Saturday, June 23, 2018


Acts 15:39-40  " They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord."

Colossians 4:10   "My 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.)"

      If you've been reading my blog the past few weeks, you know I've been doing an online bible study on Colossians.  Well I ended my last session today and it ended with 'final greetings' from Paul.  Like the verse Colossians 4:10 above, as an example, it is one I quickly skim by without further study.  We must remember "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

     So what can we learn from Colossians 4:10?  "Paul had a quarrel with Barnabas upon the account of this Mark, who was his nephew, and thought not good to take him with them, because he departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work, Acts 15:38. He would not take Mark with him, but took Silas, because Mark had deserted them; and yet Paul is not only reconciled to him himself, but recommends him to the respect of the churches, and gives a great example of a truly Christian forgiving spirit." [M. Henry]

      Mark was a quitter and Paul held a grudge for some time, but with the help of the Holy Spirit he forgave him.  Have you ever felt like that?  I know I have and I needed the Holy Spirit to not only convict me but to guide me into repentance for that unforgiving grudge.  The Holy Spirit guides me into seeing another perspective other than my own and to remind me of all the times I've failed and been forgiven.  "If men have been guilty of a fault, it must not be always remembered against them. We must forget as well as forgive. If a man be overtaken in a fault, you who are spiritual restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, Gal. 6:1." [M. Henry]

       Today, I watched the movie, "I Can Only Imagine."  It's the true story of the lead singer of Mercy Me and what led him to writing this #1 Christian song.   I don't want to spoil the movie plot for anyone, but there are 3 God-truths to gain from it... 1] No one is beyond God's transforming reach and love, 2] Forgiveness is possible with the help of the Holy Spirit, and 3] Don't wait for a terminal illness to make amends with God and each other.

      "Forgiveness lies at the heart of the Christian faith, with our Savior extending forgiveness even when He was dying on the cross. Jesus loved those who had nailed Him there, uttering a prayer asking His Father to forgive them. He didn’t hang on to bitterness or anger, but showed grace and love to those who had wronged Him." []

The Bible is very specific on the cost of anger. The Bible says:
  • It causes arguments (Proverbs 15:18--A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict,
        but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.).
  • It causes mistakes (Proverbs 14:29--Whoever is patient has great understanding,
        but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.).
  • It causes foolish things (Proverbs 14:17--Whoever is patient has great understanding,
        but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.).

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Just In Case?

Freedom From Human Rules--Colossians 2:16-23

"Therefore 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.  These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.  Do 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.  They 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.
Since 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:  “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”?  These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.  Such 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."

        We often live our lives with a 'just in case' forethought.  God does provide for all of our needs and wisdom is included in that.  We know it is wise to include extra clothes on a trip or to pack some food and supplies 'just in case' there is possible car trouble.  We may always say 'I love you' with our goodbyes, 'just in case' it's the last time.  These are all wise 'just in case' decisions.
     What is not wise is to have a 'just in case' checklist, thinking it will improve your chances  with God.  That checklist might include-- going to church on Easter and Christmas, doing a good deed for someone, saying a prayer in your desperate hour of need, or giving your spare change to a needy cause.  That 'just in case' frame of mind is false thinking in religious terms.  Religion says 'do' in order to make things right with God, faith in Christ says 'done' by Christ on the cross.
     Our faith leads us to do acts of good... because of Christ's love in and for us, not.. so that Christ will love us.  Jesus loves us, as much on our worst day as He does on our best day.  God doesn't have a list of requirements, but just one--to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior of our lives over sin.  We are free from the old system of law and requirements, there is no 'just in case' duties to fulfill.  "The gospel isn't about the exterior changing the interior, but it's about the interior being made new and that working it's way out into the external dimensions of our lives."  
      God wants us to live a life with a 'it is finished' mentality.  Regarding your sin, your forgiveness, your standing with God, your guilt,  shame and regrets... it is finished when you have a relationship with Christ Jesus.  There is peace with God because of His work in us and not of anything we've done to boast about.

  "God loved you before you loved God, God freed you before you even knew you needed to be freed.  God accepted you fully, the moment you put your faith in Christ."

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Christ 'IN" Me

Colossians 1:27-29  " To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ.  To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me."
Colossians 2:6-7 "So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."

