SOCIAL JUSTICE

Index of Discussions

  • Chapter One: When Life Is A Struggle
  • Chapter Two: Who Is My Neighbour?
  • Chapter Three: Help:  Who…. Me?
  • Chapter Four: How To Be A Millionaire
  • Chapter Five:  I Need a Miracle

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Hello.               CHAPTER ONE- When Life Is A Struggle

As I come to the end of my life, I realize how grateful I am for the helping hands that came my way when life lost its meaning for me. Although genealogy is a wonderful focus, it does not feed, house or protect someone from the struggles of life. For some of us, genealogy gives pleasure. I long to offer you more. This section of my website hopes to address this in a tiny way.

I discovered you can everything you ever wanted, but sometimes it is not enough. Lose your health and you’ll discover why. That’s only one reason.  I’ll address deep issues as this work progresses. I am going to open up my life in the hope it helps somebody else. Time is running out to do that.

The battle in our mind is the key. No one chapter of our life says it all. We forget that.  I found this verse in the Bible: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11. I grabbed hold of that verse, and do every day because now I am thankful, not just for what I learned, but the peace that I have found at the end of my life.

Most people will never face what I am about to discuss, but none of us knows the future– except through Biblical Prophesy. This first chapter addresses what to do when life crashes in upon you. In understanding what is happening especially outside our own experience, we can develop empathy and through that become a better person.  We are living in a momentous period when over a million people are being displaced in the Middle East.  Maybe some of those people will read these notes and find help doing so. I am writing for them, too.

There are many ways to find contentment and prosperity.   I had that for many years, but when I lost that, I lost myself in the process. I am writing these notes for somebody who understands that loss. If you have no interest, thank you for stopping by today. For anyone else, you could be forced to face situations when money is very tight or non existent. Any social worker can help you with the following practical things, but you may not know one, or be familiar with living without a credit card or cash.  Here’s what to do in Canada and it can apply to other locations:

  1. Food – Many social groups, especially churches, host hot meals during the week in larger communities in Canada, so that a hot evening dinner and sometimes lunch is available almost every day, except weekends. No charge. Ask, or watch for a free booklet in bigger centres that gives food bank locations and times, and other pertinent information about those locally involved in social action. Use the internet at libraries to locate these places. That’s usually a free service. Even seniors tend to congregate at these dinners to help extend their small pensions, and sometimes car pool to enjoy an outing for a free meal in the community. It is not only the homeless that enjoy these gatherings.

No one keeps a record of your visit, except a total count, and when you leave there is often free bread or other items to take with you. People line up at the door, walk in, sit down and eat. It is a welcome feast when you are struggling to make ends meet. I have always found that having my cupboards full of groceries helps me feel better about things, just as a nice meal does. But it can be humbling if you are in need.  Maybe that is a good experience in itself.

Sometimes thrift stores will give out bread to patrons who get there early enough to be blessed this way. The Salvation Army in particular does this, and will sometimes help with food vouchers to use in a local grocery store, to provide food and essentials at other times. There are community groups who will bring a hamper of food items to your door, if you phone and request it. Churches often give out Christmas baskets to those in need.

Many employed people use food banks to help supplement their grocery needs. Bring a shopping cart with you to carry things, as boxes or bags are quite heavy. Or get a friend with a car to help you take things to where you are living. The amount of food you receive is usually in cans and dry goods that last an individual about a week, but the volume of food is based on how many people are in your party. You need to take identification to visits to prove who you are and where you live, until the staff begin to recognize you. No address?  That causes problems, but you can ask a friend to use theirs temporarily. Depending on what country of the world you are in, there are organizations that handle this for travellers for a small fee. Let’s not get sidetracked.

You can only return once a month to most food banks. You usually are not able to move between food banks in different communities during the month. You might be able to find additional food vouchers from organizations such as churches and the Salvation Army. When you visit any food bank, take a bottle to fill with oil for cooking, and there are diapers for babies and food for pets. Ask for baking supplies if you can use them, and school lunch needs for children as appropriate. Always look first for a shopping cart or box labelled “free“, and ignore any dates that the item has expired. Sometimes this free food will extend your need another few days. Simply help yourself.

Go early to be near the first in line that day because items rapidly disappear as the day progresses. Be sure to inquire about fresh bread, fresh milk and margarine which is sometimes available, but not always.  You are usually given a list of items on a sheet that you tick off to indicate which things you want, but not everything is on that list, including the special items  I mentioned. You learn over time what is available  by watching others ahead of you in line.

2. Water:  If you are homeless, then you may have to use water fountains in major shopping chains or libraries for drinking during the day, or ask for water bottles at food banks. That may or may not be available. Water for bathing is something quite different, and the best way to keep clean is simply to have a shower at the local YMCA once or twice a week, depending on cash on hand. I noticed recently that day passes are not alway available, but check anyway. Sometimes you have to make do instead with a quick swish from a sink in various places, or head out into the country to find a river or a lake. Sounds simple. I know it isn’t, especially if you don’t have a car. Just don’t drink that rural open water, which now is often polluted. You can’t see them, as parasites may be invisible. But at least you may be able to stay clean someway.  How come folk don’t just buy some bottled water and pass it out to those obviously in need?

Doing laundry can be hard if you have no money, but swish a few things in a sink, hang up and dry. Otherwise, there are many laundramats across the country with machines you use by inserting coins. There is usually a money change machine in the room that takes bills and makes that exchange to coin for you. You can usually buy small boxes of soap in the same place.

Let me share one episode I remember well where none of these things were readily available. There were no bathrooms for most of the journey, certainly no water fountains, and the most important thing we girls needed was a roll of toilet paper and a blanket, when you had to relieve yourself in wide open spaces.  

Three girls would stand in a circle holding the blanket, while the fourth squatted down inside. We would take turns doing that. Even that disappeared in India, where you used a can of water and developed a clean hand and a dirty one, and never mixed the two when greeting people.  Often on a public bus ride in the middle of no where, someone would call out, the bus driver would stop, and those in need got out and lined up against the side of the bus, men to one side, women to the other, and the rest looking down from inside. Gross, you say. Oh course. Travel the world and you will encounter things you can not imagine, especially how to overcome adversity even in dangerous situations.  I’ve had a few of those. And remember that years have passed now and some of things have been improved or no longer exist, but not all. In the first photo the group is stopping for lunch on the side of the open road. This was long before war broke out in the Middle East, but the trip was still a challenge anyway. It was over 5,000 miles one way.

I was on my way overland to India. I  still remember that modern building in Istanbul, Turkey where we stopped to use the washrooms. We girls had a good wash that had to last us all the way to Tehran. We hurried out of there before they threw us out, and I still smile to myself remembering that. We weren’t really homeless, but living in that big truck was our only security at the time, until we reached India a month after leaving Europe. We drove night and day continually, with longer stops in major cities.

