Posts Tagged ‘Mercy’

Perfect peace

December 30, 2017

john-16-33

The Verse of the Day for December 30, 2017, the last Saturday of the year, offers words from the Lord Jesus Christ found in John 16:33 (AMP):

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace. In the world you have tribulation and distress and suffering, but be courageous [be confident, be undaunted, be filled with joy]; I have overcome the world.” [My conquest is accomplished, My victory abiding.]

In John 14:27 (AMP) the Lord makes another reference to peace:

Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]

The New Living Translation puts it this way:

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

These verses also bring to mind Isaiah 26:3 (AMP):

You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.

To emphasize the concept of peace, the phrase “perfect peace” is used, whereby the word for peace is repeated in the Hebrew text, literally meaning “peace, peace.” God provides a “double portion of peace” to those who trust in Him.

While it is important to maintain the peace of God, we also want the peace of God to increase in our lives, as the Bible uses the expression “peace be multiplied unto you.”

The peace that Jesus speaks of goes beyond the usual definition which refers to “the normal non-warring condition of a nation, a group of nations or the world. . . a state of harmony among people or groups; cessation or freedom from strife or dissension.”

In contrast, the Biblical definition encompasses a state of untroubled, undisturbed well-being, expressed in the Hebrew expression shalom. According to Strong’s Concordance, shalom means “completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord.” It is an inner reality, for the peace of God indicates being free from anxiety and care, as we experience the grace of God and know intimately His mercy, while being kept in perfect peace:

Grace, Mercy, and Peace: A Three-fold Cord

Blest be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds

Is like to that above.

 Dr. John Fawcett

  

 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son:

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father

and Christ Jesus our Lord

 2 Timothy 1:2

 

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

These three traits never diminish but only increase.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Grace: a priceless gift that no one on earth can afford.

God’s great grace abounds toward us and shall never decrease.

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as three-fold cord.

 

That God is truly merciful cannot be ignored.

Streams of the sure mercies of the Lord shall never cease.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Peace cancels all strife, but we must live in one accord.

All those who are bound the Word of the Lord will release.

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

 

All who seemed forsaken, God, our Father, has restored.

As we seek God, we find that in His will is our peace.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Boundless love and favor are waiting to be explored,

For we are so designed to shine as God’s masterpiece.

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.    

The Verse of the Day along with other scriptures related to the peace of God reinforce the comforting and reassuring message expressed by Jesus Christ in whom we can have peace in an even greater measure as we trust him. John Waller sings “Perfect Peace,” a musical composition blending words of the Gospel of John and Isaiah 26:3:

Because of the tender mercy of our God

December 19, 2017

Luke 1--76-79

When the Angel of the Lord announces to Zechariah, the elderly priest, that his wife, Elisabeth, who was beyond the age of childbearing, would bear him a son, he questions what the Angel speaks. Because of Zechariah’s unbelief, the messenger informs him that he will be unable to speak until the child is born. The Verse of the Day for December 19, 2017 is taken from the closing lines of the prophetic utterances offered by Zechariah after his son, John the Baptist, is born. The entire passage, Luke 1:67-79, is known as “Zechariah’s Song,” from which this excerpt is taken:

Luke 1:76-78 (AMP):

“And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord (the Messiah) to prepare His ways; To give His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise (the Messiah) from on high will dawn and visit us,

The birth of the Messiah and all the related events offer a magnificent display of the mercy of God. Indeed, one of the awesome attributes of God is that He is a God of mercy. In a real sense, He is a God of justice, who tempers justice with grace and mercy.  Justice has been defined as “getting exactly what one deserves.” Whereas grace is said to be unmerited favor or getting something that one does not deserve, and mercy is defined as “withholding merited judgment” or “not getting what one deserves.  God ever displays His mercy toward His children, as Lamentations 3:22-23 reminds us:

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Throughout the Psalms, we find references to “the tender mercies of God” where the Psalmist notes:

The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works [the entirety of things created]. (Psalm 145:9)

David goes on to speak of the Lord as one “Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,” (Psalm 103:4)

The expression is used in Psalm 51:1 written with this prelude to set the context for David’s prayer of repentance:

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba. Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.

We also find this prayer request:

Psalm 40:11

Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O Lord; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.

The reference to God’s tender mercy is a memorable phrase from Zechariah’s Song, which has been set to music by a number of artists. We close with a selection “Because of your tender mercy” written by David Moffitt and Sue C. Smith from the Brentwood-Benson musical “All Bow Down.”

