Tag Archives: Charity

Compassion: A Fourteen-day Journey #13

Stewardship Begins at Home


God has ordained the family unit in part so that we can meet one another’s needs. Few social structures, if any, have fed more widows, raised more orphans and encouraged more lonely elderly people than families taking care of other family members in need. For the believer, it is a matter of being like Christ and being an example to others. The Christian must see that the needs of his own family are met. Theologian and pastor John Wesley (1703-1791) considers:

Not yet are we forbidden to provide for our children, and for those of our own household. This also is our duty to do, even upon principles of heathen morality. Every man ought to provide the plain necessities of life, both for his own wife and children; and to put them into a capacity of providing these for themselves, when he is gone hence and is no more seen. I say, of providing these; the plain necessities of life; not delicacies; not superfluities–and that their diligent labor.
Expository preacher Stephen F. Olford (1918-2004) weighs in on the issue.

Paul uses family life to illustrate the importance of laying money aside as he spoke to the Corinthian church (2Co 12:14). For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents are for their children. In my pastoral counseling I have listened to many stories of tragic circumstances. Husbands have failed their wives, parents have cheated their children, and grown sons and daughters have neglected their widowed mothers or other dependents. Such shortcomings are soundly and solemnly condemned by the Word of God; in fact, such dereliction of duty is described as worse than infidelity.

In light of the foregoing, it is certainly biblical and practical that savings accounts be established and insurance policies be taken out to cover the needs of dependents, emergency requirements, funeral expenses, and so on. Such financial matters should be openly discussed in every Christian household. With an open Bible and in an atmosphere of prayer, our tithes, offerings, expenses, and savings should be surveyed in a relation to personal, as well as general, income. Happy and healthy in the Spirit is the family that is united on all these matters. In the last analysis, every one of us is responsible to God in time and accountable to Him in eternity (Gal 6:2-10).

1 Timothy 5:1-16 NKJV

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity. Honor widows who are really widows. But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable before God. Now she who is really a widow, and left alone, trusts in God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day. But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives. And these things command, that they may be blameless. But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. Do not let a widow under sixty years old be taken into the number, and  not  unless she has been the wife of one man, well reported for good works: if she has brought up children, if she has lodged strangers, if she has washed the saints’ feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if she has diligently followed every good work. But refuse the younger widows; for when they have begun to grow wanton against Christ, they desire to marry, having condemnation because they have cast off their first faith. And besides they learn to  be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not. Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some have already turned aside after Satan. If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows.

Compassion: A Fourteen-day Journey #6

In Response to God’s Generosity


Several psalms, like this one, praise God for his past generosity. Such psalms reminded the listeners of how lavishly God has blessed his people in spite of their historic disobedience. They remind us of how patient and persistent God has been, while assuring us of his future goodness. Beyond this, these psalms tell us how to practice generosity. How can we refuse to share with others when God has been so kind to his people–and to us? Even when other people are ungrateful and irresponsible, we are to look for opportunities to help them–just as we have been helped.

The reformer Martin Luther (1483-1546) addresses this issue in “Concerning Christian Liberty,” his classic statement on the freedom the believer enjoys from the burden of the law and the anxiety of self reliance. He says:

Although the Christian is thus free from all works, he ought in this liberty to empty himself, take upon himself the form of a servant, be made in the likeness of men, be found in human form, and to serve, help, and in every way deal with his neighbor as he sees that God through Christ has dealt and still deals with him. This he should do freely, having regard for nothing but divine approval.

He ought to think: “Although I am an unworthy and condemned man, my God has given me in Christ all the riches of righteousness and salvation without any merit on my part, out of pure, free mercy, so that from now on I need nothing except faith which believes that this is true. Why should I not therefore freely, joyfully, with all my heart, and with an eager will do all things which I know are pleasing and acceptable to such a Father who has overwhelmed me with his inestimable riches? I will therefore give myself as a Christ to my neighbor, just as Christ offered himself to me; I will do nothing in this life except what I see is necessary, profitable, and salutary to my neighbor, since through faith I have an abundance of all good things in Christ.”

