Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness

even-smaller-bug-light1

13 For the one who has shown no mercy will be judged without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – James 2:13 ISV
 
God gave the Old Testament law to the children of Israel to show them that it was impossible for a mere human to live a life free of sin. No one was able to live a life without sin, so God, in His mercy established rituals and procedures for them to keep.  As long as they stayed obedient to these rituals, they were not punished for their sins. Mercy is the lack of or a lesser punishment than our sins deserve(d).  Just as the people back then received mercy, we can and do receive mercy without receiving salvation. It is God’s mercy that allows us to go on living, even when we choose a lifestyle of sin.  We live under the law or covenant of grace. This does not mean that we don’t sin, it just means that we have a way of being forgiven without the rituals. Grace is God choosing to bless us even though we don’t deserve it. It is our faith in His grace that saves us.  When we feel that someone has wronged us in any way, we must show them mercy because of the mercy that God has shown us. We must temper our judgment with mercy, realizing that we have received so much more than mercy from Jesus Christ. We should also show them grace, in the sense that it means showing them affection and kindness even though they are not worthy of it. Neither were/are we worthy of God’s mercy and grace, yet He went so far as to die for us.
 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6-8 NIV

This is why we must show mercy, grace and forgiveness to those around us. We can and must forgive them of their sinful acts toward us. But only God can forgive us for all of our sins. Our mercy and grace is limited to what is done to us. God’s mercy and grace is unlimited.  Only His grace can restore our relationship with God the Father. We must ask for His forgiveness believing that by grace through faith we have been saved, are being saved and will be completely saved.
24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.25 Therefore he is able to save completely[ those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.– Hebrews 7:24, 25 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-03-2018

Spreading the Word Produces Joy

even-smaller-bug-light1

You became imitators of us and of the Lord. In spite of a great deal of suffering, you welcomed the word with the joy that the Holy Spirit produces.
​- 1 Thess. 1:6 ISV​

God has chosen each of us and has a plan for each of us.  We are sanctified, set apart, for a particular purpose.  Our faith produces works that are a part of that process. We show our love for Christ by laboring and helping others. We are able to endure because of the hope we have in us, the hope that we have because God has poured His love into us. When the Gospel is preached, it goes forth with power to accomplish whatever purpose God has intended for it.  The power is the Holy Spirit which can cut us to the bone and convict us of our need for redemption.  This is the message Paul and his companions preached among the Thessalonians and in all the other places they traveled.  They were successful, not because of their powers of persuasion, but because they were completely obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is the same message that each of us should be preaching every day with our lifestyle and as St Francis of Assisi encouraged us to do: “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”  We should follow the example of Paul and live lifestyles that are worthy of imitation, just as we have become imitators of Christ.  Then those who are suffering will receive the message with great joy.  Their joy will be observed by others who will want to know the source of such great joy.  The kind of joy that endures in the midst of suffering and persecution, the kind of joy that is caught, not taught.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 07-09-2018

Strong Ties of Love

even-smaller-bug-light1

 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. – Col. 2:2a NLT
 
Paul continually intercedes with God for the churches that he has planted and for those churches that his coworkers have planted. He realizes that when there are only a few believers present, it is easy for them to become discouraged and start to drop out.  He wants them to be encouraged and united in love. All Christians, particularly new Christians need to be encouraged and taught the riches of the Gospel.  We do new converts a disservice when we fail to mentor them in their walk with Christ. The world, satan and his gang are going to immediately start a concentrated effort to make the new converts doubt that there has been a change in their lives.  We must strive to get them rooted and established in the depth of the riches of the word of God. If we or they are not consistent in our study and our walk with God, it is easy for satan to separate us and make our lives to be miserable and ineffective for God. We must understand and teach others that regardless of our own feelings and the exterior circumstances, there is great wisdom and greater joy in serving Jesus and living a lifestyle that follows His example. Just a glimpse of the vast expanse and depth of His love and power should be sufficient reason for us to carry on.
 

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-27-2018

Compassion Never Fails

even-smaller-bug-light1

1 Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. 2 Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some  people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. 3 Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering.— Hebrews 13:1-3 NIV

Keep on loving each other! Some of us have a real problem expressing our affections in words and actions.  We may have to overcome some hurts from the past before we are willing to open up to other people.  It helps if we realize that all of us need love.  If God had not loved us enough to send His Son to die for us, we would never have been able to experience the joy of loving others. So, let us show others the love and kindness of our God by showing our concern for them.  We can do this by praying for others, starting at home and praying for our families  Then for our brothers and sisters in Christ,especially those who are being persecuted daily and imprisoned. Then we need to pray for those that are persecuting and killing our brothers and sisters.  Though we sometimes forget it, Jesus died for them as well. Being able to pray for our enemies is hard to do, but we must, if we are going to be obedient to Jesus. Above all, we must continue to love one another.
 

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.—- ​Colossians 3:12-14 NIV

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. — 1 Cor.13:13
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 05-23-2018

We Have Come to Mount Zion

even-smaller-bug-light1

22 No, you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to countless thousands of angels in a joyful gathering. – Hebrews:12:22 NLT
When God gave the law to Moses at Mt. Sinai, the children of Israel were warned not to touch the mountain or they would die.  Mt. Sinai represents the law and the law brings death.  

 6 He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. — 2 Cor. 3:22-24 NIV​
Mt Zion is the heavenly Jerusalem and represents grace and salvation. We not only get to touch it but we are invited to join in the joyful assembly of those whose names are written in heaven.  When we come to Mt. Zion, it should remind us of coming to Jesus who shed His blood on the cross for us.  With His blood, He has cleansed us and clothed us in His righteousness.  He has mediated a new covenant that brings life, not death.  The Holy Spirit calls each of us to repent of our sins.  If we continually refuse to heed the warning, we run the risk that our consciences will become “seared over”.  At that point, the Holy Spirit will have no way to communicate with us and we can no longer hear the call to repentance.

2 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.​– 1 Timothy 4:2 NIV​

So, while we can still hear the call to repentance, let us run to the mountain of grace, fall on our knees and join in with the church of the firstborn worshiping our Savior and Lord.

1 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.2 Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. — Psalm 48:1-2​ KJV


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 05-22-2018

Chosen, Called, Befriended

even-smaller-bug-light1

17 It was by faith that Abraham offered Isaac as a sacrifice when God was testing him.
– Hebrews 11:17A NLT
Abraham had lived for years waiting on the fulfillment of God’s promise of a son through which he would become the father of many nations. The son, Isaac, finally came when both Abraham and Sarah were well past normal child-bearing age.  Now, after a few short years with Isaac, God is asking Abraham to kill the dream. How could this possibly be?  Surely, Abraham had misunderstood what God said.  But, no, Abraham had completely understood what God said.  God knew how much Abraham trusted Him but Abraham needed to know that as well. If God has given any of us a vision or a dream in the past and it has not yet happened, do we trust God enough to let it die? Do we trust Him to bring that vision back to life, even if it takes a miracle?  The birth of Isaac was a miracle and the ram being caught in the bush was a miracle. Ah, you say, but Abraham was a chosen person, a friend of God’s.  God might do that for Abraham but not for me.  But, you would be wrong.  We are all chosen by God and we are all friends of God. God has not changed and He is still doing miraculous things on this earth.  If it takes a miracle for God to fulfill His promises to us, there are plenty of miracles left and more than sufficient power to make those miracles happen. We must believe. God does not always respond to every need, but He always responds to faith.

 

9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. — 1 Peter 2:9

24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. — Prov. 18:24
2​8 When he had gone indoors, the blind men came to him, and he asked them,“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” ​ ​“Yes, Lord,” they replied. 29 Then he touched their eyes and said, “According to your faith let it be done to you” — Matt. 9:28, 29

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 05-17-2018

Trust and Follow the Pathmaker

even-smaller-bug-light1

11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true. ​- Hebrews 6:11 NIV
Accepting Jesus as our Savior is the first step on a  journey from here to heaven. We know our destination and we know that our arrival has been secured by the blood of Jesus. The huge difference in this trip and one that we might plan to take here on earth is that we don’t know the specifics of the route.  Generally, we know that it is ever onward and upward, but what does that entail on a minute by minute basis?  We are facing a great unknown and we must take every step by faith.  

 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” — Romans 1:17 NIV
So we must study the gospel to know the way.  There is no earthly GPS that is going to lead us to heaven. But, God, in His great mercy and love for us installed a guide within us when we accepted His Son as our Savior.  We must learn to listen to the Guide to stay on the path. The way will not always be smooth and level.  It can get rocky and there will be valleys and mountains.  Just remember that every valley has two mountains and we travel from mountain to mountain not knowing what is over the next  one.  The important thing to KNOW is that we are never alone and if we get lost on the journey, the great Shepherd will leave the flock, come find us and carry us back to the straight and narrow path.  
 

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight
— Proverbs 3:5, 6 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 05-10-2018