Hello, Houston First Church of God!

It is so wonderful to start to get to know each of you.  I love that we are ALREADY family – connected by our passion for JESUS and by His call for us to show mercy and love to each other.  This week, I have been thinking about the great mercy that the Lord gives His people.  It helped me to start by thinking about what mercy really means. 

Mercy is, at its simplest, kindness or compassion shown to someone subject to one’s power. 

I can remember being approached by a large, growling white dog when I was tutoring two children in their home.  The dog had no idea what to think about me.  He didn’t know whether I was there to protect the children who lived in the home or whether I was a threat to them.  He advanced slowly toward me, showing his teeth and making a low growl.  I knew that the dog had the ability to bite me, and that the dog was probably weighing his possible choices about what to do.  One of the children spoke to the dog in a comforting way and sat close to me, and the dog looked at me with fresh eyes.  His decision was to be lenient with me, and not use his power against me. 

He showed me mercy.

  The dog decided that he would protect me instead of hurt me, because he could see that I belonged in his house now.  I had come in the name of someone he knew.  I looked at him in a new way, too.  Now, as my protector, his size was an asset to me instead of a danger to me. The mercy that our Father shows us is far beyond the kind of mercy that the dog chose to show me.  Unlike the dog in the home where I tutored the children, the Father knows everything about me.  He knows exactly what I’ve done in the past, what I will do in the future, and what the state of my heart is.  He knows my potential to protect our relationship or to harm it.  When He advances towards me, He knows that He has the power to make me responsible for the consequences of my imperfection.  With a word, He could tell me that I am going to be subject to His judgment because of what He has seen in me.  But – He sees that I am a friend of Jesus Christ, and He decides to be compassionate toward me instead of using His power against me. 

He shows me mercy.

  He looks at me with fresh eyes and says that He will always protect me and not hurt me.  He plans for peace for me and not evil, bringing me a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11).  Protected by Him, I recognize the greatness of God as wonderful to me and I am not afraid of His power.  I was once called “Not His People” and now I am called one of the “People of God” (Romans 9:25).  I am stunned – my God of Mercy will use His power… to save me, to make me worthy, and call me His beloved!   
His mercies for His children are new every morning, and there is no end to His commitment to show mercy.  He has already shown that He would subject Himself even to death on a cross just to show mercy to us.  We are so honored and so humbled to have such a merciful father.  That kind of mercy inspires us to respond with authentic worship, doesn’t it?  We run into His love because love that great compels a heart response.   I cannot wait to continue worshipping with you.  I look forward to seeing you Sunday morning! 


Anita Cook