Highlights From Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians

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Zachaeus vs. The Rich Young Ruler

Luke 19:1-9
The Rich Young Ruler
Luke 18:18-25

He wanted to see Jesus He wanted to question Jesus
He acknowledged his wrongdoing. He was perfect since he kept the law from his youth.
He was willing to make restitution
to anyone he had stolen from so he could follow Jesus.
Money was his security and his god so he could not part with it to follow Jesus
He wanted to follow Jesus. He wanted to follow Moses
He wanted salvation by faith in Christ. He wanted salvation by law-keeping.
He received salvation by accepting the terms God offered
He turned away from God’s terms for salvation because he loved his money.
He was satisfied to serve God rather than money.
He was unhappy because he could not serve both God and money.
He admitted he had made mistakes in his life.
He was “perfect” for he had kept the law from his youth
He was humble.
He was proud of his law-keeping.
He entertained Jesus for a more in-depth conversation
He rejected Jesus and went his own way.
He wanted a relationship with Jesus. He wanted a formula by which he could attain salvation.
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Praying the Lord’s Prayer

Praying the Lord’s Prayer

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. “Matt.6:9-13 KJV

Jesus gave this prayer to his disciples in response to their request to teach them to pray. In Christian circles, this is the first prayer children are taught to memorize at home, church or school.  I love this prayer, especially when recited from the King James version of the Bible. It seems extra special when said in King James’ English.

Sometimes, instead of just repeating this prayer, I would extract the concepts outlined in the prayer and expand on them a little.

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Our heavenly Father, who dwells in immortality and who lives in unity with the Spirit and the Son as the one and only true God; we ascribe glory, praise, and honour to you. Your knowledge, wisdom, power and greatness excels by far anything that man is capable of demonstrating. You ably displayed your majesty, sovereignty and absolute authority over all creation by laying the foundation of this vast universe. You also sustain all life by your awesome power, and your creatures are forever in your loving care.  Thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins and to grant us eternal life with him in glory.  Blessed are you the God and architect of our salvation.

Thy Kingdom Come

May the reign of Jesus Christ come to people of every race, religion, nation, ethnicity. Let the gospel of Jesus spread until all peoples have heard about your saving grace.

Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Your will is that no one is lost but that all receive life everlasting.  Save men and women, boys and girls in every part of the world. Let your purposes stand even in this evil world. Do not let the wicked triumph over the good. As you direct the affairs of heaven, intervene in the affairs of man that what you want will be accomplished for your glory and for the ultimate good of all people.

Give us this day our daily bread

Thank you for a new day and new mercies.  Grant us a deeper understanding of your word. Refill us this day with your Holy Spirit that we bear much fruit; that we can be lights and salt to this world in which we live. Provide food, clothing, and shelter for us, our families, the church, the homeless, needy and the disadvantaged. Take care of our persecuted brothers and sisters; give them the strength and grace to be faithful until the end of life’s journey. Guide and equip pastors, elders and other church leaders in their efforts to prepare your saints to do your work.
Reward those who serve faithfully in their capacity as leaders among your people

And, forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors

Lord, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, please forgive us and restore us. Give us a heart that is like yours, that is always willing to forgive those who offend us.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Heavenly Father, we thank you for Jesus Christ, our great High Priest. He underwent temptation as we do, but unlike us he never sinned. He understands our plight as human, so we ask for more grace in this time of need. Give us the power to resist temptation; sin has no right to dominate our lives since we are under the grace of God and not under the law. Place on us the full armour of God that we will be able to withstand the assault of the evil one. Open our eyes to the devil’s lies and deception as he tailors them to our unlawful desires to lure us away from our loyal devotion for you.

For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever.

Lord, we praise your name always; cause all nations to come and bow before you. You deserve glory, honour and majesty because of your greatness, power and love for us. You have been gracious and merciful to us; you took away our sins by the death of your only Son Jesus. Praise the name of our God who lives forever.

This is just one example of how the Lord’s Prayer can be prayed in expanded form. You may want to vary the approach and just expand on two or three of the concepts at any given time.  With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you may develop your unique way of handling this prayer. Whatever you do, hold this prayer, dear. This prayer may be the only one you currently know. Nevertheless, use it consistently and regularly as your way of communicating your heartfelt gratitude, praise, and earnest requests to your heavenly Father.

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How My Parents, My Church and School Inclined My Heart to the Lord

My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

Proverbs 4:20

What is it that shapes a child’s future and prepares him for a life of service to God? In the book of first Samuel, there is the story of a woman who when she finally was able to conceive brought her son to the priest at the temple and left him in God’s service. Today, in our western society, we do not have such a system where a mother can dedicate her child to the care of a priest. However, we employ various methods by which we seek to inculcate Christian values into our children.

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Two Kinds of Righteousness

The Bible describes two kinds of righteousness that man will employ in his quest to become reconciled to God. The patriarchs Abraham, Noah and others who lived before the time of the nation of Israel were introduced to righteousness by faith. Abraham believed, and God declared him righteous for his faith (Rom.4:3). The eleventh chapter of Hebrews mentions the many heroes of faith who lived even during the time of ancient Israel. However, with the introduction of the law of Moses in Exodus 20, righteousness by obedience to the written code emerged. The one massive problem with this method of seeking acceptance with God is that humankind cannot keep this law without failure. There is no way for us to be reconciled to God through law-keeping; hence the only method remaining is righteousness by faith.
Let us start with a working definition of righteousness and then proceed to examine these two kinds of justice.

