Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

mercy Archive

Tuesday

20

April 2021

The hope of something new

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button
Isaiah 33:2 "O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble." | Hope Reflected | The hope of something new

Anything new – be it a sunrise, a snowfall, or even a new year – brings with it a sense of hope and renewal. When we are discouraged, tested, and tired, we often start seeking something new. For Christians, we are quick to forget that the Lord offers us something new each day.

In the book of Lamentations, we read a reflection on the suffering of the Israelites as a result of the destruction of Jerusalem. While the start of the book speaks much of judgment and suffering, the third chapter has a distinct aroma of hope through God’s mercies and compassions.

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not,They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23

God’s mercies and compassions are continuously renewed

“It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not,” we read in Lamentations 3:22-23. “They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” Even in the middle of our discouragement, testing, and tiredness, God’s mercies and compassions are new every morning. Even when the outlook is bleak, God’s mercies and compassions are continuously renewed. As Matthew Henry said, “When we are in distress we should, for the encouragement of our faith and hope, observe what makes for us as well as what makes against us. Things are bad but they might have been worse, and therefore there is hope that they may be better.” To put it as Paul poignantly wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:9, “Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.”

Though we often wake up with the wrong attitude, The Lord who changes not offers us His mercies. Because of His compassions we are not consumed. The problem is that rather than focus our attention to waiting on the Lord, we’re more concerned about what’s going on around us, and what could go wrong. We move in our own strength rather than resting in Him. Isaiah wrote, “O LORD, be gracious unto us; we have waited for thee: be thou their arm every morning, our salvation also in the time of trouble.” (33:2). Are we looking to God in the time of trouble, or are we instead looking around us and being filled with discouragement? Times may be dark, but God is on our side. Nothing that happens in the world around us is a surprise to Him.

“Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”

Isaiah 43:18-19

With God, we have the hope of something new

Until we change our behavior, we can’t appreciate the Lord’s mercies and compassions. Until we repent of our sin, and for grieving the Holy Spirit, we can’t expect forgiveness. Until we stop looking down our noses and start picking up our cross daily, we are not capable of following God. Unless we pursue after Him, we cannot partake of His mercies and compassions. Though present times may seem as though we are wandering through a wilderness or desert land, we need to keep going. With God, we have the hope of something new. “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.” (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Originally published as “The hope of something new.” Independent Plus. January 14, 2021: 5. Print. Web.

Share Button

Friday

6

July 2018

Hope Reflected | Mercy

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button

"Show mercy and compassion." Zechariah 7:9 Mercy | Read more at hopereflected.com

Mercy

How can you live a life filled with mercy?

David and Saul. You’ve likely read about their tumultuous relationship before. David was that guy that Saul just loved to hate: Successful, beloved, and righteous. Saul couldn’t stand it. He hated David, so much so that he pursued David throughout the wilderness because he wanted to kill him. And what happened? Well, in the end, Saul dies in the most tragic of circumstances, but before that happens, we see perhaps one of the most moving examples of mercy documented in the Bible.

Whether or not he was sleeping or using the bathroom is beyond the point, but in the midst of his pursuit of David, we find Saul taking a break in a cave (1 Samuel 24:3). It just so happens that this very cave is the place where David and his men were hiding! Saul is completely unaware of his present company, while David and his men contemplate their next move, and what does David do? He spares Saul’s life, and he doesn’t let his men kill Saul, either. He chose to show goodness rather than evil to the very person who was purposefully practicing evil against him, and he encouraged his men to do the same. David demonstrated mercy.

God’s mercy is described in many ways throughout the Bible: Great (Isaiah 54:7), sure (Isaiah 55:3), abundant (1 Peter 1:3), tender (Psalm 25:6), new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Quite often in Scripture, we read about God’s mercy in its plural form (God’s mercies). We serve a God Who doesn’t just show us mercy in one way – He is filled with mercies. As Christians, we should lives that exhibit mercy, just as Christ demonstrated toward us when he went to the cross so we could have eternal life.

So how can you live a life filled with mercy?

You can live a life filled with mercy when you show mercy to others. “Show mercy and compassion every man to his brother.” (Zechariah 7:9) Mercy can be defined as not getting what you deserve. When you live a life filled with mercy, you show compassion to others even when they treat you with cruelty. When you apply mercy in your own life, you exercise forgiveness.

You can live a life filled with mercy when you learn to love mercy. “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8) I don’t think you can love mercy until you’ve truly experienced it. And the greatest mercy of all? God’s gift of eternal life to us. Some versions of the Bible replace “love mercy” in Micah 6:8 with “love goodness,” or “love kindness”. When you live with mercy, you learn to love that virtue and the others that go along with it.

