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Archive for the ‘compassion’ Category

James 1:27 gives us a good assessment tool for measuring if our faith is doing any good for God and for others.

“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”

Active, sacrificial compassion and consistent rejection of Satan’s temptations.

Can you do better than you have in this regard?

I can.

Let’s each pray for the Holy Spirit to convict and guide us into becoming more like Jesus.

This will bring more glory to God and more good to people in difficult circumstances.

As always, I love you
Martin

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A day rarely goes by that I don’t see a homeless person begging for money.

It’s usually at a busy intersection of a frontage road and a six-lane road near the church building.

I’ve noticed that 99 percent of drivers ignore the one begging.

I’ve also noticed that when a driver does hand something to the begger, it is usually some coins.

I’ve resisted giving cash because of how so many homeless people end up buying what harms the body, not helps it.

When I’ve thought ahead, though, I’ve prepared bags of food and water to give the homeless person.

It’s much better to provide a hearty meal than it is some cash that can be used for drugs or booze.

I’ve been convicted lately by my lack of preparedness for meeting the hunger need of homeless people.

I’ve handed out dozens of “Blessing Bags” in the past but have not been diligent lately to have some on-hand in my car.

After a shopping trip this week, my church office now has enough “Blessing Bag” provisions to make up 20 food-for-a-day bags.

I’ll be asking a volunteer to assemble the bags so that I and others can start helping homeless people to have some food.

Ultimately, this is an act of worship toward God.

Here’s what I mean:

“Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors Him.” (Proverbs 14:31)

When we help the poor, we’re serving as God’s hands of kindness.

And we’re showing God that we’re not living just to please ourselves.

Listen, sharing with the needy is a great form of worship.

Let’s all do so more often.

It’s the honorable thing to do.

As always, I love you
Martin

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I didn’t quite understand what the big deal was when my kids were little, but there was this complaint I sometimes heard from the girls and their friends during their elementary school years — “They copied!”

Apparently, if a kid at school were popular, other kids would try to piggyback on that popularity by imitating the words and behavior of the popular kid.

And, apparently, the kids being copied believed that their way of living was like a copyright protected brand that others had no right to imitate.

Hmmmm…. funny how peer pressure and the desire to be unique are in such dynamic tension.

When it comes to Christian living, we’re commanded to “copy.”

Jesus said we should live as He lived. The Apostle Paul called us to live out our faith as he sought to imitate Christ in his life.

There’s no question that we’ll be better off if we live more like Jesus instead of giving in more to our own passions and personal patterns.

Here’s a passage from today’s devotional reading that we should all strive to copy:

“The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” (Psalm 103:8)

Compassionate and merciful.

Slow to get angry.

Filled with unfailing love.

These words from Psalm 103:8 should describe our way of living.

We should become sanctified copycats.

Would this approach help our family relationships? Yes.

Our workplace relationships? Yes.

Our congregational or our neighborhood relationships? Yes and yes.

Let’s copy.

It’s what God wants.

As always, I love you
Martin

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If there’s any way for you to make some extra money by working a few more hours at your job, or selling some unused things you have lying around, please consider doing so for the sake of Acts 20:35…

“And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

The Apostle Paul was a very hard worker for the Kingdom and that included periodic secular work as a tentmaker. He wasn’t this way just so he could eat and pay for a place to stay. He also worked in order to provide blessings to others.

It would be foolish to think that he never gave money to the needy whenever special offerings were collected in various churches.

He didn’t have a bunch of stuff to sell on ebay or Amazon in order to give to special offerings. But he did have earning ability by making tents and the verse above makes clear that he used that ability to supply blessing to people who couldn’t work.

Let’s do our best to remember that being a good provider should also include a provision for those struggling so hard to provide for themselves. Check your garage or closet or mini-warehouse storage unit for things you can sell in order to donate funds to helping someone in need.

Ask your job supervisor if there’s a way that you can work extra hours in order to help others in need.

Not sure who to help? Talk with your pastor and he’ll point you in the right direction.

Your blessings resulting from faith-based help to others are waiting to come your way.

As always, I love you
Martin

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You wouldn’t get on a plane headed across the Atlantic Ocean if you knew that it didn’t have enough fuel to reach Europe.

And, hopefully, you would warn people at the terminal gate that they would be throwing their lives away if they stepped onto the plane.

You see, not having enough fuel to reach the other side is a disaster waiting to happen.

This sort of thing happens spiritually to too many people.

I call it “dangerous faith.”

If we think that we can get to “the other side” in terms of heaven without the fuel of God’s mercy, we’re destined for destruction just as those who get onto the airliner that will run out of fuel before it reaches land.

