...coming as the companion of Patience and longsuffering.
This month we are aiming toward that special quality the Holy Spirit remains ready to bring into the heart of any believer. It is the quality of joy. Amazingly, it will have two companions—patience and longsuffering. All too often, these two, stand ready to rob the heart of joy. This is because too many of us seem to think that joy is the result of some good circumstance. Well, this is so—if the circumstances of our lives revolve around who we are and where we are in Christ.
See this prayer from Colossians 1:10 & 11 and remember it came from a man who was in chains. Paul wrote to the Colossians from the prison in Rome where he was held because he proclaimed that Jesus was the Son or God.
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Colossians 1:10 & 11
I hold before you these who walk in difficulty. Through the power of Your Spirit, work into their lives the ability to endure, the quality that enables them to forgive others, and the joy that comes as the fruit of Your Spirit.
In the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ AMEN…
After praying through Colossians, we will spend Day 21 through Day 31 learning to rejoice. We can discover that Scripture about joy has in it the blessed energy of the Holy Spirit to release it within our own hearts. This will prove beneficial for all days to come.
If we know even the basic elements of Ephesians Truth—that is, the understanding and light coming from the Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians—then we know that the joy and triumph of the Lord Jesus Christ is given to us who receive His grace. However—for too many of us circumstances rule.
For this reason we are learning to make intercession before the Throne of Grace for those we know, who are being overcome by pain, sorrow, resentment, retaliation and a long list of other spiritual scoundrels who always seem ready to jump on us.
The Scripture from which we take our prayer is in continuation of what we have followed for the past two months in Paul Epistle to the Colossians.
To sharpen our perspective, we will take a fresh look at how Paul said he was praying. We will see it not from the King James Version as has been our rule, but from Eugene Patterson’s The Message, a fresh and contemporary interpretation of Colossians 1:9-11.
Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven't stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works.
We pray that you'll live well for the Master, making him proud of you as you work hard in his orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul--not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy…
The King James interprets Colossians 1:11 this way —Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.
Although this verse in itself does not have the form of a prayer, it does flow out of the prayer of the preceding two verses. In this verse are three goals toward which we will move in prayer this month. They are patience, longsuffering, and joyfulness. It is just a simple matter of discovering that patience and longsuffering can carry along with them the wonderful companion of joyfulness.
The foundation for what we are learning to pray lies in the words strengthened with all might. What a powerful set of words! Both strengthened and might are from the same root word in the Greek New Testament—dúnamis. They could be translated: “empowered with all power.” What Paul said meant, “I am praying that all the power of God will come into your life and enable you to walk with the following qualities: patience, longsuffering, and joy.”
Generally we think of things like miracles, mighty ministries, and great works coming as the result of God’s power at work. But here it is these wonderful qualities that enable a person to come through affliction as an overcomer. Oh, what a powerful strategy for equipping “soldiers of the cross” for the battles of the last days!
The same power that worked in the tomb to bring the Lord Jesus from the dead is ready to work now in believers to bring forth these three qualities.
FIRST is patience, from the Greek hupmone. Literally it means “remaining behind when others have left.” Contrary to what it may seem, it is not a word of defeat, but one that leads to victory. It presents the picture of a runner still in the race when others have dropped by the wayside. The person with patience has the ability to bear up under hardship, endure affliction, and hold out until the goal has been reached. The same power that works miracles works this quality into a person.
SECOND is long-suffering. The Greek is makrothumía. William Barclay, in his Daily Bible Study on Ephesians, says makrothumía is a word with two directions of meaning. One, it describes a “spirit that will never give in and which, because it endures to the end, will reap the reward.” It never admits defeat. Two, it is the spirit “which has the power to take revenge but never does so.” It is the patient enduring of evil.
THIRD is joyfulness, from the Greek word chára. It is very simple in meaning, but is astounding when we consider it in company with patience and long-suffering. These two words describe commodities we’d think might rule out joy, until we consider that they are qualities produced by the power of the Lord. They are qualities that will work in life’s darkest hours, because none of them arise from outward circumstances. They arise from the power of the Holy Spirit working within.
These things come as the result of people praying......
Day 1—The Lord directed me to study the phronéma in the Greek New Testament.
I had just finished that book entitled Putting Off the Old Man, when the Lord spoke to my heart early one morning that I was to study the word phronéma in the Greek New Testament. I discovered that word means the framework of one’s inner being, the way one thinks, the way we put our thoughts and ideas together. Out of that study came the book that we have called The Framework of the Inner Man. Both of these books have touched, and helped change, thousands of lives.
While the phronéma is a Noun, there is a Verb related to it—phronéo—meaning to have a certain frame of thought. These are important words in that they lead us to some very important passages of Scripture, particularly in the writings of Paul. For some reason, however, I overlooked one of the Verbs that occurs in Colossians 3:2. Maybe I wasn’t ready to see it back then. That was about thirty-five years ago. But, I think we’re ready to see it now. If not, we should be. Look at these two verses with me. If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above (seek the above things), where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth—Colossians 3:1,2.
The Verb phronéo is in the above passage. It is translated set your affection on in verse 2. You might understand why I missed it because it just didn’t seem to be the correct Greek translation for that particular word. What Paul is directing us toward is a frame of mind that revolves around the things that belong to the realm of Christ’s Kingdom. This directs us away from things upon the earth.
The Lord Jesus taught His disciples principles that would make them ready for this kind of living. He said in Matthew 6 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also—Matthew 6:19-21.
