who you give generously to.  Make investments in people and their lives, but don’t support illegal habits or destructive lifestyles in your giving either. Don’t loan money out, give it as a gift if you have it to give.  Remember, it’s all God’s anyway!  

Money is not inherently evil.  It is how we use it in our lives and in the lives of others.

Remember, You are God’s and so are all of the blessings of life that He has bestowed upon you!  

-Just a thought.

 

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