Verse of the Day

Daily Devotion 

By:  Bro. Bob Maynard
 

10 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:16 NASB  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.

I want you to realize who this verse is talking about.  It is very, VERY important to realize that this verse is NOT talking about God the Father.  It is talking about the Lord Jesus Christ.  He is the one by whom all things were created.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the one that this verse says all things have been created through Him and for Him.  So what’s the big deal you say?  It is a VERY big deal in the sense that many, many, in fact I would say MOST will recognize that God created the universe and that most will recognize that all things have been created through Him and for Him.  But only a few, a remnant if you will, will recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ is the person in the triune Godhead that actually created all things.  And while we are at it, not only did Jesus create all things, all things were created for Him

So what does all things include?  All things include just that “all things.”  It makes no difference what you are talking about or where you are talking about.  This verse gives an explanation as to what it means when it says all things when it gives a location of: both in the heavens and on earth.  It makes no difference.  Jesus was before all things no matter where they are.  Time and space, as well as location make no difference to Him.  Why?  Because Jesus is omnipresent.  In other words, He is everywhere.  Do you know what that makes Him?  I means that He is God in the flesh.  Only God is omnipresent.  Also, it makes no difference whether you can see the all things or not because Jesus created all things both visible and invisible.  In other words, electricity and the principles of electricity, which you can’t see, Jesus created.  The angels, which you can’t see most of the time, both good and bad, Jesus created.  It makes no difference if you talk about thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, Jesus created all things. I could go on and on, but I think you see the point I am trying to make:  Jesus created all things: period.  Said and done.

Now we come to the point of our VOTD.  The Bible says: “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him (John 5:22-23 NASB).  Those people and those religions that say they honor God and pray to Him and bow down to Him are not honoring Him at all if they are not honoring Jesus.  To leave Jesus out of your worship is to DISHONOR GOD.  If you don’t love Jesus then you don’t love God.  Jesus is the one that created all things, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.  And if we do not honor the Son then we do not honor the Father who sent Him.

Do you remember what John says about Jesus?  Here, let me refresh your memory:  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it (John 1:1-5 NASB).  Now I want you to substitute the word Jesus for the word Word in the above scriptureIt will read like this: In the beginning was the Jesus, and the Jesus was with God, and the Jesus was God. Jesus was in the beginning with God.  Now you might be thinking “How in the world can you do that Bob?  Aren’t you being a little presumptuous, substituting words in God’s Holy Word?”  I am not being presumptuous.  I am being factual because the Bible goes on to tell us that:  And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14 NASB).  Now I ask you: Who is this verse talking about and what name do you automatically substitute for the word Word in it?  Why Jesus, of course.  Jesus is the Word in both verses.  Why?  Because Jesus is God in the fleshJesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:9 NASB).

So what is the message for us Christians today?  How does this VOTD affect us?  What do we need to know about it?  I believe that the principles of today’s VOTD can be summed up in the fact that the Bible tells us that we are to honor the Son even as we honor the Father.  You don’t mind saying God’s name or honoring God or giving credit to God to your lost friends and neighbors.  You don’t mind saying things like “God has blessed me so much.” Or “God is so very good to me.”  But when you exclude Jesus in your praise, you are dishonoring God’s name.  You need to honor the Son even as you honor the Father.  So the next time you feel led to Praise God, DON’T LEAVE JESUS OUT OF YOUR PRAISE.  Praise Jesus in front of your friends, neighbors and relatives.  Praise Jesus in front of your lost acquaintances.  Praise Jesus around your fellow believers.  Praise Jesus so that this verse will become a habit and true in your life honor the Son even as you honor the Father. 

And while you’re at it, how about praising Jesus for all the things He has done in your life like all things, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him (Jesus) and for Him (Jesus).

Lord Jesus, your Holy Word teaches me that all things were created by you, through you and for you.  Lord, I want to praise your holy name Jesus.  I want to worship and adore you.  I want to be obedient to your Spirit in my life.  Father, please forgive me for the times that I have not said or mentioned the name Jesus, when you have impressed it upon my heart.  Father, please forgive me of this sin that I have committed so many, many times.  Help me in the future to always include Jesus’ name so that everyone will know that I want to honor the Son even as I honor the Father.  Lord, please lead me in the path of righteousness this day and use me for your good will and purpose.  I love you, Lord Jesus.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


9 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:15 NASB  He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Whether you believe it or not, this is a VERY important scripture.  Why?  Because it not only tells us who Jesus is, it also tells us what God is.  God is invisible.  Period.  No if, ands or buts about it.  God is invisible.  The Bible says: No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him (John 1:18 NASB).  Now you might be asking yourself: Why has no one ever seen God at any time and the answer would come back to us from the Holy, Infallible and perfect Word of God that says: God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”  (John 4:24 NASB).  Now I ask you: Have you ever seen a spirit?  No.  Why?  Because this is a physical world, not a spiritual world.  Our physical eyes see physical things.  Our hearts see spiritual things.  But one day things are going to be changed.  One day we will be able to see the spiritual because we will become like Jesus: the firstborn of all creation.

When Jesus came back to earth and revealed himself to the disciples in that upper room, what did they think they were seeing?  A ghost.  But Jesus was not a ghost.  He was a person with flesh and bones…. Here, read what the Bible says about it: While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and *said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them (Luke 24:36-43 NASB).

