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.

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The Altar

The service is nearing an end
The choir is singing “Just As I Am”
And now as that old song is played
People at the altar are kneeling down to pray
Some are finding mercy
Forgiveness for their sin
Some are fighting battles
They’ve been struggling to win
The time has come to give them to the Lord
That’s what this altar is for

That’s what this altar is for
You don’t have to carry those burdens anymore
There’s a Light in the darkness
And there’s a Love that’s true
And Jesus is waiting
Waiting here for you
Go quickly now before they close the door
That’s what this altar is for

I see a father is praying with his son
Momma kneels beside them thanking God they’ve come
There’s an old man standing there in tears
Giving up a part of him he’s held back for years
Hearts are being broken
Lives are being changed
And those who call upon Him
They will never be the same
The time has come to give in to the Lord
That’s what this altar is for

Chorus

You can give your burdens to the Lord
That’s what this altar is for

~ Words and music by:  Ray Boltz ~

Simple prayer, mighty faith, like a child

My son Gilbert was eight years old and had been in Cub Scouts only a short time.  During one of his meetings he was handed a sheet of paper, a block of wood and four tires and told to return home and give all to “dad.”

That was not an easy task for Gilbert to do.  Dad was not receptive to doing things with his son.  But Gilbert tried.  Dad read the paper and scoffed at the idea of making a pine wood derby car with his young, eager son.  The block of wood remained untouched as the weeks passed.

Finally, mom stepped in to see if I could figure this all out.  The project began.  Having no carpentry skills, I decided it would be best if I simply read the directions and let Gilbert do the work.  And he did.  I read aloud the measurements, the rules of what we could do and what we couldn’t do.

Within days his block of wood was turning into a pinewood derby car.  A little lopsided, but looking great (at least through the eyes of mom).  Gilbert had not seen any of the other kids cars and was feeling pretty proud of his “Blue Lightning,” the pride that comes with knowing you did something on your own.

Then the big night came.  With his blue pinewood derby in his hand and pride in his heart we headed to the big race.  Once there my little one’s pride turned to humility.  Gilbert’s car was obviously the only car made entirely on his own.  All the other cars were a father-son partnership, with cool paint jobs and sleek body styles made for speed.

A few of the boys giggled, as they looked at Gilbert’s, lopsided, wobbly, unattractive vehicle.  To add to the humility Gilbert was the only boy without a man at his side.  A couple of the boys who were from single parent homes at least had an uncle or grandfather by their side;  Gilbert had “mom.”

As the race began it was done in elimination fashion.  You kept racing as long as you were the winner.  One by one the cars raced down the finely sanded ramp.  Finally it was between Gilbert and the sleekest, fastest looking car there.  As the last race was about to begin, my wide-eyed, shy eight-year-old asks if they could stop the race for a minute, because he wanted to pray.  The race stopped.

Gilbert hit his knees clutching his funny looking block of wood between his hands.  With a wrinkled brow he set to converse with his Father.  He prayed in earnest for a very long minute and a half.  Then he stood, smile on his face and announced, ‘Okay, I am ready.”

As the crowd cheered, a boy named Tommy stood with his father as their car sped down the ramp.  Gilbert stood with his Father within his heart and watched his block of wood wobble down the ramp with surprisingly great speed and rushed over the finish line a fraction of a second before Tommy’s car.

Gilbert leaped into the air with a loud “Thank You” as the crowd roared in approval.  The Scout Master came up to Gilbert with microphone in hand and asked the obvious question, “So you prayed to win, huh, Gilbert?” To which my young son answered, “Oh, no sir.  That wouldn’t be fair to ask God to help you beat someone else.  I just asked Him to make it so I don’t cry when I lose.”

Children seem to have wisdom far beyond us.  Gilbert didn’t ask God to win the race, he didn’t ask God to fix the outcome, and Gilbert asked God to give him strength in the outcome.  When Gilbert first saw the other cars he didn’t cry out to God, “No fair, they had a father’s help.”

