Our God is Gracious!

God is Gracious!Gracious

The Lord is gracious and compassionateslow to anger and great in faithful love.” Psalm 145:8 HCSB

The Hebrew for gracious in this verse is channun” and used to describe the Lord alone. More often than not it is paired with compassion which we studied a few days ago. God is the only One who can show true compassion and grace to His people.

Another Hebrew word coming from the same root word as “channun” is chanan” which, when used in reference to God, speaks about Him granting redemption and deliverance from our enemies and from our sins.

Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you.” Isaiah 30:18 NASB

In his book “Bible Doctrine” Wayne Grudem simply defines grace as

“God’s goodness toward those who deserve only punishment.” 

The beauty is it is part of God’s character to be gracious and because He is unchanging {James 1:17} His grace is always available. God’s grace is not dependent on what we have done or who we are. It is not ranked by our position at work or in church. His grace is not given in greater amounts to those who are involved in 10 ministries, over those struggling just to make it through the doors of church. His grace comes from a place of His love and compassion for His children.

God’s gracious character ultimately caused Him to send His Son to give us what we do not deserve … salvation and deliverance from our sins. He longs so much to be gracious and compassionate toward us, that He offered up His own Son to take the penalty for all of our sins so that we can have eternal life with Him in Heaven.

I love this description of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ found in the HELPS word study:

“is preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is ‘always leaning toward them’).”

We have redemption in Him through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace that He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.” Ephesians 1:7-8 HCSB

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 HCSB

God, through His Son Jesus, showers His grace upon us every day by giving us deliverance from the consequences of our sins. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s grace as it is a gift! Because of His love and compassion toward His children, He freely lavishes us with grace…His goodness…when we deserve nothing but punishment.

So often I hear people use the expression “it is only by the grace of God I…”. That sentence can be finished in so many ways very personal to each one of us but the truth remains…yes…it is only by the grace…goodness…compassion…love of God that we are….

I am sure you all have a story to tell and I would love to hear how the grace of God has delivered you. I became a Christian at the age of 13 by recognizing my need for Jesus to be my Savior, but I did not make Him Lord of my life…I let the world take care of that. God graced me through my late teens and early twenties. He graced me through situations my sinful nature found me inHe graced me back into the company of Christian friends and eventually to realizing I needed to make Him Lord and walk away from my past. It is by His grace I survived those years and live now to serve Him.

Let’s Get Real!

How has the grace of the Lord been evident in your life?
Remember, we are made to reflect the characteristics of God … who can you extend grace to today?
What other characteristics of God can you think of beginning with G?

{This is part of the #Write31Days #AtoZofGodsCharacter study and you can find all the posts here}

He is a Faithful Forgiving God!

FaithfulGod is FAITHFUL!

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” 2 Timothy 2:13 NASB

The Greek word here for faithful is pistosand means trustworthy and believing. The faithfulness of God denotes a loyalty. He is true, sure, and loyal to His Word.

2 Timothy 2:13 means that when we refuse to believe and trust in the Lord, and fail to put our faith in Him … He maintains His position as our Faithful, Trustworthy God because He is not able to be false and uncharacteristic to who He is!

Even when I cannot understand circumstances in my life … God is faithful and I can trust that His ways and thoughts are far superior to my own! Isaiah 55:9

When I feel like He has abandoned me … He is faithful to His promise to protect me from all evil. {Psalm 121:7}

When I doubt my life has purpose … I can believe in my Faithful God who created me with a purpose and plan in mind!

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 NASB

So whatever you are doubting or not believing God for today take comfort in the truth that He remains faithful to His call over your life and turn back to His promises knowing that He is unable to deny them!

God will remain faithful, true, loyal, and trustworthy to His call over your life!

God is FORGIVING!Forgiving

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 HCSB

Forgiveness: release, let go, lay aside — God releases us from our sins and lays them aside. They are no longer attached to us. We are freed from the penalty of our sin when we are forgiven by our Father God!

One of my favorite illustrations of a father’s forgiveness in Scripture is Jesus’ parable of The Prodigal Son {Luke 15:11-31}.

The son took his inheritance, half of his father’s estate, and ran away. Having squandered it, he found himself in a pit … with pigs! I love how the HCSB describes his turning point: “When he came to his senses…” v 17. The son went home willing to be a servant in his father’s household as he believed he was unworthy of being called his son.

How I can relate to the prodigal son. I believed my sin was beyond forgiveness and I was unworthy of acceptance and redemption. These next verses describe the forgiveness our Father God extends to us:

“But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him…“But the father told his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate.” v 20, 22-24

The forgiveness of the Father looks beyond our past decisions and deserved consequences!

When we turn to our Father God He is overcome with love and compassion and rejoices over us coming to our senses and running home into His arms!

Forgiveness

He is faithful to His promise to forgive!

Jesus reflected the forgiveness of His Father and demonstrated His authority as the Son while He was dying on the cross. Speaking of the very people punishing and crucifying Him, He said: “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34 HCSB

{This is part of the #Write31Days #AtoZofGodsCharacter study and you can find all the posts here}

Let’s Get Real!

