Gut-Level Compassion

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I think the best-known verse in the Bible may be, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This truly is amazing love! 

But on several occasions, the Gospel writers talk about the compassion of Jesus. This is a different word altogether. The root Greek word is “bowels.” To feel this kind of compassion means to feel it in your gut—to ache with the same pain that is afflicting someone else. 

But compassion means more than feeling the pain, it also means going into action to alleviate the pain. True compassion aches and then acts. 

Look at the compassion of Jesus—

  • He sees crowds of people “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” His compassionate response is to pray for His Father to send more shepherds to these sheep (Matthew 9:36-38). 
  • He sees people plagued by diseases—paralysis, deafness, blindness, even death—and He places His hands on them and brings complete healing (Matthew 14:14, 20:34; Mark 1:41, 9:22; Luke 7:11-15). 
  • He notices hungry people and He feeds them (Matthew 15:32; Mark 8:2). 
  • He encounters confused people and He teaches them the illuminating truth (Mark 6:34). 

(Check out the above Bible verses by clicking here.) 

This word isn’t just used for Jesus, but we see His compassionate heart behind the gut-level response of others. See the Christ-like compassion in…

  • …a crushing, insurmountable debt completely forgiven (Matthew 18:21-27). 
  • …a Samaritan caring for an injured Jew (Luke 10:30-35).
  • …a prodigal father fully forgiving and restoring his wayward son to himself (Luke 15:11-24). 

(Check out the above Bible verses by clicking here.)

This kind of compassion is costly. It cost Jesus time to be alone, it cost the king, the prodigal father, and the Samaritan money to forgive a debt, lose an inheritance, and pay medical bills. But Christ-like compassion knows there is no greater reward than aching and acting like Jesus. 

Christ-like compassion must be extended in faith. Like touching someone with unclean disease, or fasting to receive power to release a loved one shackled to a heavy burden, or embracing someone who hurt me, or canceling a debt owed to me, or helping someone who despises me. When we ache and act like this, we show the love of God in irrefutable ways. Our selfless, Christ-like compassion paints a vivid picture for a skeptical world to see and embrace the love of God that sent His Son to ransom us.

Let’s make it our prayer that we would ache with the needs of the people around us, and then to move in faith-filled, Christ-honoring, selfless action to alleviate that need. Then let us believe that our compassion will show others the love of a Savior. 

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The Touch Of Jesus

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

“…He reached out His hand and touched the man…” (Mark 1:41). 

Jesus touched a leper. 

We have to be careful not to rush past this or make too light of this action. Those with leprosy were completely shut out of their old way of life—removed from their homes, from their places of work, and ostracized from their family and friends. Wherever they went, they lived with the shame of having to publicly cry out in a loud voice, “Unclean! Unclean!” so that everyone had a chance to scatter and not become contaminated by getting too close to them. 

But this leper asked Jesus for healing. Jesus touched the untouchable man and healing immediately appeared! Leprosy was gone, and the man was restored to his former life, to his family, to his friends! 

Look at the power of the touch of Jesus:

  • He touches the hand of a woman, and her fever immediately leaves (Matthew 8:15; Mark 1:31)
  • A woman with an incurable bleeding disorder touches Jesus, and immediately receives relief (Matthew 9:20–22; Mark 5:25–34; Luke 8:43–48)
  • Blind eyes are opened (Matthew 9:29–30, 20:34; Mark 8:22–25)
  • All manner of diseases are instantly cured (Matthew 14:35–36; Mark 3:10; 6:55–56; Luke 6:17–19)
  • Fear is banished (Matthew 17:7)
  • A mute tongue is loosed (Mark 7:33–35)
  • Children are blessed (Mark 10:13; Luke 18:15)
  • A dead man is raised back to life (Luke 7:13–15)
  • A severed ear is reattached and restored (Luke 22:50–51)

(Check out all of these verses by clicking here.)

There is a power in touching someone that goes beyond words or any other actions. When we’ve first touched Jesus ourselves, our loving touch to someone in need is an anointed touch.

I am reminded of the words of the old song—

Oh to be His hand extended
Reaching out to the oppressed
Let me touch Him
Let me touch Jesus
So that others will know
And be blessed

My touch alone has very little lasting value. But when I’ve touched Jesus first, my touch carries His power and His love to the one whom I touch. Let us keep touching Jesus so that we can keep touching the untouchables around us and bringing to them the healing and deliverance and blessing that only Jesus can give.

