Daily Devotional for Sunday June 22, 2014
Caring for the Poor and Needy
***ASK BILL: Pastor Bill, is the Church Of Christ a cult? Last summer my friend invited to Church Of Christ, I went there but they did not allow me to have The Lord's Supper because I'm not member of that church.
ANSWER: No! Many people make that assumption since many of their churches are extremely legalistic on certain issues. However, they believe the Bible to be God's inspired, inerrant Word and that the only way to be saved is through faith in Jesus Christ. As for communion, Biblically is not limited to members of a specific church, but to all who have accepted Jesus as their Lord by faith regardless of their church home.
I want to encourage you today to take about an hour, sit down with your Bible, and look at all the scriptures concerning care for the poor and needy. One thing I have learned about God and the way that He has Divinely given us His Word, is when you see the same issue talked about over and over, throughout the Bible from the Old to New Testament-God is trying to emphasize a point.
He could not be clearer as to our responsibility to help the poor. Now, of course, this immediately brings to mind mental images of the homeless, those begging on corners for food, the ones who occupy the shelters at night. But I want you to focus today not only on those who are financially poor, but also those who are SPIRITUALLY POOR.
Throughout Jesus's earthly ministry, He reached out to all segments of society. To those who had wealth and resources, He tried to focus them on their bankrupt spiritual life. Jesus said, "What shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?" Today, I want you to be aware of the "poor" people you may come in contact with every day. Not just those who are financially poor, but those who are spiritually poor as well.
We have a responsibility to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, the hope and love of Christ with these people just as we would share a meal with someone who was hungry. It is not an option, but an obligation that we have as followers of Christ to reach out to those who are hurting and need to know there are answers beyond the things of this world.
I am going to pray today that you take this challenge during the Christmas season to heart and really focus, not just on the visibly poor that you may see each day, but also those who may have worldly riches, but be flat broke spiritually. You see, in those difficult times that we all face in life, losing a loved one, health problems, changing jobs, troubles at home, whatever the issue may be, power, prestige, and money are not the answer.
Only the strength, wisdom, and love of Christ can get us through those most difficult times in our life. Open your eyes today and look at those around you who may need a spiritual handout today just to make it to tomorrow. God has called us to help the poor. Not just the financially poor, but also the spiritually poor!
Bless someone today. The greatest thing you can do today, is to be a blessing to someone. God has placed someone in your life today for you to be His instrument of blessing. This might be some sort of assistance you give, a kind word, being a sympathetic ear. Or it could be in a way they won't even know such as a prayer, or an anonymous gesture to help them. It is amazing when we concentrate each day on how we can bless others, how much God, in turn, blesses us.
Most of the time, we are so caught up in our own lives, our own problems, that we forget others around us who are also having difficulties. You will be amazed at how different your life looks when you start to take the focus off of your own circumstances, and try to become a blessing to someone else.
I have no doubt that Jesus had many difficulties that anyone who lives on this earth have. But in all the Gospel accounts of His life, it is not His problems we see Him concerned with, but the problems of others. This is due to the fact that He knew the promises of God and trusted God with His problems. How great to get to a point in our walk with the Lord, where our faith is so strong that we virtually ignore our own problems to live for others, trusting and knowing god is working on our behalf.
I love you and care about you so much. Today, I challenge you to bless someone. Someone you know, a stranger, God will show you. One of the ways many of you have been blessing others is by going to our website, www.liveprayer.com and signing up friends and family members to the Daily Devotional. Every day I get emails from people saying, "I don't know how I began to get these, but they were exactly what I needed." This is an example of how you can bless someone and touch their life.
I pray that today will be a special day. It is a day unique unto itself and will never be repeated. Make it extra special by blessing someone, and have the faith to know that God is blessing you in return. I love you and will be praying for you.
In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ,