Topic: Right relationships
Focus: Love one another
1 Peter 3:8-9 (NKJV) …All of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
This morning I was at church* and heard the story of a young orphan, named Tinotenda, who lives in Zimbabwe, Africa. The man telling the story was Ben Rodgers, from Children’s Cup, a mission effort that bravely takes humanitarian and spiritual aid into hard places where war, natural disasters and disease epidemics have devastated societies.
One day, some young boys heard the sound of faint, exhausted cries that seemed to be coming from an outdoor toilet. From down inside the hole, in the deep accumulation of human waste, little Tinotenda was covered in filth and crawling insects. The boys, who were sick to their stomachs from the sight, ran for help.
Adults came and pulled the three-year-old child from the place where his mother had thrown him to die. In love and pity, they cleaned him up. The only thing they could find to keep him warm was a girl’s pink and white sweater. Mid-day temperatures during that time were in the low 40’s.
Tinotenda’s father probably died of AIDS, which affects one in four people in that area of the world. It is believed that Tinotenda’s mother committed suicide after leaving him in the outhouse.
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When Tinotenda came to Mush Wevana, an orphanage of 50-60 children that receives help from Children’s Cup, it took a while for him to begin responding to the love of the workers…because the rejection he suffered had left such deep wounds.
But today, Tinotenda is a happy twelve-year-old, who has adjusted very well to his new life. He has received so much love and compassion, that he now has hopes of becoming a doctor someday, so that he can help other children like himself.
As I listened to the story, I was also seeing the face in the picture I have of John Devadas, the little boy my husband and I support at Miracle Church Children’s Home in India…hoping that someday he too, could make a difference in his own nation.
Children’s Cup is reaching out to orphans in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Vietnam and the Philippines. Most of the children they help have known horrors most of our children have never even heard of. They need so much more than food, shelter, medicine and education to heal their emotions. They need Jesus. Most of them have been sexually abused, beaten, and some have even been forced to murder and maim as child warriors.
Children’s Cup sets up CarePoints where children who may not live in an orphanage can begin to receive regular, ongoing treatment for all of their needs. As they receive food and medical care, they are also shown the love of Jesus, and their hope is restored. Young children sometimes walk miles to receive one meal a day at a CarePoint—and that meal will probably be the only one they have all day.
There are so many children with needs like these throughout the world. When we’re caught up in our own lives and problems, it’s hard to consider taking on the needs of others who are less fortunate than we are. But hearing about their situation can help us realize that there are others who have it much worse than we do.
The love of Jesus transforms lives. When you are sick and depressed, you can’t imagine being of much help to anyone else. But when you begin to be restored—you can make a difference in other people’s lives, too.
God wants you to be healthy and whole. He has a good plan for your life. He doesn’t want you to be conformed to the pattern of this world, but to be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you can know what the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God is for your life.
Caring for the needs of less fortunate people is one way you can receive the healing you need for yourself. Luke 6:37-38 says, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Declaration: I will find new strength by focusing my attention on those who are less fortunate than I.
*Bayside Community Church, Bradenton Florida http://mybayside.church
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