Daily Devotional – Rich, Poor, Enemies or Friends

The book of Provers is a contrast between Wisdom and Folly.  The same can be said for someone who only prays for those they love, their own needs, or  never those around them. 

Pray The Bible: Promoting, Encouraging, and Assisting God's People in Biblical Prayer

DAILY DEVOTIONAL FOR DEC 31, 2020

Pray for the Rich and the Poor; your Enemies and your Friends

For those who are rich and prosperous in the world, some of whom perhaps need prayers as much as those who request them.

Lord, keep those who are rich in this present age from being haughty and setting their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, and give them to trust in God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy: That they may do good and be rich in good works, generous and ready to share; that they may store up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future. 1 Timothy 6:17-19(ESV)

Though it is hard for those who are rich to enter into the kingdom of heaven, yet with you this is possible. Matthew 19:24-26(ESV)

For those who are poor and in affliction, for such we have always with us.

Lord, make those who are poor in the world rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, James 2:5(ESV) and give to them to receive the gospel.

O that the poor of the flock may wait upon you and may know the word of the LORD. Zechariah 11:11(ESV)

Many are the afflictions of the righteous; good Lord, deliver them out of them all. Psalm 34:19(ESV) And though for the moment all affliction seems painful rather than pleasant; nevertheless, later let it yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11(ESV)

Pray for the least of these Matthew 25:31-46 (added by me) 

For our enemies and those who hate us.

Lord, give us to love our enemies, to bless those who curse us, and to pray for those who despitefully use us and persecute us. Matthew 5:44(ESV)

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do; Luke 23:34(ESV) and do not hold their malice against them; Acts 7:60(ESV) and work in us a disposition to bear with others and forgive in love, Colossians 3:13(ESV) as you require we should whenever we pray. Mark 11:25(ESV)

And grant that our ways may so please the LORD, that even our enemies may be at peace with us. Proverbs 16:7(ESV)

Let the wolf dwell with the lamb, Isaiah 11:6(ESV) and let there be none to hurt or destroy in all your holy mountain; Isaiah 11:9(ESV) let Ephraim not be jealous of Judah, nor Judah harass Ephraim. Isaiah 11:13(ESV)

For our friends and those who love us.

And we wish for all those whom we love in truth, that all may go well with them and that they may be in good health; we especially pray that it may go well with their souls. 2 John 1:2(ESV)

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with their spirits. Philemon 1:25(ESV)

Sunday’s Sermon Series – The Least of These

 

Who Are 'The Least of These'?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto meMatthew 25:40 (KJV)


CONTEXT: 

This portion of the Gospel of Matthew begins in v.31 and goes to the end of the chapter v.46. In it Jesus is speaking about two themes, the coming judgment of man and man’s need to do good unto others. 

Some “religious” groups take the combination to mean we must do good deeds in order to be saved. If that were true Christ died in vain and was an idiot; which I am fully convinced was not the case on either account. 

Another issue revolving around these verses as of late is the renewal of the Social Gospel messageWhile there is no doubt that we are to show mercy and compassion to those in need THAT IS NOT THE GOSPEL!

The Gospel is Christ, Him crucified and Raised up for the sins of the elect, 1 Corinthians 15:1–4. Neither is this text to be rightly applied to the masses, that is the public in general. A careful study of the Greek, and Whole Counsel of God, clearly reveals, Jesus is referring to fellow saints (the church). 

There are many applicable text that one could pick for “Mercy Ministries” that is to those outside the church, my favorite would be Galatians 6:7-10. Note even here Paul emphasizes we are to “especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers).” 


SERMONS:

The Least of These by Sinclair Ferguson from After Darkness …
Doing Mercy to the Brothers of Jesus and the Broken Neighbor – John Piper

RESOURCES:

Who Are the Least of These (and Why Does It Matter)?
Who are ‘The Least of These’? – Bible Study – Crosswalk.com
Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible
John Gill’s Exposition of the Whole Bible
Matthew Poole’s English Annotations on the Holy Bible

 

Daily Devotional – Spirit of Overflowing Generosity

Today we look at Generosity, from a Christian perspective. There are many in this world who are generous with their time, talents or money (many celebrities  and George Soros immediately come to mind). However unless these folks are specifically doing this for God’s glory they are vainly doing it. In others words their deeds, their acts are not considered good. 


 

GIVING like the Macedonian churches gave | My Five Loaves and Two Fish

2 Corinthians 8:2

AMP and RVR 1960

 


CONTEXT:

The church at Corinth has been greatly complimented by Paul at the end of chapter 7:12-16 because of the joyful outstanding report he received from Titus.

Paul suddenly shifts gears in Chapter 8:1 to the  Macedonian churches and how God’s Grace was used to have the abundantly provide for Paul and others v.3-6. Paul next v.7 brags about the Corinth Church for all their fine qualities; in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in genuine concern, and in your love for us; then challenges them to excel in generosity also. 


