Chapter 8 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Unable to Ask for Help”.
You know, it seems like I have addressed this in previous posts…those unable to ask are hurting, need help, cannot help themselves, appear on my path, have been robbed, half dead and naked. Any and all of these friends may not be able to ask for the help. So, I am kinda stuck here on who to cover in this post. So, it will be short. Isaiah, the prophet, said these words in Isaiah 55:8-11 (NLT).
8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
I’m going to let the Word speak for itself with no explanations. My thoughts are not His thoughts. He wants sooo much more for us than we can possibly imagine. Gordon offers us scripture that tells what we are to do…so let this Word not return void. Let this scripture speak to you. Meditate on it. Ask the Lord…What do you want to tell me through this scripture? What, specifically, are You calling me to do? Show me what that looks like. Then, go and do. Let’s do the Bible together.
Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT)
8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
ensure justice for those being crushed.
9 Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
and see that they get justice.
Thanks God for giving us your Word to instruct, rebuke, correct and train us so that we may be fully equipped to do your work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17) I pray that through Proverbs 31:8-9 that you will speak to all who read it. Allow this scripture to prick our hearts into action. Teach us oh Lord how we can speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. Use us to seek justice here on earth….so that your kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. In the name of our Savior I pray, Amen.
This is the 8th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?. I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here: Neighbor 1: Hurting.
Chapter 7 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Is Naked”. Curious question…Do you say nay’ked? or neck’ed? Regardless…naked can mean nude, bare, unadorned, unarmed, exposed, unprotected, uncovered, stripped…to name a few. Of course, the first thing we think of is undressed! Now, depending on the situation, the naked/undressed person may be in need of a neighbor. Someone who lost their clothing while skinny dipping, perhaps. Or a woman who got caught in a rainstorm and is now in a see-through or clinging t-shirt or dress. Because of illness, someone who doesn’t even know they don’t have clothes on or are uncovered. We need to be their loving neighbor and find them cover.
Have you ever been in a situation where you were ‘outed’? People found out something about you that you didn’t want them to know. Or you were transparent one time and shared a private moment with a ‘friend’ who then used it against you, ridiculed you, told others, etc. That is a very embarrassing and vulnerable, sometimes devastating moment…and you really need a friend and neighbor at that time. We need to cover you at that time. We shouldn’t get caught up in the hatin’, gossip and talk. Instead, what if WE were the one who befriended you instead?
But, I also think of the defenseless – those who can’t help themselves. Our God has given our friend, Sara Pomeroy, a heart for people involved in Human Trafficking. Through Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI), Sara and her team are being great neighbors to victims of human trafficking. In addition, they are also providing an opportunity for others to be neighborly as well through their training and volunteer programs.
RJI is a grassroots faith based organization of modern day abolitionists committed to ending modern day slavery, commonly referred to as human trafficking.
Our approach in order to eradicate this issue is to combat this crime on all fronts, through pursuing awareness, education, prevention, advocacy, aftercare and prayer.
Gordon summarizes this chapter writing…
There are a lot of naked people in our lives. They may not be without clothes, but they have in some way been stripped of their dignity, stripped of who they are as human beings, and limited in some way from being all they ought to be and can be. They need someone to come alongside who simply will not allow them to feel embarrassed, but who intead will affirm their dignity and provided the same kind of tender, loving care offered tot he man who, many years ago, went down from Jerusalem to Jericho.
Thank you Lord for providing neighbors and friends who can come alongside us when we are feeling exposed and vulnerable. Forgive us of times where we may have harmed another intentionally or unintentionally. Give us the strength to stand up for those who physically or emotionally stripped of their dignity and pride. Teach us how to love like the Good Samaritan and raise us up to be the defenders of those who are naked. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.
This is the 7th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?. I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here: Neighbor 1: Hurting.
