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

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

Be All that You can Be!

Ephesians Chapter 4 begins with an impassioned plea by Paul to the Ephesians to live a life worthy of being called a believer, one who in faith decides to follow Jesus.

“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”  Ephesians 4:1-3

eph-4-1Paul begins with ‘therefore’ as he wants his reader to remember all the points he has made so far in his letter about unity, love, the power of God and loving and serving each other. He sees himself as a slave or bond servant of Christ.  Paul is totally committed to Christ and to them in love.  He is willing to do what ever is need to tell other about Christ and the freedom available through faith in Him.  Paul has experienced the transforming power of Christ in his life and sees the fruits of being indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  He is calling all those who follow Christ to step up and be followers in name and deed.   Paul wants the Ephesians Christians to treat each other with love, patience, gentleness, humility, giving each other the benefit of the doubt, and walk and work together in unity.   It is a tall order, but one that Paul knows they can live up to through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.

What about you?  Do you see yourself as one who serves others in humility with love and gentleness?   When you are involved with other believers and unbelievers,  do they see Christ in you?  Lent is a time of reflection, a time to examine our lives, thoughts, deeds, motives and heart.  Look at what Paul is asking through the lens of the cross.  He is challenging you to be worthy believers,  but not in your own power but through His.  Because Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, we are ephesians 4 2-3indwelt, empowered and enabled to act and be more and more like Jesus as we grow in Him.

‘Be all that you can be!’ is a slogan made famous by the Army.  However, it is our commander, Jesus, who empowers us to be all in Him.  Endeavor to live that way today as you seek to relate to others in Jesus’ name being all He has made you to be!

Linda

What are you thinking?

Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can have the mind of Christ.  In 1 Corinthians Paul is talking to the Corinthian believers about wisdom, and how we can know and discern the things of God.  The natural person does not accept the WE-have-the-mind-of-Christ-300x225things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 2:14-16  With our natural mind we can’t know the things of God but with the indwelling Holy Spirit we can understand God and know Him.  The spiritual person is not to be judged by the opinions of unbelievers who consider the things of God to be foolish.  We are only held accountable to God.  His standard of conduct is the only one we need consider.  We are assured that the indwelt believer has the mind of Christ.

So what does that mean to you?  As I pondered what having Christ’s mind might mean, James 3:17 came to mind, “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere”.   Having the mind of Christ would mean we have access to godly wisdom as described by James.   We can have pure thoughts, a spirit of peace in our words, gentle presentation of our thoughts to others, reasonable thoughts not prone to wander or be self-serving,  thoughts filled with mercy,  thoughts that produce good things for ourselves and others, thoughts without bias and thoughts that are always sincere not being fake in any way.  I know that having the mind of Christ is a growing process and does not happen overnight.  As we draw near to God we are promised in James 4:8 that God will draw near to us. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you,”  The closer we walk with Jesus the more we can think and act as He would.  A mind that is governed by Jesus would be glorifying to God and produce a vibrant and whole life for us.  Consider the words of James today as you go about your daily routine.  What part of the mind of Christ, the wisdom that comes from above, are you seeing in your life?

Linda

guidanceSuggestion:  Pray and ask God to give you thoughts from Christ’s mind today-pure, gentle, loving, filled with hope and mercy, without bias, and totally sincere.  See the difference it will make in how you feel and view others.