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Posts Tagged with "Colossians"

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Living to Please

We are uniquely designed to please someone. We get a measure of satisfaction from pleasing someone else that is essential to our joy. This need drives us to complex relationships as we terribly complicate our lives by adopting many people to please. It would be so much simpler if there were but one person to please and all the other people in our lives were for serving. Th...

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It's Grace All the Way

The letter to the Colossians begins with the prayer for grace to be extended and ends with the same. Sadly, many Christians believe that we get into the family of God by grace, but once there we must grow and mature by our own methods. It is enough, they argue, that God would forgive our past sins and let us in. We can't expect him to spoil us by continuing to treat us wit...

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Salty Speech

Of course, Paul is not instructing his readers to use profanity, as might be interpreted in today's society. He is encouraging them and us to live and speak in such a way that every opportunity with outsiders would be used to the very best end....

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Praying for Preaching

Since God has restored us to the original status of being his partners on earth, we get to participate in the greatest adventure ever known. Even when we aren't the ones declaring the great revelation, we can participate. Remember! It was the word of God that created everything. It is the word of God that restores everything. When the gospel is preached, order begins to re...

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Pray As You Go

It is interesting how often Paul exhorts his readers to continually pray or pray without ceasing. He obviously didn't view prayer primarily as a scheduled religious activity. It seems to be something he expected believers to do as a continual practice. Why would he think otherwise?...

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Whatever You Do

The partnership has been restored! God created mankind to be his partner in developing what he had made. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve did life together with God as they loved him, each other, and the work they were given to do. But, as a result of their sin, work took on the burden of toil as they fought the hostility of sin and its curse. But, that is not the end o...

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Gospel-Marriage

When the "word of Christ dwells in us richly" (v. 16), we can have relationships beyond what could be expected in the natural. Since we have the very life of God as our source, we can enjoy and employ the same kind of submission found in the eternal triune Godhead. There, no rivalry exits between the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. All find both honor and joy in exalting ...

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Wholly Work

The new perspective on life affects how we approach every detail. We are hidden with Christ in God and we simply live from that perspective. There is no separation between the secular part of life, like work and play, and the spiritual part, like prayer and fasting. We do everything in his name---as him, representing him---and for his honor....

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Indwelt by the Word of Christ

This text seems to be a parallel admonition given by Paul to the Ephesian church. "Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs..." (Ephesians 5:18-19). We notice that being filled with the Spirit and being indwelt by the word of Christ produces the same kind of fruit. This is no surprise to those who remember that Jesus promise...

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No Cross-Dressing

Just like we can wear appropriate clothes, we can put on the attitude and behavior that is consistent with our new identity in Christ. When we were alienated from God, outside his favor and unaware of his love, we behaved as such. It was common for us to fight and claw for our portion, while we strutted to prevent others from seeing how insecure we were. Holding a grudge w...

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And Be Thankful

There are not many legitimate short cuts in life, but maybe the closest thing to one is thankfulness. There is never a time when it is inappropriate. It always causes the focus to readjust. It is the heart of true worship. It is not a discipline or a habit, but it can become a regular response to any and every situation....

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Christ Is All and In All

Since being expelled from the Garden of Eden, mankind has been desperately trying to find something that would provide an edge in returning to fellowship with God. The dignity that was given to God's highest form of creation suffered a fatal blow. Adam and Eve were partners with God! They enjoyed a relationship that nothing else had ever had. They were created in his image...

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Being Renewed

Just like God created the universe in the beginning, he engaged in a new creation with Jesus. The original was tainted beyond repair, but not beyond redemption. There was need of a new Adam and a new race, albeit residing on the old earth. The Cross-event was not just one of many important events in history--it was a new creation event. The product of that creative event i...

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Put Away the Thieves

For many, salvation is limited to a "get out of jail free" card. They pray a prayer or submit to baptism or graduate from confirmation class only to continue to live pestered by impulses and influences that have characterized their previous life. They have some assurance that they will make it into heaven after they die, but they have little hope of being liberated from ...

