Who is My Neighbor? Part 1

God Gives Grace to the Humble

By John Foll, written between 02/05/2018 to 02/11/2018
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

A reader of our White Raiment Evangelism Blogs and some of our books has posed two extremely important questions to us. 1) Who is my neighbor, and 2) What did Jesus mean when He told us to love one another? (Not his exact wording.) Implied in question 2 is: Who is the ‘one another’ from Jesus’ command to ‘love one another’? Is it the same thing as ‘who is my neighbor?’ or does it mean something else? We will deal with this one in another blog article as God permits, because it requires more study to nail it down thoroughly, and we don’t want to make this article you are reading now too long or too complex. We are withholding this person’s name to respect their privacy, but we want to personally thank them for posing this question! Thanks!

Why are we writing up these questions and answers in our blog? Because we believe these questions and their answers are vitally important to everyone’s soul! The answers to these questions would greatly bless those who read it, if they would accept it, maybe even saving them, not just blessing the person who posed these questions! There may be someone out there who just doesn’t get it yet. And we want everyone to get it. We believe that many people out there don’t know the importance of the answer to this question, ‘who is my neighbor?’, and how it’s answer should guide their life; to know what to do about it, or is it just a theory to them? We hope and pray that this article will help everyone who reads it to know and understand the answer to this question. We hope and pray that you, dear reader, will understand what the Bible is teaching you here, and that you will accept it, so that you can receive the blessings of God, for now and for all eternity. Amen. Let it be so!

The answer to this question is so important, we feel compelled out of love for our readers to tell them, so we must write this article! This question is SO fundamental to Christianity, but many people just don’t get it, or they don’t fully understand who their neighbor is, or what their responsibilities for their neighbor are, according to the Bible. Some of you may have an idea where we are going with this, but we want to lay it out in some detail here, so that everyone can understand.

This is such an important topic! The answer to this question separates the wheat from the chaff; it separates the wheat from the tares. It separates those who love God from those who love Him not, or but little. Prayerfully, carefully consider all the words in this article. You may have to get down on your knees often in prayer over this, that you may be where God wants you to be on this.

For many of the texts regarding the wheat and the tares and the chaff, read: Matthew 13:24-30; 3:11-12. Luke 3:16-17; Psalms 1:1-4; 83:13-18; Isaiah 5:1-30; 41:10:-20; Jeremiah 23:28-29; Zephaniah 2:1-3; Malachi 4:1-3. 

This question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ is one of the most important and fundamental questions in Christianity that you can ask! We can’t really think of a more important question than this except the questions: ‘How do we love our neighbor as ourselves?’, and ‘How do we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and soul?’ (But we will not deal with this later question here, only ‘Who is My Neighbor?’ And we think, as you go through this article with its texts from the Bible that we will show you, that you will also understand the answer to the question, ‘How do we love our neighbor as ourselves?’)

How do we know why this question, ‘Who is my neighbor?’ is so important? Because God has revealed it in His word. We don’t want anyone to be ignorant of the answer to this question! We didn’t used to know this like we know it now, but the importance of this has been greatly impressed on us. We don’t wish to be labeled by God, as one Christian writer wrote it that we greatly admire, as a ‘cumberer of the ground’. We don’t want Jesus to say about us, ‘Cut it down! Why does it even take up the ground?’ “He [Jesus] spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” Luke 13:6-9 KJV. Jesus also said, “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” Matthew 7:19 NASB. What are the fruits that Jesus is expecting from His vineyard or His people? Hint: 1 John 4:7-8.

Apparently the Jews of Jesus day were discussing the answer to this question too, because one of them posed it to Jesus. We think that they already knew the answer, but didn’t like it, and were seeking for a way out, that they might evade the condemnation of God. Isn’t that at the heart of every false religion – seeking for a way out other than the one God has stated? They were under a heavy load of guilt, because the Spirit of God had revealed to them that they were transgressors of His Law of Love, in the answer to this question. But Jesus didn’t make it any easier on them. They probably thought that they had entrapped Jesus, in making Him say that one of the 10 commandments were more important than the others. Or who their neighbor was. If the legalist could figure out the answer to this question, they reasoned, they might have peace after all. But Jesus’ answer revealed to them that no one who is obeying God can ignore the needs of their neighbor!Jesus even tells them who their neighbor is! But we are getting ahead of ourselves here. We will get to this question by the Jews and Jesus’ answer to them shortly.

