Thursday, January 31, 2013

Our Creator God (Colossians 1:15-20)

Today's scripture: Colossians 1:15-20

The God of the Bible, the one True God is creator of all things. He is the owner of all things.

Nothing we have, nothing we are is of ourselves. Our houses. Our cars. Our clothes. Our "stuff." Our relationships. Our gifts. Our talents. Our money. None of these belongs to us. No, they are gifts to us from our loving Father. Because none of what we have is ours, we must carefully steward what He's placed in our care.

More than the "stuff" we've been given, however, is the most important gift: reconciliation. We are born into sin, and without our being reconciled to God, we are forever separated from Him. But God loves us so much that He offered His own Son, an actual part of Himself, to bridge the gap between Him and us (John 3:16). And it was His "good pleasure" to do so.

Through the shed blood of Christ, we are reconciled with God. We can live in peace knowing that He, the Creator of all things, is in control.

And we can look forward, with confidence, to the day when we meet Him face-to-face.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Our Rescuer (Colossians 1:13-14)

Today's scripture: Colossians1:13-14

I read today's verses, and I am so grateful ... and so humbled.

I understand being "rescued ... from the domain of darkness ..." I've shared bits and pieces of my story over the last several years, so I may have mentioned that I was raised in a Christian home. I learned about Jesus and how He died for my sins, and when I was six years old, I asked Jesus to come into my heart.

That could have been the "happily ever after" to my story, but I allowed years of sexual abuse to take me away from my faith. I made a deliberate choice to walk into the "domain of darkness." For many years, I lived my own life, totally disregarding the faith of my childhood. 

It wasn't until I hit the lowest point of my journey–depression, infertility–that I finally looked up ... and found my Rescuer, just waiting to welcome me back. His arms were opened wide, and He embraced me, forgave my sins, and offered the gift of redemption.

I now know beyond doubt that my home is in His kingdom. I'm no longer in that darkness, but I am covered by His light.

If you're in darkness, if your life seems out of control, if you're hurting from the choices you've made, then look up. Look into the face of the God who loves you more than you could possibly know. Look into His eyes brimming with grace and mercy. 

He is waiting to rescue from the "domain of darkness." He is waiting to welcome you into the "kingdom of His beloved Son ..." The Son who died for your sins.

Look up.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Daily Prayer ... for You (Colossians 1:9-12)

Today's scripture: Colossians 1:9-12

I love these verses. In fact, I pray them every day for me, for my family, for my friends. I pray them for those for whom I've spoken or whom I've taught. I pray them for my "kids."

And if you know the Lord, because you're reading this devotional, I pray them for you as well.

I pray that we "may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding ..." I pray we'll take time to focus on His word today and learn its truth so that we might become more and more wise with God's wisdom.

I pray that we will "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects ..." We are truly not worthy of grace and mercy, but God sees worth in each and every one of us. To honor Him, we should desire to live according to His commandments, which pleases Him. I pray we focus on Him today and live to please Him.

I pray we will "bear fruit in every good work ..." What can we do this very day to bring glory and honor to Him? How can we serve Him and others? I pray we look for those opportunities to bless others today.

I pray we will "increase in the knowledge of God ..." He desires to reveal Himself to His children. He wants us to know Him intimately by our spending time in conversation with Him, speaking to Him and listening to His voice. I pray we'll take that time with Him today.

I pray we'll be "strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might ..." Paul wrote in another letter that he "could do all things through Christ who strengthens" him (Philippians 4:13). I pray we find our strength in Christ, and Him alone.

Finally, I pray we "joyously give thanks to the Lord ..." He has blessed us abundantly with grace, mercy, love, forgiveness, strength, healing, help, refuge ... and the list goes on and on and on. How can we help but joyously thank Him? I pray we give Him all thanks, glory, honor, and praise today.

I pray these over you today ... and will continue to do so every day.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Hope Laid Up in Heaven (Colossians 1:3-8)

Today's scripture: Colossians 1:3-8

As I read through these verses, several phrases "pop":

  • "... we heard of your faith in Jesus Christ and the love you have for all the saints ..."

  • "... the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing ..."

  • "... your love in the Spirit ..."

What wonderful words of affirmation! The recipients of Paul's letter must have been encouraged when they read these words. Wouldn't you love it if these words were spoken about you? That you were a faithful servant, loving your brothers and sisters in Christ? That because you were spreading the gospel, God was bearing fruit through you? 

I know I want to live in a way that others would see God's faithfulness and love through me. I pray I'm bearing fruit to grow God's kingdom.

But do you know which words most touch my heart today? "... the hope laid up in heaven ..."

The older I get and the longer I reside on this rapidly-declining earth, the more I hope for heaven. And my hope is two-fold. I hope for the shedding of this earthly flesh and spending eternity with my Lord. And I hope for the time when I can see how God has borne fruit through me. I don't know how many lives God has touched through me, but I look forward to the day when I stand in heaven and someone–and maybe it's just one–comes up to me and says, "Thank you for being faithful to God's call on your life. It's because of you that I'm here today."

Are you fulfilling God's call on your life? Are you seeking His will so that you too can be called faithful and loving on earth, and one day, you'll too see the fruit of your earthly labors?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Being Faithful Saints (Colossians 1:1-2)

Today's scripture: Colossians 1:1-2

Since I started writing this devotional several years ago, I've journeyed through many of the apostle Paul's letters, and each of them has blessed me abundantly. Today, I begin meditating on his letter to the Christians at Colossae. I pray the Lord will speak through me, and that you will be as blessed as I know I will be.

As always, Paul begins this letter by greeting his brothers and sisters, those he calls "saints" and "faithful." Sometimes we think of saints as being those people who have done amazing and wonderful things for God's kingdom, but according God's word, anyone who has committed his or her life to Christ is a saint. Just read through the New Testament, and you'll see that every reference to "saint" is about men and women who follow Christ. No one is singled out as somehow better than others.

If you are a follower of Christ, you are a saint. You are sanctified in the eyes of God Almighty (1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:10). You have been created to do God's work to build His kingdom (Ephesians 2:10).

What a blessing to know God loves us so much and sees us as saints!

The question I have to ask myself–and perhaps you need to ask yourself–is: Am I faithful? Yes, I am a child of God's because I accepted His gift of salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. But am I faithful to Him? Do I live to please Him? Do I use the gifts and talents He's given me to serve and bring glory to Him?

Will I one day stand in His presence and hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant"?

I believe if I daily commit my life to Him, if I seek His will at all times, if I commune with Him through prayer and study, then yes. I will hear those wonderful, humbling words.

Will you?