Palm Sunday, Final Sunday of Lent 2021

All 4 of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and work record his entry into Jerusalem on the Sunday before their Jewish Passover.  Matthew, Mark and Luke tell the story of how Jesus obtained the donkey upon which He entered as it was prophesied that Messiah, king, would come riding a donkey.  Zechariah 9:9 was written hundreds of years before the event “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion!  Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem!  your king comes to you gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the fold of a donkey.”   John was the only writer to mention the palm branches that were waved by the crowds as Jesus humbly rode into the city. “So the took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’” John 12:13  The waving of the palm branches signifies a celebration of victory, and was a reminder of Jesus’ royalty.  The only other place that palm branches are waved is in Revelation 7 where John records the following scene in heaven. After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

As you worship Jesus today, cry out in praise to Him for who He is- our mighty King and Savior.  He is and always will be the victor now and forever!  Raise your palm fronds high in praise to your savior and proclaim Him the one who came to save you and me.  He was indeed the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world!

Linda

Here are the final truths from our study of Colossians 3:12-4:18 this week. May they bless you anew as you read and meditate upon them.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead,

I am enabled to live for Christ showing character that is humble, gentle, patient, compassionate, forgiving, loving and united with others. Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

I can experience profound thankfulness as I learn to hold tightly to the peace of God, the Word of God and trust in His development of my character to be more and more like Jesus. Colossians 3:15-17 “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

I am called to live for Christ by giving my best in all I say and do. Colossians 3:18-25Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master. 19 Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don’t take advantage of them. 20 Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end.21 Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits. 22-25 Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.

I am commissioned to pray diligently, speak boldly with softness and proclaim Christ to the unbelieving world. Colossians 4:2-6 “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 the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

I can continue in relationship with fellow believers from now to eternity bringing encouragement and hope as I focus on Christ. Colossians 4:7-15 “Tychicus will give you a full report about how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper who serves with me in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. I am also sending Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, one of your own people. He and Tychicus will tell you everything that’s happening here. 10 Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way. 11 Jesus (the one we call Justus) also sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish believers among my co-workers; they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been! 12 Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. 13 I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Luke, the beloved doctor, sends his greetings, and so does Demas. 15 Please give my greetings to our brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.

I have good work to do for Jesus that includes telling others about Him, praying for fellow believers and being the genuine person God created me to be in Christ. Colossians 4:16-18 “And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

A Sincere Farewell from Paul to us

As Paul ends this letter to the Colossian Christians, he reminded them and us of 3 important things about ministry.

Colossians 4:16-18 “And when this letter has been read among you, have it also read in the church of the Laodiceans; and see that you also read the letter from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord.” 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Paul wanted them to share his letter that was filled with godly instructions for right living in Christ with others in their area. We too are to stand on the Word of God and share it with those around us. How peppered is your speech with God’s Word? Do you relate happenings, people, goals and desires in the light of God’s Word? Do you read scripture with others or tell them of passages you have read that were meaningful? God’s Word is meant to be shared and checked in on. Paul and Barnabas did this in Acts15:35-36 “But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” They ended up taking other people with them and going separate ways, but their intent was to go and check on others to whom they had shared the gospel. God intends that His Word be a guiding light in our lives and it is to be SHARED!

Paul also wanted Archippus to continue in his good work for the Lord. Paul knew that serving the Lord required faith and perseverance. Thankfully, God promises that He will see to completion the work He has begun in us. We just need to cling faithfully with Him and continue working for Him. Philippians 1:6 “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Are you doubting the work God has called you to do? Pray about it and remain faithful until He leads you out or gives you peace about where you currently are serving. God knows the timing and details so we need to walk in trust day by day looking to His leading.

Lastly, Paul reminds us of who we are in Christ. We are genuine, authentic believers in the risen Lord. We are precious to Him and need to remember each other and uplift one another daily. Paul’s signature made the letter authentic but it was God’s message that was included gave it worth both then and now.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have good work to do for Jesus that includes telling others about Jesus, praying for fellow believers and being the genuine person God created me to be in Christ.

