October 12

Colossians 4

We should be aware of the outside world and use wisdom to win the people who are far from God. In verse 5 it says, “Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the very most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity.”

In the last chapter, we talked about the importance of our words, and in verse 6 it says, “Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].”

The way we walk and the way we talk should be in consideration of the lost who are watching our behavior and listening to our conversation. Included in what we say and do, is how we get along with one another. Throughout Colossians we see we are to work toward harmony with one another, being bound together as one body. We are to be tightly knit together (Colossians 2:2, 19). I’m not a knitter, but I understand knitting involves a weaving of different strands of yarn or thread in a way that they become one, and they’re not easily torn apart. Unity requires humility, grace, love, communication, understanding, and lots of forgiveness. Unity needs each person to put forth effort to attend weekly gatherings so they can stay connected with one another, participate in small groups and events so they can deepen those relationships, serve on a team, and do their part to give to meet the needs of the church. It is important to go through discipleship classes so everyone knows how the church functions, meets the church leaders, and agrees on basic doctrine. Unity also requires faithfulness and loyalty to a spiritual authority that has to account to God for us. Unity needs to have discernment and maturity to recognize a wolf, a leader trying to draw us away from where God planted us or the whispers of a spiritual enemy or an offended brother or sister that causes us to uproot from where God wants us to be. Let’s guard and work at staying knitted together as a local church that God weaves together with purpose and love.

Isaiah 48-49

In chapter 48, we read about a rebuke to Israel for not accepting His working. God describes them as obstinate, having an iron neck and bronze brow (stubborn). Today, in our churches, we shouldn’t be surprised if we run into proud, obstinate, or stubborn people. No one is perfect, but hopefully we have a humble heart that is pliable and willing to follow God and leadership.

Pride, control, gets in the way of us receiving God’s best. Even a religious pride, an “I know more than you” attitude, can block or remove us from God’s move. God is merciful, but He has to prune off the stiff necks in order to have the liberty to move in greater anointing and blessing. Our awesome God gives us time to humble ourselves, but if we don’t, He may remove us. I’ve seen proud people die, get sick or troubled, or leave churches when they kicked against God’s prodding to submit to Him and church leadership. God loves people, and He is patient with us; however, He will lift His hand of protection and blessing if we continually refuse Him. Our disobedience opens a door to trouble. When Ananias and Sapphira died, I’m sure their church family was saddened, but they also gained a new respect for obedience and submission.

In verse 17, God says, “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go.” Verse 16 says, “Come near to Me…” It takes a yielded heart to go to God. When we draw near to God in humility, and He will draw near to us (James 4:8). As a result, God promises peace, righteousness, and the glory of His anointing for those who surrender and listen to Him. Let’s keep our hearts submitted and yielded to God.

From time to time we may feel that God isn’t there for us like He once was. Israel felt this way before. Chapter 49 is both a prophetic message about Israel’s return from Babylon as well a prophecy about Christ. Israel complains of God forsaking her, but in verses 14-26, God reaffirms His love and purpose for their redemption. Whatever we are feeling or experiencing, we can know God loves us and is on our side. If we are going through a fiery trial, God will see us through. What we need to do in those times is to seek God in the confidence of His love. If there is some dross He needs to burn away during the process of refinement, let’s trust Him and let Him allow the purification and development. He is our potter and we are the clay. Whatever He allows, He is always working the wholeness of His saving power in us.

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