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Posts Tagged ‘service’

Matthew 25

October 13, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 25

Parents love their kids, at least the good ones (good parents that is). They love to do things for their children, and they love it when other people do something nice for their kids. When you give a kid a present, in a way, you are also giving their parents a gift. Parents love to see their kids happy. So when you make their child happy, you make the parent happy as well.

This is what Jesus is getting at in Matthew 25.31-46. He says that when you help other people by taking care of their needs, you are taking care of Jesus himself! We are all God’s children, so when we give to God’s children, we are also giving to God. He wants to see his children happy. When we bring joy and happiness to others, we make the Father happy.

Of course, parents also don’t like to see their children abused nor neglected. So when we ignore the needs of the people we see, it upsets Jesus. He tells us that we are ignoring him when we do that. Ouch.

Think about it. If you saw Jesus Christ, and he was hungry, would you share with him, or would you turn your back on him? When we don’t help others, we are turning our back on Jesus himself. But when we do help those in need, we are helping the Creator of the Universe.

What needs do you see around you? What specific ways can you help Jesus?

 

Prayer for Today

Jesus, I don’t want to ignore you; I want to serve you. I know that there are people all around who have needs. Help me to look for those needs, and help me to do anything I can to help. Use me as your instrument to serve others and serve you. Amen.

 

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14.31

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Matthew 22

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 22

I want to be like Jesus. Several times in Matthew 22, the religious leaders try to trap Jesus. They come up with these questions to try to outsmart Jesus. I can just picture them staying up all night trying to think of the perfect question. Then that little light bulb comes on. “Oh this is it! He’ll never be able to answer this one correctly. If he answers it this way, we’ll get him. But if he answers it this way, we’ll still get him! There’s no right answer. We’re geniuses!”

Then they come to Jesus. You can see them snickering a little while they ask Jesus their trick question. They just know they’ve got Jesus trapped now.

Then Jesus blows their minds. He finds a correct answer to a trick question. He makes the religious leaders look foolish. His wisdom leaves them speechless. That’s why I want to be like Jesus. I want to have wisdom like that to silence my critics.

Okay, maybe that’s a selfish reason to be like Jesus. Please pray for me.

One such episode occurs in Matthew 22.34-40. One of the Pharisees asks Jesus what the greatest commandment is. There’s no way out of this. There are over 600 commandments! Whichever one he picks, they can blast him for not picking any of the others. It’s the perfect plan.

But Jesus outsmarts them again: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” (verses 37-39). Jesus says that all the other commandments are summed up in these two commandments.

What about not taking God’s name in vain? If you love God, you won’t take his name in vain. What about not lying? If you love your neighbor, you won’t lie to her.

He did it again. That Jesus is pretty smart. (That is a huge understatement.)

Jesus sums up the Christian life with these two commandments. We like to make things complicated, but it’s simple really.

Love God. Love others. That’s the challenge. It’s the goal. Put it into practice. If we are like Jesus, this is what we will do.

 

Prayer for Today

Dear God, help me to love you and love others. Amen.

 

“God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.” 1 John 4.16

Matthew 19

October 5, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 19

He seemed to have it all. He was successful and quite wealthy. He obeyed God’s commandments almost perfectly. He was a model citizen.

Yet, he realized something was missing.

He came to Jesus, seeking that missing puzzle piece. “What do I still lack?” he asked Jesus. With everything the rich young man had, none of it could earn him joy. Jesus knew the answer. Jesus knew what the man needed.

Jesus tells him that if he wants to be perfect (the Greek really means “complete”), then he needs to sell his possessions and give to the poor.” Doing so will give him something that is difficult to find: treasure in heaven.

The man’s life lacked meaning. He had everything he ever wanted, but still wasn’t joyful. He knew his wealth was only temporary and that he wouldn’t be able to take it with him when he died.

But a life devoted to helping others gives your life meaning and purpose. It fills your life with joy. It gives you something better than anything money could ever buy.

