Empathy is what we need!

empathy

We all need Empathy

What better way to represent our Lord and serve others than with the gift of empathy?

Christ is the ultimate example of empathy. He literally put himself in our place when He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. So when God allows us to go through a hardship, we should consider it a privilege to suffer as our Lord Jesus suffered and use our experience to bless others.

We find several examples of empathy in action in the Bible. Jesus was always sensitive to the plight of others. Matthew tells us how Jesus, “when he saw the crowds, . . . had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matt 9:36). On another occasion, Jesus observed a widow about to bury her only son. Sensing her pain (the NLT says that Jesus’ “heart overflowed with compassion”), He approached the funeral procession and resurrected the young man (Luke 7:11-16). Having lived a human life, our Lord can and does empathize with all of our weaknesses (see Hebrews 4:15).

The word compassion describes the deep mercy of God. God is the very best at empathy: “He knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14). He personally feels the pain of His people: “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book” (Psalm 56:8,). How comforting it is to know that God records all our tears and all our struggles! How good to remember God’s invitation to cast all our cares upon Him, “because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)!

As Christians, we have a higher calling. We have been bought at a price and are no longer our own, but humble servants to our King. The greatest commandments are to love our Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls, and to love others as ourselves. In a world rampant with selfishness, vanity, bullying and greed, God offers a better way. We are after all His hands and feet, and what better way to represent our Lord and serve others than with the gift of empathy?

Suffering The Loss Of A Child

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As, I pleaded for the life of my son, and felt his body turn cold in my arms. I watched the life leave his eyes. My child.  Was Gone.

At the time, my mind could not make sense of this trauma. I have already lost so much. I just have to walk through it. This is just the way it is.

And so, it takes time. Lots of time.

At the time, I could not pray, but I could believe. I could not pray like I used to, but I could hold onto hope. I knew deep down that my roots go deep.  There was so much comfort in knowing my faith was strong.  “You don’t really know Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have.”  This realization changes you!  It gives you a peace  knowing you have faced the worst and your faith not only survived but grew.

My dreams and my innocence were robbed from me that day. My hopes were completely and utterly struck down. My son was born and we watched him slowly lose his ability to live. I sat at his hospital bed, traumatized, helpless. He came close to death too many times. We fought and fought and in the end we lost. I surrendered him to the Lord, knowing he loved him more than me.  I realized it was not my fault. It was not God’s fault or his will. It is just a part of life, but it hurts.  A lot!

I was stunned that the story of my precious son unfolded this way.

When Casey was diagnosed, I saw the battle before us, I was weak and exasperated. But I prayed for Casey and leaned into my faith. But then, after his passing, I was anchored. I forged through. Both feet on the ground. Eyes on the prize. Until…until I felt the very God I was praying to, sit down beside me. I saw Jesus sitting with me holding me.

His death changed me. Everything froze. Time stood still.  It was like a slow motion movie, but it was my life.

One cannot speak into this unless they have walked this path. This territory is set before a few, and even then, they can only act as guides.

Today, I believe my words and my prayers carry weight and an authority. I believe in walking alongside others in grief, even as I myself grieve. I believe in giving a piece of my heart to others.

“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. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

God has not promised us an easy life. Far from it! He has promised His children that he will be with us through ALL those trials. Jesus meets us in the middle of the storm to build our faith and to teach us to worship Him in truth and spirit.  I can attest to this!

Suffering produces a reliance on God in the heart of the faithful. Suffering pushes others further from the Lord when their souls are unfaithful and bitter. In essence, tough times separate the wheat from the chaff. As we grow spiritually, God begins to show us His power and comfort as we go through the rough spots in life.

I have survived, and I am living life. I choose joy, I laugh, smile and act silly. I enjoy my family and friends, and I dance in my kitchen to music that is way too loud. As, his brother and sisters are starting there own families, I also cry, mourn the milestones he misses, I still miss my son and long for eternity when we will meet again.

 

 

 

 

Divine Appointments

Untitled divine appointments

Divine Appointments

Have you ever had a coincidence, which was so special that it seemed like God was in it? A divine appointment is ‘a meeting’ which was inspired and God led. God is sovereign; He is all-knowing and all-powerful.

