Friday, July 30, 2010

Merit or Mercy?

Bill Rice Ranch - First Light Devotionals 

Matthew 15:22 "And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil."
Let me ask you a question: Why should God answer our prayers? There are two basic foundations upon which people come to God: man's merit or God's mercy. The devout men of Jesus' day came to God (while rejecting His Messiah) based on their merits-Jewish, male, Pharisee. However, they did not come to God for salvation because they thought they were good. They did not see their need because they were coming on their own merits. They believed God owed them prestige now and Paradise later because of their goodness.
In contrast, we find the exact opposite in the Canaanite woman-she was not Jewish, not a male, and not a Pharisee! On top of that, this woman from Canaan had a demon-possessed daughter. It is not surprising that the very first words out of her mouth were, "Have mercy on me, O Lord. . . ." Nothing about this woman glows with merit, yet she is precisely the kind of person whose prayers are answered! She exemplifies a person who has a need, knows it, and comes to God based upon who He is.

God does not answer your prayers because you are good; He answers your prayers because He is gracious. God does not answer your prayers because you are strong; He answers them precisely because you are weak! As the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 9:12, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." The truth is, if you do not see yourself as "sick," you can't be healed; a lost person will never be saved until he sees himself as a sinner; and you will never get answers to prayer if you do not see yourself as needing God's mercy.
So many times, we come to God thinking that we have to be strong so that He will answer our prayers. If you were strong, you wouldn't need to pray! The very reason you come to God is based on His mercy and your need. Never fall into the trap of thinking that God answers your prayers based upon your merit. When God does answer our prayers, He does so based upon His mercy.
The first prerequisite to having a prayer answered is having a need. If we never had a need, we would never pray! People who come to God come based either upon their own merits or upon God's mercy. If you come to God based on your own merits, you will never see the daily bread that you need. If you come based on mercy, you acknowledge that you are not worthy-that is why He gives it to you in the first place! How will you come to God today? Will you come based on your merit or His mercy?
Prayer Requests
1. Protection and provision for staff
2. Safety for campers traveling home tonight and tomorrow morning
3. Family Week 2/Sign Language School/Deaf Adult Conference next week
Camp Quote: 
"An excellent spirit doesn't happen by accident." 
-Evangelist Ron Reilly
Visit our website for more information about our summer camp weeks!
Bill Rice Ranch | 627 Bill Rice Ranch Road | Murfreesboro | TN | 37128

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