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Let The Word Dwell in You Richly

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” – Colossians 3:16

As we close out one year and look forward toward the beginning of a new year, we reflect on God’s blessings in our life over the last year but also reflect on our shortcomings as well. This is a time when it is productive to “examine yourselves” (2 Cor. 13:5, 1 Cor. 11:28) to hopefully look for how we may improve our walk with Christ if God is gracious to grant us another year of life. As I consider my discipleship goals for the coming year, this verse has steadily come to forefront of my mind – to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom”. I hope to invest and immerse myself more fully and fall in love more passionately with Christ’s word in the coming days, months, and years.

Beauty for Ashes

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me… To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

God is in the business of fixing and overruling our sinful mistakes. This has been true since man’s fall in Adam created a ruinous heap of ashes, burnt and severed fellowship with God. However, God has promised to give us “beauty for [those] ashes”, to replace the ashy remnants of loss and ruin with a beautiful blessing of God. We will see the full beauty of God’s overruling blessing at Christ’s second coming, but God also blesses us here in time with blessings and beauty in spite of the sinful lives we lead.

What Is Your Identity?

“Then Peter, turning about, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?” – John 21:20

The Apostle John introduces himself in a curious way quite a few times in his gospel, as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. This might sound, at first blush, as almost a prideful statement by John, declaring himself as the object of Jesus’ love. However, John was not declaring any preeminence over anyone else, that he was the sole or primary source of God’s love. Instead, he simply viewed his primary identity as being loved by Jesus Christ. In like manner, we need to place our primary identity as being loved by Christ.

Dayspring From On High

“Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79)

As Zacharias begins to conclude his prophecy of Christ and then of his son, John the Baptist’s role in the gospel, he introduces Jesus as the “dayspring from on high” come down to visit us. Christ’s first advent was certainly the dawning of a new ray of light for the Jewish community of his day, but in a much more broad sense, Jesus and the light of the good news of the gospel is a light in a dark place for the children of God.

Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide

“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-Jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen.” (Genesis 22:14)

Abraham had been called by God to offer his son, Isaac, as a burnt offering upon a mount in Moriah. Abraham was faithful to God’s command and was willing to sacrifice Isaac, but the angel of God intervened to prevent him from going through with that particular act. In the place of Isaac, God provided a sacrifice for Abraham to offer instead, in the form of a ram caught in a thicket. In response to such a miraculous intervention of God’s providence, Abraham named this place “Jehovah-Jireh” which means “the Lord will provide or the Lord has seen”. If we examine our lives, I believe that we will also see these Jehovah-Jireh memorials of not just providential blessings but the ultimate Jehovah-Jireh of the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ on our behalf.

Encouragement in the Lord

“And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Samuel 30:6)

This verse is given to us in the aftermath of an Amalekite raid upon David and his men’s camp, where their wives and children were all taken captive and their city of residence burned.  In this midst of that traumatic situation for all of them, including David as his wives were taken too, the men turn on David and actually talked of stoning him to death. In the midst of such turmoil in his life at that time, nevertheless, “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” Regardless, of what trying circumstances we encounter in our lives, our Lord can and should always be our greatest source of encouragement.

Intelligent Design or Random Chance

“And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.” (Exodus 32:24)

During Moses’ time on Mount Sinai receiving the law of God, the Israelites had enticed Aaron to make them a new god, to which he obliged (Exod. 32:1-6). After Moses returns down from the mount, he questions Aaron as to how this graven image came about, and he tries to convince Moses that he cast a bunch of gold in the fire and randomly out came this calf. Moses certainly knew better than that because that molten calf bore the distinguishing marks of intelligent design. When we consider the amazing craftsmanship and intracity of design of God’s creation, it’s just as ludicrous to believe that all that we see around us, especially our human bodies, were just formed and created by random chance, as it’s foolish to think that a molten calf just randomly come out of the fire. This world bears the marks of intelligent design and manifests the glory of its Creator.

Jesus Stood Still

“And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he [blind Bartimaeus] cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called…” (Mark 10:48-49)

As Jesus passed through Jericho, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus cried after the Lord to have mercy on him and heal him. Jesus did not answer him at first and those in Jesus’ crowd told Bartimaeus to hold his peace, to be quiet, to which he responded by crying even more. Jesus took note of the tenacity and persistence of Bartimaeus’ petition. Jesus “stood still” and heard the cries of this beggar. Even when our prayers might not seem to be “getting through” to the Lord, we can always know that Jesus “stands still” to take note of the cries of his children.

Walking by Faith Like Abraham

“By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” (Hebrews 11:8)

Abraham is called to a great act of faith in the Lord. He is commanded to leave and begin a journey to a foreign land but is not given the destination by the Lord beforehand. How did Abraham leave and journey with such uncertainty in his walk of discipleship? “By faith Abraham…obeyed, and he went out, not knowing whither he went.” Rarely in life will we fully see the final destination of the Lord’s will at the beginning of that journey. That’s just fine because our responsibility is simply to walk by faith, just like the example of Abraham.

A Fixed Heart

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise.” (Psalm 57:7)

King David was on the run as he penned these words. We know from the notation at the beginning of this Psalm that this was penned as David was fleeing from Saul for his life and hiding in a cave. In spite of such a difficult and challenging situation around him in his circumstances, David did not let that calamity get down into his heart. His heart was still fixed firmly upon the Lord, trusting in his mercy and providence.

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