Wow! God did all this for me! Thank you.

Paul succinctly sums up what God did for us when He sent Jesus to die on the cross and be raised from the dead. Colossians 1:13-14. “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” God gave us a way to escape the darkness of sin and move into His kingdom of light. The light of Jesus is a light that overcomes, redeems and forgives. Praise God for His great mercy and love!

Here are some verses to add depth of understanding to Paul’s words to the Colossians- the light. John 8:12 “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” His light brings life not death and darkness. John 12:36 “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Saved out of darkness into His kingdom of lightJohn 3:17, 19, 21 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” 19 “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.” 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

RedemptionRomans 3:23-24 describes this perfectly “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, I also love Ephesians 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,”

Forgiveness of Sins– these powerful words are remembered during communion as Jesus spoke in Matthew 26:28 “for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Acts 13:38-39 “Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed  from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.”

May these words and phrases sink into your heart and soul today. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am saved out of darkness and brought into the light of Christ fully redeemed and forgiven! Praise God!

Linda

The Benefits of a Walk that is Pleasing to God

Paul was praying for the Colossian Christians in a very specific way. He wanted to see them walking and experiencing an authentic life with Christ. He envisioned them, and us too, living a life worthy of the calling of Jesus. In today’s passage, Paul lists the benefits of such a worthy walk with Christ and how it truly pleases Him. Colossians 1:10-12 “ so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.” Wow! What a list of benefits Paul is praying for the Colossian Christians to experience in their daily walk with Jesus!

Bearing fruit in every good work. A life indwelt by the Holy Spirt, focused on Jesus shows fruit. Which of these is the Holy Spirit producing in your life as you seek to know and follow Him? Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.”

Increasing in the knowledge of God. Is this your goal, to know God more fully? Could this be said of you? 1 Chronicles 28:9 “And you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father and serve him with a whole heart and with a willing mind, for the Lord searches all hearts and understands every plan and thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will cast you off forever.

strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy. Do you feel God’s strength, have endurance during the difficulties that arise each day or do you see and feel joy when you wait upon Him? Nehemiah 8:10 “for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Hebrews 10:36 “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. Are you thankful for your heavenly inheritance to come and grateful for hope-filled life Jesus is providing for you right now? Ephesians 1:18 “having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 1 Peter 1:3-4 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,

I pray as you study and meditate on these benefits provided to us through our faith in Jesus that you will be blessed with a deeper knowledge of Him and be encouraged in your walk. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can receive benefits of faith that lead to greater knowledge of Him, strength, endurance, patience and joy! Thank you Jesus!

Linda

A Pleasing Walk, Can you do it?

Colossians 1:9-10a gives us some insight into the heart of the Apostle Paul. He is being intentional with his prayers for the Colossian Christians as he has something specific in mind. “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him:” It is totally in Paul’s mind and on his heart that the Colossian Christians live lives that are worthy of their calling as servants of Jesus Christ and that their lives would be pleasing to Him. To achieve a life that is worthy and pleasing to God one must have a knowledge of God’s will and an understanding of spiritual things.

How does one achieve such things? Scriptures tell us to seek to know God. Job said in Job 5:8 “As for me, I would seek God,
and to God would I commit my cause,” Psalm 14:2 “The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man,
 to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.” Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Hebrews 11:6 “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”
Knowing God and what He desires of us, helps in discerning God’s will for our lives. That means knowing and following His commandments,1 John 5:2 “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.” We also must seek to abide in Him, John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. Paul knew that a walk without Jesus is futile and will accomplish nothing. So he encourages them and us to keep abiding in Jesus, to draw near to Him, to be steeped and guided by prayer, to stay in God’s Word and above all else seek to know Him more each day.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can know and understand the things of God with spiritual wisdom which helps me to walk daily in a way that pleases Him.

Linda

Be Thankful Someone Shared the Good News with You! Praise God!

How would you describe your church leaders, your pastors or priests? In Colossians 1:7-8 Paul described who was doing what in the Colossian church. “You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.” Paul praised Epaphras for his faithful delivery of the gospel message and how he communicated their love for each other to him. From his prison cell, Paul was able to understand the work the Holy Spirit was doing among them through Epaphras’ genuine and faith-filled words.

