MERCY – what is it?

Mercy is often used to describe an act in which someone in power was kind and lenient to forebear the punishment that was due someone. The Bible uses ‘Mercy’ in a couple of ways – firstly, it uses it as to how most of us understand it. The punishment (wages) of sin (and we all are sinners) is death, but God’s mercy is that while we were sinners, God in the personhood of his son, Jesus Christ was kind and lenient to forebear the punishment due us, by intervening and taking our place and paying the debt (wages), being crucified for our sins. In other words, God was punished for man. Mercy in this case is “forebearance”, “lieneancy in punishment”, “paying the dues” and so on.

Another usage of the word ‘Mercy’ is that it is used interchangeably with “loving-kindness” which the Bible describes as better than life itself. The loving-kindness of God is unexplainable and can only be experienced. The Psalmist who experienced this writes – O taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8). 

Irrespective of  what ‘Mercy’ is defined as, I like to think of Mercy as the MERit + Christ + You a.k.a., it is the MERit of Chirst for YOU. Isn’t that really cool?

Troubadour Christians

One of the definition for the word “Troubadour” according to the Merriam Websters dictionary is “a class of lyric poets and poet-musicians often of knightly rank who flourished from the 11th to the end of the 13th century chiefly in the south of France and the north of Italy and whose major theme was courtly love”.

I came across this term when watching one of my my 3 year old son’s favorite TV shows, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. This episode was ‘Sir Goofs a Lot’ and the Troubadour character is played by Donald Duck. The word struck me as I started to ponder on it and I slowly realized that we are indeed called to be Troubadours ourselves, which led me to search for it’s exact meaning in the dictionary. The definition was truly a revelation and it amused me to realize that God speaks through straightforward means through his prophets, pastors and preachers but also through  mysterious and interesting ways, including a Mickey Mouse TV show.

Closer examination of the definition “a class of lyric poets and poet-musicians often of knightly rank who flourished from the 11th to the end of the 13th century chiefly in the south of France and the north of Italy and whose major theme was courtly love” shows 2 important points.
First it talks about a class/rank of people – knightly and secondly, it talks about a theme of their songs – love.

The Bible says that we are Royal Priests (1 Peter 2:9). Royalty as Knights in God’s Army.
Our theme that we should be singing should be love, God’s LOVE for mankind.

Psalm 89:1 and Psalm 101:1 are few of the many others that states – “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord”. Some translations of the Bible translate the word ‘mercy’ to the word ‘love’ or ‘loving-kindness’ (which is better than life). The Bible also records in Lamentations 3:22-23, that the Lord’s mercies (a.k.a. loving-kindness) is new every morning.
It is akin, to God waking up (if He slept, because He never sleeps nor slumbers) to meet you and me, when we wake up, to tell us that his love (mercy) is new and available for us.
Isn’t that something we should be singing about.

We are to be Troubadour Christians who if Merriam-Websters was to define us who have to define as us
“A class of Royal Priests and Knights in God’s army, that composed songs with a major theme – God’s Mercies a.k.a. Love”
Let us be Troubadour Christians – Let us sing of the mercies of the Lord forever and with us make known his faithfulness and loving-kindness to all generations.

Quo Vadis, Ittai?

2 Samuel 15:19-22 talks about a man named Ittai. Ittai was a gentile; in fact, a Philistine from Gath (a Gittite). David questions Ittai, Quo Vadis, Ittai a.k.a. Where are you going. Ittai? David was fleeing for his life from Jerusalem to hide from his rebellion and murderous son, Absalom who was under the vile counsel of one of David’s smartest counselors, Ahitophel. David knew that he and his people that followed him, including his family was at risk of being murdered by Absalom, and David chose to take flight rather than fight his son. At this juncture, he questions, Ittai, whom he regards as a stranger and one exiled (verse 19), Quo Vadis. David was concerned for the safety of Ittai, who served him, because he instructs Ittai to go back to his place and his king and not put himself at risk.

Ittai response to David’s question is one that ranks with the response of Ruth (another gentile, a Moabite woman) or the Roman Centurion (another gentile, whom Jesus commended as having greater faith than anyone in all of Israel). This is akin to Ruth saying, “I will go where you will go and will lodge where you will lodge, your people will be my people and your God will be my God” (Ruth 1:16) or the Roman Centurion who said, “Lord, just speak your word and it will be so” (Matt 8:10).

Ittai’s response was simple, yet profound.

He said
As long as the Lord lives (which is forever),
As long as the king lives (which was questionable),
In life or in death,
Whereever the king (as his lord/master) is, there Ittai (the servant) will be also.

Paul writes in Philippians 1:21, in living or in dying, it is all about Christ (his LORD and King) when he said, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”.
Ittai demonstrated Faith and Faithfulness. For to Ittai to live was in service to the king (eartly king, David), and to die would have been gain, AS LONG AS THE LORD LIVES.

Point(s) to ponder:
We are gentiles and are adopted into God’s family when we believe in Jesus as the one and only Savior and allow Jesus to be our LORD and MASTER, our King.
If the King is to ask us today, Quo Vadis, (insert your name here)

  1. What will our response be?
  2. Where does our allegiance lie in regards to our life or our death?

Watching and Listening God

Psalm 34:15, 17  reflects some of the character of God.

