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February 2024 From the Desk of Dave McLean

In 2008, my stepfather, Norm (Pop), whom I was very close to, asked me if I would distribute some personal effects of his to various family members after he passed away.  I knew that some of the desired recipients and he had had a strained relationship and so I suggested to him to give his gifts while he was still alive.  Better to build the relationship while you are alive to do so- this is the greater gift.  He had some prized and personal guns among other things, so he set about shipping his gifts to his children and nephews.  They were thankful for his expression of love and Pop was so glad that he reached out while he was alive and could experience their favorable response.

Not only was that an encouragement to Pop and his loved ones, but it was a confirmation of the truth of making and keeping peace with all.  Romans 14:19 says; “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”  He had intended to give the gifts either way, but he was far more blessed to give them personally.  It is amazing how such small things can strain a relationship, and it is amazing how such small things can refresh and renew a relationship.

 I tell people that A Ray of Hope is a ministry of reconciliation (2Cor 5:18).  We are not just trying to house the homeless, we are bringing them into the presence of God, into His home.  I have come to a place where I don’t look at a person’s dysfunction, I look for and seek to heal the hurt or bitterness that is causing it.  The dysfunction is merely a distress signal and cry for help.  We need to make sure that we respond properly and don’t exacerbate the problem. Rarely does a person just choose to be homeless, almost always they are reeling from past hurts that are disabling them.  Most often, these hurts occurred when they were young- by loved ones- and they were not able to process them properly.  Sadly, this tends to lead to heavy drug or alcohol use to numb the pain.  It may numb the pain, but it doesn’t make the problems go away.  Actually, as we check out of responsibility, our problems grow.

We all should be alert to the hurts and needs of others- this is God’s design.  Each of us has a mission field before us each day, and we should be attentive to it.  Those in need are typically more open to establishing reconciliation with their God, than those who have little need. I want to share five principles that I believe are critical to reaching out to others.

 

Genuinely love and care- don’t judge them.  We must have compassion for them and not react to them or their dysfunctions.  The heart of Jesus is Luke 4:18; “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” 

Be a safe harbor.  You would be amazed at the deepest and darkest hurts and secrets that people freely share with me upon first meeting me.  They want help, the question is whether we will be their helper.  We must be trustworthy to them and to our Lord.  Trustworthiness is essential to healing.

Give them hope.  Proverbs 13:12 says;  “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.”  In Christ we have powerful hope- here and now and for eternity.  Those who are hurting do not see this, and we must share it- they must see hope in the Lord and in our love and help! 

Give them vision.  Proverbs 29:18 says; “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”  Vision without Discipline leads to frustration, and Discipline without Christ does not lead to life.  The more we see and live God ourselves, and express it, the more they will gain vision themselves!   

Show them the Father.  When people are hurting and very often bitter, they are bitter toward God.  This is only because they don’t see God as He really is.  Sadly, we worship the God that we see, the more we see God as He truly is, the more we will worship and witness God as He truly is!  Pursue Him with all of your heart, and as you do, you will show Him with all of your heart.

 

Each of us and all of us should be seeing and reaching out to those in need.  We don’t necessarily have to give them money, if we give them our Love, our Hope, His Vision and His Glory, they will have received the Gift of Reconciliation with the Lord!  Amen?  Amen!

 

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