January 21, 2018

God Of Compassion

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

There is an everlasting kindness  
You lavished on us 
When the Radiance of heaven Came to rescue the lost
You called the sheep without a shepherd 
To leave their distress
 For your streams of forgiveness 
And the shade of Your rest
And with compassion for the hurting 
You reached out Your hand 
As the lame ran to meet You 
And the dead breathed again
You saw behind the eyes of sorrow 
And shared in our tears
Heard the sigh of the weary
Let the children draw near    
What boundless love
What fathomless grace 
You have shown us, O God of compassion 
Each day we live 
An offering of praise 
As we show to the world Your compassion   
We stood beneath the cross of Calvary 
And gazed on Your face 
At the thorns of oppression 
And the wounds of disgrace
 For surely You have borne our suffering 
And carried our grief 
As You pardoned the scoffer 
And showed grace to the thief    
How beautiful the feet that carry 
This gospel of peace 
To the fields of injustice 
And the valleys of need
To be a voice of hope and healing 
To answer the cries 
Of the hungry and helpless 
With the mercy of Christ

Keith and Kristyn Getty/Getty Music
*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.
Psalm 103:8

There is one word in this passage that really sticks out to me—compassion (or merciful, as rendered in other translations).  Twice in Psalm 103, we read that the Lord ‘is compassionate / merciful’ (verse 8) and in verse 13, it says that He “has compassion” (or mercy or pity).  I often find it so very helpful, when studying the Scriptures, to read a particular verse or passage in a number of different Bible versions.  It always brings about a more complete understanding… at least to me.  (Do you find that true, too?)  I would like to let you experience this in reference to this verse.  My go-to version for studying is always the Amplified Bible version; so I’ll start there…

  • AMP
    The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, plenteous in mercy and loving-kindness.
  • NIV
    The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
  • NLT
    The LORD is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry, filled with unfailing love.
  • ESV
    The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
  • NASB
    The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness.
  • KJV
    The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.
  • HCSB
    The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and rich in faithful love.
  • ISV
    The LORD is compassionate and gracious, patient, abundantly rich in gracious love.
  • ASV
    Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness.
  • DBT
    Jehovah is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness.
  • Webster’s
    The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in mercy.
  • YLT
    Merciful and gracious is Jehovah, slow to anger, and abundant in mercy.

Each of these versions (and, of course, there are more!) communicate basically the same thing…but some add just a further bit of information or inflection.  After reading through these, I was left praising God Who is ‘compassionate and merciful and gracious’ and abundantly rich in steadfast, unfailing, in loving-kindness’!  How great is our God!!!

The Strong’s concordance uses the following words to biblically define ‘compassion/merciful’ as used in verse 8: “to love, love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, have compassion”.  And listen to this tidbit of insight:  this particular word ‘compassionate’ (rachuwm, pronounced ‘rakh-oom’) is used only 13 times throughout the OT.  It is also one of the names by which Almighty God describes Himself; such as here in Deuteronomy 4:31:

For the Lord your God is a {rachuwmmerciful and compassionate God;
He will not fail you, nor destroy you,
nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.

And here is the very first occurrence of this word {rachuwm) in the Bible.

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming,
“The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and merciful God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness…”
Exodus 34:6

Almighty God declared Himself ‘…the compassionate and merciful God…’ during His encounter with Moses on Mount Sinai.  No doubt God had already proven Himself VERY compassionate, merciful, and gracious towards the children of Israel!  Remember this is the account where He allows Moses to redo the two tablets on which had been the commandments which God had written and given to Moses.  (Here’s a link to go read this passage.)  While Moses and Joshua were up on the mountain receiving God’s commands, the people had chosen to turn back to their idolatrous ways and had made a golden calf and were worshipping this idol.   Upon his return, Moses became so disgusted and angry with them that he threw the tablets on the ground and broke them to smithereens!  (NOT good!)  Moses pleaded with the Lord and interceded on behalf of the Israelites.  And ‘the compassionate and merciful God’ relented and gave them yet another chance to repent and obey.  This shows the magnitude of the Lord’s mercy, compassion, and grace!

So what does this mean to us…some 3,000+ years later?  It means everything…because God  does not, cannot, will not  change.  He is the same “…compassionate and merciful God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness” as He was then.

