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ThinkOnIt Daily Devotions

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by ThinkOnItDevotions, Oct 17, 2006.

  1. ThinkOnIt Daily Devotions

    Hello everyone, I'm going to start posting the daily devotions under one thread. I didn't think it was fair to push other threads down in the list, so look for the devotions here from now on. Thanks.

    Are You Being Deceived?
    Now this I say lest anyone should deceive you with persuasive words. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 2:4-7 NKJV

    Have you ever been deceived with persuasive words? How do you become deceived? Someone tells you something that sounds like the truth and may have some truth in it, but ultimately it is not the whole truth and you believe it. We know where these lies come from, don't we? Jesus said this about satan in John 8:43-45 "He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it."

    If you were a carpenter you would not take someone's word that the cut is straight or measure correctly, you would measure and cut it yourself to make sure it is exactly right otherwise the item you're building could come out all wrong and would be wasteful of all that time and material.

    How do you know you're being deceived by some who teaches the Word of God? You find out for yourself. Search the scriptures to know if it's true, like the Bereans did ( Acts 17:11 ) when they heard the gospel. I would expect you'd do the same with this article. Look up the verses for yourself, to make sure they are not twisted out of context.

    We need not fear though. John 8:31-32 "Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." We also have the Holy Spirit guiding us in all truth ( John 16-13 ).

    "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving." Did you notice the process outlined here? First you receive Christ Jesus the Lord, then you walk in Him. Next your become rooted, grounded and built up in Him, which establishes your faith and ultimately brings thanksgiving.

    How do you walk in Him? Follow His examples and obey His commands. Galatians 5:16 "I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh." How do you become rooted and built up in Him? Read His Word and be transformed in your thinking ( Romans 12:2 ). Keep your focus on Him and His ways and be watchful of His activities in your life. How about being established in faith? Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You."

    There are many practical ways to do the things outlined above. Read your bible daily. Join a bible study. Talk about what you learn with other believers. Keep a prayer journal, noting when the answers come. Start thanking God for who He is. Keep your thoughts focused on things that are lovely, pure, true, praise worthy, excellent and of good repute ( Philippians 4:8-9 ).

    Let me leave you with Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path."
  2. Don't Be Cheated

    Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:8-10 NKJV

    There are many ways we can be deceived. In Colossians 2:4 it says we can be deceived with persuasive words. Have you ever supported someone because of the things they said and only later realized they said those things, just to get your support? Frustrating, isn’t, like being betrayed, suckered, or made the fool.

    In today’s verse, Paul tells us we can be deceived through philosophy, empty deceit, such as flattery, traditions of men and basic worldly principles. With philosophy, some people spend so much time trying to figure out life, they come up with half cocked ideas with a sprinkling of truth that may sound good, but really leads to death. Proverbs 14:12 “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.â€

    Many have been deceived by the traditions of men. It’s easy to fall into this category. There is nothing wrong with traditions, as long as they lead you closer to Christ. However, people have this insatiable desire to earn their way. If they use traditions, to prove their worthiness to be accepted by God, they are deceived. No one deserves God’s love. Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fallen short of the gloryâ€. No one deserves to go to heaven based on their own good works. Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.†It’s a gift God’s given to us, to understand our sin condition, agree with God that we deserve death and to accept Jesus’ death on the cross as a substitute for us. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.â€

    Basic principles of the world can lead us astray also. The motto “He who dies with the most toys win†puts the priority on acquiring material possessions. A rich young ruler came to Jesus one day in Matthew 19:16-22. He wanted to know what he needed to do to get to heaven. While he had “supposedly†keep the law his whole life, he was still searching for something more. Jesus told him sell all you have, give to the poor and follow me. The rich ruler went away sorrowful because he had many possessions. A classic story of how possessions had stolen the young ruler’s heart. While having material possessions are good, they can easily turn into a hindrance when you get sucked into believing the only thing that matters is getting a bigger and better things.

    The saying “as long as your good, everything will work out†is also a big fat lie. This one is tricky. It sounds like a good proposition. If I’m good, then good will come to me. This is also a crooked way of getting us to believe we can earn our way, which is false thinking. First off, no one is good according to the bible. Psalm 53:3 “Every one of them has turned aside;They have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.†Even Jesus said no one is good, but God in Mark 10:18 “So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.†Even if we were good, no one ever experiences all good through his/her life. There will always be times of disappointment, sorrow, pain, fear, and trials.

    By wise therefore and follow Christ. Study what Jesus taught. Live by His standards and you’ll find life to the fullest. Learn to walk by the Spirit and not after the flesh and these things will have less of a pull on you (Galatians 5:16).

    For in Him, Jesus, dwells the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And the very good news is He dwells within you (2 Corinthians 1:21-23). That means we have the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form living inside of us. He is right there with us every moment! All we need to do is turn to Him, allow Him to work through us, changing us into His image.

    John’s motto from John 3:30 “I must decrease and Him increaseâ€, therefore, should be our motto too. Jesus should be increasing in us, as we, ourselves are decreasing. Christ is the head of all principality and power. Everything that exists, even the spiritual realm we can’t see, was created by Him for His pleasure. He thought it all up, knowing everything about us before we were even created. He knew exactly what we would need to get along in this life.

    Did you know you have everything you need to live out a godly life until Christ returns? You do according to 2 Peter 1:3. We are complete in Him. We need nothing more, because absolutely everything that’s required has already been given to us.

