Mercy

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) …” Ephesians 2:4-5

Mercy & Grace

Some time ago, I heard the best explanation for mercy and grace that I have ever heard. Grace is giving someone what they do not deserve, and mercy is not giving someone what they do deserve.

I feel today that we focus on grace a lot. Sermons on grace, discussions about grace, books about grace. Lots of focus on grace. Which is good. Grace is important. But what about Mercy? Maybe it’s easier to focus on being able to give people what they don’t deserve. It’s easier to give what they don’t have, or give more abundantly of what they need. But what about Mercy? What about not giving people what they do deserve, or at least, what we feel they deserve?

Maybe, we first need to understand God’s mercy for us?

“But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) …” Ephesians 2:4-5

“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19.

“Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23.

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9.

“Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and truth go before Your face.” Psalm 89:14.

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments …” Deuteronomy 7:9.

“With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful …” 2 Samuel 22:26.

“But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” Psalm 86:15.

“All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth, to such as keep His covenant and His testimonies.” Psalm 25:10.

Let’s note for a minute that many of these notes about God’s mercy come from the Psalms, mostly written by David. Who we know was first introduced right before he slayed Goliath, which would be one of our favorite stories about David. But let us not forget, that he is an adulterer and a murderer. And, yet, in Hebrews 11 – in the “Hall of Faith” is listed as one of our great leaders of Faith, and titled the “Man after God’s own heart.” Why? Because if anyone is going to appreciate the Mercy of God (not receiving what you do deserve), it would be someone who is an adulterer and a murderer. Especially during a time, when both of these crimes were punishable by death. By all rights, David deserved to die. Even in this day and age, we believe that most people who commit either of these sins, could be punishable by death. And, yet, he was a man after God’s own heart.

How can that be?!?

Because God has mercy, in abundance! Because “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy. The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works.” Psalm 145:8-9. “Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments …” Deuteronomy 7:9.

Because in order for God to show us grace, he must first show us mercy. He must first, not give us what we do deserve. If God didn’t first have mercy, He would be so busy punishing us, He wouldn’t have time to show us grace. And, in our ever present struggle to grow in our faith, and become more like Jesus, we have to take hold of this. We have to understand that to move into the realm of over-abundant, unrivaled grace, we first have to understand that we have to understand this mercy. We have to understand this relentless, abundant mercy of not giving people what they do deserve. If we’re so focused on trying to make sure that people know how wrong or bad they are, how are we supposed to extend grace?

God’s mercy is that if we commit sin, and ask for forgiveness, it is forgiven. Not, He’ll think about it, not He has to go deliberate, decide if you’re sin wasn’t too bad, not have you done enough after asking for forgiveness to determine that you receive forgiveness…. It’s just, you are forgiven. Simple. You are forgiven. You just have to ask for it.

But, let’s also look, at the fact that we had fallen away from God. We had broken our covenant in the garden, and were doomed to wander the Earth apart from God. God was separated. We were sinful things, who couldn’t follow 1 rule. #youhadonejob 😉 But, even after we had fallen, and were cast out of the garden. Did God give up? Well, obviously not. He started a series of complicated events to get us to where we needed to be again – back with Him. He began working everything together for His good, to get His son here, to get us back into His proverbial garden, by sending His son. Why? Because He has mercy. Because He created a God-shaped hole in our hearts, and He knew that we will do ANYTHING to fill it, but He knows that He’s the only thing that can fill it. So, in His Mercy, He sent us the answer to the question all of creation was begging for – where is our creator? What is our purpose? And, that answer, came in the form of Jesus Christ. But, think about that mercy, we didn’t even know how to ask for it, and He knew what we needed, and how to get us there. Also, the mercy involved, in not forsaking us and leaving us to perpetually wander without Him. This mercy, that we take for granted today. Because we do not know what’s it’s like not to have this option available to us. David did. David understood how hard it was to get back to the Father. Jesus Christ hadn’t come yet, so he was perpetually battling to get back from his fall. We simply need to ask.

