A Heart of Compassion

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Colossians 3:12

Seven of us were attending a musical production at a crowded amusement park. Wanting to sit together, we tried to squeeze into one row. But as we did, a woman rushed between us. My wife mentioned to her that we wanted to stay together, but the woman quickly said, “Too bad,” as she and her two companions pushed on into the row.

As three of us sat one row behind the other four, my wife, Sue, noticed that the woman had an adult with her who appeared to have special needs. She had been trying to keep her little group together so she could take care of her friend. Suddenly, our irritation faded. Sue said, “Imagine how tough things are for her in a crowded place like this.” Yes, perhaps the woman did respond rudely. But we could respond with compassion rather than anger.

Compassion is understanding the troubles of others.

Wherever we go, we will encounter people who need compassion. Perhaps these words from the apostle Paul can help us view everyone around us in a different light—as people who need the gentle touch of grace. “As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Col. 3:12). He also suggests that we “bear with each other and forgive one another” (v. 13).

As we show compassion, we will be pointing others to the One who poured out His heart of grace and compassion on us.

Your compassions never fail, Father. May we mirror Your heart by showing compassion to others.

Compassion is understanding the troubles of others.

INSIGHT:Compassion is not just feeling pity for a needy person; our emotions must move us to relieve the misery of that person. The apostle Paul calls us to “be kind and compassionate to one another” (Eph. 4:32) and “to follow God’s example” (5:1). Jesus commands us to be “compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate” (Luke 6:36 nlt). In one of the greatest self-revelations in the Bible, God described Himself as “the compassionate and gracious God” (Ex. 34:6). We echo with the apostle James, “The Lord is full of compassion and mercy” (James 5:11).

Imagine a world without compassion. What would it be like? How is showing compassion essential for God’s children?

Seek God Early

Psalm 63:1-8

You’ve probably heard people say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A similar concept applies to our heart and mind. The fuel we give them each morning greatly affects the remainder of the day. Think of time in God’s Word, prayer, and meditation as spiritual nourishment for your relationship with the Father.

David began his day with the Lord. In Psalm 63, he described seeking God early (the literal translation of earnestly). He woke up ravenous for his Creator, and after filling his yearning soul with the fullness of the Lord, he broke out in thanksgiving and praise to Him. Even while lying on his bed at night, David was still thinking about his heavenly Father.

Just imagine having a day like that—filled with joy and gratitude to God. This is possible when we set apart the beginning of our day to spend with the Lord, listening to Him speak through His Word and talking to Him in prayer. Our blessing will be even richer when we stay mindful of God throughout the day and into the night, contemplating who He is and how He works. Seeking the Lord not only fills our empty soul; it also increases our hunger for more of Him.

Do you find it a struggle to set apart time with the Lord each morning? Realize that lifelong habits begin with baby steps, not overwhelming resolutions. Start today—set aside 15 minutes this morning. Then try doing so for a few days, and see if the Lord begins to satisfy your soul and increase your hunger for Him.

Human Sufficiency

“If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him; if iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles. For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear.” (Job 11:13-15)

Zophar clearly summarized the belief that the human will is all that is necessary to reach perfection. He believed in a Creator God. He knew that God was holy, but Zophar had bought into Satan’s first lie: “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5).

Satan needed a lesson in sovereignty, but also a lesson in love. Satan’s logic would have it that all love is self-serving. He had deceived himself into believing that he could overthrow the Creator, that he could win the worship of the human race by throwing his largess of power and brilliance on those who follow his leadership. (Sounds suspiciously like the history of political manipulation over the millennia.)

Throughout the Scriptures, God presents Himself as sovereign over the affairs of men. “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor?” (Romans 9:20-21).

The theological debate is whether the salvation event is by God’s grace alone (Calvinism) or if mankind must willingly cooperate with God to obtain and maintain salvation (Arminianism). The great mystery of the human will and the choice to submit to and love God is beyond explanation. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). HMM III

Adapted from The Book of Beginnings  by Dr. Henry M. Morris III.

“He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.”

Romans 10:1-21

We have selected for our present reading a chapter which illustrates the difference between the law and the gospel.

Romans 10:1

The true spirit of Christianity is that of love and sympathy, it leads to prayer even for persecutors, and to hope for the most obdurate of men. Paul pleaded for the Jews.

Romans 10:2

Do not deny the good points in others, even if they are not all we could wish them to be.

Romans 10:3-4

He fulfils the law’s purpose for us, and when we have him we have all the law requires.

Romans 10:6-9

Precious gospel. Not doing, but believing, saves us. We have not to do or feel great things but simply to trust.

