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Left For Dead!

Left For Dead
Having a Compassionate Heart For Those Who Have Been Attacked and Abandoned

Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. Acts 14:19-20 (NKJV)

I don't know about you, but if I were stoned to the point of death, I'm not so sure it would be my desire to get up and go back into the very midst of those who attacked me were, but this is exactly what the Apostle Paul chose to do.  He was thought to be finished and left for dead by those who hurled rocks at him.

As I was reading this passage, I began to wonder how many Christians are out there in the streets - so to speak - who have been stoned (If only verbally) to the point of almost being dead in their Christian walk.  Their faith has all but diminished, and they have been hurt so badly by the enemy's attack through mankind's version of Christianity - to the point where they are ready to quit in their relationship with God.

And just as importantly, what are we doing as believers to help address the needs of these hurting people?  I think all too often we can decide to stay within our own little groups collectively, rather than going out to help those who have been rocked.  Unfortunately, I think there are times when we can even pick up rocks of our own and throw them (verbal insults and attacks) from the perceived safety of our group instead of reaching out to encourage, exhort, or pray for them.  I believe this happens when we judge others and believe we must somehow execute a penalty.

Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God? Romans 2:1-3 (NKJV)

God forgive us for pronouncing any judgment upon others that is clearly not our right to make.  God help us to pray for those who have stumbled and are in bondage to the enemy.  God help us to encourage them in their time of need and to put their eyes back on the One who can forgive and heal them of all their afflictions - Jesus the Author and finisher of our faith.

...being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

I pray we will be a people who pray for those who have been knocked down and left for dead.  I pray we will be willing to help them get back up.  When we see others who are being afflicted and who are hurting badly, I pray will say with a humble heart, "There but for the grace of God go I." 

Hey Christian, I want to encourage you today to look around and see who is missing.  Every day the enemy successfully picks off Christian believers within the Church, and many are not missed for months or at all.  Make it a point to get to know someone new each week within your church and keep an eye out for him or her.  If you see or hear divisive and hurtful things being done or said against another Christian believer, stand in the gap for those who are being pelted with the hurling rocks of divisive words.  You may find yourself being attacked as well, but God will defend you and empower you to be faithful.   

Q:  It was faithful disciples who came out and surrounded the Apostle Paul when he was attacked (Acts 14:20) - are we to do any less today when we see a fellow brother or sister in the Lord suffer from an attack from Satan?

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn from the Scriptures contained within this devotional about helping other believers who may be stumbling, or who are suffering from attacks?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you seen a fellow Christian brother or sister stumble in their walk only to be discounted as worthy of God's grace, verbally pelted and left for dead?

APPLICATION: Never give up on a believer who is involved in spiritual warfare.  Always pray for them, and be willing to stand in the gap should other believers begin to attack them verbally.  

Father, thank You for Your grace and mercy upon my life.  Thank You for Your forgiveness and love.  Father, help me to see what You see - give me Your eyes and Your heart.  Father, help me to see those who may be left for dead out in the streets and give me the ability to speak truth into their lives.  Father, help me to be like the Apostles who surrounded and helped Paul when I see others hurting from being stoned by the tongues of fools. In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000