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.

Mercy.

 Mercy is what we as a blog and community are exploring this month. Mercy is a confusing one, especially after just looking at grace. i am always mixing it up with grace in all honestly or just plain thinking they’re the same. 

Mercy is another word that we use all too often when we dont even know the meaning of it. We want to make this word as clear to you as possible and help you understand it as we also understand it more.
Mercy is defined as: “compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within ones power to harm or punish”
So basically, that means being forgiven or shown love even when you have done the worst thing, even when you don’t deserve it, even when we deserve to be punished.
This is what God’s mercy is.

Grace and mercy have similar definitions but they’re most definitely not the same.

Grace is: ” God blessing us even when we don’t deserve it. -extending kindness to the unworthy.”

Mercy is: “God not punishing us even when we deserve to be. -deliverance from judgement.”

Mercy is when you’ve ran from god, but He still loves you and He still forgives you. Mercy is when you’ve committed the worst sin, so bad that you shouldn’t be forgiven, so horrifying that you couldn’t even imagine God loving you or forgiving you ever again, but He does.

Has a friend ever done something or said something that hurt you so much that you couldn’t bare to even think about forgiving them or even saying it’s okay. So you both just fall out of friendship instead of forgiving eachother and moving on. Or even maybe you’ve ‘forgiven’ that person and you’re still friends but you’re not as close anymore, and there’s still that bitter feeling there. That’s how humans work.
God doesnt work like that. Once you’re forgiven, you’re forgiven, once you’ve done that bad thing, He still loves you and He will still forgive you. There’s no bitterness and there’s not a thought in the back of His mind saying, but she done that or he did this, i cant forgive him or I cant love her again. He won’t fall out of love with you, He simply forgives.

He loves you and wants you to know that. He wants you to know that you’re forgiven no matter how terrible that thing is you’ve done.
Know this. Know that He forgives you, even when you deserve to be punished, even when you don’t deserve the love He gives you. 

I pray that this helped at least one of you understand this word better and understand the real, truly amazing and beautiful meaning of the word. 

Love, She Spreads Light xo 

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!

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.

 

comfortable

Comfort zones are comfortable and familiar. They’re not scary and we don’t have to take a leap of faith and we don’t have a rapid heart rate when we go into them.  That’s why we love them and rarely leave them. Leaving that comfort zone is sometimes almost completely debilitating and terrifying. I think many of us wait for God to tell us where to go or what to do next instead of just doing it when we feel that we want to, we wait until we feel comfortable to take that step.

I was watching a show when one of the characters said this and it kind of hit me:

“Everyday you don’t open the door, it gets a little easier to stay inside… no one can open this door but you.”

I just thought comfort zone. I think this is so true, I think that if you create a comfort zone and stay In it, it does become harder to leave it, it becomes harder to make dreams happen. A lot of us have beautiful dreams, but it’s so hard to carry them out and let them unfold due to this invisible box we have ourselves trapped inside. God will give you that dream and He will constantly speak to you and tell you to do it, but you have to take the action. You have to actually listen to him and believe that leaving that invisible box is safe, it’s not dangerous and it really isn’t scary. All you have to do is say yes. All you have to do is go and do it.

Nehemiah was like all of us. He had a comfort zone too. When the walls were destroyed in Jerusalem, he was shocked and hurt. Nehemiah prayed until God showed him what to do. God told him to go back to Jerusalem and rebuild the wall. Nehemiah didn’t like that thought. He was uncomfortable with it and was completely out of his comfort zone. He didn’t want to do it, but he knew his heart was in this and that he needed to do this for God’s glory.

Having a comfort zone is okay and it’s okay to go home and let your soul be at rest for a while, but don’t stay there, lock the door and don’t let anyone in. When you feel your heart telling you to go do that thing, come back to faith and loving Jesus, start that bible study or even just as simple as going and talking to that girl you feel needs prayer. Do it, if not for you, do it for Him. He is calling you to take that leap of faith and step out of your all too familiar comfort zone. When you take a leap of faith, it will become easier to open the door.