Now I want you to realize some very important facts that this verse establishes as well as other verses.  First, Jesus, while he was on this earth, before His resurrection, was the exact image of the invisible God.  What do you think about when you think about an image?  It is just that.  It is an image.  It is the exact representation of the actual thing that it represents.  When you look in the mirror, what to you see?  An image.  And you know that is exactly what you look like.  When you move your hand to your nose, you see an image of that in the mirror.  When you blink or smile, you see an exact image of that in the mirror.  So what’s the point?  Here it is:  “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:29 NASB).  “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak (John 12:49 NASB).  So, as a result of these pure and holy words, we can say beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Jesus was doing and saying the exact same things that God the Father would say and do.  That is why Jesus could say: “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.” (John 14:7 NASB).

But there are always doubters.  There are always some that say: “But…. I think,” and then they go on to explain their doubts.  The Holy Scriptures even reveal some of the doubters and their true thoughts: But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:16-18 NASB).  I wonder how many of us that say we are believers in Jesus that He is the Christ, He is the Savior of the word would say the same thing that Phillip would say to Jesus: Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” (John 14:8 NASB).  It seems to me that there is NEVER enough convincing proof to satisfy these people.  There always seems to be in every crowd of believers when anything unusual happens, they are quick to be the first doubters.  Even just like among the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, When they saw Him … some were doubtful.  What do you say to the doubters, those who say that they are Christians but doubt that Jesus is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation?  I believe you say the same thing that Jesus said to Phillip: Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves (John 14:9-11 NASB).  The ONLY thing you can say to a doubter is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou wilt be saved… Why?  Because: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Now comes the toughest part for us who truly believe in Jesus.  The toughest part is the application of our VOTD.  Since Jesus is the image of the invisible God, what does that make you and me?  What are we the image of?  Here is a basic fact of life: You are what you eat.  And you are whom you obey.  If you are obeying the Lord of Life, the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, then your actions and your speech as well as your thoughts will reflect what is inside you.  If you are NOT obeying the Lord of Life, then your actions, your speech and your thoughts will reveal who is really in control of your life.  Remember: you are the image of God to a lost and dying world.

Now I want you to stop and think: What did you do with your last temptation?  Did you yield to it and sin?  Or did you ask the Lord of heaven and earth for help?  You are whom you obey; whether it is your flesh, your sin nature or the Holy Spirit in you that guides you in the path of righteousness.  But realize this, just because you sinned in the past doesn’t mean you have to sin in the future.  No, no.  You still have the right, the privilege to call upon the Lord to enable you and help you to walk in a manner that is pleasing to Him:  “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:14-15 NASB).

Lord, I want you to be in control of my thoughts, my words and my actions.  I want to yield myself, my life, my heart to you each moment of this day.  Help me Lord, to call on you, to yield myself to you.  Convict me when I am thinking wrongly and enable me to change quickly to the correct way of thinking and doing.  Lord, you are the Lord of life and I want you to be the Lord that is in control of my life this very day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


8 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:14 NASB  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Who is this verse referring to?  Why of course, our blessed Savior and Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ.  We know this for two reasons:  First, there is no other person in whom we have redemption and Second, He is the only one who can give us forgiveness of sins.  It is just as the Bible tells us: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”  (Acts 4:12 NASB).

First, I want to point something out to you.  We often take this little word for granted.  We read right over it.  We think nothing about it.  But behind this one little word is a whole GIANT concept that we need to focus on, every once in a while.  What is the little word, you ask.  It is the very first word in our VOTD: in.  In whom we have redemption.  In whom we have the forgiveness of sins.  Unless you are in Him, you have nothing.  You are left out. You are an outsider.  But in Him, you have everything.  You have the fullness of Christ: For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form (Colossians 2:9 NASB).

What happens when you are in a car?  You have all the benefits of the car.  You can go places and see things.  You can arrive in comfort, if your car has air conditioning.  You can get to work on time because of the car.  You can go visit your mom because of the car. You can go to church and Sunday school.  You can go on a vacation and see some friends or some neat places.  Why?  All because you get in the car.

It is the same way, when you think about your house.  When you are in your house, you get all of the benefits of being in your house.  You can relax, eat, and watch TV or whatever.  You can play games with your kids and not be bothered by the weather.  You can sleep in peace and quiet.  Oh, the benefits of having a place to live that you can call home.  And it all happens because you are in your house.

Now my friend, let’s think about what it means to be in Christ.  Just like the car or the house, you get the benefits of being in that environment.  Or better yet: in that Person.  Because Christ is not an environment.  No, no.  He is a living person.  Well, what are the benefits?  What are the blessings?  Why does anyone want to be in Christ?  Well how about what our VOTD says: we have redemption.  And what does that mean?  We need Webster’s help here which gives the general definition as: Repurchase of captured goods or prisoners; the act of procuring the deliverance of persons or things from the possession and power of captors by the payment of an equivalent; ransom; release; as the redemption of prisoners taken in war; the redemption of a ship and cargo.  Deliverance from bondage, distress, or from liability to any evil or forfeiture, either by money, labor or other means.  But then Webster’s goes on to state the meaning for us in relationship to Christ: In theology, the purchase of God’s favor by the death and sufferings of Christ; the ransom or deliverance of sinners from the bondage of sin and the penalties of God’s violated law by the atonement of Christ.  Christ paid the price for our sins so that we would not suffer for our sins.  He delivered us from the penalty of our sins and the power of sin over us.  When we are in Christ we have the benefits of being delivered from the bondage and power of sin.  For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace (Romans 6:14 NASB).  Now ask yourself: Why?  It is because you are reaping the benefits of being in Christ. 

