Compassion is born!

god-came-all-the-way-from-heaven-to-demonstrate-his-great-compassion-and-love-for-all-mankind

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Because God gave us freedom to choose righteousness does not mean He does not care.

Scriptures of the Day:

Psalm 103:13-14

“Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.”

Luke 7:12-16

“As He approached the town gate, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother (who was a widow), and a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the LORD saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’  14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and those who carried it stood still.  He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ 15 So the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.  16 Fear seized them all, and they began to glorify God, saying, “A great prophet has appeared among us!” and “God has come to help his people!’”

Jesus came to demonstrate the compassion God has on all He has made.  Often people can associate God as being far off and uncompassionate.  Why is sin in the world?  We chose it.  Why does God allow man to hurt other men?  Free will.  Because God gave us freedom to choose righteousness does not mean He does not care.  He demonstrated this lavishly by coming all the way from Heaven.

He counts every tear and knows every hair on our head.  He weeps when we weep.  Surely no one has the kind of compassion our LORD has, Who seeing us choosing willfully to disregard His ways and bearing the consequences, He chose to suffer for our iniquity and have compassion on us, even while we were still cloaked in our sin.

Just as our Savior embodied compassion, He has placed that same seed of kindness in us.  It overwhelms us when we see someone in need.  We must not shut that impulse down.  Maybe it is prayer for another soul, provision or care that another human being made in the image of God needs.  It might not be comfortable, which Christ certainly understands, but we were made to demonstrate compassion just like our Creator.  This Christmas season, who can we demonstrate compassion toward, just as Christ did for us?

Jesus, thank You for having compassion on us and for Your faithful longsuffering toward us.

30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 19 – Our God of Compassion

Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of Copy of 30 Days (1).png

Inspirational Thought of the Day:

His compassion reaches across our imperfection and places His own righteousness upon us.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 145:8

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”

Lamentations 3:22

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”

Before a Holy God we could not stand, but the grace of God. The LORD set a perfect standard because He is Holy. To settle for less would compromise His righteous, perfect nature. He knew we could never meet His Holy law, so He met it Himself.

His compassion reaches across our imperfection and places His own righteousness upon us. When we fail, He lifts us up. When we hurt, He hurts.

It is impossible for God Who is perfect kindness and mercy personified – to be incompassionate. Jesus demonstrated His compassion when He wept over Lazarus’ death, even though He knew full well that He would raise him from the dead. God the Father gave His only Son for an obstinate people because He loved them so very much.

He is longsuffering and waits on us to come to Him. Despite His overwhelming compassion, we have a choice and can choose not to accept His salvation. The question is, why would we choose death when life in Christ is full of grace and love from a compassionate, merciful God?

At the end of ourselves, we look up and see our Father, offering His free gift of salvation.

Thoughtful Thursday: Hidden Treasure – Our Prized Possession

Proverbs 7:1-2

“My child, keep my words and treasure up my commands in your own keeping.  2 Keep my commands so that you may live, and obey my instruction as your most prized possession.”

Proverbs 2:4-5

“If you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.”

Luke 12:34

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Colossians 2:2-3

“My goal is that their hearts, having been knit together in love, may be encouraged, and that they may have all the riches that assurance brings in their understanding of the knowledge of the mystery of God, namely, Christ,  3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

We can go our entire lives searching for treasure – what our hearts long for.  Yet all the while it is right in front of us, sitting on a shelf, gathering dust.

Imagine finding a treasure and looking at it and taking just one piece of the treasure out, then leaving it there.  The treasure would not benefit us and would not be shared with anyone else, either.  In this fast-paced world, we can step over the greatest treasure and miss it, if we are not careful.

What are the various gems in this treasure chest?  Understanding.  Why is it that our eyes were opened to be able to comprehend what God has done?  Knowledge.  Adding to our understanding, more and more knowledge of Him and the ability to see our sins and His grace.  Wisdom. Knowledge applied and used for God’s glory.  Peace. Souls at rest no matter what is transpiring around us.  Salvation.  The penalty for our sins removed – our guilt stains washed away! Communion with God. being able to fellowship with Jesus and go to Him anytime.  Forgiveness.  All of our guilt washed away.  Grace.  Strength to live for Jesus.  Healing.  Changed hearts and minds yielded to Him, delivered from the burdens of this world.  Assurance.  The sweetest jewel – assurance that we will be with Him for all eternity lasts longer than any temporary treasure on this earth.

On and on the precious gems to be found.  To some the Bible is a book of rules, void of life.  To those who have recognized it’s worth, it is the greatest gift God has given to us.  Boundaries set to free us, counsel to comfort us, His word a lamp to guide us.

