Friday, June 6, 2008

Mercy is Falling

I am sitting here this morning listening to the sound of a heavy rain that is wonderfully calming.

As I listen to it, I am reminded of a song by David Ruis with lyrics that state, "Mercy is falling, is falling, is falling. Mercy is falling like a sweet spring rain. Mercy is falling, its falling all over me."

These words begin to paint a beautiful picture of God's mercy in our own lives.

Mercy is defined by Merriam-Webster's dictionary as, "compassion or forbearance shown especially to an offender or to one subject to one's power." It is an act that overlooks offense and precedes and/or accompanies forgiveness.

To show mercy to another is one of the most admirable actions a person could extend. To give mercy to another can be very fulfilling...but what about those on the receiving end of mercy?

What does it feel like to receive mercy?

The song mentioned is a simple repetitive song that continues..."Hey yo. I received Your mercy! Hey yo. I received Your grace! Hey yo. I will dance forever more!"

The person at the end of mercy has a choice to receive mercy or deny it. And, how often do you hear of someone denying the gift of mercy? Other than the odd few (mostly in fiction), most people receive mercy with gratitude. A need has been met. Sometimes it is a need that the person was unaware of until mercy was offered. Regardless, the response seems to be gratitude in each circumstance.

Continuing on...Gratitude... gratefulness - a thankful attitude.

How grateful are you when you receive mercy? How is your gratitude expressed? For the author of this song, he danced - and he will continue to dance. This is one happy cat! It makes you wonder what mercy was extended that would engage a man to want to dance forever!?

Well...let's step back...It would seem unreasonable for anybody to refuse mercy, wouldn't it? Especially if it was a matter of life and death, right? And yet, many do. These are not fictional characters. They are your friends, neighbours, co-workers, and relatives...perhaps you? The mercy offered here includes salvation, forgiveness of your sins, and reconciliation with God. The author has recognized that he, in his very core, was not right with God. He asked for forgiveness and reconciled with God. And don't forget, there was one other important item I mentioned in the receiving of this was salvation. Salvation is the ultimate gift of mercy, to which rejoicing over should last forever! And it will last forever if you are saved.

How do you know if you are saved? ...You know, it is one of those things that a lot of people make more difficult than need be.

Romans 10:9 That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:8-10 (in Context) Romans 10 (Whole Chapter) Even a child can do this!

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:11-13 (in Context) Acts 4 (Whole Chapter)

Ephesians 1:13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, Ephesians 1:12-14 (in Context) Ephesians 1 (Whole Chapter)

I specifically use scripture in this instance so that you may read for yourself what I believe and so you can choose to receive the Truth, receive mercy.

We have a loving God, who desires us to know Him. He is offering mercy....will you receive it?


Michael said...

As a child, I was raised to be Christian. My family went to church once or twice a week, refrained from profanity, more or less obeyed the 10 commandments, etc. Hypocrisy was thicker than honey.

I was told that Jesus was real, that our souls were the most important things we had, that salvation was our life's goal. But I was shown that money was the most important thing, and what people thought of you was more important than God. After exhausting my Sunday-school teachers, I was taken to the preacher. I asked him, "Is God Love?"

His face locked into a rictus, his pupils constricted, and he jerked back. "Yes!" he said. I saw that he didn't have my answers, either, so I began praying. "Lord, if this is Truth, show me. Show me a sign! I know I'm only a child, and I've done many wrong things and have an evil heart, but please help me!" I prayed. "I'm not worthy of Heaven, but can you send me to Hell--for just one second--and bring me back! but let me visit Hell so that I can see if this is Truth."

I went to Hell. For less than a tenth of a second, but I was there. I am convinced that God is real, and that church is fake.

This was a major step on my lifelong search for God. Knowing that not everything I was shown is true, I then began to rebuild my mind. Once a trusting child, I began to analyze, to seek proof.

I found it. A lot of it. But not for what I was taught in church. So for years I gave up church religions, and dwelt in the house of the Lord, finding God everywhere, in everything and everyone. Not many people agreed with me.

Then I found a home on a Christian community farm, and began looking anew at scripture. I realized that I'd thrown the baby out with the bathwater... but still, I cannot accept all scripture as Truth, especially not the way mainstream religions interpret it.

(Why am I babbling this? Do I feel safe from you, so far away from me? Don't I care that I might offend you or hurt your feelings? hmmm.)

The bible says God is loving and merciful, yet repeatedly SHOWS that the deity portrayed is vengeful, hateful, demanding and petty. Fans say He has the right to be...but even allowing that, does it make it right to be that way? Can God create the entire universe and then choose sides? Would He damn us all, just so we would have to depend on Him for salvation? I find the mercy of an individual who created the need for it to be somewhat petty.

I'm still asking these questions, of myself, of God, and of everyone I dare...

Dare I ask you?

I will.

MistiPearl said...

Hi Michael!

Thanks for sharing! I have got a question for you...what do you mean "church is fake"? Organized religion is fake? Christianity is fake? When I speak of "the church", I mean the body of Christ, the body of is not defined by a building nor by a denomination.

And that's the thing about the body of believers (or what should be evident) we all are sinners - we all fall short of the glory of God - we are the ones that admit that we are not perfect and we need God.

