Monday Morning, 11 Nov 2019, Colossians 4:10-18 ~ Paul’s faithful friends

Monday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening –  A Collect for the Renewal of Life (Monday)

O God, the King eternal, whose light divides the day from the night and turns the shadow of death into the morning: Drive far from us all wrong desires, incline our hearts to keep your law, and guide our feet into the way of peace; that, having done your will with cheerfulness during the day, we may, when night comes, rejoice to give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Morning Reading -Colossians 4:10-18 (NLT)

Paul’s Final Instructions and Greetings (Cont.)

Aristarchus, who is in prison with me, sends you his greetings, and so does Mark, Barnabas’s cousin. As you were instructed before, make Mark welcome if he comes your way. Jesus (the one we call Justus) also sends his greetings. These are the only Jewish believers among my co-workers; they are working with me here for the Kingdom of God. And what a comfort they have been!

Epaphras, a member of your own fellowship and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends you his greetings. He always prays earnestly for you, asking God to make you strong and perfect, fully confident that you are following the whole will of God. I can assure you that he prays hard for you and also for the believers in Laodicea and Hierapolis.

Luke, the beloved doctor, sends his greetings, and so does Demas. Please give my greetings to our brothers and sisters at Laodicea, and to Nympha and the church that meets in her house.

After you have read this letter, pass it on to the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And you should read the letter I wrote to them.

And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.”

HERE IS MY GREETING IN MY OWN HANDWRITING—PAUL.

Remember my chains.

May God’s grace be with you.
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Morning Reflection:

Paul’s faithful friends

“Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you.”
– Colossians 4:17 –

In closing his letter to the Colossians, Paul commended eight people for their friendship and work in advancing the Kingdom of God. All except one remained  a faithful friend.

  1. Aristarchus – who traveled extensively with Paul and accompanied him to prison in Rome.
  2. John Mark – who failed in his first attempts to serve Paul and God, but returned to prove himself faithful to both.
  3. Justus – who, as a Jewish believer, lived out the reality that Jews and Gentiles were one in Christ.
  4. Epaphras – who was fervent in prayer for the well being and spiritual growth of the Colossians.
  5. Luke – who helped Paul physically (a physician) and spiritually (writing the third Gospel and Acts.)
  6. Demas – who would later desert Paul, preferring to love the things of this world more than Christ.
  7. Nympha – who opened her home to host a house-church.
  8. Archippus – who Paul encouraged to continue the particular ministry God had given him.

Paul concluded with a word of blessing – May God’s grace be with you.

Questions for consideration:

  • Can you think of someone who has been a faithful friend to you over the years? Please explain.
  • Can you think of someone whom you have befriended in good and bad times? Please explain.
  • Can you think of believers who are in need of your prayers? Do you pray for them? Please explain.
  • There are a variety of ministries mentioned above, and many more not mentioned. What ministry has God given you to complete? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: for our local congregations

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear our prayers, and grant that in our congregations the pure Word of God may be preached and the Sacraments duly administered. Strengthen and confirm the faithful; protect and guide the children; visit and relieve the sick; turn and soften the wicked; arouse the careless; recover the fallen; restore the penitent; remove all hindrances to the advancement of your truth; and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church, to the honor and glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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“I Will Stand With You” – Rick Muchow

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Saturday Morning, 09 Nov 2019 – Colossians 3:18-4:9 ~ pray constantly and live wisely

Saturday Morning

+ In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Opening:  (A Collect for Sabbath Rest – Saturday)

Almighty God, who after the creation of the world rested from all your works and set aside a day of rest for all your creatures: Grant that we, putting away all earthly anxieties, may be duly prepared to meet you in worship, and that our rest here upon earth may be a preparation for the eternal rest promised to your people in heaven; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading: Colossians 3:18-4:9 (NLT)

Instructions for Christian Households

Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting for those who belong to the Lord.

Husbands, love your wives and never treat them harshly.

Children, always obey your parents, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything you do. Try to please them all the time, not just when they are watching you. Serve them sincerely because of your reverent fear of the Lord. Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favorites.

Masters, be just and fair to your slaves. Remember that you also have a Master—in heaven.

An Encouragement for Prayer

Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should.

Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Paul’s Final Instructions and Greetings

Tychicus will give you a full report about how I am getting along. He is a beloved brother and faithful helper who serves with me in the Lord’s work. I have sent him to you for this very purpose—to let you know how we are doing and to encourage you. I am also sending Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, one of your own people. He and Tychicus will tell you everything that’s happening here.
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Morning Reflection:

pray constantly and live wisely

Devote yourselves to prayer….
Live wisely among those who are not believers,
and make the most of every opportunity.
– Colossians 4:2,5 –

In today’s reading the Apostle Paul addresses relationships within believers’ households. He the goes on to urge believers to be devoted to prayer and live wisely among unbelievers. So let’s look at ways we can pray for our households, and live wisely.

Pray constantly:

  • that husbands and wives treat each other with mutual respect and love as unto Christ.
  • that children and parents treat each other with mutual respect in obedience to Christ.
  • that employers and employees treat each other with mutual respect as servants of Christ.
  • that all believers remember we are accountable to God for what we do and say.

Live wisely:

  • that our households reflect the love of Christ to our unbelieving friends and neighbors.
  • that our work reflects the the integrity and love of Christ to our unbelieving world.

Questions for consideration:

  • How do you think outsiders view your family? Does your family reflect the love?Please explain.
  • For what are you thankful? What needs work?  Please explain.
  • How do you think outsiders view your work, either as an employer or employee? Does your work reflect the integrity and love of Christ? Please explain.
  • When you think of living as a believer in an unbelieving world, what comes to mind? Please explain.
  • What opportunities do you have to share your faith? Are you prepared? How can you make the most of these opportunities? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

For our families:

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, you set the solitary in families: We commend to your continual care the homes in
which your people dwell. Put far from them every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, and true godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy matrimony, have been made one flesh; turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the hearts of children to their parents; and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be joined to one another with bonds of loving-kindness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For unbelievers:

Merciful God, you desire not the death of sinners, but rather that they should turn to you and live; and through your only Son you have revealed yourself as the God who pardons iniquity. Have mercy on the unrepentant and those who do not believe. Awaken in them, by your Word and Holy Spirit, a deep sense of their sinfulness and peril. Take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of your Word. Grant them to know and feel that there is no other Name under heaven given among men by which they must be saved, but only the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. And so bring them home and number them among your children, that they may be yours for ever; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

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“Number of My Days” – Tommy Walker and Joni Eareckson Tada

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Friday Morning, 08 Nov 2019 – Colossians 3:1-17 ~ Live as representatives of Christ.

Friday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Endurance – Friday)

Almighty God, whose beloved Son first suffered pain and crucifixion before entering into glory: Mercifully grant that we, walking in his footsteps, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Colossians 3:1-17 (NLT)

Living the New Life

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Because of these sins, the anger of God is coming. You used to do these things when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.

Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
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Morning Reflection:

Live as representatives of Christ.

Put on your new nature, and be renewed
as you learn to know your Creator and become like him.
– Colossians 3:10 –

In today’s reading, Paul begins by reminding believers to keep our minds focused on the things of heaven, rather than the things of this world. Why? Because we have died with Christ to this world, and now our real life is hidden with God in Christ. Christ is our life, and we are called to live as His representatives. But how?

By putting off our old nature, and putting on our new nature – and being renewed as we learn to know our Creator and become like Him.

Questions for consideration

  • Put off your old nature – sexual immorality… impurity… lust… evil desires… greed, anger… rage… malicious behavior… lies… slander… and dirty language…. Do you still struggle with any of these remnants of your old nature? Please explain.
  • Put on your new nature – tenderhearted mercy… kindness… humility… gentleness… patience… forbearance… forgiveness… and love…. Do you see any of these evidences of new life working out in your life? Please explain.
  • Do you live a peace-filled life? Do you live a grateful life? Please explain.
  • Do you see yourself as a representative of Jesus Christ? How does that affect the way you live? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Lord Jesus, Fill my life with Your goodness and grace. Show me how to apply Your wisdom to my life and give me godly counselors to help me. Place a song of praise and thanksgiving to You in my heart. And in all things may I live faithfully as Your representative, to the glory of God the Father. Amen.

Christ Be All Around Me – All Sons & Daughters

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Thursday Morning, 07 Nov 2019 – Colossians 2:16-23 ~ The reality of Christ.

Thursday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Guidance – Thursday)

Heavenly Father, in you we live and move and have our being: Guide and govern us by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of our lives we may not forget you, but may remember that we are ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Colossians 2:16-23(NLT)

So don’t let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules are only shadows of the reality yet to come. And Christ himself is that reality. Don’t let anyone condemn you by insisting on pious self-denial or the worship of angels, saying they have had visions about these things. Their sinful minds have made them proud, and they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For he holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God nourishes it.

