All too often we understand the term mercy and assume that we apply it in our lives. But having mercy and being merciful are two different things, one is a descriptor or a noun, the other an adjective, the way in which we apply mercy.
~ Lisa Blair
Mercy and Merciful Defined
Mercy according to Easton’s Bible Dictionary (free app) defines mercy as: compassion for the miserable. It’s object is misery. By the atoning sacrifice of Christ a way is open for the exercise of mercy towards the son of men, in harmony with the demands of truth and righteousness. In Christ mercy and truth met together. Mercy is also a Christian grace.
Merciful is the act of expressing mercy, according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. This is accomplished through the act of compassion, and tenderness. When you are merciful you become predisposed to forgive offenses, and are unwilling to allow the human, get-back nature to thrive. In short, you become unwilling to retaliate and instead forgive. When we are merciful and forgive as Christ forgave, it frees you from the restrictions of hate, anger, and fear.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7
How often do we read the first part of a scripture that is further explained in the second part of the thought? So often we rest our knowledge on the thought that as long as we fear God, we will have knowledge? We do not bother to read or ponder why the command is conditional. This scripture informs us, it is instructional. Let us focus on Provers 1:7. The first part instructs us to fear the Lord and gain knowledge “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge.” And, yes, fearing the Lord is the beginning, but let us not overlook the condition requiring us to accept wisdom and activate instruction. Choosing to overlook the second part of the scripture informs us that while we desire knowledge, we only possess an unactuated thought, the thought is not functional, it is folly. The second part of the scripture informs us that, when we despise wisdom and instruction,” we do not fear – meaning, we have not ‘taken to heart’ the Lord’s instructions, we are not obedient, nor do we surrender our thoughts in exchange for His thoughts. We lack wisdom and instruction.
True wisdom can only occur after we understand that God is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, God is Holy. When we understand this at a heart level, we begin to experience wisdom through the knowledge that He is Holy, just, and righteous.
Acquiring knowledge yields wisdom, and wisdom is acquired through faith, which is acquired through the unyielding instruction of the Word of God. His instruction states that we are to walk in His ways, to love as He loves, and to serve the Lord our God with all of our heart and with all of our soul. The beginning of knowledge begins with submission, surrender, and obedience. When we accomplish these three things, we can accept His knowledge without hesitancy or the need to understand His inspired Words in the Bible.
In Hebrew there are two types of fear: Pachad and Yirah. Pachad is the fear projected or of imagined things, it is over-reactive, irrational and stems from the worry of things to come, those things we imagine. Yirah is “the fear that overcomes us when we suddenly find ourselves in possession of considerably more energy than we are used to, inhabiting a larger space than we are used to inhabiting. It is also the feeling we get when we are in a sacred space, on sacred ground. (Makingdapennycooke,com. Ways Ways To Think About Fear)
As believer’s, we experience and understand the fear of God as reverence of God. This type of fear is the motivating factor in surrendering to the Almighty. Fear equals reverence. Yirah is the fear, the goose bumps we experience when we are in prayer or are praising the Lord and are in His presence. It is so much bigger that anything in our human sphere of understanding. We enter Holy (sacred) ground, the beginning of something new each time we experience it. It all contributes to our spiritual knowledge base and enables us to adhere to His wisdom and instruction and not our own.
Full circle – It is important to read an entire verse or scripture to gain the wisdom God intends in sharing His Word with us. Failing to do so does not result in wisdom, it results in folly, we become or remain fools, Proverbs 4:7 reads – Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. Equip yourself, study the Word, do not simply read it and rely on your own understanding. Seek what He is conveying to your heart. Our life with Christ is a heart process. Step into Yirah, terrain that is beyond human understanding, feel His love and walk in His Word.
<p value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><br><strong>Our Application Season requires our commitment to relinquish our plans and strategies for God’s plan for our lives.</strong> This does not mean we are to sit back and wait for God to do everything, it means that before we do anything we must think about how we will accomplish what we plan to do and ask God for guidance. This includes reacting to situations and circumstances that may be driven by our own actions, as well as those out of our control. The immediate response for many is to snap back, which is waged through our fleshly desires to get back, or harm through words and deeds; cheating to succeed, telling white lies, skipping steps. Our Application Season requires our commitment to relinquish our plans and strategies for God’s plan for our lives. This does not mean we are to sit back and wait for God to do everything, it means that before we do anything we must think about how we will accomplish what we plan to do and ask God for guidance. This includes reacting to situations and circumstances that may be driven by our own actions, as well as those out of our control. The immediate response for many is to snap back, which is waged through our fleshly desires to get back, or harm through words and deeds; cheating to succeed, telling white lies, skipping steps.
