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Monday, May 22, 2017

I Timothy 1:15

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

For further study - I Timothy 1:12-20

The key verse for our devotional reading today, I Timothy 1:15was written by Paul near the end of his ministry. His statement speaks volumes of how the apostle had grown in his own life during almost 30 years of ministry.

I am reminded that early in Paul's ministry he referred to himself as "the least of the apostles", I Corinthians 15:9About half way through his thirty years of ministry, Paul realized that he was "the least of the saints", Ephesians 3:8. Now, towards the end of his ministry, Paul realizes that he is the "chief of all sinners".

It is true, that the closer we get to Jesus, the worse we see ourselves to be. Remember, the way we get close to Him today is by talking to Him and allowing Him to talk to us, through the reading of His Word the Bible.

We talk to Him in prayer, as I said, which Paul tells us to do, "without ceasing". The Lord talks to us through His Word, and this is one of the reasons to have a time everyday when you study the scriptures.

First and Second Timothy are referred to as the "pastoral epistles". The author of these "pastors' manuals" gives his young partner in the ministry, Timothy, the instruction that must be passed along to the leaders of the churches that are springing up all over the known world at that time.

Young Timothy is to travel to these churches and assist them in the selection of a leadership team and the training of these newly elected leaders in the proper method of administration in the local church.
God has selected to reach the world through local churches that are planted around the world. The Lord has a way and a plan that these churches must administer.

In both First and Second Timothy, Paul gives the warning to the churches, and all of us that read his instructions, He tells us that the Lord's Return is near. Paul believed that the time when Christ would call us to be with Him in the Rapture was very close at hand.

Remember, when Paul was writing to the Thessalonians about the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:15-18, he kept using the word "we", believing that in his lifetime he would see the Rapture of the Church. That was almost 2000 years ago. How much closer we must be to the Rapture now.

That is why Paul wanted the church to be operating in a godly fashion, thus Paul's instruction to young Timothy. He charges Timothy to remember his instruction and his study of prophecy, and to "war a good warfare", I Timothy 1:18.

That is how we must live and administer our churches, always moving forward in light of the soon coming of Jesus Christ. The evidence is very clear, The Rapture can happen at any moment, perhaps today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help my attitude to be as Paul's was, just a sinner saved by grace awaiting the shout to join You in the heavenlies.
Sunday, May 21, 2017

II Thessalonians 3:5

And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ.

For further study - II Thessalonians 3:1-5

The Apostle Paul is very concerned that he be able to help the Thessalonians to grow in the Lord. After leading them to Jesus, for salvation, he writes two letters to them, I and II Thessalonians. These two books have much instruction for their growth. He has watched as the "Word of the Lord”" was glorified, made manifest in these people, verse 1 .

Paul desires the prayers of the Thessalonians so that as he continues his ministry he will be able to minister the "Word of the Lord" among others as well. Here Paul is teaching "intercessory prayer" to these young believers. Paul's prayer also includes a request for his protection from unreasonable and wicked men, verse 2.

The apostle reminds the Thessalonians, and us as well, that the Lord is faithful to His ministry of establishing us in Jesus and keeping us from evil that may come to confront us.

Paul wants these new converts to love the Lord, to really love Him, verse 5. This is love that is more than "lip service", it is a love that is a love like I have for my wife. That kind of love causes me to want to talk to her and let her talk to me. In our love for the Lord, we can talk to Him, in prayer.

He can also talk to us in His word, as we read it on a daily basis. The love that I have for my wife moves me to want to do things that please her. This is the case as well with our love for the Lord.

Notice the last phrase in our reading, verse 5. Paul wants to direct the Thessalonians and each of us into the "patient waiting for Christ to return". It is difficult for me to be patient. That is something I must learn, patience. Let me suggest that as we wait patiently for the Lord to return, we must be "prepared" for His shout to come at any moment by knowing for sure we are born again.

We also need to walk "pure" each day by laying aside that which is ungodly and evil and living that which is godly and righteous, as we look up for Him to take us to be with Him. We must also be "productive", in winning others to Jesus Christ and helping them to grow even as Paul was doing among the Thessalonians.

