Tag Archives: Mercy

God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t!

30 Aug

(This is a re-print from May of last year).

Ruth didn’t know the God of Abraham or that she needed Him. God was working on other situations in the background that would eventually involve Ruth. She was completely unaware that God even existed and certainly didn’t know of God’s plans for her future. She was born into a pagan family, raised to worship idols. Ruth was doomed to a life headed for eternal destruction – unknown to her. A man named Elimelech came into Ruth’s life, by God’s providential will.

Elimelech lived in the promised land of God. A drought caused him to mortgage his land, leave his kinsmen, his friends and his country and move with his wife, Naomi and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. He was trying to provide for and protect them, but shortly after Elimelech moved his family to Moab he died, leaving Naomi and her sons alone in a strange land.

Naomi should have taken her sons and gone back to their homeland at that time. Instead she stayed in Moab and eventually her sons disobeyed God’s commands and married pagan women named Ruth and Orpah, who served idols. After only a few years of marriage, both young men died, leaving their mother, Naomi, and their heathen wives, Ruth and Orpah alone.

Naomi had lost everything except her two daughters-in-law. Since she had nothing left and did not know what difficulties she might face when she returned to her homeland of Judah, she prepared to leave Moab. Naomi called Ruth and Orpah to her side and encouraged them to return to their families. She was trying to protect the young women, but neither of them wanted to leave her. It was evident that Naomi was very loving and kind and that Ruth and Orpah must have experienced and learned of the love of God through her and through their husbands.

It’s hard to imagine a daughter-in-law loving her mother-in-law so much that she would be willing to leave all she knew, including her own mother and other family members. Ruth was so drawn by God’s love through Naomi that she hungered for more. She knew that she would not find that same love from her people.

This is a beautiful portrayal about how the love of God draws men to Himself. The love of Jesus shines through God’s children and draws others to Him. Their hearts begin to yearn for Him. They want to give up everything else to follow Him.

Ruth had experienced a taste of God’s love through Naomi and did not want to go back to her old life. On the other hand, Orpah had the same opportunity. She loved Naomi. She struggled with letting go, but Orpah wasn’t willing to give up her old life or leave her idols and the sinful ways of her people. She could not let go. Her flesh had a strong hold on her.

We can identify with Orpah. She was not unlike us. She loved her family – Moab was all she knew. It was comfortable to Orpah. It was familiar. Although she was torn in her decision, she was unable to let go of her past. She couldn’t step into the unknown. Orpah made a wrong choice. It was a choice that more than likely condemned her. But the choice was hers. We can identify with why she did it. We face hard decisions every day. Will we go with God or go back to what is comfortable?

Letting go of all we are familiar with – stepping into the unknown – that is what faith is.

• Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV

This story is continued – Check back in a few days to see what God had in store for Ruth. Remember, she doesn’t yet know God – she doesn’t know she is actually right in the middle of His will for her life.

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Spirit or Flesh?

30 Jul

SPIRITUAL GIFTS (11)

Characteristics of the gift of MERCY (Part 3)

There are seven Spiritual Gifts mentioned in Romans:

Rom 12:3-8

4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV

We are all misunderstood at times. Many times it is our motive that people don’t understand. Each Motivational Gift carries with it some characteristics that can be misunderstood. As we continue through this series you may recognize a particular Spiritual Gift just by the characteristics of an individual. And, hopefully, you will gain a better understanding of why people act and react the way they do about some things.  The person with the Gift of Mercy will more than likely show some of the following signs in their personality:
  • The avoidance of firmness may appear to be weakness and indecisiveness
  • The sensitivity to the spirit and feelings of others may cause some to feel they are guided by emotions rather than logic
  • The attraction and understanding of those in distress may be misinterpreted by those of the opposite sex
  • The sensitivity to words and actions which cause hurts may appear to be taking up another’s offense
  • The ability to detect insincere motives may cause some to feel they are hard to get to know

There is so much harshness in the world today. People are getting bolder in their actions, their attitudes and in their basic manners. We see more impolite and discourteous people who are offensive, vulgar, and just plain disrespectful.

