WESLEYAN PUBLISHING HOUSE PRESENTS
A NEW DEVOTIONAL BY THADDEUS BARNUM ENTITLED:
Mercy is the heart of God’s character.
He is “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4). By that mercy “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done…but according to His mercy” (Titus 3:5).
When that mercy enters our soul, we are changed by it. We become ambassadors, in word and deed, of Real Mercy to all in need. This is the Christian witness. This is the Christian mission.
At our church in Connecticut, we came to realize He wants His mercy to change us before we do acts of mercy. The latter without the former is philanthropy. The two together bring the kingdom of God to a world in need of Jesus Christ.
Lord, we prayed, disciple us. Make us a people of Your mercy.
It’s a risky prayer. The more He worked in us, the more we saw the needs of our community all around us. Soon, He led us – a suburban church – to serve alongside inner city churches and pastors. From Saturday morning prayer walks, picking up trash on the streets, praying with those who’d let us, to those extraordinary moments of sharing the good news of mercy found in Jesus Christ, we watched lives change.
The God of Mercy wants to do a work in us!
Real Mercy spends “Fifty Days of Deeper Devotion in the Life of Jesus.” It is a discipleship tool, perfect for personal or group study.
For more information, go to call2disciple.com.
There is a kind of mercy we can’t do in our own strength.
It belongs to God. It is given by God – freely. All we have to do is receive. And when we do, the miraculous happens. God changes us on the inside.
He makes us a people of mercy.
And suddenly, the motion begins. As we receive, we give. It’s how His mercy works. We can’t hold on to it. We can’t horde it, or hide it, or keep it to ourselves. When we’ve got it and we’re changed by it, we give it as freely as we received it.
But there are people…
Jesus warns us about them. There are people who receive but never receive. There’s no miracle. There’s no change. This, Jesus explains in great detail, is the story of a wicked slave. We are not to be like him (see chapter two).
But our Lord doesn’t leave us there. He also tells the story of a son, a lost son, who finds his way home again. This young man knows, in the depths of his soul, he doesn’t deserve the compassion and mercy of his family. But it comes, in full, and willingly, joyfully, he opens his arms and receives it (see chapter three).
This is everything.
It’s the very heart and soul of the good news: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ.”
And when it comes to us, we are made new.
That change is visible. It reshapes how we think, how we act, how we engage the world around us, and all of it to our very core. This mercy shapes our character. We see it in the royal line of Jesus’ own family (see chapter four). We find it in people we least expect – those we’ve labeled and pushed away (see chapter five).
It’s meant to be in us.
And the only way for that to happen is to let mercy come. He – the Person of Mercy Himself – must do with us what He came to do (see chapter six). And when He does, one taste of it in our soul and Micah 6:8 comes alive. He gives us everything we need to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.
And out we go – a people of mercy to live mercy. We are men and women on Matthew 10:8 mission (see chapter seven) holding in our heart His eternal promise: “His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning.”
New and full of surprise.
For this is our God! And He zealously wants us to hear with His ears and see with His eyes. Just as He did in the simple story of a blind beggar (see chapter one).
A person no one sees.
With a cry no one hears, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” But He sees. He hears. It’s everything to Him. He wants it to be everything to us. So we must start here, outside the town of Jericho, with a man on the side of the road begging.
And let the story of Real Mercy change us forever.