Colossians 2:6-10 (NLT) 6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. 7 Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. 8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. 9 For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. 10 So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.
With some much information available today, it is almost impossible to get through a day without hearing a lot of high-sounding nonsense. As I go about my duties and errands each day, I see billboards, listen to talk radio and watch the opinion shows on TV, I am amazed at the amount of nonsense that is sent out everyday. I sometimes wonder if the producers of these things think everyone in this country is of low intelligence. Empty philosophies and words abound everywhere. How does one keep him/herself from being overly influenced by this worldly chatter?
Those of us that have accepted Jesus Christ must understand that there is a spiritual battle being waged 24/7. It is just as real as any military operation and it has consequences that last for an eternity. The mind is the battlefield and that is where we win or lose each battle. We must keep our spiritual eyes and ears focused on Jesus. We must put on the full armor of God each morning before we hear the first human voice speak. God is the Commander of the Heavenly armies and we are a part of that army. Before you leave home each day, check in with the Commander and see where He needs you to be today. He is looking for warriors to stand in the gap for families, neighbors, and our country. Christ is the ruler and authority over the whole universe. Be committed to Jesus and be so convinced that nothing can change your mind. If we suffer with Him here, we will reign with Him there. Show the world Jesus by helping and loving those around you today.
Colossians 2: 16-19 (NLT) 16 So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. 17 For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. 18 Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, 19 and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.
Condemnation comes from satan and weighs us down with guilt for things that we have done in the past or things that we are doing now. If satan can keep you feeling guilty, he has defeated you because you will not be able to do good works when you are weighed down with guilt. Remember that there is no condemnation for those of us who are in Christ Jesus. Condemnation is different from conviction. God’s Holy Spirit will bring conviction upon us but it will lead us to repentance. Once we have repented, our relationship with Jesus is restored and we can again be effective working for Christ. Man should not add any requirements for salvation to what God has already laid out in His Word. No matter what anyone tells you, we cannot live good enough to earn salvation or bad enough to lose our salvation. Our salvation depends on Jesus and His shed blood. God tells us in Romans that nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from Him and His love. Why? Because it is a gift from God and gifts cannot be bought or earned.
All the rules and precepts are shadows of what is coming. It is our responsibility to use discernment and cross check what people say with the Holy Scriptures. If the two do not agree, then we must always go with the Word. Just as our physical bodies are controlled by our brains (head) and nourished by the blood flowing through it , so is the Spiritual body controlled by the head, who is Christ Jesus. The whole body is held together by the power of His Word and is nourished by His Spirit flowing through us.
1 Peter 2:9-17 (NLT) 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
What was (is) God’s purpose in choosing us, making us royal priests, holy and special? God doesn’t need our abilities to accomplish His purpose. But He desires our availability to work with Him in bringing His plans to fulfillment. Could He do it without us? Yes, but He wants to fellowship with each of us. So, He paid the full price of our redemption. He sent Light into this world to push back the darkness. That Light was Jesus Christ. When we were in slavery to sin, we were nobodies, we were not a people. But God, in His great mercy chose us, picked us up, cleaned us inside and out and put His marvelous Light inside us. Once we become a child of God, we are no longer citizens of this world, we are aliens and foreigners here. But we still have to live here for a while. As long as we are here, our flesh will be tempted to do wrong. But we are to have a lifestyle that reflects the life of Jesus Christ so that He will receive glory. We are free from the flesh, but bound by God’s Holy Spirit. It is our duty to love and respect to those around us so that they will ask us what is this hope that lies in us and causes our joy. We should always have a ready answer for that question. That answer should always give glory to God and magnify the name of Jesus.
Isaiah 55:8-11 (NLT) 8 “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. 9 For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
It is impossible for us to know all of God’s thoughts and plans. Just as He created the whole universe by His spoken Word, He holds it all together by the power of His Word. How could our finite, human minds even begin to understand the intricate details of how nature works?
Our scientists fit a little piece here and a little piece there, but they can’t put it all together. Just as the people of Babel thought they would build a tower to the heavens, we may think that we can figure it all out. But just as God confused their language and made it impossible for them to work together, He will confound our human plans. The wisest of humans is foolish when compared to God. As Job could not answer God about the intricacies of nature, neither can we answer Him. We, as Job did, can come to only one conclusion and that is this: “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. Job 19:25 (NLT) Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The question is not “Will I do this?” The question is “When will I do this?” Do it today and enjoy spending an eternity with Jesus, the One who made it all possible.
Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT) 4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.
6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all
Jesus went to the cross to fulfill prophecy and shed His blood to redeem us from our sins. What great love was shown by the Father to allow His Son to die on the Cross. What great love was shown by the Son to be obedient to the Father even unto the Cross. God was not punishing Jesus for anything that Jesus had done, Jesus lived a sinless life. He chose to lay down His life for us. He was beaten, mocked, pierced, scourged, and hung for our sins. Not only for our salvation but for our healing as well. We cannot work to earn any of this. Every good thing is a free gift from God. Our good works are to lay up
rewards in heaven. Do not confuse the issue. There is only one way to heaven and that is through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Any other method presented by anyone is a lie and a deception. But what about works? Is there no need for works? Yes and yes, again. But the works that we do have nothing to do with salvation. They are an example to the world that we love Jesus and are being obedient to Him. We will be rewarded for those works in eternity, not here on earth.
Jeremiah 14:8-10 (NLT)
8 O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble, why are you like a stranger to us?
Why are you like a traveler passing through the land, stopping only for the night?
