Do I Really Care? (2 Timothy 1:4)

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If we knew how others viewed us, how many would say that we are self centered or all we think about is ourselves? The number may surprise us. In defense, we may point out the many times that we have reached out with aid to others. We may speak of how we support others in need or simply how we act kindly towards others. The question is, “Is that enough?”

Is it enough to perform actions of kindness and charity? I think not. Actions can be just that: simply actions. We can perform acts of kindness without the true motive for our actions being known. Guilt, fear of rejection and pride can each be a motivation for kind acts and if they are, the works performed will not be acts of kindness.

In his letter to Timothy, the Apostle Paul best describes this virtue. Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; (2 Timothy 1:4). True kindness occurs as a result of empathy. Paul describes this emotion as “being mindful of thy tears”. The word mindful comes from two words meaning “to stay” and “to chew”. We are mindful about something when we continue to roll the idea over in our minds. For those being kind, they are rolling over in their minds the hurts and pains of others which causes them tears.

They may continually think of their friend’s hurt from losing a loved one. They focus on the pain and sickness of others and carry those burdens with them. When friends are absent from church or just out of touch, they wonder how they are doing and if they are abounding through their circumstances. These are the thoughts of a person who cares.

So let me ask you, do you really care about others? To find out, let your thoughts be your judge.

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Being a Helper (Psalm 31:11-12)

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Everybody is in the midst of dealing with trials. We know that The Lord is the solution to their trial and God wants to bring them to the point of trusting him. But what can we do for others as they face trials? The Psalmist provides some insight.

I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me. I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel. (Psalms 31:11-12)

David shares that as he faced trials, his neighbors saw him as a reproach and fled from him. We do the same. It seems that as soon as a person faces a trial, we wonder what the person did to allow such circumstances to occur. Our first thoughts are that they must be under chastisement and this leads us to flee from them. We hide behind words such as, “I’m praying for you” or “Just trust The Lord and he will lead you through”. All the while we believe what they really need is to get right with God.

If we as believers can get past this, we may be able to support such individuals and put ourselves into a position to make a difference in their lives. We must determine that we will not view them as a reproach and flee from them. We must decide to stand by them and provide the encouragement and support that they need.

In verse 12, the Psalmist indicates that these people are then forgotten. Ask yourself, “Whom do I know that has experienced trouble, fallen away and been forgotten?” Oh, you may remember who they are, but are they in your thoughts, minds, and prayers? Decide today to be one of the rare few that will stand with those in trials and even the fallen. By doing this, you will have the potential to make a great difference in people’s live.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

https://www.createspace.com/4441566

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Always Reaching Out (Jonah 1:2)

Living the Christian life is not easy. Sometimes you need to reach out to people who have hurt you. God will direct us to do this for our and their benefit. What is most difficult about it is that many times we don’t want to reach out and at the same time, God doesn’t give us the chance to option out.

However with God, it is a different situation. God, who has every right to punish sinners for their wicked deeds, willfully takes action which will enable him to avoid it. For this to be accomplished, he does not require the sinner to come to him, but rather that he reaches out to the sinner.

Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. (Jonah 1:2)

God is very long suffering towards sinners. He endured the wickedness of the Ninevites and commanded Jonah to convincingly cry out to them for repentance. He also did not give up on Jonah in spite of his disobedience and fleeing to Tarshish.

God is also long suffering towards us. While lost in sin as the Ninevites or disobediently walking as a believer like Jonah, God demonstrates long suffering towards us by not dealing with us in judgment. For the lost, he reaches out in love as a savior, for the disobedient, he reaches out as a loving father.

God’s dealings in the book of Jonah are an excellent example of how he deals with us. As long as we are alive, his love and mercy overrides his righteous anger towards sin. He is always ready to save and forgive.

Forgiveness: The First Work (Psalm 130:4)

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Have you ever been hurt by someone? I mean really hurt. Maybe you were used, abused, attacked or rejected. Has this ever happened to you? Chances are that everyone who reads this can answer yes to the question. How did you feel when this occurred? Did you feel hurt, anger, shame, disgust, confusion? You aren’t alone. The entire world knows how this feels. But even better than that, God knows how it feels. We did these same wrong things to God and brought some of those terrible emotions upon him as well. We can trust that God knows where we are and how we feel.

However in light of our terrible actions, God chose not to act with vengeance. Instead he chose to re-establish a relationship with each of us. He did not desire a God-slave relationship, but a love relationship. This relationship never would or could be established by man. If it was going to occur, it had to be started by God. Man was unable and unwilling to change, but God who is rich in love was willing to do whatever it would take for us to return to him. God needed to provide for man a way of salvation from his condition.

But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. (Psalms 130:4)

Fear of judgement could not bring about the desired change in man’s heart. That type of fear only creates a self righteous sinner who sees himself this way because of what he does right, but at the same time blindly fails to see the abounding sinfulness of his ways. What man needed was a love relationship. Forgiveness was God’s first step towards accomplishing and establishing that love relationship.

With that work being done, man’s heart would have a fear of disappointing the God that he loves. God accomplished this condition in man’s heart through forgiveness. His forgiveness did more than remove the guilt and penalty of sin. It brought about a relationship that would change man forever. Forgiveness from God brought the right kind of fear in man. Love sought the relationship and forgiveness accomplished it.

…the greatest of these is charity (love). 1 Corinthians 13:13

God’s Countenance (Hebrews 5:2)

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What countenance is on God’s face? The varied answers that people may give would be based on each person’s perspective of God. As a child, I disappointed my parents on many occasions and on each of these their countenance was negative in nature reflecting anger, frustration, disappointment or dissatisfaction. Is God the same way? Does his countenance change towards me? For those who are away from God, what is his countenance like? Is he angry? Is he frustrated? Thankfully from the scriptures, we can see that his countenance would be one that reflects compassion.

Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. (Hebrews 5:2)

Compassion? That doesn’t seem like a relevant response to a disobedient believer. Why would he be compassionate? Why wouldn’t he display a negative response towards their lack of regard for his love, salvation and provision? The reason is simple. He has compassion, because he experienced the struggles that we face and the many infirmities that we bear.

As a man, he felt hunger, pain, sorrow and loneliness. Disappointment followed him continually and in his greatest hour of need, he was abandoned by all on earth and in Heaven. He knows that we are not as strong as him and that we are prone to sin and wander. So with compassion, he patiently waits. Oh, don’t get me wrong. God still hates sin and never condones it, but he loves us still. He knows that what we need the most during times of discouragement, fear, failure and sorrow is a compassionate friend.

He will continue to work in your life and patiently wait for your return. The days that you are away from him are a loss to you. He will not force you to come back. We must understand that we are not returning to an angry God, but instead to a compassionate father.

If you would like to read more of these thoughts in a hard copy format, my new book is now available at the link below.

https://www.createspace.com/4441566

To view other posts or to receive this blog by email, sign up at drafusco.wordpress.com