Tag Archives: Compassion

2 Chronicles 9; Jude 1; Zephaniah 1; Luke 23

Anger.Gratitude. Awe. Wrath.Jealousy. Justice……Hope.

Such a melange of emotions in today’s passages. Luke 23 stirs such anger in me. Ever since I was a child, I could not understand why Jesus had to die in this scene. He was declared innocent. He wasn’t supposed to die. But the mob mentality brought him to a violent death. Never has it been so clear to me – the ugliness of my sin – than in this passage. My sin is represented by that angry mob.

18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”

23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand. Luke 23: 18-24 NIV

He didn’t have to die…but He did it for me.

Lord, I am grateful beyond words for what you did for me. For all.

The Queen of Sheba comes to visit King Solomon in 2 Chronicles 9. She finds him to be beyond her expectations. When she speaks of his wisdom and the splendor of his possessions, it says, “It all took her breath away.” (The Message)

When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at[a] the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed. NIV

Every day I have the opportunity to be overwhelmed with the goodness and mercy of God, along with the beauty of His creation.  For me, a glimpse of a magnificent sunrise or the beauty in a single flower is enough to take my breath away. To stand in awe.

But I did not believe what they said until I came and saw with my own eyes.

2Chronicles 9:6 NIV

Lord, help me to truly see You everyday.

“When I destroy all mankind
on the face of the earth,”
declares the Lord,
“I will stretch out my hand against Judah
and against all who live in Jerusalem.
I will destroy every remnant of Baal worship in this place,
the very names of the idolatrous priests—
those who bow down on the roofs
to worship the starry host,
those who bow down and swear by the Lord
and who also swear by Molek,[b]
those who turn back from following the Lord
and neither seek the Lord nor inquire of him.” Zephania 1: 3-6 NIV

Jealousy. Holy Anger. This passage is hard to stomach, knowing that God is a loving and merciful God. But God has made it clear that his people are to worship Him and Him alone. God’s sense of justice will not tolerate anything else. How should I react to this? Two things come to mind. 1. Gratitude that my relationship with Jesus covers me, and 2. A heart that breaks for those who worship the idols of today’s world and try to live life without God.

Jude 1 show me how to act accordingly.

22 Be merciful to those who doubt; 23 save others by snatching them from the fire; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh. Jude 1:22-23

Lord, fill me with compassion for those who do not know you.

A doxology for us.

24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Amen.

Ann (naturelady)

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Jude, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Uncategorized

Exodus 19; Luke 22; Job 37; 2 Corinthians 7

Exodus 19:3,4 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.’”

Commentary from The Chumash, “When Moses spoke to the House of Jacob which refers to the women, he was to express the commandments in a manner suited to their compassionate, maternal nature.”

God has Moses speak to women in a manner suited to their compassionate nature. That is how God speaks to me. He reminds me that He brought me to Him, and He does this with great love and tenderness, so much so that I surrender willingly to His voice.

Luke 22:10-12 And He (Jesus) said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’ Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.”

Commentary: Guest rooms were often made available to the thousands of pilgrims who came to Jerusalem for the celebration of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Many times I walked into places or situations ordained by God. He prepared these before I knew to ask or to seek. Yet, how often I am surprised and definitely humbled by my own helplessness to control the outcome.

Job 37:14, 19, 20 Listen to this, O Job; Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God. Teach us what we should say to Him, For we can prepare nothing because of the darkness.

Commentary: Elihu celebrates God’s control over the earth and he prepares Job, Job’s friends, and any bystanders for the coming of the Lord.

When embroiled in the turmoil of my afflictions and pain, no one but God can reach me. Yet true friends and family who are closest know how to soften my resistance in my confusion, to direct my gaze toward Him and to prepare my heart to receive Him.

2 Corinthians 7:6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming, but also by the consolation with which he was comforted in you, when he told us of your earnest desire, your mourning, your zeal for me, so that I rejoiced even more.

And into the darkness explodes brilliance, comfort, consolation, and reason to rejoice. Unexpected, such as the coming of a friend from across the country after eight years with little hope of ever being close enough for her warm embrace and sisterly love. How wonderful God is to us; He meets us where we are, no matter what shape He finds us. Right here, right now!

