ORPHANS AND WIDOWS
Read: Malachi 3:1-6
Visit orphans and widows in their trouble. - James 1:27
My commute to work is about 25 minutes, and so to pass the
time I have become an avid listener of audio books. Recently, I
was listening to Charles Dickens' classic novel Olive Twist. At a
point in the story, I had to stop the tape because it was too
disturbing. Although I knew the book would have a happy ending,
there was something very troubling about the brutal treatment of
this poor orphan.
God cares about the plight of the poor and has a special
place in His heart for orphans and widows.
Malachi wrote that God would judge those who, having no fear
of God, 'exploit widows and orphans' (3:5). Instead of taking
advantage of the weak, we as Christians are admonished to help
those in need. Believers should care for those God cares about.
We should look for opportunities to provide financial and
emotional support for those who have lost a spouse or have been
orphaned from a parent's care.
Do you know a widow who needs your help? Do you know an
orphan or child who has been deprived of the support of a parent
because of death, divorce, military service, or abandonment?
As James tells us, a mark of true spirituality is to "visit
orphans and widows in their trouble" (1:27). - Dennis Fisher
Open my eyes, Lord, to people around me, Help me to see them as
You do above: Give me the wisdom and strength to take action, So
others may see the depth of Your love. K. De Haan
THE MORE CHRIST'S LOVE GROWS IN US, THE MORE HIS LOVE FLOWS FROM
Read: Isaiah 1:11-18
Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rebuke the
oppressor. - Isaiah 1:16-17
When my computer greeted me this morning with what is omi-
nously referred to as "the blue screen of death," I knew it was
broken, but I didn't know how to fix it. I read a little, tried a
few things, but finally had to call an expert for help. Knowing
that something was wrong was only a small part of the problem; I
couldn't fix it because I didn't know the right thing to do.
The ordeal reminded me of the many pundits who appear on
television news programs. All of them are "experts" at
proclaiming what's wrong, but most are clueless as to what is
This happens in relationships as well. In families,
churches, and workplaces, nothing gets fixed because we get
fixated on what's wrong. It doesn't take an expert to know that
something is wrong when people quarrel and hurt each other with
unkind words and behavior. But it does take an expert to know how
to fix the problem.
God revealed to Israel's prophets not only what was wrong
but also what was right: "Cease to do evil, learn to do good;
seek justice, rebuke the oppressor; defend the fatherless, plead
for the widow" (Isa.1:16-17).
Instead of focusing on what is wrong, let's obey the One who
knows what is right. - Julie Ackerman Link
Lord, grant me grace throughout this day To walk the straight and
narrow way, To do whatever in Thy sight Is good and perfect, just
and right. - Huisman
LIKE A COMPUTER, THE BIBLE ALWAYS POINTS YOU IN THE RIGHT
Read: Psalm 126
A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries
the bones. - Proverbs 17:22
A judge has ordered a German man to stop bursting into
laughter in the woods. Joachim Bahrenfeld, an accountant, was
taken to court by one of several joggers who say their runs have
been disturbed by Bahrenfeld's deafening squeals of joy. He faces
up to 6 months in jail if he is caught again. Bahrenfeld 54, says
he goes to the woods to laugh nearly every day to relieve stress.
"It is part of living for me"' he says, "like eating, drinking,
and breathing." He feels that a cheerful heart, expressed through
hearty laughter, is important to his health and survival.
A cheerful heart is vital in life. Proverbs 17:22 says, "A
merry heart does good; like medicine." A happy heat affects our
spirit and our physical health.
But there is a deeper, abiding joy for those who trust the
Lord that is based on much more than frivolity and circumstances.
It is a joy based on God's salvation. He has provided forgiveness
of sin and a restored relationship with Himself through His Son
Jesus. That gives us a deep joy which circumstances cannot shake
(Ps.126:2-3; Hab.3:1718; Phil.4:7).
May you experience the joy of knowing Jesus Christ today! -
To take a glimpse within the veil, To know that God is mine, Are
springs of joy that never fail: Unspeakable! Divine! - Newton
JOY COMES FROM THE LORD WHO LIVES IN US, NOT FROM WHAT'S
HAPPENING AROUND US.
Read: Hebrews 12:7-11
No chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but .... it
yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have
been trained by it. - Hebrews 12:11
My Uncle Lester, who lived in Florida, was discouraged by
the lack of fruit on his grapefruit tree. Someone told him he
needed to whack the trunk of the tree a few times with a board.
Apparently, there is some truth to this unusual method of
encouraging growth. One gardening expert says:
"At times, the flowering hormone in the tree seems to get stuck
and no flowers appear. Carefully persuade the tree to flower by
shocking it. Hit the trunk ... several times, (which will cause)
small bruises in the bark." This advice may stimulate growth.
When trouble comes into our lives, we sometimes feel as if
we've been hit broadside. We feel desperation and then we wonder,
Why is this happening to me?
