Realizing the blessing that mercy is to us!

God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. (Matthew 5:7, NLT)

You and I are completely undeserving of the great mercy our Lord has shown us. At times in our lives, we have flagrantly ignored His ways and acted like spoiled, arrogant, selfish adolescents … charting our own course, demanding our rights even as we fell into sin along the pathways we were choosing. Only later do we realize, there was nothing of value from these occasions of illusionary self-centered excursions into sin.

To redeem the messes, we have made of things and of the abuse of the freedom we have in our will; we are in great need of great mercy. We are not in need of mercy in token amounts like finding a coin on the street but in need of a great amount of mercy as in an unexpected windfall of cash from a wealthy relative. In fact we are in need of even more than an unexpected windfall of mercy. Most of the time our sin has caused great damage to ourselves and to others, left lingering consequences and massive amounts of regret in our lives. We need the compassionate love and forgiveness for our sins that can be found only in the mercy of God. Only the mercy of God can open the door for the grace of God to rebuild, repay and redeem our debt to those who were and are damaged by our sin.

We are given a new life by the mercy of God. We are utterly hopeless in our sin without the mercy of God. Praise be to God, for it is He who sees us in our hopelessness and loving redeems us from the penalty of our sin that we so rightly deserve (Romans 5:8). When we are given God’s mercy through Jesus Christ, we have life in His name. How can we not give mercy, when we only have new life by God’s mercy?

We will stand condemned when we withhold mercy from others (Matthew 18:21-35). When we withhold mercy from others, we are shutting off the work of Holy Spirit in showing mercy to others. The mercy we would give in our human capacities is quite limited but the mercy that flows through us by the power of the Holy Spirit is vast in its capacity. Our failure to show mercy does not reflect the God of mercy who redeemed us but only our own self-centered ungrateful and unmerciful heart. Surrender your heart to the mercy that has saved you and let His mercy and grace change you. You can only be blessed by God, when you are truly merciful to others!

Suggested Reading … Matthew 18

The fruit of our days …

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. (Galatians 5:22-24, NLT)

In order for a tree to produce fruit in its season that is tender in its consistency, luscious and delicious in its taste, vibrant in its coloration and satisfying in the eating; there must be a gathering in of the days occurring in the season. In the gathering of the days, the tree must take in the awakening and renewal of life in the heady pollination days. It must pull in moisture through its leaves and roots on both generous days of falling rain drops and days of the soft blanketing of the dew in the dawn. It must take in the warmth of sunny afternoons for growth to develop out from the core to build bulk and substance. The season is completed as the time in the days both sustains and embodies the fruit of the days in its ripen and completed purpose.

The Spirit of God creates and gives us new life as fruit in the seasons of our living. We are recreated in a new life in the Holy Spirit by an awakening of our spirit to the work of God in us. The days of our living in the Spirit must pull in the moisture of God’s purposeful direction in teaching and conviction. We must let the warmth of the light of the Spirit grow out from the core of our being as we become full of the substance of the Spirit. The days of our being sustained and embodied by the Spirit will then be gathered together to produce a ripened fruit that is vibrant, tender, wonderful and satisfying.

The “Fruit of the Spirit” is not instantly produced nor does it happen by our human efforts but the “Fruit of the Spirit,” occurs as the days of our lives are prayerfully yielded to the transforming change and growth the Holy Spirit creates and crafts over the seasons in our living. All of our days are preciously given by the grace of our Savior. Yet for the fruit produced as the result of all our days to be the “Fruit of the Spirit,” our days must be yielded to the Holy Spirit’s directing and changing our living in each day as we die to our own selfish natures. There can be no greater legacy of our living out the days of our lives than for those days to be as trees; full and heavy in their seasons with the “Fruit of the Spirit.”

Suggested Reading … Galatians 5

The Taste is Good

Blessed are those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6, NASB)

Tiny, chemical and physiological demands, stimulations and reactions which are invisible to the eye are happening in our human bodies . These demands, stimulations and responses relate to our senses, emotions, thoughts and actions throughout the day when we are active and throughout the night even when we are resting. Our complex body systems sense our needs and direct our body and mind to the means of fulfilment.

One of the strongest of all our senses is the sense of hunger. The demands that trigger the sense of hunger come from inside our body and from outside stimulations such as sight and smell. Usually this sense of hunger directs us to foods that satisfy us and are good for us, but we all know that many times we eat much that is not nutritious or beneficial.

The things of God are always good for us and they satisfy us (Psalm 34:8). The ways and laws of God are pure, perfect and sweet satisfying our hunger for beneficial fulfillment (Psalm 19:7-10). There is much in life that would tempt us in the manners of hunger in our emotional, spiritual, physical, psychological and social desires but our deepest need is in our relationship with our God. In the deepest part of our hearts and soul, we desire and hunger for the righteousness of God, and through our Lord Jesus Christ, we are given this righteousness of God. This is a hunger and thirst we do not always realize or acknowledge but it is real.  When this hunger and thirst is directed to the source of all life, we are filled.

When we hunger and thirst for God and seek Him; He comes to us. He satisfies our deepest needs for Him and we will not be in need of any good thing. It is a remarkable thing and a significant promise to know and realize that God will come and give His righteousness to those that seek after Him. “Come close to God, and God will come close to you” (James 4:8, NLT). God will certainly fill those that come to Him, who are thirsty and hungry for Him.

O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him! O fear the LORD, you His saints; for to those that fear Him there is no want. The young lions do lack and suffer hunger but those that seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing. (Psalm 34:8-10, NASB)

Suggested Reading … Psalm 34


At the speaking of our name …

But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice … Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep … I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly… I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep … I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. (Selected Verses, John 10, NASB)

At the speaking of our name, we will usually turn with attentive interest. If the person speaking our name is someone connected by relationship, they will have a distinctive way of speaking our name. We instantly recognize the subtle manner and tender tone they use when they are speaking to us. Since their relationship with us is of importance and value to us; we will usually be alertly focused on them as they speak our name and begin to communicate with us.

