Be pitiful

Be pitiful

May God, who gives this patience and encouragement, help you live in complete harmony with each other, as is fitting for followers of Christ Jesus. – Romans 15:5

2 Corinthians 1:3-5

 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.

 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.

 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ.

In 1897, The Reverend John Watson, who is better known by his nom de plume, Ian Maclaren, was invited by the popular religious newspaper, the British Weekly, to submit a Christmas message. His response was a single sentence: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

Later the wording was changed to, “Be pitiful, for everyone is fighting a hard battle.”

Before the twentieth century, pitiful and kindness were nearly synonymous. Pitiful meant full of or characterized by pity, that is, compassionate, merciful, and tender.

During the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic, small acts of kindness made a world of difference. People reached out, again and again.

Another credo, originally coined in 1985 by Anne Herbert, became a rallying cry for many: “Practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” Kindness was provided based upon need, not worth. “It’s not our job to play judge and jury, to determine who is worthy of our kindness and who is not. We just need to be kind, unconditionally and without ulterior motive, even – or rather, especially – when we’d prefer not to be” (Josh Radnor).


Being kind takes strength, courage, and genuine concern for the welfare of others.

Father encourage me to be kind, tenderhearted and forgiving in the same way that you have been to me. May my life reflect You in how I care and show pity to others.


In our fallen world, we often find ourselves engaged in unrelenting battles. We suffer doubts and fears. Past wounds and anger, which are not completely healed, cast their shadow into the present. We still react negatively, if not harshly to the recollection of past offenses and insults. We mistakenly believe we are over them, but our reactions tell a different story.

In time, we discover that the hard battles of others reflect our own difficulties. We become more sympathetic, even empathic. We come to terms with the reality of the Father’s truth.

James 1:20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

There has to be a better way.

Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

“Paul lays down the law of personal relationships – that we should treat others as Jesus Christ has treated us” (Barclay). Paul explains why this new approach to human relationships is now possible and doable. We follow the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. We are simply to do for others what He has already done for us. We have been immersed in redemptive forgiveness and transformational decontamination.

Paul’s thoughts expressed in Ephesians 4:32 are echoed and expanded in Colossians 3:12–13.

Colossians 3:12-13

 12 Clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.

As a result of their renewal in Christ, Paul exhorts each child of the King to put off their old way of life and put on their new life that has been provided.

Paul begins by encouraging us to clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy and a heart of pity, that is compassion. Compassion is all about being aware of the struggles and suffering of others and having a desire to lessen it. “Compassion is often expressed in figurative language, for example, ‘your heart should go out to others,’ or ‘you should feel sorrow in your heart for others,’ or ‘you should weep in your insides because of others’” (UBS).

Compassion in turn leads to acting out kindness. That is we are to, “be kind to others” or “do good for others” (UBS). The Greek term translated as kindness is chrestotes. “The ancient writers defined chrestotes as the virtue of those whose neighbors’ good is as dear to them as their own” (Barclay). Kindness is all about looking outwards all the time rather than inwards.

When another person’s worth is removed from the equation, acting in a kind fashion often requires great courage and strength. Kindness embodies the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate in interpersonal relationships. Kindness is soft and gentle. It speaks the truth in love to reach out and help others.

21st century research has revealed that devoting resources to others, rather than having more and more for ourselves, brings about lasting well-being. Kindness has been found by researchers to be the most important predictor of satisfaction and stability in relationships with others, particularly marriage. Many colleges, including Harvard, are now emphasizing kindness on applications for admission.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see” (Mark Twain).

How does the Father prepare His children to show kindness and comfort others? He has a special school that is designed just to teach comforting. But the school has an unusual name and curriculum. It is the School of Sorrow. The school is part of lifelong learning and we never graduate.

This school features courses centered on trouble and and suffering. Remarkably, the Father is there in the midst of our struggles. As we go through them, the Father, the God of all comfort, comforts each of His children. He matches the specific comfort to the specific struggle.

As we are comforted, we learn to comfort others in the same way that we have been comforted by the Father. This is the purpose of His school. He prepares us to comfort others with the same comfort that we have received. Putting it in other terms, the Father helps us in our sorrows, in order that we might help others in their sorrows. As long as there are hard battles and consequent sorrows on planet Earth, He will keep us in school, so that we can comfort and help others.

