Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
So just how does that work? How do I let the word of Christ dwell in me richly in all wisdom and teaching? Is this something we wait for, a work of the Holy Spirit? Remembering that Scripture interprets Scripture, let’s consider the following:
Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. Proverbs 2:3-5
Also Proverbs 25:2…
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
Our faith is to be an active faith! Church attendance is not enough. We need to study and seek out the wisdom of God in Scripture. And when we gather together for church, we need to interact with each other, teaching each other, sharing what we’ve learned to build up everyone. We also use wisdom to correct each other in love, forgiving and being forgiven.
Our prayer life is important, but so is community worship with singing and psalms. Sing to the Lord with each other with pure hearts in grace and love.
Trust in the Lord forever, For in Yah, the Lord, is everlasting strength. Isaiah 26:4
How did I do it? Twenty years ago I kept a schedule that I couldn’t hope to approach now whether work or personal life. Especially my workouts. I can’t begin to fathom doing any of that now!
I keep aging. I keep getting weaker. My energy levels are nowhere near what they were. I never needed naps back then, Even when recovering from heart surgery I was able to do more than I can now.
Thankfully, God isn’t like that! He made every atom of the known universe. He arranged events on earth to enact His plan for salvation. Despite the horrible emotional hurt of Adam and Eve’s choice to disobey, He made a plan ready to go right there on the spot. No recovery time needed.
It’s now 6000 years later. God has neither aged nor weakened. As I continue to deteriorate, God remains strong. At the end…my end…God’s strength will revive me and walk me into Forever!
For His strength everlasting!
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. James 5:16
My first thought was wondering whether this is talking about just confessing sins to others that I committed against them or about all my sins. After carefully rereading the verse I believe James is talking about confessing all my sins to my Christian community. James writes that we should pray for one another for healing and that fervent prayer from the righteous is effective.
Then I read in a commentary that the life of the church should be one of ministering love to the sick, both spiritually and physically. James is talking about healing of body and soul in this chapter overall.
We don’t often like to ask for help. Many – me included – like to do for ourselves and not impose on others. We also value our privacy. Making our sins public knowledge is not something we care to do! What’s the saying? Don’t air your dirty laundry in public.
But sin damages us, and we need healing. Maybe we don’t confess to everyone every sin we commit, but we maybe have someone we can confide in, share back and forth, and “treat” each other for our spiritual wounds through fervent prayer for each other.
Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Isaiah 55:6
The New Kings James translation title chapter 55 “An Invitation to an Abundant Life.” Part of verse 1 reads “And you who have no money, come, buy and eat.”
Chapter 55 brings to my mind the image of a lush bazaar overflowing with colorful flowers, aromas of wonderful foods, and sheer joy at the abundance of wonderful things to please the eyes and pallet.
I’m reminded of my days going through the Eastern Farmers Market on Saturdays in downtown Detroit or my visit to Haymarket Square in Boston. Flowers, produce, and even mouthwatering smells to be tracked down.
But the Farmer’s Market was only open on Saturday’s. If you came any other day of the week, you would find it desolate.
So it is with God and his abundant gifts. There is overflowing grace and mercy to be had, but there will come a time when it will no longer be available. God gives us a lifetime to buy and eat at no cost. However, a time approaches when the stalls will be empty and the wonderful aromas will be gone.
The eternal produce of God’s love is at hand. Call upon Him while He is near!
But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7
I once spent a long weekend at a huge log cabin in northern Michigan. It was a very remote site, surrounded by forest. The cabin stood about a hundred yards off the two-lane state route. There was a dirt road that led into the woods to a stocked fishing pond. I was there with my best friend and a few of his family.
One night Rick and I decided to take a peaceful walk along the dirt road toward the pond. The night was exceptionally dark, but we could see enough to stay on the road. However, we suddenly hit a section that was pitch black; not a shred of light! It was as though we had walked through a doorway into the most complete darkness I had ever experienced!
We lost track of each other quickly and became disoriented as to which way to go. I was lucky enough to turn toward the state route and caught the sight of headlights quickly passing the dirt road. I made sure not to turn at all and called out to Rick to follow my voice as I slowly, blindly walked in that direction.