FATHER, my heart longs to live out of the resources of the heavens. Please correct me. Teach me. Show me the ways of Your Kingdom. Draw these loved ones I hold toward this way of thinking. Draw them toward knowing Your Kingdom.
How the Kingdom of Heaven Can Enter One’s Life—Matthew 13:3-9, 18-23
Day 2—We are moving on in some revelation that only the Holy Spirit can make real in our daily living.
We are in process of considering some matters that our natural mind will not readily embrace. It just doesn’t make sense to a mind outside of Christ to be saying: If ye then be risen with Christ. That’s how Colossians 3 begins. It is the premise upon which the Epistle continues. And, it is the continuation of what we learn in Romans and Ephesians. Some of you probably already know I refer to this as “Romans Truth” and “Ephesians Truth.” Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians is a continuation of what those two earlier Epistles have put forth.
The next statement from Colossians 3, verse 3, is for ye are dead (you died), and your life is hid with Christ in God. In Romans Paul brings us to this point by saying: Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him—Rom 6:8. In Ephesians he carries us onward with much more understanding about our identification with Christ. It was in His death and resurrection, with statements like this from Ephesians 2: But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with (has made us alive together with) Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places (in the heavenlies) in Christ Jesus—Ephesians 2:4-6.
Having gotten a glimpse of this, let us continue on by praying along the line of what we have just seen in Colossians 3:3. In Christ we died to sin, now we are risen with Him to walk in a new kind of living.
FATHER, my understanding is still very shallow, but I am ready to learn more. Please do a work in my heart that will enable me to lay hold on what You have revealed through Paul’s Letters, especially Colossians. This really does call for a work from Your Holy Spirit. Please cause Him to work, not only in me, but also in these I name before Your Throne.
Let us take a review of the Prayer Paul prayed about these matters as recorded in Ephesians.
(We readily admit that the above passage draws us toward some revelation that is so deep that only our hearts can go there, and that, by the faith God gives us.)
Day 3—The hope that is dawning on us is beyond anything the mind could imagine.
Only the Holy Spirit can lead us into the revelation Paul is presenting in much of his Epistles. He makes it very clear to us where the understanding that worked in him came from. See this that he said in his Epistle to the Galatians. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Paul’s new Life in Christ began with a most unusual revelation of Christ Himself. While he was yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, he was on his way to Damascus with some authoritative letters permitting him to bring back to Jerusalem as prisoners whomsoever he found calling Jesus Lord. On his way there, the living Lord Jesus appeared to him. He was instantly changed. Being so convinced regarding Jesus, right away he began preaching the very thing he had so vehemently opposed.
As we read Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians, we are partaking of some of the powerful revelation of Truth that had come to Paul. Even though he was a prisoner on account of the very thing he formerly opposed, he had become convinced that Christ Jesus is, indeed, alive. Not only that, he had come to see that Jesus is ready to share His resurrection Life with us.
See again what is recorded in Colossians 3:3. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. To add to this, let us see II Corinthians 5:17—Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature (there is a new creation, a whole new realm of living): old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. To see this verse again, let us read it as it appears in Weymouth’s translation: So that if any one is in Christ, he is a new creature: the old state of things has passed away; a new state of things has come into existence. So, from this new state of things we are becoming ready to live our new Life in Christ Jesus.
DEAR FATHER, I am more than ready for a new way of living than ever before. I’m beginning to see that this can only come about as I allow Your beloved Son to live in me. I open my heart to You this day. Please carry me forward in my new Life in Him. And, loving FATHER, please send Your Spirit to these I name before You. Let them know the new creation that can be theirs now in Christ Jesus.
Discovering a New Way of Living—Psalm 34:1-22
How Paul and Silas Responded to Life in Prison—Acts 16:25-31
Day 4—We have the hope that Christ will appear again and reveal to us His glory.
It is when we arrive in I and II Thessalonians that we learn the most about Christ’s return. There, Paul used the word parousía, often translated, coming when telling of Christ’s appearing again. We learn the most about this in his Thessalonian Epistles. For the present, however, let us gain a glimpse in Colossians of much that he has yet to reveal. We gain this glimpse in Colossians 3:4—When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory.
This may come through as a little beyond what some may be willing to receive, but we open ourselves to the Scripture even when it does seem to go beyond the ideas we already hold. Here’s what may seem a little difficult: the word translated when at the beginning of the verse is from the Greek hótan. It carries with it the meaning of “whenever.” This would seem to indicate that there may come an appearance of Christ before He comes in His Parousía. Paul could certainly believe this; Christ appeared to Him on the Damascus road.
And, not only did Christ appear unto Paul, but there was so much glory in His appearing that the manifestation of it came all over Paul and completely changed him. So, why shouldn’t he tell others that this might happen to them?
And, let us remember this, Paul is writing to people who are being prepared for their usefulness in God’s Kingdom. That’s us, today, as well as people through ages past. As the time of the end comes on, similar appearances will empower us through the time of tribulation that will come against us from the anti-Christ. It is his design to wear us out. Read Daniel 7 25,26. But, read also Daniel 11:32.
Oh, dear LORD, how thankful I am for the hope that is ours now! Please cause Your Spirit to come upon us and release into our hearts the understanding and convictions that will carry us through the time of trouble during which the enemy hopes to do away with us. Help us know, with assurance, that his attacks on us will only serve to strengthen us.
Read again about Paul’s conversion.—Acts 9:1-20
Day 5—It is after we begin knowing the glory of the Lord that our lives can be made pure.
Far too many people believe they can only know the Lord if they get all the darkness and sin out of their lives before inviting Him in. But we observe from much of Paul’s writing that it is just the other way around. Take Ephesians, for instance. It is after he has presented the high truth of our identification with Jesus in His death, burial and resurrection that he presents, in Ephesians 4:1-6:9, how our lives can become pure. We have the enabling power to put away sin and bring our lives into alignment with God’s Kingdom. This comes after we know our identification with the Lord Jesus.
Now, it must be made very clear, as in the first part of Romans, that we can never know the salvation offered to us in Christ until we have repented of our sin. What we are learning in Ephesians and Colossians, particularly, is that there is much sin that has a hold on many of us that we can never conquer till we know the power of the indwelling Christ. Because of this, for a number of days we are going to deal with certain areas of uncleanness and sin as Paul brings them to our attention. We will be honest and we will present them over to the power of the living Christ.
See this in Colossians 3: 5 Mortify (deprive these things of their power, destroy their strength) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence (unnatural and degrading passion, desire for that which is evil), and covetousness (greed), which is idolatry: for which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. Take note that these are tendencies and ways of living that come from the earth. This is the realm that is coming with increasing speed under the dominion of the wicked one, the serpent who beguiled our Parents in Eden. Our redeemed lives now belong to the heavens. Jesus is drawing us there to live, even now, under the rule of Government that was created by Him and for Him. Read again Colossians 1:12-20. This is Scripture vital for our present-day understanding—that is, if we are going to live in victory over sin.
LOVING FATHER, I am very thankful to You for loving the world so much that You gave Your only begotten Son to die for us. Now, won’t You please bring it into our understanding that He not only died for us, He also died as us. That’s beyond the grasp of my mind. But I am ready for my heart to go there, and believe.
The pivotal point of judgment for our sin was on the Cross where Jesus died.—Romans 6:1-12
Day 6—Sexual sins nearly always begin the list of sins that must be put away from one’s life.
The Lord Jesus was the first to present the list of wrongs that must be put away from a believer’s life. We see this in Mark 7:20-23, a most unusual passage. Before we return to Colossians, let us see this from Jesus in Mark 7:20-23—20And He said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man (that makes the man’s life like a common place where anything can enter). 21For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts (the dialogues of evil, personal arguments that go on within a person’s own heart): adulteries, fornications, murders, 22thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness (indecent conduct), an evil eye (envy), blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 all these evil things come from within, and defile the man. Personal arguments over these things often go on within one’s own heart. Whether they are committed in actual fact, or not, they make a person’s life like a common place. There unclean spirits of any kind can take up their work with the intention of leading the person on into a committed sin. Thus, Jesus knew that what was in the heart of a person could begin their downfall. He also knew that uncleanness in one’s heart will make that life like a house open to anything. Thus, it will be a common house where all sorts of unclean things can go on.
Because of what Jesus taught, we want our lives made pure to the innermost parts. Through the power of Christ’s death and resurrection, we have the hope of becoming pure. See Colossians 3:5 again and take note of the word mortify, remembering that it means “put to death.” Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. This verse connects us, very well, with Romans 6:11. ...reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. The word reckon means “put it down to your account.”
FATHER, I take the above Word that came through Paul and put it down to my account that when Christ Jesus died, I died. When He was raised from the dead, I too was raised with Him. In doing this, I present the unclean sexual desires that arise within me. I trust in the power of Christ’s death and resurrection to set me free from those arguments that go on inside me that try to make me commit acts of uncleanness.
Sexual sins makes our lives susceptible to the spirits in those with whom wrong acts are committed. Our bodies are now redeemed to become a temple for the Holy Spirit—I Corinthians 6:15-20
Day 7—The list goes on. The grace and power of the Resurrection continues.
The list from Paul continues in Colossians 3:5 of things we are to put to death within our lives now that the Holy Spirit has come within us. As we view this verse in the King James Version, some of the words need explanation. So, let us take note. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication (sexual infidelity; sex outside of marriage), uncleanness (lewdness; impurity of motive), inordinate affection (erotic passion; sexual perversion), evil concupiscence (strong desire for that which is evil), and covetousness (greed; from the Greek pleonexía, literally, “I will have more)”, which is idolatry...
We can view each of these with some degree of understanding, but the one that the brings this present list to its end is covetousness. The word describes a person who will never, can never, be satisfied. Always, no matter what is in possession, there is the greedy desire for more. How often it is mentioned. One of the most compelling words with regard to this unclean passion is found in Ephesians 5:3—But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness (greed), let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints. Greed is idolatry. Let it never have place in your life. It is the same as the worship of idols.
It is a very sad commentary that in the latter days there shall arise false prophets and teachers who are driven, not by God’s Spirit, but by greed. Oh, how we must pray that the Lord will keep each of us from the influence of these persons. Their design will be to corrupt those who could be useful to the Lord and to His Kingdom. See this passage from II Peter 2:1-3—1But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily (secretly) shall bring in damnable heresies (destructive divisions, sectarianism), even denying the Lord that bought them (denying the redemption), and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2And many shall follow their pernicious ways (sensual, shameful practices); by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3And through covetousness (greed) shall they with feigned (plastic, unreal) words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
DEAR LORD, my earnest plea is that You will keep me, and these I name before You, from the influence of these so called ministers who, it seems, are sent by the devil to keep us from Your Kingdom. Bring upon us that operation of Your Spirit that Paul called “the discerning of spirits.” Make us into a pure people for the purposes of Your Kingdom.
