The Faithful Saints Colossians 1:1-8 NASB Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel which has come to you, just as in all the world also it is constantly bearing fruit and increasing, even as it has been doing in you also since the day you heard of it and understood the grace of God in truth; just as you learned it from Epaphras, our beloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit. To those of us who are the faithful in Christ Jesus, who love him, who have been crucified with him in death to sin, and who are living to please him, walking in the Spirit, and who are no longer living to please the flesh: Grace to you and peace from God our Father. Be encouraged! By God’s grace, through God-given faith in him, we have been delivered from our slavery to sin, and we have been given new lives in him to be lived to his righteousness. Amen! God has made us holy in him, and he has also instructed us to live holy lives in him, separate from the world of sin, and set apart unto God for his service, becoming like him in his death and in his life. For those of us who are giving our lives to the Lord in service to him, and who are living in his love, expressing his love to others in acts of compassion and kindness, and in sharing the truths of God’s Word for the salvation of human lives, and for the building up of the body of Christ, to bring us all to maturity in him, be encouraged! In a Manner Worthy Colossians 1:9-14 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, 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; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Know the will of God for your life. Hear from the Lord what he wants to say to you in this moment. Be encouraged. Let him speak tenderly to your heart the words that you need to hear, to bring comfort, strength, and healing, so that you can walk in the way of the Lord in all respects, and not be afraid. God is working, even when you can’t see him. He is listening to the cries of your heart, even though you don’t yet have the answers you desire. Your service to him, and the love you have for others, and your service to them is bearing fruit, although you may not always see that fruit. So, don’t be discouraged. Rely on the strength of the Lord, keep singing, don’t be silent, and keep loving others with the love of Christ, even if you are rejected and abandoned in return. You have the message of hope. You have the message of healing, and of deliverance and freedom, so keep sharing it. They may not all want to hear it now, but God’s Word will never return empty, but will accomplish the purposes for which he sent it. So, keep telling them the way of life. And, keep warning them against the way of death, so that they, too, might be transferred from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of God, and be forgiven of their sins, and have true hope of eternal life with God. You Were Formerly Colossians 1:21-23 NASB And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach— if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister. For, this is the essence of the gospel message. This is our hope. When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, we die to our former way of living for sin and self, we are reborn of the Spirit of God, and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived for him and for his righteousness. This is why Jesus died, to set us free from our slavery (addictions) to sin, and to present us as holy, set apart from the world, and set apart to him and to his service, and that our lives might be beyond reproach. This is possible through Jesus Christ, our Lord! Not one of us has to continue living for sin and self. This is not to say that we will never sin, but if Christ is in us, we are delivered from the control of sin over our lives, so that sin is no longer our master, and we are no longer its slaves. We can walk in freedom! We can live in victory over sin! We can do so in the power, wisdom and strength of the Lord. Amen! But, we have to continue in him. We have to keep walking in faith, by the Spirit. We have to remain in him and in his Word. Our faith is not a one-time experience and then we’re in. For, if we claim to have fellowship with God, but we walk in darkness (in our sin), we are liars who do not live by the truth. The Christian life is a walk of faith. Daily we take up our cross and we follow Christ. Daily, by the Spirit, we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh. Being saved is not just something we do. It is what we live. We live and we walk in freedom, we love our Lord, we walk in obedience to his Word, we listen to what he says, and we do it, maybe not perfectly, but we keep pressing on in the Lord and in his strength, and we keep submitting to him. So, if life gets tough sometimes, don’t give up. Keep pressing on in following the Lord, in doing his will, and in trusting him with your future, and with the lives of those who you love who are not walking in fellowship with the Lord, but who are still walking in darkness. Just keep shining the light of Christ through your life and witness, and keep committing your life and your loved ones to Christ, and keep believing in all of God’s promises. And, don’t let Satan rob you of your joy. Arise and Shine / An Original Work March 6, 2014 / Based off Isaiah 60 Arise and shine; your Lord has come. Allow His light to flow through you, For many walk in wickedness. Show them the way to life anew. Arise and shine. Your Lord loves you. Lift up your eyes, and look about. Some do believe, while others doubt. Believe in all God’s promises. The many will, In Christ, find rest. Lift up your eyes, and you’ll be blessed. Arise and shine; salvation comes To all who trust in Christ, God’s Son. Forgiven of their sins, they’ll be, When they repent on bended knee. Arise and shine, so all will see. Lift up your eyes, and see your Lord. He will revive his church, forlorn. Though humans have forsaken you, They will find Christ, and walk in truth. Lift up your eyes; God honors you. Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 11:06 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these encouraging words. Make them real to our hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name.