Clothes can make a person they say. I think that can be somewhat true. I know when I put on my sweatpants, I feel comfy and ready to relax and enjoy a quiet night with my Bible and whatever book I’m currently reading. When I put on dressier clothing, I am ready to get to work. When I put on my sneakers, I become the dog walker extraordinaire.
Colossians 3 says we are clothed with a new spiritual self. Paul wrote that during our walk with Christ we are renewed and remolded. Renewed and remolded. Being renewed is being refreshed to start again. Being remolded means we change or are refashioned. Our appearance is different. It’s more of an outward thing. Renewed is an inner thing.
As we grow in Christ, we are renewed (inner) and remolded (outer). It’s an awesome thing. People will take notice. They will catch a glimpse of this change. They will experience the light, the light of Christ shining through you. You may even take notice in time that God has be doing a great work in and through you. He has a great plan for you my friend. Keep pressing forward.
“And have clothed yourselves with the new [spiritual self], which is [ever in the process of being] renewed and remolded into [fuller and more perfect knowledge upon] knowledge after the image (the likeness) of Him Who created it.” – Colossians 3:10 [AMP]
Being united means being joined together. Being united means that you share a common purpose. Again and again the Bible speaks of unity. We are to be united as brothers and sisters. We are to have unity in the church. We are to have unity in our families. We also are to be united with Christ. We cannot have any other true unity without having union with Christ.
The Bible says first we must receive Christ. Once we receive Jesus, then we are to walk with Him. The Apostle Paul writes often of walking with Christ. We are to continue the race. We are to press forward with Him. To the Colossians, he said they should regulate their lives so that they could live in this union with Jesus, even so much that we conform to Him.
Being united with Christ is not a difficult thing. Sadly people complicate this union. It is a simple union. A perfect union. A union like no other. It requires a heart for Jesus. It demands surrender. But it is simple and it is satisfying.
As you have therefore received Christ, [even] Jesus the Lord, [so] walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. – Colossians 2:6 [AMP]
As I read through Genesis, I love to read about Abraham and Sarah and the promise God made to them. In Genesis 21, it states that the Lord visited Sarah. In verse 1, we read, “The LORD visited Sarah AS HE HAD SAID.” Then it continues, “And the LORD did to Sarah AS HE HAD PROMISED.”
We live in a world of brokenness, and this includes broken promises. We can so easily name handfuls of people who have let us down. I bet you are thinking of someone who didn’t do what they said they would do or what they promised. Who hasn’t been let down?
But things are different with God. We cannot (though so many try) define Him by our own human limitations and imperfections. He is perfect. He is holy. He is faithful. And He is a promise keeper. So as you are reading your Bible, remember this—that God keeps His promises. He does as He says. He does as He promises. His word is solid as a rock—His Word is Truth.
“The LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did to Sarah as he had promised.” – Genesis 21:1 [ESV]
I saw a post today online about the infamous invite-a-friend to church day. It got me thinking about the recent invitations I have extended and the invitations that seem to get excuse after excuse. There are some people I have been inviting to church for years. I get a lot of excuses but the one that goes through me is “I’ll come when I get my life together.” So I guess the idea is that you cannot go to church until you have yourself cleaned up, fixed, repaired, looking good, feeling good, or whatever.
Jesus said He came for who? For the perfect? NO! Firstly, we all have fallen short so no one but Christ alone is perfect (Romans 3:23). Second, Jesus came for the sinners. Luke 5:32 says, “I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent” (NLT). Remember, it’s not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick (see Mark 2).
I don’t care what you have done or how dirty your hands are right now—Jesus can make anyone white as snow. See it doesn’t rest on what you have done or how you appear or where you are at in life. It rests upon the blood of Jesus Christ. His blood is enough. He has paid the FULL PRICE. By His righteousness, we are welcome before the throne of God. So yeah, perhaps you have a sporting event to attend or you must work. But don’t use the excuse of getting your life together first. The only way to get your life together is through Jesus Christ. Therefore the BEST place to be is in His presence and with His people. Come to church. Today. Tomorrow. Come. I have some good news to share with you.
