A Life with Love Shows Mercy in Justice

When Cain’s offering was not accepted by God, rather than doing what was right he did what was wrong and he murdered his brother, Abel, whose offering God had accepted. When we do wrong we can still do what is right. The choice is ours.

And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:4b-7

It may be humbling but we can still do what is right and if we do what is right then we will be glad and our countenance will reflect it. The Lord gives us the opportunity to humble ourselves before Him so that we might receive His grace which enables us to do what is right no matter how great the sin.

But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

His grace will always measure up to the measure of the sin. One aspect of His grace is the strength to do what needs to be done to do what the Lord wants to be done.

but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21b,22

If you mess up or sin once or a million times you can still turn away from sin and turn to the Lord to begin doing what is right. Cain could still have done what was right or he could do what was wrong. The choice is still our choice. The wages of sin is death. It is death to us spiritually and it is death to our soul and death to our body. If we will do what is right then the Lord will meet us and help us.

You meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness,
Who remembers You in Your ways. Isaiah 64:5a

Cain was jealous of his brother and killed him. Cain did not love his brother but he hated him.

For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous. I John 3:11,12

How much easier it is for us to love someone else when we have more than they do. However, when someone becomes more successful and has more money, receives more honor or is accepted more then that love can easily turn to hate.

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer; I John 3:15a

Sin begins in the heart but if it is not quickly checked and confessed then it will lead to action. Cain did not plan to kill his brother. Most of us don’t plan to sin but we have allowed sin to take root in our heart and then to master us. Sin is a cruel master and when Cain heard his punishment it was too hard to bear. The Lord spoke to Cain.

He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground. Now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you cultivate the ground, it will no longer yield its strength to you; you will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth.” Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is too great to bear! Behold, You have driven me this day from the face of the ground; and from Your face I will be hidden, and I will be a vagrant and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me.” Genesis 4:10-14

When Cain poured out his heart to the Lord then the Lord heard him and showed him mercy. The Lord is a just God but He is also merciful. How important it is to show mercy to those to whom we have to show justice. This is such an important truth for parents when they need to discipline their child. There can be no love without justice but love must be shown in justice so that the one who receives justice should not despair.

So the Lord said to him, “Therefore whoever kills Cain, vengeance will be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord appointed a sign for Cain, so that no one finding him would slay him. Genesis 4:15

Many a regret comes from an action in the emotion of the moment. Cain messed up privately in his worship with the Lord and the Lord reproved him privately. The Lord had not told anyone. Cain told his brother and when they were alone he killed him.

Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Genesis 4:8

Jealousy is a sickness of the heart that can destroy us from the inside out. It is a secret sin that comes from insecurity. The best way to deal with jealousy is to get it out in the open. Go to someone who walks with the Lord and who you can trust and confess your sin of jealousy to them and ask them to pray for you.

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. James 5:16

The Lord is faithful, righteous and able to cleanse and heal us if we will confess our sins. He can also restore our relationships and heal our marriages and homes.

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:8,9

In God’s righteousness and faithfulness to His Word there is justice but in His love He shows us mercy when we come to Him and pour out our heart to Him.

How to Avoid The Life of a Fool

Sometimes it is easier to understand a truth when we see the opposite. The opposite of wisdom is foolishness and so the opposite of being a wise person is being a fool. What is the life of a fool like and what is its end? The Bible says that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child. In other words, we come into life with foolishness being a part of our heart.

Proverbs 22:15a Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;

The foolish person engages in folly. The word folly literally means stupidity. We clearly see it in others but it is not so clear in ourselves, that is, until it is too late.

Proverbs 14:24 The crown of the wise is their riches, But the folly of fools is foolishness.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. The Bible also says that the fool is deceived. When we refuse to listen to the truth then we become deceived and deception only leads to more deception.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

A fool begins being a fool by setting themselves up as their own authority and letting themselves be the judge of what is right and what is wrong. Everyone has a standard of right and wrong even if the standard is not correct. The fool usually will keep changing the standard so that they will not have to deal with guilt. However, a fool becomes this way, by living as if there is no God.

Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; There is no one who does good.

The fool does his best to live as if there is no God. However, this “philosophy” only brings more pain and the fool will ultimately be mad at God. Typical of a fool are the words, “If there is a God, then why would He…”. The fool is completely without understanding and will never understand the ways of God. God will seem unfair to him, that is, when he is finally honest enough to admit there is a God.