    Stand firm, cling to Christ and do not be deceived.
  3. Judge Not and You Won't Be Judged

    So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths, which are a shadow of things to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God. Colossians 2:16-19 NKJV

    Judge not and you won't be judged is what Jesus said in Matthew 7:1. The bible says a lot about judging. Here's a few verses to think about regarding judging:

    Luke 6:37 "Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. "

    John 7:24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment."

    Romans 14:13 "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother's way."

    1 Corinthians 11:31 "For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged."

    Look at today's verse again. It says "let no one judge you". How can we control what others think about us? I don't think that's what Paul's trying to say. I see two possible scenarios:

    1. Let your own behavior be such, that you can not be accused of wrong doing.

    2. After examining ourselves to ensure we are following Christ in all we do, say and think, when others judge us, we should let their criticisms fall to the floor. Do not take their judgment into our being and let affect us.

    We are judged by a higher standard than mere man's opinion of us. God is the only righteous One who can judge justly. No one knows our motives better than God. So it's best to leave it up to God to judge appropriately.

    In the rest of today's verse, Paul talks about false humility, busy-bodies, proud people who may try to appear godly but actually deny Christ inwardly. This has been going on for centuries. 2 Peter 2:1 "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction." Sadly, it is still true today.

    There are people who say they are Christian, but after looking for fruit of the Spirit in their lives, you can find none. While we are not to judge others, we are asked to be fruit inspectors. Look at what Luke 6:44 says: "For every tree is known by its own fruit." By checking out the fruit, we will have a better idea whether someone is authenticate or not. Remember, it's not us who determines who is a "real" Christian or not. That's God's job.

    Paul simply encouraging the Colossians to be wise among these types of people and instructing them not listen to their advice or criticism for that matter, for the truth is not in them as evidenced by lack of spiritual fruit in their lives.

    So rather than judge someone regarding the lack of fruit in their lives, why not make it an opportunity to pray for them to receive knowledge, understanding and insight of God's marvelous love for them, that they may receive it and experience the joy of the Lord, which will compel them to begin walking by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

    The last phrase of today's verse says "grows with the increase that is from God", it's God who does the growing in us. We are mere the servants who plant the seed, or water it (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). It's God who makes the seed (Word of God) grow in someone's life.
  4. Who's Perspective Do You Live By?

    Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations-- 21 "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,"22 which all concern things which perish with the using according to the commandments and doctrines of men? 23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23 NKJV

    When we became Christians by allowing Jesus to rescue us from the penalty of our sins, we became new creations in Christ. The old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17). Then being now new creations, why do we still operate out of our old ways? Could it be that we really don't believe it? That's what our actions would indicate.

    We have a liberty in Christ which frees us from all bondage to rules and regulations. I'm not saying we're above the law in a smug kind of way. As we operate out of Christ's Spirit in His, we live out of love. As we live out of love, we fulfill the law as Galatians 5:14 says: "For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.""

    Our minds and hearts need to be focused on the things that matter in eternity, not the things that have not lasting value. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 "For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

    What are the things that are not seen? Motive, Character, Trust, Belief are just a few. Motive is what the Lord looks at. 1 Samuel 16:7 "But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart"" Why we chose to do or not do that? Was it for selfish gain or to be seen as good before men? Or did you do or not do something in order to bring glory and honor to God? Why we do something is more important than the actual doing to God.

    While you can see the results of someone's character you can not see the character itself. God's in the business of improving our character. In every way He is shaping us, molding us and developing Christ-like character in us. Romans 5:3-5 "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."

    Trust is what allowed Abraham to tie up his son Isaac and offer him to the Lord in Genesis 22. In order to give your own flesh and blood you have to trust that the Lord knows what he's doing. God promised Abraham's seed would be more numerous than the sands of the shores and that this promise would come through Isaac. Therefore, if the Lord was now asking for Isaac as a burnt offering, then the Lord would raise him from the dead to fulfill the promise. That took faith.

    Faith is based on trust. Did you ever stop to think about trust? It is not something you just have. It has to be built. It takes time to learn to trust. That's why I like keeping a prayer journal. In it I journal out my prayers and God's answers my prayers. If ever I seem to be waning in my faith, reviewing that journal re-energizes it! To see in black & white, all the times where God came through for me, is so amazing to me. Try it and see for yourself!

    Belief or faith itself is unseen, but you can see the results of it. Hebrews 11:1 says: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 describes various ordinary people from the Old Testament who had faith. From Abel to Noah and Abraham and Sarah, they all live out of faith. In every story you'll find ordinary people asked to something that seemed strange by the world's standards, and yet carried it out by faith.

    It's all about perspective. Who's perspective are you going to live by? Yours or the Lords?
  5. Seek First the Kingdom of God

    If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Colossians 3:1-4 NKVJ

    Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33 seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and you will have everything you need. Where is your priority? Jesus made it clear that God's kingdom should be our first priority. Paul is confirming it in today's verse also.

    Looking at our thought life is one indicator of our priorities. Where do we focus our thoughts? Are you thinking about the office politics and how to get ahead? Are you wondering how you're going to pay your bills? Are you worried you won't fit in a school? Jesus said no one can ever add a cubit to their height by worrying, so why bother? Read more about what Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-32.

