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LORD, my strength and my fortress, my refuge in time of distress, to you the nations will come
from the ends of the earth and say, Â€ÂœOur ancestors possessed nothing but false gods,
worthless idols that did them no good.
Do people make their own gods? Yes, but they are not gods!Â€
Â€ÂœTherefore I will teach themÂ€Â” this time I will teach them My power and might.
Then they will know that my name is the LORD.
The economic downturn plaguing the globe has devastated many have many more concerned and re-evaluating the security and lifestyles they once thought were unshakable. Many have built on foundations thought to be solid ground, only to find out sinking sand lay beneath the surface.
I too have felt the pressure and sympathize with the masses no having restless nights and forebodingness about the future. In my area, another 400 jobs were axed at a naval shipyard. The workers were hauled into the office, handed a pink slip and escorted by security out the door and told their severance package would be mailed along with their personal belongings that they were prevented even to box up and bring home! How sad it was: Happy Thanksgiving...oh, and Merry Christmas :(
When I look out, I cannot help but ask if our own greed, arrogance and pride has caused the judgement of God to fall like rain upon the earth and those who were not prepared are getting wet.
We can point fingers at Wall Street and bankers and the Enrons and AIGs etc. We can blame the Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals; but I think we ALL must evaluate our part in this sad drama. Accountability is a policy we ALL must own.
What was it that Jesus said?
Â€ÂœJudge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brothers eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, Â€Â˜Let me remove the speck from your eye; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brothers eye.
Below is a chart to help us see the specks from the planks:
Almost half the world Â€Â” over three billion people Â€Â” live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.Source More than 80 percent of the worlds population lives in countries where income differentials are widening. The poorest 40 percent of the worlds population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they Â€Âœdie quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.Â€
Based on enrollment data, about 72 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not in school in 2005; 57 per cent of them were girls. And these are regarded as optimistic numbers. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
These are mere ripples in a sea of overwhelming statistics of the disparity of the haves and have-nots. Most reading these blogs qualify in the "have" section. We have felt the pinch in our pockets and maybe cannot afford that new plasma right now; maybe the new car purchase with have to be a Kia instead of a Toyota Camry. We may have to scale down Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas gift giving.
Yes, those may be our sacrifices, but for many, they have never even tasted the life we enjoy. While we praise God for our abundance and seek His help during these times, millions around the world pray for a bite to eat or a place to lay their head. We fast and pray that God will bless us with riches like Jabez, but neglect to read Gods admonition in Isaiah 58:5-7:
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing ones head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD?
Â€ÂœIs not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelterÂ€Â”
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Is it a sin to have riches or to cry out to God in times of financial distress? No. I believe God, WANTS to bless His people, but we must maintain perspective and keep track of the plank in our own eye. We must evaluate what we are doing for others and how we are responding to their needs "while" fulfilling our own. Do not neglect yourself of your families, but do not neglect other also.
Let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and do not shut your eyes to the plight of the poor or your hears to the cry of the oppressed and impoverished. Often God will reward our unselfish generosity. This is another exercise in trusting God; take care of the things that concern God and leave your own concerns to God.
He who has a generous eye will be blessed, For he gives of his bread to the poor.