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Posts Tagged ‘Colossians 1:9-12’

A Life That Pleases God

June 11th, 2014

“God is giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 NKJV.

A life that pleases God is the life most satisfying for you.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “a life that pleases God.”

Some days, you just don’t feel motivated. That’s not too bad unless that becomes true for most days, not just some. Motivation is engendered by having a reward worth acquiring or an accomplishment worthy of achieving, or a relationship worth pleasing. If your motivation is lacking, your efforts will be measured and minimal. If your motivations are unclear or impure, even your best efforts will be ineffective. Your first and enduring motivation should be to live a life that pleases God. A life that pleases God is the life most satisfying for you.

People of good heart want to please others who are important to them, as well they should, but without becoming people pleasers. “Serve [others] sincerely as you would serve Christ. Work hard . . do the will of God with all your heart. Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.” Read Ephesians 6:5-8 NLT. One goal must have priority over every other: pleasing God whatever the cost or inconvenience.

“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.” Colossians 3:23-24 NKJV. “The reward of the inheritance” should be your incomparable and eternal motivation. The Apostle Paul held distinct goals for his life and the lives of those in his spiritual care: “That you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Read Colossians 1:9-12 NKJV. Imagine the satisfaction you would feel with the life Paul describes: worthy, fully pleasing, fruitful, and increasing in knowledge.

Alone, desire and intention are not enough; there is still something more needed. Your will must follow your willingness. Paul’s admonition applies, “Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means.” 2 Corinthians 8:10-12 NIV. God is not hard to please, not at all like some people for whom, “enough is never enough.” But know this clearly, God does expect your first and best. The life that pleases God loves the will of God, keeps His commands, follows His Word, serves wholeheartedly, considers others important, and lives charitably. Those are big expectations for an individual to fulfill. But Jesus is your example and enabler, “I always do what pleases Him.” John 8:29 NIV.

Here’s how this works for you. ”For God is working with you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:13 NLT. What you lack, God offers. As badly as a person may want to live a life pleasing to God, you must also recognize the secret is this: “God is working with you,” producing the desire in you to obey and supplying the power to “do what pleases Him.” What pleases Him? Obeying His will. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead . . make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NKJV. The resurrection of Jesus assures you of His power to keep His promises.

Today, my prayer for you is that His pleasure with who you are and what you do is uppermost.

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Purpose and Priorities

October 8th, 2012

“I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be.” Philippians 3:12 NLT.

Defined purpose and priorities are fundamental for maximum accomplishment.

My thoughts and comments today are about “purpose and priorities.”

It is easy to live simply for the moment, but not best. You have to live in the moment, but you need to live for the future. Today is the fruit of yesterday but also the seed of tomorrow. How purposefully you live today has so much to do with the opportunities and joys available ahead for you. Without a sense of purpose and priorities, life becomes occupied with lesser things. Clear purpose determines direction, decisions, and ultimately destination; defined priorities accomplish maximum achievement. Without clear purpose you are adrift. Without priorities, you waste valuable time, resources, and best efforts – good replaces best; urgent supplants important; temporal displaces eternal.

Consider Paul’s confidence and single-mindedness, “I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ Jesus saved me for and wants me to be . . I am focusing all my energies on this one thing.” Read Philippians 3:10-14 NLT. Paul had conviction of purpose and firmly established priorities. You know from what you were saved; more importantly, understand for what you are saved. Spiritual growth does not just happen on its own, nor is it simply a calendar event. Christ-likeness is the result of single-mindedness, in a deliberative process whereby you cooperate with the Holy Spirit to become all the Father purposed for you to be and do.

Jesus lived with singular purpose. Even as a young boy, Jesus had a single-mindedness of purpose. He lived with this conviction, “I must be about My Father’s business.” Luke 2:49 NKJV. Later, neither the crowd’s adulation nor criticism could deter Him. He could not have been more clear, “I have come down from Heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me . . [I am] come to seek and to save that which was lost.” John 6:38/Luke 19:10 NKJV.

Jesus chose Godly priorities. “The One who sent Me is with Me . .  for I always do what pleases Him.” John 8:29 NIV. There is no greater joy than the sure knowledge that your life is pleasing to God. Paul’s prayer was: “to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God . .” Read Colossians 1:9-12 NKJV. “Filled . . worthy . . pleasing . . fruitful . . increasing!” How are you doing in all those?

But therein is to be found this good news. “May the God of peace Who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, equip you with all you need for doing His will. May He produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, all that is pleasing to Him.” Hebrews 13:20-21 NLT. God equips you “with all you need for doing His will.” God produces in you, “all that is pleasing to Him.” How can you be confident of this, you may ask. Consider carefully His past record. Your God has unequalled power; He is the One “who brought again from the dead the Lord Jesus.” How does your little need stack up to that impossibility? He accomplishes this “through the power of Jesus Christ.” See Ephesians 3:21 NIV.

Long ago, I made this dedication, “I will live daily with an eternal perspective and Kingdom priorities.” There it was – clear purpose and defined priorities. Two understandings guide my personal discipleship, “Keep the main thing the main thing” and “First things first.” In a practical way, I think those two guidelines clarify the dedication I made some years ago. My Dad taught me those basics; I heartily commend them to you.

My prayer for you today is this: be clear about who you are and what you are to be.

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Prayer Seeds

November 17th, 2011

“We have not stopped praying for you.” Colossians 1:9 NIV

“Your prayers are continuing seed sown into the purposes of God.”

My thoughts today are about “prayer seeds.”

There are many things that you can do for others – acts of kindness, words of counsel and advice, encouragement, practical assistance – but there is nothing more helpful or effective than praying for another person. You are only able to help another person within the limits of your awareness and understanding, limited resource, or in observable needs. But what of needs unseen or unsaid?

There are times when you want to help a person, and would help if you only knew how. Let me suggest that you pray for them. “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will . . The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.” Romans 8:26-27 NIV/ James 5:16 NLT. Prayer is a way that you can touch another’s life beyond your normal reach. When you pray, you ask God to do what you cannot.

General and ambiguous prayers are not likely to have powerful result. The Apostle Paul was faithful and direct in prayer because he knew the value of others’ prayers for him, “As you help us by your prayers . . many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.” 2 Corinthians 1:11 NIV. See also Romans 12:11-12 NIV. Paul was steadfast in praying because he knew what his prayers could accomplish, “We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to . .” See Colossians 1:9-12 NIV.

Notice that Paul was “asking God,” not telling God! Prayer is not your invitation to pressure or insist of God; neither is it a passive assumption of what will be will be. Prayer is the sincere expression of your heart and desire for God’s best for another, realizing that you may not always know the best that God has for them. Notice also that Paul did “not stop praying.” There are crisis occasions necessitating prayer, but more generally, there is need for continuing prayer.

Prayers are the continuing seed sown into the purposes of God for the accomplishment of amazing possibilities. John wrote of a vision of the Throne of God where those worshiping there, “held gold bowls filled with incense – the prayers of God’s people . . the incense with the prayers of the saints ascended before God from the angel’s hands.” See Revelation 5:7-8 NLT/8:3-4 NKJV. Prayers of faith and submission to God’s will have no expiration date; they remain ever upon the heart of God.

When you do not know how to pray for someone, pray as Paul did for those he loved. See Colossians 1:9-14 NIV. Prayer that touches God’s heart and changes others for the better includes: knowledge of God’s will with understanding, a life pleasing to God, fruitfulness and growth in good works, patiently enduring with God’s strength, and a joyful and thankful life in God. See also Philippians 1:9-11 NIV/2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 NKJV.

My prayer for you today is that you will value the practice of prayer.

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