JOY IN THE MORNING
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.
God’s love compels us to feed the hungry, empower the poor, defend the weak, and help those who are suffering. When we do these things, it includes encouraging and strengthening those persecuted for their faith in Christ. The Church has often led the way in education and medical services in developing countries until governments or other local agencies take over.
Brother Andrew says that giving humanitarian aid is a picture of Jesus knocking at the door of our hearts (our lives) in Revelation chapter three. The doors of many hearts in the church are closed to acts of mercy and love in action. Therefore, Jesus stands knocking at the door of our hearts asking that we open that door and let Him in. His coming into our lives enables us to do acts of love.
“They killed my husband before my very own eyes. As if that wasn’t enough, they destroyed everything by burning down our house including my dear husband’s workshop.” These were the words of Esther, the widow whose husband was killed by jihadists in Nigeria in January 2010.
For the mother of seven, life became unbearable. The house that her children called home no longer existed and the daunting absence of an income was an inevitable reality. To worsen their circumstances, the in-laws abandoned Esther and her children. Surrounded by walls of a room too small for eight people, depression threatened to overshadow her and Esther cried night and day, asking God for a way out.
She truly needed a shoulder to lean on. A friend told us her story and from there Open Doors provided financial support for this family. As a result, the family was able to move into an apartment in a Christian area, with enough room for everyone. The new home lent enough space for Esther to even start working from home. She is a tailor by profession and hopes to rent a shop in the near future.
Esther thought it wise to take some of the money and start a vegetable garden on a small scale. The idea is to feed her family and at the same time generate income from it. She is confident that her vegetable business will grow to the point where she will be able to send the children to school.
“If Open Doors had not come to my aid,” Esther concluded with tears, “what would have become of me and my children? For all I know, we all would have been dead, either by the hands of Jihadists or hunger. As for my husband’s killers—though it’s been difficult—through your prayers and encouragement I’ve been able to forgive them.”
RESPONSE: Today I will live in awareness of those around me needing help and respond appropriately.
PRAYER: Lord, give me Your compassion for people in need. May I be an agent of Your love today.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.