If we want the fountain of God’s mercy to fuel our lives and souls until we reach heaven, then we are to be people of mercy during our days on earth.

To be careless about the mercy needs of others is to show God that mercy isn’t valued by us.

And if we show no mercy to others, guess what will be shown to us when we really need it?

Read the following verse in today’s devotional reading from the One-Year Bible and you’ll pick up on the answer to that question.

“If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” (I John 3:17)

It’s Christmas time. Gift-giving time.

Please look for someone needing the blessing of a paid electric bill or an anonymous bag of groceries or a set of good, used tires or a new shoes for his or her kids or help with a medical bill not covered by health insurance.

Please help them to the point that you have to really sacrifice something in order to help them.

I need to do the same.

We want to have more of God’s love flowing into us.

As we let that love flow out of us into the lives of others, we’ll get what we want, I’m sure.

And we’ll be getting on the right “plane” to heaven.

As always, I love you
Martin

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In case you’ve been wondering about the absence of the Morning Devotion posts on Mondays and Tuesdays, you should know that it’s a very busy season for me involving responsibilities keeping me away from the computer on those days.

Fortunately, it is a season that will be measured in weeks, not months.

I miss my time writing and sending out the posts.

I am grateful for the brief time I have today to share something with you.

In Galatians 4:15, the Apostle Paul writes of the deep Christian love that the believers in Galatia had shown to him during an earlier visit.

Paul never specified the nature of his “thorn in the flesh,” but this verse gives a very distinctive clue.

The fact that the region of Galatia was not far from the city of Laodicea — known as THE place for medicinal salve for vision maladies — is also a clue.

By all indications, Paul went to Galatia to preach the Gospel, but while he was there, an eye condition worsened to the point that he had to stop travelling for a bit to seek medicinal care for his eyes.

“You did not mistreat me when I first preached to you. Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News. But even though my condition tempted you to reject me, you did not despise me or turn me away. No, you took me in and cared for me as though I were an angel from God or even Christ Jesus himself. ….. I am sure you would have taken out your own eyes and given them to me if it had been possible” (vv. 11-15)

The Galatians saw the person of Paul when he walked into their lives, rather than the crud or bandages on his eyes.

For Paul to have suggested that some people would have despised his appearance can only mean that he was a visually offensive sight.

But the Galatians didn’t look at the external.

They looked at the internal.

And because of that, their eyes and ears were opened to the eternal.

Consider how the warm welcome of a visually offensive person must have encouraged Paul.

He was likely relaxed even in the midst of his physical discomfort and the Gospel message flowed.

Lives were changed.

Though the circumstances will be different in our lives, let’s strive to have the degree of Christian love that focuses on the hearts of people, not their flaws or maladies.

Whether we are taking the Gospel to them or they are boasting in the Cross to us, the display of unconditional love will only lead to good things.

Perhaps even to somebody’s salvation.

Now that will be quite a sight for sore eyes.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Yes, you and I try to be faithful to the Lord.

And we often are.

But there are those random moments when our definition of “faithful” takes a sad, sour turn.

At least in God’s sight.

We become so wrapped up in exalting Jesus’ majestic nature that we slip into ignoring His merciful nature.

Let me cite a passage in today’s One-Year Bible reading that illustrates this trap.

“As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening.

“They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

“Be quiet!” the people in front yelled at him.” (Luke 18:35-39)

Wow.

The “new kingdom is coming” crowd was so caught up in the hype of the Messiah heading to Jerusalem that they completely forgot or ignored part of why Jesus came to earth — “to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.” (Isaiah 42:7).

They were focused on their agenda of wanting to again be the top nation in the world rather than on Christ’s agenda of helping hurting people get on top of their life problems.

It’s a sad, pathetic picture, actually, this scene of screaming disciples shouting down a blind man who wants Christ’s healing touch.

I’m glad that Jesus didn’t let the crowd determine His intercessory agenda.

I’m glad for the man named Bartimaeus.

I’m sad, though, for those who yelled at Bartimaeus to shut up.

This was a terrible day for how their view of faith was portrayed.

The question for us is this — are there people in our lives wanting Christ’s intercessory help but we’re too caught up in focusing on making our church bigger when we should be focusing on making our church better?

Are we so wrapped up in awesome worship that we fail to worship God with acts of mercy toward those outside the church? Or perhaps even some who have been visiting our churches?

Is it possible that, as the old country gospel song says, we’re so heavenly focused that we’re no earthly good?

I pray that you savor the moments of great worship and that you enjoy the bliss of sweet fellowship with church friends.

But please don’t let the love of comfort distract you from doing all you can to bring comfort to those overtly or subtly crying out for help and hope.

After all, we ARE to be ambassadors for Christ.

As always, I love you
Martin

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