How do we learn to be compassionate? How do we find ourselves with an overwhelming urge to reach out and embrace someone who is hurting? God envelopes our hearts and bathes us with healing comfort when we cry out to Him. Having felt the great need for compassion and finding it in Him, we then yearn to lovingly comfort those we see who are in need of understanding and solace.
Good news. "Your check came in!" "The test was negative!" "You’ve won!" We all want to hear good news, especially when we may be fearing the opposite. The message of hope that God has for the world is often called the "Good News."
I remember those who faithfully brought the message of Jesus and His salvation into my life. They are beautiful to many they have encountered, because they chose to live their lives as messengers on a journey, bringing news of abundant life and direction to aimless wanderers like me.
"The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." Deuteronomy 31:8
Today was an emotional day. After I made the final payment for our son’s cemetary marker, I drove to the grave site. I could not keep the tears from coming. Grief is a strange thing. Like an illness with many symptoms, it grips those it visits with a myriad of pangs. Driving away slowly through the memorial gardens, I was aware that God was comforting me as I cried. He knows every feeling I have–the inner struggles that no one else notices. Like the tiny parts of a flower’s center, He looks upon my little known hurts and values their worth. How I feel does matter to Him. He clothes the lilies of the field and provides for their needs. God will meet me where I am, assuring me that I am not alone.
It’s the day after Christmas. Another season is gone and I am quietly expectant for the future. Because of His great love, God gave me a new life through His Son, Jesus, several years ago at this time of year. My desire is to share that love with others, for His light has come into my heart.
Exactly what were the wise men doing when they came to see Jesus? They had come expecting to find Him. They prepared themselves beforehand to meet Him. When the moment came, they fell down and worshiped Him. They opened their treasures and presented them to Him as gifts. They were kings; they gave the best they had to offer. Where did they attain their riches? Who appointed them royalty? They were face to face with the author of existance, bowing before the One who had granted them all things. Their response was to give back some of the treasure they had been given and to offer their worship with sincere hearts. What treasure has God given me? Tonight, I am asking myself these questions. Do I willingly set the talents He has given me before Him in worship and allow Him to use me as His instrument to minister to others?
"The GLORY of the Lord," " the King of GLORY," "the earth is full of His GLORY," " the power and the GLORY, " "the GLORY of the Lord shone," " GLORY to God in the highest, " "give GLORY to God," " the gospel of the GLORY of Christ…." The Bible has many references to glory. What does glory mean? Honor and splendor. It was a multitude of heavenly host that was praising God the night Jesus came to earth. They proclaimed His glory and pronounced "peace among men on whom He is pleased." The world was filled with sin and rebellion, yet God was pleased with men? Surely, when we were without hope, a people lost in disobedience, the glorious God , to whom all honor and splendor is due, was pleased to love us as He sent His Son Jesus to reconcile us in peace without condemnation.
A card is affixed to a piece of furniture in my bedroom. It says, "Where are you going to see God today?" It is a reminder that He is working all around me. Will I choose to take the time to notice? Will I ask myself, "Where is He?" The wise men were paying attention. They were familiar with prophecy, and they had faith to believe. Am I familiar with the Bible? Do I have the faith to believe?
"God with us." I have heard this statement many times. This evening, the opposite thought came to mind: "God without us." He so loved the people of this world that He sent His Son to redeem us from our certain fate. God did not want to be without us for eternity. His desire was to forgive; to purchase back that which had been lost to sin.
I am currently reading a very interesting book. One particular passage speaks of how what we see in existance begins in the minds of those who desire their creation. A building is constructed only after the dream of the architect is realized on paper. The marriage covenant is pronounced only after love and commitment have grown in the hearts of the two being wed. We have a promise from God. It is already in existance in His mind. When our earthly bodies become worn or damaged beyond repair, we will be given a heavenly body, one that God desires to create for us, realized the moment we are transported from our current realm into the everlasting presence of our Heavenly Father.
What will it be like? At the moment that Christ returns, there will be rejoicing on the part of the Christian. But what of those who never acknowleged Him as Savior? What if Christ had returned the day BEFORE I realized I needed His salvation? I am thankful that I did not miss the opportunity to choose life. Do you know for certain where you will be spending eternity?
While listening to the radio on my way to work this morning, I cried. The words I was hearing so beautifully sung were piercing. What does it really mean to want to please God? The words that so broke my heart were, "But I offer all I am for the mercy of Your plan. Help me be strong." Am I offering all that I am? Am I willing to live out the plan God has for me? I pray that God would help me be strong.
Sometimes life seems complicated. Decisions appear just outside of my grasp. Uncertainty becomes an unwelcome companion to every thought. Yet, as I seek to understand His will for my life, God redirects my thinking toward His provision and away from my insufficiencies.
Through the years I have enjoyed looking at coins. Far away dates inscribed on certain coins compelled me to save them. It’s as if I could somehow connect to the past by holding something still in existance from that time. We use coins everyday. New ones from this year, old ones from another. Small reminders that time is indeed passing, relentlessly leaving a record of how we spent it in it’s wake. Will I spend my hours investing what God has given me in a way that is pleasing to Him?