There might be a lovely highway for awhile or no roads at all, sometimes a few stores in villages, or a big city.  Occasionally in a town we could buy some fresh  baked bread. I loved the tiny cups of tea that changed slightly country by country, sometimes clear, sometimes boiled in milk. There were a few international road signs, and we couldn’t read most signs because we didn’t know the languages. Many people we met didn’t speak English.  You simply chose a spot on the horizon and headed that way, cause the locals told us a pass existed somewhere in that direction. We forded rivers, changed tires when they blew, and some early mornings as the sun came up, we went running ahead of the vehicle to get some exercise. I wanted to explore some hills, and started to do so, but was called back. Trafficking of women existed back then as it does today so we stayed together. There were a few tense moments, especially at border crossings.

In Herat, Afghanistan, below that old fort, we entered a dinky restaurant for a meal and sat at a table, when some turbaned villagers came in and settled on a platform around the wall. They carried rifles, which they laid across their lap and stared at me.  I was glad to get out of there.  I remember the bath house in Kandahar.  We rented the whole thing, and how wonderful the flow of warm water from that bare tap above me in a cubicle–a wonderful shower. It was the only one I got from Belgium to Bombay.

In Kabul, outside the university, the leaders went inside, while another girl and I remained in the truck. About 15 men came noisily up the back alley where we were parked, so we locked the doors and slid down to try to get out of sight. They rocked our 3 1/2 ton  truck, and pounded it with sticks, then were gone as quickly as they arrived.  Memories that flash back from time to time, and that one was a lifetime ago. The third photo is of our group in the Khyber Pass as we paused on the way to Pakistan. I’m that somewhat scrawny creature in the back row, 2nd from the right.

It was homelessness with a big A=Adventure.  So if you find yourself in ‘trying‘ circumstances, why not change your opinion about things and make it another one.

Changing your focus, your attitude can make a huge difference in your life. Someone once said that life is 10 percent what happens to us, and 90 % our response.  Sometimes things are so ridiculous we simply need to laugh at them. And a hard cry does us all good. As you release the tension, you can become positive. That’s when you draw positive responses to yourself, and good things begin to happen. It is a principle of life.  Happiness is so often a choice. Make it so today.

3. Shelter or Accommodation – We think nothing of buying a tent and going camping in the summer. Lots of people buy trailers or RVs to live for half the year down South, while winter rages in the North, or they use them here during the summer.   Lot of young people are on the move, working their way around the world, so not having a permanent home has lost some of its stigma. But being homeless is a mental as well as physical struggle because most people haven’t learned to handle that depth of loss. It is something you read about in the newspaper. Others may think you’ve failed somehow to manage your money. That can be far from the truth, although money is a huge issue.

What is tragic is the breakdown of marriage and the family unit in today’s society. Suddenly alone after a lifetime with someone else through death or divorce. Almost as upsetting is being forced to leave through neglect or abuse. I wonder if people realize how fragile life really is in developed countries where people depend on getting a mortgage to own a house, or take on a car payment and lots of credit spending to have the lifestyle they think is important. Miss three payments, you lose your house.  Lose your job and you could easily lose both. And then what?

At the end of my life, I suddenly realized that that I had given away most of my income to other people to maintain that which no longer matters.  Money give us comfort and the freedom to do what we want. There are financial principles we should follow, and the Bible tells us a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.   It is easy to focus on making money our god, instead of  giving one’s attention to the real One who deserves your attention.  Why not ask yourself what you can do to help someone else? Always give away some of your money, even if you are poor. Another principle of life. Doing so gets your mind off yourself. You may save your own life without realizing it.

If  you are being abused or evicted, there are many shelters that will welcome, feed, counsel and encourage you. Everything is there to meet your need, and lots of donations are available to help you get started again in the community, even furniture. People move between these places month by month, and sadly it too  can become almost a lifestyle in itself. Men and women are always kept in separate shelters, with children almost exclusively staying with mothers. Doors are always locked, and security is a big issue.

But sometimes there are not enough beds nor shelters and you simply have to hunker down alone sheltered if possible wherever you can find that. In the winter here in the North, people die doing this.

Does reading this move you at all?  People are forced to live in their cars, or chose to do so when travelling because they cannot afford a hotel room.  And the news just announced that some politican in Victoria, BC has the audacity to try to stop this in “his”  city. That kind of arrogance needs a real dose of hard reality that people don’t really have a choice at that moment. People need help and are trying to survive. Homelessness is not a lifestyle of choice; it is the result of a flaw in our society, in our humanity.  I’m glad to hear that the Canadian Government is experimenting right now with providing a basic level of funds for its people to stop  poverty. If you want more, there are legitimate ways to get that.

In the meantime, it is in shelters that  Welfare, or Ontario Works employees will  help you get assistance, a monthly allowance, plus offer  a start-up allowance to get into a room or an apartment (for  first and last month’s rent). Subsidized housing in Ontario is also available for people with low income, that provides accommodation based on 30 % of your monthly income. It can be all inclusive to include utilities. There is a long waiting list,  but those who are homeless go to the top 20 spots.

If you think you may need help with the cost of affording today’s rent (which now starts at $500  a month for a room and shared living arrangements, or $700 to $1,250 /month for a one-bedroom apartment and these costs are rising) at least get on the waiting list.  You choose which subsidized buildings you want to live in in a community, and are allowed to refuse the first two places that are offered to you to rent. The third you must accept or lose your place in the line. Those who are wise, never wait that long.

One bedroom apartments are very hard to find. You don’t get more bedrooms than the number of people living with you in a subsidized unit, and a couple usually only gets one.  A lease is signed, and yearly you must provide a full disclosure of your financial situation to Management to maintain that subsidy, which goes automatically to the landlord.  It comes to you as reduced rent you still must pay. But paying rent in Canada can be a good thing because it qualifies low income people for a monthly rebate from the Government. Some seniors are choosing to rent rather than own a home because of reduced costs. So many things are scaled to income in Canada.

Some shelters are extremely strict and order you outside right after breakfast. You cannot return until late afternoon, maybe 4:00pm or even later. A few shelters only accept guests when the weather drops below minus 17 C in the winter. Other shelters are more kind and welcoming, and you can stay inside all day and do what you want, and come and go freely, as you try to get more permanent housing. There are some special units for families for a stay up to six months, to help adults recover and get re-established.

All shelters interview you upon arrival and determine if your need fits their mandate. If not, they may or may not offer you guidance where else to go. Sometime they won’t even let you in the locked premises, speaking to you over an intercom, even if it is storming outside where you are. Being refused entry is common if the place is already full. And that fluctuates all the time. A person can only stay up to a maximum of three weeks, often less if they are troublesome. Most residents receive a small allowance while there from Social Assistance to help with bus fare, etc.. Everyone has to move out at the end of their visit,  although people can get trapped in the cycle of returning to shelters repeatedly. You might just hit it at the right moment when the shelter is quiet with few residents inside. Remember asking is initially the hardest part, not the living there.  Participants share cooking meals. Comfortable beds in rooms that lock, bedding, showers, laundry, even free clothes, along with the use of computers is available. Only a few shelters offer counselling sessions, but they can be illuminating.

We worry too much about what other people will think. Stand at death’s door and it won’t matter so much. Some of you have done that, and can’t find your way back. Hang on because a better time is coming. You can create that. Do not punish yourself for whatever wrongs you might have in your mind.  God can forgive anything.  Life can change in an instant, and for the better. It did for me, although it was a slow process.  Let’s offer these ashes of our life in worship and thankfulness.

