Posts Tagged ‘Compassion

29
Sep
17

It’s Not Our Stuff

True love is love in action, not just empty words. In the church, we need this kind of love for one another. We need the kind of love that reaches out to people in their times of need instead of just hoarding our stuff all to ourselves. John wrote:

If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? – 1 John 3:17 (NIV)

If we don’t love and care for one another with compassion in the church, have we really experienced the love of God? After all, God’s love is an action kind of love. He has blessed us with the things that we have as far as material possessions are concerned. He saw our greatest need and sent Jesus to bring forgiveness. He has blessed us with material possessions on top of that, too! The stuff we have is not our stuff to begin with. Our stuff was given to us by God for the purpose of blessing others. The action love of God is not in us if we don’t use our blessings to put love for others into action.
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08
Aug
17

Showing Kindness To Enemies

When someone treats you like an enemy, the last thing you want to do is be kind to them. We’d much rather try to get revenge on those who harm us. Solomon said that we should be kind and show compassion to our enemies. He wrote:

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you. – Proverbs 25:21-22 (NIV)

Notice that there are two things that will happen when we show kindness to our enemies and adversaries. First, we heap proverbial burning coals on their head. They may feel guilt and shame over how they have treated you. Second, the Lord will reward you. God does not reward vengeance. Instead, He rewards kindness and compassion. Jesus told us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. We do this by showing kindness to them, not in seeking revenge.
10
Jan
17

The Heart Of The Matter

We get so caught up in the outward appearances of things that we forget that God’s primary concern is the condition of our hearts.  We’ll dress up on the outside, but never clean up the inside.  We’re not much different than the Pharisees of Jesus’ day.  Over and over He chastised them for their outward shows of religion and strict adherence to the Law without any concern for people and their predicaments.  Their hearts, though, were far from God.  On two occasions in the book of Matthew, Jesus quoted Hosea 6:6, which reads:

I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know Me
more than I want burnt offerings. (NLT)

We can bring sacrifices of praise and tithes and offerings to the Lord’s storehouse, but never understand what being a Christian is really all about.  Does it please God if we can sing peppy worship songs and timeless hymns, but despise our brothers and sisters in Christ?  Is God happy when we strictly tithe our salaries and income yet hate our neighbors and enemies?  Will God notice perfect worship attendance and daily Bible readings and prayers if we are not compassionate towards those who are suffering and those who are far from Him?  There is a difference between knowing God and going to church.  I believe that we need to worship corporately and be edified by teaching from God’s Word.  But if we are merely trying to earn perfect attendance certificates for our worship attendance and the message never hits home or goes to our hearts, then we have big problems.  God wants a relationship with you more than He wants your money.  He wants a compassionate heart that beats for others more than He wants your sacrifices of praise and worship.  Our giving and our praises please Him more when they flow from a grateful heart for what He has done for us through His Son.  May our gratitude overflow into our hearts and change the way we see others and give us a desire to truly know God.

PRAYER: Lord God Almighty, I want to know You today. I don’t want to merely know about You. I want to know You as my Father, my Savior, my King and my Friend. Help me to know You more each day starting today. I ask this in Jesus’ name, amen.

29
Dec
16

The Church Needs To Look More Like Jesus

John 7:14-24 (NIV)

Not until halfway through the festival did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15 The Jews there were amazed and asked, “How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”
16 Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from the one who sent me. 17 Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.18 Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 19 Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”
20 “You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”
21 Jesus said to them, “I did one miracle, and you are all amazed. 22 Yet, because Moses gave you circumcision (though actually it did not come from Moses, but from the patriarchs), you circumcise a boy on the Sabbath. 23 Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath? 24 Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”

