Colossians 2:6-7 (MSG)
My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well-constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving.
It’s funny how life never seems to turn out as we expected. Just when we think we have made it, we find there is a long way to go. We have great plans and wonderful aspirations that surely must be from God that will flounder and fizzle out. Trying so hard to live the “right” way, do all the “right” things, meet all the “right” people and have a good life, we get discouraged when it comes out all wrong despite our greatest effort. I am a goer, doer, mover and shaker who must force myself to stop and rest. I tend to get caught up in the details of life and sometimes miss the point of living. I have many responsibilities as you probably do too. See we don’t generally look for help or reach for a hand until we have exhausted our own strength. It is in that moment, I hear the Voice of the Lord whisper, “Hey, are you done yet?”
Last night, my daughter asked me to lay with her while she fell asleep. She has struggled off and on with night time anxieties. I am so proud of her and how far she has come. I slid into bed next to her and we talked in the silence of the dark. She snuggled close even took hold of my hand. I thought in my mind – now God this is life. This precious time that I have taken for granted so many times hoping she would go to sleep so that I could just get a few more things done. We miss moments like this in our life trying to get it all done. Getting so busy and wrapped up in life even in doing those things we are certain God wants us to do that we miss the life that He called us to. I don’t want to miss anything that God has for me. My children are a blessing and there are so many more in my life.
I absolutely love this translation of Colossians. My counsel for you is simple. It is straightforward. I like that God. I am a “shoot from the hip kind of girl” not too frilly or fluffy just give it to me straight. “Go ahead with what you have been given.” But wait a minute Lord my life doesn’t look like I planned it to be. What about the new life that you promised when I came to you. It looks a whole lot like the life that I lived before. Surely, I am going to win the lottery and everything will change. Or maybe the mortgage company made a mistake and my house will be paid in full. Perhaps, I will be promoted tomorrow and things will be different as I excel in my career. Come on Lord – you cannot be serious. I have received Jesus Christ, the Master…now live in Him. You are serious aren’t you? Yes, He is. But wait there is more…
Matthew 16:16-18 (MSG)
Simon Peter said, “You’re the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.”
You are Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, and the Son of the Living God. Is this your confession today? Do you believe that this Savior of yours is who He claimed to be? I do. Jesus told Peter – you didn’t discover this in any book or lecture. No this came straight out of your heart. God told you His Secret and now you know. Here comes the good part – “And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are.” In that moment, Jesus commissioned Simon Peter as a church. A church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. Know of any churches like that around you…yeah me either. Why? Christians do not know who they really are. They do not believe. They do not understand. They have not learned. But when they do…watch out world. It is so simple yet we make it so hard.
Luke 9:1-5 (MSG)
Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God’s kingdom and heal the sick. He said, “Don’t load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment. And no luxury inns—get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you’re not welcomed, leave town. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on.”
When I began blogging Pure Devotion many years ago, I had great aspirations. I imagined writing books, sharing the gospel in auditoriums and sanctuaries across the nation, and seeing men and women fall in love with Jesus firsthand. This is not exactly how things turned out. Almost four years ago when our son’s cancer diagnosis turned our world upside down, I remember talking to the Lord about all this. I did not understand why exactly this was a pertinent lesson in our life. I knew in my heart that no matter what I loved and trusted Jesus. We had been through too much to turn back now so why this test? Jesus gave us dominion over disease, yet it came back to our son’s body five times. He is now in remission which means that he was healed not once or twice but five times. Although he is a little behind in college, he has maintained constant enrollment in mechanical engineering school. I didn’t understand what the point was at that time but it has gently unfolded over the last few years.
Is there purpose and meaning in sickness and disease? No, other than sin is the reason we get sick. Oh don’t go all “Job” on me, we are not sick because we sin necessarily but because of the prevailing sin that sickens our body and weakens our flesh through DNA from Adam. It is the Power of God invested in us through Jesus Christ that overcomes sickness and disease. Ok, so why are we still sick? I don’t know about your situation but what I have witnessed in ours is that we have touched many lives by confessing Jesus and then watching Him work miracles in our son’s life. We are literally helpless in the hospital and medical field. But in the Spirit, we have fought by faith, believing and praying with dramatic, supernatural results that have impacted the life of many people. Is this our ministry? Yes. Is this our church? Yes. Everything we go through as believers has potential to be made into a beautiful message of hope and salvation if we keep it simple. “We are the equipment God uses to build His Church.” It is our everyday life and way of doing things that bring others to Christ. If we lived in huge fortress on high hills with every modern convenience and never a problem – who would come to us? Who would believe us? Who would listen to us? They would not see the true message in the midst of our means. Jesus sends out to live our life in His Power and Love. It is here that the greatest messages are preached and received. These are the seeds that grow into harvests of souls. It is not about us. It is all about Jesus.
Matthew 22:37-40 (MSG)
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.”
God has changed my heart’s desire over the course of the struggles we have faced in the last few years. As our son’s health improves and nine months of remission approaches, I am a different person, wife, mom and co-worker. In my devastation, God broke my heart to change it. It needed to be changed. I have but two things that I must do with my life to experience supernatural success. First, I must love the Lord my God with all my passion, prayer and intelligence (or heart, soul and mind). Second, I must love others as well as you love yourself. I have to love me like Jesus loves me to love others. This is the acceptance of God’s Mercy, Love and Grace that shatters the walls of pride, arrogance and protection that we make to keep anyone from hurting us again. Yep, I had them and Jesus smashed them all down. Then we are free within ourselves to love others. We can love and trust God again. I thought I really loved and trust the Lord until it was put to the ultimate test. It was through those times of living in the “realm of hope” as the doctors have put it that I discovered how real this faith and hope is. Now I am ready to live out my commission and carry this mantle of love that I have been given.
Matthew 28:18-20 (MSG)
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.”
“You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him.” By faith and believing, we receive Jesus Christ. He is not present in our life to completely change our situation, environment, finances, relationship, social setting or elevate our career. He is here to change us so that we are effective in all these things as our life becomes God’s Sanctuary. The best teacher is the one who knows how to do something and has done it themselves. You cannot introduce anyone to someone who you do not know. You cannot teach them to do something you have not done much less convince them it is the best thing to do. The only way to become a disciple is to become disciplined. Go out and train everyone you meet. Jesus didn’t take His Disciples out of their community but empowered them then released them back into their community. Why wouldn’t He do the same thing for us? He didn’t build them find palaces here on earth because the earth is not our home. He did not give them overflowing bank accounts yet they lived with a wealth no man could touch. He did not give them fancy careers or influence fueled by personal power – He gave them a message that is changing the world even today. It is the same message that flows from the Living Water in our hearts today. Why do we make it so complicated? Keep it simple. Are you done yet? Done trying to change everything about you to set out following Christ. Stop and just say, “Yes!” in this moment and this exact place. He will change your life forever even if you do not change a thing.
Luke 9:23-27 (MSG)
Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? If any of you is embarrassed with me and the way I’m leading you, know that the Son of Man will be far more embarrassed with you when he arrives in all his splendor in company with the Father and the holy angels. This isn’t, you realize, pie in the sky by and by. Some who have taken their stand right here are going to see it happen, see with their own eyes the kingdom of God.”