To Forgive Is Human?

Waves of Mercy pentecost-1024x493For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.

Matthew 6:14

 

Why is forgiveness so important? Apparently, it’s very important according to St. Matthew. In Jesus’ teachings from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew tells us that Jesus taught our forgiving others is directly tied to our own forgiveness by our Father. At first this may not sound fair, after all, we’re not divine. We can’t be expected to be as forgiving as Jesus – or can we?

Christ forgives us through His great mercy. He gives us that which we can in no way deserve. Think about it. Do you deserve to be forgiven for ALL you’ve done wrong? I know I don’t; no one does. But in His great mercy, flowing from His heart of love, grace comes to everyone who repents.

If such mercy has been shown to you, by what reason do you withhold such mercy from others? “Because I’m human”, you say; sorry, not good enough. You see, we don’t forgive others out of our humanity, we do it out of the grace He pours into our lives. It’s in His strength that we show such love that forgives others’ sins against us.

Do you really want to let something someone else did to you be the cause of you’re not being forgiven? Jesus knows we can never be the person He died for us to be, if we hold on to such feelings; they will eat at our soul, and make us bitter. We are the conduit of His waves of mercy in this world. His mercy will flow where ever we let it. All that stands between us and the life Jesus wants for our world is our own feelings eating away at us from inside. We can make this world a better place.

Go ahead, pray these words like you mean them… “and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

Grace and Peace,

+Pastor Brad

Prayer

O Lord Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner, and teach me to have mercy on others. Amen.

Image credit: http://readlean.org/2013/09/the-power-of-forgiveness/

May Thier Memory Be Eternal

May Thier Memory Be Eternal

Waves of Mercy pentecost-1024x493Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

Romans 12:1

Today is a very special day. It’s a day we stop and remember those we’ve loved and lost in this world. We visit and decorate their graves. We stop and pray the oldest prayer known to humanity – Lord have mercy. But, when we remember we do more than that, we actually celebrate the life they now live in eternity.

We miss our loved ones dearly. Whether they died long ago or recently, there’s still that empty feeling inside that used to be filled with their physical presence. But God, in His mercy, gives us their memory to fill our hearts, and those memories will never fade or die – they’re eternal.

The waves of God’s mercy flow not only on Memorial Day, but everyday. St. Paul tells us that as we remember God’s mercy, we need to prepare our own lives for death. We need to offer our very lives as living sacrifices to God in worship. When we live as such, then as St. Paul says in verse eight, “whether we live or die we belong to the Lord.”; this is true worship.

May today be a day of true worship as we remember all who gave their lives for our freedom; those whose lives passed far too soon, and those who lived long and full lives. May each of them inspire us to offer our lives a living sacrifice to God.

Grace and Peace,

+Pastor Brad

Prayer

Eternal Rest grant unto them O Lord, and may your perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed, by your mercies O God, rest in peace. Amen.

Timing Is Everything

Timing Is Everything

Waves of Mercy pentecost-1024x493Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him!

Isaiah 30:18

 

You’ve no doubt heard the old saying, “Timing is everything”. It seems to suggest that the outcome of events is based on our doing things in just the right time. But, how can we know when the time is right for anything? I’ve certainly done some things in my life I wish I’d waited for a better time. You probably have too.

In the days of the Prophet Isaiah, the Israelites were always taking matters into their own hands, rather than listen to the Lord. I wonder if we aren’t guilty of doing just that as well. St. Paul tells us we are to live “in step” with the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:25). Unlike the ancient Israelites, we live in the age of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Since the day of Pentecost, He lives inside those who will invite Him into their heart, guiding and directing, but we must listen for His advice.

Isaiah said we’re blessed if we wait on the Lord. So why don’t we listen better for the Spirit to help us through life’s twists and turns? The truth is our God is longing to be gracious to us. He is compassionate toward those who listen to Him. And, we can always count on Him to be fair and just in all our situations. If you sense you’ve gotten out of step with the Spirit, stop and listen for his voice. Remember, God isn’t mad at you and His timing is perfect. He loves you and longs to bless you. Look up! He’s sending waves of mercy your way to bless you in your time of need.

Grace and Peace,

+Pastor Brad

Prayer

Gracious Father, thank you for your unfailing love towards me, even when fail to listen to you. Thank you for sending your grace and mercy to rescue me in my times of need. Amen.

Image credit: http://elevatedtoday.com/2015/03/23/18-photos-taken-with-absolutely-perfect-timing/

What Sin?

What Sin?

Waves of Mercy pentecost-1024x493Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.

Psalm 25:6-7

Do you have some things in your past you wish you could forget – youthful indiscretions? Everyone does. Sin always has consequences, and learning from them is important. While we may not ever be able to forget our past, we can take comfort in knowing that God’s great love flows from His mercy and compassion.

Psalm 103 tells us God removes our sins from us as far as East is from West. The prophet Micah tells us He “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea”. Forgetfulness is a human characteristic. We forget many things, but then something triggers a memory and it all comes back to us. We feel the guilt and shame all over again. But, God does better than forgetting.

In His perfect character, once we’ve repented it’s as if our sin never existed. He doesn’t hold the memory of our sins against us, like we do to ourselves and each other. The waves of His mercy never cease to flow, washing over our us in what an old hymn writer called, “fathomless billows of love”. While we may not be able to perfectly forget our past, we can rest in knowing that in the Father’s mercy there’s no memory of our sin.

