VIDEO Anonymous Kindness – Homeless man…

When you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3

When I first graduated from college, I found myself needing to adopt a strict grocery budget—twenty-five dollars a week, to be exact. One day, while entering the checkout line, I suspected the groceries I’d selected cost slightly more than my remaining money. “Just stop when we reach twenty dollars,” I told the cashier, and I was able to purchase everything I’d selected but a bag of peppers.

As I was about to drive home, a man stopped by my car. “Here’s your peppers, ma’am,” he said, handing the bag to me. Before I had time to thank him, he was already walking away.

We give only because of what our generous God has so lavishly given us

Remembering the simple goodness of this act of kindness still warms my heart and brings to mind Jesus’s words in Matthew 6. Criticizing those who made a show of giving to the needy (v. 2), Jesus taught His disciples a different way. Instead of making giving all about them and their generosity, He urged that giving should be done so secretly it’s like their left hand isn’t even aware their right is giving (v. 3)!

As one person’s anonymous kindness reminded me, giving should never be about us. We give only because of what our generous God has so lavishly given us (2 Corinthians 9:6–11). As we give quietly and generously, we reflect who He is—and God receives the thanksgiving only He deserves (v. 11).

Have you ever been the recipient of anonymous kindness? Share your story at Facebook.com/ourdailybread.

Giving quietly and generously reflects God’s generosity.

By Monica Brands 

INSIGHT

Today’s article describes acts of giving motivated by humility and kindness. There is no greater example of kindness and generosity than our God. Paul wrote that God’s kindness was at the heart of our rescue: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (Titus 3:4–5). Peter challenged to spiritual growth those who had “tasted the kindness of the Lord” (1 Peter 2:3 NASB). And Paul wrote to the Romans: “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4 NASB). Paul made it clear that God’s kindness is behind the call to repent—to change our minds about our sin and our need of God’s forgiveness. When we are generous to others, we model the generosity and kindness our loving God has shown to us.

Bill Crowder


Homeless man… is the pastor?

Pastor James dresses up as a homeless person in front of his own church to see what people do…

From Earth to Eternity

But Abraham said, “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.” Luke 16:25

The choices we make now ultimately determine the way we spend eternity. And our choices affect those who will be here long after we are gone. Through this parable of the rich man and the poor man, we see that there is also a relationship between our choices on earth and our condition in eternity.

From here on earth, in the midst of daily living, it is often hard to understand eternal consequences. But in this parable, as the veil is pulled aside on the afterlife, we have a glimpse into our own potential destiny. On earth, the rich man lacked compassion, and there was no compassion for him in eternity.

The tragic part of this story was not just the mistreatment that occurred on earth but the torment that endured throughout eternity. We cannot come back and change our lives once they are gone.  Now is the time to commit ourselves to Christlike living—it is the only decision that will follow us into eternity.

It does not require great learning to be a Christian and be convinced of the truth of the Bible. It requires only an honest heart and a willingness to obey God. Albert Barnes

Extraordinary Generosity

Joses, who was also named Barnabas… having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet. Acts 4:36-37

His name was Joses, but the apostles gave him a nickname—Barnabas, “Son of Encouragement.” He became a powerful leader in the Early Church. The first time we see him in Scripture, he is providing for the needs and ministry of others.

Bob Shank wrote, “Barnabas’ role in the early church made him aware of the unusual financial challenges in supporting the Pentecost pilgrims who had come to the city for their festival and had found faith in the Messiah. They stayed with their travel possessions that were exhausted and then became dependent on the hospitality of the local believers. Barnabas… sold a piece of property that he owned and transferred the funds to the apostles for immediate assistance in caring for the new Christians.”1

Barnabas knew he could never out-give God, and that knowledge fueled his generosity. Giving to God and to His work displays confidence in Him as our ultimate provider and enables us to be sons and daughters of encouragement.

Barnabas was not simply an observer or verbalizer. He acted to meet the extraordinary need with extraordinary generosity. Bob Shank

VIDEO Missionary’s Master and Teacher – Jesus Washes The Disciples’ Feet

The Missionary’s Master and Teacher

To have a master and teacher is not the same thing as being mastered and taught. Having a master and teacher means that there is someone who knows me better than I know myself, who is closer than a friend, and who understands the remotest depths of my heart and is able to satisfy them fully. It means having someone who has made me secure in the knowledge that he has met and solved all the doubts, uncertainties, and problems in my mind. To have a master and teacher is this and nothing less— “…for One is your Teacher, the Christ…” (Matthew 23:8).

