Food for the Soul
Food for the Soul
15 So be very careful how you live. Do not live like people who aren’t wise. Live like people who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity. The days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish. Instead, understand what the Lord wants. 18 Don’t fill yourself up with wine. Getting drunk will lead to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit. 19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord. 20 Always give thanks to God the Father for everything. Give thanks to him in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
“So be very careful how you live. Do not live like people who aren’t wise. Live like people who are wise.” This verse seems to be the booked end for everything from 4:1ff… where this whole section of how to live “a life worthy of calling to which you have been called”, starts. As such we are to live our lives as a reflection of Jesus – and our walk as his disciples is to become more and more Christ like. So Paul tells us to be careful and wise in how we live so that this reflection is not marred or distorted or that how we live our lives is not called in question in any way.
Paul has spent quite a bit of time describing the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ however I think if I can remember the phrase “be careful how I live” then in the heat of the moment or the day to day of life and my interactions, this will remind me, am I reflecting Jesus?
Lord Jesus I want to reflect you only through my life. Holy Spirit continue to shape me, prompt me to be wise in my actions, choices and lifestyle. Amen
Written by Suzie Hodgson
3 There should not be even a hint of sexual sin among you. Don’t do anything impure. And do not always want more and more. These are not the things God’s holy people should do. 4 There must not be any bad language or foolish talk or dirty jokes. They are out of place. Instead, you should give thanks. 5 Here is what you can be sure of. Those who give themselves over to sexual sins are lost. So are people whose lives are impure. The same is true of those who always want more and more. People who do these things might as well worship statues of gods. No one who does them will receive a share in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Don’t let anyone fool you with worthless words. People who say things like that aren’t obeying God. He is angry with them. 7 So don’t go along with people like that. 8 At one time you were in the dark. But now you are in the light because of what the Lord has done. Live like children of the light. 9 The light produces what is completely good, right and true. 10 Find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the acts of darkness. They don’t produce anything good. Show what they are really like. 12 It is shameful even to talk about what people who don’t obey do in secret. 13 But everything the light shines on can be seen. And everything that the light shines on becomes a light. 14 That is why it is said, “Wake up, sleeper. Rise from the dead. Then Christ will shine on you.”
Sex is just one of those things that our Human Nature struggles with. Just talking about it makes me uncomfortable to some degree in almost any setting!
But the bible doesn’t shy away from it. God designed sex and intended for it to be good, and bring about good within the boundaries of a marital relationship.
But God also knows that we are fallen people, living in a fallen world. Even though the words here in Ephesians were written nearly 2000 years ago, they couldn’t be more accurate in their assessment of what society struggles with! Interestingly, the assessment of the cause of the problem in people here is that they are idolaters – that the root cause isn’t their behaviour itself, but they are behaving inappropriately because they are worshipping the wrong thing, and this in turn is causing them to be drawn away from God and towards things that are destructive for them.
Lord, help me to turn to You at all times and in all things, may I worship only You and from my worship, may I be more inclined towards the ways of Christ.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware
25 So each of you must get rid of your lying. Speak the truth to your neighbor. We are all parts of one body. 26 Scripture says, “When you are angry, do not sin.” (Psalm 4:4) Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry. 27 Don’t give the devil a chance. 28 Anyone who has been stealing must never steal again. Instead, they must work. They must do something useful with their own hands. Then they will have something to give to people in need. 29 Don’t let any evil talk come out of your mouths. Say only what will help to build others up and meet their needs. Then what you say will help those who listen. 30 Do not make God’s Holy Spirit mourn. The Holy Spirit is the proof that you belong to God. And the Spirit is the proof that God will set you completely free. 31 Get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage. Stop all fighting and lying. Don’t have anything to do with any kind of hatred. 32 Be kind and tender to one another. Forgive one another, just as God forgave you because of what Christ has done. 5 1 You are the children that God dearly loves. So follow his example. 2 Lead a life of love, just as Christ did. He loved us. He gave himself up for us. He was a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice to God.
Kindness is not often considered all that highly – it is often thought of as insipid, weak. Yet it is central to what Christianity is about. The reason for this is clear at the end of this passage: kindness is one of the purest forms of the imitation of God. How would it be if God were the kind of god who was always gossiping about us, making snide or bitter remarks at us? What would prayer be like if we thought God had been talking about us behind our backs, putting us down to others? How would we feel if we thought we couldn’t trust God to tell us the truth, if he was always losing his temper with us? How do people feel about us if that’s what we’re like? Wouldn’t it be better in every way to be like God?