Now here is a very important question for you to ask: Why, if I am in Christ am I still suffering from sin.  Why does sin still have power over me if I am free from its power?  Here is the reason.  You are letting sin tempt you.  You are letting sin lead you astray.  You are letting your flesh rule over your mind and heart.  Even though you are free, you are allowing yourself to be ruled by sin instead of by God’s grace.  It is like driving your car in a rainstorm with the windows down.  You are suffering needlessly.  Satan temps but you decide if you will submit to that temptation.  Here is what God’s Holy Word says to those who are in Christ about following the temptation to sin: Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God (Romans 6:12-13 NASB).

When you are in Christ you have the power to say no to sin.  It is one of the benefits of being in Christ.  It is one of the blessings of being in Christ.  It is one of the privileges of being in Christ.  But YOU are the one who has to say NO to sin.  God is not going to do that for you.  He will empower you to do it.  He will encourage you to do it.  He will even help you to do it.  But in the end: YOU are the one who has to say NO to sin.

You and I need to always remember that in every temptation to sin, we have the POWER in Christ to say NO to sin.  How do I know that for sure?  It is because God’s Holy Word tells me and I believe His word to me: No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NASB). 

Lord, please forgive me, for I have sinned.  I have sinned in two ways.  First, by allowing myself to follow my temptations to sin.  And secondly, by not remembering that you always give me the power over sin.  All I need to do is say NO.  Lord, help me to always remember that I am in Christ and that I have the power in you to say no to sin. Lord, please use me this day for your good will and purpose.  I love you, Lord.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


7 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:13 NASB  For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,

With this verse we start on a journey that exalts the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, who is holy, righteous and pure.  Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to pen these fine words down through the end of the chapter at verse 29.  That’s 16 verses devoted to our one and ONLY Savior.  And I say all of this just to draw attention to the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is the central theme of not only the book of Colossians but of the Bible itself.  Which is all to say to each one of us: how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard (Hebrews 2:3 NASB).

There is a lot of meat in this one short verse and a lot of terms and ideas we need to get ahold of.  But first, I want to add some clarifications to some pronouns in this verse and I want to do this because I want it to be clear to each one of us “who” each pronoun is speaking about.  So the words not in bold letters are mine just for the sake of clarification: For He (God) rescued us from the domain of darkness, (Satan’s domain) and transferred us to the kingdom of His (God’s) beloved Son (Jesus).

I want us to think about each of these underlined terms in our VOTD: For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.

What does it mean to be rescued?  If someone is drowning at sea and he is rescued what does that mean to you?  He had no hope of living but now he is safe and sound.  Webster’s simply says “Delivered from confinement or danger.”  But to the rescued person, saved from drowning, it is more, so very much more.  Do you know how the man feels toward the person who rescued him from the sea and from drowning?  He loves him and he will do anything he can for him.  He owes his life to him and he is eternally grateful to him.  Do you know what our problem is with the new-birth and being born-again?  We don’t have a grasp of what we have been saved from.  We don’t have a clue on how painful and awful hell is.  We don’t have a concept of the pain, torture, sorrow and suffering.  Therefore, we are nonchalant about being saved from hell.  My prayer is: Lord help me to know what I have been saved from so that I can be grateful for my salvation.

Our VOTD tells us that God rescued us from the domain of darkness.  In other words we were drowning in the domain of darkness.  In darkness you can’t see, know or understand.  When you walk in darkness, you might stub your toe or you might fall off of a cliff.  You can see, so you want light.  What’s the first thing you do when you walk into a dark room? Turn on the light… Why?  You want to see.  Those people who are without Christ are living in the domain of darkness, Satan’s domain.  Have you ever thought that they are being held captive there by Satan?  Here is a verse that says just that: and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26 NASB).  What is Satan’s will for those held captive by him?  How about to do his will?  And what is Satan’s will?  How about we hurt, kill, steal and lie to one another?  Why do you think there is a murder every time you pick up the paper?  Why are there so many, many violent crimes today: murder, robberies, rape and the like… It is because Satan and his demons are hard at work to do his will and those who are without Christ are in a domain of darkness and held captive by him to do his will.

But PRAISE GOD, He rescued us from the domain of darkness!!! You and I are safe.  Why?  Because He RESCUED us.  But I want you to remember one thing.  It is not any goodness in you or me. No, no.  We were still sinners when He rescued us.  The Bible says it rightly when it says: And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Ephesians 2:1-5 NASB).  You only have God to thank for your salvation for your rescue.  And you thank Him through obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. 

