“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, …” (Matthew 6:33, ESV)
Apathy and complacency are twin demons that undermine God’s desire for our life and the life of His church, but thanks be to God that through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we can be lifted out of sin and death into light and truth. This may sound like church language but look at Paul’s teaching in Romans 7.
On the first Sunday in February, Jesus silences and casts out an ‘unclean spirit’ from a man who has been attending Sabbath worship at the synagogue in Capernaum. The unclean spirit names Jesus as “the Holy One of God.” Notice Jesus merely speaks, and evil spirit obeys. Conversely, we are encouraged to hear Jesus’ word, which guides us through confusing and deceptive times.
The second Sunday in February is Transfiguration Sunday. Peter, James, and John (and us) see Jesus more clearly as the Son of God came down from Heaven to save God’s children (again, that is us) from the guilt of sin, the fear of death and the deception of the Devil.
Ash Wednesday is February 14th, when we begin a six-week spiritual fasting and prayer period. On the one hand, we reflect on how we have grieved God’s Holy Spirit by what we have said, done and left undone. On the other hand, we renew our dedication to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1–3, ESV)
The First Sunday in Lent is February 18th, where we will explore Jesus’ claim and promise to be Living Bread and Living Water. (see John 4-6)
Beginning Wednesday, February 21st, we will gather for Lenten Suppers and worship. This is a great time to invite those who haven’t attended church for a while.
Living in the Kingdom of Christ drives away confusion, deception, apathy, and complacency. Following Jesus’ teaching gives certainty and fruitful work. Lest we think we have evolved spiritually from the first century, let me suggest that the issues that plague our society are the same as in Jesus’ time. There is a great temptation to reject God’s Word as old fashioned, but rest assured, Jesus’ teaching is just as relevant today, for He teaches us how to live and flourish in a Godless world that is hell-bent on destroying itself.
God has created us for a purpose - so that we might love Him and our neighbor as ourselves. (Matthew 22:37-40) Christ has saved us for a purpose - so we might love one another as He has loved us. (John 13: 34-35) And Christ’s Holy Spirit guides us through the rough waters of culture. (John 14:25-27)
I pray you are looking forward to renewing and receiving God’s blessings in His Word of Life,