When we look at Jesus, we see God and what he’s like, then we see the standard at which we are to aim. Sometimes Christians, and sometimes whole churches, have allowed themselves to forget that kindness and mutual forgiveness are the very essence of Christian community. We are called to unity and it is far easier to obey the call if we are working hard at ‘promoting kindness’. So I find myself checking my motives and my mouth, that “no unwholesome talk come out of my mouth”, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Father help me to imitate you and truly be kind to others!
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
17 Here is what I’m telling you. I am speaking for the Lord as I warn you. You must no longer live as the Gentiles do. Their thoughts don’t have any purpose. 18 They can’t understand the truth. They are separated from the life of God. That’s because they don’t know him. And they don’t know him because their hearts are stubborn. 19 They have lost all feeling for what is right. So they have given themselves over to all kinds of evil pleasures. They take part in every kind of unclean act. And they are full of greed. 20 But that is not the way of life in Christ that you learned about. 21 You heard about Christ and were taught about life in him. What you learned was the truth about Jesus. 22 You were taught not to live the way you used to. You must get rid of your old way of life. That’s because it has been made impure by the desire for things that lead you astray. 23 You were taught to be made new in your thinking. 24 You were taught to start living a new life. It is created to be truly good and holy, just as God is.
So what does it take to live a truely Godly life? Paul tells me in this passage that in a world ruled by self indulgence, I need to be counter-cultural and be prepared to consider Gods way before my own desires. It is so easy to listen to popular opinion, justify my wants and desires, but it is a slippery slope that can quickly lead to a godless life. The key here is to keep my heart soft towards God (vs18).
If my heart is not open to God then it is too easy for my perspective to become unbalanced, for self indulgence to take over. It is not that everything in the world is bad, but while some things should be avoided others might be ok in moderation, balance. This life in Christ I aim for is a deliberate choice, I have to actively put off my old self and put on my new self. Righteousness is not a default position, it is the result of the choices I make -big and small- every single day.
Heavenly Father help me keep my heart soft towards you and to listen to the Holy Spirit who is my guide. Help me Lord to honour you in the decisions I make and to keep all aspects of my life in balance. May my thoughts and actions bring glory to you. In Jesus Name. Amen
Written by Christine Knight
7 But each one of us has received a gift of grace. These gifts are given to us by Christ. 8 That is why Scripture says, “When he went up to his place on high, he took many prisoners. He gave gifts to his people.” (Psalm 68:18) 9 What does “he went up” mean? It can only mean that he also came down to the lower, earthly places. 10 The one who came down is the same one who went up. He went up higher than all the heavens. He did it in order to fill all creation. 11 So Christ himself gave the gift of the apostles to the church. He gave the prophets and those who preach the good news. And he also gave the pastors and teachers as a gift to the church. 12 He gave all these people so that they might prepare God’s people to serve. Then the body of Christ will be built up. 13 That will continue until we all become one in the faith. We will also become one in the knowledge of God’s Son. Then we will be grown up in the faith. We will receive everything that Christ has for us. 14 We will no longer be babies in the faith. We won’t be like ships tossed around by the waves. We won’t be blown here and there by every new teaching. We won’t be blown around by cleverness and tricks. Certain people use them to hide their evil plans. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love. So we will grow up in every way to become the body of Christ. Christ is the head of the body. 16 He makes the whole body grow and build itself up in love. Under the control of Christ, each part of the body does its work. It supports the other parts. In that way, the body is joined and held together.
In verses 1-6 leading up to this section, Paul has reinforced the need for us (the church) to be one. Our identity is found in unity. But here in verses 7-16, Paul is reinforcing that the path to unity and maturity is actually found in diversity.
If my ministry looks different from the ministry of others… Well that makes sense! In fact each of us needs to be ministering in the way that God has made us and gifted us. It is only then that we grow and become strong against the deception of false teaching. I am thankful that I go to a church where ministry is expressed in so many unique and creative ways. It makes our church stronger and more mature.
Lord thank you for the variety of your gifts and the diversity of ‘shapes and sizes’ that your people come in. Lord thank you that our church exhibits the marks of a healthy, varied church!
Written by Andrew Mellor
4 I am a prisoner because of the Lord. So I am asking you to live a life worthy of what God chose you for. 2 Don’t be proud at all. Be completely gentle. Be patient. Put up with one another in love. 3 The Holy Spirit makes you one in every way. So try your best to remain as one. Let peace keep you together. 4 There is one body and one Spirit. You were appointed to one hope when you were chosen. 5 There is one Lord, one faith and one baptism. 6 There is one God and Father of all. He is over everything. He is through everything. He is in everything.
