9-7-2016 Saints Serving The Poor

There was no Roman Catholic Church in existence when Paul wrote: “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints” (Romans 1:7 NKJV). They were “distributing to the needs of the saints” (Romans 12:13 NKJV).  Paul was “going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. For it pleased those from Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints who are in Jerusalem” (Romans 15:25-26 NKJV).  There is more than just serving the poor, however, for “though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:3 NKJV).   Serving without love “profits nothing.”  Corinthians “hearing, believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8 NKJV) and were “sanctified in Christ Jesus” (1 Corinthians 1:2 NKJV).

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#love, #poor, #roman-catholic-church, #saints

10-8-2015 Helping the Poor

When Jesus said, “you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good” (Mark 14:7 NKJV), He was confirming the Old Testament teaching. “When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not wholly reap the corners of your field when you reap, nor shall you gather any gleaning from your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the stranger: I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 23:22 NKJV). The “poor” were allowed to harvest the raw materials for food from the last of the crops. The “poor” were also obligated to pay their temple tax the same as the “rich” (Exodus 30:14-15). Nowhere in the Bible are God’s people (Israelites in the Old, Christians in the New) obligated to care for the “poor” who show no involvement in Bible teaching!

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#poor, #temple-tax, #wholly-reap

ETHICS

As a nation the Lord was greatly displeased with Israel. There were many things that plagued them, but in Isaiah 1:17 there are five points the Lord set forth for Israel to do. 1) Learn to do good, 2) seek justice, 3) rebuke the oppressor, 4) defend the fatherless, and 5) plead for the widow (the wording of the NKJV). The word “good” can best be understood in relation to the Lord’s will. The word “justice” simply means that Israelites were to properly apply the Lord’s word from the high ranking official all the way down to the lowest or the economically deprived in the community. The one who oppresses is rendered differently in the NET: “Give the oppressed reason to celebrate.” This seems to be best understood in relation to the next two points; the children and the widows who have no one to provide for them need assistance. That which the Lord called upon the children of Israel to do, let us do the same.

 

#ethics, #justice, #poor

(#195) The Proverbs of Solomon 29:14-How to be Re-elected

 

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 29:14: “The king who judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.”

“The king” (or any government leader who thinks he/she is a “king”) represents the administration and its governance;

Judging the “poor with truth,” means that:

1) no law or court decision should favor the “poor” (Exodus 23:3, 6; Leviticus 19:15), either by taking more from the “rich” or artificially raising the minimum wage of the “poor;”

2) no law or court decision should seek to do away with the condition of being “poor,” for Jesus Christ said “the poor you have with you always” (John 12:8), and Solomon said: “The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2);

3) no law or court decision should make life harder for the “poor.” Solomon had said: “Do not rob the poor because he is poor, Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; For the LORD will plead their cause, And plunder the soul of those who plunder them” (Proverbs 22:22-23);

4) no law or court decision should define or describe being “poor” so as to include more as being “poor” than there really is!  “Poor” in Moses’ Law, meant one was reduced to selling off his possessions or even himself (Leviticus 25:25-48)! “Poverty” can be the result of: laziness (Proverbs 6:9-11); stinginess (Proverbs 11:24); refusal to be disciplined (Proverbs 13:18); empty talk (Proverbs 14:23); reckless planning (Proverbs 21:5); constant fun (Proverbs 28:19).

The truly wise will enjoy being a part of “the middle class:” “Two things I request of You (Deprive me not before I die): Remove falsehood and lies far from me; Give me neither poverty nor riches-Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or lest I be poor and steal, And profane the name of my God” (Proverbs 30:7-9).

A country whose people received the condemnation of God “used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger” (Ezekiel 22:29).

“The king” who wants to be re-elected will take note and be wise.

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

#bible-study, #goverment, #king, #poor, #poverty, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wisdom

(#189) The Proverbs of Solomon 28:3-Beware of the Merciless Poor

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 28:3: “A poor man who oppresses the poor Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.”

“A driving rain” can wash away planted seeds, top soil, and even the crops, themselves. “A poor man who oppresses” is merciless and unforgiving to those like himself. Power or authority in the hands of one who hasn’t earned it is a weapon of mass destruction!

Jesus Christ, who was “greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42), best described this wisdom in Matthew 18:23-35: “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:23-35). People have a tendency to not show pity to those who have sinned like they have, though their sin may have been worse! A “poor man” is harder and more impatient with other “poor” people because they are like he was. James warns us of this attitude: “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:12-13).

