Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few- therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

Whether traversing the streets or worshipping in the synagogue; commanding demons to depart or speaking words of healing over broken lives, He created scandal. At His name, creatures from the pit shuddered in terror while men captured by jealousy and the self-satisfying rites of religion plotted murder.

Friend to the desperate and downtrodden, rescuer of the helpless and abandoned, and miracle-worker in the lives of those considered less than worthy. The untouchables. The unregenerate. The unrighteous. Jesus and scandal were one and the same. (more…)

Read Full Post »

We are, if we have chosen the good part, sitters at the feet of Jesus, just as Saul
of Tarsus sat at the feet of Gamaliel; Christ is to us our great Instructor  

–Charles Spurgeon

 

An uncommon God, He lived as a common man. Exchanging the beauty of heavenly glory for human flesh, Christ—the One who had strolled through the streets of heaven–walked the streets of everyday towns filled with common people burdened by common problems.

woman-caught-in-adultery-2

He–who had known perfection–surrounded himself with the imperfect. He willingly gave up abundance for poverty, worship for rejection, and self for others.

hands-731265_1280Why did Jesus—who once stooped to breathe life into dust—bind himself to the earth…to men and women whose feet carried them further from truth and deeper into the deception of self…of false hopes and misplaced dreams…of willfulness and rebellion?

 

Because He knows what we are made of. (Psalm 103:14) And simple dust, once stripped of protection, shifts in the wind—sometimes mere inches while at other times it is moved completely from its place…drifting and unsettled. For hundreds of years, Dust had lived under the dark curse of sin–tossed about this way and that.

No one remained untouched. Suffering. Disease. Death. Corrupt men subjugated innocents to forced labor—stealing youth and hope. Outcasts—considered less than human—suffered in pain on the edges of the city while rotting flesh ached for relief. Human souls cried out to heaven and Jesus was the answer. And in becoming like the rest of us, God made clear the extent of his love for Dust.

 

A love so encompassing and grace-filled that He intentionally wandered from place to place—offering forgiveness, speaking words of love, and bringing the kingdom of heaven to aching, hurting people. And, unlike any other god before or since, the man named Jesus died to save Dust. The same feet—soiled and dirtied from travelling to the dwellings of Despair and Need—were nailed to the tree. Their blood flowed downward and marked the hill at the base of the cross. And blood and Dust became inseparable.

Jesus gave everything for this woman of dust. He gave everything for you, too, dear Friend. And at the nail-scarred feet of Jesus we receive the life of a common man and an uncommon God. 

Scripture for Reflection

Surely it is you who love the people; all the holy ones are in your hand. At your feet they all bow down, and from you receive instruction… (Duet. 33:3)

…and the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. (Luke 8:35)

…but few things are needed–or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:42)

 

Read Full Post »

Jesus…his name evokes a variety of images. A newborn infant wrapped in rags. A man of righteous anger defending his Father’s temple. A man of generous spirit giving all of himself—even to the point of death.

Imagine the scene. Shaking uncontrollably, the woman begged for mercy as people pressed around her. The shouts and cruel slurs of the Good Ones, the Religious Ones, pierced her heart the most. Adulterer! Harlot! Worthless!

Feeling the heat of shame on her face, the woman bowed her head ready to accept the punishment. She knew death was imminent. Uttering a prayer, the woman steeled herself for the first crushing blow of rock against flesh and bone.

Suddenly, the roar of the crowd quieted as Jesus—the one some called Messiah– stepped between the Religious and the Sinful Woman. His body a shield, Jesus knelt low and carefully, deliberately wrote something in the sand. Could he have written the word mercy? Or, perhaps, love? Maybe Jesus simply sketched SIN—large enough for everyone in the throng of people to see.

Dusting the sand from his hands, Jesus rose slowly—glancing at each person in turn.

“Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

A few shifted uncomfortably while others refused to meet the Teacher’s eyes. Many of the Religious Ones scoffed. The crowd’s fevered excitement had diminished and people began to move away from the woman. Several minutes later, the woman stood in front of her Savior—rescued from her sin, delivered from the accusers, and promised a new life because of Christ’s eternal mercy.

Christ’s spirit of generosity was lived day by day with intentionality. Dear ones, let us live intentional lives with Christ’s glory and the good of others in mind!

Scripture for Reflection

Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Phil. 2:1-8)

 

Read Full Post »

 

 

As Jesus crossed the threshold, he heard the subtle murmurings of the other guests.  He’s here–the Teacher.  Curious gazes followed him as he joined the others at the table.  

Simon’s home was well-appointed. A respected Pharisee, he had more wealth than most and displayed it with pride.  The table was lavishly spread with the best meats and delicacies money could buy while servants attended to the needs of those who had been invited–the educated, influential, and important.  

Why had Jesus been invited?  By this time his ministry had impacted the blind….the lame…and the deaf.  Crowds of broken, needy people trailed after him–hoping he would pause long enough to restore their aching hearts and bodies.  And the Pharisees sensed that this humble carpenter’s son had potential–the potential to strip them of prominence, prestige, and power.  Simon wanted to spend time with the impoverished babe-turned-prophet.  Were the stories true?  Could he be a prophet?  Was he a threat?

