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Archive for the ‘Devotional’ Category

For He has rescued us and has drawn us to Himself from the dominion of darkness, and has transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
Colossians 1:13 (AMP)

Sometimes the short verses can pack a big wallop. Colossians 1:13 is such a verse. As I unpack it, I find

Rescue
He rescued us. It is a completed work. But why was it necessary? Because we were in danger. We needed help. We couldn’t save or help ourselves.

Relationship
He didn’t stop at pulling us out of the mirey clay, back from the abyss. He drew us to Himself. He sought closeness with us, relationship with us. This, I would suggest, is the heart of God. He desires to be in relationship with us.

Relocation
He didn’t leave us where we were. God relocated us. He took us from the dominion of darkness–where we were threatened–to the Kingdom of His Son (Jesus). In the kingdom of His Son, our sins have been paid for. In the kingdom of His Son, I am an adopted son, I am grafted in to a rich history with God and a future that has no end.

Hallelujah!

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4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 New King James Version (NKJV)

It is in times of trouble we most need a reminder to rejoice. It is more natural to rejoice when things are going well, when we are being blessed, experiencing success, and healthy. It is far different and more challenging to rejoice when we are afraid, isolated, or sick.

But God in His wisdom has commanded that we should rejoice in the Lord always. We are not rejoicing in the trouble, but in the One who is able to protect us and guide us through the trouble.

Rejoice Always
Does always really mean always? Yes. But we are not just rejoicing–we are rejoicing in the Lord. He is always good and always sovereign. He is always with us.

Paul repeats it. Because it is worth repeating. It is a super truth. It is a truth that stands the test of time and circumstance. It is a truth that is virus-proof.

Be Gentle
He goes on to say that we should let our gentleness be obvious–visible to others. We should be known as gentle. They should see Jesus in me, gracious, gentle, unselfish, merciful, tolerant and patient just to name a few of His character traits. When everyone else is falling apart, panicking, self-seeking, self-preserving and out for their own interests, we should be visibly and audibly gentle.

Let Nothing cause You to Lose Faith
Paul tells us, “be anxious for nothing.” Does he really mean nothing? Maybe if he were here with us watching this virus take over nations, crush healthcare systems, take lives, he might said something different . . . No he wouldn’t.

We are to be anxious for nothing because there is no real threat to us. Nothing that can separate us from the love of God. There is no person, no principality, no circumstance, and no illness or disease that can separate us from the love of God. And if the Ruler of the Universe loves you and me, what is there really to worry about. He spoke it all into existence, and He can surely take care of us. We need to banish fear. We need to feed faith. We need to do all to stand in this day.

Prayer is the cure. By prayer and supplication and making our requests (and our fears) known to God, we engage in the great exchange. We give our concerns to God and He gives us peace–a type of peace not available in the world–the peace that passes understanding–peace from God. This peace that God gives us will protect us. It will protect our minds. It will allow us to grow in faith. It will allow us to stand.

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Set your Mind on Things Above

 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2 (NKJV)

To set your mind on something speaks of mental discipline. It means to keep one’s thoughts habitually focused on the subject matter or to say it another way, to think about the subject matter it all the time. When your thoughts drift, they should drift back to that subject matter.

According to Colossians 3:2, the subject matter that we, as believers, should be focused on is “things above” or in other words, heavenly things–things of God, things of eternity.

  What might some of those things be?

  • Eternal Life with God We should be thinking now about what life with God in eternity will be like, e.g. that He’ll dry every tear. There’ll be no more sorrow. In eternity, we will have perfect knowledge of God–nothing will be hidden. Sin will no longer be a problem. We’ll have our glorified bodies. Life will be as it was intended by God. His Kingdom will have come and His will be done. Thinking on these things will help us to be sustained when challenges and difficulties, illnesses and failed relationships plague us here, in the realm of now.
  • The throne room of God (Revelation 4-5). We should be thinking about what we know about the heavenly realm, namely what we have been told in scriptures. For example, we’ll be there in the throne room, witnessing the things described in John’s prophetic vision in the Book of Revelation. The angels will be around the throne of God. Worship of the Almighty will never end.

So take heart, this world is passing away. We are just pilgrims here. One day, we shall be in heaven. Let’s set our minds on that.

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From the early chapters of Genesis, God has been promising a land of their own to His people, the Jews. He also promised to remove their enemies (who would be in the land) from before them and to cause the fear of them to make their enemies to flee before them.

Reading these types of passages in the Hebrew Bible, one could get the idea that conquering this land would be straightforward, but when God promised the land to them, they had a part in possessing it.

They had to battle. They had to crush idols and kill every idolatrous thing in their path–even items of great value. They had to rely on God for their support.

It is the same for us. The promised land and God’s people taking possession of the promised land is a picture of the abundant life God promises to all of His children.

In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].” Jesus is promising the abundant life to us, but we have a part in it.

We must take possession of the land God is giving us. We must walk in the paths He has laid for us. We must not trust in riches or the treasures of pagans. We must not trust in the chariots or horses of our fallen enemies. We must trust only in God–Maker of Heaven and Earth.

Sea of Tiberias

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If we obey

22 For if you carefully keep all these commandments which I command you to do—to love the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, and to hold fast to Him— 23 then the Lord will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess greater and mightier nations than yourselves. 24 Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours: . . . 25 No man shall be able to stand against you; the Lord your God will put the dread of you and the fear of you upon all the land where you tread, just as He has said to you. Deuteronomy 11:22-25

When I obey God–that is, when I lovingly walk in all His ways every day and hold tightly to Him–He promises to eliminate my enemies and give me the land wherever I walk as my possession.

Moreover, He promises that no human will try to oppose me because God will cause them to fear me. This passage is not speaking of heaven, but rather of life on Earth, in time–the abundant life. This is the life I desire.

Father, teach us to walk in the paths you have laid for us. Let us be worthy and ready to take–and fully possess–the land you are giving to us.

Alaska

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I love when God reminds me that I don’t have to struggle or fight or worry. He has everything under control. The opening verses of Isaiah 43 are a perfect example of such a reminder:

But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you. O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called you by name; you are mine.When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.” Isaiah 43:1-2 NLT

God holds the reins.
God controls the impact outside forces can have on me.
God is sovereign over everything.
God is concerned and monitoring the things and forces that come against me.

For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom; I gave Ethiopia[a] and Seba in your place. Others were given in exchange for you. I traded their lives for yours because you are precious to me. You are honored, and I love you.
Isaiah 43:3-4 NLT

God chose me.
God values me.
God will choose those who are His–those who love Him and seek Him over those whose hearts are cold toward him.

May the Holy One of Israel speak these truths over you today in such a way that you know that He loves you and will keep you from going under or burning up. He is a good, good Father.

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Dan – Israel

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For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul.
        Jeremiah 31:25

With God everything is done to perfection. Thus, in the Amplified Version, this verse reads, “I fully satisfy the weary soul” reminding us of that complete work God does in our souls when we allow Him.

The Amplified Version also adds “languishing” to the second phrase, so it reads, “I have replenished every languishing and sorrowful soul.” This word languishing carries the meaning of wasting away from sorrow.”

This is my testimony. As I was languishing in my sorrow over my loss, betrayal and humiliation at the hands of one close to me, God gave me satisfaction and healing in my soul, in my innermost being–the place that only God can touch, but which desperately needs touching. My situation remained unchanged, but my soul was replenished and restored.

So remember, when you are languishing in sorrow, you need only wait in helplessness for God for just a short while with an openness to Him, and you shall experience what God promised through the prophet Jeremiah.

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