Have Mercy

Mercy is something that has long been a key element to living the Christian life. From the scripture we see that mercy, along with grace, were afforded us on the cross when Jesus gave His life for our sins.

We, however, have lost sight of what Christ did for us today. Too many times we neglect to offer the same to others when it comes to our own lives. Many of us are quick to judge others based on circumstances and situations, but are also quick to justify our own actions if facing the same judgement from others.

Why is it that we want to be offered mercy from others but have such a hard time granting the same? Truth is, if we look at the cross, we should all be willing to have mercy on each other. Christ cleared our debt mercifully on the cross, taking our place in so we could have eternal life.

John 3:16-17 tell us of this mercy in that Christ didn’t come to condemn but to save the world. Paul tells us of mercy and grace, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Ephesians 2:4, 5 KJV).

Another verse that tells us how we should be freely giving with our mercy is found in Luke:

“Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” (Luke 6:36 KJV)

So we see how God showed us mercy, and we also see that we are asked by Christ to also show mercy to others.

Today, I encourage you to exercise mercy to one another. Take the opportunity to look at controversy as a chance to exhibit the love and mercy that was shown to us on the cross. Let’s not be quick to judge, but quick to mercy, we may find that our merciful attitude is contagious.

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Cover Songs

In the Music Business I have noticed lately that there are a number of songs out there that have been redone recently by different groups.  Some have a good quality to them, but we all know that it is hard to replace the original.

What I have realized in thinking about this is that there are many different versions of  the same song, but the original always seems to be the best copy because it has the artist’s original intentions for the song.  The original is the purest form of the song, it always seems to be the best and most preferred version for the listener…especially the listener that loves music.

That being said, there are often good cover songs out there, songs that remain pure to the artist intentions, and sometimes you will find a version that compares very closely to the original, but again, there is just something to be said about the original.

In thinking about this, however, I also realized that there is a preference for some to the first version of the song that they heard.  If a younger generation hears a song by a new artist that is a cover, but have never heard the original, sometimes they tend to prefer the version that they heard first.  Many times it tends to be the first version that is heard that becomes the one that is hard to overcome when hearing other versions….this leads me into a discussion that takes place within the church.

There are many versions of the scripture that have taken hold within the church today, and honestly, I understand the debate…but let me ask this question: Is the Word leading them to the One, True God?  This is not a debate about which scripture to use…in fact, what I want to discuss is that we are to be examples of Christ to the world…in essence, we are his cover song.

Is your life echoing the original, or have you messed with the tune and tried to make what was perfect better? Are you living a life that resembles Christ or are you trying to become a different version of Christ? There was only one version of Christ, and that version came to this earth and lived a perfect life, put it all behind him and endured a cross that was intended for you and I…and we are simply asked to live a life that resembles Him to the world.

Since we are the cover of the original, we may look and sound similar, but we are not the original…rather than trying to improve on the original, I would challenge you to try to look and sound as close to the original as you can, so that others can see the truth about who He is. The fact remains that the original was the purest form of what we are to be in this life we have on earth, and there is not a single one of us that can do it better than Him…so stop trying to form your own version of the Gospel, and live out the life that resembles the original artist. The Original was Jesus Christ Himself…do others see Christ at work in you? Or do they see you working to try and improve on Christ?

Just a thought.

Death at the Door

Death is one thing that I’ve been faced with a lot lately…in reality, we have all faced it in one way or another.  In fact, we have heard the statement that, “Life is tough, no one gets out alive.”

This has been a thought that I have considered over the past few days and have begun to really think through some parts of it…and I honestly do not agree with the statement like I used to.  What I have realized is that we have been promised something that we have forgotten, that is that we have been promised is that life will not end for us when we are centered in Christ.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, we find a promise that we can rest assured in…this is where I have found my comfort recently in these difficult times we face…that is that when someone close to us passes away, we are forced to deal with the reality of death….we are forced to face our own mortality at times…we are forced to take inventory of our own lives and realize what might happen should we also pass on…are we ready to take that final step to LIFE?

The scripture reads: “13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout , with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words. (NASB)”

We have a promise of a life to come…so that leads me to know, through faith in Christ, that death is not the end of life, but the beginning…death is simply our entering the door to the eternal promise that Christ has prepared us a place and we go there to be with Him…we enter into LIFE.  This tells me that if you are in Christ, not only do you get out Alive, but better than ever….you achieve what you live your life to achieve.  You reach your final goal…a LIFE with Christ Himself for eternity.

I believe it is high time for us to stop thinking that death is the end all, be all for those who are in Christ…but we must also realize that if we are not in Christ then we will find that death is the end of our opportunity to know Christ as He desires to be known…

Do you know Christ? Do you have a personal relationship? If the answer to either of these questions is no…I urge you today to find a relationship with the one who died for you on a cross…a death to defeat death and offer life…a death that offered salvation…a death that leaves us with this statement about our lives…

“For me to live is Christ…and to die is gain!” Galatians 2:20

The Savior wants to know you today…do you want to know Him?

“I Just Don’t Get it…Why Lord?”

“Why do bad things happen to good people?”

“Why did this person have to die?”

There are many questions that we sometimes ask; especially in times when we thought things should have been different.  We just don’t understand why things happen the way that they do in this life…that being said, we must look to the scripture for answers.

One of the best examples that we can find is the story of Job.  Job was a man who served God…he was a man that caught the devil’s attention and one that Satan wanted to cause to fall away.  Let me start by reminding you, if Satan is challenging your faith, you need to stay strong, you wouldn’t be on his radar if you were already living a life for him.

