Compunction to Care



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After the funeral of a friend taken too soon,
And crises looming in several other’s lives,
My attention was directed to the scripture that
States we do not grieve like those who have no hope.

I was reminded people who love God
Have been sometimes counseled not to grieve,
As if grieving is a symptom of non-trust in God’s care for us.
But that is not what this scripture says.

It tells us we will feel grief, but are not deserted.
God is in the middle of our grief, a constant comfort.
But I was also reminded, from other scripture, as people of God
We might even grieve more than those without hope.

Many people care only for ‘me and mine.’
But as we express God’s love,
We have the compunction to care
For people and situations in a way many people don’t comprehend.

I am pleased to hear of some wealthy people who have begun a movement
To give back to the world, but what is my motivation?
God teaches me it is love – As I love the people around me
I get involved in their emotional lives, and love them for who they are.

And even when people I don’t know hurt – but are in situations I understand – I hurt.
When they grieve, I grieve;
Perhaps not in the bottom-of-the-pit place where I find myself When a close companion,
Beloved family or cherished friends dies, but I do grieve.

But I can let God’s love flow through me by being close,
Listening without denying their feelings are real or even appropriate,
Starting where they are when they come for comfort,
And showing God’s love so they will understand there is hope.

Hope God will help us deal with the grief,
Hope things will get easier to bear as God provides strength,
Hope the grief can spur us to action through which to funnel the grief.
Hope we will not always be lost in this sea of grief.

God is the source of my compunction to care.
The love flowing into my heart fills me and urges me care enough
To share it with everyone I meet, and when I care,
I share the grief of the person in front of me as well as people in tragic situations I hear about.

Yet I don’t live a grief-stricken life.
As God is the source of my compunction to care for many,
He gives strength and the wisdom of how to live with the resulting grief.
His help is often flesh covered as people offer practical help, and often it is spiritual comfort.

I don’t deny the reality of that deep sense of loss.
I have experienced it too often, and it is not always related to death.
It is only in facing it for what it is, feeling each stage fully, and giving it back to God
That I become unafraid to nurture this compunction to care.

The more I learn to love God,
The more the compunction to care grows,
The more I care for those around me and am affected by them,
The more strength God will give me to remain effective in expressing God’s love to hurting people.

I Thessalonians 4:13
And now, dear brothers and sisters, we want you to know what will happen to the believers who have died so you will not grieve like those who have no hope…

Just One Whine Theory



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A friend told of her daughter who had a set-back in a recovery process:
She set aside one day to just feel sorry for herself.
“I know it’s going to be okay,” she said.
But she just needed some time to deal with it emotionally.

It reminded me of something I’ve taught young teens
And have come to practice.
It’s a theory I have that combines solid recovery practices
With the practice of letting God handle our hurts.

For each situation, I’m allowed one whine:
Just one “Why me?”
Or “No, no, no, no… this can’t be.”
Just one truly emotional response – to get it out of my system.

But it’s more than just that.
It’s acknowledging I accept the situation as it exists.
I’m not going to suppress it, gloss it over, or go into denial.
I will accept its reality and deal with it head on.

One whine, one deep breath,
“God, I can’t do this alone.”
And I’ve turned the corner, away from despair.

Maybe it’s just me, but for me, I’m not ready to put in practice
The ‘just do it’ motivational speakers’ messages,
The quotes about victorious living,
The truisms about letting God handle everything,

Until I’ve had my one whine.
And then I’m ready.
I lift my head, and turn my face to God
And give it to him.



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Matthew 9:18 – 22 (NIV)

18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.”19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.

20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”

22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.


On his way to another healing Jesus was interrupted.

On his way to helping someone, another asked for help.

His thoughts were focused ahead to the one at his destination

But as he went he stopped and helped the woman in front of him.


Some became impatient.

Some were puzzled.

Very few knew what was happening.

But she did – and so did Jesus.


Some also have suggested the scriptures at the end of the gospels

That say go ye to all the world….