The last of the Ten Commandments has to do with greed.—Exodus 20:17
Day 8—Because of the things we have just considered, the wrath of God comes.
The list we saw yesterday from Colossians is the great cause for the wrath of God coming upon a people. While our LORD is a God of great mercy, He also has great wrath against sin. He has great love for sinners, but a hatred for sin. This is necessary for He is bringing forth, through the redemption, a holy people who can inherit His Kingdom in the earth with His beloved Son.
See the following verse, Colossians 3:5—For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience. This term, the children of disobedience is revealing. In the Greek New Testament there is some insight that is helpful for our understanding. The word childrenis from the Greek huíos which defines those of a family who are mature, even to the point of receiving the inheritance of their father. The word disobedience is from a word meaning “disbelief.” Interestingly, it is preceded by the Definite Article “the.” This means a specific disbelief. Could it not have reference to what happened in Eden when our Parents refused to believe, or obey, the Lord God? I feel it does, indeed, take us back to that refusal to obey. It was a refusal to believe. These to whom Paul is making reference in this Colossian verse are, I think, those who have reached the fullness of that first disobedience. It is coming in the earth in the time of the end.
The longsuffering of God has waited through thousands of years till the disobedience begun in the Garden has reached its completion. God can no longer allow it to continue. The most alarming thing of all is that there will be a concerted effort by all the spirits of the anti-Christ to reach those who could have become sons and daughters of the Kingdom. He will reach for us all to drag us down into the disobedience, which is full and complete unbelief, to make us not fit for God’s Kingdom on earth. That is the Satanic goal. He will fail. Some out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation shall reign on the earth with the Son of God’s Love.
FATHER, it is my deepest desire to stand pure in the Day when You gather Your ransomed ones unto yourself. Let Your Spirit move in the lives of all these that I name. Burn as a spiritual fire, if need be, that we might be made pure for Your Kingdom.
The same Spirit that moved in the Prophet Elijah will move in the latter days,
calling a people to the Lord.—Malachi 4:1-6
Day 9—Whatever is in our inner man influences the way we speak.
In the Colossian 3:6 passage of yesterday, Paul spoke of the children of disobedience: 7 in the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. This verse 7 might well be understood as: ...in the midst of whom you also once walked, as one with them, when you lived among them.
Continuing on, we see in verse 8 ways of living that would seem to be the continuation of the list we began observing in verse 5. But, I think there may be a slight difference. There are some who would like to claim themselves as Christians and have put away what they consider some of the major wrongs listed earlier, but who keep on with the ways that Paul lists here. I’ve seen this to be so among some people who belong to a church. The wrongs we are about to see here are as defiling as those we have already seen. They all disqualify a person from functioning in God’s Kingdom. See these now: But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth—Colossians 3:8.
Some suppose they may keep things, like the above, concealed beneath a cloak of religion. Unfortunately, however, those who consider themselves to be Christians and who hold on to these things, when pressed just a little, will allow the blasphemy, which is evil speech against the Lord, and obscenity to come forth. People like this may be outwardly religious much of the time, and even function in a church, but they can never function in the Kingdom of God.
It is before the people of the world, unconverted and unsure of what a true believer is, that we are to allow our light to shine. The anger and unclean speech of a professed believer can do much harm by convincing an unsaved person that there is little value in giving one’s life to the Lord. When we are purged from the ways of the world and filled with the Spirit of God, our speech and way of acting toward others becomes much changed.
DEAR FATHER, there are some ways of speech that have tried to hang on to me that do not glorify Your Name. I renounce a spirit of profanity that has tried to hang on to me since I’ve given my heart to You. Please cause Your Spirit to purge my inner man of any of the ways that are causing me to speak dishonorably of You. Oh, dear LORD, purge me of all wrong speech!
The Speech of Those Who Fear the Lord—Malachi 3:16-189
Day 10—Honesty is of prime importance.
Some people just cannot discern what is right and what is not right. Because of this they become known as “pathological” liars. But, the Lord Jesus will set anyone of us free from this malady. We can come through to the place where we love the truth, live in the truth, and always speak the truth. In all of this, we can become, just simply, true.
Paul said it in a very straightforward way in Colossians 3: 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds (his practices); 10 and have put on the new man, which is renewed (being made into someone entirely new) in knowledge (epig’nosis, acknowledgment) after the image of Him that created Him (according to the image of the Father Who created Jesus): 11 where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision (Jew nor Gentile), Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
The above is rather complex, but it is wonderfully compelling as it draws us on into who God created us to be in the first place. This is so for every kind of person, everywhere, who will give themselves to the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
One reason it is so important that we give up lying is that the serpent came into the Garden lying, and thus deceived our Parents. What tragic consequences followed in the trail of that liar! We give up lying because, according to John 8:44, it is the devil’s native language. These are words Jesus spoke to the religious people who were themselves impure. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie (literally, “the lie”), he speaketh of his own (of his own things; his own native language): for he is a liar, and the father of it. If the devil is the father of lies, then let us renounce it once for all.
FATHER, I renounce all lying. Even when it seems the “best thing to do.” I can see now that there is never any reason to lie. Forgive me for the times that I felt it was all right to tell even a “little white lie.” I know there is no such thing. Give me a deep love for truth. Enable me to always speak the truth, live the truth, and represent Your Kingdom in truth.
Four significant verses, as they occur in the Greek New Testament, speak of “the lie.” They refer to that lie of the serpent.—John 8:44, Romans 1:25; Ephesians 4:25 and II Thessalonians 2:11
Day 11—Now, having put away the old man, we are ready to put on the new.
