Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Compassion--God's Gist

God has truly given me favor because I have been blessed to have a wonderful extension of family and friends. Kristy Joi Downing, our guest blogger for the week, is certainly counted among them.

Kristy specializes in intellectual property law and has a practice in Michigan so be sure to look her up ( However, what's most important is that Kristy is a mighty woman of God who gives us much to reflect upon in for this week's devotion about love and compassion. Be sure to leave a comment and show her some love!


Christ taught “ 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40. In addition, in Matthew 7:12 Jesus taught the Golden Rule: “do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Sometimes it is possible to miss the sight of the forest because we have become too concentrated on the trees. Focusing on our differences can cause us to lose sight of the most compelling premise of our faith – compassion.

One might ask some of the following questions:
1)What if you went into your local Starbucks and they criticized your drink selection, treated you oddly for the way you were dressed and/or belittled you for your ignorance of coffeehouse protocol? How often would you return?

2)What is your reaction to criticism versus your reaction to love and compassion? What then should we expect the reaction of others to be when we criticize versus demonstrating love? Was it love or criticism that encouraged you to accept Christ into your heart?

3)Why is compassion for each other so important? Is there something special about being committed to loving the people around you? 1 Cor 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

4)How is it that this principle can be the foundation and summation of all other laws/commandments? Ask yourself, “Do I treat it as such?” How can we focus on compassion being the primary aspect of our individual ministries?

5)Where we lack love there is fear. But that fear – irrespective of what it regards – is not God-sent. 2 Timothy 1:7.
While the tooth-for-a-tooth mentality yields anxiety, operating in love yields liberty and peace with God. Consider growing this week through love and compassion. Just as we cannot fully repay Christ for his sacrifice, look to share love and compassion with someone who cannot fully repay you.

Kristy Joi Downing

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Part II Stressed on the Job? Don't Give Up!

Have you ever been overlooked for a promotion on the job? Have you ever had a boss that’s jealous of your accomplishments, gifts, and talents? What about a boss that’s out to destroy you, or better yet—kill you? Well, that’s just a bit of the stress that David had to handle doing his job. David handled all of these pressures of difficult job situations and overcame them.

While Saul was still on the throne, Samuel privately anointed a very young David to be king. Although David knew that the Lord had chosen him to be king, he had many tasks that could be considered “beneath” what a king would perform. For example, David, a shepherd known for being “a cunning player on a harp” was beckoned by King Saul to play for him, a job most would not choose if they had already been anointed king. David played under the anointing and “Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him” (I Sam. 16:23). By being obedient and humble, David was blessed.

When Goliath challenged Israel, David stepped up courageously to fight the giant. His boss, Saul, was “greatly afraid” of the giant, yet that did not stop David (I Sam. 17:11). Saul didn’t even have confidence that David could do the job. Saul told him, “Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth” (I Sam. 17:33). David did not let Saul’s negativity sway him from the task. In fact, when Saul “girded his sword upon his armour,” David took them off. David knew that he had to use the tools God had equipped him to use to get the job done. You know the story, with five smooth stones and a sling, David killed Goliath, leaving no doubt, as David says, that “the battle is the Lord’s” (I Sam. 17:47).

When faced with Goliath, others saw a giant, but David’s perspective was different. He saw a mortal man defying God. He looked at his position from God’s point of view and could fight more effectively.

There is so much more that David faced as Saul’s admiration of him turned to jealousy. Saul hunted David down, trying desperately to murder him out of his rage and hatred of him. While Saul’s position had made him proud and arrogant, David’s humility remained apparent, even as a whole nation praised him.

Whether you’re working on a job or in the ministry, it’s important not to let jealousy enter your heart. Jealousy destroys a person on the inside and then spreads like a virus, wanting to kill everything in its path. David didn’t hold malice in his heart toward Saul. He had to wait and go through the process before he could be king. (Although he made many mistakes along the way, he was a man after God’s heart because he quickly confessed and repented of his sins.) Moreover, when he had the opportunity to kill Saul and was being coaxed into doing it, he didn’t compromise his standards to go along with the group. He refused to kill Saul (several times), his family, or descendents.

Most of us would never imagine doing the things that Saul did to someone on the job or in the ministry, but we do have to be careful about not being jealous when others are elevated and we are not. Even if you feel that you are more qualified, deserving or gifted, harboring jealousy towards anyone else is most dangerous for you. Spreading gossip or talking unfavorably about anyone else is wrong. Period.
One way that I’m sure to eliminate potential stress is to watch what I say and avoid negative conversation about anybody or anything. Tension and stress on the job or at church can’t be eased by negative talk or “venting” as we like to say. I don’t know how many times I’ve said I was just venting and there was no positive end. (However, I do think if you can talk to someone in confidence and pray, that can be productive.) We have to pray about difficult people and love them. Instead of being led by our emotions, we have to use the tools that God has given us in His Word and through prayer to defeat the enemy so that we can live the victorious lives that God has for each of us.