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Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

“Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.”

“Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander…” 1stTimothy 1:5-7,20

I don’t ever want be one of those guys that your pastor warns you about. They’re right there in church in the midst of everyone, and they think they are so right that they have to make sure everyone knows it. But they’re not. But they don’t know it.

Imagine being someone that like. You know that there is a separation between you and everyone else, especially the leadership of the church, and yet you excuse it away by thinking that it is because you are just a little bit better than them. After all, you know you’re right, but most people just don’t understand. After all, the Bible does say in Proverbs that they that seek the Lord understand all things. That must explain why others just don’t get it and you do. What a trap of delusion, and how easy it is to fall into!

What a surprise awaits them! All the way up to their last breath they think they are so right with God, and then in an instant, their reality crashes down on them. The sad thing is that their time of boasting is so fleeting, but their judgment is forever.

I don’t want to be one of those guys, so how do I make sure that I do not fall into that trap? I can only think of three things:

  1. Focus on others.
    One of the principles of revival that I preach is that the Gospel is not about you; it is about others. Throughout the Bible, the Lord directs our focus to others, others, others. I always say that if you don’t get this, you will never understand the Cross, because that is the central reason why He came, and He tells us to do the same. (Matt. 16:24)
    Forget about yourself and focus on others. It will dissolve your pride and arrogance like hot water on butter.
  2. You don’t always have to be right.
    Let others have their opinion and perspective. It’s okay. You don’t have to take on the role of the Lord High Executioner or the Holy and Exalted Fruit Inspector. For crying out loud, let it go! Relax. You don’t have to correct all the world’s mistakes.
  3. You aren’t always right.
    Yeah, this goes with #2. Maybe, just maybe, you ain’t always right. That ever occur to you? You might even learn something if you kept your mouth shut. Maybe you’d learn that not only you are not what you think you are, but that it doesn’t matter anyway. This is not a matter of who gets the highest score at the Judgment Bar, or of how much “stuff” you know. Let me tell you, nobody cares. Especially not God. So whom are you trying to impress?

And that is probably the heart of the issue. People like that have a weakness somewhere inside them that Satan has exploited and that they are trying to compensate for. What is it that they are trying to prove? Maybe they don’t really think they’re better; maybe they’re just afraid they’re not.

The heart of this issue, however, is not just about us not falling into that trap, but of us having mercy by praying for those who have. (See #1).

After all, that is the whole point, isn’t it?

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“Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly …” (Jonah 2:1)

I imagine it was a bright sunny day – blue skies, birds singing, gentle breeze blowing in from the sea. It must have been a beautiful day. At least it was for Jonah. After three days of hell, he had finally been delivered out of the belly of that whale.  He might have been slimy and acid-eaten, but he was standing on dry ground … alive!  Yes, it must have been a beautiful day.

But this ordeal wasn’t about Jonah. The survival of 120,000 people was depending on this. I’m not sure if Jonah did not want God to deliver the Assyrians, or if he was just plain scared to walk into the midst of this fierce, merciless people and tell them they were going to hell. The point is, he didn’t want to go.

But God did.

Acts of mercy that we perform are generated, not from our own wells of charity, but from the heart of God. He just allows us to participate. And it is prayer that unlocks the door to that mercy.

It may be hard for us to believe that our little tiny prayers could move continents and drop mountains into the sea, but are we limiting God or ourselves?  James 5:16 says that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Much – as in, a lot, because prayer unties the hands of God so that our works of faith become His works of action. True, there are conditions that God requires for effective prayer, but there are no limitations. If you can imagine it, God can do it.

Prayer is an act of mercy.  Mercy, even unintended, is still mercy. We may be praying for something entirely different – Jonah was certainly not praying for the Ninevites – but the effects of prayer, like the random twists and turns of a stream on its way to the sea, can often take circuitous routes to reach God’s intended purpose. We are just required to pray. And prayer moves God. And it may not be in the way you intended.

The works of faith can move mountains. They may not be the mountains you were concerned about, but sometimes God puts you into a situation where you have to pray your heart out, often for your own deliverance, just so He can work through your prayers to bring about unintended consequences and move in ways that you could not have imagined.

Including saving 120,000 people who you never intended to save.

 

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“Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God out of the fish’s belly …” (Jonah 2:1)

I imagine it was a bright sunny day – blue skies, birds singing, gentle breeze blowing in from the sea. It must have been a beautiful day. At least it was for Jonah.  He might have been slimy and acid-eaten, but at least it wasn’t raining because the whale had spit him out onto dry land. That whale had beached itself just so Jonah wouldn’t get his feet wet. Yeah, it must have been a beautiful day.

The survival of 120,000 people was depending on it. I’m not sure if Jonah actually knew that God would deliver the Assyrians and did not want them to be delivered or if he was just plain scared to death to walk into the midst of this fierce, merciless people and tell them they were going to hell. The point is, he didn’t want to go.

But God did.

Acts of mercy that we perform are generated, not from our own wells of charity, but from the heart of God. He just allows us to participate.

And most often it is prayer that unlocks the door to that mercy. We may be praying for something entirely different – Jonah was certainly not praying for the Ninevites – but the effects of prayer, like the random twists and turns that a stream takes on its way to the sea, can often take circuitous routes to reach God’s intended consequence. We are just required to pray. And prayer moves God.

We may scoff that our little tiny prayers could move continents and drop mountains into the sea, but are we limiting God or ourselves?  James 5:16 says that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. While there are conditions for prayer to be effective, there are no limitations.

Everything in your Christian walk distills down into two things: reading and prayer. The Word of God gives us the power to pray, and prayer unties the hands of God to move in ways that we cannot imagine.

Including saving 120,000 people who you never intended to save.

 

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Brother Dale

 

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