The love of God blanketed our region like a 24 inch coating of snow! Oh wait-- that was snow!
And we are still feeling all of that love even now! My child is enjoying seemingly eternal “snow days”, and as I write this blog, will be home again tomorrow. Because of this, I have had a chance to sit by the fire and think about all that I learned last week at the Something Greater Interfaith Forum-”Exploring the Mercy of God”. I hope you find it inspiring as well.
14 Million- the number of Jews worldwide. They are a tiny portion of the overall population, but because many live high-profile lives, it seems like there are many more than there actually are. They are still anxiously awaiting their Savior's arrival. Sadly, historically, we Christians have not always treated them with kindness and mercy. My prayer is that this next generation will change that. I hope to report next year about many acts of mercy extended to them because of this Jubilee Year of Mercy. “Think globally, act locally” on this one.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.” Psalm 122:6
1.6 Billion- the number of Muslims worldwide. They came to the US as a group to study in the year that I was born, 1963. They had no mosques. Therefore, Christians allowed them to meet in churches to pray until mosques could be built. They are supported by a group of Jewish and Christian leaders in the U.S. called “Shoulder to Shoulder” that helps to stamp out bigotry and anti-Muslim sentiment. The thinking: Religious discrimination against one is discrimination against all. Many of them memorize the entire Koran, word for word. Truly inspiring! Let’s try to do a fraction of this and memorize the 24 easy to learn Biblical verses below (2 per month!)*
“Your word I have hidden in my heart, so that I may not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11
1.25 Billion- the number of Catholics worldwide. The Pope is calling for ALL CATHOLICS to engage in interfaith dialogue, not for the purpose of promoting “one world religion” but for the purpose of encouraging merciful understanding and love of our neighbor. The challenge: Take someone you don't know (perhaps from another culture or religious background) to coffee or lunch and watch God lead the conversation.
“Who is my neighbor…?” Luke 10:25-37
900 Million- the number of Protestants worldwide. Catholics and Protestants have far more similarities than they do differences. Our understanding of mercy is identical: God loves us each too much to allow our sin to go unnoticed or unpaid for. God sent His Son Jesus to pay the debt we owe, due to our selfish choices, but it cost Him His All. Each time we sin, it breaks God’s heart, again. We should obey His word, not out of duty, but out of love, because He first loved us and proved that love for us on the cross. Perhaps make a “thankful list” of all the merciful things God has done for you. Love is a far greater motivator than guilt.
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
7.4 Billion- the number of Souls Worldwide. That’s alot of people to love. Better get busy.
“This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35
Thank You for the deep love You have for each and every soul on earth. I pray that You will use me to be Your hands and feet to extend Your mercy and love to each. I ask that when my own ability to love runs short, that You will step in, fill me, and enable me to do far greater things in Your strength and power than I could ever do on my own. I pray that You would give me a supernatural love for all-- the kind of love that only can come from above. And when people encounter this love, they will know it is from You, and in some way, it will bring You much glory, the source and fount of all love.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
*Happy memorizing! These are often partial quotes from the verse (but they contain the main idea). If you want to know them fully- look them up! And teach them to your children. :)
-Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
-Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly
-1st John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands
-Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
-Psalm 150:6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
-Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
-Romans 10:13 Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
-Romans 3:23 All people have sinned and come short of the glory of God.
-Matthew 5:14 You are the light of the world.
-Psalm 145:9 The Lord is good to all.
-Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in all things.
-James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.
-Matthew 28:20 I am with you always.
-Act 16:31 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.
-Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another.
-1st John 3:23 Love one another.
-Psalm 56:3 What time I am afraid, I will trust in You.
-Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
-Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.
-Psalm 136:1 Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.
-Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you.
-Philippians 4:13 I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.
-Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!