The Wideness of God’s Mercy

The Wideness of God's Mercy

Daily Spirit & Word, 481: The Wideness of God’s Mercy.

Good morning my friends, I hope your Easter Week is going well. Today we’re thinking of God’s mercy towards sinners. He’s just so outstandingly kind, gracious, forgiving, loving, gentle. When we hear of God’s wrath, anger and justice, we must always remember that they are tempered and controlled by every other aspect of His Divine Character.

 “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

My friends there is a wideness in God’s MERCY that I believe we’ve only just touched upon. So many Christians it seems love to hear or talk about God’s wrath and anger against sin (and He is), but there’s also such a breadth to God’s Divine Nature that we miss out on when we simplify our focus too much. It’s not surprising that when we concentrate on just one characteristic that we produce lop-sided followers. It’s like we’re producing Disciples with limps or with a load on one shoulder and we do a real dis-service to God’s Kingdom. Not only that, when your Heavenly Father looks at you, He’s probably wondering why you’re not conveying the whole Good News.

 Mercy triumphs over judgement.

James 2:13 (NIV) “because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgement!”

Can you see that my friends? God’s Justice and Judgement are good and righteous and necessary, but there’s a wideness in God’s mercy, that means because we’ve been forgiven so much, we should also extend that same mercy and forgiveness towards others.

 How is God Merciful?

Well, when we reflect upon the Cross and why it was that Jesus came to die, we discover that it was because of God’s great love for those He had created, He doesn’t want anyone to perish in hell, but everybody to come to repentance. Of course if people refuse God’s mercy, then He’ll have to give them His judgement, anger and wrath against their rebellion and sin. However, the amazing thing is God holds out the olive branch of peace and mercy and forgiveness. He’ll remove all our transgressions, trespasses and sins, “As far as the east if from the west”…

My friends, if you are sincerely desiring to follow after God, become more like Jesus, then you need to discover more about what God is like in His Character, the Holy Spirit will be moulding you into the same shape as Him. There’s no better place to look than to the stories of the Saviour, but the same nature and character are also revealed in the Old Testament.

Let’s look at just one Psalm that shows us God’s great kindnesses and mercies. Psalm 103. Read it and meditate upon it, highlight every word that speaks to you of God’s goodness, mercy, kindness, forgiveness, grace, etc…

Read this Psalm out as loud as you can, get to a lonely place and shout it out, for faith comes by hearing the words of the Lord. My friends, God’s MERCY will become evident when you HEAR God’s Word Today. Let His grace and kindness wash you clean.

Psalm 103:1-22 (NIV)
1  [Of David.] Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2  Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits
3  who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
4  who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
5  who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6  The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
7  He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
8  The LORD is compassionate and graciousslow to angerabounding in love. 
9  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbour his anger for ever;
10  he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
11  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
12  as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
14  for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
15  As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16  the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
17  But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’S love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18  with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
19  The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
20  Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
21  Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
22  Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.

Did you shout it out? I’d have woken all the grandchildren, but I shouted it out in my mind 🙂 I’ll be shouting it when they all wake up in about an hour though.

From the start to the finish this Psalm shouts out loudly of the wideness of God’s MERCY.

The themes ringing loudly in your ears today should be: Forgiveness, Healing, Deliverance, Soul-Satisfaction, Redemption, Compassion, Renewal, He Fights For Justice, Gracious, Patience (slow to anger), Love (abounding in love), Cleansing from All sin, Praise the LORD my soul.

 “As a Father has compassion on his children”

One day when I was playing football (soccer) with my brother in the garden, I broke a big window. My mum shouted at me and told me to come into the house, she said, “Wait until your father gets home, he’s going to punish you severely for this”. All the rest of that day I was dreading the moment my dad got home from work. He came in and I thought at first my mum had forgotten to tell him, but then she did and my dad said, “Go into the bedroom, I’ll be in soon to sort you out boy”… I was crying and saying how sorry I was, it was an accident, pleading for forgiveness, but my dad’s eyes said it all. He came in and closed the door, then he said, “Get over my knees”. All the time me pleading, “I didn’t mean it”. Then he whispered in my ear, “make a loud scream and I’ll pretend to whack you” So that’s what we did, I creamed and he made a whacking sound. Then he said, “I know you didn’t mean it, but be very careful, you’ll have to work to pay for the window” I nodded and he said, “Now go in and rub your bum like it hurts”. My brothers and sisters and mother were all looking at me when I went in and I played my part and pretended to be hurt.

