Category Archives: giving/charity

Celebrating His Coming: Thoughts for the 1st Week of Advent – Day 2

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. –Isaiah 64:6, KJV

Even our good works are tainted by sin, making it so that there is never enough good works we can do to tip the scales to outweigh our sins and earn forgiveness from God.

As we continue our journey through Advent, we remember the longing for a Savior that the Prophets sought and preached.

We may volunteer our time at the holidays, donate clothes, food, and toys to those in need, or even welcome strangers into our home. But it takes the perfect love of God moving through us to have any true impact.

See your need for a Savior, the One who gave up all power, glory, majesty, and honor to live a simple, faithful life to sacrifice His body for our benefit.

Gracious Lord, You see our sinful natures and every motive of our hearts. Help us to see Your forgiveness through Your great sacrifice, and change us and clean us to do good works in Your name.

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Social Justice with God’s Justice

Here is a dangerous post for this day and age.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. -Proverbs 31:6-7, KJV

It certainly sounds as though Scripture is calling for helping the poor and needy to get drunk. So, when you see the panhandler and the homeless begging for money, just get them that drink you know they are just gonna buy, anyway!

Or …

We can remember that this passage is speaking of the wise ruler avoiding such things, to “Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.” (Titus 2:6)

As co-heirs with Christ, we are to remain sober and help others to come to sober-mindedness in all things, but we must not be judgmental of those who feel the need to drown their sorrows.

Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. . . . She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. -Proverbs 31:8-‬9‭, ‬20 KJV

Michael also spoke to this this week. It should be the job of the Christian man and woman to help those in need and “be a voice for the voiceless.” (And remember that the original meaning of dumb was “mute” or “voiceless”, not stupid.)

I am not one for going after “social justice” as it is called today. This modern movement has a tendency to forget the most important aspect in its desire to be all-inclusive, and a reason I like the King James translation of this passage: the Gospel.

The “social justice movement” has a tendency to meet physical needs yet ignore the underlying problems or blow those problems out of proportion. To “open thy mouth for the dumb . . . as are appointed for destruction” reminds us that we need to tell a fallen and messed up world that they are headed for Hell without faith in Christ.

Should we stand up for the poor? Absolutely.

The drunk and drug addicted? Without question.

The “minority” of non-whites (as well as mistreated whites) around the world? Undeniably.

Even the homosexual, transgender, and queer? Yes, yes, and yes.

But we do so while remembering that they are all poor in righteousness, hopelessly sinful in their natural state, and in need of a Savior.

We are to be peacemakers and show this world love and charity.

And we are to share the Gospel.

To do otherwise (on both counts) is to play God and condemn their souls to destruction. To have social justice without revealing God’s justice is unloving and cruel.


This Ain’t No Prosperity Gospel

Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain. –Proverbs 25:14, KJV

In Acts chapter 5, we hear of Ananias and Sapphira. They were the couple in the fledgling Church in Jerusalem who joined in the spree of selling property and laying the proceeds at the Apostles’ feet.

They are notable for being the people who said they had given everything from the sale, but in truth they held some back. The issue was not keeping some of the money for themselves but lying to the Church and, more importantly, the Holy Spirit. And the Spirit struck them dead for it.

Why, and why is this so important?

First, God was protecting His young Church. He did not want Christ’s Bride defiled immediately after the betrothal.

But He wants people who sow real seeds of blessing. Not to help those in power or receive something in return. Not to make themselves look better in the eyes of other people.

No, (and if you will allow me to get a tad allegorical) God wants His people to give gifts that can rain down and blow across the harvest field of souls.

He is not as concerned with someone’s personal prosperity as with the prosperity of His Church, that she can grow in meaningful number and relationship with Him.

If you boast of your giving of time, money, and resources to the mission of the Church, but that contribution is not as big as you imply (if at all), then you are stealing from and misrepresenting the witness of God and abusing His bride.

God may want a joyful giver, but He would rather you be an honest person who never helps than one who boasts of what in truth he has never done.


A generous man will himself be happy

Generosity is interesting. It brings a blessing and happiness to me.

That happiness takes many forms. The greatest is the joy of doing what our Father desires. He says to give and obedience is its own form of blessing.

The focus of generosity should be on the poor. Solomon challenges us to have a mission with our generosity. Here, we have lots of opportunity for sure.

