If the Lord gave you what you really deserved, would you be ready for it? Would you look forward to it with joy or does the thought frighten you? What we fail to recognize is that it is not just a hypothetical question.
The Lord render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: (1 Samuel 26:23)
These were words spoken by David when he interacted with King Saul who sought to kill him. He knew that God was sovereign and would return upon men that which they have rendered to others. The same still holds true today. The New Testament describes the principle as sowing and reaping. What you sow, you will also reap. It may take some time before it arrives, but it is coming. Just like it takes all summer for apples to grow and ripen on a tree, it may take most of a person’s life before they reap what they sow, but be sure, they will reap.
Much of this principle concerning sowing and reaping is in relation to how we treat other people. If we sow righteousness towards others, then we will get righteous treatment back, but if we sow wickedness then wickedness awaits us.
Some may ask, “What guideline could I follow that would aid me in sowing righteousness?” The answer would be to love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:39). If you allow your actions to be motivated by what is best for another person or make decisions that enable you to meet the needs of someone else instead of focusing on yourself, you will most consistently sow righteousness. This doesn’t require you to give all of your money to the poor or even to live a dejected life. It only requires you to start focusing on others instead of yourself. Give somebody recognition. Show patience and mercy, try looking at situations from the other person’s perspective or even take time to listen to people and their problems are opportunities that each of us have to sow righteousness. It will not cost you one penny, but it will be an investment worth millions of dollars.
For you, the world of people is a field ready for planting. What kind of seeds will you sow?
Many times, there are behaviors that people do that are overlooked by most. Some people wring their hands as they think about something that disturbs them. Others may brush their hair from their face when they are nervous. The behavior isn’t really important, but what is important is the motivation behind the behavior.
And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, … Matthew 8:3
As I consider the passage recording Jesus healing the leper, I cannot help but ask my self questions in regard to Jesus’ behavior. One question is why did Jesus touch the leper? He didn’t need to touch him in order to heal because the next few verses record Jesus healing the centurion’s servant who was some distance away.
Consider this. When do you think was the last time the leper was touched. I don’t mean being pushed as he fought for food or random interaction among lepers, but when was the last time the leper experienced a tender affectionate hand rest upon the side of his face? When did he last feel a grasp on his should like that of a loving father who rests his hand upon the shoulder of his son? It had probably been an extremely long time. I believe that after years of rejection from society and solitude living, the touch was God’s display of affection to the leper. It seems that as Jesus’s hand gently rested on the leper, a part of the leper revived and his heart filled with the experience of God’s love.
Did you know that God wants you to have that same experience of his love. Regardless of whatever is in your past, God wants to have a relationship with you. He loves you dearly and has done–through Jesus’ work on the cross–everything that is necessary for that relationship to occur. Come before and ask as the leper did and ask. The relationship is greater than you can imagine.
My son, Anthony, was the first grandchild on both sides of the family. Needless to say being spoiled was a regular occurrence. As that special one, he learned ways to get people to do for him what he wanted. I remember when he was around 12 years old he asked my sister, Lori, for something. It kind of went like this. In the little boy voice he spoke growing up he said, “Aunt ‘Ore…” Regardless of what followed, he already had her reeled in. He just had a way with my sister that regularly resulted in benefits to him. We too can have a way with God.
Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. (Psalms 33:22)
Trying to change or become a better Christian isn’t going to be enough to get God to work. Granted, sin can hinder our prayers from being answered, but striving to be a better christian will not be enough because even when you believe you are at your best, you are still a sinner and have sin. But when we hope in the Lord, which occurs when we look to him, it is then that he responds to us in mercy.
When we look to God and rely completely on him, he moves in mercy. Not because we reached a plateau of holiness or because we have risen above the masses of sinners, but because of his mercy he works. When we recognize our condition of falling short and being needy and look to God as our only source of help, God reaches down and works in mercy and love on our behalf.
When people interact together, it is only a matter of time before some type of conflict will wise. When the interaction involves one person trying to instruct or mentor another, the chances of it occurring increase.
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to lead someone who continually struggles to either keep up or perform as expected. So, what should our response be?
When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up. (Psalms 94:18)
As we strive to trust God and walk in his ways, how does he respond when we falter? He doesn’t attack or pound us down, but instead holds us up by his mercy.
When people are struggling, our response toward them should be the same. We should respond with mercy. There is a difference between struggling and refusing. When people struggle, they are striving to accomplish or perform as expected, but yet still need support. We love it when people show mercy towards us and especially when we receive it from God. His dealings with us are a pattern or model for us to follow.
Patience is still a virtue. So at work, be patient and show mercy. As you raise your children, remember mercy. Mercy is like a fertilizer. When it is used correctly, it will enhance the growth of your relationships. Without mercy, relationships can die. If you want to make a great difference by helping people, you need to exercise mercy.
God’s mercy: we talk about it, read about and even sing about it. But what is it? I know that you may have coined phrases and shoot from the hip definitions for this term, but have you ever personally tried to define it?
In Psalm 51, David cries out to the Lord for mercy. The definition of the Hebrew word for mercy means ” to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior”. Think about it. Whenever God shows mercy towards us, he, in the splendor of his high exalted state, stoops down to you and me.
Why would such an exalted being be willing to perform such a humbling task? He does this because of his loving kindness. As a loving expectant mother feels love in the womb for her child, our Heavenly Father experiences the same towards us. This form of love is described as tender mercy and it is this tender mercy that moves him to stoop down.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalms 51:1)
When you pray, God stoops down to answer and meet your needs, When you need help, he stoops down to give you strength and when you fall, he even stoops down to pick you up. He stooped down to become man and stooped down even further to become our sin bearer. If you think about it, possibly the greatest manifestation of God’s love is his stooping down.
Our attitude towards the law will determine whether or not we forget the law and commandments. If we desire them and their benefits, our hearts will be inclined to guard God’s laws and commandments, but if we seek the world and its vanity, we will forget or mislay them.
Mercy and truth may come to us, but they will not stay with us unless we hold onto them. If we do not bind them about our necks and write them upon our hearts, they will depart. When mercy and truth depart, their blessings leave with them.
Trauma is a terrible thing. It reaches deep into the resources of the soul and damages everything that it touches. Only now are we beginning to understand the effects of trauma as we help soldiers returning from war, but trauma isn’t something new. We have been battling trauma on the domestic front for years. Even though many lives have been destroyed by it, there is hope.
Hope for those traumatized can be provided by those whom they can trust. Please let me illustrate. This morning I woke up to the sound of rain. I looked next to the bed and sure enough, the Shepherd was under the chair. Our rescue had been traumatized by gun shots, being hit by a car and taunted by passers by as he remained tied to a fence with a broken hip. It doesn’t take much to trigger fears and even reenactments. So while he was terrified to go outside and do his morning business because of rain and the potential for thunder, I went out into the yard and called him to me. As he approached, I gave him the repeated rhythmic shsh, shsh, shsh, shsh, shshshshshshsh that I give to soothe him when he is overcome with anxiety. He recognized my call of caring and came next to me. He practically knocked me over to get close enough to feel safe.
Jesus provides the same type of care. He recognizes our fears and calls us to him. As we hear his voice and get close to him, he provides comfort and security. The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1b). In this verse, the Psalmist declares that the Lord is his defense or fortified place. He was that for him and he wants to be the same for you. Will you hear his call? Will you run to him for comfort and security? He is waiting and ready to aid you in your trauma.