Colossians 4:7-18 – Go Team!

Read Colossians 4:7-18

What a great way to close this letter. Paul is reminding us all about those who are helping and encouraging. Paul’s teammates.  Despite being in chains, Paul continued his work. He gives us a good example to be good team players as well. 

There are so many nuggets of wisdom here for us. While we don’t personally know these Christ followers, there is such a peace, isn’t there, in that the ministry is ongoing, it’s intentional. We, too, can be servants taking on roles to spread the news, follow God’s will, pray earnestly for each other. We are all a family, a family that sticks together.

I like the message he has for Archippus — be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you. We all have that special place that God intended for us. Are you serving in that ministry? Do you know where your place is?

Over the years, we have often emphasized in our church setting the importance of using our gifts. This encouragement fits right in with that. We are all called by God to a ministry, to a mission, and we all have a purpose. It is unwrapping the gift or feeling useful in our purpose that is truly rewarding. If we are in the center of God’s will and acting in the way he has designed us to act, there is nothing better.

If you’re not serving with your gifts or unsure what your gifts are, let me know and I can hook you up with an spiritual gift survey.  In the words of Paul, “May God’s grace be with you.”

Let’s pray. Lord thank you for the gifts you have given me. It makes me so very happy to be able to use them to further the kingdom. Continue to use me in this place to  shine your light into this dark world. Fill my mouth with the words you want spoken. Open the doors you want me to walk through. Thank you for all those who have gone before me to show the way of truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Colossians 4:2-6 – Pray!

Read Colossians 4:2-6

This may be a short reading today, but the message is powerful. The message is simple. Devote yourselves to prayer. Jesus modeled this for us. We need to pray.

Prayer is a true reflection of our relationship with God. If we have a good, strong relationship with our Creator, we should pray often. Just as good friends wants to spend time together, we should yearn for time with our Lord.

Prayer reflects our reliance on the power leading our lives. This communication is where we end and the Father begins. Prayer is merely conversation. We can be plead. We can be lament. When we pray we are sharing an intimate moment with God, sharing our deepest emotions, both good and bad, high and low.

What a privilege to have an opportunity to enter into the presence of God by giving him our full attention. Yet, how many times in the midst of our prayer time do our minds wander? I’m afraid to admit, for me, too many times to count at times. When this happens I feel so unworthy, like I have cheated on God. How could I be so careless?  My God, the creator of the universe, has time for me. Always.  

Paul also reminds us – have a thankful heart. No matter what is going on in our lives, it is good counsel to thank God first! Almost first. God appreciates when we recognize his sovereignty, and then our praise and thanksgiving. Only then should we go on to the other things. Our petitions for rescue or forgiveness.

And finally, we are told to make the best of each opportunity with those who are non-believers. Live wisely, be gracious. Since we don’t openly wear signs announcing whether we believe or don’t believe, whether we’re doubters or seekers, I’ve always found it best to let my life be a true reflection of my faith. I don’t always get it right, but it’s my intention. I know I can do a better job at “making the best” of each opportunity, but at the same time I never want to be condescending like some believers can be toward those not quite there yet. There is nothing worse than a judgmental follower of Christ, and yet the world is full of them. I pray for them, too.

Take a moment to think through your interactions of the last week. Have you truly been a light shining in the darkness? Have you avoided situations where you could make a difference or change a life? Do you feel the Holy Spirit prodding you in some way to take action? Dig deep here.

Let’s pray. Lord you are mighty, and I love that you are in control. Thank you that we can come to you in prayer and talk with you about anything and everything. There are concerns on my heart today, Lord, and I am struggling with them. Please take my hand and walk me through how I can make the best of this situation. I want my life to truly reflect you and your goodness. Soften hearts. Prepare the way. In your mighty name we pray.  Amen.

