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  • Eugene Adkins 8:25 pm on 2017-02-25 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mercy   

    Confusing spiritual mercy with a lack of physical justice 

    It seems as though many people in the religious world do not know the difference between spiritual mercy triumphing over spiritual justice and spiritual mercy that ignores physical justice – even to the extent that child molesters are given a pass from deserved prison time simply because they wear a collar around their neck!

    “…Francis overruled the advice of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and reduced a sentence that called for the priest to be defrocked, two canon lawyers and a church official told AP. Instead, the priests were sentenced to penalties including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry.” (Pope quietly trims sanctions for sex abusers seeking mercy)

    “Penalties” including a lifetime of penance and prayer and removal from public ministry? The reality of such a “penalty” is nothing but a prime example of what it means to confuse mercy with a lack of physical justice. It would do an injustice to the phrase “slap on the wrist” if someone were to use it in connection to the “penalties” listed above.

    Spiritual mercy is God’s business, and such a mercy can be found by meeting his requirements regardless of the sin that has been committed.

    Physical justice is the responsibility of those who are in authority upon the Earth. Without physical justice there is no law; only anarchy. And when such justice is blatantly ignored by those in authority, the victim is forced to suffer an injustice twice…once at the hands of the criminal, and again at the hands of the “authority” who perverts the very definition of the word justice with their less than paltry judgment.

    The justice being ignored by the Vatican’s pope is not something that has been incurred by a speeder, a jay-walker, someone stealing so they can eat, or even two consenting adulterers. The crime was the institutionalized sexual assault of children! And a lack of cuffs around the wrist due to a collar around the neck perverts the concept of mercy triumphing over judgment by denying physical judgment a chance to even take place.

    ““Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:6-7)

     
  • John T. Polk II 8:54 am on 2017-01-12 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cursed, , mercy,   

    1-10-2017 Answer To Cruelty 

    “Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13 NKJV). Whether this is discussing physical or spiritual weaknesses, a Christian’s attitude should be to help and not hinder.  Meanness toward the weak showed a lack of respect for God: “’You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:14 NKJV). “’Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’” (Deuteronomy 27:18 NKJV). “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all” (1 Thessalonians 5:14 NKJV). “Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NKJV).

    This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

     
  • John T. Polk II 10:51 am on 2015-05-09 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , deaf, mercy,   

    5-1-2015 Don't Be Cruel 

    In the Old Testament, God exposed “bullying” when He said, “You shall not curse the deaf, nor put a stumbling block before the blind, but shall fear your God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:14 NKJV). Cursing a “deaf” person who cannot hear the curse and respond is nothing but cruel. Putting a “stumbling block” in front of a “blind” person when they cannot avoid it is despicable. No examples of what bullying is about could be simpler to understand. God called His people back to this when He commanded: “Execute true justice, Show mercy and compassion Everyone to his brother” (Zechariah 7:9 NKJV). If you were in their place, how would you like someone to do you that way? Jesus summed up this teaching when He said, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:12 NKJV).

    This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2014-11-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , judge righteously, , mercy, poor and needy, , ,   

    (#210) The Proverbs of Solomon 31:8-9-Listen to Your Mama About Words 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-29:27 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. Proverbs 30-31 were added and preserved by the Holy Spirit. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 31:8-9: “Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy.”

    Step up and speak up for those who are less fortunate, specifically those who have: no voice, no parent, no justice, or no necessities of life. It is emphatic and an action of mercy to help the helpless. All leaders of government should admit that: “Mercy and truth preserve the king, And by lovingkindness he upholds his throne” (Proverbs 20:28). God has always required this of His people: “You shall do no injustice in judgment. You shall not be partial to the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty. In righteousness you shall judge your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:15); “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:16-17); “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

    The “speechless” are those who have no voice or ability to defend themselves. They are easily victimized by all who would misrepresent their case;

    Those “appointed to die” are people without possessions or permanence. According to the Hebrew expression, these may be strangers just passing through or orphans who cannot support themselves. God is mindful of such and required this of Israelites (Deuteronomy 10:17-19). Solomon wisely ruled: “Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be heard” (Proverbs 21:13). Never was this clearer than when Israelites were taken from their Promised Land because: “The people of the land have used oppressions, committed robbery, and mistreated the poor and needy; and they wrongfully oppress the stranger” (Ezekiel 22:29);

    “Judge righteously” should be the outcry of all of God’s people. All judges and legal personnel should hear this command. Jesus has said: “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24), for “in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5);

    “Plead the cause of the poor and needy,” for they cannot afford their own defense. The “poor and needy” are NOT those who demand their “right” to have the same possessions as those who have worked for what they have! The essentials of food and clothing are NOT in the same category as video games, big screen TV’s, cable, Internet, cars, or brand-name clothes!

