The reward for having a heart sprinkled clean by the blood of Jesus is the joy of seeing God face to face one day. Our reward after death is not so much the absence of pain, worry or sadness; it is the literal presence of God. But must hungry hearts wait until death to see God? Is it possible to see God this side of heaven? The answer is YES, a resounding yes, and through this morning's study of Matthew 8, Pastor Darrell explains how the pure in heart will see God this side of heaven because the pure in heart want to see God.
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Even though the church in Ephesus behaved right and even believed right, inwardly their hearts were cold toward God. They had lost their first love. The white hot passion for God they once had was gone. What happened to a 1st Century church can easily happen to a 21st Century church. We can find ourselves going through the motions, very busy with religious activity without ever really connecting with God inwardly. In today’s message, our guest speaker, Dave Johnson, calls attention to the Biblical warnings for believers to continually check the status of their pulse toward God. Have we lost our first love for Him and where do we go to get it back?
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Mothers have to put up with many messes in life. How does a mom handle them all? She handles them with great patience, wisdom, resilience and especially mercy. Paul tells us in Romans that mercy is a spiritual gift but to some degree all of us, mothers included, are given the gift of mercy the moment we receive Christ as Savior. God's love for us in Christ stems from His heart of mercy. And those shown God's mercy, show God's mercy. We began looking at this character quality last week from Matthew 5:7 where Jesus says
Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy.
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When we think of mercy we might tend to think of withholding judgment to someone who is guilty of a wrong. The difference between grace and mercy have often been defined this way: grace is extending kindness to those who don’t deserve it; mercy is withholding punishment to those who do deserve it. Though that is true, mercy is much more than passive restraint against injustice. In today's message from the Beatitudes, we discover that mercy is as much active kindness as it is passive restraint.
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