Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thoughts on Colossians 1

The theme of Colossians is “You are Complete In Him.”…there is always more to learn, and none of us can ever say, “we’ve arrived.” The trick is staying close to the Lord and being able to discern His will for us. Staying close is the hard part. I have dealt with inmates for more years than I want to remember, and it is very rare that one of them is able to so balance his life that staying close to the Lord is his main priority. Actually, it’s not that common in the church in general, but with deeply troubled people, it is even more difficult to get the concept across. I think there are many reasons for all of us to not keep our priorities straight. The more troubled people are, the closer they need to be to God, but it rarely happens that way.  He is the only One that can keep us thinking straight and keep us in the Word. It is much easier to make excuses for NOT staying close,…job, meetings, family members that demand attention, many things vie for our attention, even “church.” Some churches have so many events and meetings for all of us, there is little time left over to sit quietly, read, study, and pray.

We often wonder what God’s will is for us…I like this, “for those whom God foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren, “ Romans 8:29. If we accept the fact that God desires us to be just like Jesus, then of course we must learn all about Him. Where do we learn these things? From the Word itself. by studying it, applying it, profiting from it…if we do these things, we cannot help but become like Him.

Selfishness comes into play here also, we usually want what we want, and we want it now. It’s referred to as immediate gratification and runs rampant in our society today. Why is credit card debt so prevalent? Because I must have my desire right now, not next week, or on pay day or when I’ve saved enough…NOW! I wonder if we want our Christian life like that…NOW! Instant maturity…I don’t think so…maturity takes along time and lots of applying hard things to our lives. But God is patient and will wait, teaching us along the way as we allow Him to.

Have you ever thought about the amount of time God takes in teaching and training us for His service. He really desires ALL of us to serve, most of us don’t at least not on a consistent basis. He takes His time, Joseph 13 years, Moses, 80 years, the disciples 3 years being taught by the Master Himself. Even Paul needed brushing up in the Arabian desert. Romans 12:1 & 2 tells us “it is our reasonable service”…letting Him conform us to Christ’s image and likeness and presenting ourselves to Him to serve. Just think what our world would be like if professing Christians became possessing Christians, serving with a full heart. What a world we would  be living in.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

More About Truth…

I re-read a book by Dr John MacArthur entitled “The Truth War,” about exactly what you’d think…the battle going on for “true truth.” I teach a course at Southern entitled “Healing for Damaged Emotions,” from a book of the same name by Dr David Seamanns. I’ve been teaching it for 26 years. A number of years ago I met Dr Seamanns at his home in Wilmore, Kentucky. I told him I was teaching his material in a prison and asked if he would allow me to adapt his workbook to the needs and understanding of  my men. He said I could do anything with it I wanted to. He was very happy about WHERE I was teaching it. It is wonderful material, very simplistic in the approach to self-esteem and why we think and act the way we do. Needless to say, in 26 years I have added to and subtracted from the pages, refined it but never changed the basis premise…”Thy Word is Truth.’ That…cannot be improved upon.

Timothy tells us that in the latter days, wrong will be considered right, and right wrong…sound familiar? Do you sometimes wonder “how” people can think the way they do? I wrote a few days ago about truth, but the subject keeps coming up in my face, the book I just re-read, and today at church, actually in Sunday School, we discussed truth, from  John 14, a very lively discussion. As I have said in other blogs, I am a follower of politics and current events, as well as Bible prophecy. I believe If something is true today, it is true tomorrow, and the next day and so on. This truth of god is to be shared…we are to take what we know to be true and share it with others. And, if the time is short, we need to be about the Father’s business, now.

Now we may not always understand everything He tells us, not because the message is foggy but because something in our own lives is blocking our understanding and getting in the way of our hearing truth. Unforgiveness maybe? Fear, anxiety, doubt? Even prayerlessness can create spiritual “static” that clogs our ears or otherwise gets in the way  of His truth. But usually, the biggest distraction is our own minds…the tendency to want to try and figure things out on our own. That attitude can create a wall between our ears and God’s voice. It’s a wall we must tear down. WE HAVE the means to do that…the Holy Spirit that indwells us and will make the Lord’s communication clear to us. Unbelievers have only their own human (even though educated) minds to use in seeking to gain understanding of and interpreting, God’s truth…not possible! Without Christ,Who is the truth, in our lives and minds, we cannot gain understanding of truth.

Surrender anxious thoughts to Him, let Him have control of your heart and mind. We are His emissaries, and emissaries get instruction from the boss..and so do we.