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Quickie Prayer Request

Hi all!

Here’s a quick prayer request for one of my church’s pastors.  About three weeks ago, the plane he was flying crashed because of mechanical failure.

God was gracious and spared his life, but he had some severe injuries that have forced him to undergo a few surgeries.  He’s an older gentleman but a tough guy (and very wise…I just love his sermons).  Pain management has become a huge issue.

I hope you’ll take a moment and say a prayer for him…for the pain to dissipate and for a complete recovery.

Thanks y’all!

What is Sympathy?

Today I heard a wonderful sermon at church.

When I first sat down with the bulletin, I almost cringed when I read what was on it, “Living in Harmony.”  We would be reading 1 Peter 3:8-12:

Why would I cringe, you wonder?

Well…I’m ashamed to say that Chicky and I got into a yelling match on the way to church.  She was so angry that she sat as far over on her chair cushion as she could.

To sit down and read verses 8 and 9 tore at my heart…

8Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 9Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

However, the pastor chose, instead, to focus on the middle of the verse…”be sympathetic.”

I took a few notes that I thought I would share.

He defined sympathy as the ability to see beyond yourself to others…to be able to feel the pain of others.

Seeing beyond ourselves is difficult and counter cultural in this “me” world we live in.

I was surprised to hear him say that it doesn’t come naturally.  It is something we must learn and, in turn, teach our children.  He likened it to taking your children with you when you shop and adding a few extra cans to your buggy to later give to a food pantry.  By encouraging our young ones to send a card, flowers, or even balloons to a sick friend, we’re teaching them how to be sympathetic.

My pastor told the congregation about how touched he was when he learned that two girls in his first period high school class sent a single white rose to his father’s funeral.  That flower was intended for my pastor, who wasn’t a Christian at the time.  He later discovered that the girls were Christians, and he said it was one of many contributing factors that led to his conversion.

The pastor talked about how sympathy is a fundamental human need.  I think that this was a point we can all identify with.  Life is filled with hardship, and we all go through suffering.

It was my pastor’s third main point that brought tears to my eyes. He explained that Jesus is the full expression of God’s sympathy toward humans.

Time and time again, Jesus felt sympathy (and acted on it) during his ministry here on earth:

Matthew 14:14
When He went ashore and saw a great throng of people, He had compassion (pity and deep sympathy) for them and cured their sick.

Matthew 15:32
Then Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, I have pity and sympathy and am deeply moved for the crowd, because they have been with Me now three days and they have nothing [at all left] to eat; and I am not willing to send them away hungry, lest they faint or become exhausted on the way.

God’s sympathy eventually led to the ultimate act of compassion…death of His son…so we wouldn’t have to endure the forever suffering of hell.

I was blown away by the message.  I was challenged as well.  There are two main lessons here.

One: How to I imitate the actions of Jesus.  No, I’m not going to climb on a cross.  I’m not worthy.  But I need to choose to be more sympathetic.  Sometimes it’s easier when it’s something major, like someone losing a loved one.  But what about the times when I hurt my children’s feelings and don’t seek to smooth things over?  What about when the Mr. is sick, and I can’t take the grumpiness and do not respond kindly?

God, Himself, set the example that I am to follow…

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (Amplified Bible)

3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God [Who is the Source] of every comfort (consolation and encouragement),

4Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble (calamity and affliction), so that we may also be able to comfort (console and encourage) those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort (consolation and encouragement) with which we ourselves are comforted (consoled and encouraged) by God.

Two: How do I respond to God’s gift?  I have a relationship with Him.  I accepted His gift of salvation the day after my senior prom.  However, I need to get on my knees more frequently than I do and confess my weaknesses and sins to him.  I need to thank Him more often.  And I also need to spread His Word as much as I can.

The question begs to be asked…

How will YOU respond?  Friends…do you have a relationship with the Lord?  Please, don’t ignore His gift.  I wonder…how would you respond if your own children were facing a life of condemnation, and you offered yourself in their places.  What if they rejected your offer?

Please know that throughout the week, I pray for my friends.  I pray for your well-being, concerns I’ve heard you express, and most of all for your salvation.

We sang the following song this morning.  I love it because the message speaks of being nothing without God.  It is only because of His grace and ultimate sacrifice that I am who I am.

Bebo Norman – Nothing without You

Take these hands and lift them up
For I have not the strength to praise You near enough
For I have nothing, I have nothing without You

Take my voice and pour it out
Let it sing the songs of mercy I have found
For I have nothing, I have nothing without You

Chorus:
All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
That I have nothing without You

Take my body and build it up
May it be broken as an offering of love
For I have nothing, I have nothing without You

All my soul needs
Is all Your love to cover me
So all the world will see
That I have nothing
But I love You

With all my heart
With all my soul
With all my mind
With all the strength that I can find

Take my time here on this earth
And let it glorify all that You are worth
For I am nothing,
I am nothing without You

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