6 Truths About God’s Blessings
- God blesses us even though we don’t deserve it. The Bible tells us, “Out of the fullness of his grace he has blessed us all, giving us one blessing after another” (John 1:16).
- God blesses us because he enjoys doing it. Any parent can understand this. We love to bless our children. So does God. God says in Jeremiah 32:41: “I will enjoy blessing them”.
- God promises he will bless our lives if we obey him. God’s promises and his blessings are not automatic. They are conditional. You’re not waiting on God to bless you. He is waiting for you to fulfill the conditions necessary for your blessing.
- God blesses us as a witness to others. God wants to show off his blessing so that other people can see what a good God he is.
- God’s blessing can be multigenerational. God does this over and over throughout the Bible. For example, the Bible says in Genesis 25:11, “After Abraham’s death, God blessed his son Isaac”.
- God blesses us to bless others. God doesn’t bless you so you can just store up his blessings and keep them all to yourselves. God blesses you so you can bless others.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”
1 Peter 4:10-11
Why God Blesses Us So We Can Bless Others
No one sacrificed like the early church. In Acts 2:44-45, the Bible says, “All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need” (NIV). These early Christians didn’t just give their money. They were generous with everything they had. You could say they were radically generous.
What would happen through our churches if we were just as radically generous? The Bible says we’re stewards—or managers—of all that God has given us. We’re responsible to use our resources in a way that impacts the Kingdom.
God doesn’t just give you resources for your own enjoyment, but to make a difference in the world around you. God never blesses us just to sit on what we have. He blesses us so we can bless others.
That’s a hopeful, encouraging truth to remember throughout the year, because generosity isn’t something we only display at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Find ways to be radically generous, and make an impact on the people in your church, the people in your community, and the people God has strategically placed in your life.
Opportunities For You To Bless Others With Your Time, Treasures, and Talents
For those stuck at home with extra time on their hands, one tangible way they can help others in the midst of this coronavirus crisis is by donating their blood.
Considering that thousands of blood drives across the nation have been canceled in light of social distancing orders, the American Red Cross is calling on healthy residents to make appointments to donate blood.
The organization warned that the country is facing a “severe blood shortage” and in need of healthy patients to donate “life-saving” blood.
The Red Cross has implemented new measures at donation centers to ensure safety to donors and staff during the crisis.
Donate to local food pantries
There are several food pantries and homeless ministries across the nation that have made adjustments so they can still distribute food to underserved individuals in their communities.
In Washington, D.C., for example, Mariam’s Kitchen, is an interfaith homeless shelter traditionally located in the dining hall of Western Presbyterian Church in Foggy Bottom.
The shelter normally provides hot meals but has since shifted to providing take-out meals distributed in the church’s courtyard.
The organization says it serves over 300 meals a day and provides street outreach and housing programs. The charity is also providing a two-week supply of pantry items to help residents shelter in place. And they’re offering emergency funding to support the needs of guests on a case-by-case basis. To donate to Mariam’s Kitchen, click here.
In Houston, Texas, there’s the Christian Community Service Center, a charity backed by dozens of local churches. CCSC is accepting monetary and food donations for its local pantry service. According to CCSC, more than triple the number of clients are turning to the organization for help in the midst of the crisis which has led to mass layoffs.
“The CCSC food pantries are essential services — serving as a grocery store to our clients — in compliance with the ‘Stay at Home, Work Safe’ order issued by the city of Houston,” the charity’s website explains. “Your assistance is needed now more than ever.”
To donate to CCSC, click here.
Interested individuals in other areas of the country can check with local food pantries and ministries to see if they are still operating and what the protocols are for volunteer work. To find food pantries near you just Google “food pantries near me”.
Donate needed items to The Salvation Army
The 154-year-old Protestant relief organization, one of the largest in the United States, is working to provide emergency support such as assistance for rent and utilities as well as food assistance for people facing low wages and unemployment due to COVID-19.
Through its “Let’s Fight Together” campaign, the charity is calling on individuals to donate various items such as water, dry goods, toiletries, cleaning products, and hygiene products.
The organization is accepting many items, including: water bottles, unopened sparkling water, soft drinks, juice bottles, toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, deodorant, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, combs, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, sanitization wipes, hand soap, rubbing alcohol, laundry detergent, and first-aid supplies.
Additionally, The Salvation Army is looking for unopened canned goods, bags of rice, crackers and other non-perishables.
