God’s perfect timing

I may be part of a small minority of people (I’m not sure), but I love dates.  God has wired my mind in such a way that I find it easy to remember dates, specifically birthdays and anniversaries.  I think it has something to do with the way I learn by association, and I remember dates by associating a certain person (or event) with a date.

Recently my life has changed quite a bit, and most of these are really significant changes.  With all these changes, I’ve learned a wonderful truth:  God has a perfect plan, with perfect timing, for my life.  Let me explain.

I have kept a diary for a couple of years, and with my interest in dates, the following events has taken place, to which my attention has been drawn the last week:

  • 18 July 2009 – the day on which I met my husband.
    18 July 2010 – I joined a wonderful church that played a big part of who I am now.  We were part of this church for 5 years.
  • I worked for 3 months at my first job in retail, and found another job within my last week of probation.  I started working at this second job in admin on 11 April 2011.  For a few years, I prayed and searched for another job, until I finally got an opportunity in education earlier this year.  My last day at this (2nd) job was on 22 April 2016, almost exactly 5 years later.  (It actually could have been exactly 5 years – I took certain factors into account and thought it best to work a few extra days than what the 30-day notice period stipulated.)
  • I started working at my current job on 25 April 2016, and my last day will be on 26 August 2016, almost exactly 4 months later, due to better job opportunities for my husband.  (We were open about this from the interview stage, and my current employer is okay with that.)
  • When my husband and I got engaged and started looking for a wedding venue, the only date our chosen venue had available was 1 September 2012 – the first day of Spring in South Africa.  I loved the significance of it – a new season for both of us as husband and wife.  This year, on the 31st of August, we will move to another major city, and we will start a “new season” on the 1st of September 2016, exactly 4 years (seasons?) later.

There are certain things in my life that I am still hoping and praying for, and I sometimes get discouraged that these dreams have not come true for me yet.  I compare my life to that of my peers, and it sometimes feels like I have been left behind, that God has forgotten about me, or that things just aren’t working out for me like I hoped they would.

It is times like these that I have to remind myself that God has REALLY got a perfect timing for everything in my life, even though my life doesn’t work out the way I had thought it would.  Sometimes things take time to fall into place.  I prayed for a job in education for YEARS – and at the perfect time, I got the perfect job at a school of which I was part of the opening staff.  Last year this time, this school did not exist yet, and there were certain things that had to happen before this door could be opened (although I suffered through my last few months at my previous job, wondering if God would ever change my circumstances!).

I hope and pray that this will encourage you, too.  God really has got a perfect timing for your life.  Just keep going, hoping and praying.  Don’t give up – you never know how near you are to the victory!!

Don't give up!

Don’t give up!

Keep holding on to the Scriptures that tells about God’s GOOD (I have a few previous posts about God’s Goodness…).

Romans 8:28
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

Jeremiah 29:11-14
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” saith the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  12  Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.  13  And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.  14  And I will be found of you,” saith the LORD: “and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all the places whither I have driven you, saith the LORD; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven…  He hath made every thing beautiful in his time…”

I’m praying that each one of you who will read this, will realize the great love that God has for you, and that “… the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  (Psalm 84:11)  Keep the faith, keep holding on to Him, looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, let your life work out perfectly according to the GOOD plans He has for you.  (Hebrews 12:1-2)  God bless each of you.

© http://www.blessedbeyondmeasure3.wordpress.com

Hebrews 12


1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,  2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.   3  For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.  11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Matthew 6:26 & Matthew 10:29-31

Advertisements

No good thing (Part 2)

Lately, it has been difficult for me to spend time in God’s Word, but yet every time I did, I found that God WANTS to encourage me during this uncertain time in my life.  He is so faithful to give me hope when I read His Word, I have felt that (at this phase in my life) it really doesn’t matter where I read – just as long as I do.  He will give me something to hold on to even though I don’t have a Bible Reading Plan at this moment.  (I think a good place to start if you also don’t know what to read, is the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – see what love and compassion Jesus has for people with troubles!)

A few months ago, I posted a meditation about Psalm 84:11.  I am still on that same topic, still holding on to the promise in that verse, that God will withhold NO GOOD THING from those who walk uprightly.  I keep reminding myself that this is true, especially when I feel hopeless in my current situation.  (The enemy works really hard to convince me that God has forgotten about me, and that He does not care about my pain – and so I have to “fight” with the Sword of God’s Word, reminding myself of the Truth that I believe.  See Eph. 6:17.)

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield:  the LORD will give grace and glory:  no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” ~ Psalm 84:11

I have found that, many times, God says the same thing over and over in His Word, and He has really used this repetition of His promises to encourage me when I start questioning whether this verse above is true for me.

“Ask, and it shall be given you;  seek, and ye shall find;  knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  for every one that asketh receiveth;  and he that seeketh findeth;  and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask Him?” ~ Jesus speaking in Matthew 7:7-11

The Bible is full of stories of people who expectantly waited for the fulfillment of a promise from God.  Just think of Abraham and Sarah (Gen. 15:46), Joseph (Gen. 37:9), the whole of Israel as slaves in Egypt (Gen. 15:13-16, Ex. 3:7), King David (1 Sam. 16:13, 2 Sam. 5:4-5), and then Israel waited again on the promised Saviour (Is. 53:11), to name just a few examples.  I, for one, can definitely relate to this waiting on the fulfillment of God’s promises.

