Tag: poverty

Delighting God!

Scripture reading for September 25th: Zephaniah, Psalm 74, 2nd Corinthians 8

Key Scriptures: 2nd Corinthians 8:1-5 “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints–and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.”

Paul commended the Macedonian churches for their gracious giving. These churches were in severe persecution and were suffering physically and economically. But Paul was impressed with their joyful hearts and gracious giving, even beyond their means. They did not need to be persuaded, but begged to be part of the relief of other brothers and sisters. Their giving was marked by giving of themselves to the Lord first and then their offerings.

Psalm 74:12 “Yet God my King is from of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, You are my King, working salvation. Keep my heart in step with Yours, full of mercy and generosity. I give myself to You to dwell in my midst and open my hands to give as You direct.

Zephaniah 3:17 “The Lord your God is in your midst, a Mighty One Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.”

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Our mission to the poor!

Scripture reading for February 25th: Deuteronomy 12-16

In many cultures, the poor and needy are viewed as under the judgment of the gods.  These people are despised and live in the worst conditions on the fringes of society.  Children born in the families are destined to live in poverty, sickness, and usually have an early death. India has millions living in the caste system and viewed as nearly untouchable by their peers. The Hindu religion and the teaching of reincarnation and the caste system keep the bondage in place.

The God of the Bible, creator of heaven and earth, is compassionate and merciful.  When He formed the nation of Israel and delivered them from slavery, He instructed them to care for those society had looked down upon.  The orphans and widows were singled out for special care.   (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)  God promised to bless the Israelites when they cared for them.  The alien was also to be cared for, because the Israelites were aliens and strangers in Egypt and could identify with being on the outside of the economic and political power system.

God said that there should be no poor among His people. (Deuteronomy 15:4)  If they fully obeyed the Lord in keeping all His commands, God would so bless them that they would have an abundance to help others.  They would lend only and not borrow. (Deuteronomy 15:6)   God’s heart  was and is to prosper His people. (3 John 2)  However, some would be poor and need help.  God’s people were to be generous, not to be “tight-fisted” or “hard-hearted”, but  “open-handed.”  (Deuteronomy 15:7-10)  God told them it was a sin to be stingy toward the poor brother!  Through their generosity they would honor the generous God who had given them everything!

“A generous man will prosper and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25)

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their maker, but he who is kind to the needy honors God.” (Proverbs 14:31)

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done.” (Proverbs 19:17)

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Woes of the Sluggard

Scripture reading for July 12th: Proverbs 25-29

Solomon’s instructions to his sons included warnings about sexual temptation, alcohol addiction, and lots of sayings about laziness.  God’s people are to be workers, using their talents and abilities diligently.  When Jesus Christ picked his twelve disciples, they were all working a jobs and busy.  Jesus, Himself, was always about His Father’s work and used time wisely for productive purposes.

“The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.” (Proverbs 26:13-15)

A sluggard is a lazy person who is always making excuses.  Some excuses may make sense, but many are irrational justifications for not doing anything productive.  The sluggard in Solomon’s example is worried about a fierce lion that could possibly attack him.  He uses this as an excuse to stay in bed.  Sleep is a way to pass time without having to face life and use talents and abilities.  Solomon pictures this sluggard as one who grabs food out of a dish, but then is too lazy to eat it for nourishment.  All he does is take up space and waste resources that could help another be a blessing. The sluggard is also wise in his own eyes, making correction of his ways impossible. (Proverbs 26:16)  The sluggard goes hungry and his family suffers, too.

On the other hand, the wise person keeps close watch over their herds and flocks.  They diligently care for them by harvesting hay to feed them and shearing their sheep for wool.  The wool provides clothing for the family and God replenishes the hay and the wool.  The flocks can be sold for money to buy land and your flocks and family will have plenty of food.  (Pr0verbs 26:23-27)   God works with those who will themselves work.  He blesses their efforts and multiplies seed sown and efforts invested in honest labor.

Many in our land have become passive and will not work.  Welfare has given them this option and their time is wasted.  God has strong warnings in His word about laziness and passivity.  Those who will not work should not eat!  (2nd Thessalonians 3:10)  Life is miserable for them and their families.  God is glorified when we work!  Check out your life today!

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What about the poor?

Scripture reading for February 25: Deuteronomy 12-16

In many cultures, the poor and needy are viewed as under the judgment of the gods.  These people are despised and live in the worst conditions on the fringes of society.  Children born in the families are destined to live in poverty, sickness, and usually have an early death. India has millions living in the caste system and viewed as nearly untouchable by their peers. The Hindu religion and the teaching of reincarnation and this caste system keeps the bondage in place.

The God of the Bible, creator of heaven and earth, is compassionate and merciful.  When He formed the nation of Israel and delivered them from slavery, He instructed them in the care of those society had looked down upon.  The orphans and widows were singled out for care by the Lord.   (Deuteronomy 14:28-29)  God promised to bless the Israelites for caring for them.  The alien was also to be cared for, because the Israelites were also aliens and strangers in Egypt and could identify with what it felts like to be in a strange culture and on the outside of the economic and political power system.

God said that there should be no poor among His people, however. (Deuteronomy 15:4)  The reason given was that if they fully obeyed the Lord in keeping all His commands, God would so bless them that they would have an abundance to help others.  They would lend only and not borrow. (Deuteronomy 15:6)  They would also rule and not be in servitude. “The rich rule over the poor, the borrower becomes the slave of the lender.” (Proverbs: 22:7)  This is God’s heart desire for His people. (3 John 2)

God seems to contradict Himself later in Deuteronomy 15:11.  He only seems to because here God is telling the Israelites not all will fully obey.  Some will be poor and they will need help.  Those who are fully obeying the Lord are to be generous with the poor.  They are not to be “tight-fisted” or “hard-hearted” towards their poor brothers, but are to be “open-handed” and “freely lend”.  (Deuteronomy 15:7-10)  God even goes so far as to say it is sin to be stingy toward the poor brother!  He is indicating His care for those who are truly needy. God always pays well when we help the poor.  We can’t outgive God!

“A generous man will prosper and he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25)

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their maker, but he who is kind to the needy honors God.” (Proverbs 14:31)

“He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward him for what he has done.” (Proverbs 19:17)

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