Mercy and Love

River

One day, a simple man of God, named Moses, made a humble request of his God. Picture this with me……Moses wants to know, encounter and experience God, so he asks Him to reveal Himself.  Moses is desiring to understand and connect with his God.  In the book of Exodus we see this amazing transaction.

As the Creator God, Elohim, passes in front of Moses, He makes a powerful declaration of who He is. The great I AM speaks…..”I am merciful, I am gracious, I am long-suffering and I am full of goodness and truth. I am merciful and keep mercy….and I forgive all iniquity, transgression and sin.”

I have paraphrased Exodus 34:6-7.

God has just shown Moses, and us, five beautifully tender aspects of Himself. God is merciful, compassionate/gracious, steadfast in love, tenaciously faithful, and forgiving. Through these, God wants us to experience and know Him. All through time, God has revealed Himself this way and the people of Israel, against all odds, did indeed experience Him thus way.  And today, this is how you and I can enter in and have an encounter with the great I AM.  Through this revelation and encounter with God, He grows us from the inside out.  This is the unthinkable concept of grace!

Over and over, God describes Himself as having steadfast love for His people. Despite their unfaithfulness and failings, He reminds them of His unconditional love or covenant love extended to them.  God always deals with His people, His creation, through the revelation of His name and nature.

You see my friend….God doesn’t just have love, HE IS love! God is His own reference point – I love that!

God’s faithfulness has never been dependent on our worthiness or readiness. He is faithful to His name and nature first and foremost. Since you and I can never keep our own right standing with God (righteousness), we constantly enter into and proclaim that HE is our righteousness, through the shed blood of Christ. He is our expression of love and faithfulness. His mercy is ours and we partake of His merciful nature. Remember, in Exodus that was the first attribute He declared to Moses – His mercy.

When you and I cry out for God’s mercy, it will always get answered because God cannot deny or ignore His very nature or essence.

In Ezekiel, God is speaking through the prophet and telling Israel He has had enough of their unfaithfulness and idolatry. In reading the entire text, you can see that He is fed-up with His people and reminds them of His anger towards them and their despicable behavior. The great I AM is in the processing of scattering them among all other people groups and nations as result of their rebellion.  However, in the next instance we see God relenting, and having a very merciful moment. God makes a very tender statement – “I am not doing this for your sake, house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name” (Ezekiel 36:22).  

This, my friend, is restoration and divine justice. This is how a merciful God responds to His children.

Divine Love is not determined by the worthiness of its object, but by the total generosity towards its subject.

This is good news – by His grace I am saved!

“Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3

http://www.powerofhislove.com

Bill & Lisa Roitsch – ministers of transformation

Choosing LOVE!

choices

Love is the foundation for God’s relationship with us. Over and over in the scriptures, He tells us how much He loves us. One of my favorites that I like to meditate on is, Long ago the LORD said, ‘I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.’” (Jeremiah 31:3 NLT)

God is constantly wooing us to Him because He desires to have relationship with us. In the book of Hosea, God speaks through the prophet and declares over His people, “I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; I bent down and fed them.” (Hosea 11:4 NAS)

Jesus, who always portrayed the Father’s heart declared to His disciples, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you…” (John 15:16 NIV). Jesus chose us in the most challenging of situations.

Even in the midst of your darkest sin, He chose you! I love that Jesus and the Father did not wait for me to get my stuff together and become perfect before they chose to have a relationship with me.

When God made the choice to have a relationship with me and you, it did not depend upon our choices, but entirely upon HIS choice.

Because this has been modeled for us, we can exercise our free will and choose to love others, and serve others, no matter the circumstance.

It is all a matter of CHOICE!

Every day we can make a choice to love. Love is most definitely a skill that we practice every day. It is NOT an emotion. We wake up and choose to love our spouse. We choose to overlook faults and weaknesses and forgive. We choose to honor others even when we don’t feel like it.

The only perfect love available is God’s. There is no perfect marriage or flawless relationship. No one said love is easy. It is full of challenges, but even when it is hard, we can choose to love!

All things are possible!

 

2017 – REBUILD

rebuildeng

The Year of REBUILDING – 2017

Over the month of December, I have seen in the spirit realm hammers over people’s heads. I have seen saws, wrenches and other tools over individuals that God has provided for them to rebuild their life.  I believe in these visualizations that God is profoundly speaking to all of us.  This is a season of His mercy over us.  Cry out for God’s mercy and allow His grace and love to settle your hearts and establish you.  Submit yourself to the One who created you and allow Him to rebuild, reconstruct, re-erect, and reestablish you.  This is the time, the heavenly re-set has begun!

There is one prayer that our heavenly Father always answer. And that is the prayer of His mercy.  Mercy is not receiving what you and I deserve.  Mercy is God’s love displayed to us in the midst of us being selfish, stubborn, imperfect, prideful and down-right mean.  Psalm 103 is a good portion of scripture to meditate on that exhibits God’s character of mercy.    I am so thankful we have a compassionate and gracious God.

