VIDEO Real Sustainable Energy

To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me. Colossians 1:29, NIV

It takes a lot of energy to keep our world powered up, lit up, and filled up. Scientists tell us that humans daily consume about 63,300,000 megawatt-hours of electricity. Approximately half of our energy comes from oil and natural gas, and another quarter comes from coal and nuclear reactors. The remaining 25 percent comes from renewable energy sources. 

Put all that together and multiply it by a billion, and it still wouldn’t equal a split-second of the energy God makes available to His children for living a Christ-like life in this world. Think of the phrase Paul used—all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

Is that true for you? 

Jesus sends strength into our souls by the Holy Spirit, and that’s why we’re constantly told to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), to pray in the Spirit (Ephesians 6:18), to love in the Spirit (Colossians 1:8), and to be in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10). 

The energy of God within us keeps us moving forward into God’s will for our life.

He works in us—and does so powerfully, Paul says—to give us his own energy for the work to which he calls us. David Mathis

Paul’s Philosophy of Ministry (Colossians 1:24-29)

Thriving Together

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. Colossians 3:15

My husband, Alan, stood below the towering lights illuminating the athletic field, as a member of the opposing team hit a ball into the air. With his eyes fixed on the ball, Alan ran full speed toward the darkest corner of the field—and slammed into the chain link fence.

Later that night, I handed him an ice pack. “Are you feeling okay?” I asked. He rubbed his shoulder. “I’d feel better if my buddies had warned me that I was getting near the fence,” he said.

Teams function best when they work together. Alan’s injury could have been avoided, if only one of his teammates had yelled out a warning as he approached the fence.

Scripture reminds us that members of the church are designed to work together and watch out for each other like a team. The apostle Paul tells us that God cares about how we interact with each other, because the actions of one person can impact the whole community of believers (Colossians 3:13–14). When we all embrace opportunities to serve each other, fully devoted to unity and peace, the church flourishes (v. 15).

Paul instructed his readers to “let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit” (v. 16). In this way we can inspire and protect one another through loving and honest relationships, obeying and praising God with grateful hearts—thriving together.

By:  Xochitl Dixon

Reflect & Pray

How can you share Scripture this week with others to encourage unity and love in the body of Christ? What does it mean for you to have “the message of Christ [dwelling] among you richly”?

Father God, thank You for using Scripture to instruct me, Your Spirit to guide me, and Your people to keep me focused and accountable.

Dealing With Guilty Feelings

John 5:24-26

Believers in Christ often wrestle with discouragement and shame over past sins. This could then prompt doubt about God’s love, because they feel unworthy to be His child. As a result, their guilty feelings weigh them down, sap their energy, dampen their hope, and draw them away from the Lord.

Both the conscience and the Holy Spirit produce feelings of guilt within us when we sin, thereby prompting us to confess and repent. However, if we’ve trusted Jesus as Savior, there is no reason to hang on to remorse after repentance because Jesus bore the guilt for all our sins when He died on the cross.

Now we are forgiven, reconciled to the Father, and credited with Christ’s righteousness. Although we will still sin, God has given us a path to restoration and cleansing through confession (1 John 1:9). Although it’s natural to feel regret for sin, we don’t have to wallow in it. In fact, to do so is a denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s death as payment for all sin.

If you are dealing with feelings of shame, confess your sins, and meditate on the redemption Christ purchased for you with His blood. Then believe God and let His truth set you free.

Jesus is the Head of the Church

“And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:18)

The “head” is both “chief” and “source.” When the Lord Jesus had accomplished the work of reconciliation on Earth, God the Father “put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22-23).

The church, of course, is the assembly of the Redeemer, constituted and commissioned to do “the work of the ministry,” operating on Earth under delegated leaders (Ephesians 4:11-12). Even though the human focus is the making of disciples (Matthew 28:19-20), there is a constant gallery of “principalities and powers in heavenly places” who need the display of “the manifold wisdom of God” that is only made “known by the church” (Ephesians 3:10).

Although there is a sense in which all of God’s twice-born are spiritually part of a “body” that is “knit together” by the Holy Spirit (Colossians 2:19), our participation is realized in the localized assemblies throughout the earth. One day the entire church will be completely assembled in heaven, a “general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23).

Therefore, the head of the Church is preeminent and has all fullness, being the firstborn from the dead. He is “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21). The mission of the Church, commissioned over two millennia ago, embraces an ageless goal. Ultimately, He will “present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Ephesians 5:27). HMM III

Size Matters Very Little

And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. —Luke 16:15

To God quality is vastly important and size matters little. When set in opposition to size, quality is everything and size nothing….

Man’s moral fall has clouded his vision, confused his thinking and rendered him subject to delusion. One evidence of this is his all but incurable proneness to confuse values and put size before quality in his appraisal of things. The Christian faith reverses this order, but even Christians tend to judge things by the old Adamic rule. How big? How much? and How many? are the questions oftenest asked by religious persons when trying to evaluate Christian things….

The Church is dedicated to things that matter. Quality matters. Let’s not be led astray by the size of things.   BAM072-073, 075

Encourage all those pastors who are discouraged today because they don’t match up to the “success” of the big churches. Amen.

Walking Mystery…Walking Miracle

Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? —Isaiah 33:14

Our Lord does not expect us to behave like zombies when we become Christians. But He does expect that we will have our soul open to the mystery that is God. I think it is proper for us to say that a genuine Christian should be a walking mystery because he surely is a walking miracle.

Through the leading and the power of the Holy Spirit, the Christian is involved in a daily life and habit that cannot be explained. A Christian should have upon him an element that is beyond psychology—beyond all natural laws and into spiritual laws….

I think in our witness and ministries, we Christians should be men and women out of the fire. Because our God is holy, He is actively hostile to sin. God can only burn on and on against sin forever. WHT075

It matters not how great the sin….To us the message is given, and we may echo it back to the Throne of Grace. It is the deep and inspired petition breathed long ago from the lips of David: “For thy name’s sake, O Lord, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great” (Psalm 25:11). LCL100

The God of Our Generations

Joshua 24:15

God loves to work across the generations. If you are the first in your family to come to Christ, God can start something brand new with you that is going to go far beyond you and touch generations yet to come.

Family life has never been easy. Most, if not all, Bible families were more or less dysfunctional, from Cain and Abel to Jacob and Esau to Joseph and his brothers to David and Bathsheba. Even Jesus’ family did not believe in Him and apparently tried to persuade Him to give up on His mission. But God did not give up on the idea of family and neither must we.

One of the problems in our culture today is that families so seldom eat together. This can be one of the practical steps to take toward strengthening family life-determining that at least once a day, we are going to make the sacrifices necessary to touch base with one another—to sit down, pray and eat together as a family. More important even than talking about prayer is praying your way through life’s crises with your family.

Our best devotional times were when we had an issue to deal with as a family. We’d look to the Word of God for guidance and we’d pull together in prayer to work our way through it. Sometimes it was after a sharp difference of opinion, and sometimes tears were shed on the way to a solution.

Our own personal prayer life is so important as we model our faith to our families. Our daughter Jennie sent my wife a beautiful Mother’s Day note one year. She shared a number of memories of her mom and concluded with this:

“My fond memory is of you praying and reading your Bible each morning, yet holding out your arms to me if I woke too soon and interrupted your time. I do the same with Beth (her daughter), because the greatest lesson you taught me is that loving your children unconditionally is prayer itself.”

Devotional times with our families are invaluable because they give a pattern of spiritual discipline to our children that will strengthen them in working out that discipline in their own lives and passing it on to their children.

Keep believing for your children’s salvation. God is faithful to His promise—for you and your household.

Paul A. Rader, The War Cry