When Paul wrote these words he was a prisoner for Christ. I find it incredible in that context he encourages the Christians of Ephesus to “live a life worthy of the calling you have received” V1. Paul had every reason to complain and be bitter towards God, after all he had been obedient, shared the good news throughout the known Roman world at great personal cost, suffered many dangerous situations – only to end up in a Roman prison, an innocent man. Yet Paul is not bitter. He knows this is all part of God’s purpose. So when he says we are to live a life worthy of God’s calling on us, he has credentials!
One demonstration of living in this way is pursuing unity in the church. I notice that Paul describes this as an action (make every effort ) and intentional ( be completely …) The impression is this will require work to preserve the unity we have through the Spirit. The purpose – to grow together into maturity in Christ, and to share the truth of his love with as many as we can.
In pursuing this unity we respond to God’s love and his love impacts our lives again and again. We grow stronger in Him together.
Dearest Lord Jesus,
My aim is to live a life worthy of your calling on me. Not to earn your favour and grace, but to show you my love. Make me fit for the task by your Holy Spirit working powerfully in my life today. I am expectant. Amen
Written by Claire Moore
7 I now serve the good news because God gave me his grace. His power is at work in me. 8 I am by far the least important of all the Lord’s holy people. But he gave me the grace to preach to the Gentiles about the unlimited riches that Christ gives. 9 God told me to make clear to everyone how the mystery came about. In times past it was kept hidden in the mind of God, who created all things. 10 He wanted the rulers and authorities in the heavenly world to come to know his great wisdom. The church would make it known to them. 11 That was God’s plan from the beginning. He has fulfilled his plan through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 Through him and through faith in him we can approach God. We can come to him freely. We can come without fear. 13 So here is what I’m asking you to do. Don’t lose hope because I am suffering for you. It will lead to the time when God will give you his glory.
In this scripture, Paul understands his position, and he understands his purpose. He understands that he is a servant of God, not by anyway of earning the privilege, but purely by the grace of God. And it is obvious that his purpose is aligned with God’s purpose, being that all people will know about the mystery of God.
However, it is the last sentence of this passage that gives me some context to his writing. Paul is also in a position of suffering, imprisoned in Rome, awaiting trial before Caesar, and this is due to his missionary efforts to the Gentiles. And yet he is imparting encouragement. In his suffering, he is not thinking of himself, but his concern is to encourage those he is writing to. I admire his focus, his care, his selflessness, and his purpose. This challenges me as to my attitudes in times of hardship.
Lord, I ask that I may be an encouragement to those around me, regardless of what is occurring in my own life. I pray that my focus and purpose, is always aligned with your purpose, in whatever situation I am placed. Amen
Written by Steve Fell
3 I, Paul, am a prisoner because of Christ Jesus. I am in prison because of my work among you who are Gentiles. 2 I am sure you have heard that God appointed me to share his grace with you. 3 I’m talking about the mystery God showed me. I have already written a little about it. 4 By reading about this mystery, you will be able to understand what I know. You will know about the mystery of Christ. 5 The mystery was not made known to people of other times. But now the Holy Spirit has made this mystery known to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 Here is the mystery. Because of the good news, God’s promises are for Gentiles as well as for Jews. Both groups are parts of one body. They share in the promise. It belongs to them because they belong to Christ Jesus.
I love a good mystery. A book or a movie, where the plot line takes a dramatic turn and heads in a completely different direction. I love talking about it afterwards with friends and family -“did you see that coming? I did not see that coming”
Paul had a mystery here in Ephesians 3. It was something very few people saw coming. When it did come it was so “out there” that the powers that be at the time couldn’t accept it. It was God himself in the form of a man coming to earth to pay for my separation and sin with His own blood. It was a rescue mission, but not just for the Jews – it was for all people everywhere. Now all people can belong to God’s family. Now all people can receive the riches He intends to pass on to His kids. Now all people can taste the promised blessings. V6. It’s all a gift waiting for us and it’s possible only through Jesus.
