Tuesday, July 27, 2010

. Me and Mephibosheth.

While doing some required reading for our adoption, I stumbled on the story of Mephibosheth. You remember, he is the son of Jonathon. In fact, when Jonathon was killed in battle and Saul took his own life, Mephibosheth's caretakers ran off with him. In the process, they slipped and fell and crippled him...

Now, perhaps the most well-to-do boy in all the kingdom of Israel is a crippled little child hidden from the world and dependant on the mercy of others...

Don't forget, David swore to Jonathon that he would take care of his family... So years later, David remembers his promise to Jonathon and inquired about Jonathon's family. This is where Mephibosheth reenters the picture! Laura Christianson describes the interaction like this:

That's when David learns Jonathon has a son. He can;t wait to see Mephibosheth, and he summons him immediately to Jerusalem. Mephibosheth limps into David's presence, trembling.
Seeing the image of Jonathan in the young man's face, David melts. He leans forwards and whispers, "Don't be afraid." I imagine David adding, :" I loved your father as much as I love myself. And because I loved him, I am going to adopt you!"
Mephibosheth replies, "Who am I that you pay attention to a stray dog like me?"
(The Adoption Decision)

Here is what's strange: I am adopting, and can see tons of parallels to just how this should impact that for me... for everyone... etc.

...but I can't get it out of my head: I am a stray dog... desperate for love... missing the reality that I have a seat at the table of the king!

So here it is: Today, may I embrace the Truth that God stooped down to me, not because of me... But he did. So, may I glory in His love and seek to point all the other strays to the table of the King... because from where I am sitting there are seats open and the invitation is out!

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Monday, July 26, 2010

."I Want Meat".

This blog is primarily about me. But today, not as much me but my response. Recently my hand was forced on the issue of milk and meat. Someone who I have interacted with for a number of years listened to my message Sunday and responded with "I want meat."

Here's the problem: Yes, you are educated, yes, you grew up with Christianity, but, no... You are not ready for meat.

Handing you a new piece of Truth when you have yet to interact with the last one is like laying before a baby a nice NY Strip when they are having trouble processing formula.

I Corinthians 3:1-4 "And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ. I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?"

Paul's measuring stick for whether a person was needing milk or meat is not how many years I have been attending church, or how many years I have spent in Christian education... In the context of this passage Paul uses behavior... "envy, strife, and divisions among you." Paul never refers to my level of education, but how I act. In the broader context of the passage, Paul address more specifics on how my actions will be tried by fire, etc., etc.

Hebrews 5:12-14 "For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."

Here the issue of maturity comes up again. However, once again, as I look into the context of this passage, it is not education that is the measure of maturity. It is life. The writer of Hebrews says that based on the education level of his audience, they should be teaching this Truth, but here they are having to be taught again... Why? Because those who need "meat" are the ones who "have their senses exercised." In other words, the ones who are practicing things like teaching (v. 12). The writer makes it clear-maturity is defined by actions, not understanding.

Even as the context continues in chapter 6, verses 10-12 say, " For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises." Again, reiterating the reality that it is not what I know, it is what I do.

So What? Why do I bring this all up?

The church is gaging on simple Truth while begging for the best cut of meat...

God help me to live my life in a way that I can process everything your Word has for my life!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

.Bask in Me.

Ever found yourself reading 4-5 books at a time and in the midst of doing so, one text of Scripture comes up over and over again... That's where I have been for the past 3-4 days. I have been reading Radical, The Barbarian Way, The Christian Atheist... and it seems like one or two more, but those for sure, and they all speak of this account in Matthew. {Screaming at me:} Time to figure it out.

In Matthew 11 John the Baptist has this incredible struggle. John is in prison, he has been in prison... and the likelihood of him getting out is slim... So, he send his followers to Jesus and asks the most bizarre question: "Are you the coming One or do we look for another?"

Crazy right? You mean John the Baptist was unsure of whether the One he had baptized... the One he knew since he was a boy and been exposing as the Messiah really was? Why?

Well, it seems from the context that he was shaken, scarred... afraid to endure what was coming, and in turn wondering: If He is Christ, would He allow this to happen?

Jesus' answer: "Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”


Then Jesus cries loud enough for John's followers to hear: "What did you go out to the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in king's houses. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet."