Again, I say it is difficult for me to be patient as I await the Lord's shout to join Him in the air. I want it to happen today, and it could - even so come, Lord Jesus.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, help me as I await Your coming, patiently, to be pure and productive until you do shout for us to join You in the heavenlies.
Saturday, May 20, 2017

II Thessalonians 2:13

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
For further study - II Thessalonians 2:8-17

There are two great truths that we will confront in our reading for today. The first is revealed in II Thessalonians 2:13. Within the words of our key verse, we find the answer to the centuries old debate about election and free will.

I may be introducing to you a discussion that you've never heard of in your Christian experience. Let me suggest that if that is the case, just file this away. It may be that you will need this insight for another time when you may be confronted with this issue. The Lord has the greatest way of reminding us of these things at just the right time when we need them.

II Thessalonians 2:13 speaks of how both election, (God's plan of bringing people to Himself), and free will, (our experience of accepting what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us to bring us to salvation), work together. Notice how this verse combines the two in the process.

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians that God, from the very beginning, has chosen each of us to be saved. The Lord uses the Holy Spirit to bring us to the point of conviction, revealing to us our need for a Saviour, because we are sinners.

The Bible teaches that we are all sinners, born that way. Have you ever noticed that no one ever sat us down and taught us how to lie? We just knew how to lie because we were born that way.

The Holy Spirit convicts those of us whom God has chosen for salvation, however, the process doesn't stop there. The verse continues to tell us that we then must believe in the "truth". By exercising belief we are exercising our own free will. This is our choice, to receive that which He has chosen to give us, salvation.

I hope this doesn't seem too simple, but God doesn't want it too hard for us to understand. He wants us to see how He is working in our lives. That is what Paul was writing on this issue in his letter to the Thessalonians. Remember that these believers were still fairly "young in the faith" Christians.

The other great principle found in the extended reading for our devotional today is that of the "second chance". Verses 8 to 12 reveal the truth about the possibility that after the Rapture there may be a "second chance" to get saved.

According to the text of this passage there is no "second chance" to be saved after the Rapture. Verse 10 says that those that "received not the love of the truth that they might be saved", then in verse 11 it says, "God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie".

Verse 12 
states, "that they all might be damned who believe not the truth". In these three verses, 10,11 and 12we see the process by which there is no "second chance". One must first "hear" the gospel, "the love of the truth", then "understand" the gospel and finally "reject" the gospel in order for there to be no "second chance".

These three steps, "hear, understand and reject" must be followed before there is no "second chance". It’s not just "hear" but all three before there is no "second chance".

This may be a hard truth for you to believe but let it be a motivation for either you to get saved or to work and pray for your loved ones to be saved before the Rapture. I pray all the time for those love ones so dear to me to be saved. Remember, it’s not the Lord’s will that any be lost, but all would come to salvation, II Peter 3:9.

Verses 14 to 17 
reveal such great truth as well, I would suggest that you study these verses for a real blessing. This second chapter of II Thessalonians is so "rich" in truth that is so important for the last days in which we are living and in the context of the Lord's shout for us to join Him in the air.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you, Lord for "choosing" to save me and giving me the "free will" to accept you as my Saviour. Help me to lead others to this truth as we all await the shout to join you in the heavens.
Friday, May 19, 2017

II Thessalonians 2:3

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.

For further study - II Thessalonians 2:1-12

Our key verse for this devotional, verse 3, has become somewhat controversial. There are those that believe that the Antichrist will come when the "falling away" of the church, apostasy in the Church, has happened. This then seems to be saying that the church will be here when the Antichrist appears.

This belief comes from a wrong understanding of the Greek word used in the passage and translated, "a falling away". The Greek word is "apostasia", which is used one other time in Scripture in the New Testament book of Acts. Acts 21:21 translates apostasia as "forsake". The context is talking about Jews forsaking Moses, or departing from him.

A close and careful word study of the Greek word apostasia will conclude that the true meaning of the word is found in the phrase, "departing from one place and going to another”, not a falling away from the doctrines of the church.

