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Here's one of my current favorites.

Mercy -

written by Amanda Cook and Steffany Gretzinger


My past embraced

My sin forgiven

I’m blameless in Your sight

My history rewritten



Cause You delight in showing mercy

And mercy triumphs over judgement



Oh Love, great Love

Fear cannot be found in You

And there will never be a day

You’re uncertain of the ones you choose



So I will awake

And spend my days

Loving the One who has raised me up

From death to life

From wrong to right

You’re making all things beautiful


Thanks to Bethel Music for these lyrics.

BenHeadshotSee you again soon.

Worship today.



Kingdom of HeavenMonday I asked if you could feel God's dissatisfaction.

Today, I’m compelled to press this further.

When we sulk about, meditating on our unworthiness, it is a disgrace to His wonderful grace.

This idea that the Father is not satisfied with us actually tramples under foot the blood of Christ, treating it as though it had no power to pay our debt nor give us His righteousness. I’ll say it again. It’s a disgrace to grace. It’s a lie from hell. It has held the Church back far too long.

Our enemy painted this image we have in our head of a God who is angry with His children. He mocks the words of Jesus, the promises of God, and the teaching of the apostles. He employs the same tactics he plied in the garden.

Hath God said?

It is finished! - John 19:30 NASB

Hath God said?

Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. - Ezekiel 36:25-27 NASB

Hath God said?

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. - 2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB

Hath God said?

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. - 2 Corinthians 5:19 NASB

Hath God said?

and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. - Revelation 1:5-6 NKJV

What rises up in me is a resounding,

Thus saith the Lord!

Deal with it satan.

And deal with it saint - you are pleasing in His eyes. [Tweet This] It’s not of your doing, The blood of Christ has made you so. He, the Lord God Almighty, will never again be dissatisfied with you. You are His beloved child.


[I need to say that again]


cropped-BenHeadshot.jpgSee you again soon.


Hi all,

I wanted to post this follow up to Debbie's post that I blogged this morning. I really love what she is teaching about mercy this week. 


Under The Mercy

“But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to life up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’” (Luke 18:13)

In this verse, mercy, hilaskomai, means to make reconciliation. According to the Key Word Study Bible,  “mercy provides the satisfaction demanded by God’s justice whereby the removal of sins is attained.” Notice where this sinner placed himself in relation to the temple – at a distance.  He was very aware of his unworthiness to enter God’s presence, yet was desperate to be reconnected with God.  This man was crying out, “God, remove my sins! Bring me back into relationship with You!” He not only asked for forgiveness, but for God to completely take away his sins, as if they never happened. Can you relate to that prayer? [Read on]


Under The Mercy | Healing Our Hurts Together.


Just Say NO to Shame

Mercy, eleos, must be defined again, for its meaning is so very beautiful and wondrous. According to the Key Word Study Bible, mercy is “special and immediate regard to the misery which is the consequence of sin…God’s mercy is extended for the alleviation of the consequence of sin. God’s mercy is the benevolent pity for the misery brought about by our sin. “  Read More



Just Say NO to Shame | Healing Our Hurts Together.


photo credit: bloomsberries via photopin cc

In my sermon on Sunday [you can listen here] I made a statement, and my daughter Jess who is visiting from Oregon these days with her hubby, asked me about it afterwards.

The statement I made is that repentance replaces justice with mercy, and she challenged the idea that Justice is eliminated by mercy.

I see my mistake, and she is so right. How could justice be removed? Justice is a part of our unchanging God’s character.

It is in fact God’s just nature that made the incarnation necessary in the first place.

The sense I was going after in my sermon was that repentance moves us from a place of standing guilty in the eyes of God’s judgment to a place of innocence by applying the freely offered blood of Jesus as payment for our transgression.

But clearly my words got away from me.

The couplet from the hymn we were considering had it right.

Justice now revokes the sentence,
Mercy calls you; break your chains.
[From Angels from the Realms of Glory - James Montgomery]

So, I humbly stand corrected, and am thrilled by the aspects of justice satisfied and mercy freely offered. I do love the story of the incarnation!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Walking in blessing.


I have to tell you, it’s another Red Letter Day today and I want to talk with you about some pretty serious Red letters. Jesus said:

But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’

He was at a reception at the house of His new friend and follower Matthew. The place was crawling with the lowest of the low in the day’s Jewish economy.

When the Pharisees begin complaining about this He gives them this quote from the prophet Hosea to think about. Here is His full comment:

It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." ~ Matthew 9:12-13

To tell a Pharisee “go and learn” is quite a slap in the face. These are the men who have spent their life learning. These are the scholars of the day. As I understand it they were required to memorize most, if not all of what we call the Old Testament, certainly all of the books of Moses.

These men knew the law, and kept it. When God demanded 1 tenth of their increase, they would apply it right down to mint leaves, and cumin seeds, one for God and nine for me.

But they did not have compassion.

You see righteousness man’s way leads to a rigid and judgmental heart. When we define a relationship with God in terms of the keeping of the Law, we end up with a system that is always comparing.

A system based on who makes the biggest sacrifice leave everyone a loser. The one who has the least to give feels worthless, the one in the middle falls short, and the one on the top gets puffed up with pride.

A system based on compassion on the other hand makes everyone a winner. If you dare to open your heart to those around you, you will find that your offering of love may take empower the recipient and the giver.

When I say offering, I am not necessarily talking about a money offering.

What does compassion give?


What would you add to the list?

Let’s get free of this stinking sacrificial system. The sacrifice has been made – Jesus – once and for all. Our job is to LOVE, to have Compassion and Mercy, to offer Grace.

Ben NelsonLearn what that means!

See you again soon


If you have been following along you know that we have spent the last couple weeks pondering Jesus’ warning about false prophets and Jude’s vivid description.