You can live a life filled with mercy when you keep mercy close to your heart. “Put on therefore…bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering….” (Colossians 3:12) Your bowels are the deepest part of you. The term “bowels of mercies” suggests that mercy, like many other virtues, comes from the deepest part of you. When you truly have mercy in your heart, you’ll show it through your actions towards others.

We see God’s mercy demonstrated toward us in His forgiveness, His gift of eternal life to us. As C.S. Lewis once said, “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” Mercy doesn’t come naturally, it is learned through a personal relationship with God. When you have a relationship with God, God’s mercy toward you is bigger than any mistake you can make. God’s mercy is inexhaustible. And when you see God’s mercy at work in your own life, you’ll be better equipped to live a life filled with mercy.

Originally published as “Mercy.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. January 18, 2018: 6. Print. Web.

Share Button

Wednesday

8

November 2017

Wednesday Wisdom | It Costs Nothing to Be Kind

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Wednesday Wisdom

Share Button

Always be kind. | See more hopereflected.com

“Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” Proverbs 11:17

It costs nothing to be kind. Even on our bad days, our sad days, and yes, even on our mad days, it costs nothing to extend the gift of kindness to another.

In the New International Version, Proverbs 11:17 says that “those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” In the New King James Version, the verse reads, “the merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.”

The merciful man.

Kindness and mercy. When you show kindness to another, in a way, you’re showing them mercy. Mercy is defined as not getting something you deserve, and when it’s put like that, we could almost interpret that Proverbs 11:17 is instructing us to show kindness even to those people who don’t deserve it. What a challenge!

“Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.” Proverbs 11:17

 

Share Button

Monday

15

May 2017

Hope Reflected | Grace and Mercy: Two sides of the coin

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button

grace and mercy

Grace and Mercy: Two sides of the coin

You check into a nice hotel, and the hostess behind the desk gives you a free upgrade to a better room. Rather than staying in a basic room, you’re now enjoying the evening in a luxury suite. This is an example of grace – you’re receiving something that you don’t deserve and you didn’t do anything to earn.

You’re driving down the highway doing more than 100km in an 80km zone and you get pulled over. Rather than hit you with a ticket for speeding, the police officer who pulls you over lets you off with a warning. This would be an example of mercy – you’re not getting what you really deserve.

There are several examples of grace and mercy that each of us experience in life, but by far the most powerful examples of grace and mercy that we could ever experience are those that come to us from God.

Millard Erickson once said, “God’s mercy is His tenderhearted, loving compassion for His people. It is His tenderness of heart toward the needy. If grace contemplates humans as sinful, guilty, and condemned, mercy sees them as miserable and needy.”

It is interesting to note that grace is mentioned 170 times in the Bible, and mercy is mentioned 273 times. Grace is defined as God’s unmerited favour. Mercy, on the other hand, is defined as not getting what we truly deserve.

So how can we take these godly traits and exercise them in each of our own lives? We’re humans, so our human nature often makes it difficult for us to display grace and mercy to others, because neither attribute comes naturally to us.

  • We can demonstrate grace through our words. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:6) As Christians, we are called to season our speech with salt and to speak with grace. This can be so hard, am I right?! Sometimes it seems like it’s easier to complain, to talk about that person behind his or her back, or to let our frustrations out through our words. Demonstrating grace means exercising caution and kindness when we’re speaking to others. It means using language that is edifying and words that build up, rather than words that insult or tear down.
  • We can demonstrate mercy through our actions. “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36) Maybe someone’s done you wrong, or thrown you under the bus. Your immediate instinct – and mine – is to react. But, that immediate reaction, is it to show mercy to your offender? If you’re anything like me, the answer is probably not. When someone acts out against you and is a total jerk, a good rule of thumb is to take a breath. Wait a while before you respond to that email, stay silent until you’re prepared to provide a level-headed answer. Rather than react in the same manner as your offender, react with mercy and you’ll be surprised with how it goes over (see Proverbs 25:22). Remember, resolution over retaliation!

Living a life filled with grace and mercy isn’t always easy; on the contrary, because these two godly traits don’t come naturally to us, we must rely on our Heavenly Father to live and practice grace and mercy. It’s only because of God’s own grace and mercy that we can even begin to exhibit these traits. As sinners, we are condemned and deserve God’s wrath, but by His grace, He saved us, and in His mercy He has granted us eternal life. God’s grace is immeasurable, and God’s mercy is inexhaustible. The best part? God’s grace and God’s mercy are available to anyone who chooses to believe in Christ as their personal Saviour.

