Why Would You Need God’s Mercy?

Why? Because no one is above falling down. Everyone sins. (Eccl. 7:20) There are no exceptions – including King David, whom God had called ‘a man after His own heart.’ (1 Sam. 13:14)

God had helped establish David’s throne in Jerusalem, uniting all of Israel under his rule. He covered him with His favor, granting David an eternal dynasty:

…the LORD will make you a house…And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever. 2 Sam. 7:11 & 16. ESV

(There is no physical house or throne that will last forever. God is referring to the eternal kingdom of Christ, whose incarnate body would later come from King David’s lineage.)

The favor of God continued to follow David until one warm spring night when he decided to cool off on the roof of his house. From his vantage point, King David saw a woman bathing on her rooftop nearby. He was smitten. (Note that he was also married at this time.)

The king did a little detective work and found out that the woman’s name was Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah – one of his handpicked soldiers. David suppressed his spiritual self and gave into the flesh. He had Bathsheba brought to him for an adulterous tryst that left her with child. Subsequently, our heretofore virtuous king had Uriah sent to the front lines of a battlefield where his death was all but guaranteed.

When Bathsheba’s prescribed mourning period was over, David took her as wife and she bore him a son. Foolishly, they thought they had pulled one over on everyone. Uh-oh:

But the thing that David had done [with Bathsheba] was evil in the sight of the LORD. 2 Sam. 11:27 AMP

You can’t pull the wool over God’s eyes. He sent His prophet Nathan to King David to deliver His judgment:

“Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your keeping, and gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if that had been too little, I also would have given you much more! Why have you despised the commandment of the LORD to do evil in His sight?’ “ 2 Sam. 12:7 – 9. NKJV

David is standing before his Creator’s representative, accused of adultery and murder – both punishable by death according to Mosaic Law. Yet God exercised His mercy, and through Nathan, laid upon David a lesser sentence, telling him that his house would be troubled for the rest of his days and that his sins (that he had hoped to keep hidden), would be replayed in the public eye.

(Indeed, David’s first child by Bathsheba dies, one of his subsequent sons rapes his half-sister, the half-sister’s brother exacts revenge by killing the perpetrator and goes on to publicly commit adultery with David’s wives and plots a violent coup of the king’s rule but is killed during the attempt.)

David wholeheartedly confesses and repents of his sins and God answers his repentance through Nathan:

“The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.” 1 Sam. 12:13 NASB

Our God is such a loving and forgiving God. However, though He blots out our sin, we are still left to deal with the consequences caused by them. Sin is so destructive – it hurts God, the victim and the perpetrator. Yet there must be consequences; otherwise, everyone would just cavalierly continue in their sinful ways.

God tells us that sin (disobedience) brings a curse (Dt. 30:19, 20.) that carries the consequences of breakage – in both life and the relationships contained within. Yet praise be to God that He forgives:

…you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love… Neh. 9:17 ESV

Why? Because it is the only way the you can be healed from your sin. If you don’t have faith in God’s forgiveness, you will not forgive yourself. And the subsequent guilt and shame you heap upon yourself causes you to hate that person in the mirror, which severs your love-connection with God.

God loves you so much that He never wants to you to be disconnected from Him, as well as He does not want to be detached from your love:

I, I am he, who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. Is. 43:25 ESV

For His sake – so that love circle remains intact. Thus, He guarantees His forgiveness:

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chr. 7:14 NKJV

And just like King David, we ‘turn from our wicked ways’ through confession and repentance:

If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just [true to His own nature and promises], and will forgive our sins and cleanse us continually from all unrighteousness [our wrongdoing, everything not in conformity with His will and purpose]. 1 Jn. 1:9 AMP

God forgives and so should we. We are to model Him, and that includes His mercy. In fact, we must exercise our mercy first, if we hold a grudge against anyone, before we go before our Father to receive His:

“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Mt. 6:14, 15. ESV

Forgiveness begins in the mirror, so that we can break down any barriers that we’ve erected between God and ourselves. Furthermore, when we extend that forgiveness outwards (Eph. 4:32), it completes our relationship with God and all others – ultimately completing our relationship with ourselves.

Forgiving is the highest act of giving – where we give our love away, regardless of whether we think the object of our love deserves it or not. After all, who doesn’t deserve love?

Goodnight and God bless.

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What’s in Your Heart?