Grace and Peace,

+Pastor Brad

Prayer

Loving Father, thank you for not holding the memory of my sin against me. In your mercy help me to learn from my sin to live a life pleasing to you.  Amen.

Image credit: http://baresouldaily.blogspot.com/2015/09/sea-of-forgetfulness.html

The Pursuit of Purpose

The Pursuit of Purpose

Waves of Mercy pentecost-1024x493He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.

2 Timothy 1:9

 

Does it surprise you to learn God has a purpose for your life? He really does. Some people spend their whole life wondering what their purpose is here on earth. Instead of wondering, we need to dedicate time to the pursuit of learning His purpose for us. Too often we get busy in life fulfilling our wants and desires, and that’s not all bad. God does want us to be joyful and happy. Yet, scripture tells us that before time began God had a purpose in mind for each of us.

I’m not just talking about a vocation or calling type of purpose, although that’s a part of it. Each of us is gifted by God with certain aptitudes and we need to learn what those are. What I really want us to see is that the life we now live, whatever it is, is by the mercy of God. Absent His mercy we are nothing and going nowhere. In and of ourselves we don’t know how to live well in this present dark world. But by His mercy, and with His grace, we are able to find and fulfill His purpose for our life.

Everyone’s life looks different. We are all God’s children; each of us unique in our own way. However, one thing that’s the same for all of us – His purpose is for our holiness. God desires us to live holy lives, enjoying His salvation. How are you doing at finding God’s purpose for your life? Won’t you begin with knowing that His purpose is for you to be saved, and to be holy? Even if we’ve walked with God for many years, were still not as close as we could be. His waves of mercy will wash over us, and His grace will call us ever deeper into the pursuit of His purpose.

Grace and Peace,

+Pastor Brad

Prayer

Almighty Father, Your ways are so far above my ways, yet I know You have a purpose for my life. Draw me ever deeper into Your purpose for me, into life in your Spirit. Amen.

Image credit: http://unlearnedradio.com/2016/02/03/episode-2-the-pursuit-of-purpose/

Little Letters Make a Big Difference

Little Letters Make a Big Difference

Waves of Mercy pentecost-1024x493For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

Titus 2:11-12

Isn’t it amazing to think of the difference one little word can make? Over and over the scriptures make the point that God loves everyone, not just some. Jesus told his disciples to go into “all” the world to teach the gospel, the good news that salvation has come. And, just as the love of God extends to every person in every place, so does His grace.

God’s grace offers everyone an opportunity to receive His waves of mercy, to jump into the flow of His river of love. His grace is completely free. There’s no way to earn or merit it by what we do or say; it has “appeared” in the form of Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection offering salvation to all who will receive it.

Those three little letters, a-l-l, make the difference for everyone. No one can claim they were excluded from the greatest act of love the world has ever seen or will ever see. But, that’s not all. There are two little letters that make a big difference also; N-O. “No” is a word that we can all say when it comes to temptation. Because of God’s mercy given through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the gift of His Holy Spirit power, we can just say “No” to sin.

And here’s three more little letters that are very important today, Y-o-u. It’s for “you” this great love, mercy and grace was given. Stop and breathe that good news in for a moment…can you feel the waves of His mercy?

Grace and Peace,

+Pastor Brad

Prayer

Gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for sending your only son to die for even me. And thank you for His resurrection life and power that flow out to even me in your waves of mercy. Amen.

Image credit: https://ajathewriter.com/2013/05/03/word-challenges/

Unblock the Dams

Unblock the Dams

Waves of Mercy pentecost-1024x493Who is a God like you,
who pardons sin and forgives the transgression
of the remnant of his inheritance?
You do not stay angry forever
but delight to show mercy.

Micah 7:18

True love doesn’t stay mad for long. Think about the last time you got mad at something someone in your family did. Your anger was based in your feelings of hurt. Something they did wasn’t what you expected. You couldn’t believe they would do that. But then, after a little while, you look at them and realize they’re your family, you’re flesh and blood, and while your hurt may remain a while, you forgive them because you love them. The truth is we are all God’s family, and we should have love and mercy for everyone.

If we humans can find the mercy to forgive and go on loving, think about how eternal God’s love must be for His children. As our Father, He hurts when we sin against him or each other. Yet even in our sin, His waves of mercy never stop flowing. He doesn’t cut us off from our eternal inheritance of life in Him. In fact, He doesn’t give His forgiveness begrudgingly, or hesitantly, but delights to show us His mercy. It flows from Heaven in waves.

God’s mercy is from everlasting to everlasting and nothing or no one can stop its flow to us, but we can stop it from flowing through us to others. God will always find a way to show His mercy to others, but when we build a dam in our emotions not giving His mercy to others we lose a blessing. As you remember His mercy toward you today, won’t you remember that same mercy toward those who have hurt or disappointed you too. Our lives are channels through which the mercy of God flows out to our hurting world. Don’t build a dam in your feelings – let the waves of mercy flow.

Grace and Peace,

+Pastor Brad

Prayer

Merciful Father, thank you for delighting in your unfailing mercy towards me. Help me to unblock any unforgiving feelings, and make me a channel of your mercy to others Amen.

Image credit: http://www.johnandcailin.com/v/JohnAndCailin/vacations/Vacations2009/quetico/IMG_1800.JPG.html?g2_imageViewsIndex=4