All posts by Franciska Merrick

Love Part 3

Read with me,Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8

What does 1 Peter 4:8 mean for us today? Love covers a multitude of sins, ours and those of others. Sins, unfair treatments, ignorances, arrogances, dismissals, hurts, lies, and pride are just some of the everyday things people do that I can think of that easily causes offence in our hearts. Every single time we are faced with situations that include offence, we get the honour of choosing love! In honor we get to cover that person rather than hammer on the wrongs. There is no greater love than laying down your life for your friend. Covering someone’s sin looks something like this – saying no to vengeance, saying no to always having the last say, not needing to be right, forgiving, not reminding someone of their faults – while being right. Laying down your life for someone requires you to remove your own will and opinion from the equation. Essentially, this means saying NO to myself, and saying YES to love. The greatest commandment is to love, and if this is particularly difficult, it could be due to the fact that too much of ourselves are still in the way of loving the way Jesus demonstrated. There is a beauty that comes with loving someone deeply, it speaks of selflessness. It sets the other person free from guilt and condemnation. Love liberates them, and us. Love covers. While the blood of Jesus washes us clean of sin and we do not possess the power to rid someone of their sins, we do however possess the power of choice to cover them in love. What a dynamic way to live like Jesus, laying down our lives in order that someone else could be free. Let your life speak of the love of God, let your life demonstrate the practicality of dying to self. Let your life proclaim that He is Love.

Read with me, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13

Would your relationships look any different once you realised true love means laying down you life for someone else, persistently seeking the well-being of another above your own? True love inspires compassion as opposed to anger, patience instead of irritation, Godly love covers, it doesn’t expose and humiliate. Laying down your life for someone you love could very well mean you keep quiet and let them speak, you allow them to have an opinion, you listen to understand. There is no I in love, it is not self-seeking, aka I am not thinking of me when dealing with you. Fighting? Let love win.

Pray with me, “ “God, thank you for providing us with a love that covers us and sets us free. Your love is amazing. Help me recognise it and embrace it. I pray that You empower me to live this love out loud. Let me love people to freedom. Help me forgive as I have been forgiven, and love as I am loved. “

lOVE – PART 2

Read with me, “ But the goal of our instruction is love [which springs] from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5

What does 1 Timothy 1:5 mean for us today? This scripture has such an efficient way of bringing to our attention the ever present need for the love of God to be at the centre of all we do, everyday. Our goal, our aim, is to love. Let all we do be done in love, void of manipulation and agendas. This means we listen to, we wait for, we pray for, we trust, we believe another. Love like this expects no return. We all know the famous Bible passage that speaks of love,1 Corinthians 13. Say it with me, ” Love is patient, Love is kind, does not envy, is not boastful or proud.” Imagine being loved like this. Now, imagine loving someone else in such a way that you cannot be boastful, proud, envious, unkind, or impatient with them. Imagine the God of love himself urging us to love with patience and kindness, as HE does. This is the kind of love that ushers in peace and hope. 1 Corinthians 13 also says, if I do not love I AM nothing. Doing life without love in your heart renders you void of purpose. If we are not busy loving, what are we being? The greatest faith, most beautiful tongues, accurate prophecies cannot add the significance to your life that love can. In love alone our lives find meaning. In loving others we add value to our own callings. Not money, not miracles, not ministry, but doing those things in love. The aim of every instruction is love. The purpose of God’s sending is love. The purpose of Jesus’ coming is love. Love never fails, it does not run out, it is not found wanting, because there is no fear in love. Love is redemptive. When we love someone else with perfect love, we drive out their fears, we help them become free, and empower them to live in the redemptive love of God. According to Jesus, the greatest commandment is to love the Lord, and the second is to love your neighbour. It all comes down to loving God and people.

Read also,”Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Loving others comes naturally to those who know God, because He is love. The more we desire to know Him and become acquainted with who He is, the better we will love. Loving people is so important, loving them well is a testimony to our faith in God. When we love our lives testify that we know Him. Our entire lives should be aimed at loving God and people. It is the foundational element of being reborn and living in Him.