Lord Jesus thank you for making the way to know God and be right with Him; to belong to Gods family and receive his blessings! Amen
Written by Boudy van Noppen
11 You who are not Jews by birth, here is what I want you to remember. You are called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “circumcised.” But they have only been circumcised in their bodies by human hands. 12 Before you believed in Christ, you were separated from him. You were not considered to be citizens of Israel. You were not included in what the covenants promised. You were without hope and without God in the world. 13 At one time you were far away from God. But now you belong to Christ Jesus. He spilled his blood for you. This has brought you near to God. 14 Christ himself is our peace. He has made Jews and Gentiles into one group of people. He has destroyed the hatred that was like a wall between us. 15 Through his body on the cross, Christ set aside the law with all its commands and rules. He planned to create one new people out of Jews and Gentiles. He wanted to make peace between them. 16 He planned to bring both Jews and Gentiles back to God as one body. He planned to do this through the cross. On that cross, Christ put to death their hatred toward one another. 17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away. He also preached peace to those who were near. 18 Through Christ we both come to the Father by the power of one Holy Spirit. 19 So you are no longer outsiders and strangers. You are citizens together with God’s people. You are also members of God’s family. 20 You are a building that is built on the apostles and prophets. They are the foundation. Christ Jesus himself is the most important stone in the building. 21 The whole building is held together by him. It rises to become a holy temple because it belongs to the Lord. 22 And because you belong to him, you too are being built together. You are being made into a house where God lives through his Spirit.
Together, we are his house.
We are carefully joined together in him, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.
The word that sticks out to me is “together”.
New Living Translation says v20-21 together we are his house, we are carefully joined together in him.
Together we are becoming a holy Temple for the Lord.
The church is not about what I do or don’t do. It’s not about what other people do, it is all about what we do together.
God joins us together to be his house, and together become his holy Temple, together with Christ as the cornerstone.
We are a community of believers. All our success and failures, our pain and our triumphs are meant to be done together.
This life that we live was never designed to be lived alone, but lived together. I need you just as much as you need me. It is together that we become what God has designed us to be, his holy Temple on Earth.
Me and God is not enough, but you, me and God is.
Father, I thank you for all the believers that you have joined me to, my family in Christ, all together with Christ. May we together know and experience your presence as we together become your holy Temple.
Written by Andrew Martin
2 You were living in your sins and lawless ways. But in fact you were dead. 2 You used to live as sinners when you followed the ways of this world. You served the one who rules over the spiritual forces of evil. He is the spirit who is now at work in those who don’t obey God. 3 At one time we all lived among them. Our desires were controlled by sin. We tried to satisfy what they wanted us to do. We followed our desires and thoughts. God was angry with us like he was with everyone else. That’s because of the kind of people we all were. 4 But God loves us deeply. He is full of mercy. 5 So he gave us new life because of what Christ has done. He gave us life even when we were dead in sin. God’s grace has saved you. 6 God raised us up with Christ. He has seated us with him in his heavenly kingdom. That’s because we belong to Christ Jesus. 7 He has done it to show the riches of his grace for all time to come. His grace can’t be compared with anything else. He has shown it by being kind to us. He was kind to us because of what Christ Jesus has done. 8 God’s grace has saved you because of your faith in Christ. Your salvation doesn’t come from anything you do. It is God’s gift. 9 It is not based on anything you have done. No one can brag about earning it. 10 We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus. Now we can do good works. Long ago God prepared these works for us to do.
This passage talks a lot about being saved.
When I need saving, my mind is pretty focused on what I need saving from. But it would probably be wise to ask about the rest of it. Being saved from the frying pan by being put in the fire may not be such a good deal. So what am I saved for?
I’m saved from death for a new life. That’s brilliant. I’m saved from living with the ruler of evil in his world to being lifted up to the heavenly kingdom to be seated with Christ. That’s even more brilliant. I’m saved from selfish pointlessness to having a purpose for which God explicitly made me. That sends a tingle down my spine.
The verbs that go with these things are all in the past tense. Though I’m still waiting to see all these things revealed, they are already done. It doesn’t depend on me (as though I could make it happen). It depends entirely on what he’s already done.
I just need to have faith and receive the gift God already has for me. I just need to have faith and step into the place that he has already prepared. Let’s go!
So come on God, what are the things you’ve prepared for me to do? Jesus said he did what he saw his father doing (John 5:19-21). So if I follow Jesus’ pattern, I need to walk with God to be in the right place. I need to watch what he’s doing and listen to what he’s saying to know what he’s doing. And do what he’s doing with him. It’s so like God that it’s all about the relationship with him.
Lord, where are you taking me today? I can’t wait to see what we do together.
