We are created in God’s likeness, His image. His personhood exists in us, and it is not by accident. He is not a respecter of man. We all, regardless of gender, race, religion, or nationality, represent Him in human form. He spoke life into us.
~ Lisa Blair
God’s image gives every person dignity, worth, and purpose. You are uniquely designed to know the God who made you, in this life and for eternity. How will the truth that God knows you completely and loves you unconditionally impact your life, your week, your day?
Bible Study Fellowship, Lesson 2. God Creates Humanity in His Image.
God conducts invisible heart surgery on all people who receive Him as their Lord and Savior. God promises to give us a new heart and insert His Spirit in us. ~ Lisa Blair
When God places a new spirit in us, He is renewing our hearts by replacing our own spirit with the Spirit of God. According to a commentary (Ezekiel 36:26-27, biblegateway.com), we are receiving a ‘new heart’ “renewed by the Spirit and grace of God. A new principle of life is put replaces the carnal principles. A new light is infused with a new will, filled with new purposes and resolutions, where new affections are placed, and new desires are formed, and where there are new delights and joys.”
If we compare God’s heart surgery with physical heart surgery, we will see similarities, the methodology differs, but the outcomes are generally the same. In one, surgeons disconnect the heart, cycle the blood and replace the old heart with a new one. Once they remove the old heart, they prep and insert the new heart and reconnect it, removing all surgical machinery, and then they wait to see if the transplant is a success.
When God goes into surgery, He examines our old stony heart and replaces it with a renewed heart in which he places His spirit. He does not wait to see if the transplant works, it is instantaneous. He knows that as soon as He breathes into our new heart, it begins to work and will work until we return to heaven at the close of our life on earth.
We enter life with a stony heart. The stony heart is immersed in sin. The stony heart was hardened by sin, it is impenitent, corrupt, and carnal, seeking after and lusting after the things of this earth. Read Galatians 5:16-22 to learn more about the acts of the flesh. When we accept Christ as our Lord, we immediately feel repulsed by our fleshly desires, they seem out of place. We are no longer inspired by wanton desires as we were before the transplant.
In Galatians 5:16, the scripture inspires us to walk by the Spirit, and not to be gratified by the desires of the flesh. We felt the inkling to ask God to come into our hearts and allow Him to prepare and give us heart surgery. So, why must we fear returning to our old ways that created the stony heart? Could it be because God also gave us free-will? Think about it, people have surgery for all types of ailments with clear instructions not to return to their old way of life the caused the abnormality, and what happens more often than not, they return to eating in excess, drinking in excess, and abusing their bodies.
We do the same after receiving a renewed, Holy Spirit-filled life. Hear me out. Receipt of the new heart does not make us immune to fleshly wants, in fact, Satan will continually try to taunt you. He knows your weaknesses and carnal desires. He did the same thing with Adam and Eve. He tried to offer Christ earthly riches and his strategy has not changed since the beginning of time. He also knows that God gave us free-will, the ability to make our own decisions, something he could work with. His game plan was and is to destroy your soul and separate you from God.
So, what will you do with your new heart? We are not perfect and will not know perfection until we reach heaven. We will fall because we are human. Our saving grace is that when we received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we were no longer doomed by sin with no chance to repent. When Jesus was crucified, He took on our sin and gave us the ability to repent of them and walk with Him.
Satan lost when he fell from heaven. His only objective is to destroy us as he did himself. Where does your loyalty lie with God or Satan? I live on the side of the Lord. I make mistakes. I pray and repent and try to December myself as soon as I become aware that I am wandering off to the left or the right and failing to follow in Christ’s footsteps. Life will challenge us; we are not immune. We should cherish our renewed heart. Our love for Christ will give us the strength to overcome.
Now, more than ever, it is time to embrace your new heart and growing into becoming more Christlike by emulating His character and remembering to repent when you fall short. I thank God every day for being a God of many chances. Accept His loving-kindness and walk in the light.
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
When you feel alone, know Jesus is sitting in the boat with you. Call on him to give you peace as the storm rages and seems as if it is going to destroy everything around you. The Bible tells us – “this to will pass”. Hold fast to Jesus.
~ Lisa Blair
We can see our rebirth* come alive during this pandemic. God is at the center of each of our lives. Call on him for your peace that is greater than your understanding. Praise him for each day and expect him to provide his best for you. His best is his love, peace, and security in him.
Wherever you are, he is in the midst of it with you. Hold fast to your faith. He will get through this, but the world will not reappear as was it was; look forward to the new day that the Lord is bringing forth. There is no storm to great to defeat God. ‘He’s got the whole world in his hands, he’s got you and me brothers-in his hands, he’s got the whole world in his hands.’
Scriptures and images – Bible.com
*our new lives, after accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior
God’s love is unconditional, He pours in so we can pour out.
~ Lisa Blair
We are to love one another unconditionally, as our Father loves us in our sinful state, without conditions, caveats, or exclusion. We are to have Jesus’s mindset.
Love breaks down walls and gives the giver peace despite the circumstances. We don’t have to like everyone or keep them in our circle if toxic in anyway, but as a child of God we are required to love them as He loves us.
God pours His love into us so we can pour it out into a dark world, casting light and changing the atmosphere. When we reflect chaos and hate, we are contributing to the darkness. When we, like Paul, love everyone as God loves us, our love attracts others who are seeking God and want a relationship with Him. We are the model of Christ. Are we modeling Him or living in the natural world modeling the evil one? Do we love unconditionally, are we kind, do we sacrifice for the good of others, are we patient, trustworthy, faithful, gentle and maintain self-control?
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13-14 NLT
Do we love our neighbors, those around us wherever we go? Are we the model God sets before man? The world sees Him through our actions. Are we modeling unconditional love through our actions or reinforcing worldly values and sel-righteousness? Paul wrote a letter to the Philippians stressing that we are to emulate Christ in all we do.
“Have this same attitude in yourselves which was in Christ Jesus [look to Him as your example in selfless humility],” Philippians 2:5 AMP
Daily reminder, recite each morning – Today I go forth (intentionally) modeling Christ.
Images and Scriptures—YouVersion.Bible.com
Resource— Nelson’s Quick Reference. Warren Wiersbe