From Misery to Mercy to Ministry, Part 2
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God, once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:9-12
Not everyone responded to Deborah’s call for help. We find the root cause for their refusal to get involved when Deborah curses Meroz, a town in Naphtali (Judges 5:23). Meroz was in a unique position to help, but they refused “to help the Lord against the mighty.” They heard of the need, dismissed it, and Deborah cursed them. Deborah exclaims for all to hear that the people of Meroz forgot whose they were. They forgot their identity as God’s people. Their amnesia dried up their heart for helping others. Our verse for today, 1 Peter 2:9-11, reminds us of our identity in Christ. Once we were in misery. By the grace of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we experienced mercy. His mercy to us should compel us to minister to others.
Do you belong to Jesus? You have reason to celebrate for God has moved you from misery to mercy! Pray right now and ask the Lord to open your eyes to an opportunity to reflect His mercy to someone in your village. Enjoy the privilege of offering ministry that helps turn hearts toward Jesus.
How do you respond when you hear of the needs of a friend or member of your church? Have you used any of the excuses outlined by Deborah? Ask the Lord to apply 1 Peter 2:9-11 to your heart. Write it on a 3 x 5 card, review it every time you have a few minutes today, waiting in a line, at a red light, in a doctor’s office. Ask the Lord to show you one practical way you can extend mercy to another person. It might be someone whose story you don’t know, but He does.
STORE UP MORE TREASURES
At some point in our lives, we or someone we know will go through great suffering. I encourage you to go the the MARKINC website and listen to the Multiple Sclerosis audio resource so that you can store up treasures of encouragement for the next rainy day in your life or someone else's. Here is a summary and teaser of this resource:
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that attacks the Central Nervous System. The Multiple Sclerosis Foundation estimates that more than 400,000 people in the United States and about 2.5 million people around the world have MS. About 200 new cases are diagnosed each week in the United States. In this interview, you’ll hear Sherry Bitler describe what it was like to hear the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and how it changed her life. Listeners with a similar diagnosis will be encouraged by the way Sherry has confronted this disease and learned how to continue to invest her life in the lives of others, even though she is sometimes physically limited. This conversation will also help “healthy” people better understand how such a diagnosis can affect everyday life and how they can come alongside of someone whose constant companion is Multiple Sclerosis.
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Contact Sharon with comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.