Sunday, May 31, 2015

Heidelberg 1 & 2

24Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death? 25Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (Romans 7:24-25)

Thoughts: The Heidelberg Catechism was written as a catechism to draw people together- Lutheran and Reformed.  It was written by a preacher (Kaspar Olevianus) and a professor (Zacharias Ursinus) completed in 1562. 
   So this summer, we will be looking at some of the main concepts of this special and personal catechism.  The first two questions revolve around this verse.
     Human beings are looking for comfort.  We often look in the wrong places, for there is only one real comfort for us.  As Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless til they find their rest in Thee."  We are not our own- to do with as we wish.  Our bodies, our souls, our minds are God's.  He created us, redeemed us, and we belong to Him.  Christ paid for our sins on the cross.  There is a payment that always must be made when evil happens.  Evil exacts a price- a wage- and its wage is death (Romans 6:23).  But God has provided a way to escape the evil of our sin- and it is by coming down Himself in the person of Christ and purchasing us- ransoming us from evil- its consequences.  Evil personified (the devil) is not our focus any more.  Our focus is on the Lord who saved us.  He guards us in this life, leads us to salvation, and inspires me to change my will - so that I want to live for Him now and forever.  This is simply a beautiful and comforting verse.
    To get to this comfort we must do the three things below: 1) Be aware of my sin and the sad state of misery I am in because of it; 2) That Christ sets me free from this sad state; 3) I am to thank and glorify God for His salvation from this sin and misery.  

Prayer: Lord, be my true comfort in any and every situation.  Help me to see that and go to you for help in time of need.   

Q & A 1
Q. What is your only comfort
in life and in death?
A. That I am not my own,1
but belong—
body and soul,
in life and in death—2
to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.3
He has fully paid for all my sins with his precious blood,4
and has set me free from the tyranny of the devil.5
He also watches over me in such a way6
that not a hair can fall from my head
without the will of my Father in heaven;7
in fact, all things must work together for my salvation.8
Because I belong to him,
Christ, by his Holy Spirit,
assures me of eternal life9
and makes me wholeheartedly willing and ready
from now on to live for him.10

1 1 Cor. 6:19-202 Rom. 14:7-93 1 Cor. 3:23Titus 2:144 1 Pet. 1:18-191 John 1:7-92:25 John 8:34-36Heb. 2:14-151 John 3:1-116 John 6:39-4010:27-302 Thess. 3:31 Pet. 1:57 Matt. 10:29-31Luke 21:16-188 Rom. 8:289 Rom. 8:15-162 Cor. 1:21-225:5Eph. 1:13-1410 Rom. 8:1-17

Q & A 2
Q. What must you know to
live and die in the joy of this comfort?
A. Three things:
first, how great my sin and misery are;1
second, how I am set free from all my sins and misery;2
third, how I am to thank God for such deliverance.3

Saturday, May 30, 2015

5-31-15 Love Letter

10My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings, as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. (You have received instructions about him; if he comes to you, welcome him.) 11Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. These are the only Jewsc among my co-workers for the kingdom of God, and they have proved a comfort to me. 12Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas send greetings. 15Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church in her house.
16After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.
17Tell Archippus: “See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord.”
18I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Thoughts: There are many names mentioned here.  Mark the cousin of Barnabas (and the author of the Gospel that bears his name) is mentioned.  Mark had been afraid and went back home.  Later Barnabas wanted to take Mark on another journey but Paul refused leading to a parting of company even among the two great leaders.  Mark repented of his fear and Paul reconciled with him here (obviously).  We also see the nature of these letters.  They were not just read in one place but many.  .,The Laodiceans were to read this letter.  Laodicea is mentioned in Revelation as a city that is neither hot nor cold in their love for God.  Paul was trying to get them to have zeal for God .  So we should not keep the word to ourselves, nor should we let grudges ruin the work of God.  In this sense, this letter is a letter of love spreading the love of God and the reconcilation to others. 