The person that God has gifted with the Gift of Mercy is used to show God’s love to everyone – yes, everyone! Keep in mind that we are all still in training so God will teach us what He wants us to know as we walk with Him and yield in obedience to His ways. Even though God implants a gift in us doesn’t mean that we are fueled and ready to go! We may be a little rough around the edges but these characteristics will begin to shine as we mature in the ways of God.

We are told not to judge our Christian brothers and sisters. So, we need to be very careful when we “size up” anyone. We should learn how to prevent ourselves from assuming why someone does what they do. We tend to judge others on our own personal strengths instead of seeing their strengths. Thank goodness everyone is not the same. If we don’t get along with others it is many times because they won’t do things our way.

We should be thankful for those around us who will show us kindness when no one else will, or for someone who will go out of their way to make us feel comfortable. Obviously, those traits will be recognizable in many. But, the Mercy oriented person will go far beyond what others do. They may even appear weak or undecided. They are masters at showing acceptance and love to others and if our own personality is one where mercy isn’t a strong point then we are probably not going to agree with the way a Mercy motivated person handles a situation. For instance, if our own gift is Prophecy, then we will be more concerned that a person “learn a lesson” from a mistake rather than to reach out and comfort them as would the gift of Mercy.

Sometimes, when we see a Merciful person being kind to someone we don’t like we may not like it at all. We may feel jealous or threatened or even angry. Just realize that if this happens – we are looking at it from our own Motivational Gift. We must realize that they are doing what  God wants them to do. He wants them to show His mercy where others won’t, or can’t.

Following are some of the differences that will be seen when a person with the Gift of Mercy isn’t walking in the Spirit but in the weakness of their flesh. These will be areas that they are still learning about.

When they are walking in the Spirit vs. walking in the Flesh:

SPIRIT – They are attentive – courteous, devoted (Know what is happening in their environment)
FLESH– They are unconcerned – apathetic (They could care less if anyone is hurting or not)
SPIRIT – They are sensitive – having or showing keen sensibility; tender.(Hurt with those who are hurting and laugh with those who are laughing)
FLESH – They are callous – hardened – hardened in mind; unfeeling
SPIRIT– They are fair – just and honest.  They treat others with honor and show fairness…no partiality.
FLESH – The are partial – favoring one person more than another, biased
SPIRIT– They are compassionate – Show pity and deep sympathy for others.
FLESH – They are indifferent – uninterested, without concern, differ in opinion
SPIRIT – They are gentle – refined, polite, generous, kind, patient. (Move in slowly, meeting the need that is revealed by the Holy Spirit).
FLESH – They are harsh – rough, unfeeling, severe
SPIRIT – They show deference – A yielding in opinion; willing to submit or yield to someone else; respecting others.
FLESH – They are rude – uncivil, primitive
SPIRIT – They are meek – a spirit of humility. (A willingness to suffer or bear other people’s criticism, if necessary, to bring other people through).
FLESH – They are filled with anger – enraged, hostile Explode in a volcanic anger and you will think “What is happening to you?”

In addition to my own material I have included quotes from the following:

  • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
  • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
  • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
  • Biblesoft Libraries
  • Sandy Trice
  • David Francis

You May Have the Gift of Mercy If . . .

29 Jul

SPIRITUAL GIFTS (10)

Characteristics of the gift of MERCY (Part 2)

There are seven Spiritual Gifts mentioned in Romans:

