Spirit of Christ, All Year Long

HAVE A FABULOUSLY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I’ve been baffled for a long time at the notion within our society of ‘The Christmas Spirit’ during the month of December because our general culture doesn’t celebrate or acknowledge the importance of the life of Christ as being THE GIFT of Christmas. Yet they have taken on the same holiday as a means to giving gifts, showing extra kindness, reaching out to the down and out, or good tidings of joy to all people.

All of these things are good and at least show that we haven’t lost all our humanity and they clearly illustrate how the birth of Christ has impacted the world, whether they accept it or not. But, if there is no cultural basis anymore of Christmas being about Christs’ birth, then why do we hear about giving to the poor or helping in local shelters, or giving of your time and energy to help others so much more during Christmas?

Let’s not forget that these needs and sufferings of others are present all year through. This is what makes Be a Blessing so amazing! All of you give every month to people you don’t know, to impact lives you’ll never meet, and THAT’S what the Spirit of Christ is all about.

We couldn’t do this without all of us together and for you I’m so grateful.

We are ending this year at Be a Blessing with the intention to share the Spirit of CHRISTmas through gift cards to a shelter. Giving their guests the opportunity to spend time outside of the elements in a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. I spend hours of time inside my safe home, on my couch or sleeping in my own bed, while others that are also employed but can’t afford housing, are living out of their cars. It’s heartbreaking to ponder but praise God He has blessed us so we can do something tangible to help!

Be grateful for everything, BUT ALSO intentional with how we use it…

With these thoughts in mind, I would also like to propose a 2020 Budget Referendum! I’m a big fan of allocating personal finances into separate accounts for different needs, as it helps me stay focused on being intentional with what God gives. So, I was thinking…. what if we all budgeted a certain amount each month, maybe $5, $10 or $20, to give to someone JUST BECAUSE!

Send a card to someone going through a hard time with a gift card inside and an encouraging note. Or use it to fill up someone’s gas tank, or save it for a few months and pay someone’s electricity bill. Maybe you’re at Walmart and the person next to you is having a rough day and is showing high levels of frustration. How cool would it be to pull out a card just to brighten their day?! There are so many amazing things we can do with very little all year through, if we choose to be intentional.

BLESS SOMEONE JUST BECAUSE … GIVE WITH US TODAY!

Touching lives that you will never meet, is one of the most self-less gifts you could give. It’s truly the unbelievable opportunity we have, that other generations did not.

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and to participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others. Join us today!

Doing Good Revives You

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We spend our days caught in a time warp. Our buzzer goes off every morning and we’re off to the races trying to accomplish everything on our list. Attempting to keep it all together so none of the balls we are juggling fall out of line. We tend to be over-stressed and exhausted with no spare time to enrich our hearts and encourage our souls… let alone think about someone else!

God knew this human tendency. What’s even cooler is that God created us to be revived and encouraged by the act of serving others!! The common phrase ‘it’s better to give than to receive’ is based on scripture (Acts 20:35) and is actually backed up by scientific research. Reaching outside your world for someone else’s sake reduces stress, improves your emotional well-bring, and brings many physical benefits. Your mood changes, your self-esteem goes up and you just feel happier. God intended for this to be the case. He wanted us to be in-tune with other people because He is a God of relationship both toward Him and towards others. He didn’t intend for us to go through life’s hills and valleys by ourselves.

Benefits of doing good include:

Helping others feels good – it promotes positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness, it improves social support, leads to a more physically active lifestyle, and distracts us from our own problems.

Reduces isolation – People facing activities, such as volunteering, helps reduce loneliness and isolation.

Provides a new perspective – It allows us to see our own blessings as we stop focusing on what we feel we are missing and the stress it causes.

It’s contagious! – Acts of kindness have the potential to make our world a happier place.

Relieves stress – Positive emotions reduce stress, boosts our immune system, and keeps us relational minded.

Rids us of negativity – Kindness can help decrease feelings of anger and hostility, which can stabilize our overall health.