“As a Father has compassion on his children” My dad gave me a great lesson that day. I deserved punishment, it was in the days when parents disciplined their children and I knew I was wrong, but he had mercy upon me. Earthly fathers love their kids, but God our Heavenly Father has so much more compassion, He doesn’t punish us as our sins deserve (Verse 10).

Does this remind you of the Lord’s prayer? It should. It ends as the Lord’s prayer begins, but the themes of God’s grace and mercy are as evident. Pray this Psalm, let His Character soak your soul and sing songs about how merciful our Father in Heaven really is. He’s forgiven me so much, and yet He’s calling me to a higher walk with Him. He knows what I’m like, yet He’s crowning me with glory and honour. How can we not PRAISE the LORD, O my soul.

Hymn: There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy:
There’s a wideness in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
There’s a kindness in God’s justice,
which is more than liberty.
There is no place where earth’s sorrows
are more felt than up in heaven.
There is no place where earth’s failings
have such kindly judgment given.

For the love of God is broader
than the measures of the mind.
And the heart of the Eternal
is most wonderfully kind.
If our love were but more faithful,
we would gladly trust God’s Word,
and our lives reflect thanksgiving
for the goodness of our Lord.

Turn and again and dust yourself off my friends, get cleaned up and wash your hands to serve the Lord. Let His kindness, mercy and grace wash over your soul today.

Jesus died to set you free from sin. Live in that freedom, knowing the depths and wideness of God’s mercy and how it triumphs over judgement.

Don.

 

Hope and Peace in Times of Despair

Daily Spirit & Word, 457: Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.

Seven Benefits of Bible Memorisation.

 

Benefit #3: Bible Memory Training: God Gives Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ: True Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.

 

The Blackest Night of My Life:

As I write this morning, I’m reminded of the blackest night of my life, the day whilst at Theological College we were about to attend the Leavers Ball. Someone came running to me and said, “There’s an urgent telephone call for you”. It was the day’s before the advent of Mobile Phones. We, Julie and I, took the call in the little phone booth that students used. My wife had left our children (five of them) in the care of friends in Plymouth, two of them with our Minister and his wife. The call was from his wife, she relayed the devastating news as only a Christian could, “You daughter is OK, but she’s been assaulted” When someone says that about your most precious daughter your mind goes into a whirl. I had to ask her again and again for the details, even then not fully comprehending. She was reluctant to tell us too much, fearing that we’d have an accident as we drove back from London to Plymouth. All I remember asking was; “What happened?”.

The next thing I can recall as clear as light was hugging my sobbing wife, she was inconsolable, but I just hugged her. Then just before we were about to dash off home an brother in the Lord who’d become a great friend over the years of college said, “Let’s kneel down and pray to the Lord”. It was the last thing that I wanted to do at that moment, I wanted to get into the car and head-off as fast as we could. But I knew Charity was right, so we got on our knees before the Lord Jesus and through tears we both prayed. Charity was a strong-tower and declared Jesus peace over Julie and I.

It was on the way home, in the darkness and driving rain that it happened. We were passing a little hillock in Dorset and on the top of the hill I saw a bright light giving of strange beams, like a searchlight, it was hard to make out, but it was there, then it pointed up into the sky; Julie was driving at almost 100 miles per hour. No amount of my telling her, “slow-down” made the slightest bit of a difference. As I looked out of the rain’s tears on my car’s window, I saw that light pointing up into Heaven; then all of a sudden the Lord’s PEACE flooded my soul. In that DARKEST NIGHT of my life, PEACE and CALM like I’d never know before. The light pointing to heaven reminded me of my prayer and Charity’s prayer for peace. It was a miracle.

