Monday, October 8, 2012

His Mercies . . . New Every Morning!

Bishop Arts Street Art
Photo Credit: Mark Grace

Joe is a walking, talking force of nature.  He has three sisters whose most common response to him seems to be "Joe, don't say that!" 

You never quite know what he is up to because he is, as we ministers are sometimes prone to say, "An Israelite in whom there is no guile."  What you see is what you get.  The harder you try to contain him the more he bubbles over.

And Joe is my walking talking reminder that God isn't finished doing miracles.  

Just a few years ago, I tended to flinch when I saw him coming, because when Joe came around it usually meant trouble was close behind.  He was hard headed and living way too fast and reckless for any three human beings.  He was an argument waiting to happen.

Then Jesus changed his life.  And do I mean changed him.  He gave up some really destructive habits and began to come to church.  He got a steady job.  Joe has some skills that are in high demand.  And once Jesus straightened out the personal side of things, the job and regular income followed.

Now the new Joe is decidedly different from the old one, except for the fact that they are still wrapped up in the same personality.  He laid on his horn one day when he was behind me in a funeral caravan.  When we stopped at the cemetery he jumped out and ran up to me and said, "I'm sorry, Pastor! You know that old flesh gets hold of me every now and then. I just forgot where we were."  

Not too long ago we asked him to give a tithing testimony.  "I don't know what you want me to say," he responded, "I'm just gonna tell'em if they don't tithe they are going to hell!"

"Joe," I responded as calmly as I knew how, "I wish you'd find another way to say that."

The next Sunday he took the microphone at the appointed time, looked out over the congregation and said, "God has blessed me a lot.  Everybody in here knows exactly how much God has blessed me.  My life is nothing like it used to be.  But on the tithing thing, here's how I see that. When Jesus comes back, I don't want to have to explain to him how he did everything he did for me and I couldn't even tithe." 

"And that's all I got to say on that."

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I love Joe, because his life is one of the best sermons I know.  He reminds me every day that God's mercies are new every morning.  Most of all he reminds me that with God's help, we all have the power to say, "My story isn't over yet."

I am praying whatever Monday brings you, that God will give you the power to understand that you are not at the mercy of any given moment or day in your life.  We all have the power to say, "This won't be the end of the story."

Whose life and example remind you of that lesson?  Leave a comment below!

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