Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Tempest of Mercy

The clouds gather, dark and threatening. The wind stirs all around while the trees bend and sway. In the distance a rumble is heard. As the noise gets louder, lightning bolts flash across the sky. More claps of thunder and the rain descends. Pelting down upon earth, the water refreshes the dry ground. AHHH! Thank you, God, for rain!
Darkness descends and the clouds seem to linger. A maelstrom of discouragement and disappoint rushes through the house. Grumbling is heard and expressed. As it gets louder, anger explodes. Someone suddenly falls to her knees as tears drop to the floor. Pain-relieving reassurance invades her parched soul, energizing her body. AHHHH! Thank you, God, for Your great mercy!
Have you ever felt the storm of the negative d’s hit your household: discouragement, disappointment, dismay, differences, disputes, disapproval, defiance, dissent, depression, despair? Then take delight in the Lord because His mercy is bigger than all those trappings! Begin living in the land of the “therefores”!
Read 2 Corinthians 11:24-28 below and imagine how many d’s Paul experienced, or did he?
Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches.  (NASB)
Isn’t he the one who stated the following? We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed!  2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NKJV) Paul had literally seen the mercy of God descend upon him at the moment of his conversion, therefore, he completely believed in the grace of God and he desired for others to live in God’s mercy. Read more of the confidence he had in the power of God through Jesus. 
Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart........But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.
Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:1, 13-18 (NASB)
Still not convinced that God’s mercy is bigger than all your problems? Think about Adam and Eve after their disgrace; God promised a righteous seed would spring forth (Gen. 3:15). Think about Noah and how God preserved his family from destruction (Gen. 7-8). Think about the Israelites and how God saved them from the Egyptians and death (Ex. 14). Think about David and the mercy God poured out on him after he committed adultery and murder (2 Sam. 11). Think about Jesus, that righteous seed promised to Adam and Eve, and how He suffered death on a cross so that the world, through belief in Him, could experience His kingdom on earth and live eternally (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).
If you are still unsure about God’s great grace, get on your knees and pray the prayer that Daniel prayed for the Israelites captive in Babylon. He pleaded for mercy from a gracious God. He prayed that God would shine His light on their desolations (their temple, their city, and themselves). He prayed to a compassionate God for forgiveness and restoration. Read Daniel 9:1-19; below is only a portion from verses 15-19 (NASB).
“And now, O Lord our God, who have brought Your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and have made a name for Yourself, as it is this day—we have sinned, we have been wicked. O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous acts, let now Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; for because of our sins and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become a reproach to all those around us. So now, our God, listen to the prayer of Your servant and to his supplications, and for Your sake, O Lord, let Your face shine on Your desolate sanctuary. O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion. O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name.” (NKJV)
Therefore, take delight in the Word of God (Ps. 119:143) even though difficulty may surround you. Soak up the rain of God’s righteousness as it states in Hosea 10:12. (NKJV).
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
Reap in mercy;
Break up your fallow ground,
For it is time to seek the Lord,
Till He comes and rains righteousness on you.
Hear Him say to you the words from Isaiah 62:1-5 (NASB).
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet,
Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness,
And her salvation like a torch that is burning.
The nations will see your righteousness,
And all kings your glory;
And you will be called by a new name
Which the mouth of the Lord will designate.
You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord,
And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,”
Nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”;
But you will be called, “My delight is in her,”
And your land, “Married”;
For the Lord delights in you,
And to Him your land will be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin,
So your sons will marry you;
And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
So your God will rejoice over you.
As the Lord rejoicefully rains down His righteousness on your life, give Him thanks for His outpouring of mercy and praise Him with the words of David. 
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Psalm 23:6 (NKJV)  

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