Friday 1 September, 2017

Colossians 2:16-19

16 So don’t let anyone judge you because of what you eat or drink. Don’t let anyone judge you about holy days. I’m talking about special feasts and New Moons and Sabbath days. 17 They are only a shadow of the things to come. But what is real is found in Christ. 18 Some people enjoy pretending they aren’t proud. They worship angels. But don’t let people like that judge you. These people tell you every little thing about what they have seen. They are proud of their useless ideas. That’s because their minds are not guided by the Holy Spirit. 19 They aren’t connected anymore to the head, who is Christ. But the whole body grows from the head. The muscles and tendons hold the body together. And God causes it to grow.

Don’t let anyone condemn you.

Paul helps me to understand that any thoughts of condemnation do not come from Christ (v19). Christ Jesus does not condemn me because of anything I do or don’t do, he simply does not condemn me.

I don’t actually need anyone to condemn me, I do a good job of that myself. But if my thoughts do not led me to Christ, then they are not from Christ but from my enemy who wants to led me away from Jesus.

Instead Paul tells us in Corinthians to take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. Every condemning thought, no matter where it comes from must be taken captive. Arrest that thought. I have to take action against those thoughts.

How? I have to choose to think thoughts that come from Christ, from the Bible. Thoughts that encourage me, build me up, lift me up and set me free.

Thank you for setting me free from all condemnation. Jesus, your words are life and food to my soul.

Written by Andrew Martin

1 (reply)
  1. Justin Ware says:

    I was thinking about the “same sex marriage” debate as I read this today.

    I had a conversation with someone the other day who is not a christian. They had very good reasons for supporting the notion of same sex marriage and I accepted their position, but they were very condemning of Christians generally for holding a “bigoted view” and “wanting to control everyone in society, even those who don’t agree with their views”

    My first internal reaction was to feel a little hurt. This really felt like a personal attack on something deep in my identity.

    But then I realised that this person had probably developed this view partly out of naivety and partly because they have genuinely had negative experiences before. They were quite firm in their position, so I decided it wasn’t worth trying to argue forcefully, but to simply say that I could see their perspective on same sex marriage but that my values and experience have led me to a position where I hold a different view.

    This verse wasn’t at the front of my mind when I chose not to be defensive or argumentative, but the principle of this passage certainly is a core part of who I am striving to be as a Christian.

    Thanks God for the wisdom and principles that are in Your Word.

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Thursday 31 August, 2017

Colossians 2:8-15

8 Make sure no one controls you. They will try to control you by using false reasoning that has no meaning. Their ideas depend on human teachings. They also depend on the basic spiritual powers of this world. They don’t depend on Christ. 9 God’s whole nature is living in Christ in human form. 10 Because you belong to Christ, you have been made complete. He is the ruler over every power and authority. 11 When you received Christ, your circumcision was not done by human hands. Instead, your circumcision was done by Christ. He put away the person you used to be. At that time, sin’s power ruled over you. 12 When you were baptized, you were buried together with Christ. And you were raised to life together with him when you were baptized. You were raised to life by believing in God’s work. God himself raised Jesus from the dead. 13 At one time you were dead in your sins. Your desires controlled by sin were not circumcised. But God gave you new life together with Christ. He forgave us all our sins. 14 He wiped out what the law said that we owed. The law stood against us. It judged us. But he has taken it away and nailed it to the cross. 15 He took away the weapons of the powers and authorities. He made a public show of them. He won the battle over them by dying on the cross.

and you have been given fullness in Christ”:v 10.

What a wonderful gift from God! “Fullness” I take to mean everything. Christ “is the head over every power and authority” and by this authority he has beaten the power of sin over us, which was cutting us off from God. Through him we have salvation. This salvation is complete because:

 

Our sins are forgiven v13

We are resurrected from spiritual death vs12-13

We are freed from legalistic requirements v14

We are delivered from evil powers and beings v15.

 

Our broken relationship with God is restored to the way he intended it, as we’re designed.

And it is God’s beautiful gift of freedom to all who believe in Jesus. Only Jesus could do it because he is fully God (v9).

Oh Jesus I praise you for your free love gift to us. You are enough for me.   Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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Wednesday 30 August, 2017

Colossians 2:1-7

2 I want you to know how hard I am working for you. I’m concerned for those who are in Laodicea. I’m also concerned for everyone who has not met me in person. 2 My goal is that their hearts may be encouraged and strengthened. I want them to be joined together in love. Then their understanding will be rich and complete. They will know the mystery of God. That mystery is Christ. 3 All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him. 4 But I don’t want anyone to fool you with words that only sound good. 5 So even though I am away from you in body, I am with you in spirit. And I am glad to see that you are controlling yourselves. I am happy that your faith in Christ is so strong. 6 You received Christ Jesus as Lord. So keep on living your lives in him. 7 Have your roots in him. Build yourselves up in him. Grow strong in what you believe, just as you were taught. Be more thankful than ever before.