Yet, as Joshua testified after Israel had been taken to Canaan’s land after experiencing MANY miracles, I believe that I will also one day look back, and confess that “not one thing hath failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spake concerning youall are come to pass unto you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” ~ Joshua 23:14

I hope that this will encourage you today, as it encouraged me.  There are many more verses that speak about the GOOD THINGS that God has planned for us, and I can recommend that you will use a Bible App (e-Sword, YouVersion, etc.) to search out His promises and to be encouraged by it.  God is so faithful and (very much) able to perform what He plans for each of us.

“For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what He hath prepared for him that waiteth for Him.” ~ Isaiah 64:4

“But as it is written, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…” ~ Ephesians 3:20

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” saith the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected [hopeful] end.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

God bless each of you.

© blessedbeyondmeasure3.wordpress.com

No good thing

The past couple of months have been difficult.  I’ve felt that I could relate to the Scripture that says that we are troubled on every side, perplexed, and cast down (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).  I have been pressed hard from every side and in almost every aspect of life.  Yet, regardless of all the difficult circumstances on the outside, the inward battles have been the most difficult for me.

It is the struggles inside my heart that have really made me broken – the struggle that comes from having a dream inside your heart, which cannot be realized yet;  the promises and desires that your heart long for, but there is nothing you can do but wait for its fulfillment.  I have cried many tears, knowing that even if I could find the words to describe what I felt, no-one would really truly understand the heartache involved, simply because it is so very personal.

I have wrestled many times, telling the Lord that the things I desire is GOOD.  It’s a dream that will, by His grace, make a difference in other people’s lives;  desires that are counted as blessings in His Word;  and promises which are reflected in Scripture.

These dreams, desires and promises have still not been fulfilled, but I am comforted and encouraged through God’s Word.  I am repeatedly reminding myself of what I have found:Psalm 84v11 (2)

“For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”  ~ Psalm 84:11

I believe that God’s indescribable love will withhold NO GOOD THING from me.  (Romans 8:32)  If something is withheld at this present moment, I must conclude that if I had it now, it would not be good for me.

I firmly believe that there is a “perfect timing” for everything.  (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)  Yet, I am the first one to confess that waiting for the “perfect time” is extremely difficult, especially if the thing you are waiting for is so deeply rooted in your heart that life feels empty without it.  The Bible isn’t silent about this either:

“Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” ~ Proverbs 13:12

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness;  but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” ~ 2 Peter 3:9

Our loving Lord sees the bigger picture and all of the things that can possibly have an influence on our dreams and desires.  During the times when you are waiting, deeply longing for the fulfillment of some GOOD thing, keep reminding yourself of His Goodness.  Keep reminding yourself that He will not make you wait one second longer than what He knows is necessary.

I have cried many tears as I listened to the song Blessings by Laura Story, mostly because I know it is true – we go through difficult times of “unanswered” prayers and waiting for His redemption of our circumstances, but what He really wants is for us to see Him and feel His comforting love through it all.  If a child never fell and got hurt, he would never know that exact kind of comfort, care and love that his parents can show when he’s hurting.  Likewise, we can experience a very special comfort and nearness with our Lord when we hurt.

My prayer is that you will also be encouraged, as I’ve been, through this Scripture.  It takes constant reminding, because I am so quick to doubt.  Many times, I don’t even know what to pray anymore, because of the overwhelming sense of emptiness I feel when I think of these desires.  Then I am reminded of a parable that Jesus told (Luke 18:1-8 below), and I once again lay my heart bare before Him.

Jesus loves you, and He desires the best for all His creation – including you.

Hold on.  Keep the faith.  Keep praying.  Remind yourself of the Truth (His Word).  One day you will look back and know that it was His faithful, all-knowing love that kept you waiting and finally brought fulfillment in a more perfect way than you could ever imagine.

Blessings to you!

© blessedbeyondmeasure3.wordpress.com

Luke 18:1-8
And He spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;  Saying, “There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:  And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, “Avenge me of mine adversary.”  And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I fear not God, nor regard man;  Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ”  And the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge saith.  And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?  I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith [persevering in prayer] on the earth?

Please feel free to leave comments with Scriptures that have encouraged you during difficult [waiting] times.

10 reasons I kissed Halloween goodbye

Original Article found on prophazine.com by Michele Blake.

1. Halloween glorifies evil, not God.

It’s no secret that Halloween is all about witches and ghosts and fear and death.  Haunted houses, Hollywood movies, even neighborhood patios are graced with blood and dead bodies and axe murderers… giant replicas of poisonous spider and cobwebs… scary organ music, skeletons, and gravestones.  Can anyone deny that this holiday glorifies Satan and every evil thing?

“Oh, but our family only dresses in good costumes,” we are quick to point out, as if somehow sugarcoating the evil with smiling pumpkins and sparkly Disney princess costumes somehow changes the meaning of the celebration.

I too continued to dress up for several years, but no matter what creative spin I put on it, eventually I could no longer justify that anything I was doing in respect to this holiday was honoring to God.  Sure, my costumes were cute.  Sometimes they were even sophisticated, clever, funny, or smart.  But none of those things changed the fact that the holiday itself glorified evil, and I could no longer lend my talents and attention to remain part of it.

Most of us know that Halloween is one of the highest, most holy days for witches and Satanists. Even though we ourselves may not be involved in the practice of witchcraft, we give credence to the holiday by celebrating it. If we abhor evil, should we not also abhor any day designated to celebrate it? The Bible says to avoid even the appearance of evil.