Our Lord never takes measures to make me do what He wants. Sometimes I wish God would master and control me to make me do what He wants, but He will not. And at other times I wish He would leave me alone, and He does not.

“You call Me Teacher and Lord…”— but is He? Teacher, Master, and Lord have little place in our vocabulary. We prefer the words Savior, Sanctifier, and Healer. The only word that truly describes the experience of being mastered is love, and we know little about love as God reveals it in His Word. The way we use the word obey is proof of this. In the Bible, obedience is based on a relationship between equals; for example, that of a son with his father. Our Lord was not simply God’s servant— He was His Son. “…though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience…” (Hebrews 5:8). If we are consciously aware that we are being mastered, that idea itself is proof that we have no master. If that is our attitude toward Jesus, we are far away from having the relationship He wants with us. He wants us in a relationship where He is so easily our Master and Teacher that we have no conscious awareness of it— a relationship where all we know is that we are His to obey.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

I have no right to say I believe in God unless I order my life as under His all-seeing Eye. Disciples Indeed, 385 L


Jesus Washes The Disciples’ Feet – (John 13:1-17)

VIDEO What Love Is This – Approved to God

Approved to God

If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can. If you don’t, other people may miss out on the blessings that come from knowing the truth. Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else. But you must be willing to go through God’s winepress where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle, experiment, and rehearse your words to express God’s truth clearly. Then the time will come when that very expression will become God’s wine of strength to someone else. But if you are not diligent and say, “I’m not going to study and struggle to express this truth in my own words; I’ll just borrow my words from someone else,” then the words will be of no value to you or to others. Try to state to yourself what you believe to be the absolute truth of God, and you will be allowing God the opportunity to pass it on through you to someone else.

Always make it a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study. The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Wherever the providence of God may dump us down, in a slum, in a shop, in the desert, we have to labour along the line of His direction. Never allow this thought—“I am of no use where I am,” because you certainly can be of no use where you are not! Wherever He has engineered your circumstances, pray. So Send I You, 1325 L

 


 

Kari Jobe: Where I Find You: Christmas Edition. New Song in 2012.

The Place for Ministry

“His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ ” (Mark 9:28). The answer lies in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. “This kind can come out by nothing but” concentrating on Him, and then doubling and redoubling that concentration on Him. We can remain powerless forever, as the disciples were in this situation, by trying to do God’s work without concentrating on His power, and by following instead the ideas that we draw from our own nature. We actually slander and dishonor God by our very eagerness to serve Him without knowing Him.

When you are brought face to face with a difficult situation and nothing happens externally, you can still know that freedom and release will be given because of your continued concentration on Jesus Christ. Your duty in service and ministry is to see that there is nothing between Jesus and yourself. Is there anything between you and Jesus even now? If there is, you must get through it, not by ignoring it as an irritation, or by going up and over it, but by facing it and getting through it into the presence of Jesus Christ. Then that very problem itself, and all that you have been through in connection with it, will glorify Jesus Christ in a way that you will never know until you see Him face to face.

We must be able to “mount up with wings like eagles” (Isaiah 40:31), but we must also know how to come down. The power of the saint lies in the coming down and in the living that is done in the valley. Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13) and what he was referring to were mostly humiliating things. And yet it is in our power to refuse to be humiliated and to say, “No, thank you, I much prefer to be on the mountaintop with God.” Can I face things as they actually are in the light of the reality of Jesus Christ, or do things as they really are destroy my faith in Him, and put me into a panic?

WISDOM FROM OSWALD CHAMBERS

Always keep in contact with those books and those people that enlarge your horizon and make it possible for you to stretch yourself mentally. The Moral Foundations of Life, 721 R

Independent Man

Jerry Gibree knows what it means to walk by faith.

Jerry Gibree watched his left hand with both bewilderment and intense concentration. He was trying out a state-of-the-art prosthesis that translates muscle impulses into movement, but it wasn’t exactly instinctive. Thinking clench opened the mechanical fingers; open made the wrist twirl. This would take some reeducation.