Treasure is not only valuable, it is exciting! It is usually hidden in some way and involves an adventure to uncover it. Verse 3 says that “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him,” that is, Jesus. I don’t think I have considered Jesus as ‘exciting’ or full of the riches of wisdom and knowledge. I know He is wise, but hidden treasure suggests that we not only find it in Him, but we get to take it home with us!

Am I expecting the treasure of wisdom and knowledge when I spend time with Jesus? Am I excited about what I may discover with Jesus? Am I truly believing that ‘ALL!’ the treasures of wisdom AND knowledge are hidden in Him?

God, I admit that I often expect disappointment and frustration when I pray. Where I have become stuck on past experiences or have come to believe lies, help me to walk in the truth. Help me to be expectant and to quickly come to you when I need the rich treasure of wisdom or knowledge. Thank you God that you’re patient with me. Amen.

Written by Bethany Waugh

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Tuesday 29 August, 2017

Colossians 1:24-29

24 I am happy because of what I am suffering for you. My suffering joins with and continues the sufferings of Christ. I suffer for his body, which is the church. 25 I serve the church. God appointed me to bring the complete word of God to you. 26 That word contains the mystery that has been hidden for many ages. But now it has been made known to the Lord’s people. 27 God has chosen to make known to them the glorious riches of that mystery. He has made it known among the Gentiles. And here is what it is. Christ is in you. He is your hope of glory. 28 Christ is the one we preach about. With all the wisdom we have, we warn and teach everyone. When we bring them to God, we want them to be like Christ. We want them to be grown up as people who belong to Christ. 29 That’s what I’m working for. I work hard with all the strength of Christ. His strength works powerfully in me.

Three things strike me from this passage: the importance of telling the complete and accurate message; Paul’s childlike excitement in revealing the secret plan of God; and the secret itself which is that Christ lives in us.

Paul  teaches the ENTIRE message. He knows it’s important to do this rather than to extract and focus on certain popular aspects of it.  He WARNS as well as teaches, relying on the wisdom God gives to him. The reason he does this is because he wants the people to be blameless when they come before God. This is Paul’s God given responsibility and it is one he takes seriously enough to live with the physical suffering this brings him.

Despite all this seriousness, Paul is excited and energised by the good news he has to tell. Gods plan all along was that the Gentiles would also receive Jesus and enter His kingdom. He can’t wait to tell them.  Does the incredible reality of the gospel inspire us to tell people about the gift God has for them?

The best thing about having a good secret is, after a suitable period of suspense, revealing it to a curious audience and seeing their reaction.  Watching as someone opens a present from you, or revealing the twist in the tail of a movie. The secret hidden from the Jews all that time is that Jesus lives in all believers now, through the Indwelling of His Holy Spirit. Now it all makes sense.  How much Paul wants them to see this.

Am I keeping the secret, or revealing it? The message is still that the Holy Spirit is here for everyone.  Do I rely on God for the wisdom I need to speak the message. Is the message worth enough to me that I am willing to sacrifice my comfort. These things are a continual struggle for me. But when I tell the things of God to those around me with joy and energy people respond with interest and curiosity.

Lord I pray that your active presence in my life continues to inspire me to talk about you, and that others will catch the excitement. Amen

Written by Dimity Milne

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Monday 28 August, 2017

Colossians 1:21-23

21 At one time you were separated from God. You were enemies in your minds because of your evil ways. 22 But because Christ died, God has brought you back to himself. Christ’s death has made you holy in God’s sight. So now you don’t have any flaw. You are free from blame. 23 But you must keep your faith steady and firm. You must not move away from the hope the good news holds out to you. This is the good news that you heard. It has been preached to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, now serve the good news.

A wonderful passage again demonstrating the initiative God took to reconcile me.
By reading the passage emphasizing the “you” and the “he”, a clear picture is given of this initiative.

The next step I encourage you with, is to read the passage, and replace the “you” with “I” which personalises this passage.
I was alienated . . . . He reconciled me. My responsibility . . .to continue in my faith, established and firm. It is a simple message and summary of the gospel. Today I choose to therefore reflect on this wonderful act of grace of God, and how this demonstrates his great love for me.
Father, I thank you that you are always chasing after me, that you took the initiative to draw me to yourself. Thank you that this is because you want to spend eternity with me. I pray that this truth will be on the forefront of my mind for this day. Amen

Written by Steve Fell

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Sunday 27 August, 2017

Colossians 1:15-20

15 The Son is the exact likeness of God, who can’t be seen. The Son is first, and he is over all creation. 16 All things were created in him. He created everything in heaven and on earth. He created everything that can be seen and everything that can’t be seen. He created kings, powers, rulers and authorities. All things have been created by him and for him. 17 Before anything was created, he was already there. He holds everything together. 18 And he is the head of the body, which is the church. He is the beginning. He is the first to be raised from the dead. That happened so that he would be far above everything. 19 God was pleased to have his whole nature living in Christ. 20 God was pleased to bring all things back to himself. That’s because of what Christ has done. These things include everything on earth and in heaven. God made peace through Christ’s blood, by his death on the cross.

There is so much more to Jesus than a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth. Actually, to come to realise who Jesus actually is makes the whole thought of Him having an ordinary job so completely extraordinary and wonderful. Here’s Paul’s list of little-known-facts about Jesus that Paul needed the Colossians Christians to know…

Jesus is the image of God.

Jesus existed before creation.

Jesus reigns supreme over everything.

God created all things through Jesus.

God created all things for Jesus.

Jesus holds all creation together.

Jesus is the head of the Church.

Jesus is the first to rise from the dead.

Jesus is the first in everything.

Jesus has all of Gods fullness.

God reconciled everything back to himself through Jesus.

God made peace with everything through Jesus’ blood on the cross.

Do I come to Jesus when I want to know who God is? When everything is falling apart do I come to the one who holds all things together? When nothing in my world makes sense do I come to the one who made it for answers? When I’m scared of death do I come to the one who rose from it? When I need peace do I come to the one who purchased it with His blood? Am I still treating Him as merely a carpenter from Nazareth?

Oh Jesus my Lord and my God. You are so much greater than I could ever know. Help me remember to come to You, to seek and find You. You are the source and the goal of my life.  Amen.

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Saturday 26 August, 2017

Colossians 1:1-14

1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. Our brother Timothy joins me in writing. 2 We are sending this letter to you, our brothers and sisters in Colossae. You belong to Christ. You are holy and faithful. May God our Father give you grace and peace. 3 We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you. 4 We thank him because we have heard about your faith in Christ Jesus. We have also heard that you love all God’s people. 5 Your faith and love are based on the hope you have. What you hope for is stored up for you in heaven. You have already heard about it. You were told about it when the true message was given to you. I’m talking about the good news 6 that has come to you. In the same way, the good news is bearing fruit. It is bearing fruit and growing all over the world. It has been doing that among you since the day you heard it. That is when you really understood God’s grace. 7 You learned the good news from Epaphras. He is dear to us. He serves Christ together with us. He faithfully works for Christ and for us among you. 8 He also told us about your love that comes from the Holy Spirit. 9 That’s why we have not stopped praying for you. We have been praying for you since the day we heard about you. We keep asking God to fill you with the knowledge of what he wants. We pray he will give you the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives. 10 Then you will be able to lead a life that is worthy of the Lord. We pray that you will please him in every way. So we want you to bear fruit in every good thing you do. We pray that you will grow to know God better. 11 We want you to be very strong, in keeping with his glorious power. We want you to be patient. We pray that you will never give up. 12 We want you to give thanks with joy to the Father. He has made you fit to have what he will give to all his holy people. You will all receive a share in the kingdom of light. 13 He has saved us from the kingdom of darkness. He has brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves. 14 Because of what the Son has done, we have been set free. Because of him, all our sins have been forgiven.

Recently as I’ve read the beginnings of the various letters that the Apostle Paul wrote to different churches, I’ve been struck by the types of prayers that he records in his letters.

Paul writes to the Colossians that he continually asks God to fill them with the knowledge of His will, and for wisdom and understanding through the Spirit, as well as the strength to endure.

I notice that here, and in other letters, that Paul does not ask God take away their challenges or to necessarily change difficult circumstances. Instead he asks for God’s knowledge, wisdom, strength, endurance and patience in the midst of what they are facing.

How often do I focus solely on asking God to change difficult circumstances for either myself or for those I am praying for? And yet, over and over again the bible teaches us that there is benefit in going through a trial and allowing God to shape our character and accomplish His (far superior) plans rather than merely trying to escape the difficulty.

So I would like to use this awareness to shift the focus in my prayers from asking God to take away troubles, towards asking for Him for wisdom, strength and the knowledge of His will in every circumstance.

God, today I acknowledge that Your ways are perfect and all your ways are just. May I, and those that I am praying for, be strengthened with all power to have great endurance and patience.

