It is easy for us to think of Christ as this majestic, powerful figure in the heavens, unfazed by what is going on in our lives. But Hebrews 4:15 paints a very different picture,
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.
Have you ever thought about the fact that Jesus sympathizes with you? The King James Version says He is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. God is not aloof, distant, and unconcerned, and He does not look at you through some clinical, cold eye. He is moved; He is touched!
I want to show you a verse that, to me, is quite amazing. It is Isaiah 63:9, and it is talking about God and His people. It says,
In all their affliction He was afflicted, and the Angel of His Presence saved them; in His love and in His pity He redeemed them; and He bore them and carried them all the days of old.
When you suffer, God suffers. He is not untouched; He is not unmoved; He is not unsympathetic.
Then there is Jeremiah 31 where God says (speaking of Israel as one single person), I earnestly remember him still; therefore My heart yearns for him. I will surely have mercy on him, says the LORD.
Finally, look at Psalm 145:8-9,
The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The LORD is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.
God feels and sympathizes. He is moved and touched and afflicted as you walk through the difficulties of life. He understands. And He yearns to give you tender mercy.
That is the compassionate and gracious heart of God!
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Experiencing Peace in a Troubled World
Dr. Charles Stanley
The tumultuous times in which we live challenge our sense of security and well-being. In a world filled with violence, injustice, financial instability, and natural disasters, how can we live in undisturbed safety? Jesus' words to His disciples seem contradictory—peace and tribulation just don't go together.
This makes no sense unless we realize that Christ's peace is not the same as the world's (John 14:27). The average person thinks tranquility will come with an outward change in their circumstances: When I have a better job or more money, then I will be content. Or, If a particular person in my life changes, then I will feel at ease. But Christ offers a relationship with the Father that fills our hearts with satisfied contentment, no matter what the external conditions may be.
We need to understand that Christ's offer of peace came, not when everything was going well, but just hours before His disciples' world fell apart. All their hopes and dreams were dashed when the Messiah hung on the cross. Although they didn't realize it, Jesus offered them exactly what they would need to cope with the trouble that lay ahead. In the same way, He gives us quiet confidence which anchors our souls in stressful times.
We can never arrange all circumstances so that we feel safe and secure. The way to overcome the world isn't by removing difficulties from one's life. Instead, victory comes from walking through troubles with quiet confidence in God's sovereignty and divine purpose for everything He allows.
For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit www.intouch.org
Confrontation With God
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3b
"God, is this the way You treat someone who is faithful to You?" I yelled out loud on the top of the wooded hill where no one but God could hear me. "I have waited and waited and now this! I hate You, God! I have had enough!" Those were my words that day as I wrestled with news of an event that devastated me to the point where I broke down weeping.
As I sat there among the trees deciding what else I could say to God, I was speechless. I was angry. I was confused. I wondered if He even existed. If He did, I felt like He really didn't honor my faith and obedience. I sat for hours wrestling internally with my feelings.
Finally, without answers and sensing that God wasn't answering me, I turned to leave. I had been sitting on an old oak tree that was broken at the base. The tree pointed toward the base of another huge oak tree. Finally, a still quiet voice inside said, "Today, like this broken oak tree you are sitting on, you are a broken man. But this brokenness was needed in order for you to become this large oak tree you see."
Months and even years had passed with many struggles. But God was true to His word from that day. He began to replace the pain and disappointment with an inner joy that only His grace could provide.
Have you ever wrestled with the events of life, feeling that God has deserted you? Have you been honest with God? He is the kind of Father who is willing to have those difficult conversations. He won't always change things, but His purposes will be accomplished and peace will come if you trust. Trust Him this day with those things that are most difficult.
Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman, Marketplace Leaders
Great are You Lord, and most worthy of praise. You are a mighty fortress. I clap my hands and sing praises of joy before you, most awesome Lord on high. I know that you, God, reign over the nations and you, God, are seated on your holy throne. And from that throne you may speak words of vengeance or words of protection, and it is done. May you be exalted. Please protect your people and help us to be united for you as we live and minister to one another in this world. In Jesus' name, amen.
By SIMPLY DIVINE LOVE on Tuesday, October 05, 2010