After Advent…Epiphany, Wise Men’s Obedience Speaks to Us

Each year Western Christians celebrate January 6 as Epiphany. It commemorates the arrival of the Magi to worship Jesus. For the last several days I have been blogging on the arrival of the Magi and what their story has to say to us today.

The heart of their visit to Jesus’ family was one of worship and obedience. Obedience brought protection for Mary, Joseph, Jesus and the Magi against the evil intent that God knew was in Herod’s heart. The Magi were obedient to follow the message in their dream to not return to Herod. Joseph was again visited by an angel and told to take Mary and baby Jesus and go to Egypt. He was obedient and packed them up and left immediately. The Magi returning home and Joseph took his young family to Egypt and eventually to Nazareth after Herod’s death. This shows God’s omniscient power over current threatening events and prophecies given hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth.

Matthew 2:12-15 “And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Where is God calling you to be obedient? Is He directing you to share, give, comfort, lend a helping hand, provide care or listen with a loving heart? Our obedience is important and loved by God. It is an attribute God desires for our lives and shows our love and respect for Him in a very real and tangible way. When I think on the priority God places on obedience, my thoughts go to 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.” God desires that we are obedient and with that obedience comes blessing. The Magi were blessed with seeing the child and not giving further help to the evil of Herod. Mary and Joseph were blessed by continued protection from harm and provision through the gifts of the Magi. All of their acts of obedience brought glory to God and His plan for mankind.

Have you ever considered how your obedience is a tool for God to use in the lives of others? Your obedience, like that of Joseph, Mary and the Wise Men can and will be used by God to bless others. Meditate today on the effects of your obedience to God and His Word. 1 John 5:3-4 gives us a guide by which we can frame our obedience. It is specific and direct- not always easy but true. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” Walk in faithful obedience to God’s Word and His Son and see how God blesses and multiplies your effect upon others for Him.

Linda

Advent…a journey of Faith

At this point in our Advent story, John has been born to Zechariah and Elizabeth who was to be the forerunner of Jesus, the Messiah. The angel has appeared to both Joseph and Mary with his heavenly news, and they are now married and awaiting the birth of Mary’s Son by the Holy Spirit. Enter, the real world of politics and domination by both Jewish and Roman leaders upon their lives. Luke 2:1-5 gives the circumstances in which Mary and Joseph are caught, by no fault of their own. See how God uses worldly demands and decrees to further His purpose and fulfill His promises!

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

What an amazing God we serve! He used the Roman authorities to move Mary and Joseph from Nazareth where they lived to Bethlehem where prophesies foretold God’s Son would be born. Micah 5:2 written hundreds of years before spoke of the coming King who would be born in Bethlehem. “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf.” Joseph would not have knowingly put Mary in harms way by undertaking the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem when she was heavily pregnant. They were required to go by the law and could not refuse. But this seemingly hard and unusual task was one of God’s design so that His Son would be born in Bethlehem just as He promised. God went with them and protected them so that no harm would come to them.

This is a lesson for each of us. God is with us in the hard times. When things seem impossible, we need to lean into Him and depend upon His strength. I’m sure that the journey on foot and by donkey was arduous for both Mary and Joseph. But God, provided for their safety and carried them to where they needed to be at just the right time. God is good and God is sovereign overall things that happen in our lives. As I said yesterday about Joseph’s walk of obedient faith, God’s got this.

We too need to walk in trust knowing God is good and has good things planned for our future and His glory. Let the faith walk of Mary and Joseph speak to your heart today and give you courage to keep on keeping on no matter how things appear. God’s providential care is greater than anything man has planned or tries to throw at us. Having fortitude, determination and will for the journey of life requires us to put our trust in Him and step out each day in Faith. Be of good cheer- you can do this with Him! Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Linda

Light the Faith Candle on This Second Sunday of Advent

The second Sunday of Advent is when the candle of faith which is often called the Bethlehem candle is lit. It proclaims the blessing to come because of God’s great love for us, by sending Jesus to be born in Bethlehem. This week’s readings we will focus on Elizabeth’s reaction to learning she will have a child in her old age, the angel’s appearance to Mary, Mary’s response to the angel’s message, the birth of John to Elizabeth and Zechariah, and their reactions to his birth besides the fact that dad could now talk! Prepare your hearts and minds to reach into scripture and discover new meaning for yourself as you read the scripture with faith. Faith pleases God and through our faith in Jesus He blesses us with His love and peace. He also gives us understand and insights into His Word- so be prepared to be blessed this week.

On this second Sunday of Advent, let your heart and mind dwell on the words of Psalm 121. Let them fill you with joy and anticipation that God has all things under control.

I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

Blessings as you enjoy the season!

Linda

Need a Name to Praise All Day Long?

What is your favorite name of God? He reveals himself and His character to us in scripture and shows himself to be just what his people need, all that they need !

Psalm 44:8 O God, we give glory to you all day long
    and constantly praise your name. 

Here are few names God gives Himself:

El Shaddai- The All-Sufficient One He is the Lord God Almighty and nothing is beyond His control. His power and might are sufficient for all our needs. Abraham first encounter God Almighty in Genesis 17:1-2 “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.” The Apostle Paul knew God Almighty to when he wrote in 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.

El Elyon– The God Most High He is the sovereign ruler of the universe. Abraham was thanking God for his deliverance in Genesis 14:20 and used God’s name, “And blessed be God Most High,  who has defeated your enemies for you.” Psalm 78 is a psalm of remembrance and used God’s name in verse 35 “Then they remembered that God was their rock, that God Most High was their redeemer. Where do you need Him to be your God most High?

Yahweh- LORD, Jehovah He is the Self-Existent One. God is God and there is no other. He alone exited before time began and was not created. Moses encountered God in Exodus 3:14-15 “God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” 15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

Which name of God do you need to minister to you today? Will you give thanks for Him constantly? God is worthy of all our praises as He is indeed the All-Sufficient One, The God Most High and Lord. Thank you Jesus for being all I need no matter the place or the circumstances. God is enough!

Linda

Unchangeable, Promise Keeping God

And the journey continues….Ezra. Ezra is a history book about the Jewish people’s amazing return to Jerusalem from Babylon. Due to their evil idolatrous ways and forsaking of the worship of the one true God, they were carted away to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. Jerusalem was destroyed along with the temple. The precious gold bowls and articles of worship were carried away too. Their exile, which was warned about by a multitude of prophets, was accomplished by the Persian army and many of the Jewish citizens were deported to Babylon. All the prophets had foretold their exile and also their return. No date was given in earlier prophesy’s to their return but God promised to bring them back. As the time for exile approached, God sent a message to the people through Jeremiah that they would be exiled for 70 years and then be brought home to Jerusalem. The events in Ezra tell us how God used a pagan king to accomplish this feat and see to His people’s return 70 years after their deportation.

Daniel, one of the exiled Jews, spoke of how God uses all in His world to accomplish His will in his prayer. Daniel 2:21 He changes times and seasons;
    he deposes kings and raises up others.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the discerning.
Daniel knew that God controlled who was in power and determined the future of His people.

The book of Ezra opens 70 years later. Ezra is a Jewish official, a scribe and a priest in the service of King Cyrus of Persia. The regime has changed and Cyrus had a revelation from God and his heart was moved towards the Jewish people living in his realm. Ezra 1:1-4  “In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, the Lord fulfilled the prophecy he had given through Jeremiah. He stirred the heart of Cyrus to put this proclamation in writing and to send it throughout his kingdom:

“This is what King Cyrus of Persia says:

“The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth. He has appointed me to build him a Temple at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Any of you who are his people may go to Jerusalem in Judah to rebuild this Temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, who lives in Jerusalem. And may your God be with you! Wherever this Jewish remnant is found, let their neighbors contribute toward their expenses by giving them silver and gold, supplies for the journey, and livestock, as well as a voluntary offering for the Temple of God in Jerusalem.”

