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Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

If there is an enduring obstacle to your pursuit of a settled life, perhaps there is an unjust decision in your past, whether made by you or someone close to you.

If you believe in God, then you have to believe that people will always — eventually — face consequences for unjust decisions that harmed others.

You and I won’t encounter restitution decisions on the scale faced by King David in this passage, but the principle remains the same.

If we do wrong against others, particularly if it violates an oath made to God, somebody someday will suffer the consequences until there is a restitution/reconciliation effort.

The offense mentioned in this passage regarding King Saul violated Israel’s oath during the Promised Land conquest to not kill Gibeonites. It’s a long story recorded in Joshua 9 but the point is this: If we break a promise, even generations later, God will see to it that we face consequences.

Promises are very important to God.

It’s all about integrity.

Good thing, too.

We’re sure counting on God to keep His promise of eternal blessing to us.

Let’s do our best to live in ways that pours blessing into others’ lives, not broken promises.

And if we encounter a life obstacle that just won’t go away — whether individually or as a family or congregation — let’s pray for wisdom to see if a broken promise or residual, unrepentant sin is perhaps the cause.

A settled life moving unhindered toward eternity is a much better outcome.

As always, I love you
Martin

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“Thank you, Lord, for a potent reminder of all the reason we need to continually strive to please You.”

This thought resonated in my mind this morning after my devotional time in the Bible. More specifically, the words of Psalm 49:15 jumped off the screen and into my soul.

“But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.”

I thought of that horrible scene in the movie Ghost when the director’s vision of death angels came to take the soul of the bad guy with them to hell. I am so glad that I don’t have to worry about a kicking and screaming trip to hell.

You see, Christ’s death on the cross has given me the gift of a choice between heaven and hell.

Because Jehovah is my God and Jesus is my Savior, I have chosen heaven.

I have chosen life.

I have not earned it, of course.

But I have received it.

Earlier in Psalm 49 were these frightening words:

“Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.” (vv. 8-9)

Believers are blessed people, that’s for sure.

We’re bought and paid for from a divine pocket infinitely deeper than ours.

This provides all the hope and peace we need to keep sharing with others about the hope and peace they need.

Start speaking words of hope and peace into others’ lives today, my friend.

One kind word and one kind action at a time.

We are saved by a higher power. Let’s show others how that higher power can help them.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Here are five reasons to be kind.

And they’re certain in yielding benefits to both beneficiary and benefactor.

You see, God promised.

“Oh, the joys of those who are kind to the poor!

The Lord rescues them when they are in trouble.

The Lord protects them and keeps them alive.

He gives them prosperity in the land and rescues them from their enemies.

The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.”

These words from Psalm 41:1-3 are wonderfully encouraging.

Five blessings for those who give blessings to those who struggle financially.

Let’s be kind to the poor.

It pleases our Abba Father who will be more inclined to help us during our times of need.

If you’re not sure how to begin showing this sort of kindness, ask your pastor for ideas or at least keep a bag of easily-eaten, preserved food in your car to give to a homeless person if you see one.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s such a brief line but it is incredibly potent in meaning.

For anyone who has just been restored to an important relationship because of another’s forgiveness, this verse fragment will hold special meaning.

“…what a relief to see your friendly smile. It is like seeing the face of God!” (Genesis 33:10)

The context was Jacob’s return to his homeland after 20 years in what is now Iraq. He had fled there earlier out of fear that his brother Esau would kill him because of various deceptive and cheating behaviors.

Returning as an older and somewhat wiser man, Jacob still had fear that Esau might take revenge for the dirty deeds done to him a generation earlier.

You’ll want to read of this account by clicking here.

Despite the fear, Jacob headed home anyway. Previous chapters in Genesis recorded why Jacob believed he couldn’t stay in the land of his wives’ family.

Jacob knew when he fled his homeland two decades earlier that he had done wrong.

And now as he awaited the inevitable meeting with Esau, he was hoping that retribution and carnage would not be the outcome.

As you read the passage in the link above, you’ll see just how deep-rooted Jacob’s fears were.

But when the meeting actually occurred, there was no hatred, no shaking fists, no waving swords.

Instead, there was unmistakable forgiveness.

Jacob sensed that what he had received was not the fruit of human nature but instead the fruit of God’s Spirit overflowing through Esau’s face.

When Jacob saw a forgiving face with a friendly smile, he perceived it as the work of God in his brother’s heart.

Wow.

