Tag Archive | compassion

Scales of Suffering?

Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD; Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
Psalm 30:1

Do you think God won’t help you find your keys because it’s not a big enough concern?  There are more important things to Him, such as feeding the poor, defeating the Taliban, hovering over cancer wards, or preparing the world for Jesus’ return, right?  So why would He bother to help find those keys?

Or maybe, when a migraine, cold, fever, or a yucky flu bug brings you down,  do you silently doubt that God will answer your prayer for healing, because, after all, “it’s not cancer”?

If so, welcome to my world!

I constantly gauge my needs, pain, or “suffering” by other’s.  In fact, I even had a hard time writing the word “suffering” because I don’t really think I know what it is—in comparison to rest of the world.  If you’re like me, you may be encouraged by reading this article, No More Minimizing Pain, by Ed Welch of Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF):

“There is no suffering gauge in Scripture, as if being burned at the stake scores a 100, Stage IV cancer is an 85, a broken friendship is a 50 and uncomfortable shoes are a 5.  If there were such a system, a person whose suffering topped out at 80 would have to defer to the one who measures 81.   The one with the less severe suffering would have to suffer in silence. He or she would have no right to seek the comfort of others or God.  To do so would be hogging time that could be better used by more qualified sufferers.  
Dr. Ed Welch, CCEF

I wish I had written this!  But I couldn’t, because I live in the comparison world of meters, gauges, and deference.  I question if my suffering is even on the charts!! Maybe a .003 on the scale of world-wide problems.  Those lost keys, forget about them.  And no hope for my headache as long as a thousands of parents are visiting their children in Pediatric Cancer wards.  But, Dr. Welch goes on to say,

“The danger in establishing a pecking order within suffering is that you feel authorized to call out to the Lord when things are really bad, but you remain isolated and silent if your pain is below the national average.”

So the biggest fault, or sin, of minimizing pain and suffering is that it keeps us from calling on the Lord. And, for me, this attitude creates a dangerously false god, who doesn’t want me to bother Him unless it’s really Bad…somewhere between 75-100.

What a dreadful trap to fall into, even though it appears rather noble.  It reveals my lack of understanding of God’s love and unbounded mercy.

“..when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.”
2 Corinthians 10:12

~~

The entire article may be found HERE.   Thank you, Dr. Welch!

God of This City – Our City

 “Someday you will live forever in a fully restored house [city], but right now you are called to live with peace, joy, and productivity in a place damaged by sin.  Emmanuel lives here with us, and He is at work returning his house to its former beauty.”
Paul David Tripp, Broken-Down House

 

As part of  my “God of This City” series, I want to share a little slideshow compiled from John’s photos of our current city, Ottawa, set to Tomlin’s song, God of This City.  This isn’t a ‘tourist’ video made to highlight key sites of this beautiful city (tho scenic pics are included), but rather, a glimpse of what the Lord sees everyday…people who need Jesus!

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.”  I John 3:16

 

 

I encourage you today, to pray for your geographical city–wherever God has placed you.  Pray for your government leaders, law-makers, judges, police officers and other civil servants, for your school teachers, pastors, co-workers, employers, employees, along with your neighbors, friends……and your precious family. 

Blessing in the Thorn

Many have died and many more are suffering in Haiti, and throughout the world. Many of our loved ones are going through really difficult times.  For today, I chose to encourage and minister with grace, rather than force any pat answers to suffering.  Perhaps a reminder of Christ’s love will minister to you, through this song from Phillips, Craig, and Dean :

Blessing in the Thorn

I read about a man of God
Who gloried in his weakness
And I wish that I could be
More like Him and less like me
Am I to blame for what I’m not
Or is pain the way God teaches me to grow
I need to know

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I’ve heard it said the strength of Christ
Is perfect in my weakness
And the more that I go through
The more I prove the promise true
His love will go to any length
And reaches even now to where I am

But tell me once again

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

Lord, I have to ask You
On the cross You suffered through
Was there a time You ever doubted
What You already knew
?

When does the thorn become a blessing
When does the pain become a friend
When does the weakness make me stronger
When does my faith make me whole again
I want to feel His arms around me
In the middle of my raging storm
So that I can see the blessing in the thorn

I want to see the blessing in the thorn.

