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Archive for the ‘Colossians’ Category

That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, Colossians 2:2 (NKJV)

Leslie Becker-Phelps[i] gives us a few tips to survive family reunions:

Keep it light.  As she writes, “Family get-togethers are a time to enjoy each other’s company, not to hash out differences or problems.”  If you have serious concerns about one of your family members, follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 18, and address the issue before or after the event with the individual.

Accept your limits with influencing family.  Even if you may find someone’s behaviors disturbing, offensive, or self-destructive, you need to realize you do not have the power to change them. You can express concern and even offer guidance, if it is solicited, but that’s the extent of it.  And even if they request it, a family event may not be the time to have that conversation.

Ask for help.  Recruit someone in the family to help you, or for the two of you to help each other.  As Phelps-Becker explains, “For instance, to help you out, your sister might change the subject if your aunt starts critiquing your parenting. Or, you might need to support each other when you feel powerless to help a family member on a self-destructive path.”  At the same time, you need to be careful to remain generally positive rather than appearing to gang up on them.

Invite non-family. Including outside friends to family gatherings can encourage family members to behave nicely, at least in public.  You just need to make sure others are aware of who you are bringing and that you prepare your friend for any possible uncomfortable comments or actions during the reunion.  Don’t put the non-family member on the spot unawares.

Don’t forget that family reunions can be a time to strengthen your bonds and simply enjoy spending the time with your family.  It could be one of the last opportunities you have to be together.

Father God, may our time together as a family be pleasant and full of the love that only we as a family can enjoy.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2015/06/how-to-survive-your-family-reunion.html?ecd=wnl_men_061915&ctr=wnl-men-061915_nsl-promo_5&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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And now what?

Bearing with one another.  Colossians 3:13 (NKJV)

 

The third and final question you should ask, before giving up on your relationship, is:

 

  1. What makes you think you can find a way to continue being together?[i]

Think about this for a moment:  If you have not ended your relationship yet, you must have some hope that things will get better, that you have a good, happier future together.  Where does that hope you have come from?  What is it that you see that makes you think that there’s a chance things could get better? Maybe you can see that your spouse really and truly loves you and they too want to find a way to make your relationship work. Perhaps you can also see that he or she is making a good, honest attempt to change.

If there’s the smallest flicker of light in an otherwise seemingly dark relationship, there is still hope.  Think about these words of Jesus:  So Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” Mat 17:20 (NKJV).  Is it possible that the faith about which Jesus was speaking only applies to religious matters?  Or is it possible that the same faith Jesus makes available to us to move mountains of unbelief can also help us move the mountains that have come between us as spouses?  Is it possible that the same faith that can help us overcome an addiction or a harmful behavior can also help us overcome the damaging, hurtful patterns that threaten to destroy our relationship? Or is God’s power not available to all of us in all situations?

Yes, that same faith is available to all of us.  If you have even the smallest reservoir of positive feelings and hopes for a better future together, that faith and these three questions can help you highlight them. They can help encourage you to continue to try to re-engage in a positive way with your spouse.

 

Father God, help us to revive our relationship.  Give us that faith, as small as a mustard seed, that we may move the mountains that have grown in between us.

[i] http://blogs.webmd.com/art-of-relationships/2013/07/3-questions-to-get-your-relationship-back-on-track.html?ecd=wnl_men_080513&ctr=wnl-men-080513_hdln_3&mb=K2VcbkxhrhREAZ5zC2UpheHnVev1imbCHYS8QQY8uqo%3d

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You Complete Me

Scripture: For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; 10and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. Colossians 2:9-10 (NKJV)

Observation: Translate in the Greek order, “Ye are in Him (by virtue of union with Him) filled full” of all that you need (Jn 1:16). Believers receive of the divine unction which flows down from their Divine Head and High Priest (Ps 133:2). He is full of the “fulness” itself; we, filled from Him. Paul implies, Therefore ye Colossians need no supplementary sources of grace, such as the false teachers dream of. Christ is “the Head of all rule and authority” (so the Greek), Eph 1:10; He, therefore, alone, not these subject “authorities” also, is to be adored (Col 2:18). [Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Col 2:10). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.]

Application: A movie released several years ago popularized the words spoken by its main character, Jerry McGuire. During the main scene in the film, he said to his girlfriend, “You Complete me!” Those words sounded so romantic that many others have borrowed them to express their love and devotion to the person they love. Tom Cruise played the part of Jerry McGuire. Now I know that Tom Cruise didn’t write the script for this movie, it was Cameron Crowe who wrote it and directed it; Tom Cruise was simply the actor repeating Crowe’s words. Unfortunately, the “You complete me” concept hasn’t worked to well for Cruise. When Tom Cruise spoke those now famous words, “You complete me,” he was married to his second wife, Nicole Kidman. As you probably know, Cruise and Kidman divorced five years later, after which Cruise entered a romantic relationship with Penelope Cruz, and then a third marriage, this time to Katie Holmes, which was also unsuccessful even though it resulted in the birth of a daughter. If we were cynics we could say that Tom Cruise has not yet found “the one” to “complete” him.
This romantic view that we need another person to complete us began with the Greek philosopher Plato who wrote that there was once a “super race” of androgynous humans that made an attempt to overthrow the gods. This super race consisted of “round” people, made up of both male and female in one person, and in that state they were getting too powerful. So Zeus, the king of the gods, said, “I shall now cut each of them in two … and they will be both weaker and more useful to us through the increase in their numbers.”

