1 John 3:17 NLT
If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?
As I sat in a meeting yesterday I heard and read some things that really are shocking. This is one of those monthly meetings where we talk about and plan to help specific people who are rarely served in and around Martinsville and Henry County, Virginia.
The first report that shocked me was a printed sheet that gives the numbers of people in our state’s prison facilities that will be released into our area in the next 12 months. The report stated that for our city and county over 110 people will return to us after spending some time behind bars. There are locations that have higher numbers than we do, but this is a vital number because these people will need a place to live, a job to work and more resources as well.
The shocking truth is that few, very few employers will higher people who have been in jail. Without money and the support of family many of these people will not have a place to live. That means that these people, who are loved by God, will need others to step up and help them. I am not talking about a hand out but a hand up to seize the potential God built into their lives.
We meet people each week who have a past. Some have major addictions to their drug of choice. Most have strung together bad relationship after bad relationship teaching them that no one really cares and no one can be trusted. I want to help people, the people I was meeting with have a deep desire to help those who have fallen through the cracks and need people who care. We are positioning ourselves to help and make a difference.
The next shocking truth was in an article that a friend in Oklahoma sent me yesterday morning and that was being passed around the table at the meeting. You can read the article at this link: http://homes.yahoo.com/news/the-poorest-cities-in-america-172735755.html. Within the article the author shares the 10 poorest cities in America based upon the U.S. Census Bureau findings in their latest research. The 7th city on the list of the poorest in the nation is our own Martinsville and Henry County. That was really shocking to me.
We have been on the top of the unemployment list in our state for a long time. Each week our church gets the opportunity to help many people. Through the 7 years that The Community Fellowship has been alive we have helped thousands of people, and the numbers have been increasing each year.
Those people coming out of prison need people to come along side them and to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Those who are living in poverty in our community need people who will reach out sharing the blessings of God both tangibly and spiritually. We have the opportunity to do just that.
I haven’t said much about the government shutdown going on right now, but I see the signs that point to the fact that we are about to get the opportunity to help people much more. As benefits are reduced, the needs of our friends will increase. The choice is ours to meet these needs and to speak to people in the name of Jesus. He is the one who changes lives. We get to meet needs because God provides us with the resources to share. Jesus changes lives as people put their trust in Him.
Pray for those in need in our community. Pray for those in need in your community. Ask God to provide the resources that you can share with others and ask Him to open conversations where you and I can talk about Him.
1 Timothy 1:16 NLT
But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life.