Verse 15. which reads “The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry” reflect that God is watching and that God is listening.

Verse 17. whcih reads “The righteous cry and the Lord heareath, and delivers them out of all their troubles” accentuates that fact that God is listening and attentive.

However it is imperative to recognize that God’s eyes are ears are focused on those who are righteous. The Bible also states that “our righteousness are like filty rags”, so is God’s eyes and ears on us?
When we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and believe in Him, we are imputed righteousness. This righteousness is the righteousness of God.

So the real question is not, are we righteous, but have we accepted and believed, in the only begotten son of God, Jesus Christ, which will impute righteousness in us, turning the face of God to look on us.

Rahab – in Jesus’ Genealogy

Rahab has been accounted for a few times in the Holy Bible, but did you know that she appears in the ancestry of Jesus?

She is first made known to us in the book of Joshua (Joshua 2), where she shows favor to the two spies that were sent out by Joshua to spy the land of Jericho. She puts her personal safety on line and lies not once, but twice, to the messengers sent by the King of Jericho. The first time she tells them she does not know where these men (Israelite spies) came from (Joshua 2:4), although she knew where they were from (Joshua 2:9-11) and the she tells them that she did not know where they went (Joshua 2:5) while she had hidden them on her rooftop (Joshua 2:6).

She is then mentioned in the book of Hebrew (Hebrew 11:31) along with Joshua and commended for her faith (in action).

Then she is mentioned in the book of James (James 2:25) in the same echelon as Abraham, who is deemed to be the Father of Faith. Faith according to the writer of the Hebrews is defined as “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. Breen and Kallestad in their book, A Passionate Life, state that Faith is a Four Letter Word. It is not spelled ‘r-i-s-k’, but is spelled ‘s-u-r-e’.

Abraham, a Jew was justified by Faith because of his belief. He knew that he and his son would return as he informs his servants, wait here, I am the lad (Isaac, his son) will go and worship and “We“, not “I” will come back (Genesis 22:5). Though he believed he expressed it in his actions. So did Rahab, a gentile, prostitute (harlot) who proselytized of the victory that the Israelite army (army of God) will have the land of Jericho as she expresses, “I know that the Lord has given you this land” (Joshua 2:9). To make the long story short, in due course of time, she and her family was saved when the Israelites took over the land of Jericho. In a sense, you can say if Abraham was deemed the father of Faith, Rahab can be deemed to be the Mother of Faith.

Matthew 1:5 lists Rahab to be in the ancestry of Jesus Christ himself. Wow, what a testimony.

Point(s) to ponder:

  1. When we believe, let us act. First we must believe (Hebrews 11:31 says Rahab believed and so she acted)
  2. Putting our personal safety/comfort/etc on the line in the hands of men for God is not really paying the cost and God promises to be our shield and bulwark.
  3. Jew (Abraham) or Gentile (Rahab), it does not matter, as long as we ACT on our faith
  4. Faith is a four letter word; it is spelled ‘s-u-r-e’, not ‘r-i-s-k’
  5. Can someone call us the father/mother/brother/sister of Faith? Think about it.

The Cross – A symbol of Love yet hated so much

The Cross can be said to be the one and only hope for the redemption of the world, because of the act of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was brutally crucified, bearing our pain, taking our place, wearing our shame on it. God the Father gave his Son (Jesus Christ), 2 pieces of wood and 3 nails and asked Him to build a bridge so that man, who fell from his friendship with God, can once again have access to and communion with God. The 2 pieces of wood when held perpendicular to one another made the shape of the cross and it was not just the 3 nails, but the love of God, that held Jesus to it.

No individual can doubt that the most imponderable thing about Christianity is the paradox of the Cross. Despite the Cross being a sign of God’s love to the world, it has been hated much and has become an object of scorn. Why should an object of immortal infamy and shame symbolize the most glorious and righteous even int the history of man? Philippians 3:18 alludes to enemies of the Cross.

Why is the Cross so repellent to the World? There are 3 reasons

  1. Because it convicts the world of sin
  2. Because it commands the world to surrender
  3. Because it challenges the world to sacrifice

Suffering, Sacrifice and Service – the motifs of the Cross never fail to appeal to the mind of man. These are the imponderable elements of Christianity which makes the paradox of the Cross so ridiculous while at the same time incredulous to man. Apostle Paul rightfully recorded in 1 Corinthians 1:18  “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”

Point(s) to ponder

  1. All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God; Is the Cross of Christ, convicting us?
  2. What is the Cross of Christ commanding us to surrender?
  3. What in our lives is it that encumbers us that the Cross of Christ is challenging us to lay aside (sacrifice)?

Plan B to the Great Commission

I often need to be reminded of a story, I once heard. There was a conversation that took place between the angels of God and Jesus. The angels ask Jesus, “How is the world going to hear of the Gospel?” Jesus responds, “I left 12 men to be my witness, who will tell someone, who will in turn tell someone else, who in turn will tell someone else … until all in the world come to know of it.” The angels question Jesus, “Are you sure you can entrust such a comMISSION (Matthew 28:18-19) with these earthlings, Is there a Plan B?

God has staked His reputation on each on us who have come to know him as Lord and Master and Savior. Are we fulfilling the great comMISSION he has given us to tell others of his love and salvation. Think about it.