If the word "apostasia" was communicating that "apostasy" was what it was talking about then the Rapture and the coming of the Antichrist would have happened during the writing of II Thessalonians. Apostasy had infiltrated the early church by the time Paul wrote this passage.

What Paul is saying here is that the Antichrist, the "Son of Perdition", would not come until the Church departs from one place and goes to another. That is what happens at the Rapture. The scenario for the future according to all prophetic passages is that the Rapture takes all Christians into Heaven and then the Antichrist appears on earth.

This "false messiah" will, at the mid-way point of the seven year Tribulation Period, the coming time of judgment, he will enter Jerusalem. This satanically controlled world leader will enter the Temple in Jerusalem showing himself that he is "God", verse 4.

Our reading today sets the stage for how events of the Last Days come together. I will deal with the rest of this passage in another future devotional. The Rapture, the Antichrist, and a Temple in Jerusalem are  the items that we have discussed today.

Let me remind you that all preparations have been made for the temple to be built in Jerusalem. False teachers and deception presently are a part of our society today, which indicates that Antichrist is nearing his appearance on earth.

Remember, before the appearance of Antichrist and the temple is built, the Rapture happens. Actually the Rapture could happen at any moment. Be ready!

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to live today as if this will be the day of the Rapture.
Thursday, May 18, 2017

II Thessalonians 1:3

We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;

For further study - II Thessalonians 1:1-12

As we now come to this second letter to the Christians in Thessalonica, it seems Paul evidently writes it very soon after his first letter to the church.

There would be much said in this letter about the Second Coming, including the time of the coming of the "Anti-christ", how the church would be spiritually at that time and what would happen to those who had heard the gospel message, understood the gospel message, and then "rejected" the love of the truth that they might be saved, II Thessalonians 2:10-12.

Paul, however, starts his letter with thanksgiving to God for the word coming to him of the spiritual life of the Thessalonians. Paul was so pleased that he had heard of their faith that was growing, as he stated it, "exceedingly", verse 3.

Also in verse three we find out how their love for each other was increasing and in fact, "abundantly". Paul also realizes their "patience" even during times of persecution and trouble for these new Christians and how they were able to "endure".

This is an excellent list of objectives for each of us "older Christians", a growing faith, love for each other, patience and ability to endure persecution.

Paul then encourages the Thessalonians with the fact that the Lord will bring judgment upon all those who were persecuting them, "when He shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels," verse 7.

Verses 5-9 indicate that when Jesus comes back this next time, He will come as the "judge". People don't want to hear of Jesus as the "judge". His righteousness, however, demands that He judge sin.

Peter, in II Peter 3, wrote that people would deny the coming of the Lord because they do not want to face judgment. Jesus came as the "lamb", our sacrifice for sin, but He is also coming as the "Lion of Judah," the coming judge.

Paul then tells the Thessalonians that his prayer for them is that the "name of Jesus Christ would be glorified in them". verse 12.

That must be our goal, our lives glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord help me to live a life that is growing in faith, loving others, patient, enduring persecution and glorifying You, dear Jesus.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I Thessalonians 5:23

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For further study - I Thessalonians 5:1-27

What a great passage of scripture we come to for today's devotional. It is very prophetic and at the same time very, very practical. Let's look at the practical first in our devotional reading. Again, space will not allow me to mention all of the practical verses in I Thessalonians 5, but only a few of the most practical.

Starting in verse 16 we come upon some great "nuggets of truth". Verse 16, "rejoice evermore", is one of the shortest verses in the Bible. This is an exhortation from Paul, which follows the truth of the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:13-18.

I Thessalonians 4:18
 tells us to comfort each other with the truth of the Rapture. The understanding of the truth of the Rapture, and how close it could be to taking place is what gives us the ability to "rejoice evermore". The next verse, verse 17, tells us to "pray without ceasing".

If we walk in a constant attitude of "prayer", that will play a key role in helping us to conform into His image and prepare ourselves for His soon return. "In everything give thanks," verse 18, is one of the best bits of advice you or I could receive.

God seems to move closer to us when we thank Him for all things, even for heartaches and troubles. Besides," this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning each of us". The very best for each of us is to be in the center of God's will, "give thanks in all things".

When Paul exhorts us to "quench not the Spirit", verse 19, he's telling us to stay away from sin in our lives, that's what quenches the Spirit. We need daily the "Spirit of God" to empower us for daily living and service.

Verse 22 is an exhortation that helps us to grow closer to the Lord. We do this by "abstaining from all appearances of evil". That which appears to be evil, that which is in front of us or within us, our own appearance that seems evil, as seen by the world, that is what we are to abstain from every moment of every day.

Paul's prayer for us is that our whole being, spirit, soul and body, be preserved "blameless" as we await "the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ", verse 23.

Now, quickly glance at several of the "prophetic thoughts" from this passage. Notice verse 3, when they say "peace and safety", those are the words that help us to recognize that the Lord's judgment, the Tribulation Period, and our Lord's soon return to earth is getting very close.

In the first verses of this chapter, verses 1-8, Paul is assuring the recipients of this letter that the Rapture hasn't happened yet because we are not in the "Day of the Lord". The "Day of the Lord" refers to the time of judgment leading up to the Lord's Second Coming. The "Day of the Lord" does not start until after the Rapture has happened.

Verse 9 assures us of the fact that when we leave this earth, responding to the shout of the archangel, the sound of the trumpet, the Lord's call for us to join Him in the air, I Thessalonians 4:16-17, at the Rapture, we will do so before the seven-year period of time of judgment begins.

God has not appointed Christians to partake of the "wrath" to come, that seven-year period of judgment. As we see the revealed events of the Tribulation Period seeming to be about to happen we can look up with great anticipation of His shout for us to join Him in the heavenlies. Praise the Lord for these practical and prophetic truths.


PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for such practical information and exhortation for our daily living and the prophetic truths informing us of the end times and how to recognize the day in which we are living as the days just prior to the Rapture.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

I Thessalonians 4:17

Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

For further study - I Thessalonians 4:1-18

I could hardly wait to get to this chapter in 1 Thessalonians for our devotional time. The "hope" of my life and indeed the main prayer of my life is that the Rapture will happen in my lifetime.

I have traveled across this world telling people of the Rapture and then teaching the prophetic passages of His Word to help everyone that I have contacted to understand that today could well be the day of the Rapture.

We'll look together at the description of how the Rapture will play out in a moment, but first just a word or two about Paul's message to the people in Thessalonica who he had led to the Lord just three weeks before he wrote this letter to them.

Paul tells these new Christians, as well as us long-time Christians, that we will "abound" if we will walk with the purpose of "pleasing God", verse 1. Paul then tells them, and us, what the will of God is for our lives, verses 3-12.

No longer do we have to say "I wish I knew the will of God for my life". The best way to be in God's will is to follow the instructions in these verses.

Now to the Rapture, actually the word "rapture" is not used in this passage, in fact the word rapture is not used in the entire Bible. Don't be concerned about that, the word "trinity”, the term for God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not used in the Bible. The truth of the matter is that the word "Bible" is not used in the Bible.

The word "rapture" comes from the Latin word for the phrase "caught up" in verse 17. The Latin word, "rapturo," in verse 17, is how we get the word Rapture. I Corinthians 15 says, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," we will be caught up to be with the Lord.

Verse 14 says that only saved people go to be with the Lord at the Rapture. Verse 16 says that those Christians, which have already died, they will be the first ones to respond to the Lord's shout, the sound of the trumpet and the voice of the archangel.

It is after the "dead in Christ" have been raised and start towards heaven that the rest of us Christians move from this earthly home to a heavenly home, never to leave the Lord's presence, forever, verse 17.

This event, the Rapture, could happen at any moment and with the prophetic events recorded in God's Word seemingly coming to pass, the Rapture could happen today. Even so come, Lord Jesus.


PRAYER THOUGHT: Lord, my hearts desire is for the Rapture to happen in my lifetime. Help me to live every day as if it would be today.
Monday, May 15, 2017

I Thessalonians 3:13

To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

For further study - I Thessalonians 3:1-13

When the Apostle Paul wrote his first book to the Thessalonians they had only been Christians about three weeks when they received the letter. As we read our devotional, the extended reading reveals Paul's great desire to once again be with these he had led to the Lord.