Much of what we find in Colossians is similar to what Paul wrote to the Ephesians. But there is a difference. He did not copy one from the other. In Colossians, he revealed, in greater detail, what the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished in the heavens. Keep on reviewing in Colossians 1:16 what I believe is his most powerful revelation about Christ’s work in the heavens.
As in his Epistle to the Ephesians, we find that after Paul has led us to know our place in Christ, in the heavens, he leads us to deal with things that cannot go with us into the Kingdom of the heavens. What a cleansing Colossians 3:5-9 takes us through! Please don’t let a one of the character traits of the evil one try to remain with you. Go over the list. Do what Paul has said. Mortify them all. Deprive each thing of its power. Through the power of what Jesus accomplished for you in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, destroy the strength of each one. Use His Name in approaching each character trait with which the serpent has sought to inject the whole human race. Because of the Lord Jesus, and the manifestation of God’s grace through Him, you need not allow a single one of those dark things to remain in you to disqualify you from a place and purpose in God’s Kingdom.
Now, Paul is ready to lead us to traits of character that will serve us well in that Kingdom the Lord Jesus made certain in the earth. These are qualities that will serve us well as we represent Him before all mankind. What a privilege He is giving us! How else can we even think of representing Him?
See what the Apostle tells us as we go onward in Colossians 3:12-14—12Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14And above all these things put on charity (agápe, selfless love), which is the bond of perfectness (the trait of character that makes us complete).
In the Kingdom Christ Jesus brought, there is no place for retaliation or war. Go back and take note of the first Word in the New Testament about love. It is in Matthew 5:44. There we also find the first Word about praying, the first about doing good and the first about blessing another person. Look up that verse. Mark it. Memorize it. Draw it into your daily living.
BLESSED SAVIOR, I praise You for the amazing work You accomplished for us sinners. There is no hope of any of us becoming good apart from what You have done for us. I praise You! Let Your grace become known in these for whom I am interceding!
Day 12—Now we are ready to take strides toward exhibiting God’s Kingdom.
The words that follow from Paul exhort us further toward the kind of living that helps others see what being in God’s Kingdom is like. Let us continue on with Colossians 3:15-17—15And let the peace of God rule in your hearts (let it preside there, let it prevail and govern as an umpire in your midst, because the Kingdom of God means the prevalence of peace), to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16Let the Word of Christ (let the logos of which Christ Jesus is the embodiment) dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (putting into the minds of one another the counsel and instruction that comes through the Psalms, hymns and songs born of the Holy Spirit), singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by Him.
What a powerful passage! Take note of the imperatives. Let the peace of God rule. Be thankful. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. Do whatever you do in the Name of the Lord Jesus. These words are so rich they deserve our holding them in our hearts till they have grown there and have become part of the very beings we are.
Of all the rich words Paul has placed in the Colossians 3 passage at which we are looking today, there are none so rich as the admonition that we let the Word of Christ dwell in us. From the Greek, we observe the words more exactly to mean: “Let the logos of the Christ live in you as His dwelling place.” This means a movement of our beings toward knowing the intimacy of the indwelling Christ. It means that He takes His being in us, living in us, and making Himself known through us.
How does this happen? Paul says let it happen.
FATHER, blessed FATHER GOD, I know now it is only by Your grace, and by Your work. It is by what Paul has presented to our hearts today. I believe it can actually happen. Give us—these in our fellowship, in our family, in our circle of friends, in these people who seek to govern our nations—oh, give us each and all the enabling grace that will bring these qualities of Your Kingdom forth in us.
Let us do all to the glory of God.—I Corinthians 10:31; I Peter 4:11
Day 13—The working power of God’s Kingdom can become known in our families.
Paul carried always the deep conviction that the working power of God’s grace and strengthening power of His Kingdom should be at work in our families. He gave much more attention to this in his Epistle to the Ephesians, but there are some very straightforward and meaningful words here in Colossians 3:18-21—18Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. 19Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. 20Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. 21Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
This is a clear passage. There should be no difficulty in understanding it—that is, if we will take into account the whole of what is laid out before us. Perhaps the best way to do this is by observing the Imperatives in the passage throughout. To the wives, the Imperative is submit. This is a word that means simply “be submissive.” To the husbands, the Imperative is love and be not bitter. What an all encompassing command! It should be noted that the word love speaks of that kind of love expressed by the word agape’. This is that selfless love, that puts the concern and need of others before one’s own concern and need. And, how interesting that the Holy Spirit caused the Apostle to include the admonition be not bitter. Bitterness is a defiling trait. Let all who are husbands renounce it this very day. Let the Lord cleanse the heart of every husband of its dreadful influence. It must also reach into the wife.
To the children, the Imperative is obey. It means listen to what your parents say and do not rebel against their counsel. A father who loves his wife as Paul has admonished him to do will have little problem calling forth obedience from his children.
Then, there is one further word to the fathers. This would mean whoever exercises the discipline in the household, for unfortunately, there are many homes in which the father does not exist. To the one who brings the discipline, the word means “do not exasperate, do not incite them to anger. This would bring great discouragement upon children and cause them to reject the ideals the discipline is meant to bring about.
LOVING FATHER, bring into my own life, and into the lives of these I hold before You, the qualities we are encouraged to embrace in the Scripture for today. Bring healing into these I now name before You. Their lives have been damaged in homes where these qualities have not been at work.
Words to the Husbands and Fathers—Ephesians 5:25, 28, 33.
