Counterfeit Compassion

Compassion is a deep feeling of empathy (based upon a set of personal values) for another’s suffering or plight, followed by a desire to help alleviate their suffering. When Jesus would see someone suffering pain or loss, the scriptures describe Him as having compassion for them followed by His intervention with healing, provision, or even resurrection of a recently deceased family member.

All compassion is not equal. There is real compassion that is of God, and then there is the enemy’s version of counterfeit compassion.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

~ 2 Corinthians‬ ‭1:3-4‬

God is the “Father of compassion,” He is the source of real, genuine compassion that is based upon His holiness (the set of values). When we have His set of values established in our hearts, it will be His real compassion that will arise within us and by which we will act to relieve the suffering of others.

The Devil is a counterfeiter of all things, including having a twisted form of compassion which is based upon a twisted set of values. Those who buy into his set of twisted values produce and act upon his counterfeit compassion. For example, they will have “compassion” for a woman who has an “unplanned” pregnancy, and based upon their shared set of twisted values with the devil they will actually feel very deep empathy for her and even passionately provide abortion services.

Counterfeit compassion does not lack passionate feelings. In fact, for those who have counterfeit compassion (based on a twisted set of values) their passions are often unmatched and the resulting adrenalin is a powerful driving force for them. That is how some people can say they are willing to die in order to save a tree from logging or an animal from hunting.

For those who share in the values of God, our compassion is genuine, our emotions are real, our empathy is clear, and our strength and willingness to serve the suffering is fueled by the Holy Spirit, and not by the adrenalin of the counterfeit compassion.

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#PastorsTip #2Corinthians1 #Compassion #Counterfeit #Empathy #Suffering #Abortion #PersonalValues #FatherOfCompassion

Anointed Musicians & Inspired Music

While still a young lad, the shepherd boy David was anointed with oil by the prophet Samuel and was concurrently anointed with power by the Holy Spirit. His future coronation as King was prophetically established, though he certainly had quite a few adventures to go through before he would reach that day.

“So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him… and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David…”

‭‭( 1 Samuel‬ ‭16:13 )‬

David also became known as a great musician who was called into the service of King Saul. The Spirit of God had departed King Saul because of his unfaithfulness to God, and in that vacancy an evil spirit took up residence to torment Saul. It was thought that music would help sooth the king, and that is where David was recruited into the king’s service.

“Whenever the evil spirit… came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him.”

( 1 Samuel‬ ‭16:23‬ )

This is an interesting view into the spirit realm. David, a young man anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit, played music that was likely inspired by the Holy Spirit, and the result was the evil spirit that was demonizing and tormenting King Saul would be driven away. The passage implies that when David was no longer ministering in music, the evil spirit would later return to Saul to start tormenting him again.

Holy Spirit anointed musicians playing Holy Spirit inspired music are powerful weapons for clearing out the spirit realm of a room and for establishing deliverance for the demonized and the tormented. No wonder we experience so much of God’s presence and power in a genuine worship service.

The church does not need any more generic song leaders that lead everyone in a sing-along of “If you are happy and you know it…”. We need men and women, youth and adults, who have been selected by God, anointed with power by the Holy Spirit, and inspired by the Holy Spirit in creating music for worship that will fill the atmosphere with anointed and Christ-authoritative music. This is the kind of church service where God is exalted not only in words, but in deeds: the evil spirits are driven away and the Holy Spirit is fully embraced.

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Skydiving Without A Parachute?

Sometimes God leads us to take a leap of faith that has us feeling like we and our family have gone skydiving… without a parachute. Perhaps you are a missionary who recently moved from your home country and are now setting up a new life in a foreign land, surrounded by an unfamiliar culture and an unknown language — you may know exactly how it feels to leap out of a perfectly good airplane at 10,000 feet… without a parachute!

Wherever God has led you to go, whatever He has led you to do, your leap of faith is not a strange thing. God has been leading people to take extraordinary steps (leaps!) for several millennia that, in the natural without a miracle, would have been their last leap. However, when God leads His people to take extraordinary steps, He provides matching extraordinary miracles.

“By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.”