* Note the lesson to be learned from all of this is when God reveals something to you in His Holy Bible or through the Holy Spirit whispering to your heart, don’t ask what your family thinks about it, don’t ask what your co-workers think about it, and don’t ask what your pastor thinks about it. The only thing that matters to you in the end is what God thinks about it. Get your witness from God, not from men. Don’t be like those who were trying to argue with themselves and possibly with Jesus of who their neighbor was, or who they should help. In your heart you probably know who your neighbor is already, and whatever else God is telling you from His Holy Bible. Please don’t question it! Just ask God for help to do it and do it.

Now back to our article.

At the heart of this question is whether we really need to keep all of God’s commandments or not. A lawyer asked Jesus this question:

“But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:34-40 KJV.

The lawyer was asking Jesus what is the great commandment of the Law? Jesus answers His question with two commandments instead of one. Without going into detail here or trying to prove it, the first commandment of loving God supremely is number one in importance, but it leads to the second one, which is to love your neighbor as yourself. You can’t do one without doing the other, they are integrally tied together! And these are both a summary of the 10 Commandments of Exodus 20. If you keep both of these two great commandments you are keeping all of the 10 commandments! See Romans 13:9 for more on this. That is why John said that one who doesn’t love His brother does not know God; (or love God either, which John implies). “We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death.” 1 John 3:14 NASB. “Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.” 1 John 3:18 NASB. John also declared: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” 1 John 4:8 NASB. What does this have to do with the text in Matthew 22? It has everything to do with it! Jesus summarized the 10 Commandments into two great commandments: 1) To love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your mind and all your soul, and 2) To love your neighbor as yourself. If you don’t love God supremely or your neighbor as yourself, you are not keeping the 10 Commandments, regardless of your belief or your profession. Jesus was quoting from Deuteronomy 11:13, 22; 13:3 and Leviticus 19:3 here, thus showing His respect for the Law, and Moses’ writings. This Jewish lawyer could have nothing to say against Jesus, for if he did, he would have been going against the law he professed to believe in! It’s always best and safest to stick with the word of God, and not state human opinion on any matters regarding eternal life! You can never go wrong if you do this. This is what Jesus always did: ‘Thus saith the Lord’ or ‘It is written,’ even though He didn’t always prefix what He said with these two expressions. His entire teaching was rooted and grounded firmly in what God had already revealed in the Old Testament, but He breathed new life into what people thought it meant, and He explained the will of God more clearly then what had been revealed before, so that no one could fail in understanding. That is why He is called ‘the Word of God’ ‘made flesh.’ John 1:-5, 10-14. And ‘God with us.’ Matthew 1:23. It is important for you to understand here that the words that Jesus spoke here, were not His own but Him who sent Him, the Father. Jesus said, “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment [the Father’s commandment] is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me." John 12:49-50 NASB. Therefore there is no difference between God’s commandments (in the Old Testament) and Jesus’ commandments (in the New Testament of the Bible), they are the same, because Jesus and His Father are one! John 10:30.

But wait a minute! There is another version of these two great commandments recorded by Dr. Luke that reads like this:

“And a lawyer stood up and put Him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" And He said to him, "What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?" And he answered, "YOU SHALL 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 YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." And He said to him, "You have answered correctly; DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE." But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied and said, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by chance a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, who was on a journey, came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return I will repay you.' Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers' hands?" And he said, "The one who showed mercy toward him." Then Jesus said to him, "Go and do the same."” Luke 10:25-37 NASB.

Who does Jesus say was the neighbor here? Was it the priest? No. Was it the Levite? No. It was the unclean foreigner, a Samaritan, a sinner who helped the fallen man left for dead by the robbers! Notice that the Jewish Lawyer didn’t even say the race of the one who helped the wounded man, ‘a Samaritan!’ It has been said that there was much religious bigotry between these two races, and it was likely we think, that the wounded man was a Jew, because Jesus’ said, ‘a man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho.’ Why did the Priest and the Levite pass the wounded man by? Because it would have been greatly inconvenient for them! In the law of Moses, if one came in contact with the dead or the unclean in any way or any uncleanness, especially for a Priest or a Levite, they became ritually impure and could not take part in their religious obligations, until their uncleanness period had passed and they washed themselves (probably in most cases). They may have felt embarrassed if this were to happen, so they sought to avoid becoming ritually impure, rather than having compassion on the man left for dead by the robbers. And in some cases, it required a purification ritual to cleanse them! See Leviticus 5:2-3 and other places in the law of Moses. So it was a lot of trouble, and greatly inconvenient to them to help their own countryman. Sound familiar? How many times have we driven by someone who had a car that was stopped along the road that we might have helped? We could have at least asked them if they needed help, but because we were in a hurry going to work, to church or somewhere else important, we didn’t take the time to help them. The wounded man may have appeared to be dead or almost dead, Jesus didn’t say for sure on this. These men probably thought that their jobs were too important for them to stoop and help one of their own countrymen, and become ritually impure! Or they were just in a hurry? … Or maybe they were afraid the robbers were still around? Who knows? But they refused to help and sought to evade their responsibility to help, in what in all probability, was one of their own countryman. But notice the lawyer’s response to Jesus before Jesus gave him the story of the good Samaritan: “But wishing to justify himself, he said to Jesus: ‘And who is my neighbor?’” This was something this lawyer probably greatly wanted to know. Perhaps he did not have peace on this subject himself. It seems like his conscience was bothering him about it. He was probably hoping that Jesus would clear things up, so he would not end up being a transgressor of God’s Law, like his conscience may have been telling him he was.

We could stop right here with this text and the analysis above, for nothing else really needs to be said after this. What is there to say after Jesus gave the answer to this question? There is really nothing else that needs to be said. But we will still explore this further so that everyone reading this blog can understand it better, and hopefully fully get what Jesus was saying. We want to pair this up with other Bible passages to flesh it out, give it life, and break it down, so that all may understand this teaching fully.

Your neighbor is whoever needs your help!

The answer to that question, which the lawyer asked Jesus, ‘Who is my neighbor?” is - your neighbor is whoever needs your help, that you have the opportunity, the ability and the resources to help. It also includes all you don’t even know yet, that you haven’t even met! Paul said, “I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.” Romans 1:14-15 KJV. Who was Paul’s neighbor here? Paul states it: the Greeks, the Barbarians and the Romans! I.e. Paul’s neighbor was the world – all the people he could preach God’s love too! There was a cost to Paul to love his neighbor as himself, but he didn’t mind we think, because of his great love for God. He was raised up by God as a messenger of His love to the Gentiles! You and I probably have much to thank God for in sending Paul, his trainees and other workers to the Gentiles. I know that I do! Acts 13:44-48; Galatians 2:-2, 7-10. What would have happened to us if Paul hadn’t loved his neighbor as himself, people he hadn’t even met, among the Gentiles (that’s us)? Think about that.

We all have been given talents, skills and gifts and a way of some kind that we can provide a livelihood for ourselves. Matthew 25:14-30. But we need to think not only of ourselves and our family, but we must also think of those in need, who are not as fortunate as ourselves. To some who have knowledge of the truth and the way of Salvation, they owe others who do not know how to be saved or know how to have a better life with God, or how they might make their peace with Him. Romans 1:14-15. To others who have much means, they can use this to help the poor or to help finance God’s work of saving souls, or something…. Those who have strong backs and a willing heart can use their strength to help people in need. But everyone can do something, if they would! There are many things to do for the Master! There is no shortage of things to do! In fact, there are not nearly enough people to do the work that needs to be done! (Unless God vastly strengthens them, because the Lord can save by few or many. 1 Samuel 14:6.) “Seeing the people, He [Jesus] felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest." Matthew 9:36-38 NASB. If you feel this way then yes, pray to the Father and ask Him to send out laborers into the harvest, ask Him to send you! But only say this sweet thing to God if you mean it! Deuteronomy 23:21-23. We promise you, that if your heart is right before God when you pray this to Him, that you will be blessed beyond measure!

Jesus promised: “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measurepressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Luke 6:38 NASB. It has been said by some that people used to try to make it look like the cup that they were giving was fuller with the coins in it than what it actually had. But Jesus said that it will be pressed down, shaken together and running over. In other words you will be getting a cup that is fuller than normal, more than you deserve with the blessings of God. You can’t out give God! What God will give in return for what you give is not a stingy blessing, but more than you actually deserve! I.e. running over! Is that what you want? To be blessed beyond measure? Then give, and it will be given to you, like Jesus said above. What blessings do you want from God? If you want to be blessed by God, give to others to help them - for God’s cause, because what you measure out, will be measured out to you again. If you measure out bad deeds, criticism and terrible things, or say terrible things about others behind their back, it will be measured back to you again. But if you give out blessings to others, then blessings will be given back to you. Some of these blessings or curses will not take place in this life for you, but at the judgement for the curses, or in Heaven for the blessings. If you live your life just for yourself or just for your family, then you may find the blessings of God stingy for yourself. What you measure out will be measured out to you in return.

