Archive for the ‘mercy’ Category

The Thing (II Samuel 11; Psalm 61-62; Ezekiel 18; II Corinthians 4)

September 15, 2015

“And when the mourning was over, David sent and brought her to his house, and she became his wife and bore him a son.  But the thing displeased the Lord.”  II Samuel 11:27

In one verse God display’s his displeasure with the actions of David in II Samuel 11.  Question, “Do you and I ever do “the thing” called displeasing the Lord?”

Think it through:

II Samuel 11 is one of the most written about chapters in all the Bible.  There was a time when most, in the Bible belt would know about this story. But that day is long behind us.  Consider this:

  • Many in the world have never heard anything from the Bible.
  • Still many others live every day with the story of II Samuel 11 as a part of the daily routine of life.
  • Still others follow false teachers who reason away the sin in II Samuel 11

Let’s for a moment consider the sin in II Samuel 11.  David sins in two ways:

  1. He breaks the Law of God

Here David breaks at least 4 commandments:  Murder, Anger, Lying, and Coveting his neighbors wife.

2.  He belittles life

When David hears the news of Uriah’s death and the other solders he belittles their lives.  His sin has left him hardened to what he has caused.

In this moment God speaks, “the thing David did displeased the Lord.”

Brothers and sisters I cannot possible explain the depths and heights of the weight of this moment!!!  All I can say is this, “We need a Savior!!!”

Our needed response:

In this moment David has lost his witness, his strength of leadership, peace in his family and in his nation, and his perspective of faith.

Here is where we cry out:

  • “We are reminded of our own sinfulness.”

David walked closer to God than we possibly could.  We are at best sinners in need of great grace, Ephesians 2:8-9.

  • “We are reminded of our great need of a Savior.”

David could not save himself in this moment.  God’s displeasure is always followed by His judgement.

  • We are reminded of our Great Savior who has provided a Great Salvation.”
    • Our hope is planted firmly in him, Acts 2:35-36
    • Our victory over the thing is in Christ alone, Revelation 5:5 “the Root of David has conquered.”

This very day I want the world to know there is one greater than David who has provided a way for us to overcome the thing!!!

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Lifted out of the grave (Psalm 30; Jeremiah 51)

August 22, 2014

“I will extol you, O Lord, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.”  Psalm 30:1

Last week the acting world lost one of it’s favorite comedians, Robin Williams.  This 63 year-old actor committed suicide to the shock of many people.  His wife revealed last Friday that he had recently been diagnosed with Parkinson disease.  Many have debated that because of his constant battle with depression and the added weight of this disease, he felt the best thing was the grave.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, “This is a somber reminder of how bleak life really is without Christ.”  Here in Psalm 30 our writer lifts up the name of the God who had lifted him up out of the grave.  I truly add my praise in knowing that Christ has redeemed me from the grave (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Think it through:

I.  God has extended favor to His people, Vs:5

This favor is not conditional (It is for life).  This favor is not without trial (Weeping may endure for the night).  This favor is certain (joy comes in the morning).

II. God has extended freedom to His people, Vs: 11-12

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness.”  

Followers of Christ have a certain expectation of things to come, II Corinthians 4:17-18.  Ours can be a life that never is rocked by the news of tough times ahead.  We have a future that is certain!!!  Oh how I wish that Robin Williams could have grasped this truth.

Our response:

Let us be a people who always keep God’s Word in front of us so that we are not rocked by bad news.

Let us be a people who are always sharing God’s Word with those who are being rocked by bad news.

Grace and Wrath (Genesis 18:1-19:38)

January 11, 2013

“For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring Abraham what he has promised him.”  Genesis 18:19

The title of our blog for today could possible seem strange to you?  However, it is very important that you see the beauty and majesty of its truth.  Both grace and wrath play a vital part in your salvation.

For the last few days we have been looking at the life of Abraham.  Here is a guy who is called by God to follow him (Genesis 12:1-3).  We have seen grace at work through the ups and downs in Abraham’s life as he strives to, by faith, walk in the promises of God.

As we come to chapters 18 and 19 we discover both the grace and the wrath of God:

1.  We see God’s grace given to Abraham, Genesis 18

God declares: “I will surely revisit you this time next year (Your wife will have a son).”

God declares: “Is anything too hard (wonderful) for God.”

God declares:  “I am going to pour out my wrath on Sodom.”

In this moment Abraham pleads for mercy.  God makes clear that he is a merciful God.  If even 10 were righteous in the city he would spare them.

In this moment we must gain theological truth: “God’s wrath is coming to a rebellious people.  At the same time God’s grace is extended to repentant people.”

