Who is God? He is merciful.

Who is God?

He is merciful. Mercy means a person is spared a penalty he actually deserves. The first reference to mercy in the Bible is found in Genesis 19, where God shows mercy to Lot and his family. The angel takes them by the hand and saves their lives—except that Lot’s wife looks back and is punished with death. Lot recognizes God’s mercy. He was spared from death, even though he deserved punishment with the others in Sodom.

God’s mercy is forever.

  • For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations (Psalm 100:5).
  • But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children (Psalm 103:17).
  • In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer (Isaiah 54:8).

Mercy goes with grace—God’s undeserved favor. Being spared a penalty we deserve and receiving totally undeserved favor is what salvation is all about.

  • The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy (Psalm 103:8).
  • Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful (Psalm 116:5).
  • And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil (Joel 2:13).

God is merciful to save sinners.

  • And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner (Luke 18:13).
  • For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more (Hebrews 8:12).

Now, that’s mercy! God doesn’t even remember our sins. How do we react, as Christians? We also show mercy to others, being forgiving, holding no grudges.

The prophet Micah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, put it this way: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8)

When Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan, he described a priest, a Levite, and a Samaritan’s response to a man who’d been robbed and beaten and left to die beside the road. Jesus asked, Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise (Luke 10:36-37).

God is merciful. Praise Him that He spares us from the penalty we deserve.

We should be merciful. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7).

Forgetting others’ sins against you is a huge part of being merciful. Let’s be good forgetters, kind, gracious—immitators of Christ. And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32).

I am thankful God is merciful, aren’t you? Praise Him.

Fiction review: Death the Halls

Death the Halls is one of the Christmas thriller-suspense novellas in the Mistletoe and Murder collection.

Wow! Adam Blumer’s Christmas novella grabbed me from the very first sentence: “Lauren Henry had fantasized about romance during this Christmas break, but she never dreamed she’d end up in the arms of a killer.” It takes off, quite literally, as Lauren is riding on a snowmobile, kidnapped by the man behind her.

The next chapter explains how she knows he is a killer and what happens to her in this just-before-Christmas story. Lauren’s boyfriend, James, is about to meet the family, including Grandma. But, there’s someone already in the house—actually two someones with guns and ski masks. In only a few minutes, one person is dead and another is on the floor, covered in blood. One of the men kidnaps Lauren, while the other guy watches out for her dad and boyfriend.

The action keeps going throughout this murder mystery suspense novel. For me, not only was the story and the pace captivating but also the little details, like the garage of old muscle cars, the woman on oxygen, and a scene at the bank. Who is behind the kidnapping? Why kidnap Lauren?

On Christmas Eve, we find James and Lauren together—at gunpoint. What else happens? You’ll have to read it for yourself.

And as you savor the satisfying ending, you might want to sit next to a fire with a cup of hot chocolate.

This is a wonderful short book, fast-paced, and the ending is perfect. Adam Blumer writes very well. I would definitely recommend Death the Halls. Five stars.

Also, I have read some of the other authors and can hardly wait to read their contributions to Mistletoe and Murder.

Hate mornings? Encouragement for everyone

I am not a morning person. That doesn’t mean I don’t get up and get with it. I do. But, give me a cup of coffee first, and let me stumble around a minute or two before I’m actually functional.

Other people love mornings. They hit the floor ready to roll. Good for them.

Whatever kind of morning person you are, God has some promises and challenges for you.

Let’s begin with the challenges:

  • Communicate with the Lord first thing. My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up (Psalm 5:3). I think of David, Daniel, and Jesus Himself, who sought the Lord each morning. Even if mornings aren’t your best time of day, you can pray before crawling out of bed, dedicating the day to the Lord and asking for His guidance. You can breathe a prayer while you slurp your tea or coffee. Meet Him first.
  • Remember God’s Word in the morning. The Bible is ultimate truth, so it is helpful to refresh our minds in it each morning. I prevented (got up before) the dawning of the morning, and cried: I hoped in thy word (Psalm 119:147).
  • Love the Lord more than you want to see another day. Priorities are so important. God first. The psalmist said, My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning (Psalm 130:6). Jesus admonished His disciples, But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you (Matthew 6:33).

