Category Archives: Colossians

Isaiah 60-63; Colossians 3

How do we live out Colossians 3:23?

Whatever you do, do it from the heart, as something done for the Lord and not for people.

First we work from the heart. We put our whole heart into what we are doing. If we are cheating at work we are really cheating God. If we slough off at home it’s really God we are dissing.

Second, don’t be a man pleaser. You are not doing your job for your boss, you are doing it for God, so don’t be looking to that person for your meaning and affirmation. Be looking to God. Yes, of course we want to be pleasing our family and friends, but it’s because we are first seeking to please God and follow His Word.

Third, work and serve without grumbling. God sees your situation and knows what is happening. Remember He has you right where He wants you so what you are going through right now is based on where He has put you. If you are grumbling about your situation you are grumbling about God.

Fourth, work without comparison. Remember Jesus giving Peter a mission for his life and he wanted to know about Jesus’ plans for John. In John 21:22 Jesus basically said it’s none of your business. Judge your progress on where you have come from, not on the other person. Do your best and forget the rest!

Fifth, we should be working to hear the words, “Well done” spoken to us by God our Father. He is the one we are pleasing. Keep those words in your mind. That’s our goal in the end.

Sixth, thank God for every circumstance in which He has you. In those times and situations remember you are God’s ambassador and work and live to please Him and thank you for the journey He has you on.

Father God, thank you for the opportunity to serve you in all that we do. Help us to keep our focus on you and work in a way that shows You and others that we long to hear those precious words, “Well done!”

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Isaiah 53-56; Colossians 1

Here is a portion of scripture that I have found on many church walls, well not the whole portion, just the first few lines, but the rest explains the vision of the church’s desire to see God grow the church.

“Enlarge the place of your tent,
    and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out;
do not hold back; lengthen your cords
    and strengthen your stakes.
 For you will spread abroad to the right and to the left,
    and your offspring will possess the nations
    and will people the desolate cities.

 “Fear not, for you will not be ashamed;
    be not confounded, for you will not be disgraced;
for you will forget the shame of your youth,
    and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.
 For your Maker is your husband,
    the Lord of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
    the God of the whole earth he is called.

 – Isaiah 54:2-5  ESV

While the tent is identifiable to me as something easily moved, it is not something that can weather a storm. That is why the following verses above means so much. My goal is not to stay  in one place – I need to move as the Holy Spirit leads. The only time I will be in a city and have a solid home is when I am called into the city of God. That is the idea I get through so many scriptures in the New Testament calling me to preach the gospel where Christ has not yet been named, to leaven with the gospel those who are strangers to it and ultimately, lengthen the cords of my tent so that more can be enclosed. With these promises comes divine power. That is why I will not be ashamed. I can remember when I messed up badly at the beginning, but those days are gone now that I walk in confidence with God. I find it hard to believe that I am actually married to Christ. He is my Redeemer for He brought me out from my captivity and my bondage to sin. As the Lord of hosts, He has this irresistible power that I am drawn to and I give Him, actually try to give Him, absolute sovereignty in my life. I know that one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord. Until that day, I plan on doing the same, each and every day.

And as for my call to enlarge my tent – I follow my call to be a disciple-maker.

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. – Colossians 1:28  ESV

Father, thank You for my call, thank You for walking with me, thank You for Your power and wisdom that You freely give me to share the gospel for all who want to receive.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

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Numbers 8-11; Colossians 1

Dallas Willard has made a comment that it may be best to stay in one verse or chapter in the Bible and go deep there for a year instead of a cursory tree top reading of the entire work in that time frame. If he is right about that, this chapter is one that a person could spend a whole year in and still not plumb the depths of its meaning or applications in one’s life.

Just Friday I read Colossians through in one sitting. The leadership team from our church was away at a retreat and one of our core values is Valuing the Word of God.  So our pastor had us read this letter from the Apostle Paul through in one setting and then we discussed it as a team. We read it by ourselves and then came back and shared our thoughts together. Looking at my notes two things from chapter one really hit me.

