Tag: mercy

An Ordered Tension

An Ordered Tension

Encouragment
Recently Pastor Ben was sharing about the importance of holding God’s Holiness in tension with God’s love. In that sermon, he pointed out something I’d never seen before. Perhaps you haven't either. Before I get to that simple yet often hidden nugget let me provide some background. Let’s face it. We often struggle with the different views of God the Bible presents. We see a God of holiness, justice, and wrath in the Old Testament, yet a God of love, forgiveness, and acceptance in the New Testament. So which is it?   The best way to navigate that question is to look to Jesus. The simplest way to put this is that when we see Jesus we see the Father. (Colossians 2:9, John 14:9, Hebrews 1:3). Over and over again in the Gospels, we see in Jesus the holiness and the love of God. One st
Jesus Says Forgive

Jesus Says Forgive

Encouragment, Jesus Says
By Ben Hoerr:  In this series of posts, we’ve been taking a closer look at 28 “Jesus Says” commands. Whether we grew up attending church or not, almost all of us are familiar—at least in some measure of detail—with Jesus’ life-changing teachings and memorable parables or stories. Of all the things Jesus said, perhaps none is more challenging and difficult than his instruction to forgive others, especially when we have been deeply hurt or unjustly wronged. In Bible times, the Jewish rabbis often taught the need to forgive others was limited to three or four offenses—after that, one was entitled to “hold a grudge.” The Apostle Peter might have thought his suggestion to Jesus that one should be willing to forgive “seven times” seemed generous. But in his typical re-interpretation of the cu
Jesus Says Do Not Judge

Jesus Says Do Not Judge

Encouragment
It's a simple rule of nature. If you plant a kernel of corn you will get corn. Assuming that a healthy stalk of corn produces two ears that would be about 1600 kernels from that one seed. That same multiplication effect applies to every plant that I’m aware of, even thistles and nettles. It is that multiplication effect Jesus has in mind when He says, “do not judge.”  It would appear from the Gospel record that Jesus said this more than once. In Matthew’s record of the Sermon on the Mount we read, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1–2, NASB95) But we have a tendency to think that this is a one for one exchange. If I judge someone harshly that I will be judged
Practically James – Practically Impartial

Practically James – Practically Impartial

Encouragment
Our minds are constructed to discriminate; to filter out unnecessary information received by our senses. If you doubt this sit quietly for a moment or two and listen. What noises are suddenly obvious that must have been there the whole time. Perhaps you’ll hear the tick of a clock, the whirl of a fan, or the song of a bird. With really good hearing you may even hear your own heartbeat and the sound of your own breath. But turn your thoughts elsewhere and those sounds retreat again to the unnoticed background. Those noises were there the whole time but our minds determined, without our bidding or direction, that they’re not important. The problem is when we allow this wonderful ability to impact our valuation of people. The New Testament Letter of James practically speaks to this issue
Walking Through 1st Peter, #10 – Chosen, Royal, and Holy

Walking Through 1st Peter, #10 – Chosen, Royal, and Holy

Encouragment
Folks go to great lengths to display who they are. The clothes they wear, the way they walk, the jewelry and accessories they choose to wear or not wear, even the words they use tells the story of who they are or who they want to be. There’s no single source for this identification, it could be our heritage, our career, our hopes, our likes, and even our sins. Possibly even some grand combination of rebellious convention. Who we are, who we think we are, and who we want to be, are important. In our next step through 1 Peter we are given four identifying realities with a single purpose. Welcome to the tenth installment of our Walk Through 1st Peter series. If you’ve missed any of the previous articles, they can be found on our website – lambchow.com. Peter has just discussed the cornerst
Jesus Said That?! A Radical Integrity

Jesus Said That?! A Radical Integrity

Encouragment
Rules for today. Don’t offend anyone. Provide trigger warnings if something may cause anxiety for someone. Avoid micro-aggressions. Always say things with a positive spin. I noticed the other day that the Governor of Florida did none of those things as a Category 4 hurricane called Matthew was aiming to slam against his state. There were no warnings that what he was going to say may frighten. He didn’t put out a positive spin as he encouraged one million folks to evacuate their homes. He was instead forthright, honest, blunt, and forcefull as he warned folks with dire tones of the danger that was heading their way. Jesus had a similar forecast has he pronounced woes concerning the Jewish religious leaders of His day. The full passage is Matthew 23:13-33 which contains eight warnings or
God’s Golden Rule

God’s Golden Rule

Encouragment
It’s an established fact that many of the world's religions have some form of what is called the Golden Rule. Some statement or ethic of reciprocity that is meant to provide a foundation for civilized relationships.  In Brahmanism: “Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.” In Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”  In Confucianism: “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you" To be fair Confucius also wrote the positive form of the rule, “Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence." A form of the rule can also be found as far back as Ancient Egypt. "Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do." On the su
Who You Gonna Call?

Who You Gonna Call?

Encouragment
A family of beavers has decided to make their home in our creek. It’s not that I have anything personal against beavers, they aren’t ugly like possums or messy like raccoons or repulsive like skunks. I admire their work ethic and engineering ability. But did they really have to chew down all those trees and dam up the culvert? They just have to go. Not having the skills needed to trap beavers we searched for and called on an expert to come help us. He walked the land, gave us some lessons on beaver behavior, showed us an old lodge that has since fallen in, and basically told us that we need to wait until next fall when they start going after trees again. One of life’s lessons is knowing the right person for the problem at hand. You don’t call a plumber to fix your car, an electrician t
They Shall Receive Mercy

They Shall Receive Mercy

Beatitudes, Series
There is a delicious paradox in Jesus’ fifth beatitude - “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7, NASB95)  Unlike the other beatitudes, this one as the quality of reaping what is sown.  The basic law of nature is if you plant a pumpkin seed you will get more pumpkins. The Apostle Paul extends this law to spiritual matters -  “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7–8, NASB95)  Whatever we sow in life tends to come back to us, whether we like it or not. Ever notice how smiles and laughter are contagious?  Or how an angry and bitter attitude can d
For Mercy’s Sake

For Mercy’s Sake

Encouragment, Grace
Our world is built around the concept of investment. We measure risk and return to judge where we should place our money, time, energy, and love.  What’s in it for me?  What do I get out of it? What is it going to cost? What are the risks? How do I maximize my return? Where’s the best value? Is the return worth the effort or cost? Now, there is some wisdom in all of that. We should be good stewards of our money, time, and energy.  There is truth in planting a seed to gather a harvest. But there is also the greater truth of giving without expecting any return. One familiar story in the Gospels is the Parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10:30-37.  We know well the point of the parable, that everyone is our neighbor. But we really need to back up a few verses.    “And a lawyer stoo
Our Just Deserves

Our Just Deserves

Encouragment, Grace
Every couple of weeks I receive an envelope inside is a pay stub. A worthless piece of paper. I can’t take it to the bank and cash it.  But it is proof of a deposit that has happened behind the scenes; money magically moving from one bank account to another account in another bank.  It's not a gift. Those dollars have been earned.  Having fulfilled my commitment to my employer they are morally, ethically, and contractually obligated, to pay me the agreed upon amount. I received something because I deserved it. The habit of thinking that we deserve something worms its way into our relationship with God. Well, there is a kind of truth in that, we do deserve something from God. It's just not what we think. There is an attribute of God’s revealed character that is often ignored.  We tuck it
I’m Shocked!

I’m Shocked!

Encouragment, Seeing
“And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. “The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. ‘I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ “I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”” (Luke 18:9–14