Help us live longer – Studies of older people show that those who give support to others live longer than those who don’t.

Benefits of helping others can last long after the act itself by providing a ‘kindness bank’ of memories that can be drawn upon in the future. You can help others by volunteering, mentoring, serving at your church, helping your neighbor, or getting involved with a good cause. It can be private, public, at work, at home, at the shopping mall, or at the drive through. Offering to get a co-worker a cup of coffee or bringing in breakfast can heighten your brain sensors and provide the start to a great day! This month we want to encourage all of us to intentionally think about ways we can reach out, big or small, to impact the people God has put around us.

As an organization, we’re going to get involved with a local community outreach by supplying them with Trapper Keepers for their backpack blessings. These bags will go to children of all ages who need a little bit of extra help getting the supplies they need to start another school year.

Thank you for all your prayers as we continue to bless others…. JUST BECAUSE WE CAN! 🙂

BLESS SOMEONE TODAY

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Each month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunity! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the world through established faith-based non-profits. We partner with His vision to transform hearts with the Gospel of Christ. Each donation brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

Homelessness in America

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Have you ever imagined yourself walking through a period of homelessness? Everything you own packed into your car or in the backpack you’re wearing. No where to wash your face, no table or couch to eat your dinner, no way to bathe your kids. How do you tell your kids that you have to move around every day because we can’t afford a place to live? Maybe some of you have been or are homeless.

The book of Acts talks about the early church and how they brought food, goods, and supplies together to help each other out. No one ‘went without’ it says. I believe Christ established the church to take care of the homeless and broken and to give a hand up out of love… not to pass judgement, not to critique ‘The why’ of someone being homeless, nor to stand by in silence. Compassion is what Christ modeled for us.

I wondered what the data might say regarding homelessness in America, so I did some searching and here’s a bit of what I found from www.endhomelessness.org.

January 2017 Homelessness

  • A majority of the homeless lived in some form of shelter or transitional housing
  • 34% lived in a place not meant for human habitation
  • 7% of all people experiencing homelessness were single individuals
  • 3% were people in families (adults and children)
  • 2% of people counted were veterans
  • 4% were unaccompanied children and young adults

The good thing is that since 2007, homelessness has decreased overall and across every sub-population nationally by 14.4%. However, between 2016 and 2017 the number of people experiencing homelessness has increased nationally by 7% percent. The largest increases in that time period (2016-2017) were among unaccompanied children and young adults (14.3%), individuals experiencing chronic homelessness (12.2%), and people experiencing unsheltered homelessness (9.4%).

This month we are supporting a super cool idea called ‘Connections Shelter that’s being coordinated by multiple churches. Since finding permanent building space can be tricky, these churches came together and established a system where by each facility rotates weeks of caring for the homeless population in their city. I had the privilege to volunteer this week at one of these churches and I was so impressed with their organization and flow of the evening. From volunteer scheduling, to food preparation, to their hospitality towards their guests; it was an honor to watch and do my small part with them.

Check out their site: www.connectionsmankato.org

Here’s the thing – these churches are from different denominations, their theology beliefs are different, they have different opinions about stuff but they found a way to brush that aside and focus on the needs of people. They provide beds, food, games, friendship, and safety to those who need it most. I can’t say enough about the amazing coordination and love they have exhibited together over the past few years. Hats off to you guys and Thank You for following the Lord’s direction to serve others!

 DONATE TODAY… BE BLESSED ALL YEAR LONG!

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and to participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

Serving Seniors

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They give more generously, donate the most volunteer time, have lived through some of the hardest economic times in the US, served their country unwaveringly, and contain enormous amounts of life wisdom. Our seniors are the heroes of our time and have paved the way for many of us to be where we are.

However, aging is not an easy road to walk and many times our seniors can eventually become the ‘forgotten ones’. Even in the best facilities, loneliness, anxiety and feelings of neglect are a primary cause of poor health among our older adults. No longer being able to choose what they want to eat, where they want to go, and many times what they want to do. This loss of freedom and independence can cause them to lose self-esteem, dignity, joy and love.