     I am currently doing an online Bible study on Colossians.  With each session, I am feeling the urge to share with you a little of what I am learning.  Spreading the gospel is 'The Great Commission' and we are called to action by whatever means enables us to do so.
     My online Bible study is led by Louie Giglio.  He points out, in verse 27, that the mystery of the gospel is 'Christ in you.'  It is not Christ 'and' you, but rather Christ living in and through you.  I think that's a profound truth we so often miss.  We have the power of Jesus inside of us to do what He calls us to.  We often think that we are still 'working' our way to heaven... that's not so.  If that we're true, heaven would be empty.  No one can get eternal life without the acceptance of Jesus, as their Lord and Savior.  We all fall short of the glory of God and that's why we need Christ 'in' us.  If it was Christ 'and' us, our salvation would never be secure.
    Louie referred to the rope of self-reliance that we all cling to, but must let go of.  "When you let go of the rope you'll realize that Jesus not only did all the work to bring you to God, Jesus is living in you to supply the power to allow you to walk in God."  God will give you the grace you need to fulfill His purposes for your life.
    As for myself, I have clung to the rope of self-reliance with fear of the unknown that was guided by a lack of trust that God would not provide for all my needs.  When I worked in Springfield, I was so tired after work that I had panic attacks driving home.  A 20 minute drive home took up to 2 hours.  My dilemma was my hidden secret covered by lies because of the fear of not being able to drive any longer.  Finally, one day I literally froze at a stoplight and couldn't move.  A stranger was God-sent to help me within 2 minutes.  After my secret came into light, I was taught how to use my hand controls.  They were there all along, I just needed to ask for help.  God provided for me ahead of my fears and provided a few more years of driving for me.  His provisions for us are always for our good, whether its give or take.
      If your faith is counting on you... remember Jesus is asking you to count on Him alone, not on anything you can do.  Our faith is secured by Jesus' clutch on us as His child, not our wavering hold on Him.
     Therefore, as a believer with Christ 'in' you, you walk alongside God.  As verse 2:7 above says, "continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness."  We are commanded to make Jesus, the center and foundation of our lives.  We are commanded to put our faith in Jesus Christ alone.  We are commanded to give praise, honor, and acknowledgement for all Jesus is, was, and is to come in our lives.
     What did we contribute to our salvation?  The 100% sin nature within us that made our salvation necessary.  "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast." [Ephesians 2:8-9]

Christ in me is my irreplaceable power source.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Why and What For??

Colossians 1:15-17  "The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For 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.  He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

         Sometimes, we get a little too self-focused in our lives.  Maybe we are frustrated with our circumstances, our failings or feel lost without direction in our lives.  God knew our mind struggles would come, so He gave us an answer in Colossians 1 to our common questions of... 'Why am I here?' and 'What am I here for?'  Today's blog will focus on these two questions.
      "Christ is the eternal wisdom of the Father, and the world was made in wisdom. He is the eternal Word, and the world was made by the word of God. He is the arm of the Lord, and the world was made by that arm."  [M. Henry]

      Why am I here?

       Someone once said, 'I didn't ask to be born!'  That's right, but God thought of you before the world began and loved you into creation. His thoughts and ways are far greater than our own.  Psalm 139: 13-16  "For you created my inmost being; knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.  Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."   "I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born." ISAIAH 44: 2A (CEV)  "God’s motive for creating you was his love. The Bible says, 'Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love.'  "You were created as a special treasure of God’s love! God made you so he could love you. This is a truth to build your life on." [R. Warren]
       "Our heavenly Father’s desire is for us to develop Christlike character and grow in intimacy with Him. He wants us to experience the richness of His love and wholeheartedly show Him devotion. He will use trials and difficulties to accomplish His good purposes for us." []

      What am I here for?

       As the verse above states, 'all things have been created through him and FOR him.'  We are here to fulfill God's will here on Earth.  "It is only in God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny. Every other path leads to a dead end." [R. Warren]  The best way to discover your purpose in life is to look to and ask your Creator, God Almighty.  Turn to God's Word, not the world.  "The Bible says, “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”

       "God created us to live in heaven with him for eternity. Heaven is our home, not Earth. That’s why we sometimes experience discontentment and dissatisfaction in life. We’re not completely happy here because we’re not supposed to be! Otherwise, we might think we can live without God. He created us to long for something much better — a home is heaven with him.You will never feel completely satisfied on Earth, because you were made for more. You will have happy moments here, but nothing compared with what God has planned for you. This is also why some of God’s promises seem unfulfilled, some prayers seem unanswered, and some circumstances seem unfair. But this is not the end of the story. Realizing that life on Earth is just temporary should radically alter your values."  [R. Warren]

May your mind be focused on your Creator and His purposes as you start each God-given day of your life.  You are no accident, but a part of God's purposeful plan.