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Our Father's Heart (#OurFatherDevotional)
by Rey Diaz
Posted on Tuesday, November 20, 2018
This year, we're sharing ways in which our God is truly Father to the fatherless in our special #OurFather devotional series. This month, Orphan Outreach Executive Director Rey Diaz gets at the heart of where our hearts should be.




This is truth: Religion at its essence, at its most uncorrupted, is helping those who cannot help themselves.  That is what our Father is doing. That is what He is inviting us to do as well.

James 1:27 - Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Jesus came to reveal the nature and character of God. Paul would call Jesus the “image of the invisible God.” It was Paul’s way of saying, “if you want to know what God looks like, look at Jesus.” And Jesus seemed to understand He was a reflection of God. Jesus said clearly, I only do what my Father does. (John 5:19).

Since the beginning of time, people have always had questions about the nature of God.
  • What is God like? (Jesus says He is our Father)
  • What matters to God? (Jesus says the least and the lost)
  • What does God care about? (Jesus says you and me and a lost world)

People from all walks of life would have questions after listening to Jesus. But one question was more popular than the rest. So many times, He was asked, “What is the most important commandment?”  In other words, “How do I inherit eternal life?”
Jesus would always answer the same way.

Love God and love your neighbor.

 

He would not separate the two. You can't do one without the other. Don't pretend to love God and then ignore your neighbor.  It's almost as if Jesus believes that our love for God is connected by or demonstrated by our love for our neighbor.
For any follower of Jesus Christ, central to our walk of faith is growing in our love for God and love of our neighbor. Love for God is pretty clear (prayer, scripture, solitude). It’s in loving our neighbor where all the challenges arise.
How do we truly love our neighbor?

I keep going back to the thing Jesus said.

“I only do what I see my Father doing.”

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So the obvious question is this: what is the Father doing? This devotional has shed some light on what Our Father God is doing.
  • Our God is being the Father to all of us - but especially to the fatherless.
  • He is leveraging His power on behalf of the powerless.
  • He is listening to the cries and prayers of all the orphans and vulnerable children.
  • Our God is defending and fighting on their behalf.
  • He is providing for their spiritual, physical, emotional, and educational needs.
  • Our God is advocating for the fatherless, speaking for those who have no voice. He is placing the “lonely into families.” He is acting on His compassion towards His children.
  • Our God is adopting us into His family as our “orphan heart is given a name.”

Look at that list again. This is what Jesus spent His time on earth doing in one way or another. This is what the early church did in a Roman world that did not value children as human beings. This is what the church around the world is waking up to do. And this is what you have been doing on this mission trip. You have been loving your neighbor.
Jesus’ brother, James, wrote a very practical book as a pastor in Jerusalem.  And he said something stunning. “True and undefiled religion is to visit orphans and widows in distress and keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27)
Religion, Christianity, following Jesus, is at its essence taking care of those who cannot take care of themselves.  James is reminding all of us that your Father cares deeply and passionately about orphans and vulnerable children.

He made laws to protect and provide for them (Exodus 22:22-24)

He judged Israel when they ignored them (Psalm 146:5)

He fights on their behalf (Psalm 82)

We are supposed to be about our Father’s business, and His business is orphaned and vulnerable children. Our Father has a special place in His heart for orphans.  And as Christians, how we care for orphans is a barometer of how in sync we are with the heart of God.  Our God is Our Father and He is pleading with us to serve His children.
If you've served with Orphan Outreach, you have been about the Father’s business. In fact, you have been used by God in ways you cannot even begin to imagine. Our prayer is that you’ll continue to allow God to use you to accomplish His will for the orphans and vulnerable children.

Questions to consider:


  1. How do you get a clearer picture of who God is by looking at the life and teaching of Jesus?
  2. When you think of your “neighbor,” who do you imagine?
  3. How is caring for orphans a barometer for how in sync we are with God’s heart?
  4. This week, where have you seen God working on behalf of His children?


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