However, the Jews provoked the prominent women among the Gentile God-worshippers, as well as the city’s leaders. They instigated others to harass Paul and Barnabas, and threw them out of their district. Paul and Barnabas shook the dust from their feet and went to Iconium. Because of the abundant presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the disciples were overflowing with happiness. Acts 13:42-52 (CEB)
Every Christian has been commissioned to spread the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth. This was the last instruction given by Jesus Christ to the disciples before He ascended. However, not every one will be responsive to the call to salvation and there is nothing we can do about that. Every one has been given a choice to choose life or choose death. There will always be those who turn a deaf ear to the gospel and make a choice to reject Christ. When that happens, there is really nothing more to be said.
Those who choose to rebel against God’s authority will undoubtably rebel against His servants. When that happens we can’t allow their rejection to affect us. The Holy Spirit is alive in us, producing good work. We should cling to the peace and joy that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ and with holy boldness, do as Christ instructed and shake their dust off. Shake off their filth and keep it moving.
Wherever they don’t welcome you, as you leave that city, shake the dust off your feet as a witness against them. Luke 9:5 (CEB)
Next: No condemnation | John 8:1-19
2 Peter 1:5-11
As mentioned previously, faith is the starting point of the Christian’s life, for it by faith that we are called. We’re cleansed of our sins and our sinful nature. As God’s chosen we are made partakers of Christ’s divine nature.
In these verses, Peter is reminding us of the virtues we should seek to cultivate and demonstrate in order that we may continue to grow spiritually. We can’t simply rest on the knowledge of what’s been done for us and in us.
Faith without works is dead. We must employ every effort to add to our faith; goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness affection and love.
For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:8(NIV)
Not only do we have to work to attain these qualities, we must strive continually to increase in them in order to be effective, productive Christians.
Spiritual growth begins in faith, but has no ending. It is a continual lifelong process.
Next: Shake off the dust | Acts 13:42-52
This one gave me a bit of trouble. I understood verses 29-32. Christ was berating the large crowd that had gathered because He knew they had not come to be instructed or enlightened by his teachings but rather they came hoping to see miracles and signs that would convince them of His truths. He said they were wicked and would receive nothing except what they’d already gotten. Jonah was enough for the Ninevites to wake up and repent, yet these people had something far greater than Jonah and Solomon in their midst, and they wanted more.
It was the next group of verses 33-36, that had me stumped because I couldn’t figure how they were related. I didn’t see a correlation. I kept going back to them and trying to figure it out but I kept drawing a blank.
Today I was compelled to read Matthew Henry’s commentary and I got it! Jesus Christ was the light that had been placed before them and they were unable to see because they were too filled with darkness to receive Him.
It is a great privilege that the light of the gospel is put on a candlestick, so that all that come in may see it and may see by it where they are and where they are going, and what is the true, and sure, and only way to happiness. ~Matthew Henry~
Jesus has said “I stand at the door and knock.”
He will only come in to those souls whose door is opened by faith to receive Him. When He comes in He will bring His glorious light and we are to place that light front and center in our lives and allow it to shine.
Next | Spiritual growth process | 2Peter 1: 5-11
Therefore, as God’s choice, holy and loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Be tolerant with each other and, if someone has a complaint against anyone, forgive each other. As the Lord forgave you, so also forgive each other. And over all these things put love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:12-14 (CEB)
Chosen, holy and dearly loved is a descriptive phrase found many times in the Bible. I have to admit – I have a little trouble viewing my sinning self as holy. But that’s the way God sees me. Those are His words.
As Christians, by faith we accept everything in the Bible as the divinely inspired Word of God, reflecting His will. When we make the mistake of trying to understand with our natural, worldly minds it doesn’t make sense. That’s one of the reasons we have been instructed to meditate on the word and to pray for the wisdom to understand. Without the instruction and guidance of the Holy Spirit, our worldly minds are incapable of comprehending spiritual matters.
We were not made holy by anything that we’ve done. That was accomplished by the blood of Christ.
As the chosen people of God, the fruits of the Holy Spirit should be evident in the way we live our lives and in the way we treat others. We are to clothe ourselves, or put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. We forgive as our Father has forgiven us.
We have to choose to accept grace. It is only by the grace of God, made available to us through Jesus Christ that we can produce these fruits of the Holy Spirit.