To be able to know the God of this universe and fellowship with Him is the greatest treasure given to mankind, but often we accept what is more tangible as a substitute and miss out on the gold He has for us.  No where else will we be able to find such a treasure, that supplies all our needs to each individual.

Lord, we delight in You!  Thank You for the treasure of Your most precious Son!  Help us to seek You without ceasing and to daily,moment by moment bask in your Word.

The Politically Incorrect Jesus

Mark 12:14-15

“When they came they said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and do not court anyone’s favor, because you show no partiality but teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?  But he saw through their hypocrisy and said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.”

John 18:38

“Pilate asked, “What is truth?” When he had said this he went back outside to the Jewish leaders and announced, “I find no basis for an accusation against him.”

Psalm 51:6

“Look, you desire integrity in the inner man; you want me to possess wisdom.”

Proverbs 29:25

“The fear of people becomes a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD will be set on high.”

With flattery they approached Jesus, couching their questions with seeming adoration of Jesus’ reputation of being truthful. He knew their hearts.  He did not seek fame nor popularity with them.  The people who had eyes and ears to understand the truth Christ shared listened with delight.  The ones who were jealous, racked with guilt over their sin or even self righteous – plotted to murder him.

Jesus was not deterred by their mocking one bit.  He did not fear them, either, but longed for them to know the truth and just kept living the perfect life before them.  He was more concerned about their salvation and did not try to utilize “seeker sensitive” means to win their hearts.

Truth accomplishes one of two reactions in those who hear it; it is either received and embraced or infuriates the one who does not want to be convicted by the truth.   It seems truth is an instigator.  We have to do something with it – we cannot hear it and have no response.

As believers in a very politically correct charged society, we have a dilemma.  To be all things to all people does not mean to compromise.  How are we to reach this world when absolute truth is no longer recognized or accepted?  Living a righteous life speaks volumes more than just telling someone else about it.  But what about when we make mistakes?  Even in those moments, we can respond in an honest way and repent and glorify God.  Living in truth does not mean we are perfect, but honesty is refreshing and what this world needs more than politically correct empty words.

We must put forth God’s truth in a manner consistent with the grace that has been given to us and we must not shrink back. There are those who have not yet bowed their knees to the peecee police – may we not drink the Koolaid, either.

Avoiding persecution is not a righteous choice and persecution is certain if we live in accordance with God’s truth.  We will not be understood.  We will be mocked.  Labeled.  Jesus was too.  But the peace that comes from Knowing God, searching out His truth and asking Him to help us walk with Him faithfully far outweighs the hollow, temporary acceptance from fickle man.

Lord, help us to live like You did.  May we recognize truth and settle for nothing less in our personal lives.  May we not try to curry the favor of man by worldly means, nor fear them, but love them and guide them to You – truth personified.

Weapons of Warfare

Photo Credits: covenantpromises.org

Photo Credits:
covenantpromises.org

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

“For though we live as human beingswe do not wage war according to human standards4 for the weapons of our warfare are not human weaponsbut are made powerful by God for tearing down strongholds.  We tear down arguments  5 and every arrogant obstacle that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to make it obey Christ.”

2 Timothy 2:23-25

But reject foolish and ignorant controversies, because you know they breed infighting.  24 And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient,  25 correcting opponents with gentleness. Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth.

2 Corinthians 10:4

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”

Isaiah 54:17

“No weapon forged to be used against you will succeed; you will refute everyone who tries to accuse you. This is what the LORD will do for his servants–I will vindicate them,” says the LORD.”

It is difficult to live in this body of flesh and live for the LORD.  Fatigue and worldliness creep in easily if we are not watchful. Sometimes I can be lulled into a false perspective that being Christian is to be “nice” and flexible, tolerant of everyone and everything.  I can become disillusioned when I think salvation is equated to being loved by all and living a trouble-free life.

While we are called to love everyone, that does not mean we should expect reciprocation.  It also does not mean that we ought to condone sinful lifestyles or give in to the philosophies of this world.  Paul, who had previously zealously persecuted Christians, was a fighter.  He knew that to be faithful to God meant to be vigilant with our thoughts, faithful to seek God and spread His word.  He recognized that this Christian walk is a battle and he armed himself for the task at hand.

But we all do not have personalities like Paul.  I confess that I am naturally a shy person and a peacemaker.  I would rather avoid conflict, but sometimes it is necessary.  On one hand, I will not seek it out and waste energy on controversial arguments, but on the other hand, I want to be ready at all times to give an answer when someone is truly seeking.

