What are you willing to pay?

What are you willing to pay?

I will most gladly spend and be spent for your lives! – 2 Corinthians 12:15

2 Timothy 4:5-8

 5 But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.

 6 As for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near.

 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

 8 And now the prize awaits me – the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.

When Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck walked off the field for the final time as a player in August 2019, it was to the sound of boos from fans. Luck, at age 29, decided to retire. He gave up millions in future earnings. The endless barrage of injuries stripped away his joy for the game and prompted him to walk away. His body had been “ravaged by injuries,” during his six seasons in the NFL. He felt trapped in a cycle of pain. He wanted to just stop hurting and enjoy life. Fans criticized Luck for quitting. Why? Football stars are seen as “warriors and gladiators.” As such, they are expected to willingly sacrifice everything to play an extremely violent game.

The mentality of the current generation of players has radically shifted. Many now walk away at a relatively young age. Rob Gronkowski, the New England Patriots tight end, also quit in 2019. He was 30 years old.

It is not lost on this generation of players that concussions and other injuries have left previous players with dementia or crippling pain or both. Some of the young players are no longer willing to pay such a price.

As Paul shared the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and people accepted it and believed, they became children of the King. But in addition to becoming the Father’s children, they became Paul’s spiritual children as well. He was their father in the faith.

The apostle Paul became the spiritual father of untold numbers of believers in the first century A.D.

2 Corinthians 12:15 I will most gladly spend and be spent for your lives!

As a spiritual father, how much was he willing to sacrifice for his children in the faith? For the Corinthians, he was willing to exhaust all of his human resources to contribute to their spiritual well-being. He was willing to give his very life for them. Like most all parents, he wanted the best for his kids. Paul’s utmost concern was the relationship that his children had with the Father.

The Greek of the New Testament opens up nuances that are undetected in English. Unseen shades of meaning and significance are often revealed. In 2 Corinthians 12:15, Paul uses a subtle yet sublime play on words. Two different words are used that are translated spend or spent. The first is dapanao. Dapanao means to spend freely, even squander. In our culture, we might call this “pocket change.” This money is used freely and somewhat indiscriminately for personal desires or wishes.

The second word is ekdapanao. Ekdapanao is an intensified form of dapanao. It means to exhaust oneself, give oneself completely, be spent, drained of energy, having one’s own energy exhausted. When it came to the welfare of his spiritual children, Paul was not using pocket change. Paul was expending all that he had, even his very life. No price was too great for Paul, he was all in.

REFLECT & PRAY

What’s in your wallet? What are you willing to pay? What are you willing to spend?

Father, I find myself having to make the same choices over and over again. Aid me to learn to make a choice once and for all and stick with it. Encourage me to be “all in.”

INSIGHT

When Paul met the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, everything changed. On that day there were two deaths. Paul died to his former manner of life. He gave up everything that was valuable to him in exchange for the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus his Lord.

But he also died to himself and his personal ambitions and goals. He was no longer living for Paul. He was living for Christ, for the Father.

Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Philippians 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

Paul was no longer seeking his own comfort or advancement. He was seeking the advancement of the Father’s kingdom. For Paul, living was indistinguishable from serving Christ.

2 Timothy 4:6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.

Paul knows that his death is near. After a life of self-sacrifice, only one final sacrifice remains, the sacrifice of death. He sees himself as once again, yet finally laying down his life to accomplish the Father’s purpose.

Paul uses Old Testament sacrificial language regarding a drink offering to portray his fast-approaching death. A drink offering was all about repurposing the use of wine. Wine was intended for personal enjoyment and to lift one’s spirits. When it is offered to the Father, it is not used for personal pleasure, but rather it becomes a personal sacrifice. Perfectly good wine, rather than being consumed was dedicated to the Father and simply poured out.

