Communism and Compassion

Matthew 12: 7

But if you had known what this means, ‘I desire compassion, and not a sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the innocent.

Many of you know my background but for those who do not, I was a Political Science major in college. After college I went to law school and got my Juris Doctor degree. I was known in college for my conservative views and argued for small government which should be administered as closely to the people as possible, civil liberties, and privacy. I lean towards the writings of John Locke and away from Thomas Hobbes. I tell you this so that you will appreciate that communism is not a governmental model that I believe best meets the needs of its people nor does it guard individual liberty and privacy. This is where I come from, a conservative libertarian. The best government is one which least affects my life.

I have also believed that God chooses republican forms of government for us where individuals selected by the people administrate government on our behalf. For a long time now, my philosophical, religious and political views have lived in harmony. Imagine my surprise when I recently understood Father to teach me that He is not wedded to a form of government. He loves people, all people.

As this current crisis wears on, I watch as forms of government affect health care responses. I watch as people around the world struggle to balance freedom and their social conscious. Governments don’t necessarily represent the thoughts and concerns of individuals. Nor do the messages of those governments necessarily reflect the thoughts of the public. As I pondered all the questions of my mind in regard to governmental forms and power responding to a health care crisis, Jesus spoke to me. Please understand, it has taken me a while to grasp where he is leading me, and I am not sure I have it all yet.

Compassion – that is the theme of Jesus’ message to me. I have heard that word and wrestled with it for weeks. I find that Jesus’ compassion knows no political borders. Wherever people are suffering he is there. I found myself less concerned about communism than about the people dying in communist countries. Further, I am supposed to care about and pray for people regardless of their political affiliation or their country of residence. I cannot pray against China nor judge and criticize them. Now how do I reconcile my beliefs? Still, I am happy to find a change has occurred in me. I am so happy for nations who have fared well, but literally mourn over losses even in communist China. I absolutely feel compassion for China. No matter what the rhetoric, no matter what the failings, I keep coming back to Chinese people are dying too and I think, it doesn’t matter if you are communist or live in a democratic republic if it is your parent dying. Political choices make no difference to a person who cannot go see their loved one who is dying in a quarantined space. Compassion – that is the message.

We will have an opportunity to ask ourselves what changed in our lives during this historic time. I will say, “Never have I been more compassionate in my life. Never has the tenderness of God’s love so affected me such that I would eschew my political beliefs in favor of humanitarian sympathy.” I cannot tell you how surprised I am about this when the word “humanitarian” used to make me think, “Here comes some bleeding heart, liberal tripe.” In fact, I am embarrassed to know I thought that way. I hope, when this is all done and dusted, I will find I have grown personally and professionally. I hope my liberal friends will be able to tolerate me more and that my conservative friends will love the strength I have found in caring about others.

I believe we don’t win unless every country on the planet wins. I think if I cannot pray for China, Russia, and North Korea, I haven’t learned the lesson Jesus has brought me to. And I pray, that at the end of all this, he will be able to say to me, “Well done good and faithful servant.” This has been challenging for every one of us and don’t doubt it, but we can come through it personally stronger and improved.

I pray for you, my beloved. Though I don’t know each of your personal stories, I do know you are not getting to do some of the things you are accustomed to, you are not getting to travel, even see your family perhaps. Some of you have been sick, scared, angry, politicized, apathetic, and so on. Collectively we have run the gamut of human emotion and I know it has been hard on everyone. I am praying, compassionately, over you today, not in judgment or condemnation, but rather that you would find everything you need and that our Father will not only meet those needs but embrace you in His uncompromising love. Be blessed!

Kingdom Living

Matthew 6: 33               Amplified Version

But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also.

One of the fundamental principles of faith is to seek God. Seeking God’s face and His presence is never the wrong thing to do but, in this passage, Jesus gave us a more precise instruction. He said to seek the Kingdom of God and God’s righteousness, the two being closely related.

Jesus wants us to look at the Kingdom of God and learn how it operates and what spiritual laws control it because once we understand the Kingdom’s operation rules, nothing will be impossible to us. God’s righteousness is similar. It is God’s “right” way of doing and being. It is not about holiness. That is different though how can you do things God’s way and not be holy? Still, this is about “right-ness” and I think this is a much better way for you to think about righteousness. In fact, you will help yourself if every time you see righteousness, you translate it in your mind to rightness. Godly rightness is doing things the way God would do them or how He would have you do them, which can be very different from the rules the world operates by. Understand this, again we are not talking about morality here. Not doing it God’s way does not make it immoral or sinful it just isn’t “right” Kingdom thinking. It’s world thinking which is what most of us were trained in.

