Archive for April, 2010

Remember Thy Tender Mercies

Remember, O Lord, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindness; for they have been ever of old.

Psalm 25:6

This is a great prayer.  It was great prayer back in David’s day and it is a great prayer right now for me a few thousand years later.  The Bible tells us in Lamentations 3:22 that “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not”.  The only reason that we are still breathing is the tender mercy of the Lord.  The only reason that we can have our sins forgiven is the tender mercies of the Lord.  His tender mercies and lovingkindness are things that we desperately need the Lord to remember.  We have a natural tendency to go astray and rebel against God.  Every day, our sinful flesh finds some new (or old) way to reject Him. 

And yet, through all of that, He still remembers His mercies and He still remembers His lovingkindness.  Our sins deserve punishment, but God is rich in mercy.  He is so merciful that He sent His beloved Son to die for our sins. 

His tender mercies and His lovingkindness aren’t new things, the Psalmist says that “they have been ever of old”.  God has always been a merciful and loving God.  May we flee to Him for mercy when we sin and may we walk with Him and enjoy and be thankful for His lovingkindness!

The Precious Word

And the child Samueal ministered unto the Lord before Eli.  And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.

I Samuel 3:1

In the days of Samuel, the word of the Lord was precious because there was no open vision.  Imagine not having the word of the Lord.  Imagine living in a place or a time where there is no Bible.  Imagine trying to live a Christian life on tiny scraps of the word of the Lord that you had heard from someone else.  Imagine not having the Bible.  The word of the Lord would be very precious.

Fortunately, we do have the Bible.  The word of the Lord is available to us.  We can have as many Bibles as we want.  I was at the Dollar Store the other day and noticed that even they had Bibles.  Not only did they have inexpensive Bibles, they had inexpensive Bibles on CD.  We can have a Bible in our hands, we can read the Bible on the internet, we can listen to the Bible on a CD and we can download the Bible and listen to it anywhere.  The word of the Lord is not rare and scarce like it was in the days of Samuel.  But, in light of the abundant availability of the Bible to us, one question remains: how precious is it to us?  Is it precious to us?  Do we love it and cherish it or does it sit on the bookshelf unread and collecting dust?  How precious is it to us?  Let us be thankful for His Word and let us never forget just how precious of a gift it is.  People of all ages and places have not always had the same access to the Word of the Lord that we have had.

And Can It Be That I Should Gain

And Can It Be That I Should Gain

Written by Charles Welsey (1738)

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore;
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Still the small inward voice I hear,
That whispers all my sins forgiven;
Still the atoning blood is near,
That quenched the wrath of hostile Heaven.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.
I feel the life His wounds impart;
I feel the Savior in my heart.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

I found these lyrics on and found that this great old song has a couple of verses that I had not heard before.  The songbook at my church has only the first, third and fourth verses listed here.  I had heard the last verse sung before, but had not heard the second and fifth verses as listed here. 

“Died He for me who caused His pain- For me, who Him to death pursued”.  That is true- it was my sin that sent Jesus to the cross.  We criticize the Israelites of His day for crucifying Him, but had I been around back then, I likely would have been among the mob shouting “Crucify Him!”  It truly is an amazing love that caused my God to die for me.

“Tis mercy all, immense and free”.  It really is all mercy and nothing but mercy that showed God’s love to me.  I could keep going and going, but I will just let you read the hymn and make your own applications.

What an amazing and powerful song!


The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in king’s palaces.

Proverbs 30:28

Most people seem to have strong feelings about spiders.  Most people seem to either hate or fear spiders.  Personally, I don’t mind spiders.  I’ve always thought at a tarantula would be an interesting pet.  Now I don’t think I would want one crawling all over me, but I don’t mind spiders.  Snakes are the creatures I fear.  But most people don’t give spiders much thought other than to step on one when it comes across our path.  But the Bible has something to say about spiders and therefore, there is something that we can learn from spiders.

This verse about spiders is included in a list of four things that Proverbs 30:24 describes as being “little on the earth,  but they are exceeding wise”.  Most spiders aren’t very big or powerful.  And yet you find them everywhere.  This verse tells us that they are found in “king’s palaces”.  How does a little, insignificant spider get into king’s palaces?  By “taking hold with her hands”. 

