Category Archives: Help / Serve Others

Yeshua Focused On The Father and Others

Even as Yeshua faced His impending arrest, He remain focused on the Father, His own mission on earth from the Father, and those that were close to Him that would still need the Father’s help after Yeshua was gone. What a loving and selfless example that we should follow in our own lives!

John 17:1-12

The High Priestly Prayer

     1Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5“Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

      6“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7“Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9“I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12“While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

The Father’s purpose should remain paramount as a focus in our lives, even when it leads us down a path of difficulty and suffering. We must trust in Him to fully please Him. Let us follow the example of Yeshua in our own lives and not focus only on our own comforts and desires, but the plans of our Father for us and also those around us who also need the Father’s help.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Yeshua Sets A Powerful Example For Servant Leadership

Leaders in this world most often want to be treated well by those they lead. Yeshua turns this upside down. He is the servant and the leader. He sets a powerful example to show us how we should serve one another as brothers and sisters in Christ.

John 13:5-20

Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

     5Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. 6So He came to Simon Peter. He said to Him, “Lord, do You wash my feet?” 7Jesus answered and said to him, “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.” 8Peter said to Him, “Never shall You wash my feet!” Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” 9Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.” 10Jesus said to him, “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean, but not all of you.11For He knew the one who was betraying Him; for this reason He said, “Not all of you are clean.”

      12So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? 13“You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. 14“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. 16“Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. 17“If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them. 18“I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ 19“From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He. 20“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

Are there areas in your life where you should make changes to lead more like Yeshua did? As you reflect on leaders around you, even in the church, are there some who do not follow the example of Christ? Take care to vet those whom you follow and test them against God’s word and His example. You do not seek perfection in leadership, but you should seek to discern the wolves from the shepherds.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

You Will Always Have The Poor

Helping the poor is good, and it is consistent with the teaching of Yeshua. However, it is not an excuse to disregard Yeshua as Lord of our lives. We should not place others in a place of higher priority in our lives than we do Yeshua. He must be first.

John 12:1-11

Mary Anoints Jesus

     1Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5“Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?6Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. 7Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 8“For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”

      9The large crowd of the Jews then learned that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He raised from the dead. 10But the chief priests planned to put Lazarus to death also; 11because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and were believing in Jesus.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Test “Christian Norms” Against the Biblical Record

Much of what is taught in churches today has drifted far from the early church and the followers of Christ… from those like Paul and the written record we have in the Bible. I think in many cases, it is hard for us to accept it because so many of us just accept what we are told by others around us, by our parents, by people at the local church. How often do we really test it against what is actually written in the Bible?

2 Thessalonians 3

Exhortation

      1Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

      6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

      14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

      16Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!

      17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Reflect prayerfully on the following, some of which may seem contradictory to what many Christians teach or how they act.

  • We are not to hang out with others who lead an unruly life, even if they claim to be Christian and come to the same church we do.
  • Work hard to support yourself and your family. Seek not to be a burden on anyone. Do not take or demand handouts on a recurring basis if you don’t need them, even if you could justifiably ask for them.
  • Do not continually support and feed those who refuse to work for themselves. This does not mean those who can not work, but those who choose not to work. Let them eat their own bread. While this may seem offensive to some, think about it. If we screen out the lazy who could support themselves, we will have more to help those who really need it and can not help themselves. Charity is not intended to support sloth.
  •  Shame has a place. It is useful and appropriate at times for someone to be or feel shamed when they are doing something wrong. Our world tries to teach that no one should be “shamed”. This is false. Shame can help lead to repentance. We are to separate ourselves from those who claim to be Christian but live as the pagans do. They are not enemies, but they are to be admonished. This includes pastors and churches teaching false doctrine which is not consistent with the Bible.

These are not my opinions… these are the words of Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit and included in the Bible for our reference from YHWH Himself.  They are intended both to protect us from drifting away from Him and also to help encourage others to avoid drifting away from Him to be more like the culture around them. These instructions lead to helping the body of Christ shine as a light to others, different from the world around them and lead to glorifying God. We never glorify God by simply adopting the ways of the pagan culture around us and blending in.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Love God and Love One Another… By Following God’s Law

Many say the law of YHWH through Moses was harsh, outdated or barbaric. I say it was way ahead of its time. So much of it is based on protecting and helping people. The rest is based on honoring God. We would do well to take it more seriously today and apply it in our lives.

Deuteronomy 24:6-22

Sundry Laws

      6“No one shall take a handmill or an upper millstone in pledge, for he would be taking a life in pledge.

      7“If a man is caught kidnapping any of his countrymen of the sons of Israel, and he deals with him violently or sells him, then that thief shall die; so you shall purge the evil from among you.

