1 Peter 2 (NLT)
1 So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3 now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
Psalm 34:8 (NRSV)
O taste and see that the Lord is good;
happy are those who take refuge in him.
HERE — oh, my! This takes me back! Petra and “Taste and See,” 1967. Words and music by Bob Hartman. Petra was a the first Christian band to be inducted into the Hard Rock Cafe.
If all you got is a fancy car
And a precious diamond ring
When you stand before the Lord
Will it really mean a thing?
You’ve got to see how good your life can be
You’ve got to feel what’s really, really real
How can you know until you taste and see
How good it is to be set free?
Taste and see that the Lord is good
He’s got milk and honey for you
Come and dine at the Master’s table,
He’ll serve bread and wine to you
Well you tasted this and you tasted that
But you still ain’t satisfied
You’ll never find any peace of mind
In those empty things you tried
Don’t be afraid of tasting something new
Your soul is hungry, nothing else will do
The bread of life will keep you satisfied
You won’t go hungry or ever be denied
You’ve got to make up your mind
And leave your old life behind you
You know He’ll take it away
Living Stones for God’s House
4 You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God.
from the hymn “Built on a Rock”
by Nikolai F. S. Grundvig (1783-1872)
We are God’s house of living stones,
Built for his own habitation;
He fills our hearts, his humble thrones,
Granting us life and salvation.
Were two or three to seek his face,
He in their midst would show his grace,
Blessings upon them bestowing.
6 As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”
7 Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”
Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Psalm 118, the stumbling stone of Isaiah 8, the foundation stone of Isaiah 28, the supernatural stone of Daniel 2, and the rock that miraculously gave Israel water in the wilderness (1 Corinthians 10:4).
“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
10 “Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
Respecting People in Authority
Romans 13:1 (ESV)
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
13 For the Lord’s sake, respect all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14 or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
15 It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16 For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17 Respect everyone, and love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God, and respect the king.
18 You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19 For God is pleased with you when you do what you know is right and patiently endure unfair treatment. 20 Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
21 For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
from My Utmost for His Highest,
by Oswald Chambers
The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God’s judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.
The centre of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much.
22 He never sinned,
nor ever deceived anyone.
23 He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
who always judges fairly.
24 He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.
25 Once you were like sheep
who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
the Guardian of your souls.
Or perhaps you prefer something more peaceful than Petra! HERE is a beautiful Celtic rendition of “The Lord’s My Shepherd.”
Psalm 23 (The Message)
God, my shepherd! I don’t need a thing.
You have bedded me down in lush meadows,
you find me quiet pools to drink from.
True to your word,
you let me catch my breath
and send me in the right direction.
Even when the way goes through
I’m not afraid
when you walk at my side.
Your trusty shepherd’s crook
makes me feel secure.
You serve me a six-course dinner
right in front of my enemies.
You revive my drooping head;
my cup brims with blessing.
Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.