Mercy

Good morning. It is Friday, no, Wednesday . . . okay, let’s call it “Frednesday!” November 26, 2014. Thanksgiving Eve!

Did you know that the directors of Despicable Me allegedly wrote a language for the minions? Supposedly, each word really means something. (We still haven’t seen either one of those movies.)

Today is Cake Day. I’m cool with that. I love cake! Let them eat cake!!! “You! Cake or death?”

Had a pretty good day, yesterday, as we move toward Thanksgiving. I worked an hour over to try to assure that we didn’t have a whole lot of overflow work into this morning. We’re hoping that we don’t get a ton of work this morning, because we have to stay and finish whatever we get today. Since we are on a 24-hour clock for our metrics, and we are closed tomorrow and Friday, everything that comes in today must get finished today. But, as C.S. Lewis said, “It is what it is.” Or, as someone else said, “Que sera, sera,” or, “What will be, will be.”

Tomorrow will be day of cooking and eating, collapsing, and then more eating. It is possible that there will be some football watching, but only if someone else requests it. Personally, I will be rooting for the Eagles.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

(From The Divine Hours)

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Psalm 34:8
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Psalm 86:4
With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments!
Psalm 119:10
I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
Psalm 7:17
I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Psalm 30:1-5
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be your Name.
May your kingdom come, and your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil;
for yours are the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Today’s Gospel Reading

And Jesus went away from there and withdrew to the district of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon.” But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” But she came and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, help me.” And he answered, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” She said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered her, “O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed instantly.
Matthew 15:21-28

Was Jesus testing this woman? This is one of those passages that causes me to stop and sort of scratch my chin, saying, “Hmmm . . . ” It is true that Jesus’s primary ministry was to Israel, while he was on earth. But at some point, it becomes evident that this woman makes no pretense of being deserving of his compassion, but merely hopes to partake in the overflow of the blessing. This is even seen in her initial cry to Jesus, as she asks for mercy. She is depending only on mercy. Jesus declares the greatness of her faith and heals her daughter.

We deserve none of the blessings of God, and it pains me when believers act so pompous that they believe that God owes them blessings. We are all at his mercy, and it is only his love and compassion for us that causes him to lavish grace and blessings upon us. We deserve nothing but the punishment of hell for our rebelliousness. We are certainly not better than this Canaanite woman.

Today’s reading in Reflections for Ragamuffins is “The Difficulty of Standing Up For What Is Right.”

All too often, it is true that those who stand up “for the truth of human dignity, no matter how disfigured,” find themselves standing alone, abandoned by “previously supportive friends.” Sometimes those “friends” even become critical, depending on the scope of the circumstances. Sometimes, standing up for what is right is a lonely plight.

“I called on your name, O LORD, from the depths of the pit;
you heard my plea, ‘Do not close your ear to my cry for help!’
You came near when I called on you; you said, ‘Do not fear!’
“You have taken up my cause, O Lord; you have redeemed my life.”

Lamentations 3:55-58

Father, I thank you for the mercy that you have shown to me and my family. I praise you for the grace that has been lavished upon us, who deserved none of the blessings that you have given. You certainly do not owe us anything; rather, the opposite is true . . . I owe you everything. Yet, I owe you nothing, because it has all been paid. My mind, my heart, cannot wrap itself around this truth; it is too great for me to comprehend. ” Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” You are beautiful, Father, and your grace is glorious.

I pray that you would give me the faith and strength to always stand up for what is right, no matter who might oppose me. This is sometimes a difficult thing. It takes time and energy to stand up for what is right and for those who are slighted, and sometimes, I am just lazy, or sometimes I don’t want to bother with the confrontation. Other times, I am too comfortable, and don’t want to step outside that comfort zone. I pray that you remove me from that way of thinking. Make me more like Jesus, as I continue to try to learn how to be a true disciple. Help me to love you, follow Christ, and share the kingdom.

I pray for this day. May we have safe and smooth passage to work and home today. I pray for a good work day for both, and that we might not need to work late this evening. I pray for Stephanie, today, that she might be in a better frame of mind, and that you would give her wisdom and understanding. May you turn her sadness into joy, Father, and show your great grace to her. I pray for peaceful times tomorrow and Friday, and that we would be thankful to you 365 days a year.

I pray for peace for the people of Ferguson.

Remember his mercy upon us.

Grace and peace, friends.

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