GOD is generous. He is caring and in a good mood. Always.

Jesus has a goal for us. We are to be generous.

A generous man will himself be happy, for he shares his food with the poor. ~King Solomon Proverbs 22:9 (The Message Bible)

In both the Old and New Testaments, we see God’s desire for His children to show compassion to the poor and needy. Jesus said that the poor would always be with us (Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7). He also said that those who show mercy to the poor, the sick, and the needy are in effect ministering to Him personally (Matthew 25:35–40) and will be rewarded accordingly.

There is no doubt that poverty’s reach is both widespread and devastating. God’s people cannot be indifferent toward those in need, because His expectations for us in regard to taking care of the poor are woven throughout the entirety of Scripture.

  • For example, look at the Master’s words about the goodness of King Josiah in Jeremiah 22:16: “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me, declares the MASTER?”
  • And Moses instructed his people how to treat the poor and needy: “Give generously to [them] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the MASTER your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to” (Deuteronomy 15:10).
  • This sentiment is perfectly captured in Proverbs 14:31: “Whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

The Cries of the Poor

Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard. -Proverbs 21:13, KJV

I have pretty much always been a compassionate person. There was a time, however, when I followed a party line and believed the poor must have done something to deserve it.

This is especially crazy knowing my family went through a time when we almost ended up homeless, wondering if there was enough food to feed the five of us each day.

Personal Rebuke

But God sent me a bit of a rebuke, and in late 2007 through early 2008 I spent most nights on the streets of metro-area Phoenix. If you can not learn more compassion for others when alongside them, you are truly hard of heart.

I was fortunate (though my parents worried like crazy), but others may not be.

Throughout Scripture, God sets His expectation for His people: to love the widows, orphans, and the poor.

In the literal understanding, help those who do not have enough. This is loving your neighbor.

Deeper Cries

The deeper understanding is to help those who are spiritually poor. Help them find the truth of who Christ is. Feed their spirit and mind with God’s Word.

To not do so is to condemn them – and yourself – to eternal death and judgment, to cries of the poor who will never find rest. That is why to ignore the cries of the poor will lead to your own crying that will not be heard.

Believe in and share Christ and be saved.


The Poor Difference

The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends. He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. -Proverbs 14:20‭-‬21, KJV

There are two different kinds of poor people:

  1. The person who owns little but is responsible and honest: They may be poor in possessions, but also being poor in spirit just means they acknowledge their status and keep striving.
  2. The person who is wasteful and irresponsible: They are poor in possessions, but they are also poor in humility and refuse to accept responsibility for their circumstances. They may even think others owe them.

It is easy to not feel bad (or to strongly dislike or even have hate) for the one who squandered everything and blames others. It is easier to feel sorry for and even be friends with the one who owns little but owns up to their station. (Trust me. I have been there.)

Even a rich person can be poor in humility and therefore be hated.

But God calls us to love the lowly of every type, whether of means or of character. We are not to despise them but show mercy acks kindness.

That may mean a handout (even if we think they may spend or trade it for drugs and alcohol), but it definitely means showing them God’s love, mercy, and grace. For that is what He did for us.


All About Integrity

Proverbs chapter eleven is all about integrity.

What does inegrity entail?

Honesty

Telling the truth and doing what’s right is important. Honesty is life-affirming, acknowledging the image of God in others, and, honestly, keeping life simple. It is easier to keep your story straight when you tell the truth and do what’s right.

Responsibility

Doing what’s right, doing what one ought, is also life-affirming. Sin is most often associated with what we did wrong, but it includes what we don’t do that we should. If we did what was needed when it should be done (right away or when time allows), life would be easier. Owning mistakes is included, as growth comes more quickly. It is irresponsible to shift the blame or hope “someone else will do it.” It is better to do what is right, even if someone else could or should do it.

Generosity

Giving to others or taking up the burden of another demonstrates generosity. And – you probably guessed it – it is life affirming. It shows love to others. It tells others “You are worth it.” It clears up problems before they even exist or before they are out of control.

Living with Integrity

If you want to live with integrity, live out the concepts of Proverbs. Take five minutes and read the entire chapter and see how integrated and interrelated all of these concepts are.

They represent God’s character, and living with integrity makes your character more like His.

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)