As we ushered in the new year, our first inclement weather of the winter hit Big D. So far in 2022, we’ve been open 3 nights to serve members of the local homeless community. Between blogposts, I serve as the Senior Operations Manager at OurCalling, the hub for helping the unsheltered homeless population of Dallas.
A poor man pleads for mercy, but a rich man answers harshly.Proverbs 18:23 (NIV)
When overnight temperatures fall below 32 degrees Fahrenheit between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m., we transition from being a homeless service provider to an emergency overnight shelter to help save lives. The cold turns deadly when temperatures fall between 13 and 31 degrees Fahrenheit. The other night our low hit 21 degrees.
When we open as an overnight shelter, people who we rarely see—-if ever—-come in out of the cold. These folks are the hardcore unsheltered homeless. And yes, there are degrees of homelessness. You can be homeless, yet have shelter via a service provider that houses homeless people in a facility. You can be recently or newly homeless or you can be chronically homeless. You can be homeless by choice, as a result of the decisions you make. You can be homeless by situation or circumstance, like a natural disaster, weather-related crisis, or other crisis. Maybe you lost your apartment because you could no longer afford rent. Perhaps you lost your job and your stimulus money ran out.
Did you know?
Over 70% of homeless people in Dallas are people of color while people of color make up less than 20% of the overall Dallas population.
(New Living Translation)
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!
The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.
2 The Lord protects them
and keeps them alive.
He gives them prosperity in the land
and rescues them from their enemies.
3 The Lord nurses them when they are sick
and restores them to health.
4 “O Lord,” I prayed, “have mercy on me.
Heal me, for I have sinned against you.”
5 But my enemies say nothing but evil about me.
“How soon will he die and be forgotten?” they ask.
6 They visit me as if they were my friends,
but all the while they gather gossip,
and when they leave, they spread it everywhere.
7 All who hate me whisper about me,
imagining the worst.
8 “He has some fatal disease,” they say.
“He will never get out of that bed!”
9 Even my best friend, the one I trusted completely,
the one who shared my food, has turned against me.
10 Lord, have mercy on me.
Make me well again, so I can pay them back!
11 I know you are pleased with me,
for you have not let my enemies triumph over me.
12 You have preserved my life because I am innocent;
you have brought me into your presence forever.
13 Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
who lives from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and amen!
A Prayer for the Unsheltered Homeless
Lord, there are those who have far less than I have and are living unsheltered on the streets. Help me show them the warmth of compassion as the wintry chill sets in. Give me the wherewithal to love them as my neighbors even though they have no real neighborhood to call their own. Give me discernment to help those most in need. Grant me strength and endurance as it is a long and cold season. Give me serenity, Lord, to know that ultimately I can not change anyone. This type of life changing transformation can only come from You. Shield me with your goodness and mercy. Protect me with your kindness. Help me bless those who have less than myself. Help me help the homeless and the hopeless. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
You can watch a new story highlighting the work we are doing at OurCalling during the inclement weather here.
On this Sunday in 2022, I pray that this post finds you well and enjoying the living in the safety and sanity of your own place, inside not out. I pray that the Lord blesses you and that He watches over you and keeps you out of harm’s way.
The Devotional Guy™
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