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Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

Matthew 20

October 5, 2009 Leave a comment

choke holdMatthew 20

Have you ever been in need? Have you ever required mercy? Maybe you’ve wrestled with your dad or a sibling, and they put you in a hold you couldn’t get out of. They wouldn’t let you out till you cried “uncle” or “mercy.”

That’s not what I’m talking about, however. As Americans, most of us don’t really know what it is to be in need. Even if our families struggle financially, most of us are still wealthy when compared to the rest of the world. Chances are you didn’t worry whether you would eat today. You have probably never feared being thrown in prison and tortured. Most of us have never come within inches of death.

We don’t understand mercy.

Yet all of us are in need of it. All of us have sinned (Romans 3.23), and therefore, we all deserve eternal death (Romans 6.23). We are all in need of Jesus’ mercy to save us.

The two blind men knew what it was to be in need. Since they couldn’t see, they couldn’t work. Since they couldn’t work, they couldn’t make money to buy food, clothes, shelter, etc. Anyone could easily take advantage of them. They were vulnerable. They lived in fear.

They cried out to Jesus for mercy. Jesus had compassion on them and gave them their sight.

Perhaps, we are the ones who are actually blind. We don’t see that we are in need of mercy. We don’t see that we are lost without Jesus. Until we do, can we really experience Christ’s mercy?

Realize that you are in need. You will experience eternal death without Jesus. But he died so you could live. If you cry out to him and are united with him (Romans 6.3-7), he will rescue you.

 

Prayer for Today

Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me. Amen.

 

“Hear my prayer, O LORD; listen to my cry for mercy.” Psalm 86.6

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Matthew 12

September 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Matthew 12

God gave the Israelites Ten Commandments to live by. Number four on that list was to keep the Sabbath holy. God took six days to create the earth, and on the seventh day, he rested. Likewise, he wanted his people to work hard for six days, and then rest on the seventh. They were to dedicate that day to the Lord by not working. Seems like a good idea and a pretty easy idea to follow.

But just like the other commands God gave them, many religious leaders took it to the extreme. They began defining what constituted “work.” So then you have all these extra rules saying what you can and can’t do on the Sabbath. In the midst of all these rules, the people had lost the meaning of the Sabbath: to recharge after a hard week by resting and spending time with God.

So here comes Jesus and his disciples. They’re hungry and have nothing to eat. So they find a field with some grain. They pick a little bit and eat it. Then the religious leaders get mad at Jesus because it’s the Sabbath, and they’re not supposed to do any work.

After this, Jesus goes to the synagogue (a Jewish place of worship) and heals a man with a crippled hand. Again the religious leaders get mad at Jesus because he “worked” on the Sabbath.

Jesus quotes the prophet Hosea: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice,” (Hosea 6.6). The Israelites in Hosea’s day had grown rich by taking advantage of the poor. But they thought they were okay because they worshiped God on the Sabbath. They followed the “rules” and offered the required sacrifices.

But God told them their worship wasn’t okay, because they didn’t show mercy to the poor. Instead of helping the poor, they oppressed them. God demanded justice—that those with plenty help those in need. Until the Israelites did this, their worship, their sacrifices, their rule-following meant nothing.

Jesus reminds the Pharisees (and us) of what God desires. Yes, we are to follow God’s ways, but his ways include showing compassion on those in need. He demands that we help those who are hurting or hungry or helpless.

How can you help those in need? Who do you know that needs help? Think and pray about how you can show mercy and justice to those in need. You can find a list of resources for helping others below.

 

Prayer for Today

Father, you have shown great mercy to me by forgiving my sins. Help me to show mercy to those around me who are in need. Open my eyes to the needs of others. Thank you for loving me so much that you gave your Son to die in my place. Help me to take your love to others. Amen.

 

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1.27

 

World Vision helps children in poverty around the world and fights against AIDS. There are many ways to help. You can sponsor a child for $35 a month, or give one-time gifts for as little as $10. You can even buy things that families in poverty need, such as a goat or chicken. Just click here.

Compassion International You can sponsor a child in need for only $38 a month.

http://www.freerice.com You can give rice to people in need just by playing a game. And it doesn’t even cost you anything!

http://www.freepoverty.com You can help people get access to clean water sources by playing a game online. And this doesn’t cost you anything either!

http://www.mojuproject.com/ Feed an orphan in Africa for an entire month by purchasing a T-shirt.

http://www.tomsshoes.com For every pair of shoes you buy, TOMS will donate a pair to a child in need.