Now, for the promises:

  • But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble (Psalm 59:16). I love that we can praise God for His power, mercy, and his ability to defend and even be a shelter for us.
  • To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night (Psalm 92:2). The context is to praise God in the morning and night for His lovingkindness and faithfulness.
  • If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me (Psalm 139:9-10). This might be a reference to Jonah, but it is so beautiful about how the Lord sees us, wherever we are, and he leads us and holds us.
  • Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee (Psalm 143:8). This prayer for guidance during the day should be our prayer, too.
  • The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned (Isaiah 50:4). Of course, this testimony is given by a prophet, inspired by God, but I love how God will open our ears to hear wisdom and give us words to say. He will do this every day, if we trust in Him.
  • It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness (Lamentations 3:22-23). This one is perhaps my favorite.

God’s faithfulness is constant. His mercies and compassions are new every single morning … even if I haven’t yet drunk my coffee.

May your mornings be blessed.

Scary enough?

Has 2020 been scary enough for you?

Someone even suggested canceling Halloween, since the horror is so real. They have a point.

Covid, hurricanes, fires, earthquakes, landslides, flooding … it’s been one of those years. Nobody wants more horrors.

The mainstream media tries to keep us in fear. I have no idea what is true and what isn’t. Is anyone telling the truth? Who knows?

It has been a difficult year. In January, we were looking forward to blessings. Instead, we got shut down at the beginning of March.

That’s one way to look at it.

Thankfully, there’s another way to see 2020 (the pun just happened).

  • God never changes. For I am the LORD, I change not (Malachi 3:6a).
  • He is faithful. Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God (Deuteronomy 7:9a).
  • The Lord is active in the affairs of His people. The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD’S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men (Psalm 11:4).
  • God rules the world. He ruleth by his power for ever; his eyes behold the nations: let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah (Psalm 66:7).

This doesn’t mean that Christians won’t go through some lean years. These have always happened, and they always will—until the milennium, which will be amazing. (See Revelation 20:2-6.)

Until then, Christians need to trust the Lord. I am preaching to myself, too.

Our family has seen so many answers to prayer since this all started that it’s impossible to ignore the Lord’s hand in our lives. We praise Him.

A friend shared this verse, which seems especially appropriate in this scary year, 2020: In the fear of (respect for) the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge (Proverbs 14:26).

Are you God’s child? But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (John 1:12).

If you have received Jesus as your personal Savior from sin, you have this place of refuge. Be encouraged today.

If you would like to read more about the good news of salvation, you might enjoy this post.

Alone: when you can’t visit Grandma

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there’s a huge problem in nursing homes and retirement homes because of the corona virus measures. People cannot visit their loved ones, and when they do, sometimes they are separated by Plexiglas partitions. No hugs, no touching.

Those with Alzheimer’s and dementia are especially affected by these measures. They can’t understand what is going on. They even forget who their family members are.

And, they are dying. Alone.

Charles Caleb Colton said, “Sometimes a hug is worth a thousand words.” The meme I saw shows two Teddy bears hugging. How much more than a thousand words is a hug for someone who feels abandoned.

I read recently about a husband and wife who are only allowed to see each other something like once a week, and then, they have to be at a distance with a staff member sitting between them.

Something is terribly wrong.

People need their families. They need visits. Elderly people need caring and touching and love.

So do the rest of us, for that matter.

I understand that older people are more vulnerable to Covid19 than the young. They often have underlying health issues, and they’re physically weaker. It would be awful for them to get the virus.

But, it isn’t right for homes for the elderly to be closed off to visitors. It also isn’t right for people not to have any visitors in the hospital.

Social distancing—and I understand the logic behind it—isn’t normal, either.

Jesus physically touched lepers, blind, crippled, and the dumb. He reached out to them. He took the dead by the hand when He raised them. They felt His caring through His touch.

In the early church, people greeted each other with a holy kiss, just as we used to in our church in Spain. Hugs between brethren are normal. Pats on the back or touching an arm are good for us. They are encouraging, warm, and connecting (pardon the pun).

Please understand I am not advocating throwing out all health rules during a pandemic. But, there is a real problem—possibly even worse than the disease—when we can’t visit family, especially our elders.

I don’t know what solutions to advise either. Masks can be very confusing to a confused person. Probably a clear face shield would be better. Wash hands and surfaces. Make sure the staff is healthy. Do everything to keep our elderly people well. But, let them see their families. A huge part of geriatric health is mental health, feeling loved, and the warmth of family.

Someone suggested she would rather die and be with her spouse than to be separated and lonely.

Many people who had Covid and were in the hospital said the hardest part was the loneliness, going weeks without visitors. Several of my personal friends couldn’t visit their handicapped children for months. This is clearly not right.

I think that part of honoring our father and mother is visiting them in their old age.

Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:32).

What do you think?

Any ideas on how to best handle this problem?

Have you or a loved one experienced this? Please feel free to share.