 

You can listen to this from the blue Music Box.  This version is from their CD, Where Strength Begins, Phillips Craig and Dean.

Help for Haiti

What can I do?   TV headlines, news articles, and live video feeds keep us informed about what’s happening in Haiti.  But beyond keeping us informed, we also begin to feel helpless.   These actions hardly seem original, but are, nonetheless, necessary:  

  1. Pray.  Pray for the children.  Families.  Missionaries.  Safety for relief workers, our Marines, EMTs, etc.  Successful relief efforts.  Clean water.  Medical assistance.  For the gospel to take root in the hearts of the Haitian people. Life. 
  2. Give:   This may be more difficult for some.  But in Haiti, a little can go a long way.  $10 is a start.   Here’s some organizations experienced in getting help quickly to the  needy:   Compassion InternationalSamaritan’s PurseWorld Vision  
  3. Make it personal.  I don’t know anyone in Haiti.  But as I read missionary updates, prayer requests, blogs from Haiti, or faith-based  reports, the story becomes personal.  Names, needs, photos.   So, as I read, my spirit groans… in deeper, more effective intercession.
    Read/follow these sites to help make this devastation personal:    The Livesayhaiti Weblog          Missionary Flights International

 

HT:  The Gospel Coalition/Carrie Koens

Hands that Care

“Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.”  Isaiah 49:16

It happens a lot.  The Lord reminds me of His care. 

As I question suffering, sickness, corruption, persecution, or matters which David says are “too difficult for me” (Ps 131:1), the Lord shifts my focus.  He redirected my thoughts today through Tony Reinke’s Miscellanies (Cross-Centered blog), with a profound excerpt about the proof of Jesus’ love and care.  

Read on:

“If you know Jesus, then the hand holding yours bears the calluses of a carpenter who worked with wood and carried a cross for you. When he opens his hand, you see the gnarled flesh of the nail scars on his wrists. And when you think he doesn’t understand your pain, realize that you don’t understand the extent of his pain. Love him or not, he has proven he loves you!

“If you hate suffering, does it make sense to choose eternal suffering when God has already suffered so much to deliver you from it?

“In your most troubled moments, when you cry out to God, ‘Why have you let this happen?’ picture the outstretched hands of Christ, forever scarred…for you.

Do those look like the hands of a God who does not care?”

nail-scarred hands

 

Please read more at Tony’s Miscellanies blog, or check out the book by Randy Alcorn:   If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil, Multnomah, 2009.

A Psalm for Rebecca

A Psalm for my sister-in-law as she continues her chemo treatment today.  A Psalm, a prayer, a cry…may the Lord encourage her, and you, through His reassurance, mercy, deliverance, protection, compassion, goodness, and very Presence. 

Psalm 116    NIV

1 I love the LORD, for he heard my voice;
       he heard my cry for mercy

   2 Because he turned his ear to me,
       I will call on him as long as I live.

    3 The cords of death entangled me,
       the anguish of the grave came over me;
       I was overcome by distress and sorrow.

    4 Then I called on the name of the LORD:
       “LORD, save me!”

    5 The LORD is gracious and righteous;
       our God is full of compassion.

    6 The LORD protects the unwary;
       when I was brought low, he saved me.

    7 Return to your rest, my soul,
       for the LORD has been good to you.

    8 For you, LORD, have delivered me from death,
      
my eyes from tears,
       my feet from stumbling,

    9 that I may walk before the LORD
       in the land of the living.

    10 I trusted in the LORD when I said,
       “I am greatly afflicted”;

    11 in my alarm I said,
       “Everyone is a liar.”

    12 What shall I return to the LORD
       for all his goodness to me?

    13 I will lift up the cup of salvation
       and call on the name of the LORD.

    14 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
       in the presence of all his people.

    15 Precious in the sight of the LORD
       is the death of those faithful to him.

    16 Truly I am your servant, LORD;
       I am your servant, as was my mother before me;
       you have loosed my bonds of affliction.

