Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Goodness and Mercy (Psalm 23)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 23

For many of us, Psalm 23 was one of the first scriptures we memorized. It’s a wonderful song of promise, and I absolutely love it.

I encourage you to read through it again … and again.

Our Good Shepherd gives us guidance and restoration. He leads us and guides us through the dark paths.

Because He is with us, we have no reason to fear.

He provides food and protection. He showers us with overwhelming blessings and abundant grace.

We can be assured that He will offer mercy every moment we live on this earth, and praise Him, we can look forward to being in His presence forever!

Amen.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Giving Affection and Mercy (Philippians 2:1-2)

Today’s scripture: Philippians 2:1-2

Just as we have been given mercy, we must give mercy to others.

Paul reminds us that mercy is necessary for “like-mindedness.” We have to be willing to not give others what we think they deserve … just as God has done for us.

This is especially true in our local church and with our closest circles of Christian friends. We’re all human, and others may (okay, likely will) do things that hurt or offend us. A bit of gossip. A careless word.

When we’re hurt, our first instinct often is to lash out or respond in kind. But we’re called to show “affection and mercy.” To offer forgiveness. To give comfort.

And this doesn’t mean we wait until they ask for love or mercy or forgiveness.

No, God offered salvation even when we sinned (Romans 5:8).

We need to show mercy and not give others what we think they deserve.

It’s not easy, but with the help of the Spirit, we can do it.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Trustworthy Mercy (Psalm 13:5)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 13:5

I’ve written before that I was abused as a child and young teenager by three different men. When you’ve been hurt by an adult, it’s often hard to trust anyone … even God Himself.

I didn’t trust men for a very long time, and I didn’t trust God either. Oh, I still believed in Him, but I distrusted His love … for me, at least.

I’m so grateful that I found trustworthy people, and I’m (literally!) eternally grateful I found my way back to the arms of Jesus.

I finally realized that God is worthy of trust, that His mercy is abundant, that His grace is abundant, and that His love is everlasting.

He is the God of my salvation, and I can trust in Him in every situation and at all times.

If you find it difficult to trust, go to the One who is worthy of your trust too. People may let you down, but God never will.

Never.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Saving Mercy (Titus 3:4-7)

Today’s scripture: Titus 3:4-7

We’ve talked before about justification by God’s grace. He sees us as righteous after we’re saved by His grace.

Especially as we focus on the birth of Jesus this Christmas season, I’m just in awe that God, the Creator of all things, loves me enough to have come to earth … for me!

He offers grace and mercy to me.

And even more He has adopted me as His dearly-loved daughter. I’m an “heir according to the hope of eternal life.”

He is indeed kind. And gracious. And merciful. And loving.

He is my Creator. My Savior. My Redeemer. My forever Father.

He is my everything … What is He to you?

Monday, December 04, 2017

Mercy for a Thousand Generations (Deuteronomy 7:9)

Today’s scripture: Deuteronomy 7:9

Eternity is an impossible concept. We on earth are bound by time.

We wake up at a specific time. We go to work at a specific time. We plan according to time. We review a calendar with dates and times. We look at devices that tell us the time.

So to even try to understand a God who is outside of time is … well, impossible. Yet that same God somehow put time as we know it in place when He created this earth. When He created morning and night. When He put the first man and woman in paradise.

He knew the choices they’d make. He knows the choices we’d make. And yet, in His mercy, in His all-knowing, beyond-time mercy, He “keeps covenant … for a thousand generations …” He keeps His covenant with you and with me.

I don’t understand it, but I’m blessed to know it’s true!

Friday, December 01, 2017

God's Rich Mercy! (Ephesians 2:4-7)

Today’s scripture: Ephesians 2:4-7

Ah … God’s rich mercy!

He so delights in not giving us what we deserve; we were “dead in trespasses” from the moment we took our first breaths. In our sinfulness, we deserve eternal death and separation from our Lord and Savior.

But “because of His great love” for us, He offers grace: giving us what we don’t deserve.

Because of His love for us, we are “alive together in Christ.” We are “raised … together,” and we will one day “sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus …”

We will spend eternity in the presence of our triune God: Father, Son, and Spirit.

Our God is indeed “rich in mercy”!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Paths of Mercy (Psalm 25:10)

Today’s scripture: Psalm 25:10

As we continue to look at mercy, one thing we haven’t really made clear is that mercy, God’s mercy, is exclusive. It’s only available to “such as keep His commandment and His testimonies.”

If one is not a follower of Christ, then she can’t expect to receive God’s mercy—both that mercy that doesn’t give what is deserved as well as that compassionate treatment we saw on Monday.

Our God longs to shower all humankind with love and grace and mercy, but because He gives free will, allowing each person to choose Him—or not—He will not give the same gifts to those who choose not to follow Him as He does to those who do.

It makes sense. While woman who teaches may certainly love all her students, she certainly would not give them the same gifts as she does her own children.

So while “all the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth,” only those who “keep His covenant and His testimonies” follow those paths.