Love Full Strength

The bible teaches that those who have been forgiven much will love much.1  Stephan loves much. 2  I struggle to understood how Stephan could forgive while being hit with rocks that were intended to kill him.3  Of course, I knew it was possible with God. 4 5

Revelation:  We are the temple of God. 6  When we sin, we assault the temple of God.  When someone sins against us, they assault the temple of God.  Perhaps Stephen had and internal dialogue with God that went something like this:

James Tissot [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The Chaldees Destroy the Brazen Sea, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot

“Lord, they are attacking your temple, the very same temple that I have assaulted many times, please forgive them just like you forgave me.”7  8 

My prayer:  Lord, help me to love you with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and ALL OF MY STRENGTH,9 so that, like Stephen, using all my strength to love you, I haven’t the strength to pick up a rock.10

 

 

My People

Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.11

 

The NIV uses the word “Backsliding” whereas the AV states that God will save us from our “dwelling places”.

Backsliding –the opposite of repentance; they are diametrically opposed to one another!  One is turning away from God toward evil and the other is turning away from evil toward God.

Dwelling place –where I live, my habitation, the seat, my resting place.  Does what ever I look to for comfort, identify my resting place?

Is my resting place God?  Is he my comforter, or am I still looking to sin for comfort?

Surely I need to be delivered from the dwelling place that produces backsliding!

And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.2

 

Do the things that humble us harm us?3  4  Don’t the choices we make dictate the life we live?5

My Prayer: God, please save me out of my dwelling place where I have sinned.  In faith, I apply the blood of Jesus, cleanse me; I want you to be my God and I want to be counted with your people.  Please continue to refine me and conform me to your image.6Amen.

Forgiveness, Mercy and Grace – 2

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Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
7

Hold fast… Don’t give up!  Jacob wouldn’t let go because he desperately needed a blessing.2

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.3

Jesus has empathy and compassion for our struggles, he knows our feelings just as his own.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.4

Expository:  Let us, without concealment (open confession), draw near to the seat of grace (the mercy seat where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us) that we may (with empty hands) lay hold of mercy (the kindness and goodwill towards the miserable and afflicted, joined with a desire to help them) and find grace (the merciful kindness by which God, exerting His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues) to help in time of need.

Consider: “come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy” Whom ever needs mercy should come boldly –does that not seem the opposite of what we naturally do?5  6

Further Consideration: Look at the order: we are encouraged to come boldly before we obtain mercy and find grace.  If I am waiting for mercy and grace before entering into the presence of God, have I not believed a lie, a grand lie of the enemy?  Who else would want to prevent me from getting what I so desperately need except the enemy of my soul?  Shall I not go immediately, especially if I love my sin and can’t help myself?  Where does hatred for sin come from, if not God?

If we deserved mercy, would we even need it?  We are instructed to come boldly to the God of mercy because we desperately NEED His mercy and grace!  Doesn’t the blood of Jesus qualify us to receive the mercy and grace of God?

If we confess our sins (agree with God), he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.7

We must be diligent and continue to come boldly to the throne of grace;  ignoring the lies that somehow we have to be worthy, to receive mercy and grace.  How bold is someone who is starving, will they not pursue food at all costs?8  Mercy and grace are gifts that God desires us to receive.  Confession is where the hatred of sin begins, shall we not confess our sins even if we continue to commit them over and over?9

The enemy uses lies about us to drain our will to fight for what has been given us.  If the enemy’s accusations are true we have only to apply the blood of Christ to effectively turn them into a blessing.  We apply the blood of Christ through confession.10  11