Be merciful as your Father is merciful

Lesedauer 3 Minuten

What does it mean to be merciful? A merciful person is someone, who opens his heart to others, who takes part in the suffering and need of others and helps. Mercy sees and perceives its neighbor and can empathize with others. A character trait that we urgently need in our society. We need people who not only think of themselves and their own benefit, who do not primarily have their own well-being in mind, but are also there for others and love those who are not doing so well.

“Be merciful as your Father is merciful!” Jesus urges us in Luke 6:36.

This verse led me to think about the difference between divine and human mercy. God’s mercy is much greater and goes much further than our human mercy. He is the Father of Mercy, that is how he is described in the Bible. He is the merciful and gracious God. The story of the prodigal son expresses his mercy:

A father has two sons. The younger son demands his inheritance from his father. As soon as he receives it, he moves away and squanders the money abroad. Sunk into a beggar, he works as a swineherd and is so hungry that he longs ruefully back for his father’s house and resolves to confess his sin to his father and ask him for a job as a laborer. When he actually returns home, the father is so happy about his son’s return that he hardly lets him finish and takes him back straight away. He dresses him festively and throws a big party. When the older son, who has served the father faithfully all along, complains about the behavior of the father, the latter replies: “My child, you are always with me, and everything that is mine is also yours. But now we have to be happy and have a party; for your brother was dead and is alive again; he was lost and has been found again ”. You can read the whole story here: Luke 15: 11-32

God’s mercy is an undeserved but generous giving in unconditional love, it is therefore a gift. God turns to the repentant Son in love, with a gracious, forgiving look. He does not judge him or punish him for his faults and guilt. So God rejoices in every person, in every sinner who repents and comes home to the Father. God is merciful and kind even to people who stray astray, walk ungodly ways in order to lead them back to God’s fatherly love. How can we ourselves be merciful like the Father and live mercy in our everyday lives? Our mercy is limited by our own human power. As long as someone is kind to us, we are there for others, but what if we are hurt or treated badly? Being good to people from whom we do not expect good is not easy. When we help, we expect help in return; when someone hurts us, we tend to have negative feelings like vengeance rather than mercy. From a human perspective, mercy is mostly conditional. Divine mercy, on the other hand, gives without expecting anything in return, cannot be earned, but is a gift. Divine mercy is always ready to forgive, it is unconditional and does not attribute faults.

“And if you love those who love you, what thanks do you have? For also love the sinners who love them. And if you do good to those who do you good, what kind of gratitude do you have? The sinners do the same too. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive again, what gratitude do you have? Sinners also loan sinners so that they may receive the same thing again. But love your enemies and do good and lend without hoping for anything again! And your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. ”Luke 6, 32-35

In order to practice such mercy in our lives, we must first have experienced mercy from God ourselves. Experienced mercy of God fills us with thanks and joy. When we understand that we need God’s mercy, that we are weak and in need of help and salvation, and the great sacrifice God has made for us, then we can be merciful ourselves.

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16

“Because God is so gracious, he saved you by faith. And that is not your own merit; it is a gift from God ”Ephesians 2.8

“Yet God is so merciful and loved us so much that he gave new life to us who were dead through our sins with Christ when he raised him from the dead. Only by the grace of God were you saved. ”Ephesians 2: 4-5

When we accept the gift of his mercy for ourselves, we grow in the desire to pass this gift on to our fellow human beings, and through the power of the Holy Spirit working within us, we can do so too.

“Happy are the merciful, for they will experience mercy.”Matthew 5: 7

“Good things and mercy will follow me all my life, and I will abide in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23: 6

The greatest present

Lesedauer 3 Minuten

Giving presents is usual at Christmas night. We are happy when we receive presents and also like to make our family and friends happy. Gifts are a sign of love. The most beautiful presents are not the most expensive, but those that come from our heart. Time spent together, a good thought and the knowledge that someone is thinking of me are much more valuable presents to me than anything material.

