Monday, February 16, 2009

Is the Gospel coming out of you?

Read Colossians 4:2-6

The Gospel message must be received and planted in us and then it needs to flow out of us for others to see too!

Look at the word, Message/utterance. This means logos the word as in, “our God reigns,” the Gospel, the good news of Christ, who He is, and what He has done for you and me. This means the redemption that gave us salvation and the kingdom of God paid for by the work of Jesus, preached by the Apostles, and stated in the Bible that Jesus Christ suffered and then died as a sacrifice for our sin. He died for us and was buried; He then rose again to prove His divinity and power, giving us victory over sin and death. The Gospel is good news because it is the news of forgiveness of our sins through a free, unearned gift of God who reconciles us to Him. We have no means to earn it by our work, beliefs, penance, or self-improvement. It is only by Christ’s accomplished work (Psalm 16:10; Isa. 52:7; 53:8-10; Matt 5:2-11; 11:1-5; Mark 1:14-15; Luke 4:16; 7:18-23; John 3:16; Rom 1:3, 16; 2:16; 3:2; 5:8-11; 6: 1-4; 10:1-21; 15:19; 16:25; 1 Cor. 9:12, 18; 15:1-9; 2 Cor. 2:12; 4:4; 5:14-19; Gal 1:6; 3:8; Eph. 1:13; Col 1:5; 1 Thess. 1:5; 2 Tim. 1:10; 2:8; Tit. 2:11–14; Rev. 14:6).

The point that Paul gives us, is the call to Proclaim!

Meaning we are called to speak as a messenger of our Lord with gladness, to proclaim His Good News. This shows a passion for our faith and the conviction to know our Lord and do as He modeled and taught. We declare Christ in our lives as individuals and decree Him in unity as a local congregation. This comes from our Lord’s work that gives us an inner connection of Word and Spirit, solidified and known by the facts that we believe, His commands that we obey, and the promises that we can trust and will one day have (John 1:40-42; 2 Cor. 5:20-21).

This passage is also about what we do with the call, gifts, resources, and opportunities at our disposal. Paul was concerned that this church would be ingrown and unconcerned about other churches or personal opportunities to spread the Gospel. Thus, he implores them to keep him in prayer and be aware of open doors to let people know about the Gospel. This all starts with our obedience and willingness to do as we believe and to pray for open doors and the ability to be used. This passage is set in the context of a second set of aspects which we are to follow, what we are to put on and to put off, and what blocks us from our growth in Him and our character towards others. It is a laundry list of desires that can easily become who we are and distract us from our call. Since we are in Christ, we are to live in response to what He has done for us. Not out of obligation, but out of gratitude so we can, as Lazarus demonstrated, (Luke 11:44) take off the grave clothes of sin and put on His clothing. Although in whatever we face, we may think we are surrounded by our fears and the “I can’t do it” thinking may come into play, more importantly, we are surrounded and indwelt by our Lord!

We are called to go beyond ourselves and into the lives of others. We are to seek those who are saved and spur them on further in the faith. We are to seek those who are not saved and make Christ known to them by our attitudes, lifestyle, and deeds. The way we become a good effective witness for our Lord is to remember we are doing it for Him. It is about Christ’s work, not our efforts. Then, we can be better at walking closer to and wiser in Him and seeing the opportunities He has for us. We can do them, not by our abilities, but by allowing Him to work in and through us. Paul was in prison when this letter was written. He did not seek to be released even though he must have wanted to be; rather, he sought how the Lord could use him regardless of his situation. He sought opportunities for ministry not opportunities for his freedom. In other words, he placed the call of God over his perceived needs and desires, even if they were good. Perhaps, with such a mindset, we can grow ever so much more to see opportunities to make our Lord known and not just to make ourselves feel good (1 Cor. 16:9; 2 Cor. 2:12; 1 Pet. 3:15-17; Rev. 3:7-8).

1. What are the qualities you like to see from people with whom you want to be friends? How is this like being contagious for the Gospel?

2. How can you be more effective and content in Christ’s Kingdom and be used more effectively and with more power?

3. What do you need to do to have a sense of gratitude for Christ? How can this fuel you, mold you, and encompass you so your day and life goes well?

More here:

Are you Devoted?

Are you a person who is devoted to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?

If so what happens when distractions and past or future hurts and problems come your way? What can you do to not let these things consume you?