    No nation or people will stand when citizens have little or no recourse for their grievances!

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 7:23 am on 2014-06-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , mercy, ,   

    (#189) The Proverbs of Solomon 28:3-Beware of the Merciless Poor 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 28:3: “A poor man who oppresses the poor Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.”

    “A driving rain” can wash away planted seeds, top soil, and even the crops, themselves. “A poor man who oppresses” is merciless and unforgiving to those like himself. Power or authority in the hands of one who hasn’t earned it is a weapon of mass destruction!

    Jesus Christ, who was “greater than Solomon” (Matthew 12:42), best described this wisdom in Matthew 18:23-35: “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:23-35). People have a tendency to not show pity to those who have sinned like they have, though their sin may have been worse! A “poor man” is harder and more impatient with other “poor” people because they are like he was. James warns us of this attitude: “So speak and so do as those who will be judged by the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment” (James 2:12-13).

    Anyone who knows what it is like to have sins forgiven (Mark 16:15-16) should know how to forgive others: “He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy” (Proverbs 28:13). We who have admitted our own sins before God should have compassion on others.

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • TFRStaff 4:34 am on 2014-04-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mercy,   

    God is greater than you to forgive 

    The scripture for today, April 16, is Hebrews 4:16 as found in the New Testament of the Bible:

    “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

    Anyone who has lived very long has committed some sin they hope no one ever finds out about. Some people have committed many such sins. Sometimes because of that one “big” sin or the constant repetition of a particular “big” sin, people punish themselves by putting words in God’s mouth. They say, “God could never forgive me for that.” Perhaps you can never forgive yourself, but God is greater than you.

    Jesus told Peter we must forgive our brothers 70 times 7. If kept literally, that would mean we’d have to forgive the same sin 490 times. It is figurative for forgiving all the time. 1st Corinthians 13, the “love chapter” of the Bible, says, “Love … keeps no record of wrongs.” Let us not only forgive others, but let us help people who cannot forgive themselves.

    God is a God of mercy.

    Mum Katheryn [Haddad]

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:09 pm on 2014-03-13 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mercy,   

    Mercy for Mercy’s sake 

    Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your loving-kindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.” (Psalm 51:1)

    Caught in the middle of his own sinful net, snare and pit, David made an emotion filled plea to God for mercy.

    And upon what basis does he ask for such mercy? His past achievements? He had them! The number of hours that had been spent in prayer? He spent them! The former animal sacrifices that had been made? He offered them!

    But none of these would avail or else the pleading would have never happened.

    So what was the basis of David’s request? It was God’s loving-kindness and his multiplied tender mercies.

    Mercy for mercy’s sake is a powerful proposition! Yet people still refuse it. And mercy forsaken is a sad condition! Yet people are amused by it. How quickly Luke 6:25 becomes personified when the principle of Psalm 51:1 is disregarded.

    For one, anyone, who may be caught in the middle of sin’s net, snare and pit there is hope – a hope that comes from mercy for mercy’s sake.

    And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”” (Luke 18:38-39)

     
  • TFRStaff 6:37 am on 2014-02-20 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , mercy, ,   

    LET HIM HAVE IT! 

    Isn’t it hard to be for those who are against us? There are some situations where perhaps we would like to just let people have it, whether that be a verbal tongue lashing or a fist to the face. However, are we not glad God has been for us even when our choices have gone against His Will? (note Romans 5:6 & 8) Though His judgment is to be taken seriously, for the present He offers the opportunity to repent and be drawn to a closer walk with Him. Therefore, considering how much FORGIVENESS WE HAVE RECEIVED from God, are we being MINDFUL OF BEING AS MERCIFUL toward others as He has been toward us? (note the parable of the unmerciful servant recorded in Matthew 18:23-35) Praise God for His gracious mercy.