No, he went to his Father for strength.  Perhaps we spend too much of our prayer time asking God to rig the race, to make us number one, or too much time asking God to remove us from the struggle, when we should be seeking God’s strength to get through the struggle.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippines 4:13

Gilbert’s simple prayer spoke volumes to those present that night.  He never doubted that God would indeed answer his request.  He didn’t pray to win, thus hurt someone else, he prayed that God supply the grace to lose with dignity.  Gilbert, by his stopping the race to speak to his Father also showed the crowd that he wasn’t there without a “dad,” but His Father was most definitely there with him.  Yes, Gilbert walked away a winner that night, with his Father at his side.

~ Peggy Porter (mom) ~

Matthew 18:1-4
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them,  And said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

I will set my face (Wonderful God)

I will set my face to seek the Lord,
I will set my face to seek the Lord,
Give my full attention to my God,
I will listen for His voice,
I will listen for His voice.

My Wonderful Counsellor,
My Teacher, Reminder,
Revealer, my Healer,
My Strengthener, Repairer,
Refiner, my Jesus, my Saviour,
My wonderful God.

Forerunner and Finisher,
My Conqueror, Deliverer,
Restorer, my Hammer,
My Fire, Uniter,
Redeemer, my Jesus, my Saviour,
My wonderful God.

I will set my face to seek the Lord,
I will set my face to seek the Lord,
Give my full attention to my God,
I will listen for His voice,
I will listen for His voice.

Creator, Defender,
My Maker, Instructor,
Commander, my Warrior,
My Shelter, my Helper,
My Leader, my Jesus, my Saviour,
My wonderful God.

My Shepherd, my Gatherer,
Refresher, Rewarder,
Protector, Inspirer,
Provider, my Portion,
Forever, my Jesus, my Saviour,
My wonderful God.

~ Lyrics & music by:  Godfrey Birtill ~

Scripture reference:

Daniel 9:3  “And I set my face unto the Lord God, to seek by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes…”

2 Chronicles 20: Victory in praises

1  It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
2  Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, “There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.”
3  And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4  And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
5  And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
6  And said, “O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
7  Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
8  And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
9  If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
10  And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
11  Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
12  O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.”
13  And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
14  Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;
15  And he said, “Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
16  To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
17  Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.”
18  And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.
19  And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
20  And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
21  And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.
22  And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
23  For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
24  And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.
25  And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.  (What army takes such abundance of riches and precious jewels with them to battle except the LORD made them do it?)
26  And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day.
27  Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies.
28  And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD.
29  And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.
30  So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.

Spirit wind

Ezekiel stared down into the valley
Filled with dry bones baking in the sun –
Remains that used to be a mighty army:
To him, it looked like their fighting days were done…

But, driven by a calling on his life
He spoke God’s words, the bones began to shake!
He stared wide-eyed as the flesh began to form,
And as he prophesied to the wind
The soldiers began to wake…

And the LORD sent His wind into the valley,
And breathed the breath of life into their souls,
And raised them again a mighty army –
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For they have been filled with the Spirit wind…

A pastor stands before his congregation:
Once a mighty army for the LORD…
But now he stares into the lifeless eyes –
Believers leading carnal lives –
He wonders what they’re fighting for?

But, driven by a calling on his life
He spoke God’s Word like he’d done a hundred times before;
But this time he comes broken and weeping,
With tears of a broken heart,
And he cries out to the LORD:

“Oh LORD, send Your wind into this valley,
And breathe the Breath of Life into their souls,
And raise them again a mighty army –
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For they have been filled with the Spirit wind…”

Holy Spirit, breathe on me
Breathe Your life in me

Oh LORD, send Your wind into this valley,
And breathe the Breath of Life into our souls,
And raise us again a mighty army –
For soon these arisen warriors will battle again
For we have been filled with the Spirit wind…

Oh LORD, we need You now,
Breathe Your life into us,
LORD, we need You now –
Our churches and our families,
Oh LORD, we need You now;
Breathe life into this dry and weary land…
Raise us up again!