    Time is another indicator. The first church is a good example of where to spend time. Look at Acts 2:42 "And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers." Where do we spend out time? Do we make time for God every day? Do we read His Word? Do we talk with Him throughout the day in prayer? How
    much time do you spend watching television? Or reading a book? What about serving others? Or community work? If you're willing to spend time on something, then that something is priority in your life.

    Another way to determine priority is by your checkbook. Again look at the first church in Acts 2:44-45 "Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need." Where do you spend your money? Do you tithe? Giving back to God what's rightfully His before you pay your bills, is certainly sign that your priorities on God. What about the money you have left after you tithe and pay your bills? Where does it go?

    We must be cautious, not to do these things for the sake of doing them or just to be seen by men. Jesus has a strong warning for us in Matthew 7:21-23 ""Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?"23 And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!""

    If we're in properly relationship with our Lord, then our motives will be properly aligned with His will and our thoughts, time and money will reflect His priorities too. Examine yourself today. Are you aligned with Him? Check you're priorities. Are you focused on God's kingdom? If not why?
  6. A New Way to Live

    Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. Colossians 3:5-7 NKJV

    Because we are raised in Christ by the same mighty power that brought Christ back from the dead, we are no longer obligated to carry out whatever our sinful nature desires. Look at Romans 6:12-14 “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.â€

    Paul always encouraged believers to live differently. Ephesians 4:17- 24 “This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. 20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.â€

    Notice the action Paul speaks of above. Put off the old man and put on the new man. It is a process that starts with our thoughts. With Christianity comes a new mind set or thought process. Every thought, every decision, every word spoken is now considered before it is brought to pass – or at least should be according to Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.†Before we speak, use T.H.I.N.K. It’s a kind of internal dialog that goes something like this: “Is what I’m about to say truthful, helpful, inspired, nice and kind?†If it is go ahead and speak it. If it is not, by all means refrain from saying it. Why behave as the enemy would? You’re a child of God, now start speaking like one.

    We’re not perfect and we’re bound to slip up and say something we shouldn’t. It’s okay. Don’t let the enemy tempt you into thinking you’re not a Christian because you did or said what you said. We are in the process of becoming like Jesus. It’s a process and every day we learn something more about it. Be patient with yourself, seeking forgiveness when we make a mistake and trusting in the Lord Jesus to work out His perfect and pleasing will in your life. Since He has the power to rise from the dead, don’t you think He has the power to help you change your thoughts and speech?

    Lastly, let me leave you with one of my favorite verses. It’s helped me and I’m sure it will help you too. Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditation o my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.â€
  7. A Call to Godly Living

    Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15 NKJV

    This verse is chalked full of godly living, isn’t it. Thankfully, we don’t have to try to live this way on our power. Can you imagine how exhausting it would be to do all these things by our own effort? Christ, who not only forgave us, gave us eternal life with the Father, but also gave to us His Holy Spirit to bring about this kind of living from within us.

    Look at the first verse. Paul starts out by building up the Colossian’s confidence with say “the elect of God†and “holy and belovedâ€. That’s where we need to start too. It’s all about what God’s done, not was we’ve done. God has chosen us. Jesus confirmed this in John 15:16 when He said “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.†He has adopted us into His family according to Ephesians 1:5 “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himselfâ€. Also in Ephesians 1:4-6 it is written that we are to be holy and blameless before Him and accepted in the Beloved.

    Next we see Paul using that action phrase again “put onâ€. All of these things mentioned here are to be put on, much like we’d put on a piece of clothing. First you decide what you want to wear and then you put it on. That’s what we do with these. We decide we will walk by the Spirit and we consciously decide to offer tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other. This is not something that happens overnight, but it is in the process of putting these on, that we grow in Christ’s character every day.

    Above all these things, we are asked to put on love, which is the bond of perfection. God is love. 1 John 4:18 tells us “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.†With God there is no torment, only perfect love. His love endures forever. The more we grasp God’s love, the more we display God’s love in our lives.

    Paul continues with “let the peace of God rule in your heartâ€. Have you experienced the peace of God in your life? I have from time to time. It’s a most wonderful peacefulness, calmness, serenity and almost unexplainable event. For me I have yet to learn how to maintain that peace. It’s comes and goes, but that’s only an indicator for me that my focus is constantly shifting from God to other things. When my focus is on other things, the peace slips away. Philippians 4:6-8 teaches us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.â€

    Let us be thankful and remember we are all one body. We were made to need each other. Therefore, let us not forsake meeting together as Hebrews 10:24-25 tell us: “And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the maner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.â€
  8. Is God's Word Dwelling Richly in You?

    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:16-17 NKJV

    I love this verse! Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, is my favorite part. I first heard this verse at a woman’s retreat a few years ago. It has stuck with me since then. Shouldn’t this be our prayer? Let the word of Christ dwell in us richly. We know from 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.†When we allow God’s Word to penetrate our being, it changes us and the word of God becomes most treasured and sought after. For me, the more I read, the more I need! What about you? Do you find the more you read, the more you want of God’s Word?

    As we just discussed, the first aspect of God’s Word is to “let it dwell in us richlyâ€. Why is it important to allow God’s Word to dwell in us? It’s important for many reasons, but we’re going to look at the just five reasons:
    1) That we may be filled with wisdom
    2) To be able to teach others about God
    3) To admonish and encourage others
    4) To worship and praise our God
    5) To align our hearts with God’s will How does one obtain wisdom?

