Tag Archives: compassion

Through the Eye of a Needle

Father, being officially diagnosed with diabetes recently has been an adjustment. Thank You for a caring wife who is by my side to help me along through this part of my journey. Thank You for the tools given to me in order to help manage everything. And thank You for the blessing of tenacity to stick to what needs to be done. All praise goes to You!

Matthew 19:23-26 (<<click to read the passage)

Most people I know are pretty self-sufficient. Some have more than others but most basic needs are met. We are very blessed. But can those blessings, if we are not careful, become a detriment – especially a detriment when it comes to our relationship with God?

Self-sufficiency and dependence are on separate ends of the spectrum. Is it possible to truly give our all to God if a good portion of our energy and efforts are making sure that we take care of meeting our own needs? Those mindsets seem to be diametrically opposed.

After speaking with the rich young man,

Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, it is difficult for a rich man [who clings to possessions and status as security] to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth and status] to enter the kingdom of God.” AMP

A footnote in the Amplified Bible states, “These declarations of Jesus directly contradicted the teaching of the Pharisees that God bestows wealth on those He loves and chooses.”

So understandably the disciples “were completely astonished and bewildered” so much so that they exclaimed, “Then who can be saved [from the wrath of God]?”

How in the world can any of us make it? We may not consider ourselves well off but we are taken care of pretty well – and we lay claim, quite often, to taking credit for it! So are we really in any different position that the rich young man? Was he doomed? Are we doomed?

Jesus answers that question,

“With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Lord Jesus, thank You for Your mercy and compassion. You know we are weak and frail, especially when it comes to our spiritual health. Help us to count our blessings but to give credit where credit is due and to trust You for our salvation…not ourselves.

Aug 19th, 2018, Sun, 6:27 am

Holier than Thou

Father, thank You for a wonderful week of time spent with Massey. Karen and I are both so grateful for the gift You gave us almost 26 years ago and for the fine young man he has become. Watch over him and hold him close to Your side, I pray. Amen.

Are you familiar with the phrase “holier than thou”? It is never really used in a complimentary way. It usually implies an attitude of moral superiority. It can apply to someone who has chosen to take the moral high road and the phrase is used disparagingly by those who do not. But quite often it is used in reference to someone who sets themselves above others in a prideful manner.

Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, wore the moniker well. Few could live up to their expectations of moral superiority. But before we go pointing fingers and patting ourselves on the back, we must carefully examine who we are and why we do what we do.

Only by the grace of God do I stand where I stand. I am not perfect. I fail. I stumble. I fall. But I am not forsaken. God, with the utmost of compassion, shows me the error of my ways and when I repent and ask for His forgiveness He does not hold back. God wants me to be victorious! He wants me to succeed! He loves me beyond anything I can even begin to fully understand.

Lord Jesus, where would I be without You? I would be lost. I would be eternally condemned. Thank You for Your sacrifice. You gave of Yourself so that I could be reconciled in my relationship with You. I could not do it. I am incapable of doing it. But You did it! Thank You, Lord! Draw me close to You side. May I become more and more like You each and every day. Amen.

July 13th, 2018, Fri, 6:57 am

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