The other morning I read Philippians 4:8 without reading any other verse in that passage. It’s a verse most of us are familiar with, but maybe not so familiar with the verse immediately after it. We tend to stop after verse 8. I’ll get to verse 9, but let’s begin with verse 8.
Verse 8 reads as follows…Philippians 4:8 (CSB) 8 Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy--dwell on these things.
When I finished reading verse 8, I couldn’t help but think that it can’t stop at just Thinking/Dwelling. Thought life has an effect on each person. Why, or How? Because our thoughts often turn to actions. Without actions, these things to think about don't do us much good. Kind of like faith, without works, is dead (James 2:14-26).
Then I went back and read verse 9, which states for us to…Philippians 4:9 (CSB) 9 Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
There it is…our thinking is now encouraged to be put to action. Where did they learn these things? From the Apostle Paul’s example that he left them concerning truth, honor, being just, purity, love, and commendation. That was Paul each day of the week. He was constantly leaving an example for others to follow. An example that he learned from the Lord and other followers of Christ.
Just so you know, our example leaves an impression on those whom the Lord allows to follow our teaching and walk. Will our example be whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely and commendable, a reflection of Christ…pointing to Christ? Or will it be thoughts of the world and its ways that they’re thinking on and then acting out? Many are observing our lives…do they want to think on our actions and then imitate them? Why or why not? What needs to change if anything? It’s not too late. God’s still working on each of us. I pray that we’ll be growing and progressing towards maturity…all for His honor and glory!
Cheering for Y’all,
The Apostle Paul states in 1 Corinthians 11:1 for us to…Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.
New Living Translation
And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.
English Standard Version
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
King James Bible
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
For further knowledge…below is a breakdown and description of the words used in these two verses:
Logidzomi…think/dwell (BDAG, p. 598) “to give careful thought to a matter, think (about), consider, ponder, let one’s mind dwell on…someth.”
Manthano…learned (BDAG, p. 615) “to gain knowledge or skill by instruction, learn.”
Paralambano…received (BDAG, p. 768) “Somet. the emphasis lies not so much on receiving or taking over, as on the fact that the word implies agreement or approval, accept…w. regard to teaching and preaching.”
Compassion Fatigue, Part 2 of 2.
The author from yesterday's article is spot on. Compassion Fatigue is real…maybe you’ve experienced it and or are currently experiencing it but just didn’t know that what you were experiencing mentally, emotionally, and physically had a title for it. From the passages below, we see that Jesus ministered with great compassion to those who were in need. Just because we’ve run ourselves down lately and are fatigued doesn’t mean we discontinue ministering, let alone ministering with compassion. It just means that there are times when we need to retreat…to get away and withdraw ourselves from others and to spend some time with the One who can re-energize us. AND remember, He gave us a day of rest for a reason…put that gift to use and see what difference it can make in your life.
Praying for y’all. Keep ministering, keep encouraged, keep praying, and keep well-rested.
Practicing His Presence,
Mark 1:40-42 (NKJV) 40 Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” 41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” 42 As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.
Matthew 9:35-36 (NKJV) 35 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
Matthew 20:32-34 (NKJV) 32 So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 33 They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” 34 So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him.
Matthew 14:13-23 (NKJV) 13 When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself. But when the multitudes heard it, they followed Him on foot from the cities. 14 And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick. 15 When it was evening, His disciples came to Him, saying, “This is a deserted place, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages and buy themselves food.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 And they said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children. 22 Immediately Jesus made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. 23 And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.
Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
Compassion Fatigue, Part 1 of 2.
I just did a ridealong with one of our Animal Control Officers this week and he spoke of a concept that many officers experience. What he brought up hit home for me, because I can see how this affects me in my professional life, and thought this short study would be relevant to several others at this time as well. Hope you enjoy this two part study. In part one I’ll begin with an article I came across in my research. And then in part two I’ll provide some passages that really bring this home for us.
Theology Thursday: Understanding Compassion Fatigue
July 07, 2022 by Scott Hovater, PhD in [ Theology & Ministry ]
For most of us, life is like a normal whitewater rafting trip. As we travel down this river of life, we experience times when the water is calm, peaceful and serene. All seems good, right and stress free. Our greatest concern is whether we have put enough suntan lotion on. Then the rapids come. We are ready for this. We have trained for this. We will survive. The calm waters will soon return. The difficult rapids are only temporary. In fact, we may even enjoy the challenge because we are confident, mature and complete, not lacking anything (James 1:4). Bring on the rapids!
