April 29, 2017

This Week…Colossians 3:15-17

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 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say,
do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17

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Here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we are focusing our thoughts for the next few weeks on giving thanks, gratitude, and being thankful.  This week our devotional writers have been so encouraging in their reminders to always give thanks to God through our Lord Jesus.  Please click on the indivdual links to read each complete devotional; here are a few excerpts from their thoughts….

In Good Deeds, Ann posted a few excellent questions to consider regarding our actions, our deeds.  And reminded us of the reasons…

“Sisters, it is good to do good deeds to everyone around us as it gives glory to God…”.

In God’s Peace, Tina shared Jesus’ example of peace…

“I like how Jesus always paced himself.  Taking the time to pray…being intentional about it.  Jesus always had a peace about Him…”.

In Thankful Representatives, Clella encouraged us to be thankful and draw others to Christ…

“When we live in peace, joy, thankfulness, and God’s wisdom, we will be representatives that show the world around us our God of love. With thankful hearts, we can sing, speak, and do that which draws others to Christ…”.

In Be Thankful, Ahmee reminded us of a few of the many things we do have to be thankful for…

“We can decide to focus on what we do have or what we don’t have.  When we choose to focus on what we do have we are generally going to find ourselves in a happier disposition than if we focused on the negative…”.

Thankful Representatives

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And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say,
do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,

giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17 NLT

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According to Google.com, a representative is “a person chosen or appointed to act or speak for another or others.”  And at Dictionary.com it is also defined as “a typical example or specimen of a group, quality, or kind.”

This passage of Scripture gives us a lot to consider.  As one chosen by God, we, as Christians, are to represent Christ Jesus to those around us.  We are to be a “typical example of His quality.”  And how do we do that?  “Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives” (verse 16).

What is “the message about Christ?”  It is the message that God loves us so much that “He gave His Son, His one and only Son.  And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life” (John 3:16 MSG).  Does that good news fill your heart with thankfulness and joy to the point of singing?  It does mine!

“If thankfulness becomes a way of life, it will make it much easier to maintain a state of peace.  It helps us look on the bright side instead of focusing upon the events which can disturb our calm [our inner peace.]”

quote taken from The Complete Biblical Library,
The New Testament Study Bible Galatians through Philemon

God’s quality and quantity of love is beyond measure.  God is not asking us to “be Him” [which we know is impossible], but He is asking us to live and love “like Him.” When we choose to be the representative He wants us to be and in the place He wants us to be, we will have His peace.

In Philippians 4:1-9, Paul told Euodia and Syntyche to settle their disagreements, and he told the church to help them.  Paul wanted them to experience the joy and peace that God desires for His people, and to be the representatives God wanted them to be. When we live in peace, joy, thankfulness, and God’s wisdom, we will be representatives that show the world around us our God of love. With thankful hearts, we can sing, speak, and do that which draws others to Christ, and that also strengthens our sisters (and brothers) in Christ.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

A life that is full of Christ’s peace and His Word
is a life that is thankful, and rich and wise.
It will enrich everyone around you. Thank You, Lord.

(Many years ago I wrote this note in the margin of my Bible; I still believe it today.)

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Dear Lord Jesus, we come to You with thankful hearts.  Your Word—Your Good News—fills our lives with wisdom, peace, and joy.  Those are qualities people around us are looking for in their lives.  Lord, please help us to be Your representatives so that others will be drawn to You.  May our thanksgiving during this season of the year (and everyday) make people curious enough to ask why so we can share You with them.  In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

God’s Peace

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Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.

Colossians 3:15-17 MSG

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Ever felt so rushed, you snapped at everyone?  You felt no peace about what you were doing, but were anxious; then only to have the Holy Spirit cause you to check yourself?  I have.  Trying to do a task by myself, not giving myself time to complete it early so I could review it and submit it correctly the first time. I know my personality is to complete it correctly the first time, as it should be.  But circumstances can get in the way and, at times, I forget to slow down and double check my work.

I like how Jesus always paced himself.  Taking the time to pray…being intentional about it.  He demonstrated to His disciples how to pray, when to pray, and how to be still and wait on His Father to answer.  Jesus always had a peace about Him.  Remember how Jesus was on the boat in the terrible storm on the Sea of Galilee? The disciples became very anxious but Jesus slept right through it.

But as they were sailing along He fell asleep;
and a fierce gale of wind descended on the lake,
and they began to be swamped and to be in danger.
They came to Jesus and woke Him up, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”
And He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves,
and they stopped, and it became calm.
And He said to them, “Where is your faith?”
They were fearful and amazed, saying to one another,
“Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey Him?”
Luke 8:23-25
All authority is given to Jesus.  This is not what the disciples could see in the moment.  But you and I have the benefit of reading the miracles of Jesus and His disciples. We can begin to give thanks to God for His written word to instruct us, guide us, and set us on the correct path for our lives.
This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for all we have.  Does not matter if what we have is new, used up, worn out, not the right brand, or maybe you do not live in the ‘right’ neighborhood.  Remember God has you where you need to be to further His Kingdom.  We are to be willing to submit to God’s Will for our lives.
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Dear God, thank You for Your lovingkindness.  We ask for healing and a desire to return to You and Your teachings for our nation.  Send the Helper to those who ask, for He will only come when asked. Show us how to be a light for You in every area of our lives and give us the courage to speak out when we feel Your nudging.  Forgive us for our stubbornness in not following after You in all things.  In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Be Thankful

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And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say, do it as representative of Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17

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When I first read this passage, verse 15 stuck out to me, “…and let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.”  The part that I got stuck on was “…and always be thankful.”  I know it’s cliché to say that you should always be thankful—but you should.  It’s so easy to say that you have nothing to be thankful for when you aren’t focused on the bigger picture.

When you focus on what you don’t have it’s easy to forget what you already do have.  For instance, perhaps you want a new car, but you just can’t afford it.  Yes, it would be helpful, but you can still be thankful for what you do already have.

  • Do you have a ride to work? Be thankful.
  • Do you have a vehicle that just needs some fixing up? Be thankful for that.
  • Do you have working legs that can get you to work? Be thankful for that.

Maybe your circumstances might not be exactly the way that you want them to be right now, but at least you do have.  And that is something to be thankful for.

When you can’t find anything at all to be thankful for, the very basic thing to be thankful for is mere life.  Of course, you could say that you would be better off dead…but at this point it’s time to realize that you are having a pity party and it’s time to leave this event.

Being thankful is something that is so simple to do, but it also so simple to not do. It is a choice that we have to make.  We can decide to focus on what we do have or what we don’t have.  When we choose to focus on what we do have we are generally going to find ourselves in a happier disposition than if we focused on the negative.  So be thankful.

My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness

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 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives.
Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives.
Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:15-17

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My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who bore my pain
Who plumbed the depths of my disgrace
And gave me life again
Who crushed my curse of sinfulness
And clothed me with His light
And wrote His law of righteousness
With pow’r upon my heart
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who walks beside
Who floods my weaknesses with strength
And causes fears to fly
Whose every promise is enough
For every step I take
Sustaining me with arms of love
And crowning me with grace
My heart is filled with thankfulness
To Him who reigns above
Whose wisdom is my perfect peace
Whose every thought is love
For every day I have on earth
Is given by the King
So I will give my life my all
Stuart Townend
written along with Keith & Kristyn Getty