Sometimes God wants to bless us and other people. The possibilities of divine appointments are endless! If we are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, great things are possible.

The possibilities of divine appointments are endless! If we are willing to be led by the Holy Spirit, great things are possible.

The Scriptures say, “The steps of a righteous man are ordered by the Lord.” After decades of walking (off and on, but mostly on) with God, I can tell you that seeing God set up these “appointments” is a thrill that is beyond comparison.

Throughout the Bible, there are many examples of divine appointments. Time after time God leads the faithful to cross another person’s path and great things happen!

Several years ago, I was running in the park one morning and felt God was giving me a prophecy for my friend JD. I began to pray on how the Lord wanted me to proceed.  I felt the Lord calling me to minister to him, so the next day I walked up to him and said “I don’t know what is wrong, but I know you are struggling if you ever need anything I am here” he looked at me with a look of shock, but said nothing.  The next day, I received a call from him saying “how did you know, I have not told anyone? I told him the Lord spoke to me.  He told me he had been struggling with the feeling that he had gone too far away from God and his sin was far too great for forgiveness.  He explained how he was being tormented night and day, but was too ashamed to tell anyone.  I was able to get him the help he needed and later realized he had not been eating in weeks and had signed everything he owned over to me.  If I had not intervened the doctor said he may have ended his life.

He was totally amazed that God would speak to me about him. It turned out to be a great encouragement to us both.  We were later married.  I know without a doubt this WAS a divine appointment.  I was thankful that the Lord used me and I heard His call.

Be open to God!  We just have to be open to what God is doing today and every day.
Pray and ask God to lead you into divine appointments. Many say a prayer like this, “Holy Spirit whatever you are doing today, let me be a part of it, I want to glorify Jesus and advance the kingdom”.

After praying be prepared if God has anything for you; He can do the impossible and the unexpected.

Throughout the Bible, there are many examples of divine appointments. Time after time God leads the faithful to cross another person’s path and great things happen!

My Divine appointment – Divine Intervention

Several years ago, One morning as I was running in the park I felt God was giving me a prophecy for my friend JD. I was resistant at first, but the Lord continued to nudge me. So, I began to pray on how the Lord wanted me to proceed.  I felt the Lord calling me to minister to him, so the next day I ran into him and said “I don’t know what is wrong, but I know you are struggling if you ever need anything I am here” he looked at me with a look of shock, but said nothing.  The next day, I received a call from him saying “how did you know, I have not told anyone? I told him the Lord spoke to me with a word of knowledge.  He told me he had been struggling with the feeling that he had gone too far away from God and his sin was far too great for forgiveness.  He explained how he was being tormented night and day, but was too ashamed to tell anyone.  I was able to get him the help he needed and assure him that God was able to forgive every sin he had committed.  He was able to rededicate his life to the Lord and attend bible college. I later realized he had not been eating in weeks and had signed everything he owned over to me.  The reality was If I had not intervened the doctor said he may have ended his life.

He was totally amazed that God would speak to me about him. It turned out to be a great encouragement to us both.  We were later married.  I know without a doubt this WAS a divine appointment.  I was thankful that the Lord used me and I heard His call.

Maybe you’re anything like me—I’ve been nudged by the Holy Spirit, but I rationalize away my responsibility to say anything. I wonder if the reason we see so little of the supernatural occurring in our lives is because we are unwilling to take the risks that come with walking and living by faith. We fear the rejection of man more than displeasing God.

Be open to God!  We just have to be open to what God is doing today and every day.
Pray and ask God to lead you into divine appointments. Many say a prayer like this, “Holy Spirit whatever you are doing today, let me be a part of it, I want to glorify Jesus and advance the kingdom”.

After praying be prepared if God has anything for you; He can do the impossible and the unexpected.