Chapter 6 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Is Half Dead”. Wow! I guess not many of us have encountered someone who is half dead. Louis and I have. On our 4th date (3 1/2 years ago), Frank got shot 9 times outside our back door. By the time the paramedics arrived, he had no pulse and was only breathing once or twice a minute. He was left for dead, but God had another plan for him. Because Louis and I were home to respond with prayer and first aid. he survived. So, Frank was our neighbor that night. As time went by, Frank and his family became more than neighbors or friends, but they are family. We love them like they are our own. It’s been a real blessing for us to know Frank, Vicky, the girls and Geraldine.
But, like yesterday’s post, Neighbor 5: Someone Who Has Been Robbed, people can also be half dead emotionally. They may not be able to experience the full life that God intended them to have. Life full of joy unspeakable and full of glory. God can use us to help breathe life into another person with our words of encouragement and love. Sometimes life is just hard…and it stinks. We need to learn how to just be be there with and for our friends when they are troubled emotionally and spiritually without judgement. Be there in love…and love alone.
Lastly, we need to be there with people who are half dead spiritually because they continue to wallow in their sin. Gordon writes…
Ephesians 2:5 tells us that God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions –it is by grace you have been saved.” We need to resuscitate people in the our communities who are half dead and who don’t know Jesus Christ. For truly they are our neighbors.
Lord, thanks for using us as your hands and feet on Earth. You don’t need us, but you choose to use us to shine your glory. Forgive us for the times we are not paying attention, too busy or too selfish to notice who’s barely breathing around us. Open our eyes to see people around us who are walking around half dead emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Teach us how to love them like you love us…with patience, kindness, full of hope, and unconditionally. In your name we pray. Amen.
This is the 6th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?. I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here: Neighbor 1: Hurting.
Chapter 5 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Has Been Robbed”. It is easy to think of the people who have literally been robbed or burglarized, whose car was stolen, whose home was broken into, or whose wallet was taken out of their pocket or handbag. Yes…those are people who need a neighbor. I remember having my bag taken off my shoulder in the middle of the street one evening…robbed of a few dollars and a couple of Clinique Lipsticks. Thankfully, it was a small bag with little money. But, I was shaken none-the-less.
In addition, Gordon got me thinking about folks who have been robbed of their dignity, or robbed of their innocence or virginity or robbed of a healthy home life. My heart breaks for them…and they need a neighbor.
This post focuses on one who has been robbed of the truth. We have all been sucked into the ‘Material World’ – that money is the answer to everything. I see it on FB and Twitter a lot….all about makin’ ‘bank’, ‘dough’, ‘benjamins’, etc. We often care more about what car we drive, what shoes we wear or bag we carry, or how many games we have. We are also robbed of “community”, and we think that it’s based off how many people are our ‘friends’, ‘followers’, ‘text’ etc. Many are robbed of deep and intimate friendships and hide behind their smartphone or laptop (or MacBook in my case!).
We have been robbed into believing the lies that Satan whispers in our ears. That we aren’t smart enough, cool enough, or good enough to succeed. We believe that the things we have done…aren’t really all that bad and we water down the Truth, but in fact…they are still sins. Then there are others …at the opposite extreme. We think that what we have done is too bad to be forgiven. Well, the Bible tells me….all have sinned and fallen short (Rom 3:23). We need to be there for folks who have been robbed of Truth. Truth shall set you free. (John 8:32)
Gordon ends the chapter with…
Who do you know who has been robbed? That person is your neighbor. Reach out and offer your love. And remember that your action may benefit more than just that person, because you never know who might be watching and might be drawn closer to Christ because of your example.
Lord, your Word tells us that if we seek truth, we will find it and we will be set free. May your Holy Spirit pour out a desire to seek and discern truth. Provide us the wisdom to share truth. Make us hungry for your Word, for it is a lamp unto my feet and a light onto my path. Give us the desire to pray for those who have been tricked into believing the lies of Satan. May we come to know and share the TRUTH that shall set us and others free. Pour it out, oh Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
This is the 5th post in a series that I wrote about in who’s ur neighbor?. I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here: Neighbor 1: Hurting.