Behold, from faith thus flow forth love and joy in the Lord, and from love a joyful, willing, and free mind that serves one’s neighbor willingly and takes no account of gratitude or ingratitude, of praise or blame, of gain or loss. For a man does not serve that he may put men under obligations. He does not distinguish between friends and enemies or anticipate their thankfulness or unthankfulness, but he most freely and most willingly spends himself and all that he has, whether he wastes all on the thankless or whether he gains a reward.

We conclude, therefore, that a Christian lives not in himself, but in Christ and in his neighbor. Otherwise he is not a Christian. He lives in Christ through faith, in his neighbor through love. By faith he is caught up beyond himself into God. By love he descends beneath himself into he neighbor. Yet he always remains in God and in his love, as Christ says in John 1, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heavens open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Psalm 135:1-21 NKJV

Praise the Lord ! Praise the name of the Lord ; Praise Him, O you servants of the Lord ! You who stand in the house of the Lord , In the courts of the house of our God, Praise the Lord , for the Lord  is good; Sing praises to His name, for it  is pleasant. For the Lord has chosen Jacob for Himself, Israel for His special treasure. For I know that the Lord  is great, And our Lord is above all gods. Whatever the Lord pleases He does, In heaven and in earth, In the seas and in all deep places. He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain; He brings the wind out of His treasuries. He destroyed the firstborn of Egypt, Both of man and beast. He sent signs and wonders into the midst of you, O Egypt, Upon Pharaoh and all his servants. He defeated many nations And slew mighty kings— Sihon king of the Amorites, Og king of Bashan, And all the kingdoms of Canaan— And gave their land as a heritage, A heritage to Israel His people. Your name, O Lord , endures forever, Your fame, O Lord , throughout all generations. For the Lord will judge His people, And He will have compassion on His servants. The idols of the nations are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see; They have ears, but they do not hear; Nor is there any breath in their mouths. Those who make them are like them; So  is everyone who trusts in them. Bless the Lord , O house of Israel! Bless the Lord , O house of Aaron! Bless the Lord , O house of Levi! You who fear the Lord , bless the Lord ! Blessed be the Lord  out of Zion, Who dwells in Jerusalem! Praise the Lord !

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Verse of the Day – January 3rd


But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Matthew 6:3-4(NKJV)

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A Brief, Gentle Defense of “Jesus Calling”

I have recently read multiple posts or articles questioning the integrity/appropriateness of the popular devotional “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  Most of the controversy seems to stem from the author’s device of using first person to describe “conversations” with Jesus.  The author freely states that these words are not “infallible” or “canonical”, but simply descriptive of conversations with Jesus during devotional periods.

I do not see anything wrong with that, given the disclaimers in the Forward/Introduction.  Use of first person is a powerful device to describe how the messages came to her.  This device has been used in many sermons/homilies, especially around Easter.  I do not want to add to the controversy or continue it as a doubtful disputation.  But, I would be remiss if I let this criticism pass without telling my side.

Many people have quiet times with Jesus.  Many experience Jesus talking to them during this time.  Every Sunday (or Saturday for Sabbath keepers) we would be without the weekly sermon if no one ever repeated what Jesus had spoken to them during these quiet times of fellowship with Christ.  So what is the problem?  Certainly, it could not be the fact that Sarah Young dares to speak out as a woman, with a separate and distinct relationship with Jesus! What part of Galatians 3:28 do you not understand?

Galatians 3:28 (NKJV)
28  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 

I am suspicious of those who say, Mark 9:38-40 (ASV)
38  … we saw one casting out demons in thy name; and we forbade him, because he followed not us.

The reply is poignant:

39  But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man who shall do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me.
40  For he that is not against us is for us.

It seems to me that we might take our lead from the Bible itself in this matter:

Acts 5:34-39 (NKJV)
34  Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while.
35  And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men.
36  For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing.
37  After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.
38  And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing;
39  but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it–lest you even be found to fight against God.” 

That’s the best advice I can give, and that’s all I have to say about that!