Suddenly

This past week I spent some time of reflection in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. I was struck by part of the last chapter in the letter. It is worthy of sharing this brief passage. Many who read this are in nations and places in the world where to identify as a follower of Jesus could lead to open hostility, subtle persecution, or even martyrdom. As you read it, think about, not only your own situation but also the situation of some you might know elsewhere.

“Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-11)

Here are a few questions to aide your reflection:

  • What warnings are given in this passage?
  • What hope is given?
  • What is the future of those who are in Christ?
  • How does this passage make you feel?

Take a few minutes to share your thoughts with Jesus.

Maranatha (Come Lord!)

The New Self

This past week I continued in my reflection in Colossians. This short letter, written by Paul while in a Roman prison, addresses many of the issues we face today. In this short passage, we are advised to put aside the old self and put on the new self.

Take a few minutes to read this passage and reflect on it using the reflections questions below.

“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him — a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all. So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; ​just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” (Colossians 3:8-17)

For reflection:

  • What are the traits and actions of the old self?
  • What are the traits and actions of the new self?
  • How does one receive the new self?
  • How does this passage make you feel?
  • What might the Lord be asking of you from this passage?

Maranatha (Come Lord!)

The World Versus Christ

This week I have continued in my reading in Colossians. Paul wrote this packed letter from a Roman prison. His message in this portion of the letter is a reminder to put aside the prevailing philosophies and deceptions of the world. They are simply false and out of line with the trajectory of history.

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our ​transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.” (Colossians 2:8-15 )

Here are a few questions to prompt your reflections.

  • What are a few of the current philosophies churning in the world today?
  • What might be some deceptions common among people in your culture?
  • What is Jesus’ authority?
  • What has Jesus done for you?
  • What might Jesus be asking of you?

Maranatha (Come Lord!)

Who is Jesus

This week, I have been reading in Colossians, a short but packed letter Paul wrote to the Church in the city of Colossae. They were struggling with the philosophies of the day which were bringing much division in the Church. Paul deals with each of the issues in this short letter but starts out by clarifying WHO Jesus is. Perhaps even in our day, it is wise to go back and get a clear picture of Jesus.

“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.” (Colossians 1:13-23)

Consider these questions as you ponder this passage:

  • What has the Father done?
  • What has Jesus done?
  • What authority does Jesus have?
  • In answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?”, what would you say?
  • What might Jesus be asking you to do?

Maranatha (Come Lord!)