Pray with me, “God, thank you for loving me well. Thank you God, for your love that has been shed abroad in our hearts. Help me to see as You do, help me to love as You do. God I long to love as perfectly as You do, with patience and kindness and gentleness. Help me to pursue every opportunity to be love to those around me. Reveal to me areas where I have pursued my own agendas. Forgive me where I have not loved well.”

Love – Part 1

LOVE Part 1

Read with me, ‘There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

1 John 4:18 ,21

What does 1 John 4:18 & 21 mean for us today? We do not have to be afraid. We have a God that loves us to a degree that chases away our fears! It is amazing that He in the essence of who He is chose to give us this love, freely. Also, He loved us first, perfectly. His love driving out our fear is the great empowerment we need to love others. The purpose of our mission on earth is to love (1Tim 5). He came and loved us first, showing us exactly how to love others. It is to be understood that living a life with no fear is the greatest empowering element when it comes to loving people. Fearless love for others is one of the commandments He has given us; to love them, as we love God. We love Him as He loves us. Sometimes, that means loving them first, without reciprocation, unconditionally. Love them without the added element of fear as a driving force for their good behaviour. When we deliberately invoke fear and punishment, we have moved outside of the scope of perfect love and entered into the selfishness of control. There is no fear in love. IF we love the way God intended, we cannot strike fear into the hearts of others. It is one of the most rewarding aspects of life, to see the fear leave someone’s heart as you love them wholly. God is the Father who enable us to love like that, by loving us first. There is no fear involved when we allow Him to love on us, just as we are. It is often the fear that prevent us from approaching the Father, not realizing that in His perfect love is where we will find everything we need and long for. His love is perfect, not lacking in any good things.

Ephesians 4:2 -3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

I love how scripture gives us answers and strategies to deal with everything in our daily lives. God has definitely provided us with solutions that are both workable and easy to understand. He loved us in a way that demonstrates the peculiar dynamic of loving someone without being loved in return, a love that is unconditional. Reading various passages we will see many divers topics that lend themselves to loving well. Ephesians helps us realise that often times loving others will reqire much humility, gentleness and patience from our side. Loving someone else first will require us to be humble enough to deny our own opinions, gentle enough to show them clearly they are loved regardless of differences, and patient enough to do it over and over again. This is the love of God we ought to demonstrate to others, a love that is patient, gentle, humble,kind, longsuffering, and always initiated from our side first.

Pray with me

“ Thank you God for your love that has been shed abroad in our hearts. Help me love see as You do, help me to love as You do. God I long to love as perfectly as you do, with patience, and kindness, and gentleness. Help me to pursue every opportunity to be love to those around me.”

Christ In me – Part 4

Christ In Me – Part 4

Read with me, “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16-17

What does John 14:16-17 mean for us, today? I love that this passage includes the word ‘forever.’ He was then, is today, and will tomorrow be our Helper. The Greek word for another in this context means “of the same sort,” which helps us to understand that the Holy Spirit is of the same ministry as Jesus. HE did not leave us an inferior Helper, He did not hand us over to someone who is incapable of helping us. What is even more amazing is that the helper is with us FOREVER. He lives in us, and ‘ will be with you.’ This refers to a constant abiding, a present help. This makes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit personal as well as continual. It is important to note that the function of the Holy Spirit is to help us while operating in truth. He helps us by bringing us the truth. Our Helper is the Spirit of Truth. What happens when we allow the Truth to help us along? We gain freedom (John 8:32). He is able to efficiently assist us because He lives in us. When Christ ascended to heaven and left physically, He didn’t leave us destitute. No. He left us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Christ. It is The Holy Spirit in us who gives us new birth. Jesus said to Nicodemus unless one is born of water and of Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. With being born again we receive the Holy Spirit who testifies of Christ in us, who constantly reminds us of the reality and truth of God. The Spirit of truth comes and reminds us that we are able and loved, empowered and we have been given grace, reconciled and favored. He is the one who comes alongside us encouraging us in truth, edifying us and exhorting us to good works. When we fall short, it is the Spirit of Truth that whispers to us, “You have been redeemed. Be encouraged. His power is made perfect in your weakness.” Allow the Holy Spirit to encourage you to continue the good works by advocating your salvation. HE speaks the truth, you are accepted and loved.

