Obedience is defined as a “genuine willing adherence to a request of one in authority.” There is a difference between obeying and honoring. To obey means to do as one is told; to honor means to respect and love. Children are not commanded to disobey God in obeying their parents. Adult children are not asked to be subservient to domineering parents. However, children are to obey while under their parents care, but the responsibility to honor extends throughout their entire life.
1. In what ways do you see obedience being demonstrated in our world today?
2. How do you think our mindsets could be changed if we all demonstrated an attitude of obedience?
Challenge: Using a Bible concordance or BibleGateway.com, do a word search for “obedience” or “obey.” What do you find?
In this passage, Jesus is not denying His responsibility to His earthly family. On the contrary, He criticized the religious leaders for not following the OT command to honor their parents. He provided for His mother’s security as He was dying on the cross. His mother and brothers were even present in the upper room at Pentecost. (Acts 1:14) Instead, Jesus was pointing out that spiritual relationships are as binding as physical ones, maybe more so. He was paving the way for a new community of believers: our spiritual family.
1. How do you see spiritual relationships playing out in your life today?
2. What steps are you taking to foster and strengthen those relationships? Bible study, prayer?
Challenge: As we wrap up this Pastor Appreciation month, pray earnestly that we would be spiritually united with one mind and heart inclined toward God’s will and His purposes.
We can honor others in one of two ways. One involves ulterior motives. However, God’s way of honor is different as it mainly involves an attitude of love. As Christians, we honor people because they have been created in God’s image. God calls us to real and sincere love that goes far beyond pretense and politeness. Sincere love requires concentration and effort. Let us be a people that express our love in a tangible and real way.
1. In what way(s) do you see God’s example of showing honor being difficult or impossible? Why do you think that is true?
2. In what ways could we outdo each other in showing honor? How could we demonstrate our commitment to putting others first?
Challenge: Actively look for people who need to be loved and honored. How can this guide us as believers as we seek to love our community with the love Christ has shown us?
In the first seventeen verses of Matthew, we meet forty six people whose lifetimes span 2,000 years. All were ancestors of the Lord Jesus, but they varied considerably in personality, spirituality, and experience. Some were heroes of the faith like Abraham, Isaac, Ruth, and David. Some had shady reputations such as Rahab and Tamar. Many were ordinary and others were downright evil. God’s work in history was not and will not be limited by human failings or man’s sinful tendencies. Just as God used all kinds of people to bring His Son into the world, He uses all kinds of people to accomplish His will.
1. How do you see God calling and using you in the ordinary day to day operation of life?
2. Do you feel equipped to do the work He has called you to do? Why or why not?
Challenge: When you feel ill-equipped, as I often do, pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the strength, wisdom, and boldness to accomplish the task He has laid before you. You will be surprised how He will work in your circumstances.
After reading that verse as a parent in a family, biological or not, it should come as joy to show our family grace. Grace is the foundation a family, whether blended or not, needs to be founded on. Without it a family cannot succeed.
1. When was a time you forgot to give your family grace?
2. Did you reconcile it? How?
Challenge: Pray that God can give you the patience to bestow grace on your family today.
Family is important to God. He created family. All families are unique in how they look, spend their time, set priorities and how they interact and treat each other. In fact Paul made a person’s actions and attitude towards his family a test on spiritual maturity and leadership skills. Our character is shown by our actions towards our families.
1. If going just by how you treat your family, what does that reveal about your character?
2. In what ways could you change your attitude toward your family that would show amazing leadership?
Challenge: Read all of 1 Timothy chapter 3.
Families almost always have some sort of conflict. We can find lots of family conflict in the bible. Ishmael was born into conflict. He experienced rejection from Sarah and was clearly not the favored son. Pain in families can often be carried down through generations. Only God can bring healing and forgiveness to broken families.
1. How have you experienced family brokenness in your life?
2. Have you received “generational baggage” that is being acted out on even today?
Challenge: Ask God to bring healing to your heart and the hearts of your family.
This world is broken. Some of us realize this early in life if you happen to come from a broken home. Children are exposed to hurt and responsibility far beyond their understanding when being part of a broken home. Satan tells us that we are only godly if we come from the right families and have a perfect background. Think of the story of Ruth and how her faithfulness was more important than her background.
1. How do we overcome the identity Satan tries to assign to us when coming from a broken situation?
2. If you are coming from a broken family, how do you use your experience to show God glory?
Challenge: Pray that God brings people into your path that may benefit from hearing your story.
Satan doesn’t always attack us individually. He knows it’s almost always more painful for us if he attacks the ones we love the most. Our family, spouses, children, and grandchildren. God will faithfully answer prayers lifted up to him for our family. He will not only help you conquer your own spiritual battles, but also bring victory to your loved ones.
1. Has Satan attacked a member of your family recently?
2. How can you see God fighting the battles they are facing?
Challenge: Record prayers lifted up for family members; journal how you have seen God answer them.
We all come from different types of families. Our families are not perfect and they all have different kinds of struggles. We can have hope that through acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are members of God’s family. We have God as our Father and He will never let us down. What joy this should give us since we will never be alone. We are God’s children.
1. Are you a part of God’s family?
2. What are you doing to help others become a part of God’s family?
Challenge: Seek to share your faith with someone who does not know the Lord. Help them become a “member” of God’s family.
This devotional is written every week by Hillcrest members.
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