Timothy strikes me as a more gentle soul, wanting to shepherd those around him, but equally as faithful to disseminate the word of God.  I love his heart to keep what really matters in perspective – winning one precious soul with gentle correction. It wasn’t about being right, but about caring for the other person enough to be unpopular with them while the truth was lovingly shared.

We have all perhaps seen hostile arguments over faith and even tearing down of fellow believers because their style or personality was different.  We might have even done so ourselves.  These are not the weapons we are to use as believers. Pride and vanity can cloud our view and cause us to see things from a merely human point-of-view, but love can clear the fog.  Not the world’s definition of love, but God’s Agape, unconditional love, which speaks the truth completely in love.

Boldness from God consumes me and causes me to see my need of God and to fulfill the calling He has on my life.  I just want to be faithful.  Sometimes we can be about the work of God and suddenly find ourselves under attack.  (Which, by the way, should not surprise us, but being that my short term memory is lessened a great deal, I am surprised every time).

Even fellow believers can nip at our heels and judge the work we are doing in the LORD.  What weapons should be use in our arsenal?  Prayer.  Forgiveness.  Love.  When persecution or judgments arise, they are opportunities to walk after the Spirit and not the flesh; to cry out to God, not man; to read His Word and apply it in our lives.

The stumbling blocks of fear and self-preservation can inhibit us from using the weapons God prescribes for use in spiritual battle and from trusting in God to fight for us.  He is our Deliverer and able to accomplish far more than we ever could with our human tools.  His weapons are not of this world and the battles we face are not, either.

Lord, thank you for being our Defender.  Help us to recognize that every we battle we face in this life is a spiritual encounter, not a physical, fleshly one.  You have overcome all!  Help us to use the weapons You have given us, that many will be saved and healed.

Judgment and Compassion – A Perfect Combo

Photo Credits: james-mcwilliams.co

Photo Credits:
james-mcwilliams.co

Exodus 9:19, 26, 29-30

So now, send instructions to gather your livestock and all your possessions in the fields to a safe place. Every person or animal caught in the field and not brought into the house–the hail will come down on them, and they will die!”‘”  26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the Israelites lived, was there no hail. 29 Moses said to him, “When I leave the city I will spread my hands to the LORD, the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth belongs to the LORD. 30 But as for you and your servants, I know that you do not yet fear the LORD God.”

What a merciful God we serve!  In this passage, we see God’s deliverance of His people as well as His rebuke of the Egyptians, who held the Israelites captive.  What is astounding to me was the mercy that God showed even the rebellious. This is such an encouragement to me, because ultimately, God showed this same mercy to us, who were His enemies. What humility and compassion.  He is not willing that any should perish.  Right in the middle of demonstrating His power to the lost, He warns them to protect themselves from His judgment!

Even amongst the unbelievers, the Bible says that the “ones who feared God were protected.  God is the God of second chances.  He is long suffering and administers discipline with a heart of love.  God’s people were also protected.  God was demonstrating that He differentiates between believers and unbelievers, but He also extends His hand of mercy that maybe some unbelievers will also see His goodness and repent.

God did not judge to condemn, but to wake us up to our folly.  The motivation of His blessing is an attempt to encourage us toward righteousness, not to alienate us.

We may not like judgment or discipline, but they are necessary to uphold righteousness.  Praise God that He always has a purpose in His judgment and that He has a Holy standard.  Praise Him that His love is unconditional and he offers grace mingled with His discipline. Perfect parenting from our perfect heavenly Father.

Lord, thank You for Your grace.  Thank You for Your correction.  Help us to walk with You and fear Your Holy Name.

Division’s Conquest

Photo Credits: www.kkcj.org

Photo Credits:
http://www.kkcj.org

1 Corinthian 12:25

“So that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another!”

1 Corinthian 13:4-5

“Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious.  Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. 5 It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful.”

Proverbs 18:19

“A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a citadel.”

Dividing and conquering can be a great strategy when trying to accomplish a difficult task, but in the case of relationships and the body of Christ, divisiveness accomplishes destruction.  We are stronger when we are united.

One of the saddest things for me to see is when members within a church begin to devour one another.  When hard times hit a church is when true character is displayed in its members – it is also when we need one another the most.

An offended brother is like an unyielding city.  Forget whether or not their offense is legitimate or founded on truth.  Sometimes you can try to be a peacemaker and still receive abusive treatment from a bitter soul.  What then?

Love.  Recently someone spoke bitterly to me right before I was to lead worship.  I had a choice.  I chose love.  When I contemplated the actions later in prayer to God, He gave me compassion for this individual and the knowledge that their perception was misplaced.  I could leave it in God’s loving hands.  I could trade concern over my own hurt to concern over what really created the bitterness in this person’s soul.

