The Struggle

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face - Colossians 2:1

There comes a feeling that is hard to explain in knowing that someone is fighting for you; to know that someone has your best interests in mind. "I've got your back." "I'm with you." "You're not alone." Words like these have the power to bring comfort, relief, assurance, and strength to go on.
The struggle that Paul is referring to in this letter to the church at Colossae existed on two fronts. Lies, distractions, bad doctrine and faulty teaching was seeping into the church. It's not surprising considering that the church as shown herself to be influenced by the world that the Lord has placed us in to shine as light. We are sheep. We need guidance. And Paul struggled for the meandering church at Colossae as a loving older brother. He had likely never met the members of this church, ye…
Faithful Not Successful

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. - Colossians 3:23,24

Mother Theresa is quoted as saying, "God does not require that we be successful, only that we be faithful." She spoke of the value of faithfulness over success. And so did Jesus.

It is both humbling and freeing to know that those of us who have not found ourselves high on the ladder of success are highly valued in our low positions and rewarded for our faithful service. The daily grind is service to the Lord when done with all of our heart. 

Do you mean to tell me that designing a business system at my place of employment will bring eternal reward for me? Are you saying as I care for my family and run my household well that God is filling my eternal home with good things? Can it be that as I study faithfully and work hard i…
I have good news for you ...

You're not perfect. Isn't that a relief? Think about it, as a child of God, a believer in Jesus, you aim for righteous behavior (alignment with God's purpose for your life) and when you fall short, you don't rejoice or fluff it off; you care. But we still tend towards falling short. And realizing that we are "but dust" is a good thing. Why? Because God knows it as well because He know us; and yet, He still loves us, He still forgives.

Some have made the mistake of placating their guilt by attempting to convince themselves that they are OK within themselves; that value relinquishes the need for payment, for redemption. But it does not. We are all on a level playing field in the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. No matter the quantity of good works, no matter the quantity of bad works, all of us are in need of a Savior. So put aside the rose-colored glasses and take a clear, honest look at yourself. You are not perfect. 

But wait, y…
As the Father Loved Me

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. (John 15:9 ESV)

Your mission, your calling, does not disqualify you from the love of Christ, not matter how rocky or rough. The low estate you find yourself in does not break the great pact of His faithful love for you. Your level is suffering is not inversely proportionate to the level of His love for you. Christ’s love is just as passionate and eternal as the Father’s love is for Him.

Love, like joy, is not circumstantial. It finds not its source in current conditions or lack of emotional turmoil. The joy of the Lord is your strength; a joy that is not sourced in the temporal but finds it’s rich flow and lavished abundance in the eternal- in the Eternal One. And so is the love of Christ towards you who have received Him.

This great love has been shared between the Father and the Son for all eternity, and when Jesus says He loves us as the Father loves Him, He is speaking not of a fair weather frien…
Who’s In Charge?

And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church (Ephesians 1:22 ESV)

He is the head over every power and authority. (Colossians 2:10 NIV)

Not everyone is a good person. Not everyone is looking out for your best interests. In fact, there are those around us with malicious intentions and who may even act to bring harm. It’s the world we live in today. It’s been this way since the beginning actually.

In a garden we read of an evil creature who had mal-intent towards the perfect and good Creator and sought to brought harm to Him by harming those the Creator cared about. This event has found its way into our classic stories of revenge - harm me and I’ll harm what you care about. And this evil creature (Satan, the devil) continues his work through people. Cain kills Abel, Jacob’s sons exact revenge on men who harmed their sister, religious leaders conspire to kill the Son of God, and there are many other such stories of revenge and harm.

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! (Philippians 4:4 NASB)

God’s grace is truly amazing. When I think back to His mercy and the patience He has shown me even when I should have known better, my heart is fills with joy and praise. The word in Greek for rejoice is χαίρω (chairo) and comes from the same root as the words in Greek for grace and joy. Not surprising. God’s grace gives us a license to be joyful, outside of ourselves, in spite of our failings; we can, as Paul commands, rejoice. You have permission.

We might even say, delight in God’s grace! Rest in it. Lean on it. I’ll say it again, delight in God’s grace. Augustine did. Over sixteen hundred years ago he wrote his “Confessions”, an uber-honest and transparent narrative on God’s amazing work in his wandering life. Raised by and prayed for a Christian mother, Augustine went his own way into the world of education and philosophy. This world was not all it promised to be, and eventually he would leave the …
Think On These

Finally, brothers and sisters, 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 ‭NIV‬‬)

This morning the Lord awakened me to three things to think on that align with Paul’s “finally brethren” exhortation in his letter to the Philippians. In the past I’ve tried to find things that are true, and noble, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable to think on but have honestly come up with little to nothing. My mind struggles to find such things in our world today. But this morning, I’m grateful to God for giving me three things that are lovely and right, pure and true, and noble and admirable.

The morning birdsongs
The sound of the birds singing in the morning together and individually is lovely to listen to. Each bird with its own call, giving turns to one another and then in excited ensemble singing together are like a …