Rom 12:3-8

4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV

  • They are able to sense genuine love – They can very quickly identify insincerity
  • They are vulnerable to deeper and more frequent hurts because of lack of love or rejection. John’s teachings and personal relationships illustrate that his primary focus was on love. He uses the word “love” more than any other disciple (Gospel of John; Epistles of John).
  • They seek deep friendships in which there is mutual commitment. John established a very close relationship with Christ and with Peter. He often refers to  himself as the disciple “whom Jesus loved.”
  • They tend to react harshly when intimate friends are rejected. John and James asked Christ if they should call down fire from heaven and consume the Samaritans who rejected Christ (Luke 9:54.
  • They are more concerned about mental joy or distress than physical concerns. John wrote to give his readers “joy” – “fellowship” – “hope” – “confidence” – and to cast out “fear” and “torment” (I John 1:3, 4; 3:2, 4:18; 5:13-14)
  • They attract people who are having mental and emotional stress.  John’s deep understanding, love, and acceptance made it easy to understand why others would confide in him as Christ did during the last supper (John 13:23-26). Meeting physical needs proves love (I John 3:17)
  • They measure acceptance by physical closeness and quality time together.
    John sought out the closest place to Christ: “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples (John 13:23). His need for closeness may have prompted his request to sit next to Christ in glory. (Mark 10:35-37)
  • They desire to remove the causes of hurts rather than look for benefits from them. John’s message was to get Christians to stop hating and hurting each other. (I John 3:11, 15)
  • They generally avoid decisions and firmness unless they will eliminate greater hurts. John was a follower until it came to denying Jesus; then was bold and decisive (Acts 4:13; 19-20)
  • They don’t keep score
  • They are attracted to outsiders – to show acceptance and kindness
  • They have lots of acquaintances and enjoy calling a lot of people friends
  • They empathize deeply with hurting people
  • They are compelled to provide some type of immediate aid to anyone who is hurting

In addition to what I have learned about Spiritual Gifts, I have also used material by the following:

  • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritual Gifts”
  • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
  • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
  • Biblesoft Libraries
  • Sandy Trice
  • David Francis

Characteristics of the Gift of Mercy

25 Jul

Spiritual Gifts (9)

  • Review:

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit.” 1 Cor. 12:4
“Now about spiritual gifts brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant.” 1 Cor. 12:4

The original Hebrew meaning of the word “Spirit” is –Breath – God’s Breath – Breathed into us

  • The fruit of the Spirit reflect God’s character – what a disciple is.
  • The gifts of the Spirit reflect God’s work – what a disciple does.
  • A spiritual gift is freely given by the grace of God.
  • It cannot be earned
  • It cannot be deserved
  • It cannot be received through prayer
The Discovery Process
  • You must trust the Holy Spirit to give good gifts and that what the Bible teaches about Spiritual Gifts is important
  • You must desire to know your gift
  • You must be willing to use your gift
  • You must be willing to pray that God will reveal your gift
  • Start observing gifted people

Hindrances to Discovering Your Spiritual Gift

  • Improper motives – self serving
  • The proper motive of gift use is to bring honor to God by edifying others.
  • Self-edification (building up oneself) should never be the primary motive of a Christian’s actions.
  • “You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasure.” (James 4:2,3)
Your Gifts Are to be Used in Ministry
  • Your gift is not a trophy to set on a shelf to admire or to remind you of past accomplishments.
  • It is a tool to be used throughout your lifetime.
  • You may use your gift in different ministries, with different age-groups, for different purposes.
  • Though these change, your gift stays the same.

There are seven Spiritual Gifts mentioned in Romans:

Rom 12:3-8

4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV

Let’s begin with the gift of MERCY.

  • They reach out with genuine love which uplifts, soothes and  heals those who are hurting
  • Even if words aren’t spoken, they can pick up on the feelings and attitudes of others.
  • Because they so project themselves into situations, they can easily be hurt
  • If they sense a lack of love, they will back off (because they can be deeply hurt)
  • They desire quality time together with others because they have an understanding of giving quality time
  • Because they are often drained emotionally and spiritually, they will need to refill their cup or recharge their battery
  • They need genuine closeness and genuine expressions of love
My next Post will continue with the characteristics of the gift of MERCY.
In addition to the knowledge God has given me on this subject I have also used material from the following:
  • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
  • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
  • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
  • Biblesoft Libraries
  • Sandy Trice
  • David Francis

What Do You Love To Do?

3 Jul

Discovering Our Spiritual Gifts (1)

Rom 12:3-8
4 Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we who are many form one body , and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. 7 If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; 8 if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully. NIV

I want to do a series on Spiritual Gifts. I believe that every Christian should know their Spiritual Gift. Knowing your gift will assist you in understanding why you do what you do. You will also better understand those close to you and what motivates them.

