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Category Archives: Colossians

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.

Dear God, what do I do about this? You know I have love in my heart. You know I have forgiveness even. I have mercy for how someone is and the lens through which they enter the world. But there is a group of people in various areas of my life where the relationships are broken. And they fall into different categories. Well, maybe they don’t. I’ve told each of them why I’ve done what I’ve done and why I feel the way I do. Some are defensive and don’t want to even consider they’ve done something wrong. Others simply see the situation differently than I do, probably because we are each working from different pieces of information and using what we know as the basis of our viewpoint. For my part, I’m willing (at least I think I am) to hear what I’ve done wrong and have an opportunity to apologize.

So what do I do from here? Where do I go with your peace filling my heart? Maybe I go to hope and the hope you offer me. Our small town does an annual church-to-church walk Christmas service in December, and I’ve been given a speaking assignment at one of the spots this year. I was assigned “Celebrating Hope in Christ.” The three other stops are “Celebrating Peace in Christ,” “Celebrating Love in Christ,” and “Celebrating Joy in Christ.” I received the assignment this morning and it immediately stumped me. Hope in Christ? What do I have to say about that? But maybe this situation lends itself to that hope. I have hope that you will move the world in the direction you want to move it regardless of how wrong or right I am. I have a hope that you will provide for my situation beyond anything I can imagine working. When I think now about Zechariah’s (John the Baptist’s dad) prophecy after he is allowed to speak again, it is all about hope. When I think of Mary’s song, “The Magnificat,” it is layered with tons of hope. Simeon and Anna, at the temple when Jesus was circumcised, had hope. There is a hope that this is all worth it. All of this pain counts. You are using it. You are redeeming it. You are breaking us, melting us, molding us, and filling us. We just have to press into you and worship you, and the hope will start to flow because we will stop looking at our own lives and be only about your will. To quote another song, the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of your glory and grace.

Father, thank you for my hope. Thank you for giving me hope through all of this. I trust in you. I believe in you. I love you. I worship you.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2021 in Colossians

 

Colossians 2:6-19

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.

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

11 When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

13 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. 14 He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. 15 In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.

16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. 18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.

Colossians 2:6-19

Dear God, when I read this passage this morning verse 8 caught my eye:

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather from Christ.

My initial thought went to issues like gay marriage and other issues that separate what I’ll call “fundamentalist” Christians and “moderate” Christians. Do I allow my own beliefs to succumb to the world’s views in the name of intellectualism?

My wife and I were listening to a podcast yesterday where the hosts were talking about a large church in Minneapolis that is going through a purging of some of its leadership because of the sin of “empathy.” The person who won the power struggle and forced the exit of three of the top pastors (including the head pastor) apparently feels like there is a difference between sympathy and empathy. It’s in this Christianity Today article: “Bethlehem Baptist Leaders Clash Over “Coddling” and “Cancel Culture.” Apparently, according to one side, sympathy is biblical while empathy is not biblical. As I understand the argument, empathy will lead you to disconnect from the truth as you put yourself in someone else’s place and make you more susceptible to embracing heresy in the name of love.

The argument Skye Jethani made in the Holy Post podcast was that, yes, empathy can be taken too far, but it’s no more unbiblical than is charity because sometimes charity can be abused and taken too far. He also made a really good point that the act of you coming to earth through Jesus was a pretty good display of empathy on your part.

So then I came to the second thought, which was that it is just as easy for someone to be mislead by errant “conservative” teaching as it is someone to be mislead into being too liberal. Which brings me back to verse 7 of this passage, because it is the only solution that I know to keep me right before you and doing the work you have me to do in this world:

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.

Father, all I really know to pray here is help me to keep plugged into you as deeply as I can. Help me to nourish the soil of my heart, weeding it from the cares of this world, so that my roots can grow deep and I can start to have the moment Neo had in the Matrix, and I start to see the world for what it really is with your perspective and not just what my eyes see it as. In this moment, I’m acutely aware of how much I need you. Please be with me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2021 in Colossians

 

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Colossians 4:5-6

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Dear God, I’m about to spend the morning among a lot of people who need you, but it will be awkward because they will be people who are in line for food. Guide me in each interaction. Show me how to love. Show me what to say. Show me what you would have me to do. This is a pretty simple prayer today. Rich Mullins had a song called “Let Mercy Lead.” Help men to lead with mercy, Father.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2021 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, what kind of representative of you am I? I think that maybe I’m not giving others a hypocritical life to observe, and that’s good. But going back to my prayer the other journal about the cycling program I use and how much better I am about being an ambassador for that than I am for you and my faith in you. But it all starts with the example I am living because I can say all of the things I want to say, but if my actions don’t back it up then I am, to quote Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, a clanging gong.

