As you look forward to Christmas, what special memories will remain with you after it’s over? Will it be a “horrible day,” a “holiday” or a “holy day?”
For some it will be a “horrible” day. It will be a day when families gather and feuds erupt, unwanted gifts are exchanged, stomachs are stuffed, alcohol generated hangovers will dull minds and memories, and promises to “never do this again” are made. Not ever!
Or, will it be a holiday? Families traveling many miles to get together to share problems and pains that brought them closer together, share joyous memories of special events that united them in love and laughter, introducing a new-born child or one who will soon be the next in-law uniting two “love-birds.”
Would it not be special, however, if we made it a holy day? A day of worship and praise, a day when we set aside time to emphasize the gift of our new birth through Christ?
Paul wrote some inspiring words about the gift of our new birth made possible because of the birth of Jesus. “You have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you.”
This “new nature” means it is possible for us to have a new life through His Son and one day we will be like Him and spend eternity with Him.
Prayer:We thank You, Lord, for the gift of Jesus Who will give us a new life and the joy and peace of salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
He is a central figure in the success of the New York Yankees. He has led the American League in the most single hits, runs scored and “at bats.” He has over 3,000 hits, stolen more bases than any other player, has five golden glove awards, selected 13 times as an all-star and played more games than any other New York Yankee. Many of his records will stand for many years to come.
A reporter once asked, “What’s the best advice your father ever gave you?”
“Don’t let anyone outwork you,” came the quick reply of Derek Jeter.
We are all compiling a list of accomplishments that will reflect what we have done with talents God has given us. However, beyond that fact we must realize that the time we are allocated and the talents we are given are gifts from God and must be used to His glory.
Paul wrote, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as though you are working for the Lord rather than for people!” We are all accountable to someone for the work we do here on earth. Ultimately, though, the Christian is accountable to God and will be judged by Him for what we have done with the many opportunities He has given us. We must always remember that we are obligated to God to honor Him with every gift He has given us.
Prayer:We thank You, Lord, that You are interested in the work that You have given us to do. May we accept this with thanksgiving and bring You honor in what we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:23,24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
James and his grandmother were having a wonderful day at the beach. The wind was gentle, the sun warm and the crowd friendly. It was a delight for her to watch James as he splashed in the waves not far from where she was relaxing.
Suddenly a large wave came crashing over James and pulled him into the water and out of her sight. In fear and anguish she shouted, “Oh, God, I’ll do anything You ever ask me if You will only save my grandson and return him safely to shore. Please God – help me.”
The very next wave brought James back to shore safely, but a bit frightened. Standing up and walking toward him, his grandmother gave a sigh of relief knowing he was safe. Then she put her hands on her hips and said, “O.K. God. What happened to his hat?”
Paul wrote, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.” It seems to be much easier to “devote ourselves to prayer” than to “devote ourselves to a thankful heart.” Giving thanks to someone means we are indebted to them for something.
Our God is a gracious and giving God and all that we have is the result of His goodness and grace. He stands before us with outstretched arms and open hands waiting to draw us close to Himself to protect us and provide for our every need, beginning with our salvation. Yet, too often we fail to be grateful!
Prayer:Forgive us, Heavenly Father, if we have been forgetful in expressing our gratitude to You for all You have done for us. May our thankfulness be equal to Your gifts. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 4:2 Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.
John Tyndall was a nineteenth century physicist who was highly respected and widely recognized for his scientific research in physics. He was the author of seventeen books and his work led to many discoveries that advanced our knowledge about the universe. In fact, many think it was his work that led to the interest of studying the science of physics.
He was once asked by a colleague, “Where did your greatest inspiration come from?”
“A servant,” he replied. “Every morning he’d knock at my door and say, ‘Arise sir! You have great work to do today.’”
We do, too.
Paul talks about the attitude and perspective we who are Christians should possess. “Work hard,” he says, “and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than people.”
Ever since the dawn of creation God has given man work to do. And if we view this work as Paul asks us to, it will be done as an act of service and worship to our Creator. Having this view of our daily responsibilities would take away much of the drudgery and dissatisfaction that often make them boring and appear meaningless to us. We might even end our complaining and have less resentment for what we do. Perhaps we might even view our problems as part of the cost of discipleship.
Prayer:Lord, give us thankful hearts, able bodies and sound minds that enable us to work. May we see all that we do as an opportunity to bring You honor and glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
Everyone called him “Lucky Lindy” but not those who knew him. When he made his historic flight across the Atlantic Ocean, Charles Lindbergh left absolutely nothing to “luck.” During his preparation he was careful and cautious, thoughtful and thorough. He never hoped things would go right. He made certain that everything would be right. Nothing was left to chance. Everything relating to his flight was the result of a deliberate choice.
A few days prior to his historic solo transatlantic flight, Lindbergh and his copilot, Frank Samuels, completed a hard day’s work. They spent endless hours examining every detail of what he would do, why and how he would do it and the possibilities of something going wrong.
That night they checked into a motel. Shortly after midnight Samuels was awakened and saw Lindbergh at the window. “Why are you sitting there awake when you should be sleeping?” asked Samuels.
“I’m studying the stars,” he answered “and practicing staying awake.”
