Show of hands please…how many of you are over and done with COVID 19 and just want it to go back to normal? As the weeks drag on, my indifference has increased with each boring day…my lack of concern or interest in things leading only to more apathy. So when I read these Scriptures today, I said to myself, “This must be what it feels like to be ‘out of season’.” I don’t feel like sharing the Gospel Message with others, or reaching out with encouragement…but that’s not what I’m being told to do here. For my feelings have nothing to do with it, and I need to be ready, willing, and able to share the love of Jesus whether I feel like it or not. That’s what being prepared in season or out of season means. It all boils down to this…we are to fight the good fight of faith (I Timothy 6:12)… which means struggling daily with our thoughts and feelings in order to be a tool for God to use.
Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful. He was simply showing the difference between His blood family, and His spiritual family. Elsewhere in Luke we can find Him repeating this notion when He says, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” (Luke 11:28) When we become a Christian, we are adopted into and become part of the family of God. And part of being in this family is listening to the word of God and then applying it to our own life…practicing until it becomes a habit.
God’s principles are solely there to instruct us in our actions and conduct. For when we obey them, we are filled with wisdom and understanding…for the Word of the Lord is right and true. (Psalm 33:4) And as we follow His commands, His Word burns brightly, illuminating our path ahead and giving us peace…and as we follow Him, we rejoice, as one rejoices in having great riches. (Psalm 119:14)
Are your prayers more of a formula of repetitious words from memory…often without paying attention to what you’re actually saying? Have they become just a fixed routine of the same prayers repeated over and over again? Congratulations, you have the gift of religious gab! But this isn’t how the Lord wants you to communicate with Him. It isn’t the quantity or intensity of your prayers that He desires. Rather, it’s the heart-felt, getting real before the Lord, quality He wants.
The Greek word here for “hate” doesn’t mean we must despise our family in order to follow Jesus. What it just means is that we love them less than we love God. It’s called being set apart. So to this, we are to separate ourselves “morally” from the world view and others that don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus. In Isaiah 52:11, God tells us to, “Come out from them (the world) and be separate.” To be set apart for Christ means that we have our priorities correct…God is first, our family is second, the world is third. For when you make God the most significant person in you life, you are less likely to allow compromise to creep in. And when God is your everything, you are much better equipped to love those around you more effectively.
This verse is repeated several times in Judges…the Jews had no ruler, instead everyone did what they thought was right, just, and pleasing to them. But we know the definition of “doing as one sees fit” can mean a hundred things to a hundred people. So what we see here was a form of anarchy…a absence of governmental rule and authority in the country. And what we also see was growing confusion and disorder among God’s people.
Our battle isn’t against this carnal world, so our weapon of choice shouldn’t be of this world. No, for spiritual warfare we need a unique and powerful weapon…a weapon straight from the most powerful source – God. Jeremiah 23:29 states, “Is not My Word like fire, declares the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” God’s Word…His truth, is capable of destroying any stronghold that Satan has over a person’s life. So when you don’t know what to pray…pray God’s Word, the Scriptures, into the situation. By declaring His Word…all the power of heaven and earth is brought to bear by His authority.
This was one of Paul’s loveliest and most personal letters directed to the leader of the Colossian Church. Here Paul was encouraging Philemon to continue sharing his faith. For when faith is shared, the Word of God is unleashed to successfully accomplish its plan and purpose in people’s lives. Never be afraid to share the reason for the hope you have. (I Peter 3:15) For you may never know the impact it may have on someone. And the wonderful benefit of sharing your faith with others is that every time you hear it yourself…your trust and confidence in God is built up a little bit more.
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.