During a time of great strain, when I had left my faith, I suddenly wanted to go to church one Sunday, and headed to one nearby.  I stopped in the parking lot as I looked at all those rich vehicles. “How can these people possibly understand me?” I thought to myself, and turned away. Is that what you are thinking?   I now drive a nice vehicle again, as I did in the past, and go to church regularly, but it took time, emotional and mental healing to get there during a time of crisis.

It began with forgiving those who had failed me, including the Church. I could write a book about that one. I was exhausted from mentally rehashing events that couldn’t be changed.  Are you doing that? That may be what is hurting you, or something else.  Pain distorts reality.

Forgiving doesn’t necessarily mean changing your opinion, but rather letting go deliberately of that which hurts. A decision. It does mean you must stop focusing on all the negative garbage in your mind that continually upsets and hurts you. Block any sentence as it begins referring to the situation or the person in both your mind and in your conversation out loud. Instead, find five things today and for a week for which to be grateful, and do that anytime afterwards to think thoughts that are positive.

Refuse to entertain in your thinking– or in the words you speak– anything that is not uplifting. What is wonderful is that, as you do this, you establish a new way of thinking and your feelings change with it; your stress drops. In time, your anger disappears, and you start to feel good about life and yourself. This is healing.

What have I forgotten?  Time is a great healer if you are suffering. Forgiving oneself is perhaps the hardest journey, even more so than forgiving others. It took me six years to do that, and I still have to work on that one from time to time.  Learning to love and care for people who have hurt you is a huge journey in itself. You don’t have to do that, but it can happen. Sometimes we have to forgive people in odd moments over little slights. Otherwise we grow bitter. Grieving the loss of family or someone loved, loss of status, loss of social acceptance, and so much more. Anger at life, at others, is part of that journey of grief, but move through that until you accept what has happened to you. Stop blaming others, and stop blaming yourself.

When an animal is wounded it retreats and hides away in the darkness, to lick its wounds.  It will even bite the person it loves the most in its agony.  Be kind to yourself most of all. Find hope in the understanding that it not what we do, or don’t do; say or don’t say; have or don’t have, that is the essence of our worth. We are simply human beings trying to figure out life as we go along, and we make mistakes doing so. Everyone does. Sometimes we suffer because of the sins of other people, or simply circumstances. It is through failure that we learn the most, not success, which can make us arrogant.  In fact, we have to fail to be truly successful. Too much of ‘success’ in the modern world is based on what you have, who you know, but God says the very opposite. We are called to love, to serve, and I’m wanting to hear His approval most of all. That’s what I care about.

Although this world focuses so much on the externals, I am glad we are more than a body.  We have a spirit that God wants to bring alive.

God created us for Himself, and He knows even the number of hairs on our head. The Bible tells us that.  He loves us UNCONDITIONALLY.  That means He likes us, He wants us to know Him. He really cares.  He understands us completely, and His love is not dependent upon us at all. His love never ends. Certainly He hates the bad things we do because He knows that those choices wound us. He loves us so much that God stepped out of Heaven to come to earth Himself as Man, and then died to punish Himself on our behalf. In dong so, God’s own holiness was appeased.  He looks at what Jesus did and is satisfied.

God has a plan for each of us, but He waits for us to seek Him. He prompts us, but do we listen? God gives us complete freedom to love Him or not.  I do. We force Him to judge us when life is over because we make ourselves the god in this world, thinking we know what is best. We don’t.

God looks at what Jesus did, the shedding of His blood, and forgives us through Him.  We just have to embrace it, to make it personal.  If someone is dying of cancer, and the offer of a cure is put in front of that person, the cure has no effect until the person reaches out and accepts it into his life.   That is what God’s is waiting for. We have to ask for forgiveness for our rebellion against Him. We have a sinful nature that separates us from His holiness. He is LORD of LORDS and KING OF KINGS. But God wants to set us free, to wipe our sins away.He can do because He satisfied His own judgment on us by punishing Jesus instead, as our substitution.  But we have to believe it and receive it as a free gift. Not try to earn it.

Jesus came alive.   His resurrection finished the work.  When we seek God honestly in our heart–that inner place of control–God makes us right with Him.  His Holy Spirit then comes to live inside of us, and help us find new vision, new focus, New Life.  We come alive spiritually, and in my case God renewed the reason why I am alive today.  He made me for Himself.  He made me to share this message with you.

All have sinned, and fallen short of the glory of God”  Romans 3:23

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Romans 6:23

But God demonstrates His love for us in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:8

“Everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.”  Romans 10:13

“If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  Romans 10:9

” To you who believe in the Name of the Son of God, you will know that you have eternal life.”  I John 5:13

“Now this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, who you have sent.”  John 17:3

“These things are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His Name.”  John 20:31

Jesus said, “No man comes to the Father but by Me.”

“Without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6

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CHAPTER TWO – Who Is My Neighbour?

Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength. And love your neighbour as yourself.”  

Since I have already touched on loving yourself in the notes of Chapter One, I’ve been thinking about how this neighbour question relates to my own life. I watch others I know react to strangers that pass through our rural area, and listen to conversations about how rich folk from the city are buying up land and jacking up housing prices in this region. Urbanites aren’t seen as neighbours, unless they take over properties near ours. If these people get involved in the activities that we do, that speeds their acceptance. But what about others, a bit further away? I can see several farms where there are people living I’ve never met.   Where is that invisible line in the countryside, in the city, that says you are a neighbour, but you aren’t?  Each of us has our own circle of friends, those that we relate to more than others. Is this the defining tool, because those people spread out miles beyond our familiar valley? Here a neighbour I guess is someone we recognize. In my own small village where I was raised, you can know somebody but not like them, and that then encompassed their whole family, even if they were perfectly fine. One bad apple in a nice bunch determined how we treated the whole barrel.  It is just how it is, certainly not how it should be, but how I was raised. We don’t always understand why other people believe what they do. But it can affect us more than we want.

When I became a Christian, and wanted to please God, I thought that my neighbour is anybody who comes across my path that may need help.  In many ways I haven’t changed my definition very much.  I am now wondering how the Church is being influenced by current events that relate to this. How am I to evaluate my own response as defined by Jesus in this Bible verse? What do I really want to believe or should believe (and that isn’t necessarily the same thing), and accept or not?  Writing these notes is my first attempt to define that.

I love to help someone. It defines the core of my life. But I have had my offers to help abused several times doing so. But what about the opinion of others? Doesn’t that affect all of us more than we even realize?  That is not necessarily a good thing, but it is sometimes hard to stand alone in decision time.  Some personalities are stronger than others in this regard.

I once saw someone in the winter on the side road quite close to my home, who had driven off the road, and was standing there with the vehicle in the ditch and looking upset. As I drove nearer and slowed down, the people riding with me told me to keep going. The person was a stranger to us all. There was no danger I could identify, and that is always important. Because I was driving, I ignored those comments and stopped anyway.  I turned in the car to discuss things, expecting the others to help by bringing a tractor over and pulling the car out of ditch.  They refused, and that response shocked me.

