“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1Timothy 1.15
Sometimes when I read this verse, if I am not careful, I get caught up in the statement that Paul gives about himself. He said that he was the chief of sinners. I do not want to quarrel with him about that. He knows his past better than I do. But I do want my focus to remain on the main thought of this verse: “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners … ”
On my two visits to the Holy Land, I will quickly admit that some sites spoke to my heart more than others. Among those sites were two in particular: Golgotha (the place of the skull), which was the place of the crucifixion, and the Garden Tomb that is still empty. Each time I saw them, they were both stark reminders of WHY Jesus came to this earth in the first place. He did not come to work miracles, even though He did a number of them, He did not come to be a phenomenal teacher, even though He was the best that ever was. He did not come to die as a martyr, even though that was something that was talked about then and is still talked about in some circles today.
It can’t be made any clearer than this: “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners … ” No matter what else seems to be of major importance in my life today, I must NEVER forget that Jesus came to SAVE sinners. I am one of those sinners, but there are so many more who have NEVER even heard that Jesus came, must less that He came to die for their sin. I don’t want to ever lost sight of WHY He came and my responsibility to this lost world BECAUSE He came. Just my thoughts …
“And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Colossians 3.17
The totality of each day’s actions needs to be governed by the words of this verse. The word “whatsoever” is all-inclusive. Could we approach this day with this attitude? “Lord, I want to be so attentive to the Spirit’s voice, that when He speaks to me in a whisper, I will hear Him. I do not want to argue with Him but I want to follow His leadership completely.” How different would your day be if that becomes your prayer right now?
Perhaps the greatest part of the struggle for each of us is found in this last phrase: “do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Again, I’m not sure how difficult this is for you and how dramatically it would change your life. I do know this, when you and I do things each day that are NOT done in the name of the Lord Jesus, that means we are acting in a purely selfish manner and God is not glorified by such actions. When we CONSCIOUSLY think about our actions and realize that we are God’s hands, feet, and voice in this world, suddenly that things that I DO, the things that I SAY, and the places that I GO take on a new significance.
Do you think the Colossian Christians had some special need that Paul was addressing, or could he speaking to all of God’s children (including us) through his words here to the Colossian believers? I tend to think the latter is true. Our lives are as much n view here as those first century believers. May God’s Spirit have our attention from this moment on today? Just my thoughts …
“Wherefore thou are great, O LORD God: for there is none like the, neither is there any God beside thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” 2 Samuel 7.22
Most of us would NEVER publicly challenge this first statement about God, but how many times have we LIVED like there was someone or something greater than our God? God has just spoken to David in such a remarkable way and promised him a great future for his son Solomon. And David’s response was this: “Wherefore thou are great, O LORD God … ” Only God could have MADE and KEPT the promise He had just made to David. Think about this! How many promises has God MADE to you and KEPT? If you are like me, you can’t count them all. They are more than memories … they are milestones in our walk with God.
“there is none like the, neither is there any God beside thee … ” Do you see it? None like thee? “neither … any … beside thee … ” Not only is there NO OTHER God LIKE this God. There is no other look alike or want-to-be god who is ANYTHING like our God! Are you feeling special yet? David was!
Now for David’s closing thought: “according to all that we have heard with our ears.” Nathan, prophet of God, had just finished talking with David ABOUT God. David had seen and heard God work in his life and the life of his family so many different times. He had just been reminded one more time of Who God is and What God could do. When you and I are careful to watch what goes on in our lives day-by-day, we cannot escape seeing the hand of God at work over and over. It is SO important for us to do what David did – share with all who would listen and read, what God had done and was doing in his life and in his kingdom. Let’s be ALL ABOUT that sharing! Just my thoughts …
“See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves and to all men.” 1 Thessalonians 5.15
There are some people in our world who have a bent toward evil thinking, no matter what anyone else does or says. It is sad that Paul found it necessary to remind the Thessalonian believers and us this: “See that none render evil for evil unto any man … ” It doesn’t say don’t render evil to just believers, but do not render evil to any man. The inherent characteristic in the heart of every believer ought to be a heart of love for those whom Jesus loved. Never forget that we must “count no man cheap for whom Christ died.” To treat others with an evil spirit is to build a wall that we can’t get over rather than a bridge that will help guide them to Christ.
