Tag Archives: Mercy

At Calvary

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned;
Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned,
Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Now I’ve given to Jesus everything,
Now I gladly own Him as my king,
Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary!
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was multiplied to me;
There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.

Words by William R. Newell, 1895
Music by Daniel B. Towner

 


“‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting.
Leviticus 4:13 – 14

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
Ephesians 4:17 – 19


 

“I shouldn’t have been given a ticket for parking there.  I didn’t know it wasn’t allowed.”  I spent many years working in university security and I can’t begin to tell you how many times I heard these words.  It was not their fault, because no one told them it was not allowed.  Sound like it makes sense, but we all know that it is not an excuse. It’s something we have probably been told since we were very young. Nicole Flatow puts it this way in the opening of her article about a recent supreme court decision at “Think Progress.”  She states;

“There is one simple concept that law students learn in their very first weeks of criminal law class: Ignorance of the law is no excuse. This principle means that when an individual violates the law, it doesn’t matter whether or not they knew what the law said. If it’s a crime, and they are found to have committed the elements of that crime, they are guilty.”

Whether you knew it is wrong, or not, it was still wrong. Taken further, the question is, if we do not know what we are doing is wrong, how can we ever expect to make amends.  The short answer is that we can not, but there is someone who can. This is the message of William Newell’s “At Calvary.”

The song summarize the ignorance that most of us live in far too easily.  An ignorance that many seem to revel in. After all, the old saying is “ignorance is bliss”.  So the hymn begins with the words, “Years I spent in vanity and pride, Caring not my Lord was crucified, Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.”

This is how we so want to live our lives . . . for ourselves.  We are nothing new in this capacity.  Jesus, when speaking of the end times uses this description in Matthew 24:37 – 39, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away.” In the days of Noah, people lived to meet their own pleasure, oblivious to the circumstances around them.

This life of seeking our own pleasures is an offense to God Himself. We must then come to accept these action that violate God’s law, even when done in ignorance must exact a consequence. Leviticus 4:13 – 14 tells us, “‘If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, when they realize their guilt and the sin they committed becomes known, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the tent of meeting.”

One might argue, “well that was Israel. God has revealed himself to them so of course they had no excuse.  Paul answers this objection when he says in Ephesians 4:17 – 19  “So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.” Jew or gentile, it makes no difference.  The axiom remains true. Ignorance of the law is not excuse.

So we today easily find ourselves doing the same. We are all to often unaware that our behavior is self-indulgent, and an affront to a Holy God.  But as the hymn tells us, the truth has been made known if we will but listen.  It says “By God’s Word at last my sin I learned; Then I trembled at the law I’d spurned, Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.”

When we realize the magnitude of our actions.  That we have lived a life seeking our own, mocking God, whether intentionally or unintentionally, at every turn, we can not help but quake with fear.  This is the Holy God, Creator of all and we have dishonored Him at every turn.  But thanks be, that we are given the way to make things right. It is through the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross.

When we turn to Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we can experience the forgiveness of all sins, whether intentional or unintentional. This is the only means of making amends and God has given it to us freely.  This is why Romans 6:23 tells us, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” When we accept this gift, we can know “salvation’s plan!” We can know “the grace that brought it down to man!” We can begin to comprehend “the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary!”

No, ignorance is no excuse.  We remain guilty, even when we did not know what we were doing was wrong.  But praise God that He did not abandon us in our ignorance, but that provide a way to forgiveness that we might be restored to fellowship with Him. When we accept this we can join with all believers declaring, “There my burdened soul found liberty at Calvary.”

 

 

Read more about “At Calvary.”

When We All Get To Heaven

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus,
Sing His mercy and His grace.
In the mansions bright and blessèd
He’ll prepare for us a place.
When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

While we walk the pilgrim pathway,
Clouds will overspread the sky;
But when traveling days are over,
Not a shadow, not a sigh.
When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Let us then be true and faithful,
Trusting, serving every day;
Just one glimpse of Him in glory
Will the toils of life repay.
When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Onward to the prize before us!
Soon His beauty we’ll behold;
Soon the pearly gates will open;
We shall tread the streets of gold.
When we all get to Heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Words by Eliza E. Hewitt, 1898
Music by Emily D. Wilson

 


For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
Ephesians 2:8

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:2 – 3

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:11 – 12

But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua 24:15

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.
1 John 3:2


 

I am sure you have heard the old saying, you have to know where your going, or you’ll never know when you get there. Having been hiking with the scouts on numerous occasions, I assure you that this is a very useful adage. I recently had the opportunity to attend Florida Sea Base with the scouts. Part of this included canoeing more than five miles on the open ocean to live on an island. Five miles on the ocean, when all you see is water and sporadic islands can be a little disorienting, especially when you have never been there before. Fortunately, our “mate” (guide) knew where we were heading allowing us to arrive safely.

