Encouraging Bruised Reeds & Smoking Flax

(I originally wrote this article over a year ago, but at a time in our society when there is so much that divides us, incenses us, and hurts us, I felt an urging by the Holy Spirit to share it again now.)

 

“A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.”  (Matthew 12:20, KJV).

These words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, described Jesus Christ, both in the Old Testament prophecy forecasting His coming, and in the New Testament as He carried out His earthly ministry. The words referred to the fact that Jesus was careful not to put down or belittle people who came to Him, even when they were weak in faith, or because they were lacking in some area of consecration or obedience.

Now, to be sure, He did on occasion ask His own disciples, “Why are you fearful, or why did you doubt?” But those words were not intended as reprimands, but as questions to cause them to think and learn. They were in training, after all, and were supposed to be learning from Him and growing in faith and the demonstration of it. They were in a different position from the average person who came to Jesus for ministry.

Throughout His earthly walk, Jesus was kind and compassionate to everyone who had need of Him. If the people He dealt with had even a smoldering bit of faith, or just a heart-felt desire to connect with Him, He welcomed them and spoke and acted in such a way as to encourage them. To the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda, who evidently had some lack of initiative if he’d been supposedly “trying to get to the pool” for 38 years,  Jesus simply asked, “Do you want to be made well?”  And then, even though the man’s only response was to complain about not having any other people to help him, Jesus proceeded to heal him completely. (John 5:1-15).

And look at His treatment of Zacchaeus, who was a first-rank sinner (self-confessed) and who had no obvious faith or obedience going for him. Just the fact that Zacchaeus wanted to know more about Jesus — enough to climb into a tree so that he could see Jesus better as He went through town — was enough for Jesus to call him over and invite Himself to Zacchaeus’ house — showing him both honor and compassion at the same time. (Luke 19:1-10).

Even when Jesus knew He had to deliver a strong word to a person who sought something from Him, His focus was on loving that person and responding in the most compassionate way possible. In Mark’s gospel (chapter 10) Jesus is approached by a rich young ruler who asks for instructions for inheriting eternal life. This young man had sought to follow the rules of the law in conduct, but he obviously had a heart problem that would keep him from being in unity with God.

Jesus knew the man would need to let go of the pride he had in following the rules and experience a heart change that would cause him to truly give of himself to help others. Jesus knew HIs instructions would come as a blow to this young man, and the first thing we learn about Jesus in this situation is that He “loved” the young man. He spoke to him words that were necessary, but they were not spoken in rebuke, but in love and compassion.

Another time, when Jesus’ disciples told Him of other ministers who were delivering people in Jesus’ name but were not following Him, Jesus said to leave them alone because if they were not “against” Him, then they were “for” Him. He didn’t rebuke those other ministers or even correct them. (Luke 9:49-50)

Wherever He went, Jesus was looking for ways to lift people up, encourage them, and help them grow in their relationship with their Creator.

Several years ago I read words by another minister that said, in effect, that we should be careful not to destroy someone’s imperfect faith because, at the time we’re interacting with that individual, it’s the only faith that person has. But it’s likely that, given time and encouragement, that imperfect faith will grow into something stronger and purer.

I’ve learned over the years that there’s a good deal of wisdom in those words, and I’ve seen people’s faith grow exceedingly. In fact, my own faith has grown, changed, grown some more, and changed some more over some sixty years of life as a Christian. So I know the potential is there.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about this particular subject matter lately, and I believe the reason is that the Lord is showing me it’s really important to encourage people in these areas. I think I’ve always been an encourager in general, but I know, at times, I also tend to hold back when I see that a person has areas of his life or faith that are most definitely unscriptural. I sometimes tend to concentrate more on trying to “help” them get “fixed” in those areas rather than encouraging the little bit of positive in them — that smoking flax of faith or that character trait that is slightly bruised.

But I believe the Lord is saying that I need to refocus and concentrate on encouraging for a while rather than fixing. It may be that enough encouragement of the positive — even if it’s just smoldering or somewhat bruised or damaged — will strengthen those people enough to help them go on and eventually get the other stuff fixed.