 

Originally published as “Grace and Mercy: Two Sides of the Coin.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. April 6, 2017: Web.

Share Button

Monday

16

January 2017

Encouragement | Psalm 145:8 | Attributes of God

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

Share Button

the Lord is gracious psalm 145:8 attributes of God

“The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” Psalm 145:8

If you’re looking for encouragement this week, turn your Bible open to Psalm 145 and read about some of the incredible attributes of God. In verse 8 alone, we are told about four great attributes of God.

  • The LORD is gracious — Defined as the unmerited favour of God, grace is a bestowal of blessings that we do not deserve.
  • The LORD is full of compassion — God is not just compassionate, He is FULL of compassion. Defined as sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings of others, compassion is something of which the Lord has no shortage. If you’re suffering, or in a valley, trust God to show you compassion. He will lead you through.
  • The LORD is slow to anger — As you face the emotions of others (and even yourself), who are often quick-tempered, bitter, or irritable, remember that one of God’s attributes is that He is slow to anger. Have patience with yourself and those around you.
  • The LORD is of great mercy — As grace is the unmerited favour of God, mercy is not giving us what we deserve. When someone does you wrong, or offends you, instead of reacting with like, try compassion on for size.

“The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” Psalm 145:8

 

Share Button

Friday

2

September 2016

Hope Reflected: Attributes of God, Part 1

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Share Button

attributes of God

A.W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing to us.” While I’ve yet to read all of Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy, that quote really resonated with me. It’s true; how we think about God determines our measure of worship. This past Sunday at church, the speaker was talking about different attributes of God that we should recognize and acknowledge in our lives that will help to alleviate anxiety and create a more whole mindset in us. The way we think about God influences the way we go through life. Too often we get caught up in the day-to-day, worrying about tomorrow or our circumstances or other things here on Earth, when the reality is that we were put here on Earth to influence others for eternity.

There are several attributes of God found throughout scripture, however today I’d like to focus on three that have truly impacted my life:

  1. God is faithful. Psalm 86:5 tells us, “For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.” So many times throughout the Bible, we are shown examples of God’s faithfulness to those who trust in Him. A very realistic way to recall God’s faithfulness is to keep a journal of prayer requests and answers. Wes and I recently went through the first prayer list we ever made together, and it is incredible just how many of our prayers were answered specifically, and not just answered, answered exceedingly abundantly above all that we could have asked or thought. God is faithful! All we have to do is trust Him and commit our way to Him! “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
  2. God is love. Not just loving, God is love. And I think we’d all agree that in this world in which we live, each of us could use more love. John wrote in his epistle of 1 John 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.” We read a deeper definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. Frequently referenced at weddings, the “love chapter” of the Bible was written by the apostle Paul. [For a fascinating history of the books of Corinthians and when Paul wrote them, check out Matthew Henry’s Commentary.] The King James Version of 1 Corinthians 13 refers to ‘love’ as ‘charity’. It was originally translated from the Greek word, αγαπη (agapē), or in Latin, “caritas”, which means ‘Christian love’. We are told in 1 Corinthians 13 that love, or charity, never fails. That’s God. He will not and cannot fail. When we trust in Him, that’s a promise. We are also reminded in Galatians 5:22 that love is one of the fruits of the Spirit; if we love God, we will live in love, joy, peace, gentleness, faith, etc.
  3. God is merciful. This attribute in particular is a great reminder to me. God loves me and has forgiven me, and sent His Son to die on the cross for my sins. I haven’t got what I deserve because I serve a risen Lord who, among other awesome attributes, is merciful. Psalm 103:8 says, “The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” Notice anything in particular about that verse? God’s mercy is so strong that it merits two mentions. Often confused with grace, mercy pardons sin (whereas grace grants favour). God is plenteous in mercy; He has mercy enough to cleanse the sins of the world, should we choose to trust Him. We are promised in Isaiah 55:7 that if we forsake our sinful ways, and return to the LORD, “…he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” I love this quote from Arthur W. Pink: “He foresaw my every fall, my every sin, my every backsliding; yet, nevertheless, fixed His heart upon me.”

These are merely three of God’s amazing attributes. God’s demonstration of His faithfulness, love, and mercy in my life have molded me into who I am, and without God’s faithfulness, love, and mercy, I can’t imagine where I might be today. God’s attributes are parts of His character that help us to really understand Who He is. The truth is, we’ll never understand them all, but we can observe what the Bible tells us about Who God is, and believe it, and be encouraged.

 

Originally published as “Attributes of God, Part 1.” Minto Express. July 27, 2016: 5. Print.

Share Button