Solomon declares: “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it.” Proverbs 3:27 KJV. Let’s read this also from the New American Standard Bible: “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Proverbs 3:27 NASB. God doesn’t ask any more than this! Jesus said, “For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always.” Matthew 26:11 KJV. You cannot help everybody in the world - there are far too many people in this world who need far too many things! The poor will always be there, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t help them. But do what you can do that is within your power (and in your heart) to do, if your heart has received of the richness of God. You cannot do any more than that. You cannot give what you haven’t received. If it is not in your heart to help others, you haven’t yet received the richness of God, or you haven’t acknowledged it yet, which is worse. All should have something that they can give or share with others who are in need, or else they have nothing themselves.

Whatever God has given you the ability or the resources to do which is good, do it with all your might: Solomon councils us: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might; for there is no activity or planning or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol where you are going.” Ecclesiastes 9:10 NASB. What is Sheol? It is a Hebrew word for the grave. Whatever God has put in your heart that you have the ability of doing, do it with all your might while you still can – before it’s too late. When you die, there is no further good you can do. If you feel that you need more help from God to help others or do more for Him, then by all means come to Him in prayer, in the quietness of your own room, away from the cares of this world, and make your petition known to Him, of your desire to help Him or to help someone for Him, or to ask Him for the gifts and resources to do it. – Or to make you more willing. We promise you that if your heart is clean before God through confession to Him, and if you are listening to the Holy Spirit and wanting to obey Him, that God will richly bless you more than you can imagine! -- If you are wanting to be Jesus’ disciple and to use the gifts that God gives you to bless others. Paul tells us that we can become a partaker with them [the Jews] ‘of the rich root of the olive tree, * * * remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.’ Romans 11:17-18 NASB. This richness is provided by God, through His Son Jesus Christ, to all who would want it.

Jesus’ sought out the lost, He didn’t wait for the lost to seek Him out first. Matthew 18:11-14. To Jesus and His Father this whole world was their neighbor! We are God’s neighbor because we need His help! Those who love God will want to do their best, and will ask Him for His will regarding how they can serve Him best: how they can help their neighbors and love them as themselves; they will not seek to excuse themselves from doing what He wants them to do. Those who don’t care, do not know God, and He doesn’t know them either.

We have personally witnessed people who were careless of the divine injunction concerning this. We believe that way too many in the Christian world are breaking this divine injunction. There is way too much selfishness in this world! We used to have a real problem with this too, and would still have it but for the grace of God, and He is still working on us; we still feel we are not doing enough! Only God can change the heart! If you watch or read the news you can see that this world is in very serious trouble: if you look at all the crime, wars, strife, and selfishness, while some in the world just need something to eat or drink, and have to go to bed hungry! And many are dying every day, when many are well clothed and well fed. And of these many people who are starving to death or dying from other things, how many of them know about God’s love for them, or how they might be saved and have a conscience free from guilt? How many of them gave their heart to the Lord? Do you see the problem?

Those who don’t love their neighbor as themselves – don’t know God or Jesus His Son. This is very serious! Please don’t write this off, dear reader. Those who hurt in any way, injure with their words or actions, any person on this earth will have to answer to God for it. But we are also held accountable for neglect! Matthew 18:6-7, 10; Psalms 145:19; Exodus 22:21-23; Job 34:28. If anyone has neglected to help someone on this earth, which was within their power to do, God will hold them accountable for it. We are all the property of God, our creator, and He loves us all so very much! The world and all it contains belongs to Him. Psalms 50:7, 10-12; 1 John 4:8; John 3:16. It is because of His great love for us, that He bears with us when we are unkind to others, to ourselves or to Him. 2 Peter 3:9. God has made provision for our sins, with forgiveness and the ability to change to love our neighbor as ourselves. He alone can bring about this change!

In the Judgement Day, it will not be well with those who have broken God’s divine injunction to love their neighbor as themselves, unless they have confessed these sins and repented of them! Being born a sinner is no excuse! God has provided a way that everyone can become more like Him and be a partaker of His Divine Nature.For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.” 2 Peter 1:4 NASB. At the end of everyone’s life, of those who haven’t loved their neighbor as themselves, they will come up weighed in the balances and found wanting. “TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.” Daniel 5:27 KJV. Right now there is still mercy, thankfully, to all who want it. But wait not until your life is over or nearly over to make amends. Ask God to help you to love your neighbor as yourself, then you will be able to reap the rewards that Jesus promised to all who would give their best for Him, to help others know God and be as happy as you are!