So why do bad things happen to God’s people?  Because Satan wants to try and make anything happen that will cause us to question our faith.  He took away Job’s family, his home, and all his belongings, but Job stayed strong through the testing and fire.  Are you staying strong in your trials today?  Scripture tells us in James 1:2-4:

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

The testing that comes from Satan will produce a sturdy faith that will stand firm no matter what storm we face if we will keep our focus on God.  Job stood firm, chose to continue following God, and when he became weak and questioned God, we see that God answered him, reminding him of who He (God) is and when all was said and done, Job was doubly blessed by the trial he faced.

Remember:

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:26-28

God will help you through, don’t let these trials tear you down, but let them become a blessing; both for you and for someone else.

Be All You Can Be

One of the most well-known advertising slogans that I can think of is the slogan that the US Army used for years, from 1980 to 2001, and I feel is one we can apply to our lives as Christians. Slogans are easy ways to get a message across and make sure that others get your message out.

As Christians, I feel that we can embrace this mentality when it comes to walking with Christ and becoming what He calls us to be. I urge you to take a close look at your life and examine if you are being all you can be when it comes to serving the Lord, sharing the Gospel, and making disciples. If not, let me offer a solution so that we are not AWOL (absent, without leave) when it comes to spiritual matters.

In order for us to embrace this mentality we must realize that our lives are not about us. We have to be aware of our responsibility to deny our own desires, take up the cross, and follow Christ. If we fail to do so we will find ourselves struggling to make sense of it all, we will find out that only through complete sacrifice can we fully embrace who we are called to be in Christ.

Becoming all we can be takes acknowledgement that we are not in control of our lives. It takes sacrifice on our part. It takes our realization that we are children of God, created to serve Him with lives of complete surrender, fully devoted to the plan that God lays out for us in His word.

Romans 12:1-3 gives us insight to this type of lifestyle:

“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.” (Romans 12:1-3 KJV)

This life is a life full of blessings and rewards, if only we will embrace it in full assurance of the faith, knowing that God’s promises ring true throughout our lives and generations. The truth is that we serve the same God that created Adam and Eve, saved Noah and his family from the flood, and thought enough of His children to give up all the glory and splendor of heaven to become man, walk this earth, and died on a cross for the sins of each one.

If God thought that highly of you, is it too much to ask that we give up everything for Him? The truth is, it is the only way we will ever get to where we can be everything we were created to be. Part of fully embracing our potential is denying our carnal desires, our worldly tendencies, and devoting our lives to the One that gave us life and desires to live in us.

Examine your heart today and make sure that not only are you making room for God, but that you are allowing Him to work through the Holy Spirit to make you all you can be. Becoming all you can be begins with letting go of all you think you are and taking hold of all God has intended for you. Take hold of His promise today!

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord , thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV)

What Makes a Father?

I know that many reading this either knew my dad, Jim Greene, or knew of him.  One of the most amazing and unique things that I can remember about my dad was how well he was known just simply by his voice.  We could not go anywhere it seemed where he didn’t know someone or wasn’t recognized, mostly by his voice.

We could go into a restaurant and someone would hear him talk and come over and introduce themselves.  It is with this in mind that I want to thank everyone for being a part of his life.  He loved Avery County and the residents of the County.  This was his home.  I knew what Avery County meant to dad, and when he went on to his Heavenly home, we found out what Jim Greene meant to Avery County.

One of the most important things that my dad taught me during his time here is that a personal relationship with Jesus Christ is key to a happy life.  This is a lesson that I feel needs to be shared, because a good father will make sure that his children know who Jesus is and what He did on that cross for their sins.

I would encourage each of you out there who are fathers to take heart and make a vow to raise your children in a good, Christian home, showing them right from wrong, showing them what a good prayer life looks like, and live what you claim to live.

One of the major factors in my dad’s example to me comes in seeing that not only did he preach the Word on Sunday mornings as the Pastor at Minneapolis Christian Church, he lived the life 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  My dad knew that worship was a lifestyle, and he made sure that we knew it as well.  My dad lived the example at home, behind closed doors, away from the public eye, just as much as he professed it each day on Glory1130.

The greatest legacy that he left with me is the knowledge of Jesus Christ, something I hope to pass on as I grow older.  I will make it a point to pass it along to my children when I have them, if the Lord wills.  I want to continue the legacy of showing Christ to others, just as my dad did.

I would encourage each of you who are fathers to do the same.  Do not let another day go by without coming to know Christ for yourself, and then, pass it along to your children so that they can know the saving grace of God that came through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

The best thing that a father can do is give his life to his Heavenly Father, and raise his kids in a home that glorifies God daily.

“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

What Would You Do

I think one of the funniest commercials I have seen has to be the older Klondike ice cream commercials that asks the question of: “What would you do for a Klondike bar?”

But that has gotten me thinking this week about that question…only in a different light.

I have started thinking about the question of, “What would you do for Jesus?”

I think that is a question that many of us need to ask ourselves when it comes to our walk as Christians. Too many times we seem to want to ask the question of what would Jesus do for me? That question has already been answered by looking at Scripture and realizing that Jesus died for your sins as he did all who will trust and believe.

Get involved in the church and seize each chance you get to share the Gospel with someone so that they can come to know the hope that you have that can only come through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and getting to know who it is that saved you from the sinful nature that can dominate your life.

Today we have to make sure that we are not to eager to be what this world wants us to be. We have to be on our guard for the ways of the world and allow the Lord to do his work in us.

Open the Word and let the Lord tell you what He wants for you today. He is always speaking to us through His Word but it is up to us to make sure that we are looking for it. Pray today that God will reveal something to you each time you read and put your full trust in Him.

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” (Psalm 37:3-5 ESV)