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People need hope more than ever. As followers of Jesus, we have this promise in Colossians 1:27.....Listen to Radio Podcast featured on Moody Radio April 17 2024 

Mark 023 - No One

“No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”

Mark 2:21,22

There are just some things that no one does. It’s just so obvious that no one in their right mind would do it.

But then, there’s me.

· When I was about eight, I ran out of a transit bus and, without looking, ran in front of it. The impact from the passing car not only tore up my leg but made some blood vessels in my eye explode, leaving behind a cool looking red spot in the middle of my pupil.

· When I was about ten, I climbed out of my bedroom window to get a toy that had got caught in the gutter. After getting the toy and tossing it down, I jumped to the ground instead of going back through the open window because it “seemed easier to do.”

· When I was in my forties, I was riding an ATV in the remote deserts of the Four Corners[1] area. As I was going up the side of a mountain, the ground gave way and I fell. And I fell. And I fell. And fortunately for owner of the ATV, it landed on top of me, cushioning it’s fall..

While these are only a few of the many “what was I thinking” moments in my life, Jesus says that there are a couple of things that no one would choose to do. He’s saying that forcing behavior from the outside is the old garment, the old wineskin, the old way of doing things. Another way to think about it is that trying to force people to act, speak, feel, think, and live from the outside forces of guilt, shame, and scolding are old garments, the old wineskins.

And yet, this is exactly how it’s packaged and sold to us. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is pedaling this to create a new world, a new life, new relationships, new finances. It goes like this: if we reward the good and punish the bad, everyone will obviously beat a path to the good. How much simpler could it be?

But there’s one problem with this, and it’s a huge one. We can’t agree on what is good. What one group claims is good, another claims it’s beyond bad. What one side says loudly is right, the other side screams about it being wrong.

But Jesus offers something oh so different. He offers us life based on a love commitment that gives and wants nothing but the best for us. And his best is measured from God’s perspective, not ours. His love commits him to offer himself, a life guided by him, and an eternity with him.

He’s less impressed with accomplishments than he is of a changed heart. A changed heart is not interested in the applause of people, eyeballs on your website, or likes by social media. A changed heart energizes us from the inside, where he lives and empowers us. It leads to loving and serving God and people. It never leads to self-promotion, putting yourself first in front of anyone.

When Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you[2]” he showed that it’s not a forced, external show that he is most interested in. He’s looking for a broken and energized heart that overflows with a loving desire to use our words, thoughts, actions, and attitudes to please the God who loves us, saves us, wants to be with us forever.

And that naturally leads to sharing our life with others, helping them, serving them, loving them. This is the most attractive life imaginable. People are on the lookout for selfless people that are only interested in helping, and not expanding their clique.

Living with a new cloth, or a new wineskin, doesn’t guarantee an easy life. This new cloth/wineskin kind of life might actually get you into trouble with certain people. A new cloth/wineskin kind of life doesn’t guarantee that you will get the reward or blessing in this life either. That would just be more selfishness and self-centeredness.

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

2 Chronicles 16:9

Are you the kind of person that God is looking for? Is your heart the kind of heart that is fully committed to him? Is your heart the kind of heart that God wants to strengthen?

If yes, then there’s no doubt that he’s looking for you. He will find you and strengthen you.

It’s well worth being that kind of person. Today. Tomorrow. For all eternity.

[1] Where Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah meet. [2] Luke 17:21

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