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Category Archives: Colossians

Colossians 1:27-28

Colossians 1:27-28

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. So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect in their relationship to Christ.

Dear God, what are the “riches and glory of Christ” we are supposed to know and share? What are we selling when we talk about Jesus.

I’ve heard some of other religions, and even different denominations of Christianity, accuse some Christians of believing in a salvation that is too easy and cheap. After all, of our salvation isn’t works based then why ever try to be good at all?

But what I’m selling isn’t cheap salvation. To start with, I recognize that it wasn’t cheap for you. What I’m selling is selfless surrender and relationship. I know Paul says in one of his letters that if this isn’t all about ending up with you after we die then Christians are to be pitied, but I don’t totally agree with that. I don’t know where the “cut line” is for Heaven admission, but I have a much better idea of where the cut line is for relationship with you and the fruits of the Spirit that come from that. I can even see it in me as I vary in my levels of worship and prayer. I don’t wake up in the morning thinking about my “fire insurance,” but I do wake up thinking that if I’m going to experience love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, and self control them I better spend some time with my God. And even in dark, scary times, your rod and your staff comfort me.

Father, help me to live in your presence today. Help me to submit to you in all areas. Help me to be what my nieces and nephew need when I see them later. Help my life to be what you need it to be–for me and for others.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

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Posted by on April 25, 2019 in Colossians

 

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The Prison Epistles – Ephesians, Philippians & Colossians

Ephesians

  • Ephesians 1:3,11-12 – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ…In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
  • Ephesians 6:19-20 – Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly. Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you.

Philippians

  • Philippians 1:7, 12-14, 18b-26 – It is right for me to feel this way about all o you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me…Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. Because of my chains, most of the brothers in the Lord have been encouraged to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly…Yes, and I will continue to rejoice, for I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to me will turn out for my deliverance. I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live in Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you gain your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.
  • Philippians 4:10-13 – I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Colossians

  • Colossians 1:22-29 – No I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church. I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.
  • Colossians 4:2-4, 10-11 – Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim it clearly, as I should…My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me.

Dear God, I had a bit of a revelation a few weeks ago. This might sound silly to some, but I saw it in a new way: Paul had a very mature faith.

In my study of Job, I came across commentary that discussed The Stages of Faith by James Fowler. Here they are as described by him:

  1. Intuitive – Projective Faith: Associated with the child’s faith, based upon fantasy and imagination.
  2. Mythical-Literal Faith: The family faith of the early school years, which is sustained by moral rules and either/or thinking.
  3. Synthetic-Conventional Faith: Adolescent phase that conforms to the tradition of the community and creates the “kind” of person of faith it models or rejects.
  4. Individuative-Reflective Faith: The faith of the young adult who is capable of critical thinking, independent reflection, and comparative reasoning.
  5. Conjunctive Faith: A mid-life and old-age faith that integrates self-identity with a comprehensive world view to see the order, coherence, and meaning of life in order to serve and be served.
  6. Universalizing Faith: The rare faith of the world citizen who incarnates a transcendent vision into a disciplined, active, and self-giving life.
    (source: James W. Fowler, The Stages of Faith (New York: Harper and Row, 1976), chap. 14.)

He talked about how Job grew through his experience to the ultimate faith–Universalizing Faith. As I looked into it and thought about other biblical characters who had reached this faith, I came up with a few New Testament examples. Jesus was obviously one. But Paul was one of the others.

The passages above actually start with Acts 20:24 when Paul is on his way to certain arrest in Jerusalem and people warning him to not go. Paul’s answer is, “I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the goal and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given to me. The task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.” The remarkable thing is that these are not just words. While Peter only thought he knew what he was getting into when he told Jesus at the Last Supper that he would follow him to death, Paul actually lived up to his boldness recorded in Acts. How do I know this? Because of what he wrote while he was in prison.

That’s what I’ve recorded from three of the four letters he wrote while in prison (the fourth was a personal letter to Philemon about a slave). He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t try to figure out a way out of incarceration. He has enough perspective to use the incarceration to finish the goal and complete the task the Lord Jesus gave to him.

Imagine if he sat around and complained. Imagine if his letters had started out, “You people need to be grateful you aren’t where I am and you need to be getting about spreading the gospel because I can’t.” Or, “Why is God doing this to me? I was just trying to follow Him and do what is right, and now look where I am. Where is God is all of this?” That would have left us all a completely different example.

But Paul had “the rare faith of the world citizen who incarnates a transcendent vision into a disciplined, active, and self-giving life.” And he applied that faith to everyone else around him. He didn’t look at them and judge them by their outward circumstances. He evaluated them based on their motivations. He is quick to both praise and criticize in his letters, but he judges motivations and actions only.

