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Posts Tagged ‘mercy’

I am a word geek.  I love words.  I can’t remember when I didn’t love words.  Word games.  Crossword puzzles.  Plays on words.  Silly rhymes.  I’ve met very few words I don’t like.

But there are so many words I love! These are just a few of them.

 

Family words

The first is surely my name.  Judy.  My family all just called me Judy.   No nicknames—that I know of.  And my husband always calls me Judy.  I use lots of endearing words for him, but he sticks to my name.  We all love to hear our name—it says we are known, accepted, maybe even treasured.

Oh how I love the word Mom.  My children use all variations (American versions): Mother, Mom, Mama, Mommy.  I answer to all.

And now my grandchildren have given me another wonderful name:  Jeedoo.  Music to a grandmother’s ears:  Jeedoo, tell us a story.

Sisters—I have three of them.  We are so different, but we enjoy each other.  We are about to embark on our biannual get together, this time in North Carolina.  When our mother died, we decided that, unless we were intentional, we might never see each other again.  So first we did Texas, then Colorado.  It’s good to make time for sisters.

Relationship words

Every parent spends years teaching children to say Please and Thank you.  Those little ones do it out of obedience, then habit.  And hopefully at some point from the heart, realizing that these polite words show respect to others.

Good job!  We love to hear that—especially from someone whose opinion matters.  When a parent or a teacher or a coach or a boss truthfully says these affirming words, we gain new confidence.  We believe we can do more, even anything we try.

I’m sorry and I forgive you, unfortunately, are often needed but too seldom heard.  But regret and sorrow for words or actions, when expressed sincerely, pave the way for healing and restoration.

I love you.  Oh the magic words!  Given to a child, offered to a friend, whispered to a lover.  Few words, genuinely spoken, bring more joy, hope, affirmation, contentment.  Surely we can say it more than we do. One of my greatest gifts is a husband who tells me he loves me many times a day.

God words

God is also very fond of words.  He spoke and the worlds were formed.  He wrote thousands of words in the Scriptures.  And He sent Jesus as the Word made flesh.

One of my favorite words from God is love.  His Word is filled with this word.  Over and over He declares His love for you and for me.  Then he proves it!  What amazing love!

Truth.  God’s love requires that He tell us the truth.  Sometimes that truth is uncomfortable, even unwanted.  But He assures us that His truth will set us free.

A God word I couldn’t live without is mercy.  I thought I would be further along by now, and maybe my sins aren’t so “big” as they once were.  But there they are,  day by day, reminding me of mercy purchased at such a high price.

And my favorite God word?  Surely it is grace.  The extravagant gift God lavishes on us, undeserved, abundant, even scandalous—I am so grateful.

Of course there are so many more.  Let me close with three more of my favorite words:  God bless you!

What about you?  What are some of your favorite words?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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We are halfway Lent, and probably most of us have already neglected our commitments of worship.  Perhaps this confession from The Book of Common Prayer will help us to tell God the truth.

The Litany of Penitence

Most holy and merciful Father:
We confess to you and to one another,
and to the whole communion of saints
in heaven and on earth,
that we have sinned by our own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.

We have not loved you with our whole heart, and mind, and strength. We have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have not forgiven others, as we have been forgiven.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. We have not been true to the mind of Christ. We have grieved your Holy Spirit.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

We confess to you, Lord, all our past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of our lives,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our self-indulgent appetites and ways, and our exploitation of other people,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our anger at our own frustration, and our envy of those more fortunate than ourselves,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and our dishonesty in daily life and work,

We confess to you, Lord.

Our negligence in prayer and worship, and our failure to commend the faith that is in us,

We confess to you, Lord.

Accept our repentance, Lord, for the wrongs we have done: for our blindness to human need and suffering, and our indifference to injustice and cruelty,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward our neighbors, and for our prejudice and contempt toward those who differ from us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

For our waste and pollution of your creation, and our lack of concern for those who come after us,

Accept our repentance, Lord.

Restore us, good Lord, and let your anger depart from us;

Favorably hear us, for your mercy is great.

Accomplish in us the work of your salvation,

That we may show forth your glory in the world.

By the cross and passion of your Son our Lord,

Bring us with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desires not the death of sinners, but rather that they may turn from their wickedness and live, has given power and commandment to his ministers to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the absolution and remission of their sins. He pardons and absolves all those who truly repent, and with sincere hearts believe his holy Gospel.

Therefore we beseech him to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do on this day, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy, so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

en español: Letanía de Penitencia

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Lenten Mercy

I grew up in a church tradition that focused on Lent.  We were not consistent church attenders, and our family did not particularly practice anything at home in honor of Lent, but the concept of Lent was real and recognized.  We always chose something to give up during Lent.  Then we always went to church on Easter Sunday in new dresses our mother had made for my sisters and me.

As I came to Christ in my teen years and later attended a less liturgical church, I mostly forgot about Lent.  But in recent years I have been reminded of what a treasure it is for my spiritual life.

Yes, it is a time to “give up” something.  Sometimes it is food, like sweets, or something like TV, or crossword puzzles.  These are not bad things, but the denying myself is a helpful spiritual practice.  I’ve also found it is good to “add to” my life with a practice that also reminds me of all that Christ has added to my life.  So I might do a daily devotional, or give to a charity, or pray for particular people.  I always ask God to guide me.

So what is the real meaning of Lent?  It is a time to express our repentance for our sins in preparation for recognizing the truth of Bad Friday/Good Friday.  It was certainly a difficult day for our Savior as He took on Himself all our sins—the sins of the whole world—and was separated from His Father in paying the penalty for those sins.  And Good Friday—it represents great good news for us—our sins are washed away, forgiven, buried, paid for!!

And then we celebrate.  Easter is the holiest day of all—Jesus overcame death and rose again to live forever—and to make the same available to us!

Lent represents for me one of the most wonderful truths about our God—His mercy.  He hates our sin, and exacts a great penalty for it—death, separation from Him.  But His mercy drove Him to provide a way for forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration!

His mercy flows through the entire Bible.  My focus this Lenten season will be on that mercy so generously extended to me—and to you.  So each day during Lent I will post a reminder of His mercy on Facebook and Twitter.

Please join me in gratefully acknowledging and walking in His abundant mercy.

“…to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”  ( prophecy about Jesus in Luke 1:77-79)

What about you?  What does God’s mercy mean to you?

c2012 Judy Douglass

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I love words.  I love discovering—and using–new words.  Words are treasures to find and share.

Sometimes I take sneaky pleasure in using words most people won’t know—true confession.

I have no artistic or musical gifts.  Math and science escape me.  Engineering is incomprehensible to my mind.

But words.   I can tell a story, weave a dream, preach a sermon….

Some of my favorite words are used to describe my God—and how He feels about me:

Reckless love—that called the Son of God from heaven to become the Son of Man on earth.

Furious longing—for me, to know me, to be with me, to love me.  (Thanks Brennan Manning.)

Relentless pursuit—that never gives up seeking to find and woo and win me.

Lavish generosity—that gave it all and continues to give and give.

Extravagant grace—that flows over and in every crevice of my life, and never runs dry.

Outrageous  mercy—that forgives the guilt of all the sins of one so reprehensible and unworthy as I.

Scandalous sacrifice—that God would die in my place that I might live with Him forever.

 

I am undone by this God.  On my face.

 

What are your favorite words to describe God?

 

C2011 Judy Douglass

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