Do not allow your mind to reduce the strength of the Word of God.
~ Lisa Blair
This scripture, Philippians 4:13, keeps surfacing in my mind. Life at the moment is going well, and then Holy Spirit told me, this is not an emergency verse. It is how I want you to live every day.
I think we often view scripture as a way of life, but often do not apply the wisdom to our everyday lives. We classify scriptures by type and apply them to certain situations. Gods plan does not categorize the Word. His Word is living and applies to a multitude of situations and circumstances we encounter, including the best of days.
The truth is, He strengthens us every minute, hour, and day of our lives. It is through this strength that He connects with us and leads us down the path of holiness.
Life is our time to learn, discover, and recover from things known and not known. When we rest in His strength, we are resting in His peace, His will, His Word, and His Way.
Let Christ reign in our hearts and give us peace that is greater than our understanding. I’m certain this peace differs, somewhat, for each of us. When I first felt this peace it was quiet, felt like warm radiant sunlight, and time ceased. It was truly greater than my understanding. It took weeks to process it and try to describe it. The love and light of Christ enveloped me. All earthly thoughts ceased to exist. I wish that peace on all people. It radiated atonement, not asked for, not desired, just gifted. As one author said, “it restrains the turbulent passions of anger, wrath, and revenge, always undue hearts, and moderates the spirits.”*
Another author wrote, “If we know Christ’s peace, we know that God accepts us by His grace. This knowledge gives us a disposition of peace. The more peace we have, the greater our gratitude for what Christ has done for us, and the greater the harmony of our soul. The peace of Christ steels our hearts against fret fullness and anxiety.”
Once you experience the peace, you come to understand that it rules your heart, not from a carnal standpoint, but absent of it. Philippians 4:7, NIV reveals, “the peace of God (Christ), which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Isaiah 55:12 NIV declares, “You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace.”
Grace is when God gives us what we don’t deserve. It is the act of endowing unmerited favor. In God’s Grace, He gives us the gift we do deserve – heaven. If we are the light, then we must follow Christ and extend grace to those we feel don’t deserve it. That’s right, we should stop judging, that is not our job. None of us are deserving of grace because we are all sinners. Christ was crucified to save us. Given our model, we too must extend our love for others in much the same way. This is not to say we should allow others to walk all over us, definitely not, but we should be more forgiving. We should see through the eyes of God’s mercy. We should treat others as we would like and expect to be treated, see the Fruit of the Spirit For a list of Christ’s virtues (previous posts or go directly to Galatians 5:22-25. Before delving into mercy, let’s further look at the definitions of grace and mercy. In the Greek, grace is defined as charis, favor. The Greek word used for mercy is eleos which means pity, compassion. In short, we seek God’s favor and compassion.
Mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we do deserve. He has compassion for us. God gives us mercy, which means He withholds the punishment we deserve. The punishment we sinner’s deserve is hell, which He holds back. But note, holding back does not negate disciplining us, which like parenting is an expression of love. God disciplines us to produce holiness which is kind and gracious regardless of how painful it may be in the moment. Luke 6:36 reads, “be merciful, just as our Father is merciful (to us).
We, like David call and cry out for God’s mercy often. How do we cry out? We demand that He answer us, praying He will respond in the way we cried out. Think about this, we live in the now, we do not know the future that God provided before we were born, we do not know the plans He has for us, we do not know the whole story, but yet and still, being human, we want what we want, and when we forge ahead without consulting God, it tends to backfire, takes us down an unforeseen path, often harms others, and can lead to less than desirable outcomes. At this point we cry out for God’s redemptive love. At it’s core, mercy is God’s forgiveness of our sins. Mercy is God’s steadfast loyalty. We should ask God for guidance and direction out of the goodness of His love.
Fortunately, God takes us to the path for forgiveness. David is the perfect example of God’s mercy. He lusted, killed, and fornicated. Abraham feared and lied. Sara was impatient and Jacob was a cheater and trickster. Rehab was a prostitute, and the Israelites rebelled against God, yet God forgave them, had compassion and used them to accomplish His purposes. Further, God converted Saul to become Paul, the author of much of the Bible, and Paul became the apostle of Christ. The Bible is filled with stories of God repeatedly forgiving sinful humans. He works in and through us for our own good and ultimately His glory. God’s unmerited mercy is new every morning, we are not consumed by our sin because His compassion never fails (Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV). Without His compassion, we are doomed to live in our sin and perish.
Matthew Schmalz, Associate Prof. Of Religion, College of the Holy Cross, wrote, “WHAT I learned is that mercy begins by opening oneself to those with whom one might strongly disagree,Mercy doesn’t end there, of course, but it begins with such small acts of understanding, which can lead to life-changing experiences of love.”
