Posts tagged with ‘Encounter’

  • From Death To Life

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    But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. ROMANS 5:8

    So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.JOHN 8:36

    I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you. I will remove your stony heart from your body and replace it with a living one. EZEKIEL 36:26

    Insight

    Mark Allen heads up Refuge, PC3’s addictions ministry. When he shared his story from the stage last Sunday as part of a special message on Wilmington’s opioid epidemic, I was in awe of two things: the depths to which he spiraled during his addiction to heroin, and the tenacity with which God pursued Mark despite his rebellion.

    “I couldn’t change my past, but God had a plan to save me from it,” Mark said. That is the Gospel, right there! For everyone has sinned. We all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23) We’ve all messed up. Some in shocking, obvious ways. Others in insidious, hidden ways.

    My own journey with addiction took the form of an eating disorder that nobody knew about. From age 18 to 28, I was enslaved to food and a distorted body image. Bulimia didn’t place me around drug dealers or in dangerous situations. But it consumed all my thoughts, kept me from being truly known and smothered me in guilt and shame.

    Amazingly, Jesus came to my rescue while I was still a stony-hearted unbeliever who used His name in vain and scoffed at His church. It would be 15 years before I realized Jesus was the One who had resurrected me from the spiritual death of bulimia. But now I have all of eternity to praise His name.

    Christ wants to unshackle each of us from whatever bondage we’re in. As Mike Ashcraft shared last Sunday, the Gospel is the power of God to change our identity from death to life. It’s the only power that can truly set us free.

    Reflection

    • Is there anything in your life that’s making you feel trapped?
    • Have you ever asked Jesus to deliver you from it?
    • What would life be like if you were free of this bondage?

    Prayer

    Dear Father in Heaven, the enemy tells us we’re unworthy of Your love because of what we’ve done in public or in secret. He also whispers that we should handle our sin by ourselves. But Jesus proved Satan wrong on both counts! He died and rose again so that we can have new life. Remind us that no addiction or life-dominating sin can enslave us when we turn it over to You. In Christ’s holy name we pray. Amen.

    PC3 writer Katy Davis wrote today’s devotional.

  • Markers Of Growth

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    For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:9-12

    Insight

    Everybody prays when they are freaking out, in a difficult situation or dealing with a tragedy. We naturally lift up our concerns during those times when we face weakness head on. Unfortunately, if one were to look at the prayers of most Christians during these moments, they would see something surprising.

    We tend to think that God should strengthen us so we get what WE WANT.

    God give me the strength to control my kids, my husband, my finances, etc. God let this situation pass so I can get back to my normal routine. We want God’s power in our life so we can control the situations we don’t think God is doing a good enough job controlling.

    We ask God to change our circumstances rather than transform and shape our heart.

    Stability, gratitude, and generosity are markers of spiritual maturity. God never promises for a believer’s life to be easy and free of troubles. The purpose of a walk with God is not status quo.

    Stability shouldn’t be mistaken for predictability, the absence of difficulty or a life void of weakness. Rather, we can witness if stability is taking root in our character by judging how we react, or in some cases overreact, to the circumstances around us. Do we rely on God’s grace when our strength isn’t enough?

    Stability measures the way we walk by faith and not by sight.

    The emotions we feel towards the circumstances we face are very important. They can serve as markers towards our growth.

    This in no way undermines the legitimate emotions of worry, grief, anger or disappointment, but instead, it helps us measure the condition of our hearts in response to the circumstances that often damage it.

    We think self-control happens as a result of sheer will power and is not a fruit of the Spirit. But, today’s Scripture reminds us that sober mindedness and self-control are needed for our prayers. There needs to be a level of endurance in the situations we face. Controlling yourself is critical for surrendering yourself.

    Reflection

    • Ask God to open your eyes to areas where you are struggling to exhibit stability, gratitude, and generosity.