Each of the Father’s children chooses for themselves. Regarding sacrifice and dedication, Paul’s choice was a bit more extreme. We are continually faced with choices. We endeavor to make good choices rather than bad. We make repetitive, recurrent choices. Our lives are marked by a persistent query, “will I or won’t I.”

Paul chose only once. Once and for all, he turned over his life to the Father and became His servant. The Father’s will was Paul’s will. There was no disconnect, no separation.

The Greek reveals a delightful subtlety. Paul is not pouring himself out. Rather, the Greek verb translated poured out, spendo, is in the passive voice. The Father is the one performing the action, Paul is the one receiving the action. In other words, Paul did not pour himself out. Rather Paul was being poured out by the Father.

Was Paul’s life wasted? Absolutely not. Paul’s life was invested.

When Paul first met the Lord Jesus Christ, he made the greatest of all investments a person can make with their life. He was all in. He released control and the “pouring out” his life began. And Paul’s life was poured it out until the very end.

Each child of the King is empowered to make investments. With an eye on eternity, we can make wise investments. What is in your investment portfolio? Is it earning eternal dividends?

2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,

The writer of short stories H. L. Gee tells of a tramp who came begging to a good woman’s door. She went to get something to give him and found that she had no change in the house. She went to him and said: ‘I have not a penny of small change. I need a loaf of bread. Here is a pound. Go and buy the loaf and bring me back the change and I will give you something.’

The man carried out the commission and returned and she gave him a small coin. He took it with tears in his eyes. ‘It’s not the money,’ he said, ‘it’s the way you trusted me. No one ever trusted me like that before, and I can’t thank you enough.’

It is easy to say that the woman took a risk that only a soft-hearted fool would take, but she had given that man more than money: she had given him something of herself by giving her trust. (Barclay)

Your Father trusts you.

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What goes around . . .

What goes around . . .

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. – Proverbs 17:9

Galatians 6:7-10

 7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.
 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.
 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Down through the millennia, people have observed and discovered universal laws that explain and govern “how things work.” The universal Law of Cause and Effect was considered by Ralph Waldo Emerson to be the “law of laws.” The Law of Cause and Effect states that for every effect there is a definite cause, likewise for every cause, there is a definite effect.

Putting it in other terms, our thoughts, behaviors, and actions have produced life as we know it. When we change our actions, results change as well.

We always have a choice in how we respond to the vicissitudes of life. Our reactions to situations can either be foolish or wise. Wise choices are beneficial. But foolish ones can have calamitous consequences.

All we think and do has consequences. The ramifications are like ripples on a pond. They spread out and affect not only us but others as well. Regrettably, we often tend to think otherwise, but we are mistaken. Every farmer knows this. They prepare the soil and plant seeds in the hope that the harvest will yield a great deal more than what was planted. When a single seed germinates and sprouts it can generate hundreds of seeds.

Those of us that have been raised in cities are often unaware of the fact of what all farmer knows: “You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow” (Stanley). Putting it in more contemporary terms “what goes around, comes around.”

What is true in the natural world is also true in our relationship with the Father. To think otherwise is it best wishful thinking, at worst delusion. Paul warns, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.”


What does it mean to mock? In English to mock means to treat with contempt or ridicule. The Greek word translated as mock is mukterizo. Mukterizo is used only once in the New Testament (Galatians 6:7). Mukterizo comes from the Greek noun from mukter – nose or nostril.

Mukterizo could be translated, to turn the nose in scorn or sneer at. Thus it has the sense to mock, deride, cheat, outwit, or despise. The sense of the whole statement is captured in the TEV – “no one makes a fool of God!” The JB translates it “don’t delude yourself into thinking God can be cheated.”

Yet how many people think that they can get away with ignoring the Father and His immutable principles? Somehow, they believe that they can fool the Father, deceive Him without adverse consequences. Perhaps, they do not believe that He exists or that if He does, possibly He is not looking or paying attention. Really? Pause for a moment and consider.

Proverbs 17:12 It is safer to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than to confront a fool caught in foolishness.

