Colossians 3:8-10 says, “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. ….” (NIV)
Get rid of anger…how? Is that really possible? I think of a recent situation and wonder why I felt so angry at a couple of the women involved.
One reason—My old self wants to be in control and make them do what I think is right and possibly even get back at them in some way. But the “new self” me wants to obey Christ and forgive and remember that vengeance is God’s job, not mine.
Second, maybe I’m not trusting God to make everything work out for good. Perhaps I need to remind myself that Almighty God is still on His throne and that He is accomplishing His plans and purposes in ways I can’t imagine.
I can grow from this situation which is beyond my control if I will humble myself and submit to Christ’s Lordship and allow God to renew my thinking (Romans 12:2).
Even though I’m getting old, Jesus, maybe it’s not too late to learn from You things that would have helped me live a more God-honoring life through the years.
Yesterday at my job, I learned a little more of what it means to work “as for the Lord.” I work on the team that deals with clients and does the background paperwork. Near the end of the day, we received papers to file which we couldn’t finish before time to leave. I often stay late anyway to take care of things that can’t be done while serving clients.
Nevertheless, I resented the extra filing when most of the others were leaving. Then I remembered that I was working for Jesus, not for the people at the job site. I thought of what a privilege it was to serve Jesus by doing that extra filing. My attitude changed, and I worked at the job gladly.
Thank You, Holy Spirit, for teaching this “golden oldie” something new.
“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV)
In one joke I read, three priests confess to each other their worst sins. One says, “I get angry and explode over small things,” and he gives an example of a recent failure. The next confesses his struggle with lust and mentions his latest difficulty. The third then says, “Well, my big sin is gossip, and I can’t wait to go talk to some of my friends!”
Seriously, I can’t tell you my most serious struggles lest someone be tempted to gossip. But maybe I can share a couple of things that often help me when I want to take the wrong path.
One possibility: I confess my sinful thoughts to God, receive His forgiveness and thank Him for it. (1 John 1:9)
A second avenue of help: Remember Jesus’ presence. He is here. He will help me say no to temptation.
Thank You for being near me today, Lord! I need You every minute. Without Your help, I would go my own way, which leads to destruction. But I will trust You to help me do what is good—which pleases You.
Psalm 145:17-18 “The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. 18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (NIV)
Lord, God, my history, to You is no mystery. You know every moment, both present and past. You know the future which I can’t imagine, And yet You still love me with love that will last.
Like Your people Israel, I’m so prone to stumble And think that my way is the one that is best. Yet when I repent and acknowledge Your lordship, I find I’m forgiven, and my soul finds its rest.
As we enter the New Year, let us do what the apostle Paul did, and that is to let go of past failure or shame and press on to what God has for us in the days ahead. (Philippians 3:12-14)
Nehemiah 9:28 “But as soon as they were at rest, they again did what was evil in your sight. Then you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies so that they ruled over them. And when they cried out to you again, you heard from heaven, and in your compassion you delivered them time after time.” NIV
Can you believe it? God points to us as examples of His grace and kindness! That’s what Ephesians 2:6-7 says: “For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.” (NLT) Maybe He says something like this:
“Angels, Principalities, Powers! Look at __. See all I, God, have done for them—forgiving, reshaping, renewing. See what they were and what they are now in Christ Jesus. And look at My light shining through them to others. Notice how I have planted a flower garden in their heart, taking toxic memories and redeeming them to promote spiritual growth.”
When we get discouraged, let’s remember what God has already done and choose gratitude and trust instead of discouragement.
(Image -The Gift of Grace, –-LightForEachDay.com. Found on Pinterest)
Adam and Eve made a tragic choice with global consequences. They didn’t do it because they were bad people. God declared them very good from the beginning. That “very good” included their power to choose to believe and trust God or to believe and trust the liar and his lies.
But God’s love didn’t give up on Adam and Eve. He told them the consequences of their sin, yet included His promise of the One who would come to “crush Satan’s head.” He also provided the animal skins to cover their now-exposed nakedness, making the first animal sacrifice Himself.
We sometimes choose hurtful rather than helpful actions too, but making bad choices doesn’t make us bad people. God doesn’t give up on us either. He allows consequences so we will learn. He keeps loving us. And just because we made wrong choices or even if we have developed a habit of those ways doesn’t mean we can’t choose a better way today.
God provided forgiveness through Jesus Christ His Son by His sacrificial death on the cross. Each time I fall short, I will choose to receive forgiveness again by confessing my sin and believing God’s promise to forgive.
It’s never too late to make better choices. God gives us grace to get back on the right path.
A friend and I discussed how to pray for a mutual friend who reads Scripture every day. She said, “We could pray that they can and will apply their Bible reading to their life.”
“Oh yes,” I thought. “That will really help.”
Then the Holy Spirit whispered in my heart, “How are you doing in that department?”
Uh-oh! How many times have I read, for example, Proverbs 3:5 (“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding”) and went on trusting in what I thought was best? And how about Philippians 4:8 (“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, …noble, …right, …pure, …lovely, …admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things”)? Do I think about those things or about how irritated I am about seemingly unsolvable yard problems? I almost know Ephesians 4:29 by heart (“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen). So why do I hear complaining and criticism coming out of my mouth?
Oh Jesus, I’m struggling to practice what I read too! I need to obey James 1:22 (“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says”). Please let Your Holy Spirit help me as I turn from my own foolish way onto Your right paths. Thank You for Philippians 1:6 (“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”). Amen.
“Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome” (Genesis 32: 28, NIV). So said the “man” who wrestled with Jacob.
How could Jacob win against God? Maybe God let him win. Or maybe the victory was Jacob overcoming his own stubbornness of doing his own way instead of submitting to God’s ways.
I struggle myself sometimes with that submission. I tend to try to manipulate people or circumstances to make things turn out the way I think they should. Maybe I’ve even tried at times to manipulate God.
I’m so glad that You, God, won’t allow that! You are sovereign, all wise, good, and faithful. Your plans are always better than mine. Sometimes I forget.
A hymn from my childhood by Eliza E. Hewitt (Verse 3):
“Give Me thy heart,” says the Spirit divine;“ All that thou hast to My keeping resign; Grace more abounding is Mine to impart—Make full surrender and give Me thy heart.”
Your Words are perfect, Lord—flawless, pure, absolute, and true. They tell me of Your love and about who You are. They lead me in right paths and will bring me home to You when it is the right time. Therefore, I will bow before You and humbly receive the spiritual nourishment, the knowledge, and the guidance of Your Word. (James 1:21)
I come to Your Word for refuge from the lies of the enemy.
“Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.”
When my anger flares up because someone offends me, maybe I could humble myself and remember that You, Lord, are God. No one and nothing, whether high or low or near or far or spiritual or physical, compares to You.
Lord God, Maker of heaven and earth, You are more powerful and glorious than 10 billion times 10 billion suns. I can’t imagine Your greatness. Teach me to fear You alone because You alone are the life-giving God. You poured Your infinite power and wisdom and love into the body of Jesus (Colossians 2:9)!
The person who offended me and I are mere human beings, while from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. I will quiet my soul and trust You to make things right in Your view and in Your time.
“The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.” (Proverbs 19:23 NIV)