Living Generously: “Go Into all the World” Book-Review

Happy new year to my lovely readers. Praying for God to bless you with His peace and joy in 2015. Last January I pointed you to a very good book, and this year I’m doing the same.

As soon as I heard there was a book coming out by a man who’d sponsored 50 kids, I was excited to read it. I’m in a group for Compassion-sponsors on Facebook, so I kept up-to-date with the book’s progress, and David very kindly sent me an advanced copy in exchange for a review on my blog.

As a Compassion-sponsor who already knows about their 3 main programmes – for mothers and babies, for children being sponsored and for students, I found the long and detailed explanation at the beginning slow-going. If you’re a long-time sponsor like me, you might want to flip the first 30 pages and get straight to David’s stories. Once you do, it’s difficult to put this book down.

One standout for me was that not all the stories are stereotypical. When I read about a house in Bolivia with running water, a cooker and a TV, I wondered whether it ever crossed David’s mind to stop his sponsorship, but when I consider there are only 2 stories like this out of more than 30 visits, I realise how important sponsorship is. I am impressed that he included these details instead of trying to paint an unrealistic picture.

David’s character shines through the pages of this book. You might imagine someone who sponsors 54 kids on a teacher’s salary, visits 31 of them in 12 countries and then writes about it to be arrogant or prideful, so I really enjoyed reading the section on ‘Divine economy’ where he makes a point of saying: “Everything I have and am comes from God.”

I had intended to highlight my favourite story, but I can’t choose just one. I’ve heard about the impact letters had on a translator in Colombia. I’ve admired the attitude of Olga’s mother, and I’ve loved the way David related to Katherine’s family – commanding such respect from them that both parents confided in him and then, when he had to finance his own volunteering, thoughtfully finding Katherine new sponsors who could be role-models for them.

If you love children, and if you love Compassion, I think you’ll find this book very precious. It could be especially beneficial to someone who doesn’t use the Internet and won’t have read many accounts of sponsor-visits before. I’ve certainly been inspired and am delighted to own a copy.

A Blessing to my Children

“The good people who live honest lives will be a blessing to their children” (Proverbs 20:7).

 

I’m on benefits because I’m blind, and I’ve never been able to find paid employment.  When I fill in forms, I’m careful to do it honestly.  On some, like the claim for Disability Living Allowance, we’re asked to say what we need, even if we don’t currently have it.  The problem is that one person’s thoughts on what they need can be very different to someone else’s.  For example, my answer to the question:  “Do you need someone to keep an eye on you?” would be no, because I can go out on my own with my cane, cross roads etc.  I’ll need help sometimes (as anybody would), but generally when I’m on my own, I’m not in danger.  But a friend of mine was advised to answer yes, because if she went out with a stain on her blouse, she wouldn’t be able to see it.

 

Although I shouldn’t judge how other people choose to answer, it does seem unfair when I see someone with the same degree of blindness or with more sight than me get significantly more money than I do, but verses like this are an encouragement to me.  I try to be a person of integrity, and this verse tells me that if I am, I’m going to be a blessing to my children (in my case, my sponsored children).

* * *

I was with someone today who’s reading Proverbs in 31 days along-with me, and she told me the verse which stuck out to her.  The verses that impact you will probably be different to mine, so if you’d like to share in the comments, that would be really exciting.

Who’s Worth Listening To?

“If you have died with Christ to the world’s way of doing things, why do you let others tell you how to live?  It’s as though you were still under the world’s influence. People will tell you, ‘Don’t handle this!  Don’t taste or touch that!’ …  These things look like wisdom with their self-imposed worship, false humility, and harsh treatment of the body.  But they have no value for holding back the constant desires of your corrupt nature” – Colossians 2:20-21, 23 (God’s Word Translation)

 

People do tell us how to live, and we get all sorts of advice – most of it intended to make us the best we can be.  “Keep away from that church!  You’ve been brainwashed” might be said by someone who sees you’re changing and wants the old you back because to them, the old you was better, but if you know those changes are doing you good, you’ll probably choose to stay where you are.  A friend who struggled to control his drinking told some of us that when he saw Christians drinking alcohol, he felt they wouldn’t understand his problem, and that made me think about what was more important; having a vodka in my hand or being approachable?  People might come to different conclusions about that, and I can see both sides – wanting the freedom to enjoy things in moderation, and yet not wanting to trip somebody else up.  You could go round in circles, tying yourself in knots about things, but that won’t do you a lot of good, so how do you decide?

 

Probably the best advice I can give is from the chapter I’ll be reading tomorrow:  “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” – Colossians 3:15.  In the end, these things have to be between you and God.  If you want to follow Him, God will show you His plan for your life by the peace He puts in your heart, and He’ll get you through it even when others don’t understand.

 

It has been suggested that perhaps I’m unteachable, or I don’t take on people’s opinions when they’re honest with me.  I hope I don’t come across as arrogant!  It’s not that I don’t value people’s advice; I do, and sometimes I take it, but not always.  When I stand before Jesus, I won’t have anyone else to answer to for the way I’ve lived my life.  It’ll be Him, and Him alone.

 

Have you been given any advice lately?  Maybe you’ve handed some out.  I’m here for a chat if you want one.