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” – 1 John 1:9 [NLT]
It is difficult to live with someone. Growing up you might find it a struggle to get along with your siblings. In college you might find it hard to be a coinhabitant with particular roommates. Then one day there comes marriage and more interesting situations. You might not get the curtains you want hung. You might have to deal with someone who is an early bird while you like to sleep in till lunch.
In Genesis, God told Abram to “live entirely before (Him).” What it means is to live in the presence of God. This means you are constantly aware that His is with you. This means that you faithfully walk with Him. This means you serve Him faithfully. The second part says “live to the hilt.” This means to live a blameless life—to be perfect.
You might think it is difficult to live a blameless life; however, the first part gives the way to maintain the second part. If you live entirely before God, you will no doubt live a blameless life. If you accept Christ and walk with God, you are considered blameless. His blood paid for you to be blameless. So it is not a difficult thing—by His strength, by His righteousness, by His work on the Cross—you are perfect through Him. Like Abram, we need to live ENTIRELY before Him. How? One step at a time. One moment at a time. Keep your eyes on Him.
“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, God showed up and said to him, ‘I am The Strong God, live entirely before me, live to the hilt! I’ll make a covenant between us and I’ll give you a huge family.’”
-Genesis 17:1-2 [MSG]
Rules. Instructions. Decrees. Commands. Regulations. Directives. Orders. Laws. Statutes. Stipulations. Guidelines. Directions. Requirements. Ordinances. Mandates. What words that bring us joy! Not usually. Many people skip over instructions. Some people try to figure out a way to break the rules or twist the laws. Some people barely like to make the requirements. Ordinances really do not include me. But in Psalm 19, David speaks about God’s Commandments “bringing joy to the heart.”
David says many things in today’s verses. He uses the words: perfect, trustworthy, right, and clear. I love this description. There’s no twisting His commands. There’s no way to barely follow. There’s no chance that it doesn’t include me. We typically think of rules as a negative—as a way to restrict us from doing what we would like, but look at how David describes the instructions of the Lord. They REVIVE THE SOUL. They MAKE WISE THE SIMPLE. They BRING JOY TO THE HEART.
Finally, he says they are clear—they GIVE INSIGHT FOR LIVING and they BRING JOY TO THE HEART. We look at so many self-help books and watch so many videos on how to do things. But everything is right here for us—and the Lord’s instructions are CLEAR. Why do we make it so complicated? Today, consider what the Lord’s instructions mean to you. When you start seeing the reason the Lord gave them to us, you will start to have this JOY that David spoke about in this psalm. You will start to say, “He loves me THAT much” and “He cares for me THAT much” – and it will bring joy to your heart. As your love grows, you will start to find joy in all of the Lord’s commands. You will even enjoy reading Leviticus.
“The instructions of the LORD are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the LORD are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the LORD are clear, giving insight for living.” – Psalm 19:7-8 [NLT]
When I took Max for a walk, I noticed a cicada sitting on the sidewalk. I saw Max looking in the direction of the cicada and told him to let it alone. Max decided instead to look more closely at the cicada. The cicada made the familiar noise it is known for and Max jumped in the air in fear.
Max did not listen to me though I told him not to look further. I told him it was bad. He did not listen. Instead, he continued to look at the cicada and got even closer to it, allowing it to touch and frighten him. This reminded me of how we find ourselves not listening to God’s Word and the Spirit’s promptings, and instead we decide to continue down a path we were not supposed to travel. We do not realize the harm until we are up against the cicada.
Today consider what God is saying to you and trust Him when He is telling you not to do something. God is not watching to stop us from having joy and happiness in life. He wants us to have joy and happiness and so much more. He is not trying to prohibit us but to enable us.
“God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” – Psalm 18:30 [NLT]
This morning I continued preparations for Saturday when my family will gather together for the annual Christmas party. I gave the dog a bath, washed the floors, got Christmas cards organized, and made a list of what needs done before Saturday morning. We always prepare for something that means a lot to us, and it is this preparation that I see in the Bible when we look at the Old Testament and the mentions again and again of Jesus.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 1:20 that God, before the foundation of the world, had already began preparations for the greatest Christmas gift we would ever receive—Jesus. We can see as we page through the Old Testament so many different ways that God prepared the way for what would happen the day Jesus would be born, and for what would happen afterward. In Luke 24:44, Jesus notes that the Old Testament books (the Law of Moses, the Prophets, the Psalms) were making reference to Him and must be fulfilled (Matthew 5:17). As so many people this month are celebrating the birth of Jesus, it is important to take a look at how much preparation went on beforehand to grasp a better understanding of the love God has for each one of us.