Anyone who knows what it is like to have sins forgiven (Mark 16:15-16) should know how to forgive others: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). We who have admitted our own sins before God should have compassion on others.

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

#bible-study, #forgiveness, #merciless, #mercy, #poor, #proverbs

You’re Nothing but a Number to the Lottery

I listened to a story on the radio the other day about the “strength” of the Tennessee State Lottery, which, by the way, actually has a “Duck Dynasty” scratch off game. But anyways, according to the story the Tennessee State Lottery is “enjoying” the strongest growth among all state lotteries in the ole’ US of A. Truth be told, the state lottery made $1.37 billion in a downturned, struggling 2013 Tennessee economy. Yup! Pretty interesting; or should I say pretty sad?

The interview eventually included a few audio quotes given by the lottery’s commissioner/president/CEO/boss, who actually has an award named after her by the Public Gaming Research Institute, giving her point of view of the financially booming lottery system in Tennessee. In one of the quotes she bragged about how every state lottery, three in total, that she began and maintained with her “leadership” experienced growth – all 28 years in a row. You could hear the joy and excitement and pride in her voice.

But to me there should be no joy or no excitement or no pride about the “achievements” of any state lottery. It’s nothing but a predatory system that preys off of the poor. Study after study has revealed that the neighborhoods and communities with the lowest median income have the highest rates of sales for the lottery systems. But yet the system shows no shame, only reminding people to “play responsibly” and to call the toll-free number listed on the back if they think they have a problem.

Well I have a problem! I have a problem with people making hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars by taking 2 and 3 dollars at a time out of the pockets of the impoverished and impressionable people who are constantly pounded with the importunities of the lottery’s TV and radio commercials! They incessantly present wining as easy and as a dream come true. And they’re right to one extent – people are dreaming if they think they’re going to get rich off of playing the lottery.

Some may say, “But Eugene, the lottery awards money to its winners and in the grand scheme of things it’s all for the children and their education.” To that I say, “Garbage!” The lottery worries about nothing other than itself. People are nothing but a number in the system. Numbers that must be maintained so salaries can be filled; and I’m talking about salaries that the average lottery player wishes they could win! And education? If the state was so concerned about education then they could do more with the money that they tax the people with already!

The average person who plays the lottery isn’t thinking about the education of others. They aren’t interested in going to school – they’re getting schooled every time they buy a ticket. And it’s a lesson in economics that the system is willing to teach over and over and over to people who won’t learn.

Lotteries are all about the numbers, and the numbers don’t lie – the lotteries are in it for the money, not for you!

He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.” (Proverbs 22:16)

Related Article:

#gambling, #gaming, #lottery, #love-of-money, #oppressing-the-poor, #poor, #rich

(#85) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:20-21- With Friends Like These…

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 14:20-21: “The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, But the rich has many friends. 21 He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.”

Verse 20: The “poor” have less to offer than the “rich,” and neighbors “hate” (detest, are impatient with) them! The “rich” may have “many friends” who have been attracted by the wealth, like flies to garbage. How sad for both! Such “fair-weather friends” should never be considered when evaluating a person’s worth! Human value should not be based on either what a person has or doesn’t have (“rich” or “poor”).

Verse 21: Those who “despise” (think lightly of, disregard) a “neighbor” (nearest, closest), especially a “poor” one, will not show “mercy,” and this lack of mercy will come back to them: “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13). Jesus thought of the poor when He said, “But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil” (Luke 6:35); “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14:12-14). God invests good in the “unthankful and evil,” and so should His children (Christians), but it is up to the “unthankful and evil” to pay it forward! Dinners or suppers, usually require a social obligation in return, but Jesus insists that the poor and downtrodden should be served “because they cannot repay you.” Good, done for good’s sake, does not have a price tag! And Jesus’ prophecy of the Day of Judgment will be a reckoning of deeds done, “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (Matthew 25:35-36). No good deed will go unrewarded because only “do-gooders” will be saved!

Other proverbs which speak on this subject include: “The poor man uses entreaties, But the rich answers roughly” (Proverbs 18:23); “Wealth makes many friends, But the poor is separated from his friend” (Proverbs 19:4); “All the brothers of the poor hate him; How much more do his friends go far from him! He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him” (Proverbs 19:7); “The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives light to the eyes of both” (Proverbs 29:13).

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

#bible-study, #do-gooders, #fair-weather-friends, #poor, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #rich