Archive for the ‘Mercy’ Category

HIS GRACE

Monday, November 29th, 2010

Day 259

“My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness”
2 Corinthians 12:9

Many Christians wonder about besetting sins in their lives. In addition to besetting sins, Christians face character flaws, poor judgement with important issues (getting themselves into bad situations like financial or job loss, hurting relationships, etc.), and other maladies that beset them. They believe that God cannot use them, they are defeated and surely will not see eternal salvation.

There is a power greater than sin and failures. When you consider God’s people, it is very evident that many of them struggled with sin throughout their lives. Moses murdered a man, was a coward, and expressed great anger. David was adulterous, murdered a man, and never invested in his children leading to rebellious and wickedness in some of them. Peter attempted to hinder the Lord and denied Him three times. Martin Luther expressed anger continually, was anti-Semitic, filled with resentment and quit preaching for a while and didn’t want to be pastoring. Recent famous saints in the past hundred plus years suffered from constant depression, had massive business failures, were cold towards their wives, etc. The list is endless.

Francis Fenelon, a French mystic, wrote, “I have found God leaves, even in the most spiritual people, certain weaknesses which seem entirely out of place.” We do not understand this except to know that God has a long history of redeeming our sinful failures and most terrible and botched messes and turning them into opportunities for His kingdom. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

“I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not
be disqualified for the prize”
1 Corinthians 9:27

TENDER MERCIES

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Day 255

“I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion”
Exodus 33:19

An extraordinary characteristic of God our Father is His mercy. God is sovereign and in His sovereignty, He chooses according to the pleasure of His will. We, as his children, are not the only ones to receive His blessings and mercy. He pays the workers hired at the 11th hour the same as those who worked all day [Matthew 20:1-16]. He gives sunlight to everyone, regardless: the evil and good, and sends rain on the just and unjust [Matthew 5:45]. He even has mercy on those who commit murder.

Cain belonged to the evil one and his actions were evil and unacceptable to God. When he and his brother brought their sacrifices to God, Cain’s was rejected. Jealousy rose up in his heart that led to anger. Yet, God spoke tenderly to Cain, asking why he was angry? Why has your countenance fallen? Will you not be accepted if you do well? Cain sinned and God met him with graciousness and compassion.

Cain’s sin went from anger to hatred and ignoring God’s graciousness, his wickedness came to fullness. He killed his brother. God then cast him out and sentenced him to be a wanderer. Cain, in the midst of this great wickedness and judgment, says to God, “my punishment is greater than I can bear.” He does not repent, he has no remorse; yet he boldly complains to God. Cain’s sins were great and God had mercy, granting him his life.

How great Your mercy is O God! How tender you are to the just and unjust.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy” Matthew 5:7

THE MERCY SEAT

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

Day 251

“For a tabernacle was prepared . . . which had the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat”
Hebrew 9:2-5

The Tabernacle in the wilderness had three areas; the outer court, the holy place and the Holy of Holies. The Ark of the Covenant was located in the Holy of Holies and was overlaid with gold. Three items were kept in it; the original stone tablets with the ten commandments, the golden pot with manna and Aaron’s rod. The three items spoke of the law, bread of life and resurrection power.

Covering the ark was a lid. The lid was the mercy seat. It covered the law that exposed sin. This is where the High Priest, once a year, placed the expiatory blood from the sacrifice at the brazen altar. It is explained in Romans 3:25; “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.”

A beautiful and glorious picture is seen here. The word “propitiation,” the covering of our sins, is the same as “mercy seat.” God had made provision for us. As He placed the tablets of the law, which exposed sin, under the mercy seat, so Christ’s propitiation averts our deserved wrath for sin. Praise His Name for we are covered by His mercy.

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways
and loving toward all He has made”
Psalm 145:17

THE GOD OF MUCH MORE – PART 2

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Day 245

“For, if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved in His life”
Romans 5:6-10

Our Father not only takes (saves) us out of the world He brings us into the kingdom, just as He took the Israelites out of Egypt and brought them to the promised land. It does not stop there. His love is a love of commitment. He not only had compassion on us in our captivity and bondage, realizing our weakness and powerlessness to do anything for ourselves, but He died for us to make the way for reconciliation. And, after bringing us in, He gives us “much more.”