ONE possibility is that God is using a painful experience to
get our attention. In Psalm 119:71, David wrote, "It is good for
me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn Your statutes."
And Hebrews 12:11 says that chastening "yields the peaceable
fruit of righteousness."
Is God using pain in your life to lovingly persuade you to
change? The season of trouble may not be easy, but if we let
ourselves be trained by it, new growth will result as we become
more like His Son (Phil.3:10). - Cindy Hess Kasper
We shrink from the purging and pruning, Forgetting the Gardener
knows The deeper the cutting and paring The richer the cluster
that grows. - Anon
AFFLICTION FOR GOD'S PEOPLE CAN BE THE PRUNING KNIFE TO PREPARE
US FOR GREATER FRUITFULNESS.
GIVING OTHERS A PUSH
Read: Acts 11:19-26
(He) encouraged them all that with purpose of heart they should
continue with the Lord. - Acts 11:23
When Jean was a teenager, she often walked through a park
where she saw mothers sitting on benches and talking. Their
toddlers sat on the swings, wanting someone to push them. "I gave
them a push," says Jean. "And you know what happens when you push
a kid on a swing? Pretty soon he's pumping, doing it himself.
That's what my role in life is - I'm there to give others a
Encouraging others along in life that's a worthy purpose.
Joses, a godly man mentioned in the book of Acts, had that gift
as well. In the days of the early church, he sold some land and
gave the money to the church to use for the less fortunate
(4:36-37). He also travelled with Paul on missionary journeys and
preached the gospel (11:22-26: 13:1-4).
You may know Joses as "Banabas," which is the name the
apostles gave to the "Son of Encouragement." When the Jerusalem
church heard that people in Antioch were coming to know Jesus as
Savior, they sent Barnabas because "he was a good man, full of
the Holy Spirit and of faith" (11:24). He "encouraged them all
that with purpose of heart they should continue with the Lord"
We too can give others a "push" of encouragement in their
walk with the Lord. - Anne Cetas
Lord, I would be to others A cheering ray of light, Inspiring
them with courage To climb some new found height! - Bosch
A LITTLE SPARK OF ENCOURAGEMENT CAN IGNITE GREAT ENDEAVORS.
THE QUIET ROAD
Read: Mark 6:30-46
Come aside by yourselves to a desert place and rest a while. -
Fifty miles west of Asheville, North Carolina, I turned off
the busy high way and drove the remaining distance to the city on
the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. On that late October afternoon I
drove slowly, stopping often to savor the mountain vistas and the
last of the brilliant autumn leaves. The journey was not
efficient in terms of getting to my destination quickly, but it
was effective in restoring my soul.
The experience caused me to ask, "How often do I travel the
quiet road with Jesus? Do I exit the fast lane of my
responsibilities and concerns to focus my attention on Him for a
time each day?"
After Jesus' disciples completed a demanding period of
ministry, He said to them, "Come aside by yourselves to a
deserted place and test a while"(Mark 6:31). Instead of a long
vacation, they had only a short boat ride together before being
thronged by the crowd. The disciples witnessed the compassion of
the Lord and participated with Him in meeting the needs of the
multitudes (w.33-43)- When the long day finally ended, Jesus
sought renewal in prayer with His heavenly Father (v.46).
Jesus our Lord is always with us whether life is hectic of
calm, but there is great value in taking time each day to walk
the quiet road with Him. - David McCasland
There is a place of quiet rest, Near to the heart of God - A
place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God. - McAfee
TIME SPENT WITH THE LORD IS ALWAYS TIME WELL SPENT.
Read: Psalm 86:1-7
In the day of my trouble I will call upon you, for You will
answer me. - Psalm 86:7
The headline read: UNANSWERED PRAYERS: LETTERS TO GOD FOUND
DUMPED IN OCEAN.
The letters, 300 in all and sent to a New Jersey minister,
had been tossed in the ocean; most of them unopened. The minister
was long dead. How the letters came to be floating in the surf
off the New Jersey shore is a mystery.
The letters were addressed to the minister because he had
promised to pray. Some of the letters asked for frivolous things;
others were written by anguished spouses, children, or widows.
They poured out their hearts to God, asking for help with
relatives who were abusing drugs and alcohol, or spouses who were
cheating on them. One asked God for a husband and father to love
her child. The reporter concluded that all were "unanswered
Not so! If those letter-writers cried out to Gad, He heard
each one of them. Not one honest prayer is lost to His cars. "All
my desire is before You," David wrote in the midst of a deep
personal crisis, "and my sighing is not hidden from You" (Ps.
38:9). David understood that we can cast all our cares on the
Lord, even if no one else prays for us. He confidently concluded,
"In the day of my trouble I will call upon You, for You will
answer me" (86:7). - David Roper
God has given you His promise That He hears and answers prayer;
He will heed your supplication if you cast on Him your care. -
JESUS HEARS OUR FAINTEST CRY.