Tags: mercy

Mercy

With the thought of mercy, what comes to mind? The cold kindness a bully shows when his victim admits defeat? Or Jesus on the cross praying, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” My guess is that if we could sit down around the same table— and share a meal of memories about […]

The Gospel of Matthew

Two days ago, Steve from West Virginia took time to tell us about the unexpected kindness that he and his son Matt saw at a local Dairy Queen. Their experience reminds me of another Matthew and another story. The New Testament Gospel according to Matthew shows how impressive and memorable mercy is when it shows […]

Forgive?

Does anyone deserve to be let off the hook of a wrong done? After ruining the lives of others, what right does someone have to ask for mercy? If God really does forgive such people—will we ever be able to forgive him? Or if God hasn’t done anything wrong— what are we missing? Maybe Jesus […]

Inexpressible

On the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, it looked as if a cheering crowd had found what it was looking for (Matthew 21:4). Years later, the Apostle Paul wrote under the influence of what happened in the week that followed. Because his readers had heard the story, he didn’t take the time […]

Something in Everything

When you know what to look for, you see it everywhere. An exaggeration to make a point? Yes or no, the idea implies its opposite. The author of the 136th Psalm seems captured by the thought. 26 times in 26 verses he says things like— To him who led his people through the wilderness; His love […]

Unforgivable!

Some of the most difficult words of the Bible come from the mouth of Jesus. For example, he is the one who talked about 2 sins, one against God (insulting the Holy Spirit), the other against one another (an unwillingness to forgive), that he called unforgivable. (Luke 11:18; Matthew 6:15) Writing about the unnecessary suffering a misunderstanding […]

Why Jonah Ran

Be fair to Jonah. His mission was dangerous. Bearers of bad news had been killed for a lot less, even within the borders of Israel. Imagine hearing, “Go to your enemies. The awful ones.  Tell them that in 40 days the God of Israel is going to destroy them.” Yet when the prophet eventually delivered his message, people as evil as […]

The Blessing

Many of us treasure the Bible as an inspired gift from the Creator who wants us to know his love for us— and our need of him. What is just as clear is that those same Scriptures can leave us with the still unfolding Story of a wonderfully good Servant-like God who is calling us […]

Foreshadowing in The Lottery

In 1948 the New Yorker Magazine published one of the most famous short stories in American literature. Titled “The Lottery”, and written by Shirley Jackson, it’s about a small town that held an annual drawing in which every family picked a slip of paper out of a black box. As town people look at one […]

Is God Like the Weather?

Does our Creator change like the wind? The Scriptures describe the One who has made us as being loving, merciful, and compassionate. But then they speak of him as being like a consuming fire, into whose hands we don’t want to fall. Even Jesus might leave us wondering if he speaks with the ever changing […]

Terrorists, Jonah, and Jesus

Terrorists, whether trained abroad or at home, are succeeding in placing themselves center-stage of a global audience. The world is being transformed not by love and peace, but by fear, anger, hatred, and social confusion. Every year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the story of Jonah is read in synagogues around the world. […]

Class Struggle

All over the world there are indicators of class struggle. In elections, protests, looting, crime-rates, joblessness, and unfair wages— ongoing wars of every kind and degree  reflect the struggle between those who have a voice in what happens to them that those who don’t. In the middle of such tensions and conflict, one of the […]

A Story and a Prayer

A friend put me on to reading some 19th century novels by George MacDonald who, according to  Wikipedia, had an influence on such other writers as Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, GK Chesterton, Lewis Carroll, WH Auden, and JRR Tolkien. Even though the 19th century vocabulary and style are not always easy to push through, I’ve […]

Staying with the Story

We need to stay with the story. If we don’t stay with the unfolding drama of the Bible (looking forward to Christ in the first testament—and back to him in the second) we can end up consumed by worry. Take Paul for instance. In the 9th chapter of his letter to the Romans he admits […]

Jonah and the Word of God

He was a Jewish prophet who, in the 8th century before Christ, spoke words inspired by God. His name, Jonah, meant “dove”—a bird regarded as a symbol of peace. The Backstory– He was first known as a prophet who predicted that Jeroboam 2, the tenth king of the northern tribes of Israel, would conquer lands […]

The King of Hearts

According to an online news source, a couple of regular customers of a Loveland, Colorado, fast-food restaurant, ages 52 and 85, ended up in court after disagreeing over a parking space. Assault charges were filed after the younger man swung open the door of his vehicle knocking the older to the ground. As in all […]

Why is God so Angry?