Jesus’ words here go back to John 5. Jesus healed a paralyzed man on the Sabbath. Verse 16 of John 5 said that the Jews persecuted Jesus because He healed the man on the Sabbath. Verse 18 said that they were trying even harder to kill Him. It wasn’t just because He healed the man on the Sabbath, but because He was calling God His Father, which according to John 5:18 meant that He was making Himself equal with God. In other words, in their minds, Jesus was guilty of blasphemy.
I believe that Jesus teaches us a vital principle of the Kingdom of God here in chapter 7. People matter more than rules. He was calling the Jewish leaders who were trying to kill Him hypocrites because they would work on the Sabbath in order to not break the law of Moses regarding circumcision, but were trying to kill Him because He compassionately healed a man on the Sabbath. Their hypocrisy ran deep and their compassion was shallow. They loved rules more than people.
I think that God loves people more than our self-imposed rules. The 21st century church has to get back to the heart of Jesus’ ministry and that means loving people more than our man-made rules. We have to care about people more than our by-laws. I’m not talking about watering down or disobeying the Word of God. The Bible is God’s Word and it is the authority for our lives and how we do church. But when we elevate our man-made rules to the level of Scripture, we’re on very thin ice. I am convinced that God doesn’t care about our membership rolls as much as He does about lost people. He doesn’t care about who gets to use our buildings as much as He does about who we exclude from our fellowship because they don’t quite look like “us.” God only cares about our budgets when they don’t reflect His heart that beats for the broken. If we will not love like Jesus loved and care like He cared, then God wants nothing to do with us. When we are more worried about being “right” than we are about helping people get right with God by His grace, then we are wrong.
PRAYER: Father, forgive us when we don’t love like Jesus. Forgive us when we don’t reflect His compassion to a lost and dying world. Forgive us for our callous attitudes toward those who don’t know You yet. Have mercy on us, O God. We have wandered so far away from what Jesus wanted His church to look like. May we look more like Him in 2017. Amen.
13
Sep
16

Loving The Doubters

Be merciful to those who doubt — Jude 1:22 (NIV)

As Christians, we are going to meet people in life who do not believe in Christ.  They, like so many, doubt the existence of a loving, personal God.  They doubt that Jesus was who He said He was.  They doubt that the Resurrection ever took place.  They doubt that they could be forgiven from their sins and transgressions.  They doubt that Jesus is returning.  They doubt the existence of heaven and hell.  Oftentimes our first inclination is to debate the doubters.  Jude tells us something different — love them.  Have mercy on them.  Be compassionate towards them.

The Greek word translated as “be merciful” means to have compassion on those who doubt.  To remember our own doubts before we came to faith.  To remember the doubts that we’ve had since coming to faith in Christ.  To empathize with those who have not yet come to faith in Jesus.  Let’s face it, we’ve all had moments of doubt.  Even those with the strongest faith can feel their knees buckle from time to time when the storms of life blow hard against us.  Rather than punishing those who doubt and whose faith may waver, we should deal gently with them.  We should extend grace and mercy to those who are dealing with doubt.  To mercifully help bring or restore someone to faith is far better than debating or shaming them into hell.

PRAYER: Help me to remember, O Lord, that I need mercy when I doubt. Help me to be merciful to those who are struggling with doubts. Thank You for saving me and forgiving me through Jesus. Amen.

25
Jun
16

The Father’s Heart

The Father’s Day (June 19, 2016) message from Griffith First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.  The accompanying video is found here –>  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2G8KVzTwfw

29
Jan
16

Plenty

It’s hard to trust God, isn’t it?  We have a head knowledge that He has said He will provide for our needs.  We want to believe it.  We try so hard to trust Him when He says, “I will provide.”  But connecting the head with the heart is difficult.  There is a story in the book of Matthew where Jesus provides for the needs of people.

Then Jesus called his disciples and told them, “I feel sorry for these people. They have been here with me for three days, and they have nothing left to eat. I don’t want to send them away hungry, or they will faint along the way.”  The disciples replied, “Where would we get enough food here in the wilderness for such a huge crowd?”  Jesus asked, “How much bread do you have?”  They replied, “Seven loaves, and a few small fish.”
So Jesus told all the people to sit down on the ground.  Then he took the seven loaves and the fish, thanked God for them, and broke them into pieces. He gave them to the disciples, who distributed the food to the crowd.  They all ate as much as they wanted. Afterward, the disciples picked up seven large baskets of leftover food.  There were 4,000 men who were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children.

– Matthew 15:32-38 (NLT)

Jesus had compassion on the people.  He felt sorry for them.  He saw them in their helpless, hungry state and felt for them.  So Jesus did what Jesus does.  He was moved to action.  He did something about their situation and lovingly provided for their needs.

He still does the same thing for us today.  When we are in a helpless situation, He helps.  When we are hopeless, He gives hope.  When we are hungry, He provides.  He loves us and has compassion for us.  He knows that we are weak and frail.  It is in our weakness that He demonstrates His incalculable strength.  He not only provides, but He abundantly provides!  He gives us so much more than we could ever ask or hope for!

Oh that we would learn to trust Him to provide!  Oh that we would know His compassion and love!  Oh that we would sense His strength and power in our lives!  May His loving presence in your life give you peace today.

PRAYER: Father, help me to trust You today.  Amen.

When is it hardest for you to trust God?

How does this story of Jesus’ compassion for people give you hope and comfort today?

What is one area of your life that you need to trust God with today (family, finances, relationships)?




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