Adjusting to a new hand and leg promised to be challenging, but Jerry welcomed the opportunity to regain a measure of self-sufficiency. At 66, the war vet had lived his life undaunted and self-reliant—an embodiment, of sorts, of his native Rhode Island’s iconic statue, the Independent Man. Until the accident.

A text message from the leader of our home group interrupted that peaceful Wednesday afternoon: Pray quick for Jerry. He has been hurt and 911 on the way. More when I know.

A very long short time later, a second message arrived: Marge just called sobbing. Sounds very serious. Maybe a crushing injury to leg and/or hand?? All I could understand was she didn’t know if he was going to make it.

Then a third: Went to OR at 3:40. Keep praying his leg and hand can be saved.

In storms that tore through Atlanta on June 13, 2013, straight-line winds had toppled a dozen trees and hung up several more at the Gibree home in suburban Roswell. Damage in the area was so extensive that tree services were booking three weeks out. Waiting, however, wasn’t an option—since their daughter’s family shared the property, leaving the yard in precarious condition was too dangerous for the children.

Jerry Gibree
And, as it turns out, for Gibree himself. Though the retired fireman had extensive experience in construction (which included dismantling their Tennessee pre-Civil War log home and rebuilding it in Georgia), removal of the stricken trees proved unpredictable—and just a hair shy of fatal.

Because the house was undamaged, Jerry initially considered cleanup no big deal. He spent the morning of the 19th clearing the yard, and when his wife Marge and their daughter Kerrin called him for lunch, he declined, preferring to complete the final area. But after the women returned to a project in the basement, the suspended tree Gibree was working on dropped and rebounded.

He didn’t see it but heard his leg snap like a dry pine branch. Then, as the tree went by, it caught his wrist and peeled his hand back.

The basement was out of earshot, but Kerrin’s husband Bill had been delayed in leaving for work. Perceiving repeated staccato cries of “Help! . . . Help!” he ran out to discover his father-in-law’s dire predicament. Despite profuse bleeding, Jerry somehow never lost consciousness, and the paramedic training that had saved others’ lives now helped save his own. He sent Bill to fetch Kerrin and leather belts—and explained how to slow blood loss with tourniquets and elevation of the wound. Maneuvering the smashed leg up onto the fallen tree was a gruesome task for Gibree’s daughter, but it kept her father alive till rescue workers reached the scene.

Jerry stayed conscious all the way to the trauma center, where son Seth met the entourage. The last thing his father told him before being taken to the O.R. was, “I think I’m dying.” That was an accurate read on the situation: Gibree flatlined three times during the 10-hour operation. But thanks to a skilled team of four surgeons—hand, orthopedic, vascular, and trauma—plus 38 units of blood, he survived day one, still in possession of his crushed limbs.

He remained in critical condition and was kept in a drug-induced coma for 10 days. During that time, doctors found it necessary to remove his left hand; the following week it was decided his leg wasn’t salvageable, either. With surgery taking place on July 4th, Independence Day acquired new meaning for the family.

Those of us who knew him well had trouble imagining what life would be like for Jerry, who was always wielding either a home-improvement tool or spot-on—and sometimes gruff—sense of humor.

“You know, none of this is bad. If this is what God has for me now, I’m fine with it.”

Not many days after the amputations, I asked him how he dealt with waking up to such changes. Jerry lifted what remained of his arm and said, “You know, none of this is bad. If this is what God has for me now, I’m fine with it.” Seeing the turn of events as the Lord’s plan, he was sure God had good purposes in mind.

Marge likewise faced the tragedy with trust. Already one with a solid routine of quiet time and Christian music, she doubled down on devotions and prayer, which kept her moored during those turbulent days of progress and setbacks. “Every morning through the whole thing,” she said, “I would either hear a song or read something in Scripture that set me for the day.”

For friends and family, it was impossible to witness the Gibrees’ acceptance of their situation without wondering how we would respond to such life-altering circumstances. And the couple’s faith, which encouraged and challenged our own, was about to get a wider audience.