Linda

Relationships Are Important to Christ and Important to Us

Paul finished his letter with final heartfelt greetings to specific people in the church at Colossae. Colossians 4:7-15

Tychicus will give you a full report about how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper who serves with me in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. I am also sending Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, one of your own people. He and Tychicus will tell you everything that’s happening here.

10 Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way. 11 Jesus (the one we call Justus) also sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish believers among my co-workers; they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been!

12 Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. 13 I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

14 Luke, the beloved doctor, sends his greetings, and so does Demas. 15 Please give my greetings to our brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.

What can we glean from these verses? First, Paul wanted to reassure the Colossian Christians that he was doing fine and to be encouraged by his words of testimony that will be passed on by Tychicus and Onesimus. When you send cards, emails or calls to friends do you tell them how you are spiritually to encourage them? Do you tell them how God has blessed you, led you, answered prayer, and is revealing Himself to you in new ways? Paul is encouraging us to relate not only our well being physically but spiritually too.

Next, Paul explains fellow workers with him in the cause of Christ that are sending greetings. Isn’t that natural to tell others about people they know and what is happening with them? Here Paul is saying they have been a great comfort to him personally and are growing spiritually more mature in their walk with the Lord. What kind of things do you tell others about mutual friends? Are they uplifting and centered on their kindness or do they tend more towards gossip?

Then, Paul mentions praying Epaphras. Wow! He is known as one who upholds others in consistent prayers. He is genuinely concerned about their growth, witness and steadfastness in Christ. Do you have friends that pray for you and your personal growth? Do you pray for others in this way? If not, why not?

Lastly, Paul remembers Luke, the author and traveler for Acts and the gospel of Luke. Luke and Demas know many of them and wish to greet them again to renew that relationship. Is there someone you’ve served with in ministry that you need to renew the contact? Is there a friend or neighbor you’ve been missing and need to reconnect with? Now is the time.

Paul did not say good-bye but hello from many. He wanted them to know they were loved and cherished by many even there in far away Colossae. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can continue in relationship with fellow believers from now to eternity bringing encouragement and hope as we focus on Christ.

Linda

Seasoned with Salt and Prayer

As Paul ends this letter to the Colossians he wants to emphasize the importance of prayer and wise behavior towards others. Colossians 4:2-6 “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 the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains. Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Pray, pray, pray! Pray for yourselves and be sure to include thanksgiving. Remember, 1 Thessalonians 5:17 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Thanksgiving is the place to start. Prayer and thanksgiving will establish an attitude of gratitude towards God for all He has done, is doing and will do in the future on your behalf. Next, pray for others that are serving the Lord as missionaries both near and far. Who do you know that is working serving others in your community? This includes your pastor and others serving in the church. Pray for their strength their opportunities to witness and tell others about the goodness of Christ and His salvation. Pray that their words would be clear and understood by those who hear the message. Pray that the message would be received and those hearing would come to know Christ. Paul consistently asks believers to pray for his own work for Christ that it might bear much fruit, so also we should pray for our brothers and sister who minister and live in our communities that the whole community might be saved.

Paul then admonishes us to be wise with our words and make the most of those God given opportunities to talk with believers and unbelievers about Christ. Look for those God appointments as I like to call them. When talking with unbelievers, don’t try to argue with them but be salt and light giving them words filled with grace and love. Tell them about your love for Jesus and the difference He has made in your life. I love 1 Peter 3:15 ” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” Impetuous Peter had learned that you don’t beat someone over the head with the gospel but present the words of life with gentleness and respect. Being wise with our words shows love and grace towards others.

Take to heart Paul’s words to the Colossians as his God given wisdom is filled with grace and salt towards us too. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am commissioned to pray diligently, speak boldly with softness and proclaim Christ to the unbelieving world.

Linda

How To Live that Best Life!

Colossians 3:18-25 is a good housekeeping passage. Paul explains ‘best’ case actions and reactions in relationships. Here is the passage from the Message translation. (The Master is the Lord God, the master is the owner of the household or your employer.)

Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master. 19 Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don’t take advantage of them. 20 Children, do what your parents tell you. This delights the Master no end.21 Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits. 22-25 Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.

