23 November 2014

A Compassionate Heart


(Big Lessons from a Little Maid--2 Kings 5)
If someone took you away from your family and set you to work as a servant, how would you feel towards that person? When you heard that they were sick and not going to recover, would you be happy? Would you think “It's serves them right! They deserve it.”
The little maid have every reason to think like that. But instead she had compassion on her Master.

How do you feel towards people who have hurt you?
I've been a bit convicted doing this study! I am definitely lacking in this area.
Compassion means sympathy or sorrow for others suffering.
It's not so hard to feel compassion for people that we love and are close to us. But it's not always so easy to feel compassion for someone who we think deserves what they are getting!
Or even for someone we do love very much that has hurt us. We get hardened and just don't care. But that's not what we should do

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44

How can we have compassion on someone who has hurt us or on someone that we really don't like?
By remembering that God has compassion on us! We have hurt God far more than anyone will ever hurt us. There is absolutely no reason why God should have compassion on us.

The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. Psalm 145:8

If you want to be like Jesus, you must be compassionate!

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Matthew 9:36



5 November 2014

Big Lessons from a Little Maid #1

When Things Go Wrong...
And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman's wife. 
 And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy. 2 Kings 5:2-3 (for the full story read the whole chapter)
How would you feel if you were kidnapped, taken to a different country and made a servant in a household that worships idols?
How would you like to be the only one in your area who believes in and worships God?
How would you feel toward God? Would you still believe in Him?
Would you change to become like the people you are now around?
 
I can't imagine how this girl must have felt!
Surely she must have had moments of feeling confused, discouraged, angry and maybe even abandoned by God.
But instead of losing her faith in God, it grew stronger. After all, God was all she had left!
Instead of losing her faith, she helped others to find it.

I hope you'll never be in a situation like this, but you may have other troubles which seem just as big. A family member or friend who has died. A move to a new area or country. Living in a family that is broken up. Having parents who aren't Christians. Hearing bad news. Friends that hurt you. Someone that has let you down etc.
What difficulties are you going through at the moment?
Are you feeling like this girl might have felt?
Will you be like her and keep trusting in God?
Will you stand up for God even if you're the only one doing it?
 
This girl didn't have a complete Bible like us to read. I don't know if she even had any of the Bible to read or if she could even read. I doubt she had any way to meet with other people who believed in God. She was far away from her parents and family.
How much more do we have than this girl? If she could still keep trusting in God in her circumstances, how much more should we??

Difficulties come in our lives for a purpose. If we let them turn us away from God, what do we have left? Instead we can turn to God and watch for the rainbow in the clouds. What happened as a result of the little maid living in this house?
So why does God allow hard times? Maybe the same reason that he allows rain to fall. A beautiful garden would be a desert without rain. As an old Proverb goes, “All sunshine makes a desert.” And if you only had good happy times in your life, what kind of person would you turn out to be?

21 October 2014

Disguises

(Lessons from Jeroboam's Wife #2)

Arise, I pray thee, and disguise thyself.”
“She shall feign herself (pretend) to be another woman.” (different looking from the wife of the king)
“Why feignest thou to be another?' 1 Kings 14:2,5-6
 
Are you like Jeroboam's wife? Do you try to disguise yourself? Is there something you are trying to hide? Are you pretending to be what you're not?
Here are a few disguises people wear.

The Happy Disguise
My husband and I once visited a family who were going through something awful. After telling us the bad news, the father laughed and joked most of the evening. If he hadn't told us what had happened in their family, we would never have guessed from the way he was acting. Yet underneath he must have been really hurting.
We used to have a young couple living next door to us who were very rough. When they had parties with their friends we would hear them all laughing together so loud. But then the next morning when their friends were gone we would hear them yelling and fighting. Or we might see a police car parked outside. It really struck me that people are often not as happy as they seem. You can laugh loudly while you're crying inside.
Proverbs 14:13 says Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.
Sometimes the most sad and empty people can act like the happiest people on earth. It's a disguise to cover their pain, insecurity, struggles or emptiness.
Are you trying to cover up a hurting heart by pretending nothing is up? Take your hurt to God in prayer, but don't be afraid to open up and share your troubles with someone who cares about you. Talking with the right person can be far more helpful than keeping it all inside. If people don't know, they won't pray for you and try to help you.
Be real!

The Religious Disguise
In Brother Andrew's book, God's Smuggler, he shares how he would go to church each Sunday with his parents. His parents thought he was sitting at the back, but he would actually slip out of church and just come back at the end. He would listen to the other comments people made about the sermon so he knew what it was about, then he would discuss the sermon too. His parents never suspected he hadn't been in church. He was wearing a religious disguise.
Are you the Christian that you appear to be? Are you a Christian 24/7? Is your faith real or are you just 'religious'? Are you a Christian at home?

The Worldly Disguise
It's easy to be a Christian when you're around other Christians. But when you're around people who don't believe the same way, it's easy to put on a disguise and pretend you're the same as them. It's easy to be ashamed of what you believe and blend in with the others.
 Sometimes we're ashamed to show who we really are.
What about you? Do people around you know you're a Christian? Or are you pretending to be what you're not?
 
Be real!