Are better understood as saying

As you go to all the world, take the good news with you.


On the way to work or play, or eat out or meet your accountant,

One the way to funerals, or weddings, or births, or the hairdresser,

One the way to your desk, or worship, to serve or be served,

Stop and see the person in front of you.


See the person whose stress shows.

See the person who just needs a listener.

See the person who faces a challenge.

See the person who needs something you can supply.


A smile, shared laugh, a pen, a few extra dollars, a word of appreciation,

Your jacket, the ability to pick up a dropped item, a hand to open a door.

A push so someone’s shopping cart, a word of encouragement,

Better yet, recognize the person brimming over with good news – celebrate with them!


As you go along your way,

Take the good news of God’s presence in the world with you.

Scatter blessings and be the reminder things can be different

Remind people all is not negative, cold or impersonal by being personal, warm and positive.


The conversation between Jesus and the woman he healed on his way to another healing

Took but a few minutes – perhaps he had stopped to let someone pass,

Or got slowed down by the traffic and she took advantage of the moment to touch him,

But her courage and his response changed her life and leaves us with this reminder.


As you go,

On the way to the next thing, when you get slowed down,

Don’t forget to respond to the person in front of you.

When they are in need, or reach out – reach back.


Additional reference:

Matthew 28:19

New International Version (NIV)

19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, 

baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,



A New Creed


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I believe from the beginning
God’s plan to redeem all men and things to Himself
Has been His purpose since the beginning.
And through the power of Jesus Christ this is being accomplished.

I believe through Christ, who died, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven,
And now sits at God’s right hand, all God’s blessings are ours.
I believe through the power God gave Christ,
He holds – not only our hope, salvation and blessings – but power over all forces.

How can I help but believe?
As the Jews were the first chosen people, you have selected us –
Those who believe in Christ also are chosen to become your chosen people,
Holy, blameless, before you with all the blessings of the adopted sons of God.

How can I not believe and rejoice in your redemptive plan?
As men of old ransomed valuables that had been lost to them
Christ ransomed, by his sacrifice of life and blood on the cross,
The child-parent status we lost through sin.

I believe when I first believe in Christ, confess and seek forgiveness,
My heart is changed, and I am returned to that relationship as an adopted son.
All that I am: all I become; how I perceive, treat, and love people around me,
Through Christ’s power, with God’s Spirit’s direction, are brought into harmony with God.

Ephesians 1:3-7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight….



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It is a fact of nature that big things come from small.
Trees and adults alike start as seeds and embryos.
Songs are often born of feelings, poems of a passing conversation
And many a good marriage is born of a smile.

God help me remember who I am today didn’t happen just yesterday.
Yet what I am tomorrow is happening today.
That seems a contradiction, but life is made up of small steps.
Daily reactions and decisions from the situations you put me in.

Help me be sensitive to your leading in small things,
The way I react to a person, what I say to him or her,
How I decide to act on any given situation
Can begin molding my character and determine opportunities for witness.

Planning and looking to the future are good and necessary.
But help me attend to the sacredness of daily growth.
Give me wisdom to identify and implant the best daily activities
For me to grow into what you have for me in the future.



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The speaker told the congregation about a rowing team she was on in college.

The rowers sit with their backs to the goal, facing a the end of the boat.

The rowers’ job is to row, following the directions of that person,

And the person who faces forward guides the rowers to the finish line

In their final race, with qualifying heats over, they finally were neck and neck,

When their guide crashed them into a bridge.


Her text was God’s words “for I know the plans I have for you…”

Using her illustration, God sits at the end of the boat

And we are the rowers who have our backs to the goal.

We cannot see what is coming but the one facing forward, God,

Knows the future and directs us from that point of view


We talk about stepping into the future, facing the future,

But really all we know is the present and past,

So in reality, we are facing the past and stepping backwards into the future.

All we really have is hope, trust,

And faith in someone who will not crash us into a bridge.


Starting with Old Testament stories, through Revelations,

We gain an understanding of how we can expect God to handle our trust.

