December 26, 2003

Encouragement for Today

 

Ouch, that hurts!

Renee Swope – Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker and Writer

Director, Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker Team

 

Key Verse:

 

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

 

 

Devotion:

 

I wandered around the small consignment store looking for maternity clothes while my then two-year old son, Joshua, played in the designated children’s area. I was making my way through the racks when he came running to my side with tears in his eyes. I bent down to see if he was hurt but he pulled my hand and led me to the back of the store. He wanted to introduce me to his injured friend, the clothes mannequin. As we came to her side, Joshua lifted her dress (and I blushed). I glanced around hoping no one noticed my son looking up a lady’s skirt, even if she was plastic. Then Joshua cried, "Look mommy," and pointed to the metal rod shooting up her back for support. With a tear streaming down his cheek he said, "Ouch, that hurts."

 

Overwhelmed by Joshua’s compassion, I almost started crying! How could a two-year-old be so sensitive to someone else’s potential pain? I knelt by his side and explained that his friend was okay. Then I held him in my arms and told him how much I loved his heart and his concern for his new friend.

 

Joshua’s tender mercy that day is such a picture of God’s love. It is compassion that births concern in His heart and moves Him to help those of us in need. He tells us in 1 John 3:18, "let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

 

Jesus painted a picture of love in action as he told the story of the good Samaritan. Traveling down the road one day, a Samaritan noticed an injured man who had been robbed, stripped of his clothing and left for dead. Unlike the priest and the Levite who ignored him as they passed by earlier, the Samaritan saw the man and acted on his behalf by bandaging his wounds, taking him to an inn and getting him the care he needed.

 

Jesus knew what love in action looked like. He had lived it; not only with his words, but with His life. Tender mercy moved His heart to act on our behalf that first Christmas night. With an aching awareness of our needs, compassion led our Christ as He walked away from the riches of Heaven and wrapped Himself in the rags of earth.

 

Just as God had promised, the virgin gave birth to a son and called him Immanuel (Isaiah 7:14), which means God with us. Just like Joshua and the good Samaritan, God’s compassion moved His heart on our behalf. He came to our side. He bent down and with outstretched hands He offered to bandage our wounds and give us the care we need.

 

The same compassion that moved God’s heart on your behalf over 2000 years ago moves His heart toward you today. Christmas may be over but the truth of God’s greatest gift is not. No matter where you are or what you need, in His presence you can find healing for your hurts, comfort for your concerns and rest for your wearied soul. As you head out of the holidays and into the New Year, remember His compassion never fails. It is new every morning!

 

 

My Prayer for today:

 

Lord, thank you for seeing my greatest needs. As the holiday swirl comes to an end, I want to draw near and remember that my greatest need is our presence. When I fail or feel failed by others, remind this heart of mine that your compassion never fails me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

Application steps:

 

Take time to tell God the areas of your life that are hurting (marriage, work relationships, parenting, financial stress, etc.). Ask Him to draw near and care for your needs like the Samaritan man did for the injured man.

 

 

Reflection points:

 

Like the mannequin, in what ways do I try to stand on my own two feet and end up inflicting pain to myself?

 

How can I lean on God for help?

 

Do I have any hurts that I am trying to hide that need His healing touch?

 

When have I felt "left for dead" that God came to my side and offered His provision and care?

 

How will I intentionally seek to experience God’s compassion that is new every morning?

 

 

Power Verses:


Psalm 103:13, "As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him." (New Revised Standard)

 

Psalm 51:1, "Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins." (New Living Translation)

 

Isaiah 30:18, "But the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion." (New Living Translation)

 

 

Additional Resources:

 

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart? by Lysa TerKeurst

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

 

Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst

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