The Truth: Jesus knew that John was shaking in his jail cell. There were people who wanted his head on a silver platter (and they eventually got it). And he wanted to know what Jesus was going to do about it.

Jesus essentially told John, "you know who I am. You are scared, and I get it... but I will not "offend" you by taking away your greatest moment to shine for My glory."

Me: Jesus would you really sit back and let John die and bask in the glory of it all?


Let's be Honest, that's none of my business.
God, whatever it takes for you to be glorified through me... Give me the strength to endure... TO THE END!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

.Have I offended you yet?.

Being a Pastor is a lot like being a politician... even though it shouldn't be!

Today I found myself teetering the line between how much I could say and how much I shouldn't... Why? Because I didn't want to offend... Whoops...

That's not what it's about...

If it's all about Truth, why should I worry about a person's response? Hold on. It's got to be gracious. My pride has to be taken out of the equation. I have to love you. God's glory manifest in you must be my end... but if I'm worried after that: I'm wrong.

Father, help me to love them just like you... help me not to hedge Your Truth against what I think their response will be. Change me... Make me more like You!

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.My Best Friend.

Meet my best friend... As a part of a series at my church I was able to film my best friend and give a peek into his story.

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Friday, July 16, 2010

. We Need Help.

These are not words that we have ever had a desire to write. Honestly, we don't want help. We want to do it all on our own. But we desperately need help. We have said for a long time that the Christian journey is not one that should be traveled alone. However, when it comes to money... don't ask. When it comes to hardship... don't ask. The journey we were referring to was "the good stuff." In other words, when God does something in your life that is exciting and dynamic, make sure you tell everyone you know.

Here's the problem: What do we do when we need help?

One of the stated goals of my wife and my journey through adoption is to expose to Believers, those who call on the God of all creation, to the reality that He will move heaven and earth for His orphans. That you don't have to take out a massive loan, or be incredibly wealthy to make this thing happen. That God will move you-to sacrifice everything. That He will move others-to sacrifice some. And in the midst of it all, no challenge: mentally, physically, emotionally, or spiritually will stand in the way of Him accomplishing what He wants.

The Roadblock: Our Pride.

Over and over we have told ourselves, “if He wants to, He will move people.” “If He sees fit, He will motivate others to help.” Here's the reality: That's true. However, our motivation for coming to this conclusion was not deep faith, but crippling pride. So we have committed to swallow our pride and boldly ask people to help. This is not easy for us, but neither was selling our "prized" possessions. The reality is there is a child in Ethiopia waiting for us to be the leaders we need to be, and lead the charge to bring him home. The Bible clearly states we are to bear each others burdens, but in order to give people opportunity to do so; we have to humble ourselves and share our burdens. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

So Here's the Deal:

We are going to boldly ask God to burden 300 people to give $100. Then, we are going to ask person after person if God has laid it on their heart to give. We are going to humble ourselves time after time until we hold in our arms that little life that our God and we value so highly. We are also going to try to be that $100 donor several times over for our adoption and eventually for someone else’s (perhaps yours!).

So, we humbly ask: Are you one that God has burdened? Are you one of the 300 privileged individuals God is using to bring our child home? If so, please give... not for us, not even for that precious child on the other side of the globe, but because you are called to Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy; free them from the hand of the wicked. and because Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. We are not all called to adopt, but we are all called to do something. Maybe this is your something.

Maybe God isn’t calling your family to be a part of our journey financially, and that is okay. Would you still surround us in your prayers? If you feel led would you pass our need along to others – on your blog, face book, or any place else you desire to?

We are getting close to being able to send our dossier over to Ethiopia and that takes a lot of money – a lot, a lot. We also will have a program fee due at this time, as well as future financial needs of airplane tickets (we have to travel twice), hotel stays, embassy fees, visas etc. We know that this amount of money cannot be raised in our own strength or through selling our own stuff. We’ve tried. To think about the amount of money that is still needed is overwhelming to us, but it’s not to the God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills! We long through this fund raising process for God to receive the glory and for this journey to scream His name.

So, we are going to do it.

We are going to ask for help.

We think this pleases God.

Will you please help with the remainder of our financial needs?

Are you one of the 300 people who God will use to give $100?

Maybe you are not, but maybe you have a little that you want to give. God blesses every gift no matter the amount. We have seen that.

