“Clothe Yourselves With Compassion”

even-smaller-bug-light1

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. – Col 3:12 ISV

Col. 3:12-14 SV

The characteristics that Paul talks about here are totally contrary to the flesh. Yet, these are the goals that we should be striving toward in our daily walk with Jesus. All of us have certain areas in which God has gifted us and the change from natural to spiritual in these areas are easier for us than for others.  The flesh is stubborn and wants to hold onto the old ways. Nevertheless, we must strive every day to improve in all of the areas. Being humble is hard for the flesh. When we do good deeds, we want to be recognized and praised for those good deeds. But, we must remember that we are doing these things for Jesus and laying up our rewards in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. —  Matt. 6:2-4

Probably the toughest of all of these things is to learn to truly forgive.  We say that we have forgiven those who have hurt us, but how do we treat that person after we have said those words.  Does remembering the incident still cause you to act differently toward that person?  Forgiveness is not a pardon for the person’s wrong,  It is not saying that what they did is okay.  It is saying that we all make mistakes and we all need forgiveness at times, so we should forgive others because of the forgiveness we have experienced in our lives, particularly, the forgiveness of our sins by Jesus. We need to forgive for our own benefit and not allow a root of bitterness to grow in our hearts that satan can use to destroy relationships with others and eventually destroy us.

31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. — Ephesians 4:31

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Let The Word of the Messiah Inhabit You Richly”

even-smaller-bug-light1

16 Let the word of the Messiah[b] inhabit you richly with wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and singing to God with thankfulness in your hearts.Col. 3:15 ISV 

Col. 3:15-17 ISV

The word that Jesus used for peace in John 14:27 when He said, “my peace I leave with you” is the Greek word “eirene” pronounced a-ra-na. Like shalom in the Old Testament, it has a much more complex meaning than just an absence of war or conflict. If you look up shalom in the Strong’s Concordance, you will find a long list of what shalom can mean to us.  According to Strong’s Concordance 7965 Shalom means completeness, wholeness, health, peace, welfare, safety, soundness, tranquility, prosperity, perfectness, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord. Shalom comes from the root verb shalom meaning to be complete, perfect and full. This is “the peace of the Messiah” and that is what the word conveyed to the disciples. It is also what Jesus has given to all of us who accept Him as our Savior and make Him Lord of our lives. Is there anything missing from this list that we need to live lives that are full of peace and joy?  Let us be thankful and allow this “message of Christ to dwell among us richly”.  To “dwell” means to live in a specified place.  For that to happen in our lives, we must meditate on the Word of God and store his Word in our hearts.  Then when problems arise in our lives and the lives of those around us, we can encourage ourselves and others with the Word, psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs. Jesus died on the cross that we might live abundant lives full of peace and joy.  So, when satan comes around with all of his lies, we can rebuke him with the Word, just as Jesus did.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Working For the Lord”

even-smaller-bug-light1

23 Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. – Col. 3:23 NLT 

Col. 3:22-25 NLT

Most of us do not have jobs that are commonly considered to be “full-time” work for the Lord.  But, what we need to remember is that whatever our vocation is, that is where we are planted and where we need to bloom. Where we are right now is our mission field.  We have more opportunities to witness every day than those employed by the church.  The pastors and other staff are there to encourage us in our daily lives and minister to the flocks that God has given them.  Most of their conversations are with other Christians, whereas, we are on the battlefront everyday. Their job is to equip us to minister in our workplaces. When we are out in the world working for others, we must do so cheerfully and efficiently.  We should be working to please the Lord.  If our work pleases the Lord, it will be found to be more than acceptable by man.  Will we always be recognized and rewarded by our employers and/or our fellow workers?  No, but that should be of very little concern to us. God sees all of our works and stores up rewards for us in heaven. When we are faithful in serving God in the workplace, we can be assured that He notices it.  We live in a work-a-day world, but we are bondservants to Jesus Christ.  He is our Master and our Provider.  When our work pleases Him, we can be assured that we will receive the promotions and rewards in His timing. Be thankful for the provisions that God has made for each of us. If we have a grateful attitude, we won’t need to “put on a happy face”, we can just let the joy of the Lord shine through us and that will attract others to Him.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Think About the Things of Heaven”

