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Dear Partner,

Have you ever been in trouble? Have you ever faced problems that were so large there seemed to be absolutely no way of overcoming them? Most people, including myself, would say yes. Let me share with you one of the most astounding promises in all of the word of God concerning what to do in times like that:

Heb 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

When we come to the throne of grace we are looking for two things. First, we are to obtain mercy. Second, we are to find grace to help in our time of need. Let's talk about mercy first. If you are like me, very often when you find yourself in difficult circumstances, at least a portion of the reason why is mistakes made on your part. Not always, but most of the time, I would have to admit that a major factor of my being in trouble is because of wrong choices I have made.

Said another way, most of the time the trouble I find myself in is, at least partly, my fault! That's why the first thing we are to obtain is mercy! What is mercy? That's when someone is guilty and you have every right to prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law, but you choose to have mercy on him instead. Thank God for the blood of Jesus! When I approach the throne of grace based on nothing but the sacrifice Jesus paid for me, I obtain my Father's mercy regarding all of my faults, all of my sins, and all of my wrong choices.

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I have learned it never pays to do like Adam did in the garden and try to hide from God when I have messed up. If we hide from our Father we forsake our own mercy. Don't run from Him, run to Him! Run boldly to the throne of grace and be open and transparent before Him. He has abundant mercy for us. The Psalmist of old wrote;

Psa 106:1  Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

How long does His mercy endure? Forever! He will never run out of mercy for us as long as we continue to come boldly to His throne of grace. Never forget the Prodigal Son. He had blatantly, purposely made wrong choices that saddened his father's heart for years. Yet, when the Prodigal Son "came to himself" and returned to his father's house what did he receive? Mercy, love, acceptance, and grace.

Mercy is wonderful, but it is not enough to deliver us from the problems we are facing. If all we could obtain at the throne of grace was mercy, we would be forgiven but still in our difficulties. That's why I love how the verse says and find grace to help in time of need. Perhaps the simplest definition of the word grace is God's willingness to use His power on our behalf even though we do not deserve it. Mercy forgives us. Grace helps us!

Any parent understands this concept well. When our children "mess up," we don't forsake them and abandon them forever to suffer the consequences of their mistakes. When they come to us honestly and admit their mistakes, we first of all forgive them, and then we use our power as parents to HELP them out of their problems. Their problem has become our problem. They are children and have no ability to correct the situation, so we intervene with our authority and our power as parents to help them.

It is the same with our heavenly Father. Not only does He forgive us by having mercy on us, but also takes our problems upon Himself. He uses His authority and His power to deliver us from the consequences of our errors. That, my friend, is grace to help in our time of need!

Like any loving parent, included in that grace to help are instructions and correction so we do not keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again. He will show us how we got into the problem in the first place and teach us how not to get in the same situation again.

Heb 12:9-11 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.(NIV)

It's not easy to change life-long patterns of behavior, but our Father loves us and will teach us how to change so we won't continue making the same mistakes for the rest of our life. Change is difficult. It seems painful at the time. But those instructions we receive from Him on how to change are a portion of His grace to help. He is teaching us discipline for our good! My friend, no matter what you may be facing today, let me encourage you to come boldly, and often, to our Father's throne of grace. You will obtain mercy and find grace to help in your time of need.

Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!

Your friend and co-laborer,

Gary Carpenter


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