Thursday, October 22, 2020

A healthy partnership ...

"So if you consider me a partner, welcome him as you would welcome me." - Philemon 17
Partners ride the trail together, run the business together and compete in the game together. They are on the same page, with the same goal. As Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up." A healthy partnership is a blessing for all seasons.
Paul had a partnership with Philemon and a growing partnership with Onesimus. Being a brother and spiritual father in the Lord is a great relationship. It is more than a moment in time or phase in life. We are partners in the work of the gospel for life and strong teamwork brings a good return for our work. A healthy partnership is a blessing for all seasons.
 Who are your partners in the gospel today? Do you work alongside with a welcoming heart and supportive spirit? Do you draw strength from them as you provide them encouragement? Christian partners work together, even through the most difficult situations, because they are partners with the Lord. A healthy partnership is a blessing for all seasons.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The Bridge to Nowhere...

"Tell Archippus: 'See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.'" - Colossians 4:17
"The Bridge to Nowhere" was a raised walkway built in the 1960s, intended to connect the college Library with the Student Union on the Stony Brook University campus in New York. The construction greatly missed the mark and remained an unfinished eyesore for years being demolished in 2003. Projects that are never finished are always disappointing.
Paul was always focused on finishing the work assigned by God. His testimony to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:6 was, "I have finished the race". Jesus said to his Disciples in John 4:34, “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work". When the Lord assigns a task, he expects us to finish the job.
There are times that you may grow weary in the work of the Lord, but don't give up; finish the job. Winston Churchill gave a very short speech to the students at Harrow School on October 29, 1941. His words of wisdom were: 'Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, give up. Never give up. Never give up." See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord my friend. Don't be a "Bridge to Nowhere".

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The right clothes...

"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.

Monday, October 19, 2020

All you need...

"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority." -Colossians 2:8-10 
Self help books and new life-changing programs are beyond number. The issue comes down to this;  people feel inadequate to face the challenges of life. Sadly, even believers find themselves in this deceptive rut. The lingering value of previous conferences quickly slips away as a new approach enters stage left. If the child of God would look within, they would have no need to look elsewhere.
The problem stated above is far from new. Paul found it necessary to give warning and counsel to the believers of his day. There have always been charlatans and profiteers that would take captive poor souls who were insecure. Human traditions have always been attractive for the moment. But in time, every tradition and philosophy loses it's luster and inadequacy returns with a vengeance. There is only one timeless answer that never fails the child of God. Look within, for you have been filled in HIM.
Where is your adequacy, security and sufficiency my friend? Do you feel as if the ground on which you stand constantly slips away? Is there a sense of hollowness in your philosophy of life? Well, take a moment and gaze upon your Savior. In Him the fullness of deity dwells and you have have been filled in Him, and He is all you need!

Sunday, October 18, 2020

The basics...

"And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God." - Colossians 1:9-10
You can dress your car to the fives with the slickest hubcaps, sport suspension, finest audio system and sharpest interior tweaking. Yet, if you don't change the oil and keep the engine in good shape, eventually all that you will have is a pretty lawn ornament. You need to take care of the basics.
When you look carefully at Paul's prayer for the Colossians, he was all about their spiritual condition. I have no doubt that he had concern for their physical and financial issues, but his priority was for their knowing the will of God and living in a manner worthy of the Lord. He always prayed about the basics.
When you attend your church prayer service my friend, what is the focus of prayer? Prayers are lifted up for broken bones, lost jobs, safe traveling, church projects or youth activities. While all these requests are important, how much time is spent on the spiritual welfare of people? When do we pray without ceasing that our church family would be filled with spiritual wisdom to bear fruit in every good work and increase in the knowledge of God? Are we really praying for the basics?

Saturday, October 17, 2020

On a mission...

"There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured." - Acts 28:7-8
When we set out on a trip, we're focused on our destination. Flat tires, detours and illnesses are just inconveniences that are quickly dealt with so we can move on. The thought of stopping and smelling the roses or slowing down to give a helping hand is often rejected because...We're on a mission.
Paul was on a journey and the trip had been rough. The need to regroup and move on was great. But, Paul was willing to take time to get involved in other people's troubles. His needs were put aside to show the love of Jesus to someone else. Paul's life and ministry was reaching people everywhere for Jesus. Trips and troubles were never more important than people. Every day, Paul was on a mission.
What is your destination today? Are you going someplace exotic? Somewhere exciting and challenging? Is your plan more important than those you meet along the way? Is your ministry for Jesus always down the road and in the future? Take time to show the love of Jesus to those you meet day to day. Because people all around you need the Lord, you too are on a mission.

Friday, October 16, 2020

A moment of worship...

"After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat." - Acts 27:35
Jonathan Edwards would lead his family in a prayer of gratitude before and after every meal. George Muller of Bristol would lead the orphan children in a prayer of thanksgiving and faith before meals, where the food was yet to arrive. As the crucifixion approached, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it saying "Take and eat, this is my body" (Matthew 26:26). Saying grace is far more than a Christian obligation, it's a moment of worship.
Paul and an entire crew of storm worn sailors were about to eat some bread. It wasn't a feast and it wasn't a celebration. With the surrounding events so discouraging and threatening, appetites were long gone. Yet, Paul encouraged them to eat for strength and as they prepared to eat, he gave thanks. With the mess they were in, one might wonder why he would express gratitude. Grace isn't just being grateful for good and plentiful food it's... a moment of worship.
Do you take time to  give thanks before your meal wherever you are? Do you give thanks in the restaurant? Do you pray over your sandwich at work? How about your cereal in the morning when you are alone? Is your prayer an obligatory "Thanks", or in light of God's presence and provision is it... a moment of worship?