Proverbs in Light of The Cross; Compassion For All

I am writing today from the slightly overcast Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the slightly overcast Tampa Bay area.

Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can fully share its joy. Proverbs 14:10 NLT 

Most everyone knows in elevator etiquette, you allow those exiting to get off the elevator before you get on. Still, one day after visiting my Bible student in the hospital, I was riding the elevator down to the parking level. When the elevator came to a stop, I started to exit when I got stampeded by a family of five. After they were finished walking all over me I quietly exited. I did not recite to them the rules of riding the elevator. Its not that I could not stand up for myself. I can and have. Its just that I finally learned a lesson a while back.

In my adult years, I have learned that some of my schoolmates while growing up were going through some awful situations at home. When I learned of this I wished I had known way back then, so I would have been able to me more kind and compassionate with them. Then I realized I did not need to know what they were going through in order to be kind and compassionate. I could have just been nice no matter what. That would have covered that without even having to know.

So when the people ran over me on the elevator, I just told myself, they may have just heard some terrible news about their sick loved one in the hospital, and are in a hurry to see them or the doctor. Maybe, maybe not. But I didn’t have to know. I could just be nice and wait till they were all in and finished running over me before I exited the elevator, which I did this time.

You can study more about Proverbs here.

Glimpses Of Grace; When God Ran

I am writing this morning from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  Luke 15:20

I love this parable about the prodigal son. I love how when the son turns back to his father, who represents our Heavenly Father, that while he is still a great ways off the Father has compassion. God does not wait for us to get our act together before He accepts us as His children. I love this verse too, because this verse is the only time we see God run. God does not run to hear angels sing His praises. God does not run to congratulate a Superbowl or world cup champion. But when a rebellious sinner turns his eyes towards home, when a sinner wants to escape satan’s grasp and needs help getting free, God does not walk He runs! As a matter of fact, it’s the only time in the Bible you see Him run!

I would like to invite you to celebrate this agape love with us at the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church. If you are not in the Tampa Bay area you can find a grace filled church here.

Click here and let the song “When God Ran” by Phillips Craig and Dean bless your heart today.

Worship: “Trust Not in Deceptive Words”: The Prophets and Worship

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Sunday’s section of this week’s SS lesson, asks the question, “What do you think is more important: correct theology or correct actions? Can you have your theology right and yet treat others in a poor manner? What hope can you cling to if, perhaps, you see yourself revealed in the above texts? 

In Luke 10 Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. In this story a priest and a Levite, walk by and leave a wounded man to die. They knew the law. I am sure their peers would say they had sound theology. But did they? In Exodus 23:4-5 it says we are to help even an animal in distress. How much more a man! Surely the priest and Levite knew this. After the Priest and Levite leave the man to die, for whatever reason, a Samaritan comes along. Samaritans had their own place of worship, which according to the Jews, was the incorrect place to be. The Samaritan probably did not know the law or the Scriptures like the priest and Levite did. However, he was more like Jesus than either of the other men because, according to Luke 10:33 he had compassion. In this story, that one word, “compassion”, seems to separate right actions from wrong actions and bad theology from good theology. I have heard it said, that many will miss heaven by about 18 inches. The difference between the brain and the heart. I have also heard it said, and I believe, that heaven will be filled with people who had muddled theology, but none with bitter hearts.

As we continue reading the story, we find the Samaritan to be even more like Jesus. First he had compassion. Second he binds up the wounds of the hurt man even as Jesus binds our wounds. Finally he tells the innkeeper that he will pay for this man’s complete recovery. On the cross Jesus paid for our complete recovery from sin, and today gives us the free gift of sanctification as well as justification.

So, to answer the original question, I would say you can’t really have one without the other. If your theology is good, it will have good actions. Good actions are good theology. I think Ellen White says it best, in the book Desire of Ages, in the chapter “The Good Samaritan.”

  In the story of the good Samaritan, Christ illustrates the nature of true religion. He shows that it consists not in systems, creeds, or rites, but in the performance of loving deeds, in bringing the greatest good to others, in genuine goodness.  {DA 497.1}