Words to the Children—Ephesians 6:1-3.
These make for a pleasant mother in the home. When she is happy, those around her are happy.
Day 14—There are Kingdom Principles for those who work in the service of others.
In the passage that follows in Colossians 3, Paul gives admonition to those who are in the service of others as “bond slaves.” It is interesting to note some of Adam Clarke’s comment on this: “In heathen countries slavery was in some sort excusable; among Christians it is an enormity and a crime for which perdition has scarcely an adequate state of punishment.” However, there are excellent words for us to consider who work in the employment of others. Let us see the passage as it begins with verse 22 and continues through verse 25.
Colossians 3:22-25—22Servants (doulos, bond slaves), obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; 23and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.
There have been occasions in my own life when I have worked in secular employment, even after I had spent some good years of my life in “full-time” service for the Lord. In that time, I was never allowed of the Lord to consider myself as any other than a “full-time” servant of the Lord. Whatever I did, I was to do it heartily, as to the Lord. Of course, that’s possible. I was required of the Lord to serve my employer with integrity and honor. I found in those times much opportunity to minister Christ, without robbing time or resource from my employer. People who worked with me could see Christ in me. The secular working place is one of the greatest mission fields there is today.
It is interesting to note in Matthew 13, as Jesus explained the parable of the sower, He spoke of the seed he planted as the children of the Kingdom—verse 38. The field where He planted them was the world. The word used in the Greek New Testament in this verse for world is kosmos. This word most clearly means the secular order of affairs on earth. Is it strange that the Lord would speak of planting His children in the world? It is not a strange thing when we consider that the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.
DEAR LORD, as I walk among people of the world today, please let others see You in my life. Even if I am abused, even if my rights are violated, even if others push in ahead of me, help me act and react in a way that will glorify You.
Read about the earth belonging to the Lord. Meditate on its truest meaning.—Psalm 24:1-10
Similar requirement are made of a Bishop.—I Timothy 3:1-7
Day 15—There are Kingdom Principles for those who employ others.
In the passage that follows in Colossians 4, Paul gives admonition to masters. Here we apply it to those who employ others. It is given in the context of slaves and masters, but the principle applies well to business people who employ others. Here is Colossians 4:1—Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.
A quotation from Matthew Henry, written about 300 years ago, has much in it of value for us today. I feel it right to quote him at this point as he has written with regard to Paul’s comment, give unto your servants that which is just and equal. Henrysaid: “Show not only strict justice, but equity and kindness. Be faithful to your promises to them, and perform your agreements, not defrauding them of their dues, nor keeping back by fraud the hire of the laborers, (James 5:4). Require no more of them than they are able to perform; and do not lay unreasonable burdens upon them, and beyond their strength. Provide for them what is fit...and allow them such liberties as may fit them the better for cheerful service and make it the easier to them, and do this though they be employed in the meanest and lowest offices, and of another country and a different religion from yourselves. ...A good reason for this regard: Knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. You who are masters of others have a Master yourself, and you are servants of another Lord. You are not lords of yourselves, and are accountable to One above you. Deal with your servants as you expect God should deal with you, and as those who believe they must give an account. You are both servants of the same Lord in the different relations in which you stand, and are equally accountable to him at last. Knowing that your Master also is in heaven, neither is there respect of persons with him— (Ephesians 6: 9).”
My DEAR MASTER in Heaven, as I have people in my hire, please keep a close check on me. Convict me where I am unjust, or where my character does not reflect Who You are in my life. Let our place of work be a place of peace and happiness. Let any who come in our midst as visitors have a sense of being among people who are honorable, happy in their work and gracious to those who are of lesser means or education. May this begin with me.
Let us remember that in the eyes of God there is no different standard for any one of us.—Romans 3:21-23
Day 16—For years we have followed the discipline of intercession. Let us start again.
Since 1983 we have followed a discipline in praying making use of the prayers we find in three of the Epistles Paul wrote while in prison in Rome. We have spread this as far as we could, encouraging people to follow this discipline with us. As a result, many lives have been brought closer into line with God’s Kingdom. Now, we come upon Colossians 4:2. It comes like a present day Word of the Lord to us, encouraging us to pick it up again for the new year about to dawn upon us. See it: Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. The word continue is from proskarteréo, a long Greek word, probably too difficult for most to even try and pronounce. It means “to persist in adherence to” a thing. It is the Word used in Acts 1:14to speak of the disciples who all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication.
You might say, “How can this be possible for us today? Our lives are too busy. We have too much to do just to stay afloat. We can’t pray all the time!” Yet, we claim to believe the Bible where Paul says, Pray without ceasing in I Thessalonians 5:17. Just in case this is new to you, we have written a book entitled The Discipline of Intercession. We tell in it about how we might move toward praying without ceasing, and yet go about the necessities of life. We take what steps we can. See the chapter on the principles of praying that Paul learned. One is that he learned to pray without ceasing. Read the two passages where Jesus taught His disciples to pray—Luke 11:1-13 and Luke 18:1-8.
The Scriptures in which we have found the substance of twelve prayers—one for each month—are as follows. January through April prayers come from Ephesians 1:15-20. For May through July, we use Ephesians 3:14-19. For August through October we find the substance of our praying in Philippians 1:9,10. And then, for November and December we take our prayers from Colossians 1:9-11.
After following this discipline for a couple of years, I found myself growing weary in praying. The Lord spoke to me to ask for the Spirit of supplication and grace. I asked what that meant. He spoke to my heart that that is the movement of His Spirit in me that would make me want to pray.
