Encouragement for Today - Dec. 26, 2006


December 26, 2006


Encouragement for Today


“Rescue Heroes”
Renee Swope, Proverbs 31 Ministries Speaker and Author, Executive Director


Key Verse:

Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (NIV)


Today’s Devotion:

I was looking through the clothes rack when my then two-year old son, Joshua, walked up to me with tears streaming down his chubby cheeks. He’d been playing in the children’s area of the small consignment store, but now he was pulling my hand and leading me to his injured friend - a clothes mannequin.


“Look mommy,” Joshua cried, as he pointed to the stand and the metal rod that was shooting up her back. Then he whimpered, “Ouch, that hurts.”


Overwhelmed by Joshua’s tender mercy, I almost started crying. I knelt in front of him to explain that his friend was okay. She just needed a little extra support.


Joshua’s heart was so full of compassion. It was a picture of God’s love for me that day – love that shows concern, not just with words but with actions. Joshua saw someone who was hurting, or so he thought, and he came to her rescue. 


Joshua’s love-in-action reminded me of a story Jesus told about another rescue hero. There was a man who was traveling down the road one day when he noticed a hurting neighbor who had been robbed, stripped of his clothes and left for dead. Unlike others who ignored him as they passed by, this man saw the injured victim and was moved with compassion. He bandaged his wounds, took him to an inn and got him the care he needed.


Jesus told this story to show what compassion looks like. But, it was more than a story He told, it was a story He lived.


With never-failing love and compassion Jesus became our rescue hero. He had an aching awareness of our injured hearts, our sin-wrecked lives and our need for His forgiveness. He couldn’t just walk by. Instead, He came to our side. With outstretched hands He offers to heal our wounds and give us the care we need.


Today’s verse tells us that even when our hurts and our stuggles consume us, or our responsibilities, jobs and failures overwhelm us, God’s love is greater. His compassions never fail.


I love that Jesus didn’t just tell us to love, He showed us how to love -  by loving us first. He told us to love sacrificially. Then He demonstrated by sacricing His life for ours. He told us to be there for others, because He was and is there for us.


So, whether you need more of His love or feel called to give His love away, remember the same compassion that brought Jesus near over 2000 years ago moves His heart toward you today. 


No matter what you need, He offers healing for your hurts, comfort for your concerns and rest for your wearied soul. No matter what you face today or tomorrow, His compassions will never fail. They are new every morning!


My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, thank you for seeing my greatest needs. When I fail or feel failed by others, remind me that your compassions never fail me. Thank you for loving me with Your Words and Your actions. Help me do the same – love you and others with my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Additional Resources:

Searching for God’s Treasures  4-CD Set of Messages taught by Renee Swope

Who Holds the Key to Your Heart?by Lysa TerKeurst


Do You Know Him?


Application steps:

Are there areas in your life that are hurting (marriage, work relationships, parenting, financial stress, etc.)? Tell God about them and ask Him to be real to you, to care for your needs, to be your rescue hero. Then look for evidence of His active love in your life - a song you hear, a sunset you see, a friend who stops by unexpectedly, or a stranger who simply smiles and asks how you are doing today.


Soak up the truth of today’s devotion. As you experience God’s love for you, look for ways to give His love and compassion to those who are hurting around you.


Reflection points:

To bring this lesson to life, read the story of the Good Samaritan (Matthew 10:23-27). Try to remember different times when you’ve needed help, when you’ve been a rescue hero, when you’ve been like the inn keeper who helped someone care for another, or when you’ve been too busy or bothered to help. We have all been in each person’s place. Ask God to show you what character you are most like today.


Power Verses:

Psalm 103:13, “As a father has compassion for his children, so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.”   (NRS)


Psalm 51:1, “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.” (NLT)


Isaiah 30:18, “But the Lord still waits for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion.” (NLT)


Originally published Tuesday, 26 December 2006.