Father, I am about to teach all of this to a Sunday school class this morning. Most are seniors who have lived lives longer than mine. They have seen more than I have, and goodness knows I am still learning these lessons. I still evaluate relationships based on what I am getting out of the instead of looking at what the other person needs that I can provide. That doesn’t mean I should allow myself to just be abused and have one-way, co-dependent relationships, but I can conduct myself in a way that considers my life worth nothing to me, if only I can finish the goal and complete the task you have given me. The task of testifying to the gospel of your grace.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2018 in Acts, Colossians, Ephesians, Philippians

 

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Colossians 3:12-15

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Colossians 3:12-15

Dear God, I want to focus on these two verses: “Above all, clothe yourself in love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony…For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.”

What does it really look like to clothe myself in love? First, I can’t REALLY do it without being submitted to and in relationship with you. If I’m not with you then my heart turns selfish and dark. If I’m not examining myself, seeking out my own sin and then repenting of it, then I’m not going to have as much latitude for the sins of others.

Second, I just have to stop and have some empathy for people. The more I try to see the world from someone else’s perspective the more I am able to have compassion for their actions. The vast majority of people see themselves as good and making good decisions. For them, if they aren’t, it isn’t as much on purpose as it is a result of a brokenness in their lives. I know that’s how it seems to work for me.

Finally, there’s my own conscious decision to apply these principles. This is where I am too selective in my application of love. I still judge too much.

Father, I want to clothe myself in love. I want to be a creator of your body and not a destroyer of your body. Help me to be mindful of loving others and give me your courage and strength as I become closer to you.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2018 in Colossians

 

Colossians 3:16-17

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

Colossians 3:16-17

Dear God, I get most of my scriptures for these journals from Bible Gateway’s verse of the day. It seems that there have been a lot lately talking about being your representative/ambassador. I guess that’s fair since that’s probably the highest calling you given to any of us whether it be in our marriages, parenting, work, families of origin, or activity in our community. You want us to represent you well.

I’m in an interesting position at work because I am supposed to lead people, but I have a unique opportunity to do it with your discernment and wisdom. I also have a chance to make the struggles I’m dealing with transparent in a way that will bring you glory in their eyes and draw them closer to you.

Father, it’s a Monday and I have several things on my heart in terms of challenges at work. Help me to deal with each of them well. Bring glory to yourself through my actions. I want to decrease so that you can increase through me and in the eyes of others.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2017 in Colossians

 

Colossians 2:6-7 (“Give Him Roots”)

Colossians 2:6-7 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Dear God, I first heard the following song before I had children. I tried to do this as they grew up. You know how I pray for them every day. I pray your presence over them as I type these lyrics to you.

——

“Give Him Roots” by Clay Crosse

So many voices in his ear
Are they playing on his fears
It’s a bad situation
All the way around
But with a solid foundation
He’s gonna stand his ground

Take a little time
Plant the seeds
Give him reason to believe

Give him roots, and give him wings
And he’ll grow up to do great things
Let him know the joy the he brings
Teach him the value of the truth
Oh you gotta give him roots,
Give him wings

When he comes to you
And he needs your help
And he so unsure of himself
Give him vision
So he can see the Light
Let him know the difference between
Wrong and right

Share the wisdom
Of your years
There’ll be laughter
There’ll be tears

Give him roots, give him wings
He’ll grow up
To do great things
Let him know the joy
That he brings
Teach him the value of the truth
Oh you’ve gotta give him roots,
Give him wings

He should aim as high as the sky
There ain’t nothing he can’t do
If he’ll only try

Give him roots, give him wings
He’ll grow up
To do great things
Let him know the joy
That he brings
Teach him the value of the truth,
Tell him there’s nothing
That He can do

Give him roots, give him wings
He’ll grow up
To do great things
Let him know the joy
That he brings
Teach him the value of the truth
Oh, you’ve gotta give him roots,
Give him wings

——

I pray these words over my children. I am sure my parents would pray these over me and my siblings. Oh, how we all long for our children to live fulfilled lives under your glory and grace.

In Jesus’ name I pray,
Amen

 

Colossians 1:9

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding.

Colossians 1:9

Dear God, complete knowledge of your will? Wow. That’s quite a request. I’m not even sure that’s something I should want. Could I handle that kind of knowledge.

But I like spiritual wisdom and understanding. I can get on board with that. I would love to have that. I think it starts with spending time each day trying to get to know the sound of your voice better and learn about you. Then I can start to have your heart as my heart as I slowly learn how to surrender my will to yours.

Father, help me to be a servant after your own heart. Help me to hear your voice. Help me to be the man, husband, father, son, brother, uncle, employee and friend that I need to be.

In Jesus’ name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2017 in Colossians