Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Orphan's Cause

"Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress..."James 1:27 (New Living Translation). The Amplified Bible explains further: "to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need..."

The orphan's cause is carefully highlighted in The Bible. The word orphan or fatherless (Hebrew: yatom, Greek: orphanos) occurs at least 41 times in the Bible, 39 times in the Old Testament and twice in the New Testament. The New Testament passages are James 1:27 and John 14:18. In some manuscripts the word is in Mark 12:40 as well.

The word orphan or fatherless (Greek: orphus, Latin: orbus) means "bereft of parents or of a father." The word "orphanos" in the Greek is used in the Bible in the more general sense of being "desolate", "comfortless". or "friendless". In the King James (Authorized) Version the word is rendered "fatherless" instead of "orphan" , except in Lamentations 5:3 where the word "orphan" is used. Newer translations, however, mostly use the word "orphan" rather than "fatherless".

From earliest times, caring for orphans was a priority concern of the Israelites, and even of some surrounding nations. Yet God's people were often chastised by the prophets for neglecting and defrauding the orphans. God works on their behalf (Deut. 10:18) and condemns those who oppress them (Deut. 27:19, Mal. 3:5). When men fail the orphans (Ps. 27:10), God shows special concern (Ps. 10:14,18; 48:15; 146:9; Hosea 14:3 cf. John 14:18). The orphan is directly contrasted with the wicked in Psalms 146:9.

We definitely see a priority, even a mandate, for aiding and for caring for the orphans, as well as other helpless and hopeless of the world. Orphans, widows, and aliens (or foreigners) are often mentioned in the same Bible passage, as in need of our help and support.

The orphan cause is, therefore, very important, especially now when there are so many orphans and abandoned children in the world because of AIDS, wars, genocide, famines, and poverty. Remember to pray for the orphans, and for specific orphan ministries and Christian adoption organizations.

"See the orphan as the opportunity, not the tragedy." -Paul Myhill, World Orphans

Invisible Soldiers

Children are trapped as conscripted soldiers in the conflicts of at least 13 countries around the world. They are usually denied access to humanitarian groups. Often they are abducted, raped, and killed.
The children are victims of 58 waring groups in these 13 countries. The 13 countries, in alphabetical order are: Afganistan, Burundi, Central African Republic (C.A.R.), Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.), Myanmar, Nepal, Somalia, Sudan, Chad, Columbia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Uganda. Several countries, where things have improved, are no longer on the U.N.'s list, including Ivory Coast and Sierre Leone.
Please pray for the children, the countries, and the leaders of these countries. Pray for the leaders of the waring factions, as well, that God would turn their hearts to end this child abuse.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

William Whiting Borden (1887-1913): No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets

William Borden, a relatively unsung hero of the Student Volunteer Movement, died at the age of only 25 in Cairo, Egypt, never having realized his goal of sharing the gospel of Christ with Muslims in China.
Heir of the vast Borden fortune, he was converted under the ministry of D.L Moody, graduated from Yale, attended Princeton Seminary, signed the "Princeton Pledge" as the result of Samuel Zwemer's preaching, gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars to Christian organizations (while at the same time refusing the luxury of an automobile), and later joined Zwemer, who was then in his first year in Cairo. Samuel Zwemer, himself, went on to become the most recognized and scholarly missionary to the Middle East of the modern era. Zwemer also conducted Borden's funeral.
During his first year at Yale, William Borden started a Bible study with his room mate, which then grew to 150 freshmen. By his senior year the Bible study involved 1,000 of the 1,272 students.
In Cairo, he rode his bike around the steamy streets distributing tracts. His motto became: "Say no to self and yes to Jesus every time."
He died, after only 4 months in Cairo, of spinal meningitis. He was buried at the American Cemetary in Cairo.
Borden Memorial Hospital in Lanzhou, China was named after him.

In his Bible he had written these lines, one at a time, over a short period of time:


For further Study:

Broomhall, Alfred J., Hudson Taylor and China's Open Century, volume 7, Hodder & Strougton and O.M.F., 1989. Section: "It is Not Death to Die."

Campbell, Charles Soutter, William Whiting Borden: A Short Life Complete in Christ, 1909.

Erdman, Charles Rosenbury, An Ideal Missionary Volunteer: A Sketch of the Life and Character of William Borden, London: South Africa General Mission, ca. 1913.

Taylor, Mrs Howard, Borden of Yale '09, Philadelphia: C.I.M., 1913. Moody Press reprint 1923.

The Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College has an archive 0n William Borden.

David Livingston: The Smoke of a Thousand Villages

"I direct your attention to Africa...I go back to make an open door for commerce and Christianity." David Livingston (1813-1873) spoke these words before an elite audience in Cambridge, England, in 1867, while on furlough from Africa.
Livingston, both missionary and explorer, and trained in both theology and medicine, travelled 29,000 miles in Africa, starting in 1840, in an attempt to reach "the smoke of a thousand villages", where the gospel had never been preached. His goals, in doing this, were to extend the Kingdom of Christ and to see slavery abolished.
In Africa he contended with many difficulties, which would have broken many men: jungle fever, drought, wild animals, superstition, slavery, hostile tribes, foreign traders who opposed his mission and exploited the nationals, and even sharp critics back in England.
He recommended training nationals in order to do away with dependency on the Europeans.
His resonse to critics and others was, "We can afford to work in faith, for omnipotence is pledged to fulfill its purpose."
When he died at Lake Tanganyika, in what is now Zambia, his attendants carried his body 1500 miles to the coast, and later one of them even attended his funeral service in Westminster Abbey, England. His wasted body had been found in a position of prayer. His diary was found to read: "I am trying to establish Christ's Kingdom in a region wider than Scotland...Fever seems to forbid it, but I shall work for the glory of Christ's Kingdom, fever or no fever."

Reference books:

Blaikie, W.G., D.D., The Personal Life of David Livingstone, Murray, 1910.

Campbell, R. J., D.D., Livingstone, Benn, 1929.

Charles, Eizabeth, Three Martyrs of the Nineteenth Century: Studies from the Lives of Livingstone, Gordon, and Patteson, London, Society for Propagating Christian Knowledge, 1889. 396p.

Coupland, Sir R., Livingstone's Last Journey, Collins, 1945.

Fraser, Mrs. A. K., Livingstone and Newstead, Murray, 1913.

Hughes, Thomas, Life of Livingstone, NY: John B. Alden Publisher, N.D. (ca. 1910). 204p.

Johnston, Sir H. H., Livingstone and the Exploration of Central Africa, Philip, 1891.

Livingstone, David, Missionary Travels, Murray, 1857. Narrative of Expedition to the Zambesi, Murray, 1865. Last Journals, ed. H. Walter, Murray, 1874. Cambridge Lectures, ed. W. Monk, Deigton Bell, 1860. Zambezi Expedition Journals, ed. J. P. R. Wallis, Chatto and Windus, 1956.

MacNair, James I., Livingstone The Liberator, London and Glasgow: Collins Clear-Type Press, 1940. 382p., index, endpage map, 16 illustrations.

Matthews, B., Livingstone the Pathfinder, Oxford University Press, 1932.

Moreau, A. Scott, editor, Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2000.

Morrison, J.H., The Missionary Heroes of Africa, NY: Doran, 1922.

Northcott, Cecil, Livingstone in Africa, Lutterworth, 1957.

Seaver, George, David Livingstone: His Life and Letters, the definitive biography of the great missionary-explorer-scientist who opened up Africa, NY: Harper & Brothers Publishers. 650p., index, 6 maps, frontispiece photo of Livingstone in 1864.

Simmons, J., Livingstone and Africa, E. U. P., 1955.

Stanley, Sir Henry M., How I Found Livingstone, Sampson Law, 1872.

Tucker, Ruth A., From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya: A Biographical History of Christian Missions, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1983.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The African Bush-millions of lives saved?

