The text came in at 9:58 p.m. “Rachel, I just wanted you to know…”

I had been thinking about this woman just a half hour earlier. “It’s late,” I’d thought, “I will text her in the morning. It’s been too long since I’ve heard from her. I need to let her know we’re still here, and we haven’t forgotten her.”

The message was long—very long—and heartbreaking. Lives in shambles because a man saw an opportunity to use the weaknesses of others to afflict the fatherless in the truest, most revolting sense of the word.

Our texts went back and forth, but not for long because of the hour. My heart was breaking, and yet there was hope. As horrible as the situation has become, it is at a place where restoration can begin, and the Lord may allow us the opportunity to be a part of that restoration. It won’t be easy. In fact, it is overwhelming to consider the depth of the need as well as the time and the attention that this situation will require in the coming months. But God knew all of that when He brought our paths together, and this…this is where being a doer of the Word comes into play (See Wednesday’s blog to read more.)

 

James 1-27 work

God got very specific when he told us to be a doer of the Word. (James 1:22-26) He told us the dangers of walking away as merely a hearer: that in doing so we are deceiving (cheating) ourselves. He told us the marks of a man or woman whose religion is vain (without purpose or power) can be seen in the way they bridle their tongue.

But in James 1:27, He defines the religion that is pure and undefiled—free of the things that impair the force and vigor of our worship. Pure worship has two simple parts:

  1. Visit the Fatherless and the Widow in their affliction
  2. Keep oneself unspotted from the world

While the ideas are simple, neither is easy to perform. But both are right. Both are pleasing to God. And, as we saw in this earlier post, both are part of what God is talking about when He tells us He wants us to be doers of the word and not hearers only.

The second of these two is a very personal area, an area that is transformed through the renewing of our minds as we apply God’s word to our life and grow in our relationship with Him. We tend to focus on this part of God’s definition of religion far more than the first part.

The first, however, is where our faith and worship take on life not only before God but also before others. This is where we “step onto the stage,” as we mentioned earlier this week, and into the “arena of risk” as we mentioned last week. It is not the easy path. Nor is it the “soft” path. This God-ordained path requires the courage, chivalry, and humility to “defend the poor and fatherless” which only He can provide. (Psalm 82:3)

So this week, our challenge is simple, but not easy. This week our challenge is to participate: A challenge to step out of the audience and become a performer. And, as we set this challenge out, we’re also going to give you an opportunity to take the first step.

Beginning next week, on June 1st, we will be holding a prayer meeting on the first Thursday morning of each month. We would like to invite you to participate in it.

I know many of you reading this are not in Billings. That’s okay. You can still be a part!

For those of you who would like to attend in person, it will be held at FTN in the community conference room on the main floor from 10:30 to 11:30. (711 Central Ave, Billings, MT. Parking in rear. Come up the steps, and the conference room will be just inside the door across from the elevator.)

For those of you who are not able to attend in person, please feel free to join us by praying where you are during this time. In fact, why not bring together a group of people in your area with a heart for the fatherless, and pray together wherever you are! Let us know that you will be joining us in prayer, and we will send you the prayer list that we will be using for our meeting.

This is a very simple form of participation, very simple, but it is a beginning. And, lest we forget its true value—it is also worship.

Be brave! Be obedient! Step out of the audience by faith—God will not fail you!

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