VIDEO Faithfulness

To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ. Colossians 1:2

Bobby Jones was an early golfer in the United States. At the U.S. Open in Massachusetts in 1925, he went to officials and told them he had accidently moved his ball slightly, violating Rule 18. They didn’t agree. It was on the eleventh hole, and they told him to keep playing. Jones refused, saying he really had moved the ball a bit. As a result of his honesty, he lost the game—by one stroke. Later he told the sportswriters who praised him for his honesty, “You might as well praise me for not robbing banks.”5

God desires us to live faithfully before Him at all times, not just when others are looking. He is always watching, and He is glorified by our reflection of His faithfulness and integrity.

This was on Paul’s mind when he wrote the book of Colossians. He called them “faithful brethren in Christ” (1:2), and he wrote about faithful Epaphras (1:7), faithful Tychichus (4:7), and faithful Onesimus (4:9). Let’s be part of that group!

The Christian life is a moment-by-moment miracle, lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit takes the joy and peace of Christ and reproduces them in and through our lives. He takes the love of Christ and manifests it through us. Robert McQuilkin


Always Only Jesus – Colossians 1:1-2 – Skip Heitzig

Faith in Action

Faith without deeds is dead. James 2:26

A tornado blew through a community on a June evening in 2021, destroying a family’s barn. It was a sad loss because the barn had been on the family property since the late 1800s. As John and Barb drove by on their way to church the next morning, they saw the damage and wondered how they might help. So they stopped and learned that the family needed assistance with cleanup. Turning their car around quickly, they headed back home to change clothes and returned to stay for the day to clean up the mess the violent winds had created. They put their faith into action as they served the family.

James said that “faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). He gives the example of Abraham, who in obedience followed God when he didn’t know where he was going (v. 23; see Genesis 12:1–415:6Hebrews 11:8). James also mentions Rahab, who showed her belief in the God of Israel when she hid the spies who came to check out the city of Jericho (James 2:25; see Joshua 26:17).

“If someone claims to have faith but has no deeds” (James 2:14), it does them no good. “Faith is the root, good works are the fruits,” comments Matthew Henry, “and we must see to it that we have both.” God doesn’t need our good deeds, but our faith is proven by our actions.

By:  Anne Cetas

Why do you think it’s important that we do good deeds? What can you do out of your love for God?

May I serve You out of my faith in You and love for You today, dear God.

Defending the Faith

Believers should be careful to share the good news of Christ with gentleness and respect 1 Peter 3:13-16

God doesn’t want his children merely to know God’s Word for themselves. Rather, He wants all believers to share His good news with others. 1 Peter 3:15 says to be “ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you.” 

The term “defense” has to do with answering for oneself.  In other words, believers should be ready to give an explanation of their hope in Christ. Many Christians have never taken the time to really think through the reasons for their beliefs. Then, when someone challenges them, they feel a sense of panic. 

Giving an account for our faith must be accompanied by a gentle, respectful delivery. Dumping a load of truth on a questioning person rarely leads him or her to the Lord, but a gentle answer opens hearts as well as ears. What’s more, all that we profess must be backed up with a life of integrity. It’s important to remember that a hypocritical lifestyle can damage our testimony for Christ.

Peter’s verses were not written to scholars; they were intended for ordinary people with jobs and families. The Lord will help you think through your defense, but it requires your intentional participation. 

Our Hope

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope.” (1 Timothy 1:1)

Paul, in his opening salutation to Timothy, makes it clear that the Christian’s hope is not just in Christ but is Christ! In the New Testament, the term “hope” does not refer to some vague wish but to a confident expectation of something (or someone) sure to come. It focuses especially on the promised return of Christ to complete His great work of redemption.

It is specifically called the blessed hope. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13). It is also a living hope, for God the Father “hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).

Furthermore, since Christ is our hope, it is a saving hope. “For we are saved by hope” (Romans 8:24). It is a glorious and joyful hope. It recognizes the present truth of “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27), so that we “rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).