Romans 10:13

Think over this verse, for it ought to comfort even the most depressed seeker. Real prayer will be heard sooner or later.

Romans 10:17

Be constant in attendance upon the gospel ministry, and be devoutly attentive while hearing, for it is the way by which faith comes.

Romans 10:18

Alas, all hearers do not become believers. The many hear with deaf ears, and obey not the truth.

Romans 10:19, 20

Sovereign grace sometimes saves the most unlikely, while those who sit under the gospel harden their hearts and perish. Beware of resting in outward privileges: ye must possess real faith in Jesus.

Romans 10:21

So that they were sincerely warned, and lovingly invited, yet it was all in vain. Shall it be so with any of this household? God forbid.

 

All the doing is completed,

Now ’tis “look, believe, and live;”

None can purchase His salvation,

Life’s a gift, that God mast give

Grace, through righteousness, is reigning,

Not of works, lest man should boast;

Man must take the mercy freely,

Or eternally be lost.

 

Supernatural Assistance When You Don’t Know Where To Turn for Help!

Luke 22:43

I’ll never forget the time years ago that our ministry was under a great assault. For no reason we could logically explain, the financial gifts of our partners seemed to dry up and dwindle away for a number of months. After this drought had gone on for several months, our situation became so serious that I didn’t know how we were going to pay for our television broadcasts that covered the length and breadth of the former Soviet Union. It was time to pay the bills, and I didn’t have the money.

As I walked through the city of Moscow that cold winter night, I broke inside from the pressure I had been feeling. I stopped at Red Square, leaned against a rail, and literally wept, not even caring about the people who passed by me. I felt so frustrated because I didn’t know what to do. We had drained everything we had to keep those broadcasts on the air. Millions of people watched our television programs, and those hungry souls were depending on us. God had entrusted me with taking His Word to these former Soviet nations, and I took that responsibility seriously. But because our finances had dwindled, I found myself in an extremely hard spot.

After riding on the subway system for several hours while I tried to pull my thoughts together, I felt myself sinking deeper into a feeling of desperation. The reality was that if something didn’t happen to quickly change the situation, I would have to cancel our program, and all those millions who waited for it each week would lose the teaching of God’s Word.

I had just come up from the subway on my way to the television meeting when I leaned against that rail in Red Square and wept before the Lord. I felt so alone, so trapped, so unable to fix my problem. There didn’t seem to be anyone I could call or turn to who could comprehend the enormity of what I was tackling in the spiritual realm that night.

I cried out, “Lord, why has this happened? Is there a reason our supporters have temporarily stopped their support? Have we done anything that opened a door for the devil to disrupt our finances? Please tell me what I am supposed to do right now about this situation. What about the millions of people who are waiting for Your Word? Do we just disappear from television and leave them wondering what happened to us?”

All of a sudden, it felt like a divine force entered me! Strength and courage flooded into my soul. I knew God was touching me, giving me a new supernatural boost of courage and faith to face this moment victoriously. Within minutes, my tears disappeared, my desperation vanished, and I began to celebrate the victory! Although I still didn’t have the cash in hand to cover all the television bills, I knew the battle had been won in the Spirit. As it turned out, the money didn’t come in all at once, but the valve had been turned on again and the gifts of our partners began to flow back into the ministry. I thank God for the supernatural assistance He gave me that night!

Have you ever known a time when you felt alone in the challenge you were facing? On the night of Jesus’ betrayal, He must have felt that way. He asked His closest disciples—Peter, James, and John—to come apart and pray with Him in those last hours. But every time He came back to check on the three men, they were sleeping. Jesus was experiencing a great spiritual battle and extreme pressure that night (see April 2); that’s why He wanted His closest disciples to assist Him in prayer. However, that night they were not found faithful.

But when Jesus could find no one to stand with Him in His hour of need, God provided supernatural assistance! Luke 22:43 says, “And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.” This supernatural strength made up for any lack of support from His three closest disciples.

When Luke writes that the angel “strengthened” him, he uses the Greek word enischuo. This is a compound of the words en and ischuos. The word en means in, and the word ischuos is the word for might or strength. Normally in New Testament times, the word ischuos was used to denote men with great muscular abilities, similar to the bodybuilders in today’s world. But when these two words en and ischuos are compounded together, the new word means to impart strength; to empower someone; to fill a person with heartiness; or to give someone a renewed vitality. A person may have been feeling exhausted and depleted, but he suddenly gets a blast of energy so robust that he is instantly recharged! Now he is ready to get up, get with it, and get going again!

