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Showing posts with the label Poor

POOR | 40 Days of Focus, Day 18

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Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 5:3 | New International Version)  You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.
(Matthew 5:3 | The Message) When we focus in on aspects of Scripture like the 10 Commandments, it can be easy to think religion is all about following a set of rule and regulation. For the Jews, it wasn't just the 10 Commandments. All together the Rabbis tallied 613 commands in the Torah. Beyond that they developed their own traditions and practices to act as a sort of "hedge" around the commands so they wouldn't even come close to breaking them.

For instance, the command to keep the Sabbath Day holy evolved into an elaborate system of regulations concerning how far one could walk, what tasks could be done if absolutely necessary, and trying to define "work" as tightly as possible. Religion became more about rights, rituals, rules, and regulat…

GIVE | 40 Days of Focus, Day 15

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“You shall not steal."
(Exodus 20:15) I doubt many of us are guilty of violating the letter of the law for many of the 10 Commandments. I would say most of us aren't murderers or adulterers. And most of us are probably not thieves, either. I'm sure most of us, if we realized the cashier at Walmart forgot to scan an item in our cart, would then turn around and go pay for it as soon as we realized the mistake.

But like the others, if we get to the positive intention behind the prohibition, it might reveal a different story. Let's think of the command like this:
“So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”
(Matthew 22:21) When we cheat on our taxes we are stealing from the community. When we withhold our collection from the offering plate we are stealing from the church. When we hold back part of our lives as "off limits" to God we are stealing from God. James reminds us:
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Fat…