We do not need a miracle to help someone facing hard times

In 1 Kings 17 Elijah is fed in two different miraculous ways – 1) wild ravens on an orderly mission, and 2) a hungry widow with bottomless jars. But that does not mean we need either of these to help someone in hard times.

In 1 Kings 18:3-4 we are introduced to a man named Obadiah who did something rather wonderful, dangerous and costly, but not miraculous. He fed one-hundred persecuted people, hidden in two caves, with bread and water.

While bread and water may not seem very impressive to some observers, bread and water just happened to be two items difficult to come by during the three-year climate change Samaria faced. And yet Obadiah came through so the prophets of the Lord could persevere.

The miraculous times of God-given food and drink recorded in the Bible are interesting moments to think about and they bring with them valuable lessons (Matthew 16:5-12), but as James (who was familiar with the lessons of Elijah’s story – James 5:17-18) told the church in the first century, doing what we can to help someone facing hard times does not take a miracle, but (like Obadiah) it still takes a living faith to use our God-given blessings.

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” (James 2:14-17 NKJV)

#benevolence, #faith, #helping, #miracles

An opportunity to help a Christian family in TN

A good sister in Christ we know has recommended help to this needy family. The husband and breadwinner has a heart issue and can no longer work. He must rest completely for three months, no stress.

They are faithful Christians, says this sister, and she has known them for a long time, thinks highly of them. They belong to the Maple Hill congregation in Lebanon TN. The site says,

Please help this family not to stress about medical and travel expenses, as well as everyday living expenses. Allow them the time they need to focus on getting Nathan better. It is crucial that Nathan get the rest he needs so his heart can heal. If his heart doesn’t heal, they are looking at some very serious procedures in the near future. Our prayer is his situation will only progress, and he will not need any further medical procedures. With your help, we can make this family have the brightest Christmas ever. Please give what you can. Share with all of your friends. Also, pray for this family and the journey they are on for the next 3 months.

They have insurance, but must spend a boocoodle before it kicks in.

#benevolence

Seen and Experienced

It has been said that the work of the local church is to preach the gospel, edify the saints, and render benevolence to those amongst the saints (then to non-saints). I believe this to be a true statement of the Lord’s way. Consider the last point—benevolence to the saints. The Scriptures plainly teach this is the Lord’s way (Galatians 6:10). Thus, it is sinful when the local congregation fails (refuses) to render assistance to those in need. Let us be sure we meet our obligation in this; by doing so glory to the Lord is seen and experienced.  RT

#benevolence, #work-of-church

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Psalm 146 What Has God Done For Me, Lately?

These last 5 Psalms are called “Hallelujah Psalms” because they begin and end with that expression: “Praise – Jehovah,” or “Hallelujah.” The author, date, and setting of each Psalm is undetermined, but their acceptance is unquestioned.

Verses 1-4 urge when God should be praised;

Verses 5-10 explain why God should be praised.

Verses 1-4: Praise should be given to God “while I live.” Duh! This is a statement of the obvious. The Word of God nowhere encourages anyone to not praise God until after death. Trust should not be transferred from God to “princes” (government leaders) or “a son of man” (humans in general), for deliverance. The middle verse of the entire Word of God says this: “It is better to trust in the LORD Than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8). Humans die when the spirit goes back to God and the body is left on earth (Ecclesiastes 12:7), so that “in that very day his plans perish.”

Verses 5-10: “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, because He:

1. Is The God over History (verse 5), Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel” (Genesis 32:24-30), and God watched over those people (Isaiah 48) through the coming of Jesus Christ in the New Testament (Galatians 3:5-29);

2. Is The God over Creation (verse 6), which shows absolute, total wisdom in its very existence and orderliness (Proverbs 8:12, 22-31). All scientific factual discoveries, whether in Physics, Biology, or Chemistry are simply the uncovering of God’s Wisdom behind this World’s constitution;

3. Is The God over Justice (verse 7), evening the suppression or oppression of the hungry and imprisoned (Luke 4:16-41);

4. Is The God over Perfecting the Needy (verse 8), with physical healing through Jesus Christ (Matthew 15:30; Luke 13:11-13), then spiritually through His Word (Acts 26:12-19). God loves the righteous, those who do His will (1 Peter 3:8-12);

5. Is The God over Benevolence (verse 9), for He has always made rules for His people to help strangers, orphans, and widows (Exodus 22:21; Hebrews 13:2; Psalm 68:4-5; James 1:27);

6. Is The God over Eternity (verse 10, a quotation of Exodus 15:18), Who is timeless (Isaiah 57:15; Acts 15:18).  

“Praise the LORD.”   