There are several amazing things about this occurrence. Their return was foretold by Jeremiah before their exile in Jeremiah 25:11-12 and 29:10. Here is 29:10 “This is what the Lord says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again.” God was very specific on the number of years they would be in exile (70) and that when they returned they would have provisions. Cyrus ordered fellow Jews remaining in Babylon to support them and their efforts to rebuild the temple. He, a pagan king, was used by God in a mighty and miraculous way aid in the return of God’s people. They did return and began rebuilding the city, walls and temple. Ezra stayed, led in the instruction of the people in God’s ways so that they did not sin continue to sin against God. He had to return to Cyrus’ court and Nehemiah was led to go and continue this restoration.

What lessons can we take from this story? Foremost, God keeps His promises. God said they would go, they did. God said they would return, they did. The events were orchestrated by God and not by the Jews who were in exile. God knew the correct time for their return and who was going to be in power. God knew Cyrus would listen to His message and act upon it. One would never have thought that the golden bowls, etc. that were taken as plunder and placed in the Babylonian temple by King Nebuchadnezzar were there for safekeeping. Only God could take away, preserve and then return them to where He wanted them to be. That same God is the God we know today. Hebrews 13:8 tells us “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” He is our unchanging all powerful God who watches over all of us. This account gives me hope and assurance that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do, always and forever. It also assures me that God is Sovereign over nations, those in power and events happening in our world. When things look bleak, I need to always remember that God is indeed in control and walk trusting Him for my safekeeping. I know God keeps His promises!

Be encouraged by God today.

Linda

Fire, Water and Power for All to See

Statue of Elijah on Mt Carmel

And the journey continues….1 Kings. There are many adventures of God’s prophets, Elijah and Elisha, included in 1 Kings. Elijah was a prophet to the nation of Israel when Ahab was king and Jezebel was queen. The nation had been divided into Judah and Israel. Ahab ruled over the northern 10 tribes, Israel, and was an evil king. He worshipped Baal and Asherah and had forsaken the worship of God Almighty. God sent Elijah to confront him and relay the message that it would not rain in the land as a judgement for abandoning Him until God allowed it. Elijah left and God provided for him. He placed him by a brook and fed him with ravens. Later when the brook dried up, God sent him to the Widow at Zaraephath where God promised through Elijah that her oil and flour would not run out until it rained for sharing her food and shelter with Elijah. Finally after 3 years, God sent Elijah to Ahab. Elijah proposed a contest on Mt Carmel between the prophets of Baal and the Lord God of Israel. Ahab accepted. The story is written in 1 Kings 18:16-45.

View from Mt Carmel

What a contest it was! Elijah told the prophets of Baal to build an altar, put wood under and around it and place the sacrificial bull, which had been cut in pieces, upon it. Then the prophets were to call unto their god and ask Baal to consume the wood and sacrifice with fire. Elijah would then do the same and ask the Lord to consume it with fire. Elijah wanted the people to see that God was alive and real where as Baal and Asherah were powerless. So the prophets set up their altar and began to call upon Baal. Nothing happened. Elijah taunted them in verses 27-29 “And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” 28 And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. 29 And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention. Then Elijah asked the people to help him prepare the altar with wood and the sacrificed animal parts. However, Elijah also instructed them to dig a trench around the altar and pour water over all of the wood, and animal pieces. It was so much water that it ran down into the trench. He had them repeat this 3 times! Verses 36-39 describes what happened next, “And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. 37 Answer me, O Lord, answer me, that this people may know that you, O Lord, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 3And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The Lord, he is God; the Lord, he is God.”