This forceful separation supposedly left both halves wondering the world, looking for their “soul-mate,” desperate to be reunited. When the two halves did finally find each other, all they could do was cling to each other, which sadly led to their deaths “because they were unwilling to do anything apart from one another.” Zeus was no longer concerned about these powerful beings because deprived and desperate humans were no longer so powerful and no longer such a threat to the gods.

Interestingly enough, in Plato’s view romantic love does not make us stronger but weaker. And yet, many people do, in fact, live this way, on a constant search to find their other human “half,” so they may be “complete,” and then desperately attempting to keep that half.

The Bible’s view is very different. Today’s text reminds us that because the fullness of the Godhead dwells in Jesus, Our Creator, we are complete in Him! No other human being can complete us. They can, and do, add to our lives. But a human being, who is not perfect, cannot possibly meet all our needs. Jesus, on the other hand, because He is perfect, can an does complete us. So stop looking for another person to be your perfect soul-mate and to meet all your needs. When both you and the person you love submit to Jesus, He completes both and meets both their needs.

A Prayer You May Say: Father God, thank You that we can be complete in Jesus. Help us to draw closer to Him because as a result we will end up drawing closer to one another.

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Scripture: But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, Colossians 3:8-10 (NKJV)

Observation: Several words deserve further explanation:
Wrath describes passion for a time: opposed to “tender-hearted,” and so it has also been translated as harshness.
blasphemy describes “evil-speaking,” as it is translated in Eph 4:31.
filthy communication – the context favors the translation, “abusive language,” rather than impure conversation. “Foul language” best retains the ambiguity of the original.

Application: The apostle Paul writes that our relationships should be different now that we have been changed from the inside by Jesus. Those things that were commonplace, second nature, should give way to our new nature.
Think of how the words of Paul apply to your relationship with your spouse. Your old self won’t be nearly as good of a spouse as your new self. These verses from Colossians challenge us to set aside the poor behaviors that always get in the way of a healthy marriage and put on the character of Christ.
Think of the opposite of these words so that it will help you to practice, or “put on,” the positive traits and not simply fight to not do the negative things. Instead of bitterness , use kindness. Instead of harshness, be tender-hearted. Instead of anger or resentment forgive one another.”
Although it makes it sound as easy as putting on a coat, read the words of today’s passage aloud together with your spouse and listen for that one sinful trait that is the hardest for you to get rid of and the one godly trait that is the hardest to clothe yourself in. Confess the ways you’ve failed to put on godly character and ask your spouse to forgive you. And then pray together that God will give you the determination to put His character on again and again every day.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, help me today to put on the character of Jesus Christ so that I may be kinder, more gentle, more loving, and more forgiving toward my spouse.

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Scripture: Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. Colossians 1:12-14 (NKJV)

Observation: Thankfulness, a fourth result of following God’s will and pleasing Him, is a keynote in the spiritual life. Believers are urged elsewhere by Paul, “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thes. 5:18) and to come before God “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving” (Phil. 4:6). Four other times in Colossians (3:15–17; 4:2) Paul enjoined believers to be grateful. Joyfulness too is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22), made possible by the gospel (cf. Isa. 29:19; John 16:20; Acts 13:52).

Application: As spouses and parents, we need to cultivate a spirit of gratitude and thankfulness. If you’re not already doing it, begin by expressing thanks for even the smallest, simplest things your spouse or children do – mow the lawn, make supper, pick up toys, open the door of the car, took garbage out, etc. We should never take each other for granted nor should we take for granted what the others do as if it was their obligation.
What is important as well is that when we develop a spirit of gratitude for the common, simple things in daily life we will also grow to appreciate even more all that God has done for us. In particular, we should give thanks for the three greatest gifts mentioned in our texts for today:
1. That we have been redeemed through the shedding of His blood, and our sins are forgiven and never remembered anymore. (V.14)
2. That we have been delivered and rescued from the penalty and power of sin. Satan will never have power over us again. (V. 13)
3. That we have been accepted into the kingdom of God for eternity (become eternal citizens of heaven with a new passport and identification) (V. 13)
Paul urges us to always remember with thanks what Christ did for us on the cross. We should pray that our loved ones, our family, our children will remember to be thankful for these three great gifts every day.

Using the principles from the last seven days, write a prayer for your family which incorporates each of the element or prayer requests mentioned. Keep the copy of your prayer in a place where you can refer to it every day as you pray individually for each member of your family, especially for your children.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, thank You that You have rescued us, redeemed us, and that we have been accepted into Your kingdom, all through the life and death of Your Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. Help us to be grateful everyday for these great gifts.