Read Colossians 4:2-6

This passage tells us to dedicate yourselves to prayer and be alert; think, and be aware of your situation and opportunities so you can be your best for His Highest in all situations. This is a call to “occupy yourselves” with Christ, as in to live out your new life by being loyal and faithful to our living Lord. If we are truly devoted to Christ, we will be devoted to the things of Christ—His interests, principles, and plan. Thus, to set our minds on things above, meaning to be in “fullness” with Christ, to live and perform from what we think and trust. To cement this precept, Paul gives several practical activities we can do to further keep our minds and hearts in Christ. This attitude is what spurs on our commitment and our outreach. Without persevering with Christ, we cannot keep trying to persuade others well, or even at all. Our fullness in Christ will reflect His work in us and be the beacon of hope to others. This is how Paul lived out his life and hoped others would follow (Isa. 7:9; Acts 1:14; 2:42; 6:4; Rom. 12:12; 1 Cor. 11:1; Eph. 6:18; Col. 1:3-12; 3:2)!

This will give us an open door. This means the opportunity and the freedom of movement. It refers to the willingness to be alert and take advantage with good character the occasions of relational connections and ministry opportunities. It is to be discerning with our time, talent, and resources as an offering to God and to use for others. It is a choice for us to make rather than a command, but as mature Christians, we ought to do so because of what Christ did for us and wanting the same in the lives of others (Matt. 24:42; Luke 16:1-12; Acts 20:31; 1 Cor. 16:8-9, 13; 2 Cor. 2:12; 1 Thess. 5:6).

This will also help us be appreciative to God and others. This will allow a sense of gratitude for Christ fuel, mold, and encompass you so the days of your life go well. In this way, you can pray for others, be sensitive and kind, be open to the wondrous prospects and plans that God has for you, and be able to take action. We can indeed, trust in Jesus Christ and He will take care of you and allow you to be the good opportunist that serves and grows. You can realize that Christ is for you and He is not hidden. Look what Paul says. Paul, am in prison, and all I can think and pray about is for the Gospel to go out effectively. Can you do likewise? Yes, you can and you can proclaim His Message with power, conviction, clarity, and in Truth. So, make sure you live wisely and make the most of what He has for you so you can invest in what Christ brings you.

When we have the right attitude and aptitude to set our minds on Him, we can be of better use to those around us, powerfully and effectively. Our words and deeds will show His love and care. Our relationships and the details of our conversations will ooze of His love and precepts because our minds are focused on Him and our hearts are poured out to Him. People will see this; some may come against us, but that is their problem. Others will see Christ through us and receive the power and impact of the Spirit through our example being the means God uses. What an incredible opportunity we have! Let us make the most of it!

So, do not squander what He has given for you or what He still has for you. Be kind with your actions and words so your gratitude will allow you to be gracious, as Christ was with you. In this way, you will be far more effective and content in the Kingdom and be used far more successfully and with more power.

1. How would you define “being devoted to Jesus Christ?” What are the distractions and past or future hurts and problems that may cause one to not be so devoted? What can you do about it?

2. What do you need to do or be aware of so you will not squander what Jesus has given you or has for you?

3. If you were more devoted to Christ, what would your life be like? Relationships? Worries? Past issues? Future problems? Or?

More here:

Monday, February 09, 2009

Are we really to submit?

Read Colossians 3:18-4:1

Isn’t this an archaic notion that is ridiculous for us now?

We have a tough passage for Americans and Europeans living in the postmodern world. A passage that seemly tells women to submit and men to lord over them, which will be scoffed at and summarily rejected as absurd. But what does submission mean in Biblical the light? Are women really to blindly obey their husbands, what about rights and abuse? Are men to lord over their wives without regard to care or respect?

Yet, if you really carefully read the Colossian passage and consider the context, you will find some great comfort and answers. There is a call a healthy vibrant martial relationship. This comes from wives being tender and kind to their husbands and most of all respect them. And a call for husbands to earn their wife’s respect with their unconditional love to them. And this is to be a reflection of what Christ has done for us!

Wives and husbands, love each other and do not mistreat each other, as Christ has treated us beyond what we deserve or need. Even children are to participate in the love of a home by obeying their parents and respecting them? Why? Because our obedience is pleasing to our Lord. This will also help us live well and right and not be discouraged or lose hope. These actions show respect for our Lord and to one another.

Let look at this

· Wives are asked to submit, as in give respect to their husbands. The wife’s submission is a form of respect that is a response to their husband’s love for them and his care and provision. This is earned because he loves her and has her best interest and care at heart this not about blindly obeying their husbands or taking abuse.

· Submit is a military term (Greek: hupotasso), which means "to place under" or "to subordinate" as a line relationship. This is like when and how we respond to Christ with love and service because of His free gift of grace. We do not earn salvation for service; rather, service is a fruit of our gratitude. In the same way, submission is not to be forced, but offered freely in response to love. It is something we replicate, as in responding in kindness so our response to each other is fueling the other’s response, and so forth.

In this way, we escalate our love and kindness to one another instead of argumentation, repression and dysfunction. Meaning this is how we love and reach out to one another and to God. It is even a duty, not because of weakness or inferiority, or that one is better than the other. Rather, God has placed, in the order of creation, the husband as head of the home, just as Christ is the head of the Church. They have different roles, yet each one is equal in the sight of God! Thus, the husband loves and respects his wife and earns her devotion and the result is the continual, mutual respect that builds an effective, strong marriage relationship (Eph. 5:22; 1 Peter 3:1).

