by Heather McGugan I lay in bed last night, snuggling up and enjoying the sounds of the thunder roll in and the rain beginning to pour.

I love thunderstorms . . . And as I listened, I began thinking about how much I enjoy a good night's sleep under the comfort of my home, being lulled to sleep by the rain and thunder outside my door . . . nothing like that kind of sleep . . .


Not my photo, nor is it from last night, but beautiful nonetheless


But then my heart started aching, as a consciousness crept in - "Wait, Mrs. McGoo - you are the lucky one, you have a warm bed, a dry roof over your head to "enjoy" such a storm . . . but how many folks do not have such blessings?"


With that thought, that reality in mind last night, I began aching for those without a home, those living on the street - here in my own city and those around the world! Aching for those with a makeshift roof over their heads who cannot keep the rain away due to so many holes and cracks within the materials used to make such a roof . . . aching for them as they lie on the wet ground soaked from the sky.

I ached for the children not being tucked into bed in the midst of the storm, those who wouldn't be told everything will be okay in the morning and reminded that they are loved.

The children I can still see in my mind from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia filled my heart and I ached for them - for those I know who say good-bye to the Onesimus drop-in center in the evening and go sleep on the streets again.

How blessed am I? How can I NOT be generous when God gave me so much? There are so many with so little, without even a reminder of their worth, struggling without knowledge of a HOPE! Isn't that why He's given it to us - to share it with the "least of these" - to bless people and care for those who do not have? I began to be strongly reminded again last night of how blessed I am! Do you realize how blessed YOU are?

And then my thoughts ran towards something I've thought a lot about lately and also further read in Crazy Love by Francis Chan -

WHAT IF - as much as we spent on ourselves . . . the toys . . . the entertainment . . . the wants rather than the needs - what if as much as we spent on ME, we spent also for OTHERS?  Whether donating to an organization that helps the least of these or buying your struggling neighbor a meal to remind them that God sees their need/struggle. What if instead of thinking about ME with my finances and giving into all my American Dream Desires and Wants, I began to think of those around me instead? What would that look like and how much would that point to our Lord in our lives?!

Matt 22:36-39

Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.

Wouldn't spending the same on my own wants and desires, as I give away to others TRULY depict what Jesus is saying in Matthew 22:39 - loving my neighbor as myself!

It all comes down to this for me today, and I hope it might challenge you a bit too -  My money isn't mine!

It's all God's anyway - He gave it to me. Therefore, I should desire to look at my finances with God's intentions in mind. If only I could always start by asking, "What does God want me to do with my funds?" rather than "What do I want to do with my funds?" -  My how different my spending, and probably yours, would be?!

Wow, one thunderstorm and I got all of that! Thank you, Lord. Help me keep things in perspective and be a good steward of all that you have blessed me with!