I love this story. We see God’s amazing power over the elements, rain and fire. God’s power over other gods, the idols that the people worshiped, Baal and Ashorth. We also saw that God kept his promises, no rain, protection of Elijah, not tolerating evil, and protecting, defending his people. In addition, we see the people’s response to God’s power and might, as they fell down in worship. Shortly after this confrontation on Mt Carmel, Elijah tells Ahab to run home because it is going to rain and for him to hurry. It rained torrentially before King Ahab got back to Jezreel by chariot.

How big is your God? Can He be trusted to defeat all foes? Is He bigger than anything you face? Is He sovereign over all things, circumstances and people in your life? Read this story in full in 1 Kings 16:20-17:24. Marvel anew at the power, provision and planning God shows to Elijah and His mercy and grace towards the wayward people of Israel. He can and does show that same power, mercy and grace toward us through Jesus the Son. We worship and serve Almighty God and there is none more powerful. I am reminded of David’s prayer in Psalm 86:8-10 when I read this story in 1 Kings. “There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,
    nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come    and worship before you, O Lord,    and shall glorify your name.10 
For you are great and do wondrous things;
    you alone are God.

May you look and see the power of God today as you walk with Him. May it cause you to fall down in worship before Him. He is the awesome God, mighty to be praised!

Linda

Praise Jesus, He is who He is!

Who do you think Christ is? Paul wanted the Colossian Christians to know without a doubt that Christ is God. Current philosophies of Paul’s day claimed that he was not all God. Paul says and that in Him nothing was lacking, He is the all in all. Colossians 2:9-10 “For in Him all the fullness of Deity (the Godhead) dwells in bodily form [completely expressing the divine essence of God]. 10 And in Him you have been made complete [achieving spiritual stature through Christ], and He is the head over all rule and authority [of every angelic and earthly power].” I like the Amplified text as it adds and explains to us what Paul was talking about specifically. Some were saying Jesus was not all of God and was not divine. Paul wanted to confront their heretical ideas and explain the truth about Christ- who He is.

We have philosophies today that want to discredit and deny the deity of Christ. What can we say to refute them? Paul’s claim is that Jesus, when here on earth, had the fullness of God within him. Hebrews 1:3 gives us a perfect description who Jesus is and what He accomplished, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” Jesus often talked of who He was and the power He possessed to grant eternal life. John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.” He possessed the glory of God within himself, John 13:31-32 “Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. 32 If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.” Being God himself, Jesus was able to make those who believe in Him complete. They would have complete forgiveness of sins, Acts 2:38, ” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” They would have the Spirit of God dwelling within them, 2 Timothy 1:13-14 “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. 14 Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” They would be one with Christ, Romans 5:1-2 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” and John 15:4-5 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Lastly, Paul wanted the believers to know that Jesus was and is ruler over all, He is sovereign God. I love the Philippians passage where Paul explains who Jesus is and was for all time, Philippians 2:6-11 “

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

May you catch a glimpse of Who Jesus is and was and what He has done for you. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am one with Him, totally forgiven and have His Holy Spirit dwelling with me. Praise God, Jesus is who He is!

Linda

3rd Sunday of Lent, Jesus did it All!

This week again we have an amazing list of benefits for believers through faith in our risen Lord Jesus. As you mediate on these truths from God’s Word in His letter to the Colossians, let the revelation of who Christ is and what He accomplished on the cross sink into your mind. Let it produce in you a greater sense of gratitude and hope.

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

I can know God the Father who is exactly represented by Jesus the Son and who is fully God, Creator and totally Sovereign over all creation. Colossians 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

I can rely on Sovereign Jesus to hold all things together for me in my life. Colossians 1:16b-17 “all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

I can know Him and the peace of reconciliation in my life. Colossians 1:18-20 “Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead.  So he is first in everything. 19 For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ,20 and through him God reconciled  everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.

I am redeemed and reconciled to Almighty God so I have His hope-filled love for eternity. Colossians 1:21-22 “This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. 22 Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”

I can proclaim the Good News of love and redemption and hold onto a faith that is strong and unwavering through the power of Christ in me. Colossians 1:23 “But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.