“When we translate the Greek words based on the stem dikai- into English we make use of two sets of words based on the stems, just and right. So we have just, justice, justify and right, righteous, righteousness, rightwise (old English). The use of two sets of English words for the one set of Greek words sometimes causes difficulties for students of the Bible. This is especially so when the verb “to justify,” describing God’s word and reaction, is used with the noun “righteousness,” pointing to the result of that action.”

“Righteousness Definition and Meaning – Bible Dictionary.” Bible Study Tools, https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/righteousness/. Accessed 21 May 2019.

We see from this quotation that righteousness results from God’s determined action to justify and place the repentant sinner in a right relationship with himself.

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Pentecost – Before, Then and After

Pentecost is considered one of the foremost festivals in the church calendar. This festival, unlike, the celebrations of Christmas and Easter, is not overshadowed by allegations of so-called pagan influence. Many groups that are heavily influenced by the law of Moses; and who think that the Jewish holidays are relevant for Christians, will celebrate Pentecost with an Old Testament emphasis. For them, Pentecost of Acts 2 did not change anything except that the church started on that day. On the other hand, orthodox Christianity sees Pentecost as a pivotal point in history when God set the stage to reach humanity with his infinite grace by commissioning his Apostles to preach the Gospel and by sending the promised Holy Spirit to empower believers every step of the journey.

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Tips For Growing in Prayer

During the earthly ministry of Jesus, he took time to be alone to pray to his heavenly Father. Jesus also prayed publicly to bless meals and at the tomb of Lazarus. Jesus, in his sermon on the mount, gave his followers doctrinal instructions on the topic of prayer.

Jesus’ instructions to his disciples concerning prayer were that they should not make prayer an ostentatious show as the Pharisees did. Instead, they were to keep their prayer life simple, humble and without pretense. Jesus told his followers that their heavenly Father would respond to their supplication that emanated from a heart wanting to please the Father and willing to obey his commands.

The disciples did not pray while Jesus was with them, but they noticed that the disciples of John the Baptist prayed. Inspired by the attitude of John’s disciples, Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them to pray. Jesus made it very simple for them. He gave them a prayer that was short enough to be memorized. Both Matthew and Luke record this prayer in their gospels (Matt.6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4). Throughout the centuries after the death and resurrection of Jesus, this prayer is repeated in homes, schools, churches, workplaces by Christians all over the world.

As the Church grew in the years after Christ’s resurrection, the Holy Spirit taught and inspired the apostles to give further instructions on prayer. Paul, the most prolific writer in the New Testament, has given Christians much to digest concerning the subject of petitioning God.

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Living By Faith or Living By the Law, Which?

For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.”The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. Gal.3:10-14 NIV

If you believe that the Bible commands you to live by the Law, then you will have lots of trouble reconciling what Paul is saying in these verses. (Paul is specific here when he speaks of the Law; he calls it “the Book of the Law”). Perhaps, you have convinced yourself that Paul means something different from what he plainly says. On the other hand, there is no shortage of individuals who are willing to twist Scripture to make it say what they believe. Beware of those who do that.

Jesus’ yoke is easy and his burden is light
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King Solomon Started Well, but Allowed Disobedience to Derail Him: A Lesson For Us.

Solomon was the son of King David and Bathsheba.  As a child, Solomon had the advantage of a godly upbringing. His father, whom the Bible refers to as “a man after God’s own heart” gave his son a good example to follow.  He was privileged to be chosen by God to succeed his father to the throne of Israel.  God gave him the task of building the first temple.  Solomon got the opportunity to exceed his father King David in his loyalty and faithfulness to God, but he allowed persistent disobedience and stubborn refusal to repent to separate him from God .

Solomon asks for wisdom

The early part of Solomon’s reign demonstrated that he had a desire to follow his father’s godly example. Immediately after his inauguration, the young king recognised that the task of leading a nation was beyond his abilities.  In humility, he admitted his need for wisdom and understanding in handling the difficulties the people would bring for his council. No doubt, he saw his father praying to God in times of need, so he asked God for the necessary prudence and empathy that would make him a successful leader.

God was impressed that this young king was thinking of the needs of his people rather than his selfish desires, so God gave him the wisdom he asked for but added personal riches as a bonus (1Kings 3:7-11).

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Jewish Fall Festivals and their Meanings

Fall is the time of the year when Jewish people and an increasing number of Christians celebrate some special days. The Jews commemorate these festivals as part of their culture which is rooted in their history of release from Egyptian slavery, their journey through the desert, their settlement in Canaan and their religious and agricultural rituals enjoined to them by the Mosaic law. Christians who celebrate these festivals do so for a variety of reasons. Some think that commemorating these is compulsory and a refusal to keep them is a violation of God’s command. Others want to show solidarity with modern Israel as “the people of God” hence the celebrations.

The majority of Christians who celebrate the Jewish festivals as well as those who do not observe them believe that these Old Testament feasts were all part of the Old Covenant agreement that Jesus came to fulfil. Consequently, it is common knowledge among them, that the meaning of these festivals is made clear in the life, mission, sacrifice, resurrection and present work of the triune God.

Interpretations of the meaning of these festivals vary from group to group and from person to person. One group, in particular, have long held traditions and interpretations that bear little resemblance to Scripture.

The writer, of this article, presents his thoughts concerning the meanings of the Jewish fall festivals described in Lev.23:23-44 namely, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and Feast of Tabernacles. He is not saying that his ideas are final or even entirely correct. All he is asking is that you read with wisdom, open-mindedness, and discernment.

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