      8“Be careful against an infection of leprosy, that you diligently observe and do according to all that the Levitical priests teach you; as I have commanded them, so you shall be careful to do. 9“Remember what the LORD your God did to Miriam on the way as you came out of Egypt.

      10“When you make your neighbor a loan of any sort, you shall not enter his house to take his pledge. 11“You shall remain outside, and the man to whom you make the loan shall bring the pledge out to you. 12“If he is a poor man, you shall not sleep with his pledge. 13“When the sun goes down you shall surely return the pledge to him, that he may sleep in his cloak and bless you; and it will be righteousness for you before the LORD your God.

      14“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns. 15“You shall give him his wages on his day before the sun sets, for he is poor and sets his heart on it; so that he will not cry against you to the LORD and it become sin in you.

      16“Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.

      17“You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow’s garment in pledge. 18“But you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and that the LORD your God redeemed you from there; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.

      19“When you reap your harvest in your field and have forgotten a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. 20“When you beat your olive tree, you shall not go over the boughs again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow.

      21“When you gather the grapes of your vineyard, you shall not go over it again; it shall be for the alien, for the orphan, and for the widow. 22“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt; therefore I am commanding you to do this thing.

Carefully reflect on each of these laws. Who is being helped in each case? How? Do we still help others in this way today? What can you do in your life to help others in a similar way to how these laws were created to help people?

Matthew 22:36-40

 36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEARTAND WITH ALL YOUR SOULAND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ 38“This is the great and foremost commandment. 39“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’40“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Guidance and Encouragement for the Church

There is actually quite a lot packed into a fairly short chapter in 2 Thessalonians 3. Read through it and meet me on the other side to unpack it.

2 Thessalonians 3

Exhortation

     1Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did also with you; 2and that we will be rescued from perverse and evil men; for not all have faith. 3But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one. 4We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command. 5May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

      6Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. 7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; 9not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. 10For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. 13But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

      14If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. 15Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

      16Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all!

      17I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write. 18The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

There is a lot we should take note of and apply in our own lives today.

  • Paul begins this chapter by asking for prayer not only for him to be protected from wicked men, but also for the word of God to spread quickly and be glorified.
  • Paul expresses faith and confidence in the Lord not only for his situation but for that of the believers in Thessalonica. He has confidence in God’s protection from Satan as well as the need to ask God to help direct our hearts to love Him and be steadfast in Christ.
  • Paul takes time to encourage other Christians.
  • Contrary to what many would teach today, we are not to befriend and be close to unruly, undisciplined people just because they may claim to follow Christ. Their behaviors and attitudes bely the fact that they are not truly submitted to Christ.
  • Paul makes special emphasis of saying they should not grow weary of doing good.
  • Right before saying this, Paul comments quite a bit on how they set an example by working for and paying for what they needed to survive. He makes two points, both of which seem at odds with what is normal in our culture today.  We should take note as our culture may be out of calibration with the early church. First, that even though he could expect the people to provide for him while he ministers to them about Christ, he thought it important to support himself as an example. Second, those that refuse to work “shall eat their own bread”. He clearly states that those who are unwilling to work (not talking here about unable to work), should not be subsidized in their laziness or stubbornness by others but rather encouraged by even their own hunger to work and be productive.
  • Paul also makes a point to instruct the church to discipline and admonish  members who refuse to live according to the proper instruction in these matters. Too often today churches do not admonish anyone effectively, if at all. All are invited to sit in church regardless of their outward sin and rebellion. Pastors rationalize that “at least they will hear the word”, but individuals take home the message that living in sin as they are is just fine and they are “saved”. Those outside the church can no longer see that the church is any different than they are.  People in the church behave the same way that people outside the church do. Effective rebuke is desperately in need, even though it should be done with respect and love. Pastors are too concerned someone may get mad and leave, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. There is no trophy for having the biggest crowd sit in church and not follow God. Quite the opposite. Leaders will be judged based on how they accepted sin and offended God instead of man.

Pray and reflect on this message from Paul to Thessalonica. It is still relevant today. Ask God to show you what changes you should make in your life.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

 

Let Your Actions Match Your Statement Of Faith In Christ

We should all strive to live in such a way that our actions match our statement of faith in Christ. For those who would simply acknowledge Christ in name but live according to the world, you are worse than those who just reject Christ outright because you fool yourself and others so that they may not find their way to Him.  We are to be a light, which is to say that we must be very different from the darkness.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

Christian Conduct

      12But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, 13and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. 14We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. 16Rejoice always; 17pray without ceasing; 18in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19Do not quench the Spirit; 20do not despise prophetic utterances. 21But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; 22abstain from every form of evil.

      23Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.

      25Brethren, pray for us.

      26Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss. 27I adjure you by the Lord to have this letter read to all the brethren.

      28The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Characteristics of Worthy Men and Women

Neither a husband nor a wife can truly be evaluated as “great” or “worthy” by simply looking at their “careers” or “accomplishments” without first considering what kind of husband or wife they are and what kind of father or mother they are if they have children. How do they treat the poor and needy?

These are elements that must be valued far more than just another independent person who accomplishes much in the eyes of the world, but in they eyes of YHWH neglects their responsibilities for the family. Men may celebrate worldly accomplishments, but YHWH looks to see if we took care of our primary responsibilities to Him and to our family first.

Proverbs 31 is often quoted for its description of a worthy woman, but there is solid guidance for men as well in the first part which describes the advice of a mother to her son. Don’t dismiss these things as outdated because they are addressed to people thousands of years ago. Neither human nature nor YHWH have changed.   Rather consider how to update and apply the concepts in our lives today.

Proverbs 31

The Words of Lemuel

       1The words of King Lemuel, the oracle which his mother taught him:

      2What, O my son?
And what, O son of my womb?
And what, O son of my vows?

      3Do not give your strength to women,
Or your ways to that which destroys kings.

      4It is not for kings, O Lemuel,
It is not for kings to drink wine,
Or for rulers to desire strong drink,

      5For they will drink and forget what is decreed,
And pervert the rights of all the afflicted.

      6Give strong drink to him who is perishing,
And wine to him whose life is bitter.

      7Let him drink and forget his poverty
And remember his trouble no more.

      8Open your mouth for the mute,
For the rights of all the unfortunate.

      9Open your mouth, judge righteously,
And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.

Description of a Worthy Woman

     10An excellent wife, who can find?
For her worth is far above jewels.

      11The heart of her husband trusts in her,
And he will have no lack of gain.

      12She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

      13She looks for wool and flax
And works with her hands in delight.

      14She is like merchant ships;
She brings her food from afar.

      15She rises also while it is still night
And gives food to her household
And portions to her maidens.

      16She considers a field and buys it;
From her earnings she plants a vineyard.

      17She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.

      18She senses that her gain is good;
Her lamp does not go out at night.

      19She stretches out her hands to the distaff,
And her hands grasp the spindle.

      20She extends her hand to the poor,
And she stretches out her hands to the needy.

      21She is not afraid of the snow for her household,
For all her household are clothed with scarlet.

      22She makes coverings for herself;
Her clothing is fine linen and purple.

      23Her husband is known in the gates,
When he sits among the elders of the land.

      24She makes linen garments and sells them,
And supplies belts to the tradesmen.

      25Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.

      26She opens her mouth in wisdom,
And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

      27She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.

      28Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:

      29“Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.”

      30Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain,
But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.

      31Give her the product of her hands,
And let her works praise her in the gates.

There is one more perspective through which we should consider these verses. For a man, consider if you measure up to the advice given to Lemuel. For a woman, consider how you measure up to the description of a “worthy woman”.  Take this as an opportunity to pray and reflect on whether there are any changes you should make in your life. Discuss it and pray over it with your spouse if you are married.

Do not submit to the world’s definition of greatness, but rather that of YHWH. Consider also how Yeshua described greatness.

Matthew 23:10-11

10“Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. 11“But the greatest among you shall be your servant. 12“Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Encouraging And Strengthening Fellow Followers of Yeshua

Paul had a great love for the believers in Thessalonica  and wanted to come back and visit them and encourage them. In 1 Thessalonians 2 he indicates that he was hindered by Satan from coming to see the them. It is wonderful to read in chapter 3 that although Paul was unable to go, he was able to send Timothy. He so cared for those he shared the gospel with that He wanted to remain connected with them. He could have asked Timothy to stay with him, but rather desired to seek after the welfare of others and not just focus on himself. It is also a good example of the believers working together to accomplish what one alone, even Paul, cannot.

1 Thessalonians 3

Encouragement of Timothy’s Visit

      1Therefore when we could endure it no longer, we thought it best to be left behind at Athens alone, 2and we sent Timothy, our brother and God’s fellow worker in the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you as to your faith, 3so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this. 4For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction; and so it came to pass, as you know. 5For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain.

      6But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always think kindly of us, longing to see us just as we also long to see you, 7for this reason, brethren, in all our distress and affliction we were comforted about you through your faith; 8for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. 9For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account, 10as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?

