The Mercy of God

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Morning

“The mercy of God.”   Psalm 52:8

Meditate a little on this mercy of the Lord. It is tender mercy. With gentle, loving touch, he healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner of his mercy as in the matter of it. It is great mercy. There is nothing little in God; his mercy is like himself–it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners, after great lengths of time, and then gives great favours and great privileges, and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God. It is undeserved mercy, as indeed all true mercy must be, for deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the sinner’s part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire he would have richly merited the doom, and if delivered from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in the sinner himself. It is rich mercy. Some things are great, but have little efficacy in them, but this mercy is a cordial to your drooping spirits; a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds; a heavenly bandage to your broken bones; a royal chariot for your weary feet; a bosom of love for your trembling heart. It is manifold mercy. As Bunyan says, “All the flowers in God’s garden are double.” There is no single mercy. You may think you have but one mercy, but you shall find it to be a whole cluster of mercies. It is abounding mercy. Millions have received it, yet far from its being exhausted; it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever. It is unfailing mercy. It will never leave thee. If mercy be thy friend, mercy will be with thee in temptation to keep thee from yielding; with thee in trouble to prevent thee from sinking; with thee living to be the light and life of thy countenance; and with thee dying to be the joy of thy soul when earthly comfort is ebbing fast.

Evening

THE DEW OF HEAVEN

THE DEW OF HEAVEN

“This sickness is not unto death.”   John 11:4

From our Lord’s words we learn that there is a limit to sickness. Here is an “unto” within which its ultimate end is restrained, and beyond which it cannot go. Lazarus might pass through death, but death was not to be the ultimatum of his sickness. In all sickness, the Lord saith to the waves of pain, “Hitherto shall ye go, but no further.” His fixed purpose is not the destruction, but the instruction of his people. Wisdom hangs up the thermometer at the furnace mouth, and regulates the heat.

1. The limit is encouragingly comprehensive. The God of providence has limited the time, manner, intensity, repetition, and effects of all our sicknesses; each throb is decreed, each sleepless hour predestinated, each relapse ordained, each depression of spirit foreknown, and each sanctifying result eternally purposed. Nothing great or small escapes the ordaining hand of him who numbers the hairs of our head.

2. This limit is wisely adjusted to our strength, to the end designed, and to the grace apportioned. Affliction comes not at haphazard–the weight of every stroke of the rod is accurately measured. He who made no mistakes in balancing the clouds and meting out the heavens, commits no errors in measuring out the ingredients which compose the medicine of souls. We cannot suffer too much nor be relieved too late.

3. The limit is tenderly appointed. The knife of the heavenly Surgeon never cuts deeper than is absolutely necessary. “He doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men.” A mother’s heart cries, “Spare my child;” but no mother is more compassionate than our gracious God. When we consider how hard-mouthed we are, it is a wonder that we are not driven with a sharper bit. The thought is full of consolation, that he who has fixed the bounds of our habitation, has also fixed the bounds of our tribulation.

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Have you seen leaders unable to overcome “drag coefficient”?

Have you seen leaders unable to overcome “drag coefficient”?

Return unto the Lord thy God

O God, have mercy on me. The enemy troops press in on me. My foes attack me all day long. My slanderers hound me constantly, and many are boldly attacking me.

Psalm 56:1-2 NLT

Without wise leadership, a nation fails; with many counselors, there is safety.

Proverbs 11:14 NLT

The drag on leadership

Leaders have grand vision, and great visions are reached overnight.… Leadership by nature pushes against a high drag coefficient. Drag is the resistance air gives to the body of airplanes or automobiles as they move through air.… The drag on leadership is so great that it threatens to bring leaders to a grinding halt unless they have an extraordinary level of God-inspired perseverance.

Leadership is more about perseverance than about speed. Psalm 132:1 says, “Lord, remember David and all that he suffered.” David was one of the greatest — and most successful — leaders in Israel’s history, yet his life was marked by continual, extreme hardship.

For example, after the prophet Samuel anointed David as the next king of Israel, King Saul repeatedly attempted to kill David. David had to wander in the desert and in foreign lands for years as a fugitive with several hundred outcasts. David was the anointed leader of Israel, but he endured a lifetime of hardships as Israel’s shepherd.

