Posts tagged ‘mercy’

October 4, 2012

Questions about Psalm 100

by pastortimfowler

psalm 100 1 microphone 1440x900

Psalm 100
1 Shout happily to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Serve the LORD cheerfully. Come into his presence with a joyful song.
3 Realize that the LORD alone is God. He made us, and we are his. We are his people and the sheep in his care.
4 Enter his gates with a song of thanksgiving. Come into his courtyards with a song of praise. Give thanks to him; praise his name.
5 The LORD is good. His mercy endures forever. His faithfulness endures throughout every generation.

What if everyone who claims to know God took this Psalm as serious as it was meant to be taken? What if we only did it this Sunday? Would what you do be any different? What if you walked into church and as soon as the worship service started you began to shout as if you were the happiest person on the whole planet? Do you think that anyone would notice? Do you think that anyone would care? Do you think that you might be asked to calm down? Do you think that someone beside you might shout too? Will we ever know?
What if you served the Lord cheerfully this Sunday? What if you took on whatever role was needed and smiled like a mule eating briars? What if you greeted every guest and every member as if they were they were a rock star? What if you welcomed everyone with a joyful song as you walked into the church? Would people think you were crazy? Would anyone come back the next week? Would others smile and start singing with you? Will we ever know?
What if we acted as if God were the God that He says that He is? What if we acted as if He was the King of the universe and the Lord of our lives? Would anything be different this Sunday? Would anyone notice? What if you ate the spiritual food and drank the spiritual water like a sheep eats the grass and drinks from the stream when the shepherd leads them? Would there be any complaining about what you ate? What if you acted as if all of your well-being depended on God alone and you were not in control at all? Would it change anything that happens this Sunday? Will we ever know?
What if you thanked everyone and thanked God for everyone you saw this Sunday at church? What if the minute you walked through the door you cried out “thank you God for letting me walk through the doors of your church? What if you started singing before the band ever started playing? What if you sang in the vestibule as everyone else walked in. What if you thanked God for every person that walked in the door, and for the door, and for the life that let you walk through it? Would it make a difference Sunday? Will we ever know?
What if everything that happened Sunday you considered good, even if you didn’t like it, because you know who the Lord is and that He is good? What if you acted as if the mercy of God was much more precious to you than the clothes you wear or the building you are in? What if you acted like you knew that same mercy was available every minute of the day this Sunday? What if you acted like you knew that God is truth and His faithfulness was precious and that your children and their children would know it by the way you acted this Sunday? Would it make a difference in the way church went? Would people see God in a different light than any other Sunday? Will we ever know?

March 28, 2012

Justice

by pastortimfowler

Justice.jpg

According to dictionary.com, this is the definition of Justice: the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness. It does not mean do what you think is right. It does infer that there is a higher authority that determines what is right. I believe that higher authority is God. Otherwise that leaves the whole idea of right and wrong in the hands of mankind, who has the tendency of injecting feelings over facts. I have written about right and wrong and where we get the idea of what they are. It has little to do with feelings, but few will admit it. Justice is a word being tossed around by many in cases like I wrote about yesterday. Justice in America is accomplished through a system of laws and courts and civil authority, not random groups who feel like they have a better way.
Before I go any further I want to respond to one comment from a reader about yesterday’s blog. I said that clergy needed to speak out about the threats of taking the law into your own hands and this person said that there are no black pastors or churches that were not racist or had the guts to speak out. This is one of those times that I would like to slap someone who reads my blog. You could not be more wrong. The only reason I feel that I can speak out on such a sensitive subject and be as bold as I am is because my friends know my heart and know me. They know that the truth sets us free and not our opinions. Many of my friends are black and pastor churches full of people who love God and other people, regardless of race. While I appreciate your opinion, I take offense at your racist comment about my friends and brothers in Christ.
Now back to justice. The goal of justice is to make things just, or right. Right and wrong were never meant to be subject to feelings. They were never meant to be gray areas or ambiguous. There is a difference between and law and right and wrong. A law can be something that is totally based on feelings. For instance, the current health care law is a feeling that everyone has a right to health insurance. I can find no place that ever gives us a clear-cut right or wrong concerning this. If the law remains, it will be wrong not to follow the details of the law, but it is still based on a feeling.
Right and wrong is where there is a clear-cut determination, regardless of feelings. Murder is wrong. Stealing is wrong. Sexual abuse is wrong. These are things that almost every civil society in the world agree on. It is something that comes from the very moral fiber of humanity, which I believe comes from God. It is right to help the poor, but how, is left open for interpretation. It is right to work for what you have and to provide for your family. It is right to love and protect one another.
But justice is the process of taking a wrong and to the best of the ability of the legal system, making it right. That may mean to those who have stolen, that they give back. To those who have hurt another that they lose the ability to hurt again. The process most often takes time, and because of the human element, can sometimes make mistakes. That still does not give anyone the authority to take this into there own hands. We must first give the justice system time to work. In America we are innocent until proven guilty. We are protected from those who would take vengeance into there own hands and given a method to defend ourselves against all accusers.
The bottom line to this whole idea of justice comes down to God. He is the only righteous judge. He is the only one who knows the hearts of man and has promised that no sin will go unpunished. He did not limit those sins to the ones that we feel are worst, but to all sin that has separated us from Him. He made a way for the punishment for sin to be given to another. One who would be our sacrifice and take the wrath of God so that we may receive total forgiveness. Not based on who we are or how good we say we are, but totally based on His love for us and His hatred of sin that causes us to be separated from Him. God can do this because only a righteous judge can bring true justice with no influence from human imperfections. God has done this and will do this for those who repent.
Although His justice is firm and final, He has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain mercy and forgiveness through Jesus Christ, our advocate, the Savior of humanity. Vengeance is Mine says the Lord. His judgment is true and His mercy is greater. Justice will prevail.

