Colossians on Thankfulness

I’ve decided to dig into the book of Colossians this year for my devotions. This morning as I was reading through all four chapters again to familiarize myself with the book, I was struck by how often thankfulness, in one form or another, is mentioned. Not too long ago, Owen and I watched the TedTalk above about gratitude (which I highly recommend) so the topic of gratefulness was already swimming around in my head. So this morning’s words of “thanks,” “thankfulness,” and “gratitude” jumping off the page at me was just confirmation (and a gentle kick in my pants) to BE THANKFUL! Here are the verses all put together for your enjoyment and my sanctification.

“We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you…” (Col 1:3); “We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (Col 1:9-12); “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Col 2:6-7); “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col 3:15-17); “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” (Col 4:2)

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I am thankful for my years of singleness. | Our Single Purpose

I am thankful for many things during my single years but there are a few things that I learned through those years for which I am especially grateful.

I learned how to deal with bugs when I am alone. I learned to overcome my fear and disgust and pick up a shoe and squash it. OR if I’m feeling extra brave (and it’s not a spider), I learned to corner it in a container and put it outside.

I learned about money—how to manage a budget, how to balance a checkbook, and how to keep up with my monthly bill payments. I learned how to be financially savvy and stay out of debt while working my way through a master’s degree. I learned that I could trust the Lord to provide for me when I had no idea where my next meal was coming from.

I learned how to sincerely rejoice with others when they celebrated receiving something that I also wanted (and sometimes something I had wanted for much longer). This is not to say that it wasn’t a struggle (and it can still be a struggle), but it is easier now than it was.

I learned how to bravely go places by myself—like a concert or a church or a restaurant. I learned that if you take a good book with you, you can go just about anywhere by yourself and just be seen as the quintessential introvert.

I learned to serve. I learned how to contentedly hold a sweet squirmy baby through an entire church service so that her momma could relax and enjoy the service. I learned how to take a meal to a family that was going through some hard times. I learned to really look at others and see ways that I could help them with the free time (though it wasn’t really that much) and resources that I had. This was a significant and practical way that I learned to get my mind off of myself and out of my pity-party-for-one.

I would not trade my single years for anything, not even for meeting my husband earlier. I learned so much and grew to know and trust the Lord in a way that I doubt would have been possible for me as a married woman. I am grateful for the foundation of trust, hope, and love that the Lord laid during those years. I hope you see your singleness as fertile ground for a sweet and wonderful relationship with Christ as your true Husband. May it be blessed!

~Carrie Kelly

via I am thankful for my years of singleness. | Our Single Purpose.

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You shall not pass!

Owen and I have been making our way through the Lord of the Rings trilogy lately so I thought this was fitting for a little frivolity…

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A Clean Heart

Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32:2

We cannot deceive God. Twice in the Acts God is called “the Heartknower” (Acts 1:24; 15:8). But we can deceive ourselves. Here are four differences between deceit and honesty in our hearts.

One, a deceitful heart doesn’t know its sins because it doesn’t want to know. But an honest heart is saying, “I’m listening. I’m open.”

Two, a deceitful heart is more alert to how a sermon applies to someone else. But an honest heart is too concerned about itself to be busy with other people’s weaknesses.

Three, a deceitful heart, when it isn’t growing, blames its inertia on hardship or its church or even on God himself. But an honest heart says, “I need to get in gear.”

Four, a deceitful heart delays response: “I’ll get around to it. But I just can’t right now.” An honest heart puts God first: “Lord, whatever you want, even right now.”

via An honest heart – Ray Ortlund.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
    wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
    and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
    and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and uphold me with a willing spirit.

(Psalm 51:7-12)

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There is hope.

 [T]he man of heaven will come and call us to life. Everyone joined to him by faith can anticipate the day to come when once again, God will breathe his very own life into bodies that have become dust. We will experience all God promised when Isaiah prophesied, “Your dead shall live; their bodies shall rise. You who dwell in the dust, awake and sing for joy! For your dew is a dew of light, and the earth will give birth to the dead” (Isa. 26:19). This hope enables us to endure life and death in the winter of this world.  Via Those Who Sleep in the Dust Will Awake – The Gospel Coalition Blog.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death. 1 Corinthians 15:12-26

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.” – John 11:21-27

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Happy October 31st!

(HT: Justin Taylor)

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Death is Defeated.

John Mark McMillan – Death In His Grave
(Live performance video from Threshing Floor Studios in Lincolnton, NC)

Though the Earth cried out for blood
Satisfied her hunger was
Her billows calmed on raging seas
For the souls of men she craved

Sun and moon from balcony
Turned their head in disbelief
Their precious Love would taste the sting
Disfigured and disdained

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

So three days in darkness slept
The Morning Sun of righteousness
But rose to shame the throes of death
And over turn his rule

Now daughters and the sons of men
Would pay not their dues again
The debt of blood they owed was rent
When the day rolled a new

He has cheated
Hell and seated
Us above the fall
In desperate places
He paid our wages
One time once and for all

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