· What about men, Husbands. Husbands are asked to love their wives! In ancient times, marriage contracts would advocate the husband to make his wife submit with absolute obedience. Paul’s asserting to his churches and readers to love, and because of love to submit, was very radical. To Paul, love was a duty. It was even considered weak by the macho mindsets of the times as well as with many people today. But, this is not weak; it is building the strength of a relationship and the bond of a family by creating a mutual partnership. Thus, men do not lord over their wives (Amos 3:3; 1 Corinthians 7:3-4; 13)!

· Obey is a call to have respect for authority and to care for and keep careful watch over the people as shepherds, because God will hold us to account. This does not mean we submit to dictatorial or dysfunctional family members or any form of bad leadership (Isa. 21:8; Jer, 23:4; Ezek. 3:17; 33:6; 35:7; Hab. 2:1; Acts 20:28; Heb. 13:7; 1 Pet. 5:2-4; 3 John 9-10).

Is this still tough to handle? Consider this; submission is not the tyrannical concept most of us harbor in our minds. Rather, it is freedom! It is a form of mutual respect. It allows us to be free, and to have the best flowing in and out of us. It is a safe harbor of smooth waters keeping us protected from the storms of wrong actions. It frees us from bad thinking that leads to bad choices which, in turn, leads to a life of misery and trouble! For a wife to respect her husband, she shows him the respect he needs and the unconditional love that helps fuel his desire to return love. He receives his value and honor that is so important to a man. The wife and children respond because she knows they are cared for and cherished. Love is often reciprocal; the husband loves and the wife responds with respect and honor and conversely with the entire family. If one of these are not functioning then you have a dysfunctional home. And, when things are not going well, the wife should and must still respect him (unless there is abuse), as with the husband who must still love, regardless of how the other is being with him. It follows that the relationship will vastly improve!

What do you think?

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How are you running your Christian Home?

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Do you have the peace of Christ?

Read Colossians 3:12-17

Did you know that the peace of Christ passes all understanding and our gratitude produce the peace that supports our spiritual growth along with the church's health, hope, and connectedness?

This means God calls us to salvation and then binds us to Him and to one another. This refers to salvation as well as the practice of unity “among one another” as in the practice of God's love, reconciliation, grace, and forgiveness that give us eternal rest as well as peace and security for today. This is what He did for us; as Christians, we are to show who we are in Christ—the example being how we are to others. When we practice His precepts, we are modeling Christian community and unity that shows a broken world our Lord and what He can do for them (Rom. 5:1; Phil. 4:6-7; Heb. 6:1)!

In context this also means to have Christ as our “supreme umpire” to live in us. This is the picture of our abundance and unity in Christ and His promise to reside in us. He is in charge so we can be at peace. The Colossians had a skewed understanding of the goodness and sufficiency of Christ. Both they and we need to know that it is Christ Himself living in us; we are motivated by Him to bear and bring Christ wherever we go. This is a powerful conviction and motivation and blessing. We are to live out our Christian walk with joy and the responsibly of His power, conviction, clarity, and truth, because He is not in heaven, aloof, or just watching. He is residing in us now (Psalm 119:11; Matt. 13:9; Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 1:30; Gal. 2:20; Eph. 3:17; 5:18-19; Phil. 2:16; Col. 3:3; 2 Tim. 2:15)!

This is a call for us to heed that will allow the Word of God to impact us, live in us, and “referee” us so we can live joyfully, worship God, and love others more effectively. With the understanding of what Christ did for us, we can have the hope and confidence to trust and obey Him. These are the attributes that produce character and spiritual maturity that in turn show that we are representatives of Christ. This total life transformation will not only change us from the inside out, but also allow us to have an impact on others for the Kingdom!

When we are focusing on the heavenly things, the earthy things seem small, insignificant, and worthless. His precepts are much more needed, precious, and positively impacting. What is often missed in this passage is the call to admonish. This means we are to take to task with gentleness and love but still do it earnestly, counseling others when they stray from God's path. We are to sharpen one another, help one another avoid sin so we can help one another put off what holds us back. If by not admonishing one another we think we are being kind, we are, in fact, being mean, negating our responsibilities, allowing a brother or sister in the Lord slip into the ways of the world so they lose out on opportunities and rewards, and gaining meaninglessness and bitterness. We are indeed to remind each other His tender mercies by our own behaviors and spur on The Kingdom.

Q: What do you need to do to allow more of the Word of God to impact you, live in you, and umpire you?

Q: How can Peace help make you more joyful and content?

Q: How can Peace help you worship God and love others more effectively?

What do you think?

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