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The Long View

Daily Reading: James 2

Scripture Focus: Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (James 2.5)

Devotional Thought: There was once a poor man who attended "First Church," a well-to-do church in a city. He loved the church, and wanted to become a member, but he just couldn't 'break through' and be accepted. After trying many years and being rebuffed each time, he finally cried out to God, "Lord, I've been trying to get accepted into First Church for years, and they just won't let me in!" The story goes that Jesus replied to him, "Son, don't fret over this. I've been trying to get into First Church for years. They won't let me in either!"

When Jesus came to the earth, he did not come to places of wealth or halls of power. He came to a lowly carpenter and his young wife, nobodies on the stages of earth. He did not seek to hang out with the rich or the rulers. He chose instead the poor and the outcast. And, he found fertile soil for faith in their hearts.

When I was 14 years old, there was nothing about me to commend me to the Nazarenes in Pioneer, OH. But, they didn't care. Like The Nazarene, they didn't want me for my money or my influence or my wisdom. In love, they simply wanted me to know Jesus. They accepted me where I was and as I was. Then, they joined me in a journey of transformation, beginning with my being born again right at an altar of prayer in the humble little church.

When we see youth and poverty what do we see? A drain on the church's resources? That's not what Jesus sees! He sees the potential for rich faith and for kingdom builders. Let's take the long view of things and see as Jesus does!

Prayer: Jesus, lowly Shepherd, thank you for coming to me where I was. Thank you for saving me in my poverty and powerlessness. Help me to see and love others as you see and love me. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 1 Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy! 2 For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth. 3 He subdued peoples under us, and nations under our feet. 4 He chose our heritage for us, the pride of Jacob whom he loves. Selah 5 God has gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet. 6 Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! 7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with a psalm! 8 God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne. 9 The princes of the peoples gather as the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth belong to God; he is highly exalted! (Psalms 47:1-9)

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