Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29 - Don't Shut Your Ears

Today's Reading:
Daniel 7:1-28
Matthew 26:14-46
Proverbs 21:5-16
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Focus Verses: Proverbs 21:13, 22:9, 16
21:13 If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered. 22:9 A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor. 22:16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and he who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

Reverence for God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). A humble and attentive attitude toward God is the starting point for the knowledge, discipline, and precepts that lead to wisdom. Wisdom's root is in relationship with God, and wisdom flowers in our relationships toward others.

Humility before God results in friendship and redemptive behavior toward others. One of the most important marks of wisdom is a concern and care for the poor and oppressed. Disregard for the hungry, blindness toward injustice, and exploitation of the needy are all indications of a foolish and faithless way of life.

Response and Action:
I must be humble and reverent before God if I want to mature in Christ and grow in wisdom. True wisdom will manifest itself in generosity, love, and justice. I must open my eyes to the needs of the poor. I must oppose injustice. I must share with those who are hungry. I must guard against the exploitation and dehumanization of those who are in need. This has to be more than a personal belief or philosophical perspective; I have to live it out in practical and tangible ways. I will look for ways to connect and share and serve. I will work to help my church develop strategies for meeting needs in our community and world.

O God, I want my love and reverence for you to result in care and blessing for others. I want to be an instrument of your grace and loving care. Deliver me from selfishness and indifference. Open my eyes to needs. Please help me find meaningful and practical ways to help and share with others. Please give me a generous spirit and open hands. Make your truth and wisdom flower in my life and bear the Jesus-shaped fruit of kindness and compassion. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: 1 John 3:16-18
16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Just Courage: God's Great Expedition for the Restless Christian
by Gary A. Haugen

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