    Prayer

    God, I want my life to be marked by stability, gratitude, and generosity. Do the work on my heart in order to get me there. Help me to realize I sometimes cannot control my circumstances, but I can take ownership in regards to my response to those circumstances. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Heavy Sleeper

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    “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” –C.S. Lewis from The Problem of Pain

    The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-18

    Insight

    It’s funny how God brings two complete opposites together. My wife is a morning person. She’s chipper as soon as her feet hit the floor. Not me. Most days I’m like a groggy grizzly bear who has just risen from a month long hibernation.

    The slightest noise will wake my wife up. Not me. I’ve slept through hurricanes, fire alarms, thunderstorms, barking dogs and crying babies. Side note to new fathers: never yawn, stretch and say, “What a blessing…our newborn didn’t even make a peep” to your bloodshot eyed wife. This never ends well.

    If heavy sleeping were an Olympic sport, I would be a lock for a gold medal. Being a deep sleeper, I’ve devised many tricks to see the light of day at a reasonable time. My iPhone has 5 alarms set. The fallback plan is the radio setup on the opposite side of the room that blares the local rock radio station at full blast.

    Those screeching sounds are the only way to shock my system into wake up mode. Without them, I’d still be sleeping and not in front of a keyboard. In some regards, loneliness serves as a similar wake-up call.

    When life is going well, we can sleep walk through our days not realizing our desperate need for connection with God and others. The pain of loneliness rouses us from our slumber. It awakens our eyes to see our brokenness and separation.

    Colliding with pain forces us to come face-to-face with our deepest spiritual needs. Our natural tendency will be to hit the snooze button, roll over and try to go back to sleep. But, the alarm ringing again is inevitable.

    We’ve got to get out of bed and answer the call. But, more importantly, we have to realize there is a beauty and purpose behind the pain. God is not so much concern with changing our circumstances. He is more focused on mending our heart.

    God desires to redeem our loneliness. If we lean into the pain, God can use our loneliness to transform our heart and mind as well as bring us in a deeper intimacy with Him. He wants to speak to us through His megaphone of pain.

    The alarm is ringing, are you going to answer it?

    Reflection

    • How has God used moments of loneliness to shed light on your need for Him?

    Prayer

    God, often I struggle to hear Your voice or sense Your presence. Yet, in those lonely moments when I can no longer ignore the pain, I can feel You are with me. During these times when I am all alone, I can sense You shouting to me, reminding me that You will never leave me nor forsake me. Redeem my loneliness. Let the pain bring me closer to Your side. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

     

  • An Escape Clause

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    Let my vindication come from you; may your eyes see what is right. Psalm 17:2

    Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. Romans 12:16-19

    Insight

    Forgiveness doesn’t seem fair. Instead of forgiveness, we’d rather have justice.

    The person who caused us pain must be held accountable for their offense.

    Our desire for the offender to accept responsibility before we extend forgiveness holds our freedom hostage, unable to live life fully and freely.

    Forgiving others without witnessing what we believe to be vindication for the offense feels oppressive and even unjust.

    We don’t see forgiveness as liberation; we see it as an escape clause for the offender.

    However, extending forgiveness to those who have offended us is a true act of liberation – not for the offender, but for us.

    When un-forgiveness remains in our heart, we wound ourselves all over again.

    We are bound by our past. It is impossible to walk in freedom when we are shackled to the need to vindicate ourselves.

    By understanding the implications forgiveness has on our own lives, we are able to deal with the implications it has on our relationships.

    Forgiveness is where freedom is found. His wounds bring us wholeness.

    When we separate forgiveness from reconciliation, we can look at forgiveness long enough and close enough to experience the freedom and the healing we find through it.

    But, many of us don’t get to this point. Because we don’t know how restoration is going to look, we wonder if forgiveness is even possible.

    This is why we must focus on forgiveness first. The restoration of the relationship is secondary.

    Forgiveness paves the way to trust but it doesn’t guarantee it. It also doesn’t eliminate the cost or the consequence.

    At its core, forgiveness frees us from the need for vengeance and vindication.

    We no longer hold the offense against the other person. We wish them no ill will.

    There will be some relationships where restoration and reconciliation are unattainable. There are others where boundaries must be established.

    Yet, in all cases forgiveness is available.

