In the midst of my imperfections, inconsistencies, sinfulness and even in my seasons of personal improvement – I am always in need of God’s grace, mercy, forgiveness, compassion through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
“Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable…. The cliché definition of grace is “unconditional love.” It is a true cliché, for it is a good description of the thing. Let’s go a little further, though. Grace is a love that has nothing to do with you, the beloved. It has everything and only to do with the lover. Grace is irrational in the sense that it has nothing to do with weights and measures. It has nothing to do with my intrinsic qualities or so-called “gifts” (whatever they may be). It reflects a decision on the part of the giver, the one who loves, in relation to the receiver, the one who is loved, that negates any qualifications the receiver may personally hold…. Grace is one-way love.” – Paul Zahl, a Pastor and Author of several books, including Grace in Practice: A Theology of Everyday Life
“Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – Your life is a gift from God, so therefore, live wisely and have fun! Enjoy the small things in life, and also enjoy the big things. Enjoy the many gifts of life, such as: life itself, food, water, air, health, personal growth, family, helping other people, friendships, relationships, sleeping, napping, working, studying, writing, learning, thinking, feelings, reading, science, higher learning disciplines, sex, recreation, cooking, cleaning, leisure time, technology, money, exercise, traveling, new knowledge, sports, art, music, theater, film, dance, parks, nature, conversations, vocations, museums, silence, meditation, contemplation, retreat, solitude, community, material possessions and many other hobbies and interests.
Ecclesiastes 9:7 > Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.”
Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 > “This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart.”
Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 > “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?”
Ecclesiastes 11:9 “You who are young, be happy while you are young, and let your heart give you joy in the days of your youth. Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes see, but know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment.”
1 Peter 3:10 > For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.”
1 Timothy 6:17-19 > Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
Psalm 104:14-15 > “He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine,and bread that sustains their hearts.”
Proverbs 17:22 > “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Exodus 35:35 > “The LORD has given them special skills as engravers, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple, and scarlet thread on fine linen cloth, and weavers. They excel as craftsmen and as designers.”
2 Chronicles 2:12-14 > “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, who made heaven and earth! He has given King David a wise son, endowed with intelligence and discernment, who will build a temple for the Lord and a palace for himself. “I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill, whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre. He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers and with those of my lord, David your father.”
“Christ frees you and me from our self-enslaving thrones. Christ frees you from the need to justify yourself, the need to be in control, the need to have recognition, and the need to seek manmade fulfillment. May the old Sinful nature in each and every one of us be utterly killed and destroyed, for we are forgiven of this idolatry, placed in the shadows of the Cross and given every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realm.
Baptized Saints, the sins of your past, the sins of today and the sins of tomorrow cannot and will not destroy the authority, power and work of Christ and His Word for you. You, who have ears, hear this present reality. In Christ you are forgiven, are chosen, have a legacy, and have an identity. In Christ, God is well pleased with you, for Christ has sufficiently accomplished everything for you and has made you citizens not of any earthly kingdom, but His kingdom that will have no end.” – Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard
Lamenations 3:22-23 > “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
I am extremely grateful, thankful and stand in awe of God’s Mercy towards me throughout my whole life. But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). And, by His Grace upon my life, I have been led and reminded many times to preach the Gospel to my own soul. “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)
Mercy has been the least biblical truth that I have experienced in all my years in church life.
Throughout the years, I was involved in full-time Christian ministry and in leadership within several local churches and in well-known parachurch Christian organizations and it was within those environments that I did not experience mercy from others or even Christian leaders, instead experienced from them legalistic demands, abusive authority and power – manipulation, hyperspirituality, self-righteousness, judgement, condemnation and in some cases even deception. Again, Mercy has been the least biblical truth that I have experienced [ not witnessing or experiencing mercy towards me or others as well ] which has been my greatest and deepest disappointment, discouragement, and even disillusionment within Christian based communities.