I want you to see the result of your rescue.  Our VOTD says that God first rescued us from the domain of darkness and then God transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.  What does the word transfer mean to you?  If your work transfers you to another office, what happens?  You move.  Pure and simple.  You might even have to move to a different town or even a different part of the USA and maybe even a different country.  Can anyone say Europe or???  The point is: When you transfer you are in a whole different world.  Maybe even where they speak a different language.  When God transfers you to the kingdom of His beloved Son here is what happens to you: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASB).  You are not only in a whole new environment, but you are a NEW person on the inside.  Why?  Because you now have the Holy Spirit living inside of you.  Why is He inside of you?  To give you guidance.  To give you light.  To help you understand what God wants you to do.  Being in Jesus is a whole new way of thinking and living.  The problem is: Most new Christians don’t have a concept of what God has done for them and in them.  They are new creatures and don’t even know what it is all about.  That why we need to be faithful in our teaching and preaching: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction (2 Timothy 4:2 NASB).  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB).

Here is the bottom line for our VOTD:  God has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.  You and I need to try and understand what that phrase means.  I takes more than a day, a week or even a year.  It is a lifetime event.  We need to ask the Lord to help us understand what He wants.  What is His will for us?  And we need to know how He wants to use us.  The only way we will ever know is to ASK.  Ask Him now and He will show you what you need to know about being in the kingdom of His beloved Son.

Lord, please help me to know what you want and expect of me.  Help me to understand all of the ramifications of what it means to be in Christ.  Teach me how to follow and to become obedient.  For that is my heart’s desire.  Lord, please use me this day for your good will and purpose.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


6 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:12 NASB  giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

The complete thought for the first phrase of this verse actually comes from the previous verse which says: Colossians 1:11 NASB  strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously.  So the thought of the first phrase is: joyously giving thanks to the Father… We have not focused much on that word or the thought of joy in our VOTD in a while.  So let’s see what God’s Holy, infallible, pure and righteous Word has to say about it.

But before we jump right into the Holy Scriptures, let’s define joy.  And of course, you know where I am going to go: Webster’s.  And it defines joy as: The passion or emotion excited by the acquisition or expectation of good; that excitement of pleasurable feelings which is caused by success, good fortune, the gratification of desire or some good possessed, or by a rational prospect of possessing what we love or desire; gladness; exultation; exhilaration of spirits.  Joy is a delight of the mind, from the consideration of the present or assured approaching possession of a good.

In my mind, there is a difference between happiness and joy.  Happiness comes from your situation, your circumstance and your surroundings.  It is an emotion that is dependent on your environment.  You are happy because you got a promotion.  You are happy because your friend made you laugh.  You are happy because you got what you wanted for Christmas…  Not so with joy.  Joy is an emotion that is not dependent on your situation or your circumstances.  Joy is something that you can feel even though you are in pain and suffering.  Joy is an emotion that is “produced” in you by the Spirit of the Living God.  Why do you feel and experience joy even though you might be suffering as a Christian?  Do I need to remind you again that the Holy Scriptures say: And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28 NASB).  By faith we know that God causes all things to work together for good and that produces joy in our lives because we know God’s in control regardless of the situation or the circumstances.  They are going to turn out for good because God’s in control.

Where does joy come from?  Well, we all know and remember that joy is one of the nine fruits of the spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23 NASB).  But there are scriptures that teach that joy comes from God himself: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13 NASB).  Joy comes to a Christian because they believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and because of their faith in Him: and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9 NASB).  When you experience the love that comes from others, it can produce joy in your life: For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother (Philemon 1:7 NASB).

But the main question that we want to answer is: How do we get joy? What do the Holy Scriptures say about how do we obtain it?  If we are feeling low, down and out, how can we be restored to the joy of our salvation?  Well the very first step is to realize that it is not the “joy of your salvation” but the “joy of His salvation” just as David says in his great prayer for restoration in Psalms 51: Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit (Psalms 51:12 NASB).  For you see, if we are going to have any positive emotion as a Christ-following believer, then we have to realize that the first step is that it all starts with Him.  For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36 NASB).

If I am not experiencing the “joy of His salvation” then I have to ask myself: Why not?  Why am I not filled with joy?  Why am I not overflowing with joyfulness?  What is MY problem?  And that is the first step in being restored… Recognizing that I am the problem is my first step.  It is my sin.  It is my stubbornness.  It is my lack of faith.  It is my… and you can name a whole long list of things that causes joy to depart from a Christian.  But it all comes down to one thing: SIN.  Sin is at the heart of all lack of joy.  It is because we have allowed sin to creep into our lives and when it does, joy departs.  You can’t have the joy of the Lord in your life if you have sin in your life.  Period…  It is like oil and water… They don’t mix.  It is either one or the other.

So, how do I get back to having joy in my life?  The same way David did in Psalms 51.  First, he recognized that it was sin: For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me (Psalms 51:3 NASB).  Next, he confessed his sin: Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge (Psalms 51:4 NASB).  Then he asked to be cleansed from his sin: Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Psalms 51:7 NASB).  Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities (Psalms 51:9 NASB).  Then he asked God to make him the man he should be: Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me (Psalms 51:10 NASB).

