Category: <span>thoughts by Doug Lim</span>

In Luke 7, Jesus teaches that we should go out of our way to welcome the unwanted. Our Savior knew all too well the pains of exclusion.


But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.”  Luke 14:13

After a long drive, we arrived at our vacation destination late Saturday night. Everyone was exhausted. The next day I managed to wake up in time for church and decided to go it alone. I stood near the back as people streamed through the church doors.

I expected someone to welcome me, but not one person came over and said, “Hello, are you visiting here today?” After the service, I considered talking to the pastor about my chilly experience.

In Luke 7, Jesus teaches that we should go out of our way to welcome the unwanted. Our Savior knew all too well the pains of exclusion. His community ridiculed him, his family questioned his sanity, and his closest friends betrayed him.

But this did not stop Jesus from doing everything possible to make himself approachable to all who suffer from abandonment and isolation: the lepers, the gentiles, the tax collectors, the poor, and the sinners.

When we experience neglect or rejection from friends, colleagues, and even family members, Jesus wants us to run into his open arms and ask for a heart like his, a heart that keeps on reaching out to the neglected and the unloved. Christ does not want our pride and our past hurts to stop us from welcoming those who are new to our neighbourhoods, workplaces, and churches.

Our Lord extended his love and compassion to all. Let us do the same. Let us welcome the marginalized and disenfranchised souls we meet so we can live more as Christ wants us to live.

Lord, help us be more welcoming so others can see your goodness in each of us. Prevent us from making snap judgments about people, and give us the grace to welcome those who are very different from us that you have placed on our path. Amen.

Today, why not try smiling and greeting everyone you meet today?

By Doug Lim
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Further Reading

We are Christ’s Ambassadors

Serving the Lord Wholeheartedly

•  Salvation Explained


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In Isaiah 54, God reminds us of his unwavering love and compassion.


Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

After a long hard day at the office, everything seemed dark and heavy. Every thought running through my head came from this dismal place — a place I could not escape. Even the leisure activities I looked forward to after work became just another opportunity to complain.

I wanted to hide, but I had to take care of one last bit of business. I plopped down at my desk and prepared for the final conference call of the day.

My seven-year-old son knocked on the door and strolled into my room. “Dad, you look a little tired. You should rest. I love you.” With those precious words, a rush of love swept over me. I looked up at him. “Thank you, son! You made me very happy.”

In Isaiah 54, God reminds us of his unwavering love and compassion. In a world founded on the notion of needing to have more, accomplish more, and be more, God reminds us **it is the love of his heart that we need more of — the source of true peace when peace seems so distant.

In times of desolation and discouragement, seek refuge in Jesus Christ where you can rest and repair those parts of your life the world has worn down. He is our key to peace during times of stress and confusion. Pray always to him and be comforted by his kindness and compassion, hope and love, light and consolation — the perfect cure for a troubled heart and soul.

Lord, thank you for your endless source of peace and love to all who seek your place of refuge. I ask that you remind me to call on you whenever I find myself uprooted, confused, and restless in this world, a world that tries to draw us away from our source of true peace — found only in you. Amen.

Today:  Thank God often for his love, his care, and his peace.

By Doug Lim
Used by Permission


Further Reading

•  What a Friend we have in Jesus
•   Father God’s Intimate Love Letter to You
•  Salvation Explained


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Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”  Luke 9:61

I decided to take a road trip with my family before the kids headed back to school. I quickly realized there were many routes to choose from to get to our final destination. Did I want the fastest path, the longer scenic route, or the tourist track with its many stops?

If my objective was to get to our final destination as fast as possible, why would I pick a route that required many stops? I could not take the scenic route and expect to get there quickly. I needed to decide what was most important to us and choose the best path to get there.

In Luke 9, we see how difficult a time the would-be disciples had as they struggled to sever ties to the things of the world and choose to follow Christ instead. Often our desire to go back to how things were distracts us from doing what Christ asks of us, making it difficult to follow him faithfully.

