Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mercy and Grace

Having looked at God's kind of grace for a little while, I began to wonder how 'mercy' might 'fit' into the picture of what I was looking at in more depth.

It appears that 'grace' and 'mercy' are two 'trademarks', if you please, of the Creator God. He often uses those two words to describe what He is really like. When God spoke to Moses He described Himself as "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering and abundant in goodness and truth."

Science has 'discovered' that a 'key' element in increasing the capacity of a mind to cope with stress, with life, is to experience JOY and PEACE in harmony with another mind.

God's kind of grace includes my mind experiencing that God loves for me to be with Him (JOY).

As I learned this aspect of God's grace I began to suspect that somehow 'mercy' somehow fits in this picture in a way I had not noticed before.

I began to delve into what 'mercy' includes, particularly God's kind of mercy. What I have learned thus far has been confirming the fact that mercy does indeed fit into the 'equation' of how a human mind grows in capacity to handle stress.

There are some words translated 'mercy' (in the King James Version) that are only used when referring to God. The meaning of mercy described in those uses includes: 'To love deeply and passionately, with a softness and compassionate zeal, especially to those who have had misfortune (or those who do not deserve love), eager, ardent desire.

Other words translated 'mercy' also include the concept of 'covering over', 'overspread', to 'take what the guilty one deserves in order to free them from charges'.

I don't know about you but when I feel condemned, guilty, Im not at peace. At present I am getting the picture that when God extends mercy to me He is offering to take 'my place' as guilty and at the same time to cover me with 'what He is like'. This is not just a legal activity, but God's kind of mercy does all this in me with such deep, tender, compassionate love that instead of guilt I am enabled to experience His peace in my heart.

As I look at this combination of words describing what God is like I stand amazed.

Grace - God giving me what I don't deserve in the form of JOY (He loves for me to be with Him, He keeps letting me know that I am special to Him, I am like the 'apple of His eye' to Him - that type of experience)

Mercy - God doesn't give me what I deserve even though I am guilty of choosing any will other than His will for me (sin). Instead He takes my place as the guilty one, while at the same time, with deep, tender, compassionate love, He offers me His calming PEACE in my heart in place of my guilt and shame.

In order for me to 'grow up', mature, increase my capacity to cope with stress, I must experience JOY and PEACE together in connection with another mind. As I accept God's GRACE (JOY I don't deserve) and MERCY (PEACE in the place of the guilt I deserve) He empowers me to 'grow up', to mature.

I can also experience JOY/PEACE with another human mind. And the more I experience JOY/PEACE with either God or another human mind - the more I can grow up.

I am not the only one in this world who needs grace and mercy. Everyone needs it. And each time I experience God's Grace and Mercy, I am also concluding that God wants me to share what I have received from God through His mercy and grace with others.

Grace and Peace be multiplied unto you through learning more about our wonderful God.

Bringer of Peace

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Grace and Peace be multiplied unto You

For the past week or so I have been pursuing what God's definition of grace includes.

I have also been trying to wrap my mind around what 'grace' might 'look like' from God's side.

The Greek word for 'grace' is 'charis'. You might recognize that 'root' in some words we use even today, such as charisma, charismatic, etc. Some of the basic meaning has to do with being true, what is true, what is true in personal excellence and what is in harmony with divine reality as well as what is not necessarily deserved or merited.

Further search revealed that 'charis' deals with JOY and that which causes JOY and rejoicing, as well as loving kindness. At the present time, though, I am seeing that the kind of JOY that is described in 'charis' is that which is not deserved.

When doing a word study I at times look to see if there is a 'root' from which the word comes. In this case the root word is 'chairo'. The meaning here is definitely JOY. Zacchaeus came down the tree with JOY when Jesus said He wanted to go home with him.

There is far more to this study but up to this time I had defined grace as God giving us what we don't deserve.

Adding what I have learned this morning to that definition has really expanded my picture.

Let me see if I can express what I have learned. Chairo includes 'joy'. Charis (based on chairo) also includes joy (experiencing that God loves for me to be with Him, I am special to Him, I am as the 'apple of his eye', etc.)but it is a joy I have not deserved. In a little shorter way let me say it this way.
Grace = receiving and experiencing God's joy which I don't deserve.

Grace and Peace come from God. Grace is receiving JOY from God I don't deserve. Peace is trusting God so completely that it is though I am 'resting in His arms'.

Science has discovered that every time I experience JOY and PEACE in harmony with another mind my capacity to cope with life, with stress, is increased. Experiencing JOY and PEACE can 'happen' with another human mind. It can also be experienced as I come in harmony with God.

God wants that experience to be multiplied - many, many times for me to experience that He loves for me to be with Him and and that I am extra special to Him leading me to trust Him in such a way that I feel as though He is hugging me with His arms around me.

No, I don't deserve it! Yes!!!!, God loves for me to experience His Grace.

And keep in mind. Every time you experience grace and peace, your capacity to grow up, to mature, to cope with stress, with life, increases.

You are loved.

Bringer of Peace

Friday, May 15, 2009

'Catch up' time

It seems I have been so busy I have not taken time to write here much. Lots of things are happening.

About two weeks ago we began a revival series in a tent pitched next to our church. I was asked to play the keyboard, which I was very happy to do. (Last year I had worked with the little children.) Tomorrow there will be a baptism in the afternoon of those who have chosen to follow Jesus' loving invitation to become part of His family here on earth.

Previous to the revival series I helped a friend move her things into storage. She is staying with us temporarily until she can find more permanent housing.

Another friend is taking care of her mother who is elderly. She was getting pretty tired to I staying with her mother three nights this week.