And over all these things put love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
When we truly love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our mind, with all our soul, and all of our strength….change happens.
Next: Put your light on a stand | Luke 11:29-36
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your heart on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things. Colossians 3:1-2
Day 20 | Forty Days With God | Colossians 3: 1-11
So, here I am 58 days after having begun the 40 days with God reading plan and I’m only halfway through. I’ve been tempted many many times to abandon this exercise. In the past, I would have moved on to writing of other things. I’m smiling right now because one of those “light bulbs” just popped on in my mind. I’m not the person I was in the past. I’m a brand new me that I’m still getting to know and I am beginning to realize and appreciate how much progress I’ve made on this journey with Jesus. When I came to Christ I had no clue as to what it meant to live a Christian life. I came with issues and a lot of:
I had zero patience, a quick temper and would curse somebody out in a heartbeat. I expected those qualities to miraculously change. I expected to be filled with peace and love and happy thoughts. That didn’t happen. What did happen was I spent a lot of time torturing myself by living with guilt and condemnation. I wanted so desperately to not be the same person and the harder I tried to think differently, act differently and be a different me, the more it hurt because nothing was changing. I was my same moody, mean, cantankerous self.
My focus was in the wrong place. I was focused on my whats and not on my who. My inability to get rid of the things I wanted to be free of wasn’t news to Christ. I was the only one who didn’t realize I wasn’t supposed to attempt it on my own. His grace is sufficient and it’s only through the power of His grace that I am able to do any thing.
The whole concept of ‘letting go and letting God’ was difficult for me to grasp at first, and I still struggle with it sometimes, but with each victory I get closer. Hallelujah!
Colossians 2:16-23 |Forty Days With God
We are cautioned in these verses not to be cheated out of the liberty and freedom Christ gave us. We are not to allow ourselves to be led astray or judged by rules and regulations concerning what we eat or drink, or what holidays or festivals or customs or practices we follow. We’ve already been freed from them.
If you died with Christ to the way the world thinks and acts, why do you submit to rules and regulations as though you were living in the world? Colossians 2:20 (CEB)
There are many who claim to speak/teach/preach the word of God, but we are to use discernment. Not every man or woman of God is truly of God. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 22:14, “Many are called but few are chosen.”
A well known Pastor tell a national television audience that Jesus turned the water at the wedding feast in to grape juice. He went on to say the use of the word ‘wine’ in the bible is nothing more than a euphemism, because the consumption of wine is a sin. He said it with a straight face so I think he was serious.
- 1Timothy 5:23, “Stop drinking just water, but use a little wine for your digestion and your frequent illnesses.”
- Psalm 104:14-15, “He provides grass for the cattle, and crops for the people to cultivate, so they can produce food from the ground, as well as wine that makes people feel so good, and oil to make their faces shine, as well as food that sustains people’s lives.”
That’s just two examples. I went a step further and looked up the word in Strong’s Hebrew/Greek Dictionary. It means: wine.
If we blindly follow what someone says, (even someone in authority) then it’s our own fault if we’re led down the wrong path. Everything should be compared with the Word. If it goes against His Word, it’s false.
Next: Focus Above | Colossians 3: 1-11
I know your works. Look! I have set in front of you an open door that no one can shut. You have so little power, and yet you have kept my word and haven’t denied my name. Because of this I will make the people from Satan’s synagogue- (who say they are Jews and really aren’t, but are lying)—I will make them come and bow down at your feet and realize that I have loved you. Because you kept my command to endure, I will keep you safe through the time of testing that is about to come over the whole world, to test those who live on earth. I’m coming soon. Hold on to what you have so that no one takes your crown. Revelation 3: 8-11 (CEB)
Forty Days with God | Day 18
Through His death and Resurrection Jesus Christ has opened the door to salvation, to everlasting life for the believer who holds fast to their faith and endures to the end. We can rest in knowledge of Christ’s return, no matter what may be happening to or around us. Throughout all the trials, tribulations, misfortunes and mishaps we encounter during our journey in this world, Jesus speaks the same words to us that He has always spoken:
“Call on Me. Lean on Me. Trust in Me. Depend on Me.
I Got You.
I’ll never fail you or forsake you.
I Got You.
You may be weak, but My strength is sufficient. Keep me in your heart and mind.
I Got You, and…
I’m coming back –For You.”