      11Now may our God and Father Himself and Jesus our Lord direct our way to you; 12and may the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people, just as we also do for you; 13so that He may establish your hearts without blame in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.

What a beautiful closing prayer… that YHWH would guide them to be reunited with their brothers and sisters in faith, that the followers of Yeshua would increase and abound in love for one another and all people so that He may establish their hearts without blame in holiness before YHWH. This is a righteous prayer indeed. I am encouraged to pray this for followers of Yeshua and for my family and I invite you to do so as well.

—-

Do you know for sure if you will go to heaven or hell when you die? Are you experiencing in your life the peace and joy of a personal relationship with our Creator and Father? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.

Lending Money, Forgiving Debts, And Helping The Poor

What a beautiful way to take care of one another… and it it not unique to the book of Acts. This is Deuteronomy. YHWH instructs His people regarding how to help the poor and how to forgive debts. Surprisingly to most of us, He explicitly says we are not to avoid this situation by not lending money, but rather lend generously for those in need, and then forgive the debts every 7th year. Imagine how our society could be transformed if we could live more closely to how YHWH instructs us.

Keep in mind, however, this is not socialism. The government has no role in this. Further, this passage, similar to the church in Acts, is focused on brothers and sisters of faith. This is not to be overlooked. It is not because we don’t want to help strangers and non believers, but non believers can take advantage of this type of situation and wreck it through sloth, laziness, and demands for what everyone “owes” them, though they do little or no work. Surely, not all non believers are like this, but some are and this is why you cannot simply apply this form of godly living to godless people who are only thinking of themselves. The godly will take only what they need and try to repay it, even if they know it will be forgiven. The ungodly choose not to pay their debts and demand they be forgiven.

Deuteronomy 15

The Sabbatic Year

      1“At the end of every seven years you shall grant a remission of debts. 2“This is the manner of remission: every creditor shall release what he has loaned to his neighbor; he shall not exact it of his neighbor and his brother, because the LORD’S remission has been proclaimed. 3“From a foreigner you may exact it, but your hand shall release whatever of yours is with your brother. 4“However, there will be no poor among you, since the LORD will surely bless you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance to possess, 5if only you listen obediently to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe carefully all this commandment which I am commanding you today. 6“For the LORD your God will bless you as He has promised you, and you will lend to many nations, but you will not borrow; and you will rule over many nations, but they will not rule over you.

      7“If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; 8but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks. 9“Beware that there is no base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near,’ and your eye is hostile toward your poor brother, and you give him nothing; then he may cry to the LORD against you, and it will be a sin in you. 10“You shall generously give to him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in all your undertakings. 11“For the poor will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.’

      12“If your kinsman, a Hebrew man or woman, is sold to you, then he shall serve you six years, but in the seventh year you shall set him free.13“When you set him free, you shall not send him away empty-handed. 14“You shall furnish him liberally from your flock and from your threshing floor and from your wine vat; you shall give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you. 15“You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you; therefore I command you this today. 16“It shall come about if he says to you, ‘I will not go out from you,’ because he loves you and your household, since he fares well with you; 17then you shall take an awl and pierce it through his ear into the door, and he shall be your servant forever. Also you shall do likewise to your maidservant.

      18“It shall not seem hard to you when you set him free, for he has given you six years with double the service of a hired man; so the LORD your God will bless you in whatever you do.

      19“You shall consecrate to the LORD your God all the firstborn males that are born of your herd and of your flock; you shall not work with the firstborn of your herd, nor shear the firstborn of your flock. 20“You and your household shall eat it every year before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD chooses. 21“But if it has any defect, such as lameness or blindness, or any serious defect, you shall not sacrifice it to the LORD your God. 22“You shall eat it within your gates; the unclean and the clean alike may eat it, as a gazelle or a deer. 23“Only you shall not eat its blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water.

Do not miss that nowhere in this is YHWH telling people to lend so they may charge interest and make money themselves, thus taking advantage of the poor. The money is loaned without personal benefit to the one loaning it to someone else. It is all about helping our brothers and sisters in faith. And because they share the faith, they do not take advantage and ask for more than they need and they intend to pay it back.

Deuteronomy 23:19-20

   19“You shall not charge interest to your countrymen: interest on money, food, or anything that may be loaned at interest. 20“You may charge interest to a foreigner, but to your countrymen you shall not charge interest, so that the LORD your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land which you are about to enter to possess.

—-

Have you submitted your life to Jesus Christ? Are you living today filled with the peace and joy of truly knowing and following Jesus Christ? Learn more about salvation through The Message of the Cross.