Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Watch and Pray 5-28-15

2Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. 3And 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. 4Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should. (Colossians 4:2-3)

Thoughts: A devoted prayer life is both watchful and thankful.  Jesus said to watch and pray (Mt. 26:41; Lk. 21:35; Mk. 13:33; 14:48).  There was a watchfulness for Jesus' coming and also a watchfulness invoked to keep us from temptation.  Watchful here means we are watching for God's hand.  There are many who are not watchful for God but blind to God.  If God answers prayer and we do not see Him, we cannot give Him the glory He deserves.  If we feel our prayers are not answered, we should be watchful that He will act.  On the other hand, when God answers our prayers we should recognize it and be thankful.  Surely part of spirituality is to watch and pray.      Paul then asks that they would pray that God would open a door for them.  God does open doors of opportunities for us.  We must watch for them and give thanks when they come.  Paul also asks that he would be a good steward of the gospel and proclaim it clearly and not in a muddled or fearful fashion.  The gospel is such a golden key to hope for so many that we should look for opportunities to share it and then to make real use of such opportunities. 

Prayer: Lord, teach me to watch and pray.  Help me to search for you and find you at work and then be thankful.  Let me see the opportunities you set before me to do good in sharing your hope with others.  Let me proclaim it clearly- and help the preachers I know to be bold in taking opportunities set before them and proclaim the truth with clarity in these dark times.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

5-27-15 Principle of Fairness

1Masters, provide your slaves with what is right and fair, because you know that you also have a Master in heaven. (Colossians 4:1)

Prayer: The Bible never endorses slavery but always mollifies it.  The principle here is for people who are in power to care for those who work for them.  It is not off base, nor does it trivialize the basic idea to say that employers should care for their employees, providing what is right and fair.  It also reminds us who really is in charge.  We are all held accountable to be kind, just, and fair to those under us.  We are not simply to abuse people for our own greed or profit.  Instead, we are called to humble ourselves before the Living Lord and be just and fair to all that we have an opportunity to be just and fair. 

Prayer: Lord, you are just and fair.  Help me to be just and fair. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

5-25-15 Respect in Families

18Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
19Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
20Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21Fathers,c do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. (Colossians 3:18-21)

Thoughts: This is passage asking each family member to be considerate of one another and to put the other person first.  Wives are to put the husband's wishes ahead of their own.  Husbands are to control their anger and to treat their wives with gentleness and respect.  Peter says that if husbands do not treat their wives with respect God will not hear their prayers.  Children must listen to their parents and parents are called to not be harsh with children. This is  a circle of respect that families are called to honor.  

Prayer: Lord, Help me to respect my family members with gentleness, a listening ear, love and grace.  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

5/24/15- Giving It All- Memorial Day

17And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:17)

Thoughts: On this Memorial Day, we should give thanks for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country.  Christians are likewise called to sacrifice their pride and selves for Christ- to die to self.  But we are also called to live.  We are called to live for God- and do everything for His glory and in His name.
    As a good soldier gives his all for his country, so a good follower of Christ is called to give their all for Him.  In life and in death we belong to God.   Our lives and time belong to the giver of our lives and time. 

Prayer: Lord, may my life honor you.  Help me to live my life for your glory. 
All in!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

5/24/15- Songs of gratitude

16Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)

Thoughts: On this Pentecost Sunday, we should celebrate the gift of music- which is a gift of the Spirit.  The Spirit teaches us to sing to Him.  We have something to sing about that the atheist can't even hum about.  It is a joy that fills our soul.  We admonish- or strongly urge- one another in our singing.  Singing wells up gratitude in our heart and praise.  There is real power here.  It is a power to lift up the heads of the downtrodden and give them hope.  It is too picky to say, "I don't like your kind of music."  If God gives music we should try to join in to sing.  If I am on a mission field and they are playing some music I have never heard and I don't understand the language- I would be foolish and a bad guest to not join in (or try to).  We should join the singer in singing the song!

Prayer: Put a new song in my mouth and hope and gratitude in my heart.  

P.S.- Today is my 35th anniversary.  I sing to God today in gratitude for the great gift of human love and of my wonderful wife, Kay.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

5/23/15- Peace and Gratitude

15Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.  (Colossians 3:15) 

Thoughts: The Prince of Peace makes us one with one another- but we must let Him rule in our hearts.  Then he adds - as if almost an afterthought- "and be thankful."  For Paul thankfulness and peace go together.  Philippians 4:6-8 Paul says if we pray with thanksgiving then we will have the peace that passes all understanding.  In his prologues to many of his letters, Paul combines peace with thankfulness. When we are grateful, it brings contentment.  It is hard to be griping and complaining while we are thankful.  When we can rest in the lot God has given us, and when we are thankful for what God does- there is real peace. 

Prayer: May your peace and gratitude fill my heart, O Lord.  

Thursday, May 21, 2015

5/22/15- The virtue of love

12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12-14)

Thoughts: We are God's own people when we believe.  We are sanctified- not because we no longer make mistakes or sin- but because the Holy Spirit lives in us.  We are to take off the filth of the world, and put on the beauty of Christ- described as compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Such virtues are originally and distinctively Christian.  The ancient world knew a lot about bragging, but the meek and kind were not seen as the ones who would inherit the earth.  Another great Christian virtue is forgiveness.  We believe we are forgiven, so we are called to forgive others as we have been forgiven.  But love is the tie that binds all these virtues together.  Love makes compassion better; kindness more kind; motivates humility; puts others ahead so that gentleness and patience are important.  Love encourages us to forgive and give a second chance.  Love unites these virtues, but also unites us to God and to each other.  God is love and those who abide in love abide in God and God in them.  (1 John 4:10). So we know God cares about us- what we do, what we believe, how we treat others, how we forgive.  God does not leave us be- or ignore us.  He cares for us.  In response to His love, we are called to love.  

Prayer: Lord of love, help me to love you and others as you love me.