And what was the result of all that David did:  God restored the joy of His salvation: Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit (Psalms 51:12 NASB).  My friend, if you and I are going to walk in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord and experience the joy of His salvation then we must not let sin creep into our lives.  And the moment that we realize that sin has crept in, we need to confess it, ask for forgiveness from it and FORSAKE it immediately.  Then and only then can we be restored to the joy of His salvation, so that we can do what our VOTD says: joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

Lord, I need you in my life.  I have learned the truth that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is joy.  And I want that joy.  I need that joy.  I crave that joy.  And Lord, I know that the only way to have that joy is to keep my life pure and holy by walking in a manner that is pleasing to you.  But Lord, I also know that I have a problem and my problem is my sin nature.  So, Lord, I ask you to put me to death this day so that your Spirit might reign supreme in my life.  I want you to be in control of all of my thoughts and actions.  Lord, I want to glorify you in all that I say and do.  Forgive me for my past sins and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


5 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:11 NASB  strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously

You have to ask yourself these questions: How did we get to this verse?  What is the basis for these thoughts? How can a Christian get these qualities in their lives?  Well, the answer comes from the previous three verses:

Colossians 1:8-10 NASB
(8)  and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.
(9)  For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
(10)  so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

Here is a truth that you MUST KNOW and understand: These qualities in your life that are mentioned in this VOTD do NOT come from yourself.  NO, NO.  They come from the LORD’s Spirit.  The Holy Spirit in a Christian produces these qualities in your life and they all start with your love in the Spirit.  Paul prayed for them that these qualities of Spirit might be in their lives.  He asked that they may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  And because they were filled, then the outcome was that they were walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects.  And as a result they were bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.  Do you see how one thing leads to another and to another?  It is like building a house.  You have to build a firm foundation, then build solid walls and then you can put the roof on.  All of that has to be done before you can put up the sheetrock and paint the walls.  You can’t lay carpet without floors.  You can’t put in the kitchen sink without the kitchen counter.  One-thing-leads-to-another and then to another and then to another. 

Question: Do you want to be strengthened with all power?  Do you want to have His glorious might in your lifeDo you want to be known for your steadfastness of Spirit?  Do you want to have the patience of a saint?  Do you want to live joyously?  Of course you do.  We all as Christ-followers want, need and desire those qualities in our lives.  So how do we get them?  There is only one way.  There are no short cuts.  There is no magic tricks involved.  All of these qualities come from the Spirit abiding in each and every born-again believer, from the greatest of them to the newest of them… And it all starts with your love in the Spirit.

Think about love for just a little bit.  Men: When you fall in love with a woman do you act, think and feel differently about that woman?  Of course you do.  Women:  When you are in love with a man, don’t you dress differently and act differently and even talk differently around him and with him?  Of course you do.  Why?  It is all because of one emotion: love.  Love makes us think differently, talk differently and act differently.  It has a way of changing our very lives.  It changes the way we think and therefore it changes the way we talk and act.

So, if you want to have these qualities in your life; If you want to be strengthened with all power.  If you want to have His glorious might.  If you want steadfastness of the Spirit in your life.  And you want the patience of a Saint so that you can live joyously, then there is only one thing you can do.  You need to fall in love with the Spirit. 

HOW?  Here it is straight from the Holy Scriptures:

Ephesians 3:14-20 NASB
(14)  For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
(15)  from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name,
(16)  that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,
(17)  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
(18)  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
(19)  and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
(20)  Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.

Lord, I need to love you more.  I need to be more submissive.  I need to be more obedient.  Lord, please forgive me for my past rebelliousness.  Lord, I want you to change me and I want to walk closer to you.  Lord, help me in everything I think, say and do to submit them all to you before I ever do them.  Lord, I want to be all that you want me to be and the only way I know to do that is to allow you to live in me this very day.  So, Lord, I ask you: Please live in me and do your good will and pleasure in me this very day.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


4 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:10 NASB  so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

If you remember, this verse is a direct result of the previous two verses:
Colossians 1:8-9 NASB
(8)  and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.
(9)  For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.

The Christians at Colossae were walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, because Epaphras had told them about the Lord Jesus Christ and they had believed the truth.  And because they had believed the truth they had a love in the Spirit.  And because they had a love in the Spirit, Paul was praying for them so that they may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.  Now comes the outcome of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord.  First: to please Him in all respects.  Second: bearing fruit in every good work.  Thirdly: increasing in the knowledge of God.

Before we get into the results or the outcome of walking in a manner worthy of the Lord, let’s think about that statement for just a little bit.  I want you to notice first of all that it is walking.  It is not running nor is it sitting or lying around basking in the sun.  Running is going too fast and sitting is going too slow.  It is walking that is just the right speed.  Walking is active and expends energy.  Walking is good for us spiritually and physically.  In walking we are not trying to get ahead of the Lord and we are not being slothful either.  Walking is just right.  The Bible has some things to say about our walking:

Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude (Colossians 2:6-7 NASB).

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:1-3 NASB).

So this I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind (Ephesians 4:17 NASB).

and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma (Ephesians 5:2 NASB).

When you are walking in a manner worthy of the Lord then there are some good results that come from it.  First, you please Him in all respects.  What does it mean to please Him?  Webster’s tells us that please means: To excite agreeable sensations or emotions in; to gratify; as, to please the taste; to please the mind.  Here is a thought that maybe you haven’t thought about before: God getting excited about what you are doing.  Have you ever thought about God getting thrilled about how you are living and what you are doing?… Wow!… What a concept!!!  The God of this universe, EXCITED about how you and I are living. It excites me that I might be a thrill to my God.  Wow…  Maybe He would even say the same thing to Satan that He said about Job: The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”  (Job 1:8 NASB).