There is so much more in this tiny book of Jude

  • The way of Cain
  • The error of Balaam
  • The rebellion of Korah
  • Fallen angels
  • The prophecy of Enoch

I am not going to spend the time to unpack all of it in this series. (I heard that deep sigh of relief)

To close the Jude portion of this conversation I would love to leave you with Jude's stellar benediction.

Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy,
To the only wise God our Saviour,
be glory and majesty, dominion and power,
both now and ever. Amen. ~ Jude 24-25 (KJV)

I used the King James because – well – I am holding the chalk!

Here it is -

I commit you to Him (Him who) Him, Jesus.

He – Jesus – is able to keep you from falling (do you believe that? I mean really believe that.)

He – Jesus – is going to present you to the Father (do you feel worthy to be presented to the Holy of Holies as a gift to the King of Kings and the Lord of the Angel armies?)

He – Jesus – is going to present you faultless!

This suggests something mind blowing to me. I always picture myself like Isaiah being like – woe is me – I am undone - when I get to the presence of God, but what if (please proceed with grace here) what if – WHAT IF, Jesus presented me before God and I was faultless? [Tweet This] What if, when Jesus presented me to God, I had nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be forgiven for, nothing to hide from His holiness. What if, when Jesus presents me to the Father, I am as pure as Jesus is?

Is anyone excited yet?

Makes me want to shout

Glory to the only wise God our Savior

Glory and majesty dominion and power both now and for ever to the only wise God our Savior!

Do you see what kind of wisdom it would take to come up with a plan whereby a scoundrel like me could become a worthy gift to be presented to the most awesome, and amazing, and fabulous being – the holiest of holies – the King of Kings – the Lord of Lord – Almighty God.

Be blessed today.

My mind is spinnig, and my heart soaring as I write this. Hope you are feeling a bit tipsy by now too.

BenCome back tomorrow – let’s see what happens next.


Of Spoon and Shovel
Of Spoons and Shovels

For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. (Matthew 7:2 NASB)

This is one of the four things Jesus talks about in the sermon on the mount that is reciprocal. This means that judgment, like mercy, forgiveness and money, come to you using your unit of measure for spreading it.

If you hand out judgment with a teaspoon, judgment comes back you by by the teaspoon, but if you spread it out front loader, you better build a bigger barn for all the judgment that is coming your way.

Here is the thing about judgment. It is in fact important for us to be discerning, and to be willing to halt the progress of sin in our lives and in the lives of those we love. But there is a very important HOW TO we must get.

Jesus lays it out in verse 12

Therefore, however you want people to treat you, so treat them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NASB)

This must become our personal MO (TV cop lingo – modus operandi – method of operation)

So when doling out mercy, forgiveness, when being generous with your money – take out the old shovel, but when it comes to judging others, you might want to get your implement from the silverware drawer.

BenThanks for coming by.

See you again soon.


OK – today I need to ask you to read with grace, and hear me out. (Thanks – you guys are great!)

My text for today is one of the best verses of the Bible. It is filled with such victory and wonder.

It is finished! John 19:30

I want to talk about the fact that though it was clearly finished, it was not over. The book does not end here. The story of Jesus does not end here.

It is one of the most disappointing things about the play Godspell (which I love by the way.) Have you seen it? As I remember, Jesus Christ, Superstar is the same way.

They both end with a dead Jesus.

But like Tony Campolo famously said

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’!

So what was finished and what had yet to be done?

In my understanding it is the difference between mercy and grace.

The death of Jesus paid the price sin demanded, He drank the cup of God’s wrath, every bit of it.

Yet Paul says

Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied (most miserable. KJV) (1 Corinthians 15:12-19 NASB)

Clearly there is more to the story.

So what is the difference between Mercy and Grace?

Well – from a definition standpoint I like to say

Mercy is: Not getting what you deserve (ie. punishment – the wrath of God for a life lived in rebellion)


Grace is: Getting what you don’t deserve (ie. and abundant life here, and a glorious future in the presence of God)

Here – take a look at these 3 graphics and see if you get what I mean.

Life's Bill with out the Cross
Life's Bill without the Cross

In the first illustration you see man’s life without Christ. You have a bill to pay, and every day of your life, you have racked up a debt. It is in fact payable on demand, and you do not get to save up for it. There is no payment plan.

Life's Bill After the Cross
Life's Bill After the Cross

In this second slide you see that with the wonderful declaration of Christ, “IT IS FINISHED” your debt is paid, and you can go free.

Life's Bill with Grace Applied
Life's Bill with Grace Applied

But God does not stop at Mercy – He does not simply clean the house, He fills it with Grace, He fills it with Life, He puts food on the table with 12 baskets left over.

The grace of God provides for the abundant life Jesus promised!

So though the death of Jesus Christ states categorically that “It Is Finished!” and the Cross is the great and final exclamation point, It ain’t over! [Tweet This]

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

BenThanks for coming by, and thanks for the grace today.

See you again soon.


See His love nailed onto a cross
Perfect and blameless life given as sacrifice
See Him there all in the name of love
Broken yet glorious, all for the sake of us

This is Jesus in His glory
King of Heaven dying for me
It is finished, He has done it
Death is beaten, Heaven beckons me

Greater love no one could ever show
Mercy so undeserved, freedom I should not know
All my sin, all of my hidden shame
Died with Him on the cross, eternity won for us

This is Jesus in His glory
King of Heaven dying for me
It is finished, He has done it
Death is beaten, Heaven beckons me

Such love, such love
Such love is this for me (repeat)

This is Jesus in His glory
King of Heaven dying for me
It is finished, He has done it
Death is beaten, Heaven beckons me

photo credit: joysaphine via photo pin cc

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