His mercies — help when we need it

So then, what would our lives be without the mercies of God? Weighed down with guilt, adrift with no guidance, without a refuge or any help — pretty much on our own.

But we are not left to struggle through life on our own! Surrounded by God’s unfailing compassion, we see new mercies every day. They never stop coming. His mercies follow us all the days of our lives.

Hebrews tells us that Jesus faced all the same testings we do, so He understands everything we are going through.

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most (Hebrews 4:16).

Today, whatever each of us is struggling with — He understands. We can ask confidently and boldly for His help.

That’s the promise of His mercy.

No wonder our Song of Mercy ends with:

So rejoice in the LORD and be glad, all you who obey him!
Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!
(Psalm 32:11)

What joy for those whose hope is in His mercy.

 

*

Psalm Prayer:

Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
(Psalm 51:1)

*

© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, Lana Turner, and Mary Jane Smith for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Surrounded

This world is an uncertain and dangerous place. It was for the disciples Jesus left on this earth, and it is for us today. It’s the realm of the enemy! And when I think beyond the earthly realm to the spiritual—even greater dangers seek to attack and destroy us there. Yet our Father leaves His children here, to walk through a dark world and do battle with evil powers and principalities.

Ah, but that’s not the entire picture. Here’s the complete picture:

Many sorrows come to the wicked, but unfailing love surrounds those who trust in the LORD. (Psalm 32:10)

The mercy of the Lord! His love constantly surrounds us. It’s interesting that the well-known verse from Psalm 23—“surely goodness and mercy…”—is sometimes also translated as goodness and unfailing love or kindness and gracious love.

The mercies of God flow out of His love for us, surrounding us every step of our way.

No wonder the songwriters of Psalms constantly say, “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear” (Psalm 118:6) and speak of the Lord as the light in our lives, a shield, and a stronghold.

He is not only our protection, but the one who crowns our days with blessings.

His mercies lighten our loads, invigorate our steps, and open our ears to His voice and our eyes to the glory of His heavenly realm.

Surely, His love will cover our journey with His help and kindness all the days of our lives.

Our hope walks on, sure of His loving mercies.

 

 

Psalm Prayer:

Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
(Psalm 51:1)

*

© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, Lana Turner, and Mary Jane Smith for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Guide, Advisor, Bodyguard

Where would you be without God’s mercy? I did have a neat, precise outline for this week’s meditations based on Psalm 33, but as I review these Scriptures, one thought keeps bubbling up to the forefront—Where would I be without the mercy of God on my life? What would my life be like?

I’d be carrying a heavy load of guilt. That’s enough to sap the joy out of anyone’s days. Drowning in the floodwaters of judgment. Without any hope of help in the tough times. Without any refuge that offers comfort and peace. Without any hope of rising above the troubles in my life.

Well, that’s a pretty gloomy picture.

I depend on God’s mercies in my life.

And in our Song of Mercy, the next mercy listed is one I’ve hung onto as I walk uncharted paths.

The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” (Psalm 33:8)

Isn’t every life uncharted? No matter how much we plan, how energetically we try to “control” our lives and plan our future, even the next hour is unknown and ultimately out of our control. Everything about your life or mine could change in the next hour. And who of us could  say we have consistently chosen the “best pathway” for our lives?

We spent a week back in June looking at God’s promises of guidance, but today, ponder what a mercy this is.

The Creator does not leave me alone in my journey. He stays with me, every step of the way. And even better, He guides my steps! He advises me and keeps an eye on me.

I would not want to be walking this pathway without my Guide.

Almost eight years ago, I took a turn in the road and went down a pathway completely new for me when I left a long-time job to freelance. I had no guarantees. No work lined up. Not even much of a plan. This verse was my bridge of hope that kept me moving forward.

Life has been very good. Not trouble-free. But very good.

I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.

I’m still depending on that, Father. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this life and your mercy!

 

 

Psalm Prayer:

Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
(Psalm 51:1)

*

© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, Lana Turner, and Mary Jane Smith for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

Life with God: Full of mercies

God forgives us. Our guilt is gone. That is so huge, we could spend the entire week rejoicing in that. But there are more mercies to come—

The Scripture yesterday was from Romans, but Paul was actually quoting Psalm 33, a psalm that could be called the Song of Mercy. It’s only eleven verses long. But it’s a great summary of the mercies of God in our lives.

The first verses delight in the joy that comes when our record is cleared with God. In the next verses, we find that life with God is full of mercies—compassionate, kind help for us who are in need.

For you are my hiding place; you protect me from trouble. You surround me with songs of victory. (Psalm 33:6)

A refuge in times of trouble. How we all need that! Our paths through our allotted years in this world lead us through plenty of hard times. We meet trouble and evil. There’s no avoiding it on this earth.

But our Father protects us—we may walk through the valley, even with the shadow of death looming over us, but we need not fear. He assures us of His presence and His care. He is a safe place to run to.

We meet trouble on the pathway, but we are protected. He holds our lives in His hands. That’s His promise. This hope keeps us going forward.

Not only does He give shelter and refuge, He goes one step better—He gives us victory!

Jesus, the one who came to change everything for us, turned the tide of battle between good and evil in this world. He broke the enemy’s power. To the world, for a few days, He appeared to be broken and defeated by evil. Yet God turned even that into a great victory—a victory in which we share.

It’s the ultimate example of God working in all things for the good of those He has called.

All year, we’ve been focusing on the hope of His promises — it’s the hope of His mercies in our lives.

Think about it: He could be an absent, uninvolved, uncaring God.

But He’s not.

Our lives our filled with His kindness and help.

Look for His mercies today. You’ll find them in abundance.

 

 

Psalm Prayer:

Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
(Psalm 51:1)

*

© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, Lana Turner, and Mary Jane Smith for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)

The First Mercy

Mercy? The mercy of God? At one time, that meant one thing to me—He did not treat me as I deserved to be treated. He did not punish me as I deserved to be punished. That was God’s mercy.

“The first mercy” is not God’s term. It is simply my title here because when the subject of God’s mercy comes up, this is the aspect that comes first to my mind.

It is a huge thing for me. Although I had heard about God’s mercy for all of my life, I didn’t know what it was—until I was in such desperate need of mercy. Then, suddenly, it was real.

And let me tell you, friends, the mercy of God is real!

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven,
whose sins are put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those
whose record the LORD has cleared of sin.
(Romans 4:7,8)

This is from a longer passage where Paul is talking about the gift of God’s mercy: God counts me as righteous — Me, who certainly doesn’t deserve that — because I believe in Him and in what He’s done.

He’s made that promise.

When we believe that promise, we drop a huge burden and walk away from it.

God no longer sees my sin. With Him, my record is clear.

I take Him at His word.
And I’m living on that promise!

Because God’s mercy assures me, my hope dances forward in joy.

 

 

Psalm Prayer:

Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
(Psalm 51:1)

*

© Elaine Starner 2015 Photo credits: Thanks to Claire Pridgeon, Paul Stutzman, Lana Turner, and Mary Jane Smith for sharing photography I’ve used on this site. (Click on each name to see more.)