Mercy Walks With Us

Grace—God giving us what we don’t deserve. Mercy—God not giving us what we do deserve. For many years the grace of God and mercy of God seemed pretty much interchangeable to me. And though they are both united together in God’s heart of kindness and love towards us, they are two uniquely different gifts.mercywalkswithus

When I think of mercy, there is an image etched in my mind: me, bent over the toilet, purging my stomach and for a time shutting down my turbulent mind and emotions. For the majority of my twenties I was enslaved to both anorexia and bulimia. Over the years, I tried to break the destructive habit. However, many times my resolve would waiver and my mind would choose bondage over freedom. Complete healing and the ability to identify the triggers and solutions from God’s Word are, I believe, only truly attained as the Holy Spirit teaches and empowers us to relinquish all to Him.

The Holy Spirit continued to reveal why these actions were potentially deadly and harmful to my body, as His child. Through it all, God protected me and that was mercy.  He patiently revealed layers of hurt, lies, and sinfulness that fueled my actions. It is easy as humans to harshly condemn a particular action, but it takes a merciful God willing to walk with us through it, while teaching us how to be free.

Just as Jesus Christ Himself knew the exact biblical truths to resist the temptations and lies Satan laid before Him in the wilderness, if saved, we have the Holy Spirit in us so that we too may know how to fight Satan, our adversary. The Holy Spirit is a constant reminder that God, in His mercy, is there for us and wants us to be victorious (John 14:26, 1 John 2:27).

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Romans 8:31-34

Once God shows us the way to victory, our yoke is light (Matthew 11:28-30)…simply believe what He has said and act accordingly. The Bible tells us to “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.” (Ephesians 5:1 NLT)

About the Writer:
Lyndsay has been many things in her past, but no career, experience, or calling define her more than the desire to follow after Christ in response to His gracious work in her life. At present, she teaches movement classes and works as a wellness consultant in addition to loving her amazing husband and raising her daughter to know and love the Lord.

Undeserved Kindness

So often we tmercy Handshink of mercy as synonymous with kindness, when in actuality mercy is really undeserved kindness, compassion, or forgiveness. Undeserved, not worthy of, mercy is something we want from others in our time of need; but seem to cling tightly to when it’s our turn to give it away.  Mercy is not a quality I possess without immense conviction and purposeful action. I struggle daily.  I know the Lord knew this about be when He blessed me almost 15 years ago with my daughter.  Little did I know then how that little baby would minister to me in ways I would have never imagined.  My daughter has a heart so big it often times blows my mind.  She was diagnosed with autism, specifically Asperger’s, when she was only five years old. I knew early on she was different, but I had no idea how. If you met her today, you’d be shocked to think at one point this beautiful child ever struggled at all; or even still does.

Having struggled as a young girl with friend relationships, I knew how mean girls could be. I remembered all to well because I used to be that mean girl when I was her age. Now watching her endure the trials of junior high often brings me to tears. It is amazing to observe her actions with others and her mercy often astounds me, loving others irregardless of how they treat her.  She truly loves them in the way Christ has called us to love, forgiving so quickly with mercy flowing out of her towards her peers. Not only does she display mercy with others, but she displays unconditional love for me every time I loose my patience, or yell in frustration. Mercy shows up every time; her undeserved kindness shining through with daily forgiveness.

I am reminded of how so many times throughout my life I didn’t deserve the mercy received from Our Father. There is nothing I can do or bring to the Lord in return for my salvation. He came to die for me and showed undeserved kindness while I was still a sinner. Christ paid it all, redeemed me from the eternal death and punishment I deserve.

Be gracious to me, O God, according to your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2

Why do we seldom show others the same mercy we so desire?  Give that person in your life who might not deserve forgiveness the undeserved mercy that Christ has given you. Extend grace and show mercy. Forgiveness is good for all.

About the writer:
Tamie is a stay at home wife and the mom of three kids with autism. She is a member of First Baptist Dallas who enjoys spending time hanging out at home with her family or a quiet dinner with girlfriends. Tamie is passionate about encouraging other woman in their daily walk with the Lord.

What is Mercy?

Mercy is a quality of God, the act of showing love and compassion, not administering justice when it is deserved. One of many examples throughout the Bible, Jesus shared the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector.  love-cross In (Luke 18:9-13) “And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt: ‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’”

In the above parable, Jesus is comparing two men who went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee’s in general thought works alone could get them favor and merit with God.   They were the largest and most influential religious party during New Testament time and separated themselves to the study of the law. They were viewed as the religious leaders of the Jews and many tended to display a prideful, haughty, self-righteous attitude as is easily noted in the verses above. On the other hand, the tax collectors were usually Roman citizens who worked for the government.  They were hated by the people because of their dishonesty in collecting more than the tax owed the government by adding an excessive profit for themselves to the taxes people paid. In the parable above, the tax collector recognized his sin, his unworthiness, and had a much more accurate vision of himself.  He knew he was unworthy and deserved punishment for his sins.

Our God is so righteous and holy that He requires a propitiation, something to reconcile us to Him, a sacrifice. In place of the wrath we deserve, He gives us mercy, or grace –his unmerited favor.  Jesus, God’s own son’s death on the cross was the sacrifice, payment, or propitiation for all of mankind, both you and me.  What great mercy and love was displayed at the cross!

The verses in this song from Selah says it all best.
‘Wonderful merciful Savior, precious Redeemer and friend,
Who would have thought that a Lamb could rescue the souls of men.’

But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, Slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.  Psalm 86:15

What must I do to gain His mercy and grace?

  1. Recognize my sinful desires and actions. Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23
  2. Confess those sins to our Heavenly Father.  Romans 10:9
  3. Ask forgiveness, receive His gift of forgiveness through faith, repent of those sins, and change the direction in which we are heading. John 1:12

Thank you heavenly Father for your love and mercy, who saved a sinner such as me from the punishment I honestly deserve.

About the writer:
Beverly has been an educator, administrator, educational sales representative, Sunday school teacher, and mentor; but most importantly is a wife, mother, and grandmother with a passion for sharing Christ with others.

Have Mercy!

HaveMercyFirst off, I get a negative score on the spiritual gift of mercy with every spiritual gift test I take. Note, it’s not that I get a low score, I get a negative score. If you are reading this and wondering what in the world a spiritual gift is, allow me to explain. You are given a spiritual gift the moment you accept Christ as your Savior. The primary purpose of spiritual gifts is to serve and edify one another (1 Cor. 12:7). Your spiritual gift is the primary way God uses you to minister to others.

There are several different lists of spiritual gifts in the New Testament but for the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on what our Pastor terms “Motivational Gifts” found in Romans 12. Those with the spiritual gift of mercy might find they often attract people who are in crisis or experiencing loss. Those with the spiritual gift of service might find great fulfillment in bringing the food for Sunday school. Those with the spiritual gift of prophecy find it very difficult not to confront sin in another’s life.

There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ways of serving, but the same Lord is served.  I Corinthians 12:4-5

If you are wondering if God wants to use you, has gifted you, or has a ministry for you, the answer is yes!  Dr. Robert Jeffress teaches that we as Christians will never feel truly fulfilled until we discover our spiritual gift.  Knowing your spiritual gift allows you to understand how God specifically wants to use you in His Kingdom.  The more I learned about spiritual gifts, the more I realized how lacking I was in certain areas. Here is the caveat about spiritual gifts.  Regardless of discovering your primary gift in Romans 12, we are all supposed to practice all of the gifts.  Putting it plainly, my negative mercy score just won’t cut it in God’s eyes.  Figuring out your spiritual gift is exciting but it is not a free pass on the other gifts.

I am finishing what I consider to be about a 3-year boot camp on mercy.  For the past 3 years I have been counseling women and girls who have experienced intense sexual abuse and trauma.  Some of these stories would cause me to have nightmares. Some of the stories were so difficult to hear I thought I would have to leave the room.  I remember hearing a story so evil that I felt nauseas afterwards.  Through this journey, I have found 3 tips to being merciful.

  1. Remember, we are all just 3 wrong decisions away from being in that person’s situation.
  1. Remember, it is only by God’s grace and mercy that we did not have the same parents, spouse, abuse, neglect, poverty level, trauma, etc.
  1. Recall that one sin that you would be horrified if it were shown on a movie theater to all your closest friends and family.  This is not to shame you or cause you to dwell on the past.  This serves to remind you of how God has been gracious and merciful to you in an effort to show mercy to others.

I can confidently say, your mercy score can change!  But of course, that is only by God’s mercy!

About the Writer:
Julia is the Girl’s Ministry Director at First Baptist Dallas. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who trained at the world-renowned Meier Clinics.  Julia is a professional speaker for Just Say Yes, speaking nationwide on the topics of suicide, depression, self-harm, and eating disorders. Julia is passionate about her three favorite topics theology, psychology, and ryanology. She has been married to her junior high sweetheart, Ryan, for eight years and loves ministering to teenagers alongside her best friend and favorite boss. Julia has a heart to see people experience the same freedom through Christ that she has experienced!