When I was a boy and would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping” (Mr. Rogers).


Employee-owned ∙


The Father loves his Son and has put everything into his hands. – John 3:35

Romans 8:17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, we are fellow heirs with Christ.

Titus 3:4-7

 4 But when God our Savior revealed his kindness and love,

 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit.

 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.

 7 Because of his grace he declared us righteous and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.

A company is employee-owned when more than 30% of its employees have ownership in it. An employee-owned company is more commonly referred to as an “employee stock ownership plan,” (or ESOP). In an ESOP, the employees are given stock in the company as part of the compensation for working at the company, making them shareholders.

It has obvious benefits for the employees, and it profits the company as well. When people own something, they take better care of it than if it is rented or leased. There is a pride of ownership and a desire to protect and maintain. Employees work harder and smarter. It is easier to develop a sense of family and unity.

The kingdom of God is in a sense employee-owned. Actually, a better description might be family-owned. When people accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, they become part of the Forever Family. We are born again into the family business.

Perhaps you have never thought about it, but the Father is in an exclusive one-of-a-kind business. He alone created a special niche that no one else can enter. He is in the redemption business. The Father only has one competitor. His competitor, the enemy of our souls, is in the perdition business.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

The Lord Jesus Christ paid the debt for all our sins so that each of us could be redeemed, forgiven, enter into the Father’s family and have eternal life. We “did nothing to deserve it; God, the great Father, in his amazing love and mercy, has taken lost, helpless, poverty-stricken, debt-laden sinners and adopted them into his own family, so that the debts are canceled, and the glory inherited” (Barclay).


Each of us is born in utter spiritual poverty. Yet through Christ, we are the present and eternal possessors of untold spiritual wealth.

Father as I ponder the amazing implications of my inheritance, I am truly overwhelmed. I cannot take it all in. How can it be that You being You, would seek me out, invite me, and then adopt me into Your Forever Family? It is mindboggling, extraordinary. Thank You that it is all true.


The Father gave control of His business over to the Son. The Lord Jesus Christ is the heir, He is the owner of it all.

But there is more and it is marvelous.

Each child of the King is a fellow heir with Christ. What belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ in total, belongs to each of us in part. Our inheritance is not just a future expectation, but a present reality.

An infant cannot write or sign a check. But each of the Father’s children has an eternal account filled with spiritual wealth. In a sense, the balance of our spiritual trust fund is a Googolplex, a number so vast, it is almost beyond measure. It “includes all of the riches and wealth of the entire creation” (Cottrell). As joint-heirs with Christ, we have access to this enormous treasure right now.  In order walk in the Spirit, we must draw down from it continuously. Our spiritual riches are the source of our hope and confidence, and also our energy and vision. We can do all things through Him who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

“Christians are men and women for whom the best is always still to be, they know that, however wonderful life on earth with Christ may be, the life to come will be greater still. Christians are people who know the wonder of the forgiveness of past sins, the thrill of present life with Christ, and the hope of the greater life which is yet to come” (Barclay).

Our Father is rich. How rich? The Lord God Almighty is rich beyond all measure. He not only owns all that He created; He has the power to create as much as He wants.

What must we do to somehow gain a share in His wealth? Absolutely nothing! When we are born again into His Forever Family, the Father freely shares His great wealth with each of us. We become His heirs. In fact, we are fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

The only thing we have to do is believe in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. When we do we become children of the King and fellow-heirs with the Lord Jesus Christ. We inherit a treasure beyond imagination or calculation.

When the Father sent the Lord Jesus Christ to die for us, it was “the greatest revelation of God’s kindness and love for humankind. God took the initiative. God does not save people because they behave righteously but because He is merciful” (Constable).

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Galaxy brain

Galaxy brain

I have heard all about you, LORD. I am filled with awe by your amazing works. In this time of our deep need, help us again as you did in years gone by. In wrath remember mercy. – Habakkuk 3:2

Psalms 33:4-9

 4 For the word of the LORD holds true, and we can trust everything he does.

 6 The LORD merely spoke, and the heavens were created. He breathed the word, and all the stars were born.

 7 He assigned the sea its boundaries and locked the oceans in vast reservoirs.

 8 Let the whole world fear the LORD, and let everyone stand in awe of him.

 9 For when he spoke, the world began! It appeared at his command.

Since the 1990s, the Hubble space telescope has been capturing and transmitting back to Earth amazing, resplendent images of distant galaxies, star clusters, and nebulae ( Hubble allows us to get outside of ourselves, glimpse places far away in time and space.

