Relationships. According to the way the world thinks, they’re everything. The best that life can offer. In some ways that is true…but what happens when relationships go sour? In 1 Corinthians 7:6-11, Paul gives some answers towards those questions. Not everyone will end up in a relationship. Not every relationship will stay together. Singleness is a gift of God. Divorce needs to be thought about in the light of the Word of God. If we do not allow God the control of our relationships, then the idol we make them into can surely crumble.
In 1 Kings 18:20-40, the rubber really ‘hits the road’. All that Elijah has been through in chapter 17 and all his interactions with King Ahab have been leading up to the showdown that these verses describe – fittingly, upon the top of a mountain (Carmel). Lots of important events happen on mountain tops in the Scriptures and this event is no less important in pointing us to the ‘Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29).
Being incarcerated for preaching the gospel of Jesus would be no fun. Especially not if you were being held there until your imminent execution. While that was the case for the Apostle Peter in Acts 12:1-25, God had other plans and these plans not only brought about peter’s release, they also served to spread the gospel message of Jesus even further than before. The whole incident brought two things together as well – the mystery of the will of God and the prayers of His people – somehow they fit together!
Given that followers of Jesus have become citizens of heaven, Philippians 4:2-3 reminds the church to live God’s way. Unresolved relationship problems in the church ought not to occur but Christians should seek to reconcile and help others do the same in order to shine a light to a world full of conflict.
God spreads a banquet for all peoples yet the self-righteous are unwilling to enter the kingdom. They give weak excuses to justify their unbelief and despised the sinners who came readily. Sinners who know they need a saviour enter the kingdom instead of those who rejected the invitation. Jesus tells a parable in Luke 14:15-24 that shows our need – are we willing to accept the invitation and welcome others into God’s kingdom?
Jesus tells a parable in Luke 19 and perhaps we didn’t notice the context. He tells the story to highlight his mission to “seek and save the lost”. It connects with Zacchaeus’ conversion, Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and how the people didn’t understand his mission or have him as king. We read of a present saviour and a coming judge. Will we serve him as king?
In Luke 12, Jesus is teaching about life and death only to have someone interrupt with a self-centred request! Life is more than possessions, food or clothing. Do we trust God to meet our needs? God gives abundantly but are we rich toward him? “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
In Matthew 4, we read one of the most exciting passages; a master class in facing temptation. Like us, Jesus faced temptation. Unlike us – and everyone who has come before – he never fell into it. How should we respond?
In Mark’s gospel, we meet Jesus and see his authority and power, much to the amazement of his disciples. On display is his power over nature, over demons, to forgive sin and even over death. How should we respond?
On Good Friday, we are reminded of three three-word messages: “I love you”, God shows his great love at the cross (Romans 5:8); “It is finished”, by faith our sins are paid in full; “I will return” to take us to be with him (John 14:1-6).