He repeats time and again that he wants to be with them to help in their spiritual growth, verses 2, 5, 6, 10 and 11 . Paul had the desire to see his new converts mature in the Lord.

This is a great example to all of us, even those of us who are so-called "professional ministers". Have you known a "minister" who gets so busy that he has no time for ministering to the "flock"? That is a tough question for me to answer. I don't know about you, I do know about me. I need to spend more time following Paul's example.

Paul actually shares with us that ministering to others is a real joy, verse 9. I love that thought from the previous chapter in I Thessalonians 2:19-20. Those who Paul had led to the Lord are a "rejoicing to him", they are his glory and joy. Notice that there is a "crown" at the Judgment Seat of Christ which we will receive, the "Crown of Rejoicing," for being a soul winner, I Thessalonians 2:19.

By the way, Paul had trained up a "helper", a "fellow laborer", a young man named Timothy. Paul was ministering one-on-one with Timothy and at the same time wanting to minister to the Church in Thessalonici.

I get tired just reading about Paul's ministry, what a schedule he had. He worked, looking for the privilege of establishing the hearts of these new converts. He wanted them to be un-blamable in holiness before God the Father at the second coming of Jesus Christ, with all of His saints.

Paul sets the bar high for us to reach up to as we follow his example of ministering to all people. A motivation for this is the reality that we will stand before Him and it will be revealed what we have done for Him and among His people, the Christians that we have opportunity of ministry with today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, give me the hunger to minister to people so that they might be established in their hearts, un-blamable in holiness at the Second Coming of Christ.
Sunday, May 14, 2017

I Thessalonians 2:19

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?

For further study - I Thessalonians 2:1-20

As we read the second chapter of I Thessalonians today, I am reminded that Paul is writing this letter to brand new Christians who at the time of the writing of the letter were only three weeks old in the Lord.

One thing I love about Paul in all of his letters is the straightforward approach of helping those he led to the Lord to grow in the Lord.

Paul's message was not one geared to please men but instead to lift up and to honor Jesus Christ, verse 4. Even though Paul was straightforward, he was also gentle even as a nurse that cherished her children, verse 7.

Paul expected these new young converts to "walk worthy of the Lord". Throughout all of Paul's writings we see time and time again that we are to walk right and to walk worthy of the Lord.

He exhorted them and us also to walk right, but he also teaches us in his letters how to "walk right". Paul, the "father figure" to these Thessalonians, was responsible before the Lord to train them up to serve the Lord.

There is a great thought found in our key verse for today. It is the truth of the "crown" each of us can receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ if we are involved in the ministry that Paul had. Paul’s ministry was "soul-winning". Verse 19 declares that the "crown" that we can receive for being a soul-winner is the "Crown of Rejoicing".

This "crown" is one of 5 crowns we can receive at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Paul who also wrote II Corinthians 5, verse 9, which says that he was ambitious to receive all the crowns he could get. The reason for getting these crowns is not to be able to brag about them but to be able to lay them at the feet of Jesus Christ, Who shall sit on His throne, Revelation 4:10.

We return the crowns received from Christ at the Judgment Seat back to Him in thanksgiving for what He has done for us. Each of us can receive that "crown of Rejoicing" as we lead needy people to Jesus Christ and see them trust Him for eternal salvation.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me, Lord, to be in the business of soul-winning for the sake of those who need a Savior today.
Saturday, May 13, 2017

I Thessalonians 1:10

And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

For further study - I Thessalonians 1:1-10

The extended reading today is another example of the "heart of love" Paul had for those he had led to the Lord or had a ministry in their lives. Paul must have been a real man of prayer. We read over and over again of his prayers for the brethren. Also he is always thanking the Lord for brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul sets the example for a good, and faithful minister to people.

All that I've written is true but the blessings of the truths from the one key verse will take up my space with you for this devotional. Stop a moment and reflect on what the verse says, we "are to wait for His Son to return from heaven". Just think of some of what that means.