But, yet, as we continue to grow deeper in our Faith, we also need to understand that some people are never going to ask, or maybe they don’t even know how. So, we need to dig deep, and tap into the Father’s mercy to extend that to them, without their asking as well. We need to understand, that we can’t grow deeper in grace, until we stop focusing on how much punishment everyone needs and how they need to get what they do deserve, because they don’t. And, that punishment, is not ours to give anyway. May He without sin, cast the first stone. For we are all sinners, and have fallen short of the glory of God. And, if we want to understand Him better, and grow deeper in our relationship with Him, and shine His light for others. First we need to start trying to tap into His form of mercy, so that we can extend grace.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, THANK YOU!! Thank You, for being the good, good Father, who sees where we are, and doesn’t leave us there. Thank you for Your INCREDIBLE MERCY. Thank You, that you love us so much, that You have sent us the answer. In Jesus Christ. That you have given us the instruction manual of the Bible. Thank You, that you gave us a way, back to You. Thank You, that You make it so we ALL can come back into Your garden. That we all may walk with you, and talk with you, and be called Your own. That you yearn for us so much, that You look past all our transgressions, every time we make them. That you forgive our sins so thoroughly that it’s, as if, we never did them at all. Thank You for being our Father, and the best example of mercy and grace that we can all strive for. May Your blessings rain upon us, in overflow, and may we all draw closer to you, and grow deeper in Your love, grace, and MERCY for all. That we may see mankind as You do, and see ourselves as You do. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Going to take a short break from promoting Operation Christmas Child, to promote the Women’s Alive Conference! This is held in Brookings South Dakota, every year in October. A time for refreshment and renewal. A time for women to get together and encourage each other, and to soak in God’s word, and make lasting relationships with each other, and God. It’s October 18th & 19th.

If you would like to join us, please register with the Holy Life Tabernacle. (Click here) It’s only $20!

Or if you would like to donate, click here, and chose Women’s Alive Conference in the options.

Not about Us

If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20:23

So, one of the other things that was really driven home last week, as I was listening to our guest speaker, Bill Vanderbush, was, this guy gets it. He understands one of the biggest things that has changed my Faith. The way I talk the talk, and walk the walk. He gets one of the biggest things our world today is trying to smother. What the world today cannot afford to let people know.

What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?

This is so incredibly important, let me repeat myself, What if, we loved others-the way God loves us?

Now, in order for us to get this from our heads to our hearts, we have to understand how God loves us. So, let’s take a moment to think about how God loves us. He loves us: when we don’t pray, when we don’t worship him every day with all our hearts, when we don’t say thank you for all the amazing things he does for us -every day, he loves us…. Even we don’t know that he’s there (before we become believers or understand the concept of God.) He loves us, even though we still sin. He loves us when we hurt those around us, intentionally or not. He loves us. He loves us, like you love your child. That swelling deep inside your bones, love.

Now, imagine-loving others that way…. Ok, I love my kid when he’s ungrateful and defiant. I love my spouse, even when they lie, whether it’s a little, white lie or something a little more serious. But, what about someone who’s done me wrong? Ok, I forgive that co-worker who stole my project idea… I forgive that jerk who ran into my car because they were careless and texting and driving…

But what about…. Someone who doesn’t believe the same things I do? What about someone who’s a different social/economic class than I am? What about a criminal? What about an addict? What about a murderer?

What about these people? Are we practicing God’s love here? Have we really reached down to understand the depth of God’s love in these situations? It’s all fine and good, when it’s suits us. But what about when it doesn’t? What about when we’ve been hanging on to our hate and prejudices for so long, we don’t know how to let go? To forgive. To love. Those who have wronged us, wronged those we love? What then?

We have to get to the end of Us.

It’s not about us.

You have to get over yourself. It’s not about you. It’s about God. And God loves ALL OF US. ALL OF US.

You have to remember, sin is sin, no matter how big or small. Lie is the same as murder, it’s all sin in God’s eyes. You are no better or worse than anyone else. We all put our pants on the same way, and we all go in about the same size hole at the end of this life. Holding onto that hate and hurt is just closing a door that doesn’t allow God’s love in. And, let’s all just take a moment to act like life’s too short for all that hate. Well, because it is.

