January 24, 2017

Poverty: January 24, 2017

TODAY'S WORD FOR TUESDAY JANUARY 24, 2017.
POVERTY

DEFINITION:

Lack of money; great need; the state of being poor; lack of means to provide for material needs such as food, clothing and shelter.
SCRIPTURE:

He who oppresses the poor reproaches his maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy. Proverbs 14:31.

One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed. Proverbs 19:17.

He, who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor, will also cry himself and not be heard. Proverbs 21:13.


KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

Do you understand that it offends God, our creator when we neglect the poor? This is because they are part of His creation and He cares for them. All of our married lives we have had the privilege of working to help the poor. It began for us in South Korea after the Korean War where we set up over 140 orphanages for World Vision.

These orphanages were needed to house and care for the poorest of the poor children in Korea. They were the victims of the war and we knew that God loved them and needed others, including ourselves, to make sure they had places to live so He could care for them.

Since then we have reached out to help the poorest of children in over 100 countries of the world.

Statistics help us to share with you the problem we face in our world today. We are told that last year over 16 million people, mostly children died in our world from hunger. Also last year over 10 million children died before they could celebrate their fifth birthday.

These are all numbers, but they are much more than numbers. Each number represents one person, mostly children that God loves. This is why there are so many verses in His Word that make it very clear to us that we need to reach out and help the poor.

Take a moment now and carefully read the three verses from Proverbs that we have written above. Has the question ever come to your mind, “What can I do about this?” or perhaps, “Why should I care?” Most people will react by saying to themselves something like, “I am too busy.” “I do not have any time.” “I do not have the money to help now.” Some say the need is so great how can anyone meet the needs of so much and so many, but God says we must help. We help those in poverty to show God’s love.

We can show mercy by volunteering at a church feeding center or a soup kitchen. Maybe you can find a job for a father who has lost his job. How about taking a meal to a family that you know is hurting. Ask a few friends and someone will lead you to a family who needs a helping hand.

There are many organizations that are working to help the poor that you can help and work through. Also, you can look at our web site --- www.thehungersolution.org --- and see opportunities that you can pray for and help with financially.

But what is important is for you to act. God depends on all we who love Him to make known His love and mercy to all no matter how rich or poor. Let us know what you decide?

Accepting this responsibility honors God because he is concerned for each and every person in this world.


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in Psalm 119:18.

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.


PRAYER:

Help me to have a listening ear for the cry of the poor. Make my heart tender for the needy. Help me to seek opportunities to show your love to those who are poor, both physically and spiritually, to share generously of what I have to meet their needs.



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January 23, 2017

Adoption: January 23, 2017

TODAY’S WORD FOR MONDAY JANUARY 23, 2017.
ADOPTION

DEFINITION:

Take or receive as one’s own; to take and rear another’s child as one’s own; to take or receive into any kind of new relationship.
SCRIPTURE:

We are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. Romans 8: 16b-17a.

In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. Ephesians 1:5.


KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

In ancient Rome, adoption was occasionally used by the emperors to pass on succession to competent heirs. Augustus Caesar was adopted by his great uncle Julius Caesar so he could be his successor. Emperors Tiberius and Hadrian did the same thing, adopting a capable person to succeed them.

Such Roman emperors had no entitlement to the emporship by right of birth. It was only because of the Roman law of adoption. Under Roman law, adopted children became an heir to their father’s estate. Adopted children under the Roman laws had all the rights and privileges of the biological children. This was different than the Jewish practice that the inheritances were to go to the first born.

Every Christian, a believer in Jesus, is an adopted child of the King of kings. Our adoption comes at a great cost. God brought us into His family through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross. We became a child of God when we asked Him for forgiveness for our sins and accepted Him as our Savior. Although we are adopted children, God has made us joint heirs with Christ as written in Romans 8.

In Hebrews 1:2 the writer tells us that God has appointed Jesus heir of all things. As children of God we have inherited eternal life along with all the riches of God’s kingdom. Think about what this means for us who believe in Him. Every believer is going to receive, by God’s grace, the same inheritance that Christ receives by divine right. Earthly inheritances will perish, but we are heirs to God’s eternal kingdom and its riches which will never perish.

Paul tells us that “Our Lord Jesus Christ though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor so that you through His poverty might become rich” (II Corinthians 8:9). Do you realize that you are rich?

Jesus became poor so that you could be rich. He left His home in heaven and set aside His glory and became poor by coming into this world as a man to do the will of His Father. By the sacrifice of Jesus, He made us rich giving us salvation and eternal life. God is rich and owns everything. As God’s Son, Jesus is rich and heir to all that is God’s. Through Jesus’s sacrifice we are joint heirs with Christ. You became rich when you accepted Jesus as your Savior.

We should feel great indebtedness to Him for all that he has done for us. There is no way to repay Him. In return for our being adopted into God’s family, God wants us to live in a way that a child of God is expected to live.