The second outcome of walking in a worthy of the Lord is bearing fruit in every good work.  So there is something we need to remember here: good fruit comes from good work.  Bad fruit comes from bad work.  “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7:17 NASB).  So the principle is true through-out all of life.  If the motives are pure, holy and good, then it WILL produce good fruit because it comes from good work.  If you want to know if what you are doing is of the Lord, then look at the fruit.  It will tell you if what you are doing is any good or not.

Then there is a third principle that comes from walking in a manner worthy of the Lord.  And that is that when we are doing what the Lord wants us to do in the manner that He wants us to do it, then we will be increasing in the knowledge of God.  Let me ask you: How is your Bible knowledge?  Is it increasing?  How is your knowledge of how God is working in your life?  Is your life confusing?  Are you walking around in a fog?  Do you understand who you are and what the Lord is doing in your life?  Well if you don’t then why not stop and examine your heart, your motives for living and your purpose for doing what you do.  Let me put you to the acid test: Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you–unless indeed you fail the test?  (2 Corinthians 13:5 NASB).  If you are in the faith then you are trusting in Jesus.  You are calling on Him.  You are asking Him.  You are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Him. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 NASB).  And if you are not, then my friend, you are only playing at church.  You have your name on a church roll but He means nothing to you.  He is either Lord of ALL or He is not Lord at all.  You be the judge.  Judge yourselves. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord: “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”  (Joshua 24:15 NASB).

Lord, please make me into the man that I should be.  Lord, without you I can do nothing.  I am hopeless, helpless and mindless.  But with you Lord, I can do all things because you give me your strength, your stamina and your thoughts as well as your way to carry out those thoughts.  Lord, I praise you for your love and gifts to me.  You enable me and I worship you and adore you.  Lord, please use me this day to do your holy will and be a light in a crooked and perverse generation.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


3 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:9 NASB  For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

 

First question: When our VOTD says: For this reason also, we have to ask: For what reason?  Here is the reason: Paul had heard about the Colossian Christian’s love in the Spirit that he tells us about in the previous verse: and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit (Colossians 1:8 NASB).  And because they had a love in the Spirit and since the day we heard of it, Paul did not know about it before Epaphras told him about it, Paul and others have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.


To Paul, Epaphras telling him about the Christians at Colossae love in the Spirit was the motivation to pray.  He wanted them to know and understand the things that were so freely given to them in the Spirit.  He wanted them to be filled with the knowledge of His will.  He wanted them to have spiritual wisdom.  He wanted them to have the understanding of how the Spirit works in an individual’s life.  In other words, Paul wanted the best for the Christians at Colossae.  And that my friend is what Paul as well as what God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ wants for each of us that believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

So the question now is: How do we get these three things that Paul wanted for the Christians at Colossae?  How do we 1.  Become filled with the knowledge of His will?  2.  Get spiritual wisdom? 3.  Acquire spiritual understanding?   


Well, I must say, it all starts off with prayer.  That’s the same place that it starts off in our VOTD when Paul says: since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you … Prayer does two things for us.  First, it acknowledges to our own hearts and minds that the answer to our situation is not within our power or capability to obtain or answer.  When we pray we are stating the truth to ourselves that we need an outside source to help us and empower us and enlighten us.  Many, many times the answers we seek are not in us but in an outside source.  And secondly, prayer acknowledges that God is our ONLY source of the help that we so desperately need.  He tells us over and over again and again to ask, seek and knock.  And when we do that in prayer we are simply acknowledging HIS lordship over our lives.  He is our only true source of help, and prayer admits that we need His help and His help alone.  That is why you find the earthly, human Jesus going so very often off by himself to pray.  Shouldn’t we also do the same?  In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there (Mark 1:35 NASB).


So when you pray, there are some rules you need to follow especially if you want the three things that we mentioned earlier.  First, don’t use meaningless repetitions.  Chants are not the way into God’s heart: “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words (Matthew 6:7 NASB).  And the question comes to us: Why not?  Because Jesus tells us the truth in the very next verse: “So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him (Matthew 6:8 NASB).  Second, you were given a brain and limited knowledge.  So God wants you to use what He has already given you.  Tell Him how you see the situation.  Explain how you see it and feel about it.  Let Him know what the facts are as you see them and share with Him all that you know.  Just as you would share what you see, know and understand about a situation with an earthly friend that is how you share in prayer with your heavenly friend.

Now comes the important part of prayer: asking.  You have already acknowledged His Lordship over your life, your situation and your circumstances.  Now you need to ASK for His divine wisdom.  That is what it means when Paul says filled with the knowledge of His will.  We need to seek God’s will.  What is His desire for the situation or the circumstance?  The only why we will know it is to ask.  And if we will ask then we will receive: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Matthew 7:7 NASB).


Now here comes the HARD part.  When you ask and you receive, that is called spiritual wisdom.  Why?  Because God imparts His wisdom by the Spirit that is living in you.  It is knowledge that you did not have before you prayed.  But now you have His thoughts and His wisdom.  So it becomes spiritual wisdom.  So, what’s the HARD part?  FAITH!  Believing what the Spirit has told you is the hard part.  Believing the things that are impossible with man but possible with God.  That’s the hard part.  But I must remind you: It is impossible to please Him without faith… And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 NASB).


