***THESE ARE TAKEN FROM "THE WORD FOR YOU TODAY" DEVOTIONAL AND ARE THE DEVOTIONALS SET OUT FOR THIS PAST SUNDAY, YESTERDAY AND TODAY....WOWEEE WOW!!! THANK YOU LORD FOR THE ENCOURAGEMENT!!!***
THE BLESSINGS OF THE COMPASSIONATE HEART (DAY 1)
“Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!” Ps 41:1 NLT
Even in a bad economy most of us are still better off than others, and better off than we have ever been. We may lack the latest, the biggest, the finest and the fastest, but we seldom lack the necessary, right? Now God doesn’t “guilt-trip” us, but He does want us to “Consider [remember, be mindful of] the poor.” The Bible says, “He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be answered” (Pr 21:13 NAS). Could this be a key to your prayers getting answered? To be comfortably provided for is a blessing, but you must not forget those in need.
What is God’s attitude toward the poor? And what does He expect of us? “If there is a poor man among your brothers…do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward [him]…and give him nothing…you will be found guilty of sin” (Dt 15:7-9 NIV). Helping others is an obligation, not an option. In Scripture the tithe took care of God’s work and God’s servants, but it was also to be shared with “the alien, the fatherless and the widow, so that they may eat…and be satisfied” (Dt 26:12 NIV). God said: “If one of your countrymen becomes poor…unable to support himself…help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you” (Lev 25:35 NIV). The truth is, we’ve been called to feed, shelter and clothe the needy (See Isa 58:5-12). God is compassionate and generous to the poor, and He promises us His blessing for following His example.
THE BLESSINGS OF THE COMPASSIONATE HEART (DAY 2)
“He who gives to the poor will lack nothing.” Pr 28:27 NIV
When it comes to charitable giving some folks say, “That’s Old Testament doctrine. What’s the New Testament teaching?” Glad you asked! Jesus launched His ministry saying: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18 NIV). And it didn’t stop with Jesus. The New Testament church carried out Christ’s mission of mercy on a daily basis. “All the believers…shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.” As a result, they experienced “great joy” (Ac 2:44-46 NLT). You say, “Won’t that leave me financially strapped?” No. Because of their compassion and generosity: “There was not a needy person among them” (Ac 4:34 NAS). The giver and receiver were both blessed. The rules of God’s Kingdom are: “Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything. The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed” (Pr 11:24-25 NLT). It seems counterintuitive, especially when you are struggling financially, but God promises that the generous will prosper. Your giving initiates God’s giving back to you. So look for someone in need, give, and watch it come back to you. The Bible says, “The Lord blesses everyone who freely gives food to the poor” (Pr: 22:9 CEV). “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing.” Try it. Next time God nudges you to show compassion and give, do it. Then when you have a need, pray, “Lord, I have honored You, now I believe You will honor me.”
THE BLESSINGS OF THE COMPASSIONATE HEART (DAY 3)
“They gave themselves…to the Lord and then to us.” 2Co 8:5 NIV
Have you ever encountered a homeless person, given them some money, watched them shuffle away and wondered, “Have I just paid for their next drink or drug, or rewarded laziness?” In some cases you may be right, in other cases wrong. So what should you do? In Second Corinthians chapter eight God gives us a plan we can understand and follow. The Macedonian church did it this way: (1) Both the well-off and the needy participated. They all gave, even those in “extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity…[and] gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability” (vv. 2-3 NIV). (2) They gave gladly, not under pressure. “Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing” (vv.3-4). (3) Their giving flowed from their devotion to Christ. “They gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us” (v.5). They didn’t give to impress others, or for a tax deduction, or to get the preacher off their backs, or because they “felt bad” for the needy. No, it was a natural response to being in love with Jesus. (4) The church leaders received, oversaw and distributed their collective giving. They didn’t give naively, trusting the integrity of the unknown and unproven. Their leaders handled and distributed their gifts openly, consistently, and with accountability. They knew the finances were handled honestly “in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of men” (v. 21). Bottom line: you can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving to those God loves