Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Moved by Compassion

Psalm 116:5 (New International Version)

5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
our God is full of compassion.

Taking time out to blog is probably one of the last things I need to be doing right now, yet I can't help it. I can't hold it in. Indeed I can not. This may not mean much to you but it means so much to me.


What comes to your mind when you think of the word?

I could give so many scenarios where the Lord has poured out compassion over this head and into the cup of my soul. He has poured out compassion with good measure. Not cheaply, but with great cost. He has poured it out like fine oil that runs over and spills out so lavishly from the throne of mercy.

With the most pitiful words I have to describe, because they don't do justice, I know what it is like to know the Compassionate One when it comes to the depths of my need. The times when the Lord saw straight to my heart, straight to my need, and within the problem opened up my eyes to the reality that He indeed has been...will be...and was always the answer.

Compassion for the sinner. Compassion for the unloved. Compassion for the hungry. Compassion for the weak. Compassion for the sick. Compassion for the blind. Compassion plenty...for you and for me.

Raham is the Hebrew word for compassion meaning: "to have compassion (as God does toward men...), to love deeply (like parents [Isa 49:15]); to demonstrate mercy, obtain mercy...Refers to a strong natural bond, often from a superior to an inferior. Small babies evoke this feeling, but heartlessness sometimes prevailed...God is gracious and merciful to whomever He chooses (Ex. 33:19). He was compassionate even with the enemies of Israel...God looked upon His own people as a father looks upon his children, with deep compassion (Mic 7:19)."

And again sorry for all of the wikipedia quotes but I really liked this definition of compassion regarding Christians:

The Christian Bible's Second Epistle to the Corinthians is but one place where God is spoken of as the "Father of compassion" and the "God of all comfort" (1.3). The life of Jesus embodies for Christians the very essence of compassion and relational care. Christ's example challenges Christians to forsake their own desires and to act compassionately towards others, particularly those in need or distress.[4] Jesus assures his listeners in the Sermon on the Mount that, "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy." In the Parable of the Good Samaritan he holds up to his followers the ideal of compassionate conduct.

The heritage within Western Christendom of compassion as the principle of charity has resulted in recent times in the growth of remarkable charitable phenomena such as Oxfam, Médecins sans Frontières and Live Aid with global reach and budgets of millions of dollars. True Christian compassion, say the Gospels, should extend to all, even to the extent of loving one's enemies.

So pushing pause for a minute on that...

This morning I woke up around 5 a.m. and started my day off in the word. I knew I had a jam packed day and if I was going to have one ounce of victory then I sure needed to seek the Lord. My day hits the ground running as I go to Morgans school to help out with several things. I ended up spending the whole day there. Knowing my purpose is greater than just helping the teacher or eating lunch with Morgan, I was allowed several meaningful conversations about the Lord. I thought surely that was why I was there today. Yet the real why just about floored me. It made me want to burst into tears. I also felt some pangs of hurt for someone I had never met, yet someone that was all too familiar. I am cutting away in the workroom when a little girl stops in front of the door. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Well hello!! I really like your dress.

her: Oh thank you! This is my first time to get to wear it. Isn't it pretty! (as she spun around for effect).

Me: Yes! I love it!

Then without dialogue I looked into her eyes and immediately wondered what her life was like. As I really saw her...I saw the face of so many others. Here in the doorway stood a 7 year old girl who weighed 27 pounds. I looked at her bony legs and arms and face. I secretly hoped that maybe she had a genetic disorder and surely I wasn't staring a precious child in the face that maybe only gets a meal a day...the one she has at school. I then checked out her hair and thought surely she was indeed malnourished. I quickly proceeded to find the teacher to see if my suspicion was correct.

Sure enough she has a really bad home life. How could it be? How could someone not care enough about this child? Without going into great detail, neglect is the case. I felt as if the wind had been knocked out of me. Why? Because this was not in Africa, or India, or Guatemala...this was in my own backyard. This was personal. As I am just going about my business, here is a precious child like my little girl, that may have circumstances that most people in Western Civilization will never deal with.

Of course I tried to find out what I could do to help her. I just can't get her out of my head...the wake-up call out of slumber.

As I saw her, asked questions to see what the reasons were another woman (which could easily be me) sat distracted by her hectic schedule, upset so much over a messed up laminated sign, that she was too distracted to take note of this little girl that is in her sons own class. That fell on me like a ton of bricks that I have been that distracted person in times of want or prosperity that is too busy to notice or too blind to see.

