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DEALING WITH HEART PAIN THROUGH KINDHEARTEDNESS

It is said that the greatest pain is heart pain. Sometimes it never goes away. Life is such that reminders of what caused it never cease.

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For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. [Hebrews 4:15-16 KJV]

When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever. He touched her hand, and the fever left her; and she got up and waited on Him. When evening came, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed; and He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were ill. This was to fulfill what was spoken through Isaiah the prophet: “He Himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases.” [Matthew 8:14-17]

Jesus wept. [John 11:35] [1]

I’ve written recently about the great pain the Lord Jesus suffered beyond His great suffering on the cross. There was ongoing pain that plagued Him throughout time. Maybe we do not think of God in that way, that He, as great and powerful as He is, suffers from something apparently only endemic to mere humans. Yet, the Scriptures are very clear on this subject: God suffers.

Perhaps that is why He is so into mercy. He goes out of His way to have compassion for others. And perhaps that is why so many people have a heart for mercy and compassion, even though they may have never submitted to the Lord. It is because we are made in God’s image. This is why even unrepentant sinners often find it in their heart to be loving and kind and help people along the way.

The last two plus years have been very difficult for a lot of people. Though never reported in the major media, a great many people have lost their businesses, their means to make a living, their relationships, and their health, many in spite of the so-called cure. Millions were forced to comply with authoritarian strictures that did much more harm than good. Millions will never recover. I am at a loss regarding what will become of so many of these people. And instead of this being a time of much greater soul searching, of much research toward answers, and of genuine caring on the part of those who made it through for those who didn’t and so many who are suffering still, we have seen an even greater manifestation of hardheartitis. Rather than move into an even greater state of compassion for the hurting, broken, and terribly betrayed, many have taken a hard heart against them, as if they all got what they deserved.

There is no way the Lord can be pleased with this. We know what touches His heart and we know He will do absolutely anything for anyone as demonstrated by His supreme sacrifice in payment for our sins, many of which are directed against Him. He has long since taken an attitude of forgiveness and hopeful reconciliation, of course, though he bears no fault. He will do anything in His power through righteous means to become reconciled to any person anywhere. And remember, though the Lord often gets blamed for the way things are or for what humans have done to Him and each other, He has never been guilty of sin. He is pure and holy. Sadly, some people gag at that truth.

ANOTHER CAR ADVENTURE  

Though I believe in proper maintenance and keep my vehicle as well maintained as possible, over the last several months I have had a problem with said vehicle. It has a tendency to not start. Earlier it was due to a balky starter. There were times I would try to start the car with no success. I would wait a short while, turn the key again, and the engine would roar to life. I dealt with this for a year or two. It got worse. I took it in for repairs. I am blessed to have a great place to take my vehicle when the need arises. The people running it are honest and forthright. It is one of those rare places in that field in which you know they are shooting you straight. I have a great relationship with them.

I came across it, probably in the yellow pages, over a decade ago, when new to the area. I was about to take a long cross country trip. The day before, I was running a lot of last minute errands. It rained heavily. The next morning, when I started up the car, there was a problem. It was running like garbage. Since I had very little time, having appointments on the road that must be kept, I quickly looked through the phone book, chose a place that looked good to me, and gave them a call. The owner answered. I explained my situation. He said bring it in. When I got there, though he didn’t know me from Adam, and though he had other work in process, he attended to my car right away. I had chosen the right place. There is no doubt it was God-directed.

It turned out to be an ignition coil and a plug. He explained that there was a slight design flaw on my vehicle that allowed water to splash up and settle in the wells where the plugs and coils are located. He fixed the problem. I was there about two hours. I think it only cost me about $200. I thanked him profusely for going out his way to help me. He replied that he needed to help me get on the road.

When I took my car in maybe four years ago for the start problem I had then and they confirmed it was the starter, they put a new starter on it and all was well. What I didn’t know at that time was that the preferred starter they wanted was unavailable and so they got the next best thing, a starter from another manufacturer than the ones they usually installed. Last year, when the starter problem rose again, I took it back in. They replaced the starter. 

Then they did something I have never seen done before or ever even heard of, and I talked to people about this that would know.

After installing the new starter, a good one from their main parts supplier which was then available, they brought out the old starter in a box and put it on the counter when I was paying. They said the old starter, the inferior one, was actually still under warranty. They explained why they had installed it previously. They told me to take it down to the parts house where they got it and ask for the warranty money. I was blown away that they would do that.

So I went to the local parts house. They said yes, the starter was still under warranty, but they would need to talk to the owners of the shop and give the warranty money through them. I returned to the garage. They called the parts house. The parts house released the money to the garage. As soon as they got the credit they came out and handed me about $130 or so for the old starter. I told them you can’t do that. They insisted. I said okay, then let’s split it. They refused. I essentially got a starter for free for three or four years. This was an unprecedented situation.