‭‭~ Hebrews‬ ‭11:8-9‬

As Abraham believed God and took steps consistent with God’s leading over the span of many years, God provided divine guidance and miracles of provision and healing for him and his family as they took each step of their journey in faithful obedience.

Peter is another example of leaping as directed by Jesus. Before Peter jumped out of the boat and walked on water, he asked Jesus if he should come toward Him on the water. Jesus directed him to, so he did! We all know that after several steps Peter’s faith waned as he considered the storm and the fact that he was walking on water, but Jesus reached out to him. They both then continued to walk on the water hand-in-hand back to the boat.

If you are following the Lord’s lead, even in those moments when your faith wanes, He is just one frantic call away! You will be back on track in a split-second, I know because I’ve been there too.

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#PastorsTip #Hebrews11 #LeapOfFaith #Faith #Obedience #Skydiving #Parachute #Missionary #Foreigner

The Fool Is His Own Standard

People naturally tend to compare others with a standard based upon their own stature; it is part of our broken human nature. This pattern is true for the majority of people, including your’s truly! We all have to be conscious and deliberate to not measure others by our own stature. It’s a foolish person who utilizes their own stature as a standard for them self and for others.

We notice differences right away: their gender, their race, their social standing as portrayed by the fashion of their clothing, and other visibly obvious things. Then, as we get to know them we compare their sanctification, their intelligence IQ, their emotional IQ, their taste in food and music, their gifts and talents, their notion of fashion and style, their skills, their motivations in life, etc. with a standard: us.

The scripture teaches us to avoid using ourselves (or others within our own circle of like-minded people) as standards by which we compare ourselves or other people. The Apostle Paul knew this principle well and referred to it in one of his letters:

“We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.”

‭‭~ 2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:12‬

When we compare others we tend to then judge them. Judging them is not just the act of discerning what they might be doing that is wrong (lovingly discerning each other within the church is encouraged by scripture), it is instead where we compartmentalize them and write them off; we look down on them based upon a standard that is not of Christ.

We are also warned about judging others (writing them off) for the very same things that we do. I don’t know about you, but when I notice myself doing that [much too often, I must say] I literally get sick to my stomach because of my own hypocrisy.

However, if we are blind to our own hypocrisy then we can feel elevated and more righteous. We can limit our social circle to include only those who do not measure up to our own current level of sanctification. By comparing them and thinking of them as being “worse” than us, we are comforted by how good we are in comparison. Again, we are not to be our own standard, Christ is. It’s a dangerous temptation to turn a blind eye on our own condition which is falling short of the glory of God.

Jesus Christ is to be our standard in all things, and we are to compare ourselves to Him alone. The next time we notice someone else’s lackluster performance in skills, intelligence, fashion sense, sin and morality, food preference, creativity, etc. let’s remind ourselves how short we ourselves fall of the perfect standard of Christ, and how gracious and patient and encouraging He is to lead us into the genuine changes of our heart and mind.

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#PastorsTip #2Corinthians10 #Standards #Classify #Compare #Foolish

Imperfections, Faults, & All

Marriage, a vow of commitment declared in love, is the merging of two lives that are inherently imperfect and whose righteousness will fluctuate over time. The husband and the wife each have their own list of flaws and faults, flaws being non-sin related imperfections and faults being sin related imperfections. Obviously, we do not feel affectionate at the moment when our spouse has a flaw or fault glaring in our face, but we are still committed to them as a spouse and as a best friend.

Perhaps they have a Personality Disorder (PD) which is defined as: “a deeply ingrained and maladaptive pattern of behavior of a specified kind, typically manifest by the time one reaches adolescence and causing long-term difficulties in personal relationships or in functioning in society.”

Or, perhaps they have an addiction to a certain kind of sin where they can’t seem to control their own impulses when a temptation arises. Addiction can be defined as: “a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.”

Whether their imperfections are the result of their upbringing, childhood or adulthood experiences, inherent physiological instabilities, or a heart that is still not fully surrendered to Christ, our continuous unconditional love for them is powerful enough to counter the pain and damage that their flaws and faults may bring to the marriage.

“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

~ 1 Peter 4:8

Love is not easy because love is unconditional. The scripture speaks of Jesus’ own unconditional love for us in that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). In marriage, our love-commitment may require us to “die” every day, to sacrifice our own life’s rights, comforts, and pleasures in order to ensure the marriage relationship endures and is healthy in spite of our spouse’s daily imperfections (their flaws or faults).