So don’t be surprised by the drag coefficient of leadership. With God’s help, you can endure it and overcome.
CRAIG BRIAN LARSON

adapted from Leadership Devotions compiled by the editors of Christianity Today International, Tyndale House Publishers (2001), pp 170-71


Being a general calls for different talents from being a soldier.
TITUS LIVY

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House


 

Staying pure

Staying pure

“How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word and following its rules. I have tried my best to find you — don’t let me wander from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Psalm 119:9-11 NLT

Piling on

In the game of football it’s called “piling on”: You’re already down when suddenly you get pummeled again by your opponent. In real life it’s called spiritual warfare, and it’s often disguised. You’re suffering through a hard time when suddenly the enemy comes at you with what actually looks like relief.

Ah, how vulnerable we are in such moments! After all I’ve had to endure lately, I think I deserve a little break! How easy it is to rationalize! Would it really be so wrong for me to ________? Why not?

Of course, this is the nature of temptation. On the front end, sin looks “heavenly.” On the back side, it is always hellish and makes bad situations worse.

Our only hope is in living out the promise that God’s Word can keep us from sin. By filling our hearts and minds with the truth of God’s Word, we are able to recognize the enemy’s lies. That is how we stay pure in hard, tempting times (see Matthew 4:1-11). It is how we avoid Satan’s deceptive attempts to hit us again when we’re down.

Praying God’s Promise:
God, when I hide your Word in my heart, I can keep from sinning! Grant me the wisdom to seek you and to hide your Word in my heart. I need discernment to apply your truth to everyday situations, especially when I am going through difficult times.

from Praying God’s Promises in Tough Times by Len Wood (Tyndale) pp 170-71

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Peace in Relationships

Peace in Relationships

“Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must take allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace.”

Colossians 3:12-15 NLT

Attaining peace

[Jon Farrar addresses marriages, but his comments apply to other relationships as well.] Maintaining peace in any relationship is very difficult. Each one of us is a unique individual who interprets and views things differently. Whether in relationships in the church, among family and friends, or in our marriages, conflict is natural. When conflict comes, we need to follow Christ’s example by showing love and forgiveness in difficult situations. God loved us when we were still sinners in rebellion against him (Romans 5:9). We need to show that same type of love to others by being kind, merciful, and patient.

Do you long for peace in your marriage? Ask Jesus to point out times when you have not been forgiving, areas where you need to be patient, and ways you can express genuine love to each other. That is how we have peace in our marriages — when we look for ways to love and forgive each other.

from Praying God’s Promises for My Marriage by Jon Farrar (Tyndale) pp 42-43

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

What is the best time to pray?

Our prayers bring us into God’s presence

What is the best time to pray?

We can be confident that he will listen to us whenever we ask him for anything in line with his will. And if we know he is listening when we make our requests, we can be sure that he will give us what we ask for.

1 John 5:14-15

I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath!

Psalm 116:1-2

Seize any time

And talking of sleepiness, I entirely agree with you that no one in his senses, if he has any power of ordering his own day, would reserve his chief prayers for bedtime—obviously the worst possible hour for any action which needs concentration. The trouble is that thousands of unfortunate people can hardly find any other. Even for us, who are the lucky ones, it is not always easy. My own plan, when hard-pressed, is to seize any time and place, however unsuitable, in preference to the last waking moment. On a day of travelling—with, perhaps, some ghastly meeting at the end of it—I’d rather pray sitting in a crowded train than put it off till midnight when one reaches a hotel bedroom with aching head and dry throat and one’s mind partly in a stupor and partly in a whirl. On other, and slightly less crowded, days a bench in a park or a back street where one can pace up and down will do.

C. S. Lewis in Letters to Malcolm
Quoted in The Quotable Lewis edited by Wayne Martindale and Jerry Root (Tyndale House) p 493)

Content is derived from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation and other publications of Tyndale Publishing House

Whosoever cometh unto him

Morning

“Behold, if the leprosy have covered all his flesh, he shall pronounce him clean that hath the plague.”
Leviticus 13:13

