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Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

From the first time I heard This is Amazing Grace by Phil Wickham, I loved it! I couldn’t wait to go home and put it on repeat on YouTube (hubby and the kids  l  o  v  e  it when I put songs on repeat (NOT!), and to check out the lyrics (rather than my typical singing along with words I ‘think’ fit).

That first day that I heard it, driving in my minivan, I was feeling rather melancholic. But as the dance music hit my ears, and the easy lyrics penetrated by heart, it was no time until I was tapping my fingers and looking like a bobble head in my driver seat.

For me, the lyrics of this song, echoing in my downcast head was a God Wink, a gift of encouragement, a halt to my naval gazing.

And that is what grace received with open hands does … it takes our eyes, our focus, off of ourselves.

According to http://www.freedictionary.com, grace is “mercy; clemency; pardon” … funny how those definitions bring prison and guilt to mind, because without grace we are doomed to life in prison … a certain hell. God gives the sentence of eternal life through grace. This is a pardon from guilt and sins, through the stepping in of a guiltless one to make our payment in full. One, without sin, taking the place of all who are sin-filled.

“This IS amazing grace
This IS unfailing love
That you would take my place
That you would bear my cross
You laid down your life
That I would be set free”

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“Sing.
Sing a song.
Sing out loud, sing out strong.
Sing of good things, not bad.
Sing of happy, not sad.
Sing.
Sing a song.
Make it simple to last your whole life long.
Don´t worry that it´s not good enough for anyone else to hear.
Just sing.”

So sang the Carpenters in the 1970’s … although my memory of it is from Sesame Street …

It is amazing how the singing of a song can make memorization so much easier. As one who is in the midst of memorizing one of the Psalms, I am thankful that it was put to music … I think I can, I think I can.

One of the beauties of memorizing scripture, poetry or lyrics through music is that it stays in your memory, and resurfaces at the most wonderful times.

Such has been the case for a particular hymn that I learned in my teens.

The hymn is more than a song, it is also evidence of the strength a person can attain with God as the rudder and anchor of their life.

Written by Horatio Spafford in 1873.

He, his wife Anna, and their four daughters had survived the great Chicago Fire. Horatio planned a trip to Europe for his family, and just days before they were to leave, he had to change his plans, send his wife and daughters on the ship without him.

While sailing to Europe the Spafford ship was hit by another, and sunk.

Days later, Horatio received the following in a telegram, from Anna, “Saved alone what shall I do?”

He boarded a ship, to meet up with his grieving wife.

As the ship was nearing the place where his four daughters died, he wrote the words to this hauntingly beautiful hymn.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Although I have not suffered the kind of loss and suffering of Horatio and Anna Spafford, this song surfaces in my conscious whenever my heart plummets with the weight of the sorrows of life and living.

I am amazed when it does come to my mind,
as though placed there
like a tissue to wipe my falling tears,
or a shoulder to cry on,
or a string around my finger

to remind me …

that I am not alone
that peace is more about the condition of my soul than anything to do with world conflict
that no sin is unforgivable
that no earthly sorrow can separate me from my God
that the sky, not the grave, is my goal.

What is your song?

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For about a week or more I have been stalked, but not by a vicious serial killer. I have been stalked by a word, the word mercy.

It has been everywhere; in the songs I’ve heard, in the messages shared, in the verses I have read. Mercy has been quietly creeping up in my life, subtly (or maybe not so subtly) forcing my awareness of it’s presence in my life. Communicating to me that I need to pay attention to whatever message it has for me.

Generally mercy means that one who deserves punishment is given the gift of not receiving that punishment. This freedom is unmerited, undeserved, and it is freely (not forcefully) given. It is an action on the part of the merciful, not a feeling or emotion.

When one asks of mercy from another, they ask knowing that they do not deserve it, but also knowing that the one they ask is fully able to give it, fully. When one gives mercy, they do so not out of ‘feeling’ sad, or compassion for the other, but they grant mercy because it is what is asked of them. The act of requesting mercy is a humble one, the act of giving mercy is an equally humbling one.

In the Psalms David cried to God for mercy over and over again:

“Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer” (Psalm 4:1)

Have mercy on me, LORD, for I am faint; heal me, LORD, for my bones are in agony” (Psalm 6:2)

“I said, “Have mercy on me, LORD; heal me, for I have sinned against you” (Psalm 41:4)

Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions” (Psalm 51:1)

Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed” (Psalm 57:1)

have mercy on me, Lord, for I call to you all day long” (Psalm 86:3)

“Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name” (Psalm 119:132)

I am not exactly sure why it is that mercy has been stalking me. Usually when a message is delivered to me in this way my reception of the message comes when I already know why it has come, or it comes as I become aware of the lesson I need to learn, or the message I need to learn. I am not sure whether this message of mercy is to prompt me to be merciful or if I might be the one crying for mercy from another.

Whatever the case, even as odd as it seems, I know where this message has come from, and I know that this messenger is always trustworthy and timely. So, here I sit unwrapping this gift, and holding it close for the day the I will need to make use of it.

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