Grace and Mercy


Grace and mercy ! One of my favorite prayers. The old-timers used that as a euphemism instead of cussing. “Lord, have mercy!” or “Mercy goodness.” I have said it myself.

But lately I have been really praying for mercy! “Lord, don’t give me what I deserve. Give me grace and mercy!” Grace to do what is right and mercy to forgive me when I do what is wrong.

On the cross, Jesus cried out, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” That was mercy crying out. Jesus was full of mercy. Everywhere He went, He was forgiving sin and healing the sick, delivering the oppressed. Mercy forgives, heals, delivers.

Grace enables. When I can’t seem to do what is necessary, grace empowers me to do it. Grace enabled Jesus to go to the cross. When He was praying in the garden, He said, “Father, if it be Thy will, let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless, Thy will be done.” After making the choice to do the Father’s will, Jesus then was given the grace to do it.

Life happens. We grow up, marry, have children, live life, and all to soon, life has come to an end. At each step, we are given the grace to do it. Whatever life brings, Jesus will supply the grace.

Are the children driving you nuts? Too many household jobs and school activities to handle? Strife between spouses? In-law troubles? Finances a mess? Illness and disease? Call upon the Lord for grace! As each day comes, there is grace for that day.

Grace doesn’t just enable you to get through the problems; grace gets you out of them. The grace of God changes circumstances and situations. It gives you the wisdom to overcome all obstacles so that you emerge victorious, an overcomer.

Grace for the moment! When troubles come, call on the Lord for grace and mercy.

Asparagus Bed

I’ve been picking three or four asparagus stalks a day for several weeks now, from just a small bed of asparagus in my flower bed, putting them in a glass of water until I accumulate enough to cook.

I should have planted more asparagus when I planted that flower bed. I should have planted a whole garden bed dedicated just to asparagus, but that would mean digging out the grass and preparing ground that hadn’t ever been used for gardening, as far as I know. And that’s a lot of work, more than I wanted to do at that time, when I was moving into this house, so I just dug a few holes, dropped the roots in, covered them up with dirt, and let them grow naturally with no attention from me, except harvesting the asparagus in season when I see they are the right size.

Did you know that asparagus will grow right up through the Hosta plants? Did you know you can pick a good-tasting asparagus stalk out of 10-inch high weeds if you can find it?

Just imagine what a fine crop of asparagus I could get if I really worked at it. I could make a dedicated asparagus garden instead of the flower bed, and plant more roots for a bigger crop next year.

You can’t plant 3 asparagus roots and expect to get enough asparagus to feed a crowd. That is what the Bible calls “sowing sparingly.”

“He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” II Corinthians 9:6

The Law of Sowing and Reaping is in effect in God’s spiritual kingdom as well as in nature. What you sow you will also reap in the spiritual world. How much you sow in God’s kingdom determines how much and what you will reap back. The world speaks of ‘karma,’ or says, ‘what goes around comes around’ but it is really God’s Law of Sowing and Reaping that is taking place. And that can be good things or bad, positive things, not just negative things always.

Whatever a man sows that’s what he’ll reap and how much he sows determines how much he’ll reap. Just ask any Oklahoma gardener.

Intervene in Prayer

Mother’s Day cards show up on store shelves April 1st through Mother’s Day, describing the most wonderful mothers of the world, but what about those mothers who don’t live up to the rosy sentiments on greeting cards?

How can we reconcile those? Isn’t a mother’s love the closest there is to God’s love? Isn’t a mother supposed to put her baby’s life before her own, just like a mother bear would give her life for her baby bear?

When a mother addicted to drugs neglects and abuses her children, it offends our sense of right and wrong. That’s not how it’s supposed to be.

Where is God when mothers mistreat or neglect their children? His angels are watching over the children all the time but act when a human being makes a move to prayer.

God has called us Christians to pray. When we see these things taking place, such as in a store somewhere, we are not just to click our tongues and criticize the mother. “How can she act like that to her children? Isn’t that a shame? Someone should do something.”

Yes, someone should. And that someone is you. Stop and pray. You don’t have to make a big deal about it. Simply say under your breath, “Father, in the name of Jesus, I ask that you will send someone to take care of those children. Stop her from harming them. As Psalm 91 says, ‘No evil will befall them, because you have given your angels charge’ over those children. Amen.”

No one else needs to know you prayed. If the opportunity opens up, you can speak to that mother, “It’s hard to raise little ones. Maybe you might check to see if your church has a Mother’s Day Out Program where you could leave them while you shop.” Then if she says she doesn’t have a church, there is your opening to invite her to your church.

God is looking for ways to intervene in the lives of those who need Him the most. And He will use you if you’ll let Him.

Rhino in my Heart

When I worked for the phone company, I went to the company school in Dallas at least once a year. In 1995 I joined a traveling crew, going all over the state. I left on Monday morning and returned on Thursday night.

One night recently I dreamed of finding a bulging suitcase from one of my trips. It was full of neatly pressed blue jeans and work t-shirts. Mixed in were snack cakes that were spoiled and moldy, melted chocolate, and gooey unrecognizable mildewed stuff all over everything.

In my dream a friendly rhinoceros that seemed to be a pet rushed down the hall, and I made my way behind him to let him go outside to potty, but it was obvious from the condition of the living room that he wasn’t very well potty-trained.

All of us have forgotten baggage and wild dangerous pets living in our hearts. Keeping things inside allows them to spoil, mold, mildew, melt, and get all over our hearts. Holding onto junk from the past ruins the good stuff in our lives today. These things are like wild animals that defile us, ruin our relationships, and stink up everything around us.

“Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all,] on Him (Jesus), for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully…be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring, seeking someone to seize upon and devour.” I Peter 5:7-8 Amplified.

Even we Christians hold onto old grudges, dislikes, anger, hatred, or prejudices that defile our hearts, leaving us prey to the enemy of our souls, the devil.

Satan loves to sneak around looking for those who have hidden baggage that he can take advantage of. He wants to destroy our lives, our homes, our families, our churches, and all our relationships.

We need to ask the Lord to reveal those things in our hearts so we give them to Him.

Onyx, Bdellium, and Gold

Gold is selling for $1660 today and silver for $31 an ounce. Gold-buying parties are popping up everywhere. Existing businesses are now buying gold and silver too. There’s big money to be made, whether you are buying or selling. A tiny handful of broken necklaces and earrings can bring you $100.

The Bible story of Creation tells us, “Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it parted, and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon: it is the one which skirts the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; And the gold of that land is good. Bdellium and the onyx stone are there.” Genesis 2:10-12

God created the whole earth, and He put gold near the Garden of Eden, before He ever created man. He put everything here in this earth that man would need for the rest of the time that the earth and man would be in existence, and made sure that there was plenty of it here.

The gold is symbolic of our spirit. When we have been born again, our spirits are pure as gold.

The bdellium or myrrh (also in some references an aromatic resin) is symbolic of our soul, which is made up of our mind, will, and emotions. Resin or myrrh is fragrant which reminds me of our emotions—sweet, salty, rosy, or sour like a dill pickle. Resin is also easily impressed. As a child, we are impressionable, and then as we or the resin is exposed to the world, we and the resin get hardened, holding the form of the impressions.

The onyx in the Bible mentioned here is the color of a man’s fingernail, not the black color we are familiar with. I believe this onyx refers to our body.

There are the three parts of our person: our body represented by the onyx, soul represented by the bdellium, and spirit represented by the gold.

God placed all three here on this earth at one time in one place before He made man to show us a picture of ourselves.

Old Snake Skin

I have a snakeskin hanging over some deer horns in my living room. Some poor old snake is running around with no clothes on. No, really, the snake grew a new skin underneath and then shed the old skin. If he were to shed the old skin too soon, it might kill him; too late, it would hinder his growth.

There is a gospel song named “Take Off Those Rags, Lazarus”. It is popular,but not scriptural. Lazarus couldn’t take off his own grave clothes. His hands and feet were bound. When Jesus called Lazarus forth from the dead, He told the people standing nearby, “Loose him and let him go.” John 11:44.

When you were born again, you came forth, spiritually speaking, from the grave, bound in grave clothes. But you didn’t have the ability to take off your own grave clothes. Your spirit by the Holy Spirit was born again, but some things didn’t change–your eye color, your height, your disposition. Your mind was still the same, your prejudices, your thought patterns, your phobias, your way of thinking.

Romans 12:2 says “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” You have to renew your mind by the Word of God. That is why studying the Word of God is so important. When you read what God says in His word, you incorporate it into your thoughts. Then you are thinking what God thinks. You become what you think. The thoughts of God transform your mind.

As you learn God’s Word, as you grow in Him, the Holy Spirit removes your ‘grave clothes.’ He looses you. He takes off the chains that have bound you to your old habits and releases you to walk in newness of life. But it is a process.

Just like that snake shedding his skin, you will begin to shed some outer layers of behavior. Some former activities and associations will have to go. They will drop off by themselves when the time comes. When you are changed on the inside, it begins to affect the outside.

You’ll become just like Jesus. You will be changed from the inside out.