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Once and Now

In humanity's search for authenticity, we often demand that others accept us as we are and overlook our deficiencies. Of course we all want a break when it comes to our failures, but our demands have often locked us into prisons of defeat....

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The God of Wrath Is Coming

Wrath is a subject that most of us don't like to handle--unless we think someone else deserves it. Many live in fear of the wrath of God and devise plans to appease him. They have determined that God is the expanded version of some anger-filled relative or neighbor who will blow up on you if he is not pleased. Those biblical texts that mention wrath seem to jump off the pa...

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Put to Death...

In contemporary culture, desires rule. In fact, we have even allowed for our identity to be determined by our desires. This leaves little hope for those of us who are menaced by evil desires. What are we to do? If evil desires define us and confine us, then we have no option but to live by their demands. Others will just have to alter their definitions of evil, as well as ...

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Appearing with Christ

We all want desperately to matter! We want to appear and be seen as worth something. We need authentication from outside. We just can't handle the possibility that we have lived with no meaning or purpose and have little value. We all long for our own "15 minutes of fame."...

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Hidden with Christ in God

This is truth too marvelous for the human mind to grasp quickly. It often escapes us as we continue to live as if we are primarily people of the natural and fallen world. We are so accustomed to defining our reality by familiar feelings that we tend to put such truth off into a category that we label "spiritual," but we actually mean "not practical" or "not for now."...

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Raised With Christ

The majestic mystery of Jesus' appearance is that he included us (those who are his by faith) in his death, resurrection, and ascension. Whatever happened to him, as our representative, happened to us. Truly the future has invaded the present, and we are now challenged to live each day on the basis of Christ's complete work. ...

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Apparent Wisdom

Man-made religion is always in a battle with the flesh. Actually, it is always a surrender to the flesh. "Flesh" is a term Paul uses to describe that part of mankind that responds to the law and attempts to fulfill requirements that will gain some type of leverage with God. It is the default mode of a race that has been alienated from God and desperately wants to be back...

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The Beauty of Having Died

If we were dead, we wouldn't have struggles with flesh and frailty. But then, we would be dead. Christ has made it possible for us to have the benefits of being dead while we are still alive in our bodies....

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Growth

Healthy things grow until they reach maturity. We expect it. If it doesn't happen, we are alarmed and try to find the cause. If we are focused on the external, we will emphasize physical growth and tend to measure progress simply in physical terms. So there are some who think a particular church is healthy because it grows numerically, even though they would admit that big...

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Grounds for Disqualification

There is a disqualifying form of Christianity being promoted among us. It leaves its adherents with a legalistic hangover and a deflated hope. It features some or all of the following characteristics: asceticism, obsession with angels, reliance on visions, confidence based on knowledge rather than relationship, and failure to exalt Jesus as the source, means, and goal of l...

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Falsely Judged

Human tradition and elemental spirits (Colossians 2:8) are always looking for grounds to condemn and disqualify. We are all susceptible to judging and being judged on the wrong grounds. We continue to misjudge God's true nature and thereby misjudge each other. God has never been about setting rules for the purpose of determining who is qualified and who is not. He has alwa...

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Disarming the Enemy

Before his public ministry began, Jesus met Satan in the wilderness and walked away victorious. It wasn't just his victory. He represented Adam who had faced Satan in the original Garden and lost. He also represented Israel who faced Satan in the wilderness of temptation and lost. This time both Adam and Israel won in their representative--Jesus. The new Man began a new er...

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The Canceled Debt

It is difficult getting accustomed to being free from debt when you have lived your whole life with its weight. You feel illegal, even ungodly. Actually, many of us demand to continue to live with some measure of debt. It gives some strange sense of comfort and normalcy. We think, "Surely we aren't totally forgiven. We can't just expect to be treated as Jesus the Son is tr...

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In The Family

The people of Israel recognized that they were chosen by God and were a peculiar people on the earth. They had been given the Law. They were commissioned to bless other nations by being a kingdom of priests. They were to act as God's son on earth. The sign that they were people of covenant was circumcision. When the new era arrived, it became clear that God had other sheep...

