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Pandemic Perspective – Part 15 Compassion

Isaiah 1:17 – “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”

In recent weeks we have seen mass protests against injustice and many who claim Christ have been offended. But are we offended at the protests or what they are protesting? In Isaiah 1:17 we are called to “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed.” Why would God call us to do this? Because injustice is not a new problem, people have been putting others down while putting themselves up for a long time. The problem is that the church has been silent, why because acknowledging injustice means we have to do something. It’s easier if we just pretend everything is fine and go about our own lives. But the truth is that it is not fine, we live in a broken world and as the church we have the cure to this cancer that is spreading through our country, it’s called compassion. But until we care we will be part of the problem and not the cure. Isaiah 1:17 calls us to take up the cause of the fatherless and plead the case of the widow. This is part of the problem in America, what I call a parenting pandemic. As a result, we have a fatherless issue that is affecting millions. But instead of taking up the cause of the fatherless we are taking up the cause of the offended. We are upset and annoyed at what we are seeing in our culture. But what is the cause of the chaos, I would suggest it’s a parenting problem that needs to be addressed with love not legislation. According to the Bible it’s not a government problem but a personal problem. The Bible calls us to care not to call my Government representative, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” What cause am I taking up, what case am I pleading? It’s easy to point the finger at those who are relying on the government for financial and physical aid and call them lazy but what about those of us that are relying on government to come to the aid of the afflicted? Are we not being lazy? Why are we shirking our calling to be the compassionate hands and feet of Jesus? When you really study out what has happened to those of color in this country you discover that they have been oppressed. That they have been marginalized when it comes to things many of us take for granted like homeownership. Don’t get mad at me go and do your homework and you will discover that both parties have been responsible for passing policies that have oppressed people. Right now, our nation is at the breaking point politically, we are divided because of our ideology but what about our humanity. Does your allegiance to a political party out way your allegiance to God? Do we care more about our country than Christ? Are we as God’s called ambassadors, charged with the great commission, shifting the mission from seeing Americans saved to one of trying to save America? It’s time to stop making it about politics and start making it about people. Our political parties on both sides of the isle have failed to live out Isaiah 1:17 something they claim to care about. But what about us, which cause will we get caught up in, governments or God’s? If we are not careful, we will become more concerned with defending our rights than doing what is right. How much time do you spend talking about the problem’s verses God’s plan? Do you talk more about the Good news of the gospel or world news? Are you listening more to the Master or the media? Are you being influenced more by God’s Word or the world? Is peace or political protest ruling your heart, because according to Colossians 3:15 we should be a people of peace, “And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” So, what do we do? How as God’s called children do, we live in these politically charged times? The same way the church has always done, focus on the mission not the mess. What is the mission, sharing God’s message of mercy. Jesus reminds us of this in Luke 10 when an expert in the law stood up to test Him and Jesus shared the story of the Good Samaritan concluding with the call to also go and care for others. I believe compassion and mercy must start at home. If I don’t care for those under my own roof how can I claim to care for those who are not? So, first we need to learn to love our spouse and in turn lavish love on our kids. If we fail to cultivate care in our own homes how do, we expect to cultivate it in our culture? If I don’t take up the cause of Fatherlessness in my home how will I combat it in our society? Instead of combating the problem I will be contributing to it. So, let me ask you how are you caring for your spouse? Are you leading with love and caring for their heart? How are you caring for your kids? Do you know what is going on in their lives? Second start seeing peoples face instead of their race. It doesn’t say defend the back or white who are oppressed, just the oppressed. True Compassion is colorless it doesn’t see race just the face of humanity. So, let me ask you is your compassion colorless? Do you care more about people’s souls or their skin? The story of the Good Samaritan is shocking because the Jews hated the Samaritans and vise versa. They were racially charged people, but it was not the Jew who helped the Jew but the Samaritan, their racial enemy. We need to stop being offended by the slogan “Black lives matter.” We know that the Cross tells us that all lives matter, but until we start actually living that out there will always be people that feel marginalized. So how are you caring for those around you? What lives matter to you?

 

 

 


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Pandemic Perspective – Part 11 Fear

Not only did David look to the Lord and live with the Lord but he also:

  • Listened to the Lord vs 7-10

Psalm 27:7-10

7 Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me! 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” 9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation! 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.

David focused on God by listening to His voice over the voice of fear or that of the cynical critics. Are you going to listen to the Lord and hear the voice of victory or that of the naysayers who want to fill you with fear? As David meditated in God’s Temple, he mulled over God’s word. Which means that he took the time to chew over his conversation with God, so that instead of choking on God’s Will He was able to swallow and digest it. One of the reasons we struggle to swallow God’s Word and have difficulty digesting it is that we don’t take the time to chew it. Our quiet time with God should involve contemplation not just conversation. If we fail to take the time to chew over God’s Word we will end up with indigestion, instead of satisfaction we will have a stomachache. David chose to listen to the Lord which means he learned to let God speak, he didn’t try to control the conversation. How about you are you dominating the time and trying to dictate to the deity? Or are you letting Him lead while you listen? So often our prayer time amounts to little more than petitioning without paying attention. We dominate the time with our demands, ramrodding our requests without ever realizing what it is that God wants to say. Is there a place in your prayer life to listen, a space for God to speak? When we create space for God to speak, we learn to listen to the voice of counsel instead of confusion. When we chose to look to God, live with God, and listen to God we will come to know Him intimately. We will stop seeking a solution and start seeking the Savior. As we do, we will be able to look fear in the face and by faith like David voice the victory, “5 For he will conceal me there when troubles come; he will hide me in his sanctuary. He will place me out of reach on a high rock. 6 Then I will hold my head high above my enemies who surround me. At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy, singing and praising the Lord with music.” Which voice are you going to listen to the victor and live in the victory or that of the enemy and live as a victim? Looking to the Lord, living with the Lord, and listen to the Lord will result in:

  • Letting the Lord Lead vs 11-14

As David prays he acknowledges his need for God, which means that he is confessing that he cannot handle life by himself. When we admit our need for the Almighty, we will turn to Him and learn to wait on Him. Letting the Lord lead means learning to rely and rest on Him. This means that David turned to God trusting only in Him to intervene on His behalf with concern and compassion, verse 7, “Hear me as I pray, O Lord. Be merciful and answer me!” He also turned to God for guidance and protection, verse 11, “Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me.” God desires to see child-like dependence, where we come to Him with all of our heart and say, “I need you!” So often we miss God’s peace and end up living in the fear because instead of going to God for help we try to handle things on our own. What about you are you trusting or trying? When my children were little and became sacred, they would turn to me and hold on tightly. Instead of facing their fears on their own they turned to their father and so should we. Verse 8 reminds us that we can be confident when we come to God because He is the one calling us: “My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” How will you respond to God’s invitation to come and commune, are you going to seek His comfort or stay in the chaos? God cares about His children; He will never turn you away. Sometimes we are fearful to come to Him because we feel that we have let God down and He no longer wants us. David expresses this fear as he says in verse 9 “do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger… Do not reject me or forsake me…” But in verse 10 he focuses on the truth and rests in the reassurance that God will never reject us no matter what! As David chose to focus on God his fears dissipated, and his heart grew confident that he would see “the goodness of the Lord”even though he had not yet received the answer he was looking and longed for. It is here that David gives us some of the greatest counsel concerning God, verse 14 to “wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart…” Like David we have many reasons to fear but we also have one greater reason to have peace. As we like David focused on the Lord and remember that he is the source of our Light, our Salvation, and our Stronghold we can have victory over fear. What about you, are you going to give yourself over to waiting on the Lord or worry?