But where does the custom come from that we give each other presents at Christmas? I did some research and found out that Martin Luther introduced this tradition. Originally, Christmas was not associated with giving. St. Nicholas used to bring presents on December 6th. Luther shifted this tradition to Christmas in the 16th century. On the one hand, because, as is well known, he did not think too much of the adoration of saints. On the other hand, he emphasized that the birth of Jesus Christ in the stable in Bethlehem is God’s greatest gift to us humans. Luther thought that when children receive a real, tangible present for Christmas, they are visibly reminded of God’s present. The message becomes “more tangible” for them. So it happened that today we give each other presents at Christmas.

The birth of Jesus is God’s greatest present to us humans. God gives himself, becomes human, in order to meet us and to be close to us. We are not indifferent to him, God is with us. Jesus! In him is love, forgiveness, grace, joy, light, healing, peace, reconciliation, security, hope and eternal life. And we can only accept this gift with our heart, accept it in our hearts.

“And the angel said to them: Do not be afraid! For, behold, I tell you great joy, which will be for all the people. For a Savior has been born to you today, who is the Lord Christ in David’s city ”Luke 2:10

The child in the manger is growing up and has a mission to fulfill. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the whole world.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that all who believe in him should not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:16

The prophet Isaiah foretold his gift to us more than 700 centuries before the birth of Jesus:

  • The “wonderful advisor”: Jesus guides and leads us through every situation and circumstance, he is our light. He can even work miracles for us.
  • The “strong God”: In Jesus we recognize the essence of God, his power, strength and omnipotence.
  • The “Eternal Father”: Through Jesus we have reconciliation with God and access to God the Father.
  • The “Prince of Peace”: Jesus brings peace between God and man. He gives us his peace that the world does not know.

Finally, with a short Christmas story, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Let us be fullfilled with the love of God and his priceless present to us.

The dream (author unknown)

Around Christmas a boy had a memorable dream. In it Jesus spoke to him and asked him for three presents. The boy immediately offered him his new piece of clothing, his electric train and his beautiful picture book. “No,” replied Jesus, “I don’t need any of that. I wish something different from you. Give me your last essay! ” – The boy was frightened: “But the teacher gave this essay a five!” – «That’s exactly why I want it. Bring me everything that is signed with “failed”. “Then give me your breakfast cup” – “But I broke it! “-” Do you want to give me everything that is broken and destroyed in your life? ” “Here is my third wish: I want you to bring me the answer you gave your mom when she asked you to bring her that cup.” – “But I lied and claimed that it fell down, although I had deliberately thrown it down.” – “Yes, I know,” answered Jesus. “Bring me all your lies, your disobedience, the bad you’ve done so that I can help you, forgive you, heal you and change you.” When the little boy woke up from this dream, it was suddenly clear to him why God became a man and why Christ was born as Savior of the world: To be able to change everything that has failed, destroyed and bad in us, and instead of it give us the wonderful present of eternal life.

Advent – Expectations

Lesedauer 2 Minuten

Advent has begun, a time of great expectation. We are preparing for Christmas and doing our best to make it as beautiful as possible. We decorate, bake biscuits, decorate the Christmas tree, buy gifts, look for recipes for the perfect Christmas menu and we want to have a good time with the family.

We also expect a contemplative, peaceful and harmonious time in which we can pause and come to rest. This year the Advent and Christmas season could be different from what we expect. The Christmas markets have been canceled, social contacts are restricted, large Christmas celebrations are canceled, travel is not allowed.

But what is really important? What is the Advent season actually about? Advent comes from the Latin and means “arrival”. We are preparing for the arrival of Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate on Christmas night, and Advent also indicates the future coming of Christ.

“Prepare the way for the Lord” Isaiah 40: 3

Jesus is at the center, his arrival is the center of the Christmas message. With this in mind, I would like to organize the Advent and Christmas season. Remind me consciously that Jesus is looking for a place where he can arrive. Already 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were looking for accommodation where they could stay. Many people turned them away until they finally found a place in a stable. There Jesus was born and Mary put him in a manger. God makes himself small, he was born in poor circumstances. God comes close to us humans and shows his love. He gives himself.

Even today Jesus is still looking for a place where he can arrive. He is on the lookout for people who will accept the gift of his love, who will open their hearts to him so that he can move in there. He is not expecting a decorated Christmas tree, gifts, or Christmas menu. What he wants is encounter and community, he wants to arrive in you and me. It is he who bestows us with his unconditional love, with his light, with his hope, with his consolation, with his joy, with his grace and with his peace.

“Behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which will be to all people” Luke 2:10

“Because a child is born to us! A son has been given to us! He will take control. He is called “Wonderful Counselor”, “Mighty God”, “Eternal Father”, “Prince of Peace” Isaiah 9.5

This year in particular, in which this world needs new hope and new light, is the opportunity for the Christmas message to become increasingly important, for many people to become more conscious of it, to think about it and to go in search of God. When I think of the Christmas story, the three wise men from the Orient come to my mind. The Bible calls them magicians, a combination of scientists, philosophers and astronomers. They were looking for the truth. They looked for Jesus, asked questions, they observed and did everything they can to get answers and thus achieved their goal.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For whoever asks receives; and whoever seeks will find; and whoever knocks there will be opened. ”Matthew 7: 7-8

“Then you will seek the Lord your God. And you will find him if you ask about him honestly and with all your heart ”Deuteronomy 4:29

Keep peace

Lesedauer 3 Minuten

When my heart trusts in you
and i look at your love
I find peace, I find peace
I can defeat storm and waves
In the midst of turbulent times
Your presence will always be with me.
Even in the greatest uncertainty
with you is peace always.
My troubled heart becomes still and comes to rest
for the God who keeps my peace is you.
(Ulrike Nägele)

On the subject of peace, I recently read the following story:

“Once upon a time there was a king who wanted to give an award to the artist who painted him the most fitting picture of peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all of the pictures, but there were only two that he really liked; he had to choose between them.

In one picture there was a calm lake, in which the peaceful mountain landscape towering around it was perfectly reflected. Above it a blue sky with fluffy white clouds spread out. Whoever looked at this picture must have thought it was perfect peace.

In the other picture there were mountains too, but they were rugged and bare, and above them a raging sky with flashing lightning and heavy rain. In the back of the picture a foaming waterfall tumbled down. None of this looked very peaceful. But behind the waterfall the king discovered a small bush that grew in a crevice. A mother bird had built her nest in the bush. There, in the midst of the raging water, the mother bird sat perfectly peacefully in her nest.

What do you think? Which picture won the award? The king chose the second picture.

“’Because peace does not mean,’ said the King, deeply moved, ‘to be in a place of perfect calm, free from anger and stressful work, but to remain calm in all of this. That is the real meaning of peace. ‹”

I like this story because it explains so well the real meaning of peace. Peace does not mean that the external circumstances are good, that there are no difficulties and problems to be overcome, that we have no challenges, but rather to find inner peace in the midst of stressful circumstances, uncertainty, chaos and turmoil.

Looking to Jesus we can come to this peace. In his presence there is peace, yes, he himself is peace. Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of God.

Nothing and no one else can give us this peace. Trust in God is the key to that peace.

“I am restless, but by you is peace” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

“In the daily rush, in our work, in all situations of natural life, it belongs to us: the unshakable, inviolable peace of Jesus.” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

I found this peace in the presence of God, in a relationship with Jesus. I experience him in the community and the encounter with him when I direct my thoughts on him instead of looking at my worries or problems. And I want to chase after this peace again and again, because sooner than I thought, peace will be stolen from me again. In order to remain in his peace, I am allowed to come to Jesus anew every day, let him give me presents, unpack his gift of peace and accept it for myself. Every day I can make the decision to trust him completely, to focus my heart on him, to let go of everything that is difficult and to believe that he will keep my peace.

“I told you all this so that you would have peace in me. Here on earth you will experience many difficult things. But have courage, for I have overcome the world. ”John 16:33

“Do not worry about anything, but in all things let your requests be made known to God in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving! And the peace of God, which is higher than all reason, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. ”Philippians 4: 6-7

A new creation

Lesedauer 3 Minuten

Getting rid of the past is not that easy. Each of us is influenced by our past. Experiences that we have made influence our behavior. We develop thought patterns and habits, both positive and negative. If the past catches up with us again and again, it can also be an enormous burden because it prevents us from living in the present and thinking our future. But how can we be free?