    Reflection

    • Do you view forgiveness as an act of liberation? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?
    • Where are you seeking vengeance and vindication? Why do you want to be right in this situation?

    Prayer

    God, No longer will I demand vengeance. No longer will I seek vindication. No longer will I let past wounds define my present and determine my future. Instead, I will lay the burden of unforgiveness down at Your feet. I will remember that I have been forgiven much and the same grace You extended to me is given to all. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Three Promises

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    No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the Lord. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” Jeremiah 31:34

    Insight

    Regardless of what people might say, to forgive is not to forget.

    There is no magic in forgiveness where the moment it is accepted that the memories of hurt are instantly erased from the hard drive of our memory and our deep wounds suddenly disappear.

    But, what do we do with passages like Jeremiah 31:34? If God forgets our sins when He forgives us, shouldn’t we do the same to those that hurt us?

    The word “remember” in Jeremiah 31 is not dealing with a memory issue, but rather a promise.

    God doesn’t suffer from amnesia.

    He made a covenant not to treat us as our sin deserves. Jesus took the cost of our sins on His shoulders when He was nailed to a cross in order to fulfill that covenant.

    Debunking this idea that forgiveness is forgetting helps one to better see forgiveness as an event and process.

    When we show grace to someone it is an ‘event’ as words are expressed in “I forgive you.” There was a time and place when the original act of forgiveness occurred.

    Yet, every time their hurtful words or actions get brought back to our attention we must continue to forgive and not give in to any desires for revenge or anger. This touches upon the ‘process’ of forgiveness.

    Failure to see forgiveness through the lens of being both an event and process will cause considerable frustration, disappointment, and guilt for an individual.

    A chain reaction will be set off where they try even harder, using sure will power, to erase whatever sin they’ve forgiven from their memory completely.

    Flipping the off switch on a hot oven doesn’t instantly turn it back to room temperature. Stand anywhere near the oven you can feel the heat radiating.

    However, over time the warmth of the oven lessens. The same is true with forgiveness.

    It does not eradicate the hurt, lack of trust or anger you hold towards the person you have forgiven.

    By forgiving someone, you are absorbing the cost of their offense against you.

    This transaction comes with some requirements on your part.

    By counting the sin no more, you are also committing to uphold three promises to the individual whom you have forgiven. These promises are:

    “I will not bring up this offense again or use it against you.”

    How easy would it be for us to keep the guilt of their sin in our arsenal for a fight in the future. We very well could use it time and time again as our trump card in an argument: ‘remember the time when you…’ This does not mean it cannot be talked about again. Instead the promise you are making is not to bring the sin up anytime you are angry or bitter as a way of getting back at an individual.

    “I will not bring it up to others in gossip or bad mouth you in front of others.”

    Depending on the gravity of the sin, appropriate care may help you handle an offense against you. This promise deals more with not having loose lips around others. We put a clamp on our mouths and do not play the blame game as we gossip about the person to others.

    “I will no longer personally dwell on this offense.”

    This promise is at much for your benefit as it for anyone else. You no longer replay the sin on videotape that shows the transpired events on a continual loop inside your head. Rather than dwelling on the past, you look to the future and the change God has in store for both you and the individual.

    One has to trust they have forgiven even if there is some warmth coming from old wounds. This awareness forces you to have consistent motive checks where you ask God to reveal your attitude towards this person.

    Reflection

    • Of the three promises above dealing with forgiveness, which promise do you most often break? Which one do you believe people find the hardest to commit to upholding?

    Prayer

    God, open my eyes to the places where unforgiveness resides. Also, help me to trust that true forgiveness has occurred in other areas even when I can feel the sting of old wounds. It brings me comfort knowing that You identify with my pain and comfort me when I am weak. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • The Love Of A Leader

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    Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Hebrews 13:7

    Insight

    In case you missed it, adult leaders from all over our church hopped on buses last week for a 12-hour ride with about 500 middle and high school students. Unpaid, voluntarily, these super humans (if we’re being totally honest) chose to spend their week with a bunch of kids with one purpose; to help them connect. To connect with God, with each other, and with their leaders.