What amongst the many paths the world tosses at us, which we have attached ourselves to, are we willing to set aside for him? Are we spending too much time browsing the internet, swiping away at our phones, or connecting with people on social media sites?

Christ does not want us too occupied in activities that have little to do with following him. We should choose the most direct route to Christ and exclude all other unnecessary pathways. Each day we are presented with this choice to make.

Lord, help me to do a better job of focusing my attention on what you are asking of me. Let me not be distracted by the things of the world that I end up going back to a way of life where I am far from you. Amen.

Seek to make worshipping and following Jesus in the Spirit’s strength your focus throughout the day.

By Doug Lim
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Further Reading

•  Pressing On! – a lesson on focusing our eyes and goals on Christ
•  We Plan – God Directs
•  Salvation Explained

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“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” Matthew 6:33

I started spring cleaning late again. Our family possessions grew and occupied more and more valuable space. Boxes and bags, filled with items for donation, dotted the upstairs bedrooms. And in just about every cabinet I opened, I found stacks of books and magazines I never planned to read.

The clutter clued me in that I had grown too attached to the things of the world. All the extra stuff lying around the house not only occupied physical space, but the possessions also intruded my spiritual place of tranquility and order where I spend time in prayer.

In Matthew 6, Jesus cautions against an excessive attachment to things of the world. He instructs his followers to seek first the Kingdom of God, trusting in him to supply all our needs. God feeds the birds, brings forth a harvest, and takes care of every aspect of his created world, especially in the care of his human creatures.

Jesus wants us to put the things of the Spirit first and release our hold on things that have no lasting value. Are we putting too much of our time, treasure, and energy into the things that clutter up our spiritual lives and have no value in the end?

To help restore the order and peace we disregarded, let us get rid of the boxes and bags cluttering up our rooms, closets, and hearts. Provide space for God to bring in his spiritual things — the things that give us real meaning and order in our lives.

Lord, give me the grace to seek your Kingdom first, trusting you completely so that I no longer cling to possessions. I want to experience the peace you promised, which comes from loving the spiritual things you offer me. Amen.

Take a survey of what is cluttering your heart. Ask the Lord to strengthen you so that you can let go of these hindrances to seeking his Kingdom.

By Doug Lim
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Further Reading

•  What Do You Want Jesus to Say When you Meet Him Face to Face?
•  How to be Filled with the Holy Spirit
•  Salvation Explained

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A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, ”If you are willing, you can make me clean. Mark 1:40

As a kid growing up, I had the chore of looking for my little brother when it got close to dinnertime. I usually found him playing at a neighbor’s house. But one evening, he was not at any of the usual places. Mom phoned his friends but came up empty. This had never happened before.

I sat in my room without any idea what to do — my heart racing. I dropped to my knees and prayed like crazy, hoping my brother would make it home safely. I never prayed so hard before. A few long minutes passed and the front doorbell rang. It was my brother. “Sorry! I’m a little late,” he said. “Mom, I went to the store to pick up ice cream for dessert.”

In our Christian journey, moments will arise where we find ourselves desperate for something seemingly out of reach. It might have to do with our health, like the leper in Mark 1, financial worries, relationship challenges, or something else in another area of our lives.

In these moments of frantic and worry, our loving God wants us to reach out to him, pleading on our knees as the leper did. Our prayers from the deep places in our hearts will not go unnoticed by our Savior. He hears us and knows what we need.

Let us never doubt the power of faith and prayer. Show your trust in Jesus and cry out to your Savior when overwhelming circumstances emerge out of nowhere.

Lord, let me never feel ashamed to come to you with my desperate cries for help when I find myself at a dead end. Deepen my faith; do not allow me to doubt your ability and eagerness to come to my aid. Amen.

When you feel worried and overwhelmed, bring your cries to the Lord. Turn to psalms, like Psalm 42, to give you the words to voice your concerns to him.

