Meditating on the Commands of Christ (28): What Does It Mean to Have Mercy and Not Sacrifice?

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice” (Matthew 9:13).

Last Sunday, on Easter morning, a friend who had been dear to my heart for almost 50 years died. Two of his daughters were at his bedside, holding his hands when he breathed his last. This was not an easy death. After 30 years of marriage, my friend walked out on his wife and family in order to pursue a homosexual lifestyle. You can imagine how shattered his married daughters were to discover that their father preferred seeking his own pleasure (over a thousand miles away) to being an active husband, father, and grandfather. I think their act of honoring love is the perfect example of what Jesus was trying to teach in today’s study.

Jesus had invited Matthew to become his disciple, and Matthew immediately accepted. One of the first things Matthew did in response was invite all his friends over for a big dinner party so they could meet Jesus. What a perfect way for Matthew to share what he was experiencing with those he loved best! When you love someone, don’t you want them to meet your friends?

Well, the Pharisees objected to this and criticized Jesus for eating with “publicans and sinners,” but—as is the usual case—they didn’t confront Jesus directly. Rather, they complained to Jesus’ disciples. Nevertheless—as is also usual—the complaints eventually made their way to Christ, who had no qualms about explaining his actions: “They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:12-13).

This is not idle conversation. Jesus really wanted the Pharisees to understand this saying, which came from Hosea 6:6, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” We see the end of the Pharisees failure to understand just a few chapters later, where they are criticizing Jesus and his disciples for picking ears of corn from a field to eat on the Sabbath. There Jesus rebukes them for not learning what he’d tried to teach them: “If ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:7-8).

What is it that Jesus wants us to learn? Showing mercy means even more to God than offering a sacrifice. Loving others who need help is more pleasing to God than bringing him an offering. In fact, caring for those in need is an offering to God. It is a sacrifice of love! Which would make you happier: Having your little girl bring you a bunch of flowers, or watching your little girl helping a smaller child who had fallen down and was crying?

Life is not about external conformity; it’s about internal transformation. We are created as image-bearers of God, and He wants us to grow more and more like He is, not in the ways we can’t (such as in his omnipotence and omniscience) but in his attributes. Specifically, in this context, God is not only just, he is also deeply merciful. The Jewish leaders in the days of Christ had added an insurmountable heap of regulations onto the laws that God had given them. For instance, there is no law in the Bible against inviting people to your home to hear the message of Christ, but the Pharisees thought it was scandalous to associate with anyone who didn’t agree with them politically or religiously. Wrong.

Concerning their allegation that Jesus was “breaking the sabbath,” the principle God gave us was to set aside a day for rest and worship each week, which was not meticulously defined in Exodus 20:8. It says simply, “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Jesus and his disciples were probably much better able to rest and worship with a light meal of fresh corn than they would have been on empty stomachs!

In the Bible, we are given all sorts of principles to guide our lives. I like to think of them as the Path of Life. In Psalm 25:10 we learn, “All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.” I think of mercy and truth as being the boundary markers along the Path of Life. What we do must be “truth” (must be right) based on keeping God’s laws, but what we do must also be bounded by mercy. If we fail to do what’s right, or if we fail to do what’s merciful, then we have gotten off the true Path of Life. One regrettable memory I have is turning down an opportunity to see a sick sister because I thought it would be wrong to miss church. The scripture tells us not to forsake “the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is” (Hebrews 10:25), but that does not mean it is always wrong to miss any service of our churches. There are times when it’s more important to be showing mercy, which is exactly what my friend’s two daughters were doing on Easter. Instead of being in church with their children, they flew across the country to bring the light of God’s presence into a very sad, dark corner of this world.

Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck;
write them upon the table of thine heart” (Proverbs 3:3).

Texts for this study:

And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Matthew 9:10-13).

At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:1-8).

O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me” (Hosea 6:4-7).

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20: 8-11).

Free Dental Day Coming Up Tomorrow (February 8, 2019): Need Help? Want to Volunteer?

Tooth pain hurts!  That’s why our son, Daniel
(who’s the dental director at Exalta Health here in Grand Rapids),  has been facilitating free dental days several times a year for the past few years. Each Free Dental Day, there’s been a wonderful group of very capable volunteers
who donate their time and expertise, which is good, because there’s also a long line of patients waiting outside
well before it’s light in order to get dental care that day.

(Many patients are uncomfortable having their pictures taken, so I couldn’t take any photos of the line, and fewer than half the patients in the overflowing waiting room agreed to let me take their picture, so the majority of them were actually behind me in the hallway when I took this photo.)