I knew we were heading home to the tragic news that my precious ten-year-old daughter had been raped at knife-point with many terrible things done to her in that attack. Her childhood stolen and destroyed by a viscous, evil and callous act. That one horrible night led to years of deep heartache and slowly getting back to ‘normal’, but when that PEACE came in the driving rain it stayed with me throughout those years and I was the only one in the family to turn to the Lord and receive His peace, hope, joy and comfort. The Lord was preparing me to be a source of strength for everybody else in my family. My wife blamed hereself and for years couldn’t make decisions, my daughter had night terrors for years, screaming in the night. But the PEACE, it came from above and would not go away.

I remember a few months afterwards reading Psalm 23 with my daugher who’d been attacked, and she said, “That was me wasn’t it? I walked through the valley of the shadow of death” I said, “You most certainly did”. Then she asked me, “Why didn’t Jesus rescue me?” I said, “He did, you are here today to tell the horrible story and one day you’ll be able to give strength to many more people who are going through hard times”.

There was a verse that I’d learned on the day we got that horrible telephone call; when we received the tragic news, you know how a verse sticks out sometimes when your reading God’s Word. Well I committed it to memory quickly, not knowing why the Spirit had illuminated it, it came flooding back into my mind after seeing the beam of light on the hill: Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.” You know my friends, I can testify to the truth of that verse from God’s Word. He DID keep me in His PEACE. Though there were times when I could easily have turned the other way, Jesus was always there for me and keeping me in His perfect peace.

 Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.

The full meaning of that verse became apparent about a year later when I shared my testimony in Northern Ireland. At the end of a week of Evangelistic mission activity in the small town of Warren Point. In the Town Hall on the last night I shared my story and what had happened to my daughter, but I kept the focus upon how the LORD had given His peace and hope in my heart. In Northern Ireland during the mission, it was the height of ‘The Troubles’, but whilst the mission was going, we only saw one riot in Downpatrick. The Town Hall was full, and so many people were crying that night and when we gave an invitation for people to receive the Lord Jesus, I think everybody in the hall came forward to be prayed with. It was awesome. Even a Minister, who’d been ordained for years, who I’d become friends with during the mission, but through the conversations we’d had, I knew that He’d never trusted in Jesus for Salvation, because Ministry was a job for him a vocation of choice to serve the community. He came forward and through tears made his confession and gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. The PEACE has been with me in many troubled times since, but I’ve also been reminded, I need to turn and trust in the Lord always.

My friends, tragedy may come into your life, but whenever the Lord gives you a text from His Word, you’ll be wise to commit it to your memory banks. He’ll use it again and again and again and again, to bring strength and comfort and deep knowledge that He’s faithful to all his promises in his word. He KEEP you in Perfect Peace when you fix you mind upon Him.

Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you.”

Psalm 77:17  “The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.”

Psalm 77:17 (Amp).

Since that Blackest Night of My Life: I’ve had countless scriptures the Lord has given me to remember forever, they come either just before or during the times of despair and need. Psalm 77 (Easy to remember) 7/7 you know the shops that are open 24/7 seven days a week? Well, I remember that Heaven is OPEN 7/7. 24 Hours a Day Every Day. Though we may not be able to sleep sometimes for fretting, when we turn to the LORD, He’ll give us His PEACE and HOPE even in Despair. In the Darkest Nights of your life, He’s with you and is available. Call to Him for He is near.

Also Psalm 40 The whole psalm, but especially Psalm 40:9-10 was given just before the Mission to Northern Ireland, it really did come true in the Town Hall in Warren Point.

Psalm 40:9-10 “I proclaim righteousness in the great assembly; I do not seal my lips, as you know, O LORD. 10. I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal your love and your truth from the great assembly.”

Also Romans 12:28-39 (NIV)

Today, I proclaim AND declare to everybody who’s reading this message; “God’s PEACE be upon you today. May you KNOW and Experience His PERFECT PEACE. AMEN!”

