I know the source of real compassion, and real comfort......

Happy "tank filling day" I pray that you have arisen this morning with so much faith and hope that it is oozing out of you and attaching itself to everyone that you come into contact with...Once a long time ago someone wrote a comment on facebook that I am sure was meant to be derogatory, but I took it and ran with it..he said "well aren't you a (bleep word) little ray of sunshine today!!! I thought about it for a moment and even though he did not accept my joy and my sharing of the truth of happiness and love in a positive way...I knew that I had at least opened his eyes to what I was feeling and that he took the time to respond to it, even if negative, I pray  that a little of the positive attached to his little fingers as he typed...LOL

I am a ray of sunshine, even on the darkest, most dreary days, I have something wonderful to share, I have God's love dripping out of me and I have the ability and the freedom to tell anyone who will listen to or read about it! I don't pretend not to get down, I don't act like I do not have my own fair share of worries and stress, I don't flutter around like I have no responsibilities, I live life just as you do, I have my responsibilities, I have my fear, I have my worries, I have all of the same feelings and emotions as you...every once in a while I will allow these issues to overcome me and I will cry, I will lash out, I will shout that I don't understand...it is at those times when God scoops me up, places me into his lap and says to me "Child, do you deny my love for you? Do you not believe that I will take care of you? Do you doubt my strength and my power?" When this happens I fall from his lap and on to my knees and beg him to once again forgive me for he has never once left my side and he has never not made a way for me....I am human and I fall to the wayside sometimes, but I am not stupid....I do not deny him when he scoops me back up and asks those questions once again....We are all works in progress and he is shaping us into what he needs us to be, he needs strong, steadfast spirits to take back to heaven, he sends us down here to test our will and our strength...are you being strong willed in his name today? If you are not...I would love to see you do it, he loves nothing more than to see us lift our heads, wipe our tears, and cling to him for protection from the evil one and for validation that we are doing his will!!!! God's will, will be done with or without you....who's team will you be on today????

I choose the winning team, I might not get on base every time I am up to bat, but I know that with God's love and favor we will always win the trophy!!!!!

In keeping up with my stories of inspiration...I came across this one at 3ish this morning as I sat in the dark with only the glow of the computer to give me light, as I hacked, hacked, hacked trying to be as quiet as I could so that not just my sweet hubby was let undisturbed, but the neighbors as well! It is sad when you get "bless your hearts" from the neighbors down below and up above who have heard you cough all night long! Praying for a day of cough rest for me and my neighbors! 

As you read this story try and remember a time that someone reached out to you but you were either to busy or just afraid to help...now today try and envision how things could have been different not just for you but for the person reaching out if you had opened the door of your heart and let you love spill out!!!

          Last week, Bernie came to the church door. He showed up about five minutes before I was getting ready to leave for an appointment, and my first response to his arrival was, oh, no, not now.

Bernie had been drinking – I could smell it on his breath. He was sweating profusely and was a little bit shaky, though he spoke clearly without slurring. Bernie asked if I could help him, and I asked what I could do for him. He said he was an alcoholic, and he needed a ride to Hillcrest Hospital, because he’d been part of a 12 step alcohol program, and had “fallen off the wagon.”

I thought, OK, I can take him to the hospital on my way to my appointment. I was relieved he hadn’t asked for money, because we cannot give any money to someone who has been drinking.

In my five-minute ride to the hospital, where I dropped him off at the emergency room, Bernie told me he really loved Jesus, but was having a hard time staying off the alcohol. I told him that admitting himself to this program at the hospital was a good step, and that I was sure the Lord would help him. Bernie was clearly hurting physically, but seemed genuinely touched that I would help him in this small way.

When we got to the drop-off point in front of the ER, Bernie thanked me – almost excessively – for helping him. He reached over across the seat and wanted a hug. Smell, sweat and all, I hugged Bernie, and he hung on tightly for a moment as I assured him of God’s love and care for Him. As he stumbled away from the van, he called back for me to pray for him, and I assured him I would. And I did, as I drove on to my appointment – I did pray that Bernie would find help and find compassion from the Lord.

And the Lord spoke to me clearly that, despite my initial attitude, all Bernie really needed was compassion.

I watched as Bernie sort of stumbled into the ER at Hillcrest. I was ashamed of my initial attitude, and the Lord said to me clearly: all he needed was a little compassion. All he needed was to be treated with respect and dignity.

And at that moment, I knew God would have me bring this message to TCF this morning.

We’re in a time in our fellowship when we need this reminder - of the source of compassion, and of how God uses us as His tools of compassion.

You may have heard the phrase, “Been there, done that” – it’s the title of this message. It’s a phrase that represents the idea that someone has already experienced something. When someone says that to you, it means they have some understanding of what they’re discussing with you. In some ways, it might mean that they have sympathy for you, maybe even real compassion, if that’s what’s called for.

In the vernacular, it mostly means they can relate to you and your experiences, and admittedly, it’s often a dismissive way of expressing that, whether good or bad, they’ve “been there, and done that.”

In our Christian lives, in times of difficulty or suffering, it’s often helpful to talk to someone who can relate to your experience. Now, I’ve never been an alcoholic like Bernie, but I know what it is to be hurting, for different reasons than Bernie,
and more importantly, I know the source of real compassion, and real comfort.

His compassion and comfort are revealed in His Word. The Word of God is living and active, and it’s for this time and this place, whenever and wherever this time and place might be.

God can speak to us through His Word, just as clearly as I’m speaking to you, by using these words written almost two millennia ago.

2 Cor. 1:3-5 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows. 

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