All relationships are to be done keeping Christ in mind. He is the head of the family and all work, actions, deeds and words need to be done to honor Christ. Yesterday’s passage summed it up beautifully in Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.” Whether you are the wife who is called upon to honor and show respect to her husband, the husband who is called to love his wife as Christ loves the church, the child who is called to obey their parent, the slave or worker who is called to do good work for your employer, all relationships are to be done to the Lord. Our point of view needs to be, we do everything for Christ. Our relationship with Christ guides all our words and deeds, as His ways are for our good and His glory!

This point of view comes into direct opposition to the world view of me first, my way, looking out for number 1-ME. Christ’s way has us put Him first. Earlier in this chapter Colossians 3:1-2, Paul said, “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.” Keeping this perspective is pleasing to God and leads us act according to Micah 6:8 ” O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy,  and to walk humbly with your God.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am called to live a life that is honoring to Christ by giving my best in all I say and do.

Linda

Thankfulness That Produces Results

Colossians 3:15-17 contains precious verses to empower, direct and motivate us to live lives to the honor and glory of God. “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Paul’s message has 3 directives all followed by thankfulness. 1) let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, and be thankful. 2) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,  and with thankfulness in your heart to God. 3) do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, always giving thanks to God the Father through him. Each of these actions of letting peace rule our hearts, letting His Word dwell within us and doing all we say and do in the name of Jesus need to motivate us as we seek to live for Jesus each day. Each needs to be followed with thankfulness which will be easy when you see that each of them produces great thankfulness in our hearts and minds. As we see what Christ has done for us, our gratitude increases.

How are you doing? Are you living in and with the peace of God? Jesus told his disciples and us too in 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.” It is yours for the asking, Jesus meant you to be at peace in Him.

Are you spending time in God’s Word and letting Him speak to you as you read and study? Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” John 17:8 “For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.” John 17:17 “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” God’s Word is truth and reading it daily will allow Him to speak to you, minister to your soul and give you insights into your character and His.

Are you examining your words and actions to see if they line up with God’s desires, plans and commandments? Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” 1 Samuel 15:22 “And Samuel said, “Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.” Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[a] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” God wants you to be a person of character walking in obedience to Him, with humility and trusting His plans that are for your good and His glory. God is always faithful so walk trusting Him with each day.

As you consider the 3 directives and examine your own heart, what is your level of thankfulness? 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” We are to incorporate thankfulness into all areas of our life- in all circumstances, both good times and hard. But when we do, our peace is increased, our love and understanding of God’s word is increased and our actions begin to be more and more like Jesus which produces profound thankfulness in our hearts. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can experience profound thankfulness as I learn to hold tightly to the peace of God, the Word of God and trust in His development of my character to be more and more like Jesus.

Linda

What Kind of Character Are You Wearing?

I love today’s portion of scripture from Colossians 3:12-14 as Paul gives us clear directives on how to live the life we now have in Christ. “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”

Paul’s challenges are found repeatedly throughout the New Testament. He challenges us to live like we are chosen by God and dearly loved by Him. 1 Peter 2:9 “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Ephesians 5:1 “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children.”

We are to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:2 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

We are to live with each other upholding and uplifting and forgiving. Forgiving because we have been forgiven! Christ is our example. Ephesians 4:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

We are to love one another as that will bind us together in unity. John 13:34-35 ““A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 7:33 “I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

Paul’s familiar challenges call us to stand firmly in Christ clinging to His desires and promises for our lives. Though the power of His Holy Spirit, Christ enables us to live for Him and grow in character. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am enabled to live for Christ showing character that is humble, gentle, patient, compassionate, forgiving, loving and united with others.

Linda

I Stand Amazed at God’s Mercy, 5th Sunday of Lent

Lent is a time for reflection about our own sinfulness and prayer and thankfulness for God’s mercy. One of my most precious verses is Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. As you meditate on the truths from Colossians we uncovered this week, let your heart turn to Him in thankfulness. We have so much because of God’s mercy and Christ’s willingness to die for us.

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead,

I can know Christ, be indwelt by His Holy Spirit and have a relationship with Almighty God through the power of Christ Alone! Colossians 2:16-19 “So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ. 18-19 Don’t tolerate people who try to run your life, ordering you to bow and scrape, insisting that you join their obsession with angels and that you seek out visions. They’re a lot of hot air, that’s all they are. They’re completely out of touch with the source of life, Christ, who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flow through us. He is the Head and we are the body. We can grow up healthy in God only as he nourishes us.”