Dear Heavenly Father, open my eyes to see the people whom I pass today who need a word of encouragement, a word of acknowledgment, or a word of thanks. Help me to slow down enough to see the needs standing right in front of me. Thank You for giving Jesus as our example of how to care for a hurting world.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Help For The Hurting

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Help us Lord to be sensitive to those around us that are hurting. ~ Help us to see their pain Lord, Help us to ask you for the courage to speak up and that you would give us the words to say to comfort them, that you would speak thru us, Lord. ~ Make us brave, Lord, for those who need our courage today. Help us to speak for others today who can’t and show them that You know their hurt and loneliness.  I pray Lord, that you would wrap your loving arms around them today, help them Lord to feel just how much you love them.  Use us Lord as your vessels of truth and love. I pray Lord that if they do not know you that you would speak to them, Lord, we know there is no salvation apart from you. I plead for you to make yourself known to those who are living in darkness and hurting today. Help them to see their need for a Savior and to turn from their sinful ways. Father, shine your light and send your Spirit to convict hearts and bring repentance. Thank you that you are a God who restores and offers new beginnings by your grace. Thank you for pursuing the lost long after we have given up hope…Thank you, Lord Amen

For those who need fresh hope today…you are not alone. You are never forgotten.

He is with you. Every step of the way!

10 Verses for when you feel broken, for those in need of comfort:

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Ps. 34:18

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

“I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait on the Lord.” Ps. 27:13-14

“Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Cor. 1:3-4

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Is. 41:10

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Pet. 2:24

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Ps. 55:22

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor. 12:9

Overcoming Betrayal

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I have heard,  “The most surprising thing about divorce is that is doesn’t kill you instantly like a head-on car crash because it should. Instead, we are left trying to process the impact and cope with the painful aftermath.”

I recently got together with a dear friend who shared with me the difficult news of her impending divorce. It was a hard conversation, filled with sadness and her shame of having failed her marriage. The hurt and betrayal she was feeling, unfortunately,  is a pain I know all too well.   Especially, since we both wanted to heal our marriages and seek reconciliation, but faced hard-hearted spouses.  In my case “I thought separation would be a powerful attention-getting boundary to stop the abuse” Instead of counseling, I was met with divorce. As we sat together crying and sharing, I immediately thought of Psalm 55 12-14.

12 For it was not an enemy that reproached me; then I could have borne it: neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me; then I would have hid myself from him:13 But it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.14 We took sweet counsel together, and walked unto the house of God in company. Psalm 55 12-14

As we know David was no stranger to betrayal. I think we can learn a lot from the way he cries out to God, in real raw honest truth. David shows us how to overcome the pain. “But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice” (Psalm 55 16-17).

I think there are few things in life more devastating than finding out that the person you once loved could become the object of your pain and betrayal. The person you promised to love until death do you part.  The person you dreamed of spending your entire life with.  Someone you thought was your friend and spouse could become your enemy. Trust is shattered.  Faith is questioned. The covenant is broken. A life built becomes the focus of a battle to dismantle. I have experienced the pain, anger, and resentment of divorce, along with it’s never ending repercussions.  How do you stop loving someone you have shared so much intimacy with and as David spoke in Psalm 55 “sweet fellowship.” I now understand why God hates divorce.

Who can we turn to when the one who betrays us is our spouse? Especially, since they were the person, you use to run too? Ultimately, our sinless heavenly Father is the only One who will never sin against us. He will not betray, abandon, or reject us.

all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God(Romans 3:23).

God loves you. He will never reject you. He hears your cries! He longs to draw you close and fill you with His supernatural peace. No matter what your circumstance,  God is there. He is the steady hand underneath your days.  God wants to do a work in you. He doesn’t want to leave you where you are—He loves you too much. He wants to increase your faith, your reliance upon Him, and your love for Him. Be willing to allow God to transform you.

This path begins with taking our eyes off our ex-spouse and on to Jesus as the power source for our love.

I am praying for all who need to believe that Christ is with them in their pain. If you are struggling with your faith, I am praying that you will have the strength to surrender your doubt to Christ and ask for his strength to believe. May you know that He loves you more than you could ever know. He has promised to never leave you, not ever, no matter what you are going through. God is close to the brokenhearted. His word is true. He is with you now. Let him work this out but trust him with the details. Your faith shows the world that you belong to Christ. May God give you his peace and may you know that you are not alone.