By Doug Lim
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Further Reading

•   God is My Delight
•  God is GOODd
•  Salvation Explained

 

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So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon.”  John 1:39

The past week did not go smoothly for me. I was overwhelmed by some unexpected expenses, a cancelled doctor’s appointment I made months ago, and a disputed bank transaction I never came across before. I went to the Lord for support and insight on how to deal with these problems.

I confess my prayers are more focused and passionate when life gets tough. I seek out God time and again, petitioning him for a way out. However, when everything seems to be going well, I can easily lose sight of God as I immerse myself in the joys and comforts of life.

In John 1, Jesus asked the disciple, “What are you looking for?” His questions are always penetrating. Our Lord is probing their hearts again. Jesus wants to know how they see him in their lives. He hopes to discover faith-filled and devoted followers, not believers who prefer him to be nothing more than a problem solver in their lives.

Do we approach prayer as a relationship with Jesus — a relationship with someone we love and who loves us? Our Savior wants us to know him better. He is a problem solver for sure, but Jesus is much more.

He loves and cares for each of us, listens to our deepest thoughts, fills us with words of hope. Stay with Jesus as you would with your closest friend. Let us imitate the disciples and spend a day with him, thanking and praising Jesus for being much more than just a far-off problem fixer in our lives.

Lord, let me see your love and care for me that it draws me to want to come and stay with you. I want to hear your comforting voice in my heart. I know you are faithful, more faithful than even my closest friend. Amen.

Today as either joy or trial enters your life, take time to share it with Jesus in prayer. If you are able, look at your calendar to block out some time this week to spend a more extended time with God in worship, prayer, and Scripture reading.

By Doug Lim
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Further Reading

•  From Victim to Victory – Physically and emotionally abused as a child, Sharon stopped crying at 6 and stopped talking at 9.
•  Hope for the Hopeless
•  Salvation Explained

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She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them”   Luke 2:7

We attended a family gathering a couple of years ago to celebrate a young couple’s fifth wedding anniversary. During dinner, I noticed our kids taking only a small portion from each of the delicious dishes paraded in front of them. I knew they were hungry because they had told me so.

After we finished several courses, our hostess announced it was time for dessert. The desserts looked incredible, but I could not eat another thing. I overheard the kids whispering to each other. “It was a good idea that we made room for dessert.” Suddenly, it all made sense. They planned all along to save valuable tummy space for dessert.

As Christians, we often forget to plan ahead and end up stuffing ourselves with things of this world, discovering we have left little room for Jesus in our daily lives. For many of us, we make time to chat with friends and colleagues, respond to text messages, and participate in social activities. How can we make the same time for our relationship with our heavenly Father who loves us?

God wants us to make him a priority, which means making room for Jesus. We can ask the Holy Spirit to help us glorify our Savior above all. Although we do not get text messages from him, he is worth far more than just another ping on our phones.

Christ is our source for truth, goodness, beauty, and love in our lives. When our relationship with Jesus is a priority, nothing else is as important as our Lord and Savior.

Let us make room in our hearts each day just for Jesus.

Lord, let me not be so attached to the activities of this world that I forget to include you in my daily life. You have given me many good things and helped me in many ways. The least I can do is make room in my day to give thanks and praise to you. Amen.

Evaluate how you spend your time. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you where you can make more time to spend with Jesus.

By Doug Lim
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Further Reading

•  Continuous Partial Attention Is your prayer time undistracted?
•  A Bible Study on Waiting on God By Sylvia Gunter
•  Salvation Explained

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He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.” Mark 4:39

I remember a friend of mine a few years back calling to tell me about a report whirling around the office. “My company is planning a ‘reorg’,” he said, which is a significant and disruptive overhaul of its business structure. He had a new baby on the way at the time. The possibility of getting laid off concerned him a great deal and his stress level soared as we continued to talk.

Since I have survived several reorgs, I was glad he had reached out to me. I tried to ease his worries about his family and close friends at work by giving him my perspective on what to expect in the coming days and weeks.