    First, one must know God. Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.†Second, one must trust God enough to ask Him. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.â€

    Why do we need to teach others about God? God does take pleasure in the death of the wicked. As a result, He wants His Word shared with everyone that they may come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. 2 Timothy 2:24-26 “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.â€

    Encouragement is something everyone needs at one time or another. Look at what Jude 1:19-21 says “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.†We need others in our lives to help us keep going, to remind us and to not loose hope, to stay the course and stay alert. Also remember that sometimes we need to be disciplined to bring us back in-line with God’s ways. It’s important to know the Word, so rebuking someone is done with godly love. Galatians 6:1 teaches us: “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, consideringyourself lest you also be tempted.â€

    Worship helps us keep the proper perspective. He is God, we are not. His ways are higher than our ways, His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:9). From the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:2-4, we see God telling us “You shall have no other gods before Me.†Our God deserves all the glory. He loved us enough to die for us while we were still enemies trapped in sin (Romans 5:8)! Worship and praise should come quite easily to the child of God, who has become to grasp what God has done for them.

    Abiding in His love, reading His Word, letting it change us inside continues the process of aligning our will with His will. 1 John 2:5-6 “But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.â€

    As we let word of Christ dwell in us, the result is that everything we say and do will be done in Jesus’ name for His glory. Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Fathe through Him.â€

    What about you, are you letting God’s Word dwell in you today?
  9. Are You Willing to Obey?

    Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them. 20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for[a] you serve the Lord Christ. 25 But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:18-25 NKJV

    Before we begin, I’m sure after reading the verses above, there are some who don’t really want to read the rest of this article. That’s okay. Sometimes scripture can be difficult to take. Actually, it’s not really the scripture, it’s our own heart that has the problem. If you’re struggling right now, stop and pray. Ask God to give you courage to read and wisdom to understand His Word without fear and condemnation. God will reveal what you need to know.

    God lays out in His Word, the things which we enable us to live an abundant life. His Word is like a mirror that shows us for who we really are. James 1:22-24 says “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.†Not only does He shows us, God also provides His Spirit to help us change where we need changing. God, in His wisdom and grace, designed us with free will, enabling us to decide whether we want this help from the Holy Spirit and want to follow His ways or not.

    Today’s section of scripture talks about basic ground rules regarding obedience. The first thing I notice about this list is who it’s addressed to: wives, husbands, children, fathers and bondservants. That tells me that God places a huge priority on families and relationships. Verses 18 – 19 go together and outline the proper working order of marriage. When wives choose to submit to their husbands as to the Lord, they are giving the husband the respect that he needs. It’s a necessity for the man to feel he is respected. Likewise, when husbands love their wives at Christ loved the church, the woman is given what she needs, which is love. When both wife and husband are obeying the Lord, the full expression of God may be visible in their marriage. I can honestly say I know what it’s like to not follow this (my life without Christ) and I know what it’s like to follow this (my new life with Christ) and it is glorious!!! You can read more about marriage responsibilities in Ephesians 5:22-33.

    Next we move on to parent child relationships. If you’re parent like I am, I’m pretty sure you could list out several reasons why it’s important for children to obey their parents. However, we’re only going to focus on “the one†reason: it’s well pleasing to the Lord. All through the bible we’re told to obey the Lord in what we do. Why? Because He made us and He wants to see us live abundantly. He stands ready to pour out blessings on us, but we stubbornly refuse to follow His ways that lead to those blessings.

    When you stop to think about your relationship with your child, you are watching a scene that resembles your relationship with God. Let me give you an example. A couple weeks ago, my son had a day off from school. My son had been working so hard adjusting to a new school and homework routines, I wanted to do something fun to celebrate his achievement. We had decided to go to Disneyland, but the deal was he had to finish all his homework. I was so excited about the trip and continued praying that he would complete his responsibility so we would be able to go. It would have broken my heart not to be able to do this for him. This in a very small way is like God and us. He outlines what He expects from us, He tells us there’s rewards for following through and He waits expectantly for us to do what He has said so He can bless us. YES, He’s disappointed when we don’t follow through but I think He’s also disappointed that He is not able to bless us because of disobedience.

    Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.†In the process of training a child, fathers have a tendency to go overboard. Look at verse 21 above, it says fathers are not to provoke their children, so they children won’t become discouraged. How we speak to our children is important. We don’t want to discourage them. Fathers need to take extra precautions to be sensitive to their children. When I was going through Saddleback Church’s Celebrate Recovery program, they asked a lot of questions about my relationship with my dad. I didn’t understand at first, but studies have suggested how we relate to our dad plays an important part in how we start out relating to God. Yikes, I thought, but that’s a story for another time. We need to remember as a parent, we can help a child grow in Christ and have a right relationship with God. We can help them or hinder them, the choice is yours. Not to leave anyone out, bondservants are mentioned next. They are to obey their earthly masters out of reverence for God, knowing their real master is God Himself. All of us, no matter what category we belong to, need to remember verses 23-24. Whatever we do, do it as if we’re doing it for the Lord, no matter what it is we’re asked to do. Remember, it’s God who put us under someone’s authority and He expects us to be obedient to them. Jesus said he’d never seen faith like that of the Centurion in Matthew 8:8-10. The centurion had said he know what it meant to be under authority. Read the story today, it might help you understand how we should conduct ourselves under authority.

    The last verse has two meanings for me. First, it indicates that those who choose to do wrong will be dealt with. That should serve as a warning to us, not to do wrong. Second it should help alleviate any burden we carry around with us regarding those times when wrong is done to us. Knowing that wrong-doing will be repaid by the Lord, should help us to forgive and turn it over to Him. God never asks us to forgive someone else more than He’s already forgiven you. In the Lord’s prayer found in Luke 11:3-5, we are given an example to follow regarding forgiveness: “Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into teptation, But deliver us from the evil one.â€

    In conclusion, God’s outline for obedience is a wise thing to follow. How well are you following it today?
  10. What Do You Pray About?

    Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. 5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. Colossians 4:2-6 NKVJ

    Prayer is essential for keeping your relationship with Christ alive and well. How many human relationships would stay together, if the couple never spoke to one another? Probably not many would survive. Without speaking so many things can be misinterpreted. Paul urges the Colossians to “continue earnestly in prayerâ€. Do not become complacent or lazy about praying. It may be easy to stop praying, but the consequences would be devastating. Proverbs 12:24 “The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.â€

    Prayer is a vehicle that draws us closer to God and others. In our prayers, we praise God for who He is, what He’s done for us and thank Him for all He’s giving us. It’s important to continue giving thanks with vigilance. Prayer is also a weapon we must use to defend our walk. We when praise our God as He deserves, our enemy hates it! If ever you find the enemy hurling negative thoughts your way, try thinking about everything you can thank God for. In doing so you will be submitting to the Lord, resisting the devil, and the result is he will flee from you (James 4:7).

    Prayer is not only about God. We pray for other’s needs as well. There’s several little tricks for helping us remember all the folks we can pray for. One is the five finger prayer. I used this one to help teach my son how to pray. It’s very effective and easy to remember. It something goes like this:
    1. Your thumb represents those closest to you, so pray for your family and friends.
    2. Your index (pointer) finger represents those who pointed you to Christ, so pray for those you lead you to your savior, pastor, Sunday school teacher, etc.
    3. Your longest finger represents those in authority over you. That means the president, government, police, teacher, husband, etc.
    4. Your ring finger is also the weakness finger. This reminds us to pray for the weak. Pray for single moms, widows, orphans, the sick, and the homeless.
    5. Lastly is your little finger. This represents you, so pray for what you need.

    Did you notice the order? Everyone else’s needs came before our own needs. That is honoring to God. When prayer becomes like breathing to you, meaning you find yourself talking to God about everything throughout the day, it you stay on track with the Lord. You begin to develop God’s perspective in your life. As a result you choose your word carefully. You walk in wisdom and your speech is full of grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer anyone who asks you why you have such a hope.

    How’s your prayer life today? Is it filled with requests all about you? Or do you remember to pray for others? Are you praising God before you rattle off your requests? Talk to God, He’s waiting.
  11. We Are the Body of Christ

    Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the Lord, will tell you all the news about me. 8 I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that he may know your circumstances and comfort your hearts, 9 with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will make known to you all things which are happening here. Colossians 4:7-9 NKJV

    Fellowship and a sense of belonging are beautiful things. God designed us to need each other. Here we have examples of how Tychicus and Onesimus were helpful to the fellowship.

    Tychicus was a beloved brother, so apparently he got along with a lot folks. He was also described as a faithful minister, so we know he was consistent in his walk with Christ. He was a fellow servant in the Lord as well. To me that means he was humble and willing to serve wherever was needed. Onesimus was a faithful and beloved brother, so he was consistent and loving also. He was considered “one of youâ€, meaning he was part of the Colossians – he belonged. Do people describe us this way? If not, why?

    All of us believers are joined together as one body and called the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:7 “Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.†Since we are connected with the body, we suffer when others suffer and we rejoice when others rejoice. We are no longer operating based just on what we think alone. Now we consult with the Lord, just as we would consider our spouse’s opinion when making a decision that affects everyone. We operate not based on the law, but based on love. Look at Romans 7:4: “Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.â€

    When God calls us to bear fruit, He also equips. Each one is given special abilities appropriate for building up the body. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.†So we have been given these gifts to bear fruit to God.

    How’s it going? Do you know what your gifts are? Are you using your gifts for the glory of God and building up the body of Christ? If not, I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 12 and Romans 12 to consider what gifts the Holy Spirit has given you. Pray and ask God to reveal where you should begin using your gift. It’s all part of the process of becoming who God wants you to be. I tell you from my own experience, as you step out in faith and begin using your gifts, you will be blessed in ways you never thought possible.
  12. Stand Perfect and Complete

    Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. 13 For I bear him witness that he has a great zeal for you, and those who are in Laodicea, and those in Hierapolis. Colossians 4:10-14 NKJV

    Aristarchus a fellow prisoner, Mark and Justus were Paul’s fellow workers for the kingdom of God. They were a great comfort to Paul. Aristarchus was in prison, just like Paul. I wonder if he was a believer before he met Paul. Or did Paul win him to the Lord through his testimony of Christ? We aren’t told. But we do know that he was a comfort to Paul. I’ve found in my life, that the only ones who can really comfort are those with faith in Jesus Christ. Others try to comfort, but their words are empty and hollow.

    Epaphras was one of the Colossians and a bondservant of Christ. Paul describes him as “always laboring fervently for you in prayersâ€. What a beautiful picture of someone who cared for his people. Notice the active descriptive words Paul used. Always says he never ceased. Can you say that about your prayers for others? Laboring says he worked at it and it took effort on his part to stay prayerful. Fervently says to me that he poured himself out in prayer for others. He really put all of himself in the prayer for his people. Why did he go to all that trouble? So his people would “stand perfect and complete in all the will of Godâ€.

