2020 — A year that shook up America, the world and everyone in it.
Many Christians were rattled to the core as they endured pain at various levels. This season foreshadows worse times to come. That is what the Bible predicts in the books of Revelation, Matthew, and through major and minor prophets of the Old Testament. Trouble, however, is not the only dynamic accompanying the apocalypse. Miracles, angelic visitations, amazing victories for God's people, and great revivals will come.
It is time for God's people to regroup and strengthen each other with compassion.
Our battles are far from over, but unless we love and minister to one another with unity and grace, the Church will fail in the mission of the Gospel.
The Two Symbols
The Bible gives us two symbols to illustrate this compassion; oil and wine.
At the beginning of the great tribulation, angels announce the critical need for oil and wine. They proclaim, "A quart of wheat for a day's wages, and three quarts of barley for a day's wages, and do not damage the oil and the wine." Rev. 6:6
The ministry of compassion must not be damaged or hindered. The oil and wine must flow; it is time to adjust our focus.
A Teaching Dream
At the end of last year I received many powerful dreams. One stood out among them; it was about our need for healing.
In the dream, my wife and I were asleep in a dark bedroom. In the dream, I rose from bed and found two black wolves only ten feet away. At first, I was frightened. But then I realized the wolves meant no harm. One of the two was severely wounded, lying motionless on the ground. The other stayed beside the wounded wolf to watch over it. The beast stared at me with longing eyes, as if requesting my help.
I returned to bed again in my dream, and suddenly saw a wounded deer pressed against the wall, moving right up to the edge of my bed. I jumped up and called to my wife, "Joy, there is a deer in our room!" She did not wake. The deer was bleeding, and at first I thought it was frightened because of the two black wolves in the room with us.
But the deer was not thinking of them; it only wanted to be closer to me, as though I could help it. I tried to move the deer across the floor and out the door, afraid it would attack me with its antlers or hooves. However, the deer never attacked; it only wanted to be near me. As I was pulling it by its antlers, I woke from my dream.
In my heart, I heard the Lord say:
"Peter, comfort and heal my people. The wolves and the deer represent very different groups within My Church. Both are wounded and need healing. They are exhausted and have suffered greatly. Do not push them away, but encourage them to stay with you in a safe place. Let compassion be the focus of the day."
Personally, I am not sure if I know how to do this. But I will do all I can to comfort and help God's people.
I feel a bit like Joseph of Arimathea, who took the body of Christ down from the cross and ministered to it. That is the reason why I write to you, today.
Tone or Truth
Many people want to know and follow the truth, but by far most people want only to feel good. The majority do not want conflict, only peace and happiness. For example, many people will not study policies of a political party, but follow the party that claims to champion peace.
For many people, tone is more important than truth. That is why, in marriage, partners want to feel loved, and fighting over the details of rights and wrongs only heightens marital tension. It is why many people are disgusted to see a picture of an aborted baby more so than being disgusted with the abortion itself. It is wrong, but it is reality.
This is a season of healing that means tone is very important. It cannot be emphasized at the expense of truth, for the truth will set us free. To deny truth is to deny God. We must allow love and compassion to flow in abundance while embracing truth at the same time.
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The Good Samaritan
In Luke 10, Jesus tells the story of the good Samaritan. A man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and was beaten and robbed by thieves. They left him half-dead on the side of the road. Many people passed him and did nothing to help, perhaps because they thought the man was a sinner and deserved his punishment for his sins.
Then, a Samaritan found him. He ministered oil and wine to his wounds and did not forsake him on the grounds that he might be a wicked sinner. After bandaging his wounds, he took him to an inn where he could recover.
If the wounded man was a great sinner, the Samaritan was not condoning his sin by ministering healing to him. He was simply showing compassion. Again, we see the symbols of the oil and wine at work to help bring about the healing process.
In the Bible, oil represents the Holy Spirit and wine represents the shed blood of
Christ. Salvation and the anointing of the Holy Spirit release the healing power of heaven to a wounded and dying soul.
It was the Samaritan's great compassion that opened the door for him to administer the oil and wine. Unless he had stopped and showed compassion, no healing would have followed.
Compassion is needed in the Church and the world at large, but where are the good Samaritans who have the oil and wine?
The compassion and healing we need is more complicated than we might think.
I'm not talking about compassion to a beggar or invalid like Mother Teresa did in Calcutta, though that is certainly important. I am speaking of showing compassion to those wounded in the spiritual battle we have been experiencing. The battle has separated the deer from the wolves in the Church. In this case, the wolves are not evil, just different. The real enemy is pride. Can we show mercy and compassion to those who may not want it?
If the Body of Christ only wants to be proven right, there will be no unity, mercy or compassion.
Without compromising convictions, here are some steps that will help Compassion for Wounded Saints:
Forgive others for alienation and passive aggression against you.
Pray blessings over them.
Guard your heart so that tenderness is communicated, not pride.
Exercise thoughtfulness, consideration and care in word and deed.
Avoid arguments. The last season was for strong debate. Now is the time to be careful and compassionate.
Focus on what you have in common. Usually you want the same end result but disagree on who is to blame and what must be done to solve the problem.
Worship together. That puts the focus on God and not yourselves.
Give the matter of division to God and agree to disagree.
Communicate your love for one another in word and deed. Help serve others by blessing, giving, encouraging and supporting them.
While not talking about your differences, gently talk about your wounded disposition and ask for forgiveness and restoration.
Reflect on the good times you have had in Christ.
Talk about the mission of the Gospel and the goals of the Kingdom of God that you can work on, together.
Only God can change another person. Endeavor to keep the unity of the faith. Be compassionate and be healed.
Bring forth the oil and the wine.
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