Tag Archives: compassion

Out of Line

Father, I know I shouldn’t be but I am repeatedly astounded by Your interaction with me! This morning I had to be up extraordinarily early (4:00 am!) and You have consistently been faithful in waking me for years. As I settled into sleep last night it crossed my mind to set the alarm on my phone, I struggled a little bit but realized You are faithful… and You were, of course! Thank You, Father!

Matthew 15:12-14 (<<click the green)

One of the many things to admire about Jesus is the fact he knew people – I mean he really knew people. We think we can hide behind our facades – and it may work with others – but not with Him. When we read the Gospels we never – absolutely not one instance – never do we see Jesus get in the face of “sinners” as the Pharisees liked to call them. He has never met a “sinner” he didn’t like…uh, scratch that…He has never met a “sinner” he didn’t unconditionally love and adore to the uttermost! He sees right through to the very core of our being.

…and that’s why He didn’t indulge the flapping jaws of the “religious” leaders. When his disciples asked Him, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” He replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, so ignore them. They are blind guides leading the blind, and if one blind person guides another, they will both fall into a ditch.”

“…ignore them…” That’s pretty straight and to the point!

Lord Jesus, I pray that I could be more like You. You reached out in compassion to those who so desperately needed Your love. And You were quick to set straight those who knew better and were out of line. You. We tiptoe around what too many cantankerous folks, coddling them instead of correcting them. And we are fearful of speaking to the lost who so urgently need to hear of You and Your salvation. May I follow the example of my Master. Amen.

May 21st, 2018, Mon, 9:45 am

Compassion Shines Through

It’s been a full day, Father, and I’m taking the time now to sit down and see what You have for me today. May my heart be bent to Your teaching. Amen.

Matthew 14:13-14 (<<click the green)

Lord, a particular incident in Your life comes to mind as I read through this passage. (It is recorded in both Matthew 8:23-27 and in Mark 4:35-41.) You are in a boat with Your disciples crossing the Sea of Galilee and You are so tired that You fall asleep. You are so dead tired that a storm threatening to swamp the boat doesn’t wake You…but the need of Your companions does.

In today’s passage, “as soon as [You] heard the news [of John’s death], [You] left in a boat to a remote area to be alone.” You were exhausted. You were in mourning. Your cousin and predecessor, John was dead. The evils of sin were victorious once more…and John’s life was forfeit.

All you wanted to do was to get away from it all for a bit – You needed some alone time. We all surely do in those times of life. But did You get what You sought after? No… When “the crowds heard where [You were] headed” they “followed on foot from many towns.”

I’m sorry to say that my response would probably have been less than cordial. I probably would have changed course and headed to another area of coastline. I probably would have been perturbed (putting it mildly). But You? You “saw the huge crowd” and “had compassion on them and healed their sick.”

Just like You did on the boat in the storm, You didn’t think of yourself. You saw the needs of others. You, who had every right to put yourself first, stepped back and took care of our needs. You sacrificed so that our needs might be met. You calmed the storms…and You still do. Your compassion shines through – beyond Your weariness and grief – and You heal our sicknesses…and You still do.

Lord Jesus, first of all, thank You for Your unsurpassable love. Thank You for Your sacrifice. Thank You for giving Your all to meet our need. And then secondly, I pray for me. Open my eyes. Soften my heart. May I have compassion on those around me who may not even know their need of a Savior. May I point them to You. Amen.

May 9th, 2018, Wed, 8:22 pm

Obliviousness

Good morning, Father! Thank You for the good night’s sleep and for waking me up so we could spend some time this morning before the day starts moving along. Bless our time together. May I be attentive to Your word!

Matthew 9:35-38 (<<click the green)

Lord, we like to think of ourselves as self-sufficient and independent. Then like most of humanity, we have a tendency to project those attributes on those around us.

When I think of crowds I think of people rushing along busy metropolitan sidewalks beside streets full of bustling traffic and in my mind’s eye, I see them as driven, purposeful, on task to accomplish what needs to be done to maintain their self-sufficiency and independence.

