June 10, 2022
Need to share a personal story with you as a lead-in to today's Coffee Break. It was December 5, 1960 that I joined the Army. Not long after completing Basic Training at Fort Ord, I was standing out on the tarmac, duffle bag in hand, awaiting being boarded on an aircraft with orders that would send me to Ramstein, Germany, with ultimate deployment to Laos.
Short of my 19th birthday, I was one scared puppy not knowing what lay ahead. I had walked with the Lord for my entire life and was totally committed to whatever He had in store. Being a combat soldier somehow didn't fit with the pictures of what God had called me to, but there was a firm determination that I would go wherever and whenever He led or directed.
My company was in the boarding process when a runner came up to me and said, "Capener, your orders have been changed. Stand by." I got into a waiting Jeep and was taken back to the barracks. Not long thereafter the company commander informed me that I was going to be his clerk typist. He had discovered that I could type and he needed someone to do his paperwork, type out orders for other soldiers, and do other office work.
Fast forward to the spring of 1963. After a period of having my
MOS changed from infantryman to automotive maintenance (military intelligence,
The hand of God had been evident in everything that had transpired, and His mercy in keeping me from the front lines was obvious. With the call of God into fulltime ministry continually in my spirit, I began looking at Bible colleges. In April of that year, I went to my commanding officer and requested an early discharge so that I could "prepare for the ministry." (I was still programmed with the idea that one has to attend a Bible College or Seminary in order to become a minister -- not understanding at the time that God doesn't call the qualified: He qualifies the "called." )
When he asked why in the world I would make a request like that, my answer was that I felt like I could better serve my country as a representative of the Lord Jesus Christ and a minister of the Gospel rather than as an infantry soldier. My CO laughed at me and said, "Son, I've been in this man's army for 20 years, and I've never seen it happen." He allowed as how he had "once prepared for the cloth" before joining the Army and said, "I understand where you're coming from. I'll play fair with you and send your request to the General, but I can tell you in advance what the answer will be."
A week later he called me and said, "Capener, get in here! I've got your discharge papers on my desk!" We were both astonished, to say the least. "Only thing I can figure is that you've got some pull upstairs," he said, with this knowing smile spreading across his face. My discharge became effective on May 5, 1963, 2 1/2 years to the day from when I joined. That fall, I enrolled at Bethany Bible College in Santa Cruz. The Hand of God and His mercy had been with me from the very beginning.
OK? That brings us to the next character attribute of the Lord Jesus Christ. Believe me, when you can learn to operate in God's mercy instead of human compassion, you've shifted into a realm of supernatural maturity. It defies every area of natural human emotion and requires a complete shift into hearing what Father God says and thinks. My short stint in the Army, and the evidence of God's mercy there, prepared me for understanding His dimension of mercy in a way that I'd never known.
Here's how the KJV puts Matthew 5:7: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Now, let's amplify this out of the Greek text.
Matthew 5:7: Blessed and highly favored by the King [of Kings] are those who experience and function in and with [supernatural and spiritual] compassion; God will see that they have His compassion and will have the same kind of compassion on them [in their place of need]. (RAC Translation and Amplification)
One of the biggest failings in the body of Christ today is the substitution of human compassion for Godly compassion. We all have our places of emotional reaction and concern when we see certain things take place — especially with people we know and love.
There is a huge difference between Godly compassion and human compassion. Human compassion is based in either the rational logic of human reasoning or human emotion with really considering the spiritual consequences of our intervention on behalf of the needs we see.
Human emotion and rational consideration sees the poor, the sick, the desperate, those in crisis and reacts by wanting to “fix things.” Human compassion tends to be very “socialist” in its approach to solving needy situations. If one operates in the political realm, human compassion says, “just give some money to the poor! Money, food, clothes, housing, etc., etc. will fix the problem.”
Because of the huge losses the socialist wing of the Democratic party took in this past election, I’ve heard some of their leaders spouting the baloney that, “We have core spiritual values, too! We are concerned with poverty, with health care and with the rights of our citizens.”
The statement all by itself demonstrates that these folks DON’T have any concept of what real spiritual values are. They may be religious people but being "religious" is a far cry from having an intimate walk with the Lord or understanding what Jesus' values are all about.
Religion, however, only amplifies human compassion. The “religious” may call themselves, “Christian,” but they don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ – at least the kind of relationship that produces the anointing to give. Their religion is the religion of big government and social programs.
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again. There IS a solution to poverty! There IS a solution to ongoing sickness and disease! There IS a solution to the plagues that ravage the earth.
