Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Compassion of Christ

The Compassion of Christ
Consider the following verses from the book of Matthew:
  • 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
  • 14:14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.
  • 15:32 Now Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And I do not want to send them away hungry, lest they faint on the way.”
  • 20:34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
Jesus’ compassion is in response to our need for Him! In the verses above, Christ saw the people as:
  • Shepherdess – wandering away from the flock without the guidance, protection or provision of the Great Shepherd.
  • Sick – whether it is spiritual, emotional or physical sickness, the Great Physician has the desire and power to heal.
  • Starving – want of food makes the body hungry; want of a Savior leaves the soul starving.
  • Sightless – when someone is physically blind they can’t see the world around them; when someone is spiritually blind they can’t see the Light of the World.
The word for compassion used here means, ‘to have the bowels yearn’ (feel sympathy or pity). The God of the universe loves us so much, that when He sees our brokenness, suffering, troubles and affliction, He yearns within Himself to bless us!  
God sees all the sufferings in the world. Imagine how He must be yearning for the day when He will restore all things!
  • Revelation 21:4-5 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” 5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”
Never underestimate God’s love for us.  
Never underestimate how much He loves YOU!
Father, Your love for us is so evident. No wonder You tell us in Your Word that those who deny You are without excuse. But I know that Your love goes much farther and deeper than I can possibly imagine or understand. I praise You for telling us of Your compassion. I long for the day when I will stand eternally in Your presence, when there will be no more sin, no more suffering, no more death! May the compassion of Christ draw many to salvation. I pray these things in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Eternally Unique

Eternally Unique
As Christians, we all strive to be like Christ, yet we retain our individuality. We long for the character of Jesus to be revealed in our lives, yet we are never stripped of our eternal uniqueness.
With Christ as our example, 
  • 1 Peter 2:21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
as we progress towards attaining the standard He lived out and requires of us, 
  • Ephesians 4:13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
and knowing that one day we will be like Him;
  • 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
it is amazing just how different we are all!
  • Psalm 139:14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
It is very unfortunate, that in our fallen human nature we are typically drawn more closely to those who are similar to us (in appearance, interests, status, etc.). In God’s infinite wisdom and glory, He allows the indwelling presence and leading of Christ to be lived out without distinction by race, nationality, occupation, economic status, gender, personality type…
  • Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
Each Christian is adopted into God’s family by His grace, through the faith He has given us, not by what we do (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are depriving ourselves of tremendous blessings by not fellowshipping more openly with our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of how different they may appear to us. God will judge with impartiality. Why don’t we try it His way?
  • Psalm 98:7-9 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell in it; 8 Let the rivers clap their hands; Let the hills be joyful together before the Lord, 9 For He is coming to judge the earth. With righteousness He shall judge the world, And the peoples with equity.
So why not start enjoying the diversity in God’s family? If you look past the surface, you will see Christ in each of God’s children!
Heavenly Father, please forgive my prejudicial preferences, my closed mindedness, and my tendency to sometimes only associate closely with those who I am comfortable with. I am sorry for not making the effort more often to get to know my brothers and sisters in Christ better and for not always watching to see how you are revealing Yourself in and through them. May Your Word and Your Spirit help me to see others how You see them. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Sheep Need a Shepherd

Sheep Need a Shepherd
I am certainly no expert on sheep, but from what I have heard they are pretty dumb and very defenseless. Without a shepherd to provide for their basic needs, protect them from danger, and prepare them for various activities and challenges, they would be in big trouble.  
I love the 23rd Psalm for many reasons. But what has been on my heart about it lately are the first five words, ‘The LORD is My Shepherd’. All the proclamations David makes in this psalm are only true because of these five words.
David’s Proclamations in Psalm 23:
  • About Himself and His Life
    • I shall not want
    • I will fear no evil
    • My cup runs over
    • Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
    • I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever

  • About His Relationship with God
    • He makes me to lie down in green pastures
    • He leads me beside the still waters
    • He restores my soul
    • He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake
    • You are with me
    • Your rod and your staff they comfort me
    • You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies
    • You anoint my head with oil
Five more words I really like are, Jesus is the Good Shepherd!
  • John 10:14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own.
    • If you haven’t done so lately, I would encourage you to read all of John chapter 10.
I am so thankful I have a shepherd who provides all my needs, protects me from danger and prepares me for life!
  • Provides: Jehovah-Jireh (The Lord will Provide) Genesis 22:14 And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”
  • Protects: Jehovah-Nissi (The Lord is my Banner) Deuteronomy 20:4 for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’
  • Prepares: Jehovah-Mekaddishkem (The Lord Who SanctifiesExodus 31:13 “Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: ‘Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the Lord who sanctifies you.
Jesus is the loving shepherd who died for the sins of the world! And not only did He die to pay the price for our sins, but He also rose from the dead as proof of His deity and as a promise of eternal life for those who surrender their lives to His Lordship by accepting His free gift of salvation.
Dear Lord, I am so thankful to have a shepherd who loves me. You faithfully demonstrate Your love and consistently fulfill the promises You have made in Your Word. Without You as my shepherd, I would be lost and in grave danger. It is such a blessing to boldly proclaim and regularly experience the benefits of Your loving care and the relationship we share. Please bless all Your sheep while continuing to draw others into Your fold. Thank You for the beautiful words of the 23rd Psalm and how You have used these Words over the centuries to bless and comfort many souls. I praise You and love You. I long to be an obedient sheep. In Christ’s name I pray, Amen.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Affordable Soul Care Act

The Affordable Soul Care Act
While the United States of America wrestles with the legal, moral, technical, financial and political issues associated with the Affordable Healthcare Act, every living soul on the planet will deal with the implications of the Affordable Soul Care Act. Healthcare is a temporary concern. But Soul Care has eternal consequences!
Every single person who has ever lived, other than Jesus Christ, has offended God. Our offense is called sin and happens as a result of our:
  • Inherent Inability to Reach God’s Standards
  • Irresistible Itching to Rebel Against God’s Laws
But because of His perfect love for us, He made a way to address the issue of sin.
  • Romans 5:10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
There are two critical aspects of this reconciliation:
  • First, we have peace with God through the death of Christ (a sinless sacrifice).
    • Colossians 1:20-21 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. 21 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled 
  • Second, we have eternal life by the resurrection of Christ (proof that He is God).
    • John 14:19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.
Why is this so important? Because whether you are reconciled to God or not, you will exist for eternity (either in perpetual suffering or in unending fellowship with God).
  • Matthew 25:46 And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
So why am I calling this 'The Affordable Soul Care Act'?
  • Affordable – Salvation in Christ is a free and undeserved gift from God.
    • John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
  • Act – To receive this gift you must understand it, believe it and then act on it by surrendering your life to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
    • Romans 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
There is no broken website keeping you from the only insurance policy for your soul. So act now. Talk to God about your decision to follow Christ!
Father, You have done all the work and made all the provisions for Your physical children to be reconciled to You as Your spiritual children. May the truth of Your Word presented in this devotion touch the heart of someone who needs it. I trust Your sovereignty and praise Your providence. In the glorious and powerful name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.