Naturally, the spouse in our marriage relationship that needs the most grace is not our spouse, but us! The person that we look at in the mirror is in need of the most frequent and the largest sacrifice of unconditional love.

Let’s remember how much Jesus suffered for us, even while we were “perfectly imperfect” and still sinning! Let’s remember how much our own spouse suffers for us, even while we are being imperfect in any sense of the word.

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#PastorsTip #1Peter4 #UnconditionalLove #PersonalityDisorder #ImpulseControl #Flaw #Fault #Heart #Love #Commitment

Fabrications, Figures, And Furs

Let’s face it, in today’s society almost anybody can have their face refabricated with plastic surgery and enough makeup; their figure can be reformed to fit selected measurements; they can be clothed in the latest fashions; and they can be adorned with the softest of [fake, not real] furs. The only limit to recreating the outward beauty is the imagination.

Every gentlemen wants to marry a beautiful lady, but it should be first and foremost a beauty that radiates from a God-loving heart. Don’t get me wrong, beauty in youth is wonderful, and God’s original design for ladies was a natural, beautiful body.

Beauty though, as the saying goes, is only skin deep. Relationships are not (and should not be) just a physique-based attraction between the body-handsome and the body-beautiful. Instead they are to be a heart-based attraction with a soul-to-soul connection.

David married King Saul’s youngest daughter, Michal as a prize for killing Goliath. As a princess, she no doubt had access to every “modern” beauty aide of that day, and she likely made good use of them. From attendants gifted in designing fashion, applying makeup, and creating [real, not fake] furs, she received the best of the best. From a purely physical point of view, David was a very blessed man to marry such a beautiful princess of prominence and prestige.

But, the joy her fabricated beauty brought to him could not counter balance the sadness and pain that came into his God-loving heart from her self-centered, ugly heart.

“As the ark of the Lord was entering the City… Michal (David’s wife)… watched from a window. And when she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she despised him in her heart.”

~ 2 Samuel 6:16

The beauty of a wife that is enjoyed by a husband for a lifetime is a beauty that continuously radiates from a God-loving heart. If you are considering a marriage proposal, pray and ask God to show you the beauty of your potential future mate’s heart. Measure their beauty using God’s standards, and not by mankind’s standards. He will guide your path to the right lady, one of His own princesses.

One thing I have noticed in scripture, godly men who were led by God in the selection of their wife almost always had a wife that is described as having both kinds of beauty, physique-beauty and heart-beauty. There is absolutely nothing wrong with “worldclass” physique-beauty, as long as the heart-beauty is absolutely “heavenclass!”

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#PastorsTip #2Samuel6 #David #Michal #Beauty #PlasticSurgery #MakeUp #Fur #Physique #Heart #GodLoving

Sibling Rivalry

Jesus, being conceived in a virgin named Mary by God’s creative power (the same power that created the universe!), had Mary as His birth-mother and Joseph as His step-father. We know from scripture’s record that Jesus, being the first-born into Joseph’s household, had at least 4 half-bothers and 2 or more half-sisters whose birth-parents were Joseph and Mary.

Imagine the Sibling Rivalry there must have been among Jesus’ siblings. Can you imagine being a brother and how unfair it would seem to always have your parents take that one brother’s side in a sibling disagreement? Can you imagine when there was children-chaos in the house and all the kids were grounded… except for that one brother? Talk about feeling like there was favoritism on your parents’ part!

Being Joseph and Mary, parents of the divine Christ Child and of 6 or more un-divine children could not have been easy. Imagine them trying to not show favoritism to any one of their children, but one of them is perfectly sinless. When He was told to take the trash out to the curb (so to speak) He always did it, and on time!

When the other kids would try to bait Him into being sneaky and cheeky, He always declined, leaving the siblings in a state of frustration. Perhaps at one point, within the context of a private family meeting, the parents sat down with all the kids and shared about Jesus’s birth announcement by an Angel, and Who He really was.

Even when Jesus was in His public ministry, His brothers (and maybe even His sisters) still did not believe in who He was:

“For even his own brothers did not believe in him.”