“Imagine yourself at a scenic vista somewhere on Earth, such as the rim of the Grand Canyon or the shore of an ocean stretching out past the horizon line. As your brain processes the view and its sheer vastness, feelings of awe kick in” (Marina Koren,, December 1, 2020). The awe elicited by the greatness of the creation has come to be called “Galaxy Brain.”

The experience of awe can lead to “a diminished sense of self,” a phrase psychologists use to describe feelings of smallness or insignificance in the face of something larger than oneself. Research has demonstrated that the sensation can be a good thing: A shot of awe can boost feelings of connectedness with other people” (Koren).

Humanity was created with the ability to feel awe when viewing and reflecting upon the Father’s magnificent work of creation.

But the Father is seeking something far closer to His heart. He wants people to be awestruck with Him. How can we see and reflect upon the unseen God?

He has provided two ways: His Word and His Son. Through the written Word of God, we come to know about the Father. We discover His characteristics, qualities, and divine attributes. But more importantly, we learn about who He is as a person.

As we “see” Him in His Word, it is transformational. We are awed and experience, something far more sensational than Galaxy Brain. We experience what we might call “God Brain.” We are at once diminished and seem puny and insignificant, yet at the same time, our thirst for connection with Him magnifies.


“The Father is God and the Son is God, but the Father is not the Son and the Son is not the Father. He is speaking about unity, not identity” (Wiersbe).

Father, You are utterly awesome. Lead me into a deeper understanding of who You are. Fulfill my increased yearning to be connected with You.


How can we see and reflect upon the unseen God? The answer is amazing and yet sublimely simple. As we observe the Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospels and hear Him speak and teach, He shows what the Father is like because He and the Father are one.

John 10:30 I and the Father are one.

How can this be? Theologians have been trying to answer that question for centuries. Perhaps we may never understand it on this side of eternity. But we can simply read the words of the Lord Jesus Christ, reflect, understand, receive, and believe.

The Lord Jesus Christ unequivocally stated that the Son and the Father are one, that is one essence, true deity. Two different personalities, the Father and the Son are both equally God. When the Lord Jesus Christ became truly human, He lived His life on earth as God in the flesh.

If you want to know what the Father is like you simply look at the Son. It is that simple.

John 14:7- 9

 7 If you had really known me, you would know who my Father is. From now on, you do know him and have seen him!”

 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.”

 9 Jesus replied, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet you still don’t know who I am? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father! So why are you asking me to show him to you?

Because no one has ever seen the Father face-to-face, the Lord Jesus Christ came to earth to reveal what He is like.

John 1:18 No one has seen God at any time. But the unique One, who is himself God, who is at the Father’s side, He has explained Him.

When the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God became flesh and dwelt among us, He revealed the Father to us. What does that mean?

The Greek term translated revealed or explained is exegesato. It comes from the Greek verb exegeomai, which means to lead out, explain, interpret, describe, or make known.

Because no one can fully see and comprehend the Father in His Glory and live, the Lord Jesus Christ came to exegete and fully reveal the Father. “If you want to see what God is like, look at Jesus” (Barclay).

Hebrews 1:3 The Son is the radiance of his glory and the exact representation of his essence.

He’s Everything to Me

In the stars His handiwork I see

On the wind He speaks with majesty

Tho’ He ruleth over land and sea

What is that to me

‘Til by faith I met Him face to face

And I felt the wonder of His grace

Then I knew that He was more

Than just a God who didn’t care

That lived away out there


It just takes time

It just takes time

Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. – Psalms 90:12

Psalms 1:1-6

 1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.

 2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night.

 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.

 6 For the LORD watches over the path of the godly . . ..

Trees differ significantly when it comes to their rate of growth. It varies from species to species but also depends upon the climate and the water available which often fluctuates from year to year. In tropical climates with warm weather and a plentiful supply of water, a tree can become fully grown in 30 years. A tree in cooler regions may take several hundred years to reach full growth and maturity.