Paying attention to details and leaving nothing to chance is a God-honoring character trait. It is a reflection of our dependence upon God to give insight and wisdom to do everything to honor Him for His gifts.
Prayer:Help us, Father, to realize that whatever we do as Christians is a reflection of You. May whatever we do in word or deed be done to glorify You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Leonardo da Vinci had just completed his masterpiece, The Last Supper. Pleased with his work, he invited another artist to come to his studio and view his painting.
Gazing with great admiration, the guest artist was overwhelmed and speechless. Finally he exclaimed to da Vinci, “You have painted the chalice with exquisite beauty. It is the most beautiful thing in the whole picture.”
When he heard the comments of the other artist, he immediately took his brush and painted over the chalice. As his friend watched in shock, da Vinci said, “I don’t want anything to take away from the beauty of my Lord which is the reason for the painting.”
Christ is present in the life of every Christian. But His presence is no assurance of His preeminence. Writing to the church at Colossae Paul said, “Christ...is first in everything.”
Because of His death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, God exalted Him and elevated Him to His rightful place in creation. And if God so honored Him as being supreme over all things, how ought we to honor Him in and through and with and by our lives?
Simply accepting Him as our Savor is not enough. We must exalt Him as Lord and elevate Him in every aspect of our lives.
Prayer:We thank You Father, for what You have done for us and what You can do through us. May we make You the centerpiece of our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church, he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy
Booker T. Washington began life as a slave and ended life as a famous educator, author, orator and political leader. As a young man he wanted to attend Hampton Institute. He often recalled his “entrance exam” the headmaster gave him prior to his admission.
Wanting to be careful before admitting him to the Institute, the headmaster asked him to clean a room. To make sure his work was acceptable he swept the floor three times and dusted it four times.
Unable to find the slightest amount of dirt or dust, the headmaster said, “You'll do to enter this institution.”
“That,” said Washington, “was the turning point in my life.”
Work has always been a significant part of God's creation. Often when we allow our tasks to become sheer drudgery or demeaning, we forget that whatever God calls upon us to do we are to do it as an act of worship and service to Him.
Paul said, “Work hard and cheerfully at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” For Jesus' sake, we are to work without complaining or resentment because whatever we do we do to honor Him as part of our discipleship.
We were born to work and worship. They go together. Whatever He calls us to do let's pass the “exam.”
Prayer:Lord, we recall with fondness that You were called to work as a laborer in a carpenter’s shop. May we, as You certainly did, do things to the glory of God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not men… Colossians 3:23-25
While stopped at a traffic light, the motorist in the car waiting beside James rolled down his window and motioned for him to do the same. He did, and the driver next to him asked, "Why the license plate with F I D O on it? Is that your dog?"
"No," came the reply. "It's to remind me when a motorist is discourteous or spiteful to me that I am to Forget It -Drive On."
What a great reminder of how we Christians are to behave. Paul sent a letter to the church in Colossae saying that "whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus." This means that no matter where we are or what we are doing, day or night, we are to behave in a way that brings honor to the Lord!
Often in the rush of life and the pressures of the moment, we forget the overwhelming obligation that we have to God as our Father. We get caught up in the events of life, the tight schedules we arrange, the many requirements others make of us each day. So as the pressures mount and the demands escalate, we allow our primary responsibility to slip away from us. At all times and in all places we need to be aware of the impact our behavior has on others.
Prayer:Help us, Father, to be conscious of what we do as Your representatives, remembering that others see Your love in what we do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:17 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.
Constantine the Great is credited with being the originator of the Easter Parade. It began on the first Easter Sunday following his conversion. On that day, he ordered the members of his court to wear their finest garments to honor and celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
What will we wear for our Easter garments this year? New clothes covering an old nature? Costly garments hiding a deceitful heart? Changing our apparel will not change our attitudes or our actions.
When we walk with the Lord, He will make all things new from the inside out. He is able to change our old nature into one of His making, a deceitful heart into one devoted to loving Him and our stale thoughts into fresh new insights into the way He wants us to live.
When we turn our lives over to the Lord, we will not need to worry about what we wear or where we walk in a parade. We will be covered with His grace, demonstrate His goodness and reflect His greatness wherever we are.
Prayer:Lord, sometimes it is easier to dress the part than to live the part of being a Christian. I ask that You give me the strength to live my life through the power that comes from the Holy Spirit: in Your Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:1-14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Josiah Wedgewood was the founder of one of the world’s finest pottery businesses. It was his practice to walk through his plant carrying a little hammer. Whenever he detected the slightest defect in any of his earthenware, he would break it and shout, “Only the best is worthy of the name of Wedgewood.” That is why his china has maintained the reputation of being among the world’s finest.
Have you ever considered what it means to be called “Christian?” It means that we are being called by the name “Christ.” What a privilege! But are we worthy?
Often individuals find fault with the way some of us who are called “Christian” behave. It is not that those in question “believe” wrong, it is simply that they do not “behave” right. It is an observation about how they live and what they do. The world finds no fault with Christ, but has difficulty understanding why those who represent Him do not live as they are expected to. Perhaps this is why many do not receive Him.
Too many of those who claim His name find it easier to “talk” as He did than to “walk” as He walked.
Prayer:Father, it is sometimes difficult for me to walk as You walked. Please give me Your strength and courage to live for You: through Christ. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by Him.