November 27 2021
Today, Saturday November 27
Looking for Mercy
Jude 1:20-21 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.”
Shortly after my salvation experience in February 1971 at the Landmark Baptist Temple in Cincinnati Ohio, I clearly heard the calling of God upon my life for full-time Gospel ministry. I initially thought that it meant that I was to go to Africa as a missionary. As a kid growing up, with my dad in ministry, I never dreamed I would be a pastor of a local church because most of my childhood memories of my experiences in church were not very good ones. Several of the churches, that my dad pastored, voted him out as pastor, kicked us out of the church parsonage and left us looking for housing. We moved so often that I literally went to thirteen different schools by the time I was in the twelfth grade.
But an amazing thing happened while I was attending Lynchburg Baptist College in Lynchburg Virginia and I started working for Dr. Jerry Falwell, visiting all the visitors that attended his Adult Sunday School Class and the services at Thomas Road Baptist Church! The Lord gave me a pastor’s heart for the local church! So I was not surprised when Shenandoah Valley Baptist Church in Winchester Virginia called me to become their senior pastor upon my graduation from Bible College in June of 1975.
Then over the next forty-six years I had the wonderful experience of leading hundreds of precious people to faith in Jesus Christ and watching their lives radically change just like my life did. But honestly, my greatest joy as a pastor was not their salvation experience, but being a part of their lives as they responded to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, dedicating and surrendering their lives to walk with Jesus every day! And even today, after my leaving the position of being a senior pastor it is still my heart and joy to watch others build up their lives and grow to spiritual maturity!
This "building process" in the Christian life of course, involves the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and prayer.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched people who had a dramatic salvation experience, getting so excited about being saved, but because they would not discipline themselves to take the time to read their Bibles, pray, and faithfully attend church, it was wasn’t long before they were soon running with their old crowd, and back in the bondage of their old life!
Psalm 23 is the great Shepherd Psalm that begins by telling us about how as sheep, we have a Good Shepherd, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who will lead us into green pastures and guide us to still waters to refresh and restore our souls. And when we trust and follow Him by faith, we are always provided for, satisfied, comforted and protected. But often, just like sheep, we get distracted and go astray. And Psalm 23 ends by reminding us, that even then, “His mercy and goodness will follow us all the days of our lives…”
Yes my friend, even today we need to be “looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ” that gives us the hope and assurance that we need to sustain us and pick us up when we do fail and go astray! If we will confess our sins and failures He will “forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Today, thank God for His goodness and mercy!