We all want God’s mercy. We all need God’s mercy. Mercy has been described as “God withholding from me what I truly deserve.” In the Bible, mercy is tightly interwoven with other disciplines such as grace, forgiveness and reconciliation. When I read the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7 ESV), I have to consider this:
If I expect God to show His mercy toward me, I must express this kind of mercy toward others!
The word “merciful” Jesus uses in this Beatitude means “full of pity, compassionate, acting consistently with God’s covenant.” I find it easier to apply mercy toward those I care about. I find it much more difficult to apply mercy toward someone I don’t like or don’t even know.
As our children were growing up, we strongly believed that it is our parental duty to teach them responsibility and life management principles, even at an early age. It is important that children learn by doing, and while they are doing the task they need to learn the “why” behind the task. As our children grew and developed, we created our Family Chore List. It didn’t work as well as had planned. That is, until we put it on the Fridge.
You’ve made your gift list and planned your Christmas shopping budget. You’ve looked at your calendar to time your purchases. You’ve shopped around for the best prices. But you still have a problem: You have that one person on your list who already has everything. What gift do you get that person for Christmas?
We celebrate Thanksgiving as a special day set aside for giving thanks to God for His wonderful blessings. Most of us have longstanding traditions around Thanksgiving. Many of us will travel to be with family and others will host family members traveling to spend time with us. For most, Thanksgiving is a festive and happy time. For some, the holiday is a reminder of loneliness and emptiness, filled with sadness instead of joy.
Let’s take an honest look at how we actually spend the day. While we call it Thanksgiving, do we really spend the day in an attitude of thanks, meditating on the provisions from God that He freely gives us? Other than the typical extended prayer of thanks offered around the dinner table, I wonder just how much more devotion we give to giving thanks.
It’s Halloween! Tonight, children from all around the neighborhood and beyond will be knocking on our door and asking us for a treat. We plan to be there to grant them their request.
As in every year, we have seen the commercial buildup to this day from manufacturers and retailers alike. We have shopped around to get the best prices and values on traditional candies guaranteed to frustrate many parents while delighting the kids. We even made a weak attempt to carve a pumpkin.
As usual, I have seen the banter about Christians participating in such a day. There are those who argue that Christians must avoid any and all participation, for such would be mingling with the evil that corrupts young minds. Others see no harm in participation in the Halloween festivities. We choose to take the occasion of Halloween to engage people for Christ and with the Word of light and salvation.