When we organize a party, build a house, start a business, work on a project, etc., we spend a lot of time on preparatory work. With something of such great value to us, we invest a great deal of effort and consideration to get it just right, as perfect as possible. God cares so very much for you. He is very big on details and has beautifully orchestrated everything from the foundation of the world to the plan He has for your life. He loves you so much that He has each hair on your head numbered (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7). As you prepare for your Christmas gatherings this season, please do not lose sight of the love of God and His perfect plan that He has been working on since the foundation of the world. You fit into that plan. He has a purpose for your life and He wants to be a part of your life. Today is as good a day as any to accept what He has to offer—the greatest Christmas gift you’ll ever get.
Walking the dog can lead me to some disgusting finds. Yesterday we found a dead squirrel, today a dead bird. I cringed both times, and had to remove myself from the area quickly. I felt ill from the sight. Yet I have to be honest and admit that when I have seen human beings dead, I have been fine. The reason, I believe, is because I worked ten years in Long Term Care, seeing hundreds of people when their pulse ceased. It became such a normal sight and I was trained to work through it. I am not saying I had no feelings or that their lives were meaningless to me. I prayed for them. I shed tears for them. They were family to me. I am saying that I became conditioned to be able to accept the death of human beings and to be around those who were dead.
In society I see so many people that are conditioned to accept the things of this world. We are all part of that group. The Bible tells us that we are not of this world and that we are not to accept the things of this world. The Bible holds that we are to love people, but not love the things people do that are against God’s intention, His purpose, His design, His commands. Yet we have seen that society is slowly accepting the unacceptable. Friends have blamed the television and have claimed that they will not allow their children to watch any television programming. I ask them, what do you do when your child exits the bubble of your household and is in contact with the world? We are met with many challenges everywhere, with the world and its views pressing in on us.
To take a biblical worldview, one must dive into the Word and cling to everything that is Truth. One must seek the Holy Spirit for illumination, for strength, for guidance. One must see God with every situation, think like Jesus, and make a choice by what the Bible says. It is very difficult. It’s not something that we always do correctly. Honestly, we are lucky when we can sometimes get it right. For it is so easy for us to accept what is around us and say that it will be okay. It is so much less work, less grief, less of a struggle to simply accept and embrace what the world accepts. We handle it as if we have been conditioned to accept it. We’ve seen it so much so it is not so bad. Not so bad. I love that phrase. To me, not so bad means that we have decided to give degrees to the depth of bad, to the levels of evil. Not so bad means there is some bad. Anything bad, is not good. Anything not good is not from God.
I pray that as you journey onward today, that you are able to focus on the good. I pray that when the world does its thing, that you stick with doing God’s thing, despite the problems that will arise when you go against the grain. We have a tough road ahead, but God has promised to be with us through it all, and we know we have victory through Christ. God has a perfect plan for each of our lives, and as we continue onward, allowing Him to direct our paths, we are blessed to see His perfect plan unfold in our lives.
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”
– Romans 12:2 [NLT]
In Mark 4, we read about how Jesus stills the sea. It is such a powerful miracle that we hear of so often that perhaps we do not appreciate it as much as we should. When the disciples became fearful of the boat sinking, they ran to Jesus who was asleep. He rebuked the wind and then He said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” Right away everything became “perfectly calm.”
I can only imagine what it is like to be perfectly calm. I am sure that most people do not know what that means. We can only imagine. There are times in life when I believe Jesus is saying to us, “Hush, be still.” We get so busy that we are blowing all around off course. We get so worried about the situations in our lives that we start to drown ourselves in anxiety. We are like the storm, breaking apart inside instead of breaking a boat.
Jesus says, “Hush, be still.” Immediately the storm ceases and then everything is “perfectly calm. Do not let the storms in your life break you apart. Allow the comfort of Jesus to take over. All you need to do is ask Him to help.” If we accept the peace that Jesus has to offer, and we listen to His Word, we can be still. We can rest in Him.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
– Matthew 11:28 [NIV]