So now you have asked in prayer.  And God has answered your prayers to be filled with the knowledge of His will by giving you spiritual wisdom.  Now what is the result?  The result comes when you apply your faith to the spiritual wisdom and start doing what you know the Lord wants you to do.  You show that you have spiritual understanding of the situation and are applying the knowledge that God gave you to the situation and circumstances of life.  Do you see how one thing leads to another and then to another.  My friend, if one link in the chain is broken, the whole process doesn’t work.  You must have prayer to get knowledge of His will so that you can acquire spiritual wisdom so that faith can produce spiritual understanding.

If you are like me, you admire those more mature Christians who always seem to know what to do and say.  They always have the right words and the right actions.  How did they get that way?  What is their secret?  Their secret is this: They have been doing the same things over and over again and again: They pray.  They seek to be filled with the knowledge of His will.  They understand spiritual wisdom comes from Him.  And they walk in faith that shows they have spiritual understanding. 

If we are going to grow spiritually, we must do the same.  For that is God’s will for us: but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen (2 Peter 3:18 NASB).


Lord, so many, many times I feel like an infant.  I feel like I am just a babe.  I need to grow and become a useful Christ-follower.  Lord, help me to pray more.  Help me to know your will more.  Help me to acquire spiritual knowledge so that I might walk in faith.  Lord, I want to be the man that you can rely on, depend on and call on to do your holy and pure will.  Lord, change me, mold me and make me into the man you chose for me to be.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


2 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:8 NASB  and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.

The very first question that comes to our mind when we read this VOTD is: Who does the he refer to?  I know that you know this but I feel compelled to say it just so that you know it in the future.  If the pronoun “he” refers to God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit, it will always be capital He.  But if it is just referring to a person like you and me, then it will be lower case he, like it is in our VOTD.  So, the question remains: Who does he refer to?  We know that it refers to Epaphras from the previous verse: Colossians 1:7 NASB  just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf.

So what did Epaphras do?  and he also informed us… Not only was Epaphras a faithful servant of Christ, he also informed Paul and others about the Colossian Christians and what they were doing.  You have heard of the saying “out of sight… out of mind” meaning that when you weren’t in someone’s company and didn’t see them that you don’t think about them.  Well that was not true with Epaphras.   He didn’t see the Christians at Colossae but they were very much on his mind.  And because they were on his mind, he talked about them… To Paul and to others.

Which brings us to our first point: What is on your mind, usually comes out of your mouth.  Jesus said it like this: Matthew 12:34 NASB  “You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heartIf your heart is full of bitterness and hate, then that is what comes out of your mouth.  If your heart is full of love and good thoughts, then that is what comes out of your mouth.  Whatever is on your heart and mind is what comes out of your mouth.  So, examine yourself.  What do you talk about?  What do you say to other people?  Are you always complaining?  Do you always have a “bone to pick” with some situation around you or in your life?  Is that not where your “heart” is?  Is that not what is filling your heart?  Now the question is: Is that what God wants you to fill your heart and mind with?  You be the judge.  Does God want you to be a complainer?  Or does He want you to be a blessing?  Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth (Colossians 3:1-2 NASB).  I believe these verses make it very clear that you are to set your mind, your heart, your love on things above and not on the “bones” you want to pick.

When Epaphras spoke to Paul about the Christians at Colossae, what did he say to him?  Did he complain about them?  No…. He told him and informed him about their love in the Spirit.  Now the question is: How did Epaphras know about their love in the Spirit?  The answer is easy: He saw it.  Love always, always shows itself in actions.  Love is an ACTION verb.  It is always displayed.  It always shows itself to others.  True love can never ever be contained, hidden or not be made known by your actions.

When you say you love someone, what does that mean?  It means you want to display that feeling, that emotion in actions toward that someone.  When you love a neighbor, you want to help that neighbor when they have a need.  When you say that you love your child, what does that mean?  It means that you want to do things for and with that child.  You not only want to protect that child, but you want to give to that child, food, clothing, shelter, toys, and do I need to go on?

The point I want to make is that Epaphras knew of the love in the Spirit that the Colossian Christians had because of their actions in the Spirit.  Let me share with you what I believe Epaphras saw: First he saw them talking about what the Spirit was doing in their lives.  They were excited about the things and the blessings that the Spirit was doing.  So, what was on their heart and mind was coming out of their mouths.  Second, because they were walking by love in the Spirit, they were doing what the Spirit wanted them to do.  They were getting together as a body of believers regularly.  They were worshiping in the Spirit regularly.  They were doing exactly what this verse says: not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near (Hebrews 10:25 NASB).

My friend, the Bible says: If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25 NASB).  And if you are walking by the Spirit then it is EASY for others to see your love in the Spirit. 

Now here is the question for all of us to answer:  What would Epaphras say about us?  Would he be able to say the same things to Paul about us?  Would he be able to say that we have a love of the Spirit like he did for the Christ-followers in Colossae?  He would know the truth by our actions.  Why?  Because our true inner selves, come out in our actions: Actions speak louder than words.

