[January 21, 2024]

Heartland Community Church


Is mercy the truest form of love?

By Bill McMurtrey

When was the last time you had it all figured out, only to have it all go south and not be anything you had planned?

I took up welding metal sculptures as a hobby. Many of you have been a part of that, placing crosses onto the 10-foot cross I made 5 years ago. In November 2023, I created a sculpture of the word "LOVE." It stands a little over 5 feet tall and is 17 feet long. The weight is about 1,100 lbs, maybe more.

I built it because I felt a nudge from God telling me to. Upon beginning the project, I was unaware God would shield me with his mercy in a critical moment.

While I was fabricating the sculpture, I made a mistake. I took my eye off the ball, so to speak. I have made thousands of cuts like this one. But I took my left hand off the cutting grinder for a moment. That was all it took, one second. The cutter had slipped, and the steel blade rotating at 6500 RPM buried itself deep into my leg.

My life flashed before my eyes, thinking I might not make it. My blood pressure plummeted to 40 over 70 as my body went into shock. After receiving life-saving medical attention that day and being stitched back together, I was able to return home. That night, I sat alone in silence, and I prayed. The feeling of mercy grabbed my soul. Giving God thanks for being alive, I prayed many prayers through the night. I prayed repeatedly for those who help others, as I had received much help. God nudged me with a realization that it did no good to harbor any feelings of ill will, anger, or resentment toward anyone I had been angry with then. I prayed and let go of those feuds. The release of those feelings gave me newfound peace. To be sure, I am no saint, but I felt led to offer mercy through the experience of receiving such incredible mercy from God.

"People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy."

Proverbs 28:13

Is mercy not the truest form of LOVE? In a moment of error, fabricating a piece of art about love, I received a gift of mercy. If Jesus wants us to love each other as he loves us, does he not also want us to have mercy for each other? I carry that question with me each day. Sometimes God has better things planned, even when our plans go south.


[Monday, January 22]

Matthew 5:7, John 8:1-11

If we are honest many of us would naturally move toward getting even over showing mercy, wouldn’t we? Kind of like the crowd in this scene from John 8. We are quick to judge, condemn, and get even, get justice. I have always wished I knew what Jesus was writing in the dirt, haven’t you? Was he doodling? Were they words? Did it add to the impact? For now, I am left with pondering where I have lifted a stone. Where do I need to invite Jesus to renew my energy to offer mercy?


[Tuesday, January 23]

Matthew 5:8, Jeremiah 32:39, Psalm 51:10

What an incredible promise we are given for developing a pure heart! We will see God. And this promise isn’t a "sometime in the future" promise. It, along with all the others is a promise for the here and now. When my heart is turned toward God, when I seek his influence over all others, I am promised that I will SEE him. Let’s pray that for one another this week.


[Wednesday, January 24]

Matthew 5:9, Ephesians 6:13-15

I yearn for peace. In relationships. At work. In my social media feed, in the world. So often it seems we are powerless to bring peace. What would our lives look like in the shoes described as armor of God? How would my interactions be different if I were fully prepared for my day by wearing the shoes of peace that walk in "good news"? It is such an active picture…put on the right shoes, and I can walk in peace. If I walk in peace, my demeanor would be peaceful. If my demeanor is peaceful, might it impact the tone and vibe of those around me? How can we be "walkers of good news" this week?


[Thursday, January 25]

Matthew 5:7-9

Read this passage again, this time focusing entirely on the promises from Jesus…his "they will…" statements. Which one makes your heart quicken? Which gives you courage to do the hard work of cultivating mercy, pure heartedness and peace making?


[Friday, January 26]

Matthew 5:7-9

Take today to write out your thoughts from this week in a prayer. Place it in your phone, planner, on your dashboard or fridge, and let it encourage you to connect with God as you seek mercy, pure heartedness and peace.


{extra journey resources}

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© 2024 Heartland Community Church

12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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