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The Amazement Of Jesus

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

The word amazement shows up numerous times throughout the Gospels. As you might expect, it’s almost always associated with something Jesus said or did. He would heal someone, calm a storm, silence His detractors, or teach persuasively, and the people stood amazed! 

But there are two instances where Jesus Himself is amazed.

The first time is when a Roman centurion sends a message to Jesus by way of a servant. This centurion asks Jesus to speak a word of healing over another one of his servants. He says that just a word from Jesus will be sufficient, and he doesn’t need Jesus to personally come to his house. 

When Jesus heard this, He was amazed. “Turning to those who were following Him, He said, ‘I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!’” (Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:9). 

Because of this centurion’s faith, his servant was immediately healed! 

The second time Jesus was amazed was when He was visiting His hometown. There He discovered people with whom He had grown up that refused to believe that He was who He claimed to be. As a result, Jesus “was amazed at their unbelief” (Mark 6:6). 

So either Jesus is amazed at our faith in Him, or He is amazed at our unbelief in Him. When I have faith in Jesus—when I believe He is who He says He is, and that He is willing to do what He says He will do—He is amazed at my faith and can do miracles on my behalf. But when I doubt, when I allow my unbelief to seize my heart, I exclude myself from the miracles He wants to do.

Jesus will be amazed at you. Will He be amazed at your faith in Him? Or will He be amazed at your unbelief in His power that is waiting to be released on your behalf? I pray that Jesus will always be amazed at our faith in Him.

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Links & Quotes

We have a new kitten in our home and the places she shows up cracks me up!

In the Wall Street Journal, Andy Kessler said that without the discoveries and influence of Michael Faraday, “there would be no modern economy.” John Stonestreet built on this by explaining that “Faraday is an example of how Christians can balance the constructive purposes of science with an accurate understanding of scientific authority.” Indeed, Faraday’s Christian faith made his scientific findings even more powerful.

This year marks the centennial anniversary of Central Bible College, the first educational institute opened by the Assemblies of God to train ministers and missionaries.

“For many years, evidence has been found showing that humans were surprisingly intelligent in times that were only supposed to reveal simple, ‘primitive’ man in his brute, evolving condition.” Now a new discovery has shown a surgical amputation that took place about 7000 years ago.

There’s a cool story in three of the Gospels where some creative, persistent friends took their paralyzed friend to Jesus. The Bible notes that “when Jesus saw *their* faith” He healed their friend. Wow! Which of your friends or family are too weak to pray for themselves? Who do you know that feels paralyzed and cannot get to Jesus? Be that friend who has faith for someone else. And be sure to check out more of my Monday Motivation videos too.

We have seen it in countless science fiction movies, but is it possible for artificially intelligent machines to take over the world? This is a great video from Science Uprising—

If you have known someone who has battled cancer, you know that their liver is quite vulnerable to metastatic cancer since everything in our body is filtered through the liver at some point. Researchers have discovered the mechanism by which this metastasis happens, opening the door for defensive measures that can be employed. Let’s pray for divine insight for these researchers!

Is Christianity rational? Cold-case detective J. Warner Wallace explains how Christianity stands up to intense scrutiny—

Thursdays With Spurgeon—God Our Healer

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Charles Spurgeon. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Spurgeon” in the search box to read more entries.

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

God Our Healer

O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me. O Lord, You brought my soul up from the grave; You have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. (Psalm 30:2-3) 

     God is the best Physician, even for our bodily infirmities. We do very wickedly and foolishly when we forget God. It was a sin in Asa that he trusted physicians and not God (2 Chronicles 16:12). If we must have a physician, let it be so, but still let us go to our God first of all. And above all remember that there can be no power to heal in medicine of itself; the healing energy must flow from the divine hand. …

     If our watch is out of order, we take it to the watchmaker; if our bodies or souls are in an evil plight, let us resort to Him who created them, who has unfailing skill to put them in right condition. As for our spiritual diseases, nothing can heal these evils but the touch of the Lord Christ: if we do but touch the hem of His garment, we shall be made whole….

From Spurgeon And The Psalms

God has created us as a soul with a body. I believe that physical ailments can be attended to by a medical doctor, emotional distress should be addressed by a counselor, and spiritual issues should have the wisdom of a pastor. 