This is the fourth post in a series that I wrote about in a post called who’s ur neighbor?. I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a day. In addition, I hope to post on each chapter each day…starting August 1st…no promises, though. The first one in the series can be found here: Neighbor 1: Hurting. Side note, I think this is finally going to be a short post…well in comparison anyway!
Chapter 4 answers the question with…‘My Neighbor is Someone Who Appears on My Path’. I think this is finally going to be a short post!
After writing the last 3 posts, I began to worry that I was sounding preachy or that I was putting people on a guilt-trip. That is the last thing I wanted to do. I checked in with a few readers (one of which is Louis…but biggest fan and critic!) and they said I wasn’t. I know that I am passionate about this, and only wanted to express that to others. Wayne Gordon also states….
One of the greatest challenges facing preachers and Christians teachers is to exhort followers of Christ to do what they can do without making them feel guilty for not doing what they can’t do. Too many people feel guilty for, or at least trouble by, not doing anything about problems they cannot do anything about–for not helping people they are not in a position to help.
We are constantly being inundated with pleas for help…Hurricanes, Earthquakes, Orphaned Children, Abandoned Cats and Dogs, A Child with Cancer, Aids in Africa, Homelessness, Human Trafficking, Elder Abuse, Fatherlessness, The War on Drugs, Immigration, Crime and Poverty, Land Use, Environmental Concerns, etc. It’s all too overwhelming and depressing when you sit down and really think about it all. We live in a fallen world.
I agree with Gordon.
These stories grieve us, but the reality is that none of us is Superman. We have neither the opportunity nor the ability to solve all these problems…we need to pay attention to those people and those opportunities God has placed on our paths. Who are the people whom God allows you the privilege of coming into contact with on a regular basis? Those are your neighbors.
Please don’t misunderstand me and think I am saying that we shouldn’t give to these needs. Yes…give to those who are doing great work in areas of mighty need! Please! But, I’m saying that we also have needs that are right in front of us that we shouldn’t ignore. There is a someone in your path every day that could use your help, if we look for them and respond. Someone who doesn’t just need a check, but needs a ride to the grocery, needs prayer, needs help moving, needs someone to listen, needs parenting advice, needs career advice, needs help with deadlines at work, etc. What I am asking is…. How can we love our neighbor at work? at the gym? at the doctor’s office? at our book club? at the grocery store, restaurant or park?
Lord, there are so many needs, so many hurting people. It can be overwhelming, and I am thankful that you are in control, not me! Sometimes the burden feels so heavy, but I give it all to you to carry, because you have told us not to. Today, I ask you to use me in a simple way. Make me aware of the people in my path. Who needs my help? Use me to meet that need. Lord, let me not come up with an excuse as to why I can’t help, but Lord, I ask You for the strength to be about YOUR work…for YOUR glory, not mine. Thank you, Lord. In your name we pray. Amen.
While attending the CCDA Immersion training, we had the opportunity to spend time with Wayne “Coach” Gordon, author of who is my neighbor? This is an important question that we need to ask ourselves in light of what Jesus shares with us in Luke 10 ~ love God. love your neighbor as yourself. But, how do we define ‘neighbor’? The people who live next door to us? on the block? down the street? While studying the story of the Good Samaritan, you learn who Jesus says is your neighbor. This book helps define that. I started reading it, and realized that it will be best read one chapter at a time.
So, starting August 1st…for 40 days….I’m going to start reading it….meditating on it…..thinking about a chapter a day. I hope to post my thoughts each day…but, not sure that will happen. I’ll have good intentions though!!!
Wanna join me? Get yourself a copy and join me in the conversation. Let me know if you do!
In the mean time…let’s take another look at Luke 10 (NIV)…The Parable of the Good Samaritan
25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
OUCH! That kinda stings….