A Spiritual Gift is sort of like an assignment from God. It is an ability He give us. Some may describe it as a natural ability we possess. This gift from God motivates us to use our talents in a specific area.

As born-again Christians we have been commissioned by God to go into all the world with the Good News. Hold on – this isn’t just for Pastors, Music Leaders, Sunday School Teachers and other Church Leaders. We all have a part to play. Remember that Jesus said we are all one body of which He is the head. God empowers us with the desire and the energy to accomplish His work with excitement, not dread. There is a difference between “good work” and “God work”.

The Spiritual (Motivational) gift God has given you makes you happy. You are the happiest when you are using this gift. You seem to have more energy in this particular area. You get excited at the thought of being involved in projects where your gift can be used. God has something for each of us to do for Him. He never intended for us to just sit and watch everybody else get things done.

As an example, let’s take a look at how many workers are needed for any event. A successful event cannot be accomplished by only one person. There are a number of gifted and talented people involved. Look at the list below to get an idea of some of the helpers needed in any event. This list covers only a few of the areas where those with differing gifts will be asked to help.

• The Origination of the event – A Banquet
• Establish a Committee to make decisions
• A Treasurer
• A Secretary
• A Venue
• A Caterer
• Decorations
• Tables & Chairs
• Table Linens
• Musicians
• Media Person
• Concessions
• T-Shirts
• Transportation
• Printer
• Speaker
• Entertainment

This will give you an idea of the teamwork required to create a successful event. Everyone has a particular area of interest they are responsible for. No one is more important than the other. It takes everyone doing their part to make it all happen successfully.

We can’t all be the leader. Each one of God’s children is gifted and their gift is as important as any other on the team. Consider a football team without a football; a concert without musicians; A play without actors.

God has distributed His gifts throughout the church to prepare us to do His work – so that we can help one another – so that we can build up one another.

Throughout this series we are going to examine this subject closely. God gave His children, you and me, ministry gifts, speaking gifts, gifts of faith, the desire and ability to serve, a hunger to speak to the world about Jesus (Evangelism), the ability to understand and explain God’s Word to others, the ability to lead, the heart of mercy to comfort those in pain, and exhortation to help people in setting goals.

These are only a few of God’s gifts to us. Stay with me and we will explore this subject in greater detail. I invite your comments and questions.

Boaz, The Son of a Harlot, Ruth, a Pagan – Brought Together by God and Became Part of the Lineage of Jesus Christ!

1 Jun

Continued . . .

How great is our God! He took ordinary people – sinners – saved them and turned their lives around and made them part of the lineage of Jesus Christ, our Saviour and King!

So, we find Ruth under the blanket, at the feet of a strange man. She did not sleep, she waited. It must have seemed a long time to Ruth. Finally, Boaz was startled and woke up! He asked who was there. Ruth replied, giving her name, and announcing she was his servant girl. She requested that he spread his cover over her. She told him she was a relative and reminded him that he was supposed to take care of her. The more we learn about Ruth, the braver she seems to get! Obedience certainly takes courage.

“Boaz was an older man, possibly a leader in the city. Naomi was certain that he would do the right thing and redeem her as was the custom of the day. If there was anything improper about this action, the fault must lie upon Naomi. . who knew or should know, the laws of Israel better than Ruth. It is true that Boaz, being near of kin to Naomi’s oldest son, and then nearest of all now alive, was obliged by the divine law to marry the widow of Mahlon, who was the eldest son of Elimelech, and was dead. Her coming to lie down at his feet, when he was asleep had such an appearance of evil. . . It is dangerous to bring the spark and tinder together; she (Naomi) knew Boaz to be not only an old man, but a grave sober man, a virtuous and religious man, and one that feared God.” (Bible Commentary)

Just imagine what God can do with one so dedicated and obedient. Here we are today, a couple of thousand years later, reading about a young woman born into a pagan land, submitting herself to one of God’s own and reaping such a mighty reward, here on this earth, in her lifetime – -God’s grace – His mercy – His blessing! Amazing!