The flipside of this issue is to “ever follow that which is good … ” The supernatural response to the world around us is to “ever follow that which is good … ” When you and I do something that the world would ever expect, we are never more like Christ than at that moment. And just to remind us again of the universality of this supernatural response, we read: “both among yourselves and to all men.”
What can you and I do yet today that would leave the world standing amazed at what God is doing through us? Could we SPEAK a word of kindness? Could we DO an act of kindness? Could we show Christ’s LOVE to someone who sincerely believes that God absolutely does not love them? Let God’s Holy Spirit guide you. He does that best when you and I give up OUR control and put everything in His hands. Once again, these are just MY thoughts …
“And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye were called in one body; and be ye thankful.” Colossians 3.15
The practical truths spoken in this verse are well worth our consideration. “let the peace of God rule in your hearts … ” I don’t know that I have ever met a follower of Christ who did not want “the peace of God” in his heart. For many of God’s children, they believe that this “peace of God” is something that God has said we CAN have but they don’t know WHERE to find it. Paul tells us to “let” the peace of God rule in our hearts. It sounds to me like whether or not God’s peace rules in our hearts is up to US and not God. If that is the case, what is the problem?
In John 14.27 Jesus said: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Once again, peace is something Jesus gives us. Why then do so many still not have it. I believe Paul gives us the answer in Philippians 4.6-7: “Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Can I put this in the simplest possible terms for us to understand? Paul says, (1) pray about everything, (2) worry about nothing and (3) transfer control of everything to God, AND in return God will give you His peace. I don’t really believe that needs to be explained, just believed and practiced.
In closing, Paul says, “and be ye thankful.” Oh that this would be the daily trademark of our walk with God – thankful hearts. Just my thoughts …
“But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.” Hebrews 13.16
As the author of Hebrews nears the end of the book, it seems that there are two things he does not want to forget to mention: (1) doing good, and (2) communicating (sharing) what we have with others. One translation reads: “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”
Why would the Holy Spirit speak of these two things as sacrifices? Could it be that doing good to others is not something that we do easily? I think most of us have a heart for God and want to glorify Him with our actions but when He wants me to do something that is contrary to my inherent will, I really struggle. The struggle lasts until I WILLINGLY yield my spirit to God’s Spirit and obey what He wants.
Although God is pleased with my sacrifice, how much better would my actions be if they were simply a manifestation of God’s love at work in me? Is it possible that you and I value OUR feelings about things over what God says about our responsibility to others? More time than not that is precisely the situation.
“share what you have …” Are you thinking, “That’s all I’ve got”? No, that’s all you have in hand. God has a whole lot more in reserve … just for you. When we look at only what we can see with the naked eye, we fail to acknowledge that our God owns it all. THAT is shortsighted. If what God asks me to do is PLEASING to Him, WHY would I want to do ANYTHING else? Don’t ever stack your fears up against God’s greatness – those fears lose every time. Let go … and let God be God! Just my thoughts …
“Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” Proverbs 17.28
Have you ever thought about the fact that we have two eyes and two ears, but only one mouth? I wonder if the Creator was saying to us that we should watch and listen twice as much as we speak? I know that is purely a hypothetical question. But the issue that Solomon addresses in this verse is very real.
How many times, when you are listening to someone describe a problem or issue they are dealing with, have you already been trying to find an answer to their problem? Have you ever caught yourself interrupting someone as they were talking because you were already ready to fix their problem? Only a fool tries to fix a problem without really knowing what the problem is. THAT is precisely Solomon’s point.
Sometimes my wife will say to me, “Can we talk?” My first thought is, “Am I in trouble?” So I will ask her, “Am I in trouble?” and then, “Do you want me to fix it or just listen?” After reaching this age in my life (77), I am NOW learning that when I am a better listener, I am a better friend, and a better counselor. Many times the greatest need that someone may have is to simply “empty their emotional tank.” If they don’t, they are going to explode.