If she bears who have lost their cubs are ferocious, how safe would it be to mock the living God?

REFLECT & PRAY

Where we are today is pretty much the result of decisions that we have made. Bad decisions have bad consequences. But good decisions have good consequences.
 
Father enable me to him and learn and develop a pattern of making good decisions. Please help me.

INSIGHT

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got” (Henry Ford)

Sadly, it is our natural tendency, because of our fallen nature, to make bad decisions and do bad things.

“Today is the father of tomorrow. What we are today is the result of what we have been thinking and the way we have lived in the past” (Stanley).

“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional” (John Maxwell).

To change takes awareness and desire, then commitment, courage, and effort. But the good news is that when we choose to do what is good and sow to the spirit we are on the positive side of the equation. Paul reminds us that our actions always have consequences either for good or for bad.

The three rules to keep in mind.

1. The Father established the principle of sowing and reaping. Indeed, “what goes around comes around” is a law that the Father established.

2. The law of the harvest is a two-sided coin. It works for good and bad.

3. Because the law of the harvest is a principle that the Father set up; it just happens. You do not have to strive to make it happen.

The law of the harvest is in effect but the results are not instantaneous. The consequences of our good decisions and actions are not necessarily immediately apparent.

Further, if we been sowing to the flesh, we may have a rather large crop of corruption to harvest and destroy.

Relationships are often very difficult. When life gets tough, what should the children of the King do? When we are hurt or offended by others, particularly family and close friends, we should seek to forgive, and not dwell on the hurt.

Proverbs 17:9 Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

The thought here is, “If you wish to have friends, forgive their wrongs” (UBS). This has been translated, “To forgive a wrong fosters friendship,” (FRCL) or “Whoever wishes to keep a friendship forgives offenses” (GECL).

“The ability to practice forgiveness and discretion is essential for the survival of an atmosphere of friendship” (Garrett).

James 4:17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

Regrettably, many of the children of the King have “heard it all before.” But despite all they know and believe, deep down they are just going through the motions. They feel as though it’s just not working for them. They drift away. And the distance becomes ever greater and greater. The darkness sets in. Many want to give up and quit.

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Seeing as the Father sees

Seeing as the Father sees

I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. – Habakkuk 3:18

Habakkuk 3:16-19

 16 I trembled inside when I heard this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster strikes the people who invade us.

 18 I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

 18 Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

 19 The Lord GOD is my strength, And He has made my feet like hinds’ feet and makes me walk on my high places. For the choir director, on my stringed instruments.

“The problem with people is that they’re only human” (Hobbes, from Calvin & Hobbes).

How often do children of the King experience difficult circumstances in life? It could be a natural disaster or political and economic upheaval. It could be very personal, close to home: health, family, career. Sometimes we reach the breaking point and are ready to collapse emotionally or physically. We feel like we just cannot take anymore!

How often do we find ourselves wrestling with the Father’s plan and justice? Honestly wrestling with the Father regarding circumstances and the hardships of life is a recurrent theme in the Scriptures.

So it was with Habakkuk. Habakkuk was experiencing difficult, dark times. As a prophet, the Father had shown him the coming judgment on the children of Israel. Habakkuk was called to deliver the harsh message of judgment: the coming of the Babylonian hordes. Habakkuk’s heart was in agony. He was practically overwhelmed by heart-pounding, lip-quivering, leg-trembling fear.

Habakkuk 3:16 I trembled inside when I heard this; my lips quivered with fear. My legs gave way beneath me, and I shook in terror. I will wait quietly for the coming day when disaster strikes the people who invade us.

When Habakkuk sinks as low as he can and reaches the end of his rope, he discovers that the Father has been holding the other end all the time.

Hebrews 13:5 For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”

Habakkuk shows the way of dealing with disappointment, discouragement, anguish, and hopelessness. “If you feel hopeless, helpless, or powerless – unable to deal with people or problems and on the verge of exhaustion – take heart in the prophet Habakkuk’s stirring conclusion to his short book” (Stanley).