Perhaps you have a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the work of God in your heart as you choose to genuinely forgive someone who has done harm to you.

If you’ll offer a smiling face to him or her as you seek to restore a relationship, embracing rather than attacking, you’ll bring relief to that person’s soul.

And they’ll know that what you’ve done is a reflection of God’s influence, not human nature.

Here’s the conclusion of the matter — there is perhaps no better way to portray faith than to forgive those who have harmed you.

Please, let people see the face of God in your life.

Forgive.

As always, I love you
Martin

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It’s good when hard-to-accept information is followed up with uplifting words.

That’s what happened today during my devotional time.

The daily Bible reading portion was from Ezekial 27-28, a troubling account of the rebelliousness of several ancient city-nations and the costly consequences they faced through God’s judgment.

It’s saddening to know that so many people suffered so much as a result of their rejection of God’s authority over their lives.

And it’s saddening to know that the same is happening today, not through pagan army attacks on entire cities of wealthy people but instead through the storing up of future, eternal consequences for rejecting God and present, earthly consequences of shattered families and substance-abused bodies.

After reading from Ezekial, though, the Bible-reading plan had me reading from Hebrews 11 and this is the verse that really lifted my soul:

It was by faith that the people of Israel marched around Jericho for seven days, and the walls came crashing down.” (Hebrews 11:30)

The lesson for me from this verse is this — I don’t have to do the work of knocking down Jericho. I just need to do what God calls me to do.

It wasn’t the Hebrews’ right arms that tore down the walls, but instead their faith in God’s strong right arm.

So here’s the wrap-up.

If I reject God’s authority over my life and live to please myself, I’m on the road to an eternity of trouble and suffering.

If I embrace God’s authority over my life and live to obey and please Him, I’m on the road to victories won by God and unmerited blessings enjoyed by the faithful.

Live by faith, my friend, not by flesh.

The outcomes are SO much better.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There are so many ways that our Christian faith can be displayed to the world around us.

Sometimes, though, we Christians mess up and seemingly beat people over the head with the fact of their sins, missing the opportunity to graciously point them toward a better way.

It’s not about ignoring the reality of unrighteous behavior and telling lost souls that they’re saved apart from conversion.

It IS, however, about showing and teaching grace to others with the recognition that it was our awareness of God’s gracious love that prompted us to repent of sins and surrender our hearts to Christ.

It’s all about love, really.

God’s love for us.

God’s love for others.

God’s love that should compel us to love others.

And God’s love flowing through us toward others as a sign of our faith.

The Apostle Paul said as much in Galatians 5:

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” (verse 6)

Yes, we should understand the “why” and “what” and “how” of various volunteer roles at church. We should understand the pattern for worship in our particular congregation. We should understand how to use Bible study tools and the need to be faithful in our tithing toward ministry activities and we should understand the various practices and responsibilities for involvement in a congregation.

But if we don’t get the Galatians 5:6 thing right, we’re failing God and failing others.

Express your faith today in a tangible, merciful way that really counts.

Love people in ways that help to point their hearts toward the Lord.

After all, isn’t our love for them rooted in His love for us?

As always, I love you
Martin

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Embedded within the verses of Ecclesiastes 3 is a potent, little sentence that can sharpen to a razor’s edge our focus of life.

It speaks not about us, however, but instead about God.

“God’s purpose is that people should fear Him.” (verse 14)

This was written by Solomon, deemed by scripture as the wisest man in history other than Jesus.

And this was written after Solomon had forayed into random detours of fleshly foolishness.

The greatest king Israel has ever known concluded that all of God’s efforts in creation, in inspiration, in intercession, in revelation, in correction and in reconciliation were all focused on one objective — the salvation of people through faith in Him.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 is a wonderful companion verse to John 3:16, a verse you already know.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 is also a great verse to share with 2 Peter 3:9, another well-known verse that teaches us of God’s patient desire for all people to be repent of their sins so that they might gain salvation into eternal life.

You’ve heard that the “whole duty of man” is to fear God and keep His commandments.

This is not in scripture because God is a control freak.

This is in the Bible because God wants us to follow the safe path that gets us where He wants us to be forever — in His presence in heaven.

If it is God’s purpose for people to fear Him in the sense of loving and obedient respect, it is to be our purpose for living, as well.

Let’s show people that we love, obey and respect our heavenly Father so that they’ll see the fruits of a better, more emotionally secure, meaningful life that can be theirs as well.

It really is a Great Commission thing, you know.

As always, I love you
Martin

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