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Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us,
Do it for Your name’s sake;
For our backslidings are many,
We have sinned against You.

Jeremiah 14:7 (NKJV)

The Reason for the Desolation

God’s people had gone astray and refused to turn back to God in repentance. It sounds simple, but it gotten real sticky for a while. God explains it when he points how these people “have loved to wander” and “not restrained their feet” (v. 10, NKJV). In other words, God’s got good reasoning for not supporting or supplying this people. The desolation leads to a newfound devastation that creates desperation.

The Desperate Request for Help

The request in verse 7 is as close as the wayward nation gets to saying that they have stirred up the anger of God. It is the closest thing that we see to an outright admission of their own iniquities and how they trespassed and transgressed against God. Yet, they only seek a rescue. They offer no repentance for their sins, just acknowledgement.

The Response to Desperate Cries for Help

“. . . Do not pray for the welfare for this people.” [Jeremiah 14:11(ESV)]. God just comes out and says it without any hesitation. This seems to echo what God shared in chapter 11 about not praying for these same people.

In fact, this is only the follow-up to God sharing that it is time to remember their sins and punish them accordingly for these sins.

When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence. (Jeremiah 14:12, NKJV).

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1 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.2 Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.3 Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting

Psalm 136:1-3 (NASB)

Daily Theme

Thank God for His everlasting and enduring love.

Give Thanks

Read Psalm 136 & meditate on God’s love, mercy, and lovingkindness. Spend some time reflecting on how God spoke with you through His Spirit to keep you grounded when you wanted to lose it or to help you remain steadfast when you felt like it was just all too much to handle. Think on it and thank God for where His love, mercy, and lovingkindness helped you endure and embrace your own challenges in your life.

For His lovingkindness is everlasting repeats over and over again in Psalm 136. It is equivalent to the modern popular music’s hook. But it creates a sense of assurance for the Bible reader. It makes its case crystal clear to the newly enlightened person of the faith. Read the blog of the Psalmist and see it in the shared poems and other expressions. It simply helps us to know that God’s love is here to stay and that this very same love is available to us all as we accept Him as Lord and Savior in our lives.

Give Back

Praise the Lord & invite others to join you in worship. Go beyond just a shared worship experience with others from within your congregation. Go to someone and ask them will they join you for worship today.

What that looks like might be different where you are. You might be able to attend worship in the sanctuary or outdoors. You might be in an area that restricts worship due to curfews and health regulations during this period of increased COVID-19 cases. Whether it be in-person or online, invite someone to join you and share in the worship experience together.

Go Beyond the Norm

Take things up a notch and invite someone to church, but also go beyond that. Pick up them for church services or invite an elderly person to brunch. You might be offering them the only interaction that they will get with another person all week. Do not neglect the fact that a small task or gesture on your end can carry so much meaning to someone else. As Judy Dykstra-Brown lays it out in her blog post, our actions prove our beliefs. Let your actions speak volumes about your faith.

This has been an adventurous journey this week. Look back at all that has transpired and what you have been able to do. Thank God for the opportunity to provide a blessing to someone else. Thank Him for equipping and endowing you with what you needed in order to bless someone else. Continue to look for those opportunities to show compassion and the love of Christ through your service and good works just like it is said in Drawing Closer to Christ and Lisconnect. Even if the other person does not take you up on your offer, you have been obedient to the leading of the Spirit and what God has called you to do.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

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He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Oftentimes, Christians see issues of their days and times and superimpose them into the biblical prophecy of the Last Days and point out the most likely public figure who fits the bill to be the Antichrist. This is usually a futile exercise in trying to give it a name and a label rather than trying to deal with the matters of the day.

Black Lives Matter & Protests for Social Justice

Is it still a question for some who believe if Black Lives Matter or not? I wish that I could say that it is an unfair question, but there are plenty who profess the love of Christ who find it difficult to love all of God’s creation and creatures, including their fellow man.