We read several times in the Bible that Jesus wants to free us and give us new life.

“But that means that whoever lives with Christ becomes a new person. He is no longer the same because his old life is over. A new life has begun! ”2 Corinthians 5:17

“Do not think of the past and do not pay attention to the previous! Because look, I want to create a new one, now it grows up, don’t you recognize it? I make a path in the desert and water flows in the wasteland. “Isaiah 43: 18-19

But how can that be, how can Jesus make us a new person from one moment to the next, erase the past?

I thought about it and reflected on how Jesus acted in my life. When I met Jesus, believed him and decided to live with him, I was freed from anxiety overnight and I can say that fear no longer affects my life today. In other areas of my life, I am in a process of change and learning, where I gradually let go of old thought structures that are not doing me good and let my thoughts be renewed by God.

“Let yourself change in your thinking and realign yourself internally. Put on new life as you put on new clothes ”Ephesians 4: 23–24

The renewal of our thoughts does not happen overnight, it is a lifelong process. I keep noticing that I fall back into old thought patterns that I have built up over the years. Step by step together with Jesus, I can collapse these walls of thought and choose God’s thoughts every day, express his good thoughts about my life.

With the decision for Christ I get a new identity. I am a child of God and his holy spirit dwells in me. I am spiritually a new person, washed clean before God. The Bible speaks of rebirth.

“Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you: If someone is not born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” John 3: 3

“Praise be to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who after His great mercy reborn us to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”

“For everything that is born of God overcomes the world; and our faith is the victory that has overcome the world. ”1 John 5: 4

Because you are born again not from transitory, but from imperishable seed, namely from the living Word of God that remains there. 1. Peter 1,23

What is born of the flesh is flesh; and what is born of the spirit is spirit. John 3.6

So with Christ we are a new person and yet there is also our old person, our past and character, our old nature, who wants to influence our thoughts.

I like the verse in the letter to the Ephesians, which says that we should put on new life like new clothes. When we buy new clothes and hang them in our closet, we must decide what to wear every day. We can choose: Do we take an old dress or the new one? How difficult we often find it to dispose of our old clothes. And so it is also up to us to become aware of our new identity every day, to choose the new life that Christ has given us and to let go of the old one. The new life is a gift that we can accept.

When we choose new life, Jesus gives us a different perspective and strategies for how we can deal with our past. It changes our perspective. He can let work to our best everything that has happened to us in life, including the negative things , and in retrospect we recognize how bad experiences have made us grow and mature and what we have learned from them.

We know, however, that for those who love God, all things serve the best ”Romans 8:28

In this way we can reconcile ourselves with a difficult past, forgive ourselves and others and use the present to fill us with God’s thoughts and love, to look at his truths and promises and to entrust our future to his care.


Lesedauer < 1 Minute

The night turns into day

the darkness to the light,

the grave is empty,

Jesus speaks:

I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live even if he dies. ”John 11:25

Despair turns into hope

weakness becomes strength,

Jesus brings us forgiveness and reconciliation,

he speaks on the cross:

“It is done” John 19:28

Sadness turns into joy

from the end a new beginning,

his death brings life

God’s plan from the beginning.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

The way is prepared because Jesus lives

in his presence and love

all our suffering passes

he carried all our burdens and sickness,

full of humility and without complaints.

“The Father saved us from the reign of darkness and put us in the kingdom of his son, his love, in which we have redemption, through his blood the forgiveness of sins.” 1 Colossians 1, 13-14

The way is clear in God’s presence,

his love won.

The enemy’s power broke in two,

Jesus has conquered evil.

Nothing and nobody can separate us from his love now

the relationship restored.

If we believe in him in faith,

we overcome the world together with him.

His kingdom remains forever.

Let’s turn our hearts to him

God’s love will never end

and will turn all things to good.

He did all of this because of grace,

for everyone who accepts the gift in faith.

“Because God loved the world so much that he gave his only begotten son so that everyone who believes in him is not lost but has eternal life. John 3:16 “