Written by David Cornell
15 I have heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus. I have also heard about your love for all God’s people. That is why 16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I always remember you in my prayers. 17 I pray to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the glorious Father. I keep asking him to give you the wisdom and understanding that come from the Holy Spirit. I want you to know God better. 18 I pray that you may understand more clearly. Then you will know the hope God has chosen you to receive. You will know that what God will give his holy people is rich and glorious. 19 And you will know God’s great power. It can’t be compared with anything else. His power works for us who believe. It is the same mighty strength 20 God showed. He showed this when he raised Christ from the dead. God seated him at his right hand in his heavenly kingdom. 21 There Christ sits far above all who rule and have authority. He also sits far above all powers and kings. He is above every name that is appealed to in this world and in the world to come. 22 God placed all things under Christ’s rule. He appointed him to be ruler over everything for the church. 23 The church is Christ’s body and is filled by Christ. He fills everything in every way.
Paul’s commitment to pray persistently for the church at Ephesus is so impressive. You can see how purposeful his prayer is. Firstly, he prays that the Spirit will enable them to know Jesus Christ better. Secondly, Paul indicates what will flow on from knowing Jesus better i.e. the hope of an amazing inheritance in His kingdom, and the reality of the great power which resides within each one of his readers.
This power for which Paul prays is defined as exactly the same power [dunamis] which the Father used to raise Jesus from the dead and enthrone him at His side. What kind of power we might ask? Paul answers that for us by describing it as superior to any other kind of power throughout the earth and the universe.
The next thing his readers needed know is that Jesus Christ has been installed as the Head of the church with unsurpassed power and authority. As believers we are part of this as Christ’s body through which He fills everything.
What an incredible impact this prayer of Paul must have had on the Ephesian believers! For us the question is [a] do I recognise that this kind of power resides within me & my church through the presence of the Spirit of God? [b] If so, is there any limit to the impact my life should make in the world? It’s a challenge isn’t it? But, it is more than a reality for you and for me.
Paul speaks here to the corporate body of believers, so he is grateful for the impact this body is making and will continue to make on the whole community in Ephesus. The same applies to us as the body of Jesus Christ here in C3 Carlingford. The better we know Jesus Christ, the more effective our outreach into our community will be.
Written by Keith Bennett
1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am an apostle of Christ Jesus just as God planned. I am sending this letter to you, God’s holy people in Ephesus. Because you belong to Christ Jesus, you are faithful. 2 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 3 Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. He has blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Those blessings come from the heavenly world. They belong to us because we belong to Christ. 4 God chose us to belong to Christ before the world was created. He chose us to be holy and without blame in his eyes. He loved us. 5 So he decided long ago to adopt us. He adopted us as his children with all the rights children have. He did it because of what Jesus Christ has done. It pleased God to do it. 6 All those things bring praise to his glorious grace. God freely gave us his grace because of the One he loves. 7 We have been set free because of what Christ has done. Because he bled and died our sins have been forgiven. We have been set free because God’s grace is so rich. 8 He poured his grace on us. By giving us great wisdom and understanding, 9 he showed us the mystery of his plan. It was in keeping with what he wanted to do. It was what he had planned through Christ. 10 It will all come about when history has been completed. God will then bring together all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 We were also chosen to belong to him. God decided to choose us long ago in keeping with his plan. He works out everything to fit his plan and purpose. 12 We were the first to put our hope in Christ. We were chosen to bring praise to his glory. 13 You also became believers in Christ. That happened when you heard the message of truth. It was the good news about how you could be saved. When you believed, he stamped you with an official mark. That official mark is the Holy Spirit that he promised. 14 The Spirit marks us as God’s own. We can now be sure that someday we will receive all that God has promised. That will happen after God sets all his people completely free. All these things will bring praise to his glory.
In reading this passage I didn’t event get past the first line before I was encouraged! Paul starts this letter off with such a declaration of identity, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God.” What authority there is when we stop and realize that when we live as God has called us to, in His ways, following His leading, then we are in the will of God and what God wills, His purposes, no one can stop. Amen to that!
Bethany, a witness of Christ Jesus by the will of God; Bethany, a teacher by the will of God; a wife by the will of God; a daughter by the will of God; a friend by the will of God…. It goes on and on.
Lord, thank you that you fill me with vision and purpose and thank you that you have given me a life worth living. Help me each day to walk in this reality: as I walk in your ways I am walking in your will and no one can stand in the way of your will. I’m so glad Lord to be a part of your plans, which are so much grander than I can imagine. Thank you that my life counts in the story you are writing. Amen.