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version,  unless otherwise noted.

#benevolence, #bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #creation, #daily-bible-reading, #eternity, #faith, #god, #history, #justice, #needy, #obedience, #salvation, #wisdom

The Poor Always

It has been said time and again that the mission of the church is three-fold: the proclamation of the gospel (Luke 19:10), the edification of the saints (2 Timothy 2:2), and benevolence (Galatians 6:10). I would like to develop in brief these three points.

The church consists of only those who are saved by the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28); there are no unsaved people in the Lord’s church (2 Timothy 2:19). When one embraces salvation there is a change in life that is really remarkable. The saved one wants to assist in the Lord’s cause in any way that there is opportunity, and one of the best ways is in living and sharing the gospel of Christ. If all Christians did as much, the first mission statement of the church would continue to be fulfilled with each generation.

Second, as one lives the life of Christ there will always be opportunities to share the gospel of Christ with the unsaved. Some of those who are not saved are attending the Bible classes. Our Bible classes are an important work of the church. In the Bible class the prepared teacher has taken time to not only learn from the Lord, but also desires to teach those present the same things the teacher has learned. It is a disservice to the Lord, to the teacher, to the parent, and to the child (children) when there is little interest or support for the work.

Third, James said that pure and undefiled religions is to assist those who are in need (James 1:27). There will always be people who are poor in our community. Those who are in the Lord’s church have a special obligation to render assistance to Christians in need (not want). When the elders fail to take an active role in that they not only fail the one (or ones) in need, but the Lord also!

The Lord’s church has an obligation in the community in which it resides and to the saints. Let us do what we can to promote the Lord’s way in this regard. RT

#benevolence, #edification, #mission-of-church, #poor, #preaching

A Conflict in Compassion

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God tells us to take care of the poor. Meanwhile, most Christians equate poverty with welfare and think that they deserve what they get. We stereotype the poor and therefore we don’t help anyone.

Somehow, we have to get past these stereotypes and realize that some people are legitimately in need and we are commanded to do what we can to help them.

“The generous soul will be made rich” (Proverbs 11:25).

They desired only that we should remember the poor, the very thing which I also was eager to do” (Galatians 2:10).

 

 

#benevolence, #money, #needy

Preacher needs kidney, prayers, donations

Anwar Carter shared this on Facebook:

My friend and brother in Christ, John Parker is a preacher of the Word and Marine Corps veteran. John is currently on the donor list awaiting a kidney. In the meanwhile he has been hospitalized for quite some time due to other health complications. He and his family of a wife and two children are in need of prayers and financial assistance. Please consider making a contribution to help this family. You can mail a check or money order made out to John or Sametta Parker to Highland Heights Church of Christ, 3587 Macon Road, Memphis, TN 38122. No amount is too small. We appreciate your prayerful support.

#benevolence, #donations, #needs, #preachers

The Sin of Doing Nothing

I remember one occasion when I was a youngster, and my mother was about to scold me for some wrongdoing, when I butted in, “But, I didn’t do anything!”  My mother, not deterred in the slightest, exclaimed, “Exactly!  And, that’s why you’re in trouble!”  I had transgressed my parents’ law, not by doing something wrong, but by failing to do that which I was supposed to have done earlier.  Thus, I learned (the hard way) about the sin of doing nothing.

This lesson is taught in Scripture in the book of Judges.  In chapter 4, Israel had fought and defeated the Canaanites, under the leadership of Deborah and Barak.  Chapter 5 records Deborah and Barak’s victory song after their conquest.  It is to verse 23 that our attention is now directed:  “Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the LORD, curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof; because they came not to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.”  The inhabitants of Meroz were cursed, not because they had done any particular action that was wrong, but because they had failed to do that which they should have done—help their brethren in the fight against the Canaanites.  Thus, Meroz learned the hard way about the sin of doing nothing.  It is not enough simply to refrain from doing wrong, but God’s children must also be careful to do that which they are expected to do. Continue reading

#articles, #benevolence, #church-bulletin-articles, #evangelsm, #salvation, #sin

Question about Benevolence

Does the congregation where you serve pay electric bills for people in the community?