Now regarding my latest start problem, the one that has been off and on for the last half year or so, it turned out to be a bad battery terminal, the part that connects the wire directly to the battery. I’ve been dealing with cars forever and this kind of knowledge makes one feel like an idiot, but I logically thought it was the battery. When I took my car in on a previous occurrence, maybe two or three months ago, under similar conditions, they saw me right away, found that the battery tested good, and replaced one of the battery terminals with a much better one. For free. The owner did this. With a smile.

So the other day, I had a bunch of stuff to do that had to be done that day, and was about to leave early in the morning. And surprise, surprise, the car wouldn’t start. I could hardly believe it. It was fine just two days before. I live in an out of the way place. I prayed. I checked the old terminal. I took it loose, took it apart, cleaned what maybe needed cleaning, put it back together, tightened it down, and nothing. Dead battery. I would need a jump.

In this process a yard service contractor showed up not too far away and began mowing. With time wasting away and needing to get on the road, I prayed some more. I decided to go ask the yard guy for help. We had never met. I got his attention while he was mowing and explained my problem. He was very friendly. He first said he would come by in maybe thirty minutes. Then he suddenly stopped his mower, turned it off, and came from out of the yard. We had a friendly discussion. This was a positive guy. He agreed to come over right away. He pulled up next to my car, we hooked up my cables, and my car started right up. He noticed the bad terminal. We said our goodbyes. I thanked him profusely. He refused to take any money. I knew he wouldn’t but thought it was the right thing to do to at least offer.

I called my garage. They had no time. Were very busy. They were two weeks out. I explained the situation. He said he might have time just after lunch. Everywhere I went until then I had to keep my car running. Had many places to go. I had to leave my car running in parking lots. It never overheated. Also, when I had taken apart the bad terminal and cleaned it, the nut in one side never seated again properly. The connection was not very good. My car kept running. That afternoon I made it over to the garage. I had to wait. No big deal. But then the owner made time, came out to my car, and tested the battery. It was good. Incidentally, I bought the battery from them. It’s a five year battery. It’s been over four years. Batteries have since almost doubled in price.

He went back in the shop and got one of those excellent terminals they use and installed it. For free. And a smile. The car started right up. I thanked him profusely. I have prayed for these people many times. One can never know for the most part whether one’s prayers have had an impact but no matter. It is not the one who prays but the One who answers the prayers that makes the difference. These people are so busy they are actually two and a half weeks out and their customers keep making appointments. Half the garages in my area have gone out of business. They have almost more business than they can handle. And they continue being friendly and forthright with their customers.

I will leave it to you, dear readers, to make any spiritual applications regarding my stated adventure in this post. Is there a bad connection? Do the battery terminals need cleaning or replacement? Need a new starter or know someone who does? Maybe there’s a bad ignition coil or sparkplug. Regardless, the best way to deal with such problems is to first seek the Lord in prayer. Then be ready for the answer. And know that the answer will most often include mercy and compassion, either on our part or that of another. Sometimes we have to initiate the process.

Suffering is very real and we often have to deal with pain, but heartfelt mercy for those who hurt and are in need acts as a salve and anointing to meet such needs and absolve such hurts. The Lord demonstrated how this is done. Much compassion is called for in these times. We must give it and also receive it, depending on the circumstances. Dealing with pain, whether our own or that of others, is helped tremendously through simple acts of caring and love.

In my experience, I have discovered that beyond an apparent unseen barrier keeping people disconnected, a smile, an act of help though relatively minor, or something bigger such as miracles, all act as works of compassion that dissolve the barrier and allow for necessary human contact toward the alleviation of suffering. Most of us have been on both the giving and receiving ends of such interactions. Both have their purpose. Both are edifying. And you can’t have one without the other.  

So, what began as a very hopeful day for me which turned into a short term mini-misadventure ended up being a great day thanks FIRST AND FOREMOST TO THE MERCY AND COMPASSION OF THE LORD JESUS, and secondly to some very good and friendly people who also demonstrated such care, one of which I had never met, who were willing to help out. For free.

And I’m not so sure they’re even professed Christians.

© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.   

RESISTING THE AWAKENING: Finding Fault Leads to Closed Minds and Hard Hearts

         Christians say they want a Great Awakening but most don’t want to change. That’s why the Lord almost always has to go outside to find the right people to drive it.

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         The status quo likes things the way things are in general and their status quo status is proved by their willingness to go only so far toward necessary change, and it is not very far.

         This is why we rarely get anywhere and why those on the edge of truth who are trying to bring it forth always get slammed by those holding back. But the Lord Jesus will not be denied. He is bringing this, and will bring it, and if He has to He will leave all nominal and unwilling Christians behind.

HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF

         He has done this countless times before. He will never allow the intransigence of His own supposed people to hold Him back. There are many, many more people who want Him and love Him with ALL their hearts and are willing to do anything He says, even though most of these do not qualify as “Christians” by those who set themselves up as judges. These relative outcasts have paid a great price to be in that place of closeness to the Lord and have suffered greatly for it. For many, their lives have been destroyed in the process of staying on the path but they don’t care about the price that must be paid.

         They want God. They want reality. They are tired of playing games and believing promises that never come true. They are tired of people never keeping their promises or coming through for the Lord. They see clearly that all of these so-called spiritual heavyweights in control and all their sycophant often clueless congregants have actually sold out and really don’t want any change unless it brings further personal benefit to themselves.

         Beware any religious leader who looks good and sounds good but never has any real desire to get out of Egypt or makes peace with living in the Sinai.        

PRESS ON!        

         WE WERE MADE TO BE IN THE PROMISED LAND, just as it was way back then, except now it is obviously not geographical but spiritual, and if God needs to leave an entire generation behind, believe me, HE WILL DO IT.

         But for all real Christians it is time to go forward. It is time to let go of all the idols and false doctrines and compromise and things that keep Christians from embracing the full will of God. The Lord is trying to do something absolutely great and spiritually unprecedented in America, and the majority of Christians continue to reject it. This is a terrible turn of events but it is the foreseen reaction to this great move of God by those who study Awakenings and revivals. There is always a very strong and evil reaction to such great moves in the early going by those who claim to be holding the fort but are actually only clutching onto their own personal benefits and standing. They have given in to both personal pride and spiritual pride and would rather sit on their tuffets in comfort back home than engage the enemy on the field of battle.

         I will close with this very profound food for thought:

         “But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.”

         Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.” [Matthew 21:28-32] [1]

         © 2017 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

You Can Trust Your Heart With God

         If God is anything at all, He is faithful. He won’t let us down. He’ll always be there. Betrayal is the farthest thing from His mind. And though we might not be able to figure out why, He really does love us all, and it hurts Him to have those He has created reject Him.

         And we think, how in the world can God be all-powerful and strong and yet so easily hurt by mere human beings? Maybe it’s because He’s not the big bad unfeeling ogre some people think He is. He really can be touched by our pain and feelings of helplessness.

         But He also knows that freedom comes with a price and He can’t be there every five seconds to protect us from every little happenstance. There is no growth in that. God puts a very high price on maturity and maturity demands pain. There is simply no other way.

         Now, He does watch over us, and He often protects us, but His goal for us is to grow and be like Him. He is not in the business of having perpetual children who never grow up. Why in the world would He want that? WE don’t want that. So the way things are make life tough.

         But He wants us to be up to the challenge. He has chosen that we enter this world in a completely helpless state. He has chosen the way of growth. Any intelligent person would eventually discover that if he or she was in God’s shoes it would be done in the same way.

         But whatever happens, because God is loving and kind, it never means that anything lousy is permanent, or else He would not have made a way for miracles. He would not allow the possibility of a sunrise chasing away the darkness of night. And he has made His Holy Spirit available to help and comfort us.

         Christianity 101 is this: Our Lord Jesus is God, and God is Love, and Love is good.

         There is no doubt that the circumstances of this life can be bad, but God is not bad. And when God is summoned in faith He shows up, and He chases away darkness and a lack of hope. He blesses us with strength and will often help us open a door, so we might go in where the life is.

         I have found that when we are serious about God, God will be serious about us. There is a clear connection between giving ourselves completely to God and God giving Himself completely to us. He is a lover, and He believes in love. And He knows love is a 100% commitment and never anything less. Therefore, if someone wants to mess around on God and give Him anything less than what He has already given to us, that someone better not expect anything from God.

         If you have never been hurt in love you have never lived, so why would we expect to treat God in such a way? If it isn’t fun for us, why would it be fun for Him?

         We are truly made in the image of God, and if anyone loses track of this, our Lord Jesus is the perfect image of God in human form to always remind us. Jesus is God. Did He not provide the greatest expression of love in paying our way out of sin?

         “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” [John 15:13] [1] 

         If that’s not love, there is no love. The greatest love is giving oneself for another. One will find that when he does for God what God has done for him, he will know God.

         Such giving creates a pure heart. Selfishness, however, creates a cold and evil heart. This pretty much explains everything, doesn’t it?

         Our Lord is 100% Love, 100% faithful, and a 100% giver, and these are the kind of people He relates to.

         One will never go wrong in giving his or her entire heart to the Lord Jesus.

         In fact, one could never do anything more right.

         © 2012 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.