"Is God Love?" This ties with your question about God's character and purpose for us. When we question God's character, are we only seeing God in the light that we want to see? This is a heavy question because it challenges us to think about why we see God in a particular manner. "If God is Love and others can see that, how come we don't see it so cut-and-dry?? And is what they see superficial or real?"

I think these questions involve digging deep into our own experiences, hopes, and hurts with raw honesty. I know that I have gone through periods where I question all I know of God in utter despair and fierce anger at God. And I have had to dig deep and ask whether I love God, believe God, and most challenging, do I trust God?

When I look at what the Bible says about how God interacted with man before the fall, I easily see God's love, love for us, and desire for communion with Him. After the fall, the Old Testament speaks of violence and Godly decisions that baffle us - this requires studying the history and context to better understand why God did what He did (though God does work in mysterious ways...and we won't necessarily understand everything, right?!). When Jesus enters, we are shown God's Love again in a new light (pun intended). And what Jesus teaches and reveals to us helps us better understand or reinforce our understanding of the true character of God.

God is a God of Love, of Truth, of Justice. He has no favourites. He will not compromise who He is. It can be difficult to wrap our brains around this concept, but I would encourage you to pray to Him to help you understand why you ask the questions you ask and for God to help you see Him as He truly is, the Truth - WARNING...Ask and you shall receive type warning...God will answer your questions if you let Him and the answers may bring you to your knees - just a heads-up, I speak from experience, and as challenging and humbling as it was, I do not regret getting real with God and asking for answers. Just like you did when you were a child...never lose your child-like curiosity!

By-the-way, I am honoured that you would bring these questions into my world - no offence at all! As for distance and safety, well...I know that one:)

Disclaimer here...this is just my take on things...:) God Bless!

Michael said...

Sorry--by "church" I mean those who think they've found God by attending social meetings in a mainstream setting, i.e., a church building. I am NOT referring to the body of Christ, I thought obviously, because these folk hadn't found the True Christ. In fact (in my opinion), most of these people are unaware of what God might be, or what a soul is, or what forever is, or what the consequences of their actions in ANY endeavor may be... witness those who fail to control their violence, or drinking, or drug abuse, or language, or eating, or...

Addiction only traps the willing.

I think God may have a special room for folks like me... and it may be a while before I make it Home! :)

"Sin" is another word that has deep meanings, and even those who know its meanings often misuse it.

When we question God's character, what are we really questioning? For me, I think I knew even as a child what God was: What I wanted to know was, is the God these people were referring to the True God, or a demon pretender? We know them by their actions... and to a child, it's fairly black and white.

It's obvious to me that when a preacher gets to television, he's lost sight of God already.

When a gathering depends on its flock as a food source--when passing the plate to be filled with cash is more important than feeding their souls--the gathering has lost something.

Again, as a child, I studied hypnosis, and used it to try to eliminate deceit from myself. (I immediately found that deceit is part of the very warp and woof of human society; thus my blog here.) I did this so that I might better evaluate the things I was discovering, without bias from preconception or wishful thinking. Frankly, it's hard to eliminate preconception since you have to have a foundation, and a step from which to take the next step.

Still, I discovered new meanings everywhere. I found that while the bible may have been God-inspired, so is Madonna's music; God wrote the universe Himself. If you want the unadulterated Truth, go straight to the Source.

In the first chapters of Genesis, there are many dead give-aways to the nature of who is who. Without making excuses, without rationalizing the meanings of the words, who lied and who told the truth? Who showed concern for others, and who was heartless and selfish? Who induced vanity and jealousy, and who put a curse on innocent babies not even conceived?

And who did Cain marry?

(Do you use Dragon Naturally Speaking?)

MistiPearl said...

Dang don't hold back, eh?!!:)

I love the discussion, but tell me...what is it that you believe exactly? Do you believe Jesus is who He says He is?

I don't have DNS...I am on facebook if you are interested.

Michael said...

At the moment, Misti, I am having serious doubts about what I believe about Jesus. There is no real-world evidence for his existence, but his spiritual teachings are the diamond on the brass ring of scripture. I believe in Christ and the Holy Spirit; I have unshakable faith in God; but whether there was a man by any name who fits the story of Jesus--even if you peel away the adulterations--is still in doubt for me.

On the other hand, I have had some recent revelations in the last few weeks that lead me to believe that my picture is more incomplete than I had thought. SOMEONE is there... but I am forced to keep an open mind as to whether that someone is as I have described here, or is truly a Holy Entity with our best interests anywhere near to heart.

I wish I could explain what I'm seeing these days, because I feel grievously in need of help.

MistiPearl said...

Off the top of my head, Josephus...Jewish Historian...documented Jesus' existence in his works. Also, what do you mean, you don't believe Jesus existed, yet you believe in Christ? Scripturally, Jesus is the Christ. :)

Michael said...

Josephus was the one who betrayed Jerusalem to the Roman army, wasn't he? Why would anyone trust the word of a traitor to his own people, especially ABOUT the people he felt free to betray? I just don't know enough about him to trust him.

As for Christ and Jesus being the same, well, Jesus was called Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Christ. Christ, or Christos, means "Anointed," and is equivalent to "Messiah". Whether Jesus was THE Christ, or even a holy anointed one, is one of my doubts.

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