Technology—and a Megaphone

Kerrin and Seth started a CaringBridge website so that after her quiet time, Marge could summarize Jerry’s status and whatever message of hope was keeping her afloat that day. Not only did the family receive powerful support through readers’ replies, but journaling also confirmed what Passion City Church’s Louie Giglio teaches—that when Christians stay focused on the cross, their suffering becomes a “megaphone of hope” to the world. Logging more than 16,000 visits, the blog elicited over 30 pages of guestbook replies; many bore out the loudspeaker idea, like the note by a new believer who gained a sense of peace from witnessing Jerry’s faith in action. “Such an amazing thing to put all control into God’s hands,” she wrote. “Just hearing what faith can do in the most frightening, horrific circumstances has strengthened my [own].”
“I can see God weaving a tapestry of our lives. We have a long battle ahead, but with God, all things are possible.”

Marge’s journaling ministered near and far, as her words connected with people via prayer lists at churches around the country. The correspondence was overwhelming. Day after day, she received replies testifying to how God was using her family’s circumstances to impact not just friends and relatives but also strangers she’d otherwise never meet. The messages frequently mentioned being inspired by the Gibrees’ attitude, thanking them for sharing the beauty of their life in the midst of pain. One person wrote, “It MEANS something to know [that], like the heroes in the Bible, you can stand strong in faith, yet weak as a human. It means those ‘stories’ are not just stories, but the truth. It solidifies my faith in Jesus and allows me to accept my walk with just a little more humility.”

Blogging also gave Marge an opportunity to piece together how God had been working over 50 years to prepare them for this time. Three weeks after the accident, she wrote about a pattern coming into focus. First, her lifelong friendship with Jeanne Marie Campbell—a young neighbor left quadriplegic by polio—made Marge comfortable and knowledgeable about caring for someone with disabilities. Next, Jerry expected to make a career of air traffic control, the work he’d learned in the military, but was forced to take time off after returning from Vietnam with hepatitis. When a fireman academy opened nearby, he changed direction and instead became a paramedic. Then in 2003, 11 years after moving their log home to Roswell, Jerry built an adjacent garage, which he converted in 2009 to a dwelling designed for the needs of old age. When the Gibrees moved in, Kerrin and her family took over the big house. “I can see God weaving a tapestry of our lives,” Marge wrote. “We have a long battle ahead, but with God, all things are possible.”

Making Strides; Losing Ground

The battle, in fact, was about to intensify. In October, a fungal infection—likely contracted from the tree’s bark—showed up in Jerry’s left femur. Besides halting progress with his prostheses, this development also necessitated three-hour I.V. treatments 78 days straight. Not only were the side effects uncomfortable and enervating, but the relentless infection ultimately caused three further “revisions” of the amputation, rendering the artificial leg unusable.

Despite this protracted setback, Jerry was accepting of the additional surgeries, having undergone at least 20 orthopedic operations prior to the accident. “I’ve got a lot of spare parts, that’s for sure,” he said, itemizing a plate in his neck, fused vertebrae, and a knee replacement, ironically in what is now his remaining leg.
Gerry Gibree 1
“What’s your most difficult challenge?” I once asked him. “The hardest thing is always the next thing,” he said. “Right now, it’s trying to get comfortable with the [leg] prosthesis. They constantly have to tweak something—I call it ‘a thousand little adjustments.’”

But then he reconsidered. “Something tough? My pride.” He’d never viewed that as one of his failings, because he wasn’t a boastful person. The accident, however, made him realize pride takes many forms. Jerry was always glad to do things for others. “But boy,” he said, “I have trouble accepting help.”

With the ever-present twinkle in his eye, he chalked it up to being from Rhode Island. But perhaps there’s more truth than Jerry realizes to identifying with its famous statue. The smallest state has a rich spiritual history. Roger Williams—the original inspiration for the Independent Man—established Providence as a refuge for freedom of worship. With “Hope” as the state’s motto and the anchor its symbol (see Heb. 6:19), Rhode Island’s heritage suggests the real value of independence: the freedom to live with properly placed dependence.

The ordeal brought that into focus for Jerry, so he has crafted a mission statement for his ongoing recuperation: “May I not become a victim of my seeming improvement or progress.” Because he fears falling into Israel’s pattern of drifting from God in times of self-sufficiency, he is able to say, “The accident may be the best thing that ever happened to me.”

By Sandy Feit

Photography by Andrew Thomas Lee

http://intouch.org/read/magazine/features/independent-man

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