I’m sure that some fit that view but, in reality, how many are “dispirited and distressed”? Truly how many are burdened down with loads of care, no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel.

And what is heartbreaking is that for most, their concern only goes as far as this life. Many have no thoughts beyond death. They have no plans because they don’t really know what, if anything, eternity holds for them.

But what is disturbing is the fact that my first thought, unlike Your’s Lord, is not compassion. I am ashamed to say it is obliviousness. It’s not that I am necessarily apathetic. My eyes take in the masses and…well, that’s about as far as it goes. I can acknowledge their existence but compassion….pity? For the most part the fact that they are “dispirited and distressed, like a sheep without a shepherd” eludes me.

Lord, before I say anything else, please forgive me. Forgive my obliviousness. Please let me see people through Your eyes. And in seeing, I would plead that, as You were, may I be moved with compassion and pity for them.” And, Lord, may I be moved not just because I am a pastor called to Your service but may I be moved because I am Your child and above all else, I want to be like You. Amen.

Mar 13th, 2018, Tues, 6:53 am

Touch of Compassion

Father, there are many things going through my mind this morning – personal struggles, heartaches for others, just the wear and tear of the world. May I feel Your presence today. May I hear You speaking to my heart. May I live every moment for You today. Amen.

Matthew 8:1-4 (<<click the green)

Many years ago I remember hearing the tragic outcome of an act of compassion. A pastoral acquaintance of mine had gone on a mission trip outside the country. After a day of labor this pastor, in his interactions with local peoples, came across a man who was very ill. If I remember correctly the man was lying on the ground. The pastor, in an act of kindness and love, stooped down in order to help the man in his predicament, picking him up. When he did so he discovered that the man’s back was covered in blood. The man was suffering from AIDS and the pastor unknowingly had exposed himself to a death sentence through the abrasions on his own hands from his day of labor and his act of love.

Lord, in today’s passage You didn’t let a potentially contagious disease stop You from reaching out and touching someone who needed You. There is no mention of revulsion or hesitancy. You didn’t have to touch him, You could’ve just spoken his healing into existence but You placed Your hand on a man whom probably no one had touched for a very long time – he was an outcast, rejected from society. You communicated more than just Your ability to heal – You communicated love and compassion.

I don’t know what this day may hold, or the next or the next but Lord, I would ask for Your compassion. May I be a true reflection of You in a world that so desperately needs to feel the touch of acceptance and love that in reality comes only from You. Amen.

Feb 20th, 2018, Tues, 6:39 am

A Shredded, Soggy Mess

Good morning, Father. Thank You for our conversation early this morning. May I stay close by Your side. Guide me. Direct me. Protect me. Amen.

Growing up we almost always had a dog. I remember that at least one of them like playing tug-of-war with an old rag or sock. We’d play until it was a shredded, soggy mess. I also remember them taking that old rag in their powerful jaws and viciously shaking their heads back and forth. It was a lot of fun.

This fond memory came to mind as I was thinking of struggles I have had along my journey of faith. Lord Jesus, You know all too well the troubles with which I have dealt.

Many times I have walked along, faithful and true. My shield of faith has helped me deflect many a flaming arrow. But there have been times, too, then my guard has been down, my shield of faith has not been in place and I have been pierced – not just by one but by many flaming arrows. …there is no one to blame but myself.

So what do dogs and flaming arrows have to do with each other?

Many times in my failings I have not so much felt pierced, but I have felt like that shredded, soggy mess of a rag. I have felt like our old adversary has taken me in his powerful jaws and has viciously shaken me in his powerful jaws…my strength and my righteousness nothing but tattered remnants. He laughs… He gloats…

But You, Lord? With eyes full of compassion, You tenderly reach down, gathering me in You mighty arms. You gently touch my wounds and as I have asked for forgiveness for my failings, You graciously bring healing to my brokenness.

I, though I deserve Your condemnation – and I would no defense otherwise – am loved. …thank You, Lord…thank You. Help me to live out each day in grateful devotion. May I lean on You as we share the yoke. You are strong. You are mighty. In You – not in myself – do I find the victory. Amen.

Oct 23rd, Mon, 11:30 pm