Day Five: Grace Under Fire

Matthew 12:48-50 NLTJesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then he pointed to his disciples and said, “Look, these are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!”

“Jesus’ searching question (Mt 12:48) and its remarkable answer (Mt 12:49-50) in no way diminish his mother and brothers but simply give the priority to his Father and doing his will…Doing the Father’s will identifies us as his mother and sisters and brothers. The doing of that will turns on obedience to Jesus and his teaching…for it was Jesus who preeminently revealed the will of the Father…also establish[ing] the basic importance of the community now beginning to form around him.” [Carson, D.A., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Matthew, 564-565]

“As in the farewell discourses, Jesus is making preparation for his departure from the world. Implicit in the words, ‘Look, your son!’ and ‘Look, your mother!’ is a command, and the command is simply a particular instance of the ‘new command I give you, that you love each other, just as I loved you, that you too love each other’ [Jn 13:34].” [Michales, J. Ramsey, NICNT: The Gospel of John, 959]

Let’s sing “Dry Bones” by Worship Central (Click here).

Prayer: Lord, may we live out your command to love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– AW


Day Four: Home Improvement

1 John 1:4 NLTWe are writing these things so that you may fully share our joy.

As Christians, we have two families: a heavenly one and an earthly one. In becoming Christians, we began our relationship with the first and changed our relationships in the second.

“God created the family, and designed it to work best when all committed to one another. But important as the family is, there are yet more important things. If unity in the family can exist at the expense of its members’ loyalty to Jesus Christ, then the good has become the enemy of the best. We must be loyal to Christ whatever the cost may be to us or anyone close to us. This is not to suggest that Christ’s aim is to stir up a hornet’s nest in our homes. God creates institutions, like family, to work – not to fall apart. Tensions may increase if we are loyal to our new Master. With this said, tensions may increase, but it must never be the aim to increase them…Show others the same mercy and patience that Christ showed you.” [White, John, The Fight, 122]

We are called to love both our families as Christ first loved us.

Prayer: Lord, teach us to love our families with the same mercy and patience that you showed us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– AW


Day Three: Full House

In Philippians 2, Paul exhorts us to the areas we need to “practice” loving in our church family following Jesus’ example who fulfilled all this.

Philippians 2:2-5 NLTIs there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

We are to practice loving our church family with humility, in unity, to fellowship together in the Spirit, be humble, take an interest in others before ourselves, love one another, work together with one mind and purpose.

If we have been disobedient in these areas or looking for comfort in other things, let’s confess them to the Lord and ask for the “same attitude” of Jesus, as we sing “Remembrance” by Matt Redman (Click here).

Prayer: Lord, you showed us first what it means to be a servant of all – may we imitate your humility. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– AW


Day Two: Growing Pains

1 John 1:6 NLTSo we are lying if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness; we are not practicing the truth.

John writes that we are liars if we say we have fellowship with God but go on living in spiritual darkness. He says, instead, practice the truth.

What truth are we to practice?

The church in Philippi was being tested, and they do not have their act fully together. The situation in Philippi is serious, but not disastrous (unlike Corinth). But Paul’s concern for his friends is enough to send Timothy to check in with them. On the basis of what Paul says and how he speaks to this matter, three things seem fairly certain. First, what lies behind the unrest is some form of “selfish ambition” – or “posturing”. Second, complaining and arguing, if unchecked, is the stuff that leads to division. Third, unrest in the church has likely taken the form of one or some of them being open to listen to foreign matter. [Fee, Gordon. NICNT: Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, 94-95]

As we humble ourselves before the Lord, let’s worship together, “Hymn of Surrender” by Matt Redman (Click here).

Prayer: Lord, thank you for our brothers and sisters and may we practice loving our church family with the love of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– AW


Day One: Family Matters

In our reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ, we received restoration of the most important relationship – with God. Once we were far away but now we are brought near and called children of God.

1 John 1:3 NLTWe proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Because of this fellowship with God the Father through Jesus Christ, we can now have fellowship with full joy in our church family.

“‘Fellowship’ is a specifically Christian word and denotes that common participation in the grace of God, the salvation of Christ and the indwelling Spirit which is the spiritual birthright of all believers. It is our common possession of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, which makes us one…our fellowship with each other is impossible without fellowship with Father and the Son.” [Stott, John. TNTC: The Letters of John, 67]

This is the starting point of fellowship – our reconciled relationship to God.

Let’s praise the One who restored us to the most important relationship and sing, “Our Father” by Hillsong Worship (Click here).

Prayer: Lord, thank you for this fellowship, spiritual birthright of all believers. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– AW