Colossians 1:9-13

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.

Paul presents this beautiful prayer asking that his brothers in Christ to come to maturity in the faith:

The Petition . . .

do not cease to pray – we are to pray continually for each other. It is through persistence (a great virtue) in prayer that our petitions are effective with God. We are to pray fervently! Notice that Paul is praying for those who are succeeding and growing in Christ. We should pray for those doing well that they continue strong and successful in the faith.

ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding – The knowledge comes from the word of God and wisdom is the skill to live life according to God’s plan. If we ask God, he will give us wisdom (James 1:5), and obedience to this wisdom produces a life that is beautiful, abundant and glorifies Him. This is enlightenment from the Holy Spirit that directs us in how to live.

walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing – to follow His will that we now know because we are wise!  It is daily loving obedience that pleases God. This is to strive to live as Jesus did, which can only be approached with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God – walking in a manner worthy of the Lord is to manifest the character and conduct of the fruit of Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:22 presents that fruit as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This should be evident in our good works, and humble service to our neighbors. Increasing in the knowledge of God, and the continual growth in the understanding of what he wants, allows us to grow in our maturity and effectiveness as Christians.

strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness – God’s power, his might, is unimaginable. Our Lord, the creator of all things, will make us steadfast (resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering, on solid footing) and give us the patience to endure and be effective in the Christian life. Knowledge of the promises of God gives us the strength, patience, and resolution to succeed in the trials of life.

The Praise . . .

giving thanks to the Father – We praise and thank God for all that he has done and the promise of what is to come! All good things come from him, including our justification and salvation (the work of Christ) and he deserves our continual loving gratitude.

which hath made us meet (qualified) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light – we are adopted sons, now qualified to be heirs to the Kingdom of God and the unfathomable joy and riches that this means, which we share with our Christian brothers in Christ. Our qualification is by the work of Christ, by the grace of God, and for this, we are eternally grateful!

Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated (transferred) us into the kingdom of his dear son – God took us from Satan to himself. The moment we put our faith in Christ we are rescued from the jurisdiction and authority of Satan. We now dwell in the kingdom of Christ as beloved children of God.

in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins – salvation available by the blood of Christ on the cross! We who believe and make Christ our Lord are redeemed from the darkness and now live in the light as our sins are forgiven.


Deuteronomy 6:13-15

13Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name.14Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; 15 (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.

A dramatic warning from the Old Testament! Fear God and do not pursue the gods (idols) of the world. If you do, he will wipe you off the face of the earth!

John 3:16-17 & 36

The best-known verse in the Bible . . .

16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

loved the world . . . this was a shocking statement to the Jews. “God so loved the Jews” is what they would expect to hear, but that is not what he said. God loves the world . . . all of us.

he gave his only begotten Son . . . God gave what was most dear to him, his beloved Son, as the ultimate atonement for sin, as a gift and not something deserved. His love for the sinning world was not sentimentality but a love that had tremendous cost.

whosoever believeth in him . . . not the whole world benefits from the gift. It is those who believe, trust and obey; who put their complete faith in; who give their lives to; who rely entirely upon his Son Jesus that will reap the benefit of the grace (unmerited favor) given by God to the unrighteous world.

should not perish, but have everlasting life . . . this speaks to the quality of our eternal existence. To “perish” does not mean annihilation, but ruin, failure to realize God’s purpose, and exclusion from his fellowship. To perish is to endure the wrath of God, which is an eternity in the fire of hell. “Everlasting life” is to avoid God’s wrath because Jesus paid for your sin by his sacrifice on the cross. Through faith in Jesus, you traded hell for heaven and will experience an eternity of joy being in right standing with God.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Jesus did not come to judge, instead, he provided the opportunity for us to accept the gift of salvation. The judgment of the world comes later.

The positive perspective in these verses of salvation by faith in Christ should be joined with the consequence of unbelief that is presented in John 3:36!

36 . . . and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Paradoxical Undercurrents of Christianity

Since the apple incident, humanity has believed the lie that it is preferable to live for their desires instead of for God. The instinct has been self-enrichment, self-preservation, self-satisfaction, and self-glorification. But life in Christ is dramatically contrary to those attitudes and objectives. By divine assistance, the Christian understands and submits to these undercurrents of the faith, manifesting a transformed life.

