Today is Orphan Sunday – Orphan Sunday is an opportunity for us to celebrate God’s heart for orphans.

(Stories from


Psalm823 Mission

Psalm 82:3 Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.


Jacob’s parents both died from AIDS. He was being cared for by his grandmother until she found out that Jacob was HIV+.  Because of the stigma attached to AIDS, Jacob’s grandmother abandoned him.

Jacob now had absolutely no one to look after him. He was totally alone–an orphan in one of the poorest countries in the world. Every 14 seconds, a child loses a parent to AIDS. A child just like Jacob.


Marta is an orphan.  When her parents died, she was taken in by her uncle– who didn’t want to care for her.  The situation spiraled downward until Marta ran away. She lived in a nearby woods with other runaway children, barely surviving.  While living in the woods, Marta was the victim of abuse by the other children- until she was discovered and rescued. Marta is the type of girl who is vulnerable to being forced into prostitution. In the capital city of Marta’s country, there are 40,000 workers in the brothels –many of them children.  Children just like Marta.


Pierre is a slave. He works from before dawn until past dark, working to please the family that owns him.  If he does not immediately obey, he is beaten.  He does not go to school. He has no bed to sleep in.  He eats alone, away from the family’s table. He wishes he could go back to his real family –but he doesn’t know whether they are still alive. Studies show that 300,000 children live under the bondage of slavery in this poor country. Children just like Pierre.


James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.



What can you do?


Pray for the plight of orphans.

Pray that God will bring orphans into families and provide for their needs,

Pray orphans come to know Jesus.

Pray that God directs you to your next step.



Sponsor a child, either with a one-time gift or monthly donation.

Learn and consider adoption or fostering an orphan.



Help support a family who is adopting/fostering.

Start an Orphan Care ministry in your church.

Adopt or foster a child.


Psalm 68:5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. 6  God sets the lonely in families.




Sermon in a Sentence(s): Demonstrate self-control – master your desires and emotions by submitting to Jesus.



The Marshmallow Experiment

2 Peter 1:6


2 Peter 1:3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5  For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6  and to knowledge, self-control; …8  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.


The passage we have been studying says God has given us everything we need for life. God has given us great promises and we can escape the corruption of the world.  That is why we should add to our faith.

In response to everything God has given us we should grow in Him.

Then comes another promise we won’t be ineffective or unproductive

Who wants to be unproductive?  I would guess that on the days you feel unproductive you are very frustrated and unhappy with yourself.

Do you want to be productive and effective then add to your faith?


Faith is the trusting relationship grounded in your knowledge of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus

Do you have faith?  Do you trust Jesus?

He is trustworthy – consider surrendering your life to Him today.


If you have faith then add to your faith, goodness and knowledge and self-control.

The Greek word (enkrateia, 1466) is a combination of two words – In and Power

The KJV translates it Temperance the NIV translates it self-control

In power, in control – the ability to master your desires and passions

Having power over, mastering, controlling, and restraining your desires.

I have never liked the word – it seems to imply that “self” can control.  It is not my power – it is me surrendering to the power of God that will give me the ability to master my desires and passions.


Galatians 5:16  So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.


Living by the desires of the flesh is simply saying we are addicted. What are you addicted to?  We know people are addicted to drugs and alcohol, pain killers and pornography.

What are you addicted to?  When you desire flesh and not the Spirit.


Galatians 5:17  For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.


That sounds like a good definition of an addiction.  Medically addiction is defined as: the person is unable to control the aspects of the addiction without help because of the mental or physical conditions involved.

A Habit is defined as: the person is under control, they can choose to stop.


Simply – with a habit you are in control of your choices, with an addiction you are not in control.


What controls you? What has power over you?

Do you live “in power” by the Spirit or do you live by the flesh?


I am sorry to say that Jody Selby didn’t even stay in the drug addiction recovery program for a week. He gave power to drugs instead of surrendering to Jesus.

He seemed sincere for the last several years. I have written him every week for years and I am heartbroken that he has turned his back on Jesus and the help we have provided.  It never gets easier to invest in people and then have them “stab you in the back”.  That is how I feel when people turn away from the Lord.


God says something different.

1 Samuel 8:6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the LORD. 7  And the LORD told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.


I am not Samuel – but when people leave our assembly and go back to the world they are not rejecting me they are rejecting the Lord. But it still hurts.

But we can’t give up on helping people.  Some will reject and not be appreciative but others will be saved.

The staff person at Teen Challenge said he had never seen a church do what we did for Jody and he said please not give up on others.  Jody did voice to him appreciation for all we have done but he wanted “freedom”.

His addiction was a greater pull than his desire to be clean and live a faithful life for Jesus.

We may not be addicted to drugs but often our fleshy desires pull us to not live faithfully for Jesus either.


Jesus sacrificed His life for the whole world knowing that most would reject His gift of grace.

Judas broke His heart by betraying Him (John 6:70).


Addiction / lack of being in power can be seen at a young age.


Marshmallow Experiment

Psychologist Walter Mischel at Stanford University in the 1960’s did the marshmallow test. Children were told that they could have a single treat, such as a marshmallow, right now. However, if they would wait while the experimenter ran an errand, they could have two marshmallows. Some preschoolers grabbed the marshmallow immediately, but others were able to wait, for them, what must have seemed an endless 20 minutes. To sustain themselves in their struggle, they covered their eyes so they wouldn’t see the temptation, rested their heads on their arms, talked to themselves, sang, and even tried to sleep. These plucky kids got the two-marshmallow reward.

The interesting part of this experiment came in the follow-up. The children who as 4-year-olds had been able to wait for the two marshmallows were, as adolescents, still able to delay gratification in pursuing their goals. They were more socially competent and self-assertive, and better able to cope with life’s frustrations. In contrast, the kids who grabbed the one marshmallow were, as adolescents, more likely to be stubborn, indecisive, and stressed.  (Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, Bantan Books)


That is why people say, “I can’t help myself.” That is an excuse.  Help yourself my surrendering your will to the will of Christ.  Live by the fruit of the Spirit.


Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.


So we need to live by the Spirit in power, letting the Spirit control our desires and passions.

You don’t want to live a powerless life.


2 Timothy 3:1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2  People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—


The Greek word is made up of two words (akratēs, 193) no and power. Those who live powerless lives show they don’t love God.


That is what the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous said in Step One of their 12 steps.

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.


Admit you are powerless to sin and surrender to Jesus.


1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25  Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26  Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27  No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.


The Greek word translated strict training is (enkrateuomai, 1467) the verb form of temperate, self-control, in power.


We must train and compete – Peter said, “make every effort”.

Where do you need to make effort?

What are you powerless to? Where is your weak area?  How does Satan attack you?

It is time to gain control.

When Jesus was tempted by Satan He quoted scripture (Matthew 4:1-11).

Know God’s word so you can battle and take control of your life in the areas where you struggle.

I will be glad to share passage that will help you will the battle.

What emotions trigger your struggle of control?

When you are sad you eat chocolate.  When you are disrespected you become selfish.

What thoughts push you to behave in an uncontrolled manner?


Train yourself to know you have power because you are in Jesus.

You are not powerless over anything because as a Christian you have the power of God the Holy Spirit in you.


Romans 6:11 In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12  Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13  Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness. 14  For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.


Daily think how you can offer your body as an instrument of righteousness. Then you will be on your way to living in power.


Christian you know you have power – you are not powerless because you are in Christ.

If you want to live a controlled life you first must surrender your will to Jesus.


Are you ready to admit you are powerless over your sin?

Then come today – come believing, come repenting, come ready to be immersed into Jesus.