Mercy

Man praying with the BibleMercy is that word that goes pretty much hand in hand with grace. Mercy is “compassion & forgiveness shown toward someone whom it’s in your power and/or authority to punish.” I have been shown mercy many times by people that I’ve unintentionally harmed or hurt. I’ve been shown mercy many times by the Lord because I need it and He is full of mercy.

I read a great passage this morning that has blessed my heart over the years and I keep realizing such great truth from it over the years. Check this out…

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2 NIV)

I can’t seem to get past the phrase: “in view of God’s mercy…” I’ve recently been taking a deeper look at God’s Mercy. I’m blown away by it and it motivates me to love others and honor Him with my life.  Matt Redman wrote a great song that has been blessing my spirit as well. Here’s the YouTube link to Matt’s song, “Mercy”.

“Mercy, Mercy as endless as the sea
I’ll sing Your Hallelujah for all eternity!
 
May I never loose the wonder oh the wonder of Your Mercy
May I sing your Hallelujah, Hallelujah Amen!” (from Matt Redman “Mercy”)

I’m sitting in the dust at the foot of the cross basking in the glow of Mercy that I can’t begin to comprehend, but because of Jesus I’m starting to understand. This mercy motivates me to love Him, live for Him, love others and live an honorable life.

 Pressing On!
Dwayne

Forgiven – Again

Man holding rock with bible verse John 8:7I remember seeing bumper stickers and magnets years ago that read: “Christians aren’t perfect – just forgiven”. I thought that I understood that phrase, but I was reminded of its truth again this morning.  There are many believers whose joy has been stolen because they don’t feel forgiven and saved. They constantly feel like they must do more; say more to be saved.

I have learned lots about forgiveness in my life when learning to forgive. I’ve learned just how much I need forgiveness. I know that without Jesus, I won’t get to spend eternity in heaven. I also know that I can’t be good enough; say enough good things; or do enough good deeds to earn eternal life.  I am forgiven because I believe in Jesus Christ. He is the One Who forgives my stupid sins and crazy behavior.

Jesus is at the home of a religious man named Simon having dinner, when a known sinful woman sits off to the side and she’s broken from her sin. She’s weeping regarding her sin and she puts perfume on Jesus as a huge sign of respect and honor from a servant. The Pharisee is thinking to himself, that if Jesus were really a prophet, He would know about this lady.  Jesus did know. Check this out…

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”  (Luke 7:40-50 NIV)

Forgiveness is part of God’s DNA. He made a way through His Son Jesus where we could return to Him and be forgiven and free. We do not have to be slaves to sin, He gives us Hope and Courage to defeat the evil one and walk with Him.  The Lord’s way is pretty clear – His is the right way, the honorable way. He wants me to leave a life of sin and pursue a life of right living and service to others. He has set me free from sin and wants me to live like someone who is free from sin.

I must come to terms with my sinful self. My thoughts, my motives, my actions are NOT always pure – sometimes they are! I’m imperfect and sinful – in need of more Grace.  As I look inside my heart and realize my struggle with sin and how much I need His forgiveness – it becomes much easier to forgive others.  I have been forgiven much by Him, so I must forgive others.  I have been able to forgiven some pretty big wrongs dumped on me by others and it’s only because I know how much I need grace that I can extend it to others who need it too. Forgiveness is inseparable from Grace!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Betrayal

A Crown Of ThornsWhen I think about my journey with the Lord, I’m guilty of betrayal way too often. There are sins that I think about and some sin seems to happen automatically. I can’t wrap my head around the pain I must cause the Lord when I step off the path He has for me and do my own thing. I am in need of grace really often because my sin is really betrayal.  Judas betrayed the Lord but couldn’t seem to find the repentance. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times and yet he repented. When I deny the Lord or sin against Him, I feel that I’ve betrayed Him again.  Check this out…

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. (Matthew 27:3-8 NIV)

Betrayal really hurts the person being betrayed. When I betray the Lord, it hurts Him, the One I’ve betrayed and me the betrayer. I need to find my way back through mercy and grace as soon as possible. I believe repentance needs to be a daily experience for me. My thoughts and actions are not always pure and honorable. The Lord knows me at the deepest level and the changes He wants to make there affect my everyday, walking around life. I am so grateful to know the Amazing Grace because it leads me to repentance after betrayal.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Forgiveness

Man holding rock with bible verse John 8:7I believe this to be one of the most important concepts to a Christ follower. I believe that this one of those things that is close to God’s heart. He is the Ultimate Forgiver. Forgiveness is when you lay down or let go of offenses and hurt that someone else has caused you. It is canceling a debt that is owned to you. I’ve been on both sides of forgiveness and either side is a struggle. To be forgiven is tough because I’m clearly aware of how much forgiveness I’ve just been blessed with. Being the one who forgives is tough unless I really grasp just how much the Lord forgives me. Jesus has some clear teaching on forgiveness. Check this out…

23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[h] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[i] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:23-35 NIV)

Forgiveness is at the heart of my faith. The Lord forgives me of my sin and my mistakes – How can I not practice forgiveness to someone who wrongs me.  I’m not a doormat; I’m a door holder. I know when I’m being used and abused. While I’m forgiving, it does not mean that you can continue to hurt me. When Jesus is speaking of forgiveness, I can see grace woven thorough His teaching. As a follower of Jesus, I must grasp this concept early on in my journey. If I understand who I would be without Jesus, it’s easier for me to forgiven someone else who doesn’t yet understand that concept. I believe that Jesus is also teaching that forgiveness for His followers is not and option or add-on. It’s a core part of following Him. If I come to terms with how much I’ve been forgiven, then forgiving others is a piece of cake.

Pressing On!
Dwayne

At That Moment

Baptism ceremony at the Jordan RiverThere have been moments in my life that have redirected the whole course of my life. I was thinking back this morning to that moment in 3rd grade when I decided to follow Jesus and be obedient to Him in baptism. I was baptized at Columbia Christian Church in Columbia, Kentucky. The small church we attended didn’t have a baptistery at the time. It was cold weather at the time so we drove 20 miles to a nearby town for my baptism. It was a Sunday afternoon and just a small group of people made the trip but it was a life-altering moment. I was reborn at that moment. I had chosen to start following Jesus. I was reminded of this moment in my life as I was reading about Jesus baptism. Check this out…

13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:12-17 NIV)

The Holy Spirit came on Jesus at the moment of His baptism. Those three words jumped into my lap this morning. There are times in life when in a moment everything changes. My perspective can be changed in a moment. My direction can be changed in a moment. My life here on earth can end in a moment. Life is really made up of lots of moments strung together into minutes, hours, days, weeks and years.  I want this moment of my life to be big as I continue to walk out my faithfulness to the Lord. I wish I could say that I’ve stayed on tract with Him since my 3rd Grade “moment”. I wish I could say that I never surrender to temptation. I just don’t ever want to quit listening to the call of grace on my soul. His mercy and grace calls me back again and again. Otherwise, I would have no hope. I simply can’t live a sinless life. I’m so thankful that He made a way for me to know God in the first place. I’m so thankful for the “moment of mercy” where I’m not condemned but forgiven. What a moment that is!

Pressing On!
Dwayne

Mercy & Kindess

White Box with the Word Love on the Sides Isolated on a White Background.Now this is a word that I really like. It is defined “showing compassion and forgiveness toward someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm”.

I am constantly in need of mercy as I stumble and bumble my way through life and situations. I may look like I know what I’m doing, but I’m still making mistakes and rethinking conversations. I try hard to not intentionally hurt others. There are times when my mouth gets me in trouble and I’ve giving commentary on another person’s actions or attitudes. My words are often unkind and have no mercy. The Word of the Lord spoken through Zechariah jumped in my grill this morning. Check this out…

8 And the Lord spoke his word to Zechariah again, saying, 9 “This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: ‘Do what is right and true. Be kind and merciful to each other. 10 Don’t hurt widows and orphans, foreigners or the poor; don’t even think of doing evil to somebody else.
11 “But they refused to pay attention; they were stubborn and did not want to listen anymore. 12 They made their hearts as hard as rock and would not listen to the teachings of the Lord All-Powerful. And they would not hear the words he sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord All-Powerful became very angry. (Zechariah 7:8-12 NCV)

Kindness is something that should simply come out of me because of the Lord’s kindness to me. I should not have trouble with mercy, because the Lord has shown great mercy to me. The Lord so wants to honor me when I’m kind and full of mercy to others. He wants my heart to shapeable and moldable by His Mercy and His Grace. I think Kindness is one of the big characteristics of God. He is kind even when I’m hateful and hard. His kindness is what attracts me to Him. He could be hard and cold, but instead He is kind and warm.

The Lord showed me mercy when I deserved punishment or death. He gives me abundant life here on earth and the promise of eternal life in heaven. I would be wise to show mercy and act kindly toward others because He asked me to. He also demonstrates that mercy and kindness to me every day!

Pressing On!
Dwayne