Confessions From the World’s Worst Huminatarian

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Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision once prayed, “Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God.”  Wow.  As the owner of an incredibly selfish and uncompassionate heart, I thought that the only way I’d ever really be able to be truly used by God was to follow this example.  Here’s a prayer that really needs some kind of consumer warning, folks, because believe me, He gave me a passion for helping hurting children around the world.  Day after day, He has broken my heart for kids starving in Africa, working under dangerous conditions in India and caught in trafficking in Bangladesh.

Stupidly, I thought that if given the opportunity to reach out and save a child, most people would jump at the chance.  I didn’t think that people could actually peer into the eyes of a first grader, starving to death, and say, “I’m good, thanks.”  I wanted to tell him that I kind of figured he was ‘good’ when I saw him pull up in his $70,000 car.  My super judgmental alter ego was furious at me for not sharing with her that with what she’d spent on her manicure, she could save a child from dying or from being sold into slavery or from being made a child bride or worse.

I’d meant to share this opportunity with the people of North Hills until 4pm that day, but at 3:30 I wasn’t hardly able to manage a smile, so I packed it in early.  I cried most of the way home to find M and C just getting ready to come see me and offer encouragement.  Immediately, both of them knew I was deeply sad and asked what had happened.  “I wasn’t able to find sponsors for a lot of these kids,” I said to my 4 1/2 year old in a shaky voice.  “Who are they?  Can you tell me their names?” She knew what this really meant – those kids, kids with names and faces and real stories would continue their struggle for survival.  My husband, always more pragmatic, began counting the remaining folders.  “You’ve made a huge difference in the lives of 13 kids in the last month,” he stated.  “Yeah, but that doesn’t help Ruth or Aimee or Benjamin or any of the others,” I’d said as the tear began flowing down my cheeks once again.

My heart was breaking for the hearts of the 20 kids I’d not found sponsors for.  Logically, I know that the problems in Africa had been festering for a very long time.  I also realized that this problem wasn’t just waiting around for me to come and solve through Child Sponsorship, but I really did think that I could make a difference for these kids at least.  Then, Pollyanna Salina found a table in the corner at which to sit, sulk and update her Facebook status to read: “Pollyanna needs a nap. And a hug. And a Xanax. Maybe not in that order.”  Seeing her opening, Selfish Salina joined the party and started talking about how stupid it was to have spent a day away from the family and a huge to-do list only to end up mentally, physically and emotionally too worn out to enjoy what was left of the Saturday.  Cynical Salina saw us sitting there and decided to add her two cents, “I don’t know why you even bother.  It isn’t like you’ll be able to change any part of this world.  What good can you do?”  Pollyanna Salina, though feeling quite defeated, answered in a small voice, “Isn’t it better to do something than nothing?  What if our child was the one who was hungry, lost or hurting?”  Snarky Salina quickly chimed in, “The one thing you’ll accomplish through all this is feeling like you’ve done nothing other than spending time away from your actual responsibilities and crying in front of your kid.  Are you ready for the award for that?”

And so Pollyanna Salina, who had had enough of these other voices, headed out to do the weekly grocery shopping with her family, her 4 year old remarking from her pink booster in the backseat that, “Mommy is still sad about the kids who don’t have sponsors”.  Once at Target, feelings of guilt for having ready access to an abundance of high-quality, healthy food wasn’t helping.  At the checkout, Pollyanna Salina listlessly checked her UrbanSpoon app for a nearby restaurant that would cater to a host of food intolerances, still mentally more sitting at her pity party than at Target.

Then, a beautiful French accent broke through the heavy haze of her commiseration, asking, “Do you work for World Vision?”
Somewhat startled, I look up and said, “I volunteer with World Vision,” realizing I was still wearing my bright orange World Vision t shirt.
“I know they do great work back home in Africa, but I didn’t know they were here in North Carolina,” she said excitedly.
“I spent my day trying to find sponsors for kids in Africa today,” I’d replied.
“Since I came here from Kenya, I’ve wanted to get involved with giving back through World Vision because of what they do for my people in Africa,” she said more as a question than a statement.

And right there, I saw the reason to keep letting my heart be broken, to keeping giving the time that I could use to finish my grocery shopping, to give the money that could be spent on a lunch date with a friend, to give my heart to real people with real problems in real places.  I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other because God tells me to, and I’ll pray that God will repair my faith in humanity and help me not to judge others by their reaction to something I’ve become passionate about over many years.

“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? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.  Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” 1 John 3:17-19

If you, like my family and I, have enough to live well and would like to show compassion for a child in need, click here to learn how you can save a child in dire need of your aid.

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My Fair NLT – The Bible I Actually Understand

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As most people who’ve spent more than five minutes in a Christian bookstore can attest, there are a lot of choices when it comes to purchasing a Bible.  If you’ve known me for more than an hour, you’d probably find it pretty easy to believe that I was driven to choose the “right” one – the one that was more correct than any of the others.  [Insert chuckles here]  You know that somewhere in the virtual history of my laptop, there is a Google search titled: which version of the bible is the best?  After hours of research, I can report to you with absolute certainty that the infallible answer to this question is: it depends.  It turns out that the different versions are actually used for different purposes and have little to do with the pretty covers.  =)

From the limited research I conducted, I learned that the translations can be mapped on a continuum of word-for-word translation to thought-for-thought translation [See the examples below].  What I really wanted was to know God’s instructions for me and my family.  So I kinda didn’t care if the words were most closely translated from Greek, if it still sounded like Greek to me.  The New Living Translation (NLT) was originally published in 1996 with a goal of being as comprehensible as possible.  Ta Da!! While reading this version, the stories came to life in a way I’d not experienced before, scripture was easy to absorb and apply, plus it was an overall more enjoyable reading experience.

While reading, I still had several “huh?” moments.  I was thankful I’d selected a study Bible, specifically the Life Application Study Bible.  Finally, I felt like I had a better understanding of what it meant when . . . . I especially enjoyed the short biographies throughout.  On the downside, I found the footnotes to be repetitive from book to book.

But wait, there’s more!  I learned there is a huge secondary market for unused Bibles on Ebay.  I bought my brand new, leather bound, Life Application Study Bible for $35, instead of full retail price closer to $70.

If you’ve found the Bible difficult to read or understand, I HIGHLY recommend starting a reading plan today on Bible.com and trying multiple translations until you find one that speaks to you.  While over half of all Americans who read the Bible regularly, read the KJV, I love my NLT.  Which Bible version is the best?  That depends on you!

More Word-for-Word More Thought-for-Thought
NASB ESV KJV NIV NLT
Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us. The Testimony of John the Baptist
John 8:58 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. “I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was even born, i am!”
Rom. 5:18 So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus; waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; while we wait for the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.

A Review of “Gods and Kings” by Lynn Austin

Gods and Kings (Chronicles of the Kings, #1)Gods and Kings by Lynn Austin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve found the Old Testament to be difficult to unpackage, it’s characters not seeming like real people at all. This book helped me to see into the lives of two of Judah’s kings in a way I hadn’t been able to do on my own. I found this book both entertaining and instructive. I really helped bring the Bible to life for me in an unexpected way. I highly recommend this book.

View all my reviews