To find a Salvation Army drop-off location, click here.
Facemasks and other personal protective equipment are in high demand these days, especially at medical and nursing facilities.
Some individuals may have spare masks lying around their homes while others have taken it upon themselves to make masks for people and institutions that need them.
Those inspired to make masks to donate can follow the tutorial on how to make cloth face coverings as recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
The craft retail chain Jo-Ann offers a 10-minute video tutorial on how to make the masks. https://www.youtube.com/embed/VgHrnS6n4iA
Individuals looking to donate masks and cloth face coverings should check with their local healthcare institutions about the donation process and requirements as well as the specific needs those institutions may have.
Help struggling churches
The goal of the initiative is to encourage larger churches and faith organizations from across racial and denominational lines to help smaller churches struggling to make ends meet during the pandemic.
A Barna Group survey conducted in late March showed that nearly a quarter of churches have reduced staff hours, laid-off employees or reduced compensation. The data also showed that at least 6% of pastors are unsure or not confident that their church will be able to survive the crisis.
On Monday, the Churches Helping Churches initiative announced that 50 churches struggling financially in the midst of the pandemic so far have been selected to receive $3,000 grants from the COVID-19 Church Relief Fund.
The initiative is backed by a handful of prominent Christian leaders and Christian groups such as the American Bible Society, Pinetops Foundation, the Pulse Movement, Movement Day, Urban Ministries and City Gospel Movements.
The initiative’s initial goal is to raise $500,000 by the end of April to help at least 100 churches nationwide.
Donate to Samaritan’s Purse
There’s been much in the media in recent weeks about the work that the evangelical humanitarian charity Samaritan’s Purse is doing through its 14-tent, 68-bed emergency field hospital in New York City’s Central Park.
While much of the focus in the mainstream media has been over Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham’s views on LGBT issues and the organization’s Christian statement of faith, what can’t be lost is the sacrifices the team of Samaritan Purse doctors and medical professionals are making to assist an overworked local health system.
Through its team of 70 medical professionals in conjunction with chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, the hospital has cared for over 130 patients since it opened on April 1.
The organization’s work comes at a time in which there have been over 11,000 coronavirus-related deaths and over 123,000 cases in New York City alone, according to statistics compiled by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.
Patients come to the field hospital from Mount Sinai Health System, which has been overwhelmed in recent weeks and months.
Samaritan’s Purse is also operating another field hospital in Cremona, Italy, to help the European country’s overwhelmed health system.
Individuals looking to donate to Samaritan’s Purse’s emergency medicine efforts can click here.
Send a letter to the elderly
At a time when social distancing protocols are in place, isolated elderly people with little to no access to their friends or families can be overlooked.
The organization Love for the Elderly, which is devoted to combating social isolation with love, has initiated a COVID-19 Emergency Response as its work of delivering handwritten letters and making visits to senior facilities has become more difficult.
“Social distancing has led older adults living in long term care facilities to be isolated from their loved ones,” the organization’s founder Jacob Cramer wrote in a message posted to the charity’s website.
Love for the Elderly is calling on people to mail senior care facilities handwritten letters of encouragement to show “love to a strangers.”
“Isolation creates feelings of loneliness, which can lead to poorer physical health and quality of life. You can do your part today to embrace our elders during these scary, uncertain times,” Cramer wrote. “The CDC, World Health Organization, and Surgeon General have indicated that there is no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.”
Support efforts of other local nonprofits
With normal routines being disrupted by the virus, local nonprofits are still finding ways to do their part.
One example is Mission Hope For Kids in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, a Christian nonprofit afterschool program serving about 150 at-risk students. But with students unable to gather, the organization has shifted to giving each student’s family food and care packages every other week as a way to “serve hope” to the families.
In Los Angeles, the L.A. Dream Center is still providing food and supplies to up to 20 different outreach sites that include the communities in Watts and Skid Row. The organization is also delivering care packages with food and other resources to seniors in the Echo Park community. In addition, the Dream Center also feeds up to 700 people in the facility every day.
Many local churches are also active in encouraging their members involved in helping others.
One example is the multicampus Southeast Christian Church in Kentucky, which has created a webpage of suggestions of things its members can do to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. The list includes writing letters to isolated seniors or sending videos of encouragement to local nursing home staff. Another suggestion the church made for its members is packing meals for Mission Hope for Kids to give to families in need.