Every year a tree increases in size by adding a layer of wood when the woody fiber is deposited between the bark and the trunk. These layers are referred to as growth rings. The age of a tree is determined by counting these growth rings.

Giant sequoias are some of the oldest and largest trees in the world. Many specimens have a verified age of over 2000 years and some of the oldest-known redwoods are over 3500 years old. An oak tree can live up to 1000 years. When forests are cut down, for whatever reason, it can take up to 100 years for them to grow back.

It seems that many children of the King have difficulty in realizing and facing up to the inexorable fact that the Father does not hurry in His development of our spiritual lives (Stanford). Spiritual formation cannot be rushed. Spiritual development is a lifelong process. The ongoing progression of growth is seen everywhere in nature. The finer, the more advanced the organism, the longer the process. The Father is working from and for eternity! It is totally in His hands. It is not our concern how much time is involved or how long the process takes.

“A student asked the President of his school whether he could not take a shorter course than the one prescribed. ‘Oh yes,’ replied the President, ‘but then it depends upon what you want to be. When God wants to make an oak, He takes a hundred years, but when He wants to make a squash, He takes six months’” (Dr. A. H. Strong).

Benjamin Disraeli was British prime minister in 1868 and 1874-80. “One day in the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Disraeli made a brilliant speech on the spur of the moment. That night a friend said to him, ‘I must tell you how much I enjoyed your extemporaneous talk. It’s been on my mind all day.’ ‘Madam,’ confessed Disraeli, ‘that extemporaneous talk has been on my mind for twenty years.’”


“The conversion of a soul is the miracle of a moment, but the manufacture of a saint is the task of a lifetime” (Alan Redpath).

Father indeed life is brief. How I wish I could grow and develop a heart of wisdom that I may use the time I have in a way that has value in eternity. Please make it so.


Psalms 90:12 Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may get a heart of wisdom.

In Psalm 90, Moses prays for “a heart of wisdom.” He seeks the best of the best insight and discernment. Moses has reached the point where he is aware of his tremendous need for such knowledge and wisdom. What characterizes a wise heart? Where does the process of developing one begin?

A wise heart begins with the recognition of the brevity of life. Our life on planet Earth is finite. Our days are numbered. As we check them off, we are to come to terms with the reducing number we have left. This realization becomes the motivation for making the most of what remains. How can this be done? The psalmist prays for a heart of wisdom. He wants to grow in the Father’s wisdom. The fruit of the Father’s wisdom is skillful living.

In Psalm 1, the one who walks uprightly with the Father is likened to a luxurious tree planted by flowing water. In the proper location with abundant water and nourishment, trees do what they were made to do, grow and bear fruit in season.

 Psalms 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

Trees grow quietly. They take in water, nutrients, sunlight, and produce something entirely different than what they take in.

Spiritual formation is seasonal. We can learn much by looking at the rings of a tree. Some years were marked by great growth, others not so much. So it is with the Father’s children. During the slow times, growth is solidified and strengthened, often through testing and even severe drought.

“Growth is not a uniform thing in the tree or in the Christian. In some single months there is more growth than in all the year besides. During the rest of the year, however, there is solidification, without which the green timber would be useless. The period of rapid growth . . . occupies but four to six weeks in May, June and July” (Strong).

The Father’s methods involve time and a variety of techniques that are all necessary for spiritual development. “The Husbandman’s method for true spiritual growth involves pain as well as joy, suffering as well as happiness, failure as well as success, inactivity as well as service, death as well as life . . .” (Sanford).

“God loves to bless His obedient children. He moves out ahead of them, preparing the way, bringing them into a good and pleasant place. He doesn’t promise lack of trials, but He does promise eventual victory” (Stanley).

“It is God’s way to set people aside after their first start, that self-confidence may die down . . .. We must get to know ourselves and that we have no strength. Thus we must learn and then leaning on the Lord we can with more maturity, and more experientially, deal with souls” (John Darby).

The bottom line is that it just takes time. There are no shortcuts to spiritual maturity.

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today” (Mother Theresa).


Falling for false teachers ∙

Falling for false teachers

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling. Jude 1:24

Jude 1:24-25 

 24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault.

 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, , and beyond all time! Amen

In the 19th century, political mudslinging and character assassination were prominent in political campaigns. Complete lies and total fabrications were spread as truth.

Various popular forms of 20th-century mass communication, such as TV and newspapers, permitted incorrect information to get out and rapidly spread to the public. For example, the Chicago Tribune’s infamous 1948 headline “Dewey Defeats Truman.”

The 1950s and 1960s were rife with political propaganda. In the 21st century with the rise and proliferation of the Internet and social media, misinformation, disinformation, and “Fake News” have come into their own.

Misinformation is false or inaccurate information that is spread regardless of whether there is intent to mislead. Misinformation includes such things as false rumors, unsubstantiated claims and “facts,” insults, and even pranks.

Disinformation is false information deliberately spread to deceive and damage credibility. It includes malicious content such as smear tactics, character assassinations, slander, and outright prevarications. It misrepresents opposing points of view. It offers negative, misleading, often hateful media coverage.

“Fake News” has come to the front. It presents inaccurate reporting and fabricated information. “Fake News” may have begun as a slanted interpretation of the facts. But these “facts” have taken on a life of their own.

In the first century A.D., “Fake News,” propaganda, disinformation came under the umbrella of false teaching, heresy, and apostasy.

The goal of false teaching is to mislead, confuse, sidetrack, shipwreck, and entangle people. The Father’s children are often targeted to dissuade them from their quest of knowing Him and His truth.

How do we counter this continuous barrage of disinformation?

The Scriptures have provided actionable intelligence regarding this threat. The Father offers countermeasures and counterstrategies to fight this war for thoughts and minds.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 

 3 We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do.

 4 We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.  5 We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God.

There are two main objectives: believe and fill.

The first action is to receive a fabulous gift. We have been given a marvelous promise. We have only to believe it, making it our own. The Father’s promises are like having money deposited in a bank account. It is there for us. All we have to do is write the check.

Jude 1:24 [The Father] is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.

Of what is the Father capable? How much ability does He have? Is He willing to exercise His power on our behalf?

The Father is omnipotent, that is, all-powerful. Whatever power is required, He is more than sufficient to provide. He is adept and able. But what is of greater importance to His children, is the fact that He earnestly desires to protect all of those that are His.


Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us (Daniel 3:17).

Father thank You for Your amazing promise to keep me stable. Encourage me to meditate and memorize Your word.


The Father is to be acknowledged, praised, and worshiped for His ability and desire to keep His children secure.

Romans 16:25 Now to Him who is able to establish you [make you strong] according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ . . .

The Father provided a strong foundation upon which we are to take our stand. He strengthens us to do so. Nothing and no one can shake or crack this foundation. It is earthquake-proof. It provides a mighty fortress for the faithful.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who can do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

Dream the impossible dream. Seek the unattainable. The Father can do far more than we can ask or think. The only limitations are things that are absurd and simply cannot be done. For example creating a square circle. The Father’s resources can never be exhausted.

When His dreams and aspirations become our dreams and aspirations, nothing is impossible.

The Scriptures are the food of faith. We fill ourselves with the truth and the sound doctrine they provide. Those who are mature in the faith, study, learn, and practice the accurate information provided in the Word of God. A keen sense of awareness and discernment develops. This prevents them from being tripped up and falling for the toxic deception of false teachers.

Hebrews 5:14 solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil [right and wrong].

Psalms 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.

Psalms 119:9 How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word.

The Father can keep each child of the King blameless. The Greek word translated blameless is amomos. This term referred to Old Testament sacrifices that were literally unblemished, having no defect or spot. They were without fault and satisfied the righteous requirements of the law.

As we fill our hearts and minds with Scripture, the promise of the Father is realized in us. When we are filled with accurate information, what room is left for inaccurate information?

Whenever false teachers go on the attack and threaten us with their deceptions and “Fake News,” we are safe and secure. Because we are in our Father’s hands, we are enabled to remain faithful until the end. There may be a few missteps and stumbles along the way, but the Father keeps His children from being hurled down.

Psalms 37:24 Even if he trips, he will not fall headlong, for the LORD holds his hand.

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