Jesus said, Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:21-23 KJV.

But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation 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; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:31-46 NASB.  

How can we face Jesus in the Judgement Day, if we knew that it was in our power to help those in need and did not do it? We will be speechless on that day, unless we make a full repentance now. Jesus will really hold all accountable who do not love their neighbor as themselves, even if they think they are keeping all of God’s commandments! All who do not love their neighbor as themselves, who claim to be a Christian and know God are liars, and the truth is not in them, unless they have confessed this sin and repented of it with God’s help. At the judgement day, all the blessings of God that He wanted to give to those who are lost, of the wonderful joy of serving Him and helping others, they might have had, but they stubbornly refused to listen to the sweet voice of the Holy Spirit. Now they must go into the fire prepared for the devil and his angels, like Jesus said above! But thankfully, there is still hope and the judgement day hasn’t happened yet! There is still hope for you, dear reader, if you find that you are not where God wants you to be on this issue, or you don’t have a clean record on this. If you are still alive you can make amends and ask God to help you to love your neighbor as yourself, that you enter not into the judgement as a goat, on Jesus’ left, and go not into the flames prepared for the devil and his angels. There is no reason for this to happen to anyone! God has made provision for all who want it! Just humble your heart before God today, accept His help, and let Him help and bless you! You will be so thankful that you did! Amen. Let it be so!

If someone needs your help, do not refuse them if you have the ability of helping them. Matthew 5:39-48. But you should pray about it too. Work while it is day, before the night cometh and no man can work. John 9:4. Do what you can to relieve the suffering of those in need while you still can, whether it be food, clothing, spiritual food or spiritual water to satisfy their hunger and thirst, or to help someone do something that they need help with. How can you turn your back on someone whom Jesus died for and loves, if it is within your power and means to be able to help them? You cannot, if you have tasted of the goodness of God and the good things to come. Hebrews 6:4-8. This is the reason why so many do not help others like they should, or they may feel guilt for not doing more (if they haven’t gone too far) - because they haven’t tasted of the good things of God or haven’t drank deeply enough from this cup. But all who are thirsty will drink from it. But there is no reason for this lack of doing more for God or others or for this guilt, when all who name the name of Christ on their lips, who make the profession that they know Him, who are not doing enough could have the richness of God in their life! It’s because they haven’t yet tasted or fully tasted of the goodness of God, so they do not see the need or they are unable to do so or do not want to do so. So sad for them. We are sad that they are ignorant of the richness and blessings of God! We are so sad, because they are missing out on the best, most joyous experience that anyone could ever have! The selfish heart can never know real peace or the true joy of loving God and serving Him and helping others, unless there is a complete change made in them. Only God can provide this experience that brings the joy of serving Him to the soul who loves Him or is learning to love Him!

It is humanly impossible for you to make this change in yourself.Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” Jeremiah 13:23 KJV. If you are accustomed to doing evil, even though your heart may be the blackest of the black, and stained with much sin, there is still hope for you, if you would receive God into your heart and want to confess your sins to Him, change, and want to obey Him.

Let selfishness be banished from the hearts of all of God’s people! Oh that all would crave the richness of what God longs so much to give them! Just to be in God’s lovely presence, so Holy, pure, kind and true, is an experience that outweighs all of the treasure in this world! And out of this experience, the soul becomes born from above:Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7 NASB.

When you become born of God, you will not find it hard to help the needy, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, or to help those who are starving spiritually, for it will be your greatest and sweetest desire! You will not ask who your neighbor is, or try to excuse yourself. If you see someone in need, and you have the power or the means to help them, you won’t give it as second thought and just do it. You can’t hold someone back from helping others who has tasted of the good things of God! No you just can’t do it! No can do! There is a sweetness in their life, a song in their steps that spills over into their daily life – they just can’t help it, any more than a flower can help being a flower. They don’t make excuses, they pitch in and do what they can, whenever there is a need or something that needs to be done that is within their power to do! And they are not quick to complain when things aren’t to their liking. That joy that God brings makes life’s burdens and travails seem light and easy or easier to bear. Don’t let that crushing weight of guilt and doubt and selfishness weigh you down and take you down to the pit! God longs to free you from this that you might experience the true joy of giving!