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.  Abstain from all appearance of evil.” — 1 Thessalonians 5:21-22

It also doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern that the Halloween is all about fear.  Scary costumes, haunted houses, and horror movies are designed for no other purpose than to frighten us.  Seeking out opportunities to be scared is, on this day at least, the highest form of entertainment.  If we do not have a spirit of fear, should we even acknowledge a day whose purpose is to invoke a spirit of fear in us?

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear;  but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” — 2 Timothy 1:7

2. If the seed is bad, the fruit will be bad.

Halloween has never been a Christian holiday.  The foundations of Halloween are occultic, and the symbols and traditions we continue today all have roots in pagan practices.  God tells His people over and over again to avoid all pagan rituals and traditions.

Halloween derives in part from the occult traditions of the Druids, the pagan priests of the Celts, whose fall festival was the precursor to Halloween as we know it.  “To ancient Druids, the end of October commemorated the festival of the waning year, when the sun began his downward course and ripened grain was garnered from the fields.  Samhain… was celebrated with human sacrifice, augury and prayers; for at this season spirits walked, and evil had power over souls of men.”1

When the first Christians came to America, they knew of Halloween’s occult beginnings and banned its celebration.2

“[B]ecause of Christianity among so many of the settlers, Halloween celebrations were not celebrated until the 1800’s when several immigrants from Ireland and Scotland introduced their Halloween customs.  They brought various beliefs about ghosts and witches with them.  Other groups added their own cultural influences to Halloween customs.  German immigrants brought a vivid witchcraft lore, and Haitian and African peoples brought their native voodoo beliefs about black cats, fire, and witchcraft.”3

Today, we have become so accustomed to the traditions of men that we refuse to question them.  Even Christian families have been honoring this holiday for generations.  But doing so ignores the fact that this festival in no way honors God, and in fact celebrates the very practices God abhors:

“When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations.  There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, [pharmakeia], Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.” — Deuteronomy 18:9-11

Putting a Christian label over the top of a pagan practice does not make it pleasing to God. In fact, we are to get rid of all pagan practices and have no part of them:

“These are the statutes and judgments, which ye shall observe to do in the land, which the LORD God of thy fathers giveth thee to possess it, all the days that ye live upon the earth.  Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their gods, upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:  And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.  Ye shall not do so unto the LORD your God.” — Deuteronomy 12:1-4

God doesn’t want us to keep the ways of the world and sprinkle Christianity on top.  He wants us to elevate Him alone:  His ways, His philosophies, His deliverance, His celebrations.  Any other practice is sin and eventually bears bad fruit.

3. Don’t dine with demons.

Samhain was the one day of the year when the dead were allowed to come back into the world and commune with the living.  People traditionally set a spot for the dead at their table, inviting them in.  Since there was also the possibility that evil spirits would come looking for them, people took to “guising” themselves for protection.  In other words, it’s okay to dine with demons — as long as you wear a costume to protect yourself.

“Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.” — 1 Corinthians 10:21

So are we really supping with demons?  Sharing food with someone represents a sacred connection.  Adam and Eve first ate with God in the garden, but then chose to share an apple without God in the presence of Satan.  Jesus spent much of his time on earth dining with sinners, because that is who He came to save.  The last thing Jesus did before He was crucified was to share a meal with His disciples, and He commands us to continue remembering Him in that way until He comes again.  When we see Him in heaven, it will be at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb!

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:  if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.” — Revelation 3:20

Satan is the world’s greatest counterfeiter, so he tempts us to sit at his table and join his feast (festival, festivity) by making it as attractive as he can.  He knows we won’t say no if his festival looks like pure evil, so he’s let us create our own G-rated version that we aren’t as likely to resist.

But God says, “… for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? … And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God…” — 2 Corinthians 6:14-16

4. Halloween is an excuse to flaunt sexuality.

It’s true.  Halloween is becoming more risqué every year.  In fact, sometimes I think its real name is “Dress Like a Porn Star” Day.  Girls dress more provocatively, and at much younger ages, on this day than any other.  There seems to be an unwritten competition to have the raciest costume.  For those passing on ghoul or gore, the only other worthy goals seem to be shock and immodesty.

“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;  Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient:  but rather giving of thanks.  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord:  walk as children of light:  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)  Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” — Ephesians 5:3-8

I can vouch from personal experience that when we put on a costume, we often detach ourselves, sometimes ever so slightly, from our inhibitions.  After all, it is much easier to act a tad bit naughty when our real identity is hidden.  It’s almost as if bad behavior is somehow excused when we are in costume — and it’s much easier to explain in the morning:  “I wasn’t actually sinning;  I was just staying in character.”

Even though we are not to have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, we prefer to emulate them and parade them on our Facebook pages as if they are somehow deserving of honor.

“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” — Ephesians 5:11-12

5. We play how we practice.

This is one of my husband’s favorite sayings.  He is usually referring to table manners with our sons:  if you use a knife and fork correctly at the kitchen table, then you won’t have any problems when it counts — when you’re at a nice restaurant with your employer or meeting your future wife’s parents for the first time.  How we practice spills over into real life.

The same applies to Halloween.  We think we can entertain the macabre, erect gravestones in our front yards, and prop dead “bodies” on our front porches.  “Oh, but they’re not real,” we demur.  Then we are appalled when a 17-year-old has a fascination with dead bodies and decides to act on his morbid desires.

