Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Thoughts and Mercy

        As a blog writer, I often try to make my blogs somewhat personal.  Today's blog is about our thoughts and you can't get much more personal than that.  Our actions are often seen and speak loudly, good or bad, but our thoughts can be hidden and yet find a way out too.  The Bible warns us in Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard our hearts, for everything you do flows from it" and that is so true with our thoughts.  Sin begins with a thought and progresses into active form when we justify our wrong thoughts as okay and acceptable.
       "The mind is the control tower of life. Your thoughts greatly influence not only your successes, failures, and choices but also your relationship with the Lord and others. Godliness comes from thinking the way God does.  Yet there are several problems that can negatively impact your thought life. One of the most persistent is the influence of your past. When you were saved, God gave you a new spirit and a new life. However, in letting you start over, He did not blot the past from your mind. The Father wants you to be able to draw from your good and bad experiences when ministering to others. He also wants you to appreciate His grace and knows it is important for you to remember what He rescued you from." [intouch.org]
        As for myself, the past few months after my fall, I have struggled with my thoughts.  I had so much time where I was alone and at rest with just my thoughts.  I was tempted by my medicine and circumstances into thoughts of anger, pity, depression, and anxiety.  That's when the rubber meets the road and my beliefs and convictions were tried and tested.  Philippians 4:7  "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."  Psalm 119:87  "They almost wiped me from the earth, but I have not forsaken your precepts."  I don't know where the following quote is from, but it is so true.  "God is working even while you are waiting. Think of this time of waiting as a process that will eventually culminate in a victory. In the meantime, remain faithful and know that God is there with you, preparing you for the battles, goals and victories to come. "   My waiting has been full of impatience, struggles and fear but it has led to trust, milestones, and witnessing the power and love of God for me.
       I want to praise God not only for the grace He has shown me, but also to be a reflection of His mercy to others.  Mercy is not my strong suit or spiritual gift so I want to share a list of ways to be merciful from my devotional by Rick Warren.  I need this list reminder myself and this is my best place to archive it. 

So, how will you be merciful?  [Rick Warren...Living in the Goodness of God]
  • Be patient with people’s quirks. What person in your life has irritating quirks? How can you practice patience with that person this week?
  • Help anyone around you who is hurting. See who around you is obviously hurting—and then look for a way you can help this week. If you can’t find anybody, then you’re not paying attention. Look closer!
  • Give people a second chance. Who in your life needs a second chance? How can you show that person mercy and compassion this week?
  • Do good to those who hurt you. Maybe you’re suffering from an old wound that you have not been able to let go of. Choose to forgive and then turn it around for good. Who is that person in your life? Will you make a phone call or a visit this week?
  • Be kind to those who offend you. Who offends you? Maybe it’s a politician or a comedian that you can pray for. Maybe it’s a Facebook friend who has different views and says some pretty offensive things. How can you be intentional about showing kindness to that person this week?
  • Build bridges of love to the unpopular. What person first comes to mind when you think of an outcast? Who spends their lunch breaks eating alone or doesn’t seem to have any friends at soccer games? What specific thing will you do this week to bridge the gap between you and that person with love?
     *  Value relationships over rules. 

“God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy” (Matthew 5:7 NLT)