We recently watched the movie “Everest,” and one line from the movie really struck a chord with me! In one scene a man is talking about which one of them he thinks will make it to the top first. Another man says, “We don’t need competition between people! There is competition between us and the mountain!”
Sometimes even a secular movie can speak volumes to us on a spiritual level. They realized they had a common enemy—the mountain. Often there is competition between pastors, those in leadership, those involved in a particular ministry, or between denominations. What we often miss is the fact that we all have a common enemy! We don't need competition between people. There is competition between us and the enemy of this world—Satan!
1 Peter 5:8 (NIV) Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
We are on the same side. We are all a part of the same RESCUE TEAM.
It's hard not to have a competitive nature—we are human after all—and competition just seems to be part of our makeup. We enjoy a pat on the back, and we like to be told we are doing a great job. (And sometimes we need that encouragement.) But sometimes it can go to our heads and we can become more focused on the praises of men than pleasing our Heavenly Father.
However, if we seek to glorify Christ by reaching the lost and pointing them to the One and Only HOLY God, our focus must come into alignment with His heart and His desires. When we put Jesus first, our own goals and expectations give way to what God wants. We must understand that He is God, and we are not.
I believe John the Baptist said it best:
John 3:30 (ESV) “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Rejoice today in the fact that we as Christians are part of the most honorable and Spiritually empowered RESCUE TEAM on the planet! Ever seeking to bring glory to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, we stand firm and stand together against our common enemy! We are on the same team, with the same goals, and serving the same God!
1 Peter 5:8-10 (NIV) 8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
In this impatient, rude and easily provoked society that we live in, its often hard to have happy loving feelings for people we come in contact with throughout the day. Media of most any kind seems to rouse social, racial, and religious tensions. Let’s face it. Our society has become riddled with hate.
I try to hold my tongue when it comes to politics. I know that arguing generally escalates the situation, and rarely if ever, changes the views of the opposing side. As the tension in this world continues to rise, it is extremely hard be overflowing with love and compassion for those who arrogantly oppose us and especially our Christian values.
It’s easy to lose our temper (speaking of myself here) and have less than kind thoughts about people who openly seek to suppress the message of the cross, and Jesus’ redemptive work. When someone says something hateful or degrading about our Lord and Savior we typically want to spring to His defense.
But, He doesn’t need us to defend Him. He didn’t call ten thousand angels to come and save Him from the agony of the cross, and He doesn’t need us to display hateful attitudes in an attempt to defend Him now. He is God.
Instead He has called us to love. Some days its harder to love than other days. Sometimes I have really hateful and disruptive women in the jail church services. I have had to bite my tongue many times. We often expect so much more from the lost than they are capable of delivering--inside or outside prisons walls. We have to remember…they are lost and in need of a Savior.
I’ve been praying for God to give me more love and compassion for the lost lately. I asked God to show me how to be more kind and loving. He instantly reminded me of an occurrence several years ago. I was living in Iowa and had stopped by my local dollar store to grab a few items.
At the check-out there was a dirty faced little blonde haired girl standing in front of me. Her clothes were dirty and ragged, her hair was unkempt, and she was standing there barefoot. She was counting pennies in her little change purse and placing them one by one on the counter.
My heart broke for this precious little one. Having a daughter not much older than her at the time, I couldn’t imagine this being my own child, alone, dirty, and possibly hungry. I quickly stepped up and paid for her things and told her to keep her money.
She smiled a big beautiful smile and said, “Thank you!” I hurried to try to catch her outside to see if I could get a little more information that might allow me to help her more. But, as soon as I exited the store she was long gone. I cried all the way home as I thought about the little girl. I couldn’t rest well that night wondering if she was okay.
You see it’s easy to have compassion on children. I wanted to scoop that little girl into my arms and just tell her how loved she was. I wanted to make sure all her needs were met, feed her, and comfort her. My heart broke for her and she wasn’t even my daughter.
As I was reflecting on this encounter that’s when Jesus spoke to my heart. He gently whispered, “That is how I see each person I have created—as a child. I too, long to take them into my arms and comfort them and provide for them. Even when they grow up they are still my children. And, I do not want them to be lost and alone.”
That hit me right in the feels! If we could only see others—no matter what age, or no matter how hateful—as that little girl in the check out line. If we could see them as God sees them; lost, confused, hopeless and in need of a comforter. If we could only see past the facade and into the depths of their hurting hearts. Then maybe, we could learn to love a little more like Jesus.
I’m praying to see past the hard outer shell, past the rage and hate, past the ungodly language and attitudes; and see the lost, hurting, confused, broken little child that Jesus sees inside them. Lord please help me to love them like You do—as a child.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes I inadvertently forget that God really is in control of every little thing in our lives. He knows what’s coming before we do, so He is much more capable of handling our situations than we are.
This past Memorial Day my daughters and I were driving to visit my mom and dad. It’s a nice scenic drive on a heavily wooded winding road with hills and valleys. I was driving and talking to Haley who was sitting in the passengers seat. She suddenly looked frightened, and I quickly turned to see one of the largest deer I have ever seen running into the road in front of us.
There was no way I could avoid hitting it. It just darted out right on top of us! Haley covered her eyes and let out a little scream. Hannah was in the back seat with her headphones on, completely oblivious. I hit the brakes as hard as I could while bracing for impact and waited to hear the bump, bump, bump sound!
I cannot explain it, but we must have missed that deer by a hair! When I realized we had cleared it, I shouted, “Thank you Jesus!” Haley uncovered her eyes and said, “How did we miss it?” Hannah took off her head phones and asked, “What happened?”
I can only say that the angels must have shoved that deer across the road, or Jesus turbo-charged it in a split second. Haley and I both were amazed. We could not figure out how we missed it.
But, I pray before any of us leave the house to drive anywhere. And, if I happen to forget, one of the girls usually covers it. I believe God was watching out for us. His hand of protection was on us. How often we forget that we serve a God who is capable of taking care of every little thing. He’s not too busy for us!
A couple of nights ago, Haley was looking for the hole punch. She was trying to get her school papers in a notebook and had searched the house over. As she sat in my office frustrated to no end, she simply whispered, “Jesus will you show me where it is?” No sooner than she had said it, she lowered her eyes and noticed it on the bottom shelf of my computer desk hidden by the shadows!
She came upstairs and told me how God showed it to her. I myself have had to ask God to reveal things to me such as lost car keys, a favorite purse, or a match to a shoe. He is faithful to answer our smallest prayers. James tells us we have not because we ask not.
How often do we forget to turn to Him, and trust Him to help us in everyday things? He is our friend, and yes He cares about every little thing!
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.