1.  We see God’s wrath given to Sodom, Genesis 19

Genesis 19:4 gives us insight, “Every man of the city was corrupt.”  In this moment we understand God’s wrath.  But we also see grace in this moment:

God speaks to Lot and his family:

1.  Lot, get out of this city with your family.

2.  Mrs. Lot, don’t look back.

3.  Lot’s children, “Don’t allow Sodom’s ways to direct your life.”

At the end of this chapter we find these words, “God remembered Abraham and spared Lot.”  Brothers and sisters do you see it?  Do you see both grace and wrath?  The only reason you and I are delivered from the wrath of God is because of Christ sacrifice for our sins.  He took our wrath and extended grace to us, II Cor. 5:21, Hebrews 7:24-25, I John 2:1-2.

Lord, I praise you for grace and I praise you for the victory we have in your name.  I would never understand the height, depth, and width of your love apart from a true understanding of your wrath.  

In The Hands Of Sinners

February 10, 2012

“And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor.”  Matthew 27:2

Last evening I had the honor of leading 20 guys in Bible Study in my home.  In the midst of our study someone said, “We must allow the just judge to judge.”  This brother was making reference to Jesus Christ who alone is just and who alone gives just judgment.

Here in Matthew 27:1-26, Jesus is just a few hours from the cross.  On the cross Jesus would be judged in our place.

The scene in Matthew 27 is a scene where our just Savior stands before unjust sinners.  As Jesus stands before these sinners (They determine what is the quickest way to have him exterminated).  So they turn Him over to the Roman authority.

Matthew gives us a sidebar note as we read, Vs:3-10.  Here we see Judas’ remorse for in his own words, “Betraying innocent blood.”  Judas goes out and hangs himself because a man who only has remorse does not know how to repent.  Judas is trying to get away from his agony.

Matthew leaves us to contemplate this scene as he returns to Jesus in the hands of sinners.  Vs: 11-23 remind us of the hardness of sinners as we see Pilate amazed at Jesus but he will not admit that Jesus is the Christ.  The crowds are so hardened that they ask for a sinner to be released and that our Savior should be crucified.

In this moment I am reminded that sinners do what they do because they are unjust judges.  Pilate tried, Vs: 24-26, to absolve himself from any guilt but he could not.  The fact is we are all unjust judges.  We are all sinners under the wrath of God.  Everyone participated in the death of Christ.  My sins cried out, “Crucify Him!”

This very morning I praise our risen Lord for being willing to be given into the hands of sinners.  My redemption was secured by Jesus Christ.  This very morning I praise him for His salvation.  This very morning I await with confidence the day I stand before Him.  He is a just judge.

Certainly all who read this today live in a society that is filled with unjust judges.  They work with us, they shop with us, they play sports with us, and they even live with us.  Bottom line, “This is us!”  Our task is to model Christ’s life.  We must entrust ourselves to a just judge and we must emulate  his life before this world.  Only as the world sees Christ will they see their need of Christ.

For further study consider Max Lucado andRandy Frazee new book, “The Story,” which teaches you the seamless story of the gospel. 

The Cost Of Mercy

July 21, 2011

This morning I found myself awake at 5 am which is 10 pm in the USA.  As I began the morning I found great joy and humility in the word of God.  Jeremiah is speaking for the Lord who is directing Israel to obey the Lord.  Chapters 42-44 encompass God’s direction about being obedient to God’s call to stay where He placed them. “Do not fear the King of Babylon, of whom you are afraid.  Do not fear him, declares the Lord, for I am with you, to save you and to deliver you from his hand.  I will grant you mercy, that he may have mercy on you and let you remain in your own land,” 42:11-12.

In the midst of their persecution God was saying, “I am in control.”  In God’s mercy He would provide for a people who were totally disobedient.  As I read those words I reflected on two things. First I reflected on God’s great mercy to humanity in sending Christ to be the Savior of humanity.  What a great cost to the Son of God in dying for my sin and your sin.  Secondly I reflected on my experience with people who had no mercy.  Our team was completing the Sports camp, which Brother Mark is doing an excellent job in leading, when I noticed several young men sitting around the river where most swim.  In the river were three Gypsie girls swimming.  Suddenly I realized the boys would not swim while the girls were swimming.  Then to my shock the boys told the girls to get out.  I must admit, anger swelled up inside of me as I felt hurt for those being oppressed.

In that moment I had to pray.  As I prayed the Lord reminded me of how many times He has shown me mercy and I did not show mercy to those around me.  I have been just like those boys so many times.  I found myself repenting of my prejudice attitude toward many things.  When I had finished praying the Lord burdened me to go and share with those boys.  I found an interpreter and began to share the love of Christ with those young men.  As I shared I could see these young men struggling to see and understand God’s mercy for themselves and they refused to see God’s mercy for those around them.

Please pray that God would open the eyes of these people who struggle so much with mercy.  I am so thankful that Jesus paid the price so mercy could be given when judgment was deserved.  It is now 9:45 and the team is ready for VBS and the rest of the day.  In His mercy we have been given this day to share His love with the world around us.  May you share His mercy wherever you find yourself today in Jesus name.