Prayer: Lord, let me use letters and all means possible to spread reconciliation with others and above all with you.  Let your love show through me.  

Friday, May 29, 2015

5-30-15 More Than a Slave

7Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother, a faithful minister and fellow servanta in the Lord. 8I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about ourb circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts. 9He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. (Colossians 4:7-9)

Thoughts: Paul lived his Christian faith in love with others.  He commended both Tychicus and Onesimus.  Onesimus was a runaway slave who had become a Christian in Rome.  Paul sent Onesimus back but he also asked that the slave owner, Philemon (for whom the letter is named today), find a way to release him.  Paul was saying in Christ there is a love that goes beyond business.  For Paul, business was a tool for the gospel- not the other way around.  When business runs rampant without care for others- then it can become the enemy of the gospel leading to uncaring greed.  Paul doesn't call Onesimus a runaway slave, but a brother.  In Christ we are one- whether slave or free- Jew or Gentile- male or female.  

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your love that goes beyond my sin.  Thank you for Paul's example to set aside class/caste in order to further your kingdom.  

Thursday, May 28, 2015

5-29-15 Witness in Word and Deed

5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

Thoughts: These verses cover two ways of witnessing that are both complimentary and build on each other.  One is the way we act toward outsiders and the other is the way we speak with outsiders.  First of all, there is such a thing as "outsiders."  This rules out a kind of monism- that everyone is going to the same place in a different way.  We are not all the same.  But the good news is that anyone can become an insider.  This is not an exclusive club.  It is all inclusive limited to only "whosoever will."  We should be wise in how we act toward those who do not believe.  People watch what we do and how we do it.  I know some Christians who are afraid to put a church sticker on the car because they are scared they are rude drivers.  Really, it should be the other way around.  We should not be afraid of setting a good witness and we should do our best to avoid a bad witness.  We will be a witness one way or another.  

Prayer: Lord, help me to be a witness in word and deed.  

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. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

5/21/15- Living for Christ

 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Colossians 3:9-11)

Thoughts: We have taken off the old clothes and put on the new ones.  When we began to believe, we died to self.  But we also began to live.  Our way of thinking is being changed. We no longer think life is about us and about meeting our needs.  As Paul said in Romans 12:2 we should transform our minds and not be conformed to this world and its way of thinking.  We also understand that we no longer think of ourselves or others in the same way,  All who are part of Christ (the "here" here), are equal.  Christ brings value to all people.  We are not valuable because of our talents, looks, intelligence, athletic ability, money or heritage.  We are valuable and equal because of Christ.  It is this true value that brings peace between us and God and us and each other no matter who we are. 

Prayer: Let me die to self and live for you, O Lord, My God. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

5/20/15- Dying to Self

5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.b 7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices (Colossians 3:5-9)

Thoughts: Jesus said if anyone wants to follow Him they must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Him (Lk. 9:23).  There is a dying to the earthly, temporary, this world- and- flesh way of life.  Paul lists two sets of things we are to kill in order to follow Christ: sexual sins and greed.  Then there is also sins of anger and filthy language.  Paul says that greed is idolatry.  How so?  When we are greedy we think that we are number one and we deserve all the money, all the praise, all the attention- as if we were God. We are to rid ourselves of the filth of the world like they were old stinky, grungy clothes that need to be tossed away.  There have been a few times when I have been working and sweating so much that my wife tells me to not even come in the house smelling like that- but to grab a towel and leave the terrible clothes in the garage by the washing machine.  We do not want to enter into the presence of the Almighty with stinky behavior. 
Tom Little grew up in New York.  He became a Christian in 1967 and became an optomestrist missionary in Afghanistan in 1970.  He served selflessly living among the people for years.  In 2010 Dr. Little was ambushed by the Taliban.  At his funeral, Libby, his wife said that Tom had died a long time ago- in 1967 when he gave his life to the Lord.  Christ does not just come to fulfill our worldly desires.  He bids us come and die and follow Him. 