    17 I will sacrifice a thank offering to you
       and call on the name of the LORD.

    18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
       in the presence of all his people,

    19 in the courts of the house of the LORD—
       in your midst, Jerusalem.
       Praise the LORD.

God’s Compassion

Here’s a little poem I wrote, inspired by the thought that our Father loves us as much individually, as He does the “whole” world:

Compassion

Everyday someone is dying,

everyday someone feels loss,

there’s news of a disaster,

someone’s spirit has been crushed.

Our Lord does not need headlines

to tell Him what to heed,

He sees the solitary

and knows their very need.

He sees the mother crying,

prayers are heard before they’re said,

He feels the hearts, afflicted,

by sadness, pain or dread.

This all-caring Father

full of mercy, depths of love,

His very nature is compassion

to the many, to the one.

 

Fast with Compassion

Please join with me and many others through Compassion International to fast and pray this Wednesday, June 25th, for those suffering with hunger and starvation.

If your schedule, physical needs, or other reasons make fasting impossible, you can still pray 🙂  This following is from the Compassion website about this need and special day:

A global food crisis is forcing millions to go hungry. Please join us on June 25, 2008, for a day of prayer and fasting for those suffering.What is the global food crisis?The World Food Programme calls the global food crisis a phenomenon, a “silent tsunami,” that is affecting families in every nation on every continent. Food prices for popular menu items like rice, wheat and beans have doubled in the last year. Though increases in food prices have hit all budgets, it’s the poor who bear the brunt of price inflation. The higher prices are forcing people who survive on just $1 a day to spend upwards of 80 percent of their budgets just on food.  As a result, many people, including millions of children, are going hungry. The longer food prices rise, the more people will be plunged into hunger and poverty.

Why is the global food crisis happening?

Food shortages have affected developing countries for generations. It’s a cyclical problem. But this global food crisis is more rapid, urgent and devastating. Since 2005, food prices have risen a whopping 80 percent. Why?

  • rising fuel costs
  • rising food demand from populous nations like India and China
  • natural disasters destroying crop yields all over the world, including the United States
  • growth of biofuels

How has the global food crisis affected Compassion families?

The global food crisis is forcing poor families to spend more of their household budgets on food, leaving little for anything else. In Bangladesh more than 90 percent of the 12,179 children we serve in 82 Compassion-assisted centers are affected. Many children are eating only at the church-based center. Compassion Haiti estimates it will need at least $2 million and up to $6 million to feed the 60,000 registered children and their families over the next few months.

What can I do to help fight the global food crisis?

Join Compassion’s Day of Prayer and Fasting on June 25, 2008. This is the day we will honor the victims of the global food crisis and pray for them.

Give to Compassion’s Global Food Crisis Fund. Your gift will help provide:

  • food vouchers to children and families needing immediate relief.
  • seeds and agricultural tools so that families can grow their own food as well as earn extra income.
  • supplemental nutrition services offered at Compassion-assisted centers around the world.”

Watch a brief video about this food crisis at this link:   Compassion Video

 

Compassion Sunday

This post is from the Compassion website.  Just a reminder to always be thankful, and to seek the Lord for ways to share with others’, God’s absolute grace and blessings!

An Overwhelming Need

“Every three seconds a child under age 5 dies from poverty-related causes that Compassion’s ministry is skilled at preventing. But it takes only one voice — yours — to fight poverty.

By hosting a Compassion Sunday event, you can expand your personal ministry and help transform the lives of hundreds or even thousands of impoverished children and families worldwide. And you can be a part of it without spending a single cent.

Reversing the Tide

It all starts by being willing to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” and “defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9) and by hosting a Compassion Sunday event at your church. Compassion Sunday is an annual national campaign that links impoverished children with loving sponsors. Last year’s campaign resulted in nearly 21,000 new child sponsorships. With your help, we hope to surpass this number again this year. It’s the perfect way to answer God’s call to help the poor and needy children.

The official Compassion Sunday 2008 date was April 13, but you can host an event any day of the year that works best for your church. We provide, free of charge, everything you need and will walk you through the simple process from start to finish. Hosting a Compassion Sunday event is easier than ever. Follow this link to find out How!”