Monday 31 May, 2021

This passage talks a lot about being saved.

When I need saving, my mind is pretty focussed 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

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Sunday 30 May, 2021

What is my hope? What do I count as my inheritance? Where does my strength come from?

All these questions spring to mind from Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus. His prayer focuses my attention on the fundamentals of faith – hope, our future with God, and the power of God for us.

“Hope” –  this word conveys so many things. Our hope of glory (Colossians 1 v 27, a living hope (1 Peter 1 v 3), a transforming hope (1 John 3 v 2-3). As Ps Phil Pringle has written “Hope is a person, Jesus Christ.” Through Jesus we can hope for a glorious life forever with God. We can have hope for our lives now, when things are tough or seem hopeless because Jesus is our hope, our assurance of God’s love and plan for each of us – that plan is to be transformed to be more like Christ.

Why does Paul pray for them to know the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people? I think he wants them to have a future or heavenly perspective of life. The Message version captures it well “I ask…that you …grasp the immensity of the glorious way of life he has for his followers.” “The glorious way of life” is living with the Lord, not as if he doesn’t exist. We grow in relationship with him as we trust him every day, and we also look forward to a glorious never ending life with God, which is our inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – 1 Peter 1 v 4.

As Paul prays this for the believers, I feel the challenge is for us to be praying this for each other. That we grow deeper into the living hope and that we live in the glorious way of life he has designed for us.

Dear Lord Jesus, open the eyes of my heart so my perspective remains with you in the centre of everything.  Amen

Written by Claire Moore

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Friday 28 May, 2021

In this passage, Paul is asking Philemon to be radically counter-cultural. How counter-cultural am I willing to be?

In Paul’s world slavery was a given. Today we see slavery as abhorrent – and so it is. But it was normal then. It was the way society got things done. It was also normal for society to be very stratified. Status was vital to them, and everyone was constantly striving to climb higher up the ranks.

So, it was really radical for Paul to ask Philemon, a wealthy, high-status slave owner, to accept back his runaway slave and to welcome him as though he were welcoming Paul himself! This letter would have been read aloud to the whole church so Philemon can’t wriggle out of Paul’s request. Philemon is really in pickle. Is he game to refuse a personal request from the apostle Paul? If he does what Paul wants, will the rest of his household and the church and society look down on him, diminishing his authority and status and honour in the world?

Paul’s point is clear. Christians should not have any ranking or preference in their midst. In Galatians 3:28 Paul says there is “neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” We are all brothers and sisters no matter who we are, where we live or what we have done in the past.

And so, I ask myself: am I willing to do something like Philemon was asked to do? Something so counter-cultural, so apparently disgraceful in others’ eyes? As a Christian, I am called to honour others above myself, to welcome everyone and to stand up for the poor and the oppressed.

 Lord Jesus, you sacrificed yourself for us. Help me to be brave enough to follow your lead.

Written by Megan Cornell

1 (reply)
  1. Claire Moore says:

    Great insights thank you. We are all equal because of Jesus’ death in our place. The way we live then should reflect that. A challenge!

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Thursday 27 May, 2021

Paul is pulling out the big guns in this passage, calling in a favour from his friend Philemon. But the benefit is not entirely for Paul himself. It’s also for a character named Onesimus, for unity in the church, and ultimately to bring Glory to God. Onesimus, Philemon’s slave, ran away from his master. He then meets Paul and becomes a Christian and turns his life around. Here’s Paul’s request of Philemon…

Take Onesimus back, treat him as a fellow brother in Jesus, give him his freedom so he can come back and minister with Paul (implied). While we don’t know for sure how Philemon responded to Paul’s request, there is mention of an Onesimus 60 years later by Ignatius of Antioch, bishop of Ephesus. If it is the same man, it’s possible that Philemon did exactly what Paul asked and more and this former slave returned to Paul and served Jesus and the church for the rest of his life.

How amazing is the good news about Jesus! It is a message of love and forgiveness and grace that turns slaves into brothers, enemies into friends, and hopeless situations into the most beautiful triumphs. Only Jesus can do that!

Jesus, for this situation that I’m facing today, I know you are enough. I know you can turn anything around. So, I’m trusting you today.   Amen.

Written by Boudy Van Noppen

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Wednesday 26 May, 2021

Paul is about to make a request of Philemon but first he takes the time to affirm him. Paul lets Philemon know how encouraged he is to hear about Philemon’s faith in Jesus and how he refreshes the hearts of other believers.