Habakkuk was continually asking why. He had extended conversations with the Father questioning, challenging, wrestling with Him regarding the way He does things. No doubt Habakkuk thought many times that he had a better plan than the Father.

The Father is ready and willing to intervene when He chooses to do so. Eventually, the Father answered. The Father explained to Habakkuk the reasoning behind what He was doing. Habakkuk did not particularly like what he heard.

He actually was a bit miffed and began to pout.

Habakkuk 1:17-2:1

 17 Will you let them get away with this forever? Will they succeed forever in their heartless conquests?

 2:1 I will climb up to my watchtower and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the LORD says and how he will answer my complaint.

When the answer came, it was tinged with a bit of a rebuke. So often our questioning is informed by a bit of pride. We are not entirely objective nor pristine.

Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, as for the proud one, His soul is not right within him.

Habakkuk took it in stride and snapped to attention. He did a 180. Indeed, the Father is the sovereign Lord of all. He knows what He is doing. Further, all that He does is right and just.

Habakkuk 2:4 The righteous will live by his faith.

Habakkuk chose to place his trust in Him. 

“Just remember… if things look hopeless, maybe you’re facing the wrong direction!” (Ziggy)

REFLECT & PRAY

“Disappointments are inevitable; discouragement is a choice” (Stanley).

Father when I find myself at the end of my human endurance and I am ravaged by fear and doubt, encourage me to trust You in the dark.

INSIGHT

Each child of the King is being child-trained by Father. It is all part of our journey to maturity. During this process, our Father repeatedly takes each of us to the end of ourselves. Our emotional and physical reserves are drained. How delightful it is to know that the Father relishes in strengthening, refreshing, and reinvigorating fainthearted and worn down children of the King.  “He will supply the power you need to traverse the rough terrain ahead. That’s His promise, and God always keeps His promises” (Stanley).

Isaiah 40:29-31

 29 He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

 30 Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion.

 31 But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.

“Your reservoir of emotional and physical energy may feel nearly drained, but God’s supply of spiritual stamina never runs out. Come to Him and His Word for the strength to carry on, and He will supply the power you need to traverse the rough terrain ahead. That’s His promise, and God always keeps His promises” (Stanley).

How did Habakkuk respond?

Habakkuk 3:18, 19

 18 I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!

 19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.

“Habakkuk has learned that he can trust God, and with that trust comes great joy, not in circumstances but in God himself: yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. Yahweh has become Habakkuk’s strength (Psalms 18:32, 39)” (ESV notes)

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones” (Confucius).

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Idols in the heart

Idols in the heart

Do not give the devil an opportunity. – Ephesians 4:27

Ezekiel 14:4-6

 4 Tell them, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message. So I, the LORD, will give them the kind of answer their great idolatry deserves.”

 5 “I will do this to capture the minds and hearts of all my people who have turned from me to worship their detestable idols.”

 6 Therefore, tell the people of Israel, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Repent and turn away from your idols, and stop all your detestable sins.”

What is dual citizenship? Dual citizenship – or dual nationality – means being a citizen of two countries simultaneously and sharing the rights and responsibilities of the citizens in each. People with dual citizenship can have two passports one for each country.

Children of the King have “dual citizenship” as well. They are citizens of the world, their place of birth and origin. But they are also citizens of the kingdom of God. And they have a dual allegiance. Regrettably, many of them keep one foot in each kingdom, swaying back and forth as their needs or whims dictate. They say that their allegiance is to the Father. But in fact, their submission is sporadic, inconsistent, and unreliable. A friend once quipped, “I am submissive, very submissive whenever I want to be.”

These folks have allegiance to the Father but also to the idols that they have internalized.