Jesus said in the upper room that He was going to Heaven to "prepare a place for us", John 14:2. This place is in His Father's house and He is getting our place ready so that we can dwell together, forever. The Lord exhorted us to watch for Him, because we know not which hour He comes, the spiritual application for us from Matthew 24:42.

As we watch for Him to come from Heaven we are also to pray, Matthew 26:41, so that we will not enter into temptation. What an amazing formula for our daily life, we can have victory over temptation by being watchful for our Lord to come back from Heaven as we watch and as we pray.

Also in verse 10 is found the fact that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, by His Father, the most High God. The "Resurrection" is the "cornerstone" of our faith and the "foundation" of Bible prophecy. It was recorded in Revelation 1:18, that Jesus testified of His Resurrection, after His death.

Sometime, look at Revelation 1:19. The Lord, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ tells John the Revelator to write down what was to come, that's prophecy.

The last phrase in verse 10 is a promise that we as Christians will not enter into the terrible time of judgment to come, the seven year Tribulation Period as described in Revelation 4:2 through 19:10. In our verse for today He promises us He will deliver us from that "wrath to come". There is a "judgment period", yet to come. What a promise!

This passage is a parallel passage to two other passages in scripture, I Thessalonians 5:9 and Revelation 3:10. The book of I Thessalonians is crammed full of prophetic passages, which we will get to in future devotionals. Please notice the truth of the Rapture, I Thessalonians 4:13-18, which explains how He will keep us from the wrath to come. By the way, the Rapture could happen today.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Help me to be pure and productive as I wait for Jesus to come from heaven for me.
Friday, May 12, 2017

Colossians 3:15

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

For further study - Colossians 3:15-25

As we approach our extended reading for today reflect with me on our devotional in Colossians the last time we were in the book, which was the first fifteen verses of Colossians 3 .

Verses 2, 3 and 4 exhort us to set our focus and affections on the heavens where Jesus awaits the command from His Father to call the body of Christ, the Church, up to be with Him. Verse 4 says we will appear at that time with Him in the heavenlies. What a glorious hope that is for each of us as believers.

Now to our reading for today, in verse 16 we see Paul exhorts us to "let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly". That means to first read God's Word and then meditate upon what we have read. Finally we internalize the Word of God, as we apply every bit of it to our daily lifestyle.

In verses 15-22 Paul tells us what will happen when the Word does dwell in us richly. Our music will be God-honoring music. Music, by the way, is not for evangelism. In the 500 references to music in the Bible they all deal with worshiping the Lord and not for evangelizing lost people. Therefore, we don't need to mimic the world's music.

If the Word fills us, we will use psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to teach each other and admonish each other in our worship of the Lord. What we do, we do in the name of the Lord, verse 17.

Wives will submit to husbands, verse 18. Husbands will love their wives and be not bitter to them, verse 19. Children will obey parents because it pleases the Lord, verse 20. Fathers will raise their children but won't provoke them to anger, verse 21. Servants will obey masters, verse 22. Again Paul tells us that whatever we do, do it "heartily as unto the Lord and not to men," verse 23.

What we have just thought through is the lifestyle of the person that has the Word of God dwelling in them richly. Verse 24 refers us to the time of reward when the Lord will give us a special reward at the "Judgment Seat of Christ". That "reward" He will give us is for living the Word-rich life on earth, before the Judgment Seat and before we appear in His presence.

He tells us of our reward and at the same time tells us how to live so that we will indeed receive that reward. The provision He gives is His Word, which we must allow to dwell in us, richly. Thank you Lord for your Word.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for your Word, help me to let it dwell in me richly.
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Colossians 3:1

If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

For further study - Colossians 3:1-15

In our devotional passage for today, we are told to "put off" some items and "put on" others. This exhortation is because we have "risen with Christ", Colossians 3:1. Paul tells the Colossians that when they, and thus when we put off the "old man" we also put off his "deeds" - deeds like anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communications in addition to fornication, inordinate affection, and idolatry.