    Isn’t that what we are to strive for? To stand perfect and complete in the will of God, is to be united with Christ in mind, body and spirit. To let God’s love win over our hearts. To allow ourselves to be changed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), as well as to put off our old man and put on the new man (Ephesians 4:21-23). As we do, the more our perspective changes to God’s perspective and the easier it becomes to “always, labor, fervently†for others in our prayers.

    Do you have someone praying for you like Epaphras did? If so, you are blessed. If not, don’t worry start planting seeds of prayer yourself and in time you will reap a harvest of righteousness. Are you praying for others like he did? If so, continue and never cease. We all need prayer to keep us strong in the Lord. If not, start today and watch how God changes things.
  13. You are My Witness

    Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.†Colossians 4:15-17 NKJV

    When Paul wrote letters, he fully expected those letters would be read aloud for all to hear. He encouraged the Colossians not only to read the letter but personally take the message to Laodicea and read it to everyone there. He wanted this message to be shared with others in the body of Christ. Do we think about the bible the same way? Do we read it aloud among our friends and family? Do we take it with us wherever we go, that we might share it with others along the way? If not, why?

    Jesus told his followers what they were to do, now that Jesus was going back to heaven. Acts 1:7-8 “And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.†He said they would be witnesses of Him.

    What does a witness do? From a court of law standpoint, a witness is can be crucial to whether a case is won or lost. A witness, especially an eye-witness, has knowledge about what is being discussed. They can shed light on the matter that no one else can. They have “inside†knowledge.

    Now, apply that description to yourself. You are a witness of Jesus Christ. You have first hand knowledge of how Christ changed your life by setting you free from your sins and giving you a new life by His Holy Spirit in you.

    We are to be the salt & light of the world according to Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. 14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.â€

    From Matthew 5:13 above we see that it takes effort to stay “saltyâ€. We need to be diligent in our relationship with Christ that we may be flavorful to the world. From Matthew 5:15-16 above we see that we should not hid our light, but instead let it shine for all to see. What’s preventing you from letting your light shine today? Pray and ask God for His wisdom, power and discernment about how to stare His glorious news with others.

    May all who read this “take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you mayfulfill it.â€
  14. Give Thanks

    We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, 4 knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 NKJV

    Did you know the phrase “give thanks†is mentioned 52 times in the NKJV Bible? Surely giving thanks must be important to repeat 52 times! Here’s a sample of a few of them:

    • 1 Chronicles 16:8 “Oh, give thanks to the LORD! Call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples!â€
    • 1 Chronicles 16:34 “Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.â€
    • Psalm 30:4 “Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.â€
    • Revelation 11:17 “saying: “ We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.â€

    We are to give thanks to God, making His deeds known, for His mercy endures forever, at the remembrance of His Holy name, and because He reigns! The Lord God Almighty is good and worthy of praise.

    Look at what Paul wrote in today’s verse: “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love and patience of hopeâ€. What is work of faith, if not the work of the Lord? Praise Him! What is the labor of love, if not Jesus’ great love for us? Thank Him! What is patience of hope, if not God’s patience for us to turn to Him? Glorify Him!

    The things which Paul identified in the Thessalonians are all character attributes of God. All of them are visible because God was at work in their lives. What a blessing to see God’s activity in the lives of others. We should look out for those attributes in believers’ lives too. When we spot them, let others know we see them. This kind of encouragement can boost their confidence and continue their walk with Christ.

    The last part of verse “knowing beloved, brethren, your election by God†is a great confidence builder as well. Reminding us that our being part of God’s family is not because we’ve done anything to deserve or earn it. It is free gift (Romans 5:15) by the grace and mercy of God alone, that we are adopted into His family (Ephesians 1:5).

    Thank God today by remembering all He has done for you and all He promises to do for you in the future (Jeremiah 29:11). While you’re thanking God, think about who you can build up with your words.
  15. We're Set Apart

    Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified. 7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 NKJV

    Paul urges the Thessalonians to walk pleasing to God, for they know the commandments of the Lord. Last time we read “If we love Him, we obey His commandments†( John 14:15 NKJV ). When our hearts are genuinely tuned into to God because we love Him, we will obey His commandments. Jesus taught us His requirements are easy and light in Matthew 11:29-30 NKJV “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.â€â€

    God calls His chosen ones to be holy as He is holy. Leviticus 19:2 NKJV ““Speak to all the congregation of the children of
    Israel, and say to them: ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.†This process of being holy is called sanctification. It’s a setting apart or making separate the people of God. How are we set apart? We are set apart by our lifestyles and our choices.

    Let’s take a look at what Paul describes as sanctification or a call to be holy. First he says abstain from sexual immorality. This seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? There’s more to sexual immorality than just the act of sex outside of marriage though. It’s about the condition of one’s heart and trying to fill a deep spiritual longing with something it was never meant to be filled with. Sexual immorality doesn’t just happen. You don’t wake up one day and say “I think I’ll go have sex with the next person I meetâ€. It’s process of slowly giving yourself away, starting with your thought life. If we start to think about something, and we allow ourselves to dwell on it, it begins to motivate us towards action. Perhaps we were hurt by our spouse, we dwell on the hurt long enough, the enemy plants lies like “you deserve better than this†and “he/she doesn’t really love you anyway†in your mind. You start listening to those lies and in time you the lies become real to you. Your feelings and pride start to kick in and you find yourself acting on those thoughts and feelings. If you don’t catch this early in the thought phase, you’re bound to act out in ways you will regret later. As a man thinks, so he is one proverb says. Have you checked your thought life lately?

