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.
You’ve heard that old song, “If it’s good for Paul and Silas, it’s good enough for me.” There’s lot of stuff from “the good ole days” that IS good enough for me. I mean not from ‘their’ era, but from the days of my youth. Good ole Gospel singing. Billy Graham preaching. Maybe even a tent revival with preachers speaking the truth of God, and the people truly rising to the occasion and meeting the Spirit with their hearts. It’s been a long time since I experienced the movement of the Spirit like that.
But as it applies to ‘making disciples’, what I experienced when I was young fell short of what I now perceive as God’s will for our lives as disciples of Jesus. Even now-a-days I find much of the teaching in churches about discipleship is pretty dry and academic. I hear about programs for college kids where they spend the summers working at jobs and spending all their ‘free’ time walking the beaches talking to people about Jesus. High intensity training in making disciples. In six to eight weeks each kid gets to talk to several hundred (200-300) people. People are getting saved, making a commitment to Jesus. Their lives are being transformed; the kids (the evangelists) as much as their contacts. No matter what they do for God in the future, it changes their whole perspective on what it means to “follow” Jesus. Continue reading →