“He saved us not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but because of His own pity and mercy” (Titus 3:5 AMPC). Where would we be without the mercy of God? It is the mercy of God that gives us forgiveness of sin. The Greek word for mercy is
“eleos”; it means compassion, feeling sympathy for someone but also doing something about it. Jesus was moved with compassion to feed the thousands and heal the sick as we read in the gospels, “but when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them…” (Matt 9:36; NKJV).
However, Jesus wants us to be merciful too, “I desire mercy and not sacrifice” (Matt 9:3; NKJV). Jesus quoted this from Hosea 6:6 in the Old Testament. In other words, God is more interested in us showing mercy and compassion towards others than doing religious performance which does not come from the heart. As we have received so much mercy from God, the least we can do is share that with others.
I’m sure you are familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. It is a great example of someone showing mercy to others. Jesus said “Go and constantly do the same” (Luke 10:37; AMP). Enough said!
Proverbs 21:10-31 was written a long time ago but the principles are timeless. So what can we learn from this woman? The word virtuous” can be translated: noble, capable, excellent, good or worthy. We see from the second half of verse 10 that
she was a “rare gem”. She comforts, encourages and does her husband only good (v 12). Ladies, our husbands need our praise and encouragement not our nagging!! (See Prov 27:15). Notice that she does him good all the days of her life (she is consistent).
We learn from verse 13 and several other verses that she works hard, work is not a dirty word for her! It also says she works willingly; she doesn’t complain. Along the same lines we see that she is not lazy (V 15,21,27), she gets up early to pray and provide spiritually and physically for her household. We are told that she uses wisdom in financial matters (v 16) and also speaks wisely (v 26). It’s already been stated that she makes a priority of her spiritual life but she is also developing her physical strength (v 17); this requires discipline and being intentional. She is prepared for the future (v 18,25) and is kind and generous (v 20,26). She is clothed with strength and dignity (v 24); these attributes come from within and develop over time.
What is the secret to her success which causes the Holy Spirit to dedicate almost the whole of one chapter of the Bible to this woman? The answer is found in verse 30, she fears the Lord! We all know only too well that outward beauty does not last but inward beauty which comes from our relationship with God lasts forever!
“If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land” (Isa 1:19; NKJV). What a promise, obey God and be blessed. Let’s look at a few obedient people in the Bible. God told Abraham to leave his home and travel thousands of miles to Canaan and that he would give rise to a great nation and be blessed
(Gen 12:1-5). Abraham obeyed and all of God’s promises came to be. From Abraham came the people of Israel and Jesus Christ. King David started out as a lowly shepherd boy but God chose him to be king of Israel (1 Sam 16:12-13). David was not perfect but he walked in obedience to God and was perhaps the mightiest king of Israel.
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul persecuted the early church (Acts 7:58; 8:3) but God had a plan for him. God got Paul’s attention in a dramatic encounter (Acts 9:3-19) and he went on in obedience to play a major role in establishing the early church, writing a significant portion of the New Testament. Jesus demonstrated the ultimate act of obedience to his heavenly Father, dying on a cross so we could be forgiven and have salvation (Phil 2:8).
As we walk in obedience to God’s word we too will be blessed (Luke 11:28). The apostle John quoted Jesus saying that as we keep on obeying God’s word both he and the Father would make their home with us (John 14:23). When, in obedience to God, we ask Jesus to be Lord of our lives (Rom 19:9-10) he comes to live in us and give us eternal life (John 8:51). Wow! who would not want to walk in absolute obedience to our heavenly Father?
The Amplified Bible describes wisdom as, “comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God”. The book of Proverbs talks much about wisdom, in fact Proverbs 1:2 says that the Proverbs were written in order to teach people about wisdom. Prov 1:5 states that those who are already wise will
become even wiser. Furthermore, Prov 9:10 tells us that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (as already mentioned in an earlier blog). Proverbs chapter 4 really stresses the importance of getting wisdom, saying that if we do that it will cause us to be promoted and honored, along with many other benefits. In Proverbs chapters 8 and 9 we learn that wisdom will give us long life, cause us to speak excellent things and find us favor with God. It is better than money and jewels but using wisdom can cause us to become rich.
In the New Testament (Matt 7:24-26), Jesus tells us that the wise person builds his house on the rock (he hears and obeys the teaching of the Lord). Also, James says that humility and wisdom are actually tied together and will result in good works. “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom” (James 3:13; NLT). From these scriptures we learn the importance of wisdom and if you feel like you need more wisdom in your life James 1:5 says we can ask God for it and He will give it liberally!
At the beginning of a New Year, it’s good to ask ourselves what does God have for us, how does he want us to grow and to change and what does he want us to do? As Christians we are born again spiritually (John 3:3-7), filled with the Holy Spirit, the power of God (1 Cor 6:19) and we are his children
(John 1:12). God has an amazing plan for each of our lives (Jer 29:11). It’s only as we walk in all God has for us that we will find true purpose, fulfillment and peace. We all obviously need to hear from God. There are 3 main ways God speaks directly to us.
As we prayerfully study the Bible the Holy Spirit will open our spiritual eyes to God’s word that will guide us, grow us, encourage us and even discipline us (John 16: 10-15; Ps 1:1-3). God can also speak to us by his “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12b) in our hearts as he did to Elijah (1 Kings 19:11-12; NKJV). In addition, God can communicate with us by an inner witness or unction. The Holy Spirit will interact with our spirit with a sense, a thought, words or a scripture to encourage, direct, chasten and mature us (Rom 8:16;9:1). How do we know we are hearing from God? Quiet yourself with God and listen. If it is God’s wisdom in that inner witness or “still small voice”, it will line up with his word and come with a real peace and assurance (James 3:17).
If we want to have all of God in 2024, we need to let him have all of us! Let God speak to you and show you his way for you this next year; it will be glorious!