Another farmer nearby, who is not known as a religious man, pulled that man’s car out of the ditch and sent him safely on his way.   I had CAA, and that insurance coverage goes with the driver, not the car, so I have four free tows I rarely use, but the stranger had already phoned to get help. So I drove away.

That incident has stayed with me ever since, and it saddens me a lot.  I felt a sense of failure. In fact I felt the farmer who came to help was the better man, the better ‘Christian’.  I was ashamed of the unhelpful response. I’ll never know what prompted that response in others  but I have felt similar reactions many times over my lifetime. If one won’t help in a simple situation, can I expect a more senstive response to today’s major crisis? Not likely. So how can I encourage a more caring consideration in both environments, and in myself? I think this springs out of knowing God and His love for people, and wanting to be like Him.

I  cannot appreciate the view that, because this person on the side of the road wasn’t someone we knew and liked, we  should ignore him and drive by.  There may be other factors I cannot identify. I think each situation has to be evaluated. This was simple one. Maybe part of my own response stems from my experiences when I needed help and no one was there for me.

The truth is, no matter how accepted someone might be to a social group, let there be one sniff of a negative and people can reverse immediately and pull away. Just owe somebody some money and you’ll discover what I mean. People gossip, they talk negatively about someone else, and that easily destroys another’s good reputation.  Who hasn’t played that game as a child where someone starts a sentence at one end of a row, and listens to what is heard by the last person….and the two sentences are not the same at all.

What am I trying to say? My concern about caring reaches further as I think of the decisions that are being made by political leaders whether to help the mass of refugees. Leaders often make decisions based on those who lobby the loudest, and we know that money speaks volumes. That should not be; it just is.

There have been lots of major changes in laws in Canada that I do not agree with at all, many of which are eroding the fundamental values of the Christian faith, which I hold dear.  The Church has been silent, and yes, I have been silent as well.  I don’t like politics. I am only now beginning to find my voice again.   I hope these comments challenge your thinking, and you learn something about being a more compassionate, caring individual. I’ve felt life’s cruelty.  Can we be both–deeply wise and very, very kind?

I do want to thank the Canadian government and private individuals who have stepped forward to welcome refugees to our country.  I am not ignoring the fears we all may feel, nor am I ignoring the depth of this problem, something which we have not faced before.  We are all watching the rise of open evil, and why should be surprised if some of it appears in this Syrian crisis. People are desperate. I’m a nurse, and when Aids first appeared in the medical world, I was deeply frightened and not sure what to do at work. I had small children at home. We didn’t know what we were facing, except that it could kill.  I didn’t want to die.

It ‘s the same thing again, facing what we don’t really understand, but fearing the consequences. I don’t fault anyone for that. I think our deepest fear is that that some of these Muslims will get into our government and bring about changes that will take away the freedoms of the life as we now know it.  The domination of men over women in Islam cannot be ignored. But we miss seeing these current refugees, most of whom are Muslims, as  innocent victims, desperate for a better life, having been tormented by war.

I am not ignorning the dangers, but I don’t believe refusing the entry of  anyone based on ideology to be the answer to this desperate situation.  There seems to be a blending of two factions in current events, where I  feel they should be kept separate for decision making by political leaders. The checks and balances put in place to weed out  radicals is underway as it tries to do just that.

Writing as a Christian I know that God made special arrangements for foreigners in His instructions in the Bible, and I follow His lead.  Let’s at least consider these refugees as human beings equal to ourselves, and repent of hard hearts while we sit in comfortable, arrogant ease.

Remember, too, that a lot of world thinks we are the terrorists in their country, and they are fighting back because of this belief. I certainly don’t agree with their view, but we are not innocent. Let’s find unity by beginning with basic needs that all human beings have, and identify the ones we can all agree to for humanitarian work. Is this possible?  I certainly hope so, and some are doing that already, but hardly enough. We may discover that we have a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience. Do we know that may of our earliest families were once immigrants who arrived in country in a similar manner?

Lots of different beliefs exist about what are the basic needs of people.  A class I was teaching at college erupted when I didn’t want them to have anything on their desk during an exam. “My water bottle” became a hot topic they insisted on for a few moments.” I need to shop every Monday, says someone I know.  I have watched teens go downtown in Toronto to beg for a few hours just to make an easy $100 bucks, and then boast about their panhandling before heading off to a rock concert. Of course they already get a regular $300 per month allowance, but good shoes cost almost that much, they remind me. Those teens were my neighbours. Do they live in your house? See how hard it is to find a common unity in all this mess?  So let’s pray for our leaders, who may not know what to do.  Let ‘s pray for each other, too, cause each of us finds it hard in different ways. Are you my neighbour?

I think the changes happening today are not necessarily good ones for our future. Although you may interpret my words differently than I do, let’s focus on finding ways to help strangers coming to our land.  And if they do the same thing for us, there is hope, as we help each other.

I know perfectly well many people couldn’t care less about this. Mercy– the more we experience it from God, the more we extend it to others. The more we see our own sins, the less we focus on those of others. But remember also I Corinthians 13, the love chapter in the Bible that points out that even if we give our body to burned, and have not love, we are nothing. I wish those who blow themselves up for a cause understood that.

As I close, I want to speak to vets anywhere, those soldiers who have survived the hell of serving overseas away from families and what we consider a ‘normal‘ life before military experiences. You may struggle to find your place with people when you come home, who may not be able to understand yet what you are now going through mentally as you adjust. They can learn; they can still love, but they may need time to express it in the way you want. They may feel insecure underneath, even shy, possibly frightened. While you’ve been away killing people, maybe your wife struggled with  diapers and depression. Hardly the same world and level of experience but I bet hers was as important to her as your life was to you. She has tried to keep your children, your family  safe, unless she has given up out of despair.  Each of us has a story.

Being a young woman brings its own fears men may only read about or cause, especially when travelling unprotected, and I’ll give you an experience with that. There were many more. Our world has gone mad with violence, and people are becoming afraid in their every day life. I’m now nervous to fly. You are coming home to a changed world, hopefully protected somewhat by your military community when you first do arrive, but what if that is over for good?  What then?

I was terrified spitless the 12 hours I hid in a tiny broom closet in a train station in Bihar, India. The Communists were attacking trains arriving within feet of my thin door.   I had flown down from Kathmandu and had taken a taxi across town to catch a train to Delhi.  As we drove up to the building, I saw the crowd of angry men outside brandishing their flags, pitchforks and machetes. When I walked inside to buy a ticket, the train master told me what was happening, jerked me by the hand and hit me in the ladies’ washroom trying to cover me with brooms and mops, then jammed the door tight, and fled.

First the screams, the banging and yelling, the train whistles, and then silence for hours and hours. Finally, when dawn broke, another train arrived, and I leaped on it and fled.  I found out later that the trains were stopped fairly quickly until the uprising was put down all across the State. The silence was as hard to bear as the noise.  I stood up the whole time, and my clothes weren’t dry when light began. I was afraid to leave that closet.

When I first got home a year or so later, I became deeply upset when someone turned on a water tap and let the water run in the sink while they turned to get a glass for me from the cupboard. That was culture shock.  I had lived in a place so dry the ground cracked in huge craters, and then rain fell suddenly for only three months in the whole year. Monsoon, when it rains every day, all day long and there is too much water.