In Colossians 3:5 the apostle Paul writes that we are to get rid of sin in our lives when we have been adopted by God. He writes, “put to death the sinful ways of your old life; sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, greed and idolatry.”

These are to be replaced by activities and desires that show that we belong to the family of God. In Colossians 3:12, Paul writes for us to “put on compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.”

Can those that meet you daily see that you are an adopted child of God? We should be able to be seen as such by our walk and our talk. Make sure today, first of all, that you are an adopted son or daughter of God and then make sure your walk and talk will exemplify you are a child of God.

Now is the time to make that decision because God is waiting to adopt you. You need to recognize you are a sinner, ask Him for forgiveness and then ask Jesus to come into your heart. He then will adopt you as one of His children and you will become part of the family of God, and a heir to the Kingdom of God.


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in Psalm 119:18.

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.


PRAYER:

Thank You for adopting me into Your family. Thank You, that by Your grace I am a joint heir with Christ. Thank You for the priceless inheritance I have in Your kingdom because I am a joint heir with Christ. May all those that I meet today see by my words and deeds that I am an adopted child of God.


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January 20, 2017

Depression: January 20, 2017

TODAY’S WORD FOR FRIDAY JANUARY 20, 2017.
DEPRESSION

DEFINITION:

Sadness; gloom; an unwarranted and prolonged condition of emotional dejection; a low state of functional activity.




SCRIPTURE:

Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.
Proverbs 12:25.




KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

Just hearing the word depression probably brings to mind some time or times of depression that you have gone through. It may perhaps surprise you to know that great men of God have struggled with depression. One of them that we read about in the scriptures was so depressed that he prayed that he would die. Can you guess who that was?

This man was totally committed to God. He lived during the reign of Israel’s most wicked King and Queen, Ahab and Jezebel. Under their rule, they led many of the Israelites to forsake God and to worship Baal. God chose this man to confront the King and Queen concerning their terrible sin and tell them that the judgment of God on them would be a terrible drought in Israel. Perhaps you have guessed that the man was Elijah, God’s great prophet.

There was great famine in the land and Ahab blamed God’s prophet Elijah for the lack of rain. It was in this setting that Jezebel, who was very wicked and anti-God was committed to kill Elijah. She sent a messenger to Elijah telling him that by the same time the next day his life would be over.

Elijah ran away because he had great fear and was in deep depression. Elijah tried to run away from his emotions but running away left him outside of the will of God. He reacted to his feelings and concern and seemingly lost his focus on God who had been with him in the victories in the past.

Being depressed in life always seems to bring isolation. This is what happened to Elijah. He took what the scripture tells us was a day’s journey into the wilderness. He felt alone, rejected and abandoned. He felt life wasn’t worth living. He was at such a low point in his life that he prayed, “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life” (I Kings 19:4). Per our definition above, depression brings about a low state of functional activity.

We need to remember that Elijah was a man of God and a prophet. Through these hours and days of depression God never left Elijah but Elijah seemed to think that He had. He had lost all desire to carry on. It was at Elijah’s lowest point that God appeared on the scene. He sent an angel to where Elijah was sleeping in the wilderness who told Elijah to get up and get going. This is how God works.

God still had work for Elijah to do. God saw that Elijah was down and out and didn’t have the strength to carry on. In times of need God provides just what we need. The angel brought Elijah food and water for two days to strengthen him for his journey.

In life today we as believers are going to have moments when we feel that everything is going wrong and we cannot carry on. We will have to make a choice. Elijah chose to run but that was not the will of God. We can’t run away from ourselves. Our choice must be to run to God and let Him strengthen us and put us back into action. The verse we have put above reminds us that when anxiety drives us into depression, we need to turn to God for the Word of God can make the heart glad.


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in Galatians 6:7-8.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

PRAYER:

It is my prayer today that when I feel depressed and alone that I will remember You are always with me. When the events of my life seem to be faltering help me not to run away from You but instead run quickly to You, casting all my cares upon You.


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January 19, 2017

Deeds: January 19, 2017

TODAY’S WORD FOR THURSDAY JANUARY 19, 2017.
DEEDS

DEFINITION:

A thing done; an act.




SCRIPTURE:

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17.




KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

Accepting Christ as our Savior will bring about a change in our behavior and in our attitude if we sincerely believe in Him. It is not enough to just say we believe. Our conduct needs to back up our words. As believers we become a new creation in Christ and it should be evident by our deeds.

Luke wrote in Acts 26:20 that Paul preached that we are to repent and turn to God and prove our repentance by our deeds. Genuine repentance will result in a changed lifestyle.

The apostle Paul speaks about what the heart of the believer must be like. He begins in verses 15-16 of Colossians 3 by saying that the believers are to allow their heart to be ruled by the peace of God and to be filled with the Words of Christ.

God’s peace is God’s gift to us but we must choose to let it rule our heart. What rules our heart will direct our actions and the deeds we do.