We have all had our name spoken out in other ways, as well. We have all felt the sting of hearing our name used when we were being rebuked or chastised. We have all heard our name used sharply when someone is angry at us and most of us have heard overheard our name disrespected through mocking forms of intentional disregard. On the other hand, we all might have had the privilege of hearing our name spoken in connection with the formal or informal recognition or appreciation of our contributions, efforts and character.

Of all the occasions where our name is spoken, there is one place and one relationship where our name is spoken that is always beyond comparison with any other occasion. There is nothing so tender or as soothing to our very soul as when our gracious and loving “Good Shepherd” speaks our name. At His speaking of our name, we can always turn and find the same caring love beckoning us to come to Him. At His speaking of our name, we know we can follow our Shepherd with complete trust. At His speaking of our name, we know He will take us to choice places of spiritual nourishment. At His speaking of our name, we know we are forever saved by His intentional and purposeful giving of His life for us. At His speaking of our name, we know we blessed and will be blessed by His grace. At His speaking of our name, we will always be watched over in all the days of lives.

Beyond all the fond and attentive care our Shepherd and Savior will lavish on us as His precious Children and “Sheep of His Pasture” and the soulfully connected affectionate way He has called us by name during our time on earth, will be the moment He speaks our name as He welcomes us to the eternal place He has prepared for us. At this eternal juncture of the speaking of our name … we will experience something beyond anything we can imagine, as we will hear our name spoken for the first time as will be spoken tenderly by our Lord for all eternity. Praise and thanks be to Jesus Christ our Lord, for the tender way He speaks our name as cares for us throughout all our days and for the indescribable joy we will find as He speaks our name throughout all of eternity.

Suggested Reading … John 10

Jesus Christ is more …


Domenico Gagini, The Nativity, NGO Image, National Gallery of Art, Public Domain

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6 ESV)

It sometimes happens to the great truths of faith … they get reduced to memorable statements known in a poetic, recognizable and superficial way but not in the infusing life-giving and empowering manner in which they were given. Occasionally these realities of faith can be regulated to a type of seasonal noteworthy celebratory headline which suffers a fading decline into insignificance in the intervening months of general activities.

Sadly this happens to one of the greatest messages of the realities of the Christian faith: the powerful, redemptive, restorative, and the abiding gift of a counseling presence in the gift of a Savior was never meant to be just a Christmas gift. Jesus Christ is more. He is our Counselor, God, Father and Prince of Peace. He did not come to be a celebratory mantra during the Christmas season but a living relational gift of grace to us from our Heavenly Father.

Today on this day, long past the Christmas season, delight in the gifts your Savior brings to your life. He did not come to be a Christmas Savior … to exist forever as a designated perpetual seasonal baby in manger but as a living, redeeming, restoring, and abiding Savior. We need Him for more than a season.

We need to bring every difficulty to Him as He is the most “Wonderful Counselor” we will ever know as He will always listen and He will always provide insights and answers to every need. There is no one more knowledgeable than He and no one who has more empathy. There is no one who can do more to help us in every area of our life than Jesus Christ the “Mighty God.” He truly and faithfully comes as the “Everlasting Father,” who is more attentive, loving and true than we realize and He alone can bestow a peace beyond understanding because He has eternal access to the storehouses of contentment for the soul as the “Prince of Peace.” We need to let Him be these things and more … on this day and in every day, we are given life. Come to the One who is more! He has so much more to give to you!

Suggested Reading … Isaiah 9

The One Who Knows


Circle of God the Father, Pierre Mignard, NGO Image, National Gallery of Art, Public Domain

Ask, and you will be given what you ask for. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks, receives. Anyone who seeks, finds. If only you will knock, the door will open. If a child asks his father for a loaf of bread, will he be given a stone instead? If he asks for fish, will he be given a poisonous snake? Of course not! And if you hard-hearted, sinful men know how to give good gifts to your children, won’t your Father in heaven even more certainly give good gifts to those who ask him for them? (Matthew 7:7-11, TLB)

Generally we as human beings think we know quite a bit. We sense we are especially knowledgeable when we in the adolescent phase of our life. Those who have experience and wisdom are often marginalized and disregarded during this time in our lives. Later we often times realize our parents, our mentors and teachers were much wiser than we gave them credit for. We might mostly recognize that people who value quite highly their own knowledge and are haughty, proud and obnoxious to be around but yet we might at the same time,  we think we know quite a bit.

This overvaluation in functioning shows up in our defensiveness when colleagues, friends and family try to give us insights or guidance to us in those relationship or work situations. It shows up in our faith through our prayers which at times focus more on telling God what to do than asking Him to have His way with us. If truth be told, we as human beings might know quite a bit about many things but quite a little about a lot of things. The human race has progressed in knowledge in immeasurable amounts yet there is much we do not know. Of course there are many individuals who through their lifetime of study have vast amounts of knowledge about certain subjects. Other people may have a lifetime of living or working experience in more than one area and thus their knowledge about certain things is considerable. Yet if we are honest, there are an infinite amounts of things, we as human beings will never know.

In our relationship with our Creator and God, we know so little compared with the all-knowing omniscience of our Heavenly Father, but yet He welcomes our prayers. He welcomes our prayers from a truly humble heart even though He knows immeasurably more about our needs than we do, in our requesting His help and provision. There are moments in our lives when our greatest weakness is not in our need but in our failure to acknowledge our need. May we live to seek our Heavenly Father to learn from Him and may we be ever thankful for His generous giving of truly good things.

Suggested Reading … Matthew 7