Be Merciful

“So Joseph said to his brothers, “come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life.” Genesis 45:4-5

“The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103: 8-12

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” Luke 6:35-36

These verses are a part of the Scripture readings that we will be hearing read tomorrow in the Divine Service. There is a beautiful, comforting theme that runs through them. First Joseph forgives his brothers and draws them to himself. Then the Psalmist tells just how far God removes our sins from us. And we hear Jesus’s words to his disciples to love those who seem impossible to love–their enemies. Acts of mercy. Words of forgiveness. I know how much I deserve God’s wrath, but instead I hear him say, “Come near to me. I forgive you. Go and be merciful too.”

Lord God, you do not treat me as my sins deserve.  Your Word instructs me in your way, but I often fail in following it.  When others sin against me I fail to be as gracious and merciful as you are to me. 

 Forgive me, Lord and help me to forgive those who sin against me.  Just as Joseph did not hold his brothers in contempt, let me also let go when I am wronged.  Let your grace and mercy rule in my heart, for Jesus’s sake, I pray.  Amen.

Who do you need to forgive?

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March 10 When The Rooster Crows

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Image by Matt Gruber

Numbers 14:1-15:16;  Mark 14:53-72;  Psalm  53:1-6;  Proverbs 11:4

“And immediately the rooster crowed a second time.  And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him,

‘Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’

And he broke down and wept.”

Mark 14:72

 

Rooster crows

in the dead of night

while denial words

spill from Peter’s mouth–

 The Lord stands strong.

 

Rooster crows

marking a disciple’s humanity

as he claims no

knowledge of his Rabbi Lord.

Yet his Savior wavers not

under

accusations false and

blows given hard.

 

Two times the rooster crows

and prophecy’s fulfilled.

Jesus’ words

spoken in love

shatters Peter’s

fragile loyalty

and renders him

a sorry, sobbing

man in need of

a Savior.

 

“The church of God has great need of these examples.  For what would become of us if Peter had not denied Christ and all the apostles had not taken offense at Him and if Moses, Aaron and David not fallen?  Therefore God wanted to console sinners with these examples and to say: ‘If you have fallen, return; for the door of mercy is open to you.  You who are conscious of no sin, do not be presumptuous;  but both of you should trust in My grace and mercy.”  ~Martin Luther

Lord Jesus, when you stood strong under persecution, Peter failed to.  Because you stood strong, Peter was not defeated by his denial of you.  Because you stood strong and true to your mission to suffer and die on our behalf, we too, need not be defeated by our sins, our denials, our weaknesses.  Thank you for saving us, for loving us, for being with us when we “fall.”  Thank you for drying our tears.  Thank you that the last sound we will hear will not be the rooster crowing, but your words, “Father forgive them.”  For your grace and mercy we are forever grateful.  In your name we pray, Amen.

 

 

“The church of God has great need of these examples

July 13 Amok

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Art by Martin Bryce

 

1 Chronicles 15:1-16;  Romans 1:18-32;  Psalm 10:1-15;  Proverbs 9:6

Life without God is life run amok–life without control of oneself–life that spirals down, down, down.

“And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.  They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice.  They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”   Romans 1:28-29

We can’t stop ourselves, but God can–and did!

He sent His son, whose life never spiraled out of control, who remained obedient to His Father, who went to the Cross, who rose from the dead, who lives in us by faith.

Jesus–in us–stops us from running amok.

Lord God Heavenly Father, without you our lives would be run amok.  We’d have no hope.  We’d be slaves to sin.  But praise be to You, that you sent your dearly loved Son, Jesus, to stop the downward spiral of sin in our lives.  Thank you for  saving us from running amok.  Thank you for removing our sins of gossip, slander, faithlessness, heartlessness, disobedience and deceit (among others!).

This day, Lord, may we look to you to live by faith, to be filled with your Spirit, to reach out to those who need your message of hope.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen

“Sing to the Lord, all the earth, proclaim his salvation day after day.  Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.  For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.”    1 Chronicles 16:23-26