I have been crushed in the past by words spoken with an intent to harm, but not this time.  By the grace of God alone, I did not think of self, but instead of the other person and gave it to my God, Who is fully capable of dealing with all hearts, including mine.  The result?  Peace.  Joy.  No anxiety.  This was a major victory and the evil one must have been bummed.

There is no case for self-righteousness, because we are all guilty.  We all hurt from time to time and all want affirmation, but our neediness is best filled by God, not looking to man to justify or accept us.  People will get mad from time to time.  That’s ok.  We cannot please everyone, and our ultimate audience is God alone.

More than being right is the need for the body of Christ to care for one another.  Brothers and sisters shepherding one another’s souls.  No agendas other than God’s glory.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all tried for that goal?  Division would quickly turn to multiplication instead . . . multiplied members, gratitude and joy.

Lord, help us to buildup one another and to put to death our hurt feelings which are birthed in pride.  May You be glorified in all circumstances in our lives and in Your church.

Thoughtful Thursday: Ignorance is Not Bliss!

Photo Credits bellenoirmag.blogspot.com

Photo Credits
bellenoirmag.blogspot.com

Isaiah 27:11b

“For these people lack understanding, therefore the one who made them has no compassion on them; the one who formed them has no mercy on them.”

Hosea 4:6

“You have destroyed my people by failing to acknowledge me! Because you refuse to acknowledge me, I will reject you as my priests. Because you reject the law of your God, I will reject your descendants.”

Ephesians 4:18

“They are darkened in their understanding, being alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts.”

I fear it has become popular to be dull.  Excellence is often made fun of in an attempt to exalt our own lukewarm performance.  At the root of ignorance is laziness.  It is easier to excuse our lack of knowledge and perhaps laugh it off than apply ourselves to understanding.  Ooh . . . I am feeling hot in here today, myself.  The problem with laziness is that the Bible says that he who is lazy is brother to the Destroyer. (Proverbs 18:9).

An image of the popular, flighty airheaded blonde girl who has set her standards low so she is accepted by all evokes a sick feeling in my stomach.  We were made for more than that.  We were made to grow in understanding, to apply wisdom and knowledge for the glory of God.  We do not have to be obedient to the standards of this world.  Those in power delight in our ignorance – they can use our ignorance to overcome us, and we let them do it – or not.

Ignorance can occur when we are unaware or dumbed down by forces outside of us, or it can be chosen.  It is easier to pretend we do not know sometimes, because knowing means we have to do something about it.  But what if we really examined the fruit of ignorance?  Scripture spells it out – separated from God and His mercy; our descendants cut off.  God is just – would He really cut off someone who was just not smart?  Intelligence is not the factor here; seeking understanding, knowledge applied and walking in that wisdom is.

Ignorance has wrought some of the greatest atrocities this world has ever seen.  It does so now.  Apathy is the best friend of ignorance, though it betrays its believer.  God help us to be ever seeking to understand and never give in to ignorance. Whoever said ignorance was bliss did not think it all the way through.  Have you?

Lord, forgive us when we have accepted lies instead of diligently seeking Your truth.  Help us to be aware and obedient to what You have shown us.

Christmas Count “Up” Day 19: Compassion in the Flesh

Luke 7:12-16

“As He approached the town gate, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother (who was a widow), and a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the LORD saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’  14 Then he came up and touched the bier, and those who carried it stood still.  He said, ‘Young man, I say to you, get up!’ 15 So the dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.  16 Fear seized them all, and they began to glorify God, saying, “A great prophet has appeared among us!” and “God has come to help his people!’

Jesus came to demonstrate the compassion God has on all He has made.  Often people can associate God as being far off and uncompassionate.  Why is sin in the world?  We chose it.  Why does God allow man to hurt other men?  Free will.  Because God gave us freedom to choose righteousness does not mean He does not care.  He demonstrated this lavishly by coming all the way from Heaven.

He counts every tear and knows every hair on our head.  He weeps when we weep.  Surely no one has the kind of compassion our LORD has, Who seeing us choosing willfully to disregard His ways and bearing the consequences, He chose to suffer for our iniquity and have compassion on us, even while we were still cloaked in our sin.

Just as our Savior embodied compassion, He has placed that same seed of kindness in us.  It overwhelms us when we see someone in need.  We must not shut that impulse down.  Maybe it is prayer for another soul, provision or care that another human being made in the image of God needs.  It might not be comfortable, which Christ certainly understands, but we were made to demonstrate compassion just like our Creator.  This Christmas season, who can we demonstrate compassion toward, just as Christ did for us?

Jesus, thank You for having compassion on us and for Your faithful longsuffering toward us.