Mercy, We need You

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”- 1 John 1:8-9

What a passage! The religiosity and moralistic part of me is called out and convicted here, because if we are truly honest a lot of the time we distract ourselves from our own sin by looking at the sin in others and seeing ourselves as clean. But realistically we too are so full of sin. I have been really challenged this week to humbly read God’s word, allowing myself to be convicted by what it says and I pray that you too will have this conviction as you read the verses above.

But on to the topic of mercy, I think these verses perfectly encapsulate just how great God’s mercy is for us. Not only does it tell us of God’s merciful character, but encourages us to confess our sinful nature knowing that with a repenting heart we will be made clean. By truly acknowledging the depth of our brokenness the fullness of God’s mercy is revealed to us.

The thing is we will never get everything right, as Paul writes we “all fall short of the glory of God”, therefore we are always in desperate need of His mercy. Despite the amount of times we run the opposite direction, when we return with a humble heart asking for forgiveness he mercifully embraces us. He never gets fed up or says “do I really have to give you more mercy”, instead in his immeasurable love and generosity he forgives us time and time again. However, this doesn’t give us permission to do whatever we want, but allows us to rest in the knowledge that no matter how many times we mess up “nothing can ever separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:38) because of God’s mercy.

In light of this I challenge you to take some time this week to prayerfully examine your heart,and to acknowledge your brokenness. However doing so in the knowledge that if you repent on this you will be covered in His mercy.  Remember that the Father doesn’t see us as objects of condemnation, but of praise as Paul tells the Romans in chapter 2:29, ” a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.” that is the amazing, intangible, fullness of his mercy.

Show up.

I often hear people say “if I walked into that church, it would fall down around me.” I don’t know if anyone else really says this, but I’m going to explain what it means to me when people say it. Some of my relatives say it a lot, especially when there’s an event involving a church like a wedding, a funeral or a confirmation. It means to me that the person feels they have too bad a life to enter the church doors, they’re not pure enough, they do things that are ungodly, they’re just not a good person full stop. My heart breaks when I hear people say this, because personally I think that’s what people think of God and the church. So many people think that the church is a dictator, a judge. People think that when they sit in that church , the pastor is just sitting there judging them, judging their past, judging what they do, just judging and dictating what’s right and what’s wrong.

You do not have to have a perfect life to have a relationship with Jesus
. I find that one of the most amazing things about his grace. Knowing that when I walk into a church on a Sunday, I am loved, I am forgiven I am known and the church building most definitely will not fall down around me. I do bad things, I say bad things I act ungodly sometimes. That doesn’t change His undeniable grace over me. And it doesn’t change for you either.
Maybe you want to know God more , maybe you want to go deeper and maybe find a church to help you do that. Maybe you have already asked Jesus into your life, but you don’t go to church. Maybe you’re afraid of the judgement, maybe you’re afraid of not having anyone there with you that you know or maybe it’s just too daunting to take that step. It is scary. I know it all too well.

My friend and I recently started going to a new church. We are both the biggest introverts you could get, it’s hilarious. On Saturday night our conversation goes something like this:

“Are you going to church tomorrow?”
“I’m going if you’re going”
“Cool, see you tomorrow”

Then, we will go on a Sunday to church and after we’re too afraid to talk to anyone else, so we talk to each other complaining how stupid we look with no friends in church.
Or It will go something like this:

“I cant go to church tomorrow, I’ve got something on”
“I’m not going either then, I have no friends. I’ll be a wee spare spoon”

Yep, “wee spare spoon” were the exact words too. (that basically means loner/by myself) if one of us don’t go to church on Sunday, the other won’t because of the fear of not having anyone there with us that we know. Another thing is if someone is out the night before, they might say “I couldn’t face the church today because of what I was like last night, I just couldn’t.” The fear of being judged in our minds is greater than Jesus at these times. But let’s get one thing straight. God’s grace is so much bigger than the fears. Even if someone doesn’t go to church because they were out too late, or even if they just don’t go to church because their friends not there or maybe, they’ve turned up to church with a hangover, even if you’ve done the worst imaginable thing. The church will not fall down around you. His grace is so great, your life doesn’t have to be perfect to have the privilege of experiencing that. The church isn’t judging you and God isn’t judging you.

