Love. I hope everyone had a great Valentine’s Day. The day features Russell Stover, Hershey, Brach, Dove, Godiva and more options for chocolates; Hallmark and many more for cards, and flower shops.
It is not an official holiday, but despite all the capitalism, I believe Valentine’s Day is a good reminder to express my love to the person closest to me. Sharing love hurts no one!
Last Minute Preaching. Our pastor has COVID; so, on Friday I was asked to preach on Sunday. I scrambled on Saturday and got a sermon together.
Because of my topic I spent a lot of time thinking about caring for others.
The designated scripture encouraged me to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe those in need, invite strangers in, care for the sick and visit those in prison.
I am to do what I can to feed cloth, house and care for all humans, even those who might be at our borders wanting in the United States. Scripture does not say only my family or only Americans.
Let me be clear, I think we have a border crisis.
Yes, some of the strangers at are borders are dangerous people and I do not want them allowed here. Some strangers are doing dangerous things such as smuggling fentanyl. I do not want that to happen. I also do not think we have the resources to feed, cloth, and heal everyone. We need to control our borders
But many of the sojourners are good people in desperate need.
I had several questions for myself.
Do I have the attitude I should try to help somehow or do I just dismiss them as strangers and do all I can to protect my comfort?
Does God see borders or humans in need?
If we do not let strangers cross the border to become Americans, should I try to help them in their own countries?
I was challenged to think about these questions particularly in light of one woman — Carol Ward. A good friend made me aware of her work.
Favor Ministries. Her response to immigration was not to promote open borders but rather she prayed “send me where others do not want to go.” As a result, she was called to Uganda and Lower Sudan, an impoverished, war-torn area, which at that time was controlled by a truly evil man.
Any Republican who believes Biden is evil, any Democrat who thinks Trump is evil should google Joseph Kony and read about him. He is evil.
One example — July 8, 2005, the International Crimes Court issued warrants against Kony and his commanders. They were indicted on 12 counts of crimes against humanity, including murder, enslavement, sexual enslavement, and rape, and on 21 counts of war crimes, including more murder, cruel treatment of civilians, intentionally directing an attack against a civilian population, pillaging, rape, and forced enlisting of children into the rebel ranks.
Thousands of people have been killed by him. Thousands of children conscripted as soldiers and/or sex slaves.
The real tragedy is that Kony claims to be a Christian and calls his rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army.
While Kony was in power Carol Ward was living in comfort in Oklahoma until she felt the call to go to Africa. She felt God telling her to leave her country, her people, and go to a different land.
She went to Uganda. She went to a village and began by simply praying for hours on end for many days then began Favor Ministry. The ministry is helping the poor, the wounded the orphaned and the war weary.
The education branch of the ministry has grown to where now there are 700 Uganda and Sudanese missionaries going into the field witnessing and growing the mission of Favor Ministry. They are leaders in community development, leaders in education and leaders in self-sustaining economies.
If you want to know more, Google Carol Ward or Flavor Ministries. You can also read her book: “Send Me Where No One Wants to Go.”
The wonderful thing to me — she is not promoting Carol Ward. It is not Carol Ward Ministries. The Flavor Ministry web page does not prominently feature her. The ministry is there to serve others not to bring glory to herself.
Her works humbles me. I do not feel the call to move to Africa, but preparing the sermon gave me a deeper appreciation of the call to feed clothe, shelter, care for and comfort strangers — ALL STRANGERS — in need.
I can and should serve strangers in need in Mobile Al. I have many opportunities. For example, the First Light community—formerly L’Arche – a Christian community for the mentally challenged, or Victory Health an amazing Christian Community for the working poor, or McKemie Place, a shelter for homeless women, or the Salvation Army, or various food pantries, or many more organizations that are doing what they can to meet needs. I encourage everyone to find some way to help others in your community.
Bad news. Last week I wrote about being in the middle between extremes in the woke culture debate. This week, I read about some of the people who are most frightened about the cancel culture were banning children’s books about Henry Aaron, Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente. I find the irony of banning activity by people frightened of a cancel culture to be ironic and very sad.
The Chiefs won the Super Bowl in an exciting game. Both teams gave a great performance. I have rooted for the Chiefs since they moved to Kansas City. Not only are they close to my hometown, one of the early stars for the Chiefs was Curtis McClinton. He was the homecoming King at my high school in 1956 and a leader in social justice issues. I was happy the Chiefs won.
Again, the following are more wonderful stories that will uplift your day.
After the horrible tragedy in Turkey a man showed love for strangers.
A policeman helped a stranger in need.
Another example of caring for the needy.
One more good example of caring!
Peace and Happy Valentine’s Day