#benevolence, #giving, #money

An aging grandmother walked into the church foyer…

An aging grandmother walked into the church foyer and asked for help. She explained that she had nowhere to go and was homeless. We provided food and began to make arrangements at a local motel. But before sending her, I asked, “Do you have any family living in Winchester?” “Oh yes,” she said, “my daughter, her husband and their children.” “Won’t they take you in?” I asked. “Yes, but she would want me to help with the children,” she explained. “Aren’t they your grandchildren?” I asked. “Yes, but I don’t want to be bothered with them,” she said. I rethought the motel and sent her on her way, encouraging her to live with her family. Pure religion includes help to those in need, but divided families and selfish irresponsibility is not of God. This is Just-A-Minute with Ed Boggess

#benevolence, #just-a-minute

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Relief from the churches of Christ

Brethren,
Paul said: “But as you abound in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all diligence, and in your love for us–see that you abound in this grace also. I speak not by commandment, but I am testing the sincerity of your love by the diligence of others. For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:7-9 NKJV).
The churches of Christ are noted for standing for “the faith,” speaking the truth in love, and loving Jesus Christ. But while the “Neo-Sectarians” among us are carving the brotherhood apart and stabbing brethren in the back at a distance, the “boo-birds” have decried how the churches of Christ “aren’t doing anything” and don’t know how to love one another. “Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged” (Romans 3:4 NKJV). The reports of the death of the churches of Christ are greatly exaggerated, and simply not true!
The Park Avenue church of Christ, Memphis, Tennessee has been sent $600,000 to be used in Sennai, Japan to aid the victims of the tsunami;
Christians (used in the Scriptural sense!) have sent many thousands of dollars, and hundreds of volunteers, to come to the assistance of tornado victims in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia;
Churches of Christ Disaster Relief, Nashville, Tennessee has sent a steady stream of 18-wheeler truckloads of immediately-needed food and cleaning supplies all over the States, including Joplin, Missouri, Big Rock, Tennessee, and many other places where there has been flooding or tornado damage, to be distributed by the local churches of Christ.
Indeed, God has given the churches of Christ ample opportunities to come to the side of hurting souls — AND WE HAVE COME!
I do not know of a time in past decades when I was more impressed with the loving response of my brethren in Jesus Christ. With prices, jobs, and other hindrances like they are, we are showing that not only have we been debating and arguing the truth of the Gospel of Christ, we have also been keenly aware that the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ upon us will be seen by those who are looking for the hand of God upon them.
We can’t do miracles, but as the body of Christ, we are showing our good works as a light and pointing all glory to our wonderful God!
Now, as never before, preach the Word that those who obey the Gospel will be added to the churches of Christ.
John T. Polk II

#benevolence, #churches-of-christ, #relief

Our Clothing and Food Giveaway

“Remember the poor” (Galatians 2:10)

#benevolence, #clothing, #poor

Funds for Japan's churches of Christ

For those interested in sending help, the Park Avenue church in Memphis is receiving funds for Japan. The link and a report of the brethren’s safety is now up on BNc. We give thanks, but risks are still great, so we continue to pray for them.

UPDATE: The direct link to the Japan disaster relief page at Park Avenue is HERE.

#benevolence, #disaster-relief, #japan

Give Away

This past weekend, the church where I am a member (Sullivan IL) had a “great give-away.” From our perspective it was a “great” success.I do not know how many people we served, but I would guess it was well over 200, and I might be conservative in this estimate. A sister “headed” up the event, but she had great assistance from many others. We handed a bag to each person who came in; inside this bag was literature from the church. Whether it was read or not, I do not know – but they had it if they desired to read it. The give away consisted, primarily, of clothing items, especially winter clothing. However, along with clothing items, we had toys, books, games, and various other things. What was left over, we gave to DOVE (or some other women’s shelter).

#benevolence, #charity, #good-work

Helping the Poor

Considering my article today about the insistence in Scripture that we help the poor, what does your congregation do to accomplish this goal?

Helping the poor is more complex than it ought to be. The reality of scammers and those who want handouts, but refuse to take care of themselves, makes this unnecessarily difficult. We can help the poor, but we cannot change the person.

However, we must remember that helping the poor is a command. Yet, we are also commanded to be good stewards and to be wise. With all of these factors in mind, how can we help the needy?

#benevolence, #forthright, #poor