“20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”

-Matt 18:20

Show up.  no matter how big the fear is. Your fear may be big, but your God is bigger!

His Grace covers you. 

Hey, you. 

I think that often we remember parts of our past which are broken. The parts which aren’t particularly positive memories and the chapters that aren’t really nice to think of. I know that a lot of us have broken pasts, many of us are going through a patch which is so cracked and so broken that it is so hard to even piece together a few steps. Whether the brokenness is right now, in the past or in the future, it’s relevant to us all.

If I’m being honest, sometimes I think things like why did God save me when I did this and why does He love me when I do this and why did He choose me and why… and the list goes on and the whys get longer.

I’m continuously baffled by the love and mercy God has for us, even when we still sin, we still do bad things, we don’t do as much for Him as we could and should. I am still bewildered at the fact that He loves so deeply even when He knows the deepest and darkest low in our life.

I am still perplexed that He forgives the humanly unforgivable. He forgives the worst sin, He forgives the deepest hate, He even forgives us for the devastating and disastrous past we’ve lived.  But He does. He really does. It is amazing and it’s incredible and it’s kind of unbelievable, but it is so true and so real. And so is His Grace.

By His grace. Our pasts are forgiven. The addictions, the sorrow, the hate, the brokenness. It’s all forgiven. We receive the most grace in the brokenness. He seeks us in the brokenness. I was watching a video a while ago  and it says “once we experience Gods’ love, our broken past is nothing but the proof of gods grace.” How amazing is that?

God sees you. He sees the loving you. The you who texts that person that looked a bit sad, the you who buys a coffee to a stranger, the one who lives for Him and shows His love. When looking at you, He doesn’t look at you and be like “nope I can’t answer that prayer, you done that bad thing last year.” He doesn’t say “no I’ll pass this time because she didn’t give that guy on the side of the street any spare change.” He also doesn’t look at you and say “no i can’t forgive them because their past is too dark.”  He doesn’t see your past. He doesn’t look at your past or the wrongs in your life. He has those covered. He doesn’t leave us in that brokenness. All by grace. Forgive yourself because His grace has already covered you in mercy and love.  He says “yes, I love you and I forgive you” and continues to say it, even after the 13th time, even after every single time.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

– 2 Corinthians 12:9

Lots of love, from all of us at She Spreads Light. X 

Understanding Grace

Its nearly Easter. A time when the word “Grace” gets thrown around like confetti, the intention is there as people say “God’s grace is amazing” yet the word falls lightly, having little impact. The over use of the word has robbed it of its amazing meaning. Google defines it as ” the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.” So practically it is the undeserved goodness God shows to us. Isn’t that amazing? But sometimes I think we’ve become desensitized to the power of this word, so this week I challenge you to truly meditate over the amazing gift of grace and what the really means for us. But how can we do this?

Read Hosea

I have to admit I’ve never read this book, but I have read an adaption by Francine Rivers called “Redeeming Love.” This story for me perfectly portrays grace through the character of Hosea, who is divinely called to marry a prostitute named Gomer. Gomer goes back to another man after their marriage yet because of his love and grace Hosea takes her back despite the hurt she caused Him. How many times have we run from God? Yet every time He calls us back with His arms open wide. If you don’t fancy tackling Hosea just yet, why not read “Redeeming Love” the most moving adaptation Ive read.