Salvation is not a one-time act, but a continuation of “much more”, a daily saving through His resurrected life. Paul declares, “I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ—right up to the time of His return—developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you” [Philippians 1:6, Amplified].

We who were God’s enemies are now His friends. God, and God alone, did this for us. We are objects of His love, “Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us . . .” [Ephesians 2:4]. He not only looks upon as friends, but as His children, partakers of the divine nature.

Oh, glorious Father, how we thank You for Your love that we barely understand. Help us to know You more and more each day and the immense love with which You have loved us. We declare Your glory and goodness for Your grace and mercy has redeemed us. Amen.

THE INVESTMENT

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Day 221

“We should go up and take possession of the land,
for we can certainly do it.”
Numbers 13:30

The Old Testament reveals a history of God preparing a land for His people. After freeing them from their long Egyptian bondage, the people amazingly grumbled, complained and rebelled during the time of reaching the new land. The verse today sees them at the place where they can enter the land. They had a good report about the land, but they believed the bad reports. They saw their enemies as giants and they grumbled against Moses and Aaron and accused God of leading them into a death trap! Joshua spoke and declared the Lord was with them and they could take the land; but the whole camp turned on them and began to talk about stoning them to death.

The people’s hearts were stubborn, hard and filled with rebellion and wickedness. They saw God as their enemy and wanted to kill His leaders in the face of His blessings! God wasn’t happy about their response and wanted to strike them down with a plague and destroy them. In the midst of this Moses pleaded for their lives and God heard him. He spared them and sent them back into the wilderness for 40 years. Both Joshua and Caleb made a decision to stay with these people, bearing their burden by going back into the desert with them for the 40 years. They made a decision to serve though they tried to kill them.

Joshua and Caleb’s decision to stay with the people in the face of their rebellion foreshadowed Jesus Christ who came in the midst of our sinfulness to die for us. Through it all, He continually demonstrated His love towards us in His actions, bearing our burdens, ignorance, and sins. It is this sacrificial love that redeemed us. What an investment Christ and those before him made! Shouldn’t we also invest ourselves in the brethren?

“He is a faithful God, keeping His covenant of love . . .” Deuteronomy 7:9

MERCIFUL KINDNESS

Friday, October 8th, 2010

Day 215

“For His merciful kindness is great toward us”
Psalm 117:2

There is a perceived interest and kindness expressed by people today that is empty and false. It is meant to communicate genuine interest in you, leave you with a sense of good will, and cast the person showing the interest in a favorable light. Unfortunately, it neither has substance nor cost, and remains for the most part an empty act.

True kindness is more than pretending to be interested in a person’s need. It goes far beyond verbal expression. It is deeper than a surface act. It is a kindness that is expressed not just to friends, but also to our enemies. This is what differentiates Godly kindness from the kindness of the world. When we encounter true kindness, we have been met by mercy. And, the character of this kindness comes at a cost.

To know true kindness we need only to look at God our Father. He cares for us. He gave us His only Son. He identified with us and suffered for us, “yet for your sakes He became poor [for us]” [2 Corinthians 8:9]. It is because of this kindness salvation visited us. It is His kindness that forgives our sins, accepts us in the Beloved, grants us grace, empowers us with the Holy Spirit, and gives us a new nature. It is this kindness that meets us new every morning and flows freely towards us. It enables us to be kind to all.

“Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You”
Psalm 63:8

FULL OF GRACE

Monday, October 4th, 2010

Day 212

“We have received grace upon grace”
John 1:16

John says, “We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” [John 1:14]. He is the glorious one, who from the very beginning was with God and through Him all things were made. He is the Son of God by nature and from eternity and exalted high above angels and prophets. He is the beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased and He is full of grace and truth.

He is full of grace, unmerited favor for us. Out of this fullness we have all received grace upon grace. His grace for us is infinite, boundless and without limit. It is a continual supply coming out of His fullness. When grace is used, more replaces it. There is no end to it. Paul says in Romans, “…where sin abounded grace abounded much more” [5:20]. Grace is greater than sin. Jeremiah says in Lamentations that His mercies and compassions “are new every morning” [3:23].

