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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Practical Application of Scripture

Philippians 4:6-9
New Living Translation (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

Romans 8:26
New Living Translation (NLT)

And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.

Mark 12:28-34
New Living Translation (NLT)
The Most Important Commandment

One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

THE world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers:
Little we see in Nature that is ours….
(William Wordsworth)

After reviewing today’s scripture lessons, I feel some regret regarding the life I lead and the world I face. For example, take Saint Paul’s challenge for us: “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Looking over the discouraging news I see daily regarding fallen human nature; the material that too often stains the mind and demeans any positive aspects of humanity; the endless flooding of movie theaters with tributes to the gods of dysfunction and sensationalism; the daily load of fictional garbage dumped into my living room heralded as cool TV entertainment; a steady stream of cynical nonfiction without an ounce of uplift or inspiration: with all these I must wonder how it is even possible to believe in the good. I become conflicted and confused and don’t even know what to pray for other than in lofty superlatives and abstractions. It is at precisely this place that Jesus provides an anchor—“The Most Important Commandment.” We are to love the Lord our God (who is love), and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves—remembering the inclusive definition and specificity of action in the parable of the Good Samaritan. I will not think of myself as a prudish censor as I now resolve to be more considerate in what I consume—the images and words I ingest which inevitably on some level affect my perception.

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