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The Mercy Heart of Jesus
Week of February 22, 2009

“For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did.”  Matthew 21:32

        One summer, I had the pleasure of enjoying tea with a group of former prostitutes as part of a women’s ministry.

        Those of us who live in the southern part of the U.S. tend to think of tea as being an event that is reserved for high society at fundraisers and swank hotels or for intimate gatherings with our closest friends and family at cozy tea cottages.

        So, not surprisingly, God renewed my mind and deeply touched my heart to comprehend His heart even more.

        Isn’t it interesting how we set out to minister to others, and we get ministered to?

        So as I sat in the fellowship hall of this tiny and beloved country church, a tableful of cleaned-up prostitutes to my left, God reminded me that this is His purpose for the church–to reach out to the lonely, lost and broken.

        Fast forward . . .

        I had the great pleasure to minister to another small group of homeless women who had been plucked from the street to live in a downtown church complex, which had been renovated to accommodate about 50 beds.

        It was a brisk evening, the front doors open to anyone who might desire to wander in, and God’s presence was in the air.

        One by one, the women came from their rooms into the sanctuary.  To my surprise, they were comfortably dressed in their bathrobes and fuzzy slippers.  God reminded me of His heart, that He is a God of comfort, that it is His desire to minister to the most humble among us.  I found myself thinking, “Wow, how I’d love to go to church looking like that sometime.”

        To them, enjoying the music and participating in worship dressed like this wasn’t an event, it was the norm.   Their style of worship – weeping and dancing and reaching up to God with their arms in earnest – brought our intimate setting to life, and this proved to be the most joyful ‘pajama party’ I had ever attended.

        As I reflect upon it now, I realize even more that there are often areas of our lives or parts of our hearts that feel like or look like these women, our sisters-in-great-need and that if we will just reach up with an earnest and humble heart, our Heavenly Father will give us His finest blessing.

        He awaits us.  Are you ready?  Do you need His mercy?

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love.
Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.

1 John 4:16
Margaret D. Mitchell

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