Be Tenderhearted

Be Tenderhearted

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.  (Eph 4:32)

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous . . . (1 Pet 3:8)

. . . because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before God when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and you humbled yourself before Me, and you tore your clothes and wept before Me, I also have heard you,” says the Lord.  (2 Chr 34:27)

Tenderhearted means kind, gentle, compassionate, or sympathetic.  We don’t often consider this, but tenderheartedness is an attribute of Jesus.  This is why He was reported to have wept over Jerusalem.  (Lk 19:41)  He saw into their future, and He had compassion for all of the people who lived there.

So, too, the Lord wants us to be tenderhearted toward others.  He wants our compassion and gentleness to move us to help others and to be merciful to them.  Someone who is tenderhearted would never rejoice over someone else’s calamity or misfortune.  Rather they would be moved to have sympathy for them, and to pray for them and consider how they might be able to help them.

And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He [Jesus] said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored.  (Mk 3:5 – parenthesized word added)

Jesus did this miracle deliberately even though He knew that the scribes who were in the crowd were silently critical of His actions.  Their hardness of heart angered the Lord, but He determined to continue to minister His love and mercy in spite of their doubt and criticism.  He demonstrated His tenderheartedness to the man with the withered hand.

Let us always have a tender heart towards ALL who need salvation, healing, and mercy.  Jesus gave us His example to follow by ministering to those who were hurting, in pain, or impoverished due to a sickness or disease with which they had been afflicted.  Jesus came to bring salvation to mankind, and He tenderheartedly fulfilled His assignment.  Hallelujah!

God Is In Control

God Is In Control

There are many plans in a man’s heart, nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.  (Pro 19:21)

This article is a meditation upon the concept that our God and Savior is in control of life’s events.  Even in those cases where something that is negative or harmful occurs, the Lord can ultimately bring glory to Himself by delivering us.  He can also cause something that was intended to harm us turn into an opportunity for us to receive a blessing!  (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Ps 46:1) – God is not with us in trouble merely to comfort or strengthen us, but to protect and help us.  Hallelujah!

The Lord has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.  (Pro 16:4) – The Lord has created everything for His own purposes, and He gave human beings a free will even though He knew that a percentage of us would rebel against Him and reject Him.

A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  (Pro 16:9) – We make our own, fleshly plans; but the Lord in His mercy and goodness directs the circumstances of our lives according to His good plan for us. 

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.  (Pro 16:33) – Even the most seemingly accidental, chance, unexpected, or unplanned events are under God’s control. Trust Him and rely upon His love for you.

But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.  (Ps 115:3) – Our God is a merciful and loving God, so He will show mercy whenever and wherever He chooses to do so.  Because He can see the end from the beginning, He knows what events need to take place in our lives in order to accomplish His good plans for us.

The Lord of hosts has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass, and as I have purposed, so it shall stand . . . (Isa 14:24) – God’s good purposes and plans for us shall stand for He will bring them to pass.

“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?”  (Jer 32:27) – Whatever our difficulty or challenge or heartache, NOTHING is too difficult for God to turn it around.  Praise the Lord!

Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.  (Mt 10:29) – We know that God cares for us vastly more than the sparrows, so this verse opens our eyes to the truth that He diligently watches over us in all of the details of our lives.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  (Rom 13:1) – We must recognize that God even determines who will have authority at every level of a nation’s hierarchy.  He determines when and for how long a person will be in authority, even our employers, overseers, or business partners. 

God has spoken once, twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.  (Ps 62:11) – All power comes from God because it all belongs to Him.  Therefore, whatever position of power, authority or influence that you may have, be conscientious, kind, respectful and merciful to others.  You will one day give an account of yourself.

. . . not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.  (1 Pet 3:9)

We are called to bless others and to be a blessing.  Living in obedience to God’s will always causes us to inherit blessings.  Recognizing that God is not only in control of all things, but that He watches over us in order to be able to bless and help us will make it quite easy for us to want to help others.

Be Merciful

Be Merciful

But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High.  For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.  36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful.  (Lk 6:35-36)

But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them.  (Ps 41:10)

The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.  (Ps 103:8)

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.  (Heb 8:12)

These passages of Scripture talk of God being merciful.  The verse from Hebrews reminds us that we have received the mercy of God ourselves, and without it, would not be saved. 

God wants us to be merciful, even as Jesus (our example) is merciful.  In what ways is mercy expressed?  In these passages, we are shown some ideas on this topic.

  • Love your enemies;
  • Do good;
  • Lend to the needy, expecting no repayment;
  • Show kindness to the unthankful and evil; (Wow! Really, Lord?)
  • Be slow to anger;
  • Forget the sins of other people against you and against your loved ones;
  • Raise others up.

These are all very challenging things to accomplish, and they are difficult, if not to say impossible, without God’s grace working in us to energize us.

How may we “raise others up”?  We can help others by being encouraging, understanding, humble, and positive with our words.  We can share information with them that was helpful to us or to someone that we love.  We will receive grace to empower us to show them respect and the love of God, and never be judgmental.   

In short, we see them as Jesus sees them:  beloved,  victorious and blessed—and treat them accordingly.

The Work of God

The Work of God

Jesus answered, “The work of God is this:  to believe on the One He has sent.”  (John 6:29)  This is the “work” to which each believer is called.

I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.  (John 17:4)  Here, Jesus refers to His own work on earth:  that of redeeming mankind back to His Father.  Jesus had work to DO

We, believers, on the other hand, have something to believe—that is our work.  There is nothing for us to DO except to obey John 6:29.  What we need to DO is to rest upon the finished work of Jesus Christ, our Savior, as we live our lives daily. 

As we rest in His finished work, we will have a desire to perform good works and to obey the Holy Bible.  We will want to represent Christ accurately upon this earth.  (see 2 Cor 5:20)  He is loving, merciful, and welcoming.  He is a wonder-working, miracle-working God.

As we abide in Christ, we will perform signs and wondersAnd as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.  (Mat 10:7-8)

Let’s perform our work cheerfully each day, friend!