But let’s always remember that since God created our body, soul, and spirit, He is the Ultimate Source of wisdom for any areas that are out of alignment. So as Spurgeon says, seek out a doctor, counselor, or pastor, but go to God first. 

God may bring divine healing that requires no other intervention, or He may heal through medicine or counseling, but ultimately He is THE Healer.

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Go Deep—The Gifts Of Healing, Miracles, Prophecy, Discernment, Tongues, And Interpretation

According to 1 Corinthians 12-14, the Holy Spirit operates in nine different gifts to both evangelize the sinner and edify the saints. The apostle Paul says that these gifts are available to all Christians who will allow the Holy Spirit to operate through them.

You may download the participant’s notes for this lesson here → Go Deep – operational gifts of healing, miracles, prophecy, discernment, tongues, interpretation

If you have missed any of the lessons in this series, you can find the complete list by clicking here. You may also be interested in our Go Deep series on the motivational gifts listed in Romans 12, which you can check out here: Go Deep—An Introduction To The Motivational Gifts

If you would like to join us in person for this class, here is where you can find us.

By His Stripes

Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the player below, and you can also subscribe on AppleSpotify, or Audible. 

Have you ever heard this truism: The person with an experience is never at the mercy of the person with an argument? 

There are, sadly, many who deny the reality of God’s divine healing for today. They may say God healed in the past, but that age has passed, or they may simply deny all supernatural activity. I have the best reply to these skeptics or deniers—and you may have this same reply: God does heal today; I know this is true because He has healed me! 

Our truth statement about this says: “Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel. Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.” Let me break this down into three parts. 

(1) “Divine healing is an integral part of the gospel.” After that word “integral” I’d like to insert the word “indisputable.” When God does the miraculous, it is an undeniable proof of His love and power. A great story to prove this point is when Jesus healed a paralytic after He forgave him of his sins (Luke 5:17-26). 

Notice how the people responded: Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. This glory to God has always been the reason God performs miracles (see Mark 6:7-13; Acts 2:43; Acts 3:9-12). 

(2) “Deliverance from sickness is provided for in the atonement.” I like to remember that the word atonement means “at-onement” and stands opposed to disease which I like to say as “dis-ease.” Sin is our ultimate dis-ease—the ultimate separator—so Jesus took care of both our spiritual dis-ease and our physical dis-ease when He died on the Cross for us, just as Isaiah prophesied. That’s why the New Testament also shows us salvation and healing frequently being linked together (Acts 10:38; 8:4-8). 

(3) “And is the privilege of all believers.” ALL believers, not just a select few and not just those who lived at the time of the first apostles. 

Divine healing has been—and always will be—an integral and indisputable part of the gospel precisely because it exalts God as THE Healer. 

Many people today still believe what the disciples of Jesus believed: Disease is a consequence of personal sin. In addressing this misunderstanding, Jesus said that disease was “so that the work of God might be displayed” in the life of the one about to be healed. He said something similar while at the graveside of Lazarus, before he raised that dead man back to life (John 9:1-38; 11:4-45). 

Sometimes God heals us now, but ALWAYS He heals us in our glorified bodies (2 Corinthians 12:9-10; 5:1-9; Revelation 21:4). Our patience and hope in our future, ultimate healing glorifies God in the present. 

By faith in Jesus we can claim that “by His stripes we have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24). The verb tense Peter uses means we have been healed, we are being healed now, and we will be ultimately healed in Christ’s eternal presence. Whether we are healed here or not, we can live knowing that His healing power always brings Him glory and always draws people to Him, so don’t hesitate to keep on asking Him for His healing touch on your body and soul. 

If you’ve missed any of the other messages in our series exploring our foundational beliefs, you can access the full list by clicking here. 

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Continuous Action

A person filled with the Holy Spirit cannot help but make a difference wherever they go! Look at how Peter summed up the earthly ministry of Jesus: 

And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:38 NLT) 

The continuous action of Jesus was doing good and healing those who were diseased in body and soul. This is supposed to be the continuous action of the followers of Jesus too. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is an empowerment for the continuous, unmistakable, irrefutable action of those anointed by Him.