Here is a simple example. What is the proper economic response in the time of famine, or in modern language, economic downturn? What if your salary has been reduced or your company is struggling? The world would say this is a time to save for a rainy day. It’s time to stock up and hoard provision for a later time. Kingdom dynamics operate differently. The Kingdom principle is, give in time of famine, sow seed like Isaac did. Now here is an interesting rub. Non-Christians will tap into these Kingdom principles and they will work for them even though they aren’t saved as we understand that term. Kingdom principles are like rain which falls on believers and non-believers. It will water everyone’s seed. The only real question is who has sown seed? So, sometimes non-believers benefit more from Christian principles than we do.

Here is another example. Kingdom principles teach to put other people’s needs and concerns ahead of your own. The world says, this is a dog eat dog world and you need to do unto others before they do unto you. There is a little perversion in that language, huh? I remember hearing a pastor talking about a contract he negotiated. He made sure the other guy got a good deal too. He wasn’t out to just get the best deal he could regardless of who might get hurt. That’s enlightening because a Christian take advantage of someone all the while thinking, “God is blessing me.” That kind of thinking bites back because it isn’t Kingdom dynamics at work. It is worldly thinking. Just get what you can for yourself regardless of the impact upon others.

Jesus wants us to learn to think like he and Yahweh do. They both want us to look at them and do as they do. Jesus said he only did what he saw the Father do. In other words, he totally modeled God and we can do the same by emulating him. We can learn to operate in the Kingdom and have Kingdom blessing working for us. Seek first God’s way of doing and being and in the end, He will give you everything.

Seek and Receive

Matthew 6: 33

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Last week I wrote to you about Matthew 7: 7 – 12 (See Word of the Day, Fish or Snake, May 15, 2020). The substance of that article was asking and receiving, seeking and finding, knocking and the door being opened. We look for God’s blessing and God is not a man that He would give us a snake if we asked for a fish. He gives good gifts to His beloved.

I was out on a bike ride Friday with those ideas still running through my mind. I stopped at a church to pray, as has become my habit. It sort of feels like with all the churches empty and the parking lots vacant, it is good for me to utilize that space to offer prayers. So, I was leaning on my bike praying when I saw this sign. This verse is so familiar that I almost missed the significance but as I prayed, all of a sudden truth dawned on my consciousness. SEEK AND RECEIVE!

Now before we dismiss this as materialism, take note that God said, ALL things. Jesus was talking about our needs being met, so yes, he meant that our Father would meet our material needs but Jesus is the fullness of all things so this would include your need for social contact and friends, needs for peace, tranquility, relaxation, meaningful hobbies, projects and work. No matter what you need, or want, Jesus included it when he said, “all these things will be added to you.”

The key word, though, is “seek.” Ask, seek, knock; receive, find, have opened. The epiphany that went through me Friday was that “seek” is the word that we should hear and which ties these two passages together. It is worthwhile to note that both passages are part of the same presentation. Each is taken from the Sermon on the Mount which is Jesus’ most comprehensive soliloquy.
We are instructed to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness and everything else will be given to us besides. It is almost to say we will not have need to ask for those other things because we have sought, and received, the one thing. Our receiving is tied to our seeking and that which we are to seek is God’s Kingdom. God knows what you need, and He does not want you to seek those things or even worry about asking for them. Seek Him and His way of doing things and He will provide for your needs and everything else for which you ask. That surely makes for a powerful prayer life. And on that note, when you are at the point where your needs are met and you don’t spend your prayer time on those things, and, when you know you will receive what you ask, imagine how big your prayer life can grow and the things you will pray about. Seeking God and His kingdom really opens up life. It creates a great release of spiritual energy. We are changed as we move into the Kingdom because we reside in God’s presence.

Ask, seek and knock, but in your seeking, seek the one with all wisdom. Seek God and His ways.

What Price

Psalm 101: 1 – 4            NIV

I will sing of your love and justice; to you, LORD, I will sing praise. I will be careful to lead a blameless life – when will you come to me? I will conduct the affairs of my house with a blameless heart. I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it. The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil.

Most of us have at one time or another made a deal with God. If you will do this God, I will do that. At first glance, it looks like David might be doing the same thing in this psalm. However, throughout this psalm, he never makes a request of God. The whole psalm is a declaration of David’s intent on how he will conduct the affairs of his life. His motivation seems to be his adoration and love for God rather than anything he will get out of it. Because he loved God, he wanted to live an exemplary life. That is certainly a laudable goal.

