Devotional Readings

Mercy Still Pleads

And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. Luke 13:8, 9.

Are you, O careless heart, a fruitless tree in the Lord’s vineyard? Shall the words of doom erelong be spoken of you? How long have you received His gifts? . . . How often has the tender gospel message thrilled your heart! You have taken the name of Christ, you are outwardly a member of the church which is His body, and yet you are conscious of no living connection with the great heart of love.”–Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 216. The issue is not how much foliage. It is whether you are conscious of a living connection, a personal, vibrant, living connection with Jesus.

Wouldn’t you like to be in the group who bear fruit and are never cut down? This is possible. We can respond to God’s mercy by accepting and receiving His gift of Christ each day. There’s no other way, because in order to realize the goodness and mercy of our patient God of justice, we need to study and contemplate Him continually. We may hear about His love from the pulpit, but this happens only once a week, or perhaps even less often. In order to repent daily, we need to contemplate and understand the goodness of God for our lives each day.

Listen, friend, even if you’ve run away from God because you’ve misunderstood His character: if you’re now tired of running, but afraid He won’t accept you back, hear His friendly words of invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Find out what it means to fall low before the cross and to communicate with your Saviour, Lord, and Friend. “In His great mercy God has not cut you down. He does not look coldly upon you. He does not turn away with indifference, or leave you to destruction. Looking upon you He cries, as He cried so many centuries ago concerning Israel, ‘How shall I give thee up?'”–Ibid., pp. 217, 218.

As we recognize His acceptance of us just as we are, and as we daily behold His love and mercy, fruit springs forth spontaneously. The secret lies in the living connection with the great heart of love.

from Faith that Works
Morris Venden | Review & Herald (2000)
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