Christ makes us complete

I was reading Colossians 2 this morning. Verses 6-10 jumped out at me…

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority. (‭Colossians‬ ‭2‬:‭6-10‬ NLT)

As I read I was reminded of several things that I want to share today.

1. A decision to follow Christ is not the end of things. We need to chose to continue to follow each day as both Saviour and Lord.

2. We need to sink our roots deep in Him. We don’t want a shallow faith that is easily swayed by the world or by circulstances.

3. Our faith needs to be shaped by the eternal truths we were taught. Strength, contentment and thankfulness flow from that.

4. When we are strong in Christ and the truth, we will not be drawn away by empty philosophies that can lead us astray.

5. We are complete in Christ. He is the fullness of God. Our search for truth and meaning is over. It is found in Christ.

Our relationship with Christ makes us complete. The eternal plan of God is that we would know and walk with Christ and then make Him known to others.

Colossians 2 is a nice reminder and a great way to start the day today.

God Bless,
Dave

Two things that stop our growth in Christ

Over the years I have seen people starting to grow in their faith and walk with Jesus, then all of a sudden they stop growing. Their growth is stalled and becomes stunted. Sometimes they backslide for a while and get moving again. Other times they fall away altogether.

As I have seen this happen I have realised there are two worldly things that can stop our growth in Christ.

1. The world and all it alluring things

1 John 2.15-16 says “Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.

The world and everything it offers can be enticing, but we need to remember it is passing away. It has a use by date. As Christians we look forward to the great day when everything will be made new and we will live in the new heavens and new earth and when God will dwell among His people (Revelation 21:1-3).

2. The world and it choking effect

In Matthew 13 Jesus talks about seed being scattered on various types of ground. Some fell on the pathway, some on rocky ground, some fell on thorny ground that choked it and some fell on good soil.

In Matthew 13:22 Jesus explained His message. “The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful”.

The world and all its pressures has a way of choking us. The lack of growth happens when the world presses in hard on us and we bow to its pressure. We become conformed to its patterns. Sometimes we get too busy, sometimes we get caught up in money and wealth, sometimes we are so tired we get lazy, sometimes we get worried about the future, sometimes we try to work it all out ourselves, and sometimes we get frustrated that we don’t see the fruit of our work and we grow weary.

The world and its alluring things and the choking effect it has can stop our growth in Christ if we allow it. We need to understand these things can effect our continued walk and growth in Christ.

A key verse that helps me keep on track is Matthew 6:33. It says, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need”.

Focus on Jesus and His Kingdom and the world and its alluring things and choking effect will not have a hold on you.

God Bless,
Dave

Lessons from Psalm 51

I was reading Psalm 51 this morning. In this Psalm David poured out his heart to God. His words are about repentance, restoration and renewal. There are a number of things that spoke to me.

  1. David admitted his sin before God. He wanted God to wash away his sins v1-3
  2. David realised his sin was against God. Ultimately all our sins are against v4
  3. David asked God to cleanse him from his sin. He knew if God cleansed him he would be truly clean v7
  4. David asked God to create a new heart in him. He wasn’t content with forgiveness of sin, he wanted a new heart v10
  5. David asked God to restore his joy v12
  6. David told God he would bring others back. He wanted others to learn from his experience v13
  7. David realised that a right heart before God is better than sacrifices v17

The great thing about this chapter is David does not try to hide his sin. He openly admits it before God and seeks forgiveness and cleansing. David is a great example to us no matter what we have done.

I believe this is one of reasons why God described David as a man after His own heart.

God Bless,
Dave

My four favourite benedictions

In my last post I wrote about the Priestly Blessing from Numbers 6. Today I thought I would share my four favourite benedictions that I use to bless people.

Numbers 6:24-26

‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.’

Romans 15:13

13 I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen

2 Corinthians 13:14

14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen

Hebrews 13:20-21

20 Now may the God of peace—
    who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus,
the great Shepherd of the sheep,
    and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood—
21 may he equip you with all you need
    for doing his will.
May he produce in you,
    through the power of Jesus Christ,
every good thing that is pleasing to him.
    All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.

The Priestly Blessing

As a part of my devotions this morning I read the Priestly Blessing from Numbers chapter six. It is a common blessing that is said at the end of many church services.

Below I have included the verse before and after to give it extra understanding. It says…

“Then the Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons to bless the people of Israel with this special blessing:

24 ‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.’

27 Whenever Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel in my name, I myself will bless them.”

The Priestly Blessing was one way of asking for God’s divine favor to rest upon others. In the verses above we see it a blessing God Himself told the Priests to say. He told them that when they say it over the people, then He will bless them.

When we look at this blessing we see it can be broken into six parts. Asking God to…

  1. Bless them
  2. Protect them
  3. Smile on them or be pleased with them
  4. Be gracious which means merciful and compassionate
  5. Show His favor toward them or give His approval to them
  6. Give them peace.

Today, when you ask God to bless others by saying the Priestly blessing, you are asking God to do these six things. The great thing is you know as you say it, God will do it.

God Bless,
Dave

Taking on the yoke of Christ

I have been thinking about Matthew 11:29 a bit over the last week or so. It is where Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

As I have been pondering this verse I have wondered how many of us actually take on Christ’s yoke?

A yoke is a a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plough or cart that they are to pull.

Christ was using this as an example to remind us that we should be yoked to Him. That way we join Him in His work, rather than run around and do our own works.

As I talk to people I know I am often confronted with people who are busier and busier. The are racing from one task to another and are exhausted. Often it is from their jobs and doing the “work of the church”.

I wonder if sometimes we need to slow down and consciously take on Christ’s yoke? I wonder if we need to take off the yoke of the world or the yoke of “church”.

In my own life I know I am better at taking on Christ’s yoke that I used to be. When I do take on Christ’s yoke I am able to slow down and be more in tune with the Holy Spirit. Life takes on a more of a natural flow.

How about you? Have you got the yoke of Christ on or have you got the world? I think that is worth pondering today.

God Bless,
Dave