A simple drink of water was never easy because you had to boil it, and wait for it to cool down, and hope that others kept the lid on the can (big rats fell in from time to time), or add a pill to it (yuck the taste).  You may come home to a world different than where you began, and you’ve changed in that process. So don’t be surprised if the chrome in airports bother your eyes, little children’s voices are aggravating, even if you love them, and other tensions build up in your mind. Things may bother you that never did before. Hang up a punching bag in the garage and pound the daylights out of it, or go to a gym.

I envision a place for you as a retreat, but what should it be like?  I’ve been thinking about a ranch again, so I can put you on a tractor and teach you how to plough. Quiet, slow hours on the land. This has just come to me as a new idea because there is something special about the rhythm of seasons, planting crops, watching them grow, and harvesting them.  Caring for animals. That’s my dream, but what is yours? Why not make your own interests the new focus to plan around when you’ve been home awhile. Create the life you want. Dream good dreams to replace the bad ones. Find your passion and build your life around that.

You may be a danger to your family for awhile especially in your sleep, or your partner may think that.  Meanwhile you may feel isolated and alone, even rejected, and none of it is necessarily true, unless you make it so. Realize that if anyone fails you in this regard, it does not reflect on who you are. The mind can lie to us, especially when it has been drugged or in shock.  It may be really about deep fear, and feeling it too long. You need to feel safe, and that may take time. Don’t expect the people at home to know what that is like. But 70 vets have committed suicide lately, and we had better do something no matter how insignificant we may feel facing this crisis. Knowing isn’t enough, because you probably know all these things and a lot more. We have to offer hope and understanding, and that is the focus of this article.  Each of us can help certain people in life that others cannot.  Use your suffering to find those who need the comfort that you found yourself, then share that and save a life. Email me if you think you have no one.

I learned that when I was in emotional pain, I unconsciously pushed people away from me.  I wasn’t aware of that. People didn’t know what to say, how to act because the interplay was on the unconscious plane, something felt rather than something know. They told me so much later. I may not be expressing this very well. But people when feeling uncomfortable tend to pull away. In my case, I was super sensitive to rejection, and saw that in situations and people because I had been crushed.  I projected onto others my fear of more of the same.   Belief has power, so be careful what you believe.  It led me down a terrible dark path that I don’t want you to suffer. We create our suffering in our mind.  Get into counselling. Stay away from illicit drugs and recreational relationships. Go deeper and believe in yourself. Know that being alive brings with it a wonderful opportunity to share what you’ve learned with others to meet their need.  That is a purpose to live for.  But first you need to heal, and come into balance and you may not be aware of that.

There is a special place in San Francisco just for vets so you can be together and help each other.  We need a similar place here in Canada, and another place in the Eastern States.  What about other countries?  It would be nice to have a retired general to take charge. Soldiers need their leaders, sometimes even in civilian life.

Now it is no longer who is my neighbour, but loving that neighbour, and extending that boundary to welcome those who are suffering from anywhere. “Weeping may endure for a night, but JOY comes in the morning.” The Book of Psalms.  Wait for it. Look for it.  Ask God for it.

Luke 10:29. A rich young ruler asked Jesus this very question: “Who is my neighbour?”  And Jesus replied with a story about someone travelling who was beaten by thieves and lying in the road. And those religious leaders that passed by unconcerned or making excuses, until someone, a detested foreigner, helped the man to safety so he could recover.  Which person in this story are you?


Leviticus 19:34 “When an alien lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien must be treated as one of your native-born.  Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.”

Mathew 25: 35-46  Jesus said:  “I was a stranger, and you invited me in”…, and his disciples asked Him, “When did we see you hungry and feed you, thirsty, or give you something to drink? When did we see you as a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes, and clothed you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you? Jesus replied: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for Me.”

And Jesus said, “Depart from me, you who are cursed…for when I was hungry, you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to eat. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in.  Again I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do it for me.. (read the rest of the verse for a real shocker).

Deuteronomy 10:8  “For the LORD, Your God, executes justice for the orphan and widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”


Chapter Three:  How Can I Be of Help?

When I moved to Grey County here in Ontario, I was introduced to a program of local farmers growing crops that are sold in the fall and any similar money raised is matched by the Canadian Government 4:1. That means for every dollar raised, the Government gives another $4.00, all to be used to help poor people overseas.

About 15 church denominations have banded together to raise money regularly to not only feed poor people overseas, but provide start up capital for new businesses, training women in sewing centres and helping them get their own machine, even educating them as a group how to manage money so they can help their family become self sufficient. Some of this money goes to school supplies and uniforms for children. There are seed packets and fruit trees  purchased to help with gardening projects. Chickens, goats, even cows can be purchased and given to families in need while teaching them agriculture, how to care for the animals, and similar guidelines. It is for anyone in a selected area, not just for Christians.

We have hay rides in the fall in celebration of the harvest when various supporting church groups join with us in the joy of seeing first hand another crop ready to be harvested.  It is lots of fun to be bidding on various items, and the big ones like digging a water well, building a fish pond. Several organizations  are now doing the same thing, so you can make a donation at any time during the year for things that interest you. We spread our donation into small amounts for lots of things, and then tally the total at the end to see how many goats and chickens, etc. we can buy.  Everyone else is doing the same thing. $5.00 for a goat and $25, or was that $50 for one of pies someone baked? Country folk still make a lot of canned goods, and take pride in their baking. We women smile to ourselves as the guys fight over some of it. Auctions can be fun bidding against each other to take some things home,  jacking the price up at the same time for a great cause.  What have you got to offer? Why not arrange an auction in your area and give the money away to help others. But quadruple your donation by sending through a program like the one I have mentioned.

The Executive Director of  Compassionate Ministries in Canada attends our church, and we get first hand reports of her trips abroad, as she visits various established projects to make sure the funds are being spent as allocated. Most of this work is being developed in Bangladesh and Shri Lanka (Ceylon), several poor countries in Africa, and in Nepal, especially after the terrible devastation there. When she bought several truck loads of bagged grain and arranged for a convoy of vehicles from Ethiopia to take that food to Somalia two years ago, we were deep in prayer that the rebels might not intercept the trucks and steal that food being sent to the starving.  Prayer changes things and releases Gods power in the world. A mystery we do not really understand; it just works. Yeh–the food got to the people who needed it the most. And that was just the first load trying to get through. There were others. Canadians paid for that grain.

Some of these organizations could use another vehicle, so why not give them one? I know someone who did that. Vehicles wear out.  How about paying the shipping cost to get aid to those in need?

I honour my Mom today (deceased)  thinking of her paying the summer camp fees for a child she did not know from the inner city,  to get that little one out into fresh air and the pure joy of being free to run and play in safety.  She did that more than once.  You can do that. Look around you. It doesn’t have to be a child overseas. Who needs help right where you live?  Open your eyes. If possible, try to do it secretly, cause Jesus taught us to do that.

