How great are the tender mercies of our God. “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.” How unlike us He is. We, in our dealings with each other, are prone to be ungracious, quick to become angry, and short on mercy. But He calls upon us who know Him to manifest His character. “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” To Him “belong mercies and forgivenesses.” So “be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love.” Let it not be said of us that “they remembered not the multitude of Thy mercies,” but rather, “let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart.” Let the assurance of His tender mercies comfort our hearts. He “crowneth thee with loving-kindness and tender mercies. … He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.”
Merciful and gracious, full of compassion, Yet righteous and holy is our God above, Dealing with us in tenderness and kindness, Never forsaking His grace and His love.
If the believer is to please and honor his Lord, there are not only certain things which he must pursue and follow by the grace of God, but there are also certain things which he must refuse and deny. We are called to “ever follow that which is good,” and to “follow after the things that make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” We need to “seek peace, and pursue it.” But the grace of God is also constantly “teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” And rather than be ensnared by “the love of money,” we instead ought to “flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness.” We who know the Lord are responsible to refuse and deny sin in our lives and associations. “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” For needed power to do this, “put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.”
If we would live for Christ’s glory, And walk with Him in the way, We must deny all sin’s wooings, Taking grace from Him each day.
Blessed indeed are they who wholeheartedly seek to obey the Word of God. To do so is to seek Him, our blessed Lord, who said that “the Scriptures … are they which testify of Me.” “Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.” To “keep His testimonies” is to honor Him. He said, “If ye love Me, keep My commandments,” and “if a man love Me, he will keep My words.” “Blessed are they that keep judgment, and he that doeth righteousness at all times.” Truly, “blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Be sure that “ye are doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. … A doer of the work … shall be blessed in his deed,” for “blessed are they that hear the word of God, and do it.”
Hear the Word, and do it; Fail not its plea to heed; Your Lord shall be honored, And you’ll be blessed indeed.
A joyless Christian is a powerless Christian, both in maintaining his own life and in communicating help to others. God wants His joy to grip our hearts, no matter what state of things may surround us. “Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.” The Lord desires us to be “exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.” He desires to “fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Much joy ought to be connected with our salvation, and only broken fellowship with the Lord can rob us of that joy. When that happens, let us come quickly to the Lord in confession, praying, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit.” Hard circumstances and bitter trials ought not to nullify our joy in the Lord, for we can be “as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing.” Therefore, “count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations [testings].” “My soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in His salvation,” and thus “with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation,” finding that “the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Joy when the heart is burdened, Joy when trials we face, Joy in the Lord’s great mercy, Joy in Him and His grace.
God wants the hearts of His redeemed people to be filled with His own “peace always by all means.” He is “the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” On the night before the cross, our Lord said to His own, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Peace is just the opposite of agitation and fear. God does not want us to be continually stirred up about our problems or our circumstances. He wants us to have His peace in our hearts, irrespective of our circumstances. He has told us to “be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” So “let the peace of God rule in your hearts … and be ye thankful.” “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusteth in Thee.”
Peace when there is trouble? Peace when the heart is sore tried? Yes, His own peace to guard us, When we in Jesus abide.
The love with which we are called upon to love one another is not mere human love, so easily offended and cooled; it is, rather, “love in the Spirit.” It is “the love of God … shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” It is the same love by which “was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” With this “love of God” in our hearts, we can love those who are unlovely, and we can love even if it is unrequited. And we can love sacrificially, without counting the personal cost. For to love with “the love of God” is costly, not merely in material things, but in many other ways. It can involve great burden and heartache. “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
How can we love the unlovely? How can we manifest God’s grace? By looking at our Lord in the Scriptures, And joyfully beholding His face.
God wants His children to live peacefully, and He has admonished us to “follow peace with all men.” Such an aim and pursuit will result in blessing to our own hearts, “for he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it.” This being the case, “let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.” Even so, “peace with all men” may not always be possible, so “if it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” We cannot have “peace with all men” by lowering our Biblical standards of conduct, for “the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable,” and whether or not all men are peaceable with us, we should always seek to live by the standards of God’s Word, and “when a man’s ways please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?” “Great peace have they which love Thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”
How can we be peaceable In a world that knows not His name? By constantly “looking to Jesus,” Being willing to bear His shame.
Living in and tempered by a materialistic society, it is hard to comprehend that one’s “life consisteth not in … abundance” and in “things.” It can even reach the point where we are “supposing that gain is godliness.” But we are not to “trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy.” “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” Not only are “things” transitory, but they are also unsatisfying, and “better is little with the fear of the Lord, than great treasure and trouble therewith,” and “better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.” Let us never imagine that “abundance” brings happiness, or that “things” produce spirituality. If God is pleased to give an “abundance of … things,” let us be sure that “the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches” do not “choke the word” and its ministry in our lives. Rather, “be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
Things and pleasures always beckon And entice the child of God, But they give no lasting pleasure, Which comes as we obey His Word.
As important as the substitutionary death of Christ is, His bodily resurrection is of equal importance, for the gospel message, by which we are saved, is “how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Would it not be an awful thing for us believers to contemplate that we “are yet in [our] sins”? But we “by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that [our] faith and hope might be in God.” For “He was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.” And His resurrection not only assures our salvation, but assures us also strength to live for His glory, for when we trusted in Christ as Savior, we were by the Holy Spirit “baptized into His death … that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection,” “that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection.”
We shared His death, and we share His life, Jesus, our Savior and Lord; He gives us the strength to live for Him, Strength by the Spirit and Word.
We never know how many stooping hearts we meet from day to day, heavy with sorrow, weighted down with difficulties, perplexed by unsolved and seemingly insoluble problems. We must, of course, be walking in close fellowship with the Lord in order to know how to speak “a good word” at the right time and thus be able to say that “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.” So we are told to “let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Thus shall we be able to speak “a good word” to make someone’s heart glad. And not only will it bless others, it will also bring blessing to us as we speak the “good word,” for “a man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!” So “let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” “So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be judged by the law of liberty,” the Word of God.
Only a word, so quickly spoken; Only a word, what will it be? A word to help, a word of courage, A word to last for eternity.