Look at blog posts from others that speak to the fact that Black Lives Matter has to be defended or justified as a statement. I read posts from folks like Cynthia Reyes and I feel like the depths of the despair experienced by countless people of color has been echoed in the kindred voice of another in the blogosphere. I read Thinking Moon’s post and realize that we both share a love for Toni Morrison (and she picked my two favorite works by her, too), but we both have two entirely different walks on this earth as a person of privilege and a person of color.

Christians do not have to hold a come to Jesus meeting about coming to an agreement about protests for social justice, police reform, and Black Lives Matter. We do need to acknowledge that there is a problem within our communities and across our nation in the United States that has captured our attention in the midst of a major health pandemic. We do need to agree that, despite many of the best intentions of good Bible-carrying believers, many Christians will not act on such matters until the pastor, the shepherd of the local church, has shared spiritual words of guidance on these same matters. The matters of today have come before the altar of the house of the faithful and await a word from on high as heavenly light from above shine upon them like a spotlight.

Doing What’s Right is Right

Seeking social justice is right. It is biblical. It is the Christian thing to do. The words in Micah 6:8 said for us to “do justice.” Naturally, English makes for a poor translation but I think we could get the point. Our measure for our religion is a matter for how we treat others. The question to answer is: Are we doing right by what the Lord calls us to do?

Aretha, the Queen of Soul, said it in a secular sense when she spoke a Do Right Woman and a Do Right Man. Could you be considered to be one who is in the business of doing right, especially doing right by others?

Jesus used a parable to speak about the “least of these.” He pointed out that the way to do right by the Lord was to do right by others. He depicted through this parable a way to do right for those who could not do you a solid and pay you back. He let us get a glimpse of what it truly means to be godly and gracious, by showing that we can show compassion towards and offer comfort for the hungry, the imprisoned, the naked, and the others that life seems to easily overlook.

And What Does the LORD Require of You?

And what does the LORD require of you? It is inserted in a retort in this passage due to the insinuation by the people that the Lord is asking them to do the impossible. The notion that the people presented to the prophet was that the Lord was being too hard on them in what He sought from them.

. . .but to do justice

We can say a lot but our actions speak louder and in greater volume than our words. We can say that Black Lives Matter is trending on Twitter and will fade away like the chants of “No justice, no peace.” The truth is that justice is right and we are called to do right as claim to love our neighbors as ourselves.

. . . and to love kindness

Kindness is like love. It’s all action and feelings. It’s not double talk. It comes down to our interaction with others, especially those who do not look like us, sound like us, or even believe what we believe.

. . . and to walk humbly with your God

Humility is a lost art. It is as ancient as things like respect and righteousness. To “walk humbly” requires us to humble ourselves. I believe C.H. Spurgeon said it best when he is quoted as saying: “Every Christian has a choice between being humble and being humbled.”

What will be your choice today?

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Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

– Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
    His faithful love endures forever.

– Psalm 118:1 (NLT)

I look at these passages and see little difference.  By translation, the New King James Version (NKJV) utilizes mercy and the New Living Translation (NLT) uses love.  Neither is synonymous with the other according to our English dictionary and thesaurus.  However, Our interpretation of the Scriptures must look beyond the surface for our true inspiration and insight.

compassion for the miserable. Its object is misery. By the atoning sacrifice of Christ a way is open for the exercise of mercy towards the sons of men, in harmony with the demands of truth and righteousness (Gen. 19:19Ex. 20:634:6, 7; Ps. 85:1086:1516). In Christ mercy and truth meet together. Mercy is also a Christian grace (Matt. 5:718:33-35).

This word seems to require explanation only in the case of its use by our Lord in his interview with “Simon, the son of Jonas,” after his resurrection (John 21:1617). When our Lord says, “Lovest thou me?” he uses the Greek word _agapas_; and when Simon answers, he uses the Greek word _philo_, i.e., “I love.” This is the usage in the first and second questions put by our Lord; but in the third our Lord uses Simon’s word. The distinction between these two Greek words is thus fitly described by Trench:, “_Agapan_ has more of judgment and deliberate choice; _philein_ has more of attachment and peculiar personal affection. Thus the ‘Lovest thou’ (Gr. agapas) on the lips of the Lord seems to Peter at this moment too cold a word, as though his Lord were keeping him at a distance, or at least not inviting him to draw near, as in the passionate yearning of his heart he desired now to do. Therefore he puts by the word and substitutes his own stronger ‘I love’ (Gr. philo) in its room. A second time he does the same. And now he has conquered; for when the Lord demands a third time whether he loves him, he does it in the word which alone will satisfy Peter (‘Lovest thou,’ Gr. phileis), which alone claims from him that personal attachment and affection with which indeed he knows that his heart is full.”

Mercy is for our misery, it says.  Love is an expression of our relationship more so than a feeling or emotion.  Action springs from love, i.e. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son. . .For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17, NIV).  The love sparks an action on God’s part for the benefit of those in misery (that would be us- “the world.”)

Can I justify substituting mercy for love, or vice versa?

I probably couldn’t muster enough searching of the Scriptures and the mysteries of God revealed within them to satisfy the hunger and thirst that many brothers and sisters would have for the answer to this.  After all, it is not my answer.  Ultimately, it is God’s answer.

Yet, let who He is satisfy your quest for such knowledge.  Look at His names.  

Jehovah Jireh means that He is our Provider.

Jehovah Shalom means that He is our Peace.

Jehovah Elohim means that He is the Creator, the Trinity or the Three-in-One plural name of  God revealed to us in Genesis.

He is full of love, mercy, peace, creation and all that we need Him to be to us.

Just based upon who He is to us, He can provide both mercy and love that endure forever.

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Think about this concept for a moment.

God (holy, self-existent Creator) grants grace to us (sinners).

[Does that really make sense to you?]

Let’s be honest.  You know that you are not worthy of being “saved.” Just like I know that I am not either.  However, God sees fit to hand blessings out to the unworthy and the unwanted.  He makes something out of the ones who have always had nothing and does good for those who have been long considered no-good, dirty scoundrels.

That makes sense, especially if He would have just let us into heaven and left it at that.

No, that’s not all.

He gives us His Spirit to dwell within us.  He leads us and guides.  He lives within each and every believer.

So, given that bit of information, we should definitely become more bold in our approach with God.  Since He lives within us, let us become more bold in His grace.  Because He is good to us, we should exhibit more boldness due to His grace.

We should get real BIG.

We should get real Bold In Grace.

After all, God saw something in us worthwhile and sent His only begotten Son to sacrifice His life for us.

Let’s get BIG.

 

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Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning. – 1 John 2:7

John was pretty clear.  He wasn’t writing about anything new.  It wasn’t anything that the believers had not already heard, either directly from Jesus or quoted by one of the followers who had walked with Him during His earthly ministry.

It was the same as it was in the beginning.

There was already an “old commandment” and that was “no new commandment.” It all was the same.

Nothing was new.

Jesus said what needed to be said.  He said it all from the onset of His ministry.  He continued with it throughout His ministry.  He wrapped up His ministry with the same thing.

His disciples and apostles were to continue in what He taught them from the beginning.  New followers were to do so also.  No one was to add anything to it.  No one was to compel others to get circumcised or recognize new moons or other feasts to become at one with Christ.  All that it took was a faithful belief in Him as the Son of God, the Savior, and the propitiation of our sins.

Nothing was added.

We have all that we need in Him.  We have all that we are to follow in His Word.  There is nothing new to it.  There is to be nothing added to it.  It is totally complete.

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.
8 Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

– Proverbs 31:8-9 (ESV)

As Christians, we say that we follow Christ.  If you can recall some early church history, prior to the label Christian being placed us at Antioch, Christians were called people of the Way.  We were all about the Way, the new thing that God would do among us as He had spoken of through the prophet Isaiah.  It was not until many had been martyred, tortured and persecuted for the sake of Christ that the name Christian  had become acceptable.

We see others suffering and we refuse to sit by silently.

We hear about torture of women and children who abandon the faith of their ancestors to become Christians and our hearts weigh heavily with compassion and sympathy for the Christ-like suffering of these modern day martyrs.  Yet, we refuse to let it go on without our voices speaking against such atrocities.