It is also interesting to see what characteristics David chose with which to honor God. It is not surprising that he would choose praise and song since he was a musician. The rest of it is about living what he deemed a clean life, part of which is about the condition of his own heart. He decided he did not want anything foul to corrupt his heart. In truth, I think David’s concerns were more about a defiled heart than specific acts. I imagine modern believers proclaiming, “I won’t drink, I won’t smoke, . . .,” but David seems more concerned about negative associations and letting his eyes linger on that which is not wholesome. I think if David lived here and now, he would sound like a Jesus freak and pretty weird. Of course, he wasn’t always popular in his time either.

What price love? What is the cost of an extreme relationship with God? I find myself admiring David, but I wonder if I am willing to do what he did in order to develop that relationship. What of you? What do you want out of your relationship with God? Do you just want Him to take care of your needs and save you a place in heaven? Good enough. Or do you want Him waiting for you when you awake in the morning, wanting to spend time with you? And at some level isn’t that idea even a bit out there? That was David’s way with the Lord. They were friends and even though that is a bit mind blowing, we can have that too. Whatever you want, you can have. Some day you may choose to give up some negative friends or not even want to momentarily set your eyes on that which is corrupt because of the influence those things eventually have on you.

Give to the Lord what is in your heart as David did here. Your declaration will likely be different from his but make yours out of love and a desire to bless the Lord. As your relationship continues to change, the gifts of your heart will likely change too. Sometimes meditating on the Lord allows those things to bubble up. Whatever you choose to say to the Lord, whatever devotion feels right to you, will bless Him. Don’t worry about another person’s pronouncement of affection or that they pray an hour a day. What you and Father have is unique and awesome. Allow it to have its own expression. Let it out of you. Release your love and affection to the Father and bless His heart. That is a really cool thing to do.

Fish or Snake

Matthew 7: 7 – 11, 12

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!

12 “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

This passage has been on my mind a lot lately, but I wasn’t inclined to write on it. Not every verse that comes to me is for the Word of the Day. Some are just for me. It kept circling around and around though, different parts of it at different times because, as you see, there are several parts to this. It wasn’t until I sat down with my Bible and read through it that I realized that verses 7 through 11 were part of the same message. I was thinking about our Father being a good father who would not give us a snake if we asked for a fish. Then another day ask, seek, and knock came to my mind. I wasn’t putting it all together in my head. Then when I actually took the time to see the words, I found another interesting tidbit, i.e. verse 12. What is going on here? There appear to be at least three thoughts here, yet it seems Jesus delivered all this, practically, in one breath. Could it be these are all related?

That is the message I received out of this passage. God is not denying me anything, or you. We should ask expecting to receive, seek expecting to find and knock expecting God to open the door to us. However, the grease on the hinges of the door just might be the way I treat people. Worse, what if the way I think about people or talk about them, even in private, affects my receiving, finding and opening?

I am trying to learn to be much less judgmental and much more compassionate. One person’s acts, thoughts or words can look very wrong from our perspective and not even wrong in a sinful way but just “not right.” That is a hard lesson. Sometimes the world is very different from their spot on the earth and that difference yields different thoughts and choices. So, from my perspective their decisions may look completely ridiculous but be completely rational from theirs.

Even when you know someone to be wrong, there are times you just have to let them be. I am a teacher, so I want to teach. I need, though, to learn not to judge them or their ideas bur rather just accept them where they are. What a challenge! However, I think this is part of what Jesus wants from us. It is not a blessing to others when I judge them.

The judgement and condemnation we pass on others just might be causing our door to remain stuck closed. That is frightening. What do you think your Father has to say about this? Do you journal with Yahweh? This might be a good question to take to Him. What, if anything, does verse 12 have to do with 7 through 11?

Our Father wants to give us good gifts and bless us. He said to ask, and we would receive. Perhaps if we think about and speak about people in a gracious manner it will be easier for us to receive of His goodness.


Psalm 13

How long, O LORD? Will You forget me forever? How long will You hide Your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart all the day? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and answer me, O LORD my God; enlighten my eyes, or I will sleep the sleep of death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my adversaries will rejoice when I am shaken. But I have trusted in Your lovingkindness; my heart shall rejoice in Your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, because He has dealt bountifully with me.

Throughout the Covid crisis, I have tried to write to the needs created by the virus outbreak. Of course, each person is at a different place in situation, emotions and their walk with God. Still, there have been outstanding sentiments which, have washed through the world, affecting many. At first it was fear and panic yielding the resultant shortages. Then there was resignation and accompanied by increasing faith, followed by prayer and courage. Interspersed in there was a second wave of fear as people lost their jobs or were temporarily furloughed. Through each of these stages we have reached out to our God for comfort and strength. Many people will be able to testify about how God embraced them during the tough times. However, we have now reached the hardest stage of all, uncertainty. Should we begin to return our lives to something that resembles normal or not? What are the costs and benefits?