Applying Jesus’ attitude and character to how we approach life is a process. As we more frequently depend on His attitude and character, you will find that the process speeds up, you learn to immediately go into prayer and over time you will respond to life situations according to God’s will and way in a more involuntary manner, in short it becomes who you are, and rather than acting impetuously you act according to the Word of God, you act in a Christlike manner, exuding His demeanor, and if you fail, you immediately repent and attempt to do better the next time.
Scriptures About Commitment (ESV, openbible.info)
Psalm 37:5 – “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
Galatians 6:9 – “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
John 8:12 – “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””
Ephesians 4:29 – “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
Romans 12:1-2 – “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Commitment is never easy. It requires that you do not take short cuts as you change/renew/convert your attitude and character. It is intentional. It is important to build a strong scriptural foundation. If you do not begin with the fundamentals, how do you know what Christ’s attitude, values, and character are? Just as children look to their parents, we must look to the Word of God for direction, wisdom, knowledge, and insight. But do not wait until you finished building a spiritual foundation. Begin today, remember, each day is a new day. Ask God for direction, and you will become more confident in praying and responding to His instructions. You will learn to feel comfortable in knowing that God intimately knows you and knows that you are growing in the Word. He will speak to you through ways you can understand. There have been times that while I was in prayer, God simply shared a Bible reference, such as – Psalm 63, often a scripture that I had not read, and had no idea what He was telling me until I read it. Once you have read the scripture, it all came together. God is amazing! He is the author and finisher, the alpha and omega, the Way maker, our counselor, and finisher of our faith. If you recall the first Application Season entry, I mentioned Isaiah who wrote, “Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say. “
“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD ’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to GOD! Run from evil!
Dear friend, guard wisdom and understanding with your life; don’t for a minute lose sight of them. They’ll keep your soul alive and well, they’ll keep you fit. No need to panic over alarms or surprises, or predictions that doomsday’s just around the corner, Because GOD will be right there with you; he’ll keep you safe and sound.”
Proverbs 3:5-12, 21-26 MSG
Listen to God. Commit to this Application Season establishing the new you. Guard your thinking, use common sense and learn to become Christlike in nature, demonstrating God’s love in everything you do.
As we go through this APPLICATIONSEASON together, ask God to personally relate each scripture that speaks to you and ask Him to explain how it applies to your life today. Interestingly, you will find that a scripture can speak to you in different ways during different seasons of your life. The Bible is an ever-evolving book unfolding new treasures as we become more like Christ. The Word meets us at the point of our need is at the time. When praying, ask God what your next steps are in changing your attitude and character to align to His Word and Will, and believe me, He will provide the next steps. In many cases you will be asked to mobilize what you have learned within a short time of discussing it. Sometimes you will succeed and others times you will fall short, but each strengthens your walk and your character, each step places you closer to becoming like Christ.
When we are lost, we seek inward. When we are confused we seek God. Isn’t it amazing that we rely on Him and Him alone when things get tough.
~ Lisa Blair
Do you ever feel alone? Have you found yourself unable to figure things out? I have. We are in a time of uncertainty. We may have a job, roof our our head, and food on the table today, but uncertain about tomorrow, or you may have already been displaced as the result of the pandemic, loss of jobs, or storms, fires, or earthquakes. UNCERTAINTY IS THE TERM OF THE MOMENT. Absolutely nothing is as we understand it, but the WORD OF GOD. There is only one thing we can rely on and that’s His Word. It is our refuge, our safe haven, our tower against the storms of life.
The pandemic has ravaged the world as we know it. It has forced us to stop looking outward and begin looking inward at our relationship with God. I have met so many people who have been displaced from their pre-pandemic lives and have found freedom amongst the muck that has ravaged their lives.
Many are joining bible study Zooms, many are seeking introspection and their relationship with the Lord. Still others have decided to invest in themselves and not things, and are moving to less expensive cities and states. Many have regained connections with family members. And, many have found God and received Him as their Lord and Savior, hoping to come out of this in a strong relationship with our Father and a design for their futures that provide relationships outlined in the Bible as their basis for new life.
There is always a silver lining in every cloud. The timing for its appearance is governed by God. He knows the plans He has for us to prosper us and give us strength. He will provide for our basic needs as we travel through tough times, blessings will appear in many forms. Awareness of his blessings small and large were often overlooked and assumed to be something we made happen in the past. I think, for many, we are just beginning to recognize that our blessings come from God to meet all of our needs.
As we move forward, our lives may look different, we are shedding the past, those things that became idols and stole our time from the Lord. The new day will clearly focus on God and our relationship with Him. Our lives will experience His inner peace. We will find calm in the middle of storms, and we will be surrounded by His Grace and Mercies.
We will age and fade away but as we do so, we are being spiritually renewed day-by-day.
~ Lisa Blair
Our faith becomes stronger with the renewing of our minds. We mature as Christians, God’s children, and grow in the Word. We receive salvation, are forgiven of our sins (overcome our sin nature), are healed from backsliding, and choose obedience to and dependence on God over my own free-will.