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 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving;
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 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
Herb had been dating Liz for about a year. He was deeply in love with her and finally decided that he would ask her to marry him. So, he went to a jewelry store and used all of his hard earned savings to purchase an engagement ring for her. Unfortunately, the rings were more expensive than he imagined and he had little money to spend and had to settle for one with a small diamond.

One evening he took her to dinner and after they ordered their meal, with a shy, trembling voice he asked, “Liz, will you marry me?”

“Oh yes, of course I will,” said Liz.

With tears in his eyes he presented the ring to her and said, “Liz, I’m sorry, so sorry that the diamond is not as big as I wanted it to be or as large as my love.”

“Oh my,” said Liz, “that doesn’t matter. The diamond is as big as we make it!”

How very true! Value is always in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? We often substitute things for thoughtfulness or gifts with goodness. We even confuse large with lovely or big with beauty. Often we substitute spending time with someone by offering them a present instead of ourselves.

When we give something to someone, especially God, cost doesn’t matter. What we keep for our self does.

Prayer: May we realize, Lord, that giving reflects the sincerity of our heart not the size of the gift. May we show our love more by what we do than what we give. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Colossians 3:14-25 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Read more...)
Thomas Edison is recognized as being one of the greatest inventors who ever lived. He is credited with over 1,200 inventions, including the light bulb and the first “talking machine.” He was the founder of General Electric and greatly influenced the quality of life for everyone.

Edison was one who was known to be very conscious of the value of time. On one occasion the person introducing him as a featured speaker at a large gathering did not know when to end his remarks. He spoke endlessly of his creative genius, his ability to see things others did not see and the great future for his “talking machine.”

When he finally stopped talking, Edison stood up and said, “Thank you for your kind words. But I must make a correction. God invented the talking machine. I only invented the first one that can be shut off.”

“Let your conversation be gracious and effective,” said Paul, “so that you will have the right answer for everyone.” A wise warning for Christians who want to witness the grace of God in a way that will draw others to Christ.

We Christians are ineffective if we act offensive and arrogant. We must always be gracious and humble if we want others to listen to and accept God’s message of love, salvation and hope.

Prayer: We pray, Father, that the “grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ” will always be obvious in our speech and conduct as we represent You to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Colossians 4:5-6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one. (Read more…)
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 in word or deed, do 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. He told the other artist that he did not want anything to take away from his Lord for whom he had painted the picture.

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 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, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.
The great American novelist, Sinclair Lewis, was invited to give a lecture to a group of college students who wanted to become writers. As they sat quietly and waited expectantly, he opened his remarks by asking, “How many of you intend to become successful writers?”

Immediately, everyone in the audience held up a hand to declare their intentions.

“In that case,” said Lewis, “my advice to you is to go home and write.”

Shortly after creating Adam, God directed him to care for and tend to the Garden that He had created for him. And ever since then man has been responsible for working with God to take care of His creation. Each day we are to take every task and do it as “though we are working for the Lord.” Why?

“Remember,” said Paul, “the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward” because we “work for Him, rather than people.” We are also told to “work hard and cheerfully” because our tasks are acts of worship as we serve Christ each day.

Prayer: Father, may we remember that whatever we do in word or deed, we do to the glory of God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Colossians 3:23-24 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

An art teacher asked her students to draw a picture of someone famous. Looking over the shoulder of one of her students she asked, "And whose picture are you drawing?"

"God's," he answered confidently.

"God's?” asked the teacher. "No one knows what He looks like."

"They will when I get through!" he said.

Who is right: the teacher or the student?

Paul said that "Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God." The word Paul chose for image was a word his readers knew meant "a description" of a person. In other words, what we see in the life of Jesus is a portrait, or a description, of God. So, if we want to know Who God is and what He is like, it is possible through the life and teachings of Jesus.

In Jesus we see a Man filled with unending love that included the least, the last, the loneliest. A Man who healed, helped and hungered to reach and redeem the lost. And this He did on a cross.

Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the picture we have of You in Your Son, our Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
Years ago there was a pretzel stand in front of a building in New York. A generous business man wanted to help the owner. Each day he would put a quarter on the counter and walk away without taking a pretzel.

One day as he was leaving his quarter, the owner said, “Sir…”

Stopping quickly, he said, “I presume that you are going to ask me why I never take the pretzels?”

“No,” she said rather haughtily. “I just wanted to tell you that the price of the pretzels is now fifty cents.”

In Paul’s letter to the Colossians he warned them to “Put to death…evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.” He asks that we consider ourselves as though we are dead and therefore unresponsive and unable to be involved in a list of sins, ending with greed. He suggests we make a conscious effort every day to remove anything in our lives that would in any way allow these desires to be present and grow and lead to our destruction. We are to rely on the Holy Spirit’s power to overcome the temptation to sin.

In these days of economic uncertainty we are much more aware of what we have and do not have. We seem to face more pressures to lay up treasures for our future on earth rather than with God. Do we rely more on what we can get from God or what we can give to God?

Prayer: Lord, give us a clear vision of what to value and protect us from desires to put “things” before You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Colossians 3:5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
He was deeply in love with his fiancée, and saved as much money he could to buy her a beautiful engagement ring. Finally, he took his savings to the jeweler and bought the biggest diamond he could afford.

As he presented it to her he said, “I’m sorry dear, that is it not bigger. It’s all that I had.”

“It’s perfect,” she shouted in her excitement. “It is as big as we make it!”

What a beautiful response. Sincerity is much more important than size, and thoughtfulness more than any “thing.” Size had nothing to do with our salvation. Our salvation depended on Someone’s sacrifice.

If we want more from God, we must give more to God. That’s His way. And He invites us to make His way, our way. “Give and it will be given to you,” Jesus said.

When we share our time, He will increase our talents so we can do more. When we share our treasures, He will make up the difference - and then some. When we share our strength, He will enable us reach far beyond the limits we place on ourselves. But we must give in faith, believing and trusting that He will provide for our every need in ways we never imagined.

Prayer: Help us, Heavenly Father, to have enough faith to trust, knowing that You will never fail us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture: Colossians 3:14-25
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