With this in mind Paul goes on in verse 17 to tell us that as believers we are Christ’s representatives and every aspect of our life reflects on the name of Christ. He is telling us that our words and deeds need to exemplify Christ at all times.

We as believers have a choice. We speak and act for ourselves and no one speaks or acts for us. Whether we speak and act for Christ therefore is our choice. The command is made clear in the verse we have written above, and that is that we are to, in our words and deeds, do all in the name of Christ.

Jesus said, “If you love Me you will keep My commandments” John 14:15. Our love for Jesus is shown clearly by our obedience to His commandments.

Paul tells us that we are to act and speak in the name of Jesus. What does he mean? The name of Jesus is the only name that God accepts in His presence. Therefore, we are to live with the sole purpose of bringing honor and glory to the name of Jesus.

To be what Christ wants us to be we must put all of our trust in the name of Christ and our total dependence on Him. We need to claim the name of Christ in all that we say and do. This includes all of our deeds. We must remember that the non-believers are watching and that we must represent Christ in everything we say and do.

Simply said, we must do nothing as believers in Jesus to dishonor Christ. When we speak, our words should be consistent with what Jesus taught and honor Him as our Lord and Savior. When we act, Christ should be upheld and glorified by our behavior and serve as an example of Jesus’ love and forgiveness.


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in Galatians 6:7-8.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

PRAYER:

Give me wisdom to honor and bless Your name through my words and actions. Help me to be saturated by Your Word that I may always have a clear understanding of what is right and what is wrong.


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January 18, 2017

Bitterness: January 18, 2017

TODAY’S WORD FOR WEDNESDAY JANUARY 18, 2017.
BITTERNESS

DEFINITION:

Anger; disappointment at being treated unfairly; resentment.




SCRIPTURE:

For I see that you are poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity. Acts 8:23.




KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE:

Bitterness is one of the most destructive of human emotions. Bitterness stems from the greedy desire for something that we feel has been unfairly denied to us. Bitterness results in anger and resentment that can lead us to do sinful things and can lead to our downfall. There are many situations in life today that cause bitterness. They include broken relationships, being treated unfairly, economic concerns, losing a job or a home, family disagreements, jealousy of others, coveting what someone else has, etc.

Bitterness sneaks into a person’s life when worldly desires become a priority in life and a right relationship with the Lord is not happening. Many times, unfortunate situations come our way as believers in Jesus and our minds move from the Lord to the situation. For others (non-believers) bitterness is part of a person’s life because they never have had a relationship with God. They seem to be bitter about something all the time because they live for their own self-serving purposes. Bitterness results when they are denied what they desire and see others obtain it. How many times have we ourselves said or heard others complain “It just isn’t fair.” That’s bitterness for you.

In the eighth chapter of Acts (verses 5-25), we read about Philip, a disciple of Jesus, who became an evangelist in Samaria. Philip, like many of the followers of Jesus had left Jerusalem to escape persecution. He continued, wherever he went, to preach the gospel message. Philip was preaching to people that were listening to false prophets who were teaching a false religion and urging false confessions.

Among them was a man named Simon, who used sorcery and bewitched the people of Samaria by claiming that he was the great power of God. The people followed him because he amazed them with his magic. The scripture tells us that when Simon heard Philip preach and saw him perform great genuine miracles that he repented and believed in Jesus and was baptized.

Peter and John came to Samaria to help Philip and to pray for him in this revival. When Peter and John laid hands on the believers they received the Holy Spirit. Simon wanted to buy this ability and he offered them money so he could perform the same miracles.

It was Peter who saw that Simon’s heart was not right in the sight of God. He told Simon that he needed to repent and ask God to forgive him of his wickedness. Peter told Simon that he saw that he “was full of bitterness and a captive of sin.”  Simon was still tied up in the bond of iniquity even though he professed to be a believer. Like Simon, many people today claim to be saved but still cannot get free of their sinful ways.

The point is made very clear in this incident with Simon. Simon’s life was filled with hypocrisy, trying to fool people that he was something that he was not. He wanted to be known as the great man of God but for his own selfish purpose.

As so often happens, Simon became bitter because he was denied what he thought he should have. In Ephesians 4:30-31 we are told to get rid of all bitterness and anger because it grieves the Holy Spirit.

Where do you stand in your life? Are you bitter because of circumstances in your life that are causing you to be angry and resentful? If you are, it is sin in God’s sight and now is the time to ask for forgiveness as Peter told Simon to do. God is willing and waiting to forgive you. You are the one that needs to take that step and the Lord will change your bitterness to joy.


LEARNING:

Our memory verse for this week is found in Galatians 6:7-8.

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

PRAYER:

Help me to get rid of any bitterness in my life. When I feel bitter, help me to realize that bitterness serves as a divide between You and me. Help me and my family be an example to others, never showing bitterness but always showing the love of God through our words and deeds.


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