Deuteronomy 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
Everyday we see people in need, many times passing them by without a second thought. We go along with our busy lives, never stopping to lend a hand to someone that has been facing tough times. We may justify it, saying “They’ve done something to get themselves in that position”. We may seek to make ourselves feel better by pointing out that there is always something and someone and we can’t help them all.
It may very well be that the person in need is reaping some of the consequences of their own actions, but one finds very little justification in the Bible for not helping someone because it’s their own fault that they are where they’re at in life. We’re called to love, not to love only those who have not made mistakes that led to poverty or need.
It also may be true that there will always be someone in need and we can’t help all of them with the limited resources we’ve been given in our own lives. But again, one could search all through the Bible and find very little instruction to give only if you can give to everyone. In fact, the scriptures point out that there will always be poor people in the land. Yet that is the very basis for the command (“Therefore I command you…”) to give and to help.
Love the poor. Help the needy. You never know, it just may be Jesus that you’ve assisted.
Further reading: Matthew 25:31-46
Hebrews 3:12-13 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.
Sin doesn’t have to own you and if you’re in Christ victory over sin is already yours. The Holy Spirit guides you as you face temptation and provides a way out. But what about that friend of yours who has all the same tools you do but continues to live in bondage to sin?
The writer of Hebrews (apparently a pastor) calls on Christians to lift each other up, to encourage one another. Essentially, he’s saying to use teamwork to stay away from sin. Use the buddy system to achieve victory over the evil desires you encounter.
Friends are for a greater purpose than hanging out and having fun. A real friend can stand by your side and encourage you when you’re having difficulty with sin and temptation. The Holy Spirit gives you a way out and the friend helps you choose to follow it. You should do the same for them.
Romans 8:33-34 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
We stand accused. As brothers and sisters of Christ we’re enemies with Satan and he seeks to condemn us for our sin. He’d love to bring up every wrong thing we’ve ever done, every lie we’ve ever told, every mistake we’ve made. Misery loves company and the devil would love to have some company. His problem in this though is that Christians have been covered in the blood of Christ. We’re justified, no longer condemned (Romans 8:1).
No matter how badly we’ve sinned, Christ covered it all and we’re immune to Satan’s accusations. But oh how he still tries. Until the final day he’ll hunt around like a lion, trying to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). But in the end, God wins. And if God wins, we win. If He who called us and justified us prevails, so shall we prevail. How can we be condemned when the judge Himself is on our side? When our advocate, our intercessor, is the One who bled that we might live?
No accusation brought against us sticks because we’re children of God.
———- How would you act differently when you felt condemned if you kept in mind that Christ is interceding for you?
Psalm 91:9-10 Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.
God’s people can be assured that our Lord will provide us with protection from evil. There is literally no reason to be fearful if you belong to God in Christ Jesus. Nothing in this world, or in any world, can stand against Him (Romans 8:37-39). No evil can come near us if we’re under His protection.
The Lord will provide His angels to guard us (Psalm 91:11), at His discretion. Nothing can befall us with His knowledge. No plague, no tribulation, no struggle gets by Him without His knowledge.
Our God is mighty and able to protect us from all things. He is our strength and our shield. It’s no wonder the words “Fear not” appear so many times in His Word. If we make Him our dwelling place, we’re safe in His shadow.
———- What are you afraid of?
Psalm 91:2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Just as we seek satisfaction and pleasure in meaningless things in this life, we also seek security in equally meaningless things. We have a tendency to think that having enough money will keep us safe from disaster or unhappiness, that enough respect will keep us free from loneliness, that enough power will keep us secure from threats.
But the day comes for everyone when that stuff isn’t enough. The economy tanks, a mistake is made that ruins a hard-earned reputation, the job that seemed stable is lost. These things, for all they promise, can’t provide security. Only he who puts his trust in the Lord will find true refuge.
God is able to be our shelter from life’s hurts, our fortress from attack, our deliverer from danger. Only He is enough. Only He can live up to the promise of security. Dwell in Him and He will prove faithful.
———- Think of one thing that you’ve put your trust in, only to have it fail to live up to its promises. Now compare that to God’s faithfulness shown in Scripture.
Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.
This life on earth is like a breath. Before we can know what happened, it’s come to an end. No matter how much effort we put into gaining things for ourselves – possessions, wealth, prestige, pleasure – we leave everything behind in the end. As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you.”
As followers of Christ, we should be seeking to prioritize our time in this short existence to use our time in the way God wants us to. Our prayer should mimic the Psalm, asking God to teach us to number our days, that we may know Him more fully and bring about His will. Our desire should be for a heart of wisdom.
Two practical applications for learning to number your days: seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and store up God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:11). Make the most of what God’s given you.
———- What changes can you make to the way you use your time in order to make the most of it?
Romans 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Have you ever been so afraid of something that it paralyzed you? I mean like so scared that you couldn’t even do your normal daily activities because you feared something about the future. Has that ever been you? Maybe it has, maybe it hasn’t, but the fact is we’ve all looked forward to the future with fear at times. The unknown is one of the primary things people are afraid of.
But what if I told you that there’s never a good reason to be afraid? The same God who created all things and holds all things together is in your corner. If He’s the most powerful, and He is, if He’s good and has our best interests in mind, and He does, then what should scare us? Simply put, nothing. Nothing is bigger than our God, nothing is more powerful than Him, and there not one other person that’s completely holy and without sin or flaw. I’d say with Him on our side, we’re guaranteed victory over anything. The Apostle Paul would agree (Romans 8:37-39).
So the next time you’re worried, say these words, “If God is for me, who can be against me?” Live as though the Creator cares for you and the Savior died for you. Never doubt that the Lord has got your back.
Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Are you in need of convincing that God is on our side? The One who was before all creation cared so much about you and me that He didn’t spare His own Son. He could have. God could have chosen to keep Jesus in heaven. Who could have questioned Him? He’s God! But He sent His real Son in order to give us a chance to become sons through His sacrifice. Does that sound like someone who isn’t going to take care of His people?
In my experience, the richness of the gospel really became real to me when I began to better understand how God adopts us as His children once we’re saved. The inheritance we receive as sons and daughters of the great I AM are innumerable and indescribable.
If He would give us the greatest gift possible to give, why would He not also give us all things through Him? Why would He not meet our needs, not answer our prayers or not stand by us in times of trouble? Our loving God is faithful and stands by His people. He leads us and guides us, provides for us, prepares us and equips us.
1 John 5:1-5 Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?
Our faith is the victory that has overcome the world. And what is it that comes from faith? Good works. A natural response to faith is obedience. When we know God and experience His love for us, we want to keep His commandments and follow everything He says to do. If we remain faithful in this, nothing can stop us.
This passage says that everyone who has been reborn overcomes the world. Are you overcoming the world? Have you taken the time to actually evaluate whether or not you’re overcoming the world? What does it even mean to overcome the world? Does that mean we don’t ever fall into temptation or that we don’t sin?
Sadly, most of us don’t think in terms of victory when we look at our lives. We’re not operating in our spiritual gifts or showing any fruit out of the faith we proclaim. Some of us aren’t even showing love to our fellow Christians, let alone to the people out in the world.
But we’ve been equipped. We’ve got the victory already if we’ll just do the next thing God calls us to do. That’s what obedience is. It’s not some lofty, unachievable goal. Obedience is doing the next thing God calls you to do. And when you’ve done it, do the next thing He calls you to do. Then the next. Obedience is a lot like walking. It’s one foot in front of the other.
Walk in victory, knowing that Jesus has already won the battle. The odds are in your favor. You can’t lose.