Jesus is ALWAYS faithful.

Have an awesome day with Jesus, be filled afresh with the Holy Spirit.

Don.

 

Psalm 77:1-20 (NIV)

  1.  [For the director of music. For Jeduthun. Of Asaph. A psalm.] I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me.
  2.  When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted.
  3.  I remembered you, O God, and I groaned; I mused, and my spirit grew faint. Selah
  4.  You kept my eyes from closing; I was too troubled to speak.
  5.  I thought about the former days, the years of long ago;
  6.  I remembered my songs in the night. My heart mused and my spirit enquired:
  7.  “Will the Lord reject for ever? Will he never show his favour again?
  8.  Has his unfailing love vanished for ever? Has his promise failed for all time?
  9. Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Selah
  10.  Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years of the right hand of the Most High.”
  11.  I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.
  12.  I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.
  13.  Your ways, O God, are holy. What god is so great as our God?
  14.  You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.
  15.  With your mighty arm you redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Selah
  16.  The waters saw you, O God, the waters saw you and writhed; the very depths were convulsed.
  17.  The clouds poured down water, the skies resounded with thunder; your arrows flashed back and forth.
  18.  Your thunder was heard in the whirlwind, your lightning lit up the world; the earth trembled and quaked.
  19.  Your path led through the sea, your way through the mighty waters, though your footprints were not seen.
  20. You led your people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

Psalm 40 (NIV).

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?”

Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

 

Bible Memory Training: Benefit #3 Hope and Peace in Times of Despair.

 

432: God Rewards Faithfulness.

432 Fire Leads to Promotion
God Rewards Faithfulness. Enduring the Fire: God is with them.

 

Daily Spirit & Word, 432: God Rewards Faithfulness.

And the World Will Stand AGOG in Amazement. 

Enduring the Fire Leads to Promotion.

