Posts Tagged compassion

Page Two

Lamentations 3: 22 – 25

The Lord’s lovingkindesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I have hope in Him.” The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him.

I didn’t want to leave you with the woe of Israel. Some of you remember Paul Harvey and his radio broadcasts. He used to say, “Page Two” as he moved on with his story telling. There is often a page two in life. As you see in these verses, Jeremiah knows, and tells, “the rest of the story.” He knows from where salvation comes. And let us not only think of salvation as the divider between heaven and hell. God wishes to save us from every unfavorable situation. In these verses, God’s saving grace is exposed and proclaimed.

There is trouble in life. Jesus told us that. Read David’s psalms and it becomes clear. Of course, there is an entire book of lamentations. However, at the end of the day, at the end of the book, behind every worry there is the faithfulness of God. He is always there to scoop us up and carry us away from the turmoil and tribulation. He is our shield and our fortress. We really can hide in Him while the world spins away.

In the Old Testament, specifically the Psalms, we read about our Father as the stronghold, the fortress, our refuge. These are all places into which a person can retreat and find security. In the New Testament, Jesus calls this being “in Him.” In Christ and in the Father, is fullness of compassion and hope. We have a promise here in Lamentations that God shows His goodness to those who wait for Him, to those who seek Him. So, the way I hear this is that God has little choice. I have power in this situation. If I seek Him, if I wait for Him, He will pour out His good upon me. I mean, the formula is already there, just plug in the variable over which you have control and it has to produce its equivalent counter-part which is the goodness of God.

Our father waits on high to pour His goodness out upon us. He longs to show us His tender mercies and benevolence. He is so overflowing with lovingkindness that it is without end or limitation. Each day He begins with goodness to give to us. So, though there is trouble in the world, there is goodness, salvation and kindness is our Father. We do not have to reside in the trouble, we can choose to move into God’s loving nature.

Let Him pour Himself out to you. He is without end. Everything you need or want in this hour is in Him. Seek His face, even right now in this moment. Let Him hear your voice and let Him be a loving Father.

Compassionate Grace

Exodus 34: 6 – 7

Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth.

How often have you heard about the angry, vengeful God of the Old Testament? Well, here He is full of compassion, grace, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. You know, we’ve got to be careful about what we listen to. Show me the scriptures! Give me evidence! When we actually look at the Old Testament, especially in its entirety, we find a God who was long on patience and whose actions were characterized by lovingkindness.

God is love and He so loved all of us that He sent His only begotten son to the cross for us. No one sends there only son to suffer and die for people He doesn’t love. He gave everything precious to Him so that we could be saved. Is that evidence of a vengeful God. And think about it this way . . . didn’t Jesus come to earth, suffer and die in the Old Testament? The new dispensation and the new covenant could not be ushered in until Jesus went to the cross, died and arose so all that we celebrate in the Christian faith about resurrection, salvation and the new birth is based on the Old Covenant love of God.

Yahweh has always been a full of compassion and lovingkindness. When Moses hid himself so that God could pass before him, what he saw and reported was that this God was full of graciousness, truth and compassion. We learn that God was and is slow to anger. How can we justifiably describe Him as angry when He is slow to anger? Does that make any sense at all?

The truth is that God is as He always was. He has not changed. His love for us has always motivated His actions. The fact that He did not send a lightning storm and strike down the grumbling, complaining Israelites in the desert is proof enough of His long suffering. Not one among us is as patient or as slow to anger as our Divine Father and yet we accuse Him of being impatient and merciless. It is just not true. We’ve been lied to but now we know.

Never be afraid of your heavenly Father. Never fear seeking counsel and communion with Him. He is gentle and kind. In fact, He is the most gentle being that has ever inhabited this universe. His compassion knows no boundaries. I love Jesus and I know you do too but we must remember that Jesus came to reconcile us to the Father. Jesus is the way. The way to what? To the Father. Jesus’ mission was to bring us back into relationship with the Father when we, like the prodigal son, sinned against Him and went astray. All the while, the Father was awaiting us, His eyes searching the horizon, a gold ring and new robe in Hands readied to drape us in the family colors and crest. He is the one who was deprived yet He longingly awaited our return, every day searching the road in the anticipation of our appearance. He never lost faith. He put the sacrificial lamb on the alter so that we would be able to approach Him with a clean conscience. This is the act of love, not anger.

The God of the Old Testament is a loving God, full of grace and mercy, abounding in compassionate concern.

Kindly

Ephesians 4:32

Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Let’s not leave this kindness topic just yet. In fact, for those of you who do word studies, look this one up on BibleGateway.com (There is also a link to Bible Gateway on my website). You will be impressed at how many times God brings this up.

Today’s verse gives us a little better insight into what kindness looks like in application. The first is so obvious that we sometimes miss it. Kindness is Christ. As we read the scriptures and watch his interactions with the world we begin to see what a sanctified life really looks like. Jesus was moved by compassion. That means that he did something. He was moved to do something. Also, though, let us not lose sight of the fact that he felt compassionately. What does that mean but that he allowed his heart to feel something for someone else’s situation. Of course, we know that love is not selfish but when I think of Jesus experiencing emotions based on a life not his own it makes me think how I should be less absorbed with how I feel about my world. It also highlights for me that Jesus was a person of emotion rather than one of a stoic stiff upper lip. We should feel and those emotions should not be spent only on our own stuff.

Secondly, God wants us to be tender-hearted. What? Does He not realize we are western, rugged individualists? What is He thinking? I remember a commercial from many years ago were the announcer declared that something was “rough and tough like alligator bags.” I was young and was influenced by that slogan. I thought we were all supposed to be rough and tough. I have worked on it for many years now and believe I have developed proficiency in this only to find that Abba, Father wants me to be tender-hearted! What a kick in the teeth. Don’t you feel like you open yourself up to being hurt if you go through life tender-hearted? Well, I certainly did but I am learning a new reality, a reality born of the Kingdom of God rather than of the world. It turns out that when we live in the Spirit, walking hand in hand with him, he cares for our hearts. We can be tender because he has our hearts in his hands. Who knew?

Kindness is important to God. If it is important to Him then it stands to reason that it should be important to us as well. Is it? Have we ever prayed asking Him to teach us and lead us in kindness? Most of us need that kind of help. There are some of you who are just nice but the rest of us need direction. We can no longer be self-centered and achieve a kind heart because kindness requires us to think of other people’s needs and comfort. This is an area that we really must proactively pursue with God. It may not always be easy but it is the way of God’s heart.

God is . . . kind

1 Corinthians 13: 4

Love is patient, love is kind.

Kindness is a consistent theme all through the Bible. God has continually shown His kindness to mankind. In the 25th Psalm David wrote, “Remember, O Lord, Your compassion and Your lovingkindnesses, For they have been from of old” (v. 6). David recognized and proclaimed that the kindness of God has been ever present. He has a heart of compassion towards us in all of life’s situations. There is never a moment in our lives, has never been a minute in all of history when the Lord’s thoughts towards us have not been thoughts of kind compassion.

What does the word “kind” bring to your mind? One observation from my dictionary is that it takes many words to describe kindness: 1. Of a friendly nature; generous or hospitable; warmhearted; good. 2. Charitable; helpful; showing sympathy or understanding. 3. Humane; considerate. 4. Forbearing; tolerant; charitable. 5. Courteous; thoughtful. It goes on but one other description included is that kindness shows a desire to promote others’ welfare.

Our Father is all of these things. I especially like the idea that His intent is to promote our welfare. If you really want to get the big picture of God’s kindness, run a thesaurus on each of the words from the dictionary. Already we see that kindness involves being aware of other people and their needs. God didn’t call us to Himself so that we could meet His needs. He calls us to Him so that He can care and provide for us. He is gentle and generous. He is tolerant rather than critical. Psalm 25: 10 reads, “All the paths of the lord are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.” All that He thinks, all that He does is bathed in kindness.