9 Are you also confused? Is our champion helpless to save us?
You are right here among us, Lord. We are known as your people.
Please don’t abandon us now!”
10 So this is what the Lord says to his people: “You love to wander far from me
and do not restrain yourselves. Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people.
Now I will remember all your wickedness and will punish you for your sins.”
Just as God told the Israelites back then, He is saying the same thing to us today. We have wandered far away from God and His precepts and we refuse to return. God is not lack concerning His promises of blessing and His promises of discipline as well. God is not confused but our political leaders are very confused. They are like the blind leading the blind. Every day we get farther and farther away from God and we have no remorse for our actions. God will not be mocked, we will reap what we what we have sown. Let us pray for our nation, pray fervently and continually until our leaders return the God of our Fathers. Pray that God will raise up Godly men and women to lead us in paths of righteousness
Hebrews 10:19-25 (NLT) 19 And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. 20 By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. 21 And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, 22 let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Because God loves His Son so much and Jesus gave His life for us, we can boldly go before God at any time and talk with Him about the things that are on your heart. Don’t just give Him a laundry list and head out, take the time to let Him talk to you. God always answers our prayers in the way that is best for us and is consistent with His purpose. He doesn’t always answer our prayers the way we expect Him to, so be alert and watch for His answer. The smallest thing in our lives is important to Him. He does not ignore the requests of His children. He cares for us and gives us everything we need for life here and in eternity. Cast all your cares on Him. He will guide you on your path today. He may choose not to tell you anything about tomorrow. He expects us to walk by faith. That is hard to do at first, but as you practice walking by faith, it becomes easier. It is quite an adventure to walk by faith trusting Jesus to provide everything you need.
2 Timothy 2: 1-6 (NLT) I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
With all the things going on in our country today, we really need to pray for all of our elected officials. They need God’s wisdom to lead this country in the path that God has chosen for us. We have been blessed by God because He had a purpose and a reason for this country to be great. That purpose was to spread His gospel around the world. As long as we lifted up the name of Jesus and walked in that Light, we were safe and secure. Not because of our wealth or our power, but because God fought our battles for us. But as we have drifted farther and farther away from His teachings, we have become open to attack from those who do not support our definition of freedom and human rights. It is no longer possible to live quiet and peaceful lives in most of our neighborhoods. There is violence and unrest around every corner. We have arrived at this juncture because we have disobeyed God and His commands. He built us up and He can bring us down. The message that God gave when He sent Jesus into the world is still the same today. His Word is unchangeable and inerrant. Spend some extra time today praying for our country’s elected officials. Pray that once again, they will be worthy to be called our leaders.
Jeremiah 9:23,24 (NLT)23 This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
24 But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice
and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
We may be well-educated and very intelligent but education and intelligence does not necessarily produce wisdom. God grants us wisdom when we ask humbly without wavering in our request. We may be in a position of authority, but if we are, God has elevated us to that position and can take us down quicker than He raised us up. We should humble ourselves under His mighty hand and He will lift us up in due time. God may have allowed you to amass great wealth, but that wealth can disappear like coins from a pocket with a hole in it or take flight like a bird and be gone before the day is over. There is only one thing that we can be sure of and that is God’s unchanging love. It can’t be earned or bought and once you have accepted Him as your Savior and Lord, you can not be separated from Him. So, if you must boast, boast in the fact that the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe has chosen you to be His heir. That is a boast that you can take with you throughout eternity. You are safe and secure in His unchanging hands.
Malachi 3:13-15 (NLT) 13 “You have said terrible things about me,” says the Lord. “But you say, ‘What do you mean? What have we said against you?’ 14 “You have said, ‘What’s the use of serving God? What have we gained by obeying his commands or by trying to show the Lord of Heaven’s Armies that we are sorry for our sins? 15 From now on we will call the arrogant blessed. For those who do evil get rich, and those who dare God to punish them suffer no harm.’”
Have you ever experienced those feelings? You know, the ones where the devil comes to you and says something like this: “Look at that person over there, they don’t follow God’s commands and look how prosperous they are?” Or perhaps, he said: “Look how much fun they are having, they party all the time and indulge their fleshly lusts and it doesn’t look like God is punishing them? Been there, done that. And when I say “done that”, I mean the “party hardy” life. After committing my life to Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I also know the feeling of watching others prosper while living that old lifestyle. Doesn’t seem fair, does it?
But , you know what? I wouldn’t go back to that lifestyle. The view through the bottom of a glass might be great tonight, but what about tomorrow? You are still going to have the same problems plus a hangover. There is no relief in drugs or illicit sex. There is a perceived relief while you are participating in these things, but what about long-term? Aren’t you really looking for a Solid Rock to stand on? Aren’t you tired of walking on the slippery paths of deception? Do you really want to dig your way out of another mire of quicksand? Aren’t you really looking for long-term peace? The kind of peace that, even though you are cold sober, lets you fall asleep as soon as your head hits the pillow every night? The kind of peace that causes you to look forward to tomorrow morning and every day thereafter? Isn’t that what your heart and soul desire?
Then talk with those who fear (have a respectful awe of) the Lord? They can tell you how to find it. If they don’t ask you, then you should ask them about Jesus. They can tell you how to break the chains of bondage and be set free from satan and his insatiable demands. They can tell you about a Savior that satisfies you instead of you having to meet his demands. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. So light, in fact, that most days it won’t even seem like a burden. Take the time to ask Jesus and He will set you free. Those that the Son of God sets free are free indeed!