Oh, come Lord Jesus and have Your way with us that we might know You more and fall in love with You over and over again!

Janet (jansuwilkinson)

The Chamush. The ArtScroll Series/Stone Edition. 2000.

The Nelson Study Bible, New King James Version, Trinity Fellowship Church 25th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, 2002.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Exodus, Job, Luke, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Old Testament, Uncategorized

Ezekiel 27, 28; James 4

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12

I see and hear it all over, judgment and criticism spewed out everywhere, on every one; people playing judge and jury for people they may not even know. Society as a whole has seemed to really embrace this holier-than-thou attitude, especially since the rise of social media and blogging. Everyone has the right to their own opinion; they have the right to make their own choices in how they walk their journey in life. But, for heaven’s sake, your decisions better look like mine, or else. Right!?…Wrong!

Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You’re supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others? James 4:11-12 (MSG)

I’ve been there, both on the giving end of judgment and the receiving end. Neither one is pleasant. Hearing criticism against me and the choices that I have made in life, for myself, for my family is hurtful. I know I am doing the best that I can in any given moment, and in the words of Iyanla Vazant, “When I know better, I do better.”

As a mother, it is even harder. At any given moment, I am being judged based on my choices to co-sleep, baby wear, breast feed, vaccinate, switch between cloth and disposable diapers, discipline based in love versus rejection, spend time on my smart phone while the kids are playing at Chick-fil-A, let my kids watch TV, etc. I am even judged by some on the decision to not shave my girls head to ‘make their hair more beautiful’, for allowing my youngest to comfort herself with a pacifier, and to let my girls drink juice when they are sick.

I don’t need any help from anyone else to feel like a failure; I already struggle with that lie from the enemy, even though I know that I am doing a good job despite the circumstances of my life. What I need, instead of disapproval, is help; a village surrounding me to pick up the pieces when I inevitably fumble.

Even as I am writing, I am convicted in my heart that I too often stand in that place of judgment. I also condemn others for choosing differently from me. Whether I judge people on their politics, their lifestyle choices, their parenting skills, their actions or beliefs, in that twinkling of an eye, I have put myself over them and over God to find them guilty. It doesn’t matter if I have posted my views all over the internet, gossiped to my friends, or simply considered it in my thoughts; I have spoken evil against another…I have sinned. And, who am I to judge my neighbor?

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded…Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:7-8; 10

When I realize that I have been judgmental or that I need to forgive someone who has judged me, I know that it is time to get right with God again. I need to step down from the judge’s bench and let Him have His seat back. I need to humble myself, submit myself once more to Him, because God is the only One who can clean my hands, purify my heart, and keep my mind in alignment with His love, grace, and mercy.

When I repent and when I offer forgiveness, my heart grows with compassion, and what I once saw through blinders, I am now able to see through truth. I am able to see better through the defenses that have been put up by others to protect themselves from judgment, and I am able to break down the walls I’ve built around myself. Instead of judging someone else for being different than me, I am able to choose to love them right where they are, no matter what their life looks like. And when I am feeling judged, I am able to focus more on the intention behind the critique, which many times is actually care and concern, glean God’s truth from the comments, and choose to be vulnerable, to share my struggles and even ask for help.

It takes courage to stop standing in the place of judgment, to choose to not be the one to cast the first stone. It takes courage to forgive others, then submit the criticisms received to God and ask for His truth and wisdom. And, when I step out in courage, I am honoring God and living by His Word, which is the best way to live.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Ezekiel, James, New Testament, Old Testament

Exodus 9-13; Matthew 18:1-20

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may show these signs of mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and of your grandson how I have dealt harshly with the Egyptians and what signs I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.” Exodus 10:1-2

In the Exodus story, Moses repeatedly shares that God purposely hardened the heart of Pharaoh and his servants. Pharaoh would not listen to the decree of God to ‘Let My people go’. God didn’t want the liberation of the Israelites to become an event that was quickly forgotten. He wanted to demonstrate His glory and His power in a memorable way so that all would ‘know that I am Lord’. God dealt with the Egyptians harshly and without mercy; forgiveness did not enter into the picture.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

In Matthew, Jesus describes how to maneuver in situations of offense and sin. If I go to the offender and he listens, than I have gained a brother. But if his heart is hardened, Jesus said to let the wrongdoer be to me as a gentile and a tax collector.

What does that really mean in the context of New Covenant?

I have observed that a very common Christian assessment of that verse is that when someone doesn’t listen to the church, that they should be excommunicated, cut off and shunned by that group.

I’ve been in the situation where I was treated this way by a community that I had grown very close to. The situation was complicated, and though I know that my heart was right before God, I was still cast aside. I felt rejected by trusted friends, abandoned by people I had shown my vulnerabilities. Being discarded hurt then, and the wounds it left still hurt now at times; it began my search to better understand what Jesus intended.

…If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love. Matthew 18:17 (MSG)

I love the way The Message describes the way I should treat someone who isn’t ready to own up to their failings. The version doesn’t say reject, cast-off, snub. It says to start over, to confront and offer God’s forgiving love. The Bible exhorts me to forgive, nearly 500 times if necessary, and in the same way I would hope to be forgiven. God’s Word encourages me to love my enemies, to bless and pray for my persecutors. His Word reminds me of the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for me while I was still a sinner and His constant mercy when I inevitably make mistakes as a believer.

For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. Matthew 18:11 (NKJV)

Though many versions omit this verse, it still holds true that Christ’s goal is to save the lost. He yearns for redemption, reconciliation, and restoration. He wants to rebuild honor, reestablish relationship, and reinstate original positioning, with Him and with others. He does that daily by offering His body and His blood. He seeks out the lost, whether they have never seen the Good Shepherd or have simply strayed away from the flock and offers forgiveness, ushering them into the fold.

While walking the earth, Jesus treated gentiles (unclean, polytheistic ‘heathens’), tax collectors, prostitutes and every other kind of sinner with mercy and grace. Though He didn’t condone their behaviors, He spent time with them. He demonstrated love and acceptance; and that witness was what opened eyes to sin and lead to change of heart, to repentance.

I can only believe that God asks me to do the same – to offer love, compassion, mercy, and forbearance – as He extends to me.

Yesappa, Thank You for Your forgiveness, Your grace, and Your mercy. Thank You for seeking me out when I am lost. Thank You for accepting me no matter what. Keep my heart soft, repentant before You at all times. Help me be a pipeline for Your love forever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie (written in Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, Exodus, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament

2Kings 21; Heb. 3; Hos. 14; Ps.139

Does God ever stop listening?

How many of us have ever asked this question? Probably more than we want to admit, but think about it… does the God of the universe ever stop listening to us? After all… doesn’t sin damage the relationship between us and our Father? As we continue to sin, over and over again, does it ever get to the point with our Father when He draws the line, takes the posture that enough is enough, and turns His back on us?

The focus of Psalm 139 is that God has perfect knowledge of us, and all our thoughts and actions are open before him. God sees, hears and knows everything—including our prayers. Nothing escapes His attention. However, it is possible to sabotage our own prayers with such things as expectation, attitude, and actions through sin, disobedience, hypocrisy, insincerity, lack of faith, and wrong motives. Additionally, our timing is certainly not God’s timing… what may appear to be silence may actually be a delayed response. Other times, God may deny our prayer request because in His perfect knowledge, He is preparing us for something far bigger and better than we knew to ask for. And lastly… attitude. In a recent NPR broadcast of Around the Nation, the interviewee was quoted as saying that “an effective apology involves a delicate balance between tact, tone and timing.” I can tell you that more often than not, I get the tone piece completely wrong! I’ve been called on this a number of times hearing “it’s not what you said, but how you said it.” Perhaps it’s the same with our Lord… He knows our heart… perhaps, when we come to Him, we should be working a bit more on how we’re coming across than trying to figure out how to get ourselves out of trouble! And really… who are we kidding… do we really think we can win in a debate with our Lord and Savior?? Certainly God takes notice of those who persist in refusing to walk in His ways (2 Kings 21:19-26; Hebrew 3).

