James 1:27: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
What is this message? Take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. If you take care of the orphans and the widows, God will take care of you. How do you do it? There are several ways. You can make their needs your needs. You can give them food, shelter and money; and that is very important, considering that so many of them really don’t have enough. You can do what it says in this verse. You can visit them. You can become involved in their lives. You can let them into your heart. If you open the door just a little, they’ll come in, and your life will be changed. (forever)
Some people actually adopt children. It’s a hard process, but so fulfilling if you just persevere. There are many people out there who are actually called to be foster parents (like preachers are called to the ministry). Some of them start out doing it for what little it pays; but more often than not, they too are changed. It’s because of that love that God puts in our hearts. But many kids stay in foster care until they ‘age out’, without ever being adopted. Often it’s because of behavioral issues; or learning disabilities; or prenatal drug addiction. Sometimes four or five kids from one family become orphans in one fateful accident. CPS just can’t keep them all together, and they become ‘lost in the system’. (one by one) There’s a group called ‘Foundation for Christian Adoptions’ whose mission is to find and help families who are willing to adopt sibling groups. They do it in all kinds of ways; from making connections between the kids and the parents, to providing housing for such families.
The world is full of ways to help. Get on the ‘Net and see. God is calling us all to come to the aid of our brothers and sisters in need, especially those who need a momma and a daddy to love them.
This is my last post about “small groups for Jesus”, at least for the time being. I just have a few more comments to make.
1] In my opinion, small groups are like family; they’re not about enforcing rules, and everybody being disciplined; they’re about letting God’s love flow through you into other people. You may not believe this, but I’m convinced that almost every single person is acutely aware of their short-comings, and what they really need, on a regular basis, is encouragement and moral support. (I find a lot of support for this attitude throughout the Bible; call it grace and mercy) Small groups are, and should be, about sharing and expressing the fruits of the Spirit; and while self-control is one of the fruits and is therefore important to God and should be important to us; it is the very last thing on the list. Wonder why that is? (I don’t even know if there IS a hierarchy of the fruits, but I hear a lot more about love in the Bible than I do about self-control.)
2] One of the central, indispensible ingredients of a small group is trust. Continue reading →
There are a lot of “small” groups in the world, where people get together on a regular basis. I’ve been a member of a number of them, such as a foursome for playing golf every week. You get to know the guys. You enjoy their company. You tell jokes. You catch up on what’s happening in their world, how they’re getting along with their wives and their kids, their bosses and their employees. In a lot of cases you are closer to them than some members of their own families. And you have the benefit of a little fresh air and a little exercise. (very little) Maybe you have a beer in the 19th hole.
My mother had a long-standing relationship with a bunch of girls she formerly taught school with. They’d get together and play bridge every week. None of them were championship bridge players, but that wasn’t the point. The reason they got together was to share their lives with each other. When they were down they could call each other on the phone and get a little encouragement. When they were up they could have a special meeting to celebrate. You know it’s a great thing to have a husband and some kids to share your life with, but the girls in the bridge club are an indispensible part of a full life too. There’s just some things you can’t, or don’t want to, share with your husband. LOL Continue reading →