Psalm 86:2-4 (NIV)
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, Lord, for I put my trust in you.
In the stillness and darkness before dawn after the alarm had been silenced and lounging as long as we could, my husband says, “Hey, we should probably get up.” I laughed, “Why you want to ruin my morning like that? Give me some good news!” His response, “It’s Friday!” Throwing the covers off and swinging my legs over the bed, I quickly jump up to get moving. “Well, in that case…” And so we start our day!
It’s Friday. Each one seems more wonderful than the last at least to me. Surviving a difficult week at work, I am relieved to know that I only have a half day left to endure. When I left the office last night, I was drained. Running in the grocery store, I grabbed a box of chicken as my brain was too fried to cook. Walking past the discounted candy leftover from Easter, I grabbed a bag of jelly beans to drown my sorrow. Please don’t judge me. The carts of candy were next to the wine. It could’ve been worse. After dinner, my husband headed for the gym but I craved some alone time just me and the Lord. Popping in the earbuds and blasting my brain with praise, I grabbed the little dog and headed out on my way. God, I need you. I must finish this season to begin a new one. Why is it so tough right now? Why am I fighting so hard? I need you, Lord! You ever have days like that. It seems that when we are in true crisis, human nature releases every other care and worry for the moment of true danger. But when living ordinary life, it is more difficult to bear the load of each day. When placed in a position where trusting God is our only option, it is easy to choose. But in just living life absent of such desperation, the transition is more difficult. I am a Child of the Living God. My life is subject to His Plan, His Will and His Design. If I choose to live in His Unfailing Love and Mercy each day, I win!
When I came across Psalm 86 this morning like so many other times, it seems brand new. As if in all the other times that I have read God’s Word, this one eluded me. Guard my life for I am faithful to You, Lord. It is an honest plea. Faithfulness is not perfect – it just means that we believe in Him enough to try. He guards me from the abundance of His Love not my ability to always to the right thing or have a good attitude. It’s all about Him and I can place my life there if I choose. Save your servant who trusts you. Why must we be saved over and over again? Salvation comes one, but the process is lifelong. Some believe in one and done. This is complicated to explain but I believe that true salvation comes with a change. Not a change that you or I can master but salvation that includes surrendering our life to Christ so He can change us. We have to trust Him enough to give a part of our life to Him. It is that part no matter how small that He demonstrates His Great Love and Faithfulness to us and we give Him a little more. You are MY God! God has already proven His Love for you and me. It is in this very declaration that we make the connection necessary to have all we have been promised. Have mercy on me, Lord! Now we are finally getting somewhere…
What is mercy? By definition, it is something that gives evidence of divine favor. Divine favor is the abundance of God reserved as an inheritance for His Children.
Lamentations 3:22-24 (NIV)
Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
I have often thought that if people could just see Jesus like I see Him, if they could know Him like I know Him. But then comes the realization that it has not been an easy process. The things that I have gone through that broke the barrier of self that kept me from fully knowing and trusting Jesus have been heartbreaking and hard. I have some scars. Faith comes at the price of self-crucifixion. The bigger they are the harder they fall. Though I have endured some real struggles, because of the Lord’s Great Love (I) have not been consumed for His Compassions (mercies) never fail. Yes, they are new each morning. From time to time, I use them up before noon. Those are the days that it is perfectly within my right to go Jesus and ask for more. His Faithfulness is that great. His Unfailing Love is that vast. He just waits on us to step out of our pride and self-absorption to say, “I can’t do this anymore, Lord. Will you?” It is in that moment that He becomes our portion. It is when we decide this life will no longer do so I will wait on the Lord.
Psalm 30:8-10 (NIV)
To you, Lord, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy: “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness? Hear, Lord, and be merciful to me; Lord, be my help.”
Our youngest child was born with something to prove following four siblings. She was born being told what to do. Most people have a set of parents but she sometimes feels like she has too many to count especially because three of them are much older than her. She has had a few accidents that have landed us at the orthopedic clinic. Most of them prefaced by the words, “I do it myself”. It’s human nature. We are born with selfish pride that makes us want to assert power and control over our life. But when life gives us more than we can handle, it is then we call out to the Lord for help. Sometimes the mercy we grabbed like a giant cup of coffee that morning is used up halfway through the day, we can ask for more. When mercy runs out, it is not a call to stand and fight but rather to retreat.
Psalm 40:11-13 (NIV)
Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me. For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me.
The Lord is not withholding His Mercy from us. His Love surrounds us like a shield. Retreat? Is the Lord telling me to run? Is He implying giving up? No, but when we become overwhelmed in our circumstances it is time to react or respond. To act on the situation is to react, but to act on our faith is the kind of response that allows us to see our situation change. The enemy wants us to rise up in our flesh and begin to speak out of fear, worry, stress or doubt which causes our faith to deteriorate. It complicates things. But when we learn to “retreat” into the Presence of God and regroup before tackling our troubles – it is then we find new mercy to get us through the battle so we will win the war. The Lord will help you in every situation that you surrender to faith not fear!
Psalm 51:1 (NIV)
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Mercy is not about how many times we mess up, but how much God loves us. Think about that for a minute. If His Mercy is equated to His Love, there must be more than enough to cover my present situation. There must be more than enough to get me through each day no matter how difficult and trying. I guess it is not a matter of is there more mercy but how do I get it?
Psalm 69:13-16 (NIV)
But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me.
With all that is within me, I do not understand our daughter’s fascination with her white converse. When I bought them I cringed knowing that they would never be this white again once they left the box. But since her adult sister got hers she wanted them too so I relented. Now I do not picture her sister running all over the school or trudging through the soccer field that is red clay with a little grass on top or doing all the other things a 12-year-old might do, but I knew that is exactly what our youngest would do. I found the filthy shoes in the corner of her room. They were forgotten because they were dirty (can’t imagine how that happened). I took them to the laundry room covered them with a combination of every toxic chemical I could find until I am convinced they were steaming a bit and threw them in the wash. I washed them twice before some of the white could be seen. I then had to take a toothbrush dipped in some Pinterest concoction to work on the tough spots until finally after what seemed like hours of painstaking labor – they looked almost new. I left them on the washer to dry. Haven’t seen them since.
I did not spend all that time cleaning those shoes because I loved them or paid too much for them. I painstakingly labored over them because I love my daughter. I had asked her several times to bring me her shoes to wash them but too busy being a preteen she never did. Sometimes I think we act the same way. So caught up in life, we get covered in the world. God keeps calling us to come closer but we are too busy to relent. But then He finds us tossed aside or hiding in a corner, He carries us into His Presence and begins gently working on us until we are clean and new again. Don’t you love Jesus? This is the time of God’s Favor in your life. It may not feel like you. Things may not look like it but it is nevertheless and in spite of you and me. God sees in us who He created us to be before this world got a hold of us. He is working to renew us, restore us and revive us to that Glorious Standard of living that sin robbed from us. He is ready to rescue us today from whatever has us drowning. Just put up your hand and say Lord out of the goodness of your love – give me more mercy. He will. He’s been waiting for this moment a long time. Your simply request for Him to pour out His Love on you. He will answer. He will give you peace before your position change. He will give you joy in the midst of your situation. But all the while, He will be working all the details of your life according to His Goodness. (Romans 8:28) Oh, what a friend we have in Jesus! Happy Friday!
Titus 3:4-7 (NIV)
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.