March 24, 2011

Caught in the Act

by pastortimfowler

One of my favorite parts of the Bible is John 8:1-11, the woman caught in the act of adultery. Today I was reading it again and again I was blown away. In case you have never read it I will try to sum it up for you.
Jesus was teaching a bunch of people in the temple, (church for us). There were these guys called Pharisees. These were very religious men who knew the Bible, at that time, the Old Testament, by memory. They could quote it without even missing a punctuation mark.
Let me pause here to say that I wish I knew the Bible that well. I also wish that everyone I knew that claimed to be Christians would strive to know the Bible that well. Even if we never got it all memorized, we would have to be better off for knowing the Word of God better.
So these guys brought a woman to Jesus and she had been caught having sex with a man that was not her husband. The Old Testament law required that this woman be stoned to death for this act and the Pharisees were asking Jesus what He was going to do about it.
If that seems extreme, try to remember that the Bible is very clear that the price of sin is death and the Old Testament law was so that the Jews saw that price just as much as they saw the miracles of God when they lived right. This is another teaching for another time though.
Jesus is the Righteous Judge and like any judge has the right to pass any sentence up to the maximum under the law. So here is what He did. He wrote something in the dirt with His finger. The Bible does not say what He wrote but I have a theory. There is only one other place in the Bible that God writes anything with His finger. In Daniel 5:22-28, the finger of writes, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN, which means, counted, counted, weighed and divided. The purpose was to show an unholy people that God knew everyone of them and that everyone of them were found unholy and that they would become a divided or broken people for their sinfulness.
The Pharisees who brought this woman to Jesus would immediately know this writing and because they were a sinful bunch, they were left with no choice but to lay down their stones when Jesus said, Let you who have no sin throw the first stone at her.
Now this does not excuse the woman. She was in front of the Judge, guilty as charged. But the Judge can do something that is well within His jurisdiction. He can show mercy. So Jesus tells the woman, I don’t condemn you, go sin no more.
Are we like the Pharisees? Are we learning God’s word so we can find fault in others? Think about this…What were these guys doing to have caught her in the very act? Were they looking through windows, following her around until they found something wrong? Then when they caught her, I bet they didn’t let her get dressed and fix her hair before they took her to Jesus, all the while they were dressed in their finest holy attire, looking like they were special.
Jesus never asked us to look good, but rather to do good. He never asked us to catch wrong doers, but to stop doing wrong. He asked us to love even those who were enemies and pray for them and show the same compassion and mercy that He did.
He told her that she was sinning, nothing she didn’t know already. He told her that she was not condemned because He could forgive her sins. Then He told her to stop having this affair, sin no more.
This is how we should handle things. Like Jesus. If we are seriously wanting to see someone sin, all we need to do is watch ourselves and we too will be caught in the act.