    Because it has been a few years, I can’t even remember the book I read it from, but what has stuck in my mind is the author’s mentioning of four responses to actions that may have been directed against us. The choices were that we could either curse it, nurse it, rehearse it, or reverse it. It was the author’s choice of words which have helped me remember them. Which of these we follow through with will impact the manner in which we treat others.

    Remember Paul’s exhortation where we read. . .

    “(14) Bless those who persecute you; bless and DO NOT CURSE THEM. . . . .(17) REPAY NO ONE EVIL FOR EVIL, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. (18) If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (19) Beloved, NEVER AVENGE YOURSELVES, but LEAVE IT TO THE WRATH OF GOD, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” (Romans 12:14 & 17-19 ESV)

    Some things may be easier to forgive than others. There are also some life incidents or situations difficult to remove from our mind. It is not foolish to live mindful of what we draw our life into and what situations might best be avoided. Still, forgiveness from the heart is important not only due to the impact it will have on how we treat others, but also because of what we are able to release from our own life as we LEAVE IT TO GOD to deal with things according to His mercy and will. If we can trust God with other areas of our life, let us also trust Him in this. By doing so, our life load will remain much lighter. Leaving repayment to God, He will bless us for our service to others and ultimately call to account those who have refused His Ways!

    Have a great day TRUSTING GOD’S DEALINGS WITH OTHERS!

    “teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. http://www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org

     
  • John T. Polk II 2:00 am on 2014-02-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , kings, laws, mercy, ,   

    (#151) The Proverbs of Solomon 20:28-How To Lose An Election 

    Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

    Proverbs 20:28: “Mercy and truth preserve the king, And by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.”

    “Mercy” is “kindness, forgiveness, protection offered,” and kingdoms, countries, or empires that incorporate “mercy” in its laws and leaders can survive. Jesus used such a king to make a powerful point about “forgiveness” (Matthew 18:21-35), for a servant is forgiven his debt but he will not forgive one who owes him. The king wanted his “compassion” to be passed along, and when it wasn’t, the unforgiving servant was condemned, and Jesus said, “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses” (Matthew 18:35). Mercy shows a king’s heart for his people. When people realize that “the king” (or leader of government, whether an individual or congress) doesn’t care what pain, anguish, penalty, or price government policies impose upon them, they will seek a change of leadership.

    “Truth” is “fact, reality, veracity, honesty,” and laws of the land must have this at their core, or else there is no standard for conduct. The Israelites settled in their Promised Land, but failed to follow God’s Law. “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6; 21:25). Governments without Biblical, Constitutional, or Legislative truth for a moral compass are destined to fail. “Truth” is the backbone of good law. All law that is based upon half-truths, lies, or deceit should be uncovered and removed.

    Without “mercy and truth” for limits, no government will survive, and without personal “lovingkindness,” elections are lost! “My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:1-6).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
  • TFRStaff 5:21 am on 2013-09-10 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , mercy   

    Motivated Mercy 

    Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. (Colossians 3:13 *NKJV)

    Now I know that forgiving another is hard for us to do at times, but when we remember how very much God has forgiven us; it becomes much less difficult to do. After all, just thinking about God’s tremendous Love and Forgiveness can help us to forgive and love each other.

    So as God’s Children we should; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9)

    Therefore; Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4:31-32)

    So, forgive those who offend you, and do not try to get even; For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” (Hebrews 10:30)

    When we consider how much God has loved every man, and how much He has forgiven each of us, well, it takes my breath away. Would I love a roach enough to let my child die that that critter might live? I don’t think so. Yet, the difference and the space between God and man is far greater than that between man and a roach. But God loved us enough to let Jesus die for us. And that means that God loved every single person on the face of the earth that much. With that in mind, how can I possibly hate any other person, and not be willing to forgive them?

    Wishing you a beautiful day on God’s green Earth, and may; The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. (Revelation 22:21)

    Doc Phillips

    Fredericksburg Church of Christ, TX

    http://fbgcofc.com/

     
  • TFRStaff 2:54 pm on 2013-09-08 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , mercy, , offences, ,   

    Forgiving Others 

    In Matthew 6:12, when the disciples had asked Jesus how to pray, among other things, He told them, “And forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.”  This clearly teaches us that, in order to be forgiven, we must first be ready to forgive.  If we are not willing to forgive others when they have offended us, then God will not forgive us when we have offended Him…and we do that all too frequently.

    But I would like for us to look at two verses also found in Matthew:

    • Matthew 5:23-24  If therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
    • Matthew 18:15  And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him hid fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained a brother.

    The Bible clearly indicates in these two verses that the reconciliation of any trespass is on my shoulders.  It is up to me to make the first move.  Neither of these two obligations is easy; and, neither is dependent upon the other person.  Read those two verses again.  (Obviously, repentance is the first step for forgiveness, for we cannot be forgiven for something of which we have not repented; but that is another article.)  God does not say that I can sit back at ease and wait for my brother or sister to come to me and ask for forgiveness.  If I feel that a brother or sister has sinned against me, then I also, by definition, feel that that person is living in sin.  Therefore, I have an obligation to that person to go to them privately and, in love, tell them what has offended me and give them a chance to repent and “make it right.”  If I fail to take the first step, I have failed to follow God’s commandment.

    On the flip side, if I am aware that I have offended another, whether or not I meant to offend, it is my obligation to go to that person and apologize for my words or actions.

    Again, God has charged me that I must take the first step.

    I cannot answer for you, but I do know that I daily need the forgiveness of my Lord.  There are things that I do or neglect to do, thing that I say or neglect to say…some of which I may be aware and some of which I am not aware.  If I realize that I need that forgiveness, then I must  realize that others need it, also.  So, here is the deal:  Take time right now to think about your life.  Have you offended anyone?  For the sake of your own soul, no matter how hard it might be, go to that person and ask them to forgive you.  Has anyone offended you, and that is eating at your peace?  Then go to that person, no matter how hard it might be, and, in love, tell them what has offended you, doing so in love rather than condemnation, and give them the chance to ask your forgiveness.  In either case, you have made peace with God.

    Doc Phillips

    Fredericksburg Church of Christ, TX

    http://fbgcofc.com/

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:11 am on 2013-09-05 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , mercy,   

    The Diamond Merchant 

    Here’s a sermon illustration that I used last Sunday morning to help show the difference between knowing about the cost of mercy and knowing about the value of mercy. I’m sure you could make it fit other topics. I don’t remember where I found it (I’ve had it several years) or I would give credit.

    THE DIAMOND MERCHANT 

    A rich Dutch merchant was seeking to buy a diamond of a certain kind to add to his collection. A famous dealer in New York found such a stone and called him to come and see it.

    The merchant flew immediately to New York, where the seller had assigned his best diamond expert to close the transaction. After hearing the assistant describe in perfect technical detail the diamond’s worth and beauty, the Dutchman decided not to buy it. Before he left, however, the owner of the store stepped forward and asked, “Do you mind if I show you that stone once more?” The customer agreed.

    The store-owner didn’t repeat one thing that the salesman had said. He simply took the stone in his hand, stared at it, and described the beauty of the stone in a way that revealed why this stone stood out from all the others he had seen in his life. The customer bought it immediately.

    Tucking his new purchase into shirt pocket, the customer commented to the owner, “Sir, how were you able to sell me this stone when your salesman could not?”

    The owner replied, “That salesman is the best salesman in the business. He knows more about diamonds than anyone, including myself, and I pay him a large salary for his knowledge and expertise. But I would gladly pay him twice as much if I could put into him something I have which he lacks. You see, he knows diamonds, but I love them.”

     
  • Eugene Adkins 6:51 am on 2013-08-30 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , mercy, , Simon the Pharisee, , spiritual debt   

    A Thought on Mercy 

    Here’s a thought that I’m going to work in during my sermon based within the context of Luke 7:36-50 (Simon the Pharisee and the woman sinner).

    “If you owe someone 1,000$ and your neighbor owes 10,000$, and the note is due the next day, but you’re both out of work, who’s in trouble? – That’s why we’re all dependent upon the mercy of God through the Son of God who can pay off our notes through his blood.”

    Read Luke’s account of what happened that day in a Pharisee’s house and the point becomes clear.

    I thought you might be able to use it for a devotional thought or a sermon seed.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:01 am on 2013-06-19 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , mercy, , , , , , , ,   

    Studies in the Book of Proverbs #8 

    (#8) The Wise Trust God And Improve Their Lives 3:1-12

    Following God’s Wisdom brings out the best qualities in us, as we learn to have total confidence in God’s guidance. Heeding Wisdom will give one:

    Verses 1-2: Longer Life. “My son” is an expression used some 15 times in the first 7 chapters of Proverbs, for it is written as if Solomon is instructing his son. The way to “not forget” law is to “let your heart keep” the commands. This is explained in James 1:21-25 and applied to Christian obedience. Obedience comes from the “heart,” as do all our words (Matthew 12:35-37), sins (Mark 7:21-23), jobs (Ephesians 6:5-8). Blessings promised include “length of days” as in good health, “long life” as in living to old age, and “peace” as assistance to abundance or prosperity. Statistics show that those who regularly go to church live longer.