Jesus Loving Barabbas

Unusual title? I thought so too when I first came across this video, however by the end I totally understood it. These 8 minutes completely changed my perspective on this part of the Easter story and made me see God’s grace in a whole new light.   Give it a watch here, you wont regret it.

https://youtu.be/RwX_EpNR4CA

Grab a notebook

As I’ve already said grace is God’s  favour towards us, who are so undeserving, so why not reflect on how God’s grace has personally touched your life. Make a list (or a spider diagram-whatever floats your boat) and write down ways in which God’s grace has manifested in your life. This is a great way to adopt a grateful heart whilst fully understanding God’s grace.

Today as you read this I pray that the words of Ephesians 2:8-9 will truly rest on your heart, ” For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” Know that it is because of God’s grace that you woke up this morning, that no matter what you do (for good or bad) you are covered by His love and grace.

 

Who You Are

The first question in many interviews is “Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?” At this everyone freezes up a little and finally tells them the monotonous details of “who they are”; “I am 18, I go to Foyle College and I study music, english and RS.” But does that really tell you something about who I am, no, our identity is so much more than this, because it is through God that we find our identity.

Therefore, when it comes to thinking about who we truly are we have to think about who God is. When we are secure in Him we will be secure in ourselves because He is our everything.

God is Our Father

Therefore we are His beloved children who He loves more than any parent could ever love their children. Thinking of God as a father also shows the intimacy of our relationship, we do not worship a distant deity but an always present father.

God is Our Saviour

He saw us and thought we were worth dying for even “while we were still sinners.” God has saved you, you are redeemed from whatever is in your past through His grace. He turned our inadequacy into adequacy through His death.

God is Our Creator

I know it seems like an obvious one, but think about it. If God created us He made us just the way He wanted, every freckle, every hair was intricately designed. The fact that someone so special made us shows the sanctity of our life. You were created for a purpose.

God is on Our Side

You are strong because God is within you and will strengthen you. We all have those times where we feel alone, like we are fighting an uphill battle, but we mustn’t forget Romans 8:31  which says “If God is for us, who can be against us?” God is victorious, hold onto that hope that your future is secure in heaven, it will be ok.

This world constantly tells us how we should be defined; be our gender, our job, our race, our weight, our interests, our fashion taste (or lack of), our past, our mistakes, but none of these things are truly who we are. Dont look to the world to find your worth, instead look to Him who created you (I mean who could know any better than Him!) My favourite verses when looking at our identity is Ephesians 2:8-10.

God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

So when you feel inadequate, unloved or just a little insecure remember who you belong to, who created you.

 

His Love>Our Mistakes

We all have those moments when we know we’ve done something wrong we’ve made a mistake. We look back in hindsight and realise that wasn’t the best idea. People say hindsight is the best sight but only if use it in the right way. When we fail we need to recognise it yes, but then we need to move on.

In 1 Corinthians 5:17 Paul writes “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” Good makes us new again and again He gives us countless second chances.

Really let that sink in. Sometimes we mess up and begin to drown in our guilt, feeling like God’s disappointed in us. I really urge you to shut those voices down when you begin to hear them-this is not God. Replace these voices with the words of Romans 8:1 which says ” Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”, you see Jesus never condemns US, He condemns our SIN.

Maybe you’ve done something recently that you regret and you can’t shake off that guilt. If that’s you I encourage you to turn to the cross, to your loving father who sees you as perfect and worthy. Your father who loves you no matter what, nothing can change how much He loves you-you can never mess that up.

Kisses from Katie

This book captivated my heart from the off set. As a young girl wanting to do all that Katie does I sometimes found it hard not to be jelous of her hard yet glorious life. I have always wanted to do and loved missions. I know missions is in your own back garden and loving the people you spend everyday with can be hard, I love katies honesty about her entire decision to move to uganda and how it captivated her heart. I love her obedience throughout which is obvious from the start. This book really broke my heart in two and made me excited for my future ahead but also propelled me into doing more for my local community and in my mission field. A top read for anyone who wants to grow deeper in an area of service.

All my love xokisses_from_katie_oa_large