The law served to show our sinfulness and God’s holiness. Jesus Christ revealed God’s grace, mercy and compassion. Through His grace we find forgiveness and are able to live holy lives. Through His mercy the effects of our sins are covered. Through His fullness we come to know God our Father.

“And God placed all things under His feet and appointed Him to be head over everything for the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills everything in every way . . . until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”
Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:13

THE THRONE

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Day 206

“And there before me was a throne in heaven
with someone sitting on it”
Revelation 4:2

The Apostle John was permitted to look into heaven. There was a door standing open and he heard Christ say, “Come up here.” The Lord speaks; “I will show you what must take place after this.” What does John see?

He saw the Throne with One sitting on it. The Throne is the center of all things and Christ ascended to sit at the right hand of God. He entered heaven in exaltation and took His seat by His Father, and now John was permitted to see this. It is from here that everything may be understood. It is here where God governs. The Throne is the Holy of Holies. Where once there was a Tabernacle in the Wilderness for God to dwell with His people, as a representation of what was in heaven, now there is access to God Himself. Everything led to the Holy of Holies and the Mercy Seat, and now John saw it.

Why did the Lord permit John to see the Throne and record minute details? It was His love being demonstrated towards us who are His children. He opened the door to heaven so we could see the Throne and know what must take place. And this is a great comfort to us for we gain understanding to God’s Divine plan and see the outcome of it. It permits us to have an assurance and knowledge that God has dominion over ALL things, for He created them. It means that every minute detail of our life is in His hands.

“Exalt the Lord our God and worship at His footstool;
He is holy” Psalm 99:5

HIS SPECIAL FAVOR

Friday, September 17th, 2010

Day 195

“I will extol Thee, my God, O King;
and I will bless Thy name for ever and ever”
Psalm 145:1

The greatness of God’s favor towards us is unsearchable. We do not know the depth of all His works on our behalf. These are of such a magnitude that it would be hard to contain the knowledge of it all. Who is a God like our God who first loved us? Where in all this earth and throughout our lifetime has such a profound and deep love ever been seen? There is nothing in our humanity that is able to come close to expressing this greatness of our God.

This greatness is magnified by His special favor to His children. He first loved us when we were unlovable. His goodness brought graciousness, compassion and mercy to us. These came to us in gentleness and because of it He has made us great in Him. Yet, even as His children, we sometimes are unaware of how He keeps us. We easily live within ourselves. But, His goodness is to all and His tender mercies surround us in our life. He upholds all that fall and raises up those bowed down.

The Israelites in the wilderness forsake Him, but He continued to give them provision. He satisfies the desire of every living thing. Even in our sins, He is kind to us, patiently waiting for us to see the error of our ways. He even seems reluctant to chastise until there are no other options. This is His greatness and His glory towards us. His love is beyond understanding.

“My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord:
and let all flesh bless His Holy name for ever and ever”
Psalm 145:21

HIS THUNDERINGS

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

Day 194

He hurls arrows of light, taking sure and accurate aim.
The High God roars in the thunder, angry against evil.
Job 36:33

The New Living Translation puts it this way; “He fills his hands with lightening bolts and hurls each at its target. The thunder announces his presence; the storm announces his indignant anger.”

One can never understand the fullness of God’s mercy until they have seen their own wickedness and corruption and realize how patient God has been with them. God’s mercy is so great that He even withholds our seeing the depth of our own depravity.

Our God is passionate about His children. So much so, that He will not permit us to stay in captivity. Another translation of the above verse shows His passion; “And the thunder tells of His anger against sin.” He comes with fire in His eyes to burn away sin in His children. His anger is against our enemies that put us in captivity – “He rescues me from my enemies” [Psalm 18:48], and “The Lord hath sworn by His right hand, and by the arm of His strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies” [Isaiah 62:8].

He comes with fire in His eyes to deliver us, yet to us He comes as the Lamb of God, slain before the foundation of the world, making provision for us in His mercy seat. We are covered by Him that we should be holy and without blame before Him [Ephesians 1:4]. Through His blood we have forgiveness of sin and continuous cleansing. Oh, yes – He is our Lover.

“That we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all that hate us”
Luke 1:71