This past Sunday our son volunteered to help me get the farm looking better. We spent several hours on Mother's day improving the looks around the place. I told him it was one of the nicest gifts he could have given me. It also got me motivated to get our flower gardens in shape for the spring and summer. My hubby and I have been able to continue on with getting the flower gardens re-organized and even a couple of 'new' areas ready for planting as well.

On Sabbath afternoons there have been some ladies who have become interested in studying more about God's rescue plan as outlined in the earthly sanctuary in the Old Testament of the Bible. We are also teaching it to the younger children at Sabbath School. It is amazing to see how what 'science' is discovering about how our minds work agree so completely with what God 'taught' through the 'Sanctuary Map'. The more I learn the more awesome is seems.

With so much sleep loss this week I am going to close for this time.
Until we meet again, may God speak good to you.

Bringer of Peace

Friday, May 1, 2009

God's plan for really living

In order for the heart of a person to 'work' it has to have a 'rest' and it has to have a 'beat'. If both of those 'activities', in the proper sequence, are not properly functioning there is trouble.

The same is true of God's plan for really living. I don't believe God ever intended for us to be on total stress (even the good kind) all the time. Neither is it in His plan for 'lack of stress' (if that is the appropriate way of saying it) continually. Even when Jesus was here on earth, at one point things got so busy 'He told His own family of disciples to 'come apart and rest awhile' for He knew the importance of both experiences in order for proper growth to be experienced.

I believe God is working to teach me how to 'balance' my life 'cycle' of 'rest' and 'activity'.
Another cycle that has come to my attention is what I call the 'joy/peace' cycle.

There are times when it seems everything is quiet. Other times I have felt as though someone forgot what 'rest' means in the 'flurry' of activity. In any case, I believe God is guiding me to learn when to 'rest' in a trusting way and when to 'work' in a joyful manner.

Not long ago I was asked by our church to take on some extra responsibilities, part of which has put me as a member of the local governing 'board' of our church. I had been a member many years ago but due to some false accusations I was removed. Sad to say (for how long it took) it took the Lord several years to get me 'straightened out' - but I am so grateful He didn't give up on me during that time. I had been sensing for some time now that I would be asked to assume more responsibilities, so when I was asked to do it I agreed.

During the years between my first and second experience as a board member of our church there have been many changes. One change has been that many new people have come and some older members have left for one reason or another. Also as time has past I had pretty much 'forgotten' many of the activities I had been involved in when we first came here.

Some months ago (or even longer) some folks had begun talking about making a church directory which would include pictures of our church family. I had been quite busy with various 'jobs' including helping to move a friend recently so the talk about a picture directory had been about as far as that project had been taken.

This week it seems as though our hectic pace has slowed ever so slightly. However, one of my sisters was traveling from Florida to Michigan and stopped by for a few days to visit on her way north. It was so good to spend some time with her and I hope she enjoyed the time as much as I did. While here she showed me a picture directory from another church which had been done on a 'home' computer. I recalled the talk about doing something here for our church so I sat down at my computer and put in the basic outline (for later recall).

After my sister left I decided to 'fill in the blanks' so to speak. It took me a bit longer than what it should have because for a couple of days my computer and printer seemed to be in a big argument most of the time. Anyway, last evening when I went to our youth group where they have asked me to teach a music class to some of the children I took a rough draft with me to show the layout to some folks who had been interested in the project.

To make a long story short, I was brought 'face to face' with some issues I had long forgotten. I was reminded by one person that I had done something like this 'years ago' and that people had been very unhappy with it then, so why was I 'bringing it up again' and a few other points also.

My first reaction was surprise, to say the least. Beings that I had forgotten having done something similar - a church calendar years ago - it took me a while to recall even what they were talking about. (I finally remembered some of it this morning.)

More importantly, though, than a calendar or directory or whatever, I was brought face to face with the facts that some issues from before are still 'around'.

Last time, years ago, I KNOW I was simply too immature either spiritually or emotionally to cope with the underlying challenges. When I realized what was happening last night and this morning I also recognized God knew I couldn't handle the 'trauma' last time. For me it has taken about 10 years of 'growing up' spiritually and emotionally before God could 'bring me back' to the issues to give me the opportunity to be healed by His love in these areas that had previously been so wounded.

I have no reason to believe this experience will be 'easy'. But so long as I choose to believe the JOY of the Lord is my strength, and His PEACE that passes all understanding is available to me (which I am wanting to have all the time), God's healing, transforming, maturing love is working at continuing the growth in me of Christ's character filled with His love.

I have nothing to fear for the future except I forget what God has already done for me in the past.

I don't have time to mention many of the past ways God has led me but I will share a few.

God gave me praying parents. Yes, they made many mistakes, but they still loved God.

God protected me greatly by giving me Christian education in my formative years.

God gave me a husband who dearly loves the Lord and deeply loves me.

God gave me desires of my heart from childhood to be a teacher and a missionary. I taught church school for a few years and after I was married we spent about 6 years in Zambia, Africa on mission appointment.

More recently God has been answering prayers for our son to give him freedom in Christ.

Now, looking forward.

I have nothing to fear for the future because I know who holds it - Jesus.

Many other things are happening both in my life and in the world in general but I believe God is looking for people who will 'trust' Him so much that He can use them to exhibit to the world and to the universe His power in transforming lives to become like Him.

Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

How does all of this tie in to a 'cycle' I mentioned at the beginning? Maybe I am in one of the 'rest' parts of the cycle (but doubtful it will be for long) of living, but wherever I may be right now I know that Jesus loves me and is in the business of transforming me, so long as I give Him permission, to become a part of His family like Him.

I have much to do today so need to be on my way. Until we meet again may God be with you.

Bringer of Peace