    Verses 3-4: Better Relations. If “mercy” (feelings for the plight of our fellowmen) and “truth” (factual and accurate knowledge of our, and others’, actions) are written on our heart, we will wear them like jewelry. These two qualities of character are appreciated (“favor and high esteem”) among men and by God. All deep friendships are based upon understanding the friend, and honesty.

    Verses 5-6: Higher Direction. Total trust in God in all our ways is possible because He made us (Genesis 1:26-27), greatly loved us (Ephesians 2:4-7), gave His Son for us (Ephesians 5:1-2). Why should we not believe He wants to help us make the best decisions in our lives? Trust “with all our heart” means we give up our “own understanding” and defer to His direction. It reduces tension to know what to do.

    Verses 7-8: Better Health. To be “wise in your own eyes” is another way of describing “loftiness and arrogance and pride” (Jeremiah 48:29-31), but it takes “fear” (respect, awe) of the LORD, and the desire to “depart from evil” (or leave sinful practices, also known as repentance). By listening to God, we may keep our physical bodies from the dissipation and disease of sins, and live healthier and stronger lives, just as God promised His Israelites (Deuteronomy 15:26). Humility is the way of recognizing realistically our place in this vast world, without hypocrisy.

    Verses 9-10: Better Prosperity.  Thank God first with whatever we prosper, and He will think of us when we prosper. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). God always has required that giving to Him come before any other consideration, and be freewill (Leviticus 23:37-38).

    Verses 11-12: Better Attitude. A person who wants to be a spiritual “child of God” will accept some things that happen in life as God’s “chastening” (teaching) or “correction” (sometimes hurtful reminders not to stray from the path of good). No parent loves his/her child who will not “correct” (discipline) the child, when needed. These two verses are used to show Christians not to become discouraged at God’s correction, for it proves that God is dealing with them as a child whom He loves (Hebrews 12:3-11).

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version,  unless otherwise noted.

     
  • John T. Polk II 4:11 am on 2013-04-04 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , mercy, , ,   

    Psalm 123 What Shall I Do, Lord? 

    There is uncertainty regarding the author, time, or circumstances of these Psalms, but it is apparent Psalms 120-134 work together, and are called the “Songs of Degrees,” and sometimes “Songs of Ascension.”

    Verse 1 directs our eyes;

    Verse 2 directs our obedience;

    Verse 3 directs our hearts;

    Verse 4 directs our pleas.

    Verse 1: Since “heavens” means upper expanse, whenever we need to look for God, we must “lift up our eyes.” Jesus, as God, now is “dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16). Morally, to “see God” is to see the effects of His Will in the obedient heart. Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Peter taught how a heart becomes pure: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1:22-23). John added: “He who does good is of God, but he who does evil has not seen God” (3 John 11).

    Verse 2: It is not enough just to “look” for God, but it must be with a humble heart: “as” the servant’s eyes look in anticipation of what the master desires to be done; “as” the maid looks for whatever detail she may provide for her mistress’s satisfaction; “so” we look toward God for instruction. Our eagerness to obey Him prompts His willingness to extend “mercy” to us! He, however, has already given all of His instruction in His Book “once for all” (Jude 3). No one should look toward God without seeing Jesus in His Word: “Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works” (John 14:9-10).

    Verses 3-4: We keenly feel the need for God’s “mercy” because we are “exceedingly filled” with “the contempt of the proud.” These are the people who, Jesus said, “this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause’” (John 15:25). Jesus had also taught: “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also” (John 15:20).

    Thought: It is pitiful to see people “look up to:” Gandhi, Marx, Einstein, Darwin, Mohammed, “the Pope,” a pastor, ancestors, a teacher, philosophers, or gurus but look down on (denigrate) Jesus Christ! Truth is entirely the other way: “we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1 Corinthians 1:23-25). We quote the statements that have influenced us the most: Do we quote Jesus Christ above all?

     All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

     
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