First Paul shares that he is an apostle by the will of God. What are you? Who are you? What do you do each day in and day out? Is that God’s will for you? Do you look at your work as a sacred calling? I don’t think only apostles are in that role by the will of God. Certainly they are, but all of us have been called to where we are in this life through the will of God. Are you taking your job, responsibilities each day as the will of God? What changes if you keep that important truth in mind?

Second, Paul shares an interesting truth:

3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, 4 since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, 5 because of the hope laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3-5a [ESV])

The Colossians were given excellent marks for the love they showed to other believers. And it was a result of the hope that was laid up for them in heaven. What a concept. Our love comes from the fact that our future — now and for all eternity — is secure in Christ. We are freed to love others because we no longer worry about our futures. We are safe in Jesus. When was the last time you meditated on that truth? Do it today!

Spend time thinking of and thanking God for your secure future that will go on for ever and ever. Then find a fellow believer to love on.

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I Kings 17; Colossians 4; Ezekiel 47; Psalm 103

A thread runs through the scriptures that is hard to miss – God’s provision. I have seen it im my own life, as well. God has provided in countless ways that I could never have imagined. While it may not have always been what I expected, He has always given me what I needed at the time. Like there was the time our family was struggling financially – 3 young children at home, Christmas was just around the corner. As a mom, I was heartbroken about not having gifts under the tree. One day a packaged arrived filled with wrapped gifts for my children. To this day I don’t know who sent it.

God provided.

Sometimes it is less tangible, but just as needed. I was in the midst of a particularly challenging job that was required to earn my master’s degree. I didn’t think I could make it through another day. I awoke one morning to find that my daughter had posted a verse on my mirror:

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil4:6-7

I was praying to leave the situation.

God provided a way through it.

In I Kings 17, God provided food and water for Elijah, a widow, and her son during a time of drought and difficulty.

13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lordsends rain on the land.’” NIV

God provides

In Ezekiel 47, we learn of a tree that bears nourishing fruit and heals.

 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river.Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” NIV

God provides a beautiful picture of things to come. God provides a Savior.

Paul encourages us in Colossians 4 to “make the most of every opportunity.” as we speak with outsiders. May we be ready and willing to share of His provision in our lives and His provision for all lives.

Let’s sing praises as David did:

Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103: 1-5 NIV

Ann (naturelady)

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Leviticus 5; Psalms 3-4; Proverbs 19; Colossians 3

Leviticus 5 describes a sliding scale for sacrifices; the wealthier the repentant sinner, the more expensive the sacrifice. The sacrifice needed to make a significant economic impact upon the one offering it and the cost of restitution was somewhat dependent upon the infraction (Leviticus 5:16). Sin had a price which took the form of livestock, birds and grain.  Blood flowed continually at the altar. The sin of the people kept the priests busy.

Five times in chapter 5 the author of Leviticus repeats, “…the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the sin that you have committed, and you shall be forgiven.” Repentance, forgiveness and restitution matter to God, the sinner and the community. The process is physical and burdensome, but also seems limited. What about  sins committed that one might have a blindspot to? What then?

“Who can say ‘I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin?’ ” Proverbs 20:9

I am powerless to break the power of sin and death on my life. Guilt is wall between God which I am unable to scale, but God the priest bows low to provide the cleansing sacrifice— lower than one could ever imagine. He sends his pure and sinless Son, Jesus to do what all my personal sacrifices can never do. The blood of Jesus flows so that I am forgiven. Jesus brings the wall down so that I  may stand in the presence of the Holy One of Israel.

Confession and repentance are even more important business in the light of what Jesus did on my behalf. God forgive me for ever taking the sacrifice of his Son for granted.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross  by Isaac Watts

When I survey wondrous cross,                                                                                                       On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Kathy

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Leviticus 4; Psalm 1, 2; Proverbs 19; Colossians 2

Hiking in the woods, near a stream, is one of my favorite things to do. The closer you get to creation, the closer you get to The Creator. His very character is embedded in nature – and it is no coincidence. Just as you can learn much about an artist, as you see a painting, natural settings cry out about God. The words of Psalm 1 came to life as I read them:

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
    which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
    whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 1:3 NIV

Psalm 1, Tree by stream, Living Water, blessed, meditate day and night

Tree planted by streams of water

In Psalm 1, a person who meditates on God’s word day and night is equated to a tree planted by a stream – it grows, bears fruit and prospers. The trees roots are immersed in the water, soaking up the goodness that makes it thrive. Even if there are rocks, as in the picture above, the tree finds a way to get those roots in the water. Jesus is our Living Water. It is only through constant immersion in Him, that we can grow and bear fruit.

