Feed the Hungry

I have a very good reason to praise God today. This is the 200th episode that I’m publishing on the podcast. I have also taken 50 of my devotionals, put them together into a book and published them on Kindle. Technology is really awesome if used for good. Even though I live in the middle of nowhere I can publish a book without leaving town. All you need is the internet.

Having small victories to celebrate is wonderful and we should be doing it all the time. Sometimes it looks like there aren’t any victories to celebrate and everything looks bleak. There is an economic crisis at the moment. There’s less expendable income and there’s much more debt. There are crises at the end of the month where people who have borrowed more than they can repay. There are children who go to school hungry and some of them just go to school because of the feeding schemes. I know that there are social grants which are paid out to many parents for the care of their children which never reach the children. People drink, smoke and gamble and have paid television channels but they can’t feed their children. What is the problem?

In my opinion the problem is not the country’s economy. It is a spiritual problem. People are being held in poverty by the spiritual darkness that is part of the history of this country. There are so many people who are pretending to be Christians. I am deeply saddened by the mindsets of people who are in churches but who are still blinded by the wiles of the devil. They cannot see the problems which are right in front of them.

James 1:27, Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

If this verse is to be taken seriously then there are very few churches and Christians who do what the God expects of them. Why do buildings and programs get preference over missions and poor people. A few years ago a lady who represented one of the local churches showed me some sweaters that the ladies had knitted. She said that they were being donated to a charity in a neighbouring city because our town doesn’t really have needy people. I was so shocked that she didn’t know what was happening right in front of her face! In the early church the believers took care of widows who couldn’t afford to look after themselves. Acts chapter 6 gives a clear account of that. Where did things go wrong? When did people decide that the state should take care of needy people instead of the church? When the church stopped doing this and also stopped educating children they lost their voice in society. If a government which isn’t Godly takes care of the poor people and is in charge of education then the alliance of the people are to the government. They do not have to listen to the church because the church effectively becomes irrelevant in their lives. Why should people who are poor listen to a church which does not offer them anything to alleviate their situation? There are churches which are very affluent and the people who attend those churches reflect the state of the church. People who are poor and needy and do not operate on that economic level feel extremely out of place. If doesn’t help to preach to a man while he is hungry.

Matthew 25:35-36,   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.’

Only once we have fed the hungry, clothed the naked and housed the homeless we can preach to them. Preaching to the same people Sunday after Sunday for months and years is not the aim of church. A church should not be an impressive building with all kinds of social programs. A church should be the people who are followers of Jesus who are physically going about their daily tasks doing what Jesus did. We should all be preaching the Gospel, feeding the hungry, healing the sick, casting out demons and loving a broken world to wellness.

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Consequences

My husband and I were speaking to a young lady this morning about the consequences of drinking and gambling. Her opinion was that people are way too judgemental and that she should be left alone to do as she pleases. I have been thinking about events in the Bible and how everything that God told people to do had consequences. Every act is part of a bigger picture, but we don’t always see that picture. Everything has repercussions and does not only touch the person who makes the decision.
Just imagine if Moses had ignored God when He told him to go back to Egypt and lead the Israelites to the Promised Land. Moses really didn’t want to do it and tried very hard to get out of it.
Exodus 3:11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?”
Verse 13 Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
Exodus 4:1 Then Moses answered, “But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘The Lord did not appear to you.’”
Verse 10 But Moses said to the Lord, “Oh my Lord, I am not eloquent, either in the past or since You have spoken to Your servant, but I am slow of speech and tongue.”
And when none of those arguments phased God, Moses says in verse 13, “Oh my Lord, please send someone else.”
The consequences of Moses not going would have been far reaching. I’m sure God had a plan B if Moses did refuse, but just think of the consequences for Moses. If he saw someone else leading his people out of Egypt, can you think how he would have felt? And even though Moses had a very tough time in the desert, he was so close to God. He had the kind of relationship with the Lord that every Christian should desire. He spoke to God face to face, he even argued his people’s case so effectively that God changed His mind and didn’t destroy them all.
God called Jeremiah as a prophet and in chapter 1:6 he says, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.”
God answers him, Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’ for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.”
We have all done things without thinking about the consequences. Sometimes we are desperate and we believe we don’t have a choice in what we do. Other times we simply don’t think. What would you say if God told you to leave your family and friends, your job, your country, your comfort zone and go to a primitive country that you’ve only vaguely heard the name of? You don’t even know where it is on the map. Would God do something like that? Surely not, because you’ve prayed and asked Him to provide you with a stable income and a caring spouse and all the things the world holds dear. That’s what God told Abraham to do. Or what if God told you to do something totally ridiculous that doesn’t make sense at all and you know that everyone is going to ridicule you. Well, God told Noah to build and ark. He wasn’t anywhere near water and it had never rained, thus nobody knew what a flood was. What about Hosea? God told him to marry a prostitute. And look at Isaiah 20:3 Then the Lord said, “As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Cush…”
Ezekiel 4:4 “Then lie on your left side, and place the punishment on the house of Israel upon it. For the number of the days that you shall lie on it, you shall bear their punishment. For I assign to you a number of days, 390 days, equal to the number of the years of their punishment. So long shall you bear the punishment of the house of Israel. And when you have completed these, you shall lie down a second time, but on your right side, and bear the punishment of the house of Judah. Forty days I assign you, a day for each year.”
Does God tell us to do ridiculous things? Yes, I think so. But everything He tells us is for a purpose. Just like every action we take has consequences, we should learn to think about those consequences before we act.