My Mom showed me through her life what giving is all about. Are you doing that today with your own children?  Do they see us smiling,  or snarling, “There goes another bleeding heart.” God forgive us. Every day is a brand new day, and God helps us to get up anyway and get going, even when we don’t want to.  I know what’s its like to curl up and lie there and want to die, and the terrible grief when one has lost someone loved, especially in terrible circumstances. Too many people are experiencing this today. But your story can be the foundation another may need to find comfort. People so often feel isolated and alone, so why not pick up and phone someone to encourage them, or go over to someone’s house and bring a simple meal with you for them.  Pour your love into doing good to offset the hatred that others have chosen to express.

It is no use getting angry at countries that don’t take care of their citizens, sometimes grabbing the wealth for themselves. I bet some North Americans are doing that even as I pen these words. But maybe we haven’t had to deal with terrible issues that many other nations of the world struggle with again and again.Trying to live through economic collapse through years of drought when crops fail. Doesn’t that remind us of the Great Depresssion in our own country?  War destroys the intra structure to give people the basic things we take for granted, like water and shelter.  Isn’t that why the Syrians were forced to flee? What if we were a refugee sitting in a tent in Turkey today with hope fading of anything better? I bet that would change our perspective. Many of these people had homes and businesses, were professionals. Of course some are poor. They are turning to us to help.

What can you and I do?  Pray for those in leadership positions across the world. Study the ideas from the work of others, think of new ones, and what appeals to you. Then let’s find courage and determination to rise above our own apathy, our own failures, set some goals, make a plan, and act on it.

What are your talents?  If you love to garden, consider creating a vegetable or flower garden this summer, or both and give most of the produce away to feed someone else, or bring beauty to someone’s life to lift their spirits.  Create a real or fake flower weath to take with you on a visit or leave in the cemetery to honour someone you loved.

What about the shoe box program through Samaritans Purse that we enjoyed just before Christmas, sending little gifts to a child in need. One of my boxes went to the Ukraine this year, some others from our church ladies group to Central America countries.  Groups all over North America pack shoe boxes for children who would not have anything without these pretty boxes. They are distributed in schools, in communities, for all children up to teens.  You can even go along and help hand them out.

I was deeply impressed to be shown a simple, cloth doll, 1500 of them, that one church made to be added to boxes that might have a bit of room. Just to be sure a child had that comfort. So if you have any craft skills, why not use that as an outreach to help those in need, whether here at home or abroad. Hospitals especially like tiny knitted head coverings for babies to keep them warm.

I saw my first surgery under the hissing of a propane lamp one dark evening, with the unconscious patient lying on a board across two saw horses, everything happening outside in the courtyard. Boiling water nearby to sterilize things a bit. No caps and gowns anywhere. We were somewhere in the back country of Northern India,  if I remember right.  I think the patient lived.   Not all of them do. Medical personnel face this daily in all parts of the world. But some suffering should not be happening, and we can do something to change that.

Babies and toddlers are crying and hungry right now in the cold, children huddled under blankets in a tent, as winter moves over the refuges in the Middle East.  That is why one can choose blankets as part of one’s donation. We can just turn up the dial on our electric blanket if we start to get a bit uncomfortable.

Several groups that have religious shows on TV offer a marvelous opportunity to either donate or travel to refugee camps and other projects. Joyce Meyer Ministries is one of my favourites, as her Bible teaching got me through the roughest period of my life. But someone else is bringing special sandles to those who have no shoes. What about joining a medical team to giving a child a new face, or dental care they have never had?

Whatever your talent or ability, even if you think you have none, just remember that God’s hands are our hands;  His feet are our feet; His money is our money. Each or us are uniquely special. If we falter in an area of our life, it usually mean we don’t know something, and we can overcome that.   We do not have to do everything ourselves. Some of you are great leaders already and know how to delegate.  Some people don’t want to be in charge, just told what to do. We each can find own place if we are willing to humble ourselves, or maybe we need to gain confidence to step forward and take charge. Ask the Great Creator what He wants you to specifically do. Don’t wait very long deciding that.  Get busy because time is running out for too many people trying to survive today. Oh to save even one life before the light of our own goes out. That is a calling worth living for.  “No greater love has a man than this, that he lays down his life for his friend.”  

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Chapter Four:  HOW TO BE A MILLIONAIRE 

Two girlfriends just attended a 3-day conference in Toronto with this title, with the goal to learn how to do it, how to get that level of prosperity.   They have shared several finance books with me to read, which I dutifully studied, as I have  many others before. Both women are middle aged, meaning they still have time to accumulate wealth.

Everyone wants more, and there is nothing wrong with that, but one challenge is  believing it is possible to be rich, especially if you work at a minimum wage job and have no savings. What do you believe?

There is a poverty mentality, which often goes unnoticed, as though to say I don’t deserve it, I am not a good Christian if I seek it, and so on. God certainly doesn’t mind. There is even a Bible passage which says God gives us the ability to gain wealth. The more we have, the more we can help others and find comfort for our families.   It isn’t money itself, but the LOVE of money, that is the root of evil, says the Bible, so as we begin to assess this path, let’s keep that in mind.  What does that warning mean? Someone has said that financial freedom is simply having enough to give away whatever we want. Each of us determines that level, says the authors, those who say they have made millions. Just be aware that the more you have, your expenses increase to balance the equation.

The real danger is greed. Do these conferences not draw on that in people to fund the pockets of the instructors?  That focus on greed to make money disturbs me.  But isn’t most of modern society focused on that?   Buy my product and I’ll give you more.   I pause to think about all this.  What about gambling in its many forms and other destructive behaviours that destroys families as a result.  When you haven’t had money for a very long time, or never, you need someone, especially a Financial Planner, to help you protect any large cash influx before you get it, or you won’t have that money  for very long. That’s a proven fact from  studying lottery winners. Be accountable to someone. If you cannot manage what income you already have, why do you think getting more is the answer?  And what do you plan to do with the these riches? Do you have careful plan in place  when a large cash influx  does arrive?  Perhaps you should stop right here and do just that, prepare/plan.

To get to a million means no credit spending, going into further debt. Send  for your credit reports and straighten them out. You might consider having a prepaid credit card where you add money to it first and then draw on those funds for a specific purpose. I use mine for travel. People are deeply in debt,  yet keep right on spending what they do not have.  The rich are wealthy because they pay attention to their money and plan how to get more. You have to do the same.  Changing the type of credit card can make a huge difference in doing that without losing the benefits of having one. It helps control spending which is the focus you should have as you begin.

If I were to summarize what these books say, it is this:  find your passion and develop it with determination, have faith in your ability, then put in place a specific plan, for a specific amount of money, for a specific time frame. Fine-tune that plan to make it perfect, and keep doing that. Push hard toward your goals. Dream big, then get to work to put your plan in place, step by step. Look for your rewards. Expect them to come.

The other things that are important are understanding your net worth, and building it systematically by saving a lot more.  You must know how much you are spending, and cut back on that to put more money into savings accounts. It also involves figuring out ways to get additional sources of income. If you are serious about taking control of your money, sit down and do a budget on paper to take a hard look where you are right now. Income less expenses. Have a plan how to pay off your bills systematically, then do it. Set limits for each basic living expense, such as food, even change a service provider for phone/internet/ TV to get a lower rate per month, or go without.  Then deliberately stay within  those guidelines. When you reach your maximum each month spent for a category, stop spending. Do without. Now that’s a shock in today’s demand for instant gratification.

