Tag Archives: blessing

Grace, Mercy and Peace

I am writing to Timothy, my true son in the faith.
May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord give you grace, mercy, and peace.
1 Timothy 1:2, NLT*

Paul begins most of his letters with a variant of these words, before getting into the meat of what he has to say. I always thought it was an overall blessing, kind of a loving way to say “hello”.

What if it’s more than that? His letters are very specific in terms of teaching and instruction. He doesn’t seem the type to open with generic fluff.

Today I think this prayer for “grace, mercy and peace” is not only not a pleasantry, it’s a carefully-targeted prayer for Timothy’s needs.

The letter goes on to advise Timothy in his conduct and duties, but the “working out” won’t be effective without the inner working of the Holy Spirit in answer to Paul’s request here.

We often pray for detailed needs and results, and rightly so. But I take Paul’s prayer here as a reminder to ask for these essential gifts of God—grace, mercy, peace etc—as well. Often we don’t know how to pray, or we think we do but our ideas may not match God’s.

Paul reassures me that it’s not a cop-out to pray for these larger, intangible blessings that will work themselves out in lives and in situations according to God’s sovereign will and purposes. It may instead be the foundation for what comes next.

God who is the source of grace, mercy and peace, pour these gifts on us so that we can understand and obey the teaching of Your Word. Thank You for the reminder that what we do in our own strength won’t amount to much. We need Your touch, and You so readily give it when we remember to ask. Grant us Your blessing, we pray.

This week’s song is “The Lord Bless You and Keep You,” performed here by John Rutter and the Cambridge Singers.

*New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

What if I’m the Offender?

Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.
1 Peter 4:1a-2, MSG*

Last week I wrote about our call to be a blessing to others, and followed it up with a comment about an experience I’d had with someone who was not a blessing to me. The LORD used that experience to show me how important it is to be a blessing.

Silly me, thought I got the message. Until that very evening, when I still hadn’t had time to do some writing I’d wanted to finish the day before… and not one but two people I care about wanted to spend time with me.

I remembered Peter’s words about trusting everything to God to work it out in His timing (1 Peter 2:23). But I didn’t really let it go, and as my frustration grew, I definitely wasn’t a blessing to anybody.

God proved His grace to me and got me back on track in the way these people (who are two of the sweetest folks I know) each showed extra care to me as my frustration grew. For once I readjusted quickly and didn’t spoil the whole evening, but I did miss out on some quality time. God is growing me, but it sure is a slow process.

Next morning I went back to the blessing verses again, to make myself feel worse or to find help I don’t know, but it did both. 1 Peter 3:15a says, “Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master.” MSG*

I read on into chapter 4 and found the verses above. “…free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.” This is exactly the opposite of what I experienced: the frustration of not getting to my agenda. God wanted me to work on relationships, but I wanted to work on writing.

Father, Help me commit this day to You, to follow Jesus’ example and trust Your leading. Help me keep my heart at attention, in adoration before Jesus Christ, my Master, and to live free to pursue what You want instead of being tyrannized by what I want. Thank You for your grace and forgiveness.

Sometimes we all need Bebo Norman’s “Disappear” to be our prayer.

*The Message MSG Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson