Wednesday, August 20, 2014

8/21 Colossians 2- rooted and growing

6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6,7)

Thoughts: The image Paul gives is of a plant.  We are to be rooted in Christ.  If we have our roots in the Bible and prayer, then we can grow- being built up by and in Him.  The fruit mentioned here is the fruit of gratitude and thankfulness.  So the first step as a Christian is to establish our roots in the faith.  Second  we are called to seek growth- spiritual growth.  Then we are called to let thankfulness bloom in our lives.
    An Aspen Tree Grove really is an interwoven root system.  If one tree dies, the roots will shoot up another to take its place.  So we are to be interwoven and shooting up new shoots and bearing fruit fo Christ. 

Prayer: Let me be rooted and growing in you, Lord, so that I may bear fruit for your glory.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

8/20/14- Colossians 1

15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1)

Thoughts: Jesus is the firstborn over all- living and dead- He is Lord of all. It is not that Jesus is not God's eternal Son- He is eternally begotten before all worlds- before creation.  Arianism (Jehovah's Witnesses are a form of Arianism today) believed Jesus was just a demi-god not a true God.  But this passage affirms that when you look at Jesus you see an image of God.  If you want to know what God is like- look at the life of Jesus.  He is the exact representation.  He is more than just a good man, but Jesus is also the creator of the world and of the Church.  Not only is Jesus the image of God but God lived in Jesus fully, and redeemed the world through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.  Christ came and paid our penalty for sin on the cross.  So it is possible to have peace with God and not struggle against Him if we will but believe that Jesus is the image and fulness of God who gave Himself for us on the cross.  

Prayer: Help me to believe you are the geratest Lord.  I rededicate myself to you.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

8/19/14- Philippians 4

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)

Thoughts: This is one of the most uplifting passages in the Bible or in literature.  It reminds us that there is always a reason to find joy in the Lord, and we are called to find that joy and rejoice.  We are called to trade in our worry for prayer with thanksgiving. Believers know that God is in control and we can trust in Him.  Then Paul tells us to lift up our minds to think about the good instead of dwelling on the evil.  Paul could have dwelt on the evil of many things in the pagan world around Philippi.  But instead he encouraged his church family to think on the positive and not dwell on the negative.  It is easy to dwell on the black dot on the white board.  In our day, in which the church in the west is criticized, doubted, and discouraged, we are called to not worry but be thankful and think on what is good.  In response, God gives us peace. 

Prayer: Lord, keep my mind from focusing on evil things or things that would displease you.  Instead, help me to focus on your grace and love.  

8/18/14- Philippians 3

Philippians 3
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  (Philippians 3)
Thoughts: The focus here is not on how much we give up.  That could lead to a kind of Christian one-up-manship.  Rather, it is a willingness to lose everything for Christ.  That is frankly hard to do when God has blessed you so much.  We must hold lightly to this world.  Our chief desire should not be for more worldly things, but for knowing Christ more and more- and to appreciate Him.  Jesus said, “This is eternal life- that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  (Jn. 17:17).  Knowing, believing, having faith, having a relationship with God is what eternal life is all about.  Heaven is being in the presence of God- being assured of that, and finding our peace and hopes fulfilled in Him.  Thomas said, “show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”  It should be!  The infinite eternal God is enough.  Knowing Him is a great goal for us. 

Prayer: Help me to know you, and to grow in my knowing you Lord.  Keep me from just knowing about you without knowing you inside of me.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

8/17/14- Humility

1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very naturea God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very natureb of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself (Philippians 2)

Thoughts: Humility is learned in the bad times- when we are humbled.  But they are also learned in the great times- how to receive compliments. If anything good happens to us, it is because of the Lord.  We should seek to be humble, and not to be lifted up or elecated.  God blesses us and He should get the glory for that.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

8/16/14- Philippians 1

6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1)

Thoughts: Paul had great confidence in God's ability to see through what He has started.  God doesn't choose us before the foundation of the world to let us go after a short while.  God holds us in the palm of His hand when His love starts pouring out on us.  His love will not let us go.  Jesus begins His love and finishes His love.  If Jesus really draws you to Himself, He will help you make it to the finish line of your journey.  The journey is a gift of God and He will see you through.  

Prayer: Lord, I need you to complete your work in me.  Do not leave me or forget me.  Help me to grow and be the kind of person you want me to be. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

8/15/14 Ephesians 6

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6)

Thoughts: God is pointing out that He has equipped us with tools and gifts.  We have a spiritual enemy, according to this passage.  This passage says that we have gifts of God that help us to stand up against the pressures of evil.  Truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Bible.  Truth holds us together- like a belt.  Righteousness is a defense against guilt and accusations.  The gospel readies us to go anywhere.  Faith is like a shield that helps us fend off evil attacks and temptations.  Salvation is like a helmet that protects our head.  If we know we are saved then it strengthens our mind.  The only offensive weapon mentioned here is the Bible.  The Bible is what the Holy Spirit uses to convict us, to fight against sin, and to eradicate evil in our lives and in the world. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the armor you give me to protect my heart and soul.