New Day, New Mercies, New Hope

New Mercies

New Day, New Mercies, New Hope

January 30, 2020

Imagine if we treated each new dawn of each new day with the same reverence and joy as we do each new year.– Angie Lynn

When I taught in an elementary classroom, I used a Clip Chart (created by Rick Morris) as an integral part of our classroom management. Every morning, I clipped each student’s name to the middle of the chart indicating “Ready to Learn”. The students moved their clip up the chart when they made good behavior choices and down the chart for poor ones. The students could travel up and down the chart all day long. At the end of the day, the final position of their clip determined a consequence or a reward.

Every morning, each student’s clothespin returned to the “Ready to Learn” spot. What happened yesterday no longer mattered, what may happen tomorrow could not be known. We only focused on the decisions for today.

If ever I became too distracted, too busy, or too forgetful to move the names back to their starting position, the students let me know right away. Experiencing a daily fresh start became an integral ingredient in our class culture.

Everyone longs for, and needs, fresh starts. 

One of my favorite Bible passages beautifully expresses the hope tied to fresh starts. Surprisingly, these words reside in the book of Lamentations. The word lamentation means the passionate expression of grief or sorrow. And this book lives up to its name.

Written during the Israelites’ exile to Babylon, the author expresses his intense grief over the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Israelites. Knowing these events directly resulted as a consequence of sin only made the situation more painful. Yet nestled in the third chapter we find these words:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

    his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

    “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

The words “steadfast love” have also been translated as loving kindness. Both phrases come from the Hebrew word chesed. This word carries the connotation of actions that arise from the feelings of love and kindness. In spite of their current dilemma, the Israelites knew God would act with love and kindness on their behalf.

The word “mercies” has also been translated as compassions. The word carries the connotation of forgiveness, or the withholding of a deserved consequence. Interestingly, the word translated here is racham which shares the same root word as womb. This scripture describes the type of mercies or compassions a mother naturally possesses for her children. 

As a mother, I understand this analogy. Some of my children’s choices unleashed painful consequences, but I never stopped loving them. When my children hurt, I hurt. Even when the suffering resulted from their own choices. Honestly, I often wished I could suffer in their place.

The author of Lamentations recognized this same unconditional, tender and nurturing love resides in the heart of God. Because of this, he found reason to hope, even in the midst of a difficult season. He understood God’s unfailing love and unending mercies present opportunities for fresh starts. 

We will all experience painful times. Sometimes these will directly result from our poor choices. Sometimes we will incur pain from the actions of others or the circumstances around us. But like the Israelites, we can always find reason for hope.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3 ESV)

God expresses His perfect love through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. His love never changes and His mercies never end. 

He breathes new promise and new hope into each new day.

As I continue to follow His path, I pray to embrace the promises of each new day. Wherever you are in your journey, I pray the same for you.

New Day, New Mercies, New Hope

January 30, 2020

New Mercies

Imagine if we treated each new dawn of each new day with the same reverence and joy as we do each new year.– Angie Lynn

When I taught in an elementary classroom, I used a Clip Chart (created by Rick Morris) as an integral part of our classroom management. Every morning, I clipped each student’s name to the middle of the chart indicating “Ready to Learn”. The students moved their clip up the chart when they made good behavior choices and down the chart for poor ones. The students could travel up and down the chart all day long. At the end of the day, the final position of their clip determined a consequence or a reward.

Every morning, each student’s clothespin returned to the “Ready to Learn” spot. What happened yesterday no longer mattered, what may happen tomorrow could not be known. We only focused on the decisions for today.

If ever I became too distracted, too busy, or too forgetful to move the names back to their starting position, the students let me know right away. Experiencing a daily fresh start became an integral ingredient in our class culture.

Everyone longs for, and needs, fresh starts. 

One of my favorite Bible passages beautifully expresses the hope tied to fresh starts. Surprisingly, these words reside in the book of Lamentations. The word lamentation means the passionate expression of grief or sorrow. And this book lives up to its name.

Written during the Israelites’ exile to Babylon, the author expresses his intense grief over the destruction of Jerusalem and the captivity of the Israelites. Knowing these events directly resulted as a consequence of sin only made the situation more painful. Yet nestled in the third chapter we find these words:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

    his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

    great is your faithfulness.

“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,

    “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

The words “steadfast love” have also been translated as loving kindness. Both phrases come from the Hebrew word chesed. This word carries the connotation of actions that arise from the feelings of love and kindness. In spite of their current dilemma, the Israelites knew God would act with love and kindness on their behalf.

The word “mercies” has also been translated as compassions. The word carries the connotation of forgiveness, or the withholding of a deserved consequence. Interestingly, the word translated here is racham which shares the same root word as womb. This scripture describes the type of mercies or compassions a mother naturally possesses for her children. 

As a mother, I understand this analogy. Some of my children’s choices unleashed painful consequences, but I never stopped loving them. When my children hurt, I hurt. Even when the suffering resulted from their own choices. Honestly, I often wished I could suffer in their place.

The author of Lamentations recognized this same unconditional, tender and nurturing love resides in the heart of God. Because of this, he found reason to hope, even in the midst of a difficult season. He understood God’s unfailing love and unending mercies present opportunities for fresh starts. 

We will all experience painful times. Sometimes these will directly result from our poor choices. Sometimes we will incur pain from the actions of others or the circumstances around us. But like the Israelites, we can always find reason for hope.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3 ESV)

God expresses His perfect love through the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. His love never changes and His mercies never end. 

He breathes new promise and new hope into each new day.

As I continue to follow His path, I pray to embrace the promises of each new day. Wherever you are in your journey, I pray the same for you.

2 Comments

  1. Beth Barber on February 7, 2020 at 12:17 PM

    Amen Shirley! I especially resonate with wanting to suffer in my child’s place.

    • Shirley Desmond Jackson on February 7, 2020 at 7:50 PM

      So true, Beth. It is so hard to see our children hurt-no matter how old they get!

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