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Monday, February 5 – 2 John

          Not regularly but every so often, I will stumble upon a National Geographic show on TV. The shows I am most interested in are the ones about African animals on the Savannah. It’s fascinating to observe wildlife as they go about their daily routine. At some point in the show, the cameras will start observing a lioness who is on the prowl. Then, the cameras start panning toward the wildebeest herd. Then, it singles out one wildebeest… and you know what’s about to happen. The next sequence in the show is the lionesses attacking the lone wildebeest for their next meal. The lionesses don’t mess with the wildebeests in the group. They go after the one or ones on the outside by themselves.

          1 Peter 5:8 says that the devil is like a lion on the prowl. The call in that passage is to resist the devil. How can a person resist a lion on the prowl? Do not try to live the Christian life on your own. Instead, create and cultivate long lasting relationships with other Christians. Be an active part of the church. When we stay together, we have a better chance of not succumbing to the devil’s temptations.

          2 John mentions deceivers and false prophets creating havoc in the church. These antichrists were devouring people who did not have a strong Christian faith. The command in 2 John is to love one another and walk according to God’s commandments. Loving one another includes looking out for each other. It means having relationships with others so that neither you nor they are devoured by the devil. When the wildebeests stay together, they remain safe. When they try to live on their own, they stand a good chance of getting eaten.


Tuesday, February 6 – Romans 12:14-17

          Christianity radically changed the world. Before Jesus and the faith which developed after his death, humility was one of the worst attributes someone could have. It was unheard of. Pride and self-centeredness were important social characteristics. They distinguished you and showed the world that you were important.

          Similarly, you only had friendships or relationships with people who would be of benefit to you. You’d have a working relationship with the baker because he could sell you the food for a party. He would have a relationship with you because if he had a disagreement with another noble, you could take care of the problem for him. The non-Christian world was a tit-for-tat world.

          But then, Jesus and his followers start to go around and say things like we read in Romans 12:14-17. Don’t respond to persecution with persecution. Instead bless them. Don’t build relationships that only benefit you. Build relationships with all people. Do not be prideful but be humble.

          Christians are supposed to build relationships with all types of people. No matter who that person is, we are to celebrate with them and commensurate with them when times are bad. Is that how you are living your life? For today, let’s simply consider the relationships we have at church. Is there anyone at church you avoid? Is there someone you don’t want a relationship with? Repent of that attitude in words and actions. Pray for forgiveness to God and then begin to make efforts to build a relationship with the other person. Seek to live in harmony with that person. The church will be better for it.


Wednesday, February 7 – 1 Thessalonians 1:2-7

          How often do you thank God for your church? The first few verses of 1 Thessalonians are historic words from Paul. By all accounts, these are the earliest words written in the New Testament, written about 50 AD. The words you are reading today are a standard thanksgiving for an ancient letter. But look at what Paul gives thanksgiving for. He is thankful for the people and for their work, labor, and commitment to faith, love, and hope. He is thankful that the people have become imitators of Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy and in turn become examples for others in the region. He is thankful for this church because of the Christians they have become.

          When was the last time you thanked God for your church? We have a lot to be thankful for concerning one another. We can be grateful that we can work together. We can praise God that we have one another to imitate. Our being together gives us the strength to be examples for the community around us. I am thankful for you, and I hope you are thankful for one another. The relationships we have with one another make this church the success that it is. And those relationships will continue to be our strength as long as we keep Christ at the center of those relationships. Let us continue to be committed to the hope that is found in Jesus Christ and his resurrection.


Thursday, February 8 – Acts 18:1-4

          Today’s passage takes us out of the church and into the workplace. Do the people you work with and see during the week know about your faith? Do you have relationships with other Christians in your workplace? Relationships with people who understand you are crucial in order for you to flourish in your faith. Co-workers who have a similar faith are best suited to help you grow in your faith.

          In our passage today, Paul meets Aquila and Priscilla, fellow tentmakers, who also believed that Jesus was the Messiah. This led to a flourishing relationship in all facets of life. They worked together, lived together, travelled together, and served the Lord together. Aquila and Priscilla are mentioned in several of Paul’s letters as co-laborers in Christ. They bonded because they had so much in common.

          These relationships are essential for our well-being. Co-workers can hold you accountable to your faith while working on a project together. Co-workers can commiserate with you and pray with you when times are difficult at work. A full-time job takes up at least 25% of your week. More than likely, you spend more time with your co-workers than you do with your family. Create long-lasting relationships with your co-workers, so they can help you grow in your relationship with Christ,


Friday, February 9 – Galatians 3:23-29

          After Christ came into the world, there became only one separation among the inhabitants of the world: those who had a relationship with Christ and those who did not. Through faith, those who desire a relationship with Jesus can have one. And everyone who has a relationship with God through Jesus is equal. The lines of separation among people are gone in the family of God. If you belong to Christ, then you belong to the family of Abraham. And if someone else belongs to Christ, then they belong to the same family as you.

          What types of relationships do you have with people in the family of God? Not just at FBC Gonzales but throughout the Kingdom of God. Do your relationships cross ethnic lines? Do they cross national boundaries? Do your relationships reach out to people who make less money than you do? Do you treat women and men equally? Where are you lacking in relationships built across the Kingdom of God? Spend time in prayer today to ask God to show you your weaknesses. Pray for God to lead you to build a relationship with someone who the world sees as different, but, in reality, you are the same because you are part of the family of God.


Saturday – Sunday, February 10-11 – Psalm 133

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