But ever the discipler, Paul takes the opportunity to encourage Philemon to go a little deeper in his faith. Paul directs Philemon to be active in sharing his faith and testimony with others, i.e. to those beyond the walls of the church that meets in his home. Paul’s pattern seems to be “go tell others” first and then you will gain a “full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ” (v6).

This pattern seems opposite to how I naturally want to approach evangelism and discipleship. I would rather find out everything I need to know, study it, practice it, and study some more. Then I will tell others about Jesus. But here Paul is clearly telling us to just get out there and do it. Get active. Just go. That as I share my experience of Jesus, I become more certain of who He is and what He has done for me. Simply, I grow as I do it.

Lord, help me to take the brave steps of faith in telling others about You, even before I have all the answers, and as I do, I will experience You deepening my knowledge and experience of You. 

Written by Gab Martin

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Tuesday 25 May, 2021

The Apostle Paul concludes his letter to the church with a series of personal greetings. Two names stand out to me – Mark and Barnabas.  Much earlier, in the book of Acts, we read of a falling out that Paul had with both Barnabas and Mark.

It’s encouraging to see that God’s grace had obviously worked on Paul to accept those who had previously offended him. Although reconciliation is not always possible in every situation, it is in the heart of God to restore broken relationships.

Today, I am encouraged to reflect on strained relationships. Every one of us is imperfect, and inevitably can cause pain to others by our actions. Is there someone that I have offended, who I could reach out to with humility? Is there someone who has offended me that I should be willing to extend forgiveness to?

Thank you God, for your great love and forgiveness for us even when we offend you. May we walk in this same spirit towards others.

Written by Shelley Witt

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Monday 24 May, 2021

As the apostle Paul concludes his short and powerful letter to the church in Colossae, he turns his broad advice and guidance into a list of personal connections. 

What strikes me about this passage is the connections that Paul has. He literally lists a network of connections and understands the relationship people have with one another. 

In our current age of social media, our networked connections can seem to flow and develop naturally, but Paul has clearly invested time into building his connections and he uses his influence to encourage and build those in his network even further. He sends just the right people at just the right time with a personal message from him, even though he was in chains in Rome. This was cutting edge use of technology for his day! 

Lord may I use social networks, technologies and influence today to bring support and edification to those who I am connected with, however loosely! Help me to build my connections with a sense of intention and purpose. 

Written by Ps Justin Ware 

1 (reply)
  1. Florence says:

    Hallelujah, i hope all of us be like them, love other and encourage, in Jesus name, amen.
    God bless all of you, amen

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Sunday 23 May, 2021

Paul is beginning to wind up his letter with prayer requests of the Colossians. He began this letter letting them know that he prays for them & now is requesting the same from them. A full circle of relationship.

As amazing as Paul was in preaching & sharing the gospel he still needed and wanted prayer support from other believers. This is really where we come into community as followers of Jesus, praying for others, being involved in each other’s lives, both those we know and are close to and those we only hear of that need God’s power & intervention in their circumstances. We all need faithful people in our lives, as Paul did, in relationship with the Holy Spirit, to be praying for us.

Who can you/I be praying for today .. who is praying for you/me?

Lord, help us all to be more committee, faithful and supportive in prayer, being watchful and thankful for the community of believers you have placed us amongst.

Written by Suzie Hodgson

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Saturday 22 May, 2021

Christ’s death and resurrection fundamentally change our relationship with the world and each other.

We “clothe” ourselves in that new life as a conscious decision. It starts with changing my heart towards others – putting on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. That leads to changing how I act towards people – bearing with them and forgiving – especially those who are hard to bear or need forgiveness for harming or offending me. Then I cover it all with love. This brings unity both between God’s people and between my heart and actions in a life of integrity. Because I can’t do this on my own, I need to let Christ work in my life – letting his peace rule my heart and his message dwell richly in me. Because I need lots of help, we need to encourage each other and sometimes teach and correct. This is fullness of life lived with Christ in expectation of good things worthy of thanks to God.

Paul shows how this plays out in the relationships that are closest at hand – the family. In the first century, the head of the family literally had absolute power of life and death over his slaves and children and effectively over his wife. Christ fundamentally changes those relationships. Reversing things, Paul honours the person in the weak position by addressing them first, asking them to willingly give what would usually be taken. The father is told to replace power with love, encouragement and care. This was radical in the first century. Thankfully fathers no longer have either that power or slaves. But there are still far too many relationships of all sorts dominated by manipulation or abuse of power.

Jesus, I want to step into new life in you. Transform my heart and mind to act out your love. I want to work with you to bring your grace and love to all relationships around me.

Written by David Cornell

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