Individuals looking for ways to volunteer their time can reach out to local churches or ministries in their area about how they can best volunteer during the crisis.
Respond In Times Of Tragety
We’re all human. So it makes sense that our hearts often hurt for people impacted by tragedies here and abroad—tragedies that can leave us feeling helpless.
What can we do in response to the violence and destruction around us?
1. Pray Deeply
“Prayer is the Christian’s greatest weapon.” —Billy Graham
As believers, we look up. We seek out God through prayer—and trust in His sovereignty.
Scripture tells us prayer is one of our most powerful resources. But how can you pray more deeply?
- This article by Anne Graham Lotz, “It’s Time to Pray!”, breaks it down with tips on how to pray with humility, certainty, authority and clarity.
When you don’t have any words, or when you feel like you’re beating down God’s door with the same prayer day after day, ask God’s Holy Spirit to help you. The Bible tells us the Holy Spirit is an intercessor for us and cries out to God on our behalf.
2. Immerse Yourself in God’s Word
When you feel as if your very soul hurts from news reports of another shooting, evil act or disaster, how do you find comfort?
There is a place of refuge. The Bible tells us, “Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Proverbs 30:5).
- Here are 15 more comforting Bible verses for troubled times. Try incorporating these verses of God’s mercy and steadfastness into your prayers for those who are suffering.
- Does the Bible give us any hope for a better world? Billy Graham responds in this My Answer.
3. Guard Your Heart
“Grief can kill a person emotionally and physically. If not counteracted with God’s strength and power, our personal weakness may debilitate us.” —Billy Graham
Do our minds ever erase graphic images such as horrifying footage from tragic events?
You may have experienced what’s called secondary trauma from viewing video clips and photos on TV and social media. It’s important to recognize how these lasting impressions can affect you, as they can be physically, emotionally and spiritually damaging.
Although Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) chaplains are trained to offer hope and comfort in times of crisis, they can experience secondary trauma themselves.
- Learn how to cope with stress from troubling incidents as the chaplains do with this sound advice from RRT Director Jack Munday.
4. Care for Others
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” —Galatians 6:2
It’s important to guard your heart, but you can also support others experiencing secondary trauma—some who may be going through a personal crisis as well.
- Learn how to share hope amidst everyday tragedies through RRT’s Sharing Hope in Crisis course.
5. Support Crisis Ministry
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” —Philippians 2:4
No matter how out of control the world gets, taking action and selflessly serving others can allow God’s perfect peace to fill your heart. If you feel God leading you to help people but can’t be there in person, you can still share hope with others worldwide.
- Support the Rapid Response Team in sending chaplains to provide emotional and spiritual care to those in crisis.
- Find out more about how Billy Graham, Franklin Graham and BGEA have responded in times of crisis.
Support global COVID-19 relief efforts
Philanthropic organizations across the globe have crowdfunded millions to help global COVID-19 relief efforts.
Among them is the U.S.-based nonprofit CDC Foundation, which was established by Congress to “mobilize philanthropic and private-sector resources to support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s critical health protection work.”
The CDC Foundation has raised $43 million to support front line healthcare workers, contribute to global response efforts worldwide, provide medical supplies, deploy emergency staffing to U.S. Health Agencies and assist in clinical research. To give to CDC Foundation, click here.
A nonprofit called Direct Relief, which is active in all 50 states and over 80 countries, is working in “overdrive” to get protective gear and critical care medications to as many health workers as possible. The organization coordinates emergency deliveries for medical facilities across the U.S.
This week, Direct Relief launched the COVID-19 Fund for Community Health with a $25 million initial infusion “to support healthcare workers’ safety and the essential services they provide.”
The Center for Disaster Philanthropy established the COVID-19 Response Fund to “support preparedness, containment, response and recovery activities for those most affected and for the responders.”
Support fundraising efforts organized by FaithByTheWord Ministries
FaithByTheWord Ministries was founded as a means to encourage everyone to get into The Word. The Word is the means through which we are able to draw closer to The Lord so we can seek his mercy, love, and grace in times of sickness, sadness, or sorrow. It is through faith in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that we can know we have a home in Heaven someday and share in His love, shelter, and protection while we live in this world.
At FaithByTheWord we are blessed with the technical talents God has provided us to be able to assist individuals and organizations with their financial needs thru the technology provided by GoFundMe. Click here to see the current fundraising campaigns organized by FaithByTheWord.