Lord, it seems to me like I am never ever as close to you as I should be or even want to be.  I don’t want to be following you from afar off.  I want to be close.  I want to be filled.  I want to be used.  My heart’s desire is to be as close to you as possible.  Lord, the only way I know that can happen is if you make it happen.  So Lord, I ask you to draw me closer to you.  Enable me to be the man you want me to be.  Lord, I love you and I give myself to you, your will, your word and your way.  Please use me this day to do your holy and perfect will.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 


1 October 2016 Verse of the Day

Colossians 1:7 NASB  just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf,

This is one of the verses that indicates that Paul might not have ever visited Colossae when he wrote this letter.  We know that from this verse that they learned it, the gospel, the good news, from Epaphras who Paul describes as our beloved fellow bond-servant and that Paul goes on to describe him as one who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf.  We want to think about these descriptions in more detail but first, I want us to think about another reason Paul might not have ever visited the village Colossae.

I don’t know if you know this or not but Paul had a very specific calling.  He was not only called as an apostle but he was called as an apostle to the gentiles.  He had a desire and a calling to preach to the gentiles and to those who have never heard of Christ Jesus.  Here are some of the verses that let us see his calling:

But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood (Galatians 1:15-16 NASB).

It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain (Galatians 2:2 NASB).

To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8 NASB).

and recognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised (Galatians 2:9 NASB).

And it was because of his calling in Christ Jesus to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches that are found in Christ Jesus, that he had a desire to preach where Christ had never been named before:  And thus I aspired to preach the gospel, not where Christ was already named, so that I would not build on another man’s foundation; but as it is written, “THEY WHO HAD NO NEWS OF HIM SHALL SEE, AND THEY WHO HAVE NOT HEARD SHALL UNDERSTAND.” (Romans 15:20-21 NASB).  Now it was because of that longing and that desire and because of this verse that says to those who have not personally seen his face, I believe that maybe Paul had never visited Colossae.  For I want you to know how great a struggle I have on your behalf and for those who are at Laodicea, and for all those who have not personally seen my face (Colossians 2:1 NASB).

Thus, our VOTD says that it was Epaphras, who shared the gospel with the church at Colossae, just as it says: just as you learned it from Epaphras.  Then Paul goes on to describe Epaphras.  Why?  I believe Paul wanted the church at Colossae to know how he saw Epaphras.  Epaphras was the one who was going to carry Paul’s letter back to the church.  He was the one who was going to minister to the church.  Paul wanted to strengthen Epaphras’ ministry.  He wanted the church at Colossae to know how others saw him in light of God’s grace to Epaphras.  Here is something we all need to remember: If you can say something good about someone: SAY IT.  Why?  Because this verse says to do it: So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. (Romans 14:19 NASB).  When you say something good about a brother or sister, you are building up one another.

First, Paul says that Epaphras is our beloved fellow bond-servant.  Beloved is how Paul says that Epaphras is Loved; greatly loved; dear to the heart.  He also describes him as a fellow bond-servant.  A bond-slave of Christ Jesus.  One that Webster’s also describes as: A slave; one who is subjected to the authority of another, or whose person and liberty are restrained.  Let me ask you a question: How do you see yourself?  How do you see your Sunday School teacher?  How do you see your deacons?  How do you see your Pastor?  Can you apply these terms to them?  Are they beloved?  Are they fellow bond-servants?  When is the last time that you did your part by saying something good about them so that you might be building up one another?

Next, Paul goes on to say that Epaphras is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf.  Epaphras did not shy away from his responsibilities.  He was a faithful servant of Christ.  That means that he not only said the right things but that he did the right things.  He lived his faith.  Others saw how he lived, talked and acted as well as re-acted to situations in this life.  Do you know what that means to me?  When there were situations that Epaphras could not control, he lived and responded in a Christ like manner.  He didn’t curse or swear.  He let no unwholesome word proceed from his mouth: Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29 NASB).  He lived a life just like His Lord and Master.  Why?  Because He was a bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ.

Let me close with a thought: What is on the inside, must come out to the outside.  Whatever fills your heart and mind comes out of your mouth.  You know that our Lord worked with his earthly father, Joseph.  We know that Joseph was a carpenter.  As our Lord worked with Joseph, he did the same things as Joseph.  He learned the trade, so to speak from Joseph.  Question: What carpenter has never hit their finger or thumb with a hammer while building something?  Can anyone say NONE…!!!  Have you ever wondered what Jesus said when He hit his thumb with a hammer?  I can guarantee you one thing that did not happen. No unwholesome word proceeded from His mouth?  Why do I know that?  Because the scriptures say: For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15 NASB).  And “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:29 NASB).

I say all of this to let you know that if you are filled with the Spirit of the Living God, that even though bad things may happen to you, like hitting your thumb with a hammer, you will let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, because you are filled with the Spirit of God.  So question is: What should come out of your mouth when you hurt yourself?  How about “Give thanks for all things….”  Give thanks in everything, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 5:18 HCSB).

Lord, help me to become more usable to you by becoming more filled with the Holy Spirit.  Lord, I know that I am nowhere near where you want me to be but Lord my heart’s desire is to grow in grace and knowledge of you.  Remind me this day to say something good about a brother or sister to someone else so that I might build up their ministry.  Help to always point out the positive and never the negative.  Lord, use me this day to share the good news with someone.  Lord, I love you.

Yours in Christ,
Bob Maynard

 



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