    Next, Paul goes on to say we should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor. The bible teaches us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and our bodies are not our own. 1 Corinthians 6:19 NKJV “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?†We were purchased by the precious blood of Christ and now God owns us. We are His, not our own. If we would remind ourselves that this body we live in is not our own, but rather God’s temple, we might be more willing to keep it clean, pure, and undefiled. When you go to church (the building you worship in) do you bring your trash and dump trash on the floor? Of course not! Then, why do we allow garbage to clutter our minds when our body is the sacred temple of the Holy Spirit? Really think about it….God’s presence, the Holy Spirit, is in you. He’s there when you are entertaining ungodly thoughts or committing a sexual immoral act. That thought alone should help to quench the desire to fulfill your ungodly passion! We are to walk by the Spirit and when we do we won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh.

    How can a pure and holy God be coupled evil and darkness? He can’t. His light overpowers the darkness. Think about how darkness flees away, when we flip on a light switch. Does darkness linger somewhere hidden in the light? No way, it’s gone completely. That’s how it should be with us, who say we are believers of Christ and have the Holy Spirit within us. Romans 13:12 NKJV says “Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.†We are flooded with God’s light, therefore, darkness no longer exists in us. That’s cause for rejoicing!!

    Jesus commissioned Paul to turn people from darkness to light in Acts 26:18 NKJV “I now send you, 18 to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’†We, too, are to be Christ’s witnesses, turning others from darkness to light, by living our lives sanctified by faith in Jesus and pleasing to God.
  16. As We Increase

    But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire
    to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own
    hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those
    who are outside, and that you may lack nothing. 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 NKJV

    Taught by God not by man but taught by God Himself through His Holy Spirit.
    One of the things we always prayed when opening up our bible studies, was
    “Lord, thank you for teaching us by Your Spirit. We are not taught by the words of man, but through your Holy Word by Your Holy Spirit. Thank you for giving us Your light to guide us.â€

    It’s good to remember as we learn more about God, His character and His ways the Holy Spirit is the one revealing it to us. Romans 8:16 NKJV says “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of Godâ€. It’s not by our effort that we now understand. It is simply because God choose to reveal Himself to us by His Spirit.

    It’s much like how we’re saved. It’s not because we did anything to deserve it. We can not work to be saved. We can not earn salvation by doing good deeds. Salvation is a gift from God by grace, accepted by faith in Jesus Christ alone. Ephesians 2:8 NKJV says “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of Godâ€.

    As we increase more and more, as Paul mentions above, our lives should
    reflect more and more of our Lord Jesus Christ’s character. From today’s
    verse, let’s look at the three examples:

    1) Aspire to lead a quiet life. That’s a good goal. When the aspiration is
    to live a quiet life, there’s no striving to get ahead at the office, do demanding your own way or arguing your point with others. Instead, the priority is on living a quiet life, getting along with others. Doesn’t that sound peaceful? I believe when we live out what Matthew 22:39 NKJV says “You shall love your neighbor as yourselfâ€, we will be living a quiet life.

    2) To mind your own business. Oh, how difficult that it for some who like
    to gossip. My pastor once taught us an easy way to tell if you were involved
    in gossip: If you not part of the problem or the solution, you shouldn’t be talking about it. That’s pretty easy. If it’s not your problem and you have no part in the solution, keep your mouth shut. Oh, by the way, trying to pass on the juicy details as prayer request still counts as gossip! The scripture that comes to mind regarding this point, is Matthew 7:3-5 NKJV “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.â€

    3) To work with your own hands. You demonstrate your commitment to
    supporting yourself and your family. The bible says those who are lazy
    shouldn’t eat. That means each one must pull his/her own weight. We all
    need to work.

    Why do we need to understand all this? Each of us are living, breathing bibles.
    We are Christ’s witnesses to the world. When those on the outside look at your life, they should see Christ. Every day we’re alive, we should be growing in Christ-like character. As we examine our walk, we look for ourselves to see Christ in our own life. If we can’t see Christ, stop and ask what’s lacking? Am I depending on my efforts to understand God? Or am I relying on the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to me? Am I aspiring to live a quiet life, minding my own business, working with my own hands?
    If not, why?
  17. Death - Doorway to Heaven

    13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 NKJV

    No reason for sorrow that’s what the bible teaches regarding the death of our loved ones who believe in Christ. This doesn’t mean we won’t be sad and miss them terribly when they’re gone. But it does mean we don’t have to be overwhelmed with grief, sorrowing about their fate because we know where believers go after this life over – directly into the arms of Jesus!

    I didn’t always have this attitude towards death. Early in my walk with the Lord, a co-worker friend of mine was battling cancer. She was young, vibrant, cheerful, helpful and always friendly. While she was with us, I often shared with her what I was learning about the God. She had shared with me she was saved, but at the time it did not reassure me. I wanted to know for sure. When she died, I went to her funeral and I’m ashamed to say, I wasn’t joyful that she was now with the Lord. Rather I was sorrowing and would not receive the comfort that others tried to give me at the time.

