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My God is…Blessing Psalm 24:4-6

Psalm 24:4-6 – Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, blessing
who do not lift up their souls to what is false,
and do not swear deceitfully.
They will receive blessing from the Lord,
and vindication from the God of their salvation.
Such is the company of those who seek him,
who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Definition of BLESS

1: to hallow or consecrate by religious rite or word
2: to hallow with the sign of the cross
3: to invoke divine care for <bless your heart> —used in the phrase bless you to wish good health especially to one who has just sneezed
4 a : praiseglorify <bless his holy name>
   : to speak well of : approve
5: to confer prosperity or happiness upon
archaic : protectpreserve
7: endowfavor <blessed with athletic ability>

Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false, and do not swear deceitfully.

Ok, let’s clarify something from the get go, this is an Old Testament verse. Since it is from the Old Testament it may seem a bit heavy on law. You’ll see that it is telling us what seems like a list of things we must do to get salvation. It is not for our salvation, but rather because of our salvation through Jesus Christ that we can have clean hands, a pure heart, are not distracted by other gods and idols, and do not swear deceitfully. I think we can all agree these are good things to work towards doing (or not doing).

They will receive blessing from the Lord, and vindication from the God of their salvation

This verse is Old Testament, but speaks of the grace we find in Jesus Christ, the God of our salvation. I want you to take a look at the definitions of bless above.

1: to hallow or consecrate by religious rite or word
2: to hallow with the sign of the cross

When God blesses us, it is a call to live like the first part of the word. He is setting us apart for holy work. Not Holy with a capital “H”, but holy that means we do everything in our life with God in mind. God wants to be at the center of our life, with our eyes focused on Him. He doesn’t want us to turn our minds toward someone or something else to bring us our happiness. When we were baptized, the pastor makes a cross across your forehead and your heart. He is blessing you, marking you as part of God’s family.

3: to invoke divine care for <bless your heart> —used in the phrase bless you to wish good health especially to one who has just sneezed

We are also blessed by God that He cares for our needs. In Matthew 6:25-34 we read about the Lord’s provision for us, and a reminder that because we are set apart and blessed, we don’t need to worry.
Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life?

5: to confer prosperity or happiness upon

archaic : protectpreserve
7: endowfavor <blessed with athletic ability>

God can also bless us in our earthly lives. Beyond supplying us with our needs, He works good things in our lives. He even takes situations that look like they have no hope, and give us hope. He promises to work all things for our good in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” We are blessed by being set apart as His family. We are blessed to be set apart to do His work here on earth. We are blessed that in all things God is working for our best interests. We are blessed that though we are sinful, we have a God who provided a way out of death through His Son Jesus Christ. We are blessed to know we will spend eternity in Heaven with Him.

Do you feel blessed?
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My God is Gracious and Merciful Psalm 86:15

Psalm 86:15 – But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

What’s the difference? 

God is gracious and merciful. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I use these terms interchangeably. I don’t know if I even usually think about the difference between them. I was thinking, if there wasn’t a difference, why would the Psalmist use both words? To be poetic? Possibly, but I think the words were chosen more deliberately.

Merciful – Full of Mercy

So what does mercy mean?

mer·cy

1. compassionate or kindly forbearance shown toward an offender, an enemy, or other person in one’s power;compassion, pity, or benevolence: Have mercy on the poor sinner.

2. the disposition to be compassionate or forbearing: an adversary wholly without mercy.

3. the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone or to mitigate punishment, especially to send to prison rather than invoke the death penalty.
4. an act of kindness, compassion, or favor: She has performed countless small mercies for her friends and neighbors.
5. something that gives evidence of divine favor; blessing: It was just a mercy we had our seat belts on when it happened.
God is Merciful 
Again, I love the study of words. It is amazing how full the word mercy is when you look at all its meanings. Having a merciful God means that he has compassion on me. He is compassionate without me deserving it. I may deserve death, but God is merciful to me and changes my sentence from death to life with Him in heaven. He performed His biggest act of mercy or compassion on me when He saved me from my sins by sending His son Jesus to die for me. I deserved to go to hell, because of my sins that turned me away from Him, but instead he was merciful and provided me a way out so that I might not end up in hell, but in heaven with Him.
God is Gracious
So we know that gracious and merciful often go together, so what can be added by including gracious to the list of who God is? Well let’s see if the definition of gracious helps us figure that out at all.
gra·cious 

1. Characterized by kindness and warm courtesy.
2. Characterized by tact and propriety: responded to the insult with gracious humor.
3. Of a merciful or compassionate nature.
4. Condescendingly courteous; indulgent.
5. Characterized by charm or beauty; graceful.
6. Characterized by elegance and good taste: gracious living.
7. Archaic Enjoying favor or grace; acceptable or pleasing.
We see by the third definition that, yes, grace is closely related to mercy. Grace is to have that merciful nature, or should I say you can’t be gracious without having a merciful nature. I like the first definition of God being described as having kindness and a warm courtesy. Today I’m going to see my Great Aunt and Uncle. They have that gift. That kindness and warm courtesy. Maybe you know someone who has that too. How does it feel to enter their home. Are you uncomfortable? NO! They make you feel good and welcomed. God wants that for us as well. He’s not trying to make us feel bad, but instead he wants us to shed our old ways so we can have nothing standing in our own way from enjoying Him to the fullest.
It’s funny, while the other definitions may not seem like they are directly related to who God is, they too make a fuller, richer picture of what it means to be gracious, and all of those things are true about our Lord.
Merciful and Gracious
God is not only going to give us another chance at life, but He’s going to be gracious in the way He does it. Because of His mercy we are able to enjoy His favor and grace as He makes us acceptable and pleasing to Him. May we grow in grace and mercy for those around us as a reflection of the grace and mercy we have received.
 

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