I am committed to knowing Jesus and making Him known to the nations. Jesus is the one true God and my heart is to see the preeminence and worth of Christ reestablished in the Church. I want to see wrong things made right. I want to see the Kingdom of God established on the earth and feel the most relevant way to do that is through prayer and action.
This article was first published on the Justin Rizzo Blog.
Someone once asked me the question… “Why should we ask God for His justice? Shouldn’t we ask Him for His mercy?” I began to think about this question, because we should ask Him for His mercy. But should we juxtapose these two attributes of God and set them against each other? Can God love mercy and love justice, yet have no contradiction?
“For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever…” (Psalm 37:28)
Justice is at the core of the gospel of the kingdom. A description of God in Psalm 97 says that clouds and darkness surround God and “righteousness and JUSTICE are the foundation of His throne.” The establishing of justice is not only at the core of God’s throne, but central to the 1st and the 2nd coming of Christ. This is seen clearly in Isaiah 42 when God speaking through Isaiah says about Jesus (“My Elect One”), that “He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles… and He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established JUSTICE on the earth.”
God’s mercy and His justice are both expressed equally and without restraint through the cross. His heart for justice was never lessened when He displayed His mercy by becoming sin for us so that we might be justified before the Father. It is because God is a just judge and loves justice that a sacrifice had to be made in the form of God living a sinless life and dying in our place for our sins.
Our God is good with no shadow of evil. All of His ways are right, blameless, perfect and faultless. It is because He is righteous that His justice required Himself to become sin for us so that we might escape the consequences that we so fully deserved. What Jesus came to do on the cross and what He is coming to do at His 2nd coming is this: to make wrong things right. When sin entered the world it affected all areas of life as we know it, which immediately made it necessary for a sacrifice to be made. We are able to stand justified before God because of God’s mercy and His justice at the cross.
At the same time God cares immensely about injustice in the earth. Isaiah 59:14-15 shows us a God who is not indifferent about injustice, but is displeased when He looks on the earth and sees the injustice of the orphan, the poor, abortion, sexual immorality, racism and much other corruption at the hands of humans.
God become a man, took on our flesh to make the wrong things right so that we might be saved and His goodness would be seen throughout the earth. God has given us the solution to injustice and that is intercession. Intercession is the action of intervening on behalf of another. We must first act through prayers of intercession, yet it must not end there. We must also physically act and be the hands and feet of God’s desire to make wrong things right.
We must not downplay the effectiveness of prayer. Our God moves at the sound of our voice. Jesus even said in Luke 18 that God will bring about justice for His elect who cry out to Him day and night. Yet we must also not neglect doing good and displaying the goodness and love of Christ through deeds.
James 2:14 says “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”
We must love justice, just as God loves justice. Jesus came the first time to make wrong things right and He is coming again to make wrong things right. We must agree with His heart through prayer and commit to making wrong things right through action in both word and deed.
A friend from work named Randy Bohlender has put together a video addressing the questions people have for adoption. Some have never asked these questions, but need to and some are using them as an excuse.
I really recommend reading James 1:27 and asking yourself how you can walk this out. If you call yourself a believer, a follower of Christ, a Christian, then you must deal with this verse and figure out how to put it into action in YOUR life.
What role does God want you to play in caring for and looking after orphans? Is the American Dream keeping you from fulfilling James 1:27?
This article was written by Kinsey Thurlow over on the Orphan Justice Center Blog. It is a great article and if you consider yourself a Christian it requires a response.
Life is valuable in the womb, and we must see that this life still remains just as valuable when the child is out of the womb, whether that child is 2 months old, 4 years old, or 17 years old.
The ending of abortion cannot be separated from the raising up of an adoption movement. Both concern wanting and loving children, born and unborn—and loving them enough to make them our own sons and daughters if they are left fatherless. In the Father’s house, there are no unwanted children.
Consider a 15 year-old girl who finds herself pregnant. She is certainly very scared, and the seemingly easiest way out is to abort her baby. However, through some counseling, she decides to keep her baby. Do we now breathe a sigh of relief because the baby wasn’t aborted? Is the life of her child still valuable 5 or 6 years later when we learn that the child has been abused and neglected and is now living in foster care? Do we still care about the child’s life?
Lesson #1: Kids in crisis need love, prayer, boundaries, support and consistency
I can’t imagine having a mom or dad who abused me physically or sexually. It’s hard to imagine being a kid and never knowing when my next meal would be and always wondering if mom or dad was going to come home with groceries or just more alcohol and pass out on the kitchen floor. Then one day you are taken away by the police and placed in a home with strangers. All you knew has been taken away, your life uprooted. As a kid you were used to just trying to survive, making sure to stay awake as much as possible because you never knew if some guy would come in the room and take advantage of a little girl, or if mom would come home strung out and not feed you. You fended for yourself.
Stephanie and I went through the trainings, read the books and tried to equip ourselves with enough information to be able to help them. We will never be able to fully understand what they went through, because we never experienced it ourselves. However, we CAN give them love. We can cover them with so much prayer. We can sing them songs every night and tuck them in bed, giving them hugs and kisses. We can lay out boundaries for them to function in. It is through the consistency of doing these things that we have seen an amazing change through the lives of our kids. They have thrived in our family over the past 13 months. Support from others outside of our family has been crucial as well, for both them and for us as parents. Seeing people who will love and care for them in a safe way week after week has been huge to the healing of their hearts.
Lesson #2: It’s not all butterflies and kisses [although they do like butterflies and kisses]
The first month was sort of a honeymoon period for us. Emotions for us were high because we had just brought children in need into our home. They were just taking it all in and were trying to figure out what had happened and what this new home was going to be like. Then, after the first 3-4 weeks, their survival modes started to kick in and we started to see lots of different kinds of behavioral issues. They began acting out many of their behavioral habits, their emotions started coming out and for the next few months it was tough. They would scream, kick, bite, hit, anything to try to get us their way. They were so used to getting their way before that once boundaries were set into place around them, they began bumping up against them and then trying to kick the walls down. However, with consistency, prayer and the things mentioned above they began to love the boundaries and thrive within them.
Lesson #3: Kids like songs made up on the spot about their teddy or puppy better than bedtime songs.
We have learned this from our other kids, but even more so with our new children. If they had their choice, they would want us to make up songs about every single stuffed animal or toy they had. However, they love the bedtime songs as well. A bedtime routine that includes songs is especially comforting to them. Also, if you include their names in the songs or the stories you sing/tell, they will love them all the more. There is nothing like the smiles and laughter of children, especially when you know what they’ve been through.
Lesson #4: Little girls are different than little boys.
Dana was our first girl and boy is she girly. If it’s pink “that’s Dana’s.” If it’s flowery, “that’s Dana’s.” If it has Dora the Explorer on it… watch out! She loves frills, she loves dolls, she loves shoes and she loves being a girl. I think a lot of the drama that goes on in our house has to do with this too. She is sooo dramatic when she wants something or when she gets excited. It’s something I’m getting used to, but also still trying to figure out. I’ve definitely learned a lot about raising a toddler girl and my wife is guiding me along the way as well.
Lesson #5: There are more kids in need than there are families ready to take them in.
Here in Missouri there are about 10,000 kids in the foster care system. About 2,600 of them already have their TPR (Termination of Parental Rights) and are just waiting to be adopted. We live in Jackson County and found out that every year 500 kids are available for adoption, but last year only about 180 adoptions occurred.
What happens to these kids if they don’t get adopted? Here is an article that gives details about kids who have aged out of foster care http://orphanjusticecenter.com/2010/07/30/aging-out-of-foster-care/.
I am praying for more Christian families willing to step up and help kids in crisis. The 3 year old Dana’s, the 4 year old Gerardo’s and the 7 year old Manuel’s need loving families who will take the time to give them love, cover them with prayer, set boundaries for them to thrive in and do this consistently.