Eternal God, in your providence you made all ages
a preparation for the kingdom of your Son.
Make ready our hearts for the brightness of your glory
and the fullness of your blessing in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
For those who may not know, November is Orphan Awareness Month. As Christians, our call to care for orphans is pretty clear in the Bible. Here are just two examples:
"Learn to do good! Seek justice! Help the oppressed! Defend the orphan! Fight for the rights of widows!" Isaiah 1:17
"Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us." James 1:27
The mandate is clear. So why do we hesitate to help? (1) Helping orphans seems overwhelming and unending. (2) Helping orphans is a complex problem with complex solutions. However, here are some good ways to get started:
1. Pray. Sounds simple, but the most important thing we can do is intercede for others. Plus, as we pray, God will begin to give us his desires. Our hearts will begin to break for the things that break his.
2. Get educated. There is a lot of great information on blogs and in books. Here are a few suggestions:
"Orphanology" By Tony Merida and Rick Morton
"Orphan Justice" By Johnny Carr
"The Hole in Our Gospel"By Richard Stearns
3. Support others. Support and encourage foster parents. Get them gift cards for date nights and offer to babysit. Give monetary gifts to those who are adopting. Everyone is not called to adoption, but we should support those who are. Adoption is expensive and every gift helps!
4. Sponsor a child. Help support a child and their family through organizations like World Vision and Compassion International.
5. Consider becoming a foster parent. Consider adoption. Again, every family may not be able to foster or adopt, but every family should think about it.
The vast number of orphans can seem overwhelming. It can seem that no matter what we do, nothing will really help. However, as Christians we believe every life is worth fighting for. One adoption helps one child. It's worth it. One foster family provides a safe place for one child. It's worth it. I believe God can take the small things we do and multiply them in amazing ways. Never underestimate what our God can do! Never underestimate the power of love!
Great video about the evolution of swimsuits and issues of modesty. She is speaking specifically to females. However, I think modesty is something our whole culture needs to think about (including guys). Talking about modesty typically turns into judging one another and looking down on females for dressing a certain way. I do not think that is helpful. I like how she keeps the topic positive.
"Modesty is not about hiding ourselves, it's about revealing our dignity. We were made beautiful in His image and likeness. The real question is: How will you use your beauty?"
Have you ever felt stuck? Have you ever felt the frustration of waiting? You're not where you were, but you're not where you want to be either. You're stuck in the middle and sometimes the "middle" feels like nowhere. For a variety of reasons, I have felt stuck lately. I feel anxious sometimes and I don't even know why. Don't get me wrong, my life is great. I have an amazing family and I'm doing ministry at a wonderful church. However, my heart feels restless. I'm guessing that God has something for us in the near future. In the mean time, I will use this middle time to trust and to wait...to pray and to seek. These words from Psalm 130 have been precious to me during this season and I hope they are an encouragement to you as well.
I am counting on the Lord;
yes, I am counting on him.
I have put my hope in his word...
for with the Lord there is unfailing love
and an overflowing supply of salvation.
-Psalm 130 Heavenly Father, it is for you that I wait, in you that I hope, and with you that I am. May your presence shine in the middle of it all. Give me strength and wisdom as I wait. Amen.
Why do we judge others? Why are we so critical of people? I hate that I do these things, but then somebody makes a different decision then I would and I criticize them. Somebody does something that annoys me and I judge them. In my desire to control and to be right, I fail to love well.
But I know God wants something different from me. He wants me to see people as he sees them. He wants me to extend the same grace and compassion he has shown me. He wants me to love others even when I don't agree with them.
I don't know how to love without being judgmental and critical, but I want to. Lord, have mercy.
What? Sticky Faith Parent Seminar (Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids)
Where? First United Methodist Church Crestview, Florida
When? Sunday, September 22nd (3pm)
Why? Research shows that almost half of graduating high school seniors struggle deeply with their faith. Based on research from the Fuller Youth Institute, we will identify ideas and practices that can set children and teenagers on a trajectory of lifelong faith and service. No matter the age of your kids, it's never too early or too late to build Sticky Faith.
The darkness and pain of this world seems overwhelming at times. It's hard to follow Jesus in a culture full of idols. Temptation is everywhere.
Do our young people even stand a chance? Do I stand a chance?
And yet, there is a love locked in our hearts waiting to empower us with strength beyond our imagining. We have the power to overcome evil with good. We can choose love over hate. We can choose peace over violence.
But most of us keep this amazing power locked away and we die having never dared to use it. I pray for a generation that dares to be different. I pray for a generation who dares to do more.
"Now glory be to God! By his mighty power at work within us, he is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope!" Ephesians 3:20
Today we had a check up with Kenzie's neurologist. For those who do not know, our daughter was diagnosed with infantile spasms (a form of epilepsy) at 6 months old. The early prognosis was not good. However, they found a medicine that controlled her seizures. She has been seizure free for over 2 years! In addition, her EEG tests have progressively looked better each time.
Well, today she had another EEG and the results were perfect. This is a miracle considering the bad results of her first test. We will now slowly take Kenzie off her medicine and see if she has out grown the epilepsy. This rarely happens, but the doctor seemed very optimistic. So over the next few months we will wait and pray. If anything abnormal happens she will have to be placed on medicine again. Regardless, Kenzie's development is great and we are very fortunate. Hopefully this will be the last update on Kenzie. Thanks again for all your support and prayers! We have no idea where we would be without faith, family, and friends. If we've learned anything, it is to appreciate the small blessings and love those around you. Our kids are a blessing and you cannot give them too much love.
"The secret of the mystery is: God is always greater. No matter how great we think him to be, his love is always greater." -Brennan Manning