Immensity

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:8-15 (day two) For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form. vs. 9 

Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb. Annunciation John Donne

John Donne is one of my favorite English metaphysical poets. His poetry, like many of this movement, used expressive language and metaphor to capture the incomprehensible. This poetry are a beautiful picture of our own faith journey. We are forever trying to work out the mystery of our faith using our understanding and small parts of the bigger whole. There are parts of this mystery that will remain so until we reach Heaven. There are other parts that will be revealed as we faithfully walk.

The idea of a God walking as a man is mind-blowing. All of the creator in the created. We do well to remember that Jesus was fully God, and his decision to be fully man was voluntary and for our benefit. May we never lose sight of his choice to walk with us. May it not be lost on us that this creator of fruit trees was often hungry. He who designed us for rest was also weary. All of this was for you. Have you thanked him for that lately?

I also would like to encourage to familiarize yourself with the work of John Donne and his contemporaries. It may be a bit wordy for some, but the reward is worth the effort.

Annunciation

Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo, faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He will wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son and Brother;
Whom thou conceivst, conceived; yea thou art now
Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother;
Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.

 

Rebuilt

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 2:1-7 (day two)

 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

These verses are a real encouragement to me as I think about our faith journey. Receiving Christ is an end in itself, but it is also the beginning of our new life journey. Now we are being rebuilt, our knowledge of His kingdom and purpose should grow as we are given access to the fullness of Christ. Our faith must not be a stagnant one, but, rather, one that is growing, active, and seeking opportunities to serve.

Then don’t miss how this passage ends. Recognizing the new life within us should be a cause for great joy. We should be filled with thanksgiving for this new found purpose. Get out, live your faith, give thanks to God.

Mystery

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:24-29 (day two) To whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. vs. 27

Let us proclaim the mystery of faith – thus begins an ancient prayer that is still used in many churches today. There are mysteries of faith that we will spend our earthly lives pondering about. The “why would God leave his throne to become a man” mysteries that we will not fully understand until we reach heaven. There are others, however, that we simply need to seek an answer to find. Christ in us is a matter of curiosity to non-believers. That cannot understand where our hope springs from. They may notice our worldview is radically different from the prevailing thoughts of the day, and we remain a puzzle. But this mystery is completely knowable. Christ in us is available to all. What is curiosity to some, can become reality when they truly seek Jesus. Aren’t you glad that he has revealed himself for us to know, even if there are things that still confound us?

Dying for an Enemy

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:20-23 (day two)  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—vs. 21-22

When was the last time you really considered your life before Jesus? To think that you were not just a sinner, but in opposition to God is exactly where we were. Sometimes willfully, often by ignorance, but always alienated from God. To live a life contrary to the will of the Father is to walk as an enemy. It was in this condition that Jesus found us and offered grace. Scripture reminds us that a “good” man will lay down his life for a friend, but who would die for a race of people living in opposition to the truth? Never stop being amazed at what Jesus has done for us. Never stop telling that story to others.

Invisibly Visible

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:15-19 (day two) 

He is the image of the invisible God..vs. 15a

If you don’t mind, I’m going to continue my train of thought from yesterday’s re:vlog. I have been rolling this turn of phrase around in my head for a couple of weeks now, and I think it beautifully captures an “unknowable” characteristic of God/Jesus. The Word become flesh is something we say a lot, but it should never lose it’s incredible significance. A deity so incomprehensibly  vast and great that he breathes the cosmos into existence choose to become completely comprehensible to create a relationship with his creation.

Who would do that?!?!

Never lose sight of what Jesus put aside so that he could create a way for you to commune with him. It should be enough to allow you to give up whatever is holding you back from that perfect communion. He made the invisible visible, don’t you think he can make your burdens invisible?

Qualified

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:9-14 (day two) …giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. vs. 12

The language of these few verses is rich. Paul describes a lived-out faith that is evident in so many ways. Growing in knowledge is mentioned twice. Being filled, bearing fruit, being strengthened with all power; these are just a few of the phrases that Paul uses to characterize the incredible evident faith of the Colossians. There is a caveat. Without God the Father, none of this would be possible. It was God that qualified us for this work and for the inheritance that we will all take part in.

This is an excellent reminder that when the evidences of God are all around us, and every plan and program are producing great results, remember who it was that gave us this purpose. Remember who it was that set us on our mission, gave us the gifts to accomplish the task, and is the reason for any success we may achieve. Don’t get to the mountain and forget how you got there.

A Note of Encouragement

Re:Verse passage – Colossians 1:1-8 (day two)

“We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints;” vs. 3-4‬ 

When was the last time that you sent a letter of encouragement to someone? One that had no agenda other than to just offer thanks and praise for a job well done – or when was the last time you received one? How did it make you feel? We rarely see handwritten notes anymore, but texts and emails can also have a similar effect.

It is not lost on the Apostle Paul the impact of an encouraging word can have. Word of the faith of the believers at Colosse had reached him, and he was compelled to reach out and bless them. What a radical idea! Let’s bless those around us.

Perhaps I still have the summer series running through my ears and I hear the words of Jesus as he instructs us to love our neighbors as ourselves. I think Paul understood this. Take a minute, grab a piece of paper, a text, an email and edify someone today.

Authority

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 28:18-20 (day two) 

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” 18b

Jesus was clear the authority was not given to the disciples. We are not sent of our will or choosing. God has called us, and we are to go. This is actually a great comfort to me. There is nothing about my persona or character that is going to win someone to Christ. My responsibility is to teach what I know. Not with authority, but rather a conviction that I know this Jesus, and I believe that others can know him too. Our relationship with Jesus is the basis for our testimony which will, but the moving of the Holy Spirit, help others form a new and greater understanding of who he is as well. Jesus, in the authority of heaven and earth has commanded us to go and tell his story.

Love God – Love Each Other

Re:Verse passage – Matthew 22:35-39 (day two) 

“On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” vs. 40

First century Jews had rules for everything. Most of these came from their understanding of how best to keep the 10 commandments. When taken in totality the amount of rules for everyday living was overwhelming. They were certainly well-intentioned, but also clouded the true intent to bring our lives more in line with God.

The Pharisees were constantly trying to trip up Jesus in word or deed and knew that if they could get him to commit to exalting one rule above another, they could begin to make their case against him. Isn’t it incredible that Jesus is able to disarm this challenge and sum up the law at the same time? Love God, love each other. Let everything be measured by these two thoughts. Take time today to examine how you are living your day. Does it show your love for God? Are you treating others like children of God? Start there.

Need vs. Want

Re:Verse passage – Exodus 20:17 (day two) 

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

The line between want and need can sometimes be a very fine one indeed. Type A personalities are often defined by their drive to succeed and get ahead which often begins with wanting something they don’t currently have. So where do you draw that line? One distinction that can easily be seen in the commandment is that desiring something that belongs to someone else is a good place to begin denying yourself. David’s pursuit of Bathsheba was a clear violation of this command. He knew her to be the bride of Uriah. The sin of adultery began with a sin of coveting.

Wanting to get ahead. Working to better your position or to provide for your family. These desires and pursuits, with God’s blessing, are honorable. Weighing every pursuit with a clear understanding of where God has placed you, who he has called you to be, and peace that even if you don’t get it you can be content, this is the kind of discernment help honor this commandment.