‭‭~ John‬ ‭7:5‬

It appears that His siblings eventually came into the faith after His crucifixion and resurrection. They were significant participants in the early church.

Do you have a sibling who has grown up to be a very effective Man of God or Woman of God? Obviously they are not Jesus, but they are a representative of Christ. As mature adults both in body and in the faith, let us leave our sibling rivalry behind and acknowledge what God is doing in them, through them, and around them.

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#PastorsTip #John7 #SiblingRivalry #Bothers #Sisters #Rivals #Jesus #VirginBirth #Mary #Joseph

The Archives of Heaven

Each person who has ever lived has every one of their sins, their sins of commission and sins of omission, recorded in a set of books. Every single sin is recorded with absolute accuracy, and without partiality; there is no embellishing nor is there any diminishing. Each person will be judged and sentenced to punishment on the basis of their exact record.

Well, not everyone. There is a single book that has a list of names in it, it’s called the Book of Life. This list is comprised of names only, no other entries of deeds done. This one book only contains the list of names of people who are to be pardoned by the Judge. Their pardon has not been earned by having a smaller number of sin-entries in the other large set of books, nor because of recordings of good deeds in some other archives.

“And I saw the dead… standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books… each person was judged according to what they had done… Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

~ Revelation 20:12-15

The pardon for sin will be received only by those who (while alive) had asked Jesus Christ to forgive them of their sin, and had lived the rest of their life engaged with Him and trusted Him with their eternity.

Your sins are being recorded, but is your name recorded in the list for pardons, is it recorded in the Book of Life?

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#PastorsTip #Revelation20 #BookOfLife #BooksOfSins #Pardon #Forgiven #Saved

Terminator Disguised As A Church-Going Christian

Do you sometimes feel numb and cold like you are part machine, while at other times another part of you rages like an out of control forest fire, wanting to terminate relationships?

You may never dream of actually, physically murdering anyone, but if you harbor hate for a brother or sister your sin is at the same level and in the same category as murder!

“Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”

~ 1 John‬ ‭3:15‬

Murder is not a Biblical misdemeanor, it is a Biblical felony. Hatred that is harbored and not even yet expressed in words or actions is not a Biblical misdemeanor, it is a Biblical felony. Hatred does not have its own minor sin category, it is in the same category as actual murder.

It cannot be over emphasized or exaggerated how destructive and how wicked the sin of harbored hatred is in the eyes of our Holy God. We downplay the issue of brotherly and sisterly harbored hatred with a common excuse of the world: “nobody is getting hurt, it can’t be that bad.”

If you are harboring in your heart any measure of hatred for someone else in the family of God, whether you think that you would never “act” upon it or “verbalize” it, please take to that same heart the stern warning from the scriptures. We like to downplay the seriousness of our sins, and the world likes to do the same so our light does not shine on their own darkness, but a wise person will look at themselves in the mirror and will see the reality of their condition.

God warns us so we will be motivated to change our course. I pray that you will know the joy once again of a heart that does not have any hatred harbored, whether great or small.

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#PastorsTip #1John3 #Murder #Hatred #Misdemeanor #Felony #Forgive #Love

For God And Kingdom!

To carry our own Cross of Pain & Shame is to give up the comfortable life, and to pick up the sacrificial life. It is to do what we know to do, even if God has not yet revealed all the why’s or any of the purposes. It is to do what is right, regardless of the pain and shame that will come crashing down upon us.

“Jesus said, ‘… You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns… Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me and for the gospel will save it.’”

~ Mark 8:33-35

To carry our cross of pain and shame is not just referring to suffering as a result of a public ministry, though we definitely are surrounded by witnesses. Our suffering can be anything that the enemy might use to try and kill our hope and tempt our destruction of our own integrity.

The carrying of our own unique cross of paining and shaming is a ministry all in its own. Not what we suffer, but HOW we suffer is the most honest portrayal of our love for God. Few, if any, will endure great pain and shame for something or someone they don’t believe in. Regardless of what and why we suffer, it is HOW we suffer that is solid evidence for the witnesses of our lives (on earth and in Heaven) of our love and wholehearted commitment to living For God And For His Kingdom.

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