You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the spiritual powers of this world. So why do you keep on following the rules of the world, such as, “Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch!”? rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial, and severe bodily discipline. But they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.
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Morning Reflection:

The reality of Christ.

Christ, the head of the body,
holds the whole body together with its joints and ligaments,
and it grows as God nourishes it.”
– Colossians 2:19 –

In today’s reading, Paul continues his theme of the supremacy and all-sufficiency of Christ. He is head over all things, including His body, the church.

Paul reminds his readers of the reality of Christ in response to false teachers who were attempting to add something to the finished work of Christ on.

In general, their false teaching took three forms –

  1. Legalism – relying on keeping rules and regulations, over union with God in Christ.
  2. Mysticism – emphasizing personal visionary experiences, over revelation from God in Christ.
  3. Asceticism – relying on self-denial to tame the flesh, over the power of God in Christ.

Paul’s point is that believers already have everything we ever will need in the person and work of Jesus Christ. There’s nothing we can add to that reality. We grow in faith as God nourishes our relationship with Christ.

Questions for consideration: It’s easy for believers to fall into the traps of false teachers.

  • The trap of legalism – have you found yourself trying to obey certain rules and regulations in order please God? Please explain.
  • The trap of mysticism – have you found yourself seeking visions or spiritual revelations to discover hidden truths about God? Please explain.
  • the trap of asceticism – have you tried exercising self-denial as a way of taming the flesh? Please explain.
  • Do you believe that you have everything you need in Jesus Christ in order to grow in faith? How does that affect how you live? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer – For Satisfaction in Christ (Julian of Norwich)

O God, of your goodness, give me yourself, for you are enough for me.
I can ask for nothing less that is completely to your honor,
and if I do ask anything less, I shall always be in want.
Only in you I have all. Amen.

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Still You Satisfy | Forever Be Sure

Longing, my soul was longing for a drink from some cool spring,
Hoping to quench the burning of the thirst I felt within.

Seeking, my soul was seeking till my strength was almost gone.
Feeding, on pleasure feeding, only still to hunger on.

Hallelujah, hallelujah; I have found the One my soul has craved!
Jesus satisfies my longing and through His blood I now am saved!

Calling, still the world is calling with a tempting glow and frill.
Yearning, still I’m often yearning with desire unfulfilled.

Thirsting, Lord, when I am thirsting lead me to the Fount from which at first I drew.
Gently, take what’s dry and empty; fill my craving, Lord, with You!

Hallelujah, hallelujah; precious promise that is mine to own:
Jesus satisfies the thirsty and overflows the hungry soul!
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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Wednesday Morning: 06 Nov 2019 – Colossians 2:1-14 ~ You are alive with Christ.

Wednesday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Grace – Wednesday)

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day: Defend us by your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin nor run into any danger; and that guided by your Spirit, we may do what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Colossians 2:1-14 (NLT)

I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other believers who have never met me personally. I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

I am telling you this so no one will deceive you with well-crafted arguments. For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I rejoice that you are living as you should and that your faith in Christ is strong.

Freedom from Rules and New Life in Christ

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers of this world, rather than from Christ. For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body. So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.

When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.
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Morning Reflection:

You are alive with Christ.

God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.
– Colossians 2:13 –

How did we go from being dead in our sins to being alive with Christ? The answer is that Jesus took the damning indictment of our sins that hung over us and nailed it to His cross. On the cross – Christ reigned supreme – cancelling our sins and giving us victory over the forces of evil.

So what does it mean for you to be alive with Christ?

  • You have been made complete through your union with Christ
  • Your guilty sinful life has been buried with Christ
  • You share in Christ’s victory over spiritual rulers and authorities

How then shall we live?

  • Let your roots grow down into Christ.
  • Let your lives be built on Christ.

Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught,
and you will overflow with thankfulness.
– Colossians 2:7 –

Questions for consideration

  • Do you view yourself as being made complete through union with Christ? Please explain.
  • How does being rooted in Christ affect how you live? Please explain.
  • How can you deepen your roots in Christ and strengthen your faith in Him? Please explain.
  • Does guilt play a role in your life, even though Christ has nailed your sin to the cross? Please explain.
  • Do you struggle with spiritual powers or authorities, even though Christ has disarmed them on the cross? Please explain.
  • For what are you thankful? – make a list. Please explain.

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Morning Prayer: – For Union with Christ (Anima Christi)

Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within thy wounds hide me. Permit me not to be separated from thee. From the wicked foe defend me. In the hour of my death call me, and bid me come to thee, that with thy saints I may praise thee for ever and ever. Amen.

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“Alive In You” – Jesus Culture

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen