A Wisdom Retreat - February 24

Confession and Compassion

Matthew 9:13

"But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Do you want to sense the maximum attention of God? You must first give Him your maximum attention.

Do you want the Lord to be available to you? You must first be available to Him.

Do you want to touch the heart of God? You must first be available to His moving.

If you want to be part of God's effort to rebuild our broken world through the redeeming gospel of Christ, you must be willing to become part of God's solution—whatever it may be.

Isn't it easier just to pray, "Lord, do this. . . Lord, bless that . . . Lord, help him [or her] . . . Lord, provide in this way . . . Lord, minister in that way"? But what if you heard a voice from heaven that said, "Of the five requests you just prayed, four of them are up to you!"

God's work often requires your willingness. In the parable of the Good Samaritan it becomes clear that anyone who claims the name of Christ is not merely to pray for someone, but to pray for wisdom to know how to help.

Compassion for the lost and needy among us is what draws God's attention, for it comes from a heart modeled after His own.

With this in mind, is it any wonder that the average Christian really doesn't want the maximum attention of God? He or she really doesn't want to become part of His divine solution because it may cause a bit of discomfort or uneasiness.

It is one thing to get on your knees and pray for God to bless a person, but it is quite another to follow up that prayer with a letter, a phone call, a visit, an invitation, a gift.

If your compassion does not extend beyond your prayer time, it isn't genuine.

If we are to gain God's special attention as a co-laborer with Him, we must share in His anguish over the fallen world around us.

Aren't we rather self-centered to expect God to share our distress over what we care about if we don't share His distress over His concerns?

Let's not create a double standard in our thinking and living, but wholeheartedly imitate God's standard—following up with acts of sincere compassion after our prayers.

When we begin to pray and act in this way, we can be sure that God is not only hearing us . . . but He is pleased with us!

Prayer Point: Pray for someone you know who is in need, whether it is physical or spiritual, but start your prayer by asking what you can do to help meet that need. Don't just ask God for the solution—ask Him how you can become part of the solution.

Extra Refreshment: Read Luke 10:25-37

The Advent Event

December is one of the busiest months of the year. As Christians, we approach the Christmas season with the intention of focusing on the incarnation and making it a significant time. But it's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the season—the parties, the decorations, the presents and the special events at church. Before we know it, the month of December has flown by, and we wonder where the time went.

One of the most significant things a family can do in December is to be intentional about finding time every day to think about the true meaning of Christmas. The Advent Event is an easy, fun and enriching family project to help focus attention on the birth of Jesus while discovering the big picture of God's plan throughout the entire Bible.

Each day in December, the family sets aside a few minutes together for this activity. There is a simple coloring craft, a story from God's Word and a motion to learn that helps children remember the timeline of Scripture. Most importantly, this resources provides a special family time that Moms and Dads can use to reconnect their families to the spiritual significance of Christmas; the birth of Jesus, our Savior.

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