And, after all, God is the real “fixer” — not me. And I’m also aware that there are a number of areas in my own life that need “fixing” as well. Certainly, I need to pray for the people in my life where the negative areas are concerned, so that the Lord has an open channel to work in their lives. But I need to let Him take care of the fixing and use my energy and influence to encourage those individuals. Encouragement in the right places can sometimes put us in a stronger position so that we can better receive the help God has for us.

So, as I move forward in my life, one of my primary spiritual goals is going to be to encourage every positive thing I see in every person I’m with, and to do so in the name of Jesus Christ — who never broke a bruised reed (damaged person) or quenched any smoking flax (smoldering faith.)  I believe if I’ll be faithful to do my part, He will be able to do all the rest of the work necessary to bring them to wholeness and overcoming faith.



photo courtesy of Ria Algra @ pixabay.com

My Dad’s Book ‘Following In The Father’s Steps’ now available on Amazon

DAD'S 87TH BIRTHDAY - NO TEXT -

My dad, Ted Pavloff, spent his whole life ministering the Gospel of Jesus Christ in a multitude of places, using numerous methods and media. He’s with the Lord now, having left us at the age of 88, but before he went to receive his rewards, he had served the Kingdom of God for more than 70 years.

When he was 12 years old, he was walking home from church one night, crossing a little bridge, when the Lord spoke to his heart so strongly that Dad stopped right in the middle of the bridge and surrendered his heart and his life to Jesus. There was never any looking back.

He preached his first sermon at the age of 15, and a year later, he was licensed to preach by the denomination he belonged to at the time. Right after Pearl Harbor was attacked, when Dad was only 17, he joined the U. S. Marine Corps, but even during his years of service on the battle front, he continued serving the Lord and helping others know about Him. As soon as he got is first paycheck from the Marines, he sent his tithe to the main headquarters of his home church’s denomination, asking that they make sure all of his monthly offerings got put to the right use on behalf of his home church. And he sent those offerings faithfully every month.

After the war, Dad sought an even deeper walk with the Lord and his ministry took on even more energy. In the decades that followed, he served the Lord as an international evangelist, a pastor here in the States, a Bible teacher, a Christian journalist and author, and a Christian radio and TV speaker.

He had a strong anointing for teaching God’s Word, and he wrote a lot of articles and a few books in which he shared a great deal of revelation from that Word. His books that were published before his death are currently in out-of-print status, but I now own the copyrights. So I decided it was time to re-furbish them and get a second edition of them into the public.

Our family has done all we could to keep my dad’s teaching available to help people, by continuing to publish his work in periodicals, on his original blog, and even through YouTube. One of the YouTube videos on my Radical About Jesus Ministries channel — in which my dad reads about 40 minutes of healing scriptures, along with a word or two of DAD'S AMAZON BOOK - LIGHT GRAY TEXT - front coverexhortation — has now been viewed over 90 thousand times. I’m sure he’s watching from Heaven and is thrilled to know so many people from all around the world are receiving help through his faithfulness.

This past week I finished getting one of his books, Following In The Father’s Steps, refurbished, reformatted, and published in its second edition. I’ve already received orders for copies of the book, and I’m currently working on one of his others as well. Although his first publications were with a traditional publisher, this time around, I’m focusing on the online markets and will eventually offer a great deal of his work in both paperback and digital.

I will most likely do a second post soon with a couple excerpts from the book, but if any of my readers are interested in knowing more about this particular book right now, or in ordering a copy for yourself of a loved one, you can find it on Amazon at this link.

 


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Cinquain: Just Do It

QUIL PEN AND INK -- LunarSeaArt -- PX

Written in response to a couple friends of mine who have said for almost a year that they’ve thought about trying to write cinquain, but they won’t even make a start. They find it fascinating, but seem to be afraid of it. They have this false idea that because they need to count syllables, they will have trouble. If they’d just try, they’d be surprised and delighted with the results — and hooked on it– like I am.  🙂

Dear friend,
Tell me again
Why you don’t try cinquain.
You think it’s difficult to write?
It’s not.

You say
You are afraid
That you can’t get it right.
Syllable count seems difficult.
It’s not.

