Tag Archives: mercy

Genesis 32-34; Luke 10

I spent a lot of years stuck in patterns, rhythms, relationships. When I was finally unstuck, I wondered why I hadn’t chosen freedom sooner. In these verses, I see freedom.

Esau had plenty of reason to be angry. I wouldn’t have blamed him at all. In fact, I’ve often wondered about Esau and how he must have wrestled with his past/family. Jacob knew he wronged his brother. He had good reason to be afraid of seeing him. Jacob sends offerings ahead of himself, a peace offering of sorts.

Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” 10 Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me. 11 Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it.

Genesis 33:8-11, ESV, emphasis added

Esau’s statement, “I have enough, my brother …” this is freedom.

When Jesus sends out the 72, he’s not about making them stay until they’ve convinced everyone. He gives them permission to move on, and not be stuck somewhere. Even their peace will return back to them if they are not received. They don’t have to feel like they’ve failed. They have peace.

Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house!’ And if a son of peace is there, your peace will rest upon him. But if not, it will return to you. And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages. Do not go from house to house. Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ 10 But whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, 11 ‘Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.’

Luke 10:5-11, ESV

It’s interesting to me that a lawyer would ask Jesus these questions. That someone who so deeply valued rules, parameters, and justice would want to know the exact terms to live by. He was stuck in the details.

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” … 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Luke 10:29, 36-37, ESV, emphasis added

Having been one who has hosted gatherings, I know how easy it is to get stuck in the task and the details that sometimes I miss the point–I miss out on the joy of gathering and spending time together because of distraction (and frustration).

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Luke 10:40-42, ESV

Thank you, God, for freedom and peace. Thank you for cutting through resentments, performance, and the details we’ve puffed up that somehow make us ineffective, to show us how to live free, to love, to have peace, to be unstuck. Thank you for mercy. Life is so much fuller living unstuck.

Courtney (66books365)

Advertisement

2 Comments

Filed under 5 day reading plan, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, ESV Through the Bible in a Year

John 2:12-4:38

“God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed. But those who do what is right come to the light so others can see that they are doing what God wants.” John 3:1921 NLT

Jesus brought the Samaritan women’s sins into the light. Not to expose her and make her feel shame, but to restore her and break her free from her bondage…

“Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?” Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.” John 4:7-10 NLT

Jesus initiated the conversation with the Samaritan woman. He was more concerned with her healing than how she would respond. He saw into her heart and spoke identity and love over her. She was so moved by his compassion towards her that she wanted to tell everyone.

The woman left her water jar beside the well, and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?” John 4:28&29 NLT

Dear Father, Thank you that you see me. That you pursue me. Thank you for your mercy and for calling me your Beloved. Forgive me for the times that I’ve let fear hold me back from telling others about you. I praise you for who you are. Amen.

He must become greater, and I must become less and less.” John 3:30 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

1 Comment

Filed under 66 Books, John

Hosea 4-9

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:1-3 NLT

When I first read these passages I thought that Israel was making a true change to return to the Lord. But, Israel wanted God to fix their problems, without turning from their wicked ways. Their repentance wasn’t genuine. They were more interested in the material benefits God could provide. Their hearts were not right before him and he knew it. When have I done the same thing?

I want to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” Hosea 6:6 NLT

I want to heal Israel, but it’s sins are too great. Samaria is filled with liars.” Hosea 7:1 NLT

God didn’t want their sacrifices or rituals, he wanted their hearts. What is the motive behind my worship?

What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me! Let them die, for they have rebelled against me. I wanted to redeem them, but they have told lies about me. They do not cry out with sincere hearts.” Hosea 7:13&14 NLT

Dear Father, Forgive me for when my heart is not right before you. Thank you for your patience with me. For not giving up on me. For your grace & mercy. Amen.

They look everywhere except to the Most High. They are as useless as a crooked bow.” Hosea 7:16 NLT

Amy(amyctanner)

Leave a comment

Filed under Hosea

Job 5:17-8:22

My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle. They end without hope. O God, remember that my life is but a breath, and I will never again feel happiness. You see me now, but not for long. You will look for me, but I will be gone.” Job 7:6-8 NLT

I can learn a lot from Job’s vulnerability with his emotions towards the Lord. But, his hopelessness made him question God’s goodness. When has my view of God been so limited that I feel like His intentions towards me are not good? I know how easy it is to slip down into that despair.

