1 For I want you to know what a great conflict I have for you and those in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh,2 that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
The reader sees a glimpse of Paul’s pastoral heart in Colossians 2. Though it is believed that the Apostle had never visited the church of Laodicea, He we deeply concerned for their well-being and for the spiritual maturity of all the churches in this area. Paul offers three of blessing for these churches. Oh that churches in the present day would receive these benefits from the Lord.
First, Paul desired to see these churches encouraged in Christ. The word “encouraged” (V. 2) was used in military contexts in the ancient world. Military officers would strengthen their troops for battle and would “encourage” them to stay in the fight. The Apostle’s wish for these churches and for all churches is that they would persevere, remain steadfast in the faith, and continue until they see Jesus. Stay in the battle, child of God.
Also, Paul aspired to help these churches be entwined in love. He writes so this letter to implore them to have hearts that are knit together in love. The difficulties of the first century threatened to pull these churches apart into factions. Such is the case in the present day as well. Christians need one another to remain faithful and steadfast in the truth in evil that surrounds. May the bond of love and peace be firmly fixed in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, the Apostle longed to aid these congregations as they were being established in God. He desired that they would grow in understanding and knowledge as the people of God learned more and more through the process of sanctification. Paul pointed them to Jesus, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Let us pray that Christians will learn more and more about Jesus.
We are thankful for Paul’s concern for the churches of his day. And we pray that encouragement, Christian love, and spiritual growth would be key components of our churches in the twenty-first century. The time is short and the need is great.
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.
The Old Testament priests were an important part of temple worship. They accepted the sacrifices, offered the gifts, and (after offering sacrifices for their own sins) made intercession for the sins of the people. The priests prefigured the work and ministry of Jesus.
Jesus is the Believer’s great High Priest. His priesthood, though similar to the earthly priesthood, is also different. His priesthood is an eternal priesthood. Jesus had no need to offer sacrifices for His own sins because of his perfect nature. Jesus did not offer animal sacrifices—He offered Himself for our forgiveness and salvation. Jesus priesthood arose from a different source altogether. His priestly work is perfect in every way.
Since these things are true, Jesus offers us salvation. Christ prayed, suffered, and willingly died for our atonement. The work of redemption is complete and He is now seated at the right hand of God making intercession for us, His children (Romans 8:34). Christ saves everyone who believes and trust in Him (Romans 10:10-13).
Jesus is our great High Priest. He is our Mediator. And He calls to those who are lost to trust in Him by faith today.
He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.
Christians have a foundation. The Lord Jesus Christ is our strong protector in the midst of the storm. Though trials may come and though heartache is inevitable, we rest on the truth of the promises of God.
Christ is our rock. He is our strong foundation, our help in the time of need. He saves us, secures us, and leads us to Himself day by day. He is the Rock upon which stand on this day and every day.
Christ is our salvation. He is our only rock and salvation. Christ lived for our righteousness, died to pay our sin debt, and was resurrected for our justification. Through salvation, our sins are removed and we are also given the righteousness of Christ. He is our one and only Savior.
Christ is our stronghold. We run to Him in the time of trouble. We rest in Him when the enemies surround us. He is our great fortress indeed!
That is not to say that life is perfect. We will have trouble in this world and pain is ever present. It is to say that our soul is secure, God’s promises are true, and Heaven is assured no matter how and when the enemy comes against us.
Because of these things I will not be shaken. I may stumble and I may fall. But, when that happens, I will not stay down. I will get up, get back on the path, and keep seeking to know Christ each day. What about you, dear Christian?
Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.”
**Live in such a pure way that no one could accuse you of wrongdoing.
We return to Daniel’s principles for Godly living today. Daniel was able to live a holy life in the midst of an unholy culture. We can do the same through the power of God’s Spirit and His grace.
Daniel lived an exemplary life. He was not perfect (no one is), yet, he was consistently seeking to follow God and His law. His life was so consistent that when his enemies desired to entrap him they could find no obvious defect in his character. As a matter of fact, Daniel’s enemies concluded that the only way to get rid of him was to use his devotion to God against him. Daniel is a glorious example of holy living and he is an example we should follow.
We are saved through faith alone, by grace alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. God’s grace now teaches us to live holy, self-controlled lives that are able to deny the ungodliness we find all around us. (Titus 2:11-12) When people see us, may they see the goodness of God by how we think, converse, and behave. Even when folks try to find fault with us, may our lives reflect the holy character and nature of God.
Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Daniel 6:10-11
**We should practice consistent prayer.
The reason Daniel was convicted of breaking the King’s decree is found in the above verses. Daniel prayed to God even though he know that it could cost him dearly. He stayed consistent in prayer no matter the price. His faithfulness to prayer caused him to be thrown in a den of hungry lions.
Daniel gives us an example about prayer in his prophecy. If we are going to stay pure and holy in a world that has lost its way, we must remain close to Christ through prayer. Daily, consistent prayer will allow us to remain focused upon Jesus each and every hour. We need communion with God if we are stay straight in the midst of a crooked world.