~ Written by:  John Mark Hall ~

Ezekiel 37

1  The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones,
2  And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.
3  And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest.
4  Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.
5  Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live:
6  And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
7  So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone.
8  And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them.
9  Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.
10  So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army.
11  Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts.
12  Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.
13  And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,
14  And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.

Ephesians 6 – the Armour of God

Armour of God - young man bowing

10  Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12  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.
13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;Armour of God - young woman standing

Four days late

The news came to Jesus:  “Please come fast –
Lazarus is sick and without Your help, he will not last…”
Mary and Martha watched their brother die.
They waited for Jesus;  He did not come and they wondered why.

The death-watch was over:  buried four days…
Somebody said, “He’ll soon be here, the LORD’s on His way!”
Martha ran to Him and then she cried,
“LORD, if You had been here You could have healed him, he’d still be alive…

“But You’re four days late and all hope is gone;
LORD, we don’t understand why You’ve waited so long!”
But His way is God’s way, not yours or mine:
When He’s four days late, He’s still on time…

Jesus said, “Martha, show me the grave.”
But she said, “LORD, You don’t understand – He’s been there four days!”
The grave’s stone was rolled back, then Jesus cried:
“Lazarus, come forth!”  Then somebody said, “He’s alive, he’s alive!”

You may be fighting a battle of fear.
You’ve cried to the LORD, “I need You now!” but He has not appeared…
Friend, don’t be discouraged – He’s still the same:
He’ll soon be here, He’ll roll back the stone and He’ll call out your name!

When He’s four days late and all hope is gone,
LORD, we don’t understand why You’ve waited so long!
But His way is God’s way, not yours or mine:

(Isn’t it great – )
When He’s four days late, He’s still on time…

~ Written by:  Aaron Wilburn

~ Scripture reference:  John 11

Holy Spirit, have Your way

Long after the tears fall I’m still your child,
I put down my defenses and lay down my pride,
Love and forgiveness flow deep and wide
So I’ll run to you and surrender all!

As I lay down my life and pick up my cross –
What a joy it is to give my life away to You!
All that I need, all that I seek
is You here with me –
Holy Spirit have Your way in me!

In times of trouble, though trials may come
The Rock of Ages is standing strong
I’m fighting battles, but the war is won
So I’ll run to you and surrender all…

Chorus

More of You and less of me, God
More of You and less of me, God
More of You and less of me, God
More of You overflowing

Chorus

~ Performed by:  Leeland

~ Lyrics written by:  Ed Cash, Leeland Mooring & Jack Mooring

I refuse

I refuse to be discouraged, to be sad, or to cry;
I refuse to be downhearted, and here’s the reason why:

I have a God Who’s mighty, Who’s sovereign and supreme;
I have a God who loves me, and I am on His team.

He is all-wise and powerful, Jesus is His Name;
Though everything is changeable, my God remains the same.

My God knows all that’s happening, beginning to the end,
His presence is my comfort;  He is my dearest friend.

When sickness comes to weaken me, to bring my head down low,
I call upon my mighty God – into His arms I go.

When circumstances threaten to rob me from my peace;
He draws me close unto His breast, where all my strivings cease.

And when my heart melts within me, and weakness takes control;
He gathers me into His arms, He soothes my heart and soul.

The great “I AM” is with me, my life is in His hand,
The “Son of the Lord” is my hope, it’s in His strength I stand.

I refuse to be defeated, my eyes are on my God;
He has promised to be with me, as through this life I trod.

I’m looking past all my circumstances to Heaven’s throne above;
My prayers have reached the heart of God, I’m resting in His love.

I give God thanks in everything, my eyes are on His face;
The battle’s His, the victory is mine – He’ll help me win the race!

~ Lita Kurtzer ~