What are people, that you should make so much of us, that you should think of us so often? For you examine us every morning and test us every moment. Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough for me to swallow! If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watched of humanity? Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you? Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone.” Job 7:17-21 NLT

Job was sure that sin must have been the cause for his suffering. He was trying to figure out what didn’t make sense. Don’t I do the same thing when I say things like, “How could a good God let bad things happen?” I’ve come to realize that some things I will never understand this side of Heaven.

Does God twist justice? Does the Almighty twist what is right? Your children must have sinned against him, so their punishment was well deserved.” Job 9:3 NLT

It seems like Job knew deep down that he hadn’t sinned against God. He was going through such intense suffering that he was trying to figure out why God would ”pick on him.” His friends didn’t help, by making Job question himself. Which caused Job to question God’s heart. I am thankful for a God that can handle my doubts.

Dear Father, thank you that I can cry out to you when I don’t understand. Thank you that you are a God of justice, but your mercy triumphs over judgement. I pray that I would give Godly advice and wisdom that reflects your heart. You are a big God and Your ways are higher than mine. I pray that I would rest in your sovereignty. I trust You Lord, Amen.

Amy(amyctanner)

Leave a comment

Filed under 66 Books, Job

2 Kings 4:29-8:15

One of my challenges to understanding the Old Testament is reading about war, yet there are many stories of interest in God’s narrative other than just who wins or loses the battles. The first several short stories in this Scripture focus describe God confirming His prophet, Elisha through signs and miracles. I especially was struck by an incident when Elisha prayed that God would feed a hundred men where there were only 20 loaves of barley bread in one man’s knapsack. His servant broke bread until all were fed and some food was left over (reminds me of the miracles through the Lord Jesus yet to come). Elisha also instructed an enemy captain, Naaman, what to do to receive healing from leprosy (doing good to his enemy, again is messianic). We also learn that Elisha, who spoke not of his own will, but what he heard from God, was completely confident in what he was to say. Even when he knew the outcome would not be favorable, he did not hold back speaking the word of God. It is one such story that drew me in for a closer look.

When Elisha met with the king of Aram’s messenger regarding Aram’s failing health, Elisha said this to the man, “Go and say to him, ‘You will certainly recover.’ Nevertheless, the Lord has revealed to me that he will in fact die.” But Elisha could not stop staring at the messenger, Hazael, who became embarrassed under Elisha’s gaze. In this eerie moment, Elisha was given a horrifying vision of what was to come at the hand of Hazael. He wept as he prophesied to Hazael what he would do to the Israelites, saying, “You will set fire to their fortified places, kill their young men with the sword, dash their little children to the ground, and rip open their pregnant women.” Elisha knew he was helpless to do anything about this but weep; yet he was tasked with knowing and prophesying the tragedy.

I do not seek that kind of relationship with God, our Father. Still, there have been times when I feared for a person’s future without really knowing why. And when some disaster shortly befell that person, I went to my knees in fear and in prayer for mercy. On another occasion, when this foreboding overtook me concerning what a person said, I prayed for God to forgive her. I still pray that His mercy was shown to her in her last moments of life. I am no prophet, and frankly I do not want to be the harbinger of destruction. It weighs down my soul.

Yet, there are many even today who are called prophets, and who are sounding the alarm about the times we are living in. How can I discern when God is speaking through them? When I hear of destruction, is my fear of what is to come causing me to tremble? Or am I fearful for the words of those who pray for this destruction, not just to destroy the enemy armies but to cut off their descendants? Are we to pray for our enemies and ask God to destroy them at the same time? This, too, weighs down my soul.

My writer friends and I have been discussing the ‘divided heart.’ Loving two things at the same time. I thought about Jesus’ commandment, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” (Matthew 5:43-48). If we are to obey Christ, therefore, we must love our enemies even knowing their intent to do us or others harm. How do we do that?

Look up to heaven. Look into the face of Jesus Christ. Let His words, His Spirit, and His will be alive in our prayers. For the only way a soul is lifted up is to give God glory. He alone knows the end of all life; I am not the one who has understanding. And that is okay. My prayer is that God be with us all, protecting our hearts from becoming embittered, unforgiving, or vindictive. What we may see in a vision or otherwise, we must submit to a good God who is Lord over all the earth. Let us start by dropping to our knees in prayer for mercy. Then pray that God will increase our faith in the sovereignty of His will.

Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Kings, Matthew, New Testament, Old Testament, Uncategorized