Grace, mercy, and peace

November 21, 2016

1-corinthians-1-4-8-kjv

From 1 Corinthians 1: 4-5 in the New King James Version comes the Verse of the Day for November 21, 2016:

[Spiritual Gifts at Corinth] I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,

To gain an even  more comprehensive view of this opening salutation, let us take a look at the preceding verse as well in the Amplified Bible:

1 Corinthians 1:3-5:

Grace to you and peace [inner calm and spiritual well-being] from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

I thank my God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, so that in everything you were [exceedingly] enriched in Him, in all speech [empowered by the spiritual gifts] and in all knowledge [with insight into the faith].

In reflecting on these verses, 1 Peter 1:2 also comes to mind, as the verse ends with the greeting “Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

2 Peter 1:2 indicates the source of this multiplication:

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Jude 1:2 goes on, adding two more virtues:

Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

In thinking about grace, mercy and peace, lyrics to an original song also come to mind:

Grace, mercy, and peace,

From God the Father

From God the Father

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father

And the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

 

Gracious Lord, gracious Lord, gracious Lord,

Full of grace and mercy

Gracious Lord, gracious Lord, gracious Lord,

Where sin abounded, grace prevailed freely.

Without amazing grace, where would we be?

 

You bless with grace, mercy and peace.

We speak peace and the storms of life shall cease.

Lord, God who protects His own.  You are Jehovah Shalom

The peace of God from the God of peace.

 

You are gracious, Lord.

You are gracious, Lord.

You are gracious, Lord.

 

The theme of “grace, mercy and peace” also inspired this poem:

 

Grace, Mercy, and Peace: A Three-fold Cord

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Dr. John Fawcett

 

To Timothy, my dearly beloved son:

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father

and Christ Jesus our Lord

2 Timothy 1:2

 

 

 

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

These three traits never diminish but only increase.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Grace: a priceless gift that no one on earth can afford.

God’s great grace abounds toward us and shall never decrease.

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as three-fold cord.

 

That God is truly merciful cannot be ignored.

Streams of the sure mercies of the Lord shall never cease.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Peace cancels all strife, but we must live in one accord.

All those who are bound the Word of the Lord will release.

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

 

All who seemed forsaken, God, our Father, has restored.

As we seek God, we find that in His will is our peace.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Boundless love and favor are waiting to be explored,

For we are so designed to shine as God’s masterpiece.

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

 

We close with “Out of the Grey” who offer this tender reminder: “Grace, Mercy, and Peace.”

We are confident that God’s grace, mercy, and peace are multiplied to us this day and every day of our lives.

Shakespeare and the Word: A personal reflection

April 24, 2016
“I commend my soul into the hands of God, my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ, my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting.” ― William Shakespeare

“I commend my soul into the hands of God, my Creator, hoping and assuredly believing, through the only merits of Jesus Christ, my Saviour, to be made partaker of life everlasting.”
                                                      ― William Shakespeare

In recognition of the birthday of William Shakespeare, Andy Rau, Senior manager of content for Bible Gateway, posted a blog entry “Shakespeare and the Word,” noting the celebrated bard’s use of the Geneva Bible throughout his literary works. Rau comments:

The most frequently repeated figure on the books of the Bible to which Shakespeare refers is 42 books—eighteen from each of the Testaments and the remaining from the Apocrypha. Shakespeare’s writing contains more references to the Bible than the plays of any other Elizabethan playwright. A conservative tally of the total number of biblical references is 1200, a figure that I think could be doubled.

The blog post closes with this exhortation: “It’s worth your time to take a second look at your favorite Shakespeare play with an eye for subtle references to people, places, and events in Scripture.”

The closing comments brought to mind a most remarkable encounter with Shakespeare that occurred while I was in graduate school. I refer to this experience in an Examiner.com article published in connection Law Day 2012.

Here is an excerpt from that article:

When I was working on my Ph.D. in English at Indiana University in Bloomington, I enrolled in a course on Shakespeare taught by the late Professor Roy Battenhouse, recognized scholar and author of Shakespeare and the Christian Tradition. The course was especially memorable in that the half dozen or so students met at Professor Battenhouse’s home which was in walking distance from the campus, and his wife served us tea and other homemade delicacies. I was first exposed to The Merchant of Venice during that class, and I completed a paper discussing Shylock’s demand for justice and the resultant resolution of the bond. The paper was later published as an article in The College Language Association Journal XXXV No. 3. March 1992: 353-66, which is now reprinted and attached as a pdf.

shylocks-daniel-justice-more-than-thou-desirst–new

In celebration of Shakespeare’s birth, listen to the “The Quality of Mercy” speech from a production by the British Broadcasting Corporation, as Portia argues the case for mercy in light of justice.

