Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly

I have always loved this verse from Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.

    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Two Sundays ago, we had the privilege of hearing from International Justice Mission (IJM). IJM is a human rights agency that brings rescue to victims of slavery, sexual exploitation and other forms of violent oppression.  It was such an amazing message and picture of how God's people are intended to respond to injustice in the world.

As the speaker Rev. Larry Martin noted, God has a passion for the world and for justice.

He then asked the necessary question to follow that statement:

Are our passions the same as Gods?

Well, I'd like to hope that my passions are in line with God's, but what does the way I spend "my" time, "my" thoughts, "my" money, and "my" resources really reflect?

Martin went on to say that nobody has to remind us to love ourselves.  We don't have to wake up in the morning and say, "Jessica, don't forget to think of yourself. Don't forget to set up your personal agenda and meet your personal needs."  Right?  That seems to come pretty naturally all by it's self.  

It's easy to love ourselves (at least in the sense that we usually don't forget about our own needs and desires).

It's easy to love our friends and family (most of the time).

It's easy to like those that like us and that are like us.

But, as we take a look at how Jesus lived his life out on this earth, he was pretty good at hanging out with those who were outcasts of society. The poor and the sick and the weak and the shamed and the unlovable and the unwanted.  THOSE were the ones Jesus sought out.

And so we pray that God would grow our hearts to be more like his because the truth is, with all the bad in the world, some people have a really hard time believing that God is good.

People all around the world are in such desperate circumstances that they are without hope.

When you lose your family member to preventable or easily treatable disease because you happen to live in a third world country, it's hard to believe God is good.

When you spend your childhood days in bondage to slavery and are brutally assaulted day after day in the darkest of places, it's hard to believe there is hope.

When children lose parents and become orphans and are left alone in this world, it's hard to believe in redemption.

When the helpless are unjustly imprisoned, oppressed, and forgotten, it is hard to believe there is light.

But the bible tells us there is hope and he beckons us to be the light in the darkness, to stand in the gap for those that suffer.

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." 
Matthew 5:14,16

We are the ones called to go and to meet those in the darkness and to be a light.

As I thought of those people who are right now in that place of feeling so alone and forgotten and hopeless, I couldn't help but think of a video I recently viewed of this precious girl Selah who was once in the darkest most hopeless place in her life.  God used one family's obedience to show her His love for her and restore her.

There are so many like Selah.  People in desperate situations. Praise God for faithful organizations like IJM who are battling evil to bring hope to the oppressed and for faithful families like the Twietmeyers who have stated Project Hopeful to bring hope to other kids like their daughter.

You see, it only takes our obedience to make a difference.

God doesn't expect us to have all the answers or all the resources, he only asks, "What do you have?" and "Will you give it to me?"

In the familiar story of the feeding of the 5000, Jesus tells the disciples to feed the hungry.  Now we all know that Jesus could have easily done this himself, but he wanted to teach a valuable lesson here.

The disciples say it would take way more money to feed these people than any of them had (which coincidentally Jesus already knew).

But one boy steps up in obedience, shares his lunch and God works a miracle providing baskets of food in excess of what was even needed.  God doesn't ask us to be miracle workers, he just asks us to obey. What do we have?  Will we give it to him?  Our time, our energy, our thoughts, our prayers, our money, our talents......when we obey, he takes responsibility for the miracles.

I want to point out that God never asks if we have "enough."  God works despite our inadequacy.   He simply asks for our "yes" and then takes care of the rest for his glory.

Martin concluded by telling us that if you want to see how brightly your light can shine in this world, take it to the darkness.

So I'll ask myself and I'll ask you again:

What do you have?

Will you give it to God?

Learn to do right; seek justice.
    Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
    plead the case of the widow.
Isaiah 1:17


  1. Selah is adorable and inspiring. Thanks for sharing that video.

  2. You have spoken to my heart Jesus and I appreciate your tender kindness in reminding me once again that...God doors the work with us in the darkness...We just have to say Yes...I want to be a light shares in the darkness.
    You are loved and thank you for doing your part and posting this to encourage us all!

  3. I went to school with your husband Nick. I stumbled across your blog from another friend's blog. I really enjoy reading your posts. Y'all are very inspiring Christians!