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Posted on 05/09/2013


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Care for People All around You

Scripture: "And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows." (1 Thessalonians 3:12)

The book of Ruth in the Old Testament tells a beautiful story about love and loyalty among family. Naomi, an Israelite, had traveled with her husband and sons to the foreign land of Moab to escape a famine. Her sons married local women, one of them being Ruth. When the husband and the sons died, Naomi chose to return to Israel and her people.

Can’t Love Each Other

Naomi and her daughters-in-law loved each other dearly. Wanting them to be provided for, Naomi urged them to remain in Moab to remarry. However, Ruth chose to stay with Naomi, dedicated to serving her mother-in-law -- and God. She demonstrated a love and loyalty the Apostles Paul and John would describe many years later: “those who won’t care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith” (1 Timothy 5:8) and “those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters” (1 John 4:21).

Avoid Evil and Pray

In Israel, Ruth provided for herself and Naomi by gathering leftover grain. She chose a field owned by Boaz, one of Naomi’s distant relatives. Boaz told Ruth to keep gathering on his land, where she’d be safe from dangerous men elsewhere. This mirrors God’s warning to His people against close contact with those who chose evil: “If you do, you will follow their evil ways and be trapped” (Exodus 34:12). If we can’t avoid harm, though, Jesus said to “Pray for those who hurt you” (Luke 6:28). We should avoid evil ways, but care about, and pray for, people who choose evil.

Care - No Matter What

Naomi loved Ruth, wanting to see her married and settled. She instructed Ruth to ask Boaz to take care of her (and Naomi) by marrying Ruth. Although Ruth was a poor foreigner, Boaz treated her with godly care and agreed. Jesus spoke of providing for others: “when you [cared for] one of the least of these people, you [cared for] Me” (Matthew 25:40). We, too, should show godly concern for others, especially those in need. When Ruth chose to go with Naomi rather than stay with her own people, she said, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16). Naomi’s devotion to the Living God caused Ruth to turn from the idols of her native Moab. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your love for God and for people would inspire others to turn from sin and follow God?

PRAYER, CARE & SHARE

* The Prayer, Care and Share (PCS) series is a guide to help you pray and care for others and share your faith in Jesus *

Scripture: "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me"

Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, and thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:35-40)

The Prayer, Care & Share Jesus guide, encourages you to care for people around you because of what Jesus said in the Bible. People in the passage above could hardly believe that Jesus compared their deeds for others to the way they served Jesus. But, it is really that important to Jesus because his love and care is unconditional and he wants us to live like He did as much as we can.

How do we care for people the way Jesus would every day? Be aware of the needs of people around you - for the homeless, the poor, the hungry, the broken, the discouraged. Use the Prayer Care Share guide as a way to reach out to them. Pray for God's blessing and care, on them. Prepare yourself to care for them. Remember, Jesus did warn that sometimes, the person he wants us to help, may be a person that we don’t want to help. But, he tells us to even love and pray for our enemies.

When someone has a need, you can help them or encourage them. Or if you can’t solve the problem, ask the Lord to solve it.

There are all kinds of things that cause people to be in need. Take a moment and think about ways people in your life may need to be cared for right now. They may be saying things like: My child is ill. My brother was wounded in battle. I have no money for transport to go home today. My mother is an alcoholic. My computer crashed and I don’t know how to fix it. I am writing an important test tomorrow and am worried about it. I need a job. When you hear this, it’s possible the Lord has called you to care for them. How will you respond to His call?

Your PRAY NOW Challenge: "Lord please help me to hear the needs that people around me have. Help me to see You in them and give me the correct response to care for their need - whether it be action, encouragement or prayer. In the Name of Jesus, Amen."

Tell us how it is going: Do you care enough for the people around you to pray God's best - His blessing and peace on them? Do you care enough for the people who are lost - who don’t know Jesus as Savior - around you, that you start building relationships with them? Tell us how you started caring for people with needs around you.

Will you pray this week that God will help you to:

•For the Lord to increase your love for all people

•To thank God for His grace and forgiveness

•That God will show you how to best care for your family and fellow Christians

•For God to lead those who have harmed you away from sin

•That we will be so loving that others want to follow our God

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