This is how life should be. A rafting trip full of good experiences with some challenges and trials along the way that help to build character and increase our confidence. If only life was always like that for everyone. Sadly, it is not.
Now imagine you are the whitewater rafting guide on this wonderful trip. Your task is to provide a great experience for your clients and to keep them safe. When the rapids come, you guide your group safely through the dangerous waters. You take great joy in serving them because you love what you do. You signed an agreement to serve and protect and you aim to live up to that agreement.
One day, as the rafting guide, you take a group out. All begins well but soon things change. The rapids come sooner and last longer. They just go on and on with no apparent end in sight. Around every bend in the river are just more rapids. The white water is no longer there to build character and instill confidence. It is intent on destroying those in your care. You do all you can to protect them, to keep them safe, but you are tired, you are exhausted, you become numb. The rapids continue.
Overcoming the Symptoms of Compassion Fatigue
There is a name for our imaginary rafting guide’s experience. It is called compassion fatigue. Compassion fatigue occurs when we are in a constant state of service to others. We are overly exhausted and burnt out. We feel irritable, and we may even begin to feel numb toward those we are providing help. It is not a healthy situation. Unfortunately, sometimes we cannot avoid it due to life’s circumstances. So, what can we do?
Suggestions to Help the Helper
Below are some suggestions to help the helpers of the world. These individuals are our full-time caregivers, our service professionals (social workers, police officers, fire fighters, medical professionals, teachers, pastors, etc.) and anyone who, day in and day out, is providing constant care for others.
Seek Professional Help: The advice given below is from a layman and not a professional counselor. Compassion fatigue can be very serious, so it is crucial to seek professional help when needed.
Recognize the Helper Needs Help: Most of us understand the need to help others who are struggling; however, we do not always consider the importance of helping the helpers. No one can be a full-time caregiver 100% of the time. Finding ways to provide downtime for our caregivers is essential. It is also important for helpers to schedule regular breaks for themselves for their own mental health, and they should not feel guilty for doing so.
Bear One Another’s Burdens: Galatians 6:2 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Do you know someone who is a whitewater rafting guide going through never-ending rapids? How might you help them? Prayerfully consider steps you might be able to take to help bear that person’s burden.
Complain to God: The Bible is full of laments to God (see Psalm 51). There is even a whole book of the Bible called Lamentations. Laments are a passionate expression of grief and sorrow. We live in a fallen world which means life is not fair. Some people are dealt a very bad hand that this side of eternity they may not be able to overcome. Our perfect, righteous, and loving God understands this. Complain away! It can be therapeutic.
Seeking Contentment: Since none of us fully know what another person is going through, it is difficult to suggest a person learns how to be content. However, learning how to be content in whatever circumstances come our way is biblical (Philippians 4:11-13). Not easy, but biblical.
Eternity in Our Hearts: Sometimes it feels like a cop-out to discuss eternity instead of trying to fix the problem now. But we must recognize that not all problems can be fixed this side of Heaven. We live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people. Thankfully, as Christians, we have hope of an eternity spent with God where we no longer will be paddling through never-ending rapids.
Compassion fatigue is real and we all probably experience it to some extent. It is healthy to recognize the symptoms of compassion fatigue (burn out, exhaustion, feeling numb toward others especially those for whom we care) and to seek support. As Christian brothers and sisters, it is also important to recognize those who may be suffering from compassion fatigue. Remember, it is much easier to navigate through the rapids when multiple people are paddling together.
Luke 2:19 (NLT) but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
Luke 2:51 (NLT) Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.
Luke 1:10 (NLT) While the incense was being burned, a great crowd stood outside, praying.
Luke 3:2-4 (NLT) Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests. At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the LORD’s coming! Clear the road for him!
These passages reveal to us that there is a time to think/meditate/pray privately, and a time to pray corporately. In private I think about what God is doing in my life and converse with Him about it. And coming together corporately to share through prayer some of the struggles and or the requests I’m wrestling with.