What a wonderful example of God’s work among believers. Epaphras was a converted pagan who loved the Lord Jesus and wanted others to share in this love, forgiveness and salvation. He was serving in the cause of Christ as he told others of Jesus and showed them God’s love. It was evident that the Holy Spirit was at work there in Colossae. What about you and where you worship and serve? Is your service done there out of habit or are you serving so you can show Jesus to others? Is your service faithfully done or is it haphazardly executed as time allows? What should be our motivation for serving and telling others about Jesus? Several things come to my mind: so others can experience the love and forgiveness of Jesus, so others will have eternal life in heaven, so the quality of their life here on earth will be abundant and filled with hope and love that only God can give, so that others will come to know God in a greater way, so that others will glorify God in their faith and life. The good news of Christ is indeed good news and transforms the life of each one who embraces and believes. Shouldn’t we want to share this wonderful transforming news with others? Epaphras, Paul, James, Titus, Peter…. and the person who told you about Jesus all shared their love of Jesus. Each one of us comes to faith through the telling of Jesus’ story somehow. Romans 10:17 “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

As you meditate today on this passage, give praise and thanks for the ones who led you to faith, in my case it was a Sunday School teacher. Give praise and thanks for those who faithfully give out the Word of God each week at your church. By doing so they are helping you to grow and mature in your Christian faith. Epaphras did both of these for the church he planted in Colossae and Paul was eternally grateful for his work in the name of Jesus. Let us give thanks today for those who brought us to faith and those who endeavor to show us areas where we can grow more and more like Jesus as we seek to know Christ and walk with Him daily.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can live a life that grows and matures in God’s love and can have an eternal effect on others.

Linda

You and Christ- is it spreading outward?

Colossian 1:6b tells us what the Colossian Christians did with the hope they received from Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. “Indeed, just as in the whole world the gospel is constantly bearing fruit and spreading [by God’s power], just as it has been doing among you ever since the day you first heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth [becoming thoroughly and deeply acquainted with it].” Amplified Bible

This verse shows the power of God to transform a world with the good news of Jesus. His death and resurrection turned the world upside down. The fruit he speaks of is the transformed lives of those followers that want to grow more and more like Jesus. They want to show His love to the world. John 13:34-45 tells us what happens when one embraces the Spirit of God “I am giving you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too are to love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you have love and unselfish concern for one another.” Love as the world had never known began to spread throughout the world. Just think, Jesus started with 12 disciples and then the news of the redemption, love, forgiveness and atonement of Jesus for the world began to spread. Amazing in a day with no internet, no phones or modern transportation, and yet God provided a way for the word of His Son to spread.

Who have you told lately about Jesus? Do you salt your conversations with words telling others of how God has blessed or guided you? How will someone know unless you tell or show them of God’s love? Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have a living and vibrant grace-filled faith to share with the world.

Linda

Hope-safe and secure, Share it now!

Today’s verse from Colossians is very empowering and brings great assurances for our faith. Colossians 1:5-6a “the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven and about which you have already heard in the true message of the gospel that has come to you.” Paul was praying and praising God for the Colossian believers and said that their hope, that they so readily shared with everyone around them, is rooted in Christ. Their hope is stored up, saved for eternity, preserved, untouchable by sin and guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.

This is a truth that we can claim in our lives too. The faith we have in Christ and the love He has for us and us for Him gives us eternal hope! It is a hope that can never be taken away! What a wonderful blessing we have from Him! Thank you Jesus. This truth is also found in Titus 1:2 “in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began“. This hope of faith is eternal in nature and comes from a God who does not change or lie. Romans 5:2-5 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. This hope is eternal and God uses it to bring about change in our character for our good and His glory!

As you ponder your faith in Christ and God’s immense love for you, think about 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” You have the hope within you—- be prepared to share it with gentleness to a hurting world.

Linda

1st Sunday of Lent, Reflect on Truths uncovered and the Goodness of God!

This first week in Colossians brought us significant truths from just the first 4 verses. Meditate on them again as you consider Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and His victorious resurrection that made all these things possible through Him. Then ponder David’s amazing words of praise to a God who is always good in Psalm 34:1-10.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can trust that all things that happen in my life will be used by God to bring good to me and glory to His name. Colossians 1:1 Thank you Jesus.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I, as a saint, can know and experience God’s grace and peace in my life because of His faithfulness to me. Colossians 1:2 Thank you Jesus.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can pray with a thank-filled heart and experience the love of Jesus in my life through and with other believers. Colossians 1:3-4 Thank you Jesus.

Psalm 34:1-10 Taste and See That the Lord Is Good

34 I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together!

I sought the Lord, and he answered me
    and delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant,
    and their faces shall never be ashamed.
This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
    and saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
    around those who fear him, and delivers them.

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
    Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
    for those who fear him have no lack!
10 The young lions suffer want and hunger;
    but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

May you know and see God today as you Praise Him, feel His protection around you and taste the goodness of His love as you seek refuge in Him.

Linda

Thankful prayers result in Peace

As is Paul’s custom, he begins his letter to the Colossian Christians with prayers of thanksgiving.

