30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 19 – Our God of Compassion

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

His compassion reaches across our imperfection and places His own righteousness upon us.

Scripture of the Day:

Psalm 145:8

“The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.”

Lamentations 3:22

“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.”

Before a Holy God we could not stand, but the grace of God. The LORD set a perfect standard because He is Holy. To settle for less would compromise His righteous, perfect nature. He knew we could never meet His Holy law, so He met it Himself.

His compassion reaches across our imperfection and places His own righteousness upon us. When we fail, He lifts us up. When we hurt, He hurts.

It is impossible for God Who is perfect kindness and mercy personified – to be incompassionate. Jesus demonstrated His compassion when He wept over Lazarus’ death, even though He knew full well that He would raise him from the dead. God the Father gave His only Son for an obstinate people because He loved them so very much.

He is longsuffering and waits on us to come to Him. Despite His overwhelming compassion, we have a choice and can choose not to accept His salvation. The question is, why would we choose death when life in Christ is full of grace and love from a compassionate, merciful God?

At the end of ourselves, we look up and see our Father, offering His free gift of salvation.

Truthful Tuesday: Blessed to Bless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Sam 5:12

“David realized that the LORD had established him as king over Israel and that he had elevated his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.”

2 Sam 7:8, 18-22

“So now, say this to my servant David: ‘This is what the LORD of hosts says: I took you from the pasture and from your work as a shepherd to make you leader of my people Israel.  18 King David went in, sat before the LORD, and said, “Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you should have brought me to this point?  19 And you didn’t stop there, O LORD God! You have also spoken about the future of your servant’s family. Is this your usual way of dealing with men, O LORD God?   20 What more can David say to you? You have given your servant special recognition, O LORD God!   21 For the sake of your promise and according to your purpose you have done this great thing in order to reveal it to your servant.  22  Therefore you are great, O LORD God, for there is none like you! There is no God besides you! What we have heard is true!”

Overcome by God’s goodness, David poured out his heart in a moment of beautiful abandon.  He recognized God’s blessings and realized that he was not worthy.  His response was so beautiful – worship in action.  He dedicated to God fully what was given to Him, ruled in humility and righteousness, showing favor and honoring even his former enemy’s crippled son, Mephibosheth.  Ultimately, he saw that God’s blessing was not for Him, but for God’s people, Israel.

He was wealthy and in the highest position of the land, but he chose to identify with and respect the lowly.  Sounds a lot like his Heavenly Father.  Demonstrating kindness and mercy, God honored David further, providing protection, favor and victory everywhere he went.

It’s a funny thing about blessing.  When we give away what we are given, we receive even more because we cannot out give God.  Do we perceive all that He has done for us?  Probably impossible to do so, but contemplate for a minute the gift of life and what He has given us.  Once we begin to see a glimpse of what He has bestowed upon us physically and spiritually, the key is not only in recognizing all of the blessings in our lives, but in not expecting them.

David had already learned the lesson that God was Holy and although He loves us, we should not take for granted His favor and become casual with His requirements.  The ark of God was not a trinket to be handled and God’s presence not something to be casual with, either.

What we have was not ours in the first place, but hanging onto those blessings is where idolatry can slip in if we let it. Each blessing, once acknowledged, becomes even more when it is surrendered back to God to be used how He sees fit.  Along with David, we have an opportunity to see that what we are given is not about us at all, but about those who God brings along our path.

David knew all too well what hardship was, which also produced a sincere gratitude for the tremendous blessings God brought about.  When we remember what we were when He called us, that makes us all the more grateful for each blessing He has bestowed; a beautiful offering given back to the One Who gave it to us in the first place.

The Context of Promises

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Jeremiah 29:10-11 “For the Lord says, ‘Only when the seventy years of Babylonian rule are over will I again take up consideration for you.  Then I will fulfill my gracious promise to you and restore your homeland.  11  For I know what I have planned for you, says the LORD.  I have pans to prosper you, not to harm you.  I have plans to give you a future filled with hope..'”

Jeremiah 30:10 “So I, the LORD, tell you not to be afraid, you descendants of Jacob, my servants.  Do not be terrified, people of Israel.  For I will rescue you and your descendants form a faraway land where you are captives.  The descendants of Jacob will return to their land and enjoy peace.  They will be secure and no one will terrify them.  11 For I, the LORD, affirm that I will be with you and will rescue you.  I will completely destroy all the nations where I scattered you.  But I will not completely destroy you.  I will indeed discipline you, but only in due measure.  I will not allow you to go entirely unpunished.”

We all fondly cherish God’s promises, in particular the very popular verse found in Jeremiah 29:11.  We all want to believe, especially in dire times, that God does have a future and a hope for us.  Yet we often ignore the context of such promises.  Just before the wonderful promise of Jeremiah 29:11, God is letting Israel know that they are about to get a big spanking (ok, that is greatly minimizing being made eunuchs and taken into captivity 70 years).  In that moment of promised retribution, He also injected encouragement and a promise of good things to follow the hardship about to visit His chosen people.

This reminds me of how much I detested punishing my children when they were young, but the folly bound in their hearts had to be purged, in order to get to the blessings in store for a child who would walk in wisdom.  My heart deeply desires blessings for my children, but sometimes the road to blessing is paved with discipline.  The one who disciplines is often viewed in a harsh light.  Why can’t sin just be overlooked and we still get our reward?  Because God knows that treasuring sin will ultimately destroy us.  If we excuse sin, we allow it to live in our members and grow.  Dealing with sin as it should be dealt with is actually a kindness and brings life.

Discipline is never meant to be rejection, but rather restoration of our relationship to God.  Living in the moment, we can neglect to see the larger picture of God’s activity in the lives of His people.  Perspective of hardship is altered when we recognize it is but one piece of fabric in the large quilt of our lives.  Herein lies a bittersweet truth: We cannot claim the promises of God without claiming what precedes and follows them.  Will we be a sunshine Christian, only praising God when blessings come, or a faithful follower, during blessings and hardships?  Trusting His character, we can have eyes to see that what He permits is truly always for our good and achieving something far greater than what we see on the surface.

This morning, I was contemplating the fourth poor soul awaiting execution by ISIS, displayed for the world to see.  Wanting to cling to God’s promises through this crisis, I asked my children to pray with me for this man and for God to show Himself strong in this situation.  I asked that God would strike the executioner dead and inject a fear of God in this vile enemy.  My daughter then injected a prayer of her own – “can we pray that they would be saved, too?”  I was at once humbled.  Could I pray that?  Is it possible that even this wicked organization could be saved?  God knows.  But while we wait for God’s deliverance, we have to trust that even these difficult times serve a purpose – God will not waste this sufferingOn the other side of every atrocity in history, there is a plan of redemption all for God’s gloryThat is where I place my hope this morning – in the context of God’s promises.

Oh Lord, just as You were sovereign and Almighty when Paul was murdering Christians, You are the same All-powerful, All-seeing, All-knowing God who can convert a murderer into a man of God used by You to save many.  Lord, I want to see You glorified in these times.  Help us to understand and endure all hardship as discipline from a loving father.  Please defend your people all for Your magnificent glory!!