Read with me, You are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

A great part of the testimony the Holy Spirit speaks to your soul is the reminder that you have what it takes to make it. He reminds us that God is on our side. We belong to Him, and therefore we overcome through Him. As His children, He takes our side and assures us the victory we need in the face of circumstances and onslaughts. You are of God, dear child, you have overcome. Claim your victory, He who is in you is greater than who is in the world. He chose to make His abode in you, valuing relationship with you, affording you the opportunity to face life with the boldness that comes with being equipped for warfare and victory. His Spirit inside us, reminding us of the reality of His might is the empowerment we need to run head-first into battle, unafraid of the world.

Christ In Me – Part 3

Read with me “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to the them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”

John 17:20-23

What does John 17:20-23 mean for us, today? Jesus valued unity enough to intercede for believers, and ask the Father that we may all live together in Him, and He in us. According to the dictionary unity is defined as the state of being united or joined as a whole. Regarding our relationship with God, unity refers to our oneness with Him. This translates as “we are all one in Him.”  We get to show others that they are loved by a Holy God and we get to show them that love lends itself to wholeness. There is glory found in the indwelling of Christ in us. The outflow of this indwelling yields a glory that leads others to the revelation that He was indeed sent and they are loved. There is a longing inherent to the Godhead to be unified with the believer. God sent His son to die for us, because He loved us. Our acceptance of the gift of Christ welcomes Him to make His home inside us. When we live in a way that demonstrates our union with Christ, our lives carry a glorious testimony of the reality of His love for the world.

Personally, Jesus loves you; He longs to be with you. As a believer you are uniquely suited to host the living God on the inside of you. He has created you for the purpose of bringing His reality to earth. His reality is a yearning to be interwoven with the believer. He has given you the profound opportunity to live a glorified life with Christ at the centre of all. Often times when I have struggled with personal relationship, I have asked God to show me His glory, and am then reminded that it helps to remember His glory is found in the person of Jesus inside of us. He is our hope of glory. The very hope I look for has already been given to me. Christ in us helps us to live in unity with others. It is by His power that we get to love on others, bring them into the fold, and worship together as one. We worship the one who has saved and loved us completely. When we overcome hate, we portray our oneness with Him. When we live a life of surrender, our lives become a testimony of the unity we share in Him. When we live in unity and wholeness, our lives become the testimony of Christ.

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4 Portrays so well the need we have to abide in Him. The fruit we long to see in our lives are a by-product of having ourselves securely planted in who HE is, in knowing that a big part of His love for us made provision for Him to reside in us. And a great part of our walk with Him is merely us responding to the call by abiding in Him.

Pray with me, God, thank you for the gift of Christ in me. I ask for a new revelation of the reality of Christ in me. I long to be secure and rooted in your love. May my faith honor the gift of your presence in me. May I come to fully experience and know the depth, height, and breadth of your love. May my whole life speak of Your indwelling presence and great love.

cHRIST iN mE – Pt 2

Christ in Me – Part 2

Read with me, May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded secure on love…

Ephesians 3:17                    

What does Ephesians 3:17 mean for us, today? Faith allows us the unique opportunity to host the living Christ on the very inside of our hearts. Faith is the open door of invitation that welcomes Him in. A sacred cohabitation occurs as we invite Him and He enters our hearts. It is essentially this union with Christ which affords us eternal Salvation. An extravagant bonding of His supernatural personhood and our earthly being happens. You might wonder what the purpose is. It is for the sake of fellowship, an intimate joining together with the One who loves us most. Because He first loved us, He chose to make His home with us. Because we love Him, we can make room for Him to do as He pleases. Someone who feels at home in your house will have the confidence that comes from not having their every movement censored or controlled. Making room for Him is an essential act of surrender. Surrendering to Him is also a way of saying we trust Him with our hearts. We are saying, “Lord, do as you please. I want to experience the fullness of who You are. Show me how You do life.” Surrendering is an act of faith that acknowledges His authority and sovereignty.  As our faith makes room for Him, we get to experience, not our idea of what His love should look like, but the full breadth, width, and depth of His love. This experiential intimacy yields the fruits of love. Faith makes room for us to fully know Him and to be fully known by Him. We then have the capacity to manifest His presence. We begin to see what it means to live from the inside out. Because He lives in us, we can live a life of being securely founded and grounded in the truth of His love. By surrendering to Him you get to know who He is within you, you get to know Him as He is. Faith pleases Him, and it is our faith that welcomes Him to abide inside of our hearts. He finds joy in the faith of a surrendered heart.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

