A Life that Knows Tender Mercy

Unless you know the heart of the Lord then it may be hard to understand that He has tender mercy and wants you to know His tender mercy towards you. Yes, He is a holy God and can not even look upon evil and yet He came to show us His tender mercy and bring us to Himself.

Luke 1:77-79 To give to His people the knowledge of salvation
By the forgiveness of their sins,
Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

God sent Jesus into our dark and fallen world, because of our own sinful ways, to give to us the knowledge of salvation and the forgiveness of our sins. It is because of His tender mercy towards us that motivated Him to come visit us with salvation. He not only wants to save us and forgive us but He wants to guide our feet in the way of peace. The Lord comes and visits us but we need to recognize our time of visitation. Has He come to you? Jesus wept over the people in Jerusalem because they did not recognize their time of visitation.

Luke 19:41-44 When He approached Jerusalem, He saw the city and wept over it, saying, “If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace! But now they have been hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.”

Has anyone ever come to you and spoken God’s Word to you? Consider that it may be the Lord who is coming to you. It may be your time of visitation if you have not yet come to receive Him and know Him.

Matthew 10:40 He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.

If you have come to know Him and are a believer then keep your behavior excellent among others so that they will have no cause to slander you (but if they do let it be because of your good deeds that they misinterpret) and will on account of your life glorify the Lord in the day of their visitation.

I Peter 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

The Lord loves you and it is His love and tender mercy that is calling you to Himself. He came so that He might bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh for our sins and was made alive in the spirit.

I Peter 3:18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

Come to Him and experience His love and compassion. He is gracious and abundant in His love for you. For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is His love for those who will come to Him and honor Him as Lord and Savior.

Psalm 103:8-13 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
He will not always strive with us,
Nor will He keep His anger forever.
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our transgressions from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.

There is nothing greater than knowing the tender mercy and compassion of God. It is eternal life to know Jesus Christ and when we know Him then we will count all things to be worthless in comparison to the surpassing greatness of knowing Him. When we come to know Jesus Christ then we will want to press on to know Him more.

Romans 11:33a  Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!

 

 

A Life that Does Not Worry

Worry is rampant these days as people do not just worry but they are paranoid about many things. What a thief that worry is and how it robs us of much joy and peace. Worry can paralyze us, control us and it can eventually kill us. What does worry tell us about ourselves?

Matthew 9:36 When he saw the crowds, he was deeply moved with compassion for them, because they were troubled and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

When we are anxious and troubled then it is more of a symptom than a problem. The problem that we have that is being manifested in worry is that either we do not have a Shepherd or we are living as if we do not have a Shepherd. Jesus is the Good Shepherd and He cares for His sheep. When you become a Christian then Jesus becomes your Shepherd and the Shepherd is responsible for the sheep.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.

He laid down His life for you. Does He not care for you? Will He not take care of you? Yes and yes and yes…a million times yes! When the Lord is your Shepherd you shall not lack anything that you need, or in other words, you shall never be in want.

Psalm 23:1-6

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Can it get any better than this? He will make you lie down in green pastures and not in the weeds. He will lead you beside still waters and not by the dangerous torrents that could endanger you. He is the One who restores your soul and He will guide you in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even if you were to walk through the valley of death, He will be with you. You need never fear evil for it can not touch you without coming through Him first. He comforts you and prepares a table for you in the presence of those who might be your enemies. He anoints you with the oil of gladness and your cup will overflow with joy. Not only all of these things but goodness and lovingkindness will follow you all the days of your life and then you will dwell with Him forever. Again, can it get any better than this? Do you believe this?

Hebrews 4:2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

If you don’t believe this then there is no profit for you. If you do believe it then these precious and magnificent promises are yours and they will transform your life, take away your anxiety and bring you the peace and joy that you long for.

II Peter 1:2-4 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

The Lord wants to multiply His grace and peace to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord. His diving power has granted to you the privilege and power to live above circumstances and resist the devil and his lies. You must choose, either to live by faith in the promises of God or to live by worry on the fears of the world and the lies of the devil.

Hebrews 13:5b-6a …for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say, The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.”

Yes, life in Jesus Christ is much better than the slow death of anxiety and worry. Are you anxious and worried? Cast your cares upon Him now and ask Him to be your Shepherd.

I Peter 5:7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

A Life that Overcomes Depression

Depression is a struggle for many people and if we can not overcome depression then it can easily overcome us. The Lord wants us to have victory in every area of our lives and depression is one area that we can see His power and His love. First of all, He helps us in our depression.

Psalm 143:7,8 Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

Depression can begin in our spirit and then go to our soul, which is our mind, will and emotions and then finally it can affect our bodies. Depression can begin in our emotions after an emotional high, (having a baby etc.) or physically (after physical exhaustion) and then affect us spiritually. Either way, when we are depressed then we are down and are struggling to get back up again. Just as our blood sugar can fluctuate and give us feelings of lethargy and tiredness so depression can do the same for our spirit. However, just as protein will keep our blood sugar more level if we eat protein in the morning, so the meat of the Word of God will keep our spirit more level and less prone to ups and downs if we spend time in God’s Word each morning. Just as when Elijah was depressed the Lord had the ravens bring him protein to nourish him. The meat of God’s Word will nourish our spirit and strengthen us spiritually.

I Kings 17:6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he would drink from the brook.

When we spend time in the Word of God in the morning then we will have a good measure of God’s lovingkindness and truth in our spirit and soul to begin the day so that we will be more ready for the trials throughout the day and the unexpected surprises.

Psalm 59:16 But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength;
Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For You have been my stronghold
And a refuge in the day of my distress.

When you learn the discipline of spending time with the Lord every morning then you will see that He is your strength and will be your stronghold all day long and your refuge in distress. Distress brings depression if there is no place that we can go to with our distresses. We need a refuge that we can run to anytime.

Proverbs 18:10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.

Learn to come to Him in the morning and you will find yourself running to Him throughout the day. He will lift you up and you will know His secure arms around you holding you up.

Psalm 27:5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle;
In the secret place of His tent He will hide me;
He will lift me up on a rock.

If you are a new Christian then long for the milk of His Word each morning and fill your heart up with His Word.

I Peter 2:2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

Then as you grow in Him then start learning to chew on the meat of His Word. He will teach you and lead you in the way you should go.

Hebrews 5:13,14 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

Most people struggle at times with depression. It is not a sin but it is when the body, soul or spirit is depressed or down. However, it is not healthy spiritually to remain for a long period of time in a state of depression. The Lord will lift you up but He has given you His Word and His Spirit to strengthen you in Him.

 

A Life Full of Light

When we go into a dark place we instinctively want to turn on some light so that we can see our way. No one wants to grope around in the darkness and yet that is how many of us often live life. We don’t know what we should do in different situations and so we try to “feel” our way around trying to find our way. As a result we sometimes bump into things that hurt us or we lose confidence and are hesitant about continuing our journey. We can even be afraid, lonely or depressed because there is no light.

Matthew 4:16 The people who were sitting in darkness saw a great Light,
And those who were sitting in the land and shadow of death,
Upon them a Light dawned.”

Jesus came to give us light so that we would no longer live in the darkness. It was the tender mercy of God that sent Jesus into the world so that we might come into the light and know the light. It is the tender mercy of God that is calling you to come into the light. The darkness can be very frightful. He will guide you in the right way, which is the way of peace.

Luke 1:78,79 Because of the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us,
To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Jesus promises us that if we will follow Him that we will not walk in darkness. Do you feel that there is darkness in your life? Ask the Lord to let you see Him and in seeing Him you will see the light. Often when someone becomes a Christian they will say, “I have seen the light”.

Psalm 36:9 For with You is the fountain of life;
In Your light we see light.

Not only will you have light when you see Him but He will guide you in the way you should go. Follow Him and you will have the Light of life with you all the time.

John 8:12 Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

He does not want you to live in the darkness. As you grow in your faith then you will also grow in the light of Christ.

John 12:46 I have come as Light into the world, so that everyone who believes in Me will not remain in darkness.

Has He given you light? Has He shown you what you should do? Do it and don’t hesitate any longer for you may not always have the light and then the darkness will overtake you and you will grope a long in the darkness and wonder where the Lord is.

John 12:35 So Jesus said to them, “For a little while longer the Light is among you. Walk while you have the Light, so that darkness will not overtake you; he who walks in the darkness does not know where he goes.

When Jesus is your light then you will not be afraid.

Psalm 27:1a The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?

Just as a child with a loving father can go into a dark room because her father is holding her hand so you too can go into unfamiliar places because He is the One who holds your hand. He will not let go of you.

Psalm 73:23 Nevertheless I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.

You can trust Him but you must cling to Him as a waistband clings to a man so you must cling to Him.

Jeremiah 13:11 For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.’

When Jesus was in the world He was the light of the world.

John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.

He is the light of the world and He has made you so that His light might shine through you to the world and in doing so you become the light of the world.

Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;

When you walk with Him not only will He shed His light on your way but you also will become a light to others as He lives through you.

Proverbs 12:26 The righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
But the way of the wicked leads them astray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Life that Overcomes Bitterness

Bitterness is one of the most damaging emotions. Bitterness can be an unresolved hurt in our hearts. Someone hurt us and we can still feel it as if it just happened yesterday. Bitterness can be a wound that has never been healed. It will cause you trouble and poison many.

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;

When sin abounds then God’s grace abounds also but unless we receive His grace and are healed from the hurt and pain of wounds from others we will become bitter.

Romans 5:20,21 The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grace reigns through righteousness to eternal life which is through Jesus Christ our Lord. When you do what is right after someone has done you wrong, and you can only do this through God’s grace, then you will be set free from the bitterness which would result from not experiencing His grace. If you will turn to Him in your pain then He will heal you and restore you.

Exodus 15:26 And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the Lord your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the Lord, am your healer.”

The opposite of bitterness is thankfulness. He will remove the bitterness and fill your heart with gratitude and joy. Only the Lord can do this but He can and He wants to.

I Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Bitterness also comes from forsaking the Lord.

Jeremiah 2:19 Your own wickedness will correct you,
And your apostasies will reprove you;
Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter
For you to forsake the Lord your God,
And the dread of Me is not in you,” declares the Lord God of hosts.

Bitterness can come from the misfortune of bereavement.

Ruth 1:20 She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me.

The Lord healed Naomi and she became the great great grandmother of King David. The Lord restored her joy. She trusted the Lord and He was faithful to her.

Ruth 4:16,17 Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her lap, and became his nurse. The neighbor women gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi!” So they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Bitterness can come from unfulfilled desires and longings. Hannah was greatly sorrowful that she could not have any children.

I Samuel 1:10 She, greatly distressed, prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly.

Hannah turned to the Lord and the Lord heard her prayer and gave her a son, who became the last judge and first prophet in Israel. Her prayer that is recorded became Mary’s prayer when she found out that she was going to bear a Son and His name would be Jesus, the Son of God.

I Samuel 2:1,2 Then Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord;
My horn is exalted in the Lord,
My mouth speaks boldly against my enemies,
Because I rejoice in Your salvation.
There is no one holy like the Lord,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God.

When you experience great loss then you might feel bitter. Job lost everything but his wife and then she also tried to get him to forsake the Lord.

Job 3:20 Why is light given to him who suffers,
And life to the bitter of soul,

Job was faithful to the Lord and the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him even more.

Job 42:10 The Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold.

Great sorrow and pain comes to all of us at some time in our life. How we respond to it will determine whether our life becomes bitter or sweet. If we turn to Him, He is faithful and will not disappoint you, for that is the promise He has made to us.

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

If you don’t turn to Him then your bitterness will eat you up and destroy you from the inside and will make it’s way out through your countenance and your tongue. Not only will it destroy you but it will defile those around you, as mentioned earlier. Don’t substitute what the Lord wants to give to you. His plan for you is sweet. It is the devil who wants to rob you through bitterness.

Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Turn to the Lord in you sorrow, loss, disappointment and unfulfilled desires and longings. He will give to you even more than what you can imagine and He has a plan for your life that is good for you and sweet.

 

A Life with Gladness

Gladness is different than joy. Gladness is that great feeling in your heart that makes you happy. Joy comes from the presence of God but gladness comes from loving what God loves. Gladness is the secret of the happy Christian. Jesus had more gladness than all of His companions. What was His secret?

Hebrews 1:9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of gladness above Your companions.”

Jesus loved righteousness, in other words, He loved doing what was right in God’s eyes. He did not do what was right in His own sight. He always submitted Himself to the will of the Father.

Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Everyone has a different standard of what is right and when people live by their own standards of right and wrong then there is a lack of gladness among the people because there is a lack of God’s righteousness. There is a lack of righteousness because there is a lack of Christ being King in our hearts. Jesus came to restore us to God and His Lordship and to the only true standard, which is what He said in His Word. When the Lord is our King the He helps us do what is right in his sight. He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Psalm 30:10-12 “Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me;
O Lord, be my helper.”
You have turned for me my mourning into dancing;
You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,
That my soul may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

The Lord replaces our sadness with gladness and He makes us want to sing. Singing is an expression of what is in your heart. Often the songs of the world are sad songs because they have sad and broken hearts even though they may put on a happy face. Christians have joy and gladness and want to sing praises to our God.

Proverbs 10:28 The hope of the righteous is gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked perishes.

We can hope for gladness and expect it when we love righteousness because we have done what we needed to do. The expectation of the wicked perishes because it is a “false” hope, such as, “I hope that I do well on my test” or “I hope that I will go to heaven”. The right thing is to study for your tests or the right thing is to repent and receive Christ as your Lord and Savior and then you know that you are going to heaven.

Ecclesiastes 5:20 For he will not often consider the years of his life, because God keeps him occupied with the gladness of his heart.

The Christian’s life is full and the years fly by because the Lord keeps the Christian occupied with gladness of heart. His life is full of joy and gladness because he has followed the Lord with all of his heart and sought to do what is right in God’s eyes.

Acts 2:46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

The early Christians were filled with gladness because they were sharing with one another and fellowshipping together in the Lord. Jesus Christ was their Lord and they were doing what He wanted them to do.

Psalm 45:7 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness: Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Jesus had more gladness than all of His companions. He had the “oil of gladness”. The Lord wants to anoint us also with the oil of gladness so that people might be drawn to Christ in us. We need to love righteousness and hate wickedness.

 

 

 

 

A Life of Character

There are five characteristics that should be evidenced in a Christian. These should be spoken of and made manifest in their life.

Psalm 40:10 I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.

We are not to hide His righteousness within our hearts. We are to live a righteous life which means that we are to do what is right. The opposite of righteousness is wickedness and that is doing what is wrong. It is not our righteousness, which is self righteousness, but it is His righteousness. When we become a Christian we start learning His ways and living by them. Do we fail at times? Yes, but it should grieve us and cause us to want to please Him even more.

Psalm 37:3 Trust in the Lord and do good;
Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

A life of faith will be characterized by His faithfulness. We are to cultivate faithfulness and feed on His faithfulness. Our faithfulness to Him and His faithfulness to us should be one of the hallmarks of a Christian. Do you speak of His faithfulness to others?

I Chronicles 16:23-25 Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.
For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised;
He also is to be feared above all gods.

When we become a Christian, He not only saves us for all eternity but He saves us everyday. Are you proclaiming His salvation?

Lamentations 3:22,23 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

His lovingkindnesses indeed never cease! When someone loves someone then it can’t be concealed. They talk about the one they love and that person’s love is their delight. The Lord loves you so much and His love for you never ceases. Do you ever cease talking about His love?

John 14:6,7 Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

Jesus is the Truth and when we are filled with Jesus then we will be filled with truth. His truth should characterize all that we do and say. His truth should fill our heart. We should love and long for His truth. Do you conceal His truth from others? Are you afraid at times to speak God’s truth?

Luke 6:45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.

A Christian should be characterized by His righteousness, His faithfulness, His salvation, His lovingkindness and His truth because these are the things that fill his heart.