These are the deeds of the "old man", which we once were, but in Christ we are told we are the "new man" and therefore have items to "put on". We are to put on holiness, mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing one another, forgiving one another, and above all, put on love.

I know you have already read in your devotional reading for today all that I have just mentioned. However, it is good to rehearse what we "put off" and "put on" as the followers of Christ. The passage also reveals to us that the "peace of God" is to rule in our hearts and we are to be thankful.

You know, thankfulness is foreign to most of us. Have you noticed how people seem to forget to say "thank you" when you serve them? It is as if we are supposed to serve and those that we serve take it for granted.

Paul exhorts us to serve others anyway. Each day we spend time in God's word we see the instructions there for us to live by in the life He has for us to live today.

I think it is great to know exactly how the Lord wants us to live. Just this reminder, we do not live this way to get saved but because we are saved. The truth is that we could not live this way unless we were saved and empowered by Him to do so.

Before I conclude the devotional for today, a "prophetic prospective" on the passage is needed. Notice the first four verses of our extended reading. The "if" in verse 1 is a conditional "if" and thus could read "since we have been risen with Christ" at salvation then we should seek those things above, in the heavenlies.

In fact, verse 2 says to set our affection, or our focus, our ambitions on these things above. We do this so that when Christ shall appear in His glory we also shall appear with Him in glory.

A close study of current events in light of Bible prophecy will help us to focus on His return and how close it might be. We need to daily study the prophetic word of God to better understand the times in which we are living. This will help us to better seek those things above and set our affections on the future with Him in the heavens.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Dear Lord, help me to look with great anticipation for Your soon return and our future existence, with You, throughout eternity, in heaven.
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Colossians 1:17

And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.

For further study - Colossians 1:15-29

As we come to our devotional time today we will look at the letter that Paul wrote the people in Colosse, the new church that he had established there, a letter that elaborates our sufficiency in Christ Jesus.

The entire letter is another of the letters that Paul penned during his ministry that would be such a help to the early Christians, as well as to all of us today.

I've been to Colosse, in what is today modern-day Turkey. What remains of the community there is nestled in the mountains high above the area of the church that was located in Laodicea, the area known in Biblical times as Asia Minor.

The area of Colosse today is like the Alps in Europe, breathtaking by it's beauty. Paul reveals to those Christians at Colosse that the beautiful area where they lived had been created by Jesus Christ, verse 16. Jesus created everything and it was created for Him.

We'll take a look at verse 17 in a moment, but first notice what the Lord has done for us by Jesus, through His blood, verse 20. We have been "reconciled" by what Jesus did for us on His cross, verse 21. We who were not in harmony with Jesus, because of our sin, had been alienated from the Lord but by His shedding of blood on the cross we have been "reconciled", brought back into "perfect harmony" with Christ Jesus.

Paul reveals the "mystery" which hath been hid from ages and generations, verse 23, the "church". The "church" is made up of both Gentiles and Jews who have been "born again". That would be all who have trusted in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, that which is the "power of God unto salvation".

Paul told those at the Church in Colosse that because we're born again we have Christ, who "is our hope of glory", verse 27.

Now let me take you back to verse 17. Remember, verse 16 says Jesus Christ created all things in heaven and in earth, visible and invisible, even the angelic creatures, everything was created by Him and for Him.

Verse 17 reveals that all things that Jesus created are being "held together" by Jesus as well, "by Him all things consist", verse 17. That means He holds together every aspect of me as the product of a created being.

The rocks, the mountains, the animals, humankind, by Him all of these things were created. But what holds all of creation together so that today they do not "blow apart"? Jesus is the one who holds all things together. The truth is, one day everything will "blow apart". That's when everything on this earth will "burn up" as foretold in Bible prophecy, II Peter 3:10.

All that Jesus will have to do is release the power that holds everything together and it all burns up, just as Bible prophecy tells us. Then we'll have new heavens and a new earth, the former heavens and earth will burn up. This seems to indicate that Bible prophecy will be fulfilled, seemingly in the near future.

PRAYER THOUGHT: Thank you Lord for reconciling me back to You and for holding all of Your creation together until the time of the end.