For I, the LORD, do not change;
therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed…
Malachi 3:6

I pray that each of us would hold fast and cling to this truth, and give much praise to our great God Who is the God of compassion!

  *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

Here is a link  if you would like to study this verse and the usage of ‘compassionate/merciful’ in describing the Lord God Who IS oh-so-very merciful and compassionate.

I Never Lost My Praise

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I lost some good friends along life’s way
Some loved ones departed in heaven to stay but
Thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost faith in people who said they care
The time of my crisis they were never there
But in my disappointment, in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise

I’ve let some blessings slip away, and I lost my focus
And went astray, but thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost possessions that were so dear
And I’ve lost some battles by walking in fear
But in the midst of my struggle, in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise
Praise, praise, praise, praise…most of all, I never lost my praise

My praise, still here, my praise still here
Hallelujah! My praise is still here

Charlotte Central Church of God Choir
Songwriter – Kurt Carr

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Oh, can you picture Job singing this song?  He lost loved ones and lost possessions.  He  lost faith in people who said they care and in his time of crisis they were never there.   But one thing never wavered…one thing never changed—he never lost his hope…he never lost his faith…he never lost his praise.

There aren’t too many records throughout the Scriptures which depict someone more deeply grieved and in mourning than the story of Job.  Here is how God described Job:

…a blameless and upright man, fears God and turns away from evil.
Job 1:8

Right off in chapter one, we read of the horrific loss that Job experienced. He was a man blessed by his God with “seven sons and three daughters; 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very great body of servants.” The Scriptures tell us that “this man was the greatest of all the men of the East.” But, as we know, Satan purposed to take all that Job had in order to tempt him  to turn away from and curse his God (verse 11).  In one day, within a very short period of time, Job learned that all his flocks, practically every one of his servants, and each of his children has been taken from him.  However, Satan’s purpose was foiled because, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (verse 22).  Job kept his heart of worship and praise; his response to all this?

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job 1:20-22

He never lost his praise.

As the woman who sings this song shared with us, in her time of sadness and loss, God taught her about the ‘sacrifice of praise.’   (Go back, if you would, and listen to her heart starting at :18 to 1:19.)

She never lost her praise.

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God
a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips
that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.
Hebrews 13:15

Probably each of us has offered a ‘sacrifice of praise’ at least once or twice in our lives…yes?  However, I am confronted by the higher standard that Hebrews 13:15 states: “let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise….”  Other versions of this verse use the terms, ‘continually’ and ‘always.’  That doesn’t leave much room for wiggling out of obedience, now does it?

We are to constantly {always, continually, at all times} give to God our praise as a sacrifice—whether our circumstances are happy and joy-filled or not.  Even in those times where it looks like there is nothing left, we are to acknowledge all He has done, is doing, and will do to take care of us.

And when we struggle to maintain our joy and peace we can still praise God for Who He is…

  • He never changes (Malachi 3:6)
  • He never leaves us nor forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:8)
  • He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3
  • He is faithful to all of His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9)

We should always praise Him for those things…and much, much, much more!  I believe that then we, too, will sing…

I never lost my praise.

I Never Lost My Praise

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

I lost some good friends along life’s way
Some loved ones departed in heaven to stay but
Thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost faith in people who said they care,
The time of my crisis they were never there
But in my disappointment in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy,
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise

I’ve let some blessings slip away, and I lost my focus
And went astray, but thank God I didn’t lose everything
I’ve lost possessions that were so dear
And I lost some battles by walking in fear
But in the midst of my struggle, in my season of pain
One thing never wavered, one thing never changed

I never lost my hope, I never lost my joy,
I never lost my faith but, most of all, I never lost my praise
Praise, praise, praise, praise…most of all, I never lost my praise

My praise, still here, my praise still here

Hallelujah! My praise is still here

Songwriter – Kurt Carr/ Performed by the Charlotte Central Church of God Choir

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Oh, can you picture Job singing this song?  He lost loved ones and possessions.  He  lost faith in people who said they care and in his time of crisis they were never there.   But one thing never wavered…one thing never changed—he never lost his hope…he never lost his faith…he never lost his praise.