Do we really have any right to be shocked or even surprised when some among us decide to act out in real life the fascination with evil we insist on holding dear?  We can’t have it both ways:  if we choose to be entertained by evil, we should be prepared for the time when it becomes reality.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” —Ephesians 6:12

Let us not drop our guard for a moment, or even camp out one night a year “for fun” on the side of the enemy.

6. Are we causing others to stumble?

Even if we don’t believe it’s dangerous to dabble in the ancient pagan practices of Druid priests, have we given any thought to the impact our actions might have on others?

The Bible tells us just how important it is that we not lead His children astray (Matthew 18:6) or cause them to stumble (Mark 9:42).  If we present witchcraft, promiscuity, and the occult in a fun and seductive manner now, are we opening the door to involvement in those practices in the future?

Will our children learn values we want them to learn by participating in this “holy day,” or would they learn better values, perhaps even courage, from seeing us stand up against evil even when our culture says it’s fine?  It probably goes without saying, but what values are we impressing on our children when we send them trick-or-treating?  Is the lie “give me your candy or I’ll play a trick” really becoming of anyone?

If we forego Halloween but give our children a substitute celebration instead, are we sending the message that “I am trying to compensate because I think you’re missing out on something really amazing”?  I want my children to believe what I myself believe:  that we have been given something so much better than this!  No more bobbing for apples in the church basement (a pagan fertility ritual, by the way) when I have true joy in knowing God’s true Son!

7. Be faithful in the small things.

For many Christians, the thought of whether to celebrate Halloween is a small issue, maybe even a non-issue.  After all, it’s only one day a year.  And what harm is there really in a handful of Snickers miniatures and a pillowy pumpkin costume?

Let me answer that this way:

First, our character, integrity, and devotion to God is evident in the small things.  If we can’t be faithful in the small things, how will our hearts be faithful in the big things?

“He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” — Luke 16:10

So, yes, even something as seemingly small as how we handle Halloween is important.

Second, God has told us to focus on what is pure, noble, right, lovely, and admirable (Philippians 4:8).  Is Halloween any of these things?  No, and therefore it is unworthy of any of our time or thoughts.

Third, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” — 1 John 3:8

If God came for the purpose of destroying the works of Satan, why do we then try remember, imitate, and even elevate those very things?

How do we expect we will be able to keep ourselves faithful when the big temptations come alone when we can’t even say no to glorifying evil in what we do for fun?

“Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” — James 1:27

But we’ve joined forces with the world.  In fact, instead of keeping ourselves unspotted, we have become one giant spot with it — we are so much alike no one can tell where the world ends and the Church begins.

We need to start keeping ourselves pure in the small things, so that we will be able to stay pure and undefiled in the big things.

8. God wants to bless us — but not in the way the world blesses.

For those of us who love Jesus, why is it so important to entertain the macabre and flirt with the dark side for one day, one week, or one month out of the year, instead of delighting in the joy the Lord Himself has set before us?

“Thus saith the LORD, ‘Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.  For the customs of the people are vain…’” — Jeremiah 10:2

We often say we don’t want to deprive our children of candy, of dressing up, of the “fun” they have by participating in this holiday.  But God has already told us the customs of the world are futile [vain]!

Is this is the kind of happiness we want for our children, we are clearly setting our standards too low.  Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and He will provide all of the other things we need.  (Matthew 6:33)

“Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.  Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” — Psalm 37:3-4

God in His divine sovereignty did not give us Halloween for our entertainment.  Instead, we thought we were missing something and we hijacked it!  Just like Eve in the garden, we believed Satan’s lie that God was withholding something good from us.  God, however, has far better things in store for us than candy corn and parlor games.  Why do we continue to grovel in the plastic sandbox when God has given us the entire beach?4

We continue pouring time and money into what is overall something that has no lasting fruit and does not in any way glorify God.  Would our time be better spent in prayer, teaching our children about the real dangers their friends face by dabbling in the occult?  As a Christian, I don’t want to spend even a penny of my money on a $7-billion-a-year event that is so dishonoring to God.  As a nation, it is painfully evident where our hearts are.

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” — Luke 12:34

9. There is sin in the camp.

Even if we think our costumes are not sinful (as if it’s the costume that’s the problem and not the fact that we are still giving reverence to the holiday itself), what about others who have decided that there is nothing wrong with their costumes either?  After all, they aren’t really practicing witchcraft, just dressing up as witches.  So do we excuse the dressing up but draw the line at Ouija boards?  What about pretending to cast spells?  We have made ourselves the judges of what is good and evil instead of following God’s command to avoid even the spoils of the enemy.

I have two words to say to that kind of thinking:  Remember Achan.

In Joshua 7, Israel was accursed and could not even stand before its enemies because just one man, Achan, had taken the spoils of Jericho, when God had said no one was to touch them.  By the sin of one man, the entire nation was judged.

“And the LORD said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?  Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff.  Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you.” —Joshua 7:8-12

It’s just a holiday — what’s the big deal?  The darkness of Halloween is devoted to destruction [accursed] and is in no way honoring to our Father of lights (James 1:17) — and no orange and black sugar coating will make it so.  God is a jealous God, and all pagan beliefs are sinful in God’s eyes.  We can’t choose how much or even how nicely we want to celebrate.

And we need to help hold each other accountable because we may all bear the judgment for sin in the camp.