           Exalta at its heart is motivated by the love of Christ.  It’s a charitable outreach to those who are uninsured
and find it nigh unto impossible to pay for health care. This includes many young adults who no longer have parental support, as well as people of all ages who are out of work, homeless, or have low-paying jobs. Exalta also reaches out to refugees and has a large Hispanic-speaking population. They’ve been blessed by many Hispanic Christians who’ve taken an interest in the work, including this couple, who met at Exalta and are now newly married! This year our volunteer coordinator had the bright idea to do a press release, so a camera man  and a news reporter from Fox News visited  to interview patients and let Grand Rapids know what’s happening here. Not long afterward, Channel 13 News came to interview Daniel,and do a story on Exalta! Of course, the publicity was exciting, but that’s not why anybody helped. We helped because it’s good to help! We want to be the hands and feet of Jesus to love others wherever we go. Still, I hope the exposure in the news media will make the public aware of the opportunity both for service and to serve. In addition to care that can be provided by dentists and hygienists, an oral surgeon was available for some of the more challenging work. Exalta has a panoramic X-ray machine to help with diagnostics, and patients can receive free eye screenings or counseling services if wanted.Caring for many patients in a timely manner takes tight coordination, including people who can translate, triage, and guide the patients. Just keeping packets of instruments sterile is a HUGE job
(which I know from trying to do it sometimes). It’s tricky trying to find just what you need when you need it, and faithfully restocking the drawers is a challenging labor of love! As photographer, I got to appreciate first-hand the beehive of activity . . . and the sense of satisfaction that comes from a job well done. So, if you need some dental care, or if you have time to volunteer, call Exalta Health in Grand Rapids and get plugged in
for their next free dental day, which is tomorrow, February 8th, 2019. If you can’t help tomorrow but are interested, they need volunteers with or without medical training every week day, so please call!
https://www.exaltahealth.org/

(All photos taken during Exalta’s last free dental day, November 2, 2017.)

The Commands of Christ (14): Give Me to Drink

Has it ever occurred to you that Jesus only expressed a need for something to drink twice in recorded history, and on neither occasion did he get any water? In the Book of John, we learn that Jesus asked the Samaritan woman for a drink of water, but there’s no record of her giving him any! On the cross, Jesus cried out, “I thirst” but received only a taste of vinegar. Furthermore, Jesus requested permission not to drink once, and that was denied as well: “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39).Jesus had physical needs just like the rest of us, and on this particular occasion, he was traveling with his disciples from Judea through Samaria up to Galilee, about a 125-mile trip. There were no cars in those days, and they weren’t rich enough for Jerusalem Ferraris (aka donkeys). The distance from Jerusalem to Samaria is about 64 miles, or 22 hours of walking (according to a GPS, probably due to the rugged terrain), so they may have been traveling for two or three days already on a trip to Galilee that would likely take them most of a week. It was noon, and the sun was probably broiling hot. Apparently the disciples stationed Jesus at the well to rest and headed into the nearby village looking for the local McDonald’s. As Jesus waited, a Samaritan woman came to draw water. Now, this lady was pretty much the antithesis of Rebekah, the beautiful young virgin described in Genesis 24 who, in response to the weary Eliezer’s request for a drink, proceeded to give him a drink and water his camels also!Instead of giving the poor man a drink, she responded contentiously, asking who he thought he was to be asking anything from her, since he was obviously a Jew and she was a Samaritan, and Jews were notorious for thinking they were so superior to Samaritans that it would be beneath their dignity to speak to one.Jesus, ever more interested in meeting the needs of others than in getting his own needs met, pointed out to her that if she understood God’s gift and who he was, she could have asked him for living water, and he could have given her some. Now, that piqued her curiosity. I think she skipped the part about what God’s gift might be, or who Jesus was, but she definitely liked the idea of his giving her some water, although she couldn’t figure out how he was planning to do it, since the well was deep and he didn’t have anything with which to draw out the water. Unless . . . unless he was a magician or something . . . Jesus wasn’t a magician, but he did have miraculous powers. However, he didn’t use them to produce cold water for them to drink. Rather, he told her about spiritual water that he could give her to quench the thirst of her soul—water that could well up within her like a spring of everlasting life, so that she’d never be thirsty again. She was game: Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water” (John 4:15, ESV).Let’s stop the story here until next Sunday, because Jesus’ response is another command. But, as we end, I’d like to share five questions I’ve been pondering:

1. On earth, there were times when even Jesus’ basic physical needs didn’t get met, but he was okay with that because he was so focused on drawing people into a spiritual kingdom, the kingdom of God:  “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:7). How well do I handle not having my basic needs met?

2. Nevertheless, Jesus cared for both the physical and spiritual needs of many suffering people, and he wants us to do the same: Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matthew 25:34-40). What am I doing to help care for the basic physical needs of other believers who are suffering?

3. How do I respond to Jesus’ requests? Am I contentious and self-centered like the Samaritan woman, or am I eager to please and go above and beyond, like Rebekah?

4. Jesus was declaring the truth to this woman that he proclaimed to everyone later: He is the water of life. “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink” (John 7:37). Am I sharing the spiritual water that I’ve received with those who are nearest and dearest to me?

5. Perhaps the most obvious from Jesus’ example is that there is no person “beneath” the dignity of any other person. Jesus was pure and holy, but that didn’t stop him from reaching out to someone entrenched in an impure lifestyle. Everyone needs the Lord. Am I shying away from sharing the gospel with anyone in my life space because they seem unsavory to me?

Text for this study: John 4:5-15. “Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink.(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.)Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water?12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle?13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”

The Lady with Ten Thousand Hats, and the Lady with One

Two beautiful ladies took flight from their earthly homes this week. One was the mother of a dear friend, Brian. Brian has struggled with the effects of treatment ever since being diagnosed with cancer at age twenty-six. He’s now exceeded all records for surviving his type of treatments! Brian’s mother, Arlene, feeling compassion for young victims of cancer, began crocheting and sewing hats for patients of all ages, and over the years supplied more than 10,000 hats to help counter chemo challenges for cancer patients throughout southwest Michigan. Arlene died at a “ripe old age,” full of faith and good works, and is home in heaven with her Lord!  The other lady is a generation younger—younger than I am— and hardly seems “old enough” to die! She was vivacious and full of life until very recently, when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Last month, when I took dinner over to her and her husband, she was wearing a hat just like the kind Arlene used to make, but otherwise she still appeared and acted completely normal. Today, just a few weeks later, she is gone. Shocking and sad.  Two ladies. Two generations. Two very different circumstances, and yet they shared a lot in common. Both lived and died well. Both left grieving loved ones behind. Both had learned the secret of peace in passing from this life to the next: They were looking unto Jesus as the author and finisher of their faith. 

Are you looking ahead and noticing that death is the inevitable end of life on this earth? Whether or not you have a terminal illness at this point, if you—like me—are over sixty, it’s probably occurred to you that none of us are going to live in our present bodies forever. After all, as we grow older, who would even want to continue inhabiting these increasingly fragile and limited frames forever? Or, what about religions that teach an endless cycle of reincarnation? Groundhog Day or not, I am thankful God “numbers our days,” promising a discreet (though unknown) amount of time on earth before we are transported to be with Him, either as our Savior or as our Judge.

If you’re resting in Jesus as your Savior, then praise God! If you are unsure what will happen after you die or feel unprepared to face God, then may I invite you to look to Jesus for forgiveness and salvation? God alone can fill that black hole in our hearts with light. He alone can give us peace and assurance. Only His Holy Spirit can cause us to be born again into eternal life within the kingdom of God. Will you look to Jesus?

“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”
(—Helen Howarth Lemmel, 1863-1961)
O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free.
(Chorus):
Turn you eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face;
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace.
Through death into life everlasting
He passed, and we follow Him there;
Over us sin no more hath dominion
For more than conqu’rors we are!
(Chorus)
His word shall not fail you He promised;
Believe Him and all will be well.
Then go to a world that is dying,
His perfect salvation to tell!
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:1-3).

Alan Celebrates 68 Years and 10 Years…and the First Graduation of Pine Rest’s New Psychiatric Residency Program

This past month has been super special for Alan and me.  Alan celebrated his 68th birthday as well as his 10th anniversary as CMO (chief medical officer) at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services here in Grand Rapids, which is one of the largest free-standing psychiatric hospitals in America (and I would like to think and do hope that it’s also one of the best). One of Alan’s greatest passions as CMO has been the development of a psychiatric residency program, and recently we were able to enjoy the fruit of all his labor (and that of countless others) by celebrating the graduation of the first class of residents who completed Pine Rest’s rigorous four-year program.For me personally, the most gratifying aspect of their residency is the huge number of people they’ve been able to help over these years.The residents are from all walks of life and faith (or non-faith), but there is an optional track of the program that integrates faith and practice, and Pine Rest is beginning to attract more doctors who are interested in the spiritual side of life. Not only is the program comprehensive in treating the whole person, it’s also academically excellent. Pine Rest has an awesome research program that is affiliated with Michigan State University, and these bright, young physicians are doing fantastic research.At the last Michigan Psychiatric Society meeting (which included other prestigious schools such as University of Michigan, etc.), five out of the six winners were all from Pine Rest! Dr. Bill Sanders, who’s the residency director, is not only a great psychiatrist, he’s a stellar teacher and a super personable guy whom everybody loves (including Alan and me). He took the time to reflect on each of the residents and honored them with beautiful tributes.He pointed out that the residents were really phenomenal and overcame huge obstacles to complete the program. (One young woman was from Eastern Europe, causing language and other challenges, and another young woman was rushed to the hospital to have a baby just after receiving her diploma!)In all, it was a wonderful night of celebration, but what impacted me the most was this insight from Bill’s remarks: “Emina helps us remember that if we look around the room at every single difference you can see- everything noticeable to your eye, from sex to skin tone to eye color to the size and shape-everything visible is the result of something less than one-tenth and a half percent of our genome makeup, but otherwise we are the same. The typical overall difference between the genomes of two individuals is estimated at 20 million base pairs (or 0.6% of the total of 3.2 billion base pairs). Essentially, confirming all the teachings of all the great witnesses from ancient times- that what we have in common is more important than our interests and differences. Emina reminds us that we live in a world where we will only be able to appreciate the differences if we embrace what we have in common and act on it. I hope and believe we all do that.”Isn’t that fantastic? “…what we have in common is more important than our interests and differences…we will only be able to appreciate the differences if we embrace what we have in common and act on it.” How true, and what great advice for each of us!