Please prayerfully consider whether or not you are part of our journey to bring our baby home for the glory of God. 100% of all donations will be used to fund our adoption. You can use our chip-in on the right hand side of my blog, or you can email at amomentcherished(at)gmail(dot)com for our address if you prefer to go that route.

Maybe God allows adoption to cost so much so that we would truly rely on Him and His moving the body of Christ to be partners in our journey.

With grateful and humble hearts,
Jim & Tiffany

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Thursday, July 15, 2010

.A peek Through The Looking Glass.

James 5 says that "The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Pretty simple huh?

So what does it mean? Simply. If you are righteous your prayer life will be powerful and effective. And by inference, if you are not righteous, your prayer life will be impotent and useless.

To be honest, this Truth is scary... even terrifying. What if I pray and nothing happens? What if I seek the face of my Creator and He doesn't respond.

Maybe He is right there screaming the answers as I drown Him out with the noise of my favorite TV show... or maybe I am just so wrapped up in my press for comfort that I just simply cannot hear His cry. Maybe, just maybe, I never put myself in a position of need.

How do I know?
That's the best part... James already told me what a righteous man looks like!

A Righteous man:

  1. Is Patient (Js 1:3; 19; 5:7-12)
  2. Is singularly focused on God (Js 1:6-8)
  3. Endures temptation (Js 1:12)
  4. Reads and obeys the Word (Js 1:21-25; 4:17)
  5. Controls their tongue (Js 1:26; 3:1-12)
  6. Cares for orphans and widows (Js 1:27)
  7. Rejects the filth of the world (Js 1:21; 27; 4:4)
  8. Loves their neighbor (Js 2:1-13)
  9. Illustrates faith by their works (Js 2:18; 3:13-18)
  10. Has a humble spirit (Js 4:1-6; 10)
  11. Is not judgemental (Js 4:11-12)
  12. Does not amass wealth (5:1-6)

A peek through the looking glass helps me see... The Gold Standard.
If my prayers are impotent and useless, I am not righteous... If I am righteous as defined by the book of James... my prayers will be powerful have a real effect!

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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

.You win, I lose.

Ever find yourself in the midst of one of those freshman-year-of-college debates... You know, the kind that both parties dramatically oppose one another. Both walk into the conversation "right," only to storm off angry two hours later all the more sure that they were right! (Of course, chased down with two days of awkward silence.)

If you can't tell: I am a recovering addict of verbal battles.
Today, I am ready to admit it, you win, I lose.

One of those perpetual battles I have engaged in for years finds its grounding in being "different from the world." So, you ask, which side were you on? It's complicated. Yes, we are to be different, but difference with the parties I was debating has always been defined as retroactive by ten years... We can do it as long as we are 10-20 years behind what the world sees as "en vogue." (by my count, that makes hair metal a viable option for praise and worship)

So Here's where I went wrong... In pursuing the truth that this argument is foolish, I missed the Truth. I should be different.

When I think about the fact that Christ calls us to a life that leads to persecution, it doesn't exactly inspire within me a "I can't wait" attitude. In fact, my lack of desire for trial and difficulty has left me willing to be satisfied by a life of doing... Nothing.

Platt puts it this way:

Maybe this is why we sit back and settle for a casual relationship with Christ and routine religion in the church. It is safe there, and the world likes us there. The world likes us when we are pursuing everything they are pursuing, even if we do put a Christian label on it. As long as Christianity looks like the American dream we will have few problems in the world.

Whoa... Wait a minute... The world doesn't take issue with me because I am not different.
Maybe the reason I don't see loads of converts to Christ by the way I live in front of them because we have the same religion... Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Jim Elliot said of America that, "their condemnation is written on their bank books and in the dust on their Bible covers."

I am not a political person... this is not an anti-American rant... This is about one thing:
As I stand before the God of all creation, I want Him to see something different... for HIS glory!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

.My Thoughts... From Hell.

I have related to several people recently the way that I grew up... Understanding two core realities that are still true today...
  1. This Child is probably already dead.
  2. The organization that distributed this photo is probably taking more than 90 cents of every $1 given.

Do you know what that meant for me? Do Nothing.

I thought, "I can't do everything, so I won't do anything." and David Platt rightly says: that thinking is from hell. I have since said, and still believe--"better those children get pennies on the dollar, than the nothing I gave them."

Don't miss this-I am not saying give to corrupt organizations... I am saying give.

