Time and Mercy

JANUARY 21

MATTHEW 5:7_Blessed are the merciful…

What will you look like if you become merciful? Suppose someone has ridiculed and scorned you because you made a choice for moral purity. When that person falls into immorality there is depression, possibly despair. Will you come with mercy? Will you offer a kind word? Words of hope? Will you lay aside the pain done to you? 

There is no bondage quite like immorality. Immorality afflicts the heart and soul. The damage can cause deep destruction. The damage inside the heart and soul spell b-e-t-r-a-y-a-l. This is more than betrayal to someone else’s heart but includes betrayal to your own heart. Most of all God’s purity plan has been betrayed. People in moral bondage need mercy. Immorality comes with guilt. Guilt causes that heart and soul destruction.

True mercy, like that of Jesus, brings with it freedom. To offer mercy without freedom is to place a Band-Aid on a deep wound which requires stitches. A Band-Aid will not stop you from bleeding to death. 

Mercy involves giving lots of something we tend to hoard for ourselves – time.

PRAYER

Merciful Jesus, Help me be merciful and give my time. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ is true mercy—Mercy requires my time!

Mercy, Yes!

JANUARY 20

MATTHEW 5:7_Blessed are the merciful…

When you read or hear the word mercy, what comes to mind? Probably something like pity? Or perhaps, compassion? Both can be closely related to mercy. Do you feel anything a little deeper? Associate the word sacrifice with mercy. See mercy as a righteous, innocent, loving God dying for an unrighteous, guilty, unloving sinner. Amazing!

Let’s put it in closer perspective. Think about bad things you do, or say, or even just think toward another person. Now think of yourself inside of a burning, crumbling house. You have passed out from smoke inhalation and are not able to save yourself. This same person you have treated so badly is walking by and sees the fire, but can’t find you. That person rushes inside risking life to save you. That’s mercy!

Do you want mercy? Mercy, yes! We all want pity at some time, and compassion all the time. What turns those into mercy is you don’t deserve to receive either of them. Guess who was the most merciful person to ever walk the earth? You got it – Jesus!

Jesus did more than risk life for you – He died so you can live forever!

PRAYER

Merciful Jesus, Thank You for bestowing mercy on me when I don’t deserve it. Help me have mercy on the people You bring into my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ has mercy on me—He can help me be merciful

The Empty Spaces

 JANUARY 19

MATTHEW 5:6_for they shall be filled.

Because you have a free will you can choose not to be a righteous person. You can choose to be self-centered, egotistical, all-about-me. Everyone makes those choices from time to time. All choices have consequences. That’s because of God’s great love for you.

Let’s revisit the cause and effect sequence. Good choices equal good consequences and wrong choices equal hard, painful consequences. Do you realize what that means? You can make good choices. God created you with a free will. Hallelujah!

There is hope. If you want righteousness in your life so much you hunger and thirst for it – you will be filled! When you become weary of being spanked by life because of wrong choices, you will turn to God for a rescue. When you are filled with love for Jesus and fall before Him weeping over the pain you’ve caused Him – that’s hungering and thirsting! This kind of hunger and thirst opens up all the empty spaces in your heart that need to be filled.

The filling is a life-long process. The empty spaces become fewer and fewer.

PRAYER

Holy Jesus, Forgive me for any wrong choices I have made in my life. Help me love You and Your people. Help me show Your righteousness to all the people You bring into my life. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ knows my empty spaces – He can fill them!

True Love Cannot Be Forced

JANUARY 18

MATTHEW 5:6_Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…

If we were all created in the image of a righteous God, why is the world so wicked? The answer lies in creation itself. We were all created with a free will. We make our own choices. We are not puppets on a string that can only do their master’s bidding. 

It took a lot of love on God’s part to allow the thing He created to reject Him. But God understood without freedom there can never be love. True love cannot be forced. True love comes freely from the heart.

You can never truly love someone if you have no choice in the matter. By the same token, you can never be truly loved by one who is forced to love you. 

Although you were born with the desire to give and receive love, you were also born with the freedom to choose or reject it. That works with people as well as with God. You may not choose to love God, but from the day of your birth (and even before)He chose to love you. 

Does the same apply to righteousness? You were born in the image of a righteous God. Do you have the freedom to reject righteousness?   

Don’t miss tomorrow!

PRAYER

Righteous God, Thank You for giving me a free will. Help me use it to live in Your image, choosing Your righteousness. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.                    

Christ chose to love me—He can help me love Him!

You Cannot Escape Creation

JANUARY 17

MATTHEW 5:6_Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness…

I love this one! Look at what it says. Don’t you want to be righteous in the depths of your heart? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to go to bed every night and know you’d been righteous that day? Don’t you long for that? Would you even say you hunger and thirst for it? 

If you could choose between playing your favorite game or helping a desperate friend, which would you choose? I trust you would choose the latter. Why? Because no matter how sophisticated, or prominent, or brilliant you may become, you cannot escape creation. 

You were created to know and be in a relationship with your creator – the God in whose image you are made. He is a part of who you are, and He is righteous. Because He is a part of you, the Holy Spirit places in your heart a desire to serve, care for, and have compassion on the people in your life.

I know what you are thinking – there are way too many people who have no desire for righteousness or to be like their creator. Agreed.

Stay with these devotions. All the bases will be covered.

PRAYER

Almighty God, If I have no hunger or thirst for righteousness, please place it in my heart. “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness (Psalm 143:10 KJV). In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.   

Christ is righteousness—He can give it to me!