Have you doubted the faithfulness of God through your thoughts or attitude?
Admit your doubt to Him right now! Come to Him believing in His faithfulness over His plan for your life.
Have you experienced the true forgiveness our Father God extends to us with open arms? Please reach out and send me a message if you have not and would like to learn more.
What other characteristics of God can you think of beginning with F?

God is Eternal…Everlasting!

Eternal

God is ETERNAL…EVERLASTING!

“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Timothy 1:17 HCSB

God is eternal. He is ageless and forever. He was and is and is to come {Revelation 1:8}. He is alpha and omega!


EverlastingBefore the mountains were born 
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” Psalm 90:2 NASB

The Hebrew for Everlasting means quite simply forever, continually existing. I will admit I have used this word in extremes … it didn’t really feel like it took forever to hear back about that job, or those test results, or the server to bring our meal.

Comparative to the eternality of God … our lives are a mere blip on the radar!

Comparative to our eternity in Heaven … our struggles are a mere blip on the radar.

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison” 2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB

Everlasting in terms of God’s nature and words means exactly that — never-ending, forever, without end, eternal. So when we read about His “everlasting covenant” with His people we can take Him at His Word! He is not being extreme — He is being real! There is also no end to the awesomeness of His nature and characteristics!

“When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:16 NASB

Eternity

Let’s Get Real!

Are you like me — have you used “forever” to describe momentary blips?! I challenge you as I challenge myself to stop being extreme and be real!
How does it comfort you knowing that God’s promises to us are everlasting?
What other characteristics of God can you think of beginning with E?

{This is part of the #Write31Days #AtoZofGodsCharacter study and you can find all the posts here}

Linking up with:

Kelly Balarie and #RaRaLinkup

Crystal Storms and #IntentionalTuesday

A Compassionate Creator God!

God is COMPASSIONATE!Compassionate

Merriam Webster defines “Compassion” as:

sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it

Compassion is the desire to come to the rescue. It is the desire to bring relief.

Exodus 34:6 shows God’s compassion is rooted in love:

“The Lord passed by before him and proclaimed: “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness” Exodus 34:6 NET

Many times in the Old Testament compassion is is paired with forgiveness and grace.

I had so much fun looking up the original Hebrew for compassion!

Strongs 7349 ~ “rachum” is always used of God and speaks to Him being compassionate and merciful

They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; And You did not forsake them.” Nehemiah 9:17 NASB

Strongs 7356“racham” again speaks of God’s compassion and mercy

“Nothing set apart for destruction is to remain in your hand, so that the Lord will turn from His burning anger and grant you mercy, show you compassion, and multiply you as He swore to your fathers.” Deuteronomy 13:17 HCSB

Strongs 7355 ~ “racham” tells of God’s compassion founded in love

“But the Lord was gracious to them and had compassion on them and turned to them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them or cast them from His presence until now.” 2 Kings 13:23 NASB

“‘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.” Isaiah 54:10 NASB

This is not the exhaustive list of Hebrew words translated into compassion but it is enough to show: God’s compassion is His mercy.

Rooted in His love for us, His created children, God’s compassion is His decision to spare us from the consequences of our actions and decision.

God’s compassion preserved His covenant promise: “but the Lord was gracious to them, had compassion on them, and turned toward them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was not willing to destroy them. Even now He has not banished them from His presence.” 2 Kings 13:23 HCSB

God’s compassionate heart showers mercies upon us every day giving us life. He looks upon His redeemed children with love and pity. It is because of His compassion that we can receive forgiveness and be freed from the consequences of our actions that we rightly deserve.

One thing I discovered I love is the comparison between the compassion of God we see in the Old Testament, and the compassion of Christ we see in the New Testament. Jesus is God the Son, however; He is also fully human and in Him, we see human compassion in action!

Through the Gospels {Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John}, we see the Greek word “σπλαγχνίζομαι (splagchnizomai)” used to describe Jesus’ compassion. It is a sense of being moved from the very core of your being to have pity, show compassion from the “seat of the affections” of your being.

Jesus’ compassion caused Him to:

heal the sick {Matthew 14:14, Mark 1:41},

feed the hungry {Matthew 15:32, Mark 8:2},

forgive debt and sin {Matthew 18:27-35},

give sight to the blind {Matthew 20:34},

teach the crowds {Mark 6:34},

cast out demons {Mark 9:22} and

comfort the mourning {Luke 7:13}.

His parables speak of compassion being a “Good Samaritan” to those in need {Luke 10:33, 36-37} and forgiving and welcoming, with open arms, the prodigals in your life whether family or friends {Luke 15:20-24}.

Jesus’ compassion was the foundation for sending out laborers into His harvest:

When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.'” Matthew 9:36-38 HCSB

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We are called to reflect the mercy of God and be moved by the compassion of Christ to show love, share the Gospel, and help bring in His harvest.


Creator

God is CREATOR!

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 HCSB

He is the creator of ALL things! He shaped the whole earth! He spoke creation into existence!

In 2009 I was teaching in a small Christian School in Dundee, Scotland when it closed down due to lack of students/income. Application after application led to a dead-end. I felt so lost and confused over my future. I knew my limited savings would soon run out leaving me with no means to pay the dreaded mortgage!

