34 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.” — Mark 3:34 NIV
Our society becomes more and more mobile with each new generation. This has been true from the beginning until now and it doesn’t show any signs of changing. This fact has an upside and a downside. The upside is that God uses these changes to spread the Gospel. Paul went on missionary trips on roads built by the Romans. His travels in one lifetime would have been imposssible a few generation earlier. For years, people debated about whether or not it was possible for every human to hear the Gospel. Now we know that that could be done with one message bradcast on satellite TV. Of course, there are many worldly benefits as well. The downside of all this mobility is the loss of family. We no longer live next door to our parents, siblings or any close relatives. That fact contribues to a lot of loneliness and also the sense of what “family” really means. But, God knew this was coming so He made it possible for us to have family wherever we find ourselves. Each one of us lives in communities where, with a little effort, we could be surrounded by family. Jesus was, at first, rejected by His family. Yet, this did not deter Him from having a family. If you find that your occupation and/or your decisions have taken you a goodly distance from your family, find a Church that believes in the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of Christ. There you will find a new family that can mean just as much or more than your natural family. And, of course, there is always Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother or a sister or a mother or a father.
23 But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. 24 For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” — John 4:23, 24 NLT
Our worship of our Lord and Savior should not be limited to a Sunday morning experience. If that is all the time we spend at the feet of Jesus, then we need to examine our hearts and ask if that is truly worship. Worship is defined as showing reverence and adoration for a deity. If we take a look at our calendars and our checkbooks, we might be surprised to see who we really worship. If we truly adore someone, it is only natural that we would want to spend more time in their presence. We would be waiting to hear their voice and we would hang onto every word that they had to say. When we had to leave their presence, we would be watching and waiting for opportunities to tell others what this great person had said. We would make time to be with them and to let them know how much we adored them. Our hearts would beat faster at the very thought of being in their presence. If it were possible to live without ever being away from their presence, we would spend all of our time there. This person would have to be the center of our world and deserve to have our highest loyalty. This person would be someone that we would never hurt or betray for anyone or anything. This person’s name would be in our hearts, on our minds and on the tip of our tongues all day long, every day. This person would be someone that we worshipped in Spirit and in truth once a week, all week long. Let each of us examine our thoughts, our words, our actions and our lifestyles and honestly determine who we worship. If the answer isn’t Jesus, and Jesus alone, then we need to take some time to ask His forgiveness and change our habits so that we mirror His glory.
18 Praise the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does such wonderful things.
19 Praise his glorious name forever! Let the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and amen! — Psalm 72:18, 19 NLT
11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. — Titus 2:11-14 NIV
When we repented of our sins and received God’s forgiveness, it was the first step of a journey that will eventually take us to heaven to spend an eternity with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Our salvation is secure because we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The change in us, at this point, is internal. Unless that change in our hearts’ desires is manifested externally those around us may not know that we have accepted Jesus. True repentance changes our hearts and our minds. Jesus set the example of what our lifestyle should be. The Holy Spirit, which now dwells in us, inspired the writers of the New Testament to write verse after verse telling us how our lives should change. We now say “no” to those fleshly desires that were once our way of life. Now we say “yes” to the Holy Spirit. Every day is a battle between evil (our flesh) and good (the Spirit). We are in a war and there is no neutral ground. If we aren’t moving forward, then we are losing ground. So, every day, we must arm ourselves with the full armor of God and fight the good fight.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong,firm and steadfast. 11 To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen — 1 Peter 5:8-11 NIV