How do you solve poverty?

4 Will evildoers never learn— those who devour my people as men eat bread and who do not call on the LORD?
5 There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.
6 You evildoers frustrate the plans of the poor, but the LORD is their refuge.

Isaiah chapter 14, NIV84

Those with money many times prey upon the poor – check cashing charges, fees for “plastic” money and money orders, cash advance charges, ever rising rent when the costs to the owner stay the same, higher prices for those trapped in the inner city without transportation for the same goods that cost less in neighborhoods that have customers that can shop around, lack of the volume discounts the rich enjoy, higher interest rates for loans to those who have the least money to pay for it.

Satan’s kingdom (fear-based, selfishness-based and money-based) is founded on “what can I get out of you?”  Jesus’ kingdom (love-based) is founded on “what can I give to you?”

I believe heaven’s economy will be the opposite of ours.  We will dream of what we can do for others, ask Jesus for the resources to do it, work with those resources in His strength and give away what we make, our only payment is the joy we receive when we give joy to others.

What would happen if we stopped giving hand-outs that are barely enough to survive on, and we made helping the poor become self-sustaining the same priority President John F. Kennedy gave making the United States the first on the moon?  What about asking those who are challenged what they thought we could do to help them?  What if we stopped being prejudice and gave jobs to those who would otherwise end up in jail because they can’t find someone who will hire them for honest work?

What would happen if I actually went about tangibly demonstrating the actions of the love of Jesus instead of just singing about it in my church or car?

I invite you to discover how you and I can allow Jesus to lift our challenged brothers and sisters.  I invite you to discover:  The Open Table  http://www.theopentable.org/

Jesus loves Muslims, free speech, and freedom of religion

(This plea for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and a statement of Jesus’ love for everyone was ironically censored by Google+. I have asked Google+ for a dialogue to learn what they object to and have not received any communication from them. Please read this post and let me know (specifically) how you interpret its ideas and why you think Google+ censored it, thank you).

I couldn’t sleep last night/this morning. So, I was on my computer and I came across a report on Loretta Lynch promising to prosecute any “Anti-Muslim” rhetoric “predicated on violence.” The writer of the report posed the question, “what exactly does that mean?” and answered, “possibly anything she wants it to mean.”

The America I grew up in (back in the day) defended freedom of speech and freedom of religion, though not in ways I always wanted. As an example, pornography, which in my opinion hurts those who make it and those who use it, was defended by the Supreme Court as an expression of free speech. Also, a certain religion that used an illegal drug in its worship was allowed to continue and use the drug legally by the Supreme Court when the court deemed it an exercise of freedom of religion.

I didn’t agree with those decisions but I recognized the need for freedom of speech and freedom of religion. I realized that the preservation of those freedoms for all outweighed my objections to specific applications.  Now back to Loretta Lynch’s vague promise to prosecute. I agree with Loretta Lynch’s end, that is I don’t want a backlash against Muslims.  All Americans (Muslims, Christians, Jews, Atheists… ) deserve to live a life free of fear. But what I fear is the means to this end; as the Obama Administration and this current Supreme Court have proven capable of deliberately over-reaching the law, deliberately under-interpreting the law, and deliberately making-up law. What are they capable of doing to the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech in this instance?

After courageous American Christians lost their lives by standing up to a gunman and proclaiming their faith in Jesus, there was no U.S. government statement about the protection of Christians that would follow, (that I know of). President Obama did not even acknowledge that there had been a “hate-crime” against Christians. But when two Muslims in California “bent on Jihad” (a tenet of Islam that instructs Muslims to kill non-Muslims) kill innocent people, this government threatens to silence any speech critical of Islam and similar followers.

Jesus wants all people (including Muslims “bent on Jihad”) to know that he loves them, forgives them, and wants them to turn from evil and join him in loving God and loving people. That is what I want too.

God doesn’t kill to advance His cause, He died

The “religious” leaders in Jesus’ day used intimidation and murder to keep and/or advance their power over others.  Claiming to be defending their “God” they could not have been any more against the one true God, Jesus (the very one who loves them and died for their sins).  Jesus said this would happen.  Jesus said that the day will come when anyone killing you (followers of Jesus) will think he is doing God a service.

“These things I have spoken to you, that you should not be made to stumble. They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. But these things I have told you, that when the time comes, you may remember that I told you of them.”  John 16:1-4 NKJV

 Killing in the name of “God” has been going on for millenia.  Jesus, who had all the power in the universe, did not kill to advance His cause of love, His kingdom.  He died, and more than that, He rose again, to advance His cause of love.  And His cause is to love His Father, and love people; all people.

You may be wondering if you matter; if you make any difference being alive in this world.  YOU MATTER TO GOD!  It has been said, God would rather die than live in eternity without you; and He did, in the person of Jesus Christ.  Now it is your turn to decide if you want to live with Jesus for eternity.

This is His character:

But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.  Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was.  This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:  

 He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.  In his name the nations will put their hope.  “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

I love the fact that “a bruised reed he will not break.” And “a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.”  I have failed at my own and others’ expectations, done evil, been hurt by others and have been a “bruised reed.”  I have lost hope, wanted to die, wondered where God was, and if anyone cared. I have been  a “smoldering wick.” How about you?  Jesus heals the sick, he doesn’t kill them.  He binds up the broken hearted, he doesn’t crush them.  He will take care of you and me!  He loves us!

And what else is His character?

If you will seek first His Kingdom (Jesus as Lord, that is, obedience) and His Righteousness (Jesus as Savior, that is, trust what He has done to please God for you) then God promises to supply all your needs.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:31-34 NIV84

And,

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”  Hebrews 13:5-6 NIV84

Christ is still “dying” because of His love for people, in the form of His followers being murdered because they love people and love the Truth.  Jesus said that anyone who follows Him will never die.

  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;
 and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Do you believe this?”
 “Yes, Lord,” she told him, “I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who was to come into the world.”  John 11:23-27 NIV84

All the people of the world may hate us.  But there is One Who always loves us and is greater than the world: Jesus.  And He said,

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.  In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.  

“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father.  In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf.  No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.
I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”  Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech.  Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”  “You believe at last!” Jesus answered.  “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

If you want to know Jesus, He is waiting to hear from you right now.  He has always loved you.  Because He loves you He wants you to turn away from the things that you are doing and thinking that hurt God, hurt others and hurt you.  God calls these: sins.  I have sinned, and you have sinned, and that’s why Jesus had to die; to take away our sins.  If you agree with God that you have sinned and resolve to turn away from them, trust Jesus’ death to pay your sin debt to God, and surrender to the leading of Jesus through the Holy Spirit who will live in you, God will make you His child.  Go ahead, talk to Him, He can’t wait to listen to you, to love you, and to make you His child.

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