What Does It Mean to Show Up?

 

June 18, 2019 by Amy Norton
Isaiah 58:6-8 Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; lighten the burden of those who work for you. Let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Share your food with the hungry, and give shelter to the homeless. Give clothes to those who need them, and do not hide from relatives who need your help. “Then your salvation will come like the dawn, and your wounds will quickly heal. Your godliness will lead you forward, and the glory of the Lord will protect you from behind.

Making a decision to go on mission is a faith-filled decision.  When talking to so many mission trip participants over the years, I always ask the question, “How did you decide to come on this trip?”

I love hearing the answers because each answer shows how God worked in their life to bring them to the decision to go. I most often hear: “Because I prayed about it and felt the Lord wanted me to go. I wasn’t sure how I would raise the funds but I am trusting the Lord to provide.” I am always amazed at their faith and their conviction and the Lord always does provide!

There’s something wonderful when people step out in faith to answer the tugging in their heart to go serve children around the world. They are showing up to shine brightly in their lives.  We hear time and time again from the children, “I can’t believe you traveled half way across the world to see me and to show me I am loved!” That love is revealed in presence to these children.  By loving these children and acting in faith, our mission trip participants are a faithful witness of God’s even stronger love for them.

We are asked to shine God’s light so our good works are seen as an example of His love in us.  Taking the step in faith to go can be the biggest and most difficult part of the decision. Traveling somewhere you’ve never been, with people you don’t know, and wondering if you have the resources to make it happen—He will be faithful to use you and shine a light into the darkness of these children’s lives.  Thank you for your faithfulness.  Thank you for going to plant seeds, water and shine your light upon the “least of these.”

  • the light is God’s word
  • the light is our actions
  • the light is loving one another
  • the light is a gentle word or smile
  • the light is teaching about Jesus and his love for each and every one  of us.
“There’s simply no real substitute for physical presence.” – Unknown

It is our joy to invite you to join us to serve orphaned and vulnerable children around the world. Mission trips are only a part of what sustaining partnership with ministry looks like. Check out our calendar for the current trips! And become an advocate for orphaned and vulnerable children. Say, “I stand for orphans,” as a James 127 Advocate.

http://orphanoutreach.org/media-resources/newstory.asp?pageid=7172


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.

Love Well with Your Words

July 16, 2019 by Ronne Rock

When life is dark, a light will shine for those who live rightly—those who are merciful, compassionate, and strive for justice. Psalm 112:4-5 VOICE

Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out. Colossians 4:6 MSG

In the final days before His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus walked into a holy temple and declared it a safe place for all to find refuge and hope. He spoke about sacrifice, and He spoke about love. His words set His best friend’s heart to beating again, they healed blind eyes, and they gave a woman courage to be made whole. His words lamented over the condition of His homeland and cried out for justice for the oppressed. His words spoke truth to all with ears to hear. He gathered the ragamuffin crew that had traveled with Him for three years, fed them a good Passover meal, and spoke tender truth about bread and wine as symbols of His life broken and poured out for their lives, even as they responded with doubts, fears, and denial.

Jesus spoke, and He said, “I am the light of the world.”

Jesus lavished but never squandered His words. Rather, every one of them spoken had a designated home. He loved well with words.

That’s wonderful, you might say. That’s Jesus. He spoke those words of love to me too. But I don’t have that gift. I feel like I stumble over my words far too often. And serving the orphaned and vulnerable? I’m just praying I don’t say the wrong thing.

Jesus spoke, and He said, “You are the light of the world too.”

Charlotte the spider from the childhood book Charlotte’s Web reminds me a lot of Jesus – and us. She’s been a hero of mine since childhood, and she’s a great teacher. She’s even made me feel so not alone about being dreadfully near-sighted.

Charlotte has something to teach us about words that love well.

Charlotte knew the power of words, and she didn’t let being a spider get in the way of using them. When she spoke, it was with vulnerability. She didn’t write words in her web because she wanted to be known or lauded. Writing wasn’t even her vocation, and a relative few recognized her talent. Sometimes her words weren’t understood, but she didn’t worry. Instead, she smiled that spiderly smile and said, “Let’s talk about it.”

Outside of her home town, Charlotte’s words weren’t made famous until after her death. And in that home town, folks didn’t think about Charlotte much – after all, she was just a spider. What they did witness was her quiet impact on the lives of those around her.

Charlotte’s words were merely an expression of the way she lived. She was certainly an unlikely candidate to change the world, and it was never her intention to do so. You see, Charlotte only wanted to tend well to those on her path, to give words like gifts.

Charlotte gave Wilbur a voice.

Charlotte gave Fern strength.

Charlotte gave hope a fighting chance.

And that’s what your words can do. They don’t have to be eloquent to be encouraging. You don’t have to speak the language perfectly to offer hope to someone. Today, your words can be a gift that shines brightly in the life of a child, a caregiver, a friend or a stranger.

Today you can love well with words.

http://orphanoutreach.org/media-resources/newstory.asp?pageid=7154


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.

Our Father Defends (#OurFatherDevotional)

July 17, 2019 by Ronne Rock
This year, we’re sharing ways in which our God is truly Father to the fatherless in our special #OurFather devotional series. This month, former Orphan Outreach staffer and global missions advocate Sarah Herbek challenges us to consider what it means to uphold the cause of the orphaned and vulnerable with “Our Father Defends.”

 Psalm 82:3-4 – Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

At first reading, Psalm 82 might be a little confusing. Who is this Psalm talking about? Who is coming before God? The individuals being rebuked in Psalm 82 were Israel’s rulers or judges, leaders responsible to promote justice, to punish evildoers, and to defend the weak and the oppressed. But this was not happening. The vulnerable and fatherless were being taken advantage of. So, God is accusing these leaders and making it clear what a judge is supposed to do.

Psalm 82:2-4 says, “Enough! You’ve corrupted justice long enough, you’ve let the wicked get away with murder. You’re here to defend the defenseless, to make sure that underdogs get a fair break; Your job is to stand up for the powerless, and prosecute all those who exploit them.” (MSG)

Judges are to be a haven of justice for the weak and oppressed, the unprotected, the orphan and widow. God puts certain people in leadership for this purpose but He desires that all His people would do what is right. He created us to rule over His creation (Genesis 1:26, 28) and part of having that authority from God is to defend the orphan just like He would and does. Anyone with authority or influence of any kind (which, according to Jeremiah 22:3, is all of us) must care for the orphan and the widow, the oppressed and afflicted. We act on behalf of God as we carry out the mission of God that He promised will be fulfilled in every nation (Genesis 12:3). It is our privilege to be a part of that mission. We are to live in a way that aligns with the character of God, including His justice. As Paul put it, an earthly ruler is “… a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil” (Romans 13:4). We are God’s agents who are to bring light to the darkness, and carry out mercy and justice in His name!

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OUR VISION AT ORPHAN OUTREACH IS “TO SHINE BRIGHTEST WHERE THE WORLD IS DARKEST.”

So what is God the Father as a judge like? In the context of Psalm 82, He is the ultimate judge! The righteous judge! He is a defender. He stands between those who would harm and take advantage of the weak. He perfectly applies mercy and justice (Micah 6:8) — mercy that preserves dignity and justice that creates lasting change.

Robert Lupton put it this way, “Twinned together these commands lead us to holistic involvement. Divorced they become deformed. Mercy without justice degenerates into dependency and entitlement, preserving the power of the giver over the recipient. Justice without mercy grows cold and impersonal, more concerned about rights than relationships. The addict needs both food and treatment. The young woman needs both a safe place to sleep and a way out of her entrapping lifestyle. Street kids need both friendship and jobs.”

This might seem like an overwhelming task, but we must remember that not only has God promised that one day He will remove all injustice (Revelation 21), but He has commissioned this task to His Church all over the world. We are not in this alone, and that is why we can partner with each other to pursue mercy and justice together, one person (or child) at a time.

Memorize Micah 6:8 today. Then, write down and thank the Lord for ways you see His people advocating for the weak and vulnerable!

No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
    and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
    and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NLT)

Questions for you to ponder:

  1. What is the difference between justice and mercy? How are they similar?
  2. Where might God be asking you to make changes in your life in order to grow your knowledge of Him?
  3. What ways can you engage in promoting mercy and justice in your sphere of influence?

http://www.orphanoutreach.co/media-resources/newstory.asp?pageid=6532


Narrow Path Ministries is in the process of opening an orphanage. An Endowment fund has been established  to fund the orphanage.


 

Like Sheep Without a Shepherd

 

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Have you ever noticed two groups of people who hold God’s attention? You wouldn’t think an impartial God would have specific categories for certain people, but amazingly, He does: orphans and widows. You’re right; they’re not the groups anyone wants to join. There’s no line to sign up, which is precisely why God keeps a keen eye on these two flocks. Yet surprisingly, He promises to be their Father and Husband. Not only do we find Him sharply protective, but He’s moved with tremendous compassion. So much, that it overflows into the everyday lives of you and me. We can’t help but want to go the extra mile in helping the child without a dad and the woman without a husband. They look just like us, but when learning of their plight, we soften. Our hearts touched by God’s finger for our involvement.

It was that way for my dad. His father died when he was only nine, making his already orphaned mother a widow in her early 30s, and he and his brother fatherless. It couldn’t have come at a worse time. America was just crawling out from the rubble of The Great Depression and everything was scarce. Everything, but God’s endless pavilions of provision. Despite their destitution, He provided for them. He touched people’s hearts and caused others to open their homes and dinner tables.

“A father to the fatherless and a defender of widows, is God in His holy habitation. God makes a home for the lonely.” (Psalms 68:5-6a)

God makes it known that He protects the weak. Weakened only by circumstance. Perhaps you’ve never considered that one as busy as God has time to be concerned with the small details of the fatherless child. It is here we see His sterling character sparkle yet again. It’s far too easy to think the Lord’s uninvolved with our struggle; hasn’t got the time or interest for those that society’s forgotten. Yet look how He taught His disciples by the widow’s mite or the boy willing to share his fish sandwiches with 5,000 men. It moves God. Deeply. Passionately. Protectively.

“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)

It bears repeating, “Like sheep without a shepherd.” Notice, they were distressed and dispirited. Did my dad, uncle, and grandmother struggle? Yes, we have tribulation in this world. But were there people that rose to the occasion, allowing their hearts and hands to be an extension of God’s? Absolutely. Despite hardships, my dad remembered a happy childhood filled with people willing to pause for involvement. Mentors available to lead and point when my grandfather’s voice was silenced.

Perhaps you know a child in this very predicament. Perhaps you are that child. Perhaps your dad is living but you still feel fatherless. Grown or young, the void is there. I would encourage all to step up and make a positive difference in the fatherless around us. It doesn’t have to be earthshattering. My father recalled the kindness of being given oranges after going months without fresh fruit; a simple candy cane at Christmastime, or a street vendor’s hot baked potato on a snowy winter’s night. Small acts of love confirm our heavenly Father’s goodness, and the tangible proof He cares and works through people. This is the religion that Jesus’ brother James wrote about as being pure and faultless … to look after widows and orphans in their distress. It’s a loving embrace received by the child whose hair is no longer tousled by an absent father.

How like God. No matter how much love we give away, He’s ensured we’d never run out. This Father’s Day, let’s remember to thank God for being our Abba Father and keeping us from being spiritual orphans. And let’s relentlessly search for that one who’s whispered prayers for fatherly love and kindness.

Copyright © May 24, 2013, by Susan M. Watkins. Used by permission.

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https://www1.cbn.com/devotions/Like-Sheep-Without-a-Shepherd