As I have been preparing for a new preaching series I have been studying some of Jesus’ actions. In reading about the healings, the feeding of the 5,000, forgiveness of sins and other actions of Christ there has been one statement that has grabbed my attention over and over again, “moved with compassion.” Matthew 14 records Jesus’ response to the death of His cousin, John the Baptist. It says that he went to a “deserted place by Himself.” Jesus was obviously moved, He went to pray I am sure; but as a man I am sure He also went to grieve, to mourn, to be alone with God and to deal with His own heart. Matthew writes that the multitudes heard where He had gone and they followed Him. In the midst of His grief the Bible says that Jesus was, “moved with compassion” for the multitudes. His mercy was greater than His sorrow; His love was greater than His sadness and His compassion always seemed to have His attention. What I mean by that last phrase is that Jesus did not allow His circumstances to keep Him from fulfilling the leading of the Father or even to blind Him to the condition of those around Him. He is forever moved by compassion; always loving, caring, leading, praying and saving.
Today I share these thoughts with the people of Haiti in mind. I pray that we, the Body of Christ, will look up from our own lives for a moment and be moved with compassion for a people that is enduring devastation that is difficult to grasp from a far. Earlier today I read a statement made by Francis Frangipane that I felt was a strong and appropriate call to action for all of us:
“As you are certainly aware, Haiti was struck by a devastating 7.1 earthquake. Yet the aftermath of the earthquake may actually prove more catastrophic than the earthquake itself. While relief agencies and rescue teams from a number of nations are arriving, and several thousand U.N. peacekeeping troops are on the ground, time is truly running out for those buried alive beneath the rubble.
Consider: in the capital city, Port-au-Prince, there are few structurally sound buildings remaining. Food supplies are rapidly diminishing, as are medical supplies. There is no electricity and no water to help this city of over two million people who are now homeless. Hospitals are unable to absorb and care for the many injured, and skilled medical personnel, though arriving daily, are still in short supply. Worse, corpses are stacking up in the streets; the stench of death is in the air bringing with it the threat of disease.
Remember also, there is no functioning government right now in Haiti. In Port-au-Prince there is little heavy equipment to help clear the roads or assist in rescue. As of Thursday, some 40 hours after the quake, most rescue is still occurring by hand.
The situation is desperate, and worsening. Please pray. Then give sacrificially. Yes, this is a nation where an estimated half the population still practices voodoo, yet there is a growing church in Haiti. Christians, even though devastated in the earthquake, are in the streets and squares, defiantly worshiping God, singing hymns and praying. We must join them in prayer. This is a time for the mercy of God to flow and for the kingdom of God to advance. It is also a time to pray that the powers of witchcraft and voodoo will be broken over that nation and a new day for the Haitian people will arise.
Finally, remember: what happened to Haiti could happen anywhere. There is no end to the various ways devastation can come to any culture. We all need mercy. America needs mercy. Your nation needs mercy. How do we receive God’s compassion? Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (Matt. 5:7). To receive mercy we must give it, and the measure we give will determine the measure we receive.
This is our opportunity to invest in our future by sowing mercy now.”
On Sunday we will take a special offering at City of Refuge Fellowship for relief in Haiti. We will be sending a donation to the ministry Joy in Hope. If you would like to know more about them here is a link to their website: www.joyinhope.org Also, here is a link to a story from CNN that largely quotes one of the Joy in Hope missionaries http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/13/haiti.jacmel/index.html and finally a link to the blog of the missionary that is quoted in the article, Gwenn Mangine www.mangine.org.
If you would like to give to this work on Sunday please mark your check with missions in the memo line or we will have special missions envelopes available.
Above all else please pray. Pray for peace, for help, for life and ultimately for the glory of God to come upon Haiti. Pray for the Church of Haiti, that it may rise up at this hour and be filled with a supernatural portion of endurance, love, mercy and strength and pray that the Body of Christ around the world will hold up their arms as they pour out the love of God that is in Christ Jesus