Have you ever noticed what happens when you destroy a spider’s web?  Does the spider have a temper tantrum and demand that you rebuild it?  After all, the spider’s web is essential to its survival.  Does the spider sit in the corner and mope and cry over all the work it put into the web?  Actually, I don’t know if the spider does any of these things as I am not an expert on spider behavior.  But I seriously doubt that it does.  When you destroy a spider’s web, what usually happens?  You come back the next day and the web is back.  The spider just picks up the work and keeps coming back. 

There is a great lesson for us here.  When things don’t go our way, how do we react?  Do we mope and whine or do we just keep working?  The reason a spider can be found in the king’s palace is her dogged determination.  You can destroy her web 50 times and, the next day, she will build web #51.  How many times in the New Testament were the Apostles beaten and imprisoned and persecuted?  And yet every time, they would simply shake off the dust and keep doing what the Lord wanted them to do.  Whatever God has given you to do, keep at it!

He Restoreth My Soul

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalm 23:3

Going through life, our souls tend to get damaged.  Sometimes they just get burdened down and sometimes they get wounded; sometimes they get marred by sin, and sometimes they get weak.  But the Lord, referred to in this Psalm as our Shepherd, restores our souls.  It is he that heals the broken hearted and restores our souls to fellowship with Him. 

He leads us in the paths of righteousness and He does that for His names’ sake.  He isn’t going to lead us down a dead end road.  How often do we see other people (or even see ourselves) headed down a dead end road in life?  We can see that the direction they are going is only going to produce heartache and despair.  We can see that they are headed in the wrong direction, and yet they (we) still stubbornly insist on going that way.  So many people seem completely and totally intent on destroying themselves.  I know that I have been there.  I have been headed down a dead end road in life; I am just thankful that I serve a merciful God who is “my Shepherd”.  I am glad that the Shepherd didn’t abandon this sheep to wander in the wilderness of sin, but came looking for me to bring me back to Himself.  I am glad I have a Great Shepherd who is able to restore my soul.  I am glad He is leading me in the paths of righteousness.  Oh, that we would just allow Him to lead us in that path of righteousness!  Follow Him!

Handfuls of Purpose

And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:  And let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her, and leave them, that she may glean them, and rebuke her not.

Ruth 2:15-16

In the Old Testament days, when the farmers went out to harvest their fields, they were told not to get every last ear of corn or piece of grain.  They were to leave some for the poor people to glean.  Ruth, who was a widow from Moab who had come back to Israel with her mother in law, was one of these poor people who was gleaning the corn in the field of Boaz. 

Boaz was kind to her and had a generous heart and told the reapers to not bother her.  But, to me , his greatest kindness came in verse 16 when he tells his men to “let fall also some of the handfuls of purpose for her”.  Ruth was just out trying to get enough scraps to keep her and her mother in law from starving.  But Boaz told men not only to let her have the “scraps”, but also to drop some of the good ears of corn for her have.  These “handfuls of purpose” may have seemed to Ruth to be mere accidents and good fortune, but they were the direct result of the kindness of Boaz.

In the Bible, Boaz is a type of Christ.  How many times in our lives has Jesus given us some “handfuls of purpose”?  How often have we needed something; sometimes just a little encouragement?  And how often has the Lord come through with exactly what we need, even though to an outsider it may just seem like a small thing?  An outsider might just think we’ve “gotten lucky”, but we know that it is the Lord giving us another “handful of purpose”.  We should watch for these little blessings from the Lord in our lives and thank Him accordingly.

No King, No Rules

In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Judges 17:6 and 21:25

To me, the book of Judges is a sad book.  God had given the Israelites the Promised Land and had driven out their enemies.  And yet they still continued to rebel against Him and they continued to worship Baal and other false gods.  The great leaders Moses and Joshua were gone and the nation of Israel had degenerated into a cycle of 1. Worship other gods.  2. Bring judgment on themselves.  3. Cry to God for deliverance.  4. Be delivered.  5. Return to worshipping other gods.  6. Repeat the cycle.  The Israelites would cry out to God in their distress and He would send a judge to judge them. 

