A God kind of mercy

There was an incident today in which a child was disappointed. An expectation had been created that was not delivered. And apparently it was just an oversight, but it happened. It was explained to me that someone had made a mistake and that the mistake would be corrected. What this made me realize was that every time a child is wronged it breaks my heart. It seriously hurts me because I physically feel what that child is feeling. And really, it’s not just with children, it is anybody. I think God stirred in a big spoon of mercy when He made me. I cannot abide injustice. It hurts me to my core.

Mercy is something that God shows us in great abundance daily. Without mercy I don’t think the human race would still be in existence. The dictionary gives the meaning of mercy as: ‘compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.’

God definitely has the power to punish and harm us if He feels like it. His capacity for showing mercy alone would probably qualify Him to be God.

Exodus 20:6,  but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Psalm 85:10-13,

Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,

That glory may dwell in our land.

Mercy and truth have met together;

Righteousness and peace have kissed.

Truth shall spring out of the earth,

And righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Yes, the Lord will give what is good;

And our land will yield its increase.

Righteousness will go before Him,

And shall make His footsteps our pathway.

These words are so beautiful, and the promise that is made is so precious. God will give us good things and we will prosper if we live out the salvation we have received through the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. And He will always go ahead of us. We know where we stand when we are children of God. We know that we never have to fear. We know that no matter how bad things look God is going through the storms with us.

Romans 9:15, For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whomever I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whomever I will have compassion.”

This verse seems to be a little strange at first but I interpret it as God saying, “If I feel like having mercy and compassion on someone that you think doesn’t deserve it, that’s My choice.” That means that we can’t deserve His mercy by doing things, just like we can’t earn salvation. People so badly want to be able to do things that will cause God to favour them. I think it’s born into humans because that’s what people are like. If you do certain things that please me then I will do what you need from me. And that is 100% not what God is like at all. The only thing we need to do is to accept Jesus to be our saviour. That’s it!

Joel 2:32,

And it shall come to pass

That whoever calls on the name of the Lord

Shall be saved.

For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance,

As the Lord has said,

Among the remnant whom the Lord calls.

Romans 10:9-13, if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

God’s mercy is enough for us all and we need to be showing mercy towards others, and not a kind of condescending mercy that shouts of arrogance. We need to dig deep inside our souls and find that kind of compassion and mercy that God has shown for us every time we messed up and He reached out and put His arm around us and welcomed us home.

Choose to praise

Sometimes life becomes totally overwhelming. It feels like we’re living inside a bubble and the bubble is becoming smaller and smaller and the oxygen inside the bubble is being used up as we struggle to be normal.

Lamentations 3:7 – 9, “He has hedged me in so that I cannot get our; he has made my chain heavy. Even as I cry and shout. He shuts out my prayer. He has blocked my ways with hewn stone; He has made my paths crooked.”

I think that’s quite an accurate description of the way we sometimes feel. It feels like there’s no way out of this and things will never change and we will never break out of the chains. But we aren’t really supposed to feel that way. Or if we do, it should only be for a very short time. Later in the same chapter (verse 22 -26) it says, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore I hope in Him! The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seek Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

Jeremiah, to whom Lamentations is ascribed, changed his attitude towards God.

Just like Jeremiah, we have to be willing to change our attitude.

Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

Isaiah 61:3. “To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

When things are really hard, we must praise God.

Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

I know it’s hard to rejoice when you feel down and desperate, and when everything seems to be going wrong. I know it. And it’s not going to get easier. But at least if you’ve tried it a few times you are going to know that it works. Put on praise music. Grab a flag, or a dishcloth or whatever is at hand. Wave it around, jump up and down, dance, sing, whatever works for you. God loves you and He needs you to praise Him. Not for His sake but for yours.

Psalm 30:11, “Then he broke through and transformed my wailing into a whirling dance of ecstatic praise! He has torn the veil and lifted from me the sad heaviness of mourning. He wrapped me in the glory garments of gladness.” (TPT)

Psalm 34:1 -3, “Lord! I’m bursting with joy over what you’ve done for me! My lips are full of perpetual praise. I’m boasting of you and all your works, so let all who are discouraged take heart. Join me, everyone! Let’s praise the Lord together. Let’s make him famous! Let’s make his name glorious to all.” (TLB) (Living Bible)

These verses are so encouraging I feel like dancing now. Both these psalms were written by David and he went through some extremely bad times and difficult, life and death situations. He also had to force himself to praise on the dark days. He had to pick himself up out of despair and failure and start all over again. David was a man after God’s own heart and I think that a lot of it had to do with the fact that he chose to praise God even in the most difficult situations. We can do that too. We can reach out and burst that bubble of oppression that is threatening to strangle us and choose to praise God.