Hebrews 4:16; Ephesians 2:4-5 ESV; Psalms 51:1-2; Matthew 6:14; Psalms 40:11; 1Peter 1:3; James 2:13 ESV; Titus 3:5 ESV; Psalm 23:6 ESV; psalm 103:8 ESV
2 Timothy 1:9; 2 Corinthians 8:7; Ephesians 4:7; John 1:14; Hebrews 4:16; James 4:6; Isaiah 41:4 GNT
**Ways to Respond to God’s Grace and Mercy. Go to Christianity.com
Resources: Book – Strength For Today. What We Don’t Deserve, Aug. 3. Brenda Walsh; Christianity.com, What is the Difference Between Grace and Mercy? Philip Wijaya; The conversation.com, What is the True Meaning of Mercy? Matthew Schmalz; pure life ministries,org, A Biblical Definition of Mercy.
Images: LAB PHOTOS; Google images; Mercy Bible Verses; theconversation.com
“Satan can’t make you anything other than what you are. Satan can’t give you immortal blessing. Satan can’t make you into a god. Satan can’t cause you to overpower God and defy His eternal judgment. Satan cannot deliver you from the penalty of death. He can’t do it. Satan can’t change you, he can’t catapult you into some other level of existence. All you are is flesh, flesh, flesh, men, men, men. And all that is flesh is mortal, and God’s judgment will fall on all.”
We were meeting together as elders, as we always do on Sunday night, and I was giving the men a little bit of an idea of what I’m going to be speaking about tonight. We had been talking about migraine headaches, and I said the only thing worse than a migraine headache is having to spend two weeks in Genesis 6:1 to 4. That…
When you enter a room, are you the light Christ expects others to see?
We are summoned to be the Lord’s ambassadors, to share the Word, educate non-believers, and love everyone as Christ loves us. This is not an easy task if you fall subject to gossip, anger, spite, and jealousy.
“The good works that we do in spirit and truth are not our own good works, for of ourselves we can do nothing that is worthy of God’s praise. The good work that we do is the new-life of Christ within us, that is working through us. It is the new, born-again life of Christ that we received when we were born from above, that carries out any good works that we do, so that others may see our good works and glorify our Father Who is in heaven.” (Let your light shine. Matt 5:16 @ daily verse.knowing-Jesus.com)
Good works are the attributes we display moment-by-moment, day-by-day. They are the essence of who we are in Christ. These traits harken back to the Fruit of the Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25 NLT
Do you reflect love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control throughout the day with everyone you come into contact with? Do you segregate who you will apply the Fruit with? For example, do you apply the Fruit with only family and friends, do you extend it to co-workers and others? Do you exclude people walking past you on the street, or people who are different than you culturally, racially or ethnically? Is it okay to display the traits to some and stereotypical hatred to the poor, beggars, nonbelievers, the elderly?
When Christ was nailed to the Cross, He took on our sin nature. Our passions and desires were nailed and crucified with Him. As Christians, we are now living by, for, and of the Spirit who dwells in us. Logically speaking, we should follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
I ask you, “does your light show through you, or are you veiled/cloaked/bound in your sinful nature”?
“The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.” Galatians 5:17 NLT
Are you willing to live the sort of life that will deny you the Kingdom of God? This brings me back to yesterday’s post, The Lost Year. The world is changing and God is calling us to step out of our comfort zone, analyze who we are, and identify our sins towards others that allow us to set others apart as less equal, less desirable, and less worthy? Do you judge who is worthy to be counted as a brother or sister? Does your sin nature govern your life?
These questions are food for thought. I believe we all struggle to overcome our sin nature. It is the constant battleground we live on until Christ returns. Are you willing to deny your sin nature and be the light, or when Christ does return will He plainly say,
“I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers!” Matthew 7:23, NIV
If you plan to become a prayer warrior or want to strengthen how you pray, following is a prayer I am attaching from Prayers That Avail Much, by Germaine Copeland to assist you in establishing prayer time. They just published the 40th Anniversary Copy. This and He Whispers My Name by Cherie Hill are great books to add to your Christian Book library.
One Suggestion – do not allow this opportunity to slip away. God knew we would enter this time, and I am certain His hope is that you will take advantage of it and spend more time with Him strengthening your relationship with Him. Only God knows our beginning and ending and everything in between. Jeremiah 33:3 NLT declares, ask me and I will tell you remarkable secrets you do no know about things to come.
Sources: daily verse.knowing-Jesus.com; biblegateway.com; Prayers That Avail Much. Germaine Copeland; He Whispers My Name. Trusting God’s Love. Cherie Hill.