In order to understand and exercise God’s love, we need to tap into his grace and mercy. And to understand his grace and mercy, let us remember that he tells us to forgive our brother seven times, and seven times seven, and seven times that. Why? Because if we forgive that much, we’ll lose count. That’s the whole point. God does that for us. How can we expect that God will extend that grace to us, but not to Joe-schmoe over there. Nope, he’s just too bad. Not worth saving… Saying it out loud hurts, but it’s true. That’s what you’re doing. You are saying that, that person is not worth saving. And you need to admit that, to yourself and to God, and ask that he forgive you and let you see that person the way he does. Because you can’t experience everything that God has to offer, until you get past the fact that this is not about you.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You. Thank You that you save us from us. That you have made each and every one of us with a God shaped hole in our hearts that we want to fill with you. That you love each and everyone of us beyond comprehension. That you forgive us seven times seven times seven. That you have an abundance of Grace and understanding that we can tap into to move past ourselves. That you can give us that grace that surpasses all understanding, so we can give it to others. I pray today Father that you overwhelm us with that grace, that we may truly understand how much you love us, so we can love others the way you do. So, we can move past ourselves and be more like you. So, we can shine Your Light into the world that others may want to come to You and know You by Your love, shone in our lives. I pray that we all become shining examples of Your love and understanding and tolerance and grace. I pray that we all become more like you, each and every day. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

It’s the beginning of Operation Christmas Child! This particular mission, is very near and dear to my heart. What an incredible opportunity. For less than $20, you can make a shoebox for a child, and drop it off at a local collection center, and spread love and the good news around the world. From right where you’re at. In every shoebox, Samaritan’s Purse puts a leaflet that gives the Salvation Story in their language, and as they’re distributing them, they share the story of Jesus Christ.

Operation Christmas Child

Donate here

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How Great is our God?!

“How great is our Lord! His power is absolute!
    His understanding is beyond comprehension! ” Psalm 147:5

Breathe on me, Oh breath of God

As I have been overwhelmed this past couple weeks, with all the things. Fun things, enjoyable family things, life things, I have struggled to get to church on Sunday morning. Ever since I hurt my back, I’ve noticed that I tire easier. Get worn out. And, have to take life a little slower. Which is a blessing-since I’ve lived a good portion of my life at Mach 3, but sadly these past two weeks, I didn’t wake up in time to get to church. So, then when I heard this past Wednesday that we were having a guest speaker – who I listen to their podcasts – was speaking. I knew, I had to go. And, I wanted to go. But Satan pulled his old tricks, and started making me feel guilty about not spending time with my family during a weeknight, when we’ve been so busy. He also made my work absolutely crazy that day, so I would be dog tired by the time I got off work. And, I had forgotten to do anything about supper and now I had no time to make it. But, right at the last minute, I dug my heels in – and said, I’m going to church. And, my pastor’s voice rang out in my head, “If you don’t go, you’ll miss an opportunity.” I had to attend. Those small words were just confirmation that I was going to be blessed, and I was meant to hear the words that night. And, I was not disappointed. Because, did we ever doubt it, #Godshowedup!

This past Wednesday, Bill Vanderbush was the speaker at my church. What a blessed word!?! Revelations were made and had, and #Godshowedup. Without a shadow of a doubt. I’m sure everyone had their own revelations, but as I have digested these things for a couple of days, I will share what was revealed to me.

It’s been bothering me for some time, that we have Religion. That when people ask what I believe in, and I say Jesus Christ, they then ask what church I go to. Or what denomination I am. Or whatever. I don’t fit in a box. I don’t necessarily believe what any of the “religions” are teaching. I believe the Bible. I believe in the feeling I get when I’m praying. I believe in Jesus Christ, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit that lives inside me. I believe that God is alive and well, and working in my life. I believe that Jesus died for my sins and was resurrected to make a new covenant for man and God, and that I have the Holy Spirit of God living inside me that is my connection to my God, and that enables me to do all things. I struggle with the fact that humanity has fallen so far away from God, that they believe you can put Him in a box. That He is this clearly defined thing that we can sum up in words like, “Catholic, Lutheran, Non-denominational” to know what it is I believe.

Oh my goodness. I just want to shout it from the mountaintops. I believe in GOD. I believe in the Almighty Father, who is the Alpha and Omega. I believe in the God, who raised Christ from the DEAD. Who raised Lazarus from the DEAD. Who healed lepers, and paralytics, who knows all things, and sees all things. Who is the VICTOR. Who defeated SATAN. Who saves me from me, and you from you. I believe in the GOD who removes your sins so completely from your life that you can be a new person. Like, literally, a new person. A NEW CREATION. I believe in the God, who after man had broken his covenant (Adam & Eve) made a way to have a new covenant that we couldn’t break – because Jesus would make that covenant for us, and we can’t break something that we don’t have. I believe in the God who performs miracles. Who created us. Who created everything we see. I believe in the God who breathed life into us, and spoke creation into existence.