The main reason God is NOT into condemnation is because His goal towards us is transformation. As followers of Christ, we are called to be transformed.  It is crucial that we understand that this transformation happens best in a healthy environment of mercy.  The apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Rom. 12:2)

In the preceding verse, Paul urges his readers to offer their bodies as living sacrifices as they comprehend God’s great mercy. We see that transformation truly only flourishes “in view of God’s mercy.”

This is my commentary: as we ponder, and think on God’s great mercy, we offer ourselves up to Him, because we know that He is the only one who can transform us.  We can’t “white knuckle” it, and we can’t “try harder.” For years, I believed it was my duty to beat myself up for all the bad and wrong I had done.  These self-flagellations never produced real or lasting change within me.  It was only when I threw myself on His throne of grace, that I was able to find His mercy.  My transformation began as I exchanged all of my shame and fear for His mercy.  Ultimately, all of our desired change occurs in the hands of our heavenly Father who is slow to anger and who abounds in great love.  Robert Gelinas states it this way, “God’s mercy is for sinners, and God’s mercy is also for those who are in pain.”

“Son of David, have mercy on me……”

Over and over as you read the New Testament, you see people calling out to Jesus to impart His mercy towards them. In not one place, can you see that He denied this request.  I invite you to go through the gospels and read of the humble state of men and women who knew to appeal to God’s mercy.  Every time this request is cried to our savior, it was from people who needed to be delivered from great pain and suffering, NOT because of a sin they had committed.  One could say that mercy is God’s grace in action.

The mercy God offers us brings true forgiveness and lasting transformation. It is a change that actually converts our very identity.   Think on this…we are invited to be a part of God’s family as adopted children.  When we are able to embrace this level of identity change, transformation explodes in our life!

One of my favorite verses is found in Psalm 121:5, “The LORD is my keeper; The LORD is my shade on my right hand.” God’s mercy becomes a shade, or a covering over our life.  This allows us to flourish under His love because it is a place of protection and safety.  Here in this place, His garden, we can grow up into all that He has called us to.  We can become that tree of righteousness that was planted and He gets ALL the glory. (Psalm 1:3)

In the New Year that is before us, my prayer and hope is that we would all be nurtured and developed into our true identity, according to God’s deep mercy. May we all get into the habit of praying, “O God, have mercy on me!”

As we enter into 2017 may it be a year for all of us to fully enter into the words spoken in Isaiah 58, “those from among you shall build the old wasted places, you shall raise up the foundations of many generations.” Today, do not delay, pick up your spiritual hammers and tools and place yourself before the One who can shape and form you into something marvelous.

Love, Lisa (#bebrave)

“God remembered us in our lowly state, His mercy endures forever.

He rescued us from all our enemies, His mercy endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven, His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:23-24,26 NKJV

 

Who Are You Leaning On?

Dry desert

“Who is this coming out of the wilderness, leaning on her beloved?” Song of Solomon 8:5

Have you ever felt like you were in the wilderness? Has there been a time in your life where you may have felt isolated, rejected by those you love, or felt like you were drowning in grief and sorrow?  Maybe you could not sense God’s presence or see Him working in a difficult situation.  If you have walked through this life for any amount of time, you have certainly felt some of these emotions.

I was reading Psalm 78 one day and came across a verse that literally leapt off the page and hit me in the face. The Psalmist is remembering Israel’s history of coming out of slavery into son ship.  The author begins by recounting all the experiences that the children of God encountered.  Marvelous events had occurred with dramatic signs and miracles.  But unfortunately, we see the children of God whining and complaining.  Not finding any satisfaction, they dared to ask, “Can God prepare a table for us in our wilderness?” They begin to question God’s character and goodness.  Doubt begins to grow inside their heart and they don’t believe He can provide them with the rest and provision they desperately need.

A table is a place where sustenance is found – where nourishment and strength can infuse our inner being. Oftentimes, a table is a place of beauty where we can relax and enjoy family and friends.  The idea found in this beautiful Psalm is that in the midst of what may appear to be a dry and barren situation, where you may feel all alone, God is most certainly capable of preparing a table for you there.

In Psalm 23 David remembers that God even prepared a table for him in the midst of his enemies. Have you ever felt surrounded by people that acted like your enemies?  I love to stop and meditate on the truth that God is always aware of my reality.  Friends, in whatever situation you may find yourself in, ask your heavenly Father to show you the table He has prepared for you.  It is most certainly there, of that I am sure – God always goes before us and prepares.  Isaiah 45:2

May we not be like the children of Israel who did not trust their God. They did not remember His power and actually limited His hand from reaching them due to their unbelief. Psalm 78: 41-42  In those dark and difficult situations,  I encourage you to lift up your eyes, call out His beautiful promises and find your table of provision waiting for you.

When we fully understand and know the LORD as our good Shepherd, we will not even notice the wilderness. We will rest in the fact that He guides us into good places where we lack nothing.  Our table will be so full that it will overflow and we will have enough to share with others.

Dear Father God, open the eyes of your sons and daughters. May we see the bounty of your daily provision for us.  Heal our hearts so we can trust You in all things.  May we always believe in Your wondrous works and remember that you are our Rock and Redeemer.  You are the One with the strength and faithfulness to lead us out of our wilderness.