As we continue to exchange ideas to help him prepare, I realized how often we fail to go to our Savior when we see an approaching storm. Our tendency is to brace for the looming trouble ahead with the help of colleagues and friends alone.

Jesus knows about the approaching storms we face and wants to assist us through them.

But we must remember, he will not force us to call on him. Instead, he patiently waits for our prayers for assistance, nudging us to call out to him before it becomes too late.

Let us not overlook our need for his presence and power to quiet the heavy rains and strong winds advancing toward us. He sees ahead and knows what steps to take. Invite Jesus into our problems, reaching out to him in prayer, so we can receive his guidance on what to do before the storm comes ashore.

Lord, let me always be in awe of your power and wisdom that I do not foolishly attempt to take on the storms in my life by myself. By the work of the Holy Spirit, please remind me to seek your wisdom and guidance first before I start looking elsewhere for help. Amen.

Ask the Lord to meet you in the middle of the storms of your life and invite him to guide you by faith.

By Doug Lim
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Further Reading

•  Hope for the Hopeless
•   Did You Know that You are Someone Special?
•  Salvation Explained

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Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” Philippians 4:4-5

I drove up the last stretch of the winding road to the cabin. The last few months, filled with unwanted surprises and worries, had worn me down. I needed a getaway to regain my balance. But the change in scenery did not help as much as I expected, and the stress and frustrations returned.   Despite knowing God is ultimately in charge and that he knows what is best for us, we still find ourselves frustrated and disappointed when our well-intended plans do not go our way. Are we willing to forego our plans for his, remaining open and trusting in the Lord’s ways to fulfill our hopes and dreams?   In Philippians, the apostle Paul speaks of rejoicing in the Lord always. He does not suggest we delight in the tragic events in our lives. Instead, we are called to rejoice in Jesus, who reigns over all the earth, who accompanies us in life’s joys, successes, challenges, and disappointments.

Times of struggle are the times to exercise our faith. God recognizes we may not always understand the reason for the painful circumstances in our lives. But we do know God never promised us an easy life in this fallen world. He promised us a good life in his Son, Jesus Christ, from whom our joy arises.   Jesus died for us and rose on the third day. In light of this truth of Christ, who is himself the “resurrection and the life” (John 11:25), let us rejoice through faith, thanking and praising him for his gift of salvation — and his loving and caring presence in our lives.

Lord, thank you for your friendship and the gift of salvation through your death and resurrection. Jesus, help me to rest and rejoice in you always, especially during times of disappointment and hardship. Amen.

Ask the Holy Spirit to assure you of his presence with you in your difficulties. As you face challenges, ask the Lord to be your joy and peace.

By Doug Lim
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FURTHER READING

• Eternal Love
• Fully Surrender to the Lord

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


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“And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.”  Luke 11:46

One Saturday morning, I got up early while everyone else slept in. Since I had extra time before my dentist appointment, I went grocery shopping. After loading up my shopping cart, I went to check out. The lines were long. I worried about missing my dentist appointment.

As I waited, someone jumped in front of the line. I could not help myself and gave it to the person hard. “You need to wait in the line just like the rest of us!”, I shouted.

In Luke 11, we see Jesus letting the Pharisees have it again. As I continued to read, I found myself cheering the Lord on, shaking my head in disapproval, and confirming to myself that the hypocritical Pharisees deserved it.

He used harsh words toward the Pharisees, no doubt, but Jesus was never short on love and compassion. He was always ready to forgive and forget. He wanted them to open their hardened hearts to hear the good news of salvation and to see the encounter as an opportunity to re-examine their views and receive him as their Lord one day.

Bumpy encounters with our brothers and sisters should not become a reason for bitterness and payback.

They should be opportunities to put on display our Christian charity and kindness instead. When tempted to lash out, let’s remember to pause and ask the Holy Spirit to watch over the words we say and to keep us from doing what does not glorify him.

We glorify God when we treat others kindly.

