This was the word I saw when I opened the church bulletin this week-end. It startled me and I started to weep. I had not expected a sermon on this topic even though I had been talking to God about that very thing this week. (He continues to meet me in places that surprise me and I'm not sure why I'm surprised. Well, yes I do. He has been silent for awhile on some things and just lately, he seems to be so very vocal - and I'm loving it!)
The sermon was on part of the story of Ruth. He also used the verse James 1:27.
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. James 1:27
The book of James. This is the book that God had me pour over when I was pregnant with Eliana. A book I studied not really sure what God was preparing me for. I didn't know I was heading into what would be the most difficult times of my life (to date). I'm encouraged at the ways He has used this book to remind me, prod me and comfort me.
OK, back to the sermon. The pastor described this as the heart of the gospel. This is pure religion - caring for orphans and widows. He went on to say that if you aren't caring for them, your faith is not real. A bold statement to be true. There are so many ways we can care for these who are so close to God's heart. The pastor also stated that genuine religion will lead you to love and sacrifice for those in need.
Adoption is such a beautiful picture of what God has done for us. Where would we be without Jesus? We would be lost and alone in our sins with no hope, no comfort and no healing. Yet, while we were still sinners, God sent His son to die for us and He adopted us into His family! Thank you God for doing this for me!
He shared a powerful story of a couple who was planning to adopt a child. When it became known late in the pregnancy that the child had significant birth defects and might not live long after birth, they were given a choice. As this couple prayed and sought God's will, there was a dream. In the dream, there was a massive football stadium filled with people. Loud and cheering people. One by one, babies were brought into the stadium - beautiful babies. "Who wants this one?" People would volunteer to come forward and take the child. This continued until a child was brought in that was not beautiful, but was ugly, deformed and scarred. "Who wants this one?" The crowd was silent and still. No one wanted this child. Finally standing up on the front row, Jesus walked forward and said "I want this one." Then she looked again at the child and got a closer look. She was surprised to see that the child no one seemed to want, was her. He stood up for her. He stood up for me. He stood up for you too!
He loves us just as we are - not because of who we are or what we have done. He loves us because of who He is - He is love.
An orphan ministry is being started at this church. That was another sweet thing to my heart and I've signed up to be involved. I know God has a plan for planting this passion in my heart and I want to be available to where He will have me help.
For those of you who have known me or read my blog for at least 6 months, you will remember Tonya. Beautiful Tonya.
She is an orphan with Down syndrome in Eastern Europe. I have loved and prayed for this sweet girl for 1.75 years. Yes, I remember when I started praying for her. God placed her on my heart. She has a precious family that is working hard so that they can hopefully go get her soon! They need help in meeting the financial challenges associated with international adoption. I'm planning on posting a give-away/drawing for two beautiful handmade scrapbooks. I'll post hopefully in the next day or two. I'm trying to figure out how to get a chip-in on my blog and as soon as that is ironed out, I'll post the details. Please be on the look-out and I hope you'll share it with your friends. This is one of many ways that we can show our love of God, by supporting this family in their adoption.
If you want to hear this sermon for yourself, you can find it here. It is entitled "I am Adopted" and the date is 6/4/2010
Please join me in praying for orphans. Lets all ask God where and how He wants us to serve orphans and widow. We know this is pleasing to Him.