Listen to me, dear brothers and sisters. Hasn’t God chosen the poor in this world to be rich in faith? Aren’t they the ones who will inherit the Kingdom he promised to those who love him? But you dishonor the poor! Isn’t it the rich who oppress you and drag you into court? Aren’t they the ones who slander Jesus Christ, whose noble name you bear? Yes indeed, it is good when you obey the royal law as found in the Scriptures: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you favor some people over others, you are committing a sin. You are guilty of breaking the law. For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws. For the same God who said, ‘You must not commit adultery,’ also said, ‘You must not murder.’ So if you murder someone but do not commit adultery, you have still broken the law. James 2:5-11

And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” Luke 6:20-21

For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:11-13

Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever; Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; the Lord raises up those who are bowed down; the Lord loves the righteous; the Lord protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, but He thwarts the way of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever, your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the Lord! Psalm 146:1-10

Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:

If we were looking for the existence of some kind of hierarchy in what God is seeking to do with mankind we could build a case for God favoring the poor and downtrodden over the rich and prospering. But this is not really the case even though it seems that way. It is just that the poor and downtrodden who don’t fare to well with the earthly and temporal system of human life down here are often more open to the alternate heavenly and eternal system God is building. The rich and prospering who are caught up in the earthly and temporal system of mere human life with all their achievements and successes are often less open to this alternative way that God makes available to mankind. So, God does not favor the poor and downtrodden over the rich and prospering, but rather He just has more opportunity to be in true relationship with the poor and downtrodden than He does with the rich and prosperous because the rich and prosperous are less responsive to Him. The hallmark of God’s alternate system is the royal law, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Favoring some over others is the hallmark of the world system. James puts “love your neighbor as yourself” in opposition to favoring some people over others, which he flat out calls sin. As was said earlier we are a part of the community of the redeemed and as such all spiritual brothers and sisters must always view each other as having equal value as those whom God has redeemed in Christ. Similarly, we view those who are not yet members with equal value because they are ones that Christ can redeem. Seeing others as “redeemed ones” or “potentially redeemed ones” is the key to viewing and treating everyone as having equal value.

Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:

Lord, I am so easily blinded to that which really counts. Forgive me for counting so much on things that are so fleeting. Deliver me from all inequality in my dealings with people. Thank you so very, very much for your wonderful grace. Help me to keep in the forefront of my mind and heart the truth that everything that truly matters  

is always and forever the product of your grace. Amen!