Those who don’t want to work for someone else need to establish the flow of many passive incomes: things that need little maintenance but work for you 24-hours a day. These might include: vending machines; portable bill board signs you rent to others; perhaps a percentage of some one else’s paycheque for a service offered, so every time they get paid, you do too. Lots of these ideas are floating around.  Have dividends on investments that increases the fund’s value year by year (compounding interest).

The idea is to offer others an idea or a service from which someone else can find success financially.  I’d like to challenge you, however,  to look beyond yourself in all this for yourself, so your big dream can yes, fund your own life but also someone else’s life even after yours is done. We have too much, me-me-me, in all of this discussion that is not healthy. How can my dream help others too? More than just my own family.

One million dollars invested at 5% per should generate $50,000, less fees, and less taxes. If you want an average $60,000 income per year to live on, you need more than a million dollars invested to get that without having to work for someone else.  If you want to have that much to retire on, then take a  look at this online calculator which will help you crunch the numbers.

https://www.nerdwallet.com/investing/retirement-calculator

But how do we begin and find that passion? Many of us struggle to do that.

I asked myself, What one thing matters more to me than anything else, that can generate money? So I paused to list what everyone needs, since that gives the broadest audience to buy a service or product and thus produce the most money.  Here is my list in no particular order:  We all need…

Air – we need to breath quality oxygen, and our skies are getting polluted. Want to bottle oxygen and sell it?

Water– I buy mine now, since it nearly killed me with its invisible parasites. Water business is growing well,

Accommodation/ Shelter – real estate & the housing market. Land is still one of the best investments since it doesn’t disappear as easily as dollars do.

Food – our grocery stores. Want to own one? I grow a vegetable garden. Community gardens are valuable. What about packing meals and selling them to seniors? A catering business of another kind.

Elimination/toilets – even this has become a business, bringing portable units to social events.

Health & Safety – hospitals, clinics, medical professionals; what about a wheelchair business, or selling health care products to seniors. The freedom to do what we want in a place that allows us that freedom and safety.

Transportation – own an airline, bus service, a taxi service. One of the girls I mentioned is driving her car to work as an UBER driver, doing well on weekends.

Recreation & fun – I love to travel; there are spas, sports events. Buy a team. I have friends in Ireland who make horse blankets for a living.

Love & Friendship – I know someone who found his wife online through a dating service.

Education:  Since I have been a teacher in the Public System and as a homeschooler, I know there are ample needs for new material in many fields, even as simple as learning to read. I love creating books for children. I didn’t add this category at first because I don’t see it as a necessity for everyone. Education certainly is, of course, but not necessarily the way we do it today.  I believe there is new direction coming in this area because more and more people want to work from home and raise one’s own children.  I certainly did. Child care costs are skyrocketing. Do you want to tap into that as income or find ways to decrease it in your own life?  Can it be both?

I went over each category carefully and decided that I am only interested in two of them just now:  better health and transportation, for greater  freedom to enjoy life I want to the fullest, because I have almost everything else. And of the two, health right now is my greatest focus. My professional background was in Nursing, so I have a lot of skills and experience in that field already. I’ve been thinking of opening up a Health Centre for disabled seniors and others,  because I cannot find a place to help me. But I recognize its limitation to make money, even though the governments gives large grants to help seniors today. But it is often out of personal frustration that one can find new direction, a career focus, your ‘dream’ from the very thing you need yourself. Stop and think about that.

I also realized that I probably would not start something with only the prime target to make money. It’s simply not me. I see money as a tool to give freedom to do what I really want.  In most situations, I could set in motion a business, as I have in the past, but I now would want someone else to run it for me. Done that, been there. So does that mean I’ll never be a millionaire? Some of the books certainly say so. Not focused enough, not determined enough to get rich.

I already am–rich in ways many people have no idea. But, as a pensioner, money is somewhat limited in comparison to what it used to be.  But I’m willing to study this a bit more and see what suggestions are being offered. The girls came home so excited and hopeful. Let’s hope we never stop learning.

The dollars will come in their own time when the right product or service is presented in a way that stimulates people to respond.

What does all this mean? It means you and I are learning what is really important to us, sifting away the stuff that doesn’t, and in the process, beginning to fine tune that which will be our future key focus. Some seniors return to work as they struggle to find something to do. I love my retirement, and I believe I have  touched only the surface of what potential awaits the future.  Wonderful things are about to happen. I’m excited about that.   A million dollars doesn’t have to only be in money.  It isn’t really that much money any more if you want to buy a nice place. Let’s be the best of ourselves we can possibly be, whatever you believe about all this.

We need to gather a team that believes not only in our potential, but sees one’s inner beauty, and are there as much as possible for the day- to- day slugging it out to fulfill that dream. These people become the core of those we love and who care for us in return.  We help each other.  They push us when we are exhausted and discouraged, and we do the same for them.  Even one person can make a huge difference.

So, I think I may have found a new desire –something that will relate to the health field?   I pause again because my mind says, no. I didn’t think about my genealogy work.   It certainly is my passion already, since I plan to find every Gillespie record in the world and put it on my website.  I’m trying to film every Gillespie grave. How’s that for a focus?  I have enough records right now to keep me going for the next two years, but I need to hire staff to help me, or find volunteers.  I have another person in the wings I am training to take charge later one.  Time, we must make each day count. That takes focus and self discipline and puts depth in this whole message.

This column is to challenge you, share what I believe and perhaps together we can change the world a little bit. It isn’t about the status quo, but a reflection of what’s going on in life and how we can make it better. We aren’t going to agree on everything but I am looking for those who care about our world and about their place in it.  I want to help you find that, or make the road ahead seem possible and enjoyable.

I don’t want to make money by charging people access to these records. The authors say I should as part of the plan in order to get rich,  because people value something more  if it costs them.  I think of those that could not afford to do that,  or even want to.

I’ve thought of one business to consider that might generate a lot of money and that is owning a Nursing Home.   My girlfriend is paying $1200 a month to be housed and fed at a medium level unit, leaving her with only $350 a month for everything else: phone, recreation, clothing, transporation, etc. That’s reality. The Old Age Pension is only $580 per month, add your Canada Pension to that, and that is what many, many seniors have to live on. Fortunately the government provides a small subsidy for the poor, but many, many people live on $1,500 a month or less, and that is under $20,000 per year.  The offer of a million dollars is pretty tempting to someone like that.

I was a Registered Nurse in several positions in Homes For The Aged for a long time, so I know the ropes, what’s involved. They are a many more classier places that charge a lot more than that, well over $2,000 a month for its residents. The bigger the place, the larger the income rent, and supplemented with grants and other benefits for the investor.

No, I am already right on target with doing exactly what I love doing–preserving history.  I’ve found my focus. Have you found yours?

How does this relate to Social Justice?  In many ways I want to compliment these authors and motivational speakers because they gave hope to the girls and others that weekend.  And they brought about change doing so, and that in itself is something special. People don’t want to change.  This study has helped me fine tune what matters to me,  since I’ve been too focused on something else.