A Tough Choice

July 15, 2011

This morning I read the story of Yousef Nadarkhani, a Iranian pastor who finds himself facing death.  In 2009 Yousef was arrested for his Christian beliefs.  Since then he has been facing the tough choice of either recanting his faith or dying for his faith.  Those who know Yousef best are saying, “No way.  Since 1990 Yousef has followed Christ and he will not stop following now.”

Question, “What tough choices doe you face today?”  There are many illustrations I could give at this point, but let’s consider the word of the Lord.  “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.”  I Peter 4:1-2

Certainly it is a tough decision when you are faced with the choice of going with human passions or the will of God.  Daily we face this tough choice, but for those who have tasted of Christ and are pursuing Christ the things of the world have no value.  Certainly most who read this today have heard this before, but I wonder, “have you really experienced the value of the will of God?”

The will of God will not be pursued or even seen as valuable apart from God’s mercy in opening our eyes to see and our ears to hear.  This morning I was so amazed by this fact as I read Luke 8:10 “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see and hearing they may not understand.”

Brothers and sisters, oh what grace that has been given so we can stand in the liberty of Christ.  We have been liberated from the tough choice.  We know the value of the will of God.  We understand why the Iranian pastor cannot recant his faith.  We as he know the value of our faith and it is more precious than our own earthly life.

But at the same moment, I realize, if not for the grace of God I would slip back into a pursuit of human passions.  It is He who keeps me focused and it is He who empowers me to walk a disciplined life.  This day I am thankful for so many things in my faith.

I want to encourage you to do several things this weekend:  1) Pray for Yousef.  May our Lord grant him the resolve to be a light in this dark moment.  2) Take honest inventory of your daily decisions.  Do you find human passion governing your life or is it the will of God?  3) Ask God to speak powerfully to you in worship on Sunday.  4) Pray for your pastor that God would speak powerfully through him.  5)  Pray for the souls of men and women everywhere.

Stuck Between First And Second

June 28, 2011

Admittedly I am not a big fan of baseball even though I have played and coached.  However one of my favorite things about baseball is when a player who is running the bases gets stuck between first and second.  It’s amazing how hard the runner will try to outwit his opponents.  I believe the percentage of hope to make it safe is less than one percent.  I wonder, “Is there anything in your life that has you stuck between first and second?”

Now you may consider the illustration odd, but follow my thought process.  Isaiah 61 speaks of “The Year Of The Lord’s Favor.”  Here is what Isaiah prophecies about Jesus, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God,” 61:1-2.  

Focus in on the last two parts of verse two, “To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God.”  Here we discover Isaiah writing about the Lord’s first coming and His second coming.  When Jesus came, Luke 4:18-20, He quotes the first part of this section, but he left off the second.  Question, “Was he stuck between first and second?”  The answer is no.  The time between his first and second coming is a time of mercy and grace.  When he comes again all mercy and grace will cease and it will be a day of great wrath.

Now here is where it could it get sticky, “Are you communicating mercy and grace to those around you, or are you communicating wrath to those around you?”  I am convinced many people are stuck between the two.  They have received mercy and grace, but they cannot give it to others.

I was reading a new blog site this morning that quoted Francis Bacon.  Here is the quote, “As long as you keep anger alive you will always have green fruit of bitterness.”  Those who are sunk deep into my heart.  I want to be a person who keeps the gospel as the center of my heart so that the green fruit in my life will be the grace and mercy of my Lord.

So, how does a person get out of the place of being stuck?  He or she must lay all of their anger before God and confess it as sin.  This person must ask for forgiveness and this person must seek God’s love in each circumstance.  Being stuck between first and second is not a good place to be. However you can get to home plate safe if you walk in the love of Christ.

Please Do Not Give Us What We deserve

June 20, 2011

This morning I found myself in a moment of great humility as I sat before the Lord with my bible open.  I found great encouragement from the pen of Isaiah in chapters 38-41 as he gave God’s encouragement to exiles who would be granted the grace to return home.  In particular the words of Isaiah 40 are so filled with strength, “He gives power to the faithful, and to him who has no might he gives strength,” 40:29.  “But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint,” 40:31. 

The people of God could confidently wait for their God. Their God and our God is a God of mercy and love who has given us Christ instead of His wrath.  The exiles would not receive what they deserved.  As I contemplated this truth I turned to Revelation 15 and 16.  In these chapters we see people who have rejected the love and mercy of God.  Here we see the wrath of God being poured out against the ungodliness of man.  After the third angel poured out the bowl of God’s wrath we find the following commentary, “It is what they deserve.”

I must admit, I became weak at this moment.  I gasped and wrote in the margin of my bible, “Please do not give me what I deserve!” Oh dear friend, if you and I get what we deserve, eternity will hold hell for us.  But praise God for His mercy which flows in abundance.