Jerry & Dorphia David

This months’ blessing devotes their time and energy giving back to our beloved seniors. Sharing the love and gospel of Christ to a segment of society who is nearing their time of departure. Matthew 20 illustrates that it’s never too late to know Christ and His plan of salvation, comfort and love.

Gentle Shepherd Ministries visits senior care facilities on a weekly basis where they provide one-on-one visits, church services, Bible studies, and grief support to those who struggle with despair, uselessness, or spiritual emptiness. They create a Christ-centered community and provide support, relationship and joy to many of them. The team of GSM reach 70 senior living communities, approximately 700 people a month, and has 70 volunteers ministering to the residents’ spiritual, emotional, and societal needs.

During the middle of last year, God had placed ‘seniors’ on my heart. I’m so pleased to bless this organization and be a part of what God is doing for our beloved elders.

Remember that one day; you will be a senior too 🙂 Lets’ show extra love and care!

God Bless your January, Sandy

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We become a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits. We participate in His vision to transform hearts and bring them His love! Each gift brings hope to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others. We are blessed by blessing them!

The Blessing Tree

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“EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE IS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BE A BLESSING TO SOMEONE.” This sign was sitting on my friends’ shelf and I thought it very fitting during the month of December. It’s a great reminder that it’s not only Christmas that should give us the desire to show kindness and generosity. The birth of Christ was the greatest gift to humanity. It’s out of gratefulness to our Savior that we extend love to others all year long.

I tend to write messages on my mirror as reminders to how I want to think and things I want to learn. One message awhile back said “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.” We all have battles, we all struggle, we all get frustrated, especially when God doesn’t move our mountains in our time frames and we can find ourselves in unexpected situations.

Christmas is a great time to remind us that everyone is going through something. It’s a time where we can extend additional thoughtfulness and patience to people around us or to those we don’t even know.

We have had an amazing year blessing people in so many ways and you are all to thank for that! This month we want to spread the birth and love of Christ tangibly and with our hearts to single moms and their kids. So we teamed up with ‘The Blessing Tree’ to adopt 10 people by purchasing gifts to brighten their day. We plan to also enclose cards with encouraging message that share about our great and very personal God.

There’s still a few weeks left in 2018… lets’ find ways every day to bring a smile to someone’s life! You may be the only Christ they will ever see.

God’s favor and blessings to you… See you in the New Year!!

Sandy

 

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and to participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others.

JOIN US TODAY!

Abuse & Trauma Recovery

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God reminded me earlier this month that He is looking more for our heart, than our sacrifices. A grateful heart in every circumstance trusting in Him for guidance, provision, acceptance and every good thing. It would be fairly easy for me to journal one grateful thing each day and I probably should… but that might not be so easy for someone else.

You see, I’ve been blessed with a great family, a protected childhood… an abuse free life to be honest. Oh, I have my issues but a ton of people can’t say they’ve had an abuse free life. They go through life very differently than I do and many times they hide what they have been through. They don’t know how to work through it nor do they have anyone standing with them. This morning as I was thinking about being thankful, my heart went out to all those who are struggling to see the goodness of God.

This heartbreaking reality is our focus for September. Recommended by one of you, I want to introduce you to Door of Hope. Diane founded this organization 4 years ago after surviving 25 years filled with every form of abuse. That experience gave her a unique understanding of the needs of abused women and children. Door of Hope equips people to live free from abuse and trauma through safe housing, education, support groups, trauma recovery, parenting classes and prayer ministry. It’s a safe place for women, men, teens and children to find God’s healing to overcome the trauma they have experienced.

A neat thing about Door of Hope is that not only do they care for people on an individual basis, but they also hold conferences and workshops to educate and train pastors and ministry leaders to know how to help. It’s difficult to know what to do or say, or how to really help, so including that in their vision makes perfect sense and helps tackle a wide spread concern.

