Colossians 1-2(NLT link) 

Discover His heart: The Creator of all things hears and answers our prayers

There’s just something really good that happens inside of me when family and friends tell me they are praying for me – if I’m discouraged, hope builds within me; if I’m sick, faith starts to mount; and if I’m fearful, peace floods my soul.  We all need prayer, and we’ll take any prayer that is offered to God on our behalf.

On the flip side, I love to pray for the needs of others with hopeful anticipation of answered prayer, watching as our creative God brings solutions.  I’ve learned that promising someone to pray for a need can be easily sabotaged by a busy life, and often those mental notes to pray for someone cannot be found as effortlessly as they once were.  Keeping a prayer journal is helpful, and simply asking God to bring to our remembrance those needs we’ve committed to prayer also brings results.

Then there is the specific prayer request that comes my way now and then that challenges me to find the will of God in how I really should be praying for that need.  I know, I know.  God is bigger than all this.  He remembers all the needs that I forget, and He, of course, knows how to answer every need. However, like most believers, I take prayer seriously because I want my prayers to be effective. 

@ Colossians 1
Paul certainly understood the importance and impact of prayer in the life of a believer and focused on it in all of his letters. In our reading today, he was writing to the Colossians, a group of believers he had never met, to encourage them and to help them stand against an onslaught of heresy that he had heard was mounting in the church.  In verses 9-12, Paul shared an excellent example for us of how to pray for others, whether we remember the exact need or not.  I don’t know a missionary, leader, friend or anyone on the planet who would not appreciate this prayer.

When we pray for others, ask that God will help them:
1)  Know His plan for their lives (9)
2)  Grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding (9)
3)  Understand how to honor and please the Lord (10)
4)  Produce every kind of good fruit (10)
5)  Grow in the knowledge of who He is (10)
6)  Have endurance and patience through His glorious power (11)
7)  Be filled with joy and thanksgiving (11-12)

When we pray to God, we pray in Jesus’ name, and Paul gave one of the most powerful endorsements of Him in verses 15-20 that is found anywhere. “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation…He holds all creation together…Christ is the head…Christ is the beginning…through Him God reconciled everything to Himself.”

It’s almost impossible to believe, yet true – this amazing, glorious creator of all things, the Lord Jesus, hears and answers my prayers! 

Moving Forward: With humility and awe that He hears my requests, I will pray for those dear ones in need of His touch today. 

Tomorrow @ Leviticus 13-15

Galatians 1-3 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He replaced the law with Christ, focusing on His grace.

This is difficult to admit, particularly to my riding friends, but I’m not terribly fond of motorcycles.  I’ve always found them noisy and smelly, and for one who doesn’t like to wear a hat, a helmet is just not going to happen.  One can safely assume that I’ll probably never be found on a motorcycle, the football field or roller blades.  I tried to indoctrinate my son with my attitude about motorcycles early in his life.  Whenever a motorcycle passed us on the road with its thunderous roar, I would say to him, “Oh yuck, Brady, we don’t like those motorcycles,” and I also shared many subliminal messages.

When our son was a little older, an especially sweet Harley passed us on the road and my husband, the traitor, said to our son, “Brady, look at the cool bike!” And my precious innocent son replied, “Wow! I like it!”  It was then I knew that my years of brainwashing had been in vain. The words of Paul to the Galatians came to mind, “Oh, foolish, Brady!  Who has cast an evil spell on you?”  I knew I had lost the battle. So to the bikers of the world, I acquiesce; but Paul, on the other hand, was not so quick to cave.

“Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you?” (3:1)  Poor Paul.  He had spent a great deal of time discipling the Christians in Turkey on several missionary trips and now to have them fall for the false message of the Judaizers!  “You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all.  You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.” (1:6-7)

In Chapter 2 we learn that the Judaizers were Jews who resisted Paul’s message of freedom from the Jewish law.  To them, belief in Jesus and what He did on the cross was just not quite enough.  They believed that all Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike, must follow the law given to Moses, and those who did not follow it should be avoided.

The Apostle Peter, unintentionally I am sure, added validity to their message when he would not eat with Gentiles in front of other Jews in order to keep the peace.  I would love to have been sitting with a cup of coffee over in the corner of the cafe or wherever it was when Paul and Peter had their discussion in Chapter 2.

Paul, seldom concerned about diplomacy, said it straight up, “When I tried to keep the law, it condemned me.  So I died to the law…so that I might live for God.  My old self has been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God…For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” (2:19-21)  Christ and His Holy Spirit (3:2) living in me are more than enough!

Understanding Paul’s plight, we might say today, “Oh, foolish Americans!  Who has cast an evil spell on you?”  For the Judaizers of today, the law is irrelevant, but then to them, so is Jesus…irrelevant.  The man-made religions of today, the Oprah feel-good ones, may seem more open-minded, more compassionate and inviting, but they have nothing backing them up.

A handful of crisp, new counterfeit $100 bills may look good, feel good in my pocket and may give a sense of prosperity, but when I go to spend them I’ll find that nothing is backing them up!  Of course, some may reason that even authentic dollars do not have much backing them up today, but then that’s a topic for another day.  Convenient, man-made devotion to some higher power is only just that, a counterfeit, and it doesn’t spend well.  Jesus paid with His life, backed by the true and living God, and that we can take to the bank! 

Moving Forward: I resist the trappings of the counterfeits today and depend on Christ crucified, living in me to direct my life.  He’s all that I need and more than enough! 

