This morning was a foggy one. As we ventured out on our normal walk, it was difficult to see up ahead. This would not be such an issue; however, Max has post-traumatic stress disorder. If he encounters another dog, he sometimes gets very fearful and the situation escalates. This is not normally an issue on morning walks as no one else is crazy enough to walk their dogs so early. However, every so often there is a chance encounter. Being able to see, allows me to prevent Max from having to undergo a stressful situation. It is hard to properly prepare for something you cannot see.
As believers, we are commanded to be prepared. Paul tells us to, “Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers” (Ephesians 6:18). Peter warns us to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). This coming week, I will be preaching about the devil and his demons. Some people believe it’s unnecessary to discuss this topic. Whether it be fear, disinterest, or something else—the truth is we need to stay alert, and we need to know what we need to stay alert against.
The devil has been defeated. He has already been condemned (John 16:11). Victory is with Jesus. Even so, the devil is the prince of this world and he is still out and about trying to spread his lies, because he is the father of lies (John 14:30, John 8:44). We need to remember our battle is not of this world (Ephesians 6:12). In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to pray for deliverance from the evil one (Matthew 6:13). Put on your full armor of God and pray continually. Do not let the fog prevent you from knowing what is Truth and what is a lie.
As a mother, I remember the days when my children would eat something and get food all over their faces. I would get out the napkin, wet it and get their faces ready to see the world. Still today I check their faces before we leave just to be sure they are clean. And yes, I check mine as well.
In Isaiah 6, the prophet is standing before God and he immediately acknowledges that he is sinful. He understood that he could not stand before God filthy. God is holy. Then an angel takes a burning coal and touches Isaiah’s lips. The angel says, “Gone your guilt, your sins wiped out” (MSG).
If we accept Jesus and what He did for us, our guilt is gone – our sins are wiped out too. Through the blood of Jesus, we no longer live condemned, but we are made as white as snow. But we have to acknowledge that we are sinful. We have to acknowledge our unclean lips. Even after we repent and accept Christ into our lives, there is a need of daily repentance of our sins. The blood of Jesus wipes out each sin, but for each one, we must bow before the Lord and acknowledge our need for repentance.
“Then I said, ‘It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.’ Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.” – Isaiah 6:5-6 [NLT]
The doctor’s office called to remind me of my daughter’s upcoming appointment and the office assistant left me a voice mail message. The message warned me that if my daughter did not make her appointment, there would be a fee accessed. I have considered this fee, and wondered how it is that when a person who is sick wishes to go to the doctor, they are charged whether they can make it, but also if they miss the appointment. The question is, do these people who don’t make it and have a viable reason, like they were too sick to even drive to the appointment, get charged? The doctors are to help the sick. Do they show mercy on the sick?
I am not trying to get into a long discussion about the doctors and the fees. We could go back and forth for hours about medical charges and the health care system. The point I am trying to make is our need to show others mercy. There are many situations each day where we have the option to act with mercy or to be hard like the world around us.
Jesus is the great Physician. He even tells us that He came to save the sick and needy. He understands when we don’t make an appointment and He forgives us and seeks to make us well. He addresses our needs and He mends and transforms us. We go from death to life. We go from condemned to forgiven. We go from sinner to saint. How wonderful is that?
Today I hope that you consider in each circumstance the mercy that has been shown to you, and that you share that mercy with others. People are tired. People are lonely. Everyone make mistakes. People are in great need. Some have hearts that ache with a great void that only Jesus can fill. Have compassion for people. Be merciful. Sadly, it may be the only mercy they see today.
“He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
– Micah 6:8 [NIV]