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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Mercy and not Sacrifice (October 13, 2010)
Date Posted: June 11, 2024

I am a small time fan of mind puzzles. I have sort of one for you to consider as a basis of thought for some remaining articles under title of this article, Mercy and not Sacrifice. Actually the main thought comes from a discussion that I had with Pat, my best friend and wife. She and I come from two very different spiritual backgrounds. It is interesting and challenging to compare notes sometimes about our individual conclusions about God. There was a “fill in the blank question” that arose from one of our discussions and it is this question that we now pursue.

First, two assumptions are in order before the question. Given: I am a child of God having become such by the blood of Jesus Christ. Given: I strongly desire my life to to be pleasing in God's sight. Now here is the fill in the blank question that you are challenged to answer. God will continue to show mercy and forgiveness to me if I __________________ . It is highly possible that this question will spark different reactions in different people. For some, they may be puzzled over the fact that there is even the need for such a question. In their way of thinking, perhaps there are no conditions to continued mercy. Still others may have a word or two to place in the blank. Finally, there may be some who find the limited space defined by the space in the sentence is far, far inadequate. Perhaps they see the need to insert a list of things that are essential if God is to continue to show mercy to them.

This seems to be a valid question in as much as Jude challenged his readers with this statement: “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” (Jude 1.20-21). While it is true that God loves everyone and in some way, shows mercy to all creatures, there is also a special place of forgiveness that exists where we “keep ourselves in the love of God,” and continue to look for “the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Just what is it that we must do to keep ourselves in the love of God and that enables us to look continuously for His mercy? That is the fill in the blank question that I explored with my wife and with which I challenge you in this article.

I encourage you to reply via email to me and tell me how you would respond to this question. I do not promise to respond to you personally, but I do promise to prayerfully and respectfully consider each and every response. Neither do I plan to use any response as “fodder” for future articles. Your readership and the trust that it implies is far too valuable to stoop to such tactics. However, if there is anything that goes in this blank, it seems to me that the pursuit of this thing (or things) is the highest priority that should exist in my life! It would be of great interest to know what others think about this most important question! Once again, simply fill in the blank according to your understanding: God will continue to show mercy and forgiveness to me if I __________________ .

For no reason but to highlight His mercy, we close today's message with the first 9 verses of the 136th Psalm: “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the God of gods! For His mercy endures forever. Oh, give thanks to the Lord of lords! For His mercy endures forever: To Him who alone does great wonders, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who by wisdom made the heavens, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who laid out the earth above the waters, For His mercy endures forever; To Him who made great lights, For His mercy endures forever— The sun to rule by day, For His mercy endures forever; The moon and stars to rule by night, For His mercy endures forever.” (continued)

Questions:

1. Is there a connection between my actions and God's mercy toward me? If yes, give biblical references.

2. What can I do to deserve the mercy of God? Is this a different question than the primary question posed in today's article? If yes, how is it different?

3. According to Psalm 136, how long does God's mercy endure?

4. Is there a connection between being merciful and receiving mercy? If yes, cite biblical reference(s).

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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