As I fell to knees to pray, joy and adoration was on my lips.  I could never praise Him enough for not giving me what I deserve.  But not only me, my entire family.  But not only my entire family, but multitudes beyond number in my spiritual family.  Yes, it was a joyous time.

However I was reminded by the Spirit of God, “So many do not know of this mercy.”  God’s wrath still remains on most of the world.  Millions have never heard.  So I ask myself, “How do we get this gospel to those who have never heard?”  The answer is in getting people who are not getting what they deserve to go to people who are getting what they deserve with the message of the gospel.

I want to encourage you to do two things today:

1)  Daily pray for God to give you understanding in the gospel as well as confidence to share the gospel in your mission field.

2) Discover those who have never heard and pray about how you can reach them with the gospel. Here is a helpful website in point two:  IMB.org

Getting Beyond Your Record

June 17, 2011

Certainly there has been much written in the news about the failure and fall of Congressman Weiner. Many have written or commented that his failure began when he lied to cover up the truth.  But the fact is his failure came as a result of his sin.  However before we condemn we must remember that it is the same with each of us, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of the Lord.”

The fact is Congressman Weiner had a record before this incident.  Here was his record and my record as well, “Guilty as charged.”  Now the challenge for this Congressman will be, “How does he get beyond his record.”  Most believe he will never recover.

This same truth is felt by multitudes of people who find themselves held ransom by their record of sin.  Daily they feel the weight of their guilt, plus they cannot stop sinning.  They are held ransom by their sin.  Certainly many who read this today understand the reality of this truth.

For such people I have great news.  There is a God in heaven who delivers those who are held ransom.  Here is how Isaiah describes our God, “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away,” 35:10.

This scene depicts the moment when God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage.  This scene also foreshadows the day when Israel would return from exile.  In each of these scenes the Lord is the redeemer who ransom Israel from her captors.

What joy I find in reading such truth.  We serve a God who is able to ransom us from the debt we owe.  We serve a God who is able to redeem us from the curse of sin.  This day, I can say to Congressman Weiner, “Only in Christ can you get beyond your record.”  This day, I can say to the world, “Only in Christ can you get beyond your record.”

Just as Israel praised the Lord, so must you and I praise the Lord. Because of His great love we can be forgiven of our sin and our sin is forgotten by God.  This is the beauty of redemption.  I will never be able to praise Him enough!!!

What Would You Do?

May 17, 2011

This week I have been blessed to lead revival meetings for a church in the city of Shepherdsville.  The theme of the revival is the mercy of God.  This morning, I found myself faced with an issue that brought to light how seldom I truly apply God’s directive when it comes to mercy.

The situation is one that is well documented.  It is the continuing saga of the former governor of California and his marriage problems with his wife of 25 years.  Last week the couple announced legal separation.  This left the world to wonder why.  This mornings headlines shared one of the why’s, “The Governor had birthed a child by one of the workers in his home twelve years earlier.”  As I read this, I must confess that I struggled with mercy.

Now, I know that I do not know these people, nor probably ever will, but I have been praying for them.  However, it was more difficult for me to pray for Arnold this morning. Maybe you are facing the same struggle is some area of your life?  If so, I encourage you to simply submit to doing things God’s way and not your own.  What is God’s way?

We find and illustration of this in the life of King David.  In chapter 24 of II Samuel, David makes a serious error in attempting to take a census of his people.  The glory of Israel was not in David, but it was God Himself.  Trouble arrises and David is given choices in how God would deal with his sin.  Notice David’s response, “I am in great distress.  Let us fall into the hand of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but let us not fall into the hand of man,” 24:14.

Wow, David knew that he could not trust himself with mercy and he knew that he could not trust others to carry out mercy.  Mercy is totally a God thing!!!   I want you to go back and read the last sentence again.

Brothers and sisters, the key to having mercy is to be filled with Christ.  He alone is a God of mercy and He alone can give us the power to see others through His eyes.  Consider the facts: 1) All of humanity deserves the wrath of God.  2) All of humanity is sinful  3) All of humanity seeks not the benefit of others but self.  4) All of humanity does not seek God.

These facts recorded in Romans 3:10-12 help us to understand why we so struggle with mercy.  It is not in us.  But consider the facts:  1) God sent his Son to take God’s wrath. 2) God was sinless and through Him we sin less and less.  3) God’s Son came to bless us and He gives us the ability to bless others.  4) God’s Son perfectly followed the Father and grants us the ability to obey God.

These facts recorded in all the gospels is summed up in Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  Only in Christ can we do the right thing every time.

So, I can honestly say, I am praying for mercy in the life of the former governor.  I would not, nor could I do this without His mercy filling my life.  Oh how I pray you and I do the right thing in all our relationships!!!