Monday, January 25, 2016

Shake it Off

  by Sam Nobles
But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat, and fastened on his hand. So when the natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, "No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he has escaped the sea, yet justice does not allow to live." But he shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. (Acts 28:3-5 NKJV)

The Apostle Paul used this opportunity to share the True and Living God with an audience who was familiar with this type of snake, a type of snake that doubtlessly had claimed the lives of their family and friends. Why did such a bad thing happen to the Apostle Paul? Why do such things happen to me and you? Perhaps the reason has little to do with me and you; what we are doing or not doing. Maybe the reason such things happen is for the locals – those who are watching to see if there are any answers, any solutions, or any hope for them in their similar situations. When it comes to helping people and being used by God there is one, non-negotiable prerequisite: Compassion.

Compassion for People
The old adage is true, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” The way we have compassion for others is not by giving them information about their issues, but by absorbing the bite of the same snake that bites others. The situations and tough times that we go through allow us to truly be able to say to others, “I know what you’re going through.” The world is rarely impacted and drawn to Jesus Christ through the sight of Christians prospering. No, it’s through seeing believers suffering and not giving up that the barbarians change their minds. Perhaps the most important ministry you’ll ever have is when people see how you react to the pain they go through all of the time. Difficulty is the agent that often allows people an opportunity to see the reality of Jesus Christ most clearly.
Sure, things will go wrong in this life, but whether they be little inconveniences or major heartbreaks, trust in the Lord. Realize those problems are opportunities to learn compassion for people and to gain confidence in God. No matter what your snake may be, shake off the snake and see God use you in the lives of the people around you.

Scripture to Claim:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NKJV)

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