Testimony – “How hard life is after being attacked and abused from age 5…dirty, unloved, not accepted, alone and asking myself, “Why me?” This conference showed me that I am worthy, innocent, valuable, clean, and most of all, loved.”

I can’t even imagine what that person went through but I know that God saw it all and it broke His heart. I love when people take their pain and turn it into a rescue for someone else. So I encourage you click the link below and take a look at this ministry. If you know anyone who may benefit from their services, share it with them. Life is too short to live broken and hurting when God has so much freedom available for you. Find the right people to help and these guys are a great place to start!

I appreciate you guys listening to my heart every month. Most of all… I love that we get to bless people and be a part of what God is doing…. just because we can. See you next month.

Please check out their ministry!

 

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits. To participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others. Join us today!

Go Beyond the Norm, Community Outreach

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Nothing we have and nothing we pursue will ever be as valuable as what we do. How we treat others, the love we give and the generosity we sow into someone’s life will always fill our hearts with joy and bring honor to the Lord. We never want to forget that human interaction is far more impactful to a human heart than electronic processes, however wonderful they may be. We need to make ourselves available to have conversations with people, to show through our actions and our interest… the love of God.

August is a month where we want to be out there… involved in our communities and being the salt and light to everyone we can. To be extra kind, to do good things for others and to make someone’s day! This Saturday, August 4th, Be a Blessing will be partnering with Love In Mankato by donating diapers to be given away during this community event, as well as donating our time to volunteer! Open to anyone, this event focuses on giving to others from what God has given to us. Each year this event draws my heart in because of how important it is to reach out beyond our normal schedules, our comfortable friendships, and our natural tendencies. Putting ourselves into a position for God to use us, however He sees fit and then watch what He does in someone else’s life.

I would like to encourage you all to look around in your community this month to find ways in which you can serve someone else. Someplace you can volunteer or help another person or organization. Give someone a ride, surprise a stranger with a compliment, help the lady with 3 kids and a cart of groceries, sow into the life of a child… there are so many ways in which we can give of ourselves without spending a dime!

So this Saturday we’re going to try coming to you live from the event here in Mankato at Sibley Park as we’ll also have a table out there giving out information about who we are. If you’re in the area, please stop by and say hello… I would love to meet you!

Hope you have a super productive month… get out there and go bless someone!

Community Outreach – – Love In Mankato

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Every month, Be a Blessing looks for opportunities to bring opportunities! We strive to be a part of what God is doing across the globe through established faith-based non-profits and to participate in His vision to transform hearts, so that they may know Him! Each gift brings hope and love to hurting people and encourages organizations as they serve others. Join us today!

Action 169 – End Exploitation

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I had the privilege to attend the Justice Awakening Conference in Minneapolis with Action 169 the weekend before the Superbowl. It was an eye-opening night with great worship, prayer and teaching from those in the trenches giving their heart and soul to bringing an end to sexual exploitation. We sponsored a few survivors with the opportunity to attend this life-changing and healing weekend. Futures are reborn and destinies are changed when people feel God’s love for them; see what they can be, and know how they can help those from where they have been. These kind of blessings are more than just financial… they are pathways to hope and restoration. Your giving changed these ladies lives over the course of this weekend. It’s more than dollars that you are investing!

ACTION169 IS A SURVIVOR LED ORGANIZATION BUILT ON AN APOSTOLIC PROPHETIC FOUNDATION OF PRAYER TO END COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION AND SUBSTANCE USE THROUGH CHRIST-CENTERED PREVENTION, INTERVENTION AND HOLISTIC RESTORATION CARE SERVICES.

Learn more about Action 169.

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Be a Blessing is a fun and fulfilling way to touch lives all across the globe! This movement provides the opportunity to impact various people and causes every month. Each gift is used to bring hope and love to hurting people, and to encourage organizations as they serve others. It takes 2 minutes to Be the Difference.

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