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All Men Are Created Equal

Not true. God made us individually, and not one person is the same as another. Besides common foundational biological attributes, every person is dramatically unique, superior in some ways and inferior in others.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. Psalm 139:14

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Do We Choose God or Does He Choose Us?

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 8:28-30

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Evidence of God

There is a God. Though he is not physically with us or speaks audibly to us, there are undeniable, tangible markers in the world that testify to his presence.

The first is that we are here. There is no dispute that the probability of the simplest life forms appearing on a planet, let alone the existence of complex humans, is effectively zero. Yet, despite the logic of science and mathematical probability, here we are. The likelihood that you exist is 100% (because you are reading this), but the probability of you existing is zero. Is it reasonable to believe that the incredibly slim odds were beaten by chance alone?

Also, consider the astounding diversity of living things here on Earth. There are so many different species that no one can count them. The latest educated, authoritative guess is over 8.5 million, give or take a million. Present in these millions of species is a vast spectrum of configuration that seems to speak of influence well beyond the pressure of the environment or adaptation needed to survive over time. For example, the blue whale weighs 400,000 pounds, and the tiny bumblebee bat only 7/100 of an ounce. One lives underwater, and the other flies through the air using the echo of his screams to find and catch bugs. It seems improbable that evolution could account for the dramatic diversity of the animals on the Earth. Instead, I would suggest that the massive inventory of diverse and distinct flora and fauna is credible evidence of God’s work.

Then there is morality, the knowledge of good and evil, and the principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong. In nature, it is correct and acceptable for the strong to prey on the weak and for the cunning to deceive the naive. There is no wrong in nature; there is only the way things are. But in human society, even though the definition and perception of morality may change somewhat over time, we recognize that some actions and behaviors are good, righteous, and noble, while others are immoral, wrong, and unacceptable.

I doubt there would be disagreement that genocide is immoral or that sacrifice for others would be deemed righteous. It is easy to recognize the evil in our world, such as the depraved wretch that murdered his mother and then massacred 20 precious children at Sandy Hook elementary. It is also just as apparent that one who would volunteer his life to save another, or to save everyone, is the pinnacle of virtue. If there is only nature, with no distinction of morality, then what accounts for our fundamental recognition of wrong or right and good or evil? Did we become aware of the difference by upbringing, intellect, and experience? Or do we live in a world created by a God who intends for us to live above the instinct of nature?

The evidence is compelling that there is an architect and creator, but drawing that conclusion, or rejecting it, are both acts of faith. Some will believe that the existence of God is obvious and that to conclude otherwise defies reason. Others will put their trust in the infinitesimal odds that this all has occurred by chance.

Who Needs God?

If God’s existence is evident, then why the aversion by so many to believe in him?

One reason is that many don’t feel that they need God. Adequate prosperity, accomplishment, acceptance, and self-sufficiency often negate the conscious need for God. Another reason is the apprehension of God’s requirements. We fear that if we acknowledge him, he might ask, or worse, demand, something from us. There is trepidation that the acceptance of God means required abstinence from the pleasures of life (particularly for the young); a demand to sacrifice time, energy, and money to him or organized religion; or the pressure to assume weird, socially unacceptable behavior in judging and forcing religion on others. Who would want to sign up for that? No one! But understand that these things are not true. The reality is that we all need a savior, and the burden of obedience is insignificant compared to the astounding magnitude of his blessings – both in this life and the next.

Though our instinct is to live under our own direction and to do as we please, if the conclusion stands that there must be a God, then it seems imperative to understand what that means for us individually. It could be that our instincts are wrong and that it is to our dramatic benefit to understand and to our tragic detriment to dismiss.

On the other hand, if we conclude there is no God of consequence, then what? If all this is a fluke of nature, then we are free to spend our lives chasing pleasure, comfort, and security. We should follow our hearts’ desires, achieve what we can, accumulate more stuff, love our families, crush our enemies, and maybe try to live a good life (though I am not sure why). Then comes death. You are gone, forgotten, and forever perished. What was the point? Maybe there isn’t one.

Do you buy that?