At this time in history more than ever, we are in great need of God’s mercy on our land:

“If My people, which are called by My Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways;  then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” — 2 Chronicles 7:14

Yet how many of us are truly humbling ourselves and turning from wickedness?  We say we are followers of Christ, but we refuse to surrender in complete obedience to His Word in even the simple act of turning from a holiday that glorifies evil.

If still we refuse to repent and seek God’s wisdom in every aspect of our lives, we should not be surprised when God further removes His hand of blessing and protection from this great land.

10. Come out from them and be separate.

Perhaps the reason I finally let go of Halloween was precisely because I didn’t want to.

If that sounds like a contradiction, let me explain.  You see, the very fact that I kept coming up with reasons and excuses so I could continue celebrating eventually led me to question my motives.  Why was I hanging on so tightly?  Was it possible that my celebration of Halloween had become an idol to me?  Certainly it appeared so, because still I embraced the traditions of men even when I knew God’s heart on the matter.

“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord…” — 2 Corinthians 6:17

God wants His people to be holy, which means to be set apart.  If everyone else is doing something, and I’m doing it too, that is a good time to examine myself to see if I’m really in the faith.  If people don’t look at me and think I am peculiar (1 Peter 2:9) — if I fit right in with our culture and no one can tell I am any different — then I am probably doing something wrong.

The Bible doesn’t say that we should have less up do with darkness than other people do;  it says have nothing to do with evil.  By even acknowledging and associating with the holiday, I was giving credence to it in my life and opening myself to deception.

It is my prayer that everyone who follows Christ will be open to prayerfully seeking God’s wisdom about the traditions of man.

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:  (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)  Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord..” —Ephesians 5:6-10

~ Article by Michele Blake ~

End notes:

1 http://heartofwisdom.com/blog/should-christians-observe-halloween/

2 http://www.logosresourcepages.org/HalloweenBook/history.htm

3 http://heartofwisdom.com/blog/should-christians-observe-halloween/

4 See also C.S. Lewis’ quote: “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak.  We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.  We are far too easily pleased.” ― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, and Other Addresses

Love for the lost

Today my heart is breaking.

My heart breaks for those family members and friends who once knew the Truth, but who have been confused by the world’s doctrines.  My heart breaks for those who willfully reject Jesus Christ as the Lover of their hearts and souls.

My heart breaks, because other than praying for them, there is nothing I can do to make them see that Jesus, Who suffered, died and rose for their sakes, longs to be their Saviour, Father and Friend.

Some of these people were taught in Christian ways, and some once confessed Jesus as their Saviour.  Some people have simply never heard the complete gospel.  Which is worse?  The fact is that our choices have consequences, and whether we choose for or against believing in Jesus Christ as Saviour, the consequences are eternal.

I wish I could show these people how much they are loved by their Creator.  I wish I could make them experience the compassion I have felt, being comforted by my LORD when I am in despair, crying out to Him in prayer.

There have been times when I have desperately cried, realizing the greatness of my sin and my own inability to overcome the darkness in my heart, half expecting Him to reprove me with some Scripture about how I should be living for Him.  At least twice, I have experienced a compassionate Friend, comforting me in these moments with the greatness of His unending love.  Without thinking it out, I have visualized Jesus walking to me and sitting next to me in my brokenness, His arm around my shoulder, showing me His incredible mercy and grace when I’ve been whipping myself on the back about my sins.

Psalm 103:8-14
The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.  He will not always chide: neither will He keep his anger for ever.  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.  Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him.  For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust.

My heart breaks to see loved ones rejecting such an amazingly loving Saviour, not only because I deeply love Jesus, but because I truly love these family members and friends.

It is days like today when I have to remind myself that, just as God drew me to Himself in a most gentle way many years ago (and He still does!), so He is drawing each person to Him every day.  Sometimes, our hearts are hardened by our own reasoning, being blinded by a lack of understanding of what happens in our lives.  Yet, His love continues to call out to us to draw us closer to Him, never differentiating between the individuals that He lovingly created.  (Ephesians 1:16-23, Acts 10:34-35, John 12:37-40, 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:6)

No matter how much we love somebody here on earth, God loves them much, much more.

As I continue to pray for my unsaved friends and family, I thank God that nothing can separate us from His love, the love that He demonstrated to us when Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed His life on the cross and overcame death to make a way back to our Holy Father.

May we never forget that others will know God’s love by the way we love them.  (John 13:35, 1 John 4:11-12)

Finally, may we always have compassion for those who are still lost, knowing that the only reason why we can love, is because God first loved us and gave His life to save us while we were yet sinners.  (1 John 4:19, Romans 5:8)

Romans 8:35-39
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, r famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written, “For Thy sake we are killed all the day long;  we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 3:17-19
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith;  that ye, being rooted and grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

John 3:16-17
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” ~ Jesus Christ

How deep the Father’s love for us

What God thinks about you

Original article taken from Desiring God website
What God Thinks About You

We all want to know who we are. We seek and search and try to “find ourselves.” Many of us have taken personality tests and other assessments. We learn that we are a lion, a beaver, an ENFP, an activator, a competitor, a high I, high D.

But as helpful as those tests can be, have you ever stopped to ask, “What does God think about me? Who does he say that I am?”

In all my years as a Christian, I had never asked the question quite this way until recently. And what I found is that God has a lot to say about what he thinks about us — a whole Bible full. But if we could summarize it in a short space, here’s how it might sound.