However, I sensed danger because I don’t believe everything being taught is necessarily sound.  Of course there are tibits of truth, or we wouldn’t bother with them. But several times I have noticed some of the fundamental principles are ignored, like living within your means–meaning, spend less than you receive as income every month.   You should have 20 million, says one guru and anything less means you aren’t believing enough, meaning you have failed.  No you haven’t.  You simply need to readjust with reality of where you, recognize a fresh day has dawned, and who how knows what joys it might hold. Dig in deeper, keep going, reevaluate, work on your plan, and believe in yourself.  I’d gladly welcome a lot less than that in dollars. I bet you would too.

I began this column talking about shelters and food banks and we’ve come to bags of money. Belief has power. Did you notice that I didn’t add ‘Faith‘ to my listing of things everyone needs. I waited until this moment. I believe man is a spiritual being, and all of our problems are answered in the Bible. God really saved me,  and in return I offer you what I have learned from this journey of life.   I’d like to challenge everyone to think about the things in your lives that are worth a lot more than than a million dollars.  Peace, contentment, love, a caring family, and a genuine caring to help someone else more than yourself. Do you have these?

It is a wonderful thing to  live in a nation where the journey from rags to riches is possible for anyone.

One final thought. Have you talked to God about all this?  He may be waiting for you to grow in your ability to manage the money you have, or something else. If you have been praying and praying perhaps this might be why the answer is delayed.   He may be waiting until you learn something important before releasing the answer you seek. He knows what is best for you and I, and seeking a million dollars or more may not be the focus you should have just now. I’m thinking of my friends as I pen these thoughts.   Whether you do or not, I certainly wish you well and great success.  Obviously having a focus and plan can  certainly help you in many ways.

Do I believe in miracles?  I certainly do. Let me share real ones that cannot be explained by just making up your mind with a strong desire and plan, which seems to be the focus of the get-rich movement currently in vogue.  All the money in the world cannot bring back someone we love who has died. Nonetheless, let’s encourage each other to reach for the stars, but keep our feet firmly planted in principles that God see us, loves us unconditionally, and helps us in our search for a fuller,  more meaningful life.

Godliness with contentment is great gain,” says the Bible

Fear not, little flock…..Ask, and you shall receive; seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.

No good thing will God withold from those who walk uprightly.

Every good gift, and every perfect gift cometh from above.

Chapter Five:  I Need A Miracle

I’m a person who has experienced real miracles in life, which has held me steady in my walk with God.  In my early twenties, I joined an International Christian movement that took me to Europe for orientation. I had been a young student at college for the past four years, so I didn’t have any money, working every summer to fund my fall classes.

Several hundred of us attended a training session in London, England for a month,  before heading off to different countries of the world that fall. I’d already been on a blitz team circling France for the summer . How I got there is a story of miracles for another time. During the conference I had decided to go to India for its two-year program of living with nationals, teaching, holding musical concerts and other public meetings, even a radio ministry,  all to share my faith and learn from others.

Naturally each of us had to raise funds to support us over the next year or so. My Mom was a widow and had her own needs, so couldn ‘t be of much help. So I knew God had to intervene to meet my financial obligation of several thousand dollars, since I wasn’t allowed to earn it in a foreign country with this group.

Every spare moment I was not in meetings or sleeping, I prayed and prayed and prayed for help, secret meetings in the agony of my soul, longing, knowing there was no one to help me but God. I wasn’t allowed in those days to send out letters seeking support, which many missionaries now do. I couldn’t plan anything to make it happen.  I had no one to turn to, even the money for my flight home across the ocean.

The conference broke up and each of us was sent to various parts of Britain for a two-week break. I went to Birmingham with a friend whose mother was doctor who was ministering to Indians. She took me with her to work, and taught  me a lot.  I got a tiny sense of what was facing me ahead in Asia.

All the participants arrived back in London at the English headquarters of OM, and we climbed into the back of several big trucks for the trip to coast, to cross the English Chanel to Belgium where the teams would form. I climbed into the back of the last truck and I heard the others vehicles begin to drive away. Someone ran out of the building, stopped my driver, and sent our big truck across the city to the church where the conference had been held.  We were told we’d be here for awhile, so those of us in the back got out and walked inside.

Someone who recognized me called my attention to a pile of mail for me on the mantelplace in the room we were in.  I began to open those letters, and the first one said, “You have received an inheritance of …..(several thousand dollars).….”  Each letter contained money, more than enough for my trip to India.  I stood there almost in shock, because, had that mail long afterwards been forwarded to Belgium, it would never had reached me in time.  God made sure I didn’t miss the money I had prayed for. I still feel a sense of awe.

It was perhaps a year later I was in Gujarat, India with a team  of girls in Northern India. Five of us were staying in a room that housed OM’s book supply for the north. Our leader, Karin got a telegram ordering us to leave the village immediately because the boy’s team was due to arrive. In that culture and time frame, men and women were not allowed to mix, so we were in a real quandry what to do. We had been out all morning at doors trying to sell Gospel booklets, and had spent our few paise already, if I remember correctly.  We found out we needed 30 rupees to take the train to the next town. All of us began to pray urgently for those funds.

Karin and I headed into the village to send a telegram to the headquarters in Bombay for help, while the girls went back out on the streets.  No help would arrive we were told, so we just stood there wondering what to do.  At that moment, I heard the sound of a bicycle bell, and looking down from the deck above, I saw a young Indian man arrive, someone that we knew.  He walked up to Karin and asked her if he could give her some money for OM books he had sold. Yes, of course, she said.  He quietly handed her 30 rupees. We were gone within the hour.

God hasn’t changed. His miracles are as marvellous as when I first experienced  these true events and afterwards.   Can he do a miracle for you?  Of course. Absolutely.  My message to you is one of hope and happiness.

Know this.  You are important. You are not just a blob of flesh. You were created for God’s glory. Whatever miracle you need today, simply go to Jesus and ask for it in HIS NAME.     The power of His Name had brought tremendous results to many people.

What is you don’t want to go that route? What else might you consider? If you are trying to make an important decision, there is wisdom in seeking the counsel of others you trust. Because these others are not emotionally involved in this situation, they can listen and advise you from their own wisdom and discernment.

Just venting sometimes helps us review a situation from a distance. Time is important in that regard.  Don’t be pressured into making a rash decision in a hurry. Wait. Think. God gave us brains to use, but anxiety in a heart can panic a person. We need a find a quiet spot and calm down, perhaps write out some notes listing both sides of the situation, then study those words.  Perhaps lay everything aside and go for a walk or jog letting the beauty of nature soothe the heart and burning a few endorphins in the process. Eat something healthy just in case your blood sugar has fallen, affecting your mood.

What miracle?  Be specific in identifying exactly what you need. Have any new ideas arisen during this process?  Find someone who can believe for you, a person who will support you during a time of obvious strain.

Remember God cares for the humble, those who seek Him for Himself, and He promises to reward those who do so.  It may be that it is your life that God wants to use in a miraculous way to help others.   Any miracle comes by admitting a need and prayer. God loves you.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world–the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life–is not of the Father, but is of the world (I John2:15,16) And the world is passing away and the lust of it, but he who does the will of God abides forever.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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