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Ezekiel 22:29-31 (King James Version)

 

 29The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully.

 30And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

 31Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord GOD.

 

A number of years ago, I went to Miami Beach and tried to preach the gospel on the street. Well, as I have experienced numerous times, this is very hard to do in America. The people like to disdain you, rebuke you, ignore you, and over all, despise you. I think that the reason for this is because we are such a “Christian nation” here in America. We abort our babies, have murder rates unheard of in a civilized society, have turned our churches into multi million dollar businesses, but somehow we consider our selves a Christian nation?

            Thus, when a man passes out a gospel tract, or begins to preach about something called “sin” or an unrepentant people, he is branded as a lunatic.

“Surely, in our society where we have a church on every street, we do not need to hear a gospel message.”

Well, when I went down to Miami, I had taken a few hundred dollars. Soon, I ran out of money though, and became very hungry. I had never received food stamps, or ate in missions and didn’t understand how the “poor” lived. Once, as a teenager hitchhiking through California, I spent a night in a San Francisco mission, but that was the only time. I always remember it as a filthy place and somewhat of a nightmare. I remembered the men as being mean, filthy, bearded, and rough. Just not the kind of people who you wanted to “hang with.”

You know what I mean?  I remember to this day, however, that I heard the gospel preached in power that day, probably for the first time in my life, as I was being called to the altar by the Holy Spirit. I never obeyed though, and it wasn’t until a few years later, when I received Christ.  

A few days went by in Miami though, and I bought a dollar hamburger and the next day, maybe had a candy bar, I forget. Soon, there was a day where I woke up with a headache. I was so nauseous that I could barely walk. I was weak, but the worst of it was that I had a headache that wouldn’t quit. I needed to throw up, but I had nothing to throw up, it was awful.

            Just a few months before that I had gone on an extended fast of forty days, while drinking nothing but water. This was different though, I had not set my face to “fast.” You see, when you fast, it is quite different than being hungry. Maybe it is psychological, but it is quite different. I mean, one day you may receive a candy bar, the next a hamburger, your system doesn’t know how to take it. It gets confused and all that it wants is to be satisfied. I suffered a major headache that just numbed my entire body.

I wish that all people could experience what I experienced that day because it changed my attitude toward those who suffer in hunger. Hunger is an awful thing.

            Well, later that day when I was suffering with that headache, a homeless man walked by me. He said, “Are you going to go to the Baptist church that feeds the poor,” he asked? I said, “Sure,” and I followed him to that little church. I ate a hot meal and immediately my headache left. He then showed me of a few churches or ministries that gave food or helped the poor. I was very thankful.

A few months later, the Lord was calling me to a revival in another part of the state. As I was leaving Miami, Jesus asked me a question. I will never forget it.

He asked me, “John, how many times were you helped?”

Well, I sort of laughed, and then I thought. I began to count all the times that I was helped. I counted at least ten different times. I wrote them down. There was the time a homeless man in a wheelchair, said, “Here preacher, here’s a dollar, go get yourself a hamburger.” There was the time when I needed a nickel to get across town. I never ask any one for anything, but that day there was a homeless lady counting her change. I just needed a nickel to get to an appointment, so I ask this woman if she had a nickel to spare. She handed me a dollar. She was homeless! There was another time when I was talking to two people, and one was a homeless lady in a wheelchair. A friend came by and passed out an energy drink to all three of us. They were selling them for fifty cents, and wanted to give us them free. They were also homeless, and I don’t even know where they got a cart full of energy drinks, but they wanted to bless me and my friends with one. I was getting ready to leave and this woman in a wheelchair, probably in her sixties, said to me, “Preacher, I want you to have this because I want God to bless me with something greater.”

At first, she just wanted to give me it, but when I didn’t want to take it, she told me that. It gave me a revelation, as to why so many freely give to preachers. It is because they see the “preacher” as the closest thing to seeing “Jesus.”

It is so sad that so many preachers take advantage of this fact. Every preacher in America should be so thankful and grateful for these people who want to express their love for God, by giving to a “man of God.”

            What has happened though is that men use this and they take it for their own advantage. They abuse the people of God.

How sad!

Well, after this incident, I went to the scriptures and looked up all the scriptures concerning the poor. They would literally “blow your mind,” when you examine them all closely. You will find that you are an enemy of God when you abuse the poor. You will find that God sent judgments to nations simply because of the treatment that they displayed toward the poor. You will find that you will become a friend of God if you love the poor. You will find that you will heap up for your self treasure in heaven by giving to the poor. You will find that when you lend to the poor, you are giving to God and He will repay. You will find that God searched all over the earth to find one man to stand in the gap on behalf of the poor. No, he wasn’t searching for one man to intercede for the country; He was searching for one man to stand up for the rights of the poor.

Lastly, you will realize that it was the poor who received Jesus. It was the poor who He came to preach to. You will find out that the kingdom of God was meant for the poor. It was not meant for all those opportunists who simply use it to make themselves rich from manipulating the poor. Then you will find out that it was the poor who had hearts to truly give of their lack and not of their abundance.  Yes, it was a poor old widow woman that Jesus recognized to His disciples. It was some old homeless woman that was one day going to receive the kingdom of God, while all them old Pharisee’s were to rot in hell.

            I say, isn’t the gospel wonderful, my brothers and sisters?  

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