We don't just have compassion and then do nothing with it. The Lord has allowed those in Christ to participate in His Divine Nature and He has given us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness. When He was moved...He was moved to do something. He was filled and moved by compassion even in the midst of sharing in our sufferings. Faith without deeds is no faith at all. Oh that the Lord would open our eyes to not only a global awareness of spiritual and physical poverty but a local one as well. I pray for whoever reading this that the Lord will open your eyes to someone that He wants you to help even this week. That we would stop losing on the minors and focus our attention on what is a starving little child. Starved for the Lord only knows what.

Lord help us.

Isaiah 58

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

I'm Starting With the Man in the Mirror

I heard a sermon preached last week that talked about Narcissuss from Greek Mythology. Little did I even know where the word narcissistic had it's origin. In short form "Narcissism is the personality trait of egotism, vanity, conceit, or simple selfishness. Applied to a social group, it is sometimes used to denote elitism or an indifference to the plight of others."

As far as "mythology" goes check out what a fool this guy looks like and how being obsessed with oneself betrays the focused object or said person causing more and more foolishness and destruction:

"In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a handsome Greek youth who had never seen his reflection. The nymph Echo had been punished by Hera for gossiping by being cursed to forever "have the last word". Echo had seen Narcissus walking through the forest and wanted to talk to him, but because of the curse she wasn't able to speak first. When Narcissus became thirsty and stopped to take a drink, he saw his reflection in the water for the first time. Not knowing any better, he fell in love and started talking to it. Echo had been following him and started repeating the last thing he said. Not yet understanding reflections, Narcissus thought his reflection was speaking to him and became more engaged. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus pined away at the pool and changed into the flower that bears his name, the narcissus."

Does this not remind you of the old skits from Saturday Night Live (not that I used to watch that or anything...j/k) of Stuart Smalley (or Senator Al Franken) sitting in the mirror telling himself: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me?"

Oprah-theology along with this world system teaches that we need to love ourselves before we can love others. What a lie. Our problem is that so many of us are obsessed with "our own self" even if it is a low estimation of self we still tend to remain focused on us. We can't get over our own self so often that it stifles our ability to really know Christ and make Him known. It really is in losing our life in Christ that we find it. Here is another quote I saw on wikipedia about the greek legend:

"He was exceptionally proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. As divine punishment he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool, not realizing it was merely an image, and he wasted away to death, not being able to leave the beauty of his own reflection."

That just fell all over me that he was so proud that he disdained those who loved him. So true of our society and even the rejection of Christ in the life that is so full of self. No condemnation here but how many relationships experience a death of sorts because that person was no longer meeting our needs or making us happy? Drawing off of the above quote think back for a second to a time when you were so focused on getting your needs met in or through someone else that it literally drained you to where your strength felt sapped and you thought you may emotionally wither away? Been there done that and if I don't stay focused on Jesus I will be there a million times more. I know what it is like to feel so depleted because I was trying to fill myself with something when the Lord offers me dignity, some respect, and He promises to strengthen those hearts who are fully committed to Him. Lately, I have had a huge dump truck of condemnation on me. I am not even sure why but I just think it is an attack from the enemy. Even tonight I just offered the Lord all that I am. However bruised, torn, hurt, lethargic, depressed, mediocre that our hearts are they are His in the offering. He wants us to bring what we have. We do not have to be perfect for our hearts to be committed to Him. Why do you think the Lord says that the most important thing is to love Him with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. I can tell you is not because He is some big fat narcissistic God...this I know. Our hearts are not safe left to their own demise. Of course when I say heart I mean the seat of our emotions. Our heart is deceitful and wicked at best. I can't tell you how much I have operated out of pure foolishness when left to my own human inclination.

Philippians 2 talks about how Christ did not consider equality with God as something to be grasped. He took on human form and was tempted in EVERY single way that we have been yet He did not sin. Please don't focus so much on the transcendence of God in theology that you miss out on the fact that He chose to come to earth in human form and be like us and that He would humble Himself to die a criminals death on the cross and take the punishment for all of our sins...past, present, and future. He grew up like us. He learned. He hurt. He was abandoned and forsaken. He taught. He loved. He knew loneliness and suffering. Your plight is not one that He was or is not familiar with. Please don't ever lose sight of that. I about fell out when I had wondered why Jesus' earthly ministry did not start until He was 30 and I heard that to become a Jewish Rabbi that Jesus would had to have been 30. Why did I about fall out? Because it makes perfect sense that He would go through things the way that man did and that He would be the fulfillment of all of the Law and Prophets. The WORD MADE FLESH to dwell among us.
As Beth Moore has said over and over, "The way up is down." The flip side is that the way down is up. If you want to find yourself in a fall pretty quick then you just keep that stiff neck held high. Praise God that He so graciously gives us the opportunity to humble ourselves.