You Are Valuable

I am the Creator and you are my creation. I breathed into your nostrils the breath of life (Genesis 2:7). I created you in my own image (Genesis 1:27). My eyes saw your unformed substance (Psalm 139:16). I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). I know the number of hairs on your head, and before a word is on your tongue I know it (Matthew 10:30; Psalm 139:4). You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

You are more valuable than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31). I have given you dominion over all sheep and oxen and all beasts of the field and birds of the heavens and fish of the sea (Psalm 8:6–8; Genesis 1:26, 28). I have crowned you with glory and honor as the pinnacle and final act of the six days of creation (Psalm 8:5; Genesis 1:26).

However, from the very beginning, you exchanged the truth about me for a lie. You worshiped and served created things rather than me, the Creator (Romans 1:25). You have sinned and fallen short of my glory (Romans 3:23). Just as I said to Adam and Eve, the penalty for your sin is death (Romans 6:23; Genesis 2:17). And in your sin, you were spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). You were children of wrath, living as enemies to me (Ephesians 2:3; Romans 5:10). You turned aside from me. You became corrupt. There is none who does good, not even one (Psalm 14:2–3). What you deserve is my righteous judgment (Psalm 7:11–12).

And yet, in my great love, I gave my unique Son, that all those who believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). While you were still sinners, Christ died for you. While you were still hostile toward me, you were reconciled to me by the death of my Son (Romans 5:8, 10). Sin doesn’t have the last word. Grace does (Romans 5:20).

Now everyone who calls on the name of Jesus will be saved (Romans 10:13). You who have believed are born again (1 Peter 1:3). I have adopted you (Ephesians 1:5). You are children of God, heirs of God (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:16–17). You are no longer orphans. You belong to me (John 14:18; 1 Corinthians 6:19). And I love you as a perfect Father (1 John 3:1; Luke 15:20–24).

You Are New

In my eyes, you are a brand new creation. The old has passed away; the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Sin is no longer your master, for you died to sin and are now alive to me (Romans 6:11; Ephesians 2:4).

You are finally free from the slavery of sin and death. There is now no condemnation for you (Romans 8:1–2). All your sins are forgiven (1 John 1:9). All your unrighteousness has been cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7, 9). You are now righteous in my sight with the very righteousness of my perfect Son (Romans 4:5).

You’ve been saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8). You’ve been justified by faith (Romans 5:1). You are utterly secure in me; nothing will be able to separate you from my love in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:39). No one is able to snatch you out of my hand (John 10:29). And I will never leave you nor forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

You Have My Spirit

You not only have a new Father, but also a new family of brothers and sisters (Luke 8:21). You are now part of the people of God (1 Peter 2:9). And together the life you now live is by faith in my Son (Galatians 2:20).

Look to Jesus. Keep your eyes on him. He is the author and perfecter of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). Christ is in you by my Spirit, and you are in Christ (John 15:5; Colossians 1:27). Stay close to Jesus. Abide in him (John 15:4). For your life is found in him (John 14:6; Colossians 3:3–4). To live is Christ and to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).

Don’t live by your own power or understanding. No, live by my Spirit within you (Zechariah 4:6; Proverbs 3:5). Remember, I have given you the Holy Spirit to be with you and in you (Romans 5:5; John 14:17). The Spirit will guide you into all truth, help you to obey me, and empower you to do my work (John 16:7, 13; Acts 1:8; Galatians 5:16).

You Will Be Transformed

As you seek me and see more of my glory, I am transforming you into the image of my Son (2 Corinthians 3:18; Exodus 33:18). One day you will be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet sound (1 Corinthians 15:52). When Jesus appears, you will be like him, because you shall see him as he is (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:29).

You will be delivered from your body of death through Jesus Christ, and your dwelling place will be with me (Romans 7:24–25; John 14:3). And I will wipe away every tear from your eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore (Revelation 21:3–4).

You will drink from the spring of the water of life without payment, and I myself will make for you a feast of rich food and well-aged wine (Revelation 21:6; Isaiah 25:6). You will enter my rest, inherit the kingdom I’ve prepared for you, and step into fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Hebrews 4:9–11; Matthew 25:34; Psalm 16:11).

But most of all, you will see my face and be with me where I am (Revelation 22:4; John 14:3).

You Represent Me

Therefore, walk in a manner worthy of your calling (Ephesians 4:1). You are no longer darkness, but light in my Son. Walk as children of light (Ephesians 5:8). You are the light of the world, a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14). I have called you (2 Peter 1:3). I have chosen you (Revelation 17:14). You are now a saint, a servant, a steward, and a soldier (Romans 1:7; Acts 26:16; 1 Peter 4:10; 2 Timothy 2:3). You are a witness and a worker (Acts 1:8; Ephesians 2:10). Through Jesus you are victorious (1 Corinthians 15:57). You have a glorious future (Romans 8:18). You are a citizen of heaven (Philippians 3:20). You are an ambassador for my Son (2 Corinthians 5:20).

~ Written by John Rinehart ~

Remember Who you belong to!

When you feel like you can’t handle the task and you ask yourself:  “Who’s your Daddy?” You can feel secure – not because of you, but because of Who you belong to.  Remember Who He is, and that you belong to Him:

He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End.  (Revelation 22:13)  He’s the keeper of creation and the Creator of all.  (Genesis 1:1, John 1:3, 2 Peter 3:7)  He’s the architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.  (Psalms 8:3, 147:4)  He always was, always is, always will be (Hebrews 13:8) – unmoved, unchanged, undefeated and never undone.  He was bruised, but brought healing.  He was pierced, but eases pain.  He was persecuted, but brought freedom.  He was dead and brings life.  He has risen to bring power and He reigns to bring peace.  (Isaiah 53:3-5, 61:1-3)

The world can’t understand Him.  Armies can’t defeat Him.  Schools can’t explain Him.  And leaders… they can’t ignore Him.  Herod couldn’t kill Him;  Nero couldn’t crush Him;  the New Age cannot replace Him, and Oprah cannot explain Him away.