The tender mercy of our God

December 19, 2015
The passage from Luke 1:67-79 known as the Benedictus or Zechariah’s song is inscribed in Hebrew on these tiles on display at the church of St. John in the Mountains, said to be the birthplace of St. John.

The passage from Luke 1:67-79 known as the Benedictus or Zechariah’s song is inscribed in Hebrew on these tiles on display at the church of St. John in the Mountains, said to be the birthplace of St. John.

The Verse of the Day for December 19, 2015 is taken from Luke 1:76-78 (AMP):

“And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord (the Messiah) to prepare His ways; To give His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise (the Messiah) from on high will dawn and visit us,

Known as “Zechariah’s Song,” the entire passage is based on Luke 1:67-79 where Zechariah, the priest, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesies concerning of his own son, John, the Baptist, and the Jesus Christ, the Messiah. This prophetic declaration is also referred to as “Benedictus,” the first word in the Latin version of the passage. Here Zechariah speaks of “the tender mercy of God.”

Without question, one of the awesome attributes of God is that He is a God of mercy. In a real sense, He is a God of justice, who tempers justice with grace and mercy. Justice has been defined as “getting exactly what one deserves.” Whereas grace is said to be unmerited favor or getting something that one does not deserve, and mercy is defined as “withholding merited judgment” or “not getting what one deserves. God ever displays His mercy toward His children, as expressed so passionately throughout the Psalms which make known the extent of God’s mercy:

Psalm 119:64:

The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy statutes.

Psalm 57:10:

For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

Psalm 69:13:

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation.

Psalm 103:17:

But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children;

I recall that the favorite verse of my late father-in-law and one of my favorite verses is repeated throughout the Book of Psalms:

Psalm 100:5 (KJV):

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Lamentations 3:22-23 also remind us:

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

“Great is Thy Faithfulness,” one of the most popular hymns of all times, is inspired by this passage and mentions “new mercies” in its chorus:

Throughout the writings of Paul in the New Testament we find references to grace and mercy which are often found the salutations of that open these letters. In Titus, 1 and 2 Timothy, and 2 John “grace and mercy” are linked with “peace.” The blending of these three qualities became the inspiration for this poem:

Grace, Mercy, and Peace: A Three-fold Cord

Blest be the tie that binds

Our hearts in Christian love;

The fellowship of kindred minds

Is like to that above.

Dr. John Fawcett

To Timothy, my dearly beloved son:

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father

and Christ Jesus our Lord

2 Timothy 1:2

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.
These three traits never diminish but only increase.
Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

Grace: a priceless gift that no one on earth can afford.
God’s great grace abounds toward us and shall never decrease.
Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as three-fold cord.

That God is truly merciful cannot be ignored.
Streams of the sure mercies of the Lord shall never cease.
Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

Peace cancels all strife, but we must live in one accord.
All those who are bound the Word of the Lord will release.
Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

All who seemed forsaken, God, our Father, has restored.
As we seek God, we find that in His will is our peace.
Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

Boundless love and favor are waiting to be explored,
For we are so designed to shine as God’s masterpiece.
Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.
Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

We close our discussion of God’s mercy with two moving musical selections:

“Because of your tender mercy” which is based on Zechariah’s Song:

Don Moen—reminds us the wide expanse of God’s mercy: “Great is your mercy”:

To do justly, love mercy, walk humbly

January 4, 2015

Micah-6--8

The Verse of the Day for January 4, 2015 is taken from Micah 6:8:

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

The verse states three simple requirements, three prerequisites for Godly living expressed in three verbs written as infinitives: to do, to love, and to walk.

To do . . .

This verb brings to mind a similar exhortation from Galatians 6:10:

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

We have a choice to do good or to do evil, but the Word of God reminds us that despite the sinful nature of humanity, our ultimate purpose is to do good:

Ecclesiastes 3:12:

12 I know that there is no good in them, but for a man to rejoice, and to do good in his life.

This reminder to do justly or to do good is echoed in the words of John Wesley, who 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 ever you can.”

To love . . .

One of the most powerful verbs in any language is the command to love. In this case, we are to love mercy.

That God is truly merciful cannot be ignored.

Streams of the sure mercies of the Lord shall never cease.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

Jeremiah reminds us that, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning. Great is thy faithfulness.”

One of the attributes of God is that He is a God of mercy. In a real sense, as a God of justice, He tempers justice with grace and mercy. Justice has been defined as “getting exactly what one deserves.” Whereas grace is said to be unmerited favor or getting something that one does not deserve, and mercy is defined as “withholding merited judgment” or “not getting what one deserves. God desires that we love mercy. As Portia, a character in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, remarks so wisely,

Though justice be thy plea, consider this:
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation. We do pray for mercy,
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy.