even-smaller-bug-light1

2 Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.– Col. 3:2 

Col. 3:1-5 NLT ​

When we accept Christ as our Savior it should change the way we assess the things we see and hear.  There should be external evidence of what has taken place inside of us.  Our thoughts and our hearts’ desires should be focused on things above and not on earthly things.  If we find that we are still worried about the things happening around us, particularly those that we can’t control, we need to get into the Scriptures and allow the presence of the Holy Spirit to assure us of God’s omnipotence and omnipresence.  If we find that most of our thoughts are still on the same things that we thought about before, we need to be sure that we have repented.  True repentance will cause a change of some of our habits and our thought patterns. It will cause us to re-prioritize the things in our lives. Before, we evaluated things according to worldly standards, now we should be evaluating them according to God’s standards.  We have died and are now hidden in Christ. The flesh does not like this new us. It is a constant battle to put to death all those fleshly desires and satan will surely be coming around to remind you of how much “fun” you were having when you were serving Him. We have to put these fleshly things to death in our minds, while they are still in the idea or thought stage. If we allow them to take root in our mind, we have lost the battle. We cannot do this alone, we have to allow God to accomplish it through and for us.

3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.-2 Cor. 10:3-5

“An Appearance of Wisdom”

even-smaller-bug-light1

23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. – Col 2:23 NLT

Col. 2:20-23 NLT

We think we are far advanced from the first century AD. In technology, dress, and the comforts of life, we are.  But human nature itself has not changed much. We still have those who want to regulate everything that each individual does or wants to do.  That is why we have so many laws that we can fill numerous buildings storing all the paperwork. But, as Jesus knew and we should have learned, external laws don’t keep us from sinning.   Jesus pointed out to the religious leaders of His day that they kept adding man-made rules and regulations to the laws God had given them. These had no spiritual value since what goes into us that makes us obedient or disobedient, it is what comes out of us.

10 After Jesus called the crowd to him, he said, “Listen and understand what I am saying. 11 It is not what people put into their mouths that makes them unclean. It is what comes out of their mouths that makes them unclean.” — Matt.15:10-11​

As Christians, we have liberty, but we must use that liberty wisely in choosing what we do and what we don’t do.  We must be sure that we are not adding to what God has said is right and/or wrong.  We must not allow the things that we have chosen to rule our lives to the extent that they become our “god”‘ and we impose those things on others as if they were laws or commandments.12 “I am allowed to do all things,” but not all things are good for me to do. “I am allowed to do all things,” but I will not let anything make me its slave. — 1 Cor. 6:12​Wrong choices are external symptoms of an internal problem. The problem is that we have not allowed God’s Word to conform our thoughts. If we bring all of our thoughts into captivity to God, we will not need external “dos” and “don’ts”. It will be our hearts’ desire to do what God wants us to do and not do the things He doesn’t want us to do.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“For You Were Buried With Christ”

even-smaller-bug-light1

12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. – Col. 2:12 NLT

Col. 2:11-14 NLT

The life, death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the law given in the Old Testament. God is no longer concerned with whether or not we are circumcised physically, His concern is with what is going on in our hearts. Our water baptism is an outward symbol of us going through death and resurrection with Jesus, therefore our flesh is buried with Jesus and we are symbolically raised from the dead with Jesus. We are raised as new creations in Christ Jesus. All of our sin debt has been paid in full. There are no outstanding charges against us now. We need to hang onto that promise because satan is going to come around trying to convince us that we are not set free.   Don’t listen to him, he is a murderer, a thief and a liar. If he can convince us that we are still guilty, he will destroy our testimony and make us useless in the kingdom here on earth. We must ask Jesus to be Lord over our lives and submit totally to His will. If we do this, when satan comes around. he will flee from us. So, when we have done everything God has asked us to do in a situation, then just stand firm and resist. How do we resist the devil? We do the same thing Jesus did, we use the Word to resist him. This means we must spend time in the word learning what God says about our rights and our position in Him.

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. — James 4:7-8

Once we have rebuked satan with the word, we just need to stand firm.  God will do the rest, the power of His word will send satan scampering away. But we must stay on the alert, he will sneak back around and try the same and/or other tactics to try to weaken our resolve. 