    I wasn’t raised in church; in fact, I’d go as far as to say that I was intentionally raised out of the church. In the 5th grade, I managed to make a few friends at school who attended a youth group, and for whatever reason, I was allowed to go. Sometimes I’d catch a ride with my friends, or sometimes the youth group leaders would come pick me up. Either way, each week I was there. For a few years I’d have told you that I went there to hang out, or because it was fun. Whether I was learning how to skateboard or talking to a leader about something tough going on at school, I was always made to feel part of the group, and I was always made to feel welcome. As I got older I started to piece together that in the big ways, and in the little ways, they were always loving me the way God does.

    In high school, I had my first opportunity to go to camp. Much like many of the kids at PC3, I relied on scholarships to be able to go. It was through the generosity of families at the church, that I had the opportunity to connect further, and to build stronger relationships. It was the first time that I was able to remove myself from my routine, and experience God in a whole new way. It was the first time that I realized my relationship with God didn’t depend on my parents or my success at school or work. I figured out that my relationship with God was just me and Him, and that no environment, no event, no other person could interfere with His love for me, and my ability to be loved.

    It was also the first time that I had spent more than an hour with my youth leaders. Youth group each week was a great time to have fun and study a few verses. But an entire week away with friends and leaders offers connection in a way you can’t get at home. To participate in activities where you rely on each other, to break bread together, to pray and cry and hope and sing together for an entire week – this is when you get the biggest opportunity to share your faith together. And for some kids, it’s when they find their faith in God.

    Our faith isn’t meant to be hidden, but shared. We grow in our faith more when we do it together. Hebrews 13:7 shares what most youth group kids already know; to remember our leaders and the faith that they had. These adults, these leaders, these super humans, gave students an opportunity to meet God in a whole new way. Masked in meals and obstacle courses and games and late-night cabin chats, was relationship building and faith seeking on a whole new level. When kids go to camp, they come back changed. It’s pretty tough to find a better example of God’s love, than the love of a youth leader.

    Reflection

    • What opportunities do you have to make an impact on someone else and their faith? Where can you get deeper than sharing a few Bible verses, and forge stronger connections with God and each other?

    Prayer

    God, thank you for the hearts of the leaders in our lives! Thank you for the effort that they put into shaping our hearts and our minds and our faith. Help us to see where we might be able to impact others to help them grow in their faith, and to see Your love! In Your name, Amen.

    PC3 writer Annalee Thomasson wrote today’s devotional.

  • Mariana’s Trench

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    And compassion is on its way to us. You’ll stamp out our wrongdoing. You’ll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean. Micah 7:19 (The Message)

    Insight

    I used to spend every single morning watching the sunrise at the edge of the earth. Rain or shine, low tides or high waters, I would take everything in my heart and on my mind and I would meet God where I felt Him the most. I’d run my fingers through thousands of grains of sand, and listen as the tide rolled in. God and I would talk. Sometimes about heavy stresses. Sometimes about the silly things. Some days I’d just listen.

    No matter how long I spend by the sea, it’s still absolutely unimaginable to me; the life that it holds. We’ll never know what it’s like to swim Mariana’s Trench (deepest part of the ocean), but Micah 7:19 says that this is in fact where our sins are kept. Well, maybe not Mariana’s Trench in particular. But the Bible says that our sins have been cast that deep.

    Can you imagine the thing you feel the most guilt over; the thing you are most afraid of; the thing you can’t speak of. Can you imagine it, at the bottom of the sea? So deep that it could never get to you? So deep that it could never come back to the surface? But instead, on the surface, is the compassion of God. On the surface, you are swimming in the love of the Father, and your sins are 36,000 feet below, and never coming back up.

    Our sins often act as the lens through which we see ourselves and our surroundings. When a student fails an exam, they don’t see how hard they studied – they just see that they failed. When you don’t get that promotion at work, you don’t see all the ways you are good at your job; you just see that you weren’t good enough. When you cause an accident in rush hour, you don’t see the years you’ve driven without a glitch – you just see a totaled car. When you fight with your spouse, you won’t see all the things you do agree on; you’ll just see how you disagree. But what if the failures and the let downs and the lies and the fears were all cast so deep into the sea that all that was left was compassion?