Prayer is costly. Prayer requires a persistent commitment to stay in close contact with the Lord. It is easy to let our prayer life slip. Don’t do it! Keep praying, keep asking, keep seeking, and keep knocking. God bless our labor of prayer in ways that are seen and in ways that are unseen.
Daniel’s life reminds us that prayer is important. Prayer matters in the life of every believer. Let us encourage one another to be consistent, persistent, and faithful in prayer!
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
The opening chapter of Colossians reveals powerful truths and foundational precepts to the Believer. I pray that these truths will encourage and strengthen each of you as you read and study this week.
Paul tells us that Christ is the eternal God who created all things. Everything that was created was brought into existence by the power and might of the Son of God. The truth uttered in Genesis 1-2 is thundered by the apostle Paul in this Scripture. Jesus is the maker of all that is.
Jesus is also the head of all things and by Him all things hold together. Christ not only creates, He sustains, guards, and provides for His creation. Without Jesus, the universe would quickly unravel and fall into ruin.
The Apostle teaches us that Christ is the head of the Church. The Church belongs to Jesus. (Matthew 16:18) It is His building (1 Corinthians 3:9), His body (1 Corinthians 10:17), and His bride (Revelation 21:9). He is the Head and we are to follow Him every step of the way.
These principles revealed in Colossians 1 are edifying to the Christian. They make a difference in our lives as we read them and apply them. Thank you for reading and studying the Bible, child of God. You will never regret spending time in God’s Word!
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:1-3
Jesus is preparing a place for His children. Believers in Christ look forward to the time when we are in Christ’s presence. What a day that will be!
Jesus is preparing an expansive place. It is described as having many rooms. Jesus verifies this fact by promising to come for us when He is ready for us.
Jesus is preparing a personal place. Jesus will be there and we shall be with Him. Jesus will dwell with us forever and all will be made right.
If you haven’t already, trust in Jesus for salvation. Believe in Him and trust In His death on the cross for your sin and His resurrection from the dead for your justification. All who call on Him shall be saved. And all who are saved will spend eternity in the presence of Christ. To God be the glory, great things He has done!
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, 13 and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” 16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him. Mark 1:9-20
How can we be usable in God’s Kingdom? After all, we want our lives to matter and count for something. How can we be in the best position to see God work in our lives? I offer three points from Mark 1.
First, be obedient to God. Seek to learn His Word and obey His Word. The disciples obeyed Jesus’ command to follow. We should do no less.
Second, be willing to be tested. The beginning of Jesus’ ministry was marked by a time of severe testing. Jesus endured this testing to remind us that usability in God’s Kingdom will require us to go beyond our comfort zone and face difficult challenges. If we desire to be used by God, we must come to terms with the trials and difficulties that will accompany following Christ.
Finally, invest in the lives of others. Jesus was willing to invest in the lives of these early disciples. He taught them and gave them an example to follow each day. God’s work always happens within the context of people and relationships. Investing in people is not always easy. Making the investment pays eternal rewards.
Will you seek usability in God’s Kingdom today?
Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
The joy of the Lord is our strength. As Christians, we find our joy in Christ and Christ alone. God’s people find the might they need for daily living by understanding that Christ saved them, loves them, and will be with them each and every day. We gain strength by realizing that we are in Christ, our names are written in Heaven, and no one can take away our salvation.
The joy of the Lord is not found in our money. The joy of the Lord is not found in our position. The joy of the Lord is not placed in our fame, prosperity, or pleasure. Joy and peace are found in knowing Jesus as Savior and Lord. Only Jesus can lead us to peace, joy, and power as He lives His life in us each day. (Galatians 2)
Child of God, rejoice. The joy of the Lord is yours. The joy of the Lord will never leave you. Be encouraged and uplifted today. Why? The joy of the Lord is your strength!
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 2 Timothy 4:7
Paul’s last letter to Timothy contains this stirring, triumphant chorus. Paul, realizing the end was near, proclaimed that He had “finished the course” of his life. He had been faithful. And Paul stayed in the fight until the end.
Paul’s example leads us to consider how we can finish well with Jesus. Many Christians do not end their journey properly. Some end up in bitterness and defeat and others simply quit before the end. May that NOT be the case with us. Let’s look at how we can finish our time well.
- Be committed. One way to finish well is to keep showing up. Show up when the days are good and when the times are difficult. Keep serving when you feel like it and when you do not feel good. Be committed and stay in the fight.
- Keep your eyes on Jesus. Study His Word, be faithful to His church, and listen to the Holy Spirit day by day. Ask Christ for strength through your daily prayers. We serve Jesus and He is the one we are seeking to please.
- Finally, realize that your ministry matter to God. What you do for Christ is not in vain. God sees and He will bless your work in ways that are seen and in many more way that are unseen. Ministry can be discouraging. But, even when it seems like failure, know that every effort for Christ will produce something good for the Kingdom of God. (Galatians 6:9)
Fight the good fight. Finish course. Believer, keep the faith. You will not regret it!