Remind yourself that He is Light; (John 8:12) He is Love; (1 John 4:8) He is longevity and He is the LORD!  (Philippians 2:11)  He is goodness and kindness and faithfulness, and He is God!  (Exodus 34:6) He is holy and righteous, powerful and pure.  (Psalm 145:17, 29:4)  His ways are right, His Word eternal, His Will unchanging, and His Mind is on us!  (Deuteronomy 32:4, John 6:68, Malachi 3:6, Psalm 115:12)  He’s our Saviour, our Guide, our Peace, our Joy, our Comfort, our LORD, and He rules our lives.  (Matthew 18:11, Luke 2:11, Psalm 48:14, Isaiah 9:6, John 15:11, John 14:16, Psalm 103:19)

I serve Him because His bond is love, His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His goal for us is abundant life.  (Colossians 3:14, Matthew 11:30, John 10:10)  I follow Him because He’s the Wisdom of the wise, the Power of the powerful, the Ancient of Days, the Ruler of rulers, the Leader of all leaders!  (Proverbs 8:12-35, Revelation 7:12, Daniel 7:9, 7:22, John 19:11, Romans 13:1)

His goal is a relationship with me…  (John 3:16, Revelation 3:20, John 15:14)

He’ll never leave you, never forsake you, never mislead you, never forget you, never overlook you, and never cancel your appointment in His appointment Book.  Never!  (Hebrews 13:5, Isaiah 49:16, Jeremiah 29:11, Ephesians 1:6)

When you fall, He’ll lift you up.  When you fail, He’ll forgive you.  When you’re weak, He’s strong.  When you’re lost, He’s your way.  When you’re afraid, He’s your courage.  When you stumble, He will steady you.  When you’re hurt, He’s gonna heal you.  When you’re broken, He will mend you.  When you’re blind, He will lead you.  When you’re hungry, He will feed you.  When you face trials, He is with you!  (Psalm 147:6, Psalm 103:3, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, John 14:6, Joshua 1:9, Proverbs 3:23, Malachi 4:2, Psalm 34:18, Psalm 23:3, Isaiah 42:16, John 6:51, John 4:10, Matthew 28:20)

When I face persecution, He shields me.  When I face problems, He will comfort me.  When I face loss, He will provide for me.  And when we face death, He will carry us all Home to meet Him!  (Psalm 33:20, Psalm 23:4, Philippians 4:19, Isaiah 40:11, 46:4)

He is everything, for everybody, everywhere, every time, and in every way!  (Ephesians 1:21-23)

He is your God, and THAT is Who you belong to!

~Taken from sermon by Priscilla Shirer ~

The Author & Finisher of our Faith

We, as humans, think that we should balance out our bad deeds with good deeds.  Mentally, we keep “record” of the bad things we have done, and then we try to balance it out by doing some good deeds in an effort to justify ourselves.

The Bible does say that “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20) and that “by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).  Further reading of this passage reveals the example of Abraham, who believed, and the works that he did followed his faith in God’s instructions and provision (Genesis 22:1-14, Hebrews 11:19).  The “works” mentioned in the Book of James are NOT trying to justify ourselves in God’s eyes through “good deeds”.  The Bible is clear that “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6), and that we are only “justified by His blood” (Romans 5:9), the Blood that Jesus Christ shed for us on the cross at Calvary.  (See also Hebrews 9:22, 1 Peter 1:18-19.)  God wants our works to be done out of our love for Him, doing good deeds to other people because we want to please our LORD (not justify ourselves), and reading the Bible and praying to God because we desire fellowship with our Creator.

As we sincerely desire a love relationship with Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for us (Ephesians 5:25), He will work the good works in our hearts (Philippians 1:6 & 2:13).  We, as humans, like to try to be “in control”, DOING things to buy His favour.  This is not at all what He requires.  He wants us to LOVE Him, above all else.  (Luke 10:27)

This relationship between me and God was NOT initiated by me, or “earned” by any good thing I may have done.  His love for us, His mercy and grace, His kindness, is so great that the God of all the universe, the Creator of all things, desires a relationship with us – broken, frail, sinful human beings.

Our relationship with God (through Jesus Christ, our mediator) is from Him.  He is the One Who does the good works in our hearts and through us.  It was never about us – but it always has been and always will be about Jesus Christ, our God.  All the glory and honour is due to Him!  (Revelation 4:11)

1 John 4:19
We love Him, because He first loved us.

John 15:16
“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My Name, He may give it you.” ~ Jesus Christ

Philippians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:1-3
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Ephesians 2:8-10
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Revelation 5:12
Saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

BUSY

Satan called a worldwide convention of demons.  In his opening address he said, “We can’t keep Christians from going to church.  We can’t keep them from reading their Bibles and knowing the truth.  We can’t even keep them from forming an intimate relationship with their Saviour.  Once they gain that connection with Jesus, our power over them is broken.  So let them go to their churches;  let them have their conservative lifestyles, but steal their time, so they don’t have time to develop a real relationship with Jesus Christ.  This is what I want you to do,” said the devil. “Distract them from gaining hold of their Saviour and maintaining that vital connection throughout their day!”
“How shall we do this?” his demons shouted.