Boaz blessed her! Wow! He realized Ruth was once again being obedient to Naomi by being there. He told Ruth he thought this was the greatest kindness that she had shown Naomi even from the beginning. Boaz was so intuitive. He told Ruth of his respect for her because she had not sought after a husband to marry, either rich or poor. Even more amazing, Boaz told Ruth he would do all she asked. He went so far as to tell her that all the people in their town knew she was a good woman. Then he then told Ruth that there was another kinsmen who was a closer relative than he. This meant there was a problem. Well, isn’t that the way life is?

This was an open door for doubt and unbelief to come in. We all face this in our daily lives. Many give up at this point and begin to murmur and complain. But, we can look back at how the path God had prepared for Ruth and know that He is still in control. His plan is still in operation. This is just a slight detour.

Boaz told Ruth not to be afraid. He told her of his plan to go to the other relative to see if he would take care of Ruth and if he refused, Boaz would do it. He then told her to stay there until morning. Ruth slept at his feet, not at his side, and got up just before daylight while it was still too dark for anyone to recognize her. “But as soon as the day broke, that she had light to go home by, she got away, before one could know another, that, if she were saying, yet she might not be known to be abroad soul unseasonably. She was not shy of being known to be a gleaner in the field, nor ashamed of that mark at her poverty. But she would not willingly be known to be a night walker, for her virtue was her greatest honor, and that what she most valued”. (Bible Commentary)

Ruth returned to her mother-in-law and told her what happened. Naomi advised Ruth to “wait”. She said that Boaz would not rest until he took care of the matter. And, as Naomi predicted, Boaz went to the city gate and waited there until the other close relative passed by. Boaz invited him to come and talk. He also gathered ten of the older leaders of the city as witnesses and told them about Naomi’s return to Bethlehem from Moab. He told the men that Naomi wanted to sell the piece of land that belonged to their relative, Elimelech. He offered the nearest relative the opportunity to buy the land and asked for an answer. The other relative said he would buy back the land. Goodness, another bump in the road of God’s plan. To be expected – right?

Boaz continued to explain that if he (the nearest relative) purchased the land from Naomi he must marry Ruth, the Moabite. That meant the land would stay in the name of Naomi’s son, which was customary in that day.

This changed everything! The close relative said he could not buy the land because it might interfere with what he could pass on to his own sons. So he told Boaz to buy it himself. Finally!

We all face bumps in the road as we wait upon God. Many times we give up – or take matters into our own hands. We live in a world where most things we want are instant, so waiting on God is not easy for any of us. But, the Scripture tells us that “Good things come to those who wait”.

So, Boaz declared to the older leaders that they were witnesses as to his purchasing from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and his two sons. He also announced that he was taking Ruth, the Moabite, as his wife so that her property would stay in his name and not be separated from his family. The older leaders testified to their witness of Boaz’s claim and blessed Boaz and Ruth.

So Boaz took Ruth as his wife. They had a son and Naomi was praised by the people of her town. They all gave credit to the faithfulness of Ruth, Naomi’s daughter-in-law, who loved her. The child’s name was given to him by the people of the town. They call him Obed. Obed became the father of Jesse and Jesse was the father of David from whom our Lord Jesus descended.

To make this story even more amazing, Boaz was the son of Rahab. Just think about it. Rahab was a harlot. God saved her and blessed her and she became a part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ. And Boaz, born to Rahab, a fine man of God married a Moabite woman, called “strange” in that day due to her heritage. Yet, God saved her and brought her together with Boaz. Together they brought forth a son and became a part of the lineage of Jesus Christ. “Ruth is hereby brought in among the ancestors of David and Christ, which was the greatest honor. The genealogy is here drawn from Pharez, through Boaz and Obed, to David, and so leads towards the Messiah, and therefore it is not an endless genealogy”. (Bible Commentary)

Only God – – -only God – – -could bring about such an amazing, miraculous plan. As we were promised in the beginning of this story, “all things worked together to those who loved God. . .”

This is not the end of Ruth’s story – it’s a new beginning!

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