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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

How can I be good?

At 2:11 of this video there is a perfect picture of the mercy of God.

This is my teaching on mercy and how contemplating the mercy of God can be used to transform us into His image.

How can I be good?

The enemy of your soul only has two battle plans.
1.Blind you to who God is.
    2. And blind you to who you are. Ann Voskamp

We sin. We fall. We disappoint God and ourselves. We want hope. We want to know that we can improve. That His power to change us is real and that there is a way to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Tonight's the night! We will focus on one aspect of who God is, a God of mercy, and one aspect of who we are, beloved objects of that mercy.

Hopefully you will leave here with two things, my little magnet to put somewhere to remind you of this lesson and a truer, deeper, understanding of the mercy of God.

Going to briefly cover the wrong way and then spend the rest of the time on the right way.

We cannot will our way out of sin. Nor can we be shamed or terrified out of it. In fact, shame only injures our hearts and further hinders us from holiness even more; for when we feel filthy we live filthy. The only way that we can resist sin and embrace purity in any persistent way is by finding something that is more satisfying  than sin and resolving to obtain it.
Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that humanity’s sin problem isn’t the product of our ravenous hunger for pleasure; a hunger that we cannot repent of; nor should we. The Biblical call to holiness is the call to seek and drink deeply of the pleasures (Ps. 16:11) of experiencing the fascinating depths of God (2 Cor. 2:9-11).
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26) To sum up the wrong way, “I must try harder to not do...”

Romans 11:30-32 30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. (stop and consider)

So...Let's start at the very beginning...

Genesis 2:25 Exposed, unguarded, visible, without fear, without anxiety, without guilt or condemnation.
Genesis 3:7 Make a covering --- shame 3:8 Hid themselves --- fear 3:10 – Afraid, specifically of God and His punishment 3:12,13 Blaming --- pride.
God's goal is the “restoration of all things” Acts 3:21. Part of that “all things” is the relationship of God to man that was lost in the fall.
What is the path leading to that restoration?
Genesis 30:31-43 - What they looked at they became.
In Exodus 33:18,19 God reveals His glory to Moses. His revelation is, My graciousness and compassion, My giving of mercy to you, is My glory. When we cry out for and seek His mercy we are giving Him glory, because mercy is summed up in the statement. “We can't, You can!”
A revelation of the heart of God.
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like You,Pardoning iniquity
And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever,
Because He delights in mercy. (NKJV)
What do you delight in? What brings a smile to your face just thinking about it and great joy to you when you actually get a chance to do it?
That is how God feels about showing mercy to us.
God's heart --- I don't just enjoy you when you reach maturity, My enjoyment of you takes you to maturity. I love to show mercy. I love that you are dependent on Me for mercy.
God delivered me, because He delighted in me. Psalm 18:19
Remember our visual picture of mercy. We are right with God totally because of what Jesus did on the cross, not what we do. (That is a deep truth that has to be revealed to us by God.)
Nehemiah 8:9,10 The Joy of the Lord is in making us aware of our total NEED of Him, and then making us aware of His TOTAL willingness to meet that need.
Isaiah 54:4-10 A reverse of the curse of the fall.
“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame;
And do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced;
But you will forget the shame of your youth,
And the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
“For your husband is your Maker,
Whose name is the 
Lord of hosts;
And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel,
Who is called the God of all the earth.
“For the Lord has called you,
Like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit,
Even like a wife of 
one’s youth when she is rejected,”
Says your God.
“For a brief moment I forsook you,
But with great compassion I will gather you.
“In an outburst of anger
I hid My face from you for a moment,
But with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,”
Says the 
Lord your Redeemer.
“For this is like the days of Noah to Me,
When I swore that the waters of Noah
Would not flood the earth again;
So I have sworn that I will not be angry with you
Nor will I rebuke you.
10 “For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake,
But My lovingkindness will not be removed from you,
And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,”
Says the 
Lord who has compassion on you.

The path to transformation.

2 Cor. 3:18  “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

What we behold we become. The Holy Spirit's vocation is to transform you into what you see, what you focus on. Look on the cross, focus on His mercy, delight in His compassion. He delights in you. You are His delight.
Isaiah 62:4  You [Judah] shall no more be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land be called Desolate any more. But you shall be called Hephzibah [My delight is in her], and your land be called Beulah [married]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married [owned and protected by the Lord]. (Amp)

Discipline is the other side of discipleship. Discipleship without discipline is like waiting to run in the marathon without ever practicing. Discipline without discipleship is like always practicing for the marathon but never participating. It is important, however, to realize that discipline in the spiritual life is not the same as discipline in sports. Discipline in sports is the concentrated effort to master the body so that it can obey the mind better. Discipline in the spiritual life is the concentrated effort to create the space and time where God can become our master and where we can respond freely to God's guidance.
Thus, discipline is the creation of boundaries that keep time and space open for God.” Henri Nowen

One last thought, God treats weak, immature faith totally different from how He treats rebellion and a hardened heart. And the only difference is one throws himself on the mercy of God and one relies on his own strength. Examples Peter vs. Judas, David vs. Saul

Where there is no sin, God has no wrath. Run to Him, confess your sin and experience His joy at showing you mercy!

(Much gratitude to great teachers, Art Katz, Dalton Thomas, and Reggie Kelly.)

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