    Examining what God’s Word says about this topic helped me understand. Let’s take a look at some of the verses I studied.
    2 Corinthians 5:8 NKJV “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.†This verse couldn’t be any clearer. If we’re in our body here and now we are absent with the Lord. On the other hand, if we’re absent from our body, we are in the presence of the Lord.

    Philippians 1:21 NKJV “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gainâ€, this was Paul’s motto for his life. We live to please the Lord. We die to please the Lord as well. For when we die, we go to Him. When we see Him face to face in heaven, all our questions will be answered. Every doubt we ever had, will no longer exist. There will be no more pain, no more tears, He’ll wipe them all away! If we could fully grasp this, surely we would rejoice when our beloved enter into His Kingdom! How great that day will be!!

    Our God is so good and He knows what each of us needs to go through, in order to know Him on a deeper level. This experience brought me to a deeper realization that even when I want to know for certain if someone is saved or not, it’s not my responsibility to ensure they are saved – it’s God’s. I am called to share God’s message of love and what the Lord has done for me and leave the rest to God. He knows our hearts. He knows who are His.

    Now, I have a deeper faith in God and trust He will save those who put their trust in Him. How about you? Are you trusting Him? Are you rejoicing when a loved one go to be with Him?
  18. The Day is Coming Are You Ready?

    But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!†then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 NKJV

    The Day of the Lord will be a joyous event for some. Unfortunately, for a lot of others it will be terrible day. Can you imagine how you might feel on that Day, if you were not a believer? You’re minding your own business, working hard, and doing your own thing. Wham! The Lord shows up in a way that doesn’t seem possible. Finally, you realize there is a God and you’ve been rejecting Him throughout your life! What would you do?

    That’s why it’s important for us, as believers, to share our faith whenever possible. The people working right along side you need to know the truth. Your neighbors need to know there is a day of judgment coming. Your friends and family need to know this life isn’t about living for themselves.

    David had gotten his eyes off of God and starting looking at how easy his enemies had it. He complained how the enemy didn’t seem to have his kind of problems and how they had everything. However, God touched his heart and helped him remember what’s coming for the wicked in the end. Psalm 73:18-20 “Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. 19 Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. 20 As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image.â€

    Have you ever considered why, the Lord allows the wicked to seemingly have everything they need? Let’s think about it. God is good. God wants all His creation to come to Him and not perish. God honors our decisions, whether we choose Him or not. Perhaps God’s mercy gives them the best this life has to offer because for them it’s the closest they’ll ever get to experiencing heaven. Jesus taught in Matthew 5:43-45 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.†Therefore, let us carry out the command “Love your enemies†by having compassion on them. We know what awaits those who shun God. Pray for them, maybe your influence can help turn them to God.

    The Day of the Lord will come “as a thief in the nightâ€. Does a thief call before hand to make sure you’re at home? Of course not! He comes when you’re not expecting it. The bible teaches the Day of Lord will occur when we all least expect it. For the Christian we are to be ready. Are you ready?
  19. ThinkO,

    One really good way to keep from being spiritually misled, or outrightly deceived, by the "teachings" and promotions within the talk of supposedly knowledgeable and discerning people is to consciously refuse to have our emotional buttons activated by them.

    Appeals to intuitive, imaginary, and emotional sensitivities is a favored way for "Professional Church Talkers," and even the "wannabe" religious pundits, to get people to agree with their ideas. Rhetoric devices are the most favored means of communicating by "Professional Church Talkers." I have collected about 800 examples of rhetoric devices spoken by them in the last few years which I just happen to hear from time to time. It is amazing how nonstop these people are in using rhetoric devices.

    Let me leave you with this: Just because a person has a lengthy explanation, which kinda "makes sense," and may even have a lot of Bible verses in it, and may sound organized with a good vocabulary, and even may seem like he "understands us," does not mean he is not just a babbling flake.

    Provewrbs 10:19 says, "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, but he that refraineth his lips is wise."

    Anybody who spends 30-40 minutes at a stretch "presenting" something to people listening cannot be obeying Proverbs 10:19. Jesus never spoke on any particular topic for so long. Apostle Paul violated Proverbs 10:19, and a young man wound up being killed.

  20. Discern the Time

    But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-7 NKJV

    As believers, we are no longer living in darkness. God’s marvelous light has come into our lives. We have the Holy Spirit living in us guiding along God’s pathway and revealing the things to come.

    Having this light means certain responsibilities. Today’s verse reminds us we are not of darkness but rather we are sons of light and sons of day. Therefore we do not live our lives on “auto-pilotâ€, instead we are to watch and be sober. We are discern the time and watch for signs of His coming.

    The disciples asked Jesus what the signs were of His coming. Here’s what Jesus said in Matthew 24:4:14 NKJV “And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.â€

    Verse 6 hits home for me in today’s day with us being in Irag, the concern over Iran and North Korea. But it’s not the end not. We’ve seen famines, pestilences and earthquakes all around the world, but that’s just the beginning of sorrows Jesus says. Therefore, be watchful and sober minded, not disturbed by the things that are happening. Know Christ is seated on the Throne of God. He rules over all of this. He will bring us safely out of it in His timing.

    In the meantime, we continue to be obedient to what God has called us to do. Continue steadfast and faithfully sharing His message of love, grace, mercy and forgiveness with others, until He comes to take us home.

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