Tuesday, May 19, 2009


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When I decided on the theme of poverty for this blog post I thought it would be very easy to write about. I thought I would have something down in a very short time, but once I started to think about it, I found my thoughts like an onion – each time I got through one layer there was another. Poverty is a very deep and complex subject. It occurred to me there are two sorts of poverty – physical poverty and spiritual poverty. After ruminating long and hard I also discovered the two are connected in many ways. In some ways, if you 'get' the spiritual end of tihngs it takes precedence over the physical. Some scriptures immediately come to mind:

Matthew 5:3

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Proverbs 22:9

A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

Mark 10:25

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.

Now I would not class my husband and myself as being rich. We live in a rented house, we have one vehicle. We live on one income. We own one old tv which works with old, broken rabbit ears and receive three channels, and these not well. I buy over 90% of my clothing and household items from either yard sales, thrift stores or at liquidation stores. We only have one credit card and that's used only for emergencies mostly. So, according to the world's view we are definitely not rich.


or this? and why, why you, why me?

But I FEEL rich. I can't tell you one thing I 'have to have' at this moment. I feel like even if I never bought another piece of clothing or most things – I'd not have done without. I'm very content. And I'm pondering what this means when I know that there are so many needs which I have the power to fulfill. What a tremendous responsibility! One thing I DO know, God has not blessed us with all we have to simply hoard it.

this? (without the fancy dish or table setting...)

or this? (half this gets TOSSED out anyways!)

I'm so grateful that God is working in my heart to cause me to think about how to be a good steward of what He's blessed us with in our finances. I find myself questioning even the simple act of having an extravagant coffee or dessert. I wonder whether I need another shirt/skirt/lipstick. I'm not saying I simply stop buying these things, but I do try to translate what each of these items could mean if I put this money instead toward a charity or good cause. I have questions like:

yes, even your PENNIES!

What if everyone present at church one Sunday would reach into their pockets, turn their purses upside down and give every single CENT. Even if it were not MUCH, it would still be something. Multiply it times 52 (weeks in a year) and I think we would be stunned to find out how much this translates. This is pocket change – 'spare' change. Some people live on what we carry around not doing anything more than making a pleasant jingling sound. I've even known people who consider anything less than a quarter not worth stooping over to pick up off the ground.

What would be better – to give everything we own away and go live amongst the poor and help them – or – to stay right here and, using our talents, finances and wisdom to seek the will of God in how to use what we have to bless others? I think its a hasty decision to simply choose the first option. In some ways this would be the easiest thing to do. Its so straightforward and 'pat'. Don't get me wrong, I'm entirely grateful and in admiration for someone who might choose to do this, but on the other hand I totally see how using what we have right now can impact others just as effectively if done wisely.

I think a danger of simply choosing the first option might be ineffective if we simply wind up being one of the poor ourselves and become another 'need' to someone else. We must be careful to think the process through. If your talent lies in teaching people how to become self-sufficient, you speak another language, you like to travel and you have a heart for other cultures, then the first option might be a perfect fit – but if you are the second type of person, perhaps we're better off staying home and financially assisting the person who chooses to go out into the mission field. I have complete admiration for my brothers and sisters who are led to do missions. Another option is to help fill the needs in your very own community with both your financial assistance and volunteering your time. Or even to support a reputable charity organization to realize this help in a bigger way in other areas of the world.

I guess this point of choosing carefully whether to 'go do' or 'stay do' could be illustrated by the picture of a rescue. There is a local river which, as it flows into the lake, has several places which have dams to regulate the flow. The river is not a particularly fast flowing one but wherever the barriers are it creates a powerful undertow and turbulence. For some strange and tragic reason it occasionally attracts teens to come and swim anyways - and there have been fatalities. There are numerous signs posted warning of the danger.

Not all of the deaths were a result of one kid (even though he should not be swimming here at all!) getting too close to the barriers and the suction proving to be too much. But then of the deaths have occurred when a second teen jumped in to save their friend without a thought to their own safety. VERY noble – but obviously not so smart. In this case it would have been wiser for the surviving teens to have called for help. It would not have saved the first person but it would have prevented the death of a second person. Would I do the same? Its really hard to say – in an immediate situation we often don't have time to think. With our finances we do. And sometimes our finances can mean life or death to someone who lives in extreme poverty.

someone's Grandpa, father - BROTHER TO ALL OF US...

YOUR grandma, sister, friend?

So why not think about what we have – and how it can best be used? Lets thank God for giving us a heart that questions our 'wealth' (no matter how much or little this might be) – and ask Him to guide us to be wise stewards of what we have – right now!

For me personally – digging around in my purse for change (besides being a tad noisy and embarrassing) is a physical way to remind myself to GIVE. Its also a reminder to me that even when I feel like I'm 'broke' – I'm not, really.

I also have a ton of other questions swirling in my mind – things like “what if God gave all the money to people who had pure hearts?” (that's a complex and tricky one, for just because we might have a pure heart we might not have the WISDOM to use it wisely – we'd probably give it to EVERY need, legitimate or not)

Do YOU have questions or thoughts you can share about our topic? You can post comments here on our blog by looking for the COMMENTS at the bottom of this blog post and clicking on it. No need to register or anything. You can also email me at occwomenonline@gmail.com We look forward to hearing from you.

So today, I've covered mostly about financial poverty – but I'd also like to explore the subject of spiritual poverty. Perhaps I'll post next week on this topic. I found this poem online which I think is a good preparation for this topic.

The Legacy

She could not give her children gold,
So she gave them faith to have and hold.

She could not give them royal birth...
A name renowned throughout the earth.
But she gave them seeds and garden spot
And shade trees when the sun was hot.

She could not give a silver spoon
Or servants waiting night and noon.
She gave them love and a listening ear
And told them God was always near.

She could not give them ocean trips
Aboard majestic sailing ships.
But she gave them books and quiet time,
Adventures found in prose and rhyme.

She could not give them worldly things
But what she gave was fit for kings.
For with her faith and books and sod,
She made each child aware of God.

attributed to Alice Leedy Mason

I'm going to also inviting each of you to listen to an episode of Midday Connection – a radio show from Moody Bible Institute. Its a talk show hosted by Anita Lustrea and Melinda Schmidt. You can listen to the show by clicking HERE and then, from the archives, choosing the May 14th show, called Poverty. Just click your mouse on the word LISTEN to the right and your computer should open up Windows Media Player and play the audio show for you. Alternately, if you own an ipod you can download the program as an audio podcast directly. I'm hoping if as many of us can listen (sometime in the next one to two weeks) to the show we can use it to enrich our bible study and we can discuss it on our Wednesday night msn meeting.

When you look at poverty with your ♥ HEART♥ instead of your wallet, God transforms something of reluctance and sacrifice into something of a privilege and a joy.



Saturday, June 6, 2009 - Southern Country Gospel Trio: “One Heart” at the Osoyoos Baptist Church @ 7:00 on. Admission is free.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009 at Osoyoos Christian Centre – Penny Buhr Johnson. Formerly from Oliver, now moved to Saskatchewan. Penny taught 'Music for Young Children' for many years in the valley and was chosen 2004 Teacher of the Year for the South Okanagan and District. Penny has pursued her dream and fulfilled her desire to record her music and now has two CD's to her credit. She was also awarded CGMA 2008 Female New Artist of the Year and GMA 2008 Instrumental Semi-Finalist. Penny's has composed all her own music and features a unique mix of jazz, blues and ballad type songs. Why not visit her website to listen to some audio clips, read her biography and purchase her music online! Just click HERE.

Ahem! Since we will be providing desserts for the night of Penny's concert we welcome donations of packaged cake mixes. We hope to make a ton of cupcakes. This may lead to a later 'baking' date at the church, we will keep you posted.


We are hoping to raise enough funds to install a new parking curb and drain. This is a 'have to do' project for safety reasons. (if you've ever visited our church and parked above the highway with nothing between you and a steady flow of traffic 100 ft. Below you KNOW what I'm talking about) The curb will cost $1365.00 and we require 20 parking blocks as well @ $40.32 each = $806.40, making a total of $2171.40. We have raised $1920.96 so far. If you feel the need to exercise the theory of loosing those small coins from the bottom of your purse this might be a great way to start :)


This spot could be yours – leave a comment or email us at occwomenonline@gmail.com and we will add your prayer request to our blog, ensuring our readers will join in to lift your needs. Thank you for allowing us to do this for you.


Thank you to all the women who turned out to help our Sister Isabelle by packing and moving her belongings to the new residence. Its a beautiful apartment she's going into and it should be nice for her.


The women of Osoyoos Christian Centre meet online on MSN Messenger each Wednesday night at 7:00. We would love for you to join in our conversation. If you need help getting set up just email me at occwomenonline@gmail.com and I'll walk you through getting set up. Alternately, if you already are familiar with MSN messenger you can just 'be here' on Wednesday night and add me as a user. My username is lalalime.

Thank you for visiting our blog!

All photos used in this blog post are under Creative Commons.

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