Devotional for March 10, 2021

Greetings in Christ,

  When we think of mercy and what it entails, what idea of mercy do we have?  What meaning do we associate with it as we contemplate on how it should be defined?  Do we think if it as an act of love?  Do we consider the need(s) of the individual(s) who will receive mercy?  Do we see it as an act of patience on part of the one who extends mercy?  Just how do we define mercy in its full capacity?

  Mercy is an act of love.  It is often considered to be an act towards those who do not deserve to receive mercy.  It is something extended to an individual who has done something wrong and does not deserve to get a break.  This person has committed an act or acts which are considered to be unforgivable, but they receive mercy and are forgiven.  Mercy is often extended to the person who has committed offenses because they have changed their thought process, and they are willing to accept the needed changes to correct their wrong doing.  We attribute this type of mercy to Jesus as He forgives us of our sins, and we accept our part to change our way of life.

  Mercy may not be extended to a person if they are not genuine in their choice to make the right changes.  Mercy can be extended to those who have a genuine attitude change.  Past attitude or bad choices in life are not considered to be a determining factor rather the willingness to make an immediate change in their life is the deciding factor.  We attribute this act of mercy to Jesus as He knows our heart and our needs, but we sometimes fail to make all the right choices as a Christian.  Jesus keeps on forgiving us despite our failures.

  Mercy is an act of patience on the part of the one who extends mercy.  There has to be a reason for the mercy to be extended.  Sometimes mercy is extended to those who have offended someone in order to get their attention, and see if they will change or at least take notice of the mercy extended to them.   The one who extends mercy has been offended and they are patiently waiting for an opportunity to extend their mercy.  We attribute this act of mercy as patience of God while He patiently waits for us to ask Jesus to forgive us of our sins.

  Mark gives us an example of Jesus extending mercy to a demon possessed man.  “They came to Jesus and observed the man who had been demon-possessed sitting down, clothed and in his right mind, the very man who had had the “legion”; and they became frightened.  Those who had seen it described to them how it had happened to the demon-possessed man, and all about the swine.   And they began to implore Him to leave their region.   As He was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed was imploring Him that he might accompany Him.  And He did not let him, but He said to him, “Go home to your people and report to them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He had mercy on you.”  And he went away and began to proclaim in Decapolis what great things Jesus had done for him; and everyone was amazed.” Mark 5:15-20 NASB  

  Jesus extended mercy to the demon possessed man, and the man received it with an open heart.  Jesus acted in love and considered the needs of the man, and the man obeyed Jesus in act of love knowing his need for his life to be changed.  Mercy not only was extended, but it was received with the same magnitude as it was given.

  Jeremiah gives us a look at mercy as patience extended by God.  “To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear?  Behold, their ears are closed and they cannot listen.  Behold, the word of the Lord has become a reproach to them; they have no delight in it.  But I am full of the wrath of the Lord; I am weary with holding it in.”  Jeremiah 6:10-11a NASB

  God has extended mercy to the people of Israel by restraining His final judgment on them.  God had chosen to abstain from His judgment of their sins, but rather allow another nation to take them captive.  God had extended mercy to the people hoping they will turn the hearts towards Him before they suffer the consequences of their actions under the rule of another nation.  God wanted to see if they truly realized He had extended mercy to them and for them to make the choice to change their ways.

  We may not look at mercy in its full face value as an act of love, need oriented, and an exercise of patience.  For mercy to be mercy it must be received just as it is given for it to be worthy of the one giving it.  Mercy is one of those acts which cannot be contained, but rather passed along to others just as it was extended to us by Jesus.  Mercy is love, considerate, and patient for without it we would not be worthy to be called a child of God.

  “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.  My soul will make its boast in the Lord; the humble will hear it and rejoice.  O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.  I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.  They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed.  This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.  The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and rescues them.  O taste and see that the Lord is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!  O fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want.  The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the Lord shall not be in want of any good thing.  Come, you children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord.  Who is the man who desires life
and loves length of days that he may see good?  Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit.  Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.  The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and His ears are open to their cry.  The face of the Lord is against evildoers, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.  The righteous cry, and the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.  He keeps all his bones, not one of them is broken.  Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.  The Lord redeems the soul of His servants, and none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned.”  Psalm 34

  Lord may we not be complacent with Your mercy, but rather look upon it with the eminence as You extended it to us as we extend it to others.  Amen


  Mark Johnson
  Psalm 34,93,96;Jeremiah 6:9-15; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20; Mark 5:1-20

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