And if we insist on crashing into bridges, which we sometimes do,

God doesn’t withdraw,

But allows the trouble and then supplies wisdom and strength to endure.


As I consider the past, I can trust that the God who worked then still sees the future.

He still knows the plans for a hopeful future he had for them, us – me -

Have not changed since he first promised Israel’s exiles he had one.

And he will hear my prayers for courage when

- keeping my eyes on him – I step backwards into the future.


Jeremiah 29:11-12

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray I will listen.”

Look UP!


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Isaiah 63:7-19
Vs 8 He said, ‘They are my very own people. Surely they will not betray me again.” And he became their Savior. Vs 11 Then they remembered those days of old when … they cried out “Where is the one who brought Israel through the sea…Where is the one who sent his Holy Spirit..?”

I see a picture of a people,
Having neglected the vital relationship with God,
Have become weary, self absorbed, bent over with cares.
Finally they say to themselves,
“Where is that God who used to be with us? “
God hears, says these are my people. Surely they will listen now,
And prepares a savior.
When the people straighten and look up,
God already has the savior ready to send.

For centuries Isaiah’s words have been acknowledged
To be speaking of the events we know as Christmas.

So again, I see the picture of a people who are bent over
Who are weary with self-absorption,
Troubled at the chasms that have grown up between us,
Searching for new ways to satisfy the old needs that never go away.
And when, or if, we straighten, look up, and ask
“Does it have to be this way? Is there not a better way?”
God has already prepared the answer.
He doesn’t ask us to return to our ancestors’ way of living,
Or an antiquated philosophy – he calls us to return to his presence.
In doing so, we turn from the negative and begin the journey to wholeness.

This time of year most of our moods lighten in the festivity.
Some of us hide behind preparing the season for everyone else,
Hoping for a different outcome that will be more satisfying this year,
While others truely find momentary fulfilment in the preparation.
We all hope to carry the spirit with us into the next year -
But too often when the season is over, the joy goes with it.
So why don’t try something new? – look up!
God is waiting for that first realization we need something more than we have.

Look up.
Ask, “Didn’t there used to be a different way?”
Let God remind us there is joy in believing he is with us.
Let God remind us he wants to live in us and help carry the load.
Let God remind us when we turn around to look for him,
He is already standing there, his face toward us.
Let God remind us of the name of Jesus, Emmanuel -
God with us.
He has already sent a savior,
But we call it Christmas.

New Thoughts on the Afterlife


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I know I made a rather strong statement about heaven and hell.
I have made it before, and when I said it again today I stopped and considered it.
“My relationship with God is so real,
If there were no heaven,
It would be okay.”

Now, I believe in heaven, and hell for that matter.
But I find neither the glory of heaven
Nor the fear of hell
Are the reasons I put God first in my life.
I find it is the relationship itself that I value.

These have been my thoughts when I made the statement.
And I ask myself
After all that happens everyday in our lives,
And the way the world is today,
Is that enough?

Well, let’s see…
When I gave my life to God, I accepted a new way of life.
My motivation has been changed from self-satisfaction
To service-centered satisfaction.
I find satisfaction in building up instead of tearing down.

God became a constant companion,
Who listens to my rants, raves, anger, hurts, celebrations, joys, and laughter.
We enter every day together.
And I see what God allows into my life
Through the eyes of being among friends instead of alone.

I seek religion and ways to make my world better because of this relationship,
Not to prove I am worthy to qualify for the relationship.
God is my strength and song
And has become my salvation.
Step by step, day/week/year God has become the core of my life.

My bent is towards artistic melancholy and,
Only God knows what all he has saved me from.
But I Figure life would not be pretty
Or joyful. Or peaceful. Or healthy. Or giving
And it would be one crises after another.

So, I say I believe my relationship is so important for my life
Even if heaven as we think of it
Is totally different from reality,
It is okay…I don’t need a mansion or streets of gold…
I have a relationship with God.



