The Hands of Mercy [New Version]

Welcome to Day 4 of Part 2s Chapter 3 from Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is sharing a free will offering of gold: a poem and Scriptures of thanksgiving for God’s perfection wrought at the Cross for us. She also invites you to sing a song of praise and worship with her.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.

Psalm 139: 7-10 (ESV)
The Hands of Mercy 

Your hands hold
Me close
Your hands wrap
Around my coming

And going out again
Your hands know me
Each day of my life
Written in Your book.

Your hands let me go
But tethering me in grace
To the path You walked
Before me and behind me stay.

Your hands wrap around
My heart that is aching
To break
In Your mercy.

Laboring in kindness
Your hands teach me to trust
Again and again to let go
Into Your hands every part yielding.

Led by Your hands
I walk into Your death
And resurrection, again and again
To learn that I'm free.

Free to depart and choose You
To lay every accusation
Into Your hands
To arise afresh in Your mercy.

To go and bear fruit that abides
Dying to the old of my knowing
You teach me to rest in Your palm
To feel the holes deep in Your hands.

Now teach me, Father, to give
No longer judgment, but mercy
Break my chains of religion fully and
Wholly in Your abundance to flow.

My life and breath
Let them speak evermore
Of Your hands that were pierced
To hold us all together in mercy.

For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them

    after those days, declares the Lord:

I will put my laws on their hearts,

    and write them on their minds,”

then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:14-18 (ESV)

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.

13 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:11-14 (ESV)

Behold Jesus: The Mercy Seat of God [New Version]

Welcome to Day 2 of Chapter 6 from Arise & Shine’s Part 7. Today, Anna is bringing forward our second free will offering of The Mercy Seat.

What does it mean to come boldly before the throne of grace in our time of need? For me personally, it means I can come to Jesus, just as little children do, not hiding my raw emotions or troubling thoughts or fears, but pouring out my heart before Him. I am [re]learning that God will not reject me, even when He sees that my pain is rooted in my own sin.

He has been proving to me, as I come to Him again and again, that He is a God who sees me, knows me and loves me. That He is a God who longs to shower me in mercy, to again and again expose my need for Him and to meet me there with His affirmation, affection and reassurance.

As Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic, so beautifully reminds me:

“If I have any tenacity or strength at all, it is recognizing what a treasure trove I have in my weakness, because that is the very thing that drives me to the cross of Jesus Christ, every single day.”

Source: https://www.jesuscalling.com/podcast/lifeline-drowning-hurts-joni-eareckson-tada-dedee-greg-lhamon/

A few days ago, I was re-reading something I penned six years years ago, and it brought this beautiful life-giving truth of the mercy seat to me afresh. I have been struggling with my new heart condition that has me some days just not wanting to get up out of bed. But God reminded me through the words He had me record so long ago, that His compassion flows for me in that place and that all I have to do is come. Since then,He has been showing me and reminding me that my very weakness is an invitation into a deeper knowing and tasting of His love and grace for me.

God is teaching me to lay my fears and cares before Him one by one and not to press them away or try to “fix” myself, believing He will reject me if I admit my distrust of Him. In that open confession, He is helping me to acknowledge my need for Him, where I haven’t recognized it before, and right there He is inviting me to turn my fears and cares into direct requests of Him. Every time I do so, He is showing me and reminding me, again and again of His deep abiding presence with me and His love, compassion and provision for me.

And so I longed to share these old words God gave me with you too. May God’s encouragement to me bless you too, as it has me afresh, leading you, just like me, to come boldly to sit on that mercy seat – in the arms of Jesus – in your time of need.

BEHOLD

The past week has been a whirlwind of activity, with our large family (my parents had six children), usually spread out between the South and North Island of New Zealand, Australia, Germany and the Netherlands congregating in one city. It was a wonderful week together, but my heart, mind and soul is also yearning for rest.

This morning, I successfully stepped out of bed without waking my youngest and have been able to read, sit, reflect and wonder at God’s creation. We are currently staying in one of the most beautiful places in the world with my little sister, surrounded by majestic mountains. And yet, my mind has been in overdrive, blinded to that which lies before me.

This morning I read further in A.W. Tozer’s Knowledge of the Holy and it reminded me of my experience, when God’s powerful Presence broke open my heart, as I surveyed His creation in utter wonder. It was as if the mountains, lake and skies oozed His Presence and as if they enveloped me in Love.

Psalm 143: 4 – 6 (The Message)

I sat there in despair, my spirit draining away,
    my heart heavy, like lead.
I remembered the old days,
    went over all you’ve done, pondered the ways you’ve worked,
Stretched out my hands to you,
    as thirsty for you as a desert thirsty for rain.

That’s why if someone were to ask me why I believe what I do, I cannot tell them by talking in terms of the intellect because for me all human reasoning cannot fully fathom the God who has been revealing Himself to me. Just as A. W. Tozer shares in Knowledge of the Holy (Reformed Church Publications, 2013), p. 17:

“We think more loftily of God,” says Michael de Molinos, “by knowing that He is incomprehensible, and above our understanding, than by conceiving Him under any image, and creative beauty, according to our rude understanding.”

It is when I still to look for Him, that I see Him everywhere and in seeing Him everywhere, both my heart and mind open in wonder. The thoughts that had clouded my mind moments ago, dissipate. The ache that had been numbed into oblivion, rises. And thus I join Anselm in his prayer (Knowledge of the Holy, Reformed Church Publications, 2013, p. 18):

“Let me seek Thee in longing,” pleaded Anselm, “let me long for thee in seeking; let me find thee in love, and love thee in finding.”

as my heart begins to yearn after that which my mind cannot decipher, a God who is (Knowledge of the Holy, Reformed Church Publications, 2013, p. 10):

Darkness to the intellect                 

But sunshine to the heart.

Yes, it is good to seek Him with our intellect, to study Him with our minds, but that study can only stretch so far. Our incomprehensible, majestic, holy God is beyond all human fathoming.

And for me, that thought stirs a knee-bending wonder, eyes to see, ears to hear and a heart full of yearning.

Jeremiah 23: 23-24 (The Message)

“Am I not a God near at hand”—God’s Decree—
    “and not a God far off?
Can anyone hide out in a corner
    where I can’t see him?”
        God’s Decree.
“Am I not present everywhere,
    whether seen or unseen?”
        God’s Decree.

Oh yes! He is so near to us, for we cannot ever be separated from His love that has made us alive together with Him:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Colossians 2:13-15, ESV

Oh yes! Our God will hold us fast, using what the enemy sent to harm us to plunge us more deeply into the power of the Cross. The power of our Savior’s blood flowing for us to daily lift the weight of our burdens and to renew our strength that we too might take up our Cross and follow Jesus into the JOY set before us. Every morning afresh, our King of Kings is meeting me in my weakness, proving Himself as the strength of my heart, as I come to Him just as I am.

Be encouraged with me today: our cold stone heart, bound by sin and pain has been rolled away. For, we now have the life breath and soft heart of Jesus available to us and that Jesus has delivered us – the mercy seat proves it to us daily. Oh let us come boldly before the throne of grace in our time of need, again and again.