This means that when Jesus’ disciples and friends couldn’t be depended on in His hour of need, God provided an angel that imparted strength, empowered, and recharged Jesus, renewing His vitality with the strength needed to victoriously face the most difficult hour in His life! After being supercharged, Jesus was ready to face the Cross. He awakened His disciples and said, “Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand” (Mark 14:42).

Maybe you’ve had a time in your life when you felt trapped and alone. Perhaps you thought your friends would help you, but now you feel like they let you down at a time when you really needed them. Don’t let desperation take over! Your friends may have fallen asleep on the job, but God hasn’t fallen asleep! He is absolutely committed to seeing you through the situation you are facing right now. And if necessary, He will provide supernatural assistance to recharge you and keep you moving full steam ahead. You may be tempted to feel isolated and alone, but if your spirit’s eyes were opened just for a moment, you would see that you are not alone at all! He is surrounding you with the Holy Spirit’s power, angels, and anything else needed to keep you going forward!

So remember—regardless of the particular battle or situation you are facing in life, God will always come to your assistance. If no one else is faithful, God will see to it that you receive the strength and power you need to victoriously overcome in every circumstance. Supernatural assistance is yours today!

MY PRAYER FOR TODAY

Lord, I thank You for this word from You that has spoken so directly into my life today. It’s true that I feel very alone and trapped in the situation I’m facing right now. I don’t know what to do, what step to take, what to say, or where to turn. I’ve tried to give the problem to You, but in some way I’ve continued to carry part of the load by myself, and it is starting to break me. Right now—at this very moment—I am throwing the full weight of my burden and cares on Your huge shoulders! I thank You for taking this burden from me and for filling me with the strength I need to press through this time in my life!

I pray this in Jesus’ name!

MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY

I confess that God is committed to seeing me through the situation I am facing right now. He is providing all the supernatural assistance I need to get recharged and to keep me moving full steam ahead! Even though I am tempted to feel isolated and alone, I am not alone! God is filling me with power; He is surrounding me with angels; and He is ready to provide me with anything else I need to keep moving forward to fulfill His will for my life!

I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!

QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER

  1. Can you recall some very desperate situations in your life when you felt trapped—like there was no way out—but suddenly the Lord filled you with strength and brought you through victoriously?
  2. Can you think of two times in your life when you were absolutely aware that God was supernaturally filling you with the special strength you needed for that exact moment? If so, why don’t you take a few minutes to write down those memories and think about God’s faithfulness to you?
  3. Has there ever been a particular situation in your life when you sensed the presence of angels on the scene, ministering on your behalf?

 

What Is The Real “Mission”?

Last night I was in the lovely home of a business executive and his wife. The furniture was tastefully appointed, expensive cars filled the driveway, maids scurried about. Impressive and enviable.

 

This attractive couple routinely host Bible studies, conduct all night prayer vigils, go on mission trips, and consistently lead people to Christ. They are generous with their resources beyond measure. Their commitment to Christ and His cause is without question.

 

These folks have it together, wouldn’t you say? Sadly, the answer is “No”. How is this possible?

 

The answer lies in the fact that they are failing in the most basic area of their lives: Their children.

 

In the home confusion reigns. The children are angry, flustered… disrespectful. There is constant jostling for control between parents and children. The decibel level is deafening.

 

Guests find it difficult to carry on conversation without being interrupted. Rather than a place of refuge, the home is a center for chaos and discord.

 

Involvement in God’s work does not absolve us of parental responsibility as Eli, the priest discovered: “For I told him that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons made themselves contemptible, and he failed to restrain them. Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, The guilt of Elis house will never be atoned for by sacrifice or offering.” (1 Samuel 3:13-14)

 

Missionary stateswoman Helen Morken has sagaciously observed, “Many Christians have forsaken their children for the mission, living to see their children undo their mission, realizing too late that their children were the mission.”

 

Paul reminds us that an elder “must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his household how will he take care of the church of God?)” (1 Timothy 3:4, 5)

 

The term “manage well” presents the idea of order, discipline, planning, superintending; of giving direction. Literally of “presiding with beauty or excellence.”

 

The Christian husband and father is to lead his family with dignity. That is, he is to guide them with reverence, respect, gravity and sanctity. It is one thing to control one’s family with harshness and cold directives, and quite another to lead with firm compassion.

 

It has been our observation that chronic behavioral problems are usually an indication of a failure in parenting —generally centering on the father’s failure to lead his family in a Biblical manner.

 

May God help us to not miss it here!

 

 

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