Written by Shelley Witt

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Friday 25 August, 2017

Philippians 4:15-23

15 And you believers at Philippi know what happened when I left Macedonia. Not one church helped me in the matter of giving and receiving. You were the only one that did. That was in the early days when you first heard the good news. 16 Even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me help when I needed it. And you did it more than once. 17 It is not that I want your gifts. What I really want is what is best for you. 18 I have received my full pay and have more than enough. I have everything I need. That’s because Epaphroditus brought me the gifts you sent. They are a sweet-smelling offering. They are a gift that God accepts. He is pleased with it. 19 My God will meet all your needs. He will meet them in keeping with his wonderful riches. These riches come to you because you belong to Christ Jesus. 20 Give glory to our God and Father for ever and ever. Amen. 21 Greet all God’s people. They belong to Christ Jesus. The brothers and sisters who are with me send greetings. 22 All God’s people here send you greetings. Most of all, those who live in the palace of Caesar send you greetings. 23 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

How Christians trade – Paul in prison describes the swapping that goes on amongst Christians. The Philippians heard about Paul’s predicament, they got some money together and sent it to him to help him out. In fact, the Philippians have been backing Paul since the beginning. Paul is confident that God sees their gift and doesn’t forget a favour. Paul’s confidence wells up and enthusiastically spills over into one of the classic New Testament Paul quotes – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”

God has our back – we Christians hear of a need, we hear that someone in the community is going through a tough time, we get some of our resources together and make a gift to that person – God sees the heart of that gift and it isn’t overlooked. More broadly, as Jesus’ followers, God looks after us. The King of the universe has unlimited resources to keep us going, whatever our current circumstances.

Jesus, thank you for your caring oversight of our lives. Thank you that, whatever our current life challenges, you see us, you know us and you will supply everything we need and more.

Written by Sam Stewart

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Thursday 24 August, 2017

Philippians 4:10-14

10 At last you are concerned about me again. That makes me very happy. We belong to the Lord. I know that you were concerned. But you had no chance to show it. 11 I’m not saying this because I need anything. I have learned to be content no matter what happens to me. 12 I know what it’s like not to have what I need. I also know what it’s like to have more than I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more than enough or not enough. 13 I can do all this by the power of Christ. He gives me strength. 14 But it was good of you to share in my troubles.

Being content in need. Seems like an oxymoron to me. Being comfortable with your current position when you in the same breath know that your situation is not as comfortable as you would like or need it to be.

How does this work? Through Christ. I love that this state of mind and heart, so hard to comprehend mentally, is found through the person of Jesus. It’s not an attitude, or an achievement – it’s the revelation and provision of Jesus Himself in the middle of whatever need I have.

It’s true that having friends when you have to wait in a long queue, or for some potentially troubling news, makes all the difference in settling the anxieties of the heart. How much more having Jesus Himself with us!

Lord, I do need who you are. Continue to grow brighter in my heart and my day, such that more and more I simply see you first in the midst of all of my life. Amen.

Written by Ps. Rob Waugh

1 (reply)
  1. Andrew says:

    Rob
    This message is subtle but insightful. I have read this passage before and always understood that what I needed was to be a better person with more will and strength– then I would be full even though hungry, content even though despairing. But that was never going to work. Now reading your message it makes sense. When Jesus is right beside me I can.
    Lord, help me to know that you are beside me whether I am hungry or full.

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Wednesday 23 August, 2017

Philippians 4:8-9

8 Finally, my brothers and sisters, always think about what is true. Think about what is noble, right and pure. Think about what is lovely and worthy of respect. If anything is excellent or worthy of praise, think about those kinds of things. 9 Do what you have learned or received or heard from me. Follow my example. The God who gives peace will be with you.

Paul reminds the Philippians in this passage to think on these things- things that are; True, Noble, Right, Pure, Lovely, Admirable, Excellent and Praise Worthy.

Why? Because thinking effects what we focus on, how we behave and relate, and it moulds much of who we are.

Then, Paul says do/live out what you have

Learned

Received

Heard

Seen

Then the peace of God will be with you.

Why? It’s not a works based gospel that we believe in. I’m not saved by my thoughts or actions. So why would I be at peace by thinking and living “rightly”? Because when a Christian thinks and lives this way it all fits. It’s the thinking and living we were created to do, redeemed to do, and filled (by Holy Spirit) to do. It’s peaceful because it is coherent. We are not at war within our new self when we live accordingly.

Jesus help me to think on all that is good and worth thinking about. Help me to live as you have shown me, by your example and those around me. Help me to live, at peace, with myself and with you. Thank you for making it possible to be completely at peace with ourselves. Amen

Written by Zoe Stewart 

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