Mercy: Monday Monologues (podcast) June 8, 2020

Stephen_W_Hiemstra_20200125b
Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

 

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on mercy. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Mercy: Monday Monologues (podcast) June 8, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net,

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Ready_2020

Continue Reading

Prayer for Compassion and Mercy

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

God of All Compassion and Mercy,

Forgive me, Lord, for the sins of my youth when I fell short of the plans you had for me. When in your great compassion you were kind to me and patient, teaching me your law and demonstrating your grace.

Forgive me, Lord, for the transgressions of my youth when I disobeyed your law when in your mercy you looked the other way and disregarded my attitude, teaching me forbearance and gentle persuasion.

Forgive me, Lord, for the iniquity of my youth when I failed to help those around me.

When in your everlasting love you sent your son to die for me, atoning for my sin, my transgressions, and my iniquity so that I might grow to be a man mindful of compassion, mercy, and love that were modeled for me all the days of my life.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Prayer for Compassion and Mercy

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Ready_2020

 
Continue Reading

Show Mercy, Receive Mercy

Life_in_Tension_revision_front_20200101

Honored are the merciful, 

for they shall receive mercy. 

(Matt 5:7)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Mercy highlights our tension with God because our flesh delights neither in practicing mercy nor in offering it. Rather than practice mercy, we prefer people to keep their promises and pay their bills; rather than ask for mercy, we prefer to pretend that we are sinless. Born in sin, mercy draws attention to our lack of holiness and our finitude, highlighting our tension with God.

Mercy is one of God’s signature character traits  (Wilkins 2004, 208; Guelich 1982, 88). It appears in the Golden Rule, in the Lord’s Prayer, and, most significantly, in a short list of God’s attributes given to Moses immediately after the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai:

The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation. (Exod 34:4–7)

The Sinai context here is important because God exposes his character traits to Moses as a set of core values to be used to interpret the law correctly. Experienced lawmakers know that laws taken out of context can be misinterpreted and they frequently publish commentaries to assure proper interpretation. To interpret God’s character correctly, start by recognizing that God is merciful. God demonstrates his mercy in that Jesus willingly died on the cross to save us from our sins—our atonement through Christ confirms his divinity precisely because it exemplifies God’s mercy (1 Cor 15:3).

Mercy appears in many grammatical forms in scripture, but the adverbial form used in the Fifth Beatitude is used nowhere else. This form can be used to declare or be presented as a cause (Wallace 1996, 460–461). Merciful means “being concerned about people in their need, merciful, sympathetic, compassionate” (BDAG 2487) and is derrived from the same root as compassion. Mercy and forgiveness appear as two sides of the same coin (Guelich (1982, 88),  as we read:

Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD! (Ps 25:6-7)

The Psalmist talks about mercy, love, and goodness, which together constitute forgiveness.

Jesus repeatedly talks about mercy, as when we read:

1. Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice (Hos 6:6). For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners. (Matt 9:13,12: 7).

2. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. (Matt 23:23)

3. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you? (Matt 18:33)

Jesus clearly values mercy more than legal compliance or punishment. He also talks about mercy using other words or phrases, as in:

1. So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matt 7:12)

2. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matt 6:12)

In the first example of the Golden Rule, he uses the reciprocal form (do as you would have them do) also used in the Fifth Beatitude (give mercy, receive mercy) suggesting through parallel construction that a parallel concept is also being discussed (France 1985, 110).

The reciprocal form of the Fifth Beatitude makes a convincing case for mercy. Mercy is not earned by being merciful, but mercy suggests God’s presence and we are blessed when we offer it.

REFERENCES

Bauer, Walter (BDAG). 2000. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 3rd ed. ed. de Frederick W. Danker. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. <BibleWorks. v.9.>.

France, R.T. 1985. Matthew. Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove: IVP Academic.

Guelich, Robert. 1982. The Sermon on the Mount: A Foundation for Understanding. Dallas: Word Publishing.

Wilkins, Michael J. 2004. The NIV Application Commentary: Matthew. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Show Mercy, Receive Merc

Also see:

Preface to a Life in Tension

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

Newsletter: https://bit.ly/Release_2020

 

Continue Reading

23. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webGod of All Compassion and Mercy,
Forgive me, Lord, for the sins of my youth where I fell short of the plans you had for me. When in your great compassion you were kind to me and patient,teaching me your law and demonstrating your grace. Forgive me, Lord, for the transgressions of my youth when I disobeyed your law when in your mercy you looked the other way and disregarded my attitude, teaching me forbearance and gentle persuasion.
Forgive me, Lord, for the iniquity of my youth when I failed to help those around me. When in your everlasting love you sent your son to die to me, atoning for my sin, my transgressions, and my iniquity so that I might grow to be a man mindful of compassion, mercy, and love that were modeled for me all the days of my life through the power of your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Continue Reading

16. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Cover for Prayers of a Life in Tension

16. Prayers of a Life in Tension

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Amazing Lord,

Teach me to be like you—to love your grace like Christ and to love your laws like Moses and to have confidence in your compassion, meekness, and strength. For there is none like you: glorious and loving and yet truly humble. For you and you alone are Holy—creator of all that is, that was, and that will ever be; creator of heart and mind.  Help me to build on the work of Christ—to comfort the afflicted, to aid the poor, and to offer gentleness and hospitality in place of worldly crudeness and war. Grant me the strength to learn and to apply what I learn; grant me eyes that see, ears that hear, and a heart that is open to prayer. In the power of your Holy Spirit, teach me to be like you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Also see:

Bothersome Gaps: Life in Tension 

A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

Other ways to engage online:

Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter at: http://bit.ly/2vfisNa

Continue Reading

11. Prayers of a Life in Tension by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Prayers_of_a_Life_in_Tension_webGod of All Compassion,

Draw near to me in my grief. Let me not mourn alone, but instead turn to you. I remember how you walked with me during sunny days—days when the trees were bright with leaves and the flowers bloomed along the beach and the hills and the forest. Now that autumn has come and the days grow shorter, be ever near as a I walk along along stormy paths that wind through the shadows and under leafless trees. Forgive my aloofness, ever at a distance, thinking that the sun would always shine and warm breezes would stay near. Forgive my tight-fisted attitude, grasping at time, grasping at resources, grasping for myself.  Grant me a clear mind, a generous heart, and helpful hands through your Holy Spirit, Almighty God. That I might be like you. Now and always. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Continue Reading

Prayer Day 47: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Disponible en Amazon.com
Disponible en Amazon.com

Gracious Father. Rest with us. Grant us the energy to care. Let us focus a day each week on being your people and modeling your love to those around us. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Padre de gracia, descansa con nosotros. Concédenos la energía para preocuparnos. Permite enfocarnos un día cada semana en ser Tu pueblo y modelar Tu amor a los que nos rodean. En el nombre del Padre, del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo. Amén.

Continue Reading

Day 36: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Espera verano 2015
Espera verano 2015

Compassionate Father, beloved Son, ever-present Spirit. Thank you for giving us healthy boundaries in your law. Cleanse our hearts of jealousy, envy, and other evil passions that lead us to sin. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Padre Compasivo, Hijo Amado, Omnipresente Espíritu, gracias por darnos límites saludables en Tu ley. Limpia nuestros corazones de los celos, la envidia, y otras pasiones malvadas que nos llevan a pecar. En el nombre de Jesús oramos. Amén.

Continue Reading

Prayer Day 27: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com

God of all compassion. You are the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end. We praise you for your example of humility. We thank you for your sacrifice. Help us to confess our sins and forgive those who sin against us. In the power of your Holy Spirit, open our hearts, illumine our minds, and strengthen our hands in your service. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Dios de toda compasión. Eres el Alfa y la Omega, el principio y el fin. Te alabamos por tu ejemplo de humildad. Te damos gracias por tu sacrificio. Ayudanos a confesar nuestros pecados y perdonar a los que pecan contra nos. En el poder de tu Espíritu Santo, abre nuestros corazones, ilumina nuestras mentes, y fortalece nuestras manos en tu servicio. En el nombre de Jesús oramos, Amén.

Continue Reading

Prayer Day 23: A Christian Guide to Spirituality by Stephen W. Hiemstra

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com

Sovereign Father, lover of our souls, compassionate spirit. Holy, holy, holy is Your name. We praise you for creating us in Your image and loving us intrinsically, just as we are. Grant us the eyes to see others as You see them. Give us ears that hear Your voice above the crowds screaming for our attention. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Padre Soberano, amante de nuestras almas, Espíritu Compasivo. Santo, Santo, Santo es tu nombre. Te alabamos por crear nos a tu imagen y por amar nos intrínsecamente, tal y como somos. Concedenos los ojos para ver los demás como tu los ves. Da nos oídos que escuchar tu voz por encima de las multitudes que gritan por nuestra atención. En el precioso nombre de Jesús oramos, Amén.

Continue Reading