Category Archives: Colossians

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

Whenever I read John 21, there is something about it that fills me with joy.

Simon Peter said, “I’m going fishing.”

“We’ll come, too,” they all said. So they went out in the boat, but they caught nothing all night.

At dawn Jesus was standing on the beach, but the disciples couldn’t see who he was. He called out, “Fellows, have you caught any fish?”

“No,” they replied.

Then he said, “Throw out your net on the right-hand side of the boat, and you’ll get some!” So they did, and they couldn’t haul in the net because there were so many fish in it.

Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, “It’s the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his tunic (for he had stripped for work), jumped into the water, and headed to shore. The others stayed with the boat and pulled the loaded net to the shore, for they were only about a hundred yards from shore. When they got there, they found breakfast waiting for them—fish cooking over a charcoal fire, and some bread.

This reminds me of the first time Jesus told Peter to throw his net on the other side of the boat. It was when he called him to be fishers of men. Peter surely remembered it. I wonder if Peter was going back to that time BEFORE he denied Jesus; if he needed to be in that place where he first met Jesus. My bible is precious to me.  It is filled with dates and words and memories of the times I’ve met with Jesus.  When I need to be encouraged, that’s where I go—back to the place I met Jesus.

I thought a lot about Peter and what might have been going through his head in light of how I struggle with my sin—when I know I’ve done something that really must have hurt God.  I’ve gone the gamut from being so upset with myself and couldn’t believe I did it.  I was humbled and sad and ashamed of myself for being tempted to do something I never thought I’d do. I can imagine Peter could have felt like that as well.  In repentance, I’ve gone before the Lord and confessed my sin asking to be forgiven.  But I went feeling shame and remorse. That’s why the fact Peter didn’t hesitate to run to Jesus, to jump out of the boat and swim to shore, fills me with joy.  He didn’t hold back in shame; he immediately went to Jesus. The love Peter had for Jesus was evident.  He had no doubt Jesus felt the same about him. That is a lesson for me as well.  I have no need to hold back in shame but immediately run to Jesus in expectation of forgiveness. Later in this same chapter we see total restoration as Jesus gives him his assignment to continue what Jesus started.  He even prepares him for how he will die. We know the rest of the story and how the disciples went willingly to spread the gospel and how they became martyr’s in the name of Jesus even knowing what might happen.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Jesus reconciled Peter.  Jesus reconciled Paul.  Jesus reconciled me.

Lord, I thank you for stories and an imagination where I can picture myself as the main character.  I can picture myself as Peter, I can imagine how I might feel, and I can receive the same gift you gave to him—forgiveness.  Thank you Lord for forgiving me when I’ve sinned, thank you for accepting me no matter what, and thank you for always being there just like you stood on the shore for the disciples to see. I love you so much!  Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

 

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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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