Grace and Mercy

The ‘grace’ I’m referring to means free, unmerited favour or goodwill. Clemency, mercy.

In music a grace note is an extra note added for embellishment.

  1. God shows grace

    1. Ps 84:11 – For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.

    2. Proverbs 3:34 – Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.

    3. Deut 9:5 – 6 – It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you go in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God drives them out from before you, ad that He may fulfil the word which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  6. Therefore understand that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stiff-necked people.

We are a lot like the Israelites who came out of Egypt. We like to complain. We like to selectively recall events out of our past according to the mood we’re in. We like to look back and say ‘if only’. If only I had invested in bitcoin three years ago I would be a multi-millionaire now. If only I hadn’t wasted my time by hanging out in clubs instead of studying for my degree. If only I hadn’t fallen with my skateboard and hurt my knee, I might have been selected for the national soccer team and been rich and famous. If only I quit smoking 10 years ago I wouldn’t have had lung cancer now. And so it goes on. If only, if only, if only. The Israelites weren’t any better. If only they had stayed in Egypt they wouldn’t be starving and in danger. They forget to add that they were slaves in Egypt and treated worse than dirt!

We want our rewards and we want them now. We want to pray a quick prayer and have it answered immediately. Not only do we want it answered right away, we want the answer that we want to hear.

Grace is when I don’t do anything to receive favour, but I receive it anyway. I go to work every day just as usual and one day the boss call me in and gives me a huge raise. That’s grace. I didn’t work particularly hard or do anything special to deserve the raise.

Mercy – a disposition to temper justice with mildness. Clemency, compassion.

Micah 7:18 – Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgressions of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy.

Titus 3:5 – He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.

Luke 6:36 – Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Matthew 5:7 – Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Mercy is when you deserved to be punished but you aren’t. If I pour a glass of Coca-Cola onto your laptop keyboard because I’m mad at you and your keyboard gets fried, and you don’t get mad at me and demand for me to replace your laptop. You just wipe it off and go out and buy a new laptop. That is mercy. I was purposely vindictive towards you and you didn’t retaliate at all. God shows us mercy all the time. How many times have you done things that just aren’t right? And you didn’t get struck by lightning or fall down dead. As these versed illustrate God shows us mercy all the time and He also expects us to show mercy to others. Matthew 5:7 even says that if we are merciful we will be shown mercy. Showing mercy is not a sign of weakness. Quite the opposite. It is much easier to give a harsh answer or to mete out punishment than to be merciful and give someone a second chance, especially if the other person has hurt our family, our finances or our feelings. It’s the principle of reaping what you sow. I really, really want God to show me mercy. Hebrews 10:31 – ‘It is a fearsome thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’

Let us grow in grace and be merciful for the sake of our own souls.

The amazing colour run

We don’t have lots of events or functions in our little town. We don’t even make the news every week. But yesterday the local Christian School organized a day full of all kinds of entertainment. They kicked off with a colour run. You know, one of those fun run’s where you get doused with powdered paint at strategic points and in the end everyone looks like a rainbow.

I was going to walk the 5km but eventually the rest of my family decided to take part and I graciously offered to look after the shop while they were running. Of course they would finish way faster than me because they actually run. (And by saying I did it graciously it sounds much less like an excuse!) Yesterday morning I was at the shop and I had dealt with all the issues that required my attention when I decided to drive up the road and photograph my family as they ran past. My intention was to take a few quick pics and go back to the shop. I ended up staying till the last participant had passed that point.

What I saw was nothing short of amazing. There were some runners who were athletes and they competed for a place or for a personal best. Then there were children who took part just to finish. They weren’t really worried about placings. They just had fun. A group of ladies who are part of a weight-loss club took part and looked so happy. There was a father jogging with his little daughter. It was so awesome to see the support he gave her. Another mom and dad took turns carrying their toddler on their back’s or shoulders.

There as a lady in a wheel chair that was pushed all the way. Her friends were with her all the way and they were so joyful. Nothing was going to stop them from participating. Little kids screwed up their faces when the colourful powdered paint was tossed towards them. Others tied bandanas over their faces. It was such fun.

The thing that stuck me the most though, was that my husband who recently turned 60, came running by holding the hand of a little girl of 8. The two of them covered more than half the course hand-in-hand. He was supporting her, but she was unwittingly supporting him too. She was supporting him by giving him the chance to be an example and show people what its all about to reach out to others. The picture just made me think of how we are here on earth to help one another and to carry each other’s burdens. We aren’t supposed to be just looking after our own interests. We are supposed to esteem other’s higher than ourselves.

Philippians 2:3-4 : Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Do we know how to esteem others higher than ourselves? Do we know how to look out for the interests of others? Do we believe the media when they tell us to put number one first and look after ourselves? Or, do we look for someone who is struggling, take their hand and run with them?