“Keep them busy in the nonessentials of life and invent innumerable schemes to occupy their minds,” he answered.  “Tempt them to spend, spend, spend, and borrow, borrow, borrow.  Persuade the husbands and wives to go to work for long hours, 12-14 hours a day, so they can afford their empty lifestyles. Keep them from spending time with their children. As their families fragment, soon, their homes will offer no escape from the pressures of work!

Over-stimulate their minds so that they cannot hear that “still, small Voice“. Entice them to play the radio or MP3’s whenever they drive… to keep the TV, DVD’s, CD’s and their PC’s going constantly in their home and see to it that every store and restaurant in the world play degrading and hateful music constantly.  This will jam their minds and break that union with Christ.  Fill the coffee tables with magazines and newspapers.  Pound their minds with the news 24 hours a day.  Invade their driving moments with billboards.  Flood their mailboxes with junk mail, mail order catalogs, sweepstakes, and every kind of newsletter and promotional offering free products, services and false hopes.

“Keep skinny, beautiful models on the magazines and TV so their husbands will believe that outward beauty is what’s important, and they’ll become dissatisfied with their wives.  Women will forget how beautiful they really are and start to hurt themselves to fit someone else’s idea of how they should look.  Keep the husbands and wives too tired to love each other at night.  Give them headaches too!  If they don’t get the love they need, they will grow lonely and will begin to look elsewhere.  That will fragment their families quickly!

“Give them Santa Claus to distract them from teaching their children the real meaning of Christmas. Give them an Easter bunny so they won’t talk about His resurrection.

“Even in their recreation, let them be excessive… have them return from their recreation exhausted.  Keep them too busy to go out in nature and reflect on God’s creation.  Send them to amusement parks, sporting events, plays, concerts, and movies instead.  Keep them busy, busy, busy!  And when they meet for spiritual fellowship, they will leave with troubled consciences.

“For those who resist all the temptations of television and worldly pursuits, crowd their lives with so many good causes that they have no time for inner search.  Soon they will be working in their own strength, sacrificing their health and family for the good of the cause.”

“It will work! It will work!!”

Did you know, the only place in the Bible (KJV) where the word “busy” is written, is in a negative context?

1 Kings 20
39  And as the king passed by, he cried unto the king: and he said, “Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man unto me, and said, “Keep this man: if by any means he be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else thou shalt pay a talent of silver.”  40  And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone.”  And the king of Israel said unto him, “So shall thy judgment be;  thyself hast decided it.”

Could B-U-S-Y possibly stand for
B – bending
U – under
S – satan’s
Y – yoke ?

Jesus said:  “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me;  for I am meek and lowly in heart:  and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

What a contrast between the rest that Jesus gives, and the stress and tiredness of being BUSY!

Kindness & compassionate love

~ Ian Maclaren ~

~ Ian Maclaren ~

“A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,  And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, “Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.”  Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?”  And he (the certain lawyer) said, “He that shewed mercy on him.”  Then said Jesus unto him, “Go, and do thou likewise.”  Luke 10:30-37

“A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, “Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me.” And he divided unto them his living.  And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.  And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.  And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.  And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.  And when he came to himself, he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,  And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”  And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  And the son said unto him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son…”  But the father said to his servants, “Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:  And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:  For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.” ”   Parable told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-24

Consider the compassionate kindness of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ:

“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,  … according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;  Which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour…” Titus 3:3-6

“But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Romans 5:8

“It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye even to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:  And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.”  Joel 2:12-13

“And there came a leper to Him, beseeching Him, and kneeling down to Him, and saying unto Him, “If Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.”  And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, “I will; be thou clean.” ”  Mark 1:40-41

See also Isaiah 54:8, Jeremiah 31:3, Jeremiah 32:18, Matthew 9:36, Matthew 14:14, Matthew 15:32, Matthew 20:34, Psalm 143:8.

How do we compare to Jesus’ compassionate kindness?  Most often, somebody first has to get hurt (sometimes not even by ourselves), tears has to flow, sickness must come, before we start showing compassion toward others.  Even though it is good to be compassionate and kind toward the sick, those with heartache, and those going through difficulties, it is a fact that we do not always see other people’s battles.  Some battles are fought privately in one’s heart or mind, and it is obvious that we have no idea what battles strangers fight.  How kind are we toward the cashier at the supermarket (or the person packing our goods in plastic bags)?  Or toward the administrator at the bank when we’ve stood in a long queue?  Or with the car guard, the person who sells newspapers on the corner, or even the girl who sells her body for an income…?   (Luke 7:37-50)  Jesus showed compassion toward everybody, and so should we.  Had we known their battles, surely we would have more compassion, kindness, and maybe even a sincere smile for them.

What if we’ve been hurt?  Often in the Word of God “kindness” (or “lovingkindness”) goes hand-in-hand with forgiveness.  Jesus set the perfect example:  “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him…  Then said Jesus, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” ”  (Luke 23:33-34)  Peter also encouraged the believers to “be… kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)  See also Colossians 3:12-15, 2 Peter 1:5-7.

May Jesus Christ make us more into His Nature (John 3:30), that we can be “having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.”  (1 Peter 3:8).  May we “be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another,” (Romans 12:10) to bring God all the glory.