This week's memory verse:
"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility and patience." Colossians 3:12
(Side note: the picture of Jesus laughing that I have included here is one of my favorites. I know that we don't really know what Jesus looked like...but I love the thought that Jesus was a man who loved to laugh and show joy. That thought makes me smile!)
I have some friends who believe in God, in a loving creator, but are not sure about the whole Jesus thing. I have had people question me...why is it that Christians think that there is only one way to God...through Jesus? This message isn't really about that issue as much as it is about how Jesus has effected my life. As I read today's Bible study, I feel that I am LUCKY and BLESSED to be a Christian at this time in my life and in this period in history. The reason I feel this way is that by believing in Christ and in what the Bible says about Christ, not only do I feel peace about my future and about the future of the world (even admist all the evil things going on in this world)...but I also feel I have the best role model in Jesus.
Just look at the character of Jesus...how he lived as a man...how he treated people, ALL people...how devoted he was to our Father in Heaven...Jesus showed compassion to ALL people, people of different faiths, people who were sick, people who were shunned by the rest of society, people who were sad, and even to the people who persecuted and killed him.
There are many examples of Jesus' compassion in the Bible of course. Read these verses for yourself and see if you can identify the way that Jesus showed compassion. (If you don't have a Bible handy, you can google these verses and find them online. If you have an smart phone...there's a Bible App...Just some helpful hints! ;-)
One line you will notice is repeated in almost all of these verses..."Jesus felt concern..." Jesus was a kind and tenderhearted man. The human side of him wanted to help people who came to him with problems and illness...and the God side of him had the tools to help them, and he DID help them. He took what tools he had and used them to help others. I believe he not only did this out of his concern for people, but for God's glory...so people would see these miraculous events, small and large, and believe that God's hand was in it. People in Jesus' day, NEEDED to see proof of God's glory and He knew that. They NEEDED a savior to save them from their sins and from the sins of the world...God knew that and sent Jesus to earth to give them that proof and that savior!
People today NEED proof of God's power and glory. People today NEED a savior to save them from their sins and from the sins of the world. Jesus has called US...those who believe in him...to be HIS HANDS AND FEET...to show compassion to the sick, to the poor, to the sad, to the depressed, to the troubled, to the searchers, even to the ones who turn their back on God. There are millions of people in this world who don't know Christ, don't feel his forgiveness, don't feel his peace. It's up to those of us that DO know him to show HIS LOVE and COMPASSION...not preach to them, not condemn them to a life in hell if they don't believe. That's not what Jesus did!
In my heart, I believe that Jesus has saved me again and again in my life...but a little over ten years ago, he saved me from myself. I had run away from him...I was ashamed of some choices I made and I ran away. I was headed into a life without that peace...and then I believe that Christ led me to attend Rolling Plains church where I met loving and supportive people and where I studied and learned more about how Christ lived and loved those around him. I learned that he loved me and forgives me for those poor choices. I learned to allow his peace to overcome the anguish and heartache I felt...My life is not perfect, and I still have anguish and heartache from time to time. But, because of Christ living in my heart, I no longer feel worthless and want to run away from him. Christ showed me compassion...I believe he feels concerned for me and my well being.
Now, whether you believe in this "Christ thing" or not...I DO! And if that brings me peace and hope and allows me to be compassionate to others...so be it! There is something in my life that makes life worth living...if you don't have that...don't you want to? If you don't...I feel concern for you and WANT you to have that for yourself! THAT is why I write these messages! I'll keep writing...you keep reading! What can it hurt?
Dear Father God, thank you for showing me compassion, and thank you for allowing me to FEEL your compassion! Thank you for giving me the confidence to share these things with others. I ask that you work in the hearts of those reading this message. If they know you, then help them to find ways to share your compassion with people in their lives. If they don't know you...help them to have open minds and open hearts that they may hear you knocking at the door of their heart! Amen.