As I was reading through the book of Judges the other day, I noticed that the exact same verse was repeated in chapter 17 verse 6 and chapter 21 verse 25. “In those days, there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes”.  When the Bible repeats a verse, it is wise to pay attention to what it is saying.  Basically, this verse tells us that there was no king in Israel and so the people pretty much did whatever they wanted. 

God was supposed to be their king, but they had rejected Him.   Anytime we have no “king” in our lives, we tend to do whatever we want.  When we do not submit to God’s authority, it opens the floodgates of sin.  We know what happened when the Jews rejected their King by saying “we have no king but Caesar”.  It is no different when we reject Him.  When we are in submission to our King, we are not going to do “that which is right in our own eyes”.  We are going to do the King’s service.  The question to ask ourselves is this: are we doing that which is right in our own eyes or are we submitting to the King?.  Food for thought.

Why Have I Found Grace In Thy Sight?

Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said unto him, Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?

Ruth 2:10

As soon as I read this verse, I thought to myself that this should be my prayer.  “Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a stranger?”  What a great and fitting prayer for us.  God has been so good and merciful to us.  The Bible says that “by grace are ye saved through faith”- we have found grace in His eyes.  We have found the abundant and amazing grace of which John Newton wrote about.  We have found the “marvelous grace of our loving Lord”.  We have found “grace that is greater than all our sins”.  We have surely found grace, and none of us is deserving of that grace.  We are, by nature, strangers to God.  We are even by nature the enemies of God.  “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” – Ephesians 2:4-5.

When you think about it, why should a holy, almighty God take knowledge of us- vile, sinful men?  Of course the answer is that He loves us- He loves us so much that He gave Himself for us.  We should always live in a state of thanksgiving for His grace and mercy to us.  Like Ruth, that very thought should drive us to fall our faces and bow ourselves to the ground in humble submission to Him!

He Laid Down His Life

Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.  No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.  This commandment have I received of my Father.

John 10:17-18

I was preparing for a lesson the other day about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, and these verses really stuck out to me and I’ve been thinking about them ever since.  Jesus tells the people here that His life is not going to be taken from Him on the cross, but that He is going to lay it down of Himself.  Think about that.  Never did a man die like that.  No man ever laid his own life down, much less take it up again.  That was the power that Jesus had.  We may speak of some hero “giving his life” to save someone else, but that does not even come close to describing what Jesus is talking about here.  Jesus says that He has power to lay His life down and He has power to take it up again. 

In the second part of John 19:30, Jesus says “It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost”.  He gave up His life.  It was not taken from Him.  At any point during the awful trial, at any point during the scourging, at any point during the crucifixion itself, He could have stepped down, healed Himself and destroyed all those who opposed Him.  The Jews and the Romans thought they were taking His life, but they were mistaken.  He was laying it down.  He was laying it down for you and me.  He was giving Himself as a perfect, spotless sacrifice for our sins.  Oh what a Savior!

Fools Crying to the Lord

Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted.  Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.  Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses.  He sent his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.  Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.

Psalm 107:17-21

I find this to be an amazing passage.  I can understand that the Lord would hear the cry of the righteous man who is doing his best to live uprightly.  But this passage is talking about a fool who is afflicted because of their own foolishness.  They have sinned- it is because of their transgression and their iniquitiy that they are afflicted.  They hate anything good and they draw near to death.  And in that condition, a condition of sinful, self-inflicted destruction, they cry unto the Lord.  “And he saveth them out of their distresses”.  Wow. 

Not only does He save us and deliver us from the destruction of our own making, He sends His Word to heal us.  Wherever it may be that we find ourselves, be it in the valley of the shadow of death or be it at the gates of death, if we cry out to Him, He will respond.  Even after we reject Him and sin against Him and bring afflictions and destructions on ourselves, He still stands ready to deliver us. 

What a great and amazing God we serve.  We sin and we rebel against Him and we reject Him and yet He still stands ready to forgive us, ready to deliver us, ready to help us and ready to heal us if we will just turn to Him and call upon Him.  Oh that we would praise the Lord for His goodness!