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'A Year with Jesus' for 9/1/2014
Caring for the Family of Believers
Note from Jesus
Dear Child of the Father,
We know what true love looks like because of Jesus. He gave His life for us, and He calls us to give our lives for our brothers and sisters.I do not believe your reluctance to share what you have is because your hearts are hard, but rather you have not put the effort that you should into learning about the needs of others. Also your preachers and elders have not called you to share as diligently as they should. But today, I want you to know that I have called you to share! You have brothers and sisters who are enduring great atrocities — so please help them. You have opportunities to take My message to many places all over the world — so please support My messengers. You can encourage and build up churches in other nations when you vacation or go on mission and service trips — so please connect to these churches and give them encouragement and financial support. You have brothers and sisters who are hungry and who need medical care — so please support programs and people that are ministering to these needs and get involved yourself.
My earliest followers were generous with each other and offered hands-on care to each other. Today the final reading from Paul's letter you call 1 Corinthians is among the passages below. As you read these verses, let them remind you of the generosity of the early Christians. I want you to let the Holy Spirit touch your heart with greater generosity for those in need among your own spiritual family — both those who are geographically near and those who live in places far from you.
Verses to Live
Your verses today come from several places in the New Testament. The first relates to a meeting of Paul with key leaders in Jerusalem. They recognized his ministry to Gentiles, but requested that he help the poor in the Jerusalem church. The remaining passages show Paul doing this and encouraging Gentile churches to participate. The last passage, written in a later letter to the Corinthians, holds up the Macedonian churches as an example to the Corinthian church and to you: be generous, excel in the grace of giving to the needs of your brothers and sisters in Christ. This kind of generosity is offering tangible love to those in need who are part of your spiritual family.
As a result of a revelation, I returned to Jerusalem 14 years later; and this time Barnabas and Titus accompanied me. When I arrived, I shared the exact gospel that I preach to the outsiders. I first shared God's truth privately with those who were people of influence and leadership because I thought if they did not embrace the freedom of my good news, then any work I had done for Jesus here and any in the past would be spoiled. ... When James, Cephas (whom you know as Peter), and John — three men purported to be pillars among the Jewish believers — saw that God's favor was upon me to fulfill this calling, they welcomed and endorsed both Barnabas and me. They agreed that our ministries would work as two hands, theirs advancing the mission of God among the Jews and ours toward the outsider nations, all with the same message of redemption. In parting, they requested we always remember to care for the poor among us, which was something I was eager to do.
Response in Prayer
Father, open my heart to the needs of my brothers and sisters who need help. Please help me find ways to bless them, ways that will not be wasted or squandered, but actually bring help. Use me to help others know of the needs of our spiritual family both near and far. I ask for the Holy Spirit to partner with me in giving me a generous heart. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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