David Platt points out in his book that it is very possible that we can miss our blind spots. Even with accountability, even with daily Bible study, even with prayer... sometimes we miss it. (I missed it). David points out that as:

We look back on slave-owning churchgoers of 150 years ago and ask, "How could they have treated their fellow human beings that way?" I wonder followers of Christ 150 years from now will look back at Christians in America today and ask, "How could they live in such big houses? How could they drive such nice cars and wear such nice clothes? How could they live in such affluence while thousands of children were dying because they didn't have food and water? How could they go on with their lives as though the billions of poor didn't even exist?"
(David Platt, Radical)

The Truth: My whole life I have struggled with the desire for more and seeing the grass as always greener on the other side.

Now I know that grass is nothing more than the a distorted reflection of earth scorched by hell and meticulously painted green by the American dream.

Want to make a real difference for starving children in Africa? Want something you do to count for God's kingdom not yours? Let me introduce you to Into the Streets of Ethiopia. Currently they are working to mobilize formula to children in Ethiopia who are needlessly dying of starvation by the thousands daily. $12 is all it takes to get formula to Ethiopia...

Can I be honest? If you can't spare $12, your dinner better not look like this:

Because one of God's image looks like this:

God help me NOT TO FORGET...

Friday, July 09, 2010

.I missed the Point.

Even recently as I have loathed my sin in the face of my Creator, as I have humbled myself to the reality the my Father sent His Son for my redemption... and I am so ungrateful, so unchanged, so desperate... Amid all that, I missed the point... Again!

So what's the point? The point is that while, yes I am wicked and desperately need a Savior, and yes He is compassionate to bear my sin... that NO, it was not about me.

Why, when I speak of all the most amazing, life-transforming things that happened and are happening to me do I finish with me... a feeble (let's be honest-pathetic), stubborn, prideful, selfish, wreck of a human being. Here is the Truth: God rescued me to bring glory to Him... and in the grand scheme of things... it is neither about me or for my glory!

David Platt says it like this:

If you were to ask the average Christian sitting in a worship service on Sunday morning to summarize the message of Christianity, you would most likely hear something along the lines of "The message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send His Son, Jesus, to die for me."

As wonderful as this sentiment sounds, is it biblical? Isn't it incomplete, based on what we have seen in the Bible? "God loves me" is not the essence of biblical Christianity. Because if "God loves me" is the message of Christianity, then who is the object of Christianity?
God loves me.
Christianity's object is me.

Platt later says "But this is not biblical Christianity." He proposes that "the message of biblical Christianity is 'God loves me so that I might make Him--His ways, His salvation, His glory, and His greatness--known among all nations."

So What Now?
God did not send His Son because He loves me? Well, yes He did... but only because His love is consistent with His nature. In the end... it's not about me (or you). It's about Him... His glory.

And God, may I never see it as about me again... may I see it as Your glory shown through Your work in... a fool. It's all about You, Jesus.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

.My New Role.

My Granddad, whom I love with my whole heart, said something a long time ago that I just never forgot. He said, "I think when Paul had a hard day, he said to himself, 'this one's for Stephen'." If it doesn't immediately come to mind, Paul was responsible for the stoning of Stephen. Stephen, the man with vast potential. The one who could have shaken the world for Christ... and Saul (now Paul) knew it... so he tracked him down and he stoned him to death.

When they heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look," he said, "I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God." At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Then he fell on his knees and cried out, "Lord, do not hold this sin against them." When he had said this, he fell asleep.
~Acts 7:54-60

Just imagine, living with the reality of this as your past. Living with the truth that you are ultimately responsible for the death of Stephen. Then, imagine your life was lived out as Paul describes his:

I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then receive me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or pushes himself forward or slaps you in the face. To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!

What anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham's descendants? So am I. Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

~2 Corinthians 11:16-33

Imagine, you have been beaten, stoned, left to die... what does that next morning look like? The bruises. The pain. Talking yourself into moving... making yourself get blood flowing though your aching muscles. living with the pain as your flesh scares over. My Granddad argues that Paul woke each morning, telling himself "This one's for Stephen." He shoke off the pain, he cleared the cobwebs and he journeyed on, because he had the mission of two men (himself and Stephen) to fulfill. I certainly understand that this is conjecture, but if there is one man on earth I would trust to conjecture about the thought life of Paul it would be Granddad.