Prayer: Lord, you died for me and showed me how to live.  Help me to really live my life by dying to the ways of the world. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

5/19/15- Set Your Minds

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is youra life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (Colossians 3:1-4)

Thoughts: We are called to rise above the mundane, the earthly bourgeois rules and thoughts that are consumed with the temporary and fading.  Rather we are called to think and invest in what will last forever.   We are called to "let our minds be" or "set your minds" focused on things above.  When we became believers we died to something and we began living to something.  We died to our old way of life- the way of living only for this moment and for this world.  We lived to Christ who gave us an everlasting hope and eternal love.  We died to this world and we are raised to focus our lives on eternal heavenly things.  

Prayer: Lord, give me grace to focus my heart on you.  When you appear, may my eyes be scanning the clouds for your coming- looking up instead of down.  

Norman Rockwell painting of St. Patrick's
"Lift Up Thine Eyes" the marquis says- while people are busy staring at the sidewalk. 

5/18/15- Not About the Rules

20Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: 21“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence. (Colossians 2:20-23)

Thoughts: Christianity is not about rules.  For many years, growing up in the church, I thought it was.  I rebelled as a teen against the rules for I saw hypocrisy in the church.  It was only later that I realized that there are no perfect people- in or out of the church.  But at least the church tries to do the right thing.  It was only later that I realized that Christianity is not an ethical philosophy but a relationship with Christ.  The faith gives an illusion that to be religious means to follow the rules.  But there is grace.  The grace of Christ means He kept the rules for us.  Christianity is about love.  Jesus summed up all the rules in two commandments: Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself.  Rules tend to be earth based and earth focused- with culture pushing them back and forth.  But without faith in God and love for God there is no power in rules (vs. 23).
     Now Paul is not saying- there are no more rules.  He is against the Pharasaical idea that keeping the rules gets us to heaven.  He was also against the idea that we have to always live in resolute fear of breaking a rule.  Perfectionism and legalism are not good ways to live.  It develops an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) that makes each person keeping them hard to live with.  We are saved by grace through faith so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
     But we must bring in the whole counsel of God here.  Paul is not tossing out being good.  This would be anti-nominism (against the law).  Calvin talked much about the moral law (the Ten Commandments) are good guides for life.  Paul wrote in Ephesians 2:10- "For we are created for good works"  In a few more words (3:5 ff) Paul says, "Put to death therefore the earthly ways- sexual immorality (note that this is first), impurity, lust, evil desires and greed."    These are sins that come from within- not without.  We seek and do God's will not because we have to (to get to heaven), but out of love and gratitude (the heart and grace).  There is a huge difference.  What we believe and what we do matter to the One who loves us and wants what is best for us.  It is out of the heart that sin comes, Jesus said.  We must get our hearts right with God.  Christianity- is about love- having our hearts changed and going in the right direction- toward things above (not earthly things- whether sin or rules).  

Prayer:  Lord, move my heart.  Change my heart so that it is in tune with yours.  Give me grace to love you and my neighbor.  

If you walk into a restaurant and you see a sign that says, "No shoes, no shirt, no service."  Then you see a sign that says "you must wash your hands before serving."  To obsess over those rules instead of seeing that the restaurant is about food would be wrong.  But when you enjoy the food and the service, you want to make sure that it is done right for you and others too.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

5/17/15- Not Worshiping Angels

18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you. Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19They have lost connection with the head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. (Colossians 2:18-19)

