The Journey Thoughts

December 12, 2016

I find it very easy to hang around with other believers.  I even find it
easy to hang around those who may not be believers, but who are in an
environment that I am comfortable with. I say that because I also realize
that I am uncomfortable in the presence of those who may not be like me, or
who are dirty or living under bridges.  Yet, my heart realizes that they
too, need the compassion that is ours in Christ.  There is a story in
Scripture of an encounter Jesus had with a man who had a very serious skin
disease.  Here's how it goes: " When He came down from the mountains, large
crowds followed Him. Right away a man with a serious skin disease came up
and knelt before Him, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me
clean.' Reaching out His hand He touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be
clean.' Immediately his disease was healed. Then Jesus told him, 'See that
you don't tell anyone; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the
gift that Moses prescribed, as a testimony to them.'" Matthew 8:1-4  Two
things leap out from the page of Scripture in these verses.  First, the
phrase: 'Lord, if you are willing.'  The next is:  'He touched him.'   This
man had a serious skin disease, and it may have been leprosy, a disease that
kept the common man away from the afflicted, for fear of catching it.
Regardless of what type of disease it was, it was serious and I see this man
being ostracized from his community, being taken in by no one because of his
affliction, and I realize that I too, might very well, steer clear of his
presence. Yet, not only did Jesus stop in front of the man, He touched him.
Jesus is showing us that compassion goes the extra mile. Jesus was "willing"
to heal the man, not just because He was revealing His power so that people
would believe Him, but I believe in this situation, it was a quiet time of
compassion between one who had a great need, and One who was willing to meet
that need.  We often say, "If it is in Your will Lord," for we want Jesus'
will over our wants, and I for one, want His will over my wants, for I want
my wants to be what His will is for me. But this goes beyond and reveals the
true heart of Christ, the compassion He has for those suffering.  That's the
heart of Christ that I believe He wants you and I to have for others.  He
wants us to be "willing" even when the fear builds up inside us.  He wants
us to have compassion, even for those we might think less worthy of that
compassion.  Once again, I realize how far I have to go to be like Him.  I
don't think I will make it on this side of eternity, but aren't there some
things I can do to become more like Him, to have the compassion He has. I
think often times we as a race, have more compassion on animals than we do
on humans.  After all, we think that humans can pick themselves up but a
defenseless animal cannot care for itself.  Yet, is that really true?   I
read that many veterans, who suffer PTSD live homeless, because they think
they no longer fit in with society.  What have I done to help them?  I know
that circumstance takes some people to the place where they have nothing,
and are still trying to take care of children that they love, and I see the
hopelessness inside them.   I'm not necessarily advocating a lifestyle of
helping the homeless or the sick or incarcerated, but to stop for a moment,
and listen to the will of God, for this same Jesus, who still lives today,
and who still has the same compassion, now desires us to show this
compassion in His place.  Jesus didn't necessarily go seeking those who were
sick, but they came His way, and they come our way too, if we will be
willing to have the eyes that see them, for they are all around us.

Pastor Andy

Heavenly Father, may I have Your eyes to see the hurt and pain around me.
May I see the sick that need healing.  May I be willing when You put them in
front of me, to reach out and touch them, even when fear overwhelms me.  I
pray for my willingness to be Your willingness, and that I can see others
like You see them.  Today I pray for these that I bring before You, every
day, but today, I want to feel their hurt, their loneliness, their pain, and
I desire to place them into Your loving hand, for I know that You are
willing.  So I lift to You:  Carol ( for surgery on Friday); for Michele,
whose sister died, for a church in Fallon, NV, that has a unusual amount of
cancer invading the congregation. I pray for Pam, who is having tests today,
May they bring good news; I pray for William, a  young boy who lost his
foot, for Mary Ann, who has health issues, and needs both Physical and
Spiritual healing. for Carrie, who is going through many health issues, for
the family of Betty H, who recently passed; for Ed for healing; for Ada, and
Rheba, who also need Your healing touch.  I continue to pray for those who I
list daily, for I know they haven't escaped Your thoughts, even if I do not
list them here today.  I will trust in You that You will continue to be with
the hurting, the sick, the helpless, the lost, the one struggling with
marriage, with circumstances of life, and with the emotional pain of loss.
Lord, Please touch them today, for I appeal to Your willingness in Jesus

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