One author states that the phrase, Clear the road for Him, in Luke 3:4, would look like this culturally, “A monarch traveling in the wilderness regions would have a crew of workmen go ahead to make sure the road was clear of debris, obstructions, potholes, and other hazards that made the journey difficult. In a spiritual sense, John was calling the people of Israel to prepare their hearts for the coming of their Messiah.”
Winter is coming. It’d be easy to look out your living room window, see the snow on your driveway, and pray for it to disappear. Will that work? Possibly. What’ll it take to clear your driveway? Either you putting some effort into going out and getting it done, or that kind neighbor that is willing to help clear it for you. Some of us have that one neighbor who just loves to get their snowblower out and clear off everyone’s sidewalks or driveways. God bless such individuals.
In private we should be preparing our hearts to hear from Him. Asking Him to remove any obstructions in our lives so we can be more like Him each day. And corporately we should be that crew of workmen going ahead of our brothers and sisters in Christ…helping them prepare their hearts for the difficult journeys they're either currently experiencing or are potentially going to face up ahead. Sometimes when you’re in the mess it’s difficult to hear from the Lord or discern hazards to come. This is where the value of corporate prayer time is so important. Someone removed from the situation can see it completely differently and prayerfully provide some good advice.
Corporate time together is accountability…find a group of people you trust and can confide in. People who are wise and have your best interest in mind. Take some time to think on the things the Lord has laid on your heart and if you’re struggling knowing what to do with what He’s sharing with you, then bring it to your trusted group and see if they have some wise words for you and or have them pray over you concerning your request.
This takes honesty and humility. Are you willing to have others go alongside and ahead of you as you journey through your spiritual life? Are you willing to humble yourself enough to allow others to help clear your path even when it seems like all you do is make your own path more hazardous? Jesus is with you. Your fellow brothers and sisters are with you. You can have victory over anything and He can speak either directly to you through private prayer and or through others in corporate prayer. Let me encourage each of you to put yourself in a position to have the best opportunity for Him to make your paths straight today. Just start with some time alone with Him. Trust me…He’ll begin revealing some stuff to you if you would choose to refrain from leaning on your own understanding. Now what will you choose to do with what’s weighing on your heart? What’ll you do if you don’t feel like you’re hearing or receiving any answers from Him in your private time alone with Him?
Practicing His Presence,
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him [come to Him, pray to Him, cry out to Him], and he will make your paths straight.
Feeling hated, excluded, insulted, rejected, spoken evil of? Then just know that you are one BLESSED individual!
As a genuine / all-in follower of Christ, do you feel hated, excluded, insulted, rejected, spoken evil of? Then you are one blessed individual. You might be thinking, “excuse me,” “say what?” Yeppers, you read that correctly. If you’re experiencing or feeling such things, then Jesus reminds us that you are blessed. Take a look at
Luke 6:22 (NIV) Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.
So then, what is Jesus saying here? One author from gotquestions.org teaches us that, “The Greek word translated ‘blessed’ means ‘happy, blissful’ or, literally, ‘to be enlarged.’ In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses the word to refer to more than a superficial happiness; in this context, blessed refers to a state of spiritual well-being and prosperity. The happiness is a deep joy of the soul. Those who experience the first aspect of a beatitude (poor, mourn, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure, peacemakers, and persecuted) will also experience the second aspect of the beatitude (kingdom of heaven, comfort, inherit the earth, filled, mercy, see God, called sons of God, inherit the kingdom of heaven). The blessed have a share in salvation and have entered the kingdom of God, experiencing a foretaste of heaven. Another possible rendering of the beginning of each beatitude is ‘O the bliss [or blessedness] of . . . .’ The Beatitudes describe the ideal disciple and his rewards, both present and future. The person whom Jesus describes in this passage has a different quality of character and lifestyle than those still ‘outside the kingdom.’"
If you’re struggling with this lesson (how to apply it or making sense of it), or struggling with this experience in life, then please know that you can reach out to me anytime. Would love to walk through this with you.
James 1:12 (NIV) 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.
1 Peter 4:14 (NIV) If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
Practicing His Presence,
Nate Smith is a college baseball and football coach, a husband, a father of 6 girls, grandpa to 3 granddaughters, a police chaplain, a pastor, and has a passion to see men grow in Christ.
#girldad including granddaughter