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, Colossian 1:3-4

Is thankfulness your first response when you consider your friends of faith? Are you able to focus on how God is using them in His work and thank God for their presence in your life? In Philippians 4:6, Paul puts it this way, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” As we pray for those people in our lives, God wants us focused on being thankful and then asking Him for direction and guidance in our life. Paul wanted to express his thanks to God for these faithful, grace filled co-workers that lived in Colossae. This group of new believers had a special place in his heart as they showed their faith and love actively to other believers. They were living out Jesus command in John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. 35 By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

As you begin this Lenten journey, who do you have in your life that you are thankful for? Give Thanks. Who do you serve with at your church or other Christian organizations that you are thankful for their working with you in the cause of Christ? Give Thanks. Who is in the need of prayer? Give Thanks that you can support them in prayer. I cling to the truth in Philippians 4:7. Praying with thankful hearts brings God’s peace and will focus us upon Jesus. “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can pray with a thank-filled heart and experience the love of Jesus in my life through and with other believers.

Linda

Which do you need today? Grace, Peace, a Reminder of Sainthood or Faithfulness?

Yesterday we began this letter by examining who was writing, Paul, and by what authority, God’s will. Verse 2 continues the opening as Paul identifies who is receiving this letter.

To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. Colossians 1:2

Paul first identifies them as saints. This term is used in scripture repeatedly to name those who believe in Jesus the Son, God the Father and the Holy Spirit. “And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:27 Psalm 145:10 “All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,  and all your saints shall bless you! Proverbs 2:7-8 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice  and watching over the way of his saints.” This seems an old fashioned term but when you ponder it, there is glory embedded with the term. We, as saints, reflect His glory to the world; His light in the darkness.

Paul also calls the believers in Colossae faithful. How would someone describe your faith in Christ? Are you faithful to the truths you find in the Bible? Do you read your Bible daily, pray regularly, and worship Him with a repentant and grateful heart? This time of Lent is one when we can take stock of where we are in our walk with Christ. We can question our devotion to Him, our faithfulness, our reliance upon Him and draw strength from His Word and encouragement through His Holy Spirit. It is a special time for reflection to help us grow deeper in love and dependence upon Almighty God.

Lastly, I want to mention the blessings Paul wished to bestow upon the readers. This blessing was not just for those in ancient Colossae but for us too. Grace is God’s unmerited favor and Peace a state of mind and being brought to us from Jesus regardless of our circumstances. What amazing truths these two words convey! Grace– I can trust His grace at all times. 2 Corinthians 12:9 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” There is sustaining power in God’s grace! Peace- John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” The peace Jesus gives will bring focus and hope not fear.

Such powerful words- saints, faithful, grace and peace. Let the truth of these soak into your soul today. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I, as a saint, can know and experience God’s grace and peace in my life because of His faithfulness to me.

Linda

Called? An example of God’s Providential Care at Work!

Paul begins his letter to the Colossian Christians by stating who he is and by what authority he writes to them. He did not know them personally as he was not the one who brought the good news of Christ to them. Epaphras his friend and a man he led to Christ in Ephesus was the one who delivered the good news of Christ and helped them establish a group of believers in that city. Epaphras was concerned about problematic ideas that had entered their thinking so he journeyed to Rome to get advice and encouragement from Paul. Paul wrote this letter for Epaphras to take back to them.

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, Colossians 1:1

Do you think of yourself as doing or being in a particular place at a particular time by the will of God? The key idea here is God is Sovereign and all things happen by God’s direction. It is called the Providence of God. There is no luck involved in the coincidences of life as life is designed by our sovereign God. A recent definition I found for the providence of God is this: God has a plan and a purpose for the world and governs history such that everything from the least to the greatest contributes to the achievement of that plan and purpose. God’s providence is the active outworking of God’s Sovereignty in everything. Paul was not in a Roman prison by chance nor did Epaphras journey there by accident. God used both Paul’s imprisonment and Epaphras’ desire to know truth to lead him to find Paul in that prison cell. Paul is stating here that God intended for him to be a witness to the gospel of Christ, met him, led him and was using him to tell others the good news of Jesus. What is happening in your life that you feel God is using you for His purpose? Often times when things happen, we quickly question God, why? At those times, we need to remind ourselves of the providence of God and how as Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” God can and does use all things in our lives for our good and His glory. Our calling is to walk in trust and faith that God has it all in His control.

Paul also includes his co-worker in the cause of Christ, Timothy, in the greeting. Timothy might have traveled to Colossae at some point and was known to some of the believers or perhaps he was helping Paul by scribing the letter. What is known is that Paul and Timothy were a team like father and son working together to spread the gospel. I hope you have friends in the faith that share your love for God and work hand in hand with you to serve Jesus and your local church. John mentions these type of people in 3 John 1:8 “Therefore we ought to support people like these, that we may be fellow workers for the truth.” Supporting each other in ministry brings encouragement and unity to all believers. Say a quick prayer right now and thank God for someone special that works with you to serve Jesus. They are a gift from God to you!

Look for the providence of God in your life this week. Seek Him with faithfulness knowing you are set apart for Him and His work in you. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can trust that all things that happen in my life will be used by God to bring good to me and glory to His name.

Linda