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Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Osorno Volcano in Southern Chile
Photo by Patricia Hormabazal
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"Delighting To Show Mercy"
"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of His inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy" (Micah 7:18). "But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:4,5).
It's a beautiful day here in Pennsylvania. I consider how around the world the physical and material blessings of those who follow Christ vary so greatly. Some live in functional families where God's love is regularly expressed in the home. Others live in homes marked by division and strife. There are believers who struggle with loneliness and other emotional distresses. Some possess more of this world's stuff than others. Some have good health while others are dealing with a devastating illness. Some live in lands of relative peace while others live under oppression and persecution.
The chaos in Chile, due to the massive earthquake they experienced over the weekend, is all over the airwaves and the death toll climbs daily. For weeks we have viewed images of devastation, confusion and overwhelming loss in Haiti as they continue to recover from the earthquake that struck their land.
We consider our brothers and sisters who are raising their families in oppressive lands, especially those in lands dominated by the Islam religion. Their oppression is not a result of natural disaster, but that of man-made religiously inspired tyranny.
But there is a fundamental spiritual blessing all we who belong to Christ share and it's the greatest blessing. We are all recipients of God's grace and mercy! Our daily verse is one of those obscure little gems tucked in among the less frequently read Minor Prophets.
Today I am especially touched by the phrase that God "delights to show mercy." Even in the places of greatest need God is demonstrating His mercy. In fact in many ways it's in places like this that His mercy is more evident and appreciated. Several weeks ago we saw a massive crowd of people singing exuberant praises to God in Haiti amidst the rubble and ruin. It was such a glorious refreshing from the physical devastation surrounding the people that the cable network CNN kept flashing back to the worshipful scene. The contrast was truly amazing and a visible picture of God's mercy unleashed in the hearts of His people. As the camera zoomed in on the toppled physical structures you felt utter despair, but when you looked at the believers in earnest worship the joy and hope they expressed was absolutely contagious.
The mercy of God; what an incomparable dimension of our Lord's character. It's extolled by writers throughout the Bible. David declared "His mercy is very great." Zechariah proclaimed the "tender mercy of our God." Paul says we are "objects of His mercy", and that God is "rich in mercy." James says, "the Lord is full of compassion and mercy." Peter writes of "His great mercy."
Praise the Lord whose mercies endure forever! And He delights to demonstrate mercy to each one of us today. "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12:1).
"When all Thy mercies, O my God,
My rising soul surveys,
Transported with the view I’m lost,
In wonder, love, and praise."
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily prayer: Father, we thank You for the redeeming blood of Jesus that imparts mercy and pardon for my sins. Wretched as I may be, Your mercy is greater! Only a God like You chooses to delight in expressing mercy to the undeserving masses that defy Your Holy Name. Thank You for reaching me in the depth of my sin and raising me to the height of Your Holiness – it's only through Your blood and Your mercy that I come!
Brooksyne's Note: I received a phone call from Patricia, a Chilean friend, as I was writing the prayer for our brothers and sisters in Chile. She reported that her family was not hurt nor their homes destroyed, only a few broken items in their houses. Yet she has several friends displaced through the disaster since they live in high rise apartments and we are making that a matter of prayer. Today's Andean volcano photo was taken by Patricia during a trip back to her homeland.
Prayer for our Christian family abroad: Father, we pray for our brothers and sisters living in countries that are impoverished, war-torn, ripped apart by natural disaster or ruled by tyrannical, godless leaders, and we pray especially for those undergoing persecution. In the midst of utter chaos, devastation, and seeming hopeless circumstances You spring up bright hope within believers who place greater value on their heavenly citizenship where they hope to be shortly than their earthly citizenship where they presently dwell but for a season. We set our affections not on the things of this world where we are surrounded by disappointment, loss, and confusion, but in the world hereafter where Your full glory is revealed and where mercies await us that we have never experienced in our physical dwelling. Keep us hopeful and trusting until that glorious day while we continue to serve You here. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)
"Mercy Saw Me" Video Driven Quartet
"Mercy" Video The Parachute Band
"Wonderful, Merciful, Savior" Video Selah
The chapter on the "The Mercy Of God" from A.W. Pink's classic work "The Attributes Of God"
Here is a video message on the Mercy of God by Carter Conlon of the Times Square Church in New York City.
Here are the Scripture references used in the 6th paragraph.
1 Chronicles 21:13
1 Peter 1:3
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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