God Rewards Faithfulness: Good morning my friends, Being faithful to God in times of trail, testing and fire. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego prove faithful and He rewards them.
I’ve got that Friday feeling 🙂 The weekend is coming and I’ve only got a few things to do before Saturday; A funeral this afternoon for a 92 year old man and the CRU (Youth Group) tonight, who’re making pancakes. We’ve also got our grandchildren and daughter staying for a few days whilst her bathroom is being renovated. Life is busy, but good. How’s your weekend looking?
Today is the day we finally get to see what happened when three of God’s chosen people refused to bow the knee and worship a created idol. Yes they aroused the King’s anger and rage. Yes they ended up being thrown into the fire, but WOWzer! They also get another transforming experience of God’s power over nature and the schemes of evil men.
INTO THE FIRE:
Daniel 3:19-30 19  Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude towards them changed. He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than usual
20  and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.
21  So these men, wearing their robes, trousers, turbans and other clothes, were bound and thrown into the blazing furnace.
22  The king’s command was so urgent and the furnace so hot that the flames of the fire killed the soldiers who took up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
23  and these three men, firmly tied, fell into the blazing furnace.
24  Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, O king.”
25  He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”
26  Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire,
27  and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.
28  Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king’s command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.
29  Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way.”
30  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the province of Babylon.
Firstly notice: Fury, Anger and Rage will lead men to do the most evil things. We mustn’t make any mistakes, because King Nebuchadnezzar was a very powerful king. He’d conquered much of the Middle East and now commanded the obedience of millions of people, but three young Jewish men refused to obey him; no wonder then his anger was roused.
But what would have happened if he’d been less rash? What if he’d taken time to sit down and discuss this willingness to die rather than worship another person’s god? He may have discovered in a less dramatic way the God of the Universe is real, powerful and commands obedience even of great kings.
Secondly Remember: Nebuchadnezzar had stated in yesterday’s reading; “What god is more powerful than me, who can rescue you from the fire?” He thought himself untouchable, above everything and everyone, even the gods. We know there is only ONE God, but this account in chapter 3 reveals just how blinded men had become, their awareness of the true and living God was much like the people of our own day who think belief in Jesus or God an irrelevance to modern living. Faith and trust in God are outmoded because we’ve moved on from superstitious things like that 🙂 How foolish the people of the world are. Nebuchadnezzar’s pride led him into the most evil cruelty in his dominance of others, thinking nothing of human life, using fear and domination to get his own way. However, his intimidation of the three young men didn’t work.
Thirdly Notice: When they are thrown into the heat of the ten-times-hotter oven, though they were bound and helpless, the next time we hear about them, they are walking in the midst of the fire and heat and smoke without being harmed. The King was obviously sitting in a position where he could observe them being thrown into the furnace. He must have imagined that death would be instant, but here they were walking in the fire.
My friends, the people of this world are often totally amazed at how believers cope when the fiery trials come. It’s because at those times, God’s presence is known more keenly than at any other times in our life. That has happened to many of my friends and countless brothers and sisters throughout history. In the heat and smoke of disaster, God comes and brings relief, comfort and courage to face the flames. They’d trusted God with their lives and He’d proven to be faithful, present and powerful.
When you trust God in the HEAT: He’s promised to be with you too. Now we know that not everyone gets the kind of DELIVERANCE Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego enjoyed; because some of God’s chosen ones died at the hands of evil men; John the Baptist lost his head to an evil King, Stephen was stoned to death for proclaiming Jesus Christ as God’s Son. So sometimes being a believer won’t mean rescue from the trial, but we can be confidently assured that when we endure with faith, hope and trust, God will ultimately deliver us; either in this life or the next. That’s the confidence the three young men had too.
It’s my hope and prayer that your trials will lead to promotion as it had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, but what’s more important for us to consider is the outcome of their faithful witness; not their promotion, but that God gets the GLORY. Because of what they did, being prepared to die for their beliefs, God Himself Gets the HONOUR and GLORY and PRAISE of the King of an vast Empire, Babylon would now honour God Almighty. Hallelujah. Praise the LORD!
Has there been a time in your life when you could say, “God Rewards Faithfulness?” or “The Lord has rewarded my faithful service?” Sometimes it’s just a feeling of deep peace or joy and gladness, but at others we receive great blessings from the LORD.
So our promotion or demise will both bring glory to the LORD, that’s what the Christian life is all about. When we get the revelation that it’s much more abut Him than Us, then we’ll experience the JOY unspeakable. Let that JOY flood your soul today as you praise HIM, and you sing of HIS glory, power and might. Honour God and even if the world throws you into fires and flames you’ll be lifted higher than you can ever imagine and they will stand agog in amazement.
Have an awesome weekend with Jesus my friends.
Don.
P.S. I do hope you’ve enjoyed our dip into the little book of Daniel this week. But please do continue reading, there’s so much more, but don’t just read it through quickly, take time to meditate upon each and every even within the book, you’ll be astounded at how valuable it is to take a week to look at a single story as we have. You’ll get fresh revelation for your life as a believer in the world today by thinking things through with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Remember my motto: “No READ, No FEED” If I don’t read the Bible I don’t eat breakfast. Why because going hungry reminds me I’ve skipped my ‘spiritual’ breakfast. I need God every day, and I’m not ashamed to admit I can’t do anything apart from Jesus, so I need to come to Him, to be filled afresh and fed by Him every day. If I skip Bible devotion I know I’m going to get hungry spiritually, I’ll feel the darkness creeping in, and it really does in tangible ways. Come afresh to Jesus every day and you’ll continue in the light of life.
Finally (Again) 🙂 I’ve been left with a Question that’s been bugging me all week. I’ve been pondering over it and wondering. “Where was Daniel when his friends were being thrown into the fire?”
Perhaps, because the King knew Daniel would never bow the knee, he’d sent him away to protect him from his own decree. Let us not forget that Daniel had already won the king’s favour, because he’d recounted and interpreted the dreadful dream.
What do you think my friends, where was Daniel?
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