Lord, help me to see the bitterness in my heart, a heart ready to condemn. Replace these hurtful feelings with thoughts of love and kindness, which you have shown to me and even the scribes and Pharisees who often condemned you. Amen.

When tempted to react angrily to someone else, ask the Holy Spirit to help you exercise self-control and look at that person with compassion.

By Doug Lim
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The Power of Forgiveness
Who is My Behaviour Affecting?
Dealing with Inner Turmoil

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Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12

During my school days, I spent many hours preparing for tests. There were oral tests, written tests, open-book tests, placement tests. After completing my formal education, I hoped, my testing worries would cease somehow for the most part.   But once in the workforce, I discovered that it was expected, if not mandatory, to take work-related classes and seminars to help us advance in our profession, and that meant more tests and examinations.    As Christians, we know God also tests us. He asked Abraham to sacrifice his son to test his faithfulness. Jesus asked Peter if he loved him over and over again to test his love for him. God asked Job to endure many hardships to test his loyalty.    The forming of our faith, obedience, love, integrity, and loyalty through testing is serious business for God. He evaluates our responses to people, difficulties, and challenges. And this includes looking at the ordinary things—opening the door for a stranger, running an errand for a friend, and giving the gift of a smile to someone who needs encouragement.    God’s tests are not impossible to pass when we focus on him rather than the circumstances. He strengthens us and encourages us along the way. And with every test we get through, God rewards us by pouring blessings into our lives.

He finds great joy in our successes and always looks for ways to grow our faith. Let us commit ourselves to pass each test of faith and bring joy to our Savior.

Lord, help me to see the tests in my life the way you see them. I thank you for all the second chances you have given me. And with each hurdle I overcome, may my faith and trust in you deepen, my Lord and Savior. Amen.

See each difficulty and challenge as an opportunity to draw close to your Father and trust him to strengthen you and grant you the wisdom needed to overcome the challenge

By Doug Lim
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FURTHER READING

•  God is Faithful
•  He Lets Me Rest

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“I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”  Matthew 17:16

After I finished the house repairs for the holidays, my wife doled out welcomed words of thanks and admiration. She called the kids over, and they gave me hugs and pats on the back. I had spent many hours fixing the place.

I figured there was nothing around the house that I couldn’t repair and considered remodelling the kitchen —even though I lacked the know-how. My family urged me to call in experts, but their warnings didn’t deter me. I still believed I could handle it.

In Matthew 17, Jesus’ disciples, filled with confidence, went out to the sick and tried to heal them. But little did they know, they lacked something for success: the power of God’s grace activated through faith. The disciples didn’t believe the power of God was available or necessary. They took matters into their own hands and experienced disappointment.

How often do we dive into a project without activating our faith, relying on our power alone instead? God wants us to partner with his Son before jumping in feet first into a big project. It’s in Jesus’ guidance and power that we accomplish great things, without which success becomes difficult or impossible.

Before your next challenging project, take a step back and activate the power of faith before getting started. Spend time in his Word, time alone in prayer, time awaiting the Holy Spirit to nudge you in the right direction.

Let’s partner with Jesus the next time we need to make an important decision.

Lord, don’t let my pride prevent me from calling on you for insight and guidance before taking on a big project. And never let me forget that my ability to navigate all the challenges of life successfully is dependent on you,not on my effort alone. Amen.

Invite Jesus to guide and empower you by his Spirit in all you do.

By Doug Lim
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We Plan, God Directs
Keep Yourselves in God’s Love

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“A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest” Luke 22:24

I jumped in my car. Running late again, I decided to take a few shortcuts. But things didn’t work out as I had hoped. First, a car stopped in front of me with their right turn signal flashing, but they refused to turn right. Yes, the traffic light was red, but I could see it was safe to make the turn. Why don’t they see the obvious, I thought. From that point on, every traffic light turned red just when I approached the intersection.

The perceived faults of others clashed with me all over the place that day. I certainly did not handle the tiniest of blunders of those around me very well.