Colossians 3:18-4:1 – Work For God

Read Colossians 3:18-4:1

Paul is giving us guidelines on what a Christian home should look like. Instructions to husbands, wives, children, fathers, slaves and masters. I’ve struggled with this text over the years, but I have been assured the intention is not to be a threat but to be a response. If we have loving husbands that don’t treat us harshly (v.19), then we should want to submit to them. This does not mean wives are in bondage to their husbands, we are to respect them.

In all our relationships, we are to be Christ-like. When we treat others as Christ would, the world is a better place. To help us with this, remember each person has been made in the image of God.

The verse I like best from today’s reading is the part about work.  When I work as though I am working for the Lord rather than people, I look at my “job” so much differently. That way of thinking has gotten me through a lot of situations, from working a job I didn’t like to doing housework. It’s all in the mindset. Working for the Lord is certainly the most rewarding of jobs, and all jobs can be just that. How much more enjoyable cleaning a bathroom can be when you think of doing it for the Lord, and not just a messy family!  

In all things, and at all times, we should be focused on the prize. The prize of living with Jesus forever. As my days get closer to that reality (and really I’m not close, just “closer”), I begin to dream of that day when there will be no more toil or worry, no more questions, no more stress, no more injustice.  Only love.

Let’s pray. Father God thank you for the reminder today of how we should live as Christian families. I seek to please you and only you with my actions, my words, and my work. You are the master of my life, and I thank you that I can rely on you and your grace and mercy to see me through. Lift up those around me who are struggling. Help them to feel the comfort and peace only you can provide. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Colossians 3:12-17 – God Chose You

Read Colossians 3:12-17

I  don’t know about you, but I had a hard time finding one verse today that spoke louder than the rest. Didn’t you think they all fit so nicely together?

The bottom line is clear – become like Christ! In striving to do that, the other things will fall into place naturally. We we be tenderhearted, merciful, kind, humble, gentle and patient. We will be able to forgive others.

We must hear the message of Christ and be overtaken by it. We must let its truth wash over us and be thankful. We need to always be thankful. Always.

Sometimes our circumstance can seem overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, life is not all sunshine and daffodils. But when struggles come, roadblocks, sadness, frustration, dead ends, we can rely on the truth of Scripture. There is a peace I’ve come to know. Be blessed by this song by Chris Tomlin. Click HERE.

“And above all, love” (verse 14).

Let’s pray.  Lord I come to you with a grateful heart. You have done it all for me. You have made a way when there seems there is no way. Thank you. May my life be one that reflects my gratefulness. May the love you have for me overflow and spill out on those I encounter. May I love like you love. Walk with me and give me the words today to spread your peace to a broken world. In Jesus’  name. Amen.

Colossians 3:1-11 – Live Life

Read Colossians 3:1-11

There is some good stuff in this passage. We continue on from the previous reading (so if you missed yesterday’s devotion, it might be helpful to go back to get the full picture). If a verse from today’s ready spoke to you louder than another, please share in the comments.

Today’s reading points to the importance of stripping off the old sinful nature and focusing on things above. We are even given some examples of what to avoid. To escape God’s anger, we need to focus on our promised inheritance, that is to live forever with Jesus in the majesty of heaven. Imagine our destiny to be at peace and rest in the Father’s presence, joining with all in a life of constant praise and freedom.  

To be like our creator is quite a goal. It doesn’t matter what we’ve done or where we’ve been, we can shed our sinful nature. We are cleansed to become more like Christ. How do we do that?

Christ is all that matters.  That is the line we should repeat whenever life crushes in. Christ is all that matters. Repeat that when a decision needs to be made and we don’t know what to do. Christ is all that matters. When we feel inadequate. Christ is all that matters. When we question what is happening in the world or in our lives. Christ is all that matters. We belong to him.  Period. Revel in that truth and be comforted.

Let’s pray. Thank you, Jesus, that you have taken up residence within me. Help me to shed away the layers of hurt, doubt and fear. May you shine through me. I want others to see you when they look at me. Thank you for the example you gave me to follow. Now please help me to follow you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.