Christ is Supreme

Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth.  He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see — kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities.  Everything has been created through him and for him. -Colossians 1:16

If there was just one verse in the Bible that just boils down who Christ is and what he means to this world, this may just be it.  “Everything has been created through him and for him.”  What a great promise.  Everything we have and everything we do is done for the glory of Christ.

As often happens however, I had full intention to read much more of Colossians, but I didn’t get much past that verse as God was leading me to diver deeper.  So as I sit back with my coffee and begin to look deeper into this verse, I can’t help but think that God is telling me something this morning.

As people, we tend to put our lives into little spheres.  We like to separate our home life from our work life.  Our time with our family is separated from our time out with friends.  Our time with God and church are often relegated to Sundays or holidays, but only if other obligations or sphere’s of life get in the way.

I think what God is telling us here, on a deeper level, is that there should be no separation of our lives.  We should, as Christians, resist any attempt or impulse to divide our life into separate spheres, which would also divide our loyalty to Christ.  What we value in the privacy of our homes is often at odds with what we value in our public lives.  Our dreams of economic benefits and political influence often determines our behavior outside of home and church.  Should our values of survival and self-interest be more prevalent at work than the biblical values of self-sacrifice and fidelity?

Paul’s point here is that such separations between the visible and the invisible, the public and the private are false.  Christ’s is supreme in all things and shows that his death on the cross establishes God’s grace in every corner of God’s creation, not just those in the “church.”

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Looking forward to 2015

2015Well I can’t believe it’s this time of year already.  2015, where has the time gone, it seems like just yesterday we were worrying about all the 2k issues and I couldn’t believe then that we were leaving the 1900s for good….  Well it seems like in just a blink of an eye, we are 15 years into the 2000s already.  Crazy how time flies.  I do these posts yearly on or as close to Jan 1 as possible.  This year I decided to something a little different, I had the recap post from yesterday which focused on reflecting on 2014 and sharing some of my favorite posts of the year.  In this post, I want to focus more on looking ahead, now that the year is done, we can look at it to reminisce and to learn from, but I want to always be looking forward to see where God is leading me.

Where is God Leading Me?

That was a large, but unintentional focus of 2014.   But it seemed to be a failed focus.  I spent much of the year not really knowing where I was going, how I was getting there or even if God wanted me there.  I really was just going through the motions in 2014.

This year, I want that to be my main focus.  I want to see where God is leading me, where God is working and I want to be there.  I don’t want to sit waiting to see what happens, I want to be actively pursuing God.

I love all you love me.  Those who search for me will surely find me.  -Proverbs 8:17

I want to be where He is.  I want to go where He goes.  Where is that?  Well I’m not sure yet.  I have my thoughts on where I would like it to be, but what I’ve found over the years, is that often my plan for the new year is not always His plan.

So instead of writing a post that talks about my plans for the new year of advancing my career, or working out more, or writing more on this blog or any of the typical resolutions people may have.  Instead, I want to talk about how I intend to change myself, so that I can readily see where God is, so I can see where He is leading me and so I can be prepared for what He wants me to do.  So what are these things I feel God needs me to change about myself.

Be more humble.

What does it mean to be humble?  Many think, being humble means to think of yourself as worth less.  Many trying to be humble will put themselves down in an effort to be less prideful.  But what I’ve learned is that humility is really just thinking of others INSTEAD of yourself.  Thinking of yourself, even thinking lesser of yourself is still pride.  Lifting everyone up, first others then yourself, is true humility.

But this one I need to be careful with, for I don’t believe that the truly humble person doesn’t know it and really doesn’t care.  To strive for humility and believe you have reached it is to arrive at pride. To strive for humility and not reach it is to wallow in self-pity and condemnation, which is just another expression of pride.

So in this, perhaps I won’t talk about it anymore, but my goal is to stop wallowing in condemnation and focus on lifting everyone up (including myself).

Read more.

What do I mean by reading more?  Well first off, while I’ve gotten much better at reading the Bible, I want to continue to make it even more of a habit for me.  Getting into the word.  I find that even reading a few verses each day often help me.  It’s amazing how God will put just the right verse in front of me exactly when I need it.

I also want to read more Christian authors.  Read some of the classic sermons, some of the church fathers.  Some historical texts as well as apologetics.  I think it will help to see how others are experiencing God which will help me see how I can experience God.

Be still.

Probably one of my biggest problems.  God lives in each of us already through the Holy Spirit.  He wants a personal relationship with us.  He may already be closer than we think, but our lives are too filled with noise to hear him.  In Psalm 46, it says, “Be still and know that I am God.”  If our lives are so busy and filled with activities we tend to squeeze God into our “free time” instead of making Him the primary focus.

This may mean some hard decisions for me.  It may mean that I have to give up some extracurricular activities and hobbies that I enjoy, but are causing too much noise in my life.   God provides a fun-filled life if we just let him.  We want to fill our lives up with things that we often neglect what is important, God, family, health.  This year, I want to weed out those things that are just extra noise in my life.

Welcome 2015

I welcome in the New Year with renewed hope.  I won’t ‘magically’ be able to remove all my stresses, bad habits and anxieties.  But I  hope to improve in these small areas which I believe will help me find the presence of God, whom I know is very near to all of us already.

I wanted to share this devotional that talks about one more very important step into truly entering into a relationship with God.  You can find it at http://www.blackaby.org/devarchive.asp, the January 1st, 2015 devotional.

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Jan 1, 2015 devotional from http://www.blackaby.org/devarchive.asp

 

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” (John 21:15)

Jesus has a wonderful way of restoring us when we fail Him! He does not humiliate us. He does not criticize us. He does not ask us to make a resolution to try harder. Rather, He takes us aside and asks us to reaffirm our love for Him.

Peter miserably failed his Lord when he fled with the other disciples from the Garden of Gethsemane. Later, he publicly denied that he even knew Jesus. Peter must have wondered if he had been capable of being Jesus’ disciple when he was unfaithful to Jesus in His most crucial hour.

As you begin a new year, you may be painfully aware that you have failed your Lord in many ways. Perhaps you were not faithful. Perhaps you disobeyed His word to you. Perhaps you denied Him by the way you lived. Jesus will take you aside, as He did Peter. He will not berate you. He will not humiliate you. He will ask you to examine your love for Him. He asked Peter, “Do you love Me?” If your answer, like Peter’s, is “Yes, Lord,” He will reaffirm His will for you. If you truly love Him, you will obey Him (John 14:15). Jesus does not need your resolutions, your recommitments, or your promises to try harder this year. If your resolve to obey God last year did not help you to be faithful, it will not make you successful this year. Jesus asks for your love. If you truly love Him, your service for Him in the new year will be of the quality that He desires.

God bless all of you in 2015 and I hope you have a very Happy New Year!