8 No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. — Micah 6:8 NLT
These three requirements seem fairly simple. When we read them, we probably think that we already do these. And perhaps, to some extent, we do. Justice and kindness are things that we do naturally, right? What about the thoughts and the words that we speak when others are not around, are they just and kind? When someone wrongs you, are your thoughts of mercy or revenge? When you see others being mistreated, are you willing to get involved, regardless of the personal cost (Think of the Good Samaritan)? Walk humbly is the really tough one. Are we humble enough to give of our resources, of ourselves, of our abundance and of our time to help others? Even to the point of dying for them? And, if we do these things, are they to show others how righteous we are? Every good gift comes down from the Father above. When we share those gifts with others, we are laying up rewards in heaven.
Walk humbly with our God? Help me to do that, Jesus!
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right. — Romans 2:15 NLT
It is said that on a dark night with no obstructions, the human eye can see the flickering flame of a candle up to a distance of thirty miles. How is this possible? Even the smallest of lights will dispel darkness. This is true of that quality that we refer to as “good”. Good dispels evil. As Edmund Burke put it: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Even those who have never read God’s law or those that say there is no God know this is true. All humans innately know the difference between good and evil. For most humans, it is natural to choose to do good whether they believe in God or not. That innate knowledge (we call it the conscience) that God has put in the heart of a human is what prevents total chaos from occurring on the earth. Even those who have never read the Bible or heard the Gospel know the difference between right and wrong. That knowledge becomes more real and more powerful when we receive the Holy Spirit. An atheist can only be an atheist because his/her beliefs are based on a wrong assumption. If the foundation is faulty, then the whole house will crumble. So, good men and women, let us build our house on a solid foundation of truth, light our candles and be a shining light in a world of darkness and evil. Only God knows how much darkness each of our lights will penetrate. Let us take the advice given by Tom Bodett and leave our lights on so a lost and dying world can find their way home.
34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3:34 NIV
Our society becomes more and more mobile with each new generation. This has been true from the beginning until now and it doesn’t show any signs of changing. This fact has an upside and a downside. The upside is that God uses these changes to spread the Gospel. Paul went on missionary trips on roads built by the Romans. His travels in one lifetime would have been imposssible a few generation earlier. For years, people debated about whether or not it was possible for every human to hear the Gospel. Now we know that that could be done with one message bradcast on satellite TV. Of course, there are many worldly benefits as well. The downside of all this mobility is the loss of family. We no longer live next door to our parents, siblings or any close relatives. That fact contribues to a lot of loneliness and also the sense of what “family” really means. But, God knew this was coming so He made it possible for us to have family wherever we find ourselves. Each one of us lives in communities where, with a little effort, we could be surrounded by family. Jesus was, at first, rejected by His family. Yet, this did not deter Him from having a family. If you find that your occupation and/or your decisions have taken you a goodly distance from your family, find a Church that believes in the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Christ. There you will find a new family that can mean just as much or more than your natural family. And, of course, there is always Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother or a sister or a mother or a father.
12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. — Hebrews 4:12,13 NIV
Since God knows our every thought we need to be very careful of the thought patterns that we allow to develop. Of course, thoughts drift into our mind and that is beyond our control to a point. But we do have control over whether or not we dwell on those thoughts. In Corinthians, we are instructed to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ”. We can also take some control of our thought patterns by making better decisions about the things we read, the things we see, the conversations that we have and the people we associate with daily. We must be careful that our pride doesn’t lead us into believing that we are influencing others more than they are influencing us. The things and the people that we spend the most time with are the ones that influence us the most. Pride says “I would never” but we all have at some time or other done or said those things that we are not proud of later. Those things that we did and the words that we spoke are results of thought patterns that we have developed over the years. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us purify our hearts and minds. We can help by studying God’s Word and making it a bigger part of our daily thought patterns.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you. — Psalm 119:11
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10 NIV
23 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. — Phil. 4:7 NIV
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it. — Proverbs 4:23 NIV