Compassion + Will = Practical Love

Mark 1:40-45 (41)

Was it a word of dubious doubt?  Was it a word of hesitant hope?  Was it a word of pliant permission?  “If thou wilt, thou canst . . .”  Can the sun rise in the east each morning?  Can a tornado devastate a sleeping town?  Can a shark bite off a swimmer’s leg? 

Jesus’ ability is not to be questioned.  He is God.  We can know that He is capable of all good.  Yes, He can heal.  His will, on the other hand, is not always clear to us.  What makes the difference is when His compassion is coupled with His will.  “Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him . . . “

That touch is all that is needed.  We must not limit the love of God by false humility.  He is a God who “acts.”  He is not a spectator but an initiator.  Theory and theology must be placed aside while we observe His love being displayed in practical ways.   Brennan Manning expressed it this way:  “We should be astonished at the goodness of God, stunned that He should bother to call us by name, our mouths wide open at His love, bewildered that at this very moment we are standing on holy ground.”   ?  The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning 

 By Dr. Gayle Woods

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How Simple Can It Be?

Deuteronomy 10:12-15 (12)

Alma grew up in our church.  Her grandfather was one of the founders.  The church bore his last name.  She seldom missed a service.  Tragically, in spite of her exposure to the gospel she had never been saved.  I prayed for her often.  I visited her regularly.  Numerous times I explained the plan of salvation as simply as I could and asked her if she would like to pray to ask God to forgive her for her sins and become the Lord of her life.  Each time she refused.  Her answer became familiar.  “Bro. Woods, it is just so hard to understand.” 

In our devotional text for today Moses seemed to be expressing the same frustration I felt.  “How easy can it be?  How simple can it be?”  “What doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to . . . “  The path to the foot of the cross is clearly marked and easy to follow.  At the end of the path the Savior eagerly awaits your arrival.

Why do we try to complicate what Christ has made simple?  Isaiah said, “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.”  Isaiah 35:8

By Dr. Gayle Woods

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Continued Benefit

USDAgov / / CC BY

1 Cor. 15:35-45

Our government just keeps on giving! They seem to want to raise people from the depths of their current circumstance. This was evidenced a few years ago when a letter appeared in the national news that had been sent to a deceased person by the South Carolina Department of Social Services. The recipient must have been overjoyed and filled with deep gratitude at the possibility of continued benefit when he read:

Your food stamps will be stopped effective March 1992 because we received notice that you passed away. May God bless you. You may reapply if there is a change in your circumstances. (From a letter to a dead person from the Greenville County, South Carolina Department of Social Services)
(“I See What You Mean – Persuasive Business Communication” by D. Joel Whalen, p 17.)

Yes, they seem to want to raise to “incorruption” those who have been “sown in corruption.” Well, the Department of Social Services doesn’t have too good a record in raising people from the dead. However, we who know Christ as our Lord and Savior have that assurance. By following in the footsteps of the risen Lord we can walk through the darkness of the grave and into the brilliant light of resurrected life. He is the Resurrection and the Life! The Child of God truly is the one who will experience continued benefit.

by Dr. Gayle Woods

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