Mary visits her cousin and from the moment she enters the house it is clear God is at work. We are told the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth and the sound of Mary's voice. The Spirit revealed to her that Mary was not with just any child, that Mary would be the mother of the Messiah. Elizabeth is the first to offer earthly confirmation of what God had called Mary to. I am grateful for Mary's response, she knows this is not about her, rather what God is doing. Here we see the true heart of a servant pouring out of the one called to be the mother of God.
We all have walked and continue to find sin on our lives. Before realizing what Christ had done for us we were controlled by that sin but we are no more. Through the grace of God in Jesus Christ we have been saved from our sin. This grace is not something we have worked to earn, otherwise we might boast about what we have accomplished. Grace is the gift of God seen most perfectly in Jesus Christ. Once we have accepted the offer of grace we are called to live a life of grace, not just a momentary cleansing from sin. Freely we have been saved by grace through faith. Recognizing the great love and grace God offers us compels us to live differently than before. To live as God has called us.
Follow God can often be difficult. It becomes even more difficult when the people around us ridicule and hold us in contempt because we follow God. For those who are still living on their own terms, living on God's terms seems like foolishness. Yet those who remain steadfast God will honor. Keeping our eyes focused on God, while challenging, is the work to which followers of Christ have been called. We must allow the Scriptures to be our guide and our counsel rather than the voices and call of this present age.
1 Kings 4-5
Now that Solomon is established as king he begins to set up his court and rule. The officials are named and the jobs are handed out. As we get into chapter 5 Solomon turns to completing the dream of his father David in building the Temple. As I read through all the resources available to Solomon and the situation in which he is ruling the people I cannot help but think about the United States. The abundance available to us is beyond comprehension. Solomon has the capacity to do whatever he wants and it will be cared for, even to the point of enslaving the very people he was granted by God to govern. In these early chapters it is easy to think Solomon was the ruler God intended and that all is going well. As the story unfolds we might find there is a different story being written. Perhaps all that Solomon has and does is not as godly as it first appears.
O Lord, grant that we may understand your scriptures more deeply. I give you permission Lord to mess with my thinking. Relieve me from thoughts which are not true to you. Replace in my heart your word that I might not only follow you, that others would follow you because of my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.