I’m listening to a Christian music mix on Pandora while I type this, and I just saw an artist come up who lost his son due to tragic circumstances in the last two years. I don’t know the details, and I don’t need to know the details, but I get the feeling that it was a devastating cause of death. And now as I sit here the day after Thanksgiving, thinking about how my own Thanksgiving Day didn’t fit the American mold of what Thanksgiving should look like I find myself taking my eyes off of my own self-pity and thinking about how hard Thanksgiving must have been for him and his family. What went wrong? What went wrong? It’s a question that haunts a lot of us.

Father, I simply have a life to live today. I get to see my parents and love them. I get to spend the day with my wife. A front is supposed to be coming and it will be colder so I’ll respond to that accordingly. My point is, I just have this day in front of my, and it’s my job to worship you, thank you for all you’ve done, and simply ask that the Holy Spirit will grow in me to the point that others will see you and not me.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2020 in Colossians

 

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.

Colossians 2:6-7

Dear God, my head is just not in the game today. I had visions of fasting today to cover our organizations big fundraiser and ask that your spirit be with it, but I’m taking an antibiotic that must be taken with food so I can’t do that. I chose to wore glasses today instead of contacts, so that always tweaks my mood for the worse. I found out about a staffing issue that is brewing that will need to be addressed at some point. It just feels like a lot o things are swirling and I started my day out selfishly instead of stopping to pray to you. In fact, I’m typing this during my lunch hour because I feel so unbalanced. I cannot go another minute without connecting to you.

I love the imagery of this passage from Paul: “Let your roots grow down into him.” Over a year ago, I started using a new exercise program for cycling. I’ve loved it so much that I’ve told a lot of people about it. I’ve even convinced at least one person to get it too. Last night, I told my wife that I had mentioned it to someone else that day and then I said, “It’s too bad I don’t share Jesus like I share about Zwift.” I said it as a joke, but it stuck with me. Why am I not as excited to share about my faith with people as I am my cycling program? Is it that I don’t appreciate what you’ve done for me as much as I appreciate the cycling program? How much do I really take you for granted.

Father, I am humbled before you right now. I’m so sorry. I’m just sorry. I’m sorry for the sin I commit. I’m sorry for not worshipping you as you deserve. I’m sorry for not appreciating the very basic grace and freedom from my sin that you’ve given to me. I’m so sorry. Help me to grow my roots through the bedrock they seem to have hit and “grow down into [you].”

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2020 in Colossians

 

Colossians 3:1-17

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory. So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. 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. 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 3:1-17

Dear God, as I read this passage this morning, I couldn’t figure out where to break it off and make it into a more bite-sized chunk. It starts with all of the stuff I am supposed to give up. And it’s a good list:

  • Sexual immorality
  • Impurity
  • Lust
  • Evil desires
  • Greed (and the idolatry that comes with it)
  • Anger
  • Rage
  • Malicious behavior
  • Slander
  • Dirty language
  • Lying

I am always fascinated that Paul almost always leads off lists like this with sexual immorality. I supposed nothing is new under that sun. In this case, sexual issues get at least two out of the first three (unless you consider impurity to be sexual as well, in which case you get all three). But I find it interesting…no, interesting isn’t the right word. Not interesting. I guess it’s just a fundamental truth that these are the things to which we are drawn apart from you. The instinct is to satisfy self. I want to satisfy my desires and needs. If I have a sexual desire, it should be satisfied immediately. If I see something I want then I should have it. If someone offends me or violates my self-perceived rights then I should express anger and rage over that. If someone is getting ahead of me or achieving more than me, then I can take them down through malicious behavior and slander. If I want people of like spirit to like me, then bawdy language is something I can use to ingratiate myself to them. And then there’s lying–the simplest form of protecting myself from people knowing the truth about me.

But here’s what Paul gives us as our new standard after we’ve given up our lives and embraced you:

  • Tenderhearted mercy
  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Gentleness
  • Patience
  • Allowing for others’ faults
  • Forgiveness
  • Love

And what happens when we die to our own rights? The peace that comes from Christ rules in our hearts–in my heart. Paul explicitly calls these things the “fruit of the Spirit” in Galatians 5, but he finds a way to spread them throughout the letters he writes to the early church. Beyond getting to go to heaven and getting my fire insurance, a relationship with you brings about some amazing things while on earth, the most important of which, in my mind anyway, is peace.

Father, please continuously point out to me where I have allowed lust, greed/idolatry, anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, dirty language, and lying to still reside in my heart. Please forgive me for these things. I am sorry, and I truly want to be better. But I don’t want to simply be better so I can experience peace, or even heaven, but so that I might be of use to you in this world. I want others to be drawn to you through my life. Help me to
“[die] to this life” and fully live in the “real life hidden with Christ in God.”

