Helping People

‘What I do have I give you.’ Acts 3:6 NIV

The Bible says, ‘Peter said, “Look at us… Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.’ (Acts 3:4–7 NIV)

Peter did three things you must do if you want to help people:

(1) Get their attention. Peter told this incapacitated man, ‘Look at us.’ (Acts 3:4 NIV) Hurting people are often distracted by their pain, their past experiences, and their future fears. So, in order to get through to them, you must first get their attention. Why? Because faith must be focused if it’s to be effective.

(2) Introduce them to the Name that’s greater than their problem. That name is ‘Jesus’, and it’s greater than every sickness and situation. Rehab centres confirm that a relatively small percentage of people stay free from their addiction. That’s the bad news. Now here’s the good news: the name of Jesus is stronger than every addiction! ‘At the name of Jesus every knee should bow.’ (Philippians 2:10 KJV) So introduce those who are hurting to Jesus!

(3) Give them a hand up. As Peter pulled the man up, ‘immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.’ (Acts 3:7 KJV) Because he’d been in the same condition since birth, he needed help to get up. And there are people around you who need help to get up too. They need someone to pull them out of their despair and get them to Jesus, and God can use you to be that someone.

SoulFood: Lam 3:40–5:22, Matt 20:1–16, Ps 119:129–136, Pro 18:21

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2020

Today’s Readings

Lamentations 3:40–5:22 ()

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40   Let us test and examine our ways,
    and return to the LORD!
41   Let us lift up our hearts and hands
    to God in heaven:
42   “We have transgressed and rebelled,
    and you have not forgiven.
43   “You have wrapped yourself with anger and pursued us,
    killing without pity;
44   you have wrapped yourself with a cloud
    so that no prayer can pass through.
45   You have made us scum and garbage
    among the peoples.
46   “All our enemies
    open their mouths against us;
47   panic and pitfall have come upon us,
    devastation and destruction;
48   my eyes flow with rivers of tears
    because of the destruction of the daughter of my people.
49   “My eyes will flow without ceasing,
    without respite,
50   until the LORD from heaven
    looks down and sees;
51   my eyes cause me grief
    at the fate of all the daughters of my city.
52   “I have been hunted like a bird
    by those who were my enemies without cause;
53   they flung me alive into the pit
    and cast stones on me;
54   water closed over my head;
    I said, ‘I am lost.’
55   “I called on your name, O LORD,
    from the depths of the pit;
56   you heard my plea, ‘Do not close
    your ear to my cry for help!’
57   You came near when I called on you;
    you said, ‘Do not fear!’
58   “You have taken up my cause, O Lord;
    you have redeemed my life.
59   You have seen the wrong done to me, O LORD;
    judge my cause.
60   You have seen all their vengeance,
    all their plots against me.
61   “You have heard their taunts, O LORD,
    all their plots against me.
62   The lips and thoughts of my assailants
    are against me all the day long.
63   Behold their sitting and their rising;
    I am the object of their taunts.
64   “You will repay them, O LORD,
    according to the work of their hands.
65   You will give them dullness of heart;
    your curse will be on them.
66   You will pursue them in anger and destroy them
    from under your heavens, O LORD.”

4:1   How the gold has grown dim,
    how the pure gold is changed!
  The holy stones lie scattered
    at the head of every street.
  The precious sons of Zion,
    worth their weight in fine gold,
  how they are regarded as earthen pots,
    the work of a potter’s hands!
  Even jackals offer the breast;
    they nurse their young;
  but the daughter of my people has become cruel,
    like the ostriches in the wilderness.
  The tongue of the nursing infant sticks
    to the roof of its mouth for thirst;
  the children beg for food,
    but no one gives to them.
  Those who once feasted on delicacies
    perish in the streets;
  those who were brought up in purple
    embrace ash heaps.
  For the chastisement of the daughter of my people has been greater
    than the punishment of Sodom,
  which was overthrown in a moment,
    and no hands were wrung for her.
  Her princes were purer than snow,
    whiter than milk;
  their bodies were more ruddy than coral,
    the beauty of their form was like sapphire.
  Now their face is blacker than soot;
    they are not recognized in the streets;
  their skin has shriveled on their bones;
    it has become as dry as wood.
  Happier were the victims of the sword
    than the victims of hunger,
  who wasted away, pierced
    by lack of the fruits of the field.
10   The hands of compassionate women
    have boiled their own children;
  they became their food
    during the destruction of the daughter of my people.
11   The LORD gave full vent to his wrath;
    he poured out his hot anger,
  and he kindled a fire in Zion
    that consumed its foundations.
12   The kings of the earth did not believe,
    nor any of the inhabitants of the world,
  that foe or enemy could enter
    the gates of Jerusalem.
13   This was for the sins of her prophets
    and the iniquities of her priests,
  who shed in the midst of her
    the blood of the righteous.
14   They wandered, blind, through the streets;
    they were so defiled with blood
  that no one was able to touch
    their garments.
15   “Away! Unclean!” people cried at them.
    “Away! Away! Do not touch!”
  So they became fugitives and wanderers;
    people said among the nations,
    “They shall stay with us no longer.”
16   The LORD himself has scattered them;
    he will regard them no more;
  no honor was shown to the priests,
    no favor to the elders.
17   Our eyes failed, ever watching
    vainly for help;
  in our watching we watched
    for a nation which could not save.
18   They dogged our steps
    so that we could not walk in our streets;
  our end drew near; our days were numbered,
    for our end had come.
19   Our pursuers were swifter
    than the eagles in the heavens;
  they chased us on the mountains;
    they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
20   The breath of our nostrils, the LORD’s anointed,
    was captured in their pits,
  of whom we said, “Under his shadow
    we shall live among the nations.”
21   Rejoice and be glad, O daughter of Edom,
    you who dwell in the land of Uz;
  but to you also the cup shall pass;
    you shall become drunk and strip yourself bare.
22   The punishment of your iniquity, O daughter of Zion, is accomplished;
    he will keep you in exile no longer;
  but your iniquity, O daughter of Edom, he will punish;
    he will uncover your sins.

5:1   Remember, O LORD, what has befallen us;
    look, and see our disgrace!
  Our inheritance has been turned over to strangers,
    our homes to foreigners.
  We have become orphans, fatherless;
    our mothers are like widows.
  We must pay for the water we drink;
    the wood we get must be bought.
  Our pursuers are at our necks;
    we are weary; we are given no rest.
  We have given the hand to Egypt, and to Assyria,
    to get bread enough.
  Our fathers sinned, and are no more;
    and we bear their iniquities.
  Slaves rule over us;
    there is none to deliver us from their hand.
  We get our bread at the peril of our lives,
    because of the sword in the wilderness.
10   Our skin is hot as an oven
    with the burning heat of famine.
11   Women are raped in Zion,
    young women in the towns of Judah.
12   Princes are hung up by their hands;
    no respect is shown to the elders.
13   Young men are compelled to grind at the mill,
    and boys stagger under loads of wood.
14   The old men have left the city gate,
    the young men their music.
15   The joy of our hearts has ceased;
    our dancing has been turned to mourning.
16   The crown has fallen from our head;
    woe to us, for we have sinned!
17   For this our heart has become sick,
    for these things our eyes have grown dim,
18   for Mount Zion which lies desolate;
    jackals prowl over it.
19   But you, O LORD, reign forever;
    your throne endures to all generations.
20   Why do you forget us forever,
    why do you forsake us for so many days?
21   Restore us to yourself, O LORD, that we may be restored!
    Renew our days as of old—
22   unless you have utterly rejected us,
    and you remain exceedingly angry with us.

Matthew 20:1–16 ()

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20:1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace, and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’ So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same. And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’ They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’ And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius. 10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius. 11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? 14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”

Psalm 119:129–136 ()

()

Pe

129   Your testimonies are wonderful;
    therefore my soul keeps them.
130   The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it imparts understanding to the simple.
131   I open my mouth and pant,
    because I long for your commandments.
132   Turn to me and be gracious to me,
    as is your way with those who love your name.
133   Keep steady my steps according to your promise,
    and let no iniquity get dominion over me.
134   Redeem me from man’s oppression,
    that I may keep your precepts.
135   Make your face shine upon your servant,
    and teach me your statutes.
136   My eyes shed streams of tears,
    because people do not keep your law.

Proverbs 18:21 ()

()

21   Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Wed 21 August, 2019


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