I also knew I needed to spend time listening to the Lord and not to everyone around me, so I packed up my tent and my parent’s dog and escaped to the country!

For three days I sat in my tent with a dog, Bible, and notebook as my tangible companions and the Lord as my guide. I drove around the beautiful countryside. I read, wrote, prayed, and sat in silence with creation’s song as my entertainment. As I drove along a road on the third day, I felt the Lord prompting me to stop and walk to the top of a mountain. It was a tough climb but I knew He had something for me at the top so I kept on climbing!

Once I reached the top of that mountain the splendor of the Lord was on display all around me. I looked out over mountains to the East and to the West, across the ocean to the Isle of Lewis where He had brought great revival years ago.


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Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth Does not become weary or tired. His understanding is inscrutable. He gives strength to the weary, And to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, And vigorous young men stumble badly, Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” Isaiah 40:28-31 NASB

I knew in an instant that the Creator God, author of all creation, author of my life, had a plan! He comforted me with the knowledge that, if He could create all the beauty and splendor that lay before me, He could create beauty in my life and I could trust Him to show me His plan.

“Your eyes saw me when I was inside the womb. All the days ordained for me were recorded in your scroll before one of them came into existence.” Psalm 139:16 NET

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by God’s command, so that what is seen has been made from things that are not visible.” Hebrews 11:3 HCSB

But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.” 1 Corinthians 8:6 NLT

One of our created purposes is to show compassion!
“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” Revelation 4:11 NASB

Let’s Get Real!

Where is your favorite place to see God’s creation on display?
Do you trust the Creator God to create something beautiful in your life?
How can you show compassion to the world around you today?

{This is part of the #Write31Days #AtoZofGodsCharacter study and you can find all the posts here}

Also linking up with Susan Mead and #DanceWithJesus

He is our ALPHA God!

A to Z of God's Character #1

What better way to begin a study of the A to Z of God’s Character than to look at Him as our

AlphaALPHA!

Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet and three times in Revelation Jesus says the words:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega” Revelation 1:8, 21:6, and 22:13

In Revelation 21:6 Jesus goes on to say that He is: “the beginning and the end”, and in Revelation 22:13:the first and the last, the beginning and the end!

Let us firstly clarify a foundational Truth — Jesus is God! So, when Jesus describes Himself as ALPHA we know we can say that God is ALPHA!

In John 1:1 we read:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1 ESV 

The Strongs Concordance defines the Greek word used in John 1:1: “lógos (“word”) is preeminently used of Christ (Jn 1:1), expressing the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit”, so John is describing Jesus as being the Word who was present at the beginning of all time and as being God. Further on in John, he records Jesus saying: “I and the Father are oneJohn 10:30 ESV {emphasis mine}.

Now we have clarified the Truth of God and Jesus being one in the same…we can trust and believe any characteristic describing Jesus can also be used to describe our Father God in Heaven!

God even says in Scripture that He is our A to Z:

I am the one; I am present at the very beginning and at the very end.” Isaiah 48:12b

God was present before the beginning of time: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” Genesis 1:1 ESVHe was self-existent before ANYTHING! 

God is the beginning of all things and “The life of every living thing is in His hand, as well as the breath of all mankind” Job 12:10 HCSBAll living things begin with God. He created them. He created me. He is the beginning of my life and just as His mercies are brand new every day (Lamentations 3:22-23)…He is the beginning of every day on earth (Psalm 118:24).

So often I wake up in the morning and my mind is racing through all the tasks to be accomplished during the day…and this all before I even pick up my phone to see the stream of notifications and emails demanding my attention. My day isn’t meant to start like this and neither is yours! Our ALPHA God created the day and we should wake and acknowledge the brand new mercies He gives and rejoice in His gracious giving of another day.

Does God exist before anything else in your day?

I begin my day with the Proverbs 31 Ministries First 5 App and I encourage you to download it today and give God your first, ALPHA, thoughts of the day.


 He is God ALMIGHTYAlmighty

“When Abram was 99 years old, the Lord appeared to him, saying, “I am God Almighty. Live in My presence and be blameless.” Genesis 17:1 HCSB

“God Almighty” or “El Shaddai” is used 7 times in the Old Testament and speaks to the Truth of God’s mighty power over all things. He is God of all things. His power is limitless! In the context of Genesis 17:1, God was stating His power and authority over Abram and Sarai’s lives through His covenant promise for Sarai to give birth to a child even though she was elderly and barren!

While pouring a blessing out over his children, Jacob said to Joseph:

by the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, and blessings of the breasts and the womb.” Genesis 49:25 HCSB

This Almighty God is the God who gives us every breath we take and every new morning! He is the God of all blessings and every blessing comes from Him {James 1:17}.

He is God Almighty and deserving of our awe and wonder, praise and recognition as Alpha over every moment of our day!

Let’s Get Real!

How can you make Almighty God your Alpha God today?
How will you place Him at the beginning of all things?
Can you think of any other characteristics of God beginning with “A”?

{This is part of the #Write31Days #AtoZofGodsCharacter study and you can find all the posts here}