Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Compassion on Purpose

Luke 10:30 And Jesus answering said, 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. 31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

Notice the haphazardness of the priest and the Levite. "By chance" they happened to come upon the man in trouble, then they sauntered away, deciding not to get involved. They were lazy, self-serving and lacked compassion. It seems they had no real direction, no principle, no rhyme or reason in life. However, the Samaritan was a man with a pointed life. He was a man of purpose, decision, principle and judgment. His was a man of compassion on purpose.

I am thinking that when he left home in the mornings, he didn't set out to just see what developed. Rather, he wanted to be used of the Lord in a direct, on purpose fashion and dedicated himself to serving God and serving others.

How blessed and used are those who live a life on purpose for God.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Get Yourself In Line

Luke 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

It would be refreshing to run across someone, including myself, who isn't busy trying to justify themselves at every turn.

To justify means to line things up perfectly. Picture a mason using his plumb line to get all of his bricks into uniformity. If one brick is laid wrong, it could mess up the integrity of the wall or at least ruin the aesthetics of the structure. That brick has to be justified or brought back in line with all the others.

We have a God who is well equipped and capable of justifying us, we dare not try it ourselves. We are not good masons when it comes to our own foibles.

I mean, what if we just owned up to our miscues, confessed them, learned from them, received forgiveness from the Lord and moved on? Instead, we do more damage by offering lame excuses for why we just had to sin.

I bricked part of our church building on my own, with no prior experience. The people were sure nice when they, "ahem," complimented me on my work. What a mess!

Silly us!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Was the Savior Distracted?

Luke 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. 56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

This Samaritan village was unreceptive to the Lord. The whole while He was with them, He looked toward Jerusalem where He would be arrested, tried and crucified. Though He had a heart for these dear half-breed people, He had a larger vision for you and me.

You can tell He cared for those in His immediate company by His rebuke of the disciples who queried whether they should call down fire upon them for their cold shouldered treatment of the Lord. "I am come to save lives, not destroy them" He retorted.

Yet, it was a mutual deal. He had bigger fish to fry and they weren't really looking forward to another Jew's dissing of their racial inadequacy. They obviously didn't know of His saving of the woman at Sychar's well.

Here is the lesson we need to learn. One soul is worth more than the entire world (Mk 8:36), but one soul is not worth two souls.

We can only put up with a person's rejection of the gospel message for so long before we must shake the dust from our feet and look for more receptive hearts.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Who is Jesus to You?

Luke 9:7 Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead; 8 And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. 9 And Herod said, John have I beheaded: but who is this, of whom I hear such things? And he desired to see him.

Luke 9:18 And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? 19 They answering said, John the Baptist; but some say, Elias; and others say, that one of the old prophets is risen again. 20 He said unto them, But whom say ye that I am? Peter answering said, The Christ of God.

To Herod, Jesus was a nightmare! He had trouble even getting any sleep since his dastardly deed in beheading John the Baptist. Now Jesus comes along. Popular, preacher, revered, Galilean. If John is risen from the dead, he is in deep trouble!

Possibly Jesus is Elijah! Oh no! That prophet was a powerful man prone to sticking his finger in the nose of magistrates and telling it how it is, just like John did. Herod deserved that kind of treatment.

Maybe He is one of the old prophets. More bad news. They all told the truth and Herod's last desire was to be told the emperor has no clothes.

Peter had it right though. When Jesus quizzed the guys as to what everyone was saying about Him, He then asked them what they thought, Peter put it in a nut shell, "You are the Messiah from God!"

Now, the world looks at Jesus and comes up with innocuous answers to the probing question of “who is Jesus to you?” They might answer: Babe in a manger, a man on a cross, historical figure, teacher, a bother, someone they never want to meet, a myth, one who is dead and gone, an expression of religion, a prophet, a religious leader, founder of Christianity, someone in art and literature, some stained-glass figure, a son of God, a mystic, etc.

Would you contemplate for a while, Who is Jesus to you?

Considerations: Lord of my life, Savior, Friend, Faithful, King, Consolation, Deliverer, Refuge, Strength, High Tower, Defense, Lover of My Soul, Captain of my soul, Redeemer, My Peace, Healer, Provider, Grace-giver, Forgiver, Merciful, Shepherd, Lion and Lamb, Sovereign, Master, Solid Rock, Storm Calmer, Wonderful, Counselor, Giver of life, Keeper...

Well the list could go on. Choose out a few of these or some you may have come up with and meditate on Who He is to you. You will be blessed.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Last Laugh

Luke 8:49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

Cultural historians tell us that this sudden swing of emotions of the crowd from weeping to jeering laughter is due to the more' of hiring mourners so that the deceased is properly wept over. They were professional criers. Once Jesus announced that the girl was merely sleeping, they quickly began to mock Jesus and laugh at Him.

But the Lord and this little girl would have the last laugh once her spirit re-entered her body and she revived. Jesus would go from scorn to exultant and exuberant joy in mere moments.

I think of the anger that Heaven justifiably felt toward me as a wicked sinner which was quickly turned to joy and rejoicing the moment I repented, opened my crusty heart and invited Christ to become Lord of my life.

Mourning, scorn, laughter, joy. What emotion is being displayed on your behalf?