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Don’t Tell Us What Is Right”

even-smaller-bug-light1

10 They tell the seers,  “Stop seeing visions!”
They tell the prophets,   “Don’t tell us what is right.
Tell us nice things.  Tell us lies. — Isaiah 30:10 NLT

Isaiah 30:8-15 NLT

For too many years, our country has been headed down a path that is leading us further and further from God. Over and over, we have seen and ignored the warning signs. God is calling this nation to repentance.  The Bible shows us over and over that God keeps all of his promises, promises for good and His promises to discipline.  God has blessed this country for centuries because we were His “light on a hill”, a beacon and an example for other nations to follow.  But those times have come to an end. We are now a country in chaos because we have chosen to stray from the path of righteousness and follow after other gods.  Gods of greed, violence, hate all because of our pride.  Our unwillingness to admit when we are wrong and listen to reason.  God is calling us saying “Come, let us reason together” and we are refusing to listen. He said the same thing to Israel and they refused to listen and they paid a huge price for their disobedience.  If we continue to walk the path of disobedience, we too will pay a huge price.  Only God can “Make America Great Again”.  He is calling us to return to Him and be saved. Only in returning to Him and resting in Him will we be saved. Let us return to Him or we, like Israel, will be disciplined severely for our prideful disobedience.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“You Must Continue to Follow Him”

even-smaller-bug-light1

6 And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. – Col. 2:6 NLT

Col. 2:6-10 NLT

The words that Paul wrote to encourage the Church at Colossae are just as true today as then.  Receiving Christ as our Savior is the first step in our journey to heaven. The next steps are allowing Him to be Lord of our lives as well. When we were saved, we received the Holy Spirit as an earnest of the fulfillment of the promises God has made to His children. He lives in us, therefore we live in Him. We need to become rooted in His word so that our lifestyles will reflect His examples and give Him glory.  We need to study His word and meditate on it daily. We need to spend time talking WITH Him, not just to Him. After we have thanked Him, given Him praise and laid our petitions before Him, we need to sit quietly in His presence and see what He has to say to us. There is always a word from the Lord, if we listen for it. We need this time in His presence early in the day to prepare ourselves for the spiritual battlefield.  Jesus gave up His place in glory and lived as all man to set the example for us. He set the example of spending time alone with the Father so that He would be strengthened for the battle. He lived a perfect life and has been restored to all His glory and made ruler over all things.  We can’t be perfect but we can have a full and true life if we follow His example on a daily basis.

41 He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” 43 An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. — Luke 22:41-43 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Do Not Be Afraid or Discouraged”

even-smaller-bug-light1

9 This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 NLT 

Joshua 1:7-9 NLT

For years, Joshua had been the faithful assistant of Moses as they led the Jewish nation through the desert.  Now, that Moses was gone, the role of leadership was passed to Joshua. This would have been a very trying time for Joshua or anyone who had just lost their leader and their mentor.  But God had a plan for comforting and encouraging Joshua. The Lord spoke to Joshua.  Now, instead of getting his directions from Moses, Joshua got them straight from the Lord. “Be strong and courageous”, “meditate on the Book of the Law day and night”, “be careful to do everything written in it” and “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”.  God has a plan for each of us, as well. When we are down in the valley after a great loss or for any reason, He speaks to each of us if we are willing to listen. He has the same message for us that He had for Joshua, “Be strong and very courageous”, meditate on the Holy Scriptures day and night. Be careful to follow the instructions given. Listen to and follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Because God has given us the Holy Spirit to abide within us, He is always with us wherever we go.  Jesus has been where we are now and He is already where we are going, so, let us lift up our heads and our hands and rejoice. Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we are assured of reaching our destination. No thing or no one can separate us from the love of God or from His protection. We can depend on God, He has never failed on any of His promises.  “Be strong and very courageous”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Encouraged and Knit Together”

even-smaller-bug-light1

 2 I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. – Col. 2:2a NLT 

Col. 2:1-4 NLT

Paul continually intercedes with God for the churches that he has planted and for those churches that his coworkers have planted. He realizes that when there are only a few believers present, it is easy for them to become discouraged and start to drop out.  He wants them to be encouraged and united in love. All Christians, particularly new Christians need to be encouraged and taught the riches of the Gospel.  We do new converts a disservice when we fail to mentor them in their walk with Christ. The world, satan and his gang are going to immediately start a concentrated effort to make the new converts doubt that there has been a change in their lives.  We must strive to get them rooted and established in the depth of the riches of the word of God. If we or they are not consistent in our study and our walk with God, it is easy for satan to separate us and make our lives miserable and ineffective for God. We must understand and teach others that regardless of our own feelings and the exterior circumstances, there is great wisdom and greater joy in serving Jesus and living a lifestyle that follows His example. Just a glimpse of the vast expanse and depth of His love and power should be sufficient reason for us to carry on.

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. — Ephesians 3:16-19 NIV

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous