Sunday, October 23, 2016

The blessing of hearing and turning away. Acts 3:26

"to you first, God, having raised up His child Jesus, did send him, blessing you, in the turning away of each one from your evil ways."
Acts 3:26

The lessons we teach here often focus on the Atonement of Jesus Christ, speaking reverently and gratefully for his gift of taking the punishment for our sins, paying the price for them, so that we may repent and stand, redeemed and "justified", before God at the last day. 

There is another profound blessing that comes as we learn the teachings Jesus taught when God sent him to earth and he lived here and as, a result of that learning, repent,  turning away from our evil ways.  And that blessing is every day, not just at the last day.

I realize how much freer and meaningful and profound our daily lives are when we turn from "evil ways" and follow the teachings of Christ (whether or not we realize they are the things he taught). And also, I am aware of how many unhappy natural and logical consequences we avoid that would otherwise arise from our own personal choices to indulge in "evil ways".  

We do not usually speak of this because doing so causes us to sound too much like the pharisee praying in the temple "Oh Lord, I am grateful that I am not like so and so...."  (Luke 18:10-12) And that's a pit to avoid like the plague.

But this verse at the end of Peter's remarks to the crowd at the temple reminds me that it is good to stop and recognize privately, to God, the daily, freeing, blessing it is to have been made aware of the wise principles and practices that Jesus taught while on earth, and the blessing of being able to choose them, and that I should be humbly grateful for the logical and natural consequences that result when we incorporate them daily into our lives.

"We thank thee for every blessing, bestowed by thy bounteous hand".

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