Source: Understanding Mercy
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in our brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? Matthew 7:3 NIV
So I have had these words stuck in my head all week “The Plank In My Eye” , it’s pretty obvious what this post should be about. Ok! let’s take a walk down the corridor of criticism, hypocrisy and being judgmental.
Someone once said we are repelled by the things we see in others because they are somehow a part of ourselves that we dislike or are trying to repress, this might not be true in all cases but I have heard gossips say things like I know I gossip but that girl’s own level of gossiping is too much.
The truth is according to the bible a little gossip is as sinful as a lot of gossiping unfortunately these things happen in the church where a group of gossips are gossiping about the church gossip ironic right.
“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone”. John 8:7
Aside doing the same thing we consider offensive in others remember when Jesus defended the woman accused of adultery in his own way, he reminded the people that they too had different sins in their lives.
You might not commit adultery or fornication but that doesn’t let you off the hook of sin whether it’s having bouts of temper ,unforgiveness, laziness, stinginess or greediness as far as they are contrary to what the word of God expects of us as Christians, it is a sin and no different from fornication, adultery or murder.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8 NIV
God is continually refining us and we all are at different learning curves in our relationship with God, I was listening to a sermon sometimes ago when the preacher said he just found out something he had be doing for years that he considered harmless was actually a sin, he actually was very remorseful about it and thanked God that he shed light to that part of his life that needed change.
Change is a progress and that is why God guides us poco a poco so as not to overwhelm us, we should do the same, give that neighbor of yours a break maybe they are at a point in their lives where they are still learning. Even in the house of God, the church should show grace to one another.
God is shedding light on areas of our lives that need improvement or pruning off, he is doing the same for all believers. So just because a believer is struggling in an area you have conquered doesn’t make you better than them. Show grace at all times, encourage one another and most importantly we should love one another.
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Life is full of many treasures and acquiring them has always been man’s goal, the main reason why we pursue these treasures (cars, houses, relationships etc) is because they come with promises of making us happy. But do they really make us happy?
Take delight in the lord and he will give you your heart’s desires. Psalm 37:4
Some of us might have experienced situations where everything is great in our lives our bills are paid, we have food to eat, good clothes to where we probably just acquired something we have always wanted but for a split moment we realize that we feel empty and it’s like there is a huge hole in our hearts that needs filling and most we go out of our way to get things and people to feel that vacuum.
For a single guys or ladies they may decide that the vacuum is caused by a lack of an intimate relationship in their lives and hence you hear statements like I feel incomplete, but before long they find out that people and things can never complete us only God can.
Come everyone who thirsts, come to the water; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come; buy wine and milk without money and without price. Isaiah 55:1
Remember the Samaritan woman who had been married five times and was co-habiting with a man, what exactly was she looking for? Take a good guess, fulfillment! She was looking for something no human, man or woman could give her and that’s why Jesus offered her living water so that she would thirst no more. Jesus recognized her need, she was thirsty for completion and satisfaction and Jesus offered it to her.
My victory and honor from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me. Psalm 62:7
Achievements are great but they don’t give everlasting satisfaction, many times I have found myself striving to get a lot of things a new phone, dress , top grades and when I do get these things am happy for a while and then I discover that something else is bothering me and tries to steal my happiness. But my happiest moment have been at times where I have great fellowship with God such that no matter what is happening in my life I have peace within me because I no God is my source and that his love for me never fails.
But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life. John 4:14
And that how the cookie crumbles people nothing can give you everlasting happiness, only God can fill that large vacuum in our lives because it’s so big you need something greater than the vacuum to feel it.
Though it breaks my back, I will go one more mile, because at the end of every dark tunnel there is light. I will go one more mile because after every storm there is calmness.
Sometimes I wonder how the Israelites felt going round and round for 40 years on a journey that should have taken 40 days, or how joseph felt when he was imprisoned for five years. I keep wondering how slaves must have felt in the days of darkness and bondage. There is modern day slavery, you could be a slave to the things of these worlds striving for them but never having enough. You could be a slave to fear, lack, poverty, sickness etc.