Thoughts: There are those who think that anything spiritual is good.  Voodoo religion- similar to African animism believes in demi-gods or spirits that lead up in step-fashion to the one creator God.  New Age folk have many books on your guardian angel and how to get in touch, channel or worship them today.  This verse in Colossians is one we need to listen to today. Jehovah's Witnesses have said that Jesus is the Archangel Michael.  Yet, there are many instances when an angel said to not worship them (Rev. 19:10; 22:9).  On the other hand, angels are messengers of God- and we need to listen to their message (Like Zechariah Luke 1)- as long as it does not contradict what scripture (God's Word) has said previously.  Paul said, "Even if I or an angel from heaven preach a different gospel, [do not believe it] for they are accursed" (Gal. 1:8). Mediums, prophets, spiritists or angels who contradict what scripture has already said or invite to worship other gods are not to be believed- for God doesn't need to change His mind or contradict Himself (Deut. 13:1-5; 18:11,22) .  Worship of false spirits is not a spiritual but an "Unspiritually minded" (vs. 18b) thing to do.  We should all listen, rather, to the Head of the church and of all angels and spirits and creation- Jesus Christ.  In Jesus Christ is found true unity and faith-hope-and love.  

Prayer: Lord, keep me from the temptation that anything spiritual/religious is good.  Help me to understand that it matters what we believe.  Help me to understand you alone are Lord and are worthy of all that I am. 

He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.  For to which of the angels did God ever say, 'You are my Son today I have begotten you' Or again, 'I will be his Father and He will be my Son.'  And again when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship Him."  (Hebrews 1:4b-6)

Friday, May 15, 2015

5/16/15- Time Obeservance

16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. (Colossians 2:16-17)

Thoughts: There are secondary religious observances that some keep and some do not.  A little bit like the Nazarene vow of not drinking alcohol and not cutting hair. Nehemiah 10:22 and Leviticus speak of these minor holidays- observing a new moon or a religoius festival.  Such things are times of rest or Sabbaths (plural here in the Greek).  Such secondary things are replaced by the reality of Christ so that rule upon rule; law upon law that weighs us down no longer applies.  This also applies to the dietary laws. 
     However, the surface interpretation that i have heard used of this verse that the Sabbath no longer applies is not what Paul was saying here.  He was not somehow saying that one of the Ten Commands of the moral law has suddenly ceased to exist. Such an interpretation is only a recent eisegetical interpretation (reading into the text what we would like to be there).  However, the concept of Sabbath has changed.  We no longer observe Sabbath on Saturday (as most Jews do).  Some would say that the concept of a day of rest, worship, and mercy is kept but the day has changed to the Lord's Day.  Paul. himself worshiped on Sunday and preached then- in remembrance of the resurrection.  
    One of the reasons Christianity is dying in America is we have eliminated a time for worship in order to put work and productivity and busy-ness first.  As a result our economy has not sped up- but has not been blessed by God.  We do not need to be a slave to work and efficiency- as if having what we want whenever we want it is paramount.  

Prayer: Help me to be full of grace and also to keep the moral Law.  Keep me from judging others but help me to follow you.  

Thursday, May 14, 2015

5/15/15- Christ Wins

15And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15)

Thoughts; Paul was thinking of both worldly and spiritual authorities and rulers.  Colossians 1:16 speaks of Christ making all things and powers visible and invisible. 2:10 speaks of His being head over every power - that includes worldly and spiritual.  Christ's triumph was not just a physical triumph,  but it did include a physical triumph.  There is no doubt that the Roman rulers and their guard was ashamed. The professional executors were defeated.  The Jewish authorities were defeated too.  The Romans emphasized mental and physical exercise.  The Jewish authorities of the time emphasized keeping the commands on the exterior but not necessarily the interior.  But Jesus also had a spiritual triumph.  No spiritual force is greater than He.  It is important to note in our day in which some think everything spiritual is equivalent (monism), that the claim here is that Christ is head over all spiritual things.  Many who do not believe (and some who do) would say this is a brash and perhaps unfounded claim.  But Jesus backed this up in His teachings and in His resurrection.  No one else can claim to be raised from the dead- physically or spiritually.  The cross- instead of being a symbol of torture and of Roman rule- is a symbol of Christ's triumph over sin (spiritual) and over the grave (physical).  He is the only true Lord, worthy of our allegiance.  We will not go wrong in giving ourselves fully (all in) to Christ. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your victory over the grave.  Thank you that you are victorious in every way.  Help me to rest in your power and your victory.