I love the practicality of today's Scriptures: the reality of our relationship with God should create a natural flow out of us that will begin to effect our lives and how we interact with others. My prayer is that as you read these verses you will see the grace that God provides to live in Christ.
I was captured by the following Psalm. It says, but THEIR hope is in the Lord their God. It then goes on to describe who the Lord is and what He does - our invitation is to put our trust in Him. In light of all the political upheaval right now I think it is a good reminder where our trust and hope ultimately can and should rest. No matter who "wins" God is always up to these things and we as His people can participate with Him in His action.
Psalm 146:1-10 NCV
"Praise the Lord! My whole being, praise the Lord. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praises to my God as long as I live. Do not put your trust in princes or other people, who cannot save you. When people die, they are buried. Then all of their plans come to an end. Happy are those who are helped by the God of Jacob. Their hope is in the Lord their God. He made heaven and earth, the sea and everything in it. He remains loyal forever. He does what is fair for those who have been wronged. He gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets the prisoners free. The Lord gives sight to the blind. The Lord lifts up people who are in trouble. The Lord loves those who do right. The Lord protects the foreigners. He defends the orphans and widows, but he blocks the way of the wicked. The Lord will be King forever. Jerusalem, your God is everlasting. Praise the Lord!"
Mark 7:14-23 NCV
"After Jesus called the crowd to him again, he said, “Every person should listen to me and understand what I am saying. There is nothing people put into their bodies that makes them unclean. People are made unclean by the things that come out of them. [ Let those with ears use them and listen.]” When Jesus left the people and went into the house, his followers asked him about this story. Jesus said, “Do you still not understand? Surely you know that nothing that enters someone from the outside can make that person unclean. It does not go into the mind, but into the stomach. Then it goes out of the body.” (When Jesus said this, he meant that no longer was any food unclean for people to eat.) And Jesus said, “The things that come out of people are the things that make them unclean. All these evil things begin inside people, in the mind: evil thoughts, sexual sins, stealing, murder, adultery, greed, evil actions, lying, doing sinful things, jealousy, speaking evil of others, pride, and foolish living. All these evil things come from inside and make people unclean.”"
Ephesians 4:17-24 NCV
"In the Lord’s name, I tell you this. Do not continue living like those who do not believe. Their thoughts are worth nothing. They do not understand, and they know nothing, because they refuse to listen. So they cannot have the life that God gives. They have lost all feeling of shame, and they use their lives for doing evil. They continually want to do all kinds of evil. But what you learned in Christ was not like this. I know that you heard about him, and you are in him, so you were taught the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught to leave your old self—to stop living the evil way you lived before. That old self becomes worse, because people are fooled by the evil things they want to do. But you were taught to be made new in your hearts, to become a new person. That new person is made to be like God—made to be truly good and holy."
2 Peter 1:3-7 NCV
"Jesus has the power of God, by which he has given us everything we need to live and to serve God. We have these things because we know him. Jesus called us by his glory and goodness. Through these he gave us the very great and precious promises. With these gifts you can share in God’s nature, and the world will not ruin you with its evil desires. Because you have these blessings, do your best to add these things to your lives: to your faith, add goodness; and to your goodness, add knowledge; and to your knowledge, add self-control; and to your self-control, add patience; and to your patience, add service for God; and to your service for God, add kindness for your brothers and sisters in Christ; and to this kindness, add love."
These verses in 2 Peter are amazing! It says, "We have been given everything we need to live and serve God," why? Because we KNOW Him. It also says, "the world will not ruin us." Often times as Christians we operate in the place of fear and intimidation of the world and the evilness that we see around us. But as Jesus said in Mark 7, it isn't what comes in that ruins us it is what comes out. Ephesians 4 shows us that we are new people, with new hearts. Since, you have been given a new nature, you can operate in the confidence of it all. These verses give us a very practical way to walk out this reality, by walking in the GIFTS we have been given by Jesus:
faith + goodness + knowledge + self-control + patience + service + kindness + LOVE
how we live a life of service to God
Were guilt, fear, condemnation, trying harder in the list?
No, they aren't in the list. So instead continue to get to KNOW Him and the beauty of His character: Creator, loyal, fair, provider, freedom giver, lover, protector and defender (Psalm 145) and then operate freely in His gifts to you.