Let selfishness be banished from the hearts of God’s people! Amen. Let them know the joy of knowing the Lord and putting their trust in Him, then their salvation will spring forth as the dew of the morning!

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the LORD have created it.” Isaiah 45:8 KJV. 

May the grace of God be with you as you decide if you want to love your neighbor as yourself. We hope and pray that you will not withhold from yourself this wonderful blessing that will keep on giving to you, from now until eternity! If you do this, you will know that Jesus and His Father will be happy with you, and their love will sustain you, because you will be developing a character like Them, who love you so much!

“Jesus answered and said to him, If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.’” John 14:23 NASB.

Devotional Song: There’s a new song in my heart:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwfkEgbf2So

#Neighbor #Love #Another #Wheat #Tares #Chaff #Fruit #Fire #Needs #Help #Poor #Needy #Good #Samaritan #Talents #Harvest #Laborers #Few #Know #God

By John Foll, written between 1/26/2018 to 01/27/2018
© Copyright 2018 John Foll

But He [God] gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, ‘GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.’” James 4:6 NASB.

What does it mean when James says God ‘gives grace to the humble? Let us look at what it means.

The book of Psalms declares: “The humble have seen it and are glad; you who seek God, let your heart revive. For the LORD hears the needy and does not despise His who are prisoners.” Psalm 69:32-33 NASB. Evidently it must be important, because it says here that God hears the prayers of the needy, and of the prisoners who are His who cry for His help. Those who are saved cry to God for help, this is their secret!In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears.” Psalm 18:6 NASB. Do you want God to hear your prayers dear reader? This is so important! Then cry to Him for help. Many come to God in prayer with a list of things they want from God, but have they asked Him for help or confessed all of their sins to Him? Those who want God’s grace and mercy must first cry to Him for help; those who don’t cry to Him for help will probably not get helped, whether they prayed or not. What would you cry to Him about for help? If your problems are overwhelming you, if you have an addiction or something you do over and over that you know that you should stop doing. Or if you don’t feel like you are saved or good enough to be saved, or your sins keep coming up in your mind over and over again and you are weary of it all? Do you want that sweet peace, wonderful peace, and want the assurance of your salvation? Do you know that you are bad and have done wrong; where can you get relief? Then call upon the name of the Lord, cry out to Him for help and He will always hear you! Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 KJV. If you will just come to Jesus and tell Him all of your troubles, He will give you rest. Is that what you want, rest? Then cry out to the Father in Jesus’ name, and He will hear your prayer! Just confess your sins to Him. If you find that you are in need, tarry there awhile with Jesus in the quite of your own ‘prayer closet’, which is any quiet private place free from the noise and clamor of this world, perhaps in nature or in a quiet room by yourself, wherever you can find some quiet time with Jesus, He loves you! Matthew 6:6. And He will give you rest. For His burden is light, and His yoke is easy, it is much easier than that yoke of guilt and sins and addictions that keep dragging you down! His yoke is easy, because it is a yoke based on love. It is something you shouldn’t mind, because it will give you peace and bring you much love and joy, if you will continue to tarry with Jesus awhile in prayer and Bible study, meditating on God’s rich promises to save and bless you.

Listen now to Moses’ account of God leading the children of Israel in the wilderness for 40 years, after leading them out of Egypt where they were slaves: "You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD. Your clothing did not wear out on you, nor did your foot swell these forty years. Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.” Deuteronomy 8:2-5 NASB. In the same way as God disciplined the children of Israel as they made their way to the Promised Land, Canaan, God will also discipline you on your way to the Heavenly Canaan, the Promised Land, if you will just let Him do it for you, and not chafe under His kind hand. God will help you to be humble if you will just let Him. You may be proud now, and not know how you can get His grace for yourself for all of your past sins and failures, but if you will just let Him help you, and allow the discipline He gives you to work His will in your life through the trials you go through, He will help you to humble yourself before Him, so that you may receive His grace. Because God gives grace to the humble, which is for those who allow Him to humble them.

When does God give grace to the humble? When they cry out to Him for help, and only then. If you are satisfied with your life the way it is, or want to handle your burdens and problems by yourself, or in your own way, or just want to do your own thing, you will not find any rest or peace. It is not within any man’s or woman’s ability to be able to direct their own paths, or solve their own problems without the aid of God and have it turn out good. Whenever anyone attempts this, it is self-righteousness. Self-righteousness always leads to death, but crying out to God for help and confessing your sins to Him leads to life – eternal life. When the Lord sends the needed help, the humble will see it and be glad. The humble cry to Him for help. If you will humble yourself before God and cry out to Him in prayer, your heart will see His salvation and be glad! Is that what you want? Then read on!