That is a challenging question for which I do not presume to have an answer. What I have noticed, though, is rising emotions flooding the country. Fear has given way to anger. I believe this anger is born of frustration and loss. There are many different kinds of loss; jobs, activities, freedom of movement, and so on. Of course, in the midst of the challenge each person is experiencing, I cannot forget those who grieve for loved ones who have died from Covid-19. In the beginning, we all were in the same boat, none of us knowing what tomorrow would hold. Now we have diverged in our experience and our loss. Those divergent experiences are becoming increasingly divisive. We are becoming politicized in our separation, even amongst Christians.

Our need is, therefore, great. Whereas we stood as one people locked in battle against a common enemy, we have now become splintered. People’s hearts are more aggrieved now than in the beginning because of the isolation. Physical separation has given way to emotional and ideological separation. People are hurting and the anger you hear in the marketplace of ideas is the rejoinder to that intense stress response. By now, even people’s physiology will be reacting to the increased tension.

Fortunately, we have a remedy. Here is the way to take care of yourself. Please pass this on to anyone and everyone, but especially those who you notice expressing intense emotions. First, there is no pill, prescription, method or remedy better than our Lord. Entering into a quiet state of mind and putting ourselves fully in His hands and even His embrace is the best tonic of all. Bathe yourself in His presence. You may find the Psalms very helpful for finding that place of refuge.

Second, let us return to prayer. Today’s psalm is titled, “Prayer for help in Trouble,” which sounds appropriate. The more we focus on others, the nation, and the world through prayer, the more our minds are able to shift the attention off ourselves thereby reducing our stress. That is not to say your problems aren’t real and valid. It is just means that you need a break from them. So, this is an opportune time for prayer. The more we pray for others and for the broader situations we all face, the more cathartic it will be for us. Therefore, pray so that your soul may receive nourishment from above. In the balance you will be doing God’s work and helping your fellow humans.

Third, tap, tap, tap! Do you remember the article on Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) which was highlighted in the Word of the Day on April 21st? Click here. Our God has created a biomechanical mechanism which we can use anytime to reduce stress in our bodies. See this insightful message from two Christian EFT practitioners. There is also a link on our website:

Fourth, turn off television news. It is really tough on you. If you can, try to get your news from print media. There are sources which provide curated articles and show a very low bias. Personally, I think you will be blessed to avoid both the liberal and conservative bias so that you can be persuaded by your own heart. Look for news feeds which give you data so that you can sort through it for yourself. Still, even limit that. Your spirit was not intended for 24-hour news channels or even the inundation you can get through print or internet news. Catch up on the headlines then let it go. It’s just not good for us to dwell on those things. What did God tells us, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things,” (Philippians 4: 8). Dwell on the good news.

Our spirits need God now more than even in the beginning of this crisis. We are tired and it feels we are pursued from every angle like David was. But also, like him, we have our refuge in the Lord. Take full advantage of this time with God. You may never have an opportunity to spend such large amounts of time with him again. Feed on His presence so that you may be renewed.


John 12:32              KJV

And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

Jesus was talking about his death and resurrection. His being lifted up on the cross like the serpent being put on the pole in the desert is a sign of salvation. Jesus was also talking about his resurrection and ascension. He was making the point that those acts would be the message that called people to him. That’s not all though, to this day, he is still actively calling all people unto him and that is good news.

There is also an evangelical message in here for us. When we lift Jesus up with our words and actions, we demonstrate his attractive properties. People are drawn to the story of Jesus and how he gave himself to save all people. And, there is no one who is not being drawn toward Jesus. That is good news to us. That family member who seems like they are not leaning towards Jesus, are in fact, being drawn to him. They may resist, true, but Jesus is calling to them and drawing them to himself. He is too attractive a figure to say, “No,” to forever. People are moving towards the kingdom because he is drawing them.

We cannot always see the work that is going on in the kingdom, but we have it on the very best authority that we should not worry. Despite how circumstances look, be encouraged. Jesus is not asleep; he is not lying down on the job. He is drawing you to himself too. Even though you are already his, he is drawing you closer and deeper. Look at the verse again. It does say “all” and you are part of all. Isn’t that a lovely insight today? Jesus is pulling you closer to himself every day. With that in mind, how can you not have a great day today? Happy Wednesday!