There aren’t too many records throughout the Scriptures which depict someone more deeply grieved and in mourning than the story of Job “…a blameless and upright man, fears God and turns away from evil.”  Right off in chapter one, we read of the horrific loss that Job experienced.   Job was a man blessed by his God with “seven sons and three daughters; 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and a very great body of servants.” The Scriptures tell us that “this man was the greatest of all the men of the East.” But, as we know, Satan purposed to take all that Job had in order to tempt him (verse 11) to turn away from and curse his God.  In one day, within a very short period of time, Job learns that all his flocks, practically every one of his servants, and each of his children has been taken from him.  However, Satan’s purpose was foiled because, “Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God” (verse 22).  Job kept his heart of worship and praise; his response to all this?

At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
Job 1:20-22

He never lost his praise.

As the woman who sings this song shared with us, in her time of sadness and loss, God taught her about the ‘sacrifice of praise.’   (Listen to her heart starting at :18 to 1:19.)

She never lost her praise.

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times offer up to God
a sacrifice of praise, which is the fruit of lips
that thankfully acknowledge and confess and glorify His name.
Hebrews 13:15

Probably each of us has offered a ‘sacrifice of praise’ at least once or twice in our lives…yes?  However, I am confronted by the higher standard that Hebrews 13:15 states: “let us constantly and at all times offer up to God a sacrifice of praise….”  Other versions of this verse use the terms, ‘continually…always.’  That doesn’t leave much room for wiggling out of obedience, now does it?

We are to constantly {always, continually, at all times} give to God our praise as a sacrifice—whether our circumstances are happy and joy-filled or not.  Even in those times where it looks like there is nothing left, we are to acknowledge all He has done, is doing, and will do to take care of us.  And when we struggle to maintain our joy and peace we can still praise God for Who He is…He never changes (Malachi 3:6).  He never leaves us nor forsakes us (Deuteronomy 31:8).  He loves us with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3)…which nothing can separate us from (Romans 8:38-39).  We should always praise Him for those things…and much, much, much more!  I believe that then we, too, will sing…

I never lost my praise.

“I Am” Chapter 1 – Day 2: Old Testament God

To be honest the concept of the Old Testament God is somewhat intimidating to me…it always has been when it comes to my personal studies and even when listening to sermons in church. I always ask myself how I can apply the Old Testament lessons and the Old Testament God to my life today.

 Malachi 3:6 (NKJV)

For I am the Lord, I do not change;
Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. 

 

Well, there it is!   There’s the answer to my question. He does not change. The Old Testament God is the same as the New Testament God who is the same as the God of today.

That’s easy enough to understand but sometimes (well, a LOT of times) I need to be reminded who the I Am is, and I need to be reminded that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I need to be reminded of this not because there is a lack of His beautiful creations around me, and not because I don’t see His blessings every time I look into the eyes of my children.  I am grateful for these reminders because it is so easy to become caught up in the goings-on of the day, and in the busyness of the day that I begin to lean on myself rather than rely on God. Days when He seems far away.

IAM.

When I looked at the verses listed today I saw where I can use them each day.  I was reminded who the I Am of the Old Testament is.  I love how there is a starting point to go back to when it seems as if He is so far away.  The statements listed below are only a few of the reminders He gives us:

  • I Am the Lord your God, I do not change.

Never

  • I Am who I Am.

God is God and always will be

  • I Am the Lord in the midst of the land.

Our lands, homes, work, even the grocery store

  • I Am the Lord who heals you.

Headaches, sore throats, emotional pain, our loved ones. Anything and everything.

  • I the Lord your God am a jealous God.

He wants to be Number 1

  • I Am gracious.

His grace and mercies are new each day

  • I Am the Lord who sanctifies you.

Forgiveness and redemption

“Because God is creative, organized and thorough, He has given us markers and clues as we read His Word.”  These markers and clues are reminders of who He is, reminders of how much He loves us, reminders of who we are within who He is.

This week my personal goal—a goal that I invite everyone to join me in—is to pay attention to the I Am statements within the Old Testament. Let’s highlight, underline, write on note cards the I Am statements that we find, and then begin to better understand who He is. I want to go back to the beginning and be reminded of the I Am of the Old Testament.

*****

Let’s Pray:

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for reminding us of who You are.  Like a parent who reminds their child throughout the day, You remind us of who You are and of Your love for us. As You said in the Book of Malachi, “I do not change.”  Lord, through this study, please open our hearts and allow us to remember who You are.  Allow us to draw into our hearts the beauty and truth of Your words.

In Jesus’ name we pray.

Amen