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:26 KJV. “Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.” Micah 7:7-8 KJV.

So what are you waiting for? Cry out to Him for help now, so you can start to get your salvation! When you see your need of Him and what He wants to do for you, and decide to yield your pride to Him and confess your sins and cry out to Him for help, He will surely save you and give you His grace!

Being humble is the same thing or similar to being meek or gentle. Jesus said, “Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 NASB. The King James has this as: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5 KJV. This reminds us of a psalm David wrote: “Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing. For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land. Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” Psalm 37:8-11 NASB. What is David talking about here? Those who humble their pride and allow God to take care of them, will inherit the land, and delight themselves in abundant prosperity. Has this fully happened yet here on this Earth? No. For the most part the world looks up to those who are the strong, the wealthy, the powerful, the famous, the infamous, the most beautiful, the smartest, the greediest, the wickedest, etc. While some of these are not necessarily wrong in themselves the others are, but they are often accompanied with great pride and wrongdoing, while the needs of the poor in this world’s goods or the poor in spirit are looked down on or trampled on. The ruler of this world, the prince of the air, has given the things the world values to those whom he controls. John 12:30-31; 14:30; 16:11. Matthew 4:8-11; Luke 4:5-8; Ephesians 2:2. So if the meek haven’t inherited the earth yet, when will it happen that the gentle, the meek, and the humble will inherit the land? Jesus is quite clear here that the meek will eventually inherit the earth as He promised!

Jesus declared: ‘Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ Matthew 18:3-4 KJV. This is just as true today as when Jesus spoke this 2000+ years ago. Jesus said that you must be converted and become as a little child, if you would enter the kingdom of Heaven, which means to love and obey your Father in Heaven, as little children are to love and obey their earthly fathers. But you cannot do this, unless you first humble yourself before God in prayer.

So when will the meek and humble inherit the earth? The prophet Isaiah gives us a clue when he writes: “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.” Isaiah 11:6 KJV. You can equate this child leading the wolf, the lamb, the leopard and the kid (goat or sheep lamb) with what Jesus said, when He said that unless you become as little children you shall never enter the kingdom of Heaven, as He stated in our text above in Matthew 18. It is only someone who has humbled themselves as a little child who will make it there and lead the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid in Heaven. Read this whole prophecy in Isaiah 11:1-9, especially verse 9: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:9 KJV. Isaiah declares here that this will take place when their will be no more death and no more hurt on God’s holy mountain, when the knowledge of God will cover the earth, as the waters cover the sea. Has the knowledge of God yet covered the earth as the waters cover the sea, with no disagreement among all mankind, and has all hurt, killing and death stopped? No. Clearly this will take place only in Heaven. It says in Psalms, talking about this day in Heaven, after all the wicked are destroyed, “The LORD is King forever and ever; nations have perished from His land. O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear to vindicate the orphan and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth will no longer cause terror.” Psalm 10:16-18 NASB. This is when the humble shall inherit the Earth, after all of the wicked have been destroyed by Him. This is all done by the grace of God, no one will deserve to be there. Therefore let us praise His wonderful name and pray that we all will be there, with as many of our loved ones as possible, inviting as many as we can to also go there with us.

Note the message that John gives us from God in Revelation talking about that great day in the future in Heaven, when the meek shall inherit the earth:And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, ‘What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?’ And I said unto him, ‘Sir, thou knowest.’ And he said to me, ‘These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’” Revelation 7:13-17 KJV. Talk about the perfect security blanket! How can anyone go wrong, if they will just follow the Lamb where ever He goes? Revelation 14:4. He will dwell with them forever, and feed them and quench their thirst from the river of life that flows endlessly from the throne of God! And nothing shall hurt or destroy them on God’s holy mountain, for the former things of this world are passed away, when all wickedness is gone forever.

Let us now sing God’s praises as we contemplate that great day in Heaven, when the meek will inherit the earth: He [God] has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; and sent away the rich empty-handed.” Luke 1:51-53 NASB. Do you hunger and thirst after righteousness? Then you shall be filled! Matthew 5:6. It says here in our passage in Luke 1 that God will fill the hungry with good things, but will send those who are rich away empty handed. Those who think that they are rich, who don’t see their need of God, will be sent away into the outer darkness where there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:36-43, 49-50.

