The Bible tells us to rejoice always (1 Thessalonians 5:16, Philippians 4:4). This is very difficult, because we often find ourselves in circumstances that are not so delightful. Nonetheless, no matter what is going on in our lives, our heavenly Father is always deserving of honor, glory, and praise. This does not change with circumstances. Whatever happens – rejoice in the Lord!
Today, remind yourself to rejoice in the Lord. Take time to praise Him for what He has done, what He is doing, and what He has promised. “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and strength belong to our God forever and ever! Amen” (Revelation 7:12 NLT).
“Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.” – Philippians 3:1 [NLT]
Aaron had this sacred chestpiece that he had to have over his heart when he went into the Temple. This chestpiece was to remind him that he represented the people before the Lord. It was a sacred chestpiece. This was only one of many symbolic items we read about that we don’t follow today.
We no longer have a need to have someone wear a sacred chestpiece and go before the Lord to represent us. Because Jesus Christ died on the cross, the veil was torn. We no longer need a representative before the Lord. He fulfilled the Law. He is the Representative. He sits at the right hand of God. He intercedes on our behalf. The Spirit of God is poured out upon us so that even our groans can be understood.
Though nothing separates us from the love of God, we can allow our heart to keep us distanced (Romans 8:38-39). We can stifle the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). We can neglect the blessing we have to come before the Lord. We can cling to our filthy rags, and not enjoy the opportunity we have to dwell in His presence. Today, consider the last time you approached the throne of God. Embrace this awesome opportunity.
“In this way, Aaron will carry the names of the tribes of Israel on the sacred chestpiece over his heart when he goes into the Holy Place. This will be a continual reminder that he represents the people when he comes before the LORD.” – Exodus 28:29 [NLT]
We have a choice in life. We can live as a God pleaser or a people pleaser. This is difficult for some people. I know that as a child, I wanted nothing more than to please people. My daughter is somewhat of a people pleaser as well. It is great to want to please people. The issue is when you compromise pleasing God to please people.
Jesus Christ is grace and truth. We always must live with grace and truth always on our minds, with Jesus always in our heart. He is our focus. He is our priority. We cannot step around like we are walking on egg shells, and keep ourselves from speaking truth. We cannot disregard the spiritual immaturity of others, simply because it may offend someone to speak truth in love.
God has placed us right where we are at this very moment. There are people around us who need to experience God’s grace and His truth. Today, do not skate around the truth because you don’t want to ruffle any feathers. If you love someone, speak truth. Keeping the truth from a person because you want to please them results in a few problems. First, you are not pleasing God. Second, as you attempt to please this person, you deny them the truth. Perhaps, even enabling them. This is not love. Grace is an important thing—and a beautiful thing. However, there always must be balance. Honor God’s Truth.
“For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:4 [NLT]
- “Wise minds and spirits attuned to His will” [MSG]
- “All the wisdom & understanding that His Spirit gives” [CEV]
- “God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” [NLT]
- Practical Obedience (1:10) – Knowledge & obedience go together
True spiritual wisdom must affect daily life
Wisdom / Walk / Work – Cannot work for God unless we walk with Him, cannot walk with Him if ignorant to His will
General will = clearly in Bible Specific will = always agrees with Bible
Knowing general will makes it easier to know specific will for daily life
God wants us to:
- Know His Will (Acts 22:14)
- Understand His Will (Ephesians 5:17)
Paul prayed for ALL wisdom & understanding, COMPLETE knowledge…
Complete = Filled full Filled = Controlled by
- Filled with _______ (ex: anger, jealously)
- Filled with Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
Controlled by full knowledge of God’s will
How? By all wisdom & spiritual insights. Understand will of God through Word of God. Holy Spirit teaches us to submit to Him (John 14:26, John 16:31)
- You will live a life that honors the Lord
- You will always please Him by doing good deeds
- You will come to know God even better
- You will be patient & strong to endure everything because of His power
- You will be truly happy
Bible Study Questions:
1) Paul prayed for the Colossians to have ALL wisdom and understanding. He grasped that God wants us to know and understand His will – and to do this would bring us closer to Him. With our reading, the words patient and strong and happy appear. What does this mean for us?
2) What is the hardest thing about following God’s will?
3) When we have this completeness (fullness), we will be controlled by it. We will then be able to determine what God wants. How do we determine God’s Will—how do we determine what He wants?
4) Let us dig deeper into God’s Word.
Read each of these verses and decide what each verse says about God’s will for us.
- Read 2 Peter 3:9
- Read Ephesians 5:18
- Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3
- Read 1 Peter 2:15
- Read 1 Peter 5:10
- Read Psalm 37:4
This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:
I’ve Got the Power
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 1:19 [NLT]
How to Get It?
“Peter replied, ‘Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is to you, and to your children, and even to the Gentilesh—all who have been called by the Lord our God.‘ Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, ‘Save yourselves from this crooked generation!‘Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.“ – Acts 2:38-41 [NLT]
- Hear the Word
- God Calls you to Himself
- You receive the Word – Repent & Trust Him
How you Quench or Grieve It?
- Quench—1 Thessalonians 5:19 – Do not quench the Spirit. (NIV) Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. (NLT) [[Suppressive / Destructive / Non-Unifying]]
- Holy Spirit – Fire – Purifying / Enlightening / Enlivening – Don’t despise Spiritual Gifts
- NOT ALLOWING HIM TO MOVE FREELY
- Grieve—Ephesians 4:30 – And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (ESV) [[“Lupe” – To cause grief / To offend]]
- Lying, angry, corrupt behavior – actions, behavior towards God and others
- ACTING OUT IN SINFUL MANNER
How You Use It?
Counsels You (John 14:16)
Cleanses you (Romans 15:16)
Comforts you (2 Corinthians 1:3)
Empowers you (Romans 15:13)
Helps you when weak (Romans 8:26)
Gives you confidence (2 Corinthians 5:5-6)
Assures adoption in God’s family (Galatians 4:6-7)
Encourages you (Acts 9:31)
Gives you new life (Romans 8:11)
Gives you wisdom & revelation (Ephesians 1:17)
Leads you to all truth (John 16:13)
Helps you pray (Romans 8:26)
Convicts you (John 16:8)
Strengthens & renews you (Ephesians 3:16)
Brings you reassurance (Romans 8:16)
Sanctifies you (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
Fills you (Ephesians 5:18)
Gives you joy (1 Thessalonians 1:6)
Helps you remember (John 14:26)
Dispenses God’s love in our hearts (Romans 5:5)
My daughter’s run today was different than all the others. She placed better than ever before and she had her fastest time to date. It was such a great moment to watch the outcome of all of her hard work. But I noticed something else different. There were lots of loud cheers coming from the sidelines. She had an entire cheering squad.
People need encouragement. People need to hear kind and supportive words. What was Moses supposed to do with Joshua? Encourage him (Deuteronomy 1:38). What did Barnabas do to Paul by taking a chance on him? Encourage and support him (Acts 9:27). Paul wrote, “Encourage one another and build each other up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV). Paul sends Tychicus to the church in Colossae to “encourage (their) hearts” (4:8 NIV). In Hebrews 3 we read of this importance – to “encourage one another daily” (v.13 NIV). In 2 Timothy 4:2, it states: “encourage your people with great teaching” (NLT).
Encouragement matters. Today I encourage you to encourage others. Make a point to encourage someone. Do you see someone doing something awesome? Tell them you have taken notice. Compliment them. Give them a word of encouragement. Do you know someone who is struggling and could use some kind words? Take the time and share them. You never know how much a little encouragement can do in a person’s life. Plant those seeds of encouragement.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” – Ephesians 4:29 [NIV]
When you are living for Christ, there should be a noticeable difference from the life you had to the life you are living. People should see a difference. People should be asking, “What is different with her?” or “What happened to him?” when they see you. If there is no change, it is likely that you are still living the same life. This is very easy if you stick with doing the same things as you did before.
Paul tells us to “check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” This is not something done overnight, but it is something that helps us to grow in Christ. The Holy Spirit will reveal to you what is not good for you. This can vary from person to person. If it is not good, toss it out. As you slowly remove what is not good, and you surround yourself with what is good and pure and true and worthy of praise, you will start to change. You won’t even realize it is happening.
If you stay right where you are and do not listen to the Spirit, you are neglecting the opportunity to become who you were made to be and you are missing out on so many great things. God promised you that you would do great things through Christ. That is an awesome promise and it is true. You cannot imagine the great plan He has for you. But if you start cling to the good and remove the bad, you will see that plan unfold—and it’s a beautiful plan.
“Don’t suppress the Spirit, and don’t stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don’t be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what’s good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 [MSG]