One more time!

Hebrews 4:16 “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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King David of the Old Testament was a piece of work. Despite being a great ruler, he was a fornicator an adulterer, and a streaker. He is not alone in the pages of the Bible.  Plenty of other bible characters have done something terrible at some point in their lives. Saul was a disbeliever, Moses was a doubter, Jacob was a liar and Peter a betrayer, and Paul a persecutor. Yet, God made them his witness and used them to accomplish His purpose. Not only did He forgive them (MERCY), but He also endowed them with unmerited favor (GRACE).  The difference between mercy and grace? Mercy gave the prodigal son a second chance from his father. The father’s grace gave him a party.

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Lord, as you have shown me mercy and grace, I will show mercy and grace to everyone today.

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Truths

May 23, 2022

May 23, 2022

Hebrews 4:14,16 “Since then, we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

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The kingdom of God is full of great contradictory truths.  One of those truths is that the power of Jesus Christ is perfected in our weakness. Two things can be the truth at the same time.  God’s strength is more easily seen in moments of weakness. When times are tough, and we come to the end of ourselves we will find God.

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Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me bless his Holy name!

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Discovery

May Day 22  – A celebration of my day of birth.

2 Corinthians 4:14-16 “We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you. All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.”

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Discovery of the why of my life has not always been easy.  With examination and minute dissection, I have searched for the reason for my often tumultuous high and low existence. All my efforts to be more than myself; to show mercy, to love unconditionally, to be full of love and forgiveness to all that around me, must have but one reason.

My discovery: I do because God did. God has never given up on me.  I live in an experience of God pouring out grace to me, abundantly and without measure. That is why I write. That is why I teach.  That is why I hug my family. That is the reason for my seemingly limited life. I have a reason not to give up. The reason for my life is having an overflowing of mercy in my life because God did it first. That is why I will never stop.  That is why I will never surrender.  That is why, though my earthly life is but a fleeting moment in eternity, I will be renewed every day. 

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Thank you, Lord!

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UNLESS!

May 21, 2022

1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain, but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.”

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It is coming.  It is roaring toward me like a train through a black and ominous tunnel.  I cannot escape.  In a day arriving soon my earthy existence and all that I have attempted to do will be over.  I am what I am.  All the preaching, writing, and effort I have expended will be over.  It evaporates.  There is nothing left unless Jesus is who he is.  Jesus the GREAT I AM. It will be little unless Jesus is raised becoming the mercy and grace-filled I AM. Nevertheless, I am who I am because Jesus is the Great I AM.  It is the grace of God with me.

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Lord remind me in every moment of this day of your life given for me.  Remind me again and again of your grace and mercy.

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Mercy Me

James 2:10,12,13 “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, for judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy, mercy triumphs over judgment.”

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This quote from James is a “hard saying”.  It is not hard to understand.  It is very plain and simple.  It is hard because we all deserve justice. James is saying that, if you make your life into a world of compliance and keeping of the law but fall short in one minuscule and seeming nonessential point, you deserve and should be accountable for judgment. It doesn’t matter if you went to church every time the door opened or gave all that you had to ministry, if there is one spot, one little blemish, there will be judgment. Judgment is required. But if I show mercy, if I show love to the undeserving, if I go out of my way to be merciful, then I will be shown mercy.  My mercy is a sign of God’s mercy.  God exercises mercy with delight and His mercy rejoices and overcomes His justice.

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Lord, reveal to me today, ways to show people mercy. Restore in me my want to forgive and forget.  Let mercy begin in me.

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All or nothing

Colossians 2:6 “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.”

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It is simply wrong to think of God as a drive-in critical care service. To assume that Jesus is a kind of a heavenly nurse to go to when sin has crept into our lives and we need a quick fix. And once fixed up we can simply say “Thanks”. To think of Jesus wanting to heal and cleanse without any commitment to different actions is specious: plausible but not true.

I can’t see anywhere in the Bible that allows the cleansed to continue in their behaviors that caused the need in the first place. Jesus can save us and clean us, but for the outpouring of his grace and mercy, we have a responsibility.  A responsibility to walk with Him.  Not to go by our merry way and follow our own path.  Following, keeping close, walking as He walked, and responding to the will of our Lord are required afterward.  In the same manner I have received, so I walk in Him.

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Father, You are my Savior and my Lord. My debt to You is huge! I owe You my life and my following.

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Measuring God

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Jeremiah 23:23-24 “Am I a God at hand, declares the Lord, and not a God far away? Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.

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We live in a world defined by measurements. I have a GPS system in my truck, and it tells me about the distance between my home and Church.  Not in a straight line but the distance driven along the path I must take to get there. We think feet, yards miles, and even hours to travel. Gas for that same truck is in gallons. Our lives are determined by measurement.

Further, in our need to define and measure everything, we cram God into our concept of space. We would containerize God. We push God to be up there somewhere. He is in a place where we can hide from Him.

God is not contained in heaven and earth as some seem to think. God in His person and His attributes fills heaven and earth exactly as the ocean fills a bucket that is submerged in the ocean depths. To assign God to a place up there is to deny God being everywhere.

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Lord, you are more than I can define.  Help me to see you in the dark places and the happy times. Thank you that you are not just in the destination and the journey and the starting place.

PINOGAM: Person in need of Grace and Mercy!

Psalm 23:6  “Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

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The 23rd  Psalm has been called the Psalm of faith, and certainly with great reason. Each line captures a sense of serene and happy confidence undisturbed by a single doubt. Included in these words of King David, are pictures of punishing rods and staffs, enemies, and foreboding valleys. Yet, each is coupled with mercy. Every possible fear is covered over by a faithful prospect of mercy and grace. 

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Dear Lord, my prayer this morning for those who are struggling, those who would simply give up, will be strengthened with a new resolve to find the true, sure, and available in every situation. Please, Lord, help us keep our eyes on you and not our problems.

The reason for Mercy

Ephesians 2:4-5 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”

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The world seems not to have changed from the days I was growing up in a town next door to a military training base. My father was in the Naval reserve and so our home was to be shipshape.  Everything had its place, and everything should be in that place. I grew up with an expectation of proper behavior.

I have spent years living and breathing in the world of expectations of other people. Living in constant threat of disappointment of the socially acceptable norm.  My ingrained nature is one of trying to live up to someone else’s imposed expectation.  I failed a lot. Trying as I might, I could not be what the world expected because their expectations never included mercy. Now I live in mercy. I have experienced it.  I have cultivated it.  I have a great need for it. I cannot exist without it. And when it becomes a part of me my life finds truth, purity, holiness, peace wisdom, completeness, delight, joy, and victory. My years of living in this great mercy causes me to show mercy.

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Lord, remind me again and again that in your mercy I need to show mercy.

I have decided!

Romans 8:35, 37-39 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.:

Paul decided.  Facing persecution, arrest, deprivation, and worldly uncertainty, he decided not one of the things in his life that would destroy him would separate him.  He decided there was nothing that would be a valid reason for separation.  He was convinced.  Yet, there are many Christians walking around like the walking wounded.  Head held low, hoping against hope that the day ends without calamity. Living as if hell is greater than heaven.  Sure, the world tries to separate. But for me, I refuse to live like a zombie crying and growling, stepping through life without hope. I refuse because I have decided. I stand up, put on a smile, and am well assured. I decide to open the gates of hope and assurance. I choose to make a fundamental decision to accept God at his word.

Lord, I have decided that you are able to keep to that which I have committed to you. I will walk in that assurance.

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The Study of God and Life