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When you’ve been doing the same thing for a while
Restlessness sometimes sets in.
Needing refreshment, you look around at other people’s lives,
And wonder if you need to do something new or different.

In such a state, I went visiting – spent some time in other people’s homes.
And, you know, my life doesn’t seem so dull.
I asked myself how I could handle some of the things they face.
And God let me know what I lacked, and what I had.

I’ll take my stresses,
The ongoing problems, my financial status,
The home I live in,
Even the stain in the bathtub I can’t seem to get rid of.

So, I choose the life God has given me.
I choose my journey with the failures and successes.
I embrace my lack of certain abilities and the talents I have been allowed;
Thankful for the spouse God has given me, and the people in my life.

So, with a deep breath, expectation and dread, hope and worry,
I turn toward the new year.
With another breath, I accept what is, with my failures and successes,
And not yearn for what I do not – or ever will not – have or achieve.

Okay, let’s get on with it.
God has given me things to do, a person to be.
I confess, I do love my life,
And with that confession, I give it all back to God.

God Is Not MY God (Alone)


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So, here I am in a place of opportunity
I would have never had if it weren’t for my husband’s ministry.
One of many opportunities through the years.
And once again I realize how narrow my perspective of God gets.

Here I am, in the presence of God
In a completely different cultural setting than my own.
Words are familiar, but in a new setting,
And I can join into familiar lyrics and tunes with different tempos and rhythms.

And I remember God is not tied to form
Or ritual,
Or order of service,
Or anything else that calms me and sets my atmosphere for worship.

There are people who worship without music
(Which I cannot imagine.).
There are people whose entire worship is a written script
(How dry, where’s the joy?).
There are people who have no script at all… not even bulletins
(It’s okay – they sing all the songs without written words – by heart).
There are people who cannot be quiet in service,
(Whose joy spills into robust singing and vocal approval.)
There are people who touch God through languages I will never understand,
(But God’s spirit still touches my heart.)
And God works in and through us all.

I am reminded that while God isn’t confined to my box,
He fully inhabits my life, and my culture, and my method of worship,
Allowing me to express who I am and need to most effectively worship.
While all the time encouraging me to grow, change and be more than I am.

And that is what we all have in common: God isn’t confined to anyone’s box.
Yet he fully inhabits the lives of those who ask, any culture, and any method of worship,
Allowing all his children to express who we are, and what enables us to enter into worship.
While all the time he encourages us to grow, change and be more than we are.

One of life’s greatest blessings for me is to have what I believe and think about God
Spoken to me in words and phrases that are completely unlike my own.
When another person expresses the call of God on their life.
And it looks so very different in action, yet is the same in principle.

Spirits soar and boxes expand just a little
As we begin to understand and grasp the tension between
Our inability to understand the complete scope and totality of God’s work,
While, at the same time, experiencing the extreme, personal, nature of My relationship with God.

Wednesday and Thursday’s Prayer


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God, Help me look at today.

I’m reminded of living near the ocean in the Northwest.
By Wednesday many people’s talk
Had already turned to the weekend’s visit to the beach.
No matter the season, many live for the weekend’s coastal adventure.

God, help me live today in your presence.
Help me do something for your kingdom each day,
Move closer to a goal, do something useful,
And/or work on the skills that bring me pleasure.

Help me be thankful for today
In spite of mid-week weariness.
If I concentrate on today’s joys and challenges,
The week’s road doesn’t seem to stretch so far beyond the horizon.

If there are preparations to be made,
Help me keep them in the right perspective,
Joyfully looking forward, without dread, or losing today’s importance.
Help me bask in today’s space and time.

Prayer meeting is pretty much part of the past, but not the need for it.
At mid-week I need that refreshment of spirit:
A gathering of resources for the longevity of my joyful attitudes.
Help me find something to enhance worship on this day.

Each day has its own feel
But the middle days get lost in the turning toward the weekend.
Help me make the best of this day,
In a way that makes me a better person for all days to come.


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