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<< Encouragement for Today

Encouragement 2-06-04

  • 2004 Feb 06
  • COMMENTS




February 6, 2004

Encouragement for Today

 

God’s Love for All 

Sharon Jaynes – Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, author, speaker

 

Key Verse:

 

  For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:13)

 

 

Devotion:

 

Going to an amusement park has never been very amusing to me.  Climbing a mountainous rickety wooden track while sitting in a two-seater metal box with a flimsy bar across my lap for safety and then being plunged one-hundred feet to the ground, expecting to meet Jesus at any moment is not my idea of relaxation.  Being herded through a roped maze and standing in line for hours to endure a ride that lasts ninety seconds is definitely not entertaining.  Spinning in circles makes me nauseous.

 

Why then, you ask, would I subject myself to such spinning, plunging, gyrating, and lunging into oblivion?  The answer’s easy. I love my family.  I’ve endured roller coasters with my son, been turned upside down and spun in a cork-screw with my niece, and had my insides scrambled with my nephews.  All to see their smiles and make memories I’ll never forget.

 

Amusement parks are the great melting pots of America.  On one occasion, while standing in a line waiting to become airborne on the death defying “Gauntlet,”   I was struck by the side show of humanity surrounding me. On one side was a fourteen year-old girl in minuscule cut off shorts and a bikini bathing suit top, her body covered in baby oil and glitter.  We shared the same space with a pot bellied motor cyclist bearing a skull and cross bones tattoo on his left shoulder,  a ring through his pierced nose, and stringy blond hair hanging down his furry bare back.  There was a group of snaggle - toothed illiterates spitting tobacco juice and watching it sizzle on the 101 degree asphalt.

 

As I stood in disgust among this melting pot of humanity, queasy from the sights and smells of unwashed bodies and greasy hair, the Lord shed some light on the situation.  Yes, you are clean and polished, standing here with manicured nails, pressed linen shorts and designer T-shirt.  Your children reflect your life style choices and upbringing.  But I didn’t come just for the lovely, neatly groomed, and freshly scented of society.  I came for the foul-smelling shepherd, leprous outcast, and uneducated fisherman.  I came for the glitter covered girl, the nose pierced gang member, and the snaggle - toothed illiterate.  These are all my sheep.  I love each and every one of them just as much as I love you.  They are all my children.

 

Suddenly, I began to remember a flood of stories in the Bible that explain for whom Jesus came.  The Pharisees and religious leaders questioned his choice of friends.

 

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and `sinners'?" 

 

On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: `I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners” (Matthew 9:10-13)

 

The veil was lifted from my eyes and my disgust turned to compassion.  God was calling me to show compassion and not pass judgment. These were my brothers and sisters - or at least they could be.  Jesus loved them just as much as He loved me.  He welcomed them and gave His life for them - just as He had for me.

 

I began to use my time in line to pray.  Lord, whatever pain that young teen has experienced to cause her to dress immodestly and draw attention to herself, heal those hurts.  Draw her to Yourself and help her to come to know You as her loving Father.  May the man with the pierced nose one day have His heart pierced by the conviction of Your great love and sacrifice for him. May the snaggle - toothed illiterate be filled with the knowledge of Jesus Christ and Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

 

My heart was filled with love for this merry band and I was just about to call us altogether for a big group hug, when I realized it was time for my group to be loaded in our metal seat and strapped in place. Once again I was spun around at break neck speed, turned on my head, and jerked to a sudden stop from sixty miles per hour.  Even though my lunch threatened to be lost, the thrill of my insights stayed with me.

 

 

My Prayer for today:

 

Dear Lord, Help me to see others as You see them.  Fill me with compassion for those who need an extra measure of love.  Thank you Lord that while I was still a sinner and rotten to the core, you chose me, sent Your Son to die for me, and forgave me of my sins.  Help me to love the unlovely as You have loved me.

 

 

Application steps:

What are some ways that you can reach out or be more compassionate towards those whom the world shuns?

 

Make a list of people or groups of people that the world tends to shun but to whom you could embrace.

 

Is their anyone in your workplace or neighborhood that could use an extra dose of acceptance and love today?

 

 

Reflection points:

 

Over the past few days, have I passed judgment on someone because of their appearance? (a punk rocker teen, a homeless beggar, an obese adult, a skimpily dressed woman) 

 

What would have been Jesus’ response or reaction to that person?

 

To whom did the angels announce the Savior’s birth?  Luke 2

 

Describe what you think a shepherd might have looked and smelled like.

 

For whom did Jesus stop his journey to have dinner? (Luke 19:1-10)

 

Describe this man’s appearance and standing in society?  Was he tall, dark, and handsome?  Was he well liked, honest, and a jolly sort?

 

With whom did Jesus socialize? (Matthew 9:10-13 above)  What did the Pharisees think about such associations?

 

From these three associations: shepherds, a tax collector, and prostitutes, what can we learn about how God loves those whom the world may find unlovely?

 

 

Power verses:

 

Luke 5:31-32 Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

 

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

 

Isaiah 61:1-2 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…

 

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

John 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

 

This story is taken from At Home with God by Sharon Jaynes

All Bible references are from the NIV Bible.

 

 

Additional resources:

 

Ultimate Makeover by Sharon Jaynes

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/makeover.html

 

P31 Woman Magazine

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/p31woman.html

 

Seven Life Principles by Lysa TerKeurst and Sharon Jaynes

http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/sevenlife.html

 

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