Watching Jesus carefully, Simon was considering these matters as his honored guest reclined at the table.  Suddenly, a hush fell over the room as an uninvited woman–the worst kind of woman–approached the Teacher’s feet.  Respectable people shunned her…mocked her…treated her as less than human.  Still…she stood near him–her clothing and makeup a testament to lewd living.  But, it wasn’t the woman’s appearance that drew notice today.  It was her bold humility.  Desperate sounds of regret burst from lungs that had only breathed in pain and tears flowed as freely as the contents she poured over the Master’s feet.

With nothing to dry the evidence of her sacrifice, the woman did the unthinkable.  Bowing her head in shame, the woman loosened her hair and brushed the perfume from the Teacher’s feet.  Her lavish demonstration drew gasps of disapproval from the crowd…but from Christ?  Merely the words she had yearned to hear.  “Your faith has saved you.  Go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)

Neither low position nor social expectations influenced Christ’s attitude toward this woman–a portrait of His grace.  His mercy and love for those who humbly trust him stung Simon and is a reminder for us today.  Oh, that we would love like Jesus!

 

Verses for Reflection

Luke 7:38-50, 1 Samuel 16:3 (more…)

Read Full Post »

Forgotten memories– filtered long ago by a child’s fear and need for normalcy–have begun to emerge from the dark and hidden places of my mind. It’s as if a veil is being slowly removed and I see more of the landscape. Vision is no longer as limited.
So I wander back through time to revisit those dreaded places to be freed from their hold on my today’s and tomorrow’s. Fear settles heavy in my stomach, churning until my body releases it in desperation and I wish mother’s arms would seal the false promise that things are fine.

And today, I hear the words “to live courageously is to believe in God’s Grace.”

Do I believe? Honestly? Not always. But through and because of His grace on the cross, I choose to live as if I do. Circumstance never did –or ever will–force the absence of the One who is the Beginning and the End, mercy personified, glory revealed.

Are you the newlywed abandoned by your beloved? Are you the parent kneeling in prayer, wondering what you might have done differently? Do the faults of the past grasp at your heels with the tenacity of hell? There is freedom in His grace, Friend.

We can choose to live courageously–for Him and through Him–because He chose to die courageously for us.

Scripture for Reflection–“Courage, daughter.  You took a risk of faith and now you’re well.”  (Matthew 9:20-22 MSG)

 

Read Full Post »

My two younger children lay snuggled next to me in bed–feverish, sniffling, coughing, and talking in their sleep all through the night while the sounds of my teenager’s favorite music drifted upstairs through the vent system. Boom! Boom! Boom! Hack! Hack! Hack!  Sleep sometimes comes in spurts even when you’ve made it through the baby-stage.  Sigh…

Usually patient, I have to admit I became a bit of a “grumpy pants” as the day wore on.  Does anyone know why sick children have a sudden burst of energy  mid-day while their mother sits slack-jawed on the sofa, eyes glazed over,  coffee stains decorating her old college sweatshirt?  At one point Heather put her hands on my face and said solemnly, “I want my other mommy back.”  Her concern turned to confusion when I erupted in laughter.  Gathering Heather close, I apologized and moved on in a much better frame of mind.

Can you relate, friend?  Maybe YOU’RE the “grumpy pants” today.  Maybe you’ve grown weary.  Maybe you just need a reminder that God remains patient at all times–despite the up’s and down’s; regardless of fickle moods.  We may not have all the answers, but we have a God who does.

Verse for Reflection

1 Timothy 1:16

But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life

Read Full Post »

Watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.   Deut. 4:9

One night–that night–changed my life forever.

From the beginning, it had been a fight for her life.  Within a couple of months of discovering I was pregnant with our daughter, I began having complications.  Restricted to limited activity–a difficult task for a mother with three rambunctious boys–and taking medicine according to a regiment any nurse would applaud, I prayed for my baby. Please, Lord.  Please.

On her own schedule, Heather was born seven weeks too soon–her newborn cry like the mewling of a tiny kitten.  Each breath was a struggle.  For more than two weeks, Heather and I resided in the hushed NICU–the only predictable sounds those of the monitors and desperate parents.

One wonderful day, my husband and I finally invited Heather Grace home.

When Heather was exactly one month old, she lay contentedly nursing in my arms during our pre-dawn snuggle.  Caught up in the wonderful imaginings of tea parties and doll houses, I began nodding off.  Suddenly–as if someone nudged me–I jolted awake.

Heather lay in my arms motionless and unresponsive.  “Dave!  Dave, she’s not breathing!” Thrusting Heather into my husbands capable hands, I began praying.  Please, Lord.  Please.

Her little body on the changing table, Dave checked for Heather’s pulse.  Nothing.  He looked for the rise and fall of her chest.  Nothing.  Leaning toward our daughter, Dave began breathing for his baby girl.

One minute, two minutes.  Help us, God.  Please don’t let her die.  Three minutes, four minutes.  Not our baby, Lord.  Somebody do something!  Five minutes.  “I think she just took a breath.  Did she just breathe?”

Five minutes of eternity.  Five minutes of total dependence on God.  Five minutes–and then a miracle.

How could I not tell Heather about God’s grace, mercy, and power?

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: