Jul 3, 2011
God I Look to You by Brian Johnson, sung by Jenn Johnson, from the album “Be lifted High”
God I look to You
I won’t be overwhelmed
Give me vision to see things like You do
God I look to You
You’re where my help comes from
Give me wisdom, You know just what to do
I will love You Lord my strength
I will love you Lord my shield
I will love You Lord my rock
Forever all my days, I will love you God
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Hallelujah our God reigns
Forfever all my days Hallelujah
[You] have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him. —Colossians 3:10
In our media-saturated age, image consultants have become indispensable. Entertainers, athletes, politicians, and business leaders seem desperate to manage the way they are perceived in the eyes of the world. These high-priced consultants work to shape how their clients are viewed—even if sometimes there is a stark contrast between the public image and the real person inside.
In reality, what people need—what all of us need—is not an external makeover but an inner transformation. Our deepest flaws cannot be corrected cosmetically. They are directly related to who we are in heart and mind, and they reveal how far we have fallen from the image of God in which we were created. But such transformation is beyond any human ability to accomplish.
Only Christ offers us true transformation—not just a facelift or an outward adjustment. Paul said that those who have been raised to eternal life in Christ “have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” (Col. 3:10).
The letter to the Colossians is one of four epistles referred to as Paul’s “prison letters.” Written during his first imprisonment (or house arrest) in Rome, these letters also include Ephesians, Philippians, and Philemon. All of the letters were written to churches except for the one written to Philemon, who was apparently a dear friend of Paul (Philem. 1:1,7). Paul founded the Ephesian and Philippian churches, but there is no record in the New Testament that Paul was ever in Colosse.
New! What a tremendous word full of hope! Christ transforms us into new people in Him—people with a new heart, not just fixed up to look good on the outside.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17
The Spirit develops in us the clear image of Christ.
By Bill Crowder
2 Corinthians 9:6-11
The principle of sowing and reaping is a universal truth ordained by God; it applies not only in agriculture, but also in the area of giving. Despite the fact that the Lord promises an abundant harvest for those who give generously, many Christians still struggle with releasing their grip on money.
Some fear that they won’t have enough if they give. Others, pulled by greed, are unwilling to sacrifice pleasures and comforts. Those who succumb to their fears or stinginess will miss out on the great harvest God wants to give them.
In the midst of a chaotic economy and uncertain times, we can find our security in the Lord. His ways are often the opposite of our natural tendencies. The world says that to have enough, we must acquire more. Today’s passage says that in giving generously, we will have an abundance of both provision for our needs (bread) and resources to continue our generosity (seed).
Beyond this, the Lord also promises that the harvest of our righteousness will increase, and we will be “enriched in everything for all liberality” (v. 11). God’s riches encompass so much more than earthly wealth. Generosity produces godly character, which is valuable now and in eternity.
Although we have been given the promise of a bountiful harvest, it will be realized only by those who sow abundantly. In following God’s plan for giving, you can be free of worry because the One who guarantees you a harvest is also the omnipotent Lord who is able to produce it.
“The righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1)
A holy boldness is imparted to those who seek to speak the truth of God (Acts 4:31). The miracle of the Pentecost outpouring of the Holy Spirit was followed by several incidents where the various apostles and early Christian leaders spoke “boldly in the Lord” (Acts 14:3, etc). Where does this boldness come from?
The Presence of the Holy Spirit: The Sanhedrin “saw the boldness of Peter and John” when they were dragged before them (Acts 4:13), after they had healed the lame man shortly after Pentecost. Peter was “filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 4:8) and boldly answered the farcical questioning of those self-righteous leaders, and they “took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). When we speak with God’s authority, we speak boldly.
The Words of God’s Word: The first church prayed “that with all boldness they may speak thy word,” and they were enabled to speak “the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29, 31). When Paul was starting the church in Ephesus, he “spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 19:8). We should have boldness when we have opportunity to “make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).
The Assurance of a Righteous Life: “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death” (Philippians 1:20). Several godly traits of righteous men are given in Hebrews, “so that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me” (Hebrews 13:6).
These are from where that boldness comes. HMM III
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. —Philippians 1:6
For years I have made a practice of writing many of my earnest prayers to God in a little book—a book now well worn. I still turn often to the petitions I recorded in that book. I remind God often of what my prayers have been.One prayer in the book—and God knows it well by this time, for I pray it often—goes like this:
Oh God, Let me die rather than to go on day by day living wrong…. I want to be right so that I can die right. Lord, I do not want my life to be extended if it would mean that I should cease to live right and fail in my mission to glorify You all of my days!…
As you will recall from Second Kings 20, the Lord gave Hezekiah a fifteen-year extension of life. Restored to health and vigor, Hezekiah disgraced himself and dishonored God before he died and was buried.
I would not want an extra fifteen years in which to backslide and dishonor my Lord. I would rather go home right now than to live on—if living on was to be a waste of God’s time and my own!
Please, Father, help me to finish well. Amen.
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Philippians 4:4
One characteristic that is largely lacking in the average church today is that of spiritual anticipation.
When Christians meet, they do not expect anything unusual to happen: consequently, only the usual happens, and that usual is as predictable as the setting of the sun.
A psychology of nonexpectation pervades the assembly, a mood of quiet ennui which the minister by various means tries to dispel, the means depending upon the cultural level of the congregation and particularly of the minister. Christian expectation in the average church follows the program, not the promises. The activities of the saints are laid out for them by those who are supposed to know what they need better than they do. Prevailing spiritual conditions, however low, are accepted as inevitable—what will be is what has been!
The weary slaves of the dull routine find it impossible to hope for anything better.
Today we need a fresh spirit of anticipation that springs out of the promises of God! We must declare war on the mood of nonexpectation, and come together with childlike faith. Only then can we know again the beauty and wonder of the Lord’s presence among us.
I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I,send me.ISAIAH 6:8
If Abraham had ever grumbled to the Lord about leaving the beggarly idols of Ur, God would have let him go back. We are free to do the will of God, but God never makes us His unwilling prisoners. God called Abraham out, God gave him the Promised Land and God said, “Abraham, from among your posterity will come the Messiah in the fullness of time!”
This is the gracious reason why we should tell people everywhere to hear and heed the call of God—so He can lead them into everything that is good and blessed and worthwhile.
God wants to call us out into a more abundant and fruitful Christian life than we have ever known!
Lord, who am I to argue with You or to call into question Your sovereign choice? The decision is not mine but Yours. So be it, Lord; Your will, not mine be done.