Words of Faith 3-30-2020
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations...
James wrote with a Jewish heart. He grew up as the brother of Jesus. He also grew up in a Jewish home. He practiced the faith of the Hebrew scriptures. If you want to know what Jesus was like, you should get to know a Jewish family.
For centuries the Jewish people had been scattered across the Mediterranean by the various political pressures of the day. While there was always a longing for the gathering of the people of God in Jerusalem, the identity of Judaism became very much that of a scattered people.
This is part of our Christian identity as well. Though we have been gathered in spirit by the work of Christ, we are scattered among the nations. Even Pentecost had the powerful act of gathering people in the power of the Holy Spirit and then scattering them to seventeen different places.
It is little wonder that Jesus used the image of salt to describe the people of God. We are the salt of the earth-- a scattering among the "nations"-- intended to flavor and heighten the sensitivity of people to the working of God's spirit in their place. Because of that, our individual place is unique. Our points of influence are significant. For those James addressed, persecution had made this scattered life even more difficult. But James will call us to "count it joy" even in these scattered places of trial.
Today, many believers are facing a different sort of “scattering.” Because of the COVID-19 threat, for the first time in memory, believers all around the world are mostly banned from gathered worship settings. It is an amazing experience. After years of teaching that the church is not the building, we are suddenly practicing a form of scattered Christianity in homes that is more like the first-century church than anything we have ever seen.
It raises some questions far beyond being pushed from our comfort zones of physical gathering. How are we functioning as the salt of the earth? How are we engaging as the light of the world? How do we be salt and light in a time when social distancing is both responsible and mandated.
There is no doubt that the Lord will use this time of "scattered church" both to influence the world and to shape believers. I have found myself wondering if we will ever take the Gathering of believers for granted as we have before. Will we take the connections and value of Fellowship to be optional in the future? Will we see revival coming out of these events and experiences?
What will Easter week and weekend be like if churches still cannot gather?
Where are you today? Are you scattered? Feeling a bit far from the shaker? God has something special He wants you to do exactly where you are. He is working among us.
Lord, thank you for the places you shall scatter me this day. Let me be salt and light in a lost world. Let me bring the flavor of Your Spirit to the places I visit and home where I dwell. Show me the ways that I can share your peace where there is fear. Hope where there is despair. Joy where there is sadness. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.
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