Boldly I approach (The art of celebration)

“Let us therefore come boldly (with open hands) unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:16 ~

By grace alone somehow I stand
where even angels fear to tread…
Invited by redeeming love,
before the throne of God above.

He pulls me close with nail-scarred hands
into His everlasting arms!

When condemnation grips my heart,
and satan tempts me to despair,
I hear the voice that scatters fear –
The Great I Am The Lord is here!

Oh praise the One Who fights for me
and shields my soul eternally!

Boldly I approach your throne…
Blameless now I’m running home!
By Your Blood I come,
welcomed as Your own…
into the arms of Majesty!

Behold the bright and risen Son:
more beauty than this world has known!
I’m face to face with Love Himself –
His perfect spotless righteousness!

Oh, a thousand years, a thousand tongues
are not enough to sing His praise!

Chorus

This is the art of celebration: (oh, joy in my heart)
knowing were free from condemnation! (I’m blameless now!)
Oh, praise the One, praise the One,
Who made an end to all my sins!

There is no condemnation in You,
we are blameless before Your throne!

Chorus

~ Written by: Gareth Gilkeson, Chris Llewellyn
Performed by: Rend Collective
Album: The Art of Celebration ~

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Shoulders

Spoken:  “I look up to the mountains.  Does my strength come from the mountains?  No.  My strength comes from God, Who made heaven and earth, and the mountains…”  (Psalm 121)

When confusion’s my companion,  (Job 10:15)
and despair holds me for ransom,  (Ecclesiastes 2:20)
I will feel no fear –  (Psalm 118:6)
I know that You are near!  (Psalm 34:18)

When I’m caught deep in the valley,  (Psalm 23:4)
with chaos for my company,
I’ll find my comfort here  (2 Corinthians 1:4)
‘Cause I know that You are near…

My help comes from You –  (Psalm 121:2)
You’re right here, pulling me through! 
You carry my weakness, my sickness, my brokenness  (Isaiah 53:4)
all on Your shoulders, Your shoulders.
My help comes from You –
You are my rest, my rescue…  (Matthew 11:28, Daniel 6:27)
I don’t have to see to believe that You’re lifting me up  (2 Corinthians 5:7)
on Your shoulders, Your shoulders.

You mend what once was shattered  (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18)
and You turn my tears to laughter;  (Psalm 126:5)
Your forgiveness is my fortress;  (Colossians 1:14)
Oh, Your mercy is relentless!  (Lamentations 3:22-23)

~ Written by:  Luke Smallbone, Joel Smallbone, Ben Glover & Tedd Tjornhom
Performed by:  for King & Country ~

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 ~

Glorious day

One day when Heaven was filled with His praises, (Luke 2:13)
one day when sin was as black as could be,
Jesus came forth to be born of a virgin: (Luke 1:26-38)
dwelt among men, my example is He. (John 1:14)
The Word became flesh and the light shined among us:
His glory revealed!

Living, He loved me (John 15:12)
Dying, He saved me; (Romans 5:9-10)
Buried, He carried my sins far away! (Micah 7:19, Isaiah 38:17)
Rising, He justified freely forever… (Romans 5:1)
One day He’s coming – (Acts 1:11, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Oh glorious day, oh glorious day!

One day they led Him up Calvary’s mountain, (Luke 23:33)
one day, they nailed Him to die on a tree… (1 Peter 2:24)
Suffering anguish, despised and rejected, (Isaiah 53:3)
bearing our sins, my Redeemer is He! (1 Peter 1:18-19, Job 19:25)
The Hands that healed nations, stretched out on a tree…
(Matthew 8:2-3, Matthew 9:28-30, Matthew 20:32-34)
He took the nails for me! (Romans 5:8)

Chorus

One day the grave could conceal Him no longer,
one day the stone rolled away from the door… (John 20:1)
Then He arose over death He had conquered: (1 Corinthians 15:54 & 57)
now He’s ascended, my Lord evermore! (Hebrews 10:12, 1 Peter 3:22)
Death could not hold Him, the grave could not keep Him
from rising again!

Chorus

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming; (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
One day the skies with His glories will shine! (Acts 1:11)
Wonderful day, my Beloved One, bringing
My Savior, Jesus, is mine…

~ Written by:  Mark Hall & Michael Bleecker
Performed by:  Casting Crowns
Album:  Until the whole world hears ~

Romans 8

31  What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?  32  He that spared not His Own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?  33  Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.  34  Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, Who is even at the right hand of God, Who also maketh intercession for us.  35  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36  As it is written, “For Thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”  37  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.  38  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  39  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.

Unworthy of the Blood

I know not why the Sovereign King would leave His throne on High
to dwell here in this barren land with mortals, such as I…
He left His home in Paradise, oh why, I’ll never know…
but His precious Blood has made me purer than the virgin snow!

Here am I, so unworthy of the Blood
Unworthy of the Blood that sets me free!
Here am I, so unworthy of the Blood,
and yet, it flowed for me…

For every time I falter and I bring the Father shame,
a droplet of His precious Blood then falls upon my name…
I’ll never know the reason why this thing has come to be,
all I know is that He did it, just for you and me!

~ Written by:  Jeff Ross
Performed by:  Jimmy Swaggart ~

Ephesians 1:7
“In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…”

Ephesians 2:13
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

Colossians 1:14, 20
“In Whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins…  And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

1 Peter 1:18-19
“Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot…”

1 John 1:7
“But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Revelation 12:11
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”

Grace is enough

I can boast to many works done out of insecurity,
and credit many conversations to my immaturity.
And while I’m misunderstood, You are understanding me,
and showing me how Grace is enough

For everything that I’ve done right, seems like a thousand I’ve done wrong;
And I keep on losing count of all the times my flesh has won…
And when the light of Christ that’s in me, is overshadowed by the fall,
You’re showing me how Grace is enough…

When I feel unworthy, so undeserving –

Still I can come, just as I am,
for I find Your love is free of condition!
So I will run to Your wide-open arms,
where I am accepted, and I am forgiven:
Grace is enough for me
Your grace is enough for me

I’ve been quick at passing judgment, when I’m worthy of conviction;
and at times I’ve measured virtue only based on my religion!
But theology, it seems, is not the things that’s saving me –
You are showing me a Grace that’s enough…

When I feel unworthy, so undeserving –

Chorus

Though I was blind, now I see –
Sweet is the sound of Your grace over me!
You said it all on the Cross –
Your grace goes beyond all that I’ve done…

When I feel unworthy, so undeserving,
You love me beyond all my failing and hurting.
It’s not who I am, but who I can be;
I know You are working Your purpose in me!

Chorus

Your grace is enough – more than enough!
Your grace is enough for me…

~ Don Moen ~

2 Corinthians 12
7  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  8  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  9  And He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  10  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Ephesians 2
4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us,  5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:  7  That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.  10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Titus 2
11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,  12  Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;  13  Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;  14  Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace – how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! 
I once was lost, but now I’m found;  was blind, but now I see!

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace my fears relieved! 
How precious did that Grace appear the hour I first believed…

Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come;
‘Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far, and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me – His Word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil, a life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,
we’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’ve first begun!

~ John Newton (1725-1807) ~

In the shadow of the Cross

In the shadow of the Cross

Wounded, our stripes were laid upon Him
He was bruised; a crown of thorns for our iniquity
A Man of sorrows – despised and rejected:
He was nailed to the Cross to bear the sins for you and me

In the shadow of the Cross, I stand forgiven
And by the power of His precious Blood, I’ve been set free
In the Cross I’ve found the love that only He could give –
In the shadow of the Cross on a hill called Calvary

Suffering, in shame He hung upon that tree
An offering for sins – His life’s Blood He freely gave
They laid Him in the tomb, so soon to be forgotten…
But He arose – He is the Victor over the grave!

~ Unknown author ~

Isaiah 53

1  Who hath believed our report?  and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?  2  For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground:  He hath no form nor comeliness;  and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.  3  He is despised and rejected of mena Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:  and we hid as it were our faces from Him;  He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.  4  Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:  yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  5  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities:  the chastisement of our peace was upon Him;  and with His stripes we are healed.  6  All we like sheep have gone astray;  we have turned every one to his own way;  and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all.  7  He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not his mouth:  He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not his mouth.  8  He was taken from prison and from judgment:  and who shall declare His generation?  for He was cut off out of the land of the living:  for the transgression of my people was He stricken.  9  And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death;  because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.  10  Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him;  He hath put Him to grief:  when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.  11  He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied:  by His knowledge shall My righteous Servant justify many;  for He shall bear their iniquities.  12  Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong;  because He hath poured out His soul unto death:  and He was numbered with the transgressors;  and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Further reading:  Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, John 18-19

Longsuffering

“The Greek word makro (which gives us the English prefix macro ) means “large” or “long.” The root word thumos means “temper.” Therefore makrothumia literally means long-tempered, the opposite of short-tempered or having a short fuse.
~ Don Hooser, The Fruit of the Spirit – Longsuffering:  A Fusion of Patience and Power!

The Hebrew word for longsuffering is aw-rake’, derived from the root word aw-rak’ (meaning to be long, make long, lengthen, etc.), and is translated as long [-suffering, -winged], patient, slow [to anger].  (e-Sword, Strong’s Dictionary)

Exodus 34
6  And the LORD passed by before him [Moses], and proclaimed, “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,  7  Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty;  visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.”

Galatians 5
22  “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  23  Meekness, temperance…”

Colossians 1
10  “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  11  Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  12  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:  13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son:  14  In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins…”

1 Corinthians 13
4  “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;  7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.  8  Charity never faileth…”

Psalm 145
8  The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.  9  The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

Proverbs 16
32  He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

Ecclesiastes 7
8  Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.

Ephesians 4
1  “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,  2  With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;  3  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Colossians 3
12  “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;  13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.  14  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.  15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

2 Peter 3
9  “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.  10  But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.  11  Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness…  15  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation…”

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.

Being called a “Christian”

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”
I’m whispering, “I get lost sometimes,
That’s why I chose this Way.”  (John 14:6, Luke 19:10)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I don’t speak with human pride;
I’m confessing that I stumble –
needing God to be my guide.  (Luke 1:78-79, Proverbs 4:11-12)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not trying to be strong.
I’m professing that I’m weak,
and pray for strength to carry on.  (Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not bragging of success –
I’m admitting that I’ve failed
and cannot ever pay the debt.  (Isaiah 64:6-8, Isaiah 53:3-7, 1 Corinthians 6:20, Romans 6:23)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I don’t think I know it all.
I submit to my confusion
asking humbly to be taught.  (Luke 10:38-42, Proverbs 1:5, Proverbs 2:1-11)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not claiming to be perfect:
My flaws are far too visible,
but God believes I’m worth it.  (Psalm 14:2-3, John 3:16)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I still feel the sting of pain;
I have my share of heartache,
which is why I seek God’s Name.  (Psalm 73:25-26, Psalm 105:3)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I do not wish to judge.
I have no authority,
I only know I’m loved.  (John 3:16, 1 John 3:1)

~ Carol Wimmer (1988) ~

Additional verses (author unknown):

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I am not shouting that “I am clean living”…
I’m whispering, “I was lost,
but now I’m found and forgiven.”  (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14)

When I say, “I am a Christian,”
I’m not “holier than thou” –
I’m just a simple sinner
who received God’s good grace, somehow!  (Ephesians 2:7-8)