In the following video clip, I believe that God is much more receptive to the man after 1:57 minutes into the movie clip than the individual at the beginning of the clip… can you tell why? What do you notice about the tone of the main character’s message?

Finally, we need to be glorifying God in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31), not just when things go well. Recently I shared with a family member just how well my daughter was doing after her heart procedure. The response was “Thank God!”, and rightly so… He chose to save my baby! But I wonder what the response have been if God made the decision to take my daughter during her procedure… would the response have been the same?

So when it appears that God has turned His back on us, I believe He is faithful and is always there… He certainly knows everything about us, but we need to work at strengthening the relationship if it is to survive. But just as it takes spending regular time alone with an individual to get to know them, time with God is critical! Without faith, we are bound to rely on ourselves and not the One who knows us better.

I’ve heard it said that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle. Until a few years ago, I would have said I believe that. No more… I believe that God give us MORE than we can handle… if He didn’t, why would we need Him?

Until next time… peace!

Greg (gstefanelli)

Leave a comment

Filed under 1 Corinthians, 2 Kings, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Hebrews, Old Testament

2 Kings 20; Hebrews 2; Hosea 13; Psalm 137, 138

The years of the Sometime-Struggle were a slow descent into depression. It was a constant and tiresome treading to keep my head up. At times, it sapped my energy and my hope. It chipped away at dignity. An enemy placed a sign on my back I couldn’t read, but I could feel it there. It was hurtful and heavy; it grew heavier over time.

When I talked to a seasoned Christian about my trial, she said, “Think of all the suffering Jesus went through. He was beaten and mocked.” Her response did not help me, though I would not have dared to say such a thing. I was probably a Christian for fifteen years at that point, but I had no real understanding of the person of Jesus Christ outside of my salvation. Rooted in rocky soil, I was withering.

I tried to work out the equation: Jesus suffered = I should be able to suck this up (x guilt at still feeling powerless)/there are worse things in the world.

The conclusion was always the same: FAIL.

I picked up my Bible five years ago, and God met me right where I was. These years of pursuing God showed me he has actually been pursuing me.

God moved us here a couple years ago. One day, I met a woman while she was working in her yard. In that first meeting, she told me things I couldn’t believe I was hearing. I said to her, “I think we have a similar story.”

Later, I sat with God and marveled. There are times I wish I had not met the people who had inflicted such pain in my life, but not at the expense of the lesson. When I met this fellow sojourner in her yard, without a doubt I knew if I had a do-over, I would have gone through the Struggle again, so that she would know she is not alone.

Jesus says, “I love you like that.”

And in my heart, I know he does. He is the leader in love. He does his refining work when we’re under pressure. He teaches how to love God, and love a neighbor.

Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone. 10 God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. Hebrews 2:9b-10 NLT.

Lord, your suffering wasn’t so I could have a sense of strength in myself, to do life on my own. It was to show me love, to bring me into relationship with you, and to teach me how to love. (And it was so much more!) There is no greater love than yours, that you would lay down your life for your friends. Thank you for the Sometime-Struggle, the lost years that were never really lost. Thank you for loving me, and walking alongside me so I would know I am not alone.

Courtney (66books365)

2 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan

Judges 8; Acts 12; Jeremiah 21; Mark 7

14 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.” Mark 7:14-15 NLT.

This summer, I’ve given a lot of thought to words. I listen to kids pick at each other … to a friend as she vents (and rightfully so) … the words out of my mouth tell a deeper story beyond what I say … and even silence speaks its own language, makes a statement.

17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)

20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” Mark 7:17-23 NLT.

Words become highlighted in colors of jealousy, betrayal, envy, evil thoughts. And even silence can speak hatred.

This language takes me to my knees, changes my prayer life, gives me new focus. When I look past the words and into the heart behind them, I see the need for Jesus in all of us, and I am filled with compassion where the wounding once occupied.

Courtney (66books365)

3 Comments

Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, Mark, New Testament