Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Miracle of Mercy

What exactly is mercy? What is the difference between mercy and grace? For a long time, I did not understand mercy or the difference between mercy and grace. I knew that when I prayed, I thanked God for the mercy and grace He gave me every night, but I didn't truly understand the difference. I just knew how grateful I was that I was saved from my sins.

I am very grateful to understand now. Grace is the precious gift of salvation that we get when we accept Jesus as our savior. It is receiving a gift that we do not deserve. Mercy is not getting punished for our sins because of the grace we received by accepting Jesus as our saviour. It is not getting what we do deserve.

“The unfailing love of the LORD never ends! By his mercies we have been kept from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each day" ~Lamentations 3:22-23

Mercy involves forgiveness, kindness and compassion, something that God has daily towards his children. He loves us just as much despite the many times we mess up, sin and are weak. He overlooks our flaws, and sees us as we will be one day be rather than as we are now. What an amazing Heavenly Father we have!

“The wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy.” ~James 3:17

Mercy is also something people have toward each other. In fact, God tells us in several scriptures that He wants us to have mercy toward others; the following is one:

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you"
~Ephesians 4:32

What does that mean to us? It means that he wants us to be kind to others, even those who hurt us or offend us. He wants us to be quick to give second chances.  God also wants us to be patient with other people's quirks, like He is with ours. He wants us to have compassion, and to help others that we see hurting or who are helpless. And, God also wants us to reach out and love those who others don't want to associate with. Is He asking a lot? He isn't asking us to do anymore than what He does for us. In Matthew 9:13, Jesus says he would rather have mercy than sacrifice.

So, like many, I have a way to go on my journey when it comes to mercy. For me, the easy part is to help those that are hurting and to be kind to people I don't know. I am still working on turning the other cheek, and being kind to people who have hurt me deeply. I am praying for guidance, direction and answers. I have read that as we face ourselves, walk meekly before God, and thirst for righteousness, God produces more mercy within us.

What are your experiences with mercy?

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy" ~Matthew 5:7

Monday, February 13, 2017

How Does He Love Me? Let Me Count The Ways

Have you ever felt unloved- unwanted, like you didn't belong? I sure have. There have been different times in my life where I felt so alone even in a crowded room. I felt different and while different was okay, I felt unaccepted.

When we find people who truly love us it is something to be cherished; but people can't be perfect and can't alway be there. As much as my people love me, there are times when it just doesn't come together. But my God, well He is a different story!

One of the most wonderful things I have found in my relationship with my Lord, is the perfect, unconditional, unwaivering love He has for me! His love is like a song with a beautiful melody and lovely lyrics that He serenades me with. I know that He is always with me, and that He is there to help me. He will cover my every need. How amazing is that? Like a perfect Father, He does what is best for me, even if it's not what I think I want. He watches over me from above; He gave me Jesus who is always with me, and even died for me! On top of that He sent His Holy Spirit to live within me. Read more from scripture about this incredible love He has for me and for you:

1.   His love cannot be shaken:
"Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken." ~Isaiah 54:10

2.   He loves me at my worst:
"Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst." ~1 Timothy 1:15

3.   He never lets anything separate us from His love:
"For I am persuaded that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come height nor depth nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord." ~Romans 8:37-39

4.   He loves us so much that He gives us grace that pardons us from our sins:
"Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich is mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace that you have been saved."               ~Ephesians 2:4-5

5.    His love endures forever:
"Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever. to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever." ~ Psalm 136:2-3

6.    His love never fails:
" How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings."  ~Psalm 36:7

7.    God loves us so much, that we give Him joy:
" The LORD your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy." ~Zephaniah 3:17

8.    His love is so big:
"Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies." ~Psalm 36:5

9.    He loves us so much, He gave us His own son to free us from our sins so we could be in   eternity with him:
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."  ~John 3:16

10.   He loves us so much that He will also love our descendants as well:
"Know therefore that the LORD you God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands." ~Deuteronomy 7:9

There are so many more than this! You can go through the whole Bible and find countless verses that tell you about God's love. You may or may not have a valentine for Valentine's Day, but remember how loved you are every single day!