Sunday, May 31, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Fields of the Fatherless
Fields of the Fatherless is a book that you don't just read, but it actually motivates you to get involved because:
"In this world you are an orphan-
eagerly anticipating you adoption as God's child.
In this world you are a widow-
longing for reunion with your Bridegroom.
In this world you are a stranger-
a pilgrim waiting to become a citizen of heaven.
And in this world, God has called you to care for the orphan, the stranger, and the widow.
Fields of the Fatherless is a journey that brings you back to what Christianity is really about: Giving yourself to others
Being Christ to a hurting world
And living for the one that comes next."
"Allow me to introduce you to those that God continually draws our attention to. They are the orphans, widows, and aliens (strangers). What these people have in common it their desperate need of provision and protection. They are that weak, the under-privileged, and the needy among us.
Scripture mentions the importance of caring for these individuals more than sixty times! Clearly, the protection and well-being of this group are one of God's great and constant concerns. So much so, in fact, He actually defines who He is by His promises to them.
Consider His promise to provide:
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity.
(Psalm 68:5-6) "
"The apostle James told us that caring for orphans and widows is the very essence of religion:
Pure and faultless religion is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.
(James 1:27 NIV)"
"If the early church spent so much of its time focusing on the fatherless in this respect, shouldn't we make them a priority as well?
God gave the responsibility to care for the defenseless to those calming to be followers of Christ. It is through our hands the father's love comes, it is through our voices His voice is herd, it is through our efforts and those of the church that His care is revealed to the ones the rest of the world has forgotten.
When you reap a harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.
"Job, one of the most righteous men who ever lived, committed his life to share what he had with the fatherless. When he asserted his integrity before God, he described the big picture of what we should all hope to achieve for those in need:
If I have denied the desires of the poor
or let the eyes of the widow grow weary,
if I have kept bread to myself,
not sharing it with the fatherless-
but from my youth I reared him as would a father,
and from my birth I guided the widow-
if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing,
or a needy man without a garment,
and his heart did not bless me
for warming him with the fleece from my sheep,
if I have raised my hand against the fatherless,
knowing that I had influence in court,
then let my arm fall from the shoulder,
let it be broken off at the joint.
For I dreaded destruction for God,
and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.
(Job 31:16-23 NIV)"
"And James says if we see someone in need and give only lip service to caring for him or her, our faith is worthless:
What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has
faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a
brother of sister is naked and destitute of daily food,
and one of you says to them 'depart in peace, be warm
and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed
for the body, what does it profit? This also faith by itself, if it does not
have works, is dead.
"Jesus in order to reveal His love to creation left the beauty and perfection of heaven to be identified with all people. In other words, He emptied Himself of all that He was, in order to be one of us. In all our filth, all our sin, all our weakness, He became part of humanity- because our brother. You see, we all are the least of these!
We have a tendency to look at passages like this in the Bible and say, 'Oh, those poor dears, hungry, thirsty, sick, and needy.' But that's a great paradox! That's exactly who we were before Jesus found us! We are all the same at the core. And because He has poured out such love and care for us, we are to go find 'the least of these,' and do the same.
The truth is, we see Jesus in the eyes of the poor because we see in them who we really are. We are able to have genuine compassion as Christ has compassion on us- because we see ourselves."
All of the above quotes were taken from:
Davis,Tom. Fields of the Fatherless. (Global Publishing Services, 2002).
I had a hard time choosing what to put on this post, because this book is overflowing with good insight. This is my new favorite book, and I hope to take the words seriously and act on them, instead of just reading them. I hope you will read this book if you haven't already, it will (hopefully) change your life!
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
By Tom Davis
Here is the introduction of the book:
"The Christian church owes an apology to the almost fifty million individuals in our world currently infected with HIV/AIDS.
Those of us who claim to follow Christ's teachings should be ashamed for what little we've done to help the countless millions of women, children, and orphans who have died or are dying. Entire nations are going up in flames while we watch them burn.
Bono and the supporters of the ONE Campaign are right to words like "crisis" and "emergency" when taking about the situation in Africa. The continent is on fire with AIDS, and unless drastic action is taken, entire countries will be wiped off the face or the planet by this disease.
Sadly, the church has been slow to act in response to this crisis. Like the priest and Levite of Jesus' parable, we have passed by the man on the side of the road, too busy or too "holy" to involve ourselves in lending a helping hand.
Africa is indeed on fire. But as we argue or fuss about how it started and who should be saved first, thousands more children are orphaned each day. Every hour, another one thousand children will die. Did you know that you are just a short plane ride away from a world where eight-year-olds prostitute themselves for food?
The true state of emergency lies within the church-it lies within us. It's OUR problem! We can't leave Africa's children lying by the side of the road as we pass on by.
The gospel I believe in offers a cup of cold water in Jesus' name. The only gospel worth living is the one that incarnates love. The only gospel worth giving our lives for is the one that elevates the needs of others above our own. That's what the "good news" is all about.
And thankfully, there is more good news. Though the church has been slow to move, things are improving. National and local church leaders are beginning to challenge congregations to think globally when they offer that cup of cold water. Christian organizations are responding with more and more boldness. Still, we have a lot to learn and a long way to go. History will judge our generation by how we responded to those in need. History will judge the church by how it responded. We have an opportunity to show the world just what it truly means to be Christ-followers.
We can make a difference. We can change the world. When we lead with compassion, we can move from apology to action. And out of action springs hope-hope and life.
So, for our mistakes...I am sorry. But for our potential, for the impact you and I can have on a world in need... I am hopeful."
Here is another part of the book that talks about why we don't do more to help:
"So why don't we do more to help others? Sadly, many of us live in a world of shadows. In the realm of shadows, we seek only those things that help us to remain in the fog of comfort and safety. This isn't to say that comfort and safety are bad things, but when we fall into the trance of believing they are the only things, we become isolated from greater truths. Two things keep us in the shadows: discomfort with interruption and fear.
As a culture, we don't do well with interruption. Interruption brings change, and change is uncomfortable... And then there is fear. Fear is almost as pervasive in our culture as Starbucks or Wal-Mart... Fear brings the "what ifs" to the surface: What if I become too involved in someone else's life and I lose something from my own life? What if it costs me my life? What if? What if? Line up enough of these "what ifs" and they start to tower over us, placing us... you guessed it... back in the shadows....
Fear keeps us from acting on the compassion in our hearts. It also keeps us from receving what we desperately need in our own lives. However, when we give greatly to others, we receive tremendous blessings back into our lives. Jesus said, "Give away your life; you'll find life given back, but not merely given back- given back with bonus and blessing. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity" (Luke 6:38).
This book is filled with so much more, and is a must read!
I finished reading this book about a week ago, and even more so now as I am typing this, I am really starting to feel the power of these words. This book has really opened my eyes to the emergency, these people really need help, how can we turn them down??
Monday, May 11, 2009
This is a true story of a boy who became an orphan at the age of three. He was abandoned by his parents and lived in a children's home until he graduated high school. Then to every one's surprise he graduated college, unlike most of the boys from the home. This book shows all the bitter emotions he had to work through, but finally he gave his live to the Lord, and forgave his parents and the other adults that hurt him. If you want to know some of the things orphans, like Rob, have to go through and see what kind of thoughts they might have you can find out by reading this book.
You can also check out his website at http://www.castawaykid.com/Home/tabid/37/Default.aspx .