Going It (Almost) Alone

As Paul’s letter to the Colossians winds down, I admit that I might be “reaching” from time to time in Paul’s words of greeting and goodbye to find a devotional thought. But there was something that stuck out to me in verses 10-11.  Here they are: ”10 Aristarchus my fellow prisoner greets you, with Mark the cousin of Barnabas (about whom you received instructions: if he comes to you, welcome him), 11 and Jesus who is called Justus. These are my only fellow workers for the kingdom of God who are of the circumcision; they have proved to be a comfort to me.”  Paul wrote this letter […]

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How Do People Describe You?

When people talk to others about you…and you know that they do…how do they describe you? What words and phrases do others use when they talk about you?  I don’t know that we ever really know this unless we accidentally are made part of a conversation that we were not intended to hear.  I don’t think that most people would answer the question, “How would you describe me?” the same way if they were actually talking to us. Note how Paul describes men named Tychicus and Onesimus here in verses 7-9:  “7 Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, and fellow servant in the […]

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Walk in Wisdom

Right after Paul has requested that the Colossians pray for his ability to share the gospel, Paul’s focus continues to be on those who are “outside”; those who are not in Christ.  Here is what he writes in the next two verses:  “5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.”  I find it so interesting that Paul was so interested in those who did not know Christ.  I think that Paul was interested also in those who did know Christ, but he never lost sight of […]

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What Abilities Do You Pray For?

When you pray for the ability to do something, what is that ability?  Students may pray for supernatural ability to remember information for a test.  Athletes may pray for ability to run fast or swing hard.  New parents may pray for the ability to function well on 4 hours of sleep. What abilities to you want God to give you?  Note what ability Paul is asking the Colossians to petition God on his behalf: “2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which […]

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Adverbs in Prayer

Adverbs are a part of speech that describe action.  Usually they end in “ly” though not always.  You can run “quickly” or “slowly”.  You can work “tirelessly” or “lazily”.  The adverbs help us to know how the action verb is working.  When you think of the word “pray” as a verb, what adverbs fit for your prayer life?  Do words like “frequently” and “passionately” describe your prayer time or do other less action oriented words fit better?  Look at how Paul describes prayer in verse 2 of Colossians 4:  “2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;”  There are […]

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Even Masters Have a Master

Paul concludes his specific advice to different groups of people with the following words in chapter 4, verse 1:  “Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.”  Paul is asking the “masters” of his day, those who owned servants and slaves, to treat their servants in a just and fair way because they also have a Master in heaven. Of course, that Master is Jesus Christ. None of us own servants or slaves but we often do have people who are “under” us in some kind of way; either at work or in […]

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Benefits of Working for the Lord

In the past two verses Paul exhorts servants and slaves to serve the Lord no matter what. They are exhorted to do whatever they do heartily as to the Lord, and not to men.  I think the exhortation applies to each of us as well.  One of the possible pushbacks to this is the idea that if we serve those who don’t care about us, what benefit is that to us? If a servant continues to serve his master, what’s in it for the servant?  The reality is that service to others often does not yield a return that we expect.  But […]

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Working for the Lord

In verses 22-23 of Colossians 3 we read this:  ”22 Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”  This instruction builds on the earlier idea that there is no difference between “sacred” and “secular”.  Everything we do is to the Lord.  Here Paul counsels Christian slaves or servants to obey their masters.  Note the phrase, “according to the flesh”.  This has lots of nuance.  I’ll point out two things.  First, the servants […]

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Family Matters

In rather rapid fire, Paul give several commands to family members in verses 18-21: “18 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  19 Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.20 Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”  Wives are to submit, husbands are to love without bitterness, children are to obey and fathers are not to provoke.  I guess mothers didn’t need any counsel because, well, they are mothers!  All of these commands help the relationships in the family.  They […]

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When Secular is Truly Sacred

Before turning to a section on submission, Paul concludes the paragraph describing the new man with the following words in chapter 3, verse 17:  “17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”  Sometime people use the words “secular” and “sacred” to describe two different types or areas of life.  The “secular” part is the part of life that doesn’t have to do much with God.  Things like work, play, hobbies, etc…are “secular”. The “spiritual” part is prayer, worship, church, etc…  But this is a false divide.  There […]

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