To walk . . .

The final requirement is to “walk humbly with thy God.” The First Psalm describes the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, as being blessed (happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable). God’s desire is that we walk in humility, even as humility was a most notable attribute of the Lord Jesus Christ, described in this manner: 

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:6-8)

1 Peter 2:21 also encourages us:

For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:

As we walk with the Lord, we find that humility is the key to access the heart of God.

The expectations that God has for His people seem simple enough: “to do . . . to love . . . to walk.” Certainly they must be attainable or God would not expect people to do what He asks. The challenge becomes carrying out what the Lord requires of us. As the Nike slogan states so simply and directly: “Just do it!”

Listen to a musical rendering of Micah 6:8 offered by Maranatha! Singers:

Grace, mercy and peace: A three-fold cord

November 21, 2013

1_Corinthians_1-4

The Verse of the Day for November 21, 2013 is found in I Corinthians 1: 4-5

I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge;

As I reflected on these verses, I thought of 1 Peter 1:2 which ends with the greeting “Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”

2 Peter 1:2 indicates the source of this multiplication:

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,

Jude 1:2 adds two more virtues:

Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied.

In thinking about grace, mercy and peace, I recall the lyrics to an original song:

Grace, mercy, and peace,

from God the Father

from God the Father

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

 

Gracious Lord, gracious Lord, gracious Lord,

Full of grace and mercy

Gracious Lord, gracious Lord, gracious Lord,

Where sin abounded, grace prevailed for me

Without amazing grace, where would I be?

You bless with grace, mercy and peace.

We speak peace and the storms of life shall cease.

Lord, God who protects His own.  You are Jehovah Shalom

The peace of God from the God of peace.

 

You are gracious, Lord.

You are gracious, Lord.

You are gracious, Lord.

2 John 3

The theme of “grace, mercy and peace” also inspired this poem:

Grace, Mercy, and Peace: A Three-fold Cord                                        

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Dr. John Fawcett

 

 To Timothy, my dearly beloved son:

Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father

and Christ Jesus our Lord

2 Timothy 1:2

 

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

These three traits never diminish but only increase.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Grace: a priceless gift that no one on earth can afford.

God’s great grace abounds toward us and shall never decrease.

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as three-fold cord.

 

That God is truly merciful cannot be ignored.

Streams of the sure mercies of the Lord shall never cease.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Peace cancels all strife, but we must live in one accord.

All those who are bound the Word of the Lord will release.

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

 

All who seemed forsaken, God, our Father, has restored.

As we seek God, we find that in His will is our peace.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Boundless love and favor are waiting to be explored,

For we are so designed to shine as God’s masterpiece.

Grace, mercy, and peace bind our hearts as a three-fold cord.

Our lives are enriched as we learn to walk with the Lord.

 

Fernando Ortega provides a tender reminder of the source of grace and peace:

We are confident that God’s grace and peace are multiplied to us this day and every day.

 

Thinking about justice and “the quality of mercy” on Law Day 2012

May 1, 2012

On May 1, 2012, May Day to some or to others Law Day or Loyalty Day, my thoughts turn toward God and the concept of justice. I recently published an Examiner.com article commemorating Law Day, and I included a quote from Carol Seubert Marx, president of the Ohio State Bar Association as well as video clip from  Ohio State Supreme Court Chief Justice, Maureen O’Connor.  In additional I included commentary on the Spiritual Connection with the God of Justice and made reference to the famous Shakespearean  monologue which begins with “The quality of mercy” in the memorable trial scene in The Merchant of Venice where Portia in the guise of a young male lawyer, enters the court in response to the demand for justice by Shylock, the Jew,  who is really seeking revenge. The article brought to mind the influence of women in the legal system in Ohio which is reflective of the nation as a whole.

http://www.examiner.com/article/law-day-may-1

Listen to the “The Quality of Mercy” speech as performed by Lenora Crichlow, who plays Portia, from The Merchant of Venice, and argues the case for mercy in light of justice.

When I was working on my Ph.D. in English at Indiana University in Bloomington, I enrolled in a course on Shakespeare taught by the late Professor Roy Battenhouse, recognized scholar and author of Shakespeare and the Christian Tradition. The course was especially memorable in that the half dozen or so students met at Professor Battenhouse’s home which was in walking distance from the campus, and his wife served us tea and other homemade delicacies. I was first exposed to The Merchant of Venice during that class, and I completed a paper discussing Shylock’s demand for justice and the resultant resolution of the bond. The paper was later published as an article in The College Language Association Journal XXXV No. 3. March 1992: 353-66, which is now reprinted as a pdf, appropriate reading material on Law Day 2012.

Shylock’s Daniel