Be His Hands and Feet

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The one thing I know for sure is, God has a plan for you, and every time he allows you to go through trials and difficulties, he is building you up to launch His calling for your life.  He is making you stronger, and adding a depth to your character that only God can give.  He is giving you compassion and empathy for people in situations similar to yours, and someday He will use your tough experiences to help others.  Be ready for that day, and remember that His power is the greatest in our times of weakness.  Think about it what a privilege it is to partner with our Lord Jesus Christ to comfort His people in distress.

I do believe that while God can use any method He wants to comfort us, restore us, and make us strong, He uses the people that He puts in our lives – divine appointments as I like to call them – to be His healing hands and feet on earth.  I remember the night my son passed away and the nurses surrounding us, holding us and one praying for us.  During his entire last hospital stay we were never without some sort of comfort from the staff.  I believe that the Lord sent those nurses and a Christian Doctor to comfort us at a time when we needed them most.

We all have our own unique stories in which God has comforted us in a trial, sent angels (without wings) to be His hands and feet, to comfort us and used them to draw us closer to Him.

Empathy Is Important For Christians

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The one thing that I am learning is that as Christians we need empathy.  Why?  The reason is simple, so we can share in the suffering and pain of our friends and fellow Christians.

I have found in my life that the Lord often uses our deepest pain as the launching pad to our deepest calling.  It is because of the hardships the Lord has allowed in my life, I’m able to feel more than sympathy and give my friends the gift of empathy. It’s a hard-won, precious gift.

The definition of empathy according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary is the “feeling that you understand and share another person’s experiences and emotions.” It’s hard to put yourself in someone else’s place when you have no point of reference. But as God allows certain experiences in our lives, we don’t have to imagine empathy because we feel it automatically; it is a gift we can give a hurting person.

My second child Casey passed away from congenital heart disease.  The pain of losing my son is something I carry with me always. I know what it is to live with pain — emotional and physical. It is from that hardship (among others), I am able to draw from a deep well of empathy.

I was talking with a new friend the other day, and she started sharing how she lost a daughter a few years ago. The hurt she felt was still so raw that she started crying. Tears came to my eyes as I shared that I knew exactly how she felt, because I had gone through the same thing. I explained my feelings of loss, how there will always be a hole in my life where Casey should be no matter how much time has passed. How I often think of how old he would be now and how the pain deepens on important days like his birthday, when he would have graduated from high school etc.. Yet I know my son is with the Lord, and it is only sad for those of us left behind. My friend nodded through her tears and said no one ever understands how she feels. Empathy is a bridge of understanding; through my own loss I could share in hers.

The apostle Paul says in Romans 12:15. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”  We are taught as Christians to share our friends emotional experiences. I am drawn to the action words of this statement. It doesn’t say, “Feel bad for those who are mourning.” It says we need to literally cry with them. Have the same emotion they are having — with a passion — one that brings forth tears. This is a powerful teaching Paul is trying to get across to the church in Rome and ultimately to all Christians. We are all called to show grace and love to hurting people, even when we can only guess at how they feel, but the true depth of empathy is achieved through experience.

Christ was our ultimate example of empathy. He literally put himself in our place when He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. So when God allows us to go through a hardship, we should consider it a privilege to suffer as our Lord Jesus suffered and use our experience to bless others.

It takes a brave person to pray for empathy, braver than me, but God allows experiences in my life that “teach” me this gift. Trials in our lives have many purposes; it took a long time of walking with the Lord and studying His Word for me to discover the lessons hidden in my own hardships and sufferings. They are often for our growth: to teach us reliance on God, to draw us back or closer to our Savior, or to give us empathy for our neighbor.

As Christians, we have a higher calling. We have been bought at a price and are no longer our own, but humble servants to our Heavenly Father. The greatest commandments are to love our Lord with all our hearts, minds and souls, and to love others as ourselves. In a world rampant with selfishness, vanity, bullying and greed, God offers us a better way. We are after all His hands and feet, and what better way to represent our Lord and serve others than with the gift of empathy?