Are you just going thru the motions? Are you just trying to look all buttoned up? Are you creating a persona that you are ok? Is it more of living out of rituals and routines at this point?
God wants more than just that! He desires justice and mercy! What do you think of when you think of justice and mercy?
Mercy… leniency · clemency · compassion · grace · pity · charity · forgiveness · forbearance · quarter · humanity · soft-heartedness · tenderheartedness · kindness · sympathy · liberality · indulgence · tolerance · generosity · magnanimity · beneficence
Do any of these words come to mind? When you look around at what is going on around you and around the world, is justice and mercy what you are seeing? Are people getting treated right? Are people being mistreated? Are people being treated justly? Are people receiving mercy?
When you consider Jesus, how do you think He would respond differently? If you consider that old saying WWJD – What Would Jesus Do? Do you think things would be different? Do you think there would be more unity and less division? Do you think people who say they believe in Him would come together in unity? Do you think there would still be disagreements because of beliefs?
Remember how Jesus told and warned us that in this world we will have troubles, but to take heart because He has overcome the world! Remember also how we are to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds (not if but when) because they work in us so that we will be mature and lacking nothing!
Why are you living this way? Is it for your own benefit or is it because of what God is instructing? Are you thinking selfless or selfish? Are you thinking justice and mercy?
How would you like to leave this land in which you live? Better or worse than you found it?
How do you want to be seen or treated? Will you live to be blessed by God rather than have to deal with the curses because of living improperly?
Let’s be God’s people! Let’s allow our hands to be strong! Let’s put our hope and trust in God! Let’s walk in His blessings!
Do not be afraid! Let your hands be strong! Do good! Speak the truth! Render true judgment! Do not plot evil against each other, and do not love to swear falsely! Love truth and peace.
Let your trust be in God! Don’t let your trust be in stuff that will fade or destroyed! Don’t be impacted by pride – your own or that of others!
Let’s praise God! Let’s worship God! Let’s allow our lives to be living sacrifices to God that are good and pleasing to Him!
Share hope and love with the world around you! Allow the truth of God to flow from you! Let the world realize the truth and turn back to God in humility and joy!
Let’s ask God to teach us His ways – Let’s consider what was said in the psalms…
Teach Me Your Paths
1Of David. To You, Adonai, I lift up my soul.
2O my God, in You I trust, so I will not be ashamed, and my enemies will not gloat over me.
3Surely no one who waits for You will be ashamed. But the treacherous without cause will be ashamed.
4Show me Your ways, Adonai. Teach me Your paths.
5Guide me in Your truth, and teach me, for You are God, my salvation, for You I wait all day.
6Remember, Adonai, Your compassions and Your mercies— for they are from eternity.
7Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my rebellion. According to Your mercy remember me, for the sake of Your goodness, Adonai.
8Good and upright is Adonai. Therefore He directs sinners in the way.
9He guides the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way.
10All Adonai’s ways are lovingkindness and truth to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.
11For Your Name’s sake, Adonai, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12Who is this man who fears Adonai? He will instruct him in the way he should choose.
13His soul abides in goodness, and his offspring will inherit the land.
14The secret of Adonai is for those who fear Him. He makes His covenant known to them.
15My eyes are always looking to Adonai, for He will pull my feet out of the net.
16Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
17The troubles of my heart increase. Bring me out of my distress.
18See my affliction and my suffering, and take away all my sins.
19See my enemies, how many they are— they hate me with violent hatred.
20Guard my soul and deliver me. Let me not be ashamed, for I take refuge in You.
21May integrity and uprightness protect me—for I wait for You.
22Redeem Israel, O God, from all their troubles.
Let’s stick with Jesus! Let’s receive the gift of Jesus … the reason for the Christmas season! Jesus came that we can life and life to the full! Let’s receive Jesus into our heart and be transformed! He is the way!
Let’s reflect together on the New Testament readings for today together…
The High Priest of a New Covenant
1Now the main point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being.
3Every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices, and so it was necessary for this one also to have something to offer. 4If he were on earth, he would not be a priest, for there are already priests who offer the gifts prescribed by the law. 5They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.” 6But in fact the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, since the new covenant is established on better promises.
7For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. 8But God found fault with the people and said:
“The days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel
and with the people of Judah.
9It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they did not remain faithful to my covenant,
and I turned away from them,
declares the Lord.
10This is the covenant I will establish with the people of Israel
after that time, declares the Lord.
I will put my laws in their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11No longer will they teach their neighbor,
or say to one another, ‘Know the Lord,’
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.”
13By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.
Jesus is the answer! Jesus is the way! Jesus is our hope! He will help us live within the society we are in!
1Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
The Living Stone and a Chosen People
4As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
7Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, Godʼs special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society
11Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
13Submit yourselves for the Lordʼs sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15For it is Godʼs will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as Godʼs slaves. 17Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
18Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22“He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24“He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
–1 Peter 2
Today's Reading: Zechariah 7, Zechariah 8, Zechariah 9, Psalm 25, Hebrews 8, 1 Peter 2