We are to continue to love one another as family, even when the family unit becomes dysfunctional. For we can choose our friends, but we’re born into a family…and family last forever. So, regardless how messy it may get, as Christians, we’re to love each other with a brotherly love out of the common bond of Jesus Christ. Because the commonality we have with each other is far stronger than any friction.
Christian ministry can be hard, thankless, and fatiguing. You can give everything to the Lord’s work day after day…but see no positive results…you think. There may even come a time when you’re ready to throw in the towel and chalk it up as pointless and a waste of time. But think of this…God’s ultimate plan and purpose may be about changing you and not about your work for Him. You may never see the results you think God wants…but you also may never be fully cognizant of the changes within you because of your diligent work for Him.
Over the 36 years as a Nurse this Scripture was my “work verse”. Health Care is a hard career, and I would remind myself daily with this Scripture that the Lord had entrusted me with these patients to do the very best job I could. For just as God watches over His flock like a shepherd (Jeremiah 31:10)…I was to do the same.
The world has been making fun of the promised Second Coming of Christ from Old Testament times. Back then, they had a saying, “The days go by and every vision comes to nothing?” (Ezekiel 12:22) The world demands immediate and instantaneous results…because it hates to wait for anything. And so as the world watches for this Second Coming, it becomes impatient, and impatience becomes frustration, which turns to scoffing and mocking remarks like, “Just where is this Jesus you talk about and why hasn’t He shown up yet?” But God doesn’t go back on His promises, and the Second Coming is real…and when the world scoffs at the Second Coming of Christ Jesus, they are merely carrying out this Scripture.
When we cry out to the Lord in the time of some critical or chronic need…what do we want? We want the situation to change. Whatever it is has us controlled, restrained, or limited in some way, and we want God to come to our aid. Psalm 118:5 tells us, “In my anguish I cried to the Lord, and He answered me by setting me free.” In Job 36:16 this idea is repeated that God, in my distress, will set my feet in a spacious place. Now the need may or may not miraculously disappear…but God promises that our minds can be set free from the emotional anguish and misery that have us hemmed in… when we call on Him.
A hard heart is a rebellious heart…one that allows unbelief to draw it away from the truth of God. That’s why we’re admonished in the Bible to not to harden our hearts when we hear His voice. (Hebrews 4:7 & Psalm 95:7-8) So the antidote to a hard heart, (and what we should be praying for all our unbelieving friends and family) is found in Ezekiel 36:26, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” A heart of flesh is alive and new…and it’s a place where faith can spring up.
In a marriage, men are to look to Jesus as the example. For Jesus spoke of the Church as His bride and He the bridegroom. Jesus demonstrated His love for His bride by willingly dying in her place. This type of love is devoted, selfless, and sacrificing. It’s a love that cherishes, values, and treats as precious another person. In modern language, it’s a love that would take a bullet for her.
This verse has been used out of context many times. But to look at it correctly, we must read the verse before it. In Ephesians 5:21 we are told to submit to one another out of reverence to Christ. When we are subject to one another, we take on the heart of a servant…putting the needs of others first. In that context then, wives are submitting or placing in an orderly fashion the family unit…with all parties acting in the interest of another.
Godly wisdom is pragmatic…for there are very practical and economic benefits to gaining Godly insight and discernment over worldly wisdom. It tells us in Proverbs 3:13-14 that wisdom is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. Worldly wisdom, like worldly riches, are fleeting…here today and gone tomorrow. But Godly wisdom stays with you…ever increasing…and lasting forever.
Practical Christianity is seeing a need…and filling it. But many will see a need, but do nothing about it…thinking someone better qualified than them should fill it. But when God places a need before you, it’s because He knows you will not only see it, but feel it. And it’s that compassion for the need we see that makes us act.