    When was the last time you talked to God? When all you can hear is a list of your shortcomings and wrongdoings, imagine that list just sinking to the bottom of the sea. Then, think about where you need His compassion, and remember that you’re already swimming in it. It’s surrounding you like the water of the ocean, and it’s coming at you as sure as the tide.

    Reflection

    • Where do you fall short of God’s glory? What are the fears that you want to give to Him? In what areas do you need to receive His compassion?

    Prayer

    God, thank you for casting my sins as deep as the sea. Help me to give up my guilt and fear and allow Your love to surround me. I know that where I fail, You have compassion for me. I know that I can rely on You in my shortcomings. In Your name, Amen.

    PC3 writer Annalee Thomasson wrote today’s devotional.

  • Spotlight

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    Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, 
but happy is he who keeps the law. PROVERBS 29:18 

    Your word is a lamp to my feet
 and a light to my path. PSALM 119:105 

    Insight

    You’ll never make a sacrifice for the Kingdom of God when your greatest concern is your own needs and well-being. We often speak about faith, but deep down inside we crave certainty.

    Rather than yearning for certainty, we must pursue clarity. Clarity is knowing what you should do.

    God’s desire for us is to build bigger faith. Sadly, what we often want is less risk. When God gives us the ‘WHAT’ and ‘WHY,’ we find ourselves continually asking ‘HOW?’ Our mind begins to race over what the future holds and the thousand decisions and outcomes that might follow down the line.

    It takes us down a path where we second-guess everything and live our lives based off of our circumstances and feelings.

    This must change and it begins by crafting a vision for your future. In order to decide, you must know who you want to become. Your decisions move you either towards or away from that picture. Fear and insecurity often threaten our willingness to trust that we can become that person. We drift towards settling for immediate gratification simply because we can’t see any farther down the road. This is a vision problem.

    The opposite of vision is not being blind, but rather being scattered. In other words, if you don’t have a vision for the person you want to become, you’ll be all over the map when it comes to your decision-making ability. Vision frees us from regret. Psalm 119:105 says God’s word is a lamp to your feet and a light to your path.

    Even though we desire a gigantic spotlight that illuminates the entire way, God only gives us a flashlight to enable us to see a few feet ahead. We desperately want the end of the path to be clear and in a direction we desire before we even consider moving. What we fail to realize is the purpose of the path is our formation.

    Your job is just to take that next right step. The proceeding steps along the path are in the future. But, you can never get there if you don’t take that next right step which is presented to you today. As we seek His face and meditate on His word, we become more confident in taking each step regardless of the uncertainty we might face. All God is asking is for you to be concerned about the here and now and respond to each moment according to the purpose you were designed for: to display God by having his life and heart fully formed in you.

    This requires motion and movement. It begins by stewarding each moment and viewing it as an opportunity to work towards expressing God’s love to those around you.

    Reflection

    • How does one develop a vision for the person they want to become?

    Prayer

    God, help me craft a vision for the person I want to become. I desire that both my words and my actions would bring You glory. May I see every decision I face in light of that vision. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.

  • Play It Safe

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    My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20

    The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:23-24

    Insight

    I better enjoy my freedom now because I won’t be seeing the light of day for a very long time. They are going to flip their lid. I mean absolutely lose it. I can just picture it now: steam is going to come out of their ears like one of those cartoon characters. I’m in for the lecture of the century. They are going to kill me and I mean literally. Let’s face it: I’m a goner.

    These are just a few of the thoughts that raced through my head as I stared at my less than stellar report card during the winter semester of my junior year of high school. Knowing the outcome of the impending apocalypse, I considered forging my parent’s signature, lying and saying my dog ate it or putting myself in the witness protection program. While weighing my options, a stroke of brilliance hit me.

