Mercy Rising – My Take Away

I’ve finally started burning through my summer reading list at the pace I know I’m capable of.  🙂  To see the list, posted at the beginning of June May (man, this summer is flying by!), click here.

Yesterday I finished Mercy Rising:  Simple Ways to Practice Justice and Compassion by Amber Robinson.  As I said in yesterday’s post, I highly recommend this book.  It’s a quick, easy read and full of useful, practical, every day ways to help others in the midst of our already busy lives.  She gives dozens and dozens of websites and information to facilitate the reader in her desire to serve those in need.

This little book review is mostly bullet points of what stood out to me in the book.  Hopefully it will be enough to entice you to pick up a copy and find your own way live the gospel.  (quotes are in bold italics)

Love is always a choice of will that impacts my feelings over time. This would be true in my personal relationships and in loving those I am called to serve.

Just as the loaves increased when they were broken, the Lord has granted those things necessary to the beginning of this work and when they (are) given out, they will be multiplied by His inspiration, so that in this task of mine I shall not only suffer no poverty of ideas but shall rejoice in wonderful abundance. – Augustine

Daily bread.  I’m empty, but security will not fill me. Daily bread – not what He gives, but Him.

The list of websites in the book is not comprehensive, but it is abundant.  Here are just a few:

www.goodsearch.com – shopping

www.freerice.com – vocabulary fun

www.freepoverty.com – geography game

www.betterworldbooks.com – buy and sell used books; profits help fund world literacy

www.warmwoolies.org – knitting group (as the girls and I get better at knitting, I think we’ll check into one of these)

www.projectlinus.org – knitting group

www.kidsofcourage.com – activity sheets, coloring pages, etc

www.questforcompassion.org – interactive game for kids; characters explore foreign countries and collect information

www.servlife.org – take a family missions trip

www.worldorphans.org – help an orphan stay off the streets

www.nationalsharedhousing.org – share your home

www.artistshelpingchildren.org – take your children to visit, and share their art work with sick kids.

www.slaverymap.org – see where human trafficking has been found around you; watch for signs of it and report offenders

Mother Teresa said people should begin in their own homes to remedy poverty.  Her prescription to love grates against the culture of grand gestures that tells us to serve where we’ll be seen.

All of chapter 5 is on shopping.  How to shop ethically, to make sure you are not (unknowingly) supporting human trafficking/slavery, how to shop in abundance so you can give your extra to others.  A whole chapter on how to be a justice-minded consumer.  As women, we spend much of our time shopping – either for pleasure or necessity.  What an ordinary, but important, area where we can make an impact.

Don’t reach for your billfold; it is not close enough to your heart.  Don’t raise your hand to volunteer for another committee in the ecclesiastical bureaucracy; tokenism is an unfit gift.  Rather, look within.  What invigorates you?  What causes you to wake up before dawn with a new idea spinning in your mind?  What fuels your imagination, even when you are fatigued?  Here is where you will find your most valued treasure.  Here is where you will find a gift worthy of your Lord. – Robert Lupton

The Greek word for “hospitality” meant “the love of strangers” and “generosity to guests”. (emphasis mine)

The true end of education is not only to make the young learned,

But to make them love learning,

Not only to make them industrious,

But to make them love industry,

Not only to make them virtuous,

But to make them love virtue…

Not only to make them just,

But to make them hunger and thirst after justice.

–       John Ruskin

Loving the poor can be very messy.

Pick a corner and work your way out. (This quote is mostly for me…..it is from a story in the book and is relevant, but I’m not going to go into that here.  I think it’s just a pretty good philosophy on the messiness of life. )

Organize a baby shower for low income moms. – What a great, simple idea!

The impact God has planned for us does not occur when we’re pursuing impact – it occurs when we’re pursuing God. – Phil Vischer

This next section astounded me:

Christian Smith and Michael O. Emerson, authors of Passing the Plate, compiled a list that challenges our thinking.  They tally $46 billion in lost revenue each year just from regular church attendees who don’t practice biblical tithing, which is ten percent of their income.  Money isn’t’ all that’s lost. With this amount of lost revenue we could –

–       Complete the funding needed to eradicate polio within the next year.

–       Build 1,000,000 wells.

–       Send livestock to 4,000,000 needy families.

–       Give food, clothes, and shelter to all 6,500,000 refugees in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.

–       Triple the resources being spent on translation work to provide Bibles to the 2,737 people groups lacking Bibles in their own languages.

–       Raise the salaries of the 50,000 lowest paid pastors in the United States by $15,000 each.

–       Quadruple the amount spent on global evangelism.

Only 27 percent of United States Evangelicals are tithing, and 36 percent gave away less than two percent of their income according to a December 2008 article from Christianity Today.

I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give.  I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. – CS Lewis

Freedom and Poverty

It started a few years ago.  It was winter, almost Christmas, and we were looking through the Samaritan’s Purse Gift Catalog.  You could donate to help rescue girls from human trafficking.  Matt said something like, “I think maybe, someday, God will want us to do something like this.”  I thought to myself, “Seriously?  That’s a whole world of issues we can’t understand.  If I’ve got issues from what I’ve been through…those poor girls….I can’t imagine.”  But having been abused myself, my heart breaks for girls mistreated.  The idea is not dismissed, just shelved for the time.

First I read this book…..

….and I know I must act.  But how?  Life is so busy.  But I know that’s no excuse to ignore the needs of those created in His image.

Then Haiti happened.  We prayed for the safe return of Matt’s brother and sister and their team.  They came home and seven Haitian children were (legally) united with forever families.  We watched news reports of fathers and mothers in Haiti selling their children because they could not care for them.  I wept as I tried to fathom the despair a mother must feel to believe selling her child is her best option.  And I wept for those children who have no mother or father to hold them at night, who were sold by those God ordained to protect them.

This summer I picked up this book….

….and I begin to find ways to act.  I highly recommend it.  I’m about halfway through it.  It is varied in it’s scope and highly practical with countless ways to practice “kingdom justice” in the midst of our already busy lives.  Please pick up a copy.  Today.

This weekend I read this post and God struck something in my soul.   I talked to Matt.  We agreed to pray about how to be involved.  Maybe not in this particular ministry.  But something.  Somehow.

This morning I woke up to this post.  (Do you think God is trying to tell me something???  I’m not even kidding.)

My Jesus has set me free from so much.  From sin, bondage, bitterness.  He carried me through the storms of my own abuses and has placed me forever under the shelter of His wings.  I do not know how I can stop human trafficking from my home schooling, middle American life.  I don’t know how I am to rescue girls the age of my oldest daughter, bought and sold to be used by men while I keep up with laundry or get my groceries or take my own girls to ballet and horse back riding lessons.  But I know those are someone’s girls.  They have hearts and souls and dreams.  They have a heavenly Father who loves them.

I know this happens here in America and around the world.  I know it’s not just girls affected.  I know I cannot ignore it.

I do not yet know what the Lord has planned for us in this area.  For now I will pray and wear awesome jewelry.

What about you?  What are you doing with the freedom God’s given you?