Proverbs 19:3 The foolishness of man ruins his way, And his heart rages against the Lord.

The fool destroys his own life and then he gets mad at God.

Proverbs 10:14 Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.

The fool messes his life up by his own mouth. Also, the Bible says that the fool multiplies words and is quick to show their anger. The fool will also display dishonor. Not only does the fool hurt themselves but they also hurt the people around them.

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm.

If you choose to be with a fool then plan to be hurt and dishonored.

Proverbs 3:35 The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor.

An entire book could be written on the fool. However, we can sum up the life of a fool by saying that it will be a life of pain, regret, shame, anger, rage, ignorance, destruction to themselves and others, despising knowledge and lacking in understanding. Unfortunately, the foolishness of man began in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve decided to live without the Lord by going their own way and doing their own thing. They did not submit to the Lord but chose to “make their own decisions”, in other words, “to be their own lord”. That tendency is within all of us.

Ecclesiastes 7:29 Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.

If you will learn to seek out the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than many other ways to God, and to allow Him to be your Lord then you can be saved from being a fool. He will give you wisdom and understanding. The Bible says that the meaning of understanding is to know the Lord.

Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Wisdom is everything that is the opposite being a fool. A wise person is slow to anger and considers their words. Rather than destroy they build their life, marriage and family. They are a joy to be around because they are a blessing to their friends and not only that, but just by being with a wise person you will see and hear wisdom. The wise person’s life will be filled with peace, love and great joy as they seek to follow the One who gave His life for a world of fools, who wanted nothing to do with Him. All we have to do is come to Him and surrender our life and will to Him and He truly takes the foolish things of the world and does something great and glorious. Jesus Christ is amazing Savior and Lord who came to redeem man from all of the destruction that he brought on himself. It is no wonder that those who know Him will spend all eternity praising Him. Will you choose to be wise and come to Him or will you continue on in your foolish ways?

James 3:17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

This is a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ because in Him does all the fullness of wisdom dwell.

Colossians 2:2 that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

This is God’s will for you…that your heart may be encouraged, having been knit together in love and filled with the wealth that comes from knowing Jesus Christ, who is the true knowledge of God and in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 

A Life that Receives Their Heart’s Desires

The Lord has amazing promises for those who seek Him and delight themselves in Him. There is none to compare with Him for He delights in giving to His children. He knows our needs and that we need to learn to delight ourselves in Him first. If He is not our chief delight then the desires of our heart can easily become an idol in our lives. If our desires become an idol then something that could be good for us becomes a snare.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

The Lord loves to give to us and He does not withhold from us what is good and what we need. As you learn to trust Him and walk with Him you will see that the dis-appointments in life are really His-appointments. He is wise and loving and when there is a disappointment then it means that there is something you don’t know and you need to trust Him. You don’t need to understand Him in everything but you need to trust Him in everything.

Psalm 84:10-12 For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.
I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The Lord gives grace and glory;
No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.
O Lord of hosts,
How blessed is the man who trusts in You!

When the Lord is your delight then you would rather stand at the threshold of the house of the Lord than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. There is no comparison to being with Him and in His presence. It truly is the fullness of joy.

Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

How do you learn to delight yourself in Him? There are a few principles that help you do this. First of all, if you will learn to love God’s Word then He will become your delight. How do you learn to love God’s Word? It is by spending time in it and seeking Him through his Word.

Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them,
And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart;
For I have been called by Your name,
O Lord God of hosts.

If you will read and meditate on God’s Word then in time He will speak to you through your spirit. He will be very real to you and you will want to spend more time with Him. There is a wonderful cycle of the more time you spend in God’s Word then the more time you want to spend in His Word. He Himself will teach you and His Word becomes sweeter than honey to you.

Psalm 119:102,103 I have not turned aside from Your ordinances,
For You Yourself have taught me.
How sweet are Your words to my taste!
Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

There is another wonderful principle that helps you take delight in the Lord. This principle is a precious truth found in His Word of keeping His day holy to Him. The Lord set aside one day a week as His day and He says that day is holy to Him.

Isaiah 58:13,14 “If because of the sabbath, you turn your foot
From doing your own pleasure on My holy day,
And call the sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable,
And honor it, desisting from your own ways,
From seeking your own pleasure
And speaking your own word,
Then you will take delight in the Lord,
And I will make you ride on the heights of the earth;
And I will feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father,
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

In the book of Revelation the Lord’s day is mentioned as Sunday, the day Jesus was resurrected.