    My parents were volunteering at the mall wrapping presents for shoppers as a Christmas fundraiser for our church. I’d drive out to the mall with my younger brother in tow and hand them my grades there. I figured being in a public place surrounded by the joy of the holidays drastically decreased the chances they would freak out and yell at me. After all, who wants an adult livid with anger wrapping their toaster or sweater?

    Just in case you were wondering, my plan worked to perfection. They remained calm at the shopping center and the drive home gave them time to develop a game plan as to how they were going to handle the situation. Yes, I was still grounded (for a VERY long time) and they did express their disappointment, but we were able to have a conversation about what was causing my bad grades and as a result they improved over time. In a weird way, my parents not flipping out about my report card brought us closer.

    This story is similar to what hangs in the balance in a lot of our relationships. Others are constantly testing you to see how you will respond and what remains off-limits. If they bring a sensitive subject up, you can guarantee the other person has been mulling it over for a while now. They’ve estimated and forecasted how the conversation is going to play out. Depending on your perceived response, these thoughts will either remain under the surface or actually be shared with you.

    You are setting a culture of communication for your relationships. This culture can foster conversations or squash dialogue. It can make those around you feel like a priority or a nuisance and inconvenience. This system can establish points of trust or just as easily sow seeds of cynicism. It has the ability to provide love and security for growth to occur or leave others feeling judged, condemned, ashamed or misunderstood.

    One system takes a great deal of work and understanding while the other takes very little to no effort.  One system focuses on the lasting foundation of the relationships while the other frantically responds to the most pressing need at the time. One system breaks through the awkwardness that comes with building a relationship while the other sits back and allows insecurities and hesitation to prevail. The choice is yours as to what system you want to define and shape your relationships.

    The point of communication is to be understood. When others are vulnerable enough to open up to you, it is critical that you react in a way that makes them feel valued. Rather than lecture or try to prove a point, listen. Instead of passing judgment, seek to understand. Even if you want to fly off the handle and freak out, stay calm and get to the heart of the issue. Remember to listen first, validate their words next and then finally respond.

    Because you’ve taken the time to foster a system of openness, you will have influence to speak into the lives of others in a more profound way than you thought was possible. And here’s the beautiful thing. When you speak, others will listen. Why? Because they can trust you care and value their heart.

    Reflection

    • How would you describe your communication style? How would others describe your communication style?

    Prayer

    May I use my words wisely. Allow what I say to build people up and encourage them. But, before I speak, give me ears that seek understanding. In Your name, Jesus. Amen. 

  • Comfort Zone

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    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. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’  Luke 10:30-35 

    Insight

    Every day we live amongst a tension. We struggle after one goal. It’s the desire you and I have for comfort. We all pursue being comfortable to some degree. Whether we realize it or not, this desire for comfort can very easily creep into our relationships and the way we engage with others.

    We’ve become so wrapped up in our own world that we do not see the people around us. But there is an inescapable truth found in Scripture. Jesus lays the gauntlet down in passages like Luke 10:30-35, better known as The Parable of the Good Samaritan.

    In this passage, Jesus challenges us and defines a purpose for us. We must step out of our comfort zones and engage a broken world. We cannot be bystanders or spectators. We cannot step back and hope someone else will step in. We cannot turn the other direction when we see people in need.

    In order to bring hope, we must be willing to cross the street like the Good Samaritan.

    Instead of seeing relationships with others as an inconvenience, we must see each one as an opportunity to make Christ’s love known through our action and words. Our hearts must break for this lost and hurting world. Our comfortable walk won’t produce this type of burden. Neither will a self-centered life focused solely on our needs.

    We have a responsibility to impact those around us.

    This requires action on our part and with this movement we will undoubtedly be stretched. We have to cross the street and redefine close proximity.  If not me, and not you, then who will cross the road to bring the only message of hope to those who are hurting?

    Reflection

    • Where do you need to “cross the street”?

    Prayer

    God, I confess that for far too long I’ve been on a quest to protect my comfort zone. I’ve been so wrapped up in thoughts of my own tiny world that I’ve missed out on the brokenness taking place all around me. May I be willing to cross the street. Burst the bubble I’ve been living in. Stretch me for Your kingdom. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.