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2020 in Colossians

 

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, our couples group from church met last night and the topic in the book we are reading was praying for our spouse. As my wife and I prepared for the meeting by reading the chapter together, you convicted me that I don’t pray for her as much as I should/could. She has always been better at intercessory prayer that I am, so I am sure she does a better job praying for and over me than I do her. This passage is a reinforcement of that idea. I must not stop praying for her.

Following that point, as we talked yesterday she shared that she feels out of her element dealing with her father’s estate. She wants to do a good job and give as much to his heirs as possible, but she is not sure what to do about certain things. So I’m going to pray for her what Paul prayed for the Colossians.

Father, I pray for my wife that you will give her complete knowledge of your will. Help her to know what to do as a representative of her father’s estate. Help her to know how to interact with her relatives. I know she is longing to be with some extended family she has not seen in a long time, but the pandemic makes it hard to know if that is the right thing to do because it would involve air travel during a time when infections are blowing up. So please be with her. Give her complete knowledge of your will. Holy Spirit, give her your wisdom and understanding. Speak to her in a still, small voice as well as through obvious directions. And please comfort her. Use me, but use others as well. First and foremost, Holy Spirit, please comfort her. Help her to feel your presence. Help her to rest in you. Give her you love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, and self control. Fill her with you so that every decision, regardless of how hard or stressful, might be made through peace, wisdom, discernment and understanding. And use her to impact the world around her. Fill her with your joy.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2020 in Colossians

 

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, the part of this passage that strikes me this morning is the second sentence: “Make allowance for other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you.” Make allowance for others’s faults. Allow it. Don’t feel the need to change them. Don’t try to mold them into the perfect person, whether it is your spouse, your child, etc. Yes, as a parent you need to parent, but then there is also the idea of modeling grace by extending it to your child and then also allowing them to see you extend grace to others.

“Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in [my heart].” Peace. Peace. One of Paul’s fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5. Peace. If Jesus is the vine and I am the branch, then that peace must come from him and will only come when my branch is attached to the vine. and then that peace flows through me and enables me to allow for other’s faults. It enables me to forgive anyone who offends me. Yes, there are still grudges I hold. I am sorry for those. Please reveal them to me one by one so I can forgive them.

Father, help me to follow John 15:5 and be a branch on your vine. Help me to remain in you so that I can bear much fruit. And let that fruit be love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self control. Purge from me all that is in Galatians 5:19-21 (sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.” May my life be a complete tribute to you for your glory’s sake and so that you might enter the world through me as your vessel.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2020 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, what is the richness of Christ that is supposed to fill my life and I am supposed to share? It takes me back to a great sermon I heard from Andy Stanley last December. He started with a thesis that he understands why people can’t bring themselves to believe in the Jesus of the Bible and that all of the things the Bible says happened really happened. He got that. What he couldn’t understand was why anyone wouldn’t want it to be true. The Jesus of the Bible and his message was so compelling, why wouldn’t you want him to have been real?

So what is it about Jesus that I should want to be real? What is the richness of him that should fill me? Well, how about forgiveness of all of my mistakes and a clean slate between me and you? How about the fruits of the Spirit that enter and grow in my life when I am in relationship with you? How about the standard he and you (and the Spirit) ask me to live up to, asking me to live a life that loves you and loves others, and going and sinning no more?

I think when it comes down to it, the richness comes from something I continually go back to–the fruits of the Spirit. When love, joy, peace, gentleness, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, and self control (Galatians 5:22-23) are growing in your life and consuming the space that was once occupied by sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these (Galatians 5:19-21) then My life becomes richer richer.

Father, help me to be your ambassador. That starts with me being worthy of representing you. Help me to be worthy of people knowing I’m a Christian and evaluating a life spent submitted to you by looking at me. Let them see all of the fruits of the Spirit in me, and that will start by me actually giving you good soil in my soul where you can grow.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2019 in Colossians, Galatians

 

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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, I simply don’t pray for others enough. I have these prayers with you. I think theological thoughts. I try to worship you. But intercessory prayer is not my strong point. I wonder how much I am failing you in that.

My wife and I pray together every morning, and we always pray for our respective families–from parents to nieces and nephews. And of course we pray for our children. I have to confess, however, that without that discipline of praying with her, I’m not sure I would even do that beyond my children. It just isn’t where my head goes.

There are all kinds of things you’ve been putting on my heart lately. There’s politics, the border issue, friends and acquaintances who are sick, patients of our clinic who are in need, community needs like childcare and drug abuse, etc.

Father, help me to carve out an additional time of day to bring these things to you in prayer. Be glorified in me and bring your kingdom into this world through me and all of your people. Help us to love you well and to live in your peace and joy.

In Jesus’s name I pray,

Amen

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2019 in Colossians