Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Kingdom Attire

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." - Colossians 3:12 
They say that clothes make the man. That may or may not be true, but clothes often tell a lot about the person. An immoral person will dress promiscuously, and a moral person will dress modestly. Most often the outer appearance is a reflection of the inner attitude.
Throughout this chapter Paul emphasizes the believer's daily choice of dress. He is focused on the spiritual clothing, not the material. When we have put on a "new self" (vs. 10), our heart changes and our outer appearance takes on a whole new look. When we are God's chosen people, we dress accordingly.
You are a child of the King my friend. The kingdom attire isn't expensive suits and gowns; the clothing of the court is "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience". Before you spend time in your clothes closet thinking about what you will wear today, spend time in your prayer closet putting on the clothes that reflect a new heart.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's all about Jesus

"See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ." - Colossians 2:8
Occasionally I visit a book store... alright, very often. The shelves are full of self-help books written from the standpoint of human tradition. The content revolves around the idea that, "You can do all things through you". In other words, it's all about you.
Paul always directed his readers toward the sufficiency of Christ. He pointed out the inadequacy of hollow and deceptive philosophies. His was continually concerned that fellow believers wouldn't be caught up in empty worldly teachings. This chapter points to one great truth... it's all about Jesus.
Be careful what you choose to read my friend. Are you looking for help for issues and challenges in life? You won't find what you need in the self-help section of the bookstore. The answer is, and always has been, Jesus. Remember Paul's testimony in Philippians 4:13, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength" ... It's all about Jesus.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Nurture and Water

"We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." - Colossians 1:28-29
In a few weeks my wife and I are going down to a local nursery to choose some nice plants for around the house. We'll dig, plant, fertilize and water. Then, if we're wise, we'll continue to care for the little guys with regular watering, weeding and periodic fertilizing. Over time, if we nurture them, they will grow up into beautiful and mature plants.
The spiritual life is much the same as our landscaping endeavors. When Paul led people to Christ, he worked hard to nurture them. His goal was to present them to Christ as mature believers. Such ministry is hard work, but Paul labored with the energy of Christ and eventually saw great results.
Are you investing your life in the nurturing of souls for Christ? Do you work hard at bringing others to maturity in their faith? You may grow weary in the effort, but the energy of Christ will be more than sufficient for the task. Don't let your little plants wither in the hot sun of the world; nurture and water them and they will grow to be beautiful in Jesus.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Who loves you baby?

"As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.  Selah  Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love." - Psalm 48:8-9
Some things never change in life. Children need the assurance of a parent's protection and love. This gives security and comfort. No matter how old we are, we still have the same needs. How sure and confident would we be if we just knew that we were protected and loved?
The Psalmist drew upon the protective care and love of God regularly. During worship, he would reflect on what he had seen of God's protective care and meditate on His unfailing love. Worship to the psalmist was a reassuring event that gave him confidence for the challenges of life.
The 1970's TV Detective Kojak would often ask, "Who loves you baby?" We would do well to remind ourselves of God's love and care with just such a question. Meditate on his protective care and love daily and you will be ready for whatever comes your way.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Thoughts

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things." - Philippians 4:8
When our boys were children we had all kinds of toys to entertain and challenge their abilities. One such toy was called "Domino Rally". After a lengthy domino creation was built, the last step was to knock the first domino down and watch the rest follow. Life is like falling dominoes. Tyrone Edwards put it this way... "Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny."
When Paul wrote to the Philippians he directed them into a life of humility, joy, gentleness and contentment. While all this comes from a close walk with the Lord, it begins in our thought life and from there the spiritual dominoes will fall. When thoughts are right, your actions and lifestyle will be right.
What are you thinking today? What preoccupies your mind? Only you can choose what you think about. If you want to live a Godly life, start with your thoughts and the rest will fall into place.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Practice

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained." - Philippians 3:13-16
We all go to Doctors who are in a medical practice. I often wondered what it is that they practice. They update their expertise quite regularly through various workshops and seminars, but what do they practice on us? Over time I have concluded that aside from the newest upcoming procedures, they take what they have already learned and put it into practice.
Paul was driven to grow in Christ. He wasn't satisfied to stay where he was spiritually. He pressed and strained toward greater goals for the Lord. But while he pursued new ground for Jesus, he was careful to live up to what he had already learned. Paul always put his gains into practice.
Are you living up to what you've learned today? Or are you occasionally preoccupied with new stuff and slip back from the basics? Don't ever lose sight of what you've already learned and be sure to put it into practice.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Joy

"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe" - Philippians 2:14-15 
Whenever I plan to make a major purchase of electronics, appliances or a car, I spend hours reading product reviews. They are some help, but the complaints are often beyond belief. Given the opportunity, people will complain about the silliest things and expend incredible time and effort in the process. It's such a joy to meet someone who doesn't complain.
Paul wrote about the humility and sacrifice of our Savior in this chapter. He pointed us to Jesus as our example for selfless living. This kind of lifestyle will always produce people who face life without complaining and arguing. As a result our lives shine like stars in the world, with quality, purity, and contentment. People will listen to our witness because they see our consistent joy.
No one likes to be around complainers. Arguments turn people away. But we have been sent into the world to bring the light and joy of the Gospel. The next time you want to complain, consider the Lord's selfless sacrifice for us and find reason to rejoice. To win people to Christ, you often have to woo them first.