Knowing God’s essential traits will help you to relate to Him better. I hope it will also cause you to trust Him at a deeper level. He is safe. He is kind.

Good God!

Isaiah 63: 7

I shall make mention of the lovingkindness of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which He has granted them according to His compassion and according to the multitude of His lovingkindness.

I am involved with a group of believers who are exploring God’s goodness through the revelations of Bill Johnson as shared in his book, God is Good. This prompted a conversation with a minister friend. Together we agree that if our ministries can lead people to the understanding that God is good, then we will have been successful. As you attempt to communicate God’s goodness, you find that words fail. Just look at Isaiah’s paragraph above. How many ways and how many times does he have to say God is good for us to get it? It seems like Isaiah just can’t say it well enough or big enough to suit himself. He uses the words: lovingkindness, great goodness, compassion and the multitude of His lovingkindness. Can you see how he struggles to convey the great kindness and love of God? Why is this so difficult to convey and to receive?

I remember as a small child we used to say a very simple prayer and believe it, “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for this food.” God is great! God is good! You know, some adult had to teach us that prayer. Do you think the adult believed the words? Why do so few adults, particularly Christian adults believe these words now? Weren’t we taught that God is good? How is there even space in the Christian world for Bill Johnson to write a book on God’s goodness? Shouldn’t we all be so steeped in this very basic principle as to make his book unnecessary? I wish! By the way, it is a good book and I am enjoying it. I just don’t like that there is any revelation here for any of us.

How is this hard? God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son . . . (John 3: 16). We sure can quote this verse and make signs and placards bearing its words but miss its message. If your personal theology has no other linchpin that this one, let it be that God loves you. Grasp with your heart, mind and soul that He is all good all of the time. He only has good plans in mind for you. Well, now I sound like Isaiah. There are not words enough to satisfy the communication of His great goodness. Maybe it’s best if I defer to the Apostle John who said it best, “God is love” (1 John 4: 8)

Compassion

Isaiah 54: 9 – 10

“For this is like the days of Noah to Me; when I swore that the waters of Noah should not flood the earth again, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, nor will I rebuke you. For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but My lovingkindness will not be removed from you, and My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” says the Lord who has compassion on you.

Jesus was often moved by compassion. Often we think of this as simply and emotion that Jesus experienced but in truth it was so much more. You may hear people talk of the angry God of the Old Testament. Well, here is irrefutable evidence that God is not angry with you. He loves you and is compassionate.  And this is from the Old Testament.

This is the compassion that moved Jesus to heal and bless people. He was moved by the compassion of his father. Through the prophet Isaiah God delivered a promise of compassion and lovingkindness. By the time Jesus graced the earth God’s heart of compassion was well established. God, the Father, gave us a covenant of peace, not of anger. This is why Jesus is the Prince of peace. He is an extension and expression of his father.

God certainly had every reason to be angry with His people. He would be completely justified in being angry with us as well but He chose love, compassion and peace instead. It wasn’t an angry God that sent His only son here to die for us. Love nailed Jesus to that cross.

You are encapsulated in a covenant of peace with the creator. Let this be your revelation. Peace surrounds you and even if the mountains shake still God’s lovingkindness will remain with you. His love will never forsake you.

Putting on the Ritz

Colossians 3: 12 – 13

And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

We are the chosen of God. We have been adopted into the family of God by the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus and we are now joint heirs with Abraham. We are holy and beloved. Therefore, God wants us to walk in a manner worthy of our high calling. We are to put on the character of Jesus and walk in Him and in the manner of his calling on us. Our lives should be typified by compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience and forgiveness. For these are the characteristics of Christ himself and the life we now live we live in Him. If anyone is lacking in any of these attributes, he should ask of the Lord Jesus and he who gives all freely will anoint you with all you need so that you might also walk in all the grace which he has poured out on mankind. It is a high calling to walk in this kind of grace and fellowship. It is the high calling of Jesus on our lives. So put on Christ and be transformed.

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