Do it afraid.

To whoever needs this today.

Anyone who knows me or even just follows my Instagram knows that I love sunsets (probably more obsessed but let’s not pretend I’m that weird). Anytime there’s a gorgeous sunset I usually get a snapchat of it from multiple different people. Or even sunrises, during the winter months when the sun is just rising, I’ll be walking into school and my friends will turn to me and say did you see the sky, and I’m like duhh yes as if they don’t know me.
When I think of these things; sunsets and sunrises I just think Wow. How intricate each of them are. How different and unique they are to the one the evening before or the morning before. It amazes me beyond measure (and you probably know that if you’re with me when a vibrant sunset catches my eye- I freak out a little bit- I apologise for that).
Let’s get real here right now. This universe was created by HIM. This galaxy was created by HIM. This world was created by HIM. Therefore, these sunsets and these sunrises are HIS art. HIS masterpiece. HIS handiwork and we all know they’re beautiful- beyond beautiful. God makes incredible things. Beautiful things. You know what else He created? What else He dreamed up in his heart? And what he knitted together so beautifully and with so much love? take a wild guess…

YOU.

The one who created jaw-dropping sunsets, the one who created Space. He also created you. Can we just think about that for a while. I find it so astounding. That we are one of His many, many, many masterpieces.
Each of us are uniquely formed, with our different gifts and talents, with our different laughs, with the different ways we talk, and the different ways we interpret things. You are just as unique as the sunsets every night.
He calls you a masterpiece. He created you. you are His masterpiece and His pride and joy. (Ephesians 2:10)

I recently read a book called “Love does” by Bob Goff and in the book he mentions that he had bought a painting that was so expensive he had to save up for ages. He loved it so much, he hung it up in his home, with young kids running around wild- risky or what. And by no surprise it got damaged. Bob said that this didn’t change the love he had for the art, that it actually made him love it more, even with the dents.
I think that God loves you like that. No matter what you do, He still loves you and still forgives you.  No matter what. He loves His masterpiece as if He paid thousands for you. God made you so extraordinary and just one of a kind. He holds onto you dearly, protecting you and keeping you from harm. He loves you that much. You are still His masterpiece even with a few bumps and scrapes (or a lot). You are a beautiful because He created you.

Jeremiah 31:3

Love always, SSL team. xo

in the mess

Dear you,
The you who has had a rough week, the you who doesn’t have straight A’s, the you who scrolls through Instagram and Facebook first thing rather than flick through the pages of your bible, the you who spends too much money on that chai latte, the you who values your worth by the number of likes on your profile picture, the you who is messy.
Far too often, we define ourselves as these things. We value ourselves as how we’re feeling, our grades, what we do, we define ourselves as being messy. It’s hard to ignore the voice in your head telling you that you’re worthless and telling you that you’re not good enough and that your mess is too much for anyone else to handle.
Your mess is okay. Your mess is real but it doesn’t define you. Your mess is never too much for God. He loves you even with your mess. He loves you even when there’s 43 tabs open and you can’t figure out which ones playing the music, when chemistry notes are on the same page as health and social care notes, even when you fail that exam that you revised so hard for. He loves your mess, absolutely loves it. He can handle the mess and He wants you to hand it to Him and trust Him to take it.
God is always good. Even in your messiness. Even in your crappy days. He is always listening and always loving. I believe that God doesn’t always give us these challenges, but He will take us out of them eventually. Even if His answer is no at this very moment, He is still good and He is still working. Don’t give up. Keep asking. Keep believing.
Believe that God is the answer to your problems, He doesn’t promise to answer all of our mess, but know that He is the answer. Hear His whisper. He is asking you to Trust in Him. know that when the mess becomes messier, He is in the middle of it all, with you. cleaning up the mess, when you don’t even know where to begin in the mess.

lots of love, SSL xo