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Filled By Him

Everything God has ever wanted to say, he said in Jesus. He is the complete and final Word of God. It seems that human nature is determined to find some vital information outside of him. We have looked in magic, witchcraft, science, imagination, exotic religious cults, intriguing prophetic predictions, and fanciful interpretations of scripture, but we refuse to believe tha...

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Watch Out For Vain Traditions

Our enemy's weapon is deceit. He is not the creator nor sustainer of this world. He only perverts what God has made good and turns beauty into ugliness. He is, however, active and seeking someone he can devour with deception. The only safe place is in the truth of Christ....

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It Is All Christ

Jesus is not just the starting point of eternal life. He is the journey and the destination. First we receive him because our hearts have been drawn by the Spirit and quickened to believe. Then we walk in him. We take steps of faith trusting him to supply all that we need to move ahead. His past is our past. His life is our life. We can depend on his never-ending supply of...

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Walking as a Receiver

A common myth is that we come to salvation by receiving mercy as a free gift, but we have to walk out salvation by our efforts to improve our character. The truth is that God is only impressed with one person's righteousness. He is fully committed to Jesus the Son. No one can compete with him in any area""and we don't have to. When we receive Jesus as our savior, salvation...

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Protection Against Deception

Everyone likes a mystery. There is something in us that knows there is reality beyond our reach. We resent our limitations of knowledge and are vulnerable to high-sounding prospects of discovering the newest truth or the most novel interpretation....

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The Riches of the Mystery

True wealth is found in understanding the mystery that is Christ. Perhaps it is too simple for the intellectual, too obvious for the curious, and too wonderful for the religious. It seems that mankind is determined to find some kind of understanding outside of Christ that will satisfy the longing to know. It is so easy to get sidetracked by even good things--Bible study, h...

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The Tapestry of Love

There was something that made all the hard work Paul did really worth it. He desperately wanted those who listened to (or read) him to discover the vast riches that lie within the life that is theirs by faith in Christ. This great secret that blows all other secrets out of the water is, simply, Christ. Sadly, too many of those in Colossae and Laodicea were willing to settl...

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The Struggle and the Mystery

It is worth the struggle, but there is a struggle. Like Paul, we who proclaim the mystery explained in the gospel of Christ recognize that there is a battle going on as the accuser tries to nullify the effects of the message. The cross as God's remedy for mankind's dilemma is still controversial. It looks like defeat to those who want God to act on our behalf and defeat th...

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Energized

It is always sad to hear that someone has "burned out" in his or her endeavors to minister in Christ's name. In our driven culture it is almost a badge of honor to claim such. "Wow!" we think, "This person has given of themselves for others to the point of total exhaustion!" They are often without vision, passion, and energy to go on, but like a field-worker whose has ha...

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Him We Proclaim

This verse has been a part of the logo on my stationary since 1975. It has been my mission statement. I am painfully aware that I have not always adhered to its singular purpose. It is easy to get sidetracked and proclaim something less. For the Christian, there can be no other mission. To do anything less is to miss the point of ministry. What could compare to proclaiming...

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Revealed to the Saints

For centuries, the fullness of God's purpose on earth was hidden. Even the great patriarchs of the faith only saw in part. They saw so much, but it wasn't fully revealed to them how the final goal would be accomplished, and they weren't sure how it would look....

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More On the Mystery

Secularism purports to offer a conflict-free society since it relegates religion to the unessential and absurd---only for those not enlightened enough to face the facts of reality. It claims that religion is the cause of trouble and war. Ignoring life's design, its adherents work feverishly to make sense of life as on earth. When they can find no purpose, they boldly decla...

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The Missing Piece

When Jesus is not the center of the picture, the photograph is terribly out of focus. When he is not the center of the story, history is just a tale told by men full of sound and fury. When he is not the center of the puzzle, the problem is never solved....

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Rejoicing in Sufferings

This seems an odd statement to the contemporary American Christian. We not only have been led to view suffering as something to avoid, it is often seen as evidence that our faith is defective. We are often exhorted to believe some specific admonition so that we will find the highest level of comfort and convenience possible. We are embarrassed about our suffering more than...

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