WINTER STORMS:  GOOD NEIGHBORS & HOPEFUL MESSENGERS

The following is inspired by Scriptures during this time of winter storms with freezing temperatures and below-freezing brutal cold in many areas.

These are opportunities to be good neighbors. Generously donate blankets, coats, gloves, scarves, socks, and more to the homeless and others in need.

Now, friends, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in our community that in a great ordeal of affliction your abundance of joy and your kindness overflowed in the wealth of your liberality. For I testify that according to your ability, and beyond your ability, you will give voluntarily for the favor of participation in the support of our neighbors, but first give yourselves to the Lord by the will of God. So we urged all that as you had previously made a beginning, so He would also complete in you this gracious work as well.

But just as you excel in everything in faith, speaking, knowledge, and in all earnestness and in the love inspired in you, see that you also excel in this gracious work. I am not saying this as a command but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love as well. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor so that you through His poverty might become rich.

I give my opinion in this matter for this is to your advantage, who began to do this but also to desire to do it. But now finish doing it also so that just as there was the willingness to desire it so there may be also the completion of it by your ability. For if the willingness is present, it is acceptable according to what a person has and not according to what he does not have.

For this is not for the relief of others and for your hardship but by way of equality — at this present time your abundance will serve as assistance for their need so that their abundance also may serve as assistance for your need so that there may be equality; as it is written: “The one who had gathered much did not have too much, and the one who had gathered little did not have too little.”

But thanks be to God who puts the same earnestness in your behalf in your hearts. For you not only accepted our appeal but being yourselves very earnest, some have gone to others of their own accord. We have sent along neighbors, whose fame in the things of the gospel has spread through all the churches; and not only that but they have also been appointed by the churches to travel in this gracious work, which is being administered for the glory of the Lord Himself and to show our readiness, taking precaution so that no one will discredit you in our administration of this generous gift; for we have regard for what is honorable not only in the sight of the Lord but also in the sight of others.

We have sent with them our neighbors, whom we have often tested and found diligent in many things but now even more diligent because of our great confidence in you. As for you, you are my partners and fellow workers among you; as for our friends, they are messengers of hope, a glory to Christ. Therefore, openly before the community show them the proof of your love and of our reason for boasting about you.

(The above message was inspired by 2 Corinthians 8. It is NOT Holy Scripture but only presented to encourage readers to share love and hope and to help others in need when possible.)

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