Acts 3:19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,”
The sun is out this morning. It seems like there has been rain or a threat of rain for almost a month. There are showers of refreshing for all those who are willing to stand out in them without fear of getting soaked. A sign on my wall so aptly states, “Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain.”
God’s favor is for those who have been made clean, made into new creatures, being made in His image. Similar to the hymn we used to sing in church:
There shall be showers of blessing,
This is the promise of love
There shall be seasons, refreshing
Sent from the Savior above.
Showers of blessing we need
Mercy drops ‘round us are falling
But for the showers, we plead.
Refresh me again Oh God.
Hillside Thoughts for Wednesday – Day 278 of the year 2022 – October 5
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
Is Jesus suggesting that I must allow the evil in this world to triumph? Am I to assume the role of victim in any encounter with someone who would do me harm? Is all that I own subject to anyone who wants to borrow it? This teaching of Jesus is tough. I don’t want my cheek slapped. I don’t want to give my shirt away. I don’t want to go the extra mile. I don’t want to lend my favorite fishing pole to a clutz. There must be something more here than a radical reaction to an offense.
The culture in which we live remains resolute in its ability to accomplish much. There are many things the secular world can do better than the church. There is a place for government to do things the individual cannot. Industry can build a car without being Christian. But there is one thing the world around you cannot do. That thing is the offer of grace. Jesus was saying we are to be different from our culture or government or industry. We have the ability to look beyond the requirements and need to go a little further and be grace and mercy.
Matthew 28: 18,19,20 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
My path has been far in traveling. I have not come to its end. I would have liked to have traveled further, to see all the mercies God has in store for me down the road. My steps are sometimes belabored. My burden causes my back to scream in pain. I trod my road set before me and am winded. “God, why can’t this be easier?”
What I have discovered along my path is that God seldom takes things away. Instead, God is in the adding. He is more a giver than a taker. When I run along my path in darkness, he does not take away the clouds but increases the sun. When my path seems terribly dry and my lips are parched, he does not heal the thirst but brings gifts of water. When my path is lonely to a point of panic, He does not take away the terrible foreboding isolation, He simply comes near Himself. He adds. When I stop and take a rest because of pain in my old joints, He does not take away the pain, but adds joy to the steps I can make. He adds.
What shall we call Him? Jesus the mathematician.
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.”
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.
Lord, as you have shown me mercy and grace, I will show mercy and grace to everyone today.
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.”
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.
Bless the Lord, oh my soul and all that is within me bless his Holy name!
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.”
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.
Thank you, Lord!
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Lord, reveal to me today, ways to show people mercy. Restore in me my want to forgive and forget. Let mercy begin in me.