I am affirmed in Christ and can ask for His guidance and wisdom from His Word. Colossians 2:20-23 “You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, 21 “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? 22 Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. 23 These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.”

I can have a new nature with a new mindset as I seek to live for Him each day. Colossians 3:1-2 “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.”

I have a life with Christ that is assured, protected and expectant as I await His return! Colossians 3:3-4 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”.

I have the power of Christ within guiding me to act in a manner that is pleasing to God for my good and His glory! Colossians 3:5-8 “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.

I can seek to love others wholeheartedly and impartially. Colossians 3:9-11. “Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 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.”

Here is our Psalm of Praise for this week,

Psalm 103:1-6 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.

Have a blessed Sunday that is filled with Praises!

Linda

God is Impartial, A Message for All!

Paul concludes his argument about putting on the new life in Christ in Colossians 3:9-11. His powerful words are as freeing to us today as they were to the first century Christians in Colossae. “Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 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.” These people lived in a society where people were separated race, religion, gender and social status. They were used to being put down, overlooked, cast out and neglected. Paul’s message was one of acceptance for all as those things do not matter or count in God’s kingdom. Jesus died for all!

Believers in Jesus could find freedom in God’s kingdom that was eternal and it promised equality for all. God is impartial. He sees no race, color, gender or status. God is only separated from us by our sin which knows no color or creed. All are called His children who believe in Jesus the Son. Romans 8:16-17 “For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. 17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.” He even names all Gentiles in Ephesians 3:6 “And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.

Additionally, Jesus called us His friends. John15:13-15 “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.” We are precious to Jesus and God the Father. We are called friend, sons, and heirs. We have an inheritance through faith in Jesus.

Paul’s last line in verse 11 is “Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” Jesus is all that matters. Faith in Him is the only way to a relationship with God as He imputes His righteousness to us and makes us clean before Almighty God. I love the fact that God is impartial and loves and accepts all of us. We are all sinners redeemed by the Son for a relationship with Him. Here are a few verses to meditate upon about the Impartiality of God. He is impartial and desires that we be and act with impartiality, too. He desires for us to love all people as Jesus did.

Deuteronomy 10:17 “For the Lord your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed.”

Acts 10:34-35 “I see very clearly that God shows no favoritism. 35 In every nation he accepts those who fear him and do what is right.”

Romans 2:11 “For God shows no partiality.”

1 Peter 1:17 “And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”

As you meditate on the sufficiency of Christ and the impartiality of God, let these verses resonate within you and cause you to seek to live with a loving and impartial attitude towards all men. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can seek to love others wholeheartedly and impartially.

Linda

Pleasing God, A Choice with Power

Paul began this chapter in Colossians talking about the new life, new heart and new nature we have in Christ. All of this is protected by Christ for us. Now Paul speaks of the things we used to do that definitely need to be put aside or better left behind us. Colossians 3:5-8 “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. He reminds them that that was the way they used to live but are not to live any more. Obedience to Christ and His ways move us to act in a way that will be pleasing to God.

How do we know what pleases God or what God requires? Scripture gives us some wonderful passages that are very specific about what God desires of us. Deuteronomy 10:12-13 “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments and statutes of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? ” Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good;  and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,  and to walk humbly with your God? Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was in Matthew 22:37-39 ““You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Many times Jesus spoke about obedience, loving God, abiding in Him, seeking to be holy as He is holy and loving others. In John 13:34-35 Jesus told his disciples that the world will know us by our love. “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 we walk with God, He transforms us more and more into the image of His Son. This ‘sanctification’ process is a life long journey to be more and more like Jesus.

Since we know what God desires of us, why don’t we just do it? I agree with Paul when he wrote in Romans 7:15-16 “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.” Like Paul, I desire to please God but my old nature gets in the way. What to do? Pray, repent, look into His Word, seek His guidance and His will for our lives. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I have the power of Christ within guiding me to act in a manner that is pleasing to God for my good and His glory! Praise God for His indwelling power through the Holy Spirit.

Linda