Written by Bethany Waugh
17 Do you think of me as a believer who works together with you? Then welcome Onesimus as you would welcome me. 18 Has he done anything wrong to you? Does he owe you anything? Then charge it to me. 19 I’ll pay it back. I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand. I won’t even mention that you owe me your life. 20 My brother, we both belong to the Lord. So I wish I could receive some benefit from you. Renew my heart. We know that Christ is the one who really renews it. 21 I’m sure you will obey. So I’m writing to you. I know you will do even more than I ask. 22 There is one more thing. Have a guest room ready for me. I hope I can return to all of you in answer to your prayers. 23 Epaphras sends you greetings. Together with me, he is a prisoner because of Christ Jesus. 24 Mark, Aristarchus, Demas and Luke work together with me. They also send you greetings. 25 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.
It seems a strange and awkward statement from Paul; “I do wish, brother, that I may have some benefit from you in the Lord…” How many times do I say this in my friendships? Not often, if at all. “I want some benefit from you, X”
It is interesting to note the benefit Paul seeks is the benefit for someone else – Paul’s not looking for personal benefit, but for benefit and welcome for another.
It’s a juxtaposition – I want to benefit from you; my benefit would be another man’s benefiting from your kindness, and any costs this incurs for you, charge to my account.
Paul is being thoroughly selfless on behalf of someone else, and he’s putting at risk his relationship with Philemon (Philemon may choose to ignore or reject this costly request) and he’s incurring cost, in advance, to himself (I’ll pay his debts).
Do I love people like this? Do I risk and incur costs in my relationships like this? Do I work for the restoration of others who have made mistakes and poor judgements, like this?
This, to me, is Christ-like kindness in relationships. And I’ve got a ways to go.
Lord, help me be far slower to judge and discount, or grumble and complain, and instead consider what practical kindnesses and helps I can offer to those I have relationship with when restoration is needed by them such that they can be redeemed in community. Amen.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh
8 Because of the authority Christ has given me, I could be bold. I could order you to do what you should do anyway. 9 But we love each other. And I would rather appeal to you on the basis of that love. I, Paul, am an old man. I am now also a prisoner because of Christ Jesus. 10 I am an old man, and I’m in prison. This is how I make my appeal to you for my son Onesimus. He became a son to me while I was being held in chains. 11 Before that, he was useless to you. But now he has become useful to you and to me. 12 I’m sending Onesimus back to you. All my love for him goes with him. 13 I’m being held in chains because of the good news. So I would have liked to keep Onesimus with me. And he could take your place in helping me. 14 But I didn’t want to do anything unless you agreed. Any favor you do must be done because you want to do it, not because you have to. 15 Onesimus was separated from you for a little while. Maybe that was so you could have him back forever. 16 You could have him back not as a slave. Instead, he would be better than a slave. He would be a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even more dear to you. He is dear to you not only as another human being. He is also dear to you as a brother in the Lord.
1 I, Paul, am writing this letter. I am a prisoner because of Christ Jesus. Our brother Timothy joins me in writing. Philemon, we are sending you this letter. You are our dear friend. You work together with us. 2 We are also sending it to our sister Apphia and to Archippus. He is a soldier of Christ together with us. And we are sending it to the church that meets in your home. 3 May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. 4 I always thank my God when I remember you in my prayers. 5 That’s because I hear about your love for all God’s people. I also hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus. 6 I pray that what we share by believing will help you understand even more. Then you will completely understand every good thing we share by believing in Christ. 7 Your love has given me great joy. It has encouraged me. My brother, you have renewed the hearts of the Lord’s people.
The key sentence in this passage, in the middle of all the fine things Paul says about Philemon, is verse 6. This is what he’s praying for: he’s praying that the partnership which he and Philemon share in the gospel will be productive, will have the effect it’s meant to.
The word Paul uses for ‘partnership’ is often translated ‘fellowship’. But Paul means more than warm Christian affection, he means something like a business partnership that links Paul, Philemon and others. They are in this together. They share a joint project, and if it’s to go forward they must be prepared to stand loyally side by side. The partnership is the partnership Paul and Philemon have in the gospel.
As I read this passage I am drawn to the truth that to partner in the Gospel is not just to have a sense of affection for the saints who surround me, but that we are on mission together. We have a job to do in reaching out to the lost, broken and lonely of our world, the up and out and the down and out, and that I must play my part.
Father help me to do your will, to play my part in the partnership in the Gospel you have given me to play, with grace and truth that comes from knowing Jesus my Lord.
