And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me." - Matthew 11:4-6
Throughout history, God has been looking out for the poor and marginalized. His heart is not only clearly demonstrated in Jesus' actions to love and serve the destitute as recorded in the Gospels, but also expressed in small-but-meaningful ways such as His instruction to the Israelites to leave the edges and leftovers of their harvest fields "for the poor and for the sojourners" to gather and eat (Leviticus 23:21).
We could easily create a mile-long list of all the examples in Scripture that express God's heart for the lowly, but others have already done so before us. (Find some of those lists here: God's Heart for the Poor). The lesson to be learned is that we should have a heart of compassion for the poor and marginalized, too. Jesus is our example. We are to follow Him in obedience - much like IDES' mission partners in Pakistan are doing.
International Disaster Emergency Service is proud to present our brand new logo featuring three defining and symbolic characteristics: the Globe, the ICHTHUS, and the color Blue. We pray that our new logo effectively communicates who IDES is, why we exist, and what we care about. We pray that it becomes a symbol of hope to our mission partners, a symbol of unity to our supporters and volunteers, and a symbol of inspiration to you.
"You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you." - John 13:14-15
Contrary to what you might think, this is not a blog post about foot-cleansing techniques.
Instead, we are going to use our imaginations for a moment. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, focus your brain-power. This experiment will only be impactful if you want it to be. Here we go.
Thank you for praying for those whose lives have been severely shaken by these two disasters. IDES missionary partners in both Japan and Ecuador are on the scene assisting with recovery efforts and assessing the long-term needs.
You can help the families affected right now by donating to provide basic necessities like food, water, blankets, and shelter.
Caring for our brothers and sisters in their time of crisis is critical. Relationships of trust can be built, opening opportunities for further ministry. IDES is mobilizing resources to strengthen the witness of Christians who are offering help and hope to these victims.
Please continue to partner with us through your prayers and your generous contributions!
Donate to the "Disaster Response" Fund here: Help Earthquake Victims
Be sure to designate to either "Japan Earthquake" or "Ecuador Earthquake" in the "Additional Information/Other Comments" section.
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." - Ephesians 6:10-12
"Fimran and his family are from the Punjab state of North India. The majority of the people in Punjab are Sikhs and Hindus. Fimran’s family is very orthodox Hindus. He lost his mother several years ago and his father Buta Ram is staying with them. They were Hindus and believed in hundreds and hundreds of gods and goddesses," our mission partner reported.
In a place like North India, Fimran's story is probably all too normal. According to PewForum.org, approximately 6,373,040,000 people will be either Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, folk/other, or religiously unaffiliated by 2050. When compared to the projected population of the world in 2050 (9,307,190,000 people), that is roughly 68% or almost 7 out of every 10 people who will not follow Jesus Christ.
Is there anything as devastating as this prediction?
"But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." - 2 Peter 3:8-13
What does it mean to be biblically urgent?
I think Peter does a fantastic job describing this incredibly deep and mysterious concept. The passage above has the potential to lead into all kinds of theological debates, but I think it may be best read from the perspective of the simple. First, let's break the passage down together.
"And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." - Matthew 21:22
Right now in the IDES Warehouse, there are roughly 388,000 servings of our nutritious GAP meals boxed up and ready to be shipped to our partners in Haiti.
The application for shipment has been submitted to the USAID Denton Program. The inspection with the Air Force Reserve is scheduled. Students and orphans all over the Haitian city and countryside eagerly await its arrival.
"As it is, there are many parts, yet one body." - 1 Corinthians 12:20
In honor of National Volunteer Week, April 10th-16th, this week's Monday Devotional is a celebration of our volunteers at IDES.
"Thankful" is a serious understatement of what we feel for our volunteers and supporters. Put simply, IDES would not exist without you. God has so blessed us as an organization with your willingness and generosity.
"Jesus went on from there and walked beside the Sea of Galilee. And he went up on the mountain and sat down there. And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them, so that the crowd wondered, when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled healthy, the lame walking, and the blind seeing. And they glorified the God of Israel." - Matthew 15:30-31
"There was an old lady holding her sick grandson," reported our partner in Pakistan.
It starts like many of the most famous stories in the four Gospels. "And a man was there with a withered hand"...or a "mother-in-law lying sick with a fever"...or a ruler saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death."
Then Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and Healer, would compassionately touch these sick and suffering people and heal them of their illness or injury.
Want to know the best part about each of these stories?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." - Jesus speaking, in Matthew 5:43-48
Last week on Easter Sunday, 74 people were brutally murdered by a suicide bomber in Lahore, Pakistan. More than 300 more were injured. The large majority of the victims were women and children.
The terrorist organization, Tehreek Jamaatul Ahrar, a splintered group wrought out of the Taliban, claimed the attack and made it very clear that they were targeting Christian families celebrating Easter together in the park.
One of IDES' beloved mission partners in Pakistan lost a 7 year old cousin in the attack, and another young cousin was severely injured. This attack hits close to home for us at IDES.
As Jesus-followers, what should our response be?