Have you been on a journey too with God like the children of Israel were in their wanderings on their way towards the Promised Land? Have you had ups and downs in your struggles? Have you ever found it hard to say you were wrong to someone, or to give up something you wanted to get or to do that you know that God was asking you to stop doing or to give up? Did you have bad feelings towards someone, or feel bad for something you said or did and struggle with it? Did you get peace? Don’t give up, there is still hope! Has God been shaping your life, putting you through trials? Take courage! If you will allow God to mold and shape you, if you will cry out to Him for help, and will allow Him to humble you, all of these blessings He has promised will be yours! You can yet gain the blessings of eternal life, when the meek shall inherit the earth, because God will give you a greater grace, if you will allow Him to help you! Amen. Just allow Him to mold you and shape you.

So don’t be proud, humble yourself before God now in prayer:

Prayer is a song we all can sing,
A light that the blind can see,
Prayer is a gift the poor can bring,
However poor they'd be.

Prayer is a star that lights the way
For those who are in despair,
And when your heart kneels down to pray,
God will hear your prayer.
* From the song Prayer, by Alfred Bryan and Edward Lisbona.

Do you want God to hear your prayer? Then kneel your heart before Him in prayer, then He will hear your prayer. This means give your heart to Him in prayer as my wife said, when I read the lyrics of this song to her and pointed out those last two lines of it to her. I didn’t catch the meaning of those last two lines when I first heard this song, or when I first read these lyrics, but I eventually saw that it was not saying that we should bow our knees in prayer, but our hearts. But it is true when you give your heart to God, that you can be sure He has heard your prayer! For God gives a greater grace to the humble, i.e. those who will humble themselves before Him. He will show them His rich mercy! But those who will not give their heart to Him at all will not be helped.

Yes God gives a greater grace and mercy to the humble and they shall inherit the Heavenly Canaan, the Land which is fairer than day, the kingdom of Heaven!

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.’ And He who sits on the throne said, ‘Behold, I am making all things new.And He said, ‘Write, for these words are faithful and true.’ Then He said to me, ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.’” Revelation 21:2-7 NASB.  

May the grace of God be with you, may you follow the Lamb of God wherever He goes, as He leads you to Heaven’s peaceful shore! So cry out to Him now for help that this may be your story. Amen.

Final Meditation, from a Psalm of David:

Make me know Your ways, O LORD;
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
For You I wait all the day.
Remember, O LORD,
Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
According to Your lovingkindness remember me,
For Your goodness' sake, O LORD.
Good and upright is the LORD;
Therefore He instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in justice,

And He teaches the humble His way.
All the paths of the LORD are lovingkindness and truth
to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
For Your name's sake, O LORD,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.
Who is the man who fears the LORD?
He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
His soul will abide in prosperity, and
his descendants will inherit the land.
The secret of the LORD is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant.
My eyes are continually toward the LORD,
For He will pluck my feet out of the net.
Psalms 25:4-15 NASB.
See also Psalms 34:1-8.

The song Prayer that we quoted part of above lyrics can be found at:
https://genius.com/Eddy-arnold-prayer-lyrics
http://hebronum.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/May-June-2017.pdf . This pdf file contains both verses, search for ‘Prayer is a song we all can sing’. If you can ever get hear this wonderful song as sung by George Beverly Shae, listen to it over and over until the songs sticks in your head and you get what the song is saying.
https://www.discogs.com/George-Beverly-Shea-An-Evening-Prayer-Favorite-Hymns-For-The-Days-End/release/1853967 . This link has the album with this song on it track B1.
https://www.bear-family.com/shea-george-beverly-i-d-rather-have-jesus-2-cd.html . This cd has it I think.

An Evening of prayer: (Sung by George Beverly Shae):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjJny81DzGs&index=12&list=PL2849A9BCA49E7150
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbfFoxGtNm0

Did you think to pray? (Sung by George Beverly Shae):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jiHIfqhGfc8&index=14&list=PL2849A9BCA49E7150

The Prayer Perfect (Sung by George Beverly Shae):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTAz9dSXR_w

#God #Gives #Grace #Humble #Trials #Needy #Cry #Help #Burden #Easy #Light #Rest #Confess #Sins #Prayer #Love #Peace #Salvation #Heaven #Meek