In Mark 10, Peter argues with the other disciples about, “Which one of us is the greatest!” The wrong question to ask for sure. But does Jesus have a breakdown and scream at Peter? No, he does just the opposite. Jesus patiently instructs Peter, along with all the rest of them.

When we find ourselves short-tempered with those around us, Jesus wants us to look back at all the times he has been patient with us. Christ knows all our mistakes, shortcomings, and failures. Yet, he continues to wait for us to change our ways and do better next time.

Jesus loves imperfect people. None of us are without our share of faults. God’s boundless patience should remind us to be more loving to the imperfect people around us who are just like us. Imperfect.

Lord, give me the grace to be more patient with others during those times when I feel just worn down with the challenges of life. And whenever my thoughts become critical of others, let thoughts of your kindness and patience help me to be less judgmental and difficult. Amen.

Thank God that you do not have to produce patience in your own strength. Rather, his Spirit, living in you, enables you to respond with patience as you trust him to do so.

By Doug Lim
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•  When I say… “I am a Christian” – by Carol Wimmer
•  I am Thanking You right NOW

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“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her.”  Luke 8:43

I often fall into the trap of thinking I can handle most things the world tosses at me, proudly believing I am more capable than, in reality, I am at times.

Then came the pandemic, business closures, stay-at-home orders, and social unrest in neighbourhoods we call home.

We now have a daily reminder about our limited capacity to deal with the outbreak and flare-ups in our communities and cities. Many things lie outside our skill set to undertake on our own. We might be the best doctor, the best office manager, the best Mom or Dad. But at some point, our skills will eventually fail us no matter how hard we try to shoo away the mess we find ourselves in at the moment.

God reminds us through the storms and trials in our lives that we cannot fix everything to our liking.

In Luke 8, we hear about the hemorrhaging woman. She went to doctors for 12 years, but only Jesus could stop the bleeding — a reminder that some things are reserved for the Lord alone to resolve.

Through our trials, Jesus brings us to the truth of our limitations. Even daily challenges in our lives reveal this reality. Without them, our imperfect power remains hidden, shrouded in pride. And we stay dependent on ourselves and not on the Savior and Redeemer.

Turn to the Lord in prayer during these uncertain times. God has the divine power to turn things around when we cannot. He understands what is best for us.

Lord, may I never forget you are our fixer when things get out of control in our lives. We do not and should not feel we need to go it alone. And no matter what skills you have given us, we must never forget our dependence on you. Amen.

Remember that the God of the universe lives within you by his Spirit and wants you to rely on his strength to obey him, whatever the task.

By Doug Lim
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“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

Getting back to the daily grind was a challenge after a long weekend. I am usually tired and not in a great mood. But I made a point of being nice throughout the day. I welcomed people back, fetched coffee, and thanked those who held the elevator door open for me. And when I arrived home after my tough first day back, I even tried to radiate niceness when I greeted my wife, the kids, and Jasper, the dog.

However, God wants us to be more than just a nice person. He wants us to be kind and compassionate. There is a difference.

Without kindness and a sense of compassion, God knows we can become cold toward our brothers and sisters’ cries for help. Numbness invades our hearts, making it hard to hear and care for our hurting neighbors, and even difficult for us to notice the loving voice of God.

To save lost souls adrift from our Savior, we need to be more than just another nice Christian, more than a voice of passing pleasantries. We need to be more like Jesus Christ, who revealed his love of neighbor through acts of kindness and compassion. He reached out to the ill and disabled, he offered mercy and forgiveness, and he comforted those who mourned and grieved.

Our Father in heaven wants us to be images of his Son — because there is no limit to the kindness Jesus has shown each of us. How then can we put an arbitrary limit on kindness when it comes to others?

Lord, help me to develop the patience I need to be kinder. Even with all the frustrations and irritations surrounding us nowadays, I know with a heart open to your abundance of grace, we can all be more compassionate and kind to each other. Amen.

By Doug Lim
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Extending Grace to Others

Love is Patient and Kind – a story of a man on a bus

Be Patient

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