In a few yards we had enough light to find each other and get back to the cabin.
We only had fellowship when there was enough light to find each other. Without such light, whether physical or spiritual, we cannot walk with anyone!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. 1 Peter 1:3
There’s a lot going on here. Peter makes a distinction between Jesus and the Father. The latter is Jesus’ God and Father. This one phrase tells us that Jesus is owing to the Father as a dutiful Son. As God, He is necessarily worshipped by Jesus.
But there is also the love between them! The Father often calls Jesus His only begotten Son. We feel the depth of that love and pain of sacrifice from the Genesis account of Abraham dutifully ready to sacrifice his only begotten son in obedience. There’s a depth of commitment and emotion from the Father that is impossible for mere humans to grasp. We can only start to see it through Abraham.
But Jesus is no longer the Father’s only begotten! Through the adoption of faith made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection, we are also His begotten! In fact, we have been begotten again.
At Creation, God knelt in the dirt and fashioned Adam – and therefore us – from that dirt. He crafted every detail patiently, lovingly. We were begotten of Him then and we are again as adopted siblings of our Savior, Jesus!
The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe. Proverbs 29:25
What would you do for fear? Most people would do anything out of fear. Prisoners of war have betrayed their countries for fear of more suffering at the hands of their captors. We will lie and cheat for fear of failing at our job, for fear of being fired. We even deny Jesus as our Savior for fear of the social cost or even the employment cost. But remember Jesus’ words:
Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. 33 But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven. Matthew 10:32-34.
If anyone will protect us, if anyone will care for us eternity, it is the Father in heaven!
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! Matthew 23:37
Fearing men will lead us into Satan’s snare of disobedience and destruction. Trusting the Lord? That is where true safety lies.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. James 3:13
Chapter two also tells us, “Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” This is one of James’ big themes; the life should be a product of the faith.
But James is also talking here in chapter three about what I’ll call “style points.” You might preach solid Gospel. You might do good works. There’s the start. After that it’s about how you preach and do.
Example: there are those who preach against homosexuality just as is found in the Bible from the Old testament to the epistles of the New Testament. However, they preach with anger, hostility, condemnation, and even violence. The core is true, but the way is wrong.
Whether preaching against homosexuality or any other immoral acts we must do so in love and correction. Even more so, we must do so in meekness.
Do you think yourself wise? Does your life look like a product of your faith? Are you meek and humble in all you do for Jesus? Those are the “style points” that show true wisdom.
For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” John 3:20-21
I lived in a roach apartment in downtown Detroit for years. I avoided turning on the lights when I came home at night from the theatre. That was to avoid seeing all of the cockroaches running for the safety of the shadows.
I hated ‘em! Almost as much as God hates sin. We all became cockroach experts; how they worked, what they ate – the glue in book bindings, for example – and how they can so easily avoid getting swatted. Once you know them, they’re easier to kill.
They came out at night, because darkness is their territory. They came out to steal whatever food you might have left out no matter how little. They left behind their feces and germs.
They aren’t unlike sinners, stealing other people’s peace and possessions before scurrying back to the shadows, leaving behind destruction or at least the seeds of destruction before going back into hiding.
Children of the Light, God’s Light remain in the open. They have no fear of God, because they are at peace with Him. They do not steal. They do not pant seeds of destruction and filth.
So the question is now framed: are you a cockroach of Satan’s or a child of God living in His marvelous Light?
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matthew 6:33
This verse is the second to last verse of Matthew 6, which talks about focusing outward and not inward. Jesus tells us to do good to please God, not to show off. He instructs us to pray in secret, not in the open to be admired. Nor should we think that our prayers are heard simply for length but without heart.
Don’t worry about food and clothes…material goods. God feeds the birds and clothes the flowers. Why should we doubt He’ll do at least as much for us? Oh, we can suffer hard times, but we’ll never really be left completely destitute. Many are the stories of those who feel blessed with far less than Americans are used to!
God will care for our physical needs. He wants us to be concerned with others needs as well as our spiritual needs, which, ironically, are met by serving others in God’s name!
And my favorite verse? Verse 34: Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.