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Feeding Hungry Christians

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Feeding Hungry Christians

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In Western society, we often take the availability of food for granted. However, the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations predicted that in 2009 world hunger would have reached a historic high of 1.02 billion people going hungry every day. Particularly affected are countries in Africa and Asia, where, for many, including Christians, it is not a question of “What food will I choose?”, but more a question of “What can I afford?” or even “Will I eat today?”

The Bible’s Call to Feed the Hungry

Feeding-Zimbabwe
Zimbabwean Christians working together to unload the food parcels received from Barnabas

As we read with our eyes open to God’s priorities (Psalm 146:7), we see that there are many places throughout the Bible where He tells us to care for others out of our wealth, in gratitude for what He has done for us. In Isaiah, we are told:

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: Is it not to share your food with the hungry... and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. (Isaiah 58:6-10)

Ezekiel acknowledges that a righteous person

...does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked... He follows my decrees and faithfully keeps my laws. That man is righteous; he will surely live, declares the Sovereign LORD. (Ezekiel 18:5-7)

This theme of helping to feed those who are hungry is carried from the Old Testament through to the New Testament, where it is applied specifically to feeding other Christians. The parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46) says the following:

When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 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...” (Matthew 25:31-35)

When those on His right ask “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you?” (Matthew 25:37), the King replies “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Jesus identifies so closely with His people in their suffering that how we respond to them is directly related to how we respond to Him.

And so we should recognise that God has chosen us to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters who are hungry. James 2 also sets out this responsibility clearly:

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if people claim to have faith but have no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. (James 2:14-17)

So as God’s people, we are called by the Lord to minister to His suffering people, Christians who are scattered across the world in situations of great need and persecution, despised, weak, vulnerable and oppressed. Paul tells us that “As we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10, emphasis added).

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • Give thanks to the Lord that Barnabas Fund is able to help oppressed and persecuted Christian communities by providing grants to Christian students in higher education. Pray for those who have received this help in the past, that they will give a voice to their brothers and sisters and will help to resource, empower and protect them in the face of hostility. Ask that God’s sustaining grace will uphold those who are currently studying, often under severe pressure from the majority community, and pray that they may be equipped for spiritual leadership. Praise God for their dedication to His service, and ask Him to use them powerfully in their various vocations. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 7 hours ago

    • Almighty God, we pray that You will protect Your people in the Holy Land. We pray especially for the congregation of a church in Gaza City, whose church compound was attacked with a small explosive device on 26 February. We give You thanks that the church, school, nursery and pastor’s house were undamaged and that a fi re that was lit under the pastor’s car was extinguished when Christians came outside to investigate. We pray that the congregation may stand firm for You in the face of the threatening message that was written on the wall facing the church gate: “We’ll get you soon, O worshippers of the cross.” We ask that there will be no further attempt to attack this church or others in the area. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Thu, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Taliban militants attempted to attack a Christian-run day-care centre in Kabul, Afghanistan, on 28 March, saying it was “a church used to convert Muslims to Christianity”. The attackers mistakenly targeted the next-door building, which houses workers on an agricultural and de-mining project, instead; two Afghan civilians, one a young girl, died in the crossfi re. All five Taliban bombers were also killed in the raid on the heavily-secured compound. The day-care centre that they were attempting to target, which is used by expatriates, is said to hold Christian worship services on certain days. Ask the Lord to change the hearts of those who plan and carry out terrorist attacks against Christians and other targets in Afghanistan; pray that they will turn instead to Him. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “He was always a light for Christ and he had a love and commitment that he expressed for the Afghan people because of that love for Christ.” The widow of Dr Jerry Umanos, an American doctor who was shot dead at the Christian-run hospital where he worked in Kabul, Afghanistan, spoke of her husband’s faith and ministry. Two visiting American Christians, father and son Gary and John Gabel, were also killed on 24 April when an Afghan security guard opened fire on the staff he was meant to be protecting. Pray for comfort for the grieving families of the three men, and ask the Lord to safeguard the future of the hospital, which provides much-needed medical care and also trains Afghan doctors and nurses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

    • “We ask all Christians and members of other faiths to reconsider their own beliefs and join Hinduism.” Krishna Hari Baskota, secretary at the Office of the Prime Minister in Nepal, was speaking about the application process for a new identity card that will show citizens’ religious affiliation. Christians and members of other minorities will be subjected to greater scrutiny before obtaining the official documents and will be asked to reiterate their faith. One Christian rights activist said that the government is trying to discourage people from converting from Hinduism. Pray that the Nepalese authorities will not discriminate against Christians but will treat them on equal terms with the Hindu majority. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Jul 2014 00:00

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