Remember the Mercies of God

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17 Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? 18 ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’  Don’t you remember anything at all? — Mark 8:17, 18 NLT

Depending on what version of the Bible you are reading the word “remember” appears between 148 to 168 times.  Moses used it quite often when the Israelis would murmur and complain.  He asked them to remember how God had delivered them out of the bondage of Egypt.  Not only did He deliver them, but God brought them out with an abundance of riches that the Egyptians gave to them.  Still, every time they got tired of the manna or they got thirsty, they would complain and wish they were back in Egypt.  The disciples, even after seeing all the miracles that Jesus had performed up to this time, were concerned about food for their physical needs. They had just witnessed Jesus feeding thousands of people with a few loaves and a few fish, yet they were concerned about what they would eat.  Jesus admonishes them for not remembering these things. Had they remembered them, they would have been at peace with their situation, knowing that Jesus could provide for twelve people very easily.  Jesus, the Bread of Life, wanted them to be concerned with Spiritual things and allow Him to be concerned with their physical needs. They needed to stay focused on Jesus and be content with what they had.  The same thing applies to us.  When we are in a rough patch, we need to stay focused on Jesus and what He has delivered us from in the past.  We need to remember the situations He has carried us through.  If nothing specific comes to mind, then just remember this — satan would like to kill us right now and he would, if Jesus allowed him to.  Whether we draw another breath or not is dependent on the goodness of God and nothing else.  So, every breath that we take brings life and when that breath goes out, it should carry a prayer of thanksgiving and praise for God’s goodness and protection for it is “in Him that we live and move and have our being”.  

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 10-22-2018

Show Mercy

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12 When Jesus heard this, he said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.” 13 Then he added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.” — Matt. 9:12, 13 NLT

This statement by Jesus is in answer to the Pharisees who were complaining about Jesus and His disciples eating with sinners. Jesus had just called Matthew to come and follow Him.  Matthew had  invited Jesus and His disciples to his home to have dinner with him and some other tax collectors and disreputable sinners.  The Pharisees had referred to the group as scum (verse 11).
Jesus knew that the Pharisees would not accept Him and His teachings because they thought they were righteous already.  With whom do we spend our time outside the church building?  Do we, as the disciples of Jesus, spend all of our time with other Christians or do we seek the lost and minister to them?  Do we have a missionary mentality or is it “We four and no more”? Jesus was sent to seek and to save the lost.  Because He did that, He was rejected, offended, persecuted and eventually hung on a cross.  He commanded us to do the same and gave us the authority to do just that.  When we do that, we stand the chance of being rejected, offended and criticized for “eating with scum”?  Suffering these things puts us in the same group with Jesus and God is pleased with us.  Which is better, to live a lifestyle that pleases God and lay up eternal rewards or to live a lifestyle that pleases men gaining worldly rewards but losing our own souls?

20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps. 
— 1 Peter 2:20,21 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-25-2018

Me Too

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7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” — Mark 16:7 N​KJV

Peter had boasted to Jesus that he would never deny Him. He was adamant that he would stand by Jesus no matter the situation or the cost.

35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”  And all the other disciples said the same. — Matt. 26:35 NIV  (Emphasis mine)
 
We sometimes overlook the fact that they all ran away that night in the garden. Where the others went, we aren’t told, but John was with Jesus and Peter followed at a distance.  We. like Peter, often think that we are stronger in our faith than we really are. If we tell Jesus we will do this or that, He will most often give us the opportunity to do exactly that.  And, if we try to accomplish whatever “that” is in our own power, we, too, will fail.  Peter denied Christ with his actions and his words. Most of the time, we deny Chirst with our inaction and lack of words.  Whether we deny Him passively or actively, it is still denial.  When I fail to speak to someone about their eternal destiny when the Holy Spirit urges me to do so, I have denied Jesus.  And when the Spirit brings conviction, my heart is broken and I repent with remorse and bitter tears.  But the conviction is not punishment or isolation from God, it is discipline and an invitation to come back to God.  When those times come that I fail to speak out and I feel like Peter must have felt that night, I read this verse and put my name there instead of Peter’s.  I make it personal and read it ; “go tell His people –and Wally– that He is still going before us and we will see Him”.   Then I know that I am forgiven and Jesus wants to hold me and comfort me.  My tears of remorse become tears of joy!  My sadness becomes praise to the One who will never exclude me.  Such wonderful, glorious, amazing grace and love encourages me to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”.  I am still on the team,  Jesus has chosen me and I want to shout “Me, too!”  He has chosen “Me, too”!
 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post -09-04-2018

Mercy, Grace, Forgiveness

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13 For the one who has shown no mercy will be judged without mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – James 2:13 ISV
 
God gave the Old Testament law to the children of Israel to show them that it was impossible for a mere human to live a life free of sin. No one was able to live a life without sin, so God, in His mercy established rituals and procedures for them to keep.  As long as they stayed obedient to these rituals, they were not punished for their sins. Mercy is the lack of or a lesser punishment than our sins deserve(d).  Just as the people back then received mercy, we can and do receive mercy without receiving salvation. It is God’s mercy that allows us to go on living, even when we choose a lifestyle of sin.  We live under the law or covenant of grace. This does not mean that we don’t sin, it just means that we have a way of being forgiven without the rituals. Grace is God choosing to bless us even though we don’t deserve it. It is our faith in His grace that saves us.  When we feel that someone has wronged us in any way, we must show them mercy because of the mercy that God has shown us. We must temper our judgment with mercy, realizing that we have received so much more than mercy from Jesus Christ. We should also show them grace, in the sense that it means showing them affection and kindness even though they are not worthy of it. Neither were/are we worthy of God’s mercy and grace, yet He went so far as to die for us.
 

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. — Romans 5:6-8 NIV

This is why we must show mercy, grace and forgiveness to those around us. We can and must forgive them of their sinful acts toward us. But only God can forgive us for all of our sins. Our mercy and grace is limited to what is done to us. God’s mercy and grace is unlimited.  Only His grace can restore our relationship with God the Father. We must ask for His forgiveness believing that by grace through faith we have been saved, are being saved and will be completely saved.
24 but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood.25 Therefore he is able to save completely[ those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.– Hebrews 7:24, 25 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-03-2018

We Have Come to Mount Zion

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Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? – 2 Cor 3:8 NLT
 
When God called Moses to Mt. Sinai to give him the commandments, He had Moses tell the Israelites that they could not come near or touch the mountain.  Anyone who did so would be put to death. The whole mountain was covered with a thick cloud as God descended to the top of the mountain to speak with Moses. God and His glory were covered with the cloud so that Moses could not see God.  It was, as though, God spoke to him through a veil.  This veil protected Moses because no one could see the face of God and live. It was a foreshadowing of the veil that covered the Most Holy Place in the temple.  So the law and the commandments came with the glory of God. Under sentence of death, the people could not touch the mountain so they could not approach God directly.  When Jesus died on the cross, the veil in the temple was torn apart from top to bottom. The resurrection of Jesus ushered in righteousness and grace.  When He ascended to heaven, He was restored to His position with all of its glory for eternity. We no longer need a Moses or a priest to approach God for us, we are invited to come before the throne of God in all its glory and make known our requests. It is our privilege and our ministry to bring the Living Word that came with surpassing, eternal glory to a lost and dying world.15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. — Hebrews 4:15, 16 ​KJ​V

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 06-05-2018

Born to Die For You and For Me

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19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. – Gal. 2:19 NLT
Paul continues his case against the law. There were three items in the Ark of the Covenant:
4 having a golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden jar holding the manna, and Aaron’s rod which budded, and the tables of the covenant; 5 and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat;–Hebrews 9:4,5 (NASB)
Each of these items represented the rebellion of man against God. The manna reminds us that men had rejected God’s provision, men wanted more. Aaron’s rod reminds us that man had rejected God’s authority and the Tablets of the Ten Commandments remind us that men had rejected God’s standard of living, His Law. All of these were hidden under the mercy seat of the Ark. That mercy seat was a shadow of the Cross where Jesus died and put all of our sins and rebellion under His mercy and grace. Paul is saying that if we resurrect the law then we become transgressors. Jesus died to fulfill the law and put us under grace. If the law had been sufficient to redeem us then Jesus did die needlessly. But men have constantly rebelled against the law and against God. Man is incapable of obeying every part of the law, therefore we need a Savior. And, at just the right time, God sent His Son who died that we might be reconciled to Him.
2 For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now. Today is the day of salvation.–2 Cor. 6:2 (NLT)
Under the law, man was separated from God, with no hope. But under grace, mercy and forgiveness is available to each of us. No matter what you have done or thought about doing, no matter where you are or where you have been, Jesus is standing at the door of your heart knocking, open up and let Him come in.
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with MeRev. 3:20 (NASB)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-29-2017

Mercy Mixed With Fear

even-smaller-bug-light123 Take others out of the fire, and save them. Show mercy mixed with fear to others, hating even their clothes which are dirty from sin. ​ – Jude 23 NCV

We live in the times Jude is describing in these verses. Everyday, we read more and more articles and hear more comments about people who either disrespect Christianity or refuse to believe in God. They are becoming much more militant in their actions each day, demanding more and more rights but at the same time wanting to limit the rights of others. They use all manner of deception and false claims that others are mistreating them. We must stand firm in our beliefs and refuse to compromise the truth that is laid out in the Scriptures. God has not changed His mind about what He knows to be sin. After all, does the Creator not know what actions will harm the creatures He so lovingly created? Which of us can say to the Creator, “hey, you made a mistake”? After all God is Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. We must encourage new believers to stand firm and grow in the faith. We do this with love and mercy, just as God has shown love and mercy to us. We “snatch others from the flames of judgment” by witnessing to them about Jesus. We must do this also with great love and mercy, not judging them for their sins, but showing them a different way of life. We must love the sinner and hate the sin just as God does. As we do this, we must be sure not to allow the sins to contaminate our lives​.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 07-28-2017