Hebrews 1:3 ” The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word. “

Maybe you’ve never heard the term – Shekinah Glory – but here in Hebrews it attempts to explain how Jesus was the perfect expression of the divine essence of His Father.  God’s luminous presence was manifested in Jesus, and this splendor and light could not be dampened or hidden from sight…for God’s Shekinah Glory cannot be contained.

Deuteronomy 11: 26-28 ” See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse – the blessing if you obey the commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the Lord your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known.”

When God created us, He didn’t build robots.  Instead, He gave us a free will to make decisions and act on them…whether wise or foolish.  But it’s also our free will that gets us into trouble most times.  We bristle at being told what to do, and obeying the rules, in our mind, is optional.  Yes, our free will can become problematic!  So in this passage, the Lord is quite concise and deliberate in His laying out of our options.  We are given the choice…the decision is ours.  Will we obey and receive a blessing, or will we rebel and experience a curse?

Galatians 5:17 ” For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the spirit, and the spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.”

Our mind is a battlefield.  Our new nature under Christ Jesus is ever struggling with our comfortable old nature.  Romans 8:4 tells us not to live according to our sinful nature…but that’s easier said than done when our old self keeps tugging us back to what’s easy, and familiar.  But that’s when we need to memorize I John 4:4 and recite it out loud…” the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”  The Holy Spirit indwelling within you is mightier than the devil…and more powerful than anything you are battling today.  For it tells us to resist the devil and he must flee.  So when your old and new self are clashing, look to the Lord for strength and victory.

I Samuel 2:10 ” It is not by strength that one prevails; those who oppose the Lord will be shattered.”

This Scripture reminds me of the story of David and Goliath.   Standing at over ten feet tall, this Philistine giant named Goliath, taunted the Israelite army and challenged anyone to man-to-man combat.  It tells us for 40 days he would come forward every morning and evening and take his stand against King Saul and his frightened men.  But it wasn’t until a young shepherd boy name David overheard Goliath defying the living God… that Goliath was silenced by a sling and a single stone.

Acts 5:17-18 ” Then the high priest and all his associates, who were members of the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. They arrested the apostles and put them in the public jail.”

So what exactly were the apostles doing that would land them in jail?  It tells us that they were performing many miraculous signs and wonders…healing the sick and tormented…and that many were coming to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  They were doing good stuff, but they were also persecuted for it.  Contention within the Body can degenerate into negative emotions that desire to make war against the good they see others doing…simply because it’s not them performing it.  They feel threatened, so they attempt to discount and belittle rather than praising God for what He’s doing.         Doing good regardless…it tells us in I Peter 3:17 that we may have to suffer in doing good…and that we shouldn’t become weary in doing it. (Galatians 6:9)  I pray we all may have the boldness to continue doing good no matter the cost.

II Kings 4:42-44 ” A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. ‘Give it to the people to eat,’ Elisha said. ‘How can I set this before a hundred men?’ his servant asked. But Elisha answered, ‘Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says; They will eat and have some leftover.’ Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the Word of the Lord.”

This story of Elisha is a foreshadowing of Jesus feeding the 5,000 – ( the only story, other than the Resurrection, that is found in all 4 Gospels).  So it must have made quite an impact on the Disciples to witness a few loaves of bread and a couple of fish being multiplied into a huge meal for thousands.  Comparing both stories, we see doubt and skepticism on the part of the faithful…people who had observed many miracles, but couldn’t fathom this one.  We also see confidence and full trust in God that He would bless over and above.  In both cases, there wasn’t just enough, there was plenty to go around…there wasn’t the bare minimum, there was excess to spare.  For God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask, (Ephesians 3:20) and He desires to lavish His blessings on us…to the point of overflowing.

Titus 2:11-12 ” For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present Age…”

I Timothy 2:3-4 tells us that God wants all men to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.  But it also tells us in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – His eternal power and divine nature –  have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”  So whether we want to admit it or not – we know what’s right and wrong.  God’s unearned and unmerited favor is for all.  But when we reject God’s truth, we become estranged from Him, having no excuse except our selfish Will.