But that solution doesn’t come in the form of government programs. It comes with and through the anointing that the believer has available in Christ Jesus. That kind of anointing produces Godly compassion. No government will ever be able to give and see the kind of results – or even a fraction thereof – that individuals and ministries can and do produce every day of the week.
Our politicians – many of whom really do have good hearts and good intentions when it comes to providing for the needy – have devised these schemes to level our society and get rid of the gap that separates the poor and the rich. Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not criticizing either the personal giving or the desire to give.
Unfortunately, they have also taken away both personal initiative, personal freedom and – most of all – the anointing that comes when giving is directed by the Holy Spirit. By taking away the anointing that comes in a relationship with Jesus Christ, they have also taken away the fruitfulness of the giving. The results demonstrate that.
Let me illustrate with something that Paul wrote to the Ekklesia in Corinth.
II Corinthians 9:6-14, NASB: Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; as it is written,
“He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor, His righteousness endures forever.”
Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness; you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.
For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.
Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.
We’ve been all over the map talking about the concept of mercy as seen in Matthew 5:7, but there is still an aspect of it that we haven’t covered. The Greek word translated “mercy” in this instance — and literally without exception throughout the New Testament — is the word, eleeo.
J.H. Thayer gives us the following interpretation: to be compassionate by word or deed, specifically by divine grace or empowerment.
By way of comparison, we see the terms “mercy” and “compassion” used as a contrast to each other in Paul’s letter to the Romans (9:15), and this is the only place in Scripture where the Greek word, oikteiro, appears. This word, translated “compassion,” more literally means: to exercise pity.
That word, oikteiro, is perhaps a better description of human compassion. We have pity on someone and step in to help or alleviate their situation without regard for the end result.
Take a look, however, at how God’s mercy/compassion is defined in the Word.
Romans 9:15-18: For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
Are you seeing the difference? The mercy of God is not dependent on prevailing circumstances. God’s mercy — His compassion — is entirely a function of His sovereign purposes for His people.
He sees the outcome and final results of His decision to intervene and alter the circumstances or outcome of any given situation for individuals.
Paul draws a comparison that every believer would understand out of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt. The Lord makes it clear that He was the one who raised up Pharaoh in order to show His power in the earth and to put His Name, His character, His makeup, His authority and power on display throughout the earth.
In verse 18, Paul writes, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”
To the rational, reasoning human thinking, it almost sounds arbitrary and perverse, but Paul doesn’t stop there in making clear the realm where God’s mercy operates.
Romans 9:19-24: Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God?
Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Understand? What Paul is saying is that there are individuals whom God has specifically created whose end is destruction, to whom He will endure “with much longsuffering” so that when judgment falls, the riches of His Glory will be seen in the earth. Again, he takes this a further step so that there can be no misunderstanding of what God is about.
Romans 9:25-28, NASB: As He says also in Hosea, “I will call those who were not My people, ‘My people,’ And her who was not beloved, ‘beloved.’ And it shall be that in the place where it was said to them, ‘you are not My people,’ There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; for the Lord will execute his word on the earth, thoroughly and quickly.”
The mercy of God has always been with a view towards the end result of having a people who operate in and with His character, His makeup, His personality, His authority and His power. His purpose — from Day 1 — has been the having a race of beings who are His Family.
The mercy — the compassion — of God is NOT pity. It isn’t simply feeling sorry for people because of the state they find themselves in. God wasn't feeling sorry for me or having compassion on me because of my fears when I was in the Army. He was seeing far into the future, preparing me to walk in His mercy and extend that mercy to hundreds and thousands of people He would intersect with my life.
His intervention in the lives of His people is that there will be nothing lacking, nothing missing in who they are and who they become. The fact that He intervenes in some situations, and some situations He sits back and allows to move forward of their own weight and momentum is because His compassion for us cannot permit us to be short-changed in the development of His character and nature in us. Is that clear?
When Jesus said, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy,” He spoke directly to the fact that His mercy is always tempered by His vision and knowledge of the final result. What He was saying is, “If you live and walk in My Mercy and Compassion, you will be the recipient and arbitrator of My Mercy and Compassion in your sphere of influence.”
Get it? If we can shift into operating in the mercy of God and set aside our human thoughts and emotional compassion, we become not only the recipients of God's mercy in our lives, but also the arbitrators of it! That's supernatural.
Next week we will take a look at what it means to be judged by the Lord as pure: "pure in heart."
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call is back on schedule for Mondays & Wednesdays at 7:00 PM Eastern. Once again, the number to call for healing is (805) 399-1000. Then enter the access code: 124763#.
Also want to let you know that our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (559) 726-1300, and the access code is 308640#.
Blessings on you!
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