What is idolatry? Well, the obvious answer is worshiping physical idols which are created by human hands. They are tangible representations, graven images of imagined mythical gods. Examples from the Scriptures and the ancient Roman-Graco world are Ra, Isis, Baal, Astarte, Marduk, Zeus, Athena, or household idols.

The first and second commandments speak to this very issue.

Exodus 20:3-5

 3 You must not have any other god but me.

 4 You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.

 5 You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.

Children of the King might say to themselves, “I have never worshiped an idol. Idolatry is not my problem.” But in addition to physical objects, and there is another kind of idolatry, idols of the heart.

Ezekiel 14:4 The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin.

Although we are children of the King, we are guilty of internal idolatry. We set up idols in our hearts. We craft our idols, fashioning them with our own “hands.” Then place them into our hearts. As we internalize them, we set up obstacles to our intimacy with the Father. If we feel estranged from the Father, perhaps we have put an idol in that special place in our hearts where He alone belongs. The same would be true of the rightful intimacy intended for our mates or other loved ones. Perhaps we have displaced our affection by devoting ourselves to idols of our own making.

The Hebrew word that Ezekiel uses for idols is gillulim. Of the 48 occurrences of this word in the Old Testament, all but 9 appear in Ezekiel. The term gillulim is a disdainful word and may originally have meant “dung pellets” (Vine) or “dung-idols” (NIDOTTE). Fill in the blanks.

Ezekiel draws a tragic and vile word picture. His wording is colorful but caustic, even shocking. The children of Israel were seduced by the worst of all idols, the idols of their minds. Their hearts were divided and any and all apostate practices were on the table. Their internal idols captured their hearts, minds, and emotions. They were given over to “idolmindedness.” “Their sin is an inner idolatry, a mental idolatry, rather Than an external idolatry. . .. It is a state of mind that is at cross-purposes with the will and being of God. It is out of the heart/mind that evil comes” (Victor P. Hamilton,).

REFLECT & PRAY

“Anything that we put before God as our focus or center of attention becomes our idol. We don’t have to set Up idols of wood and stone at a physical shrine in order to engage in idolatry. If there is anything that we honor above God, we have already made it an idol in our hearts” (Stanley).

Father I have crafted idols with my own hands and placed them in my heart. I have repeatedly put things before You that I should not. Encourage and help me to uproot them by taking my thoughts and emotions captive in obedience to You.

INSIGHT

Internalized idols come in many forms and guises. Ordinary things can be idolatrous. They become idols because of human preference, desire, and imagination. Obvious things come to mind such as the pursuit of power, prestige, wealth, success in sports or our career, or physical gratification. But other less obvious things are idols too: pets, children, wrong thinking, and negative emotions. Ultimately, idolatry is a battle for the mind and the heart.

For this reason we are to destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God and take every thought captive to obey the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4).

When our hearts are divided, our minds are under assault, and our emotions are negative, it is a time for serious self-examination. We must test ourselves to see if we are really in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). When we give ourselves over to anti-God thoughts and negative emotions, we are on the brink of spiraling out of control. We are putting out the welcome mat for the enemy. We are inviting unauthorized intrusion to our innermost being.

Ephesians 4:26-27

 26 Be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,

 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity. (NAS)

 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil. (NLT)

 27 Neither give place to the devil. (KJV)

It is as though there is a location within our souls where the enemy can establish a foothold. From there he can launch an assault to entice us away from pure and simple devotion to the Father. Uncontrolled anger is identified as one potential trigger.

Ask yourself some soul-searching questions. Do negative emotions or false beliefs control your life? Do they have priority over your pure and devoted worship to God?

What is your highest priority, what motivates your life? What do you put before intimacy with God?

Bob Dylan put it well,

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed

You’re gonna have to serve somebody

Well, it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord

But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

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Jesus the Merciful

Jesus the Merciful

It was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. – Hebrews 2:17

Hebrews 4:14-16

 14 We have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.

 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin.