Written by Ps. Richard Botta
7 Tychicus will tell you all the news about me. He is a dear brother. He is a faithful worker. He serves the Lord together with us. 8 I am sending him to you for one reason. I want you to know what is happening here. I want him to encourage you and make your hearts strong. 9 He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother. He is one of you. They will tell you everything that is happening here. 10 Aristarchus is in prison with me. He sends you his greetings. So does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas. You have been given directions about him. If he comes to you, welcome him. 11 Jesus, who is called Justus, also sends greetings. They are the only Jews who have worked together with me for God’s kingdom. They have been a comfort to me. 12 Epaphras sends greetings. He is one of you. He serves Christ Jesus. He is always praying hard for you. He prays that you will hold on tightly to all that God has in mind for us. He prays that you will keep growing in your knowledge of what God wants. He also prays that you will be completely sure about it. 13 I am happy to tell you that he is working very hard for you. He is also working hard for everyone in Laodicea and Hierapolis. 14 Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, sends greetings. So does Demas. 15 Give my greetings to the brothers and sisters in Laodicea. Also give my greetings to Nympha and the church that meets in her house. 16 After this letter has been read to you, send it on. Be sure that it is also read to the church in Laodicea. And be sure that you read the letter from Laodicea. 17 Tell Archippus, “Be sure that you complete the work the Lord gave you to do.” 18 I, Paul, am writing this greeting with my own hand. Remember that I am being held by chains. May grace be with you.
So there are 2 things that strike me in this passage. Firstly, in spite of his extreme circumstances Paul’s great concern was for was for his fellow believers, their encouragement, growth and welfare, not for his own safety and security. His ability to minister was not dependant on his circumstances being sweet.
Secondly, although Paul’s circumstances were desperate in prison, God had placed along side him people to support and encourage him. Paul’s situation gave others an opportunity to minister.
So here is the challenge: who is there in my world that needs my encouragement and support? Regardless of my circumstances or how I feel, I need to give out to others, with the growth of the Kingdom my first priority.
And here is the encouragement: regardless of what I face today (or tomorrow) God will not abandon me or you. It’s my experience, that just as God sent Paul’s friends to care for and support him, He will place someone in your world to encourage you too when you need it most.
Heavenly Father thank you that you never abandon me or leave me without hope. Help me Lord to look beyond my circumstances today to be a blessing to someone else. May my actions bring Glory to you. In Jesus name I pray. Amen
Written by Christine Knight
2 Give a lot of time and effort to prayer. Always be watchful and thankful. 3 Pray for us too. Pray that God will give us an opportunity to preach our message. Then we can preach the mystery of Christ. Because I preached it, I am being held by chains. 4 Pray that I will preach it clearly, as I should. 5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders. Make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let the words you speak always be full of grace. Learn how to make your words what people want to hear. Then you will know how to answer everyone.
“Devote yourselves to Prayer…” Paul gives us a brief master class in prayer.
Paul’s recommendation on the attitude of prayer:
This may take some practice, but it is pretty straight forward.
Paul’s focal points for prayer:
Are we ready to follow Paul’s pattern here? Be warned, God has a habit of answering our prayers!
On the back of this prayer-request or prayer lesson, verses 5 and 6 summarise Paul’s attitude to public life:
This call to be a winsome and open person is not just a shallow maxim. The ultimate foundation of this idea is Jesus, the reason for everything, why we do what we do.
Lord, give us the boldness to pray prayers like Paul. We also need your boldness to follow through when the answer comes. Thank you for the adventure that you unfold in our lives everyday. Amen.
Written by Sam Stewart
12 You are God’s chosen people. You are holy and dearly loved. So put on tender mercy and kindness as if they were your clothes. Don’t be proud. Be gentle and patient. 13 Put up with one another. Forgive one another if you are holding something against someone. Forgive, just as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these good things put on love. Love holds them all together perfectly as if they were one. 15 Let the peace that Christ gives rule in your hearts. As parts of one body, you were appointed to live in peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ live among you like a rich treasure. Teach and correct one another wisely. Teach one another by singing psalms and hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing to God with thanks in your hearts. 17 Do everything you say or do in the name of the Lord Jesus. Always give thanks to God the Father through Christ. 18 Wives, follow the lead of your husbands. That’s what the Lord wants you to do. 19 Husbands, love your wives. Don’t be mean to them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything. That pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, don’t make your children bitter. If you do, they will lose hope. 22 Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything. Don’t do it just to please them when they are watching you. Obey them with an honest heart. Do it out of respect for the Lord. 23 Work at everything you do with all your heart. Work as if you were working for the Lord, not for human masters. 24 Work because you know that you will finally receive as a reward what the Lord wants you to have. You are slaves of the Lord Christ. 25 Anyone who does wrong will be paid back for what they do. God treats everyone the same. 4 Masters, give your slaves what is right and fair. Do it because you know that you also have a Master in heaven.
Cause and effect. This passage has lots of causes and effects.
Truly understanding that we are God’s dearly loved, chosen and holy people causes me to put on mercy, kindness and above all love; and to express that by not being proud, and being gentle, patient, tolerant and forgiving.
Having Christ’s word truly live in me fills my mouth with wise teaching, encouraging songs, and thankfulness.
This isn’t something shallow. I put these things on like clothes. Not a handkerchief to pull out if I need it; put on. Not things to put on selectively (“Will I wear pants today?”); but all of it. Not Christ’s word on a bit of paper, but dwelling in me richly.
The instructions that follow are an expression of the new nature that God gives me. My actions become an expression of a heart and mind that has been redeemed, set free and remade.
Recently the ABC (repeatedly) published a story about a man who had used verse 18 in isolation to manipulate his Christian wife into submitting to years of dreadful abuse. Ironically the journalist took this man’s abuse of both the Bible and his wife in isolation to attack all Christians and ultimately God. Both made me angry.
These instructions tell me how my transformed life should be expressed. They are not a stick to beat someone else with.
These instructions are not a menu to pick and choose what I like. A heart that has been transformed needs to transform my actions in every part of my life.
It has to start with my transformed heart.
So I’ll put on love and compassion for this poor abused woman. I’ll put on forgiveness towards this man and the ABC journalist. I’ll put on love towards my wife. … And when I slip up, I’ll put on humility in repenting (including to God whose name I dishonour when I act out my old nature again).
Written by David Cornell
5 So put to death anything that comes from sinful desires. Get rid of sexual sins and impure acts. Don’t let your feelings get out of control. Remove from your life all evil desires. Stop always wanting more and more. You might as well be worshiping statues of gods. 6 God’s anger is going to come because of these things. 7 That’s the way you lived at one time in your life. 8 But now here are the kinds of things you must also get rid of. You must get rid of anger, rage, hate and lies. Let no dirty words come out of your mouths. 9 Don’t lie to one another. You have gotten rid of your old way of life and its habits. 10 You have started living a new life. Your knowledge of how that life should have the Creator’s likeness is being made new. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew. There is no difference between those who are circumcised and those who are not. There is no rude outsider, or even a Scythian. There is no slave or free person. But Christ is everything. And he is in everything.
My life is not found in the things of this world that pass away. My life is found in the eternal, in the one and only God. Everybody will see this and know this when Christ returns and I am raised back to life. Right now I know it, a new Spirit has come to live in me, God’s Spirit. He does not lie, he does not hate, he does not abuse or lust. He is eternal and good.
So let the old way die, the anger and lust, the insecurity and jealousy. A better Spirit has made his home in me. Let the old die, let it be disarmed by grace and love that pursued me and died in my place. Jesus died, and so did the power of sin. Jesus rose, and so did his Spirit within me.
Lord, sometimes I see evil at work in me. But I can come into your glorious light and know that it is conquered, vanquished, defeated. I leave evil defeated by the roadside and walk on with my Saviour and Lord.
Written by Andrew Mellor
3 You have been raised up with Christ. So think about things that are in heaven. That is where Christ is. He is sitting at God’s right hand. 2 Think about things that are in heaven. Don’t think about things that are only on earth. 3 You died. Now your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 Christ is your life. When he appears again, you also will appear with him in heaven’s glory.
I like to call this passage of the Bible “The Matrix passage” because it lines up so beautifully with the plot of the movie “The Matrix” starring Keanu Reeves.
In the movie, we are told by the writers that many people live in a dream, and only by waking up to the reality of how life really is, are we able to truly live.
I really like the way that the movie shows that truly living doesn’t mean things instantly get easy, but it means that life’s true purpose is revealed and the truth about good and evil becomes clearer.
Lord, help us to keen our hearts attuned to your truth and help us to look for opportunities to wake our friends and family up from living in the false-reality that the world offers.
Written by Ps. Justin Ware
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Phone: +61 2 9875 0300
PO Box 2744,
Carlingford NSW 2118
7:00 PM Youth Service
Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford
NSW, Australia 2118
9:00 AM Morning service time
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10:30 AM Morning service time (but come early for morning tea!)
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Carlingford High School Hall,
547 North Rocks Rd, Carlingford
NSW, Australia 2118