Isaiah is not an easy, or short, book to read. But it is well worth the time and effort it takes. Some of my most favorite passages are in Isaiah, and as I read through it over the next couple of months, I expect to find more I love. Perhaps I can entice you to love it with me.
Here’s a taste of why I love it: it makes me think about what I should be doing in my life to help improve the lives of others. I can keep a clear conscience before the LORD, if I’m seeking justice, defending the oppressed, fighting for the fatherless and widow (otherwise known as foster children and single mothers).
Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight; stop doing wrong.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;”
Isaiah 1:16 – 20
Here are 5 simple ideas for doing just that:
- Sponsor a child through Compassion International, or Potter’s Field Ministries. It’s a pretty inexpensive way to make a big change in a child’s life. My family supports children through both these ministries. It is a joy to see them growing year by year, and receive their letters.
- Shop fair trade. Specifically, check out the blog “We are THAT Family,” and their Mercy House ministry. They sell jewelry, T-shirts, home décor, and more. All made the fair trade way, and all profits used to support the ministry of Mercy House in Kenya, a home for unwed teenagers, many of whom were also abused. Sure, there are other ministries like this you can support; I just happen to know of this one and love the story of it, told in Kristen Welch’s book Rhinestone Jesus. Fill me in on others I should know.
- Get in touch with inner city ministries, and connect on a personal level with children and teens who need a mentor. Positive role models are hard to come by in some lives; you can be one by taking a few hours a week to spend with a child or teen who needs a godly influence.
- Give consistently and generously to your church. If you are attending a Bible-believing local church – one that puts its time, talent, and treasure to work on behalf of those who are suffering in the world and who don’t know Jesus in a personal way – then it may be that the best ‘bang for your buck’ comes through your local church. They not only have the people and programs in place to reach out (food pantry, homeless ministries, clothes closet, and foster-care are just a few of many possibilities), they also have spiritual solutions for true life-change.
- Pray consistently and sincerely. Pick a ministry and pray for the leaders, staff, outreach, and those who are affected by it. Pray for specific missionaries as they minister in places of poverty and brokenness. Pray for ways to make a difference.