Saturday, November 19, 2011

Preemptive Love Coalition: Providing Heart Surgeries for Iraqi Children.

It was only a few weeks ago that I found out about Preemptive Love Coalition (PLC), an international organization that provides heart surgeries for children living in Iraq. One of Cedarville's own graduates, Cody Fisher, is a member of PLC and all of the current Cedarville students were privileged to watch a video of him talking about his passion for the organization not too long ago at one of our regular chapel services.

There is a dire need for heart surgeries for Iraqi children, which is due in part to the decay of the medical system over the past three decades. Currently, there are 29,000 children per year that are denied surgery in one Baghdad hospital alone and 3,000 known children in Kurdish Region waiting for surgery. 11,000 children are added to the backlog each year. Iraq used to have a excellent, highly centralized medical system but now the system has deteriorated immensely, creating an inability to treat the normal case load of patients and the higher rates of birth defects in Iraq have not helped the situation, either. All this has led to a desperate need for lifesaving heart surgery for countless children. PLC is able to provide these surgeries because of generous giving.

This very morning Cedarville University took an offering for PLC and before the offering took place, our student chaplain encouraged us to give freely for this great organization that is saving thousands of lives of precious children. He used the following passage to challenge us to give out of love, rather than just giving because we feel guilty.

"But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. All the nation will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left. “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’ “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’ “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’ “And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” -Matthew 25:31-46

How should we respond to this great need? Instead of sitting quietly on the sidelines and watching people die, one by one, we can give our money, time and resources. It always seems to come back to those three things, no matter what the need. God has blessed us with an abundance of money and he's given us all the time and resources we need to do the good things he prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10) We just have to be willing to let God use us. Have you said to God, "Here I am. I'll go where you send me. Use me for your glory," or are you too comfortable, scared, etc? Whatever personal struggles you might be facing, God is bigger and he can and does use us in our weakness to bring about his purpose, so you need not be afraid to trust him with the future or anything else at all.

If you sense God tugging at your heart to give, just do it and expect God to bless you in unexpected ways. God's call on your life might be to go to a country you've never gone to before. Let your fears of the unknown propel you to step out in faith and trust the future to the hands of the God who is outside time and space. Just like God cared for Ruth and Esther, two biblical women of faith, he will also care for you.

Don't think that I don't struggle with this, too. I find myself not wanting to give many times throughout the day, having forgotten that every good and perfect gift is from God the Father who never changes. (James 1:17) Pray for me, that I would be more giving and that I would never forget who the Gift Giver is.

If you need prayer for anything, whether it be that you would be more giving, or loving, or kind, please don't hesitate to share it with me and I will pray for you.

In light of my recent discovery of Preemptive Love Coalition, I created a Brickfish entry for the Tell Your Story...and Make a Difference campaign, which I would love for you to view and vote for. (You may vote once every 24 hours [you do not have to create a username to vote] and leave reviews whenever you like.) Simply click the box below and it will take you to the entry. :)

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