Revelation 1:10a I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,

Since Sunday is usually the day that Christians get together to worship the Lord in community with each other then that is usually the day to honor the Lord in keeping His commandment of “keeping the Sabbath day holy”. Back in the days of the early church some people considered every day to be the Lord’s day and therefore holy and some people only considered one day to be the Lord’s day. Either way, if you want to learn to delight in Him, then this promise is for you if you will honor Him on His day.

Romans 14:5,6a One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Lord,

When the Lord becomes your delight then He also will be the love of your life and you will grow more “in love” with Him as you see and hear His love a thousand times a day. All of life looks different when you are “in love” and you will find that you will want to talk about Him, as well as talk to Him more and more each day. Your life truly becomes an overflow of your love relationship with the Lord. Your longing will be for Him.

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you,
And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
How blessed are all those who long for Him.

If you belong to Him then He wants you to “be longing” for Him. He, on His part, longs to be gracious to you. Long for Him and see what a blessed life it is when you do so.

A Life that Is Blessed

Everyone wants to be blessed. The word blessed means happy. When we are blessed we have the face of God towards us. The opposite of being blessed is being cursed. If blessed means that we are happy then being cursed must mean that we are unhappy and that the Lord is against us. The Lord tells us how to be blessed.

Luke 11:27,28 While Jesus was saying these things, one of the women in the crowd raised her voice and said to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore You and the breasts at which You nursed.” But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.”

When a woman in the crowd raised her voice and blessed the mother of Jesus, He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” The Lord has given us His Word so that we will do exactly as He says. He has not given it to us just to talk about it but to do it. Jesus took the curse of our disobedience so that we might be blessed by His obedience.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—

The word curse means literally, “a solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something”. Jesus took the curse which was intended for us and received the punishment of God. He did not do this so that we could live as we please but so that we might be given the opportunity to be blessed by God. It begins by being in a relationship with Him and continues by being in fellowship with Him and following Him.

John 13:17,18 Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.

Jesus came to serve. The one who loves the Lord will also be a servant and will follow Him. When we follow Him then we will go where He goes, we will speak His Words and we will do what He does.

John 13:12-15 So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.

When we keep His Words and do as He did then the world will see Jesus in us. This is the true meaning of discipleship. The pupil is not above His teacher but everyone after they have been taught will be like their teacher.

Luke 6:40 A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

You can not teach someone to do something that you yourself are not doing. Example is the most powerful and effective way of teaching. You can not teach someone else to do something that you are not doing.

Proverbs 29:19 A slave will not be instructed by words alone;
For though he understands, there will be no response.

It is only to the degree that you are observing the Word of God that you can effectively teach and disciple others. People need to see the Word of God lived out and that is what it means to make disciples.

Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

When you hear the Words of God and do them then you are blessed. When you hear the Words of God, do them and then teach others also then you will be a blessing to others and you will be doing what the Lord has called you to do.

Matthew 24:44-47 For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. “Who then is the faithful and sensible slave whom his master put in charge of his household to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that slave whom his master finds so doing when he comes. Truly I say to you that he will put him in charge of all his possessions.

Not only will you be found faithful here on earth but you will be found faithful when He comes again. Blessed is that slave whom His Master finds doing His Words when He comes again. He says that truly, He will put him in charge of all of His possessions.

 

A Life with Love Give Freedom

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be free. Their sin brought fear and death. Fear makes our world much smaller. The Lord gave Adam and Eve the world to rule and the entire garden to enjoy but their sin caused their world to become the size of their hiding place. They were no longer free.

and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8b

Adam and Eve had no fears until they sinned. When they sinned they experienced death and with it the resulting fear of death. Adam and Eve exchanged life for death and freedom for fear and slavery.

that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14b,15

What a person fears is what enslaves that person. What we fear is what controls us. When we are enslaved or controlled by our fears then we are not free.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. John 8:34

When we sin we are not free. For this reason we often will do the very things that we do not want to do because it is not us doing it but the sin that controls us that is causing us to do the very thing we hate.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:18-20

The very first step to becoming free is to realize that there is nothing good within us. Since Adam and Eve sinned all of us have inherited the sinful nature that resides within us and that sinful nature is what causes us to sin. There is only One who can set us free from the power of sin and death and that is Jesus Christ.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24,25a