The adage applies to all areas of our lives, including our Christian faith. Yes, there are those who view Christianity as a philosophy of life and a journey of growth, but if this is all it is then as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:19, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Our hope is not simply for this life, it is also for the next. The Christian faith is not just the journey, we have a destination for which we are heading. This is the theme of Eliza Hewitt’s “When We All Get To Heaven.”

The hymn paints a picture of that glorious home to which we look forward. It begins with the words, “Sing the wondrous love of Jesus, Sing His mercy and his grace.” Yes we have a destination, a destination that is available to each and everyone of us because of God’s grace and mercy. Ephesians 2:8 tells us, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.” God’s mercy extends to us grace that opens the door for us. A door that opens to our final destination.

This is not a simple destination, it our eternal home. The hymn reads, “In the mansions bright and blessed He’ll prepare for us a place.”God himself has prepared the place for us. In John 14:2 – 3 Jesus says, “My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

The hymn continues on with a contrast of our lives today, with the home will one day obtain. It speaks of the darkness and troubles we will face. Hewitt writes, “While we walk the pilgrim pathway, Clouds will overspread the sky.” Yes, we will face trials in this life. There will be struggles, but we can travel through knowing the reward that awaits us. Matthew 5:12 tells us to, “Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

So we travel on this journey striving to “be true and faithful, Trusting, serving every day.” This is the life we are called to live. This is the journey of the Christian faith, serving every day. We live the words of Joshua in 24:15, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

And so we look forward to the reward for serving, the reward for our faithful journey. The hymn sums up the greatest rewards we will know with the words, “Just one glimpse of Him in glory Will the toils of life repay.” To see the face of our Lord and Savior, one who loved us so much that He gave His very life. This is the fulfillment of our Journey for 1 John 3:2 tells us “But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”

So we look “Onward to the prize before us!”, knowing that “Soon His beauty we’ll behold.” Our destination lies before us, and we shall enter in when “Soon the pearly gates will open” and “We shall tread the streets of gold..” We look forward to that day of reward, when our journey shall come to an end. The day we will stand in the very presence of our Lord and Savior. Then “When we all see Jesus, We’ll sing and shout the victory!”

 

 

Read more about “When We All Get To Heaven.”

Every Day, The Lord Himself Is Near Me

Day by day, and with each passing moment,
Strength I find, to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.

Every day, the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Power;
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,
This the pledge to me He made.

Help me then, in every tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.

Written by Karolina Sandell-Berg, 1865
Music by Oskar Ahnfelt, 1872

 

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Matthew 6:33 – 34

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
Psalm 68:19

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
2 Corinthians 4:16 – 17

I have had those moments when I wake up in the middle of the night, and it seems my mind kicks into overdrive. I begin thinking about all the things I have to do. I begin to think how am I going to get all of these things done. And I know I am not alone.

It seems all of us find ourselves caught up in worrying about what is to come. Whether it is everything we have to do, how we are going to make ends meet, or concern about friends and family. In each of these the worry about the problems seem to begin to dominate our lives. But the worry gets us no where.

Jesus told us in Matthew 6:34, to “not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Now I am certainly not one to start spouting platitudes like, “let go, let God.” Honestly, these drive me up a wall.  I remember, a few years ago, when I was laid off that this is the kind of thing I would hear from people.  Now, their intentions were good enough but frankly, it was the last thing I wanted to hear.

In my mind I knew that God was there and would take care of me, but I certain did not want people who appeared to have it all together telling me how things weren’t so bad.  

But, after some serious prayer and thought I came to a realization.  What I found was that it was not a case of letting go of the problem, it’s a case of holding onto God. I learned that first and foremost, it was a matter of turning things over to God. You see, It was placing my trust in God first that allowed me to move beyond the stress and anxiety of my situation. When I moved beyond this, it was then that I learned to let go. This is the message of “Day by Day.”

The fact is that we will face worry and stress. We will face troubles that will come our way. But God is there for us. He knows what we need and waits only for us to turn to Him, that we might find the peace that is only available through Him.

So I find truth and solace in the words of Karolina  Sandell-Berg when she writes, “Every day, the Lord Himself is near me with a special mercy for each hour.”

Read more about “Day by Day.”