Multiply Justice

Archive for the category “Devotionals”

Truly desperate for God’s justice

hands prayer 2The excerpt below is taken from Just Prayer: A Journey through the Work of Prayer and Justice, a new eight-session prayer guide from IJM for those of us who are “desperate for the hand of God to tip the scales in a battle for justice where it seems ‘the wicked prosper’ (Jeremiah 12:1) and the poor and oppressed go without a defender” — even from among the people of God:

The Scriptures tell us that righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne (Psalm 89:14). But when we see families held in slavery, vulnerable girls sexually assaulted, widows forced from their homes, innocent men and women in prison – the very foundation by which God established right order and governance appears shaken. The forces of evil in the world threaten to mock the living God, saying “Where is your God? Where is his justice?”

But, throughout the Psalms, God declares that:

— He will not be mocked (Psalm 37)

— He will rule the nations with justice (Psalm 67)

— He will hear the cries of the oppressed (Psalm 12)

— He will arise to bring rescue and justice to the poor (Psalm 72)

It is because of these promises we can be so steadfast in our hunger and thirst for righteousness. We know God will indeed move on behalf of the oppressed if we ask, and ask relentlessly.

So here we must evaluate the way we live and pray. Are we striving for righteousness? Are we merely asking for justice or truly aching for it? Does our hunger bring us to our knees? If we did hunger in this way—with such desperation that all we could do is pray — how might our world be filled with God’s unshakable justice?

Download the prayer guide in PDF format by clicking here.

‘One thing you haven’t done’

By Mark Kelly

As Jesus was starting out on his way to Jerusalem, a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.’” “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 NLT)

We don’t know his name, but we know his character. He was a good-hearted, sincere man who loved God and had been willingly obedient to the Law since he was a youngster. He did what his religious leaders told him was necessary to enter God’s kingdom, yet he felt something was still missing.

Jesus felt a genuine love for him, but he knew what was lacking. This earnest soul was a captive of his possessions, which kept him from helping the poor. He needed to listen more carefully to Micah 6:8 — while he was walking humbly with God and loving mercy, he was not doing justice. Jesus knew we cannot serve both God and earthly possessions. He wanted us to love our neighbors as generously as we love ourselves.

When Jesus told him he needed to free himself of captivity to possessions and do right by the poor, the man was deeply saddened. He turned and walked away from Jesus.

However you see yourself, the fact you are reading this on a computer makes you rich, compared to the majority of people in the world today. You may be a good-hearted, sincere soul who loves God and does what your religious leaders tell you is necessary to enter God’s kingdom. Yet you wonder why things don’t seem quite right. You have asked God to fill you with the Holy Spirit. You have asked him for signs and wonders. You have done the 2 Chronicles 7:14 thing. You have prayed for revival, even participated in a solemn assembly. Something still seems to be missing.

So you ask Jesus what you need to do, and he looks at you with genuine love and says, “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, then come, follow me.”

What would you do? … What have you done?

The last great stronghold in most of our hearts is our captivity to possessions. We love what we have, and we have many things. We are even held in captivity by our desire for things we don’t have. If Jesus told us to sell it all and give the money to the poor, many good Christians would turn and walk away from him, deeply saddened.

Can you let go of things? Are you willing to give sacrificially to help the poor and oppressed? Will you follow the Son of Man, even though he has no place to lay his head?

What we are missing is justice. We are not personally engaged in helping the poor and oppressed, the hungry and homeless, the patient and prisoner. We are not loving our neighbor the way we love ourselves.

If we want to inherit the Kingdom, if we want to experience the abundant, eternal life God created us to enjoy, if we want our churches to be filled with God’s power and drawing broken souls to Jesus, we need to do justice. Then our salvation “will come like the dawn.” (Isaiah 58:8a NLT)

Mark Kelly is editor of Multiply Justice. Copyright © 2012 Kainos Press

Let your justice light shine!

You are the light of the world — like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16 NLT)

By Mark Kelly

Eight-year-old Shyima didn’t understand what was happening. Her father was talking to a strange man at their home in Egypt. The stranger nodded his head and looked at her with a smile that made her uncomfortable. Shyima’s mother was crying.

Shyima’s family was in debt to the stranger, and he had come to collect. The poor family couldn’t pay what they owed, and Shyima’s father had offered her as payment.

Sold into slavery by her parents, Shyima was taken by her owners to the United States, where she served the family as a housemaid. She slept on a bare mattress in a garage storage room.

It was almost two years before a neighbor in the gated community noticed a child at the home was not attending school — and called authorities. Police officers and social workers came to the house and set Shyima free from her slavery in Orange County, California. Church ministries and private charities helped her make a new life for herself in the U.S. The slave owners went to jail.

Can you fathom it? A father desperate enough, valuing his daughter so little, that he sells her into slavery? A well-to-do family in an upscale American neighborhood keeping a child as a house slave?

We know awful things happen all the time, some of it so horrible we don’t really want to know about it. We know all the bad stuff doesn’t happen in far-off countries, but next door? In our neighborhood?

The truth is, we don’t have to travel halfway around the world to find injustice — helpless people at the mercy of dark powers. If we pay attention — like Shyima’s neighbor — we’ll notice things that don’t seem right and can take responsibility to do something.

Or we can just do something about the injustice we see every day: the female co-worker with bruises on her arm, the “shiftless” young men who would work if they had training and opportunity, the single mother who leaves the house on Friday night to spend a few hours on the street outside the strip club. The list goes on and on.

Jesus tells us to shine our justice light for all to see, so our heavenly Father will be praised. There’s no shortage of dark corners in our day-to-day lives. If our eyes and hearts are open, heaven knows what amazing opportunity our Lord will give us!

Learn more about Shyima’s story — and how you can help advance God’s Kingdom of Justice — by watching this video.

Mark Kelly is editor of Multiply Justice. Copyright © 2012 Kainos Press

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