Just try,
And you will find
That it’s much easier
Than you have even dared to think.
DO IT!


photo courtesy of LunarSeaArt @ pixabay.com
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Would You Like A Word of Comfort and Hope Everyday?

Exif JPEG
This world is full of hurt, hardship, and hopelessness. But the Lord has hope, comfort, healing, and blessing to offer us. If you’d like to visit a place that offers a timely, but short and easy-to-read word that focuses you on that hope and blessing, visit Pure Glory’s site here on WordPress. You won’t be sorry. Your day will be better. Once a day — every day without fail — the ministers at ‘Pure Glory’ (based in Alaska, USA) share a light in the midst of the darkness and a word of truth that can lift your heart into a place of joy.

 

 

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Now My Heart Must Sing

I’ve been going through some troubling situations lately and found myself feeling pretty low as a result. But in a time of prayer this morning, the Lord graciously reminded me of a poem He had given me almost two years ago. That poem was the record of another time in my life – many, many years ago – when things seemed very hard and very dark. But at that time, through means of a dream, the Lord showed me that I had nothing to worry about, and that He had worked everything out for me. So this morning, after being reminded of that poem, I sat down and read it again. It encouraged and cheered me so much that I decided perhaps I should share it on here again in case a few of my readers could use that same kind of encouragement today.

WILLOW TREE - credits

NOW MY HEART MUST SING

 

I woke to face another day,
No glad expectancy,
For heavy disappointments were all
Weighing down on me.

The day before had been so filled
With unsupportive words,
With problems piled four levels high
and everywhere closed doors.

The friends I’d counted on were not:
They came and went like rain:
All so enwrapped in their own lives
They couldn’t feel my pain.

It was just like so many days,
All running wearily,
So sad, with disappointments too,
All weighing down on me.

And though I knew I would survive,
That didn’t soothe my heart,
For sorrow deep and troubles too
Brought a longing to depart.

But then to Jesus I did run;
I saw it in a dream:
I stood below a gentle hill,
All carpeted in green.

When I looked up and saw Him there,
He stood beneath a tree,
And waited, smiling patiently;
He’d been expecting me.

I ran but didn’t feel the strain;
He grabbed me in His arms;
He wrapped them hard around me; held me
Strongly, safe and warm.

I’d never felt so light and free;
Engulfed with joy and rest;
No problem lingered to be weighed;
All I could feel was blessed.

And all the disappointments, though
So heavy they had been,
Took flight, and sadness too was gone,
Ev’ry conflict, ev’ry pain.

All threats and fears and torments sore,
All guilt, defeat, and shame –
In love so glowing and so strong,
All were dissolved away.

Then suddenly I saw a truth –
It caught me by surprise –
That Jesus’ joy exceeded mine;
I saw it in His eyes.

I’d known He would accept me, that
He’d made a place for me,
But never had I even guessed
How happy He would be.

He was so thrilled to have me there;
He laughed so loud and strong,
That all things not of joy and life
Just vanished in joy’s song.

And when I woke to this new day,
His laughter still did ring;
His arms still held me close and warm,
And now my heart must sing!

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Happy Birthday!

Today is my birthday, and I want to take this opportunity to say I hope all of you, my dear readers, have as happy a day as I will be having.

ME LAUGHING BIG - ED color # 2.I believe our words have power,
so I would also like to decree that this day, February 1, 2014,
is the first day of the most magnificent year of my life!

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Genuine Blogger Award Addition

I am adding one more blog to my list of Genuine Blogger Awards.  I realize that makes 8 instead of 7, but I don’t think that should matter.  This blog was on my original list before I typed the article, and somehow I left it out when I was getting everything typed in.  (There’s a lot of going back and forth to get all the names and links copied and pasted into the right slots. Sometimes things get left out.)

So I want to pass on the award to the “Pure Glory” site as well.  This site offers some of the best encouragement anywhere on the Internet, and it does so in a very few words on a daily basis.  It is easy and quick to read, but imparts truths that can roll around in your spirit and lift you up for days.

Pure Glory:  http://pureglory.net/