North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

The most powerful waterfall in North America is the great Niagara Falls. It’s renowned both for its beauty and power and draws hundreds of tourists every day. And more than 150,000 gallons of water per second flow over the falls, amounting to 4-6 million cubic feet of water every minute. This is hard to fathom! But if you’ve ever witnessed it, you’ll never forget it. But more than that, it’s God’s mercy that’s even harder to fathom.
Psalm 86:5 assures us that God is “rich in faithful love (or mercy). This faithful love is a merciful love. We don’t receive what we deserve (punishment), but rather we receive the very opposite (pardon and restoration). In His great mercy God has rescued us from our sinful, sorry, helpless condition. He gives us new life. Ephesians 2:4-5 puts it this way: “God shows us mercy…He loves us with a great love. Even when we were dead because of our sins, He made us alive by what Christ did for us. You have been saved from the punishment of sin by His Mercy.” Like Niagara Falls, the mercy of God overflows freely and continually for us. What are we to do with all the mercy God has given us?
The animal kingdom has always fascinated me and a lesson in mercy can be found in it. When a wolf realizes he is losing a fight, he will expose his throat to the dominant one, who permits the weak wolf to live. Now, that’s mercy. But it pales in comparison to God’s mercy towards us. And because we have received mercy, we should show the same towards others. Is there someone in your life who needs mercy—a suffering sister…a bewildered brother…a financially-strapped friend? Jesus said, “Those who show mercy are happy because they will be shown mercy” (Matt. 5:7)
God’s justice toward sin was handled at the cross of Christ. God’s mercy toward the sinner was also taken care of there. Knowing who we are and what we have done, how on earth can we define God’s mercy toward us? Psalm 103:17 says, “But the mercy of the Lord is forever and forever on those who fear Him. And what is right with God is given forever to their children’s children.” Webster has defined mercy as “a blessing that is an act of divine favor or compassion (love)” God’s mercy is “LOVING”. He loved us while we were afar off; still in our sins doing our own thing, and without hope. Our testimony should be that of Psalm 69:16, “O Lord, your mercy is good. Turn to me because of your great loving-pity.”
It’s because of divine mercy that we are made free. God’s mercy is “LIBERATING”. So many people today are in bondage to their own selfish desires and ill-attitudes toward people when they should be loving. Some people find themselves in bondage to the opinion of others. Don’t live your life for others; live it for God. God’s loving mercy sets us free from self-centered-ness and the opinion of others. If you’re saved and the Son (Jesus) has set you free, you are free indeed. Why try to live in any other way?
Jesus was known for lifting people up by his Spirit. He would tell them “to rise”. God’s mercy “LIFTS” people today. The drunkard, the addict, the thief, and all who repent and forsake their sin may be lifted up. God’s promise to you and me: “If we tell him our sins, He is faithful and we can depend on Him to forgive us of our sins. He will make our lives clean from all sin.” (1 John 1:9).
One of the first Bible verses I learned as a child was Psalm 100:5, “For the Lord is good. His mercy lasts forever. And He is faithful to all people and to all their children-to-come.” Few things in today’s world are lasting. A good steward will try to take care of things. But even the most faithful steward can’t preserve the material goods of this world forever—they wear out, rust, decay, and soon disappear. The sad thing is many people build their hopes and life around money and temporal things. We can’t take these things with us to the next life. All things must be left behind. But here’s the good news – God’s Mercy is “LASTING”. He is ever ready to forgive and cleanse those who come to Him in simple, trusting faith.
Place within your heart, an attitude of mercy toward others. Never belittle the experience of life someone has to go through. For it’s in those experiences people have the opportunity to exercise faith. Only that person and God know the depth and sincerity of that experience. Learn from their mistakes, learn from your own, and be thankful for God’s mercies which come to us each and every day.
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and a 1LT Chaplain in the U.S. Army Reserves. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Dec 8 2013. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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