Below, you can find ways that you can help others, bringing joy to their lives, as well as your own.

 

Prayer for Today

Dear God, I want my life to be complete. I want to have a life of meaning and purpose. I want to have true joy. I want to have treasure in heaven. Open my eyes so that I can see ways to help others. Help me to discover some way to use what I have to help those who are in need. Father, please bless those who are in need. Amen.

 

“He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” Proverbs 14.31

 

http://www.wvi.org World Vision helps children in poverty around the world and fights against AIDS. There are many ways to help. You can sponsor a child for $35 a month, or give one-time gifts for as little as $10. You can even buy things that families in poverty need, such as a goat or chicken. Just click here

http://www.compassion.com You can sponsor a child in need for only $38 a month.

http://www.freerice.com You can give rice to people in need just by playing a game. And it doesn’t even cost you anything!

http://www.freepoverty.com You can help people get access to clean water sources by playing a game online. And this doesn’t cost you anything either!

http://www.mojuproject.com Feed an orphan in Africa for an entire month by purchasing a T-shirt.

http://www.tomsshoes.com For every pair of shoes you buy, TOMS will donate a pair to a child in need.

Matthew 12

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 12

God gave the Israelites Ten Commandments to live by. Number four on that list was to keep the Sabbath holy. God took six days to create the earth, and on the seventh day, he rested. Likewise, he wanted his people to work hard for six days, and then rest on the seventh. They were to dedicate that day to the Lord by not working. Seems like a good idea and a pretty easy idea to follow.

But just like the other commands God gave them, many religious leaders took it to the extreme. They began defining what constituted “work.” So then you have all these extra rules saying what you can and can’t do on the Sabbath. In the midst of all these rules, the people had lost the meaning of the Sabbath: to recharge after a hard week by resting and spending time with God.

So here comes Jesus and his disciples. They’re hungry and have nothing to eat. So they find a field with some grain. They pick a little bit and eat it. Then the religious leaders get mad at Jesus because it’s the Sabbath, and they’re not supposed to do any work.

After this, Jesus goes to the synagogue (a Jewish place of worship) and heals a man with a crippled hand. Again the religious leaders get mad at Jesus because he “worked” on the Sabbath.

Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” (Hosea 6.6). The Israelites in Hosea’s day had grown rich by taking advantage of the poor. But they thought they were okay because they worshiped God on the Sabbath. They followed the “rules” and offered the required sacrifices.

But God told them their worship wasn’t okay, because they didn’t show mercy to the poor. Instead of helping the poor, they oppressed them. God demanded justice—that those with plenty help those in need. Until the Israelites did this, their worship, their sacrifices, their rule-following meant nothing.

Jesus reminds the Pharisees (and us) of what God desires. Yes, we are to follow God’s ways, but his ways include showing compassion on those in need. He demands that we help those who are hurting or hungry or helpless.

How can you help those in need? Who do you know that needs help? Think and pray about how you can show mercy and justice to those in need. You can find a list of resources for helping others below.

 

Prayer for Today

Father, you have shown great mercy to me by forgiving my sins. Help me to show mercy to those around me who are in need. Open my eyes to the needs of others. Thank you for loving me so much that you gave your Son to die in my place. Help me to take your love to others. Amen.

 

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1.27

 

World Vision helps children in poverty around the world and fights against AIDS. There are many ways to help. You can sponsor a child for $35 a month, or give one-time gifts for as little as $10. You can even buy things that families in poverty need, such as a goat or chicken. Just click here.

Compassion International You can sponsor a child in need for only $38 a month.

http://www.freerice.com You can give rice to people in need just by playing a game. And it doesn’t even cost you anything!

http://www.freepoverty.com You can help people get access to clean water sources by playing a game online. And this doesn’t cost you anything either!

http://www.mojuproject.com/ Feed an orphan in Africa for an entire month by purchasing a T-shirt.

http://www.tomsshoes.com For every pair of shoes you buy, TOMS will donate a pair to a child in need.