Tomorrow @ Exodus 33-36

Colossians 1-2(NLT link) 

Discover His heart: The Creator of all things hears and answers our prayers

There’s just something really good that happens inside of me when family and friends tell me they are praying for me – if I’m discouraged, hope builds within me; if I’m sick, faith starts to mount and if I’m fearful, peace floods my soul.  We all need prayer, and we’ll take any and all that are offered to God on our behalf.

On the flip side, I love to pray for the needs of others with hopeful anticipation of answered prayer, watching our creative God bring solutions.  I’ve learned that promising someone to pray for a need can be easily sabotaged by a busy life and those mental notes to pray for someone cannot be found as effortlessly as they once were.  Keeping a prayer journal is helpful and simply asking God to bring to our remembrance those needs we’ve committed to also brings results.

Then there is the specific prayer request that comes my way now and then that challenges me to find the will of God in how I really should be praying about that need.  I know, I know.  God is bigger than all this.  He remembers all the needs that I forget, and He, of course, knows how to answer every need; but like most believers, I take prayer seriously because I want my prayers to be effective. 

@ Colossians 1
Paul certainly understood the importance and impact of prayer in the life of a believer and focused on it in all of his letters. He was writing to the Colossians, a group of believers he had never met, to encourage them and to help them stand against an onslaught of heresy that he had heard was mounting in the church.  In verses 9-12, Paul shared a great example for us of how to pray for others, whether we remember the exact need or not.  I don’t know a missionary, leader, friend or anyone on the planet who would not appreciate this prayer.

When we pray for others, ask that God will help them:
1)  Know His plan for their lives (9)
2)  Grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding (9)
3)  Understand how to honor and please the Lord (10)
4)  Produce every kind of good fruit (10)
5)  Grow in the knowledge of who He is (10)
6)  Have endurance and patience through His glorious power (11)
7)  Be filled with joy and thanksgiving (11-12)

When we pray to God, we pray in Jesus’ name, and Paul gave one of the most powerful endorsements of Him in verses 15-20 that is found anywhere. “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.  He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation…He holds all creation together…Christ is the head…Christ is the beginning…through Him God reconciled everything to Himself.”  Almost impossible to believe, yet true – the Lord hears and answers my prayers! 

Moving Forward: With humility and awe that He hears my requests, I will pray for those dear ones in need of His touch today. 

Tomorrow @ Leviticus 13-15

Galatians 1-3 (NLT) 

Discover His heart: He replaced the law with Christ, focusing on His grace.

This is difficult to admit, particularly to my riding friends, but I’m not terribly fond of motorcycles.  I’ve always found them noisy and smelly, and for one who doesn’t like to wear a hat, a helmet is just not going to happen.  One can safely assume that I’ll probably never be found on a motorcycle, the football field or roller blades.  I tried to indoctrinate my son with my attitude about motorcycles early in his life.  Whenever a motorcycle passed us on the road with its thunderous roar, I would say to him, “Oh yuck, Brady, we don’t like those motorcycles,” and I also shared many subliminal messages.

When our son was a little older, an especially sweet Harley passed us on the road and my husband, the traitor, said to our son, “Brady, look at the cool bike!” And my precious innocent son replied, “Wow! I like it!”  It was then I knew that my years of brainwashing had been in vain. The words of Paul to the Galatians came to mind, “Oh, foolish, Brady!  Who has cast an evil spell on you?”  I knew I had lost the battle. So to the bikers of the world, I acquiesce; but Paul, on the other hand, was not so quick to cave.

“Oh, foolish Galatians! Who has cast an evil spell on you?” (3:1)  Poor Paul.  He had spent a great deal of time discipling the Christians in Turkey on several missionary trips and now to have them fall for the false message of the Judaizers!  “You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all.  You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.” (1:6-7)

In Chapter 2 we learn that the Judaizers were Jews who resisted Paul’s message of freedom from the Jewish law.  To them, belief in Jesus and what He did on the cross was just not quite enough.  They believed that all Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike, must follow the law given to Moses, and those who did not follow it should be avoided.

The Apostle Peter, unintentionally I am sure, added validity to their message when he would not eat with Gentiles in front of other Jews in order to keep peace.  I would love to have been sitting with a cup of coffee over in the corner of the cafe or wherever it was when Paul and Peter had their discussion in Chapter 2.

Paul, seldom concerned about diplomacy, said it straight up, “When I tried to keep the law, it condemned me.  So I died to the law…so that I might live for God.  My old self has been crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me.  So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God…For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.” (2:19-21)  Christ and His Holy Spirit (3:2) living in me is more than enough!

Understanding Paul’s plight, we might say today, “Oh, foolish Americans!  Who has cast an evil spell on you?”  For the Judaizers of today, the law is irrelevant, but then to them, so is Jesus…irrelevant.  The man-made religions of today, the Oprah feel-good ones, may seem more open-minded, more compassionate and inviting, but they have nothing backing them up.

A handful of crisp, new counterfeit $100 bills may look good, feel good in my pocket and may give a sense of prosperity, but when I go to spend them I’ll find that there’s nothing backing them up!  Of course, some may reason that even authentic dollars do not have much backing them up today, but then that’s a topic for another day.  Convenient, man-made devotion to some higher power is only just that, a counterfeit, and it doesn’t spend well.  Jesus paid with His life, backed by the true and living God, and that we can take to the bank! 

Moving Forward: I resist the trappings of the counterfeits today and depend on Christ crucified, living in me to direct my life.  He’s all that I need and more than enough! 

Tomorrow @ Exodus 33-36