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

 

A Few of My Favorite Birds (44): New Neighbors? Sandhill Cranes

Although I’ve seen these very large and impressive birds
roaming Kensington Park near Detroit and along Michigan highways —as well as sauntering through quiet parks in Florida— I’d never seen a pair of  sandhill cranes at Tanglewood Cottage until yesterday!

Having just parted with my son Jonathan’s family, who’d been visiting with us off and on for a couple of weeks, I was feeling a bit lonely, so having some new visitors come up my driveway was most welcome. (We have a whole flock of turkeys who are already a part of the neighborhood, but I wanted this photo to illustrate how much taller the cranes are.)  If you’ve not met any sandhill cranes yet, you’re in for a treat, because they’re very large, peaceable, and beautiful! For Michigan, I believe they are the biggest birds around, standing up to four feet tall,  weighing 9 (females) to 10 pounds (males) and enjoying a 5.5-7.5 foot wing span!  I think the pair who visited today may have claimed some water front property,  because they joined us while Alan and I were out for our nightly swim around the lake. (Photographer alert: Never go anywhere without a camera!  😦 ) From a distance, we thought they were a pair of swans, but up close, they are really brownish grey. They have very long, grey necks, red foreheads, white cheeks, long, black beaks and brownish bodies. Once you’ve seen one, they’re easy to remember and petty hard to forget! They don’t have webbed feet, but they have extremely long legs and toes, and we were surprised how fast they could swim…always away from us!  When they got close to our end of the lake, three families of geese came out with their little ones as a flotilla to “defend” their territory (our waterfront), but although the cranes were larger, they politely headed back to the far end of the lake, so they must not be very aggressive. Our swans used to intimidate the geese, but I think if the sandhill cranes stay, the other waterfowl will have nothing to fear.  I watched them happily as they meandered all over our property and sauntered down our lane. In fact, I was so pleased that I invited them to stay…and I hope they do! It wasn’t until I woke up this morning that I realized that I’m more charitable toward the cranes than I am my neighbors. Because we live in a fenced and gated property (built by order of the police because our German shepherd once bit a stranger), I don’t think I’d be “delighted” to have a strange couple walking all over our property as if deciding whether or not they wanted to take up residence with us. Could I possibly trust birds more than people…or am I just more selfish than I realize? I’m afraid, some of both. I need to work on loving my neighbors more!  “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:29-31).

Don’t Throw Treasures in the Trash!

I read recently about a masked thief in Denmark who broke into Copenhagen’s Cafe 33 and made off with a vodka bottle from a locked area, drank the vodka, and threw the empty bottle away. Because it was part of a 1,200 bottle collection and on loan from a Latvian car manufacturer, the store owner notified the police, who went in search of the empty bottle. Thankfully, the police found it and were able to retrieve the borrowed bottle from a  construction site in the area. Although the bottle was dented, the owner of Cafe 33, Brian Ingberg, was overjoyed to get it back, not only because it wasn’t his, but also because it was worth $1.3 million! The bottle had been fashioned from six pounds of silver and six pounds of gold crowned with a diamond-encrusted cap in the shape of a vintage car. Can you believe it? How did the thief fail to appreciate it’s beauty and value??

It made me stop and think about what I might be taking for granted or not appreciating properly, and the first thing that came to my mind is my husband. Hopefully, I’ll never drink him dry and throw him away, but he is a real prize, and I don’t always recognize his true value, which is far greater than silver and gold!

How about you? Got any family or friends who deserve more appreciation than you give them? What about our kids? Got any rebels who are driving you crazy?  When I am frustrated, I meditate on Luke 21:19, “In your patience possess ye your souls.” And, how about this one? “I. . .beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1-3).

Let’s treasure our treasures. May we never run them dry, throw them under a bus, or discard them as useless. God created each of us as a unique treasure. He “owns” us in a sense, and we are just on loan to one another. Let’s make sure that when the time comes to return our loved ones to God, we’ve protected them and cared for them.

Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not” (Malachi 3:16-18).