"See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are."
And so we are... children of God.
These words from I John 3 explain to us that our Father loves us and that is the reason we are his children. It is love. That is why Jesus gave up the glories of heaven... the fellowship with his father... to come to earth to suffer and die. He loved us. His suffering and death allows us to be in God's family. His love gives us a family. His suffering, his death, his love gives us hope... joy.... life... heaven... a family.
Was this easy for Jesus?
No. He suffered tremendously. He asked his father if this cup could be passed from him... "but not my will, your will."
It was not easy for God to adopt us into his family but he loved us and he did it.
As believers, we have this family and this life that we have because God loved us enough to bring us into his family.
See what kind of love this is. This love makes us what we are and gives us what we have.
I pray that God will help me see what kind of love this is. It is a wondrous kind of love.
It is a love that caused Jesus to lay down his life for us.
And this same chapter tells us that we are to do the same.
You and me. We are to lay our life down. Give it up. It is what Jesus did for us. It shows us that he loved us. It is our calling. It shows that we also have love. It shows that we understand what we as Christians are called to. The gospel is not about health and wealth. The gospel is about Jesus giving his life up for us that we may have true life... and then we are to do the same for others.
This is the test that reveals whether we have God's love in us - "if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?" I John 3:17
How are we to love? Verse 18 says not in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
In deed and truth. We are to take action. We are to stop just talking about caring for people and do it. We are to stop just debating about the proper way to respond to the person in need and actually take care of them. We are to stop just talking about all the reasons we should not reach out in mercy and reach out in mercy. We should stop just forming committees to discuss mercy ministry and actually reach out in mercy to people.
What does mercy look like?
Share the good news of Jesus Christ.
Visit the widows in your neighborhood and clean their yard.
Welcome into your home the children in your neighborhood whose parents are never home.
Take blankets to the homeless that live under the bridge downtown.
Bring food to those in need.
Spend time with people... including your own family and relatives.
Give of your time, gifts and talents to help those that can give you nothing in return.
Give of your resources to help those that are ministering to others.
Visit shut ins.
Visit nursing homes.
This is only a short list of endless possibilities.
But what about making sure we reach out with caution and wisdom to make sure we are not taken advantage of? I am all for wisdom but real wisdom acts. Was Jesus taken advantage of? Was Jesus abused? Was Jesus hurt? Did Jesus suffer? Did he withhold mercy because of the way we would abuse his mercy? Have you and I abused his mercy? Am I thankful Jesus did not withhold his mercy to me because he knew how I would react to it?
Do we have God's love?
Reach out in mercy.
My time in God's word while in Ukraine consisted of I John. Reading it, thinking about it, praying about it.
I am in God's family because he loves me.
It is love that will give these orphans a family. It is love that will give these orphans life. It is love that will give these orphans hope.
Dear God thank you for your love. Please help me to love others as you have loved me.
Love gives the orphan a family. Dear God, help us to love.
Love is not easy.... but, oh the rewards are so great.
By God's grace we desire to live our life to serve and glorify Jesus. He is our treasure. He is the one we trust. He is the one we love.
We are a family of eight praying that God will use us to minister to orphans around the world and encourage Christians to reach out in mercy to orphans. At home we serve with Palmer Home for Children. Palmer Home is a ministry to children who are growing up as social orphans without the nurture and support of a loving family. Palmer provides a stable, Christ-centered home for these children. Internationally we serve with Share the Hope. Share the Hope ministers to orphans around the world. Both at home and around the world we proclaim good news of Jesus Christ and reach out in mercy to these precious children. We hope that this blog is a testimony to you of God's mighty hand and that you are encouraged to serve Jesus with all your heart and to reach out to orphans.
Matthew, Sheila, Karina, Harrison, Isaac, Noah, Storey Grace and James!