He executes justice for the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets prisoners free, the LORD gives sight to the blind, he lifts up those who are bowed down, the LORD loves those who live justly. The LORD watches over the immigrant and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked. -Psalm 146:7-9

Thursday, September 15, 2011

U.S. Poverty At a Record High

I was reading an article the other day that lead me to some very disturbing information.(checked it out myself)  It shared that the numbers from the U.S. Census  revealed that nearly 1 in 6 Americans are living in povertyThe poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent and now 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty. This is the highest amount since the Census began recording the statistic 52 years ago.
I continued to read that in the South, it's worst. In 2009, 17.6 million were under the poverty line and by 2010, they had added 1.5 million to that number, sending the poverty rate to 16.9 percent.

My heart breaks at how broken things are in this world. I am even more burden at how the church has failed to respond at times. Some may get offended by this post and say, " that's easy for you to say" or "don't judge us because of where we are and what you do". I say...brethen, have we yet begun to be Christians???  Scripture is so clear on what we are called to do as believers, not just the missionary on staff in the hood, not just the pastor of your local church, ALL OF US! We all have a responsibility to make sure we are loving and showing up in the lives of the least of these. To be honest, it's very easy to NOT do that were I am and get comfortable in not doing MORE of what the Spirit may be leading me to. I, too often I have to remember what God has commanded:

"But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won't help him--how can God's love be within him? Little children, let us stop just saying we love people; let us really love them, and show it by our actions. Then we will know for sure, by our actions, that we are on God's side, and our consciences will be clear, even when we stand before the Lord." -1 John 3:17-19 

Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.- Prov. 14:31

He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need. -Prov.21:13
If you give to the poor, your needs will be supplied! But a curse upon those who close their eyes to poverty.-Prov.28:27

"Then I, the King, shall say to those at my right, 'Come, blessed of my Father, into the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.   For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison, and you visited me.' "Then these righteous ones will reply, 'Sir, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you anything to drink? Or a stranger, and help you? Or naked, and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?' "And I, the King, will tell them, 'When you did it to these my brothers you were doing it to me!' Then I will turn to those on my left and say, 'Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry and you wouldn't feed me; thirsty, and you wouldn't give me anything to drink; a stranger, and you refused me hospitality; naked, and you wouldn't clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn't visit me.' "Then they will reply, 'Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?'  "And I will answer, 'When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing help to me.' "And they shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous into everlasting life." - Matthew 25:34-46

I once heard a well respected guy say, "We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.” 

When you KNOW the person you are serving, when you REALLY know their struggle, know and see with your own eyes why things are the way they are for them, your heart cant help but to be broken with compassion. 
Rich, we all fall into that category, yes including me. I too have to always search my heart on these things. Brethen, please, lets examine our hearts together and stand for the things Jesus did. Lets be the hands and feet of our Savior here on earth. Let's go back to really reading our bibles and living out those good works that He ordained for us to walk in before the foundation of  earth was formed. (Eph.2:8)

Who is your neighbor?  Where are the least of these? Find Him (them) and love Him like you have never loved before, for the GLORY of GOD. God grace awaits you.