Being crucified with Christ speaks again of an inside-out way of living in which I have surrendered my will to the degree where it is He who lives, and not I. It is a life of Christ-likeness. A way of living that lends itself to the expression of Christ, not self. I love that Paul says in the second part of the scripture that He(Christ) loved us and gave Himself for us. There is a quality intrinsic to love, generosity. He gave Himself for me because He loved me. A transaction can now happen where He lives in us and we get to live in Him. When we allow Christ to live through us, giving ourselves over to Him, we are living in pure response to His love for us; we are showing our love for Him.

Pray this prayer with me,

“God, thank you for the gift of Christ in me. I ask for a new revelation of the reality of Christ in me. I long to be secure and rooted in your love. May my faith honor the gift of your presence in me.  May I come to fully experience and know the depth, height, and breadth of your love. May my whole life speak of Your indwelling presence and great love.”

CHrist IN ME – Part 1

Read with me,  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Colossians 1:2

What does Colossians 1:27 mean for us, today. Simply stated, it means we have hope, and that hope is inside of us, that hope is Christ. He has been revealed. The greatness has been made known to be inside of us, His children.  The very person of Christ, the essence of His being, affords us supernatural indwelling of hope, ability, and capability. When we find ourselves in situations which cause us to doubt our capacity to keep on living, it is the indwelling hope of Christ which comes and whispers to our hearts, “Arise. Be filled with hope once again. Live. Be.”  He is, in essence, our answer. He is, in actuality, our Salvation in any death ridden scenario. Often times, life will throw hopelessness at you. Many times we are faced with the despair that comes with situations out of our control. We have the amazing opportunity to see the redeeming hope our Saviour vested in us come to fruition by leaning into who He is for us. He is hope. He is strength. He is courage. He is redemption. He is grace. He is strong. He is willing. He is able. He is enough. That makes you able, capable, strong, and gives you the absolute advantage in all situations. Believe in Him today. Believe in Him and who that makes you.

We have a treasure in Christ that is rich in hope. Romans 15:13  –  May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

When we feel despondent we are to remind ourselves that He is indeed the God of hope. He fills us with Himself, thereby imbuing us with hope and joy; qualities which makes hope abound in our hearts. HE, living in us, is the answer to our hopelessness. The God of eternal hope sent His son to die for us, affording us the ability to become one with Him, and left us the Holy Spirit who now resides inside us.  There is a state of trusting in Him where we become emboldened with joy and overflowing with hope. Wow! Imagine living a life overflowing with hope. Imagine with me the type of God that freely gives us of Himself, takes residence inside of us so that we do not ever need to be hopeless and despondent in the face of circumstances. When we realize He is hope and He is inside of us, we can take courage in the fact that we already possess everything we need to overcome depression. Take this truth as your own today.  Because He lives you can face tomorrow, indeed. As you trust Him, the Spirit strengthens you on the inside. As you choose to believe that He is good and His intentions towards you are lovely, your hope rises by the strength of the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:12 Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold.  Hope results in boldness. Have you ever wondered why you find it hard to pray, minister, or spend time in worship? Often times it is simply because we do not have any hope that God will come through for us, we might have lost hope in the validity of our salvation as a result of wrong-doing, we tend to think God has changed His mind about us, we have no boldness to come to Him to ask for anything. Rest assured today, that you can come boldly to Him, the indwelling of His Son has made you clean. You are welcomed by Him with open arms. Be bold. Live like you are loved. He sent His Son to die for you, who then chose to make His home inside your heart. And that gives you value and unrestricted access to the Father’s heart.