 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Russell Crowe played Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 film Gladiator. Maximus was a high-ranking Roman general who served under the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He is betrayed by the emperor’s son, Commodus. Who attempted to assassinate him, and thought him dead. Maximus took on the name “Spaniard.” Through a series of circuitous events, he eventually becomes a gladiator in Rome.


Commodus made plans for Maximus to fight and an undefeated gladiator named Tigris. He expected Maximus to die. Maximus gains the upper hand but refused to kill Tigris. In doing so he won the crowd and was proclaimed “Maximus the Merciful.”

What is mercy? “Mercy is not getting what we deserve, grace is getting what we do not deserve” (Adrian Rogers). More later.

The Father cares for all children of the King. He has provided a wonderful gift, a merciful and faithful High Priest. The Lord Jesus Christ became fully human so that He could become our High Priest. Being fully human, He understands the foibles of human beings.

Hebrews 4:15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do.

He not only understands but He is empathic. We are invited to come to Him in all of our struggles, anytime, anywhere. He is able to come to our aid when we are being tempted because He suffered similar temptations.

Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

The Greek verb translated let us come is in the present tense. It has the sense, “let us keep on coming to” (A.T. Robertson). The Lord Jesus Christ, the Merciful, never gets tired of helping children of the King, He loves to do it.

The Greek word translated boldly or confidence is parresia. Parresia refers to an attitude of openness that stems from freedom and a lack of fear. Because of our merciful high priest and His finished work of redemption, the issue of sin has been covered and expiated. There is no reason to be afraid, but rather bold and confident.

We have confidence that we can boldly come to Him without fear in any and all circumstances when we need Him the most. We can come again and again.

How great is that?

Why would be fearful and reluctant to come confidently to Him? The apostle John explains.

1 John 4:18 there is no fear in love, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

When we know we are loved and have experienced that love, fear is removed from the equation. On top of that, each child of the King has an invitation to come boldly signed by the Lord Jesus Christ, the merciful.

REFLECT & PRAY has

The mercy and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ the merciful is infinite. They can never be exhausted nor used up.

Father thank You that You have provided the Perfect High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ the merciful. Encourage me to come boldly and confidently into Your very presence to find grace and help whenever I need it.

INSIGHT

2 Corinthians 1:3 The Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

When we receive mercy and help in our times of greatest need, what do you suppose the Father wants us to do? He wants us to pay it forward. The greater mercy that we give to others, the more we receive. Mercy becomes like living water flowing from the source, the God of all mercies, through us to others in need. There was a familiar rabbinic saying, “The greater mercy that we give to others, the more we receive” (UBS).

Matthew 5:7 God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Children of the King are to follow the Lord Jesus Christ, the Merciful, and show mercy to others. We are to be merciful. The thought is similar to the Lord’s prayer.

Matthew 6:12 Forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

“The merciful are those who reflect God’s acceptance of the unworthy, the guilty, and the ones in the wrong, based upon the premise that God’s forgiving and restoring acceptance has been manifested in the message and person of Jesus” (Larry Chouinard).

The Greek word translated merciful is eleemon. It reflects the original Hebrew word for mercy hesed.

Hesed “does not mean only to sympathize with a person in the popular sense of the term; it does not mean simply to feel sorry for someone in trouble. Hesed, mercy, means the ability to get right inside other people until we can see things with their eyes, think things with their minds, and feel things with their feelings. Clearly, this is much more than an emotional wave of pity; clearly, this demands a quite deliberate effort of the mind and of the will” (Barclay).

“Mercy is defined as having a feeling of sorrow over someone’s bad situation and trying to do something about it. People who are merciful can be said to be ‘kind’ or ‘forgiving,’ or to be ‘people who take pity on others,’ ‘people who show mercy to others’” (UBS).

Being merciful is more than just an occasional merciful impulse or act. It refers to “those whose bent is to show mercy” (Morris). For them being merciful is a way of life.

Be merciful. You will be shown mercy. What a tremendous promise. What do you have to lose?

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