It was, not NBC, CBS or the New York Times, that recently acknowledged that President Bush's policies "have saved millions of [African] lives and lifted others from abject poverty." It wasn't an American, but Irish rock star and African activist, Bob Geldof, that said Bush "has done more than any other president so far", though it was "unexpected of the man". He talks about "the triumph of American policy", but chides the American media for ignoring the Bush legacy in Africa.
The African public and media, however, have noticed Bush's commitment to helping Africa, as we saw as thousands lined the route all the way between the airport and Dar es Salem, in Tanzania. Some danced wearing "Bush" shirts and waving American flags.
Why does Bush get so much more respect in Africa than elsewhere?
Bush's aid programs have targetted AIDS and Malaria, two of the biggest killers in Sub-Saharan Africa. The massive 5 year, $15 billion AIDS relief drive has increased the number of people on anti-retrovirals from 50,000 to 1.3 million.
The 5 year, $1.2 billion anti-malaria project has provided 25 million Africans with insecticide- treated mosquito nets, an effective yet simple solution to what is still the the biggest infectious-disease killer in Africa.
The Millenium Challenge Corporation started under Bush has approved $5.5 billion to 16 countries, 9 of which are in Africa. The assistance is limited to countries that support democracy and a free market economy, invest in health and education, and fight corruption.
Bush increased developement and humanitarian assistance to Africa from $1.4 billion his 1st year in office, to $4 billion per year currently.
In tiny Benin, his first African stop, Bush has promoted an anti-malaria program, the training of 1000's of teachers, as well as judicial, financial, and port reform. Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Liberia are also being visited by Bush. These countries , though poor , are making progress in regards to economic growth, better living conditions, and the rule of law, all with U.S. aid.
Bush says " My trip here is a way to remind future presidents and future Congresses that it is in the national interest and in the moral interests of the United States of America to help people."
Please pray for wisdom for our President and his staff, and for these nations in Africa, that the money, medicines, and training provided, will have lasting impact into future generations. May we as individuals and NGO's, also do whatever we can to help, as we pray for God's leading.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

African Revivals of the 20th Century

Revival! A People Saturated With God, by Brian H. Edwards (Evangelical Press, 5th impression, 1997) lists five Christian revivals that have taken place in Africa, all in the 20th century. Errol Hulse's Give Him No Rest: A Call to Prayer for Revival, Evangelical Press, 1991, also describes some of these revivals.
1) 1904 South Africa, at Fransch Hoek
2) 1910 Malawi
3) 1930's onwards East Africa, especially Uganda
4) 1937-1943 Ethiopia, Wallamo Tribes
5) 1953 Congo (Zaire)

1) Regarding the first African revival of the 20th century, this is written by Edwards: "In 1904 at Fransch Hoek in South Africa a Young People's society heard of the Spirit elsewhere and a prayer meeting of 12 was soon attended by 600."
2) In Malawi in 1910 the events are similar, as described in Edwards book: "An elder began to pray confessing before all the sin of having cherished a spirit of revenge for an evil done him. Then another began to pray, and another and another, til 2 or 3 were praying together in a quiet voice, weeping and confessing, each one conscious of the other. Suddenly there came the sound of a rushing wind...It was the thrilling sound of 2500 people praying audibly, no man apparently conscious of the other...Not noisy or discordant, it filled us with great awe."
4) In Ethiopia in 1937 after 9 years of work by Western missionaries there were only 48 known indiginous believers. In 1943, after period of cruel persecution by fascist Italian colonialists, missionaries returned to find 10,000 believers. this increased to 240,000 in 1950, and to 3.5 million Christians in 1990.
Pray that God will bring more revivals like these to Africa and elsewhere.

For Further Reading about Revival, and also African Revivals:

Brown, Michael L., The End of American Gospel Enterprise, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, Destiny Image Publishers, 1989.

Coleman, Robert, The Spark That Ignites, Minneapolis: World Wide Publications, 1989.

Duewel, Wesley, Revival Fire, Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995.

Edwards, Brian H., Revival: A People Saturated with God, Evangelical Press (UK), 1997.

Hulse, Errol, Give Him No Rest: A Call to Prayer for Revival, Evangelical Press (UK), 1991.

Johnstone, Patrick and Jason Mandryk, Operation World: When We Pray God Works, WEC International and Paternoster Lifestyle (UK), 21st Century Edition, 2001.

Jones, Martyn-Lloyd, Revival, Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books (a division of Good News Publishers, 1987, 2nd printing 1988, forward by J.I. Packer.

Moreau, A. Scott, Evangelical Dictionary of World Missions, Baker Books and Paternoster Press, 2000.

Morrison, J. H., The Missionary Heroes of Africa, George H. Doran (NY), 1922. Reprited by Negro Universities Press (A division of Greenwood Publishing Corp.), 1969.

Olford, Stephen F., Heart Cry for Revival, revised edition, Memphis, Tenn.: Encounter Ministries, 1987.

Orr, J. Edwin, The Eager Feet, Chicago: Moody Press, 1975.

Prime, Samuel, The Power of Prayer, Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1991 (reprint of an 1859 classic).

Ravenhill, Leonard, Revival God's Way, Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1983.

Rice, John R., We Can Have Revival Now, Wheaton, Illinois: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1990.

Wallis, Arthur, Revival: The Rain from Heaven, Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming Revell Company, 1979.

White, John, When the Spirit Comes with Power, Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1988.