Our Father’s Children


As Peter Burgo pointed out in last month’s editorial, Alliance Life is about the mission and ministry of the C&MA at home and abroad. That standing “theme” is an unending storehouse of opportunities for prayer, praise and missions education.

Although we no longer solicit articles centered on themes for each issue, we notice that occasionally the stories we receive have a common thread, and this month that seems to be adoption, whether physical or spiritual. But on another level, each story in this issue invites us to take a closer look at the different faces of love that we are called to express as the hands and feet of Jesus in a broken world.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul writes, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (10:9). When that happens, we are adopted into a new family, one that cherishes the Word of God and makes His will the highest priority. And what is His will? Over the years, many well-intentioned Christians have written enough books to fill a library about how to find God’s will, and most contain a fair amount of good advice. But it is Jesus who gives us the bottom line.

‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matt. 22:37–40).

One of my Old Testament professors in seminary encouraged us to memorize Jeremiah 9:23–24. In these verses, the Lord tells us that to boast that we know Him, we must understand what gives Him pleasure. “‘. . . I am Yahweh [in the original Hebrew], who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the LORD.”

Loving God is correlated with knowing Him, and showing that we know Him is related to how well we love our neighbor, increasing Yahweh’s delight when we help Him exercise kindness, justice and righteousness on earth. In this issue, you will read about God’s adopted sons and daughters who are doing just that.

In many parts of the world, members of the new believers’ birth families turn against them, sometimes with violence. There are many stories we cannot tell in these pages, because the lives of laymen and missionaries would be endangered if we did. Only when Christ returns will we know of the sacrifices many women and men have made to become sisters and brothers in the Lord.

Even when Christian workers cannot preach the gospel with words, they are compelled by Christ within to show His gospel through their actions. When the neighbor we are asked to love is a newborn left by the road, the “command” is a quickening of the natural impulse to protect and provide (“Words of Hope,” p.6). Colette Baudais and her coworkers at Familia FM were moved to start a rescue center for abandoned infants that in just one month of operation has already received almost as many babies as the staff can handle. “We have the potential to be overwhelmed,” Colette wrote in a prayer letter.

As they adopted an unborn child with a slim chance for survival, Gayle and Curtis Opp (“God’s Amazing Gracie,” p. 9) were convinced that they were called by God to pour out their love, even as they knew their hearts might be broken. Having been a birth mother herself as a teen, Gayle knew her “neighbor”—a Chinese student who wanted to find a home for her baby—better than most. And the healing God gave not only to a baby girl but also to the hearts of Gayle and her Alliance family is amazing to us—but absolutely “normal” for our heavenly Father.

When the neighbor we are asked to love has a real desire to see us suffer, following Christ’s command is perhaps less instinctual but just as compelling. For Timothy and Elise Sanou (“Chief Witness,” p. 14), leaving animism behind is not only an act of courageous faith but also one of lovingkindness toward their fellow villagers. As their former chief responds to their death curses with the steadfast assurance that it is Christ alone who saves, Timothy’s neighbors experience the love of God and His righteousness. And little by little, as a small group of believers becomes an organized church, God’s light is shining in a village that was once celebrated for its darkness.

God loved the world so much that our adoption is written in the Blood of the Lamb, His only begotten Son. Our Father is delighted when we can boast in how well we know Him.

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