Jesus said, "Already he who reaps is receiving wages, and is gathering fruit for life eternal; that he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together."
When I arrived at work yesterday morning, the fog was thick. As I was parking the car, I could see the sun through the blanket of mist that was suspended above the trees. When I consider the sun, I think of light–powerful light. When thinking of a shield, thoughts of covering and protection come to mind. The sun is a life sustaining force. Without it, we could not exist. In the spiritual battles of our lives, we are not left unguarded. It is the power of God that grants us life, and it is His shield that surrounds us, keeping watch over our very souls.
Soft answers. Kind words. A forgiving heart. The gentle example of love we show to others is pleasing to God, yeilding a future harvest more bountiful than we could ever imagine in the lives of those we have touched.
Who or what am I trusting in for eternal life? How would your friends answer this question? The most elaborate plan fashioned by the minds of men, apart from the truth of God’s word, will not be sufficient at the moment we find ourselves standing before God.
There he stood. So still, even on such a windy day. As I approached, there was no movement on his part. Only an awareness of my presence and a resolve to remain firmly at his chosen vantage point. Looking at him now, he shows no sign of timidity; head held high, he made the decision to stay. As I carefully acquired his visage on my camera, I was mindful of every step I took. Excitement mounted within me as I realized the opportunity to capture such graceful beauty with my lens.
Darkness falling in the middle of the day. What fear must have filled the hearts of so many at that time. Would I have been afraid? Would I have understood that the veil being torn by God Himself would signify the privilege of the believer to come before Him without a mediator?
Sometimes I need to get away by myself and quietly seek direction from God. The realization of failure, the willingness to try again—-both need to be reconciled with God’s will.
"Can I take a survey?" he began without any prior warning for his next question. "Who all in here is scared to die?" I was shocked by his transparent emotion. Not being in a religious setting of any kind, I was unprepared for his spontaneous interest in the views of others around him. Many were quick to relay their fears as well. I was brought face to face at that moment with the reminder that there are those who live each day without any assurance of salvation. God’s plan of reconciliation is deposited within me in order that I may share this knowledge with others. I pray that I would have the boldness to speak out to those who do not know Christ.
What will it be like to finally be in the presence of the Lord? We will be gloriously transformed. Every thought will be aligned with Christ, with no temptation to beset us. The miraculous mystery of love that abounds to us will be realized. We will all be changed.
"I forgive you." Such sweet words to hear when we have uttered hurtful comments, made a careless mistake or embraced a destructive attitude. When we are truly repentant, forgiveness from someone we love is priceless as it brings instant relief from the turmoil of guilt that so mercilessly grips us deep inside. Greater still is the comfort that is felt when it is God who reaches into the depths of our soul and washes away all transgression.
How do we need to pray for others? As we look around us, people in every walk of life are worried and distraught. There is a peace that can only come from God; an inner assurance that He is there . As we think of friends and neighbors this season, perhaps we should ask the Lord of peace Himself to calm the hearts of those we know.
Am I ready to postpone my regular activity in order to talk to someone about their relationship with God? When the opportunity arises, I hope that I will recognize the importance of sharing with another all that He has done for me.
There are many things I do not understand. I must have faith in God no matter what the circumstance, trusting that He knows what is best. For now, my vision is dim; one day all things will be revealed.
Perhaps this has happened to you. Having spent the afternoon working in the yard, rake and shovel in hand, you find that in order to continue your work, a certain item must be purchased. A very important part to repair a lawn mower, a bag of seed or fertilizer, or those stones that you’ve been meaning to place around your garden. With no time to shower, you rush to the store. Clerks treat you amiably, but there is a nagging feeling that your appearance is creating a less- than -desirable opinion. Months later, having attended a special luncheon, wearing your nicest clothes, you recall the need to purchase that last bit of screen for your bedroom windows. Stopping by the same shop as before, you begin to sense an air of respect coming from the associates assisting with your purchase. Pondering the situation, you consider the somewhat shallow qualifications for acceptance that is present in society. Who should we accept as candidates for the hearing of the Gospel? Does God show partiality or did the sacrifice of His Son apply to all men? Surely, it does! Our outer appearance shows very little of what is truly inside. God knows the condition of our hearts. Who we are is not defined by how we look. Below you will find one of my favorite photographs. Ice covered branches on a snowy day? No. These are the magnified images of the fibers of my dark gray car mats, glistening in the sun when viewed through a hand held microscope. Not what you expected? That was what I was hoping. Praise God, He sees in us what no one else could ever understand. Yet, loving us completely, He makes salvation available to all who will receive it, being partial to none.
Sometimes the past comes back to our minds. Regret or even guilt may flood our thoughts. We must remember God’s promises. He forgives us and casts our sin away. I am thankful that today I am made new; the old is gone.