Imagine a world without orphans. Imagine a world where every child is brought up in a safe and loving family. It is a lofty dream—a “fool’s dream”—that a small number of courageous men and women have dared to make their own.
From February 11th to 14th, delegates from over 60 different countries around the world gathered in Chiang Mai, Thailand for the Global Forum for a World Without Orphans. Started in Ukraine, the World Without Orphans Movement is based on the premise that it is time for the church to rise up and take orphan care more seriously and personally.
After decades of taking children off the streets and institutionalizing them, overwhelming evidence has proven that orphanages—as good as their intentions may be—are in fact detrimental to children’s health, growth, and development.
Surveys across the globe have also shown that the main cause for the worldwide orphan crisis is not the death of parents, but poverty. Most children living in institutional homes have at least one living parent who simply cannot afford to sustain their children and so leave them to be cared for in a children’s home.
“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.”
Indeed, caring for the orphaned and vulnerable is a mandate that has been given to the church, and what better body or organization is there to take on this task of giving every child a family than the Bride of Christ?
World Without Orphans seeks to educate people about the global orphan crisis, and encourages the church to consider foster care, adoption, and most importantly, family preservation (keeping children and their parents together). As we were once spiritually orphaned and are now adopted into the family of our Heavenly Father, so also should we be the voice and support that these children and their families need.
The forum touched on a myriad of different topics related with someday achieving this goal of a world without orphans. Aware of the huge responsibility this movement calls for and the many nuances such a dream entails, Rev Dr Prince Guneratnam of Calvary Church, Malaysia presented the first keynote address: Believe In Your Vision.
He started out by asking everyone present to remember a promise that God gave them, and reflect on it. He encouraged the delegates to know that Jesus never fails and that He is a promise-keeper. God will fulfill what He promises.
“My thoughts this evening are from the book of Romans,” Rev Prince said, “—a portion of Scripture that has stirred my heart with regard to God, who gives us His word, His vision, His plan, and His purpose, and when He does, He always fulfills them.”
“1 What advantage then does the Jew have? Or what profit is there in circumcision? 2 Much in every way! Chiefly because the oracles of God were entrusted to them.”
3 What if some did not believe? Would their unbelief nullify the faithfulness of God? 4 God forbid! Let God be true, and every man a liar. As it is written:
“That You may be justified in Your words,
and may prevail in Your judging.”
Paul answers three interesting questions:
1. What advantage does a Jew have?
God is not racist. He does not discriminate against any race. The distinction between Jew and Gentile is that God, in His sovereign will, chose the nation of Israel to reveal Himself to the rest of the world through His Holy Scriptures. Through the Jews, He delivered His plans and will for the world so that all of mankind might be saved. It’s not the race that counts, but the promises and revelation that He has given to us.
2. What value is there in circumcision?
Circumcision is more of an outward identification to identify the Jews as God’s chosen people. Today, however, circumcision no longer identifies a person as one who belongs to God. When we read the writings of Paul, we see that circumcision is no longer a demarcation of those who belong to God.
Paul says in Corinthians that if you become a believer and are not yet circumcised, you don’t have to go and get circumcised, and if you already are circumcised and you become a believer, you don’t have to reverse it. Circumcision is only an outward identification that does not benefit us in any way if the heart is not in the right place. The New Testament actually warns us against having a form of godliness while denying the power of God.
3. What if others don’t believe? Does that make God unfaithful?
If God has given us a vision, a revelation, a dream, or a promise, understand that He is a promise-keeper. Whether or not other people believe in what you know God has given to you does not matter. It does not make God a liar. Man will lie, but God never will.
We do not need people to believe in what God has given to us. If God has given you something, hold on to it. Keep your faith in it, because He will follow through with it. The Bible tells us that in the days that we are living in—the last days—God is pouring out His Holy Spirit and the language of the Holy Spirit is visions and dreams. God is quickening His work, and a vision has been given. Whether or not others think it is possible is irrelevant. It will come to past. God will bring about His victory.
The vision or revelation that God gives, He gives so that we know His will and direction that He wants us to go. Many times, it is difficult, and there will be hardships that come our way. Rev. Prince then went on to use Joseph as an example.
“Think about Joseph. He had a dream. But when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more. When you want to do what God wants you to do, there is going to be opposition. There will be challenges. But God is not a liar.”
“ 6 He said to them, “Please listen to this dream which I have dreamed. 7 We were binding sheaves in the field. All of a sudden my sheaf rose up and stood upright, and your sheaves stood around it and bowed down to my sheaf.”
8 His brothers said to him, “Will you really reign over us, or will you really have dominion over us?” So they hated him even more because of his dreams and his words.
9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “I have dreamed another dream. The sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing to me.”
When God has given you His word, His promises—or revealed His purposes for your life, hang in there. Don’t give up. Don’t let go. Because God keeps His word.
When God gives us a dream, there are two elements. There is a breaking, and a making. That breaking is not to destroy you. God’s work in our lives is never to bring destruction. If there is a breaking because of the vision, dream, or promise He has given you, it is only because He is preparing you for greater things to take place.
He is at work so that when that vision comes to past, and that revelation begins to take fruition, you are matured enough to handle it. So don’t be afraid of the breaking.
Joseph was thrown into a pit. He became a slave, and was then put prison. But every step of that breaking made him stronger and bolder. It gave him character. So that when he entered into the will of God, he stood strong, and was a testimony that there was a living God in Israel.
The Bible tells us that we can trust God. There are so many Scriptures that assure us of God’s faithfulness.
Understand, therefore, that the Lord your God is indeed God. He is the faithful God who keeps his covenant for a thousand generations and lavishes his unfailing love on those who love him and obey his commands.
God has brought together this community and raised up leaders to see a world without orphans. Whenever it is of God, there are going to be challenges. But God is faithful.
God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
(1 Corinthians 1:9)
God has invited you, and because it is His will and purpose, it will come to past. His strength, His sustaining power, and His provision become yours.
Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise.
“Listen,” Rev Prince said, “The Bible is not democratic. It is Theocratic. You don’t need to have the majority to agree. Our governments do, but when it comes to the plan and purpose of God, you just need to know what God has said and promised.”
God specializes in working with the minority. He doesn’t look for a big crowd to join Him. He just looks for people who will have faith to trust Him.
Rev. Prince closed with the following three admonitions:
1. Determine your source.
When God gives you a vision, you have to be sure that God gave it to you. Sometimes it could come from pride, revenge or jealousy. Are you just trying to outdo someone else?
2. Depend on God for your resources.
If it is of God, He will use others and send them your way. Use what you have and do what you can. He will provide everything else. God will never ask you to give more than you can.
3. Don’t let the vision intimidate you.
If it is bigger than you and beyond your ability, you can rest assured that it is God. God will not share His glory with you. When the job is done, He gets the glory because you were incapable on your own. So when you have trusted Him, and He is your source and you know that He has led you and given you that vision, then it will be Him who brings it to past. Then, you can say that it was not by your might, or your power, but by God’s spirit.
|Share The Good News|