#Charity365

You can’t give more than 100% but many giving even 1% can accomplish much, much more.

Five years ago I wrote about the struggle to begin giving charitably. My original concerns included questions such as “What charities would I give to?“, and “How do I donate in a personally satisfying and sustainable way?” It’s amazing to see where I am now compared to then and the relatively small, very gentle, very spread apart steps it has taken to this point in my giving. A lot has changed, and I think improved, in my giving and in my thinking about giving, but one thing is still at the core: Satisfaction, sustainability, and scalability. I’ll explain all that below.

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The Fourth Year

The fourth year is a dead, dry sea of shifting sands. Each week is a new staggering climb to crest a new mountain of sand, to be greeted again by another vicious valley and one more dead, dry sea of shifting sands.

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Happy Easter

So the LORD God said to the serpent [in the Garden of Eden], “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

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The Idealist

Aaron Swartz wanted to save the world. Why couldn’t he save himself? -Slate

On Jan. 4, 2013, Aaron Swartz woke up in an excellent mood. “He turned to me,” recalls his girlfriend Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, “and said, apropos of nothing, ‘This is going to be a great year.’ ”

On the morning of Jan. 11, one week after he’d insisted it would be a great year, Swartz woke up despondent—lower than Stinebrickner-Kauffman had ever seen him. “I tried everything to get him up,” she says.

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Merry Christmas!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all might believe. He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.

The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 1

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

 

Scary Dreams

I woke last Friday morning from a scary dream. I was traveling around the downtown Toronto subway system, trying to make my way around the bottom of the U. At some point, I got out of the subway system and started walking on the street. Nothing was scary at this point. I was just trying to make my way around downtown Toronto. I guess I was walking up the street to the next subway stop when I heard the explosion.

It was that kind of explosion. That deep, thunderous, rolling explosion. The kind that tears through your thin courage veneer and lays bare your soul. In my dream, I was so scared I didn’t turn my head for a while but I kept walking. People were looking, though, all staring, speaking in frantic tones, and looking down at the waterfront.

When I did turn my head, my fear was cemented. A massive warship was broken in charred, mangled pieces. It felt close enough to touch. The world seemed to turn grey, and for some reason it started to get cold. It felt like the end.

At some point in the dream, I started praying to God to save me.

I found myself getting into the back seat of a car with some couple in the front. In the backseat was a long-sleeved sweater, a toque, and pants. I put these on to ward off the cold. I remember feeling whole, bound up, confident that I could deal with the cold, in a much better condition than those frightened people running all around me to deal with what was coming next.

Shortly after this, I must have wakened because I don’t really remember any more of the dream.

When I awoke, that fear was clinging to me. I was happy that it was just a dream but my mind reminded me of a scene in a movie I once saw.

In the film, Constantine, there is a scene of a woman having a vision of Hell by being held under water. When her vision is finished she struggles frantically from the bath and exclaims “I knew it was real! I always knew it was real!” I’ve always remembered this line because it rings true to the feeling in the pit of our stomachs in some certain horrifying moments of our lives.

Having awoken, I was comforted by the knowledge of God’s love for me, love that overcomes fear,

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:16-18

From this we gain a peace that confounds understanding,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7

How do you get this peace?

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Then, go out and change your ways,

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
Philippians 4:8-9

We all know it`s real. We always knew it was real…

Sarcastic Jesus

I came across Luke 13:31-34 today, an account of Jesus’ remarks about Jerusalem when he was told to leave because Herod was looking to kill him,

At that time some Pharisees came to Jesus and said to him, “Leave this place and go somewhere else. Herod wants to kill you.”

He replied, “Go tell that fox, ‘I will drive out demons and heal people today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will reach my goal.’ In any case, I must keep going today and tomorrow and the next day—for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem! Luke 13:31-33

I was mildly amused at Jesus calling Herod a ‘fox’, you don’t hear that kind of language very often from Him, but I was really surprised at Jesus’ painfully sarcastic comment, “for surely no prophet can die outside Jerusalem!” Jesus was heading to Jerusalem in the full knowledge that He would die there.

Isn’t it amazing thar our Lord and Saviour, Who died by crucifixion for our sins, was able to maintain a sense of humour about it all. Then again, perhaps, that old saying, ‘if we didn’t know how to laugh, we wouldn’t know how to respond to some things’ may apply here.

Note, also, that His use of sarcasm was directed at Himself. It is our modern use of sarcasm against others that can hurt so very deeply.

Lest we overemphasize Jesus’ sometimes flippancy, His very next words leave no room for trivializing his remarks or deeds,

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Luke 13:34

To me, reading the gospels again and again has shown me something new each time. I’m always hit — hard —  by some sections and I always seem to come out with something new. It’s a gold mine in there. In this case, I see again just how completely human Jesus was alongside his wholly divine nature.

G.K. Chesterton, of course, might suggest that what we think of as completely human may be more like God than we suppose…

There was some one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth; and I have sometimes fancied that it was His mirth. (Orthodoxy, 1908)

Selah.

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours! May this season bring you happiness and joy in Jesus Christ and his victory over sin and death! Christmas, celebrating the birth of the Saviour, marks but the beginning of his Victory over sin and death!

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Isaiah 9:6-7

Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, came to save sinners like you and I.

The good news is joyously simple…

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to you and yours! May this season bring you happiness and joy in Jesus Christ and his victory over sin and death!

Merry Christmas to you and yours! May this season bring you happiness and joy in Jesus Christ and his victory over sin and death!

26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,

27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.

28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,

33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Luke 1:26-33

Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, came to save the sick in sin like you and me.

The good news is joyously simple…

16  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16