How are we going to explain to our children and grandchildren an angry, fearsome, merciful, compassionate, beautiful Father? The thought lingers in the lyrics of the ancient song we’ve been thinking about together. Reflecting on the passing days of our lives, Moses writes, “For all our days have passed away in Your wrath; we finish […]

Jacob’s Legacy

In All’s Well That Ends Well, William Shakespeare gives us the thought that “No legacy is so rich as honesty.” Two centuries later, a French author by the name of Victor Hugo showed his readers that a legacy of honesty—without grace—can turn us into devils. In his 19th-century novel Les Misérables (i.e., The Miserable), Hugo […]

A Signature Mark of Work in Progress

If there is a progression in Jesus’ Declaration of a New Day, then hungering and thirsting for righteousness bears the seeds of what he says next. “Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.” (Matt 5:7) Showing up for this Operation Rescue is an indication of having seen the undeserved relief of misery that […]

The Heel Snatcher

In Greek mythology, Achilles is a great warrior who dies from a poisonous arrow that lodges in his heel. Prior to his birth, a prophecy had foreseen his untimely and early death. So when he was born, his mother dipped him in the River Styx that was thought to give magical protection. Holding him by […]

Degrees of Sin

Is all sin alike in God’s eyes? Our last conversation about God’s words to Moses—that, to our ear, can sound so self-contradictory (Exodus 34:5-7)— have raised a question about degrees of sin. Seems to me that this lingering thought might help us  reflect on the second half of an ancient quote that seems so unfair […]

Mercy Prayer 2

In commenting on yesterdays first Mercy Prayer post, cbrown wrote: “I would like to share portions of a 9 page letter I received from an inmate I met in prison ministry who has been sentenced to a life sentence without parole. “I can remember like it was yesterday; I cried out Lord,I can’t wait much […]

The Mercy Prayer

In the Discover the Word recording studio today, I’m looking forward to our interview with Robert Gelinas, author of a book that is releasing in the bookstores this week called, The Mercy Prayer. In preparation, I’m finding the book to be surprisingly provocative in the way it develops the tension between mercy and justice. His […]

Grounds for Mercy

A French news report told the story of a young field dog that jumped on its deer-hunting master in a playful show of affection. When the pup’s paw caught the trigger of the hunter’s firearm, the gun accidentally discharged, resulting in the loss of the owner’s hand. The victim later blamed himself for not having […]

Solomon and Jesus

Long ago, a young king of Israel wrote, “Blessed are those who find wisdom, . . . she is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her” (Proverbs 3:13-15 NIV). The Wisdom of Solomon: To this day, we still tell the story of how God appeared to him in a dream and […]

Newtown

The Newtown, Connecticut, killing of 20 children and 6 adults once again raises mind-numbing questions. As is the case of any premature death, or tragic loss, there are no adequate  answers for the grief and anger that follow. No attribution of mental illness, social pathology, cultural storming, demonizing, or finger-pointing can begin to fill the […]

Abandonment

In a biography of Apple founder Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson explores the question of whether the corporate genius ever got over the fact that he was given up at birth by his biological parents. Isaacson quotes co-workers and friends who believe Steve Jobs struggled with a lifelong fear of abandonment. They recall not only his […]

The Middle Song

Why is the shortest 2-verse song and chapter of the Bible (Psalm 117) separated by only one other song (118) from the longest 176-verse song and chapter (Psalm 119)? While guessing that there is  more than trivia and coincidence in such an unusual arrangement of songs, I think I see  additional  irony. As Steve of […]

Globalism, Nationalism, and the Body

Having just returned from meeting with teams of co-workers in several Asia Pacific cities, my mind is jumping ahead a few days to what soon will be happening in synagogues around the world. On Yom Kippur 2011 (October 7-8 on our calendars) Jewish celebrants will once again honor their national Day of Atonement with a […]

Endless Knowledge

Never before have so many people had access to so much information. With human knowledge doubling every few years and search engines like Google and Yahoo! at our fingertips, the potential for learning seems endless. The horizons of knowledge—According to Reuters News Service, the Hubble Space Telescope has found 10,000 galaxies in a window of […]

Why We See Forgiveness Differently

In reading over the previous conversation it’s apparent  that there is still disagreement about the nature of forgiveness. We all know that we need it. But we disagree about when it is appropriate to give it. Our problem is that the Bible, in wisdom, says at least two different things: (1) That forgiveness is to […]

What’s the Point?

As the Gospel writer tells it, Jesus heads for Jerusalem by way of Samaria. When he enters an unnamed village, he is greeted by ten unnamed men who are afflicted with a loathsome physical disease and social curse (Luke 17:11-12). Standing far from the crowd that fears their disfiguring contagion, the ten call out to […]

Auto CEOs and Labor

As CEOs from Detroit’s Big Three appealed to Congress for government relief, a friend sent me a link to a short 3 and 1/2 minute piece of video journalism by the Detroit News. What I found was a compelling story about one of the most sophisticated and efficiently run car manufacturing plants in the world. […]

Pastors and Counselors

A man, much my senior, and someone I consider especially wise, once reminded me that followers of Christ “are called to be “saints”, but not necessarily “sane”. Looking back, I believe his provocative comment reflects the complexity of life in this broken world. The few words that stuck in my mind seem to reflect the […]

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