It is not a blind hope but a reasonable hope, one founded on solid evidence, and every believer must “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Finally, this hope of the imminent coming of Christ, when at last “we shall be like him,” is a purifying hope, for “every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). It is also a stabilizing hope, “which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast” (Hebrews 6:19). In every way, God “hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace” (2 Thessalonians 2:16). HMM

Opening the Sacred Wells

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. —Luke 12:32

One of the very greatest calamities which sin has brought upon us is the debasement of our normal emotions. We laugh at things which are not funny; we find pleasure in acts which are beneath our human dignity; and we rejoice in objects which should have no place in our affections.

The objection to “sinful pleasures,” which has always been characteristic of the true saint, is at bottom simply a protest against the degradation of our human emotions….

The world’s artificial pleasures are all but evidence that the human race has to a large extent lost its power to enjoy the true pleasures of life and is forced to substitute for them false and degrading thrills.

The work of the Holy Spirit is, among other things, to rescue the redeemed man’s emotions, to restring his harp and open again the wells of sacred joy which have been stopped by sin. POM112

Happiness is nothing but that inward sweet delight, which will arise from the harmonious agreement between our wills and the will of God. JAS147

“Nearer My God to Thee”

Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.James 4:8

The final two verses of Psalm 73 form a conclusion and a resolution. Listen to them here: “Those far from You will certainly perish; You destroy all who are unfaithful to You. But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge, so I can tell about all You do” (vv. 27-28). The psalmist has finished his review of the past and is now hammering out a philosophy with which to face the future. He is resolved that no matter what anyone else may do, he is going to live in close companionship with God. He helps us to see the importance of this resolution by putting it in the form of a contrast: “Those far from You will certainly perish … but as for me, God’s presence is my good.”

Really, when it comes down to it, there are only two positions in life—close to God or far away from Him. I wonder, as the psalmist penned these words, was something like this going through his mind: “What caused me so much trouble in recent days and accounted for all my difficulties was the fact that I did not keep close to God. I erroneously believed that the cause of my problems was the prosperity of the ungodly, but having entered into the sanctuary of God I see that this was not he cause of my problems at all. My problems came because I had chosen not to remain close to Him. For me there is now only one thing that matters—staying close to God.”

How are things with you at this moment? Do you feel close to God? If you don’t, then let me put what I want to say in the words of a wayside pulpit that arrested my attention some years ago: “If you feel that God is far away, guess who moved?”

Prayer

Father, I am grateful for the promise of Your Word to me today that when I draw near to You, You will draw near to me. Help me put those words to the test by moving closer to You than I have ever done before. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Further Study

Ps 46:1-11; 2Sm 22:3; Ps 9:9; Ps 62:1-12

What does the psalmist affirm?

What does the psalmist exhort the people?

Standing with Others

Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up.—Ecclesiastes 4:9–10

From the beginning of time, God made it clear that it is not good for His people to be alone (Gen. 2:18). God designed us to cooperate. Throughout the Scriptures He speaks of His people as a community that accomplishes more together than separately. God did not create us as isolated individuals, each seeking to achieve our own goals. Rather, the success of our endeavors depends upon our interdependence. This is why He established the Church and released His Holy Spirit to empower the community of believers to spread the gospel. We are to be a kingdom of priests (1 Pet. 2:9).

During difficult times it is critical that we are walking in fellowship with other Christians. When a crisis hits, it is overwhelming to face it alone. But if we have cultivated supportive friendships, we will find strength in the comfort and encouragement of those who care about us. Interdependence is also a safeguard for us when we are lured by temptation. The consistent testimony of those who have fallen to temptation is that they isolated themselves from other believers and were not held accountable by Christian friends.

If you are not a part of a caring community of believers, you are missing out on what God designed you for. You are also in danger of falling into sin. You must link your life with others who are seeking God’s will. Seek to be a person who willingly joins others in carrying out God’s assignments. Strive to be the source of support and encouragement that those around you need.