James 1:26-27 (New Living Translation) 26 If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless. 27 Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
Article in Times states: “More than half the children in some parts of Barnet borough are living in or on the brink of poverty” “ some areas within Barnet contain some of the highest concentration of poor families in the capital”
Article in Times states: “Child living in poverty is ten times more likely to die in infancy & five times more likely to die in an accident, while adults who lived in poverty as a child are 50 times more likely to develop a restrictive illness such as diabetes or bronchitis (Campaign to End Child Poverty)
Barnet Borough Website: Burnt Oak and Colindale remain the most deprived wards in Barnet by a significant margin
How comfortable are you with poverty in the UK? Around 1 in 5 people nationwide live in poverty. Surprised?
The World View: What image does the word poverty bring to your mind?
Definition of poverty: the state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs & comforts Relative measure within a society; being the state of having income &/or wealth so low as to be unable to maintain what is considered minimum
What does this actually mean: Having an income which is less than 60% of the national average (excluding the wealthiest members of society). On this measure, the proportion of the UK population defined as in poverty is roughly one in five.
Victorian times: Seebohm Rowntree - studied the conditions of the working class "He decided upon a shopping basket of food, housing and some items of clothing. These were considered the basics of life. Anyone who could not afford this basket of goods was deemed to be in poverty," Rowntree showed that people were poor because they simply did not earn enough at work or were unable to find work, due to illness, injury or the cold economic winds of the Victorian free market.
Progress of poverty groups: By 1950 poverty, as defined by a basket of basic goods, had virtually disappeared From the 1960s onwards, the income figures revealed the existence of an underclass (deemed to be in poverty relative to the rest of society) In the 1970s & 1980s pensioners and lone parents were dominant 1990s families with children made up the largest group
Tell-tale signs of poverty in modern Britain: Not having a High Street bank account Having to spend more than 10% of income on energy bills Poor access to transport, employment opportunities or healthy food How people feel that they compare to their peers is also a key way of defining poverty.
Joseph Rowntree Foundation Survey results 1980 & 2000: 14% of people did not possess more than one pair of shoes 25% were unable to save £10 a month for their retirement.
Social scientists state: Possible for someone to have a mobile phone or television and live in poverty. Manufactured goods are now very cheap but sending a child on a school trip is expensive. Services and not possessions are the big expense for people and access to them separates the haves from the have not’s. Negative impact on people's lives of not having a current account at the bank.
Social scientists state: On an everyday level these 'bankless' people may have to rely on expensive High Street cheque cashing services or, worse still, borrow money from doorstep lenders at a rate of interest in excess of 100%. Lack of access to a bank account often means having to use pre-payment meters for gas and electricity.
Social scientists state: Last year, the National Audit Office (NAO) found that consumers paying by pre-payment meter paid £63 a year more for their energy than people using monthly direct debit. Poor transport links can harm employment prospects and limit access to healthy food.
But the UK’s a rich country. There IS no poverty here…is there? Yes there is. Children go to school without breakfast, or go to bed hungry. Some adults go without essential clothing. Many people struggle to heat their homes. (Oxfam)
Income Support: Single people: Aged 16-17: £47.95 Aged 18-24: £47.95 Aged 25 or over: £60.50 Couple: Both aged 18 and over: £94.95 Lone parents: Aged 16-17: £47.95 Aged 18 and over: £60.50
God's Heart for the Poor: Psalm 10:14 “But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless.” Psalm 140:12 “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor and upholds the cause of the needy.” Luke 6:20-21 “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours in 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.”
God's Commands Concerning the Poor: Deuteronomy 15:7 “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tight-fisted toward your poor brother.” Proverbs 31:8 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
Blessings on Those Who Serve the Poor: Psalm 41:1 “Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble.” Proverbs 22:9 “A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.” Isaiah 58:10 "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."
Why One Should Not Neglect Serving the Poor Proverbs 14:31 “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honours God.” 1 John 3:17 “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?”
God's Identification With the Poor: 2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”
What Can You Do? Matthew 25:31-45 (The Message) "When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why: I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.'
"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.' "Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because— I was hungry and you gave me no meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.‘
"Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?' "He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'
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