Strange enough this regulation appears, yet there was wisdom in it, for the throwing out of the disease proved that the constitution was sound. This morning it may be well for us to see the typical teaching of so singular a rule. We, too, are lepers, and may read the law of the leper as applicable to ourselves. When a man sees himself to be altogether lost and ruined, covered all over with the defilement of sin, and no part free from pollution; when he disclaims all righteousness of his own, and pleads guilty before the Lord, then is he clean through the blood of Jesus, and the grace of God. Hidden, unfelt, unconfessed iniquity is the true leprosy, but when sin is seen and felt it has received its death blow, and the Lord looks with eyes of mercy upon the soul afflicted with it. Nothing is more deadly than self-righteousness, or more hopeful than contrition. We must confess that we are “nothing else but sin,” for no confession short of this will be the whole truth, and if the Holy Spirit be at work with us, convincing us of sin, there will be no difficulty about making such an acknowledgment–it will spring spontaneously from our lips. What comfort does the text afford to those under a deep sense of sin! Sin mourned and confessed, however black and foul, shall never shut a man out from the Lord Jesus. Whosoever cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out. Though dishonest as the thief, though unchaste as the woman who was a sinner, though fierce as Saul of Tarsus, though cruel as Manasseh, though rebellious as the prodigal, the great heart of love will look upon the man who feels himself to have no soundness in him, and will pronounce him clean, when he trusts in Jesus crucified. Come to him, then, poor heavy-laden sinner,

Come needy, come guilty, come loathsome and bare;

You can’t come too filthy–come just as you are.

Evening

My Heart’s Desire

“I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go.”
Song of Solomon 3:4

Does Christ receive us when we come to him, notwithstanding all our past sinfulness? Does he never chide us for having tried all other refuges first? And is there none on earth like him? Is he the best of all the good, the fairest of all the fair? Oh, then let us praise him! Daughters of Jerusalem, extol him with timbrel and harp! Down with your idols, up with the Lord Jesus. Now let the standards of pomp and pride be trampled under foot, but let the cross of Jesus, which the world frowns and scoffs at, be lifted on high. O for a throne of ivory for our King Solomon! Let him be set on high forever, and let my soul sit at his footstool, and kiss his feet, and wash them with my tears. Oh, how precious is Christ! How can it be that I have thought so little of him? How is it I can go abroad for joy or comfort when he is so full, so rich, so satisfying. Fellow believer, make a covenant with thine heart that thou wilt never depart from him, and ask thy Lord to ratify it. Bid him set thee as a signet upon his finger, and as a bracelet upon his arm. Ask him to bind thee about him, as the bride decketh herself with ornaments, and as the bridegroom putteth on his jewels. I would live in Christ’s heart; in the clefts of that rock my soul would eternally abide. The sparrow hath made a house, and the swallow a nest for herself where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God; and so too would I make my nest, my home, in thee, and never from thee may the soul of thy turtle dove go forth again, but may I nestle close to thee, O Jesus, my true and only rest.

“When my precious Lord I find,

All my ardent passions glow;

Him with cords of love I bind,

Hold and will not let him go.”

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Never Give Up!

Morning

“The Lord looketh from heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men.”
Psalm 33:13

Perhaps no figure of speech represents God in a more gracious light than when he is spoken of as stooping from his throne, and coming down from heaven to attend to the wants and to behold the woes of mankind. We love him, who, when Sodom and Gomorrah were full of iniquity, would not destroy those cities until he had made a personal visitation of them. We cannot help pouring out our heart in affection for our Lord who inclines his ear from the highest glory, and puts it to the lip of the dying sinner, whose failing heart longs after reconciliation. How can we but love him when we know that he numbers the very hairs of our heads, marks our path, and orders our ways? Specially is this great truth brought near to our heart, when we recollect how attentive he is, not merely to the temporal interests of his creatures, but to their spiritual concerns. Though leagues of distance lie between the finite creature and the infinite Creator, yet there are links uniting both. When a tear is wept by thee, think not that God doth not behold; for, “Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” Thy sigh is able to move the heart of Jehovah; thy whisper can incline his ear unto thee; thy prayer can stay his hand; thy faith can move his arm. Think not that God sits on high taking no account of thee. Remember that however poor and needy thou art, yet the Lord thinketh upon thee. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him.

Oh! then repeat the truth that never tires;

No God is like the God my soul desires;

He at whose voice heaven trembles, even he,

Great as he is, knows how to stoop to me.

Evening

“Go again seven times.”
1 Kings 18:43

Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when his people are earnest in a matter which concerns his glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should be non-suited in Jehovah’s courts. Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but “Go again.” We must not dream of unbelief, but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel’s brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again. So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled, but not abashed: her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement, but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer, but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation: deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint, and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue in prayer and watching. At last the little cloud was seen, the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us: his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire.

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Wisdom

Titus 2:2

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

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Isaiah 46:4

And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.

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Psalm 121:1-2

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

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Philippians 4:4

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

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1 Peter 3:8

 

Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

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Philippians 2:1-2

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

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1 John 4:16

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

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