So why is this thought rattling through my brain? Why?
Because I am shaken with the reality that my life, passive as I have lived it, leaves me with the responsibility of many... not just one. For years I have intentionally turned a blind eye to the fatherless, while crying for people to show the love of a father... The Father. No more. No more double standard, no more hypocricy, no more.

God help me to advocate for the fatherless... God help me to see beyond me... God help!

Sunday, July 04, 2010

.Heading to Hershey.

For the first time in years I am taking my wife on a three day adventure for our anniversary! To say the least, I am pumped! We have never had the opportunity to do this because I used to be a summer camp director and they are just a little busy for the summer:).
Anyway, we are headed to do some of our favorite things. We are going to have a Dalton day (the city we first lived in as a married couple.) Basically, that consists of dinner and a movie... just the two of us. It's been years since we have done that. Then, we are going to Hershey Park. When we were dating we went together with Tiffany's family. Lastly, we are having a Tunkhannock day (the last place we lived in PA. (This basically consists of doing nothing.)

Before we go, let me share with you a few things about my bride: She is increasingly confident, extremely intelligent, hates math and loves to read. She is gorgeous, everything any man would desire in a women... but back off men, she is mine. She is gifted in photography, creative, a learner... and most importantly, she clings to her Savior. I am not going to fabricate the reality that many of the most significant journeys we have been on together are because she humbly and submissively whispered in my ear the Truths that God had laid on her heart. It is no mistake that my Creator looked at me, and graciously matched me with her. I am incredibly blessed!

Thank you Father for giving me... Tiffany!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

I have been reading the David Platt book Radical... It is amazing how a person can pick up a book and be so transformed... It is almost as though God walks before and sets up every minute detail into our life before we are anywhere near it. (I am a bit sarcastic, so if you didn't catch it... HE DOES DO THAT!)

So here I am, reading the book when I find myself completely broken by a concept that is earth shattering, but not new! It is the reality that Christ, in the Garden of Gethsemane cried to the point of sweating tears of the reality of the "cup."

And what is that cup?

It is the cup of God's wrath.

This is what Jesus is recoiling from in the Garden. All God's holy wrath and hatred toward sin and sinners, stored up since the beginning of the world, is about to be poured out on Him, and He is sweating blood at the thought of it.

What happened at the cross was not primarily about nails being thrust into Jesus' hands and feet but about the wrath due your sin and my sin being thrust upon His soul. In that holy moment, all the righteous wrath and justice of God due us came rushing down like a torrent on Christ Himself. Some say, "Good looked down and could not bear to see what the suffering that the soldiers were inflicting on Jesus, so He turned away." But this is not true. God turned away because He could not bear to see your sin and my sin on His Son.

(from Radical, by David Platt)

If that is not enough to rock your world little is... And to be honest, yesterday I was struggling with some real shame. I know that the shame was not of God, because that is not how He works... but sometimes an honest evaluation of yourself is hard to swallow.

So today I have rejected shame and embraced Romans 7:24-8:2.

"O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank
God-through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, with the mind I myself serve the law
of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death."

Thank You God... Thank You Jesus... I am FREE! Spirit, Lead me.

I am not a blogger... but God has been captivating my heart in ways that I cannot deny! So, I must put it out there.

For weeks my wife and I have been wrestling with Truth. Our conversations go back and forth. I realize time and again that we are talking in circles... because we are captivated! My wife and my eyes have been opened to the Truth that God cares for orphans and widows, and that He has called us (everyone who is adopted as a son or daughter of the Almighty Creator of the Universe) to nurture the fatherless and comfort the husband less.

Growing up, I remember time and again when my family would see images of starving kids in Africa. I remember the words, "those kids are already dead" and "that agency gives pennies on the dollar to starving children." Honestly, that meant: "I don't have to do anything." Recently it struck me... better that a starving child get pennies on the dollar than the nothing I gave.

I am not advocating that we support deceitful agencies that lie and steal... However, I am advocating that we do just a little research... Support Compassion International, or a local homeless shelter, or an adoptive family, or something ANYTHING.

I sit here weeping as I write this, because I did nothing for too long and I am ashamed... But here me: I AM CHANGED...

Here is a nugget of Truth that we should all embrace: True Religion never adds up to zero... zero money invested, zero time spent, zero prayers prayed, zero tears cried... If you add it up and you're at zero... you DON'T HAVE True Religion!