Andrew Murray commented on the miraculous healings that were recorded in the Book of Acts, “This was the continuous experience of the early church. … The abundant outpouring of the Spirit produced abundant healings.” Indeed it did! Check out the continuous miraculous action that Luke records in Acts. 

The evidence of God’s Spirit in a Christian should produce continuous action that is unmistakable, undeniable, and God-glorifying.

He Who Laughs Last

Traced back to a play in the early 1600s, it still rings true: “He who laughs last, laughs best. 

The distraught father named Jairus hurriedly left his home. He was looking for this Man named Jesus. People said Jesus could perform miracles, and Jairus needed one. 

He found Jesus and quickly explained that his 12-year-old daughter was dying. They had tried everything they knew to do, but she kept inching closer and closer to death’s door. Jesus readily agreed to go with Jairus to his home. 

Along the way, Jesus was interrupted by another woman in desperate need, and He stopped to heal her. As Jairus was (im)patiently waiting for Jesus to continue on the journey, one of his servants ran up to Jairus with the sad news, “Your daughter is dead.” 

Jesus looked at this heartbroken father and simply said, “Don’t be afraid. Just believe, and your daughter will be well.” 

Jairus took Jesus at His word and continued walking with Jesus to his home. 

While Jairus was gone, family members and friends had shown up to mourn the death of this sweet girl. They were wailing loudly, but the clear voice of Jesus could be heard even over their woeful cries: “Stop crying. She is not dead, only asleep.” 

There was a pause, and then there was a totally unexpected and out-of-place response: laughter. 

Not joy-filled laughter, but mocking, derisive laughter at the utter foolishness of the words of Jesus. 

“What do you mean, ‘She isn’t dead’” they yelled. “We’ve been in her room. We’ve seen the cold, lifeless body! She is absolutely, undeniably dead!” And they continued to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of what Jesus had pronounced. Many of the laughs probably turned to jeers as they began to mock His foolish, insensitive statement. The historian Luke wrote, “They knew the girl was dead.” 

Jesus took the grieving yet believing parents into the girl’s room, He took her lifeless hand in His hand, and simply said, “Little girl, get up.” 

And she did. Fully alive! 

Let me ask you something: Who was laughing now?! 

I’m sure the uncontainable joy of these parents burst out into laughter. And I think Jesus shared in the joyful laughter as well. 

“He who laughs last, laughs best.” 

Friend, what do you “know” right now? What’s gone wrong that cannot be fixed? What terminal diagnosis have the doctors given? What is approaching death’s door? What has already died? 

Listen again to the words of Jesus: “Don’t be afraid. Just believe.” 

Jesus gets the final word. Jesus gets the final laugh. Jesus will make all things new! 

The Sovereign Lord will wipe away the tears from all faces; He will remove His people’s disgrace from all the earth. (Isaiah 25:8) 

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” (Revelation 21:4-5) 

Don’t be afraid. Just believe. 

Jesus has secured the last—and best—laugh for both you and Himself! A laughter that will reverberate through all of eternity! 

Our Priestly Service

… pronounce them clean … pronounce them unclean … (about 40 times in Leviticus 12-15).

The Old Testament priests could not cure anyone, they could only pronounce cleanness or uncleanness. Only God could cure. So when Jesus walked this earth, He showed His deity by touching lepers and saying, “You are clean,” by stopping the flow of blood that made a woman unclean, and by restoring maimed limbs and blinded eyes that kept people from entering into the place of worship. 

Jesus said to His followers—and He still says to us today—“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you“ (John 15:3). Jesus cleanses our bodies and our consciences, and He keeps us clean until He presents us to His Father in Heaven (Hebrews 10:22; Jude 24).

We have been cleansed for a purpose. What is that purpose? In short, it is for our priestly service to our world. 

I find it interesting that the person in the Old Testament who was pronounced clean was then anointed in the exact same ways as the priests were when they were consecrated for service in the tabernacle (Leviticus 14:14-18, 25-29; 8:23-24, 30). When Jesus sent His followers out to minister, He consecrated them with the New Testament mandate, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, CLEANSE those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give“ (Matthew 10:8). 

Not just, “Pronounce them healed, raised, cleansed, and freed,” but “Heal, raise, cleanse, free”!

Jesus has cleansed us AND consecrated us to be His ministers. He has given us His authority not just to make pronouncements, but to actually heal and deliver! 

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