A God song; and He loves to hear you sing it:

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Ps. 95:1, 2. ESV

God loves to hear your praises because it shows your love and your desire to stay in relationship with Him. It assures God that you want to belong to Him and steep in HIs goodness and mercy:

Make a joyful shout to the LORD, all you lands! Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing. Know that the LORD, He is God; it is He who made us and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name! For the LORD is good; His mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations. Ps. 100 NKJV

The Bible tells us that ‘the LORD is good, and His mercy is everlasting’ 126 times! I think that God wants that truth firmly implanted in our hearts. The word ‘mercy’ is translated from the Hebrew racham, which may also be rendered as ‘compassion’ or ‘lovingkindness.’ This is the kind of love that has covered you since your conception:

For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are your works, and that my soul knows very well. Ps. 139:13, 14. NKJV

Moreover, God surrounds you with that love for all your days:

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there where none of them. Ps. 139:16 NASB

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me… Ps. 138:8 NKJV

You have a special place in God’s uni-verse (His ‘one song’). And you have a special verse to sing, which you’ll find when you plan your life around Him. What ensues is a life of joy as He walks along side of you:

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock… Ps. 92:12 – 15. NKJV

What does that ‘flourishing’ look like?

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Ps. 103:1 – 5. ESV

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the LORD his God…who keeps faith forever; who executes justice for the oppressed, who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free; the LORD opens the eyes of the blind. The LORD lifts up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous. Ps. 146:5 – 8. ESV

God loves you, extends His grace over you and is filled with compassion for you. But remember, it’s up to you to invite God into a relationship and to do your best to follow the plan He has laid out for all of us in His word, in order to reap a life that makes you want to sing:

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. It is vain that you rise up early an go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. Ps. 127:1, 2. ESV

It’s all about sticking to the plan:

Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. Ps. 119:165 NKJV

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Ps. 119:105 ESV

Yet, we all fall away from the plan from time to time. But because God loves us so much, He will use the consequences of our choices to teach us how to return home:

It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I may learn your statutes. Ps. 119:71 NKJV

God’s plan is the only plan for your heart:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. Ps. 119:9 ESV

The great part is that God’s plan is not only temporal, it leads you into eternal life with Him as well:

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. Ps. 116:15 NKJV

So, are you ready to sing your verse? It’s planted in your heart…

Let the godly ones exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds. Ps. 149:5 NASB

Goodnight and God bless.

Does God Need Love?

God is Love:

…God is love. [He is the originator of love, and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.] 1 Jn. 4:8 AMP

As we also know, God created the entire universe through Christ, and through whom He also holds it all together. Thus, God is complete within Himself, the end all and be all. So, in our logical way of thinking, God wouldn’t need anything.

Humans were made in the image of God; and we possess most of His attributes, albeit a bit flawed, perfected when we receive our salvation through Christ.

For us, it is not enough to just send love outwards. We need to receive it as well.  Loving for the sake of loving is a great altruistic state to aspire to. Yet I think that because our love penetrates the hearts of those we to whom we send it, (whether they are consciously aware of it or not), the recipient’s heart cannot help but radiate its own love back to the sender. And that’s what motivates us to send love in the first place.

I believe we are modeled after our Creator in that way; and I may be going out on a limb here, but I feel that God also needs love. Even though He is love, God has repeatedly expressed His desire for love from His children.

Love exists to give. It’s part of a grand cycle – whereby it gives of itself, receives back from whomever it has visited and then sends itself back out again to nourish yet another heart. That’s the way it can work for all of us. We receive the love of God [because He first loved us (Jn. 4:19)] and we marinate in that love for a while, adding a measure of our love. Then we send this new love bundle back to Him and out into the world as well.

When we love, we resonate with God, practicing His original purpose for us:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 1 Jn. 4:7 NASB

Jesus said that we love God by obeying His word (Jn. 15:10). Thus, part of showing God our love, is by loving each other.

Another way to demonstrate our love to God is through praise and worship; and God gave us the blueprints for doing just that – contained within the psalms that He inspired in King David.

This is not about some selfish God in heaven saying, “You must love Me.” Instead, it’s about a God who loves you so much that He wants to shower you with all He’s got. But, God knows that you must first make the connection with Him through the expression of your love to keep this heavenly ‘love-loop’ alive. When you do that, your life will blossom to its fullest. So, part of God’s strategy in the psalms is to show you the reasons why you should love Him – i.e. to motivate you to connect.

One reason is that God is the Source of all your joy:

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and on the harp I will praise You, O God my God. Ps. 43:4 NKJV

‘Joy’ is translated from the Hebrew simchah, meaning ‘exceeding gladness.’ It transcends happiness. If you remain with God, your joy will be continuous – made obvious by the gratitude that spreads itself across your countenance.

The greatest way that we can show that gratitude to God, is to make known our Source of joy to everyone around us:

In God we have boasted continually, and we will give thanks to your name forever. Ps. 44:8 ESV

There is no wrong way to love God. He is moved by your love, and He remembers your ‘love efforts’ forever:

I will not rebuke you for your sacrifices or your burnt offerings, which are continually before Me. Ps. 50:8 NKJV

Conversely, it’s never appropriate to be ungrateful to God. Because He loves us and does so much for us, our gratitude should shine like the sun – whether we are riding on a peak of our life’s experience or experiencing one of its valleys:

In the day of prosperity be joyful, and in the day of adversity consider: God has made the one as well as the other… Eccl. 7:14 ESV

God uses every situation that you’re in to expand who you are – to mold you further into His resemblance and bring you closer to Him:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2 – 4. ESV

For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined…we went through fire and water; but You brought us out to rich fulfillment. Ps. 66:10 & 12. NKJV

It doesn’t matter what your outward situation looks like. God is always sending you His love:

Blessed be the Lord, who daily loads us with benefits, the God of our salvation! Ps. 68:19 NKJV

And let us not forget that because God loves you, He will deliver you from your valleys – lifting you up to yet another peak, even to the highest peak of all, when it’s time for your eternal transition:

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in the darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you. Because you have made the LORD, who is my refuge, even the Most High, your dwelling place, no evil shall befall you, nor any plague come near your dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. Ps. 91:1-7, 9 – 12. NKJV

“Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him securely on high, because he has known My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and satisfy him and let him see My salvation.” Ps. 91:14 – 16. NASB

Isn’t it astonishing to see how much God loves you, and wants to keep you close and care for you now and for eternity? But remember, you need to establish your love-connection with Him first, before He can do it…

Good night and God bless.

Why We Can Place Our Trust in God

It takes more effort to build our trust in God because unlike trusting people, we cannot directly depend upon our five senses to validate that trust connection. Having a relationship with God requires both faith and trust, both in Him and His love.

God doesn’t overlook that. He loves us so much that He inspired particular psalms in the Bible to empower us in building up that faith and trust:

…he who trusts in and relies on the LORD shall be surrounded with compassion and lovingkindness. Ps. 32:10. AMP

If we hand over the reins to God and allow Him to guide our ways, we’ll be assured of His continual love over every aspect of our lives. He even asks us to test Him on this promise:

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Ps. 34:8 NKJV

Reach out for Him and your life will be inundated with His abundance:

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings. They feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights. For with you is the fountain of life: in your light do wee see light. Ps. 36:7 – 9. ESV

But what happens if (when) we fall away from our walk with God? How does He respond?

Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the LORD upholds him with His hand. Ps. 37:24 NKJV

So, we can thank God for His boundless mercy; we can count on it. When we return to Him, He will open His heart and shower us with His magnanimity:

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. Ps. 37:23 NKJV

Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Ps. 37:3, 4. NKJV

“Let the LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.” Ps. 35:27 NKJV

How is God going to get that pleasure unless you are prosperous? Because He guarantees your prosperity:

Those who seek the LORD shall not lack any good thing. Ps. 34:10 NKJV

When we meditate upon how God’s love accompanies his saints even beyond this earthly life, we can build that trust muscle even more:

The LORD redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned. Ps. 34:33 AMP

For the LORD delights in justice and does not abandon His saints (faithful ones); they are preserved forever… Ps. 37:28 AMP

God also demonstrates His trustworthiness by showing up for you during your trials and tribulations:

The LORD is near the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all. Ps. 34:18, 19. NASB

So, when is God with you? All the time. And how many problems does God deliver you from? That’s right – all of them.

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him [with awe-inspired reverence and worship Him with obedience], and He rescues [each of] them. Ps. 34:7 AMP

I don’t see a downside here. God is available in every moment. All it takes on your part is a little trust:

…the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble. And the LORD shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked and save them, because they trust in Him. Ps. 37:39, 40. NKJV

Finally, how long can you put your trust in God?

The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations. Ps. 33:11 NKJV

Forever…

Goodnight and God bless.