JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Relationship-Building Principle comes from Proverbs 14:21.
“He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.”
To despise our neighbor would violate the second greatest commandment in all of Scripture, which is to love our neighbor as ourselves. God calls His people to live with neighborly love-the kind that seeks God’s blessing on their lives and treats them with respect and consideration. Building relationships with our neighbors is a significant step to demonstrating the love of Jesus to them. Our neighbor might be considered the family that lives next to us, but they also might be whoever happens to be next to us at a given time.
A blessing is granted from the Lord for the person who is kind to the needy. We have opportunity to do this in various ways. Proverbs 22:9 talks about the generous man sharing his food with the poor. Proverbs 31:9 promotes defending the rights of the poor. Psalm 15:5 promotes lending to the poor without charging excessive interest. The general idea is to be openhanded and not tightfisted toward the poor.
Loving our neighbors and being kind to the needy are vital relationship-building principles to take to heart in the Year of Connection.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Moment of Celebration reflects on the blessing of forgiveness.
Psalm 32, verse 1 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”
This describes the person who has confessed their sins to God and confessed their need for His mercy. They are focused on walking with God with a humble heart. They do not make intentional plans that disregard God’s laws. Rather, they seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness. Their first love is for God, and that allegiance compels them to live for His glory.
The forgiveness of God offers us freedom from guilt. In the New Testament of the Bible, we learn that this forgiveness is available through faith in Jesus Christ. Romans 3:23 and 24 says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
The blessing of forgiveness is a reason to be glad in the Year of Celebration.
JOHN SHIRK – Today, WJTL remembers the blessing of being poor in spirit.
Jesus told His followers in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
To be poor in spirit is to recognize our need for God’s grace. We come to the place where we realize that we are inadequate to do anything about our sin and that we are incomplete without God’s love. As a result, we turn to Christ for salvation.
To be poor in spirit is a humble place to be. God makes Himself at home in the heart of the person who is humble before Him. In Isaiah 57:15, the LORD says, “I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
The Blessing of being poor in spirit is a lesson of faith worth remembering.