365 Days of Grace From God's Word

Month: April 2021

The Way We Live

Colossians 1:1 – This letter is from Paul, chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and from our brother Timothy. We are writing to God’s holy people in the city of Colossae, who are faithful brothers and sisters in Christ. May God our Father give you grace and peace.

We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. For we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and your love for all of God’s people, which come from your confident hope of what God has reserved for you in heaven. You have had this expectation ever since you first heard the truth of the Good News.

This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.

You learned about the Good News from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker. He is Christ’s faithful servant, and he is helping us on your behalf. He has told us about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you.

So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better.

11 We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, 12 always thanking the Father. He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, 14 who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. (NLT)

Today’s reading comes from the opening verses of Paul’s letter to the Church in Colossae.  The letter opens as most of Paul’s letters open – with Paul giving thanks for the church, and then his prayers for them. 

In verse nine, Paul writes that he and his companions had been faithfully praying for the Colossians.  He then states what their prayers have been asking: “We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” (verse 9).  It may be that Paul chose the words of this verse to set up his letter which would, in part, discuss doctrinal issues.  Nonetheless, we can ask for nothing greater than to have spiritual wisdom and understanding.  

Christians ask for many things through prayer.  I always find it interesting when I see someone praying before a sporting event.  Yes, the person could indeed be praying for safety, and that the players would be sportsman like.  I wonder sometimes, though, if they are praying for a win!  We must be careful in our prayer life.  Not that it is wrong to pray before a sporting event, indeed, I would like to see more of it – I just desire for all people to have the right motives for their prayers.

After Paul prays for the Colossians to have knowledge, spiritual wisdom and understanding, he then shares what his motive was for such a prayer: “Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better” (verse 10). 

We pray for many things.  Let’s also pray that we – and other Christians – would gain spiritual wisdom and understanding so that we will always honor and please the Lord!

Posted by Ramón Torres

Does Jesus Have a Friend In You?

John 15:9 – “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other. (NIV) 

On my very first appointment as a pastor, I was at a very small rural church located in the mountains of southwest Virginia.  Wonderfully sweet people!  Some Sunday’s we didn’t have a pianist, and they sang a cappella.  Oh, how some of those hymns could drag along!  It seemed as if they only had a handful of hymns, and whatever we sang was from that handful.  One of those hymns was “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”  It is a great hymn, and the theology is certainly solid: “What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and grief’s to bear!” 

We know that we do, indeed, have a friend in Jesus.  Jesus is there to carry all of our sins, but the question we must ask ourselves today, in light of this Scripture reading, is this: Does Jesus have a friend in us? 

Today’s reading from the Gospel of John is from what is commonly referred to as Jesus’ Farewell Discourse.  It takes place on the night before Jesus was crucified, and is the longest single section of John’s Gospel.  Jesus makes it clear what he expects from those that would follow him – to love one another as Jesus loves us (verse 12).  Jesus would soon lay his life down for all of us, and he tells us that this is the greatest way to show love (verse 13).  Then Jesus tells us in verse fourteen: “You are my friends if you do what I command.”   

There are countless ways in which we can lay down our lives, but it basically boils down to living unselfishly.  Earlier in this chapter, Jesus spoke of the fruit that we will produce if we would stay connected to Jesus spiritually.  In Galatians 5:22-23, Paul tells us what this fruit is: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”  Not only is this the fruit of the spirit, these are the characteristics of a life lived unselfishly.  These are the characteristics of friends of Jesus.  

We know that Jesus is our friend, today let’s make sure that we are Jesus’ friend!

Posted by Ramón Torres

Our Mission From God

Matthew 28:16 – Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (NLT)

Today’s passage is familiar to many Christians, it is The Great Commission.  It is not, however, the great suggestion.  Notice that Jesus prefaces this commission with telling us that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him, as if that whole rising up from the grave wasn’t enough! 

Let us note that a commission is a charge.  It is a task to which we have been commanded.  All Christ followers receive this commission.  It is our common mission.  The first thing Jesus tells us is to go.  Christianity is not just about going to church to worship.  We do that because we want to praise God.  Christianity is not just about attending a Bible study.  We do that because we want to learn more about God’s Word.  Christianity is about going.  It is about action.  Sometimes, going might make us uncomfortable.

Why might our going make us uncomfortable?  It might be uncomfortable because Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all nations.  The word we translate as nations is ethnos.  We get the word ethnic from this word.  The word ethnos means all people. 

All people?  Does God really want us to make disciples of all people?  I don’t know about you, but that can make me mighty uncomfortable sometimes.  Sometimes I think of this when someone is rude to me, or when I see someone who is blatantly living a mean and rebellious life.  Even those people are included in this command.

We are to teach people to obey the commands of Jesus.  Remember Jesus’ commands?  They are easy to remember – love God and love others.  How do we teach this to everyone?  Well, we can’t teach anyone until we love God and love others.  We can’t pick and choose which days and what times we will love God.  We can’t pick and choose which people we will love.  Uncomfortable yet?!

Don’t stay uncomfortable for very long, because Jesus promised us that he is with us.  We need to stay aware of the presence of Jesus.  His presence is with us through the Holy Spirit.  Today, ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen you, and then follow!  The Spirit will lead you to someone who is in need of Jesus.  You work with them.  You stand behind them in line at the supermarket.  They live in your neighborhood.  We are on a mission from God!

Posted By Ramón Torres

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