Finally, I am reminded of the following verses: 2 Timothy 3:1-4 1But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—

Lord, forgive us all when we are proud. When we lose site of the plight of others because we are so worried about our self. Give us the courage to be different. We just give you what we have Lord. Please make us a people that love You fully. Help! Thank you for your example that we should follow but please enable us to be the people that you redeemed us to be.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

Beth Moore: The Hair Brush

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Beth Moore "It's Scary to Be Us"

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New Study from Beth Moore!

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Beth Moore - Mean Girls

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Monday, October 18, 2010

What About Him?

Hebrews 3:7-8 7So, as the Holy Spirit says:
"Today, if you hear his voice,
8do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,

With great love and compassion I sit to write this post. I also write from a heart of sincerity begging you that if today you hear His voice that you do not harden your heart against Him. When we delay our obedience it is in essence disobedience yet we harden our hearts to being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. God can use whatever means He wants to communicate to you and me but mostly He speaks through His word, through others, and through the proclamation of the public reading of the scriptures. For example this week the Lord has allowed me to hear Psalm 46:10 four different times. As children of God we still learn by repetition like so many teaching methods used in schools across the world. So, apparently the Lord is telling me to literally cease striving in my own efforts, to quit squirming around endlessly trying to meet the needs of my soul. To be still and to know in my bone and marrow that He is the God of my Life and the length of my days. He will be exalted not only in my life and yours but among the nations...period. Even when His glory seems muted He will nonetheless be exalted. If the rocks have to cry out...Lord forbid...He will be exalted.

A concern I have is that so many of us are waiting for so and so to get on board with us and then we will follow God. Here are a few possible scenarios: If only we could get married then we would stay pure. Marriage does not solve a purity problem. Also, you sure can't make a clear decision when impurity is involved (no condemnation but there is a reason that the Lord calls us to just down right flee is for our good. He knows how what is intended to be sacred and holy will impact us when not in a covenant relationship). If only our husband would lead us spiritually then we would fully follow God. You are not going to stand before the Lord with anyone but you. We must cease with the notion that our spouse is going to be God to us. Do we want to miss out on Jesus because we are trying to be the Holy Spirit to someone else? Let's let God be in control of that person even when we must have a radical call to walk by what is unseen instead of what is seen. If our significant other would go to church with us then we would go. Don't wait on your husband/wife to go to church before you do. I know it is hard stepping out and going by yourself but especially if you have children...cross that border of fear and get your tail to a bible teaching church. If God would just give us that child then we would be content. What a precious desire yet we still must bring that even to rest in the hands of a loving and faithful Creator, Sustainer, and Provider. Continue to step out and believe God until the veil has been lifted from our scaled eyes that can be so easily blinded to the things of this world. Take your brokenness and pour it out like water in the Presence of the Lord. If I could get a different job then I would be happy. If we had another house then maybe we would be content. If I could just get this one person to approve of me then I would be happy. God determines your worth not anyone else. The Lord is a God who buys us back and redeems us fully. He bought us back from our fallen state and sins slavery by His cruel unmerited death on a cross. If my husband would take the lead then we would do great things for Jesus.
If others are bringing you down please don't wait on them to change before you do. Just like the woman that was hemorrhaging reach out, press in, believe, and be desperate for Jesus. In your weakness you are made strong with His strength. Reach in and get your healing even if it is a healing of your broken heart and not a physical healing. Don't wait on anyone else to find your own emotional healing and wholeness. So many of us have signs in our houses proclaiming "As for me and my house we will serve the LORD." We who are in Christ house the Holy Spirit within us. When you and I proclaim that me and my house will serve the LORD all that we can really bring into submission is our house...the temple that God has given us in these jars of clay. We can set the stage and teach our children about an intimate relationship with Christ but we do not control anyone as much as we can get a tight fist with the people we love...we are not God.

I love the picture in John 21 where Peter hears the kind of death that he will have to die and I just adore the fact that we get glimpses of humanity all in the word. He asks Jesus "what about John?" The Lord basically says forget about my agenda with him this is you we are talking about. Make it your business to follow me Peter. I love when Paul says follow me as I follow Christ. My calling and yours are not the same as far as the means yet the call is the same to follow. PLEASE let's not stand before the Throne of Grace with the "what about him" attitude. I am so guilty of wondering why God isn't being as picky with Rod as He is with me yet you know what that is not my business. I am not Rods boss. So whatever your lot for now...which is so undignified...know Him for yourself and make Him known out of that full soul. Let's press on to know Him even when life gravely disappoints. He is our treasure our very great reward.

John 21:21
When Peter saw him, he asked, "Lord, what about him?" 22Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."

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