It just breaks my heart that so many “believers” out there, seem to miss the mark. They’re like, “Yeah, I believe in God, and that Jesus died for my sins.” But DO YOU? Do you really? Do you understand that the God you believe in, LIVES INSIDE YOU? He’s not somewhere out there. He’s INSIDE YOU. You and Him are one. And I’m one with Him. Do you truly understand that the SAME GOD who raised Christ from the DEAD, lives inside you??? That if You believe, that you will receive, that what you give, will be given to you? I ache that I seem to be part of this small faction that understands the amazing, awesomeness of the fact that God wants to have a personal relationship with me, and that He lives inside me. And, that we are ONE. That I am sent to bring others to this revelation. That if you truly understood that God LIVES in YOU, You would be on fire too! That it would bother you that not everyone seems to be getting it! They have not truly received the Holy Spirit, to understand that God has re-established this connection that we lost for thousands of years and was only reconnected after Jesus came and re-established it. That we can feel everything God wants us to feel. Love, peace, joy. They’re all ours to be had.

Months ago, someone revealed to me, that Jeremiah, was nick-named the “weeping prophet” – and in that moment, something rang true in me. I identified with Jeremiah. I then began to read Jeremiah, and I wasn’t understanding why I had identified with him. But, for months, it’s been nagging at me. The weeping prophet. But, just now, as I’m writing this to you. It all makes sense. I have this connection with God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ. I have this incredible, amazing feeling, deep down in my bones whenever I’m reading the Bible, or praying, or just walking around living life. Because I know, that there is a God, and he loves me, and you, and wants us all to be saved, and to understand what it’s like to have this relationship. And, yet, here’s the rest of the world, living in depression, and hate, and sinfulness, and despair, and they don’t seem to have any idea, that there’s a God out there that wants you to feel Amazing! That wants you to be happy, and have the best things in this life, and the next. And, that if people truly understood the connection that God wants to establish in you, that you would feel that way too. I ache and I weep because I want to airdrop this feeling into everyone. I just want everyone to get it! On every level. Just like Jeremiah. I’m not weeping for myself, or for God, but for everyone else.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your wisdom and your understanding. Thank you for imparting your Holy Spirit to us, and for saving us from ourselves! Thank you for speaking to us. Thank You that You sent Your Son to save us, and to make a new covenant that cannot be broken. That You don’t leave us where we’re at. That You are the Great, Amazing Father who blesses us. That you watch over us and guide us. Thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit that You may live inside us, and give us this amazing connection to You. Bless Your Holy Name Father. May we live forever in You. IN JESUS NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

I’m going to be promoting this one for the next several weeks. It’s the beginning of Operation Christmas Child! This particular mission, is very near and dear to my heart. What an incredible opportunity. For less than $20, you can make a shoebox for a child, and drop it off at a local collection center, and spread love and the good news around the world. From right where you’re at. In every shoebox, Samaritan’s Purse puts a leaflet that gives the Salvation Story in their language, and as they’re distributing them, they share the story of Jesus Christ.

Operation Christmas Child

Donate here

Featured

Timing

“ But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” – 2 Peter 3:8-9

He keeps his promises

If you’ve been with me for a while, you know, that all of this started because I trust in God’s timing, or try to, anyway. If you’re just joining, I’ll catch you up. Last year, in April, I had been praying for a Bible Study for about 2 years. I had been going to different ones I had heard about here and there, but the timing wasn’t right. I couldn’t do it on the particular night they had it. They didn’t have it as often as I would like. Different stuff. It just wasn’t working out. Then, as I’m walking to my car this crisp April morning, I heard this whisper as clear as if someone was standing behind me and had breathed on my ear. “Why don’t you start a Bible Study?” I actually turned around to see who had said it. I was in disbelief. Me?! Start a Bible Study? I just started going back to church? (In the grand scheme of things, I hadn’t been attending church as long as I had felt it necessary for someone who leads a Bible Study’s caliber required.) But, my doubts only lasted a moment. Yeah, that’s a good idea. I know a couple people. I’m going to see them both tomorrow (up to this point, the only time I would ever be seeing both of them in the same day. Coincidence? I think not.) So, when I saw each of them the next day, I asked. They would love to. I also informed another life-long friend that I was starting a Bible Study without thinking she would want to attend, and lo-and-behold, she invited herself. We had gone from a concept to our first meeting within two weeks. Since then, we have lost a member, gained a member, had a member go on hiatus and come back.

Then, this past May, I threw a kick-off party. I invited everyone I could think of. I wanted the Bible Study to grow. We had grown personally so much. We now had this tight network of people that we could count on to pray for each other. To be there with us, when life was throwing us hard balls. To have “jam sessions” where we just talk about life, how God’s working in our lives, or getting guidance when we don’t feel like he’s working. We rented out a room to support “everyone” that was going to show up. We made bars, had games, prizes, everything. And, not one new person came. I was disappointed, but that’s ok. Not everything always goes according to plan. But, I haven’t given up. I always have to remember – not my timing. Now, since May, on a random Tuesday, we got a new member. Who has been a great addition to the group, and hopefully feeling that same sense of fellowship that I know the rest of us have grown to depend on. And then, this past Tuesday, another new member has joined. And, I have whisperings that this coming Tuesday, we’ll have another. We have almost doubled in size – since May. Without a party. Just God nudging people’s hearts to attend. 2 of the 3 weren’t even invited to the May party, I believe. Look at God’s timing. Look at how #Godshowedup. I’m so grateful. Not necessarily because I just want more people, but I cherish the Bible Study so much, that I want others to have that in their lives. I want others to grow. To have that sense of fellowship. To have a network to help them work through life. To have people praying for them.

It’s so important to trust and wait on the Lord. To know that He will fulfill His promises. That if we take leaps of Faith, He will catch us. This blog is another testimony to God’s timing. He had been laying it on my heart to start this blog for some time. Then, one day, I had said during morning prayer, if I have time today, I’ll do it. He proceeded to make everyone cancel their plans with me that day, before noon. Within a few short hours, everything I had on my calendar, had been wiped clean. Text after text came rolling in, can’t make it, can we do it another day? and so on. Ok, God. No more signs. Since then, I have had people share their testimonies about how this is just what they needed to hear that day. I’ve had people print and save some of my prayers for themselves and for others. I’ve had a total of at least 344 visitors (I don’t believe my website catches all who read it.) What an encouragement, for myself and for those who read it. I never aspired to be a writer, but the Lord has stuff to say, and I have prayed to be a mouthpiece. May God always bless the work of my hands. I hope this encourages you, to pray that God use you. To pray that you trust in his timing and his path. May the work of your hands always flourish and may you see and cherish the moments where God shows up! Because they’re amazing! And they never get old. And God is most definitely alive and working today. I hope that you’re a willing vessel to bring His Kingdom to Earth, that you may see His works, and live in His awe and wonder.

More Stories

Few more stories about his timing:

Don’t quench the Spirit (#1 read entry of mine)

Cookies

Spoons

Spoons 2

Light

Plans, Plans, Plans….

The God who provides

The Year of Great Loss

God’s Plans

New Creation

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You! Thank you for showing up! Thank you for your timing. Thank you for instilling a trust in us, to trust in You. May we be vessels for Your work and Your Word. May we have the patience and the peace that surpasses all understanding to know that You’ve always got our backs. That You will always fulfill Your Word, and that You only want good things for our lives. Bless Your name Father that You are the Good, Good Father who watches over us and protects us, and that You have everything done in Your timing and not our own. That we may always continue to see Your work and wonder in our lives. That we may be a blessing to those around us, and that we may bring Your Kingdom to Earth. That we may shine Your light into the lives of others. That we may be beacons of hope, the hope and assurance that You provide, and that we may guide others to Your Light. Thank You for all that You do Father. May we always bring glory and honor to Your name. IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

Hurricane Dorian has left much of the Caribbean devastated. Please take a moment to pray for these people and their families. Samaritan’s purse is there, helping as much as they can. To read more: Hurricane Dorian

To donate: Click here