Lord Have Mercy

Posted in Attitude, Character, Criticism, God's love, Relationships by PCraig on July 7, 2016

Have you ever mis-judged someone because you didn’t know his or her history?  This happens when the server at the restaurant doesn’t seem to be serving you well, but later you learn this is her second job, she’s a single mom and trying to keep it all going.  With this piece of information, suddenly you feel mercy rise up within you even though the service may not get any better.

John Wesley said, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as you ever can.”  Imagine what a world would look like that operated on that principle.

This is way Jesus would have His followers to act.  Culture might say, “If they hurt you, then hurt them back.”  But, Jesus tells us to even love our enemies.  We’re never any more like God than when we’re merciful.

I think the biggest example of this in action is Jesus on the cross, and in His final moments cries out, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they do.”  Now, as the Son of God, He had many options, but He chose to show and pray for mercy.  So, when you get so ticked off at your ex that you can barely stand it, forgive.  When you are upset at your spouse for messing up again, forgive.  And, when your relative manipulates the people around you, forgive.  Got it?

Whatever the scenario, the response is the same – forgive.  Let it go.  Release it/them.

If God can be merciful to you, then surely you can be gracious to others.   Today’s a great day to get started.

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A Sadness That Leads To Gladness

Posted in Change, God's love, Happiness, Joy by PCraig on June 16, 2016

The thing I enjoy most about going to the dentist is leaving.  Sorry to all my dental professional friends.  My reason stems from not taking care of my teeth overly well as a kid and needing a lot of fillings done along the way.  I never enjoyed them coming toward me with that big, long needle to numb me up for the procedure to follow.  Nowadays, I don’t have to worry about fillings; it’s more just the picking at my teeth with a small stainless pickaxe.  Yet, I love how clean my teeth feel when I leave.  That crystal clean sensation of teeth that have been scrubbed as clean as can be is wonderful.

This is a similar feel to what Jesus described, when He said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”  It doesn’t sound like we will be happy if we’re mourning, but it depends on how you look at it.  We try to numb ourselves from our unhappiness by using alcohol, drugs, gambling, shopping, sexual adventure, entertainment, food and even work.  All of these things are an effort to escape or produce a fix.  But, not only are these temporary, they can lead us to addiction.

Rather than trying to escape or mask our sorrow, we would do better to address it.  Jesus promises comfort to those who do.  How do we do it?  Realize that a loving Heavenly Father waits for us to come to us with our brokenness.  Many have a warped image of God, but the Bible says (Ps.119:76) that His “unfailing love” will be “my comfort.”

Much like going to the dentist, if we will come to God in sorrow for our sins, He can help us bring about the change we need.  His cleansing power can do for us what we cannot do ourselves.  This is how mourners can be happy.  Or to put it another way, happy are the sad.  When we declare ourselves spiritually bankrupt, then God can step in and begin the process of recovery.  As we take the crud of our guilt, shame, bad choices and sin to God, He can scrub away the past and clean us up for a sparkling future.

When was your last appointment for soul cleansing?  Don’t let the plaque of sin build up on your heart any longer.  Enjoy the freedom, joy, relief, and relief that only an appointment with God can produce.  Do it today.

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