compassion

Love is Greater Than the Law

“On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, ‘Woman, you are set free from your infirmity.’” – Luke 13:10-12 We’ve been examining the idea that having the right vision for our lives and leadership empowers us to “break the rules” in order to put people first. Today, I want to look at how Jesus modeled this behavior for us, and what it teaches us about living as His disciples in the modern world. Much to the chagrin of the Pharisees and teachers of the law, our Savior constantly set aside the mandates of religion to give priority to loving people. One of the most famous examples of this is

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Surrender the Fight

“God again set a certain day, calling it ‘Today.’ This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted: ‘Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.’” – Hebrews 4:7 I’ve heard stories about soldiers who’ve gone to war, and though they depart from home full of life, vitality, and hope, they return bitter and disillusioned. Fighting for so long — often on the front lines and in the face of death itself — leaves them wounded and unable to let their guard down again. And while most of us haven’t been in this kind of physical combat, the fatigue of fighting is something that we all can relate to. So today, I’m writing to the warriors who are battle-scarred and weary. Life has dealt you a hard blow, and it’s been one thing after another. Maybe it’s losing

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Love the Least Likely

“When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy.” – Matthew 8:1-3 One of the most powerful things Jesus did after He started His earthly ministry was to touch a man with leprosy. In the culture of His day, lepers were outcasts, and everywhere they went, they were required to announce their presence by shouting “unclean” so that others were warned and could scatter. Furthermore, in many regions, those diagnosed as leprous were required to leave their homes and families to be isolated from everyone they knew, lest they spread the illness to them. Banished to a life of separation and obscurity, the disease

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Live and Love Like Jesus

“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.” – Matthew 21:12 Though there’s a lot to learn from the stories of Paul and Joseph where it comes to being stubborn in faith, no one exemplifies adamant conviction more than Jesus. He threw convention aside on many occasions, because He was doggedly determined to bring His Father’s heart to the world. He passionately turned over the money changer’s tables at the temple, repeatedly touched those who were considered unclean, and faced the scorn and mockery of His accusers in total silence. Though it must have taken every ounce of restraint He could muster, He stonewalled in the face of injustice and refused to react emotionally to the charges brought against Him. Yet while our Lord was tough and gritty

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The Tenacity of Paul

“Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.” – Acts 19:8 The life of the Apostle Paul always amazes me. When I think about a stubborn and gritty guy, he is at the top of my list. Before meeting Jesus, he was so zealous for religion and the law that he dragged hundreds of Christians from their homes and had them killed. He was passionate for Judaism and sold out for “righteousness,” but it never occurred to him that the Jesus he was persecuting was actually the Messiah…until He appeared to him. Blinded by the light of the Son and humbled before the Lord of All on the road to Damascus, his prideful heart was brought low, and he received a new call. God saw fit to change his course and invited him to use his brilliant mind to reason

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Stubborn Where It Counts

“To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” – Romans 2:7 Have you ever been told that you’re stubborn? I sure have — in fact, I’ve heard it many times. And though most people tend to think such a description is a bad thing, I really don’t see it that way. There are certain areas of life in which it’s beneficial to be persistent and tenacious, especially when it comes to achieving goals and doing the right thing; however, there’s a catch. We should be stubborn for good things but soft toward people. In other words, be stubborn for our vision but soft toward our team, and stubborn for our jobs but soft toward our families. Though mules are thought to be obstinate and unyielding, they are also sweet and compassionate, and this is how we should be as well.

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The Overflow

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” – Psalm 23:5 Have you ever had a drink that’s so full to the top that you have to walk slowly to ensure that it doesn’t spill over? If so, then you understand the image that the Bible uses to describe the abundance that the Lord gives to us. Like that overflowing cup, God not only provides what we need to get by in life, but He gives us excessively more. Even in the midst of adversity and affliction, His grace gushes like a fountain, and He constantly fills our souls, minds, and spirits with His bounty. Being reminded of this is especially important after we’ve navigated the shock of a world-wide pandemic that has subjected millions to extreme loss. While we’re still dealing with the lingering effects of

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Simply Praise

“My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.” – Psalm 71:8 As we conclude our discussion about the power of words, I want to offer one final piece of advice — when you don’t know what to say, simply praise. We can never go wrong with worshiping God, and when it’s the last thing our emotions say to do, that’s when it’s most important to do it. Even if things around us spiral out of control, healing comes as we turn our full attention to the One who is in control. He is the Beginning and the End, and because He never shifts or changes, He is always worthy of praise. He is powerful, majestic, and incomprehensibly glorious, yet He is full of love and compassion. So much does He adore us that He reconciled us to Himself while we were hopelessly lost in a

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Love is Personal

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – 1 John 3:1 Growing up in San Juan Capistrano, which is more or less a beach town, my dad and I fished all the time. Whether on a boat, in a lake, or from a pier, we were constantly putting our poles in the water to see what we could catch. Of course, the flip side of that was that we ate a lot of fish. While this would be a dream come true for some people, I’ve never been a huge fan of seafood, and that dislike forged one of my favorite childhood memories. One day, when I was 12 or 13 years old, my dad and I were out on the boat and it was about 2:00 in the afternoon. We left early

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Pain Becomes a Plan

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28 Chocolate hearts, shades of red and pink, cards, cupcakes, and gifts…these are things we see a lot of as Valentine’s Day approaches. And while society tells us that “all we need is love,” when we behold the depth of heartache and division in the world today, it feels as if love is a somewhat foreign concept. However, despite what we see, the fact remains that God loves us more than we can even imagine. No matter what we’ve gone through, He is faithful, and He has the power to turn circumstances that could have broken us into milestones that birth divine wisdom. In fact, if we surrender our pain to Him and ask for His perspective, He will make us indestructible and

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