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Scripture: Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. Colossians 1:11 (NKJV)

Observation: Spiritual strength is a third factor that results from knowing God’s will and pleasing Him. Being strengthened with all power according to His glorious might includes three words for strength: “being strengthened” is dynamoumenoi; “power” is dynamei, spiritual vitality; and “might” is kratos (“power that overcomes resistance”; used only of God in the NT). This God-given strength produces great endurance and patience. This endurance (trans. “perseverance” in James 1:3) was exemplified by Job (James 5:11). To this endurance Paul added “patience,” a word generally connected with gentleness and calm sweetness (as in 1 Cor. 13:4). Endurance and patience are often associated (cf. 2 Cor. 6:4, 6; 2 Tim. 3:10; James 5:10–11). Endurance (hypomonē, lit., a “remaining under”) implies not easily succumbing under suffering; and patience (makrothymia, lit., “long temper”; cf. Col. 3:12) means self-restraint which does not hastily retaliate. A lack of endurance often results in despondency or losing heart, whereas a lack of patience often leads to wrath or revenge (cf. Prov. 15:18; 16:32). (Walvoord, J. F., Zuck, R. B., & Dallas Theological Seminary. (1985). The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.)

Application: One of the lessons our children must learn early in life is that of delayed gratification. When we quickly give in to our child’s every whim and desire, we’re only teaching them that they will always get what they want and do not need to exercise any patience whatsoever. On the other hand, when we teach our children from the time they are small that there are times when they need to wait, we are really teaching them several of the three things mentioned in the text for today.
Here’s an example. When your child asks for a toy, particularly one that costs a fair amount of money, you can make an agreement with your child that if they save a certain amount of money toward that toy, you will help them with the final percentage. For instance, “If you save from your allowance until you have 80% of the cost, I will help you out with the final 20%.” This teaches them to both be patient AND persistent. If they truly want something, they can work toward that goal. If they don’t want it that bad, they will probably give up a lot earlier before reaching the goal. But if they persist, and save the agreed on amount, one of several things will take place. In some cases, by the time they have saved that amount they have changed their mind and either don’t want that anymore or they may want something different. But if they do persist in having what they have saved for, once they get it they will experience greater joy (which is the third thing from our verse) than if they had simply received it the moment they asked you for it.
So, don’t answer every request immediately. Instead, work with them, and pray that they will be patient, persistent, and at the end joyous.

A Prayer You May Say: Father God, bless my children that as they work to fulfill their wishes they may be patient, they may work toward their goal and be persistent, and that they may have the joy that accompanies reaching a long-awaited goal.

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Scripture: “Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power. . .” Colossians 1:11 (NKJV)

Observation: The radical idea of might, is that of indwelling strength, especially as embodied: might which inheres in physical powers organized and working under individual direction, as an army: which appears in the resistance of physical organisms, as the earth, against which one dashes himself in vain: which dwells in persons or things, and gives them influence or value: which resides in laws or punishments to make them irresistible. This sense comes out clearly in the New Testament in the use of the word and of its cognates. Thus, “Love the Lord thy God with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30): “according to the working of his mighty power” (Eph. 1:19). The kindred adjective is used in other places in the New Testament and translated differently but with a similar sense: “A strong man” (Matt. 12:29): a mighty famine (Luke 15:14): his letters are powerful (2 Cor. 10:10): a strong consolation (Heb. 6:18): a mighty angel (Apoc. 18:21). Also the verb ἱσχύω. “It is good for nothing” (Matt. 5:13): “shall not be able” (Luke 13:24): “I can do all things” (Philip. 4:13): “availeth much” (Jas. 5:16).

Application: One of the challenges that sometimes parents face is with children who are, as James Dobson describes, “strong-willed children.” These are the children who have a mind of their own and who seem to want to run the opposite way to where their parents want them to go. A dictionary definition might be obstinate, stubborn, which have negative connotations.
Let’s think of a more positive side to strong-willed. Someone strong-willed doesn’t give up easily. A strong-willed person is determined. Your will is your desire or drive to do something, so a strong-willed person is someone with a powerful will – that is a good thing!. At the same time, it can be a bad thing. For instance, a child who insists on going outside in the rain and throws a temper tantrum unless he/she gets his/her way is strong-willed in a stubborn way. Someone with deep beliefs, who can stand up to the crowd, who will not be swayed by his/her peers is strong-willed in a better way. A hero, someone who shows courage, someone who fights for what is right, is also strong-willed. You have to be strong-willed to stand up for what you believe, particularly during difficult situations.
Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry used to say, “Don’t pray for an easy life. Pray to be a strong person.” This is exactly what Scripture is admonishing here. Pray each day that your family will be able to make tough decisions based on God’s principles and will be able to remain strong and mighty.
Instead of praying that your child have a soft, easy, mellow personality, pray that they will be strong in their convictions, mighty in their beliefs, powerful in their conscience, mean and women of valor for God.

A Prayer You May Say: Father, while it might be easier to raise a child who is compliant, I pray that my child will be strong in the face of temptation and sin, mighty as they speak and live for You, and courageous even when the consequences may be painful for them.

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