It might seem like we have been in a situation for far too long and we want to throw in the towel. In our darkest moments we must choose to forge ahead whether in sickness, failure or want we must bear in mind that strength is internal not external how else can we explain how a man who has been given six months to live surpasses the time limit he was given. We must choose to go one more mile.
‘Have a Mentality of Abundance, we don’t work in vain. Faith is the key to success’ Julia Cameron
Looking back over the years of struggle as an entrepreneur, I have come to realize that it is not the lack you see around you that propels you forward but the abundance around and within you that causes you to do more and achieve success.
Lack can be an obstacle but it is how the mind perceives lack that determines productivity. In every circumstance you find yourself there is always an abundance of opportunity. For the struggling entrepreneur a lack of adequate funds and support is an opportunity to be resourceful.
‘Having faith establishes an atmosphere in which creativity flourishes’. Julia Cameron
Abundance is often quantified in terms of wealth and material possession, but what about skill, talent and knowledge these are commodities that can be transformed into wealth given the right opportunity. Many world and business leaders today came from obscure and poor backgrounds, but they pushed against the lack in their lives and strived until they had breakthroughs in their various enterprise.
‘If you have talent, devotion and plenty of perseverance, does that mean prosperity in some form is inevitable? Yes. Julia Cameron
So today friends irrespective of what you think is lacking in your life get up, get busy, get working with an abundance mentality and blocked ways will pave for you, locked doors will open for you.
Scared of the future? You are not alone, many people wonder what the future has in store for them even if they have a ten year plan drafted about their lives they know very well that this plans can go array leaving them devastated and sometimes unable to move forward. But as Christians we are called to live a life of faith. Here are 10 scriptures to secure your future in Christ.
1) Hold on to God’s word; remember perfect love casted out fear (1John4:18):
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. God’s love is so rich that he sacrificed his only son to redeem us , so if you think God will deny you the good things of life, it means God values those things more than his son. Which is absolutely not true, God loves you and will move mountains to make sure you are well taken care of.
2) All things work together for the good of them that love God and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)
Irrespective of what is happening in your life, loss of a job, failure or rejection, God can use these events to transform our lives. And because of this knowledge we have the courage to face the future.
3) God has not given you the spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind and an excellent spirit (2Timothy 1:7):
Fear can paralyze you from moving forward and that is why God implores us to leave fear behind and look to him. There are many scriptures that warn us about this disease called fear. Fear stops you from pursuing your God given purpose, fear of things not working out, fear of losing a loved one, fear of not being pleasing enough etc.
4) The thoughts God has towards you are good and not of evil to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11):
God’s word has promised good for his children not bad, even people who are evil know how to give good gifts to their children, how much more your father in heaven who causes the rain and sun to pour and shine on the good and evil. The point is God has you covered.
5) Those who are led by God are called the sons of God ( Romans 8:14 ) :
Following God’s will for your life is very key to securing the future, there is a way known to man that leads to destruction. But God’s way leads to peace and life.
6) The just shall live by Faith (Habakkuk 2:4) :
Remember Abraham the guy who was counted righteous because he had faith in God, for without faith it is impossible to please God. As Christians we should live life trusting God on a daily basis to lead us to the right job, spouse, school etc. Once you have this in mind you are more confident about the future because God is your future.
7) Your father in heaven who provides for the birds of the air and the grass in the field, how much more you his beloved (Luke 12:22-26):
God provides for the birds of the air and the lilies in the field how much more you his beloved, in the food chain of living things according to God’s word we rank highest, so if God can cater for the smallest and most insignificant creatures, why would he forsake you who is created in his image and likeness.
8) You are seated with Christ in heavenly places ( Ephesians 2:6 ) :
If you are seated with Christ in heavenly places above difficulties and troubles in life then it’s going to get better at some point. Plus Christ is our intercessor; he is a high priest who is not unaware of our sufferings because he himself had to go through them.
9) You are the light of the world and the salt of the earth ( Matthew 5:3-16 ) :
If you are the light of the world and the salt of the earth surely the lord will uplift you in whatever endeavor you pursue (according to his will for your life). A light cannot be hidden neither salt tasteless.
10) Seek first the kingdom of God and every other thing will be added onto you (Matthew 6:33) :
Satisfaction comes from God not from people or material things, worried about your future? Seek God first; your future is in him.
These are promises from God’s word and they should be realities in our lives, irrespective of what we are going through. Even though it may seem like the future is bleak God’s word promises a bright future for his children. Look deep into the lives of those who had faith in God e.g. Joseph, Abraham, the Israelites when they were in captivity, David when he was fleeing from Saul. At first it looked like God had forgotten them but in the end he he enriched their lives.
N.B: Most of the bible passages in this post are paraphrased. For the full bible verse please refer to any version of the bible.
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Sometimes it is too easy to feel guilty about our shortcomings even in the place of prayer. We wonder whether God still loves us despite the nasty things we do or say. Sometimes our disappointment is with the fact that we expected more from ourselves. Well good news YOU ARE PLEASING TO GOD, Want to know why? It is because Jesus his son who is your intercessor is pleasing to God.
Put Jesus before your sin when you come to the place of prayer.You are sitted with Christ in high places, is Jesus pleasing to God? then you are pleasing to God. Did Jesus cast out demons then you can cast out demons. Did Jesus walk on water then you can walk on water. Did Jesus heal the sick then you can heal the sick.
Always come before God knowing that when he sees you he sees his son and the price he paid for you not your short comings or sins.
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Who determines success in life, what do you do when life puts you in a certain position?. Do you conform to the standards of the world when you feel pressure?
At a time in most parts of Africa especially Nigeria If you don’t study medicine, law, accounting or engineering you will probably not make it in life.
Which creates a kind of delusion of grandiosity in the hearts of people who study these courses especially when they are students? It makes them think their future is secured while students that study courses like botany, marine science, agriculture, sociology and education are also deluded thinking they can’t make it in life .
These makes them not to put in efforts into studying these courses because they see their course of study as not being lucrative.
As Christians irrespective of where you find yourself even if you are selling pepper, always bear in mind that God will bless the works of your hands, there are people in life that have ridiculous things as a means of lively hood and they still excel.
God has given you an excellent spirit and he has crowned you with glory and honor don’t waste God’s promise for your life, excel no matter what. And even if you are studying a professional course let your faith and hope be in God first and not in your profession.
Being rich can make you seem invincible and powerful while being poor can make you miserable and without hope either way let God be your first call whenever you are in trouble .
By the world’s standard only those who go the best schools and are well connected get good jobs. But by God’s standards, he paves way for his children even when there are people more deserving of that job.
NOTE: Faith without works is dead and works without faith is dead. Please even as God is our source let our faith and the spirit of God motivate us to be hardworking, creative and innovative individuals.
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The greatest love a man can receive is love that is not as a result of good behavior, money or position. Imagine being the naughtiest person in your family yet everyone around you still loves you and makes effort to show you how much they care about you, wouldn’t that be wonderful?.
Somewhere in our minds we believe it is only God that has the capacity to love anyone that way. But we must remember that we are called to be Christ like and whatever is in him should also be in us ,so if christ had to ability to love unconditionally so should we, let’s see three ways Christ showed us to love unconditionally.
THE WOMAN WHO WAS CAUGHT IN THE ACT OF ADULTERY (John 8:1-11)
The first story is the story of the woman who was caught in the act of adultery, Jesus didn’t defend her sin, he defended her right to be loved despite her sin and he showed her compassion. In today’s world it is disheartening how people value material things and society rules above human life. The ancient people in the bible wanted to stone a fellow human to death because she commited adultery, in present day Nigeria some communities still kill people who are caugth stealing instead of handing them over to the proper authorities. Despite the fact that adultery and stealing are bad we are not in the position to take laws into our hands rather we should show compassion at all times.
THE STORY OF THE PRODIGAL SON (Luke 15: 11-32)
Let’s assume what a modern day prodigal son might be like, this Guy is an aspiring artist/rapper or whatever is in rave this days he has a rich father and an elder brother. Our guy is not as talented as J-zay, Timberland or Don-jazzy but he has been promised by another music producer who lives in a foreign country that if he can come up with 20 million Naira they could set up a record label and sign artist, so what does our friend do he knows his father won’t give him the money because all the money given to him previously had been wasted so he decides to ask for his inheritance. For some reason his father gives it to him, he gets duped by his producer friend he decides to come back home and his father receives him and even throws a party for him ironic right? well that’s what unconditional love is all about.
GOD’S LOVE FOR HIS PEOPLE
“But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions” Ephesians 2:4-5
God values his children above all things even above sin and that’s why he sent his son to die for our sins(john 3:16), so that nothing can separate us from his love.Only the spirit of God can help us to see people the way God sees them, when you begin to see people through God’s eye you begin to love them just the way God loves them. Mercy is a very key factor in understanding God’s love for his people, in order to love unconditionally you have to be forgiving and merciful to those around you.
LETS DO A RECAP OF GOD’S VIEW ABOUT LOVE
In our everyday lives we come in contact with people who are different from us whether they are friends, family members, Neighbors. Roommates, co-worker etc. some of them annoy us and some are downright unbearable despite their behaviors we should stand in the gap for them in prayer instead of complaining about their behavior. We should also remember that there are things in our lives that other people have to tolerate too. With this in mind let’s ask the spirit of God to give us the ability to love those around us unconditionally.
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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 4:16
Mercy is an undeserved gift from God which preserves us; sometimes you notice that people have things more than you it is the grace of God that keeps them. Sometimes mercy and grace are often thought to mean the same thing, Mercy is God’s loving kindness towards sinners and his children; God who lets his rain fall on both the good and evil and the sun to shine on both the good and evil while grace is defined as the favor of God. This is what makes an individual qualify for what he ordinarily is not qualified for. At every point in time in our lives we have to be thankful for the mercy of God upon our lives irrespective of whatever situation we find ourselves in.
Sometimes you wonder why bad things happen to a certain group of people and not others.
It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lamentation 3:22
Thinking back some of us have never been in an accident or lost someone really close to us, humanity is different and we are all different, the mercy of God is fully evident in our lives no matter the situation. There are countries where Christians are being slaughter but somehow you can decide to go to a different church every other Sunday. If you come from a home where you have to fast and pray before you pay school fees remember there are people out there fasting and praying for admission into school despite the fact that their parents are well to do.
On being the judge of whether someone deserves something or not
Ye judge after the flesh, I judge no man. John 8:15
Remember when a pastor friend of yours was getting married and his bride happens to be a girl known for promiscuity in the past and even though she has repented you still felt she did not deserve to marry the holy, pure hearted guy. Or when someone whose character you are familiar with gets appointed as head of a department in church and your mind goes did the Choice Committee fast and pray properly before picking this individual perhaps you feel the individual is not spiritual enough to handle this post but really its God’s business who he wants to serve at a particular time and he doesn’t have to explain himself to anybody whether you sit in the auditorium every Sunday as a member or worker of a church or you stand in the auditorium as a pastor.
Jesus a perfect example of mercy
Remember Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well despite the fact that the Samaritans were an abomination to the Jews, Jesus still preached eternal life to her, sometimes I wonder why Jesus picked a dysfunctional woman to preach to (someone who had five husbands and was currently co-habiting with her lover) why not pick a moralistic Samaritan and justify preaching salvation by saying i know she will make a good follower.
- Mercy overlooks our errors flaws and shortcomings while grace overshadows over efforts.
- Mercy clears the mess for grace to fill the ground.
- Mercy cleans up the vessel, while grace fills up the vessel.
- Mercy is preparatory to the workings of Grace.
An understanding of God’s mercy towards us and others helps us to appreciate the good that happens in other people’s lives whether they deserve it or not, it drives pride away from our hearts when we remember that our God who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions, it is by grace that we have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5)
As Christians we serve a God who is ever merciful to us, who looks beyond our short comings and weakness and blesses us all the same, irrespective of whatever our situation might be it is paramount we give thanks always and be content with our lives while looking up to God as our source of up-liftment in every area of our lives. Let us always see the mercy of God working in our lives at all times, so in all that we do, let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in the time of need.