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Category: Compassion

Overcoming Evil With Good in Charleston, SC

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Topic: Forgiveness
Scripture: Romans 12:21; 1 Corinthians 13:8, 13; Matthew 5:44-45; 1 Peter 3:9
Source: “Chris Singleton Opens Up About Losing Mother In Charleston Mass Shooting” by Maxwell Strachan, Posted HUFFINGTON POST, 06/19/2015
Author: Illustration Exchange

“Chris Singleton, whose mother, Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, died during the shooting rampage in Charleston, South Carolina, on Wednesday [6/17/15], delivered a powerful message to the world on Thursday evening: No matter how much hate there is in the world, it’s no match for love,” reports the HUFFINGTON POST.

Singleton is a 2nd year baseball player at Charleston Southern University, a faith-based school affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. His coach and teammates stood beside him as he addressed reporters just hours after learning of his mother’s murder. “Love is stronger than hate,” said Singleton. “So if we just love the way my mom would, then the hate won’t be anywhere close to where the love is.”

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An Angel Among Us

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Topic: Hope
Scripture: Mark 16:15; Isaiah 61:1; 1 Timothy 2:5
Author: Illustration Exchange

Despite owning a home perched atop a high cliff with a scenic ocean view in Sydney, Australia, Don and Moya Ritchie live on a plot of real estate that can best be described as something out of a bad dream. The rocky cliff is known as The Gap–the most notorious suicide destination in the country.

While most people would surely move away, the Ritchies have stayed for almost 50 years, saving an estimated 160 people from taking the leap.

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The $300 Hammer

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Topic: Suffering, Pain
Scripture: 1 Peter 4:12-13
Author: Jeff Johnson

I once spent two weeks in Brownsville, Texas, volunteering for World Mission Builders erecting a church from the ground up. When we left it was ready for brick on the outside and drywall inside.

While we saved the newly planted church nearly a half a million dollars in labor, it still was very costly work. Not only did it cost time, it also cost a lot of pain. Hammering nails all day takes its toll on the forearms, especially untrained forearms like mine. I had never hammered so many nails. I hammered floor joist braces, hammered spacers up in the rafters, hammered off the same spacers once the rafters where supported.

We were hammering all the time, and my arms ached all the time. I even bought some BenGay at a local Walmart and rubbed it in each night.

On the very last working day of the trip, a vendor showed up carrying five hammers for us to try out. I just happened to be standing close enough to receive one. It was made of titanium and looked very modern. The rep said the hammer retails for $300. I felt very unqualified to be the new owner of a $300 hammer and yet I couldn’t wait to bring it back home and show it off to my family and friends. I asked the rep what made it so special, and he explained that the design of the hammer absorbed the shock that causes muscle fatigue. I knew that fatigue well.

I had some final jobs to do that afternoon, and as usual they included some hammering. So I tried out my new $300 hammer, and immediately felt the difference. My first thought was, “This is exactly what I need!” My second thought was, “Where was this two weeks ago!? This is the last day of my mission trip, I have already been through a bottle of Advil and half a tube of BenGay!”

Application:

After reflecting on my work trip, I have come to appreciate exactly how the events in Brownsville turned out. If the vendor would have shown up on the first day and handed me the $300 hammer, I never would have known its true worth. I certainly wouldn’t have gone home night after night nursing my forearms. Most importantly, I would have never felt the difference between a $30 hammer and a $300 hammer.

Sometimes we need a little pain to appreciate the remedy.

Additional Application:

The pain we have experienced, whether because of our own choices or simply because of life’s difficult circumstances, makes the cross all the more meaningful.

Imagine if Jesus had taken away not only our sin debt at the cross, but also all suffering and pain. We would exist in this world without any first hand knowledge of suffering. Pain would be an historical subject, but not something experiential. Would we ever really know what Jesus went through for us?

I know none of us can fully grasp the depth of humiliation, agony and suffering Jesus experienced as He hung on that cross, but we can imagine at least some of it.  We’ve all experienced some degree of pain, loss, and suffering in our lives. If we hadn’t, Jesus suffering would be completely unrelatable.

Take it a step further and consider the cure. If we never even touched the edges of the sufferings of Christ, would we be able to appreciate the freedom the cross brings? Would we feel the weight lifted, the guilt paid for, or the shame taken away? Would we long for the promises of the cross, including the day Jesus wipes away every tear?

“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

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The Power of Doing Something

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Topic: Evil
Scripture: Romans 12:21
Source: Illustration Exchange
Author: Albert Einstein / Mitchell Dillon

“The wold is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

[Albert Einstein 14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity. He is regarded as the father of modern physics.]

Application:

Albert Einstein’s words were spoken at a time when evil seemed to have an upper hand in the world. Communism and Fascism marched across much of Europe, while the rest of the world was left to choose how to respond.

The same struggle continues today. By God’s design, there continues to be enough evil in the world to test those who have it in their power to do good. And by God’s design, there continues to be enough good in the world to overcome those who have it in their hearts to do evil.

So, the question is this: Will those who love good do what is in their power to do to overcome evil? God does not place the fate of the world in the hands of evil men, but in the hands of those who can and must do something to stop them.

“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good’ (Romans 12:21).

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French Tourist Helps Homeless Richard Gere

Printer FriendlyTopic: Compassion
Author: Illustration Exchange
Scripture: Matthew 25:39-40; Proverbs 19:17
Source: “French Tourist Who Gave Food to ‘Hobo’ Richard Gere: ‘I Don’t Believe This'” by ABC News, as featured on Good Morning America, published on ABC News Blogs, retrieved 4/29/14

A French tourist visiting New York City made headlines this week as she offered food to one whom she assumed to be a homeless man. “I gave my doggy bag to a homeless [man], and the homeless is Richard Gere,” Karin Gombeau told ABC News.

“He was going through a [garbage] bin, I had food with me,” she said. “I thought, ‘He should have my pizza instead of going through that bin.’ ”

Gombeau looked right into the eyes of the “homeless” man and did not recognize him to be a famous Hollywood A-lister. He was dressed in tattered clothes and appeared quite dirty and disheveled.

No, Gere is not down on his luck and living on the streets of NYC. “It turns out,” reports ABC Entertainment News, “Gombeau had stumbled onto the set of Gere’s new movie, ‘Time Out of Mind,’ in which Gere, 64, plays a homeless man.”

“He was dressed in a way, with a cap, not shaved,” she said of the actor’s unbecoming appearance. “He looked like a man going through a rough time.”

Gere never broke character. He took the leftovers from her, thanked her, and said, “God bless you.”

Gombeau had no idea whom she had “helped” until seeing her picture the next morning on the news. Yup, the whole thing was caught on camera! (Click the link to source above for a picture.)

Gombeau was delighted to learn the truth behind her act of charity. “For a first time in New York, I could not have wished for better.”

Application:

Who hasn’t come across someone who is down on their luck? In those moments, no one expects that the person in need might turn out to be an important celebrity, or that an act done in secret will be splashed across the news. Think again.

“When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?” The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:39-40).

“… good deeds done in secret will someday come to light” (1 Timothy 5:2).

“Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done” (Proverbs 19:17).

Every kindness, every act of compassion done in God’s name is received as if it is done for Him. So don’t be taken by surprise the next time you stumble onto God’s set with the opportunity to serve the King of kings!

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