BREAKDOWN: (KJV)

How that in a great trial of affliction – First century CHristianity was no joke, it was in many was “The Voice of the Martyrs” on steroids. Although not technically illegal, many local laws highly discouraged churches from meeting (SOUND FAMILIAR?) and believers were discouraged from attending by many means including  reproaches, persecutions, imprisonments, confiscation of goods.

the abundance of their joy – So of course these churches disbanded gave up and went back to paganism. NOT! ! ! No the reveled (think how you would react?) in the persecution and were full of JOY!

and their deep poverty –  Oh and lest I forget, these folks were not from the rich and famous class to begin with. There were, have always been and are a few well off folks that are among the church; but it seems as we read the Bible and experience shows “Tried and True Christians” are those of lesser means.

abounded unto the riches of their liberality. – Yet even so they gave freely abundantly and with joy. Today it is hard to get folks to tithe on a regular manner never mind gave freely abundantly and with joy.


APPLICATION:

The Churches at Macedonia and Corinth should be an example for us (corporately and individually to follow. Using their example we can cultivate a Spirit of Overflowing Generosity. Let me explain, by listing the example they displayed: 

in faithIf you call yourself a Christian you need to believe as a Christian. Things are going to get tough at times and that is when we display our true colors

in speech, Trust me when I say the world (unsaved) are listening. Let one curse slip and they are quick to point out “I thought you called yourself a Christian.” Your walk and Talk need to be in the same.

in knowledge, I have met an abundance of “Christians” who do not have a clue about what the Bible actually says. Many can quote scripture better than those that wrote the books; but they do not take the time or effort to study.

 in genuine concern, What are you concerned for? If “you or self” is not on the bottom of the list your priorities are messed up. Yes there are times when we need to take care of ourselves; but generally God, Family, Job, Ministry all take priority. 

in your love for us (others)Do you really love your neighbor? Are you willing to do for the least of these

in generosity; Do you give, (this implies money) money, time, or other resources to further to Kingdom? 

We wholeheartedly give to others because Christ so generously gave to us! 

Have you cultivated your Spirit of Overflowing Generosity today? 

Other Resources:

The Greatest Commandment: The Very Heart of the Matter

Generosity PDF’s

Generosity Web Pages

Generosity Audio Files

Daily Devotional – Lives Matter

Unless you do not listen, or watch any news of any kind, you the know rhetoric being taunted about regarding BLM. First do black lives, that is those whose skin color is black lives matter; duh! The problem is biblically they do not matter anymore than white, red, yellow brown, or pink polka dotted. 

Those few peaceful protesters interviewed seem to want just that; goodness and fairness for everyone. Yet the prevailing sentiment we see on the news, being pushed by the mainstream media and far to many elected government representatives is violent mob rules. 


 

Logos.com

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

One of my favorite expressions for when things get tough is suck it up buttercup” I have been saying it since my Army days. Maybe it is that Army mentality drilled into me since I was 17 or my type A personality, but I have little compassion (working on it) for folks who throw pity parties and just cry “oh woe is me.”

Yet that is not really what the bible tells us to do here in Chapter 6 of Galatians. Chapter 6 is all about bearing or carrying one another’s burdens. It is worth noting that Paul says (again I cannot emphasise enough that his hand was under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) v.5 For every person will have to bear [with patience] his own burden [of faults and shortcomings for which he alone is responsible]. So while we are responsible for our actions (bearing the burden) we can still share them that is confess and have fellowship with others to lesson the impact and restore ourselves James 5:16.


BREAKDOWN:

So then, as we have opportunity,-  Opportunity and Ability go hand in hand here. Sometimes opportunities arise for us to do good; mission trips, special donations, etc. but we physically or financially cannot. I will say that we ALWAYS have the ability to pray.

let us do good to everyone, – ALL means just that ALL. Not just the folks we know; family friends, co-workers, church folks, etc. but all mankind. NEVER should a time come when you decide based upon skin color, creed or any factor not to render assistance to someone in need¹

and especially to those who are of the household of faith. –  Paul makes it clear our first duty is to the family of God. The government has indoctrinated folks with this false notion that it is their job to care for the widows and orphans, the bible says otherwise. 


APPLICATION:

To some he recent violent chaos in the news was cheered and lauded as righteous indignation against and unrighteous nation. They seemed to upset about things that happen long before any of them were born balming folks who have been long dead. I think maybe they should have read the idiom: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegarYou can win people to your side more easily by gentle persuasion and flattery than by hostile confrontation. To others it is just a shocking reminder of how sinful man really is. We watch the violence and destructive protests while innocent children are murdered on city streets and everyone remains silent, while babies are aborted as unwanted trash yet no one cries for justice, or who mourns the 161 police and firefighters killed so as of 01 July this year? 

The answer or response from Christians should be to condemn or maybe better choice of words to rebuke strongly their actions and do good to everyone involved  which likely means unless you personally know someone, pray for them. I would encourage you to pray for them daily, pray for our elected representatives that seem to think the constitution is no longer applicable, and pray God gives you opportunities to serve the least of these Matthew 25:40-45


¹ = There is a H U G E difference here between the biblical teaching of someone in need and what has become the norm in America’s social welfare state. But that is for another posting.