I realize that these were and still are imperfect individuals (sinners) who lacked a proper understanding of the Biblical Message of Grace, the Centrality of the Gospel, the proper understanding of the distinction between Law and Gospel in order to have a better understanding of the Holy Scriptures from a Christ-centered and Cross-focused perspective.
“Just as the rainbow is a sign which “reminds” God of His promise to never again flood the earth, so the blood of Christ is a covenant sign to “remind” Him not to treat our sins as they deserve. It is only because of God’s mercy in Christ that we are not utterly consumed. That means, because of Christ, God does not treat us according to our sin. What we deserve, rather, is His fierce wrath. But because the fullness of His wrath has already been poured on Christ, God is completely satisfied and Christ’s atoning blood is sufficient for you for all time. You cannot add or take away from it.
We have broken his law, cast aside His love, despised and rejected Him with our sin and we should be utterly consumed. Anything else is better than we deserve. But God has shown great mercy to us in Christ, and that mercy fails not. It is new every morning which means that if you have sinned, then God has fresh supply of mercy, so flee to Christ now. If your conscience accuses you of that one sin you committed, go to Christ. He is compassionate and His mercy never runs out of supply because God is already completely satisfied – Christ has paid for that sin. If you are brokenhearted about sin, if you are brought low because of it and mourn over it then God has done a work of grace in your heart. And since God’s covenant in Christ’s blood is the foundation of your hope, turn your eyes away from yourself unto Him. God keeps his Word so go to Him now to find mercy and grace in your time of need. Our faithlessness does not change God’s faithfulness to us since He has already given us His Son and His work is finished.” – J.W. Hendryx
Mark 6:34 > “And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things.”
Mark 1:41 > “Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.”
Matt. 14:14 > “And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.”
Matt. 9:36 > “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.”
Colossians 3:12-14 > “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
1 Peter 3:8-9 > “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
“… And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.” – Luke5:31
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” – Isaiah 61:1
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free,” – Luke 4:18
There Is No Sin That I Have Done
On the Album “Merciful to Me” by Reformed Praise
Written by Eric Schumacher & David L. Ward
© 2008 ReformedPraise.org
—- LYRICS —-
There is no sin that I have done
That has such height and breadth
It can’t be washed in Jesus’ blood
Or covered by His death.
There is no spot that still remains,
No cause to hide my face,
For He has stooped to wash me clean
And covered me with grace.
There is no wrath that I will know,
No wormwood and no gall;
For though such wounds and grief I earned
My Savior bore them all.
There is no work that I must add
To stand before His throne.
I only plead His life and death
Sufficient on their own.
There is no love that I desire
But Jesus’ warm embrace.
While now I know His love by faith
I long to see His face.
There is no song that I will sing,
No melody but this,
That my Beloved, He is mine,
For He has made me His.
The Bible is not about you and me, is about Christ FOR you and me! Christ the Savior for sinful humanity! Christ for the failing and sinful Christians. Christ for the messy Christians who don’t live a perfect life, but a continuous broken life. Christ for preachers who still recognizes their own sinfulness and their continuous need for the Gospel. Again, the Bible is not about your personal morality, legalistic spirituality, your so-called personal “revelations” or your pietism! The Bible is about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ throughout the whole Bible in prophecies, shadows, types, and fulfillment.
In the midst of my messy spirituality, God’s Grace always remains sufficient towards me. I reflect upon this quote and John Chapter 15 … “For my holiness, righteousness and purity do not grow from myself, nor do they rest upon myself, but are in Christ alone and come from Him, into whom I am rooted through faith, as the sap passes into the grapes, and I have been made like Him, that He and I are not of one nature and substance, and through Him I bear fruit, which is not mine, but the vine’s. Thus Christ and the Christian become one loaf, and one body, and the Christians bear the proper fruit, not Adam’s and not their own, but Christ’s! – Martin Luther, Day by Day, p. 330.
JOHN CHAPTER 15
15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3 Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. 7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. 9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command you. 15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servantdoes not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. 17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. 21 But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have been guilty of sin,but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. 25 But the word that is written in their Law must be fulfilled: ‘They hated me without a cause.’
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning.