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Generosity towards those in third world countries

 December 2009 

December has been a good month for our family. The year 2 diaries are now completed and if you require any, please email us with your name, the number of copies you need and your postal address. To contact us, click here: http://walkingwithgod.com/contactus.php

Christmas for us especially was much better than most of the recent Christmases. One of the reasons for this was because of the practice of giving gifts to a worthy cause rather than to each other. It took a lot of stress out of our lives leading up to Christmas.

In recent years we have come to realize just how precious to God are those in his family. Because of this we have come to see the need to greatly value others who are in God's family.

In the instructions at the back of the year 2 diaries, we have an article about the high value that Jesus and the New Testament writers placed on those within God's family and I have included that in this newsletter. It is as follows:

Families walking with God need to have a high view of God's family

When we become Christians we are born into God's family and are His children. Because of this, just as our own children are precious to us, so should each of God's children be precious to us.

One of the reasons I feel that Christianity is struggling in Western World Countries is because of our lack of love and caring for those in God's family in Third World countries. A poverty stricken Christian woman in Africa who has contracted Aids, is just as precious to Jesus as we Christians living in countries with very high standards of living.

Statistics show that 90 percent of the total Christians wealth in the World is owned by 10 percent of the Christians. The vast majority of God's children have a very low standard of living while a few of us have a very high standard of living. I feel that this situation is offensive to Jesus as He placed great value on each of His children.

In Matthew 25 we read how Jesus challenged us to help those in desperate need. In verse 40 He says this: "The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me." By brothers Jesus meant those in the family of believers.

The Apostle John placed very high priority on those who were in God's family. The whole of 1st John has much to say about Christians loving one another and by caring for each other. Chapter 3v17 says this "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need and has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?"

James also placed high priority on those in the family of God. His letter is full of instructions to care for fellow believers. Chapter 2:15-16 is an example of this. These verses say this: "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well, keep warm and well fed", but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?"

The Apostle Paul's letters show Paul's passion in caring for fellow believers. His letters show that, maybe for years, he was consumed with a passion to help the starving Christians in Jerusalem and Judea by taking up an offering. In Romans 15: 25 & 26, it says this, "Now, however, I am on my way to Jerusalem in the service of the saints there, for Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem."

In 2 Corinthians Chapters 8 & 9 we have some of the most wonderful teaching in the New Testament on the need to give to fellow Christians who are in great need. In these two chapters, Paul encourages those in Achaia, the Corinthian Christians, to keep their promise of making a gift to the starving Christians. Paul urges them to give to this offering by telling how generous the Macedonian Christians were and that even though they were poor themselves and had a great trial, they gave generously.

Chapter 8:1-4 says this: "And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches. Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints."

Even if we are extremely poor ourselves and have great trials we can still be like the Macedonian Christians, and be full of joy and give generously to fellow believers who are worse off than us.

It appears the Corinthian Christians were quite wealthy at this time. In chapter 8:13-14, Paul says this to the Corinthians: "Our desire is not that others might be relieved while you are hard pressed, but that there might be equality. At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need."

In Galatians, Paul and Barnabas went up to Jerusalem to argue that the Gentiles did not need to get circumcised before becoming Christians. It appears that Paul won the argument, but James, Peter and John asked Paul if he would still remember the poor, and I'm sure they meant poor Christians.

In Galatians 2:9, Paul says this: "James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews. All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do."

Again in Galatians 6:10, Paul says this: "Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers."

There are many other places in the New Testament that show that the Lord places high priority on those in His family and the need to help those who are suffering. If the Apostle Paul was alive today, I'm sure he would rebuke many Christians who live in wealthy countries.

As families walking with God, we must try and live modest lifestyles - to train our children to be careful with their money so that they can use their money to build up God's Kingdom among those in His family in poorer countries.

When our children were young we would often point out that the cost of a hamburger meal for one person in New Zealand would keep a whole family for a week in some countries of the world. And so we have encouraged our children not to spend so much money on food, clothing and entertainment, but rather to use it to help the spread of the Gospel, particularly helping those who are in God's family. To buy expensive label clothing just to impress others is very idolatrous.

For many years, we have been involved in a disciple making ministry in India and we have encouraged our children to be involved with us in supporting this ministry.

May each of you who are reading this newsletter be richly blessed throughout 2010 and all the years ahead.

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