How different would things be for us in our relationships if we began the practice of “listening”? We would then know better how to pray for the one to whom we are listening. We would get a better grasp of life and it daily struggles for them. Both of these things make us a better friend and a better helper. And isn’t that really our goal for all of our relationships? Just my thoughts …
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Deuteronomy 6.4-5
These words are not just good for Israel. They are good for us also. One day the Pharisees wanted to trap Jesus so they asked Him this question: “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” And Jesus responded: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 39This the first and great commandment.” God didn’t suddenly change His mind somewhere between Deuteronomy 6 and Matthew 22. I recently read a book by Mark Batterson entitled: “All In.” If you and I are able to love the Lord with ALL our heart, soul, and might, you could say, “I’m all in!”
Consider for a moment the ramifications of loving God in this way. What would change in my life? My view of the world would be different because I would see the world through God’s eyes. My view of my fellow man would change. I would see every man as a soul for whom Christ died. And I would realize that EVERY person is in one of two families: the family of Satan or the family of God. I would view myself differently, because I would see my life through God’s eyes. I would see sin as God sees it and stop making excuses for my sin. I would see God differently. I would see Him for Who He REALLY is and not just who I want Him to be.
Is it really worth the effort to sacrifice what I want in order to love God as He wants me to love Him? I must make that decision for myself – today, and tomorrow, and the next day, etc. And you must make the same decision for yourself – today, tomorrow, and the next day, etc. These again are Just My Thoughts …
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10.9
The simple instructions given here regarding salvation should remove all doubt from anyone’s mind about HOW to be saved. Either we HAVE confessed with our mouth and BELIEVED in our hearts that God has raised His Son Jesus from the dead or we have not. There is no mention here of a particular brand of church, or water baptism, or any other requirement – just confess and believe.
What does it mean to “confess” with the mouth? You would think everyone would understand that word. Instead, when I have asked people over these years of my ministry if they have received Christ as personal savior, that I would get a simple “yes” or “no.” instead, I hear, “I joined the church once,” or “I was baptized as a baby,” or “My parents were church-goers,” or “My granddad helped build that church.” NONE of those things, as good as they may be, is an answer to the question of receiving Christ. Let’s make a simple observation here … confession is an active verb. I must actually say something in order to confess. If a judge asks a defendant if he is guilty or not of the things with which he is charged, the judge is looking for some kind of confession, either “yes” or “no.” He will not accept a nod of the head. He must HEAR something from the defendant.
When a person has reached the place of believing that Jesus Christ actually arose from the dead, that demonstration of faith is enough to move him to CONFESS with his mouth the Lord Jesus. Salvation is the result of an active faith that results in an active confession that leads to a completed act, which is salvation. It SEEMS so simple, but some want to make it so complex. God made it simple. Let’s don’t mess it up. Just my thoughts …
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” Philippians 2.13
I entered Bible College in 1957 and met a lot of new friends. I was challenged by a fellow student to adopt a life verse. So, one day I heard someone quote the verse above, and I thought, “That’s it! That’s my life verse.” I have never forgotten the verse and my commitment to govern my life by it.
The thing that amazes me day after day is that the God of this universe chooses every day to care about MY life. I can’t tell you how many times I have wondered, “Why me, Lord?” I have so little to offer God. The only thing I have to give God is “me.” And yet, I have discovered over and over since that day early in 1957 that every time I allow God to be in control, my life goes so much easier. God actually WANTS to work in me. He can take my nothing and make it into a usable vessel. And that is all God wants, to be able to use me for His glory. I recall the words of Dr. Bob Jones Sr. who said, “The greatest ability is availability.” Are YOU available to God? Have you told Him that?
God wants to do two things through His children: (1) to exercise His will through us, and (2) to do of His good pleasure. I wonder if we can embrace the idea of God doing His pleasure in us? Have you ever thought that you could bring pleasure to God? The only way that can happen in any of us is for us to take our hands completely off our lives and give God total control. That is not a once-for-all decision. It requires of us that we do it every day. That may seem monotonous to you, but it is very pleasing to God. Go ahead! Try it! I think you will like it! Just my thoughts …