As we plan for Empty Frames to address the church and the call on Christians to care for orphans, we realize that we will need more than a one-time conversation over Sunday morning. The call to care for the fatherless is dispursed throughout the Bible. To help engage and launch discussion we are hoping to develope a Bible study that can be utilized by the Church. We will be sharing a series of blog posts that revolve around the topic of God as Father and giving insight by sharing our notes for our developing studies.
About God as Father
When the discussion of orphan care arises in the church, one of the first go-to verses is James 1:27
"Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
This is a continuation of the first chapter in James, where the body is exhorted and told to press into what God has for them. Christians are told to embrace trials, to be patient, to ask God earnestly for wisdom, to be humble, to endure temptation, to understand God’s faithfulness, to be doers of the word and not merely hearers, among many other things. When we stop only in James to understand our calling to the orphan and the widow we miss the larger story God has been unfolding throughout scripture, but through this first chapter we see that the Lord has given us many relational tasks that come before the physical needs we are asked to meet as the Church.
He is our Father, we are adopted sons and daughters spiritually, heirs with Jesus, and we are called to tell and demonstrate the love of the Father to all people - physical widows and orphans included. (Romans 8)
As Empty Frames Initiative has looked into how to share with churches, we realized that the focus is going to have to be on each individuals walk with the Lord, and that isn’t covered in one message on Sunday. That’s why we’re developing a study that will serve to help believers talk through the call to care for the lost, specifically orphans. We believe that every individual who seeks out God will find Him, He wants to reveal Himself (Deuteronomy 4:29; Proverbs 8:17; Matthew 7:7-11). To understand our Redeemer more, we can look to the Bible. Our study will focus on what has been revealed in scripture and how that is applied to our lives today.
The first focus of this study is about God as Father. There is a relationship that prefaces our actions - how we know God to be our Father, King, Savior, Redeemer, among the many things He is to us. We are often told that He is Father - but what does that mean to us? How do we perceive that expression in a broken world, where relationships with father figures are often severed? We need to look to the Word and understand the meaning and intention. We need to pray and ask for revelation. We need to seek out His wisdom faithfully - He has told us He wants to give it, even just in James 1.
Let’s move deeper into the discussion of orphan care in the scripture and understanding God as Father together.
Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds,
By His name YAH, And rejoice before Him.
A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,
Is God in His holy habitation. God sets the solitary in families;
He brings out those who are bound into prosperity;
But the rebellious dwell in a dry land.
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