I am indwelt by the Holy Spirit, redeemed by His blood and a citizen of His heavenly kingdom through faith in Jesus . Colossians 1:24-27 “I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. 25 God has given me the responsibility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. 26 This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God’s people. 27 For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory”.

I pray these truths will lead you to fall deeper in love with God and lead you to praise! Here is our praise Psalm for this week:

Psalm 105:1-5 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
    Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
Exult in his holy name;
    rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
Search for the Lord and for his strength;
    continually seek him.
Remember the wonders he has performed,
    his miracles, and the rulings he has given,

Have a blessed day and week to come,

Linda

The Glue of our Sovereign God, Do you feel it?

Yesterday as I mediated or ruminated on Colossians 1:15-17 there were several phrases that really stuck in my mind. Colossians 1:16b-17 ” all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” This says all things were created by Jesus as He was there at the moment of their creation; He is creator God. All the heavens and the earth were created for Him, to bring Him glory. Our purpose in serving Him is to abide in Him, reflect His character in ours and bring Him glory. Psalm 148: 5-6 puts it this way: Let them praise the name of the Lord!
    For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever;
    he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.

The other phrase that has given me pause is that “and in him all things hold together.What does this mean to you? Do you think of yourself as the one that holds your family or workplace or church or group you belong to together? As a fallible human it is not possible to have that kind of responsibility and see it through to completion. However, Paul was telling the Colossians that Jesus does it all. He can handle all things, complete all things and work all situations for our good and His glory. One of my favorite scriptures that I claim and cling to is Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” As believers we can trust in our Sovereign God to know how things can and will work together. How what seems to us a mistake can be used by God to refine, teach and grow us to be more like Jesus.

As you think about how Jesus holds all things together here are a few verses proclaiming His Sovereignty in all things. 1 Chronicles 29:12 “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 2 Chronicles 29:6 ” “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.” Acts 17:26 “And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,”

Is Jesus the preeminent one in your life? Is He the one you are trusting to hold all things together? Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can rely on Sovereign Jesus to hold all things together for me in my life. I love Isaiah 49: 16 and claim His promise in my life, “Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” We are precious to Him and He is holding us in His hands day by day. He goes before us and surrounds us with His perfect will and timing. Trust Him to keep your life glued together as you walk with Him.

Linda

Jesus, There is NONE Before You!

The next section in Chapter 1 of Paul’s letter to the Colossian Christians is title The Supremacy of Christ in my NIV and The Preeminence of Christ in ESV. One of the issues the Colossian church was having was ideas had begun to creep into the church that questioned the authenticity, supremacy and the importance of Christ and His work on the cross. This next section is rich in theology about Christ and gives us truths that are absolute and eternal about Him.

Colossians 1:15-17 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Here Paul states that Christ was present, existed before the world was even made, He was with God, is Creator God and He is the glue that holds all things together.

The idea of Jesus as image of the invisible God is also spoken of in Hebrews 1:3 ” He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Christ was also visible to mankind when He dwelt on earth and revealed the invisible Father too. John 14:9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

Jesus was also referred to the ‘first born’ son in all creation. Being God’s one and only Son had certain rights just as first born sons had rights in the ancient world. He would be considered preeminent, first and number 1 in the family heirs. John 1:18 adds understanding to this first born concept, “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.”

He is creator God in Genesis 1:26 the triune God is spoken of as us, all 3 parts of the God were involved in creation- Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” John 1:1-3 states the place of Christ in the world and his involvement in all creation.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.” Jesus also said from his own lips in John 8:58 who He was! “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

Paul wanted the Colossians, and us too, to know and understand that dealing with Jesus meant you were dealing with God himself. Jesus was the real deal and was not to be taken lightly or belittled in any way. HE IS GOD! Knowing Jesus, we can know the Father. John 14:7 “If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Be encouraged by Paul’s words today. Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I can know God the Father who is exactly represented by Jesus the Son and who is fully God, Creator and totally Sovereign over all creation. What a Savior we have in Jesus!

Linda