We see men and women turn their lives around and turn their entire lives over to Christ in rehab centers, halfway houses, homeless shelters, street missions, prison chapels and on street corners.  We praise God for His mercy, grace and forgiveness right along with them.  Yet, we speak out against the temptations and other ills that sucked the life out of them throughout their addiction, imprisonment and other ordeals.

We speak loudly.  Speak through bull horns.  We speak into microphones at press conferences and from pulpits as well as behind podiums and on top of city hall steps.

We speak boldly in public spaces.  Just as Elijah called out the king of his prophetic days, we stand boldly before leaders and hold them accountable for justice, equity and liberty among the citizens.  We spoke boldly of the truth being covered up for greed and gain.  We speak boldly about the crimes and corruption of the scoundrels and scam artists.  

We let our voices ring as loud as church bells.  We let our voices sound out like sirens.  We lift our voices and uphold our fellow man for the sake of common good regardless of his or her station in life.

Let your voice be heard.

Let people remember that you have a voice and that you are not afraid to use it.

Speak up.  Speak out.

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Help from on High

God offers us some serious heavenly help.

It is a statement that could stand all by itself and on its own.  Yet, it is also a statement supported by all sorts of verses from the Scriptures.  The Book of Psalms gives us an array of God’s attributes such Him being “good and upright” (Psalm 25:8).  In particular, Psalm 25 shows us how the Lord offers us help from on high.

Show me Your ways, O Lord ; Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.
– Psalm 25:4-5

Good and upright is the Lord ; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. The humble He guides in justice, And the humble He teaches His way. – Psalm 25:8-9

Who is the man that fears the Lord ? Him shall He teach in the way He chooses.- Psalm 25:12

The secret of the Lord  is with those who fear Him, And He will show them His covenant. – Psalm 25:14

Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You. – Psalm 25:21

Look at all of the different types of help that He provides His people.  He gives us mercy and truth along with His covenant and “the way” as He teaches and protects us.

God gives us help from on high.  Take a moment and embrace every ounce of His help.

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Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness,

Morning by morning new mercies I see:

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided

– Great is Thy Faithfulness (Hymn)

22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:22-23 (KJV)

What if God stopped giving us those new mercies “morning by morning?” Could we handle that?

I am not too sure that we could.

What if God said He was going to start a mercy recycling program where He could recycle, reduce and reuse some of these mercies that he has been using on us? Would we still be overjoyed and full of praise?

I don’t know about the same level of praise, but any mercy from one such as the Great I Am is good.  Yet, God does a masterful job putting us in a position to accept His greatness and His great faithfulness.  He gives us all that we have need of day by day, morning by morning, especially those things of spiritual value.

Don’t neglect or overlook God’s faithfulness with the dawning of each day that is full of new mercies laid out just for us.

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How sweet the name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear;
It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds,
And drives away his fear.
John Newton

We are supposed to stay with Jesus.  Truthfully, we are supposed to stick with Jesus.  In fact, we are supposed to abide in Christ as He abides in us.

Does any of this sound familiar?

How do we get so far away from the one who sticks closer than a brother? How do we find ourselves at such distance from our Redeemer?

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:6 (NIV)

Just like our sin, our wandering is not limited to new converts.  Some of us who have been at it for a while can lose our fire.  We can become burnt out and dulled.  We all, at one time or another, have to rekindle our spiritual fire.

  • Go to God in prayer.  Pray for God to show you the error of your ways and a solution to what has you spiritually stagnant.
  • Go to God’s Word.  Read His Word and seek to draw closer to Him.
  • Go to God’s man.  Talk with your pastor.  Share your concern so that he can pray with you and guide you with spiritual wisdom.
  • Go on and get back into ministry.  Start slow.  Don’t commit to too much.  Start and stick with one ministry first.  Let it be something near and dear to you so that you do not lose enthusiasm or excitement.

God can help us get back on track.  We have to submit to Him and His perfect work.  We have to be obedient to His calling on our lives.  He’ll offer us a solution.

He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? – Romans 8:32 (NIV)

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