A Tote Bag

This past Sunday, November 07, was the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church. We teamed up with the House of Good Hope/Hartford House of Prayer for a special prayer service at 6:00 pm. No matter how many times I read about it, I am still stunned to think that there are believers, in the 21st century, all over the world who cannot practice their Christian faith without fear. If they are found out, they are persecuted by family, friends, the government. They are often unable to get jobs or housing. All because they believe in Jesus. I just cannot get my head around that. Please keep them in your daily prayers.

It reminds me, again, of how blessed we are to live in the United States of America. This truly is the land of the free. We can worship, pray, evangelize, and proclaim Christ without fear here. Sure, we will often be ridiculed or mocked. That should be expected though. Jesus said, “Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you” (John 15:20). However, He also told us, “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers” (Matthew 5:11)

Nonetheless, we are blessed beyond measure to live here. In so many ways. Not only can we express our faith, but we have shelter, food, and luxury here. We enjoy cable TV, internet, cell phones, laptops, tablets, hospitals and walk-in clinics, transportation (cars or buses). In fact, we are worried about the supply chain. There are dozens of ships outside US ports just waiting to unload all the new stuff we want to buy. We are worried that we will not be able to get all that we want by Christmas. Having traveled to Turkey when I was in seminary and as a missionary to Haiti several times now, I can assure you, there are so many places in the world where this is not the case. People there still live in houses put together with pieces of corrugated metal roofing and scraps of wood. There is no indoor running water, plumbing, or electricity. And healthcare? We complain here it is too expensive. In Haiti, it is practically non-existent. There are only twenty-five doctors and eleven nurses per 100,000 people in Haiti.

Yes, we are blessed. We really are, and Jesus mentions that too. He says, “When someone has been given much, much will be required in return” (Luke 12:48). Why mention this today? I was reminded as I scraped frost off my car Saturday morning that the cold weather is coming fast, and there are people in our communities who do not have proper, regular shelter. You see them. Some hold cardboard signs at traffic lights. Some sit on benches in parks. We have been given much, my friends, and we need to respond in kind. As you shop for gifts for your family and friends, I want to encourage you to pick up some nice warm gloves, hats, mittens, scarves, and socks. Fill up a tote bag (we want to be environmentally friendly) with these items and keep it in your car. Then when you see someone asking for money, offer them something warm. The cold is coming. I know, not all of them are legitimate, but I am not saying give money. Offer them some socks or gloves and continue to refill your tote bag. After all, I know we will all be making repeated trips to Walmart, Kohl’s, or Target. It is the season. Truth is, it is always the season to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.    


Remember to email your praises and petitions to southchurchprayer@gmail.com. We lift them up every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 4:00 pm on Facebook Live.


Popular Posts