Amy Winehouse

I like to read the news. I usually check the headlines on the internet news sites a few times a day. I try to be watchful over what I read, but every now and then while scanning the headlines I’ll see a picture or a headline about a celebrity. Why are those stories usually bad news? Anyway, that’s how I know who Amy Winehouse is.

I don’t remember ever reading an article about her. I don’t remember ever hearing one song by her. But I saw the pictures. I saw the headlines. That’s all I knew about her. I knew she was addicted to drugs. I knew she was a singer who was booed from a concert recently. I knew she was in an abusive relationship. And today I knew that she died at the age of 27.

When the news page loaded on my computer today and I saw the headline that she was dead, I was shocked at first, but then not surprised. Then I was sad. I was sad she had such a tragic life. I was sad that she had such a short life. I was sad we all watched it happen. We were all surprised to hear the news. But no one was surprised it happened.

Why am I saying all this on the Highway of Love blog? Because after all the headlines, after all the pictures, with all that I knew about her life, I don’t remember praying for her. I can’t say for certain that I didn’t, but I also can’t say for certain that I did. How did I see all that and not pray every time? How did I not really notice her until after she died? Lord, forgive me. Help me to see what You see. Help me to hear what You hear. Help me to love like You love.

And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:15-17, KJV)

And when He had stepped into the boat, the man who had been controlled by the unclean spirits kept begging Him that he might be with Him. However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had compassion on you.” (Mark 5:18-19, Amplified & NKJV)

For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. (John 3:17, Amplified)

…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her… When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:7,10-11; KJV)

A Heart of Compassion

I’ve spent much of the day thinking about and praying for an elderly gentleman I don’t even know. Who is he? Why am I praying for him?

He is a man I saw for the first time last night and have never personally met. As I stood outside a restaurant after dinner with friends, I watched as the elderly man had trouble figuring out how to turn the lights off on his car. My heart was overwhelmed with compassion for him. I wish now that I had allowed that compassion to move me to speak to him. But I didn’t. I said a little prayer as he walked away into another restaurant.

My friends and I continued to visit with one another on the sidewalk. We noticed one of the valets from yet another restaurant run over to the car as the back lights still appeared to be on.

As he passed us we explained that the gentleman had trouble with his lights and we told him which restaurant he had gone into. He said he was very familiar with this man. He had been banned from the restaurant the valet works at because the man would drink too much and get drunk. And he also brought prostitutes to the restaurant with him. My heart was overwhelmed with compassion for this man. Even more so than before.

I don’t recall what I said, but I expressed my feelings about this man. The valet basically said that I shouldn’t feel sorry for the guy because he is doing it to himself.

Today as I pray for this man I’ve never met, this man whose name I don’t know, some scriptures about our Savior Jesus are filling my heart.

And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples: for there were many, and they followed him. And when the scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Mark 2:15-17, KJV)

And behold, a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment (perfume). And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears,and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. (Luke 7:37-39, KJV)

Jesus goes on to forgive this woman of all her sins and speaks of her great love. He who is forgiven much, loves much. She was forgiven much.

I think too of the words He spoke to the woman caught in adultery.

He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11, NKJV)

I wish I had shared John 3:16-17 with this man. But I didn’t and for that I repent. But today I pray that someone, even if it’s me Lord, will cross his path and tell him the Truth that will set him free.

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. (John 3:16-17, Amplified)

PS… As I typed this, I almost didn’t use the word gentleman at the beginning. I also thought about typing the words, the Truth that could set him free. I chose to call this man a gentleman and to say these words will set him free because just like God I call those things that be not as though they were. Agree with me for this man’s salvation and restoration.

Eyes to See

It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. The wind is howling. The temperature is 31 degrees Fahrenheit, but according to the weather report it feels like 17 degrees. In a couple of hours it will drop to 27 degrees and feel like 12 degrees and I’ll be heading to a hospital to pray for someone before their surgery. Why? Because of Matthew 25:34-40.

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (NKJV)

This morning I was thinking about a song by Brandon Heath called Give Me Your Eyes. Here are some of the lyrics:

All those people going somewhere, 
Why have I never cared?

Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see

There are people going hungry all around us. There are people who need their thirst quenched, both physically and spiritually. There are people who need someone to take them in. There are many who need to be clothed. There are many who are sick and need to be visited. There are many sitting in prisons waiting for someone to come with answers, with life, with Truth. Do we see them?

I’ve been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just moving past me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way you see the people all along
(from song by Brandon Heath, Give Me Your Eyes)

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him… (Luke 10:33, KJV) 

‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:40, NKJV)

Moved with Compassion

Throughout the accounts of Jesus’ earthly ministry we see the phrase “moved with compassion”.

In Matthew 14:14 we read that when Jesus saw the multitudes He “was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick” (KJV). Love moved Him to action.

In some translations the phrase “moved with compassion” is translated as “moved with pity and sympathy”. Those translations lose some of the original meaning. Pity and sympathy are feelings one feels toward another in a sad or difficult situation. In the case of pity and sympathy, you may be moved in your feelings, but they won’t move you into action. Compassion is when you are moved by love to do something about that person or persons’ situation. Jesus didn’t just feel sorry for people, He was moved to help them out of their situation.

Before we see the miracles of Jesus, we first see Him being moved with compassion.

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. (KJV)

He was moved with compassion and it led to the miracle where he fed the four thousand with just seven loaves of bread. This compassion, this love, preceded His miracles.

And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you? They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him. (KJV)

And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.

In Mark 5 we see Jesus deliver the mad man from the demonic oppression of a legion of demons. And Jesus said to the man, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee” (KJV).

And one of my favorite accounts is found in Luke chapter 7. The miracle is definitly exciting, but I like to also picture the tender love of Jesus toward this widow woman.

Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow… And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. (Luke 7:12-15, KJV)

Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8). He still is moved with compassion today. We are now His hands and His feet in this earth (1 Cor 12:27). Let compassion move you.

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name… they shalll lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover… And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. (Mark 16:17, 18, 20; KJV)

Just last Saturday myself and two other members of our ministry team allowed ourselves to be moved with compassion. We held a Bible study at 8 o’clock in the morning in a local prison. The ladies were blessed by the message. Broken hearts were healed. And three ladies were instantly healed of physical problems with obvious and complete changes in their physical conditions. This isn’t theory. This is love in action.