In Leviticus 4, it discusses all the types of sacrifices that had to be made to make things right with God. Yet, because of Christ, the ultimate sacrifice, we can come to God, clean, anytime we want. What a blessing to have the Living Water covering us, bathing us.

A couple years ago, I got to see the Redwoods for the very first time. It was far beyond my wildest imagination. When I inquired what made them so big, the answer was that the conditions of the rain  and the mist make it ideal for them to grow. We have control over our conditions. Consider that – as our roots our bathed in Living Water and our leaves are covered with the Holy Spirit, The Word, and Fellowship, etc. we too can grow. Wow!

Lord, I want to be like a redwood. Help me to grow roots that soak up your goodnes. Help me to immerse myself in you. Thank you for your provision and your availability.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

There it is again….rooted and built up in Him. I love how God reveals himself in tangible things that surround us. I encourge you to get outside and see Him. He is everywhere.

Ann (naturelady)

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Leviticus 2, 3; John 21; Proverbs 18; Colossians 1

18 “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others[f] will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”

20 Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”

22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” 23 So the rumor spread among the community of believers[g] that this disciple wouldn’t die. But that isn’t what Jesus said at all. He only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?” (NLT)

I love Peter! There is just something about him that is so relatable.  He has such a love for Jesus, messes up, yet still pursues Him.  Jesus loves him despite everything that has happened.  Peter is the first one out of the boat when Jesus appears to them on the shore after the resurrection.  Even though he denied Christ he didn’t hold back in shame, he ran to greet the man he had walked so closely alongside for three years.  As they are having a meal together, Jesus pulls him aside and has a personal conversation with Peter and gives him a purpose for his life:  Feed his sheep!  He wants Peter to pick up where He left off.  Then Jesus tells him how one day he is going to die in a way that will glorify God.  Peter looks over at John and asks Jesus: “What about him?” He wants to know what will happen to John. The scripture doesn’t say this, but I wonder if it was out of concern for his “brother” that he asked the question.  The two of them had been closer to Jesus than the others during the course of his ministry.  I think Jesus’ answer was to get the focus off of something that was going to happen in the future, and back to what He wanted him to do now.  Of course, their conversation was overheard and the rumors started that John was not going to die.  Proverbs 18:8 warns of this:

 Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart

I can imagine this caused quite the buzz among the other disciples. When we only hear part of a conversation or personalize something someone else has said, it can really dishearten us. Jesus didn’t say that John was not going to die; he was merely stating if that is what was in store for him that was not something that Peter needed to worry about.  Peter was to follow Jesus.  The same can be said for us.  We get ourselves into trouble when we compare our walk with someone else’s or worry about what God is doing in someone else’s life.  We need to keep our focus on Jesus!  We need to follow Him.

Peter was forgiven for denying Jesus. He sat in the presence of Jesus.  He was still used mightily by God to promote the gospel of Jesus to the Gentiles. Not only did he walk with Jesus, he was given His Spirit to continue His work, to feed His sheep.  Colossians 1 says the same about us.  We were once far from God, yet through the death of Christ, we have been reconciled to God.

21 This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.

26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.

Paul also spread the message of hope to the Gentiles which has been passed down for generations to reach this time in history. Jesus laid the foundation, then passed the baton to Peter and the other disciples. He called upon Paul to travel all over to spread the Good News. The lives of Peter and Paul both show us that no one is beyond being used for God’s purposes—it doesn’t matter how many times we’ve messed up.  We all have a story of redemption to share.  We have all been sent out to “feed my sheep”.

Thank you, Lord, for revealing the message of redemption. Because of this, I am reconciled to You.  I have Christ living inside of me.  That is something that is beyond my comprehension; all I can do is trust it is so. Thank you that you love me even though I’ve messed up plenty of times.  Help me keep my focus on You, Jesus. I want to follow You.  In your name I pray.

Cindy (gardnlady)

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