helping others

Help Isn’t Hurried

“In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.’” – Luke 10:30-33 Today, I want to remind you of something important: you cannot help people and be in a hurry. Yesterday, we talked about becoming compassionate listeners and how, by opening our ears and hearts up to others, the Holy Spirit can use us to bring healing to the world. However, if

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Sitting Down With Sinners

“While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.” – Matthew 9:10 For the past few days, we’ve talked about three types of “untouchables” whom Jesus readily touched — lepers, Samaritans, and Pharisees — and what His actions teach us about extending love to the least deserving in our lives. Today, I want to examine the fourth and final group of outcasts our Savior welcomed, and that is tax collectors and sinners. Perhaps the most shocking of all, these were the gang members, derelicts, and drug addicts of the day — the kind we would be afraid to go near. They were also the robbers and crooks; the type who were known to have no regard for the people who tried to do right by God and their fellow man. In fact, tax collectors were considered the worst

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Vision Crystalizes in Crisis

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” – 2 Timothy 1:7 When it comes to assessing how we’re doing as we lead ourselves and others, one of the most important things to consider is how we respond to a crisis. When we’ve built a personal and organizational culture of safety and stability, unexpected circumstances can actually serve to make us stronger. I remember hearing an older gentleman say years ago that the reason he retired from the Navy after the war is because there wasn’t a whole lot to do in peacetime. So tightly and cohesively did the sailors work together in conflict that when there were no daily struggles, the pace grew to a crawl. Likewise, though not a physical war, some might say that the uncertain waters of the COVID-19 crisis created an uphill battle for individuals,

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Touching the Untouchable

“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 8:2,3 Yesterday, we looked at the story of four lepers who gathered treasure left by their enemies and turned it over to their king on behalf of their city, which was in distress. Though they had been outcast and marginalized for years and were tempted to “take what was theirs,” they did the right thing by God and their fellow man by sharing it. While it’s difficult for us to comprehend how rough their lives had been to that point, the current pandemic offers us a more realistic glimpse into their pain. For the first time, many of us understand the isolation of quarantine

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Do The Right Thing

“Now there were four men with leprosy at the entrance of the city gate. They said to each other, ‘Why stay here until we die? If we say, “We’ll go into the city”—the famine is there, and we will die. And if we stay here, we will die. So let’s go over to the camp of the Arameans and surrender. If they spare us, we live; if they kill us, then we die.’” – 2 Kings 7:3,4 Yesterday, we talked about how Elisha fed enemy troops in the middle of Samaria before sending them back to their leader, the King of Aram. Because the Arameans were at war with the Israelites, this profound demonstration of divine power humiliated the king and made him all the more determined to defeat them. In an effort to fully destroy the Jewish population, he surrounded the city and assaulted the people so they were

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Righteousness is Greater Than Regret

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13,14 Yesterday, we looked at how Paul considered all of his worldly accomplishments garbage compared to the gift of having Jesus as His Savior. Knowing that, I’m almost certain that his impassioned letter to the church at Philippi was, in part, a response to a past that he wasn’t proud of. Though his previous transgressions were repugnant to him, his encouragement to fellow believers was to forget what was behind, strain toward what was ahead, and press on. You see, while it sounds crude, Paul understood that the only way to escape the stench of trash was to move farther away from it, and this remains true in our lives today. No matter

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A Generous Spirit

“But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.” – Philippians 2:25-27 At this special time of year, we hear a lot about generosity. However, more than just buying someone the perfect gift or making a charitable donation, true benevolence is a deeply-rooted state of heart — one that is always willing to go the extra mile. As a study in this manner of kindness, let’s look at a man named Epaphroditus, who was a companion of the Apostle Paul in the New

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