Jesus Christ came to set us free. God made man to be free. It was God’s love that set us free. He loved us when we least deserved His love.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

It is His love that sets us free and it is His love that keeps us free. It is also His love that casts out all of the fears that come with sin and death.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, I John 4:18a

When we receive His love through Jesus Christ then He gives us a new nature and the power to not sin but to do the very good that we want to do.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

When we become a new creation in Christ then we become born again into God’s family of love. We are born of God’s Spirit and His Spirit gives us the power to do what is right.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12,13

When we have Christ in our life then we also have the Holy Spirit who sets us free from the power of sin.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

God is good and He loves us. God has given us His Spirit and made us a new creation so that we can do what is right and be free. He created us for freedom and He came again to give us freedom. It is sin that makes us a slave and takes away our freedom. It is sin and death that brings us fears. Jesus Christ conquered death on the cross and set us free from the power of sin and death. He has delivered us from our fears.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Learn to live in the freedom that Jesus Christ came to give us. When we learn to live according to His Words then we will live in the freedom that He designed for us. He gives us His Words not to limit our freedom but to give us freedom. His Words and His commands keep us from doing the very things that bring us death, slavery and fears.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31,32

A Life that Loves God’s Word

The Word of God is like honey to the soul of the one who loves the Lord. It satisfies, it renews and refreshes, it rejoices the heart, it restores and gives wisdom. More than anything it allows one to fall more deeply in love with the Lord.

Psalm 19:7-10 The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.

There is nothing to compare to the joy of spending time in God’s Word and sitting at His feet. It is His love letter to Christians and once you realize this you will not be able to stay out of His Word if you belong to Him.

Luke 10:38-42 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with [q]all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

When we love the Lord then everything that we do is an overflow of our love relationship with Him. We can not be in His presence enough and realize that it is only a taste of heaven.

Psalm 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

The Lord makes our troubles seem much less and our joy is much greater when we delight ourselves in Him.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.

His Word is His revelation of who He is and He has given it to us that we may observe all that He says.

Deuteronomy 29:29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.

Jesus Christ is God and was in the beginning before the worlds were made.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jesus Christ came and lived among men so that we could know Him and have a relationship with Him.

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus is full of grace and truth. He revealed Himself to those who knew Him when He walked on earth. They were blessed because they saw and heard the very Son of God, of whom all the prophets and Moses spoke about in the Old Testament.

Luke 10:23,24 Turning to the disciples, He said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things you see,for I say to you, that many prophets and kings wished to see the things which you see, and did not see them, and to hear the things which you hear, and did not hear them.”

However, even more blessed are we when we believe in Him whom we have not seen and hear Him who stills speaks to the hearts of men and women who come to Him.

John 20:29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

The Lord has had His words and miracles recorded so that we might believe in Him.

John 20:30,31 Therefore many other signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

There is no privilege greater nor is there anything sweeter than to know the Lord and find your delight in Him. When He is our desire and the longing of our heart then He becomes our very life and the One for whom we live and will die for that He might be exalted. He lived and died for us and we live for Him and if we should die for Him it would be an honor and privilege to be more like Him.

Philippians 1:20b,21 Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

 

 

A Life that Experiences Mercy

There is not a soul in the world that does not want mercy and we all need mercy because we have all failed in one way or another. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. We all deserve death because we have all sinned against God. He gave us a conscience and very early in life we violated our conscience and guilt came upon us. Guilt condemns us but mercy accepts us.

Romans 3:23,24 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

The wages of sin is death which means that we have all earned death. It is our just penalty for our sin. Just as the worker earns his wages and his wages are not a favor but justifiably his so all have sinned and earned death.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

On the contrary, eternal life and freedom from condemnation is a gift. None of us have earned it nor can we ever earn it. We deserve death and anything less than death is God’s mercy towards us. However, not only did He remove the condemnation that we deserve through the cross, when Jesus died for us, but He came to give us life and that life is a gift from Him.

Ephesians 2:8,9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Mercy is not giving us what we deserve in the way of death, judgment and condemnation and grace is giving us what we do not deserve which is life, justification and freedom. When we come to Christ for salvation then we are set free from the penalty of death because He took the death we deserved. We also are set free from the judgment that is justly ours for wanting to go our own way and turning our back on God. God, the Father, turned His back on Jesus on the cross so that God would not turn His back on us. Jesus took the condemnation that we deserved and He had done no wrong nor was any sin ever found in Him. Mercy set us free.

Galatians 5:1 It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.

Jesus showed us mercy and set us free. We can only give to others what we have been given. If you have received the mercy of God then He wants you to go and show mercy to others. Is there anyone who you are still holding their sin over their head and judging them in your heart? Set them free just as you have been set free.

Matthew 18:32-35 Then summoning him, his lord said to him, ‘You wicked slave, I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. My heavenly Father will also do the same to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart.”

All of our hearts are wicked and the Lord offers forgiveness to everyone who comes to Him, no matter what they have done or not done. Mercy is freely given to all who ask the Lord for mercy. If He had mercy on us should we not have mercy on others. Mercy is giving forgiveness to those who have wronged us, just as the Lord forgave us for wronging Him and others. The consequence of not forgiving is torment. There will be torment on earth and torment for all eternity to those who refuse to forgive his fellow man. Forgiveness is the promise never to bring it up again. If you say you have forgiven someone and then you bring it up again then there is not forgiveness, rather, you are trying to make them pay for their sin. Judgment keeps a person in bondage until you think they have paid enough for what they did but mercy sets them free.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

There will be freedom in this life and freedom for all eternity to those who show mercy. If Jesus Christ has shown you mercy, forgiven you and set you free then go and do likewise. If you are in torment from what you have done, the come to Jesus Christ and ask His forgiveness. He will set you free from your sin and the torment so that you can have life in Him.

Luke 17:13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!”

It is not those who think that “their good works will outweigh their bad” who will enter into the kingdom of God but rather those who ask for mercy because they know that they are a sinner and deserve death. They acknowledge that they can never be good enough but need God’s mercy to be accepted by Him.

Luke 18:11-14 The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

 

 

 

A Life that Does not Stumble

No one wants to stumble through life. It brings pain and frustration. Is it possible to go through life without stumbling? Yes, or at least minimal stumbling and the opportunity to learn to walk without stumbling. How do we do it?

Proverbs 4:10-12 Hear, my son, and accept my sayings and the years of your life will be many. I have directed you in the way of wisdom; I have led you in upright paths. When you walk your steps will not be impeded; and if you run, you will not stumble.

Life is a real joy when you can walk and run through life without stumbling and falling. The way to walk and run without stumbling is to walk in wisdom on upright paths. The Lord is the One who gives us wisdom and He leads us on upright paths. He promises to teach us the way we should go and will give wisdom to anyone who asks Him.

Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you the way in which you should go, I will counsel you with My eye upon you.

Ask Him for His wisdom. He wants to give it to you.

James 1: But if any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach.

When we humble ourselves before Him and ask for His help then He delights in helping us.

Psalm 25:9 He leads the humble in justice and He teaches the humble His way.

He will teach you through His Word. Open your Bible and start reading and praying. Ask Him to teach you His ways and to give you His wisdom. You will find that His Word will become the delight of your heart and that you will love it.

Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found and I ate them and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of My heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord of hosts.

When you love something then you want to do it. When you love God’s Word then you want to live by them and find great joy and peace in doing exactly what He says. The outcome is that you will learn to walk in His ways and according to His wisdom. He will also lead you on His upright paths. When you walk His way then you will not stumble for He Himself will be your light and your Shepherd.

Psalm 119:165 Those who love Your Low have great peace and nothing causes them to stumble.

Come to Him all who are weary and He will give you rest. If you are weary of trying to make it on your own then come to Him for you will find that His ways are easy and His burden is light. He will be your Shepherd and lead you in the good and pleasant way so that you will not stumble.

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My load is light.

 

 

 

A Life with Love Gives Freedom

When God created Adam and Eve, He created them to be free. Their sin brought fear and death. Fear makes our world much smaller. The Lord gave Adam and Eve the world to rule and the entire garden to enjoy but their sin caused their world to become the size of their hiding place. They were no longer free.

and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. Genesis 3:8b

Adam and Eve had no fears until they sinned. When they sinned they experienced death and with it the resulting fear of death. Adam and Eve exchanged life for death and freedom for fear and slavery.

that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives. Hebrews 2:14b,15

What a person fears is what enslaves that person. What we fear is what controls us. When we are enslaved or controlled by our fears then we are not free.

Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin. John 8:34

When we sin we are not free. For this reason we often will do the very things that we do not want to do because it is not us doing it but the sin that controls us that is causing us to do the very thing we hate.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. Romans 7:18-20

The very first step to becoming free is to realize that there is nothing good within us. Since Adam and Eve sinned all of us have inherited the sinful nature that resides within us and that sinful nature is what causes us to sin. There is only One who can set us free from the power of sin and death and that is Jesus Christ.

Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Romans 7:24,25a

Jesus Christ came to set us free. God made man to be free. It was God’s love that set us free. He loved us when we least deserved His love.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

It is His love that sets us free and it is His love that keeps us free. It is also His love that casts out all of the fears that come with sin and death.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, I John 4:18a

When we receive His love through Jesus Christ then He gives us a new nature and the power to not sin but to do the very good that we want to do.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. II Corinthians 5:17

When we become a new creation in Christ then we become born again into God’s family of love. We are born of God’s Spirit and His Spirit gives us the power to do what is right.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12,13

When we have Christ in our life then we also have the Holy Spirit who sets us free from the power of sin.

For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. Romans 8:2

God is good and He loves us. God has given us His Spirit and made us a new creation so that we can do what is right and be free. He created us for freedom and He came again to give us freedom. It is sin that makes us a slave and takes away our freedom. It is sin and death that brings us fears. Jesus Christ conquered death on the cross and set us free from the power of sin and death. He has delivered us from our fears.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Learn to live in the freedom that Jesus Christ came to give us. When we learn to live according to His Words then we will live in the freedom that He designed for us. He gives us His Words not to limit our freedom but to give us freedom. His Words and His commands keep us from doing the very things that bring us death, slavery and fears.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31,32

A Life with Love Listens and Hears

Love hears because love is listening for the voice or cry of the one whom they love. Every mother understands this fact. Even in her sleep she is always listening for the cries of her children. She knows their cries and their voices and each one is unique. She knows their sounds because she loves her children. Her heart is attentive to them.

But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. I Thessalonians 2:7

So also the Lord hears our cries and He delivers His children from all of their troubles. He is attentive to each one of us.

The righteous cry, and the Lord hears And delivers them out of all their troubles. Psalm 34:17

The Lord loves us and wants us to cry out to Him. He does hear our voice and the sound of our prayers. He hears our cries of distress.

I love the Lord, because He hears
My voice and my supplications.
Because He has inclined His ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live. Psalm 116:1,2

Just as the Lord hears us He also wants us to listen to Him and hear Him. He said over and over again when He was on earth, “He who has ears to hear let him hear”.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24

It is through hearing His Word that we believe in Jesus Christ and receive eternal life.

He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God.” John 8:47

An unbeliever can read the Bible but the unbeliever will not be changed because they are only reading words with their mind. When a person becomes a Christian then they will read God’s Word with their mind and heart and it will no longer be just reading words but they will hear God speak to them through His Words.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

It is through hearing God’s Word that we receive faith. Is your faith little? If you struggle in your faith then read God’s Words over and over again. Ask the Lord to increase your faith. Faith and fear can not reside in the same vessel. Are you fearful? Get into God’s Word and stay in God’s Word until you know His peace.

Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. John 14:27

The Lord hears your cries and He listens to your prayers. He loves you. If you will come to Him then you will know His comfort and His peace. He will be with you in trouble.

As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; Isaiah 66:13a

Being a Christian is having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. He hears the cries and prayers of His children and He wants us to listen to Him also. He speaks to us and He wants us to talk to Him. Being a Christian is far more than just believing intellectually in God and believing that Jesus Christ is God’s Son. Being a Christian is having a living faith that lives on His promises and follows Him in obedience. When a person is a true Christian then they will no longer “listen” to the world but they will “listen” to the Lord. For this reason, their lifestyle will be different. They will no longer want to do the things they did before. They will choose different friends if their nonChristian friends do not want to listen to the Lord. The Christian’s values will change. The Christian will have become a new person in Christ for they will have heard from God. God is still calling for those who will listen.

Therefore, just as the Holy Spirit says, “Today if you hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts Hebrews 3:7,8a

The Lord says that “Today” is the day of salvation. If you hear His voice then come to Him. Do not harden your heart for you do not know what tomorrow holds and you do not know if you will hear His voice again or if you will have another chance.

for He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you,
And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”— II Corinthians 6:2

He hears you because He loves you. He is listening for your prayer and cry to Him.