Part 7: Chapter 6 – The Mercy Seat

Welcome to Chapter 6 of Part 7 of Arise and Shine. Today, Anna is introducing us to the free will offering of The Mercy Seat, with Bettie sharing the accompanying graphic and Scripture.

Offering Surrendered:

Exodus 25:21:22 And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the testimony that I shall give you. There I will meet with you, and from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim that are on the ark of the testimony, I will speak with you about all that I will give you in commandment for the people of Israel.

Exodus 40:38 For the cloud of the Lord was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.

Promise Given:

James 2:12-13 “Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, 13 because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment”

Do you remember your heart first opening to the depths of God’s mercy? To His willingness to die in your place and carry the punishment that should have fallen on you? Do you remember the first time you heard Him call you to come boldly to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and receive His grace in your need, when all you could see was your sin and your weakness marring His beautiful creation? 

I was four when my heart first opened to His call and I found myself coming to His throne of grace. But I can’t remember that day myself. I can only remember His fresh call to me as a preteen to lay down my life of sin and shame to rise anew in Him. But I also remember struggling to arise, to wake up to the new growing inside of me. In my weakness and sin, I clung, not to my new name, but to pain and shame as my name.

And so, ever so patiently, my Heavenly Father took me by the hand, leading me deeper into His heart in my blindness. He took me where my heart needed to go so that I might arise and shine in His Son. And when He first opened my eyes to see Him afresh after all those years, the depths of His mercy and grace floored me. I could see He had given me the deepest desires of my heart to know Him in His death and resurrection: a desire He planted in me before I was born.

Like the once blind but now seeing Bartimaeus I wanted everyone to know this Jesus. But as God led me to boast in my weakness to His glory and to confess my sins and His mercy openly, something strange began to unfold. God took me where I didn’t want to go, only to find it was in fact, where my new heart most desired to go. 

The weakness (Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) I had deemed healed, a healing that had earned the respect and awe of my brothers and sisters in Christ, suddenly became the thorn in my side afresh. A thorn ordained of God to humble me and free me of the idolatry of self and man that had blinded me as that little girl all those years before. 

Trauma triggers abounded and had me repeatedly crying out to my God to save me. Oh how faithful He was through it all, lifting me up and sustaining me by His every Word, when all I wanted was to die.

But right there in my weakness and need is where I began to see my Jesus, where I hadn’t noticed Him before. I began to see the face of Christ in those I had pridefully deemed in need of “my” saving. And I began to find Him so very present to me in my own beautiful frailty, weakness and desperate need. My blessed Jesus arose inside of me, and all around me, to declare us His. And He still is today, taking me ever deeper into His suffering and His love for us all. Now, a chronic heart condition, most likely born of trauma, is repeatedly ushering me to the throne of grace, as God is turning what the enemy sent to harm me, into a blessing of life ever awaking in the dying.

I have been hearing my Savior’s Voice speaking more and more clearly, as my God has arisen to separate me from the voices that tethered me to condemnation and shame. As He has led me out of my old thinking (and continues to), and the communities and friendships that reinforced this thinking, He has reminded me that whoever has Christ’s commandments and keeps them, it is he alone who loves Jesus. And He has shown me that he who loves Jesus will be loved by the Father, and Jesus will love him and manifest Himself to him. 

And it’s then, with His leading thought arising, I have picked up my Cross to follow Him, not knowing where He is taking me, I have been watching Him making me One – in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. And I am still watching Him do that daily. For, God is revealing the power of His precious seed deposited in me and in all those He has placed around me. 

I once saw
My weakness
And Your sword's
As punishment
And death.

But now
I know it was
Eternity sowing
Unmerited, timeless

It was and still is
Your mercy
Taking me
Ever deeper
Into love's knowing.

Grace weaving
Your joining
Each part of the whole
A peace beyond
All human fathoming.

A divine mystery
Woven into
Human weakness
A holy and sacred
Completion endowing.

In the Father's
I taste the Son's
Heavy burdens
A new heart awaking.

Glory's knowing
I cannot ever seek
To embody but
Carried by the Son
To the throne of grace.

"Take heart!"
I hear my elder Brother's
Blood flowing:
"Come, take My hand
Let's meet our Father."

Psalm 94:19 ESV
When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

Psalm 31:24
Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.

It’s here in my weakness and frailty I am learning that each of us only loves because He first loved us. And love begets love. Mercy begets mercy. Compassion begets compassion. Kindness begets kindness. Jesus in us begets more Jesus in us and more Jesus in others, as Christ wakes us up to hear His Voice and to see His face in ourselves and in each other – in and through our weakness. In and through His call to us to join Him in His suffering that we might know His heart of love for us all.

Want to know, with me, if He’s standing there before us right now, calling us to feed Him and to clothe Him and to visit Him in prison and to give Him a drink? Oh let’s seek Him together and we shall find Him! Let’s knock and the door shall be opened to us. For, our holy God has promised us we shall find treasure hidden in the darkness. 

In our frailty and weakness, in our missing of the mark, come let’s find our Father shining the light of His mercy and grace – Jesus for us. For, where we – man – see weakness and sin abounding, the Father looks and sees His grace upon grace – Jesus – abounding. He sees His Son – the light – arising to shine upon us all, to lift our every burden. He sees Christ’s blood that was shed for us all and eternity – Jesus – already glowing brightly in the heart of man. For darkness is as light to our mighty God, who only fashioned the destroyer to reveal His power in a holy overshadowing of the mercy seat – of Christ at work in us.

Will you close your eyes with me and get really still. Can you hear Him calling you too? 

For remember, we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:15-16 ESV

Yes! Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled. Just wait and see! Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is LORD. For, Love Himself desires that not even one of us should perish, that not one of us should be denied what the Son of God’s blood flowed for, and flows for even still. 

Just look and see His suffering: see Him drawing near to us all. Behold Him awakening us to His burden of love for each other, as He leads us to pick up our Cross and follow Him into the Way of love  (Isaiah 53, KJV):

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

No, not even one star is missing or gone. For He knows each one by name. The Name above all names, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name.

Oh how I love You, Jesus! Oh how we love You, Jesus! Our holy overshadowing, our mercy seat, our outstretched hands and the Voice in us ever crying out:

“Come, take My hand, let’s meet our Father.”

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