DEAR FATHER, please release within my heart the movement of Your Spirit that will make me want to pray. Teach me what it would mean for me to pray without ceasing. I really can’t see how this can come about, but I believe You can bring it to pass with me.
Here is a verse to remember about praying.—I Thessalonians 5:17
Day 17—As Paul drew near the end of the Epistle, he asked others to pray for him.
As Paul requested others to pray for him, so I—Ed Corley—make the same request for myself. See here what Paul requested in Colossians 4:3-4—3Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds (because of which I am held as a prisoner): 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
This is the main request I would make for myself. Because of the many that we are reaching, I have a sense of deep responsibility to “make the message clear and plain.” And I also feel deep responsibility to open the Word without having to read it through denominational glasses. As we move on into the new year, there is much that is working in my heart that I am impressed to put into writing. Please pray for me that I might be faithful to the commission the Lord placed on my heart years ago to take the deep things of God and make them simple to the understanding.
Oh, there is so much yet to be made known! Vital information and instruction await us for the closing days of the age in which we now live.
Please pray that I will prove to be faithful to the Truth revealed in the Word of God. Much of it is difficult for some of us to understand, but this is not when the Holy Spirit is our helper.
DEAR LORD, please make it clear to Ed Corley what and how he is to proceed under the commission You have placed on him for this closing out period of his life. He needs Your strength, spiritually, mentally and physically. Let the revelation of Truth and Light the comes to him be pure. Let the word he sends forth be a right word for this hour.
Pray for us.—I Thessalonians 5:25; II Thessalonians 3:1
Day 18—Paul gives a closing admonition as we take our testimony to the world.
Nearly everyone of us has communication with people of the world, many of whom do not know the Lord Jesus as their Savior. For this, he gives some practical exhortation that will cause our testimony to be believable.
Let us see now what he told the people of Colosse. His words to them will serve us well also as we see them in Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
To walk in wisdom towards those who are withoutmeans being careful in all our conversation and business dealings with people of the world. Whatever involvement we might have with them should increase their desire to know the Lord. If they show prejudice or hostility against us, that is all the more reason for us to demonstrate toward them the grace and peace of the Lord. We should never enter into any communication with a person of the world that would give them reason to reject whatever testimony we might afterwards bear toward them.
It is also expedient that we live always as redeeming the time. This means taking every opportunity of doing good to others, whether they be of our faith or not. Paul gives a similar admonition in Ephesians 5:15 and 16 which we condense here: Walk circumspectly (live with care), redeeming the time, because the days are evil. It is important that we give careful heed to these words, most particularly as the perilous time of the end draws closer upon us. Days may soon become dangerous, with times of trouble and suffering. We should so walk and live among those who oppose us that it will not increase their opposition. Love is the greatest deterrent.
Paul tells us further: Let your speech be always with grace, suitable to our profession as believers. Matthew Henry said this about the speech of a believer: “Though it be not always of grace, it must be always with grace.” This gives us the answer as to how we ought to answer every man.
FATHER, it is my strong desire that my very life itself be a testimony to all who know me. If there are ways or habits in me that hinder my witness for You, then please work in me till I am free of the offense. Grant me the wisdom and the patience necessary for others to see Your grace and love through me. Work in our fellowship so that others who come among us might immediately sense your love.
Be ready always to give an answer to every man who asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you.
—I Peter 3:15
Day 19—Of the people in Colosse that Paul knew, Epaphras bore the most meaningful testimony.
We have concluded that Paul most probably never went to Colosse. It seems to have been Epaphras who brought him the news of what was happening there. This man Epaphras must have gone to Rome and spent some time with Paul. We know little about him except what Paul said in Colossians 1:7 where he called him his dear fellowservant. It’s what we learn of him in Colossians 4:12, however, that gives us the most meaningful insight into who and what he was. Think on this verse as we let it minister to our own hearts. Here, we can see what an example of a true believer and son of the Kingdom he is. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.
What a way of praying that was! He labored fervently in prayer for the people whom he had known, but was not longer with them. For him, it was not a matter of being “out of sight, out of mind.” He continued bearing them before the Throne of God’s grace even when they were apart. May such grace and discipline in praying abide with us
And take note what he prayed. His desire before the Lord was that they might stand perfect and complete in all the will of God. This was an unusual supplication, that the believers back in Colosse—most probably a new congregation—might be established in a completion regarding God’s will for them. May we, as we consider others, hold that same compassion for them as we pray for them. What greater service could we render to our friends and loved ones whom we do not frequently see.
DEAR LORD, here are these certain ones whom I seldom see but who remain dear to my heart. Please bring your work to completion in them. Bring them to the place where they stand perfect and complete in Your will for them.
It was Paul’s desire to present every man perfect in Christ.—Colossians 1:28; I Thessalonians 3:10
Day 20—All the prayers from Paul who was imprisoned for the Gospel wind up with rejoicing. See Colossians 1:11
The first person to rejoice at the presence of Jesus as He was becoming known in the earth was one who came later to be known as John the Baptist. This was, indeed, an early rejoicing, perhaps like none other. See this account of it in Luke 1:44—For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. These were the words of Elizabeth whose cousin Mary had come to visit her. Elizabeth, barren and old for giving birth, had conceived one who would be the forerunner of the Christ. Mary was bearing that one, conceived of the Holy Spirit at the Word of the Archangel Gabriel.
Let us hear that Word from Gabriel and take note of Mary’s response as it is recorded in Luke 1: 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His Name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: 33 And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.
34 Then said Mary unto the Angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the Angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also That Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
The conversation then continued. 36 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing shall be impossible. 38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy Word. And the angel departed from her.
Now, we know the crucified, risen and ascended Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is alive in us! Therefore, we rejoice!
LOVING FATHER, I do rejoice this day because Your Spirit has come upon my life. You granted me repentance! Now, I know Jesus, Your Son! He is alive in my heart! My life is changed! I have a hope that was never there before! There is grace for my sin! There is light for my darkness! Oh, thank You for loving us so much! DEAR FATHER, let this new Life become known in these I now name before You.
Day 21—Written from that Roman prison, the Epistles to the Philippians uses some word meaning “joy” at least nineteen times.
We will cover this Philippian phenomenon in a later article,but for the present, let us move on through the New Testament with some other passages that remind us of joy and rejoicing. Matthew 13 records some of the parables of Jesus that tell us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. For years this chapter has held my attention, but never so like now. Verse 20 describes the reaction of a person who hears the Word of the Kingdom and with joy receiveth it. But there arises a problem. He not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the Word, by and by he is offended—Matthew 13:21. You see, from the beginning, Jesus let’s us know that tribulationand persecution will come along with receiving the Kingdom of Heaven into one’s life.
But there is another parable, contained in one verse, Matthew 13:44. See this, and embrace into your heart what Jesus was teaching: Again, the Kingdom of Heaven (of the heavens) is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. There are several significant matters calling for oue attention in this verse. The Kingdom may be hidden, not open for all to see, unless they seek for it with all their heart. Discovering the Kingdom brings immediate joy. Whoever discovers God’s Kingdom, makes sure he will not lose “so great a deal.” Whoever will know the Kingdom in his own life, must realize it will cost all that he has. This means it will touch every area of one’s life. No one who withholds ought of his life from the Kingdom of God can know the Kingdom at all. The Kingdom of God is all pervasive.
But, oh what joy to the person who selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field! What might we get from the Lord in return? The Father tells it clearly: All that I have is thine (Luke 15:31).
FATHER, blessed FATHER GOD, how gracious and kind You are to us who would possess the Kingdom! Please make this known to these dear ones. I see they are wanting to have only a part of Your Kingdom’s rule over them. Please let them know this cannot be. Draw them with desire greater than any desire for the things that oppose Your Kingdom.
Let us review the story of the Prodigal Son.—Luke 15:11-32
(Take note of the joy in the Father’s House over one son who returns from the far country.)
Day 22—In the Psalms we have great rejoicing, much in prophecy foretelling the advent of the Messiah.
Some years ago, the Lord spoke to my heart that I was to spend time with Psalm 2, with the expectation that the promise contained therein—from the Lord God to His Anointed Son—would become more firmly written in my mind than even the memory of my own name. He said the time might come when I would stutter and stammer when asked to tell who I was, but never was I to forget that He had promised nations, even the uttermost parts of the earth, to His Son. What a powerful Messianic Psalm this is!
As we look at the conclusion of the Psalm, we find five imperatives issued to rulers of the nations. Take note of them here in Psalms 2:10-12. One of these Imperatives is rejoice. It will be well for us to acquaint ourselves with all of them.
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings.—Give yourselves over to the wisdom that comes from God.
be instructed, ye judges of the earth.—Let the knowledge of the Lord, born of His Spirit, fill your heart as you administer justice.
Serve the LORD with fear.—The fear of God promotes spiritual joy; it is the morning star which ushers in the sunlight of comfort (C.H. Spurgeon). One Thomas Watson, in 1660, said “God mingles joy with fear, that fear may not be slavish.” This means that fear will not hold you as its slave.
rejoice with trembling.—We rejoice in the settling of Christ’s Kingdom. We regard it with a holy awe of Him and a holy fear for ourselves, lest we come short in the tender concern He holds for the many precious souls to whom the Gospel of His Kingdom is sent.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.—This is a kiss of reconciliation so that there will be no judgment against us in the Day when He comes to judge all nations.
DEAR SAVIOR, I rejoice in the salvation You bring. I rejoice in the Kingdom into which You are bringing us. I stand in awe that Your grace would allow such as we are to share with You in Your Kingdom. Please let the rule of Your Kingdom reach into the innermost parts of my own soul. Bring its convicting power upon these I hold before You.
Read the Letter from Jesus in which He quotes from Psalm 2.—Revelations 2:18-29
Day 23—The Psalms immediately following Psalm 2 are prayers in the light of that Psalm’s Covenant Promise.
When we have received into our hearts the admonitions of Psalm 2 which we saw in its last three verses, praying becomes a necessity. We might well imagine there will be opposition from the spiritual forces related to the serpent who seduced our Parents in Eden. When the Son of Man, our Lord Jesus came, he was introduced first of all as the Son of David (Matthew 1:1) He is the one about Whom we learn so much from Paul. Perhaps the most profound revelation from Paul is in Colossians 1:18. We have seen it before, but let us see it again. We cannot see it too much. Let it be written on the walls of our hearts and let it begin entering our understanding.
We will take the whole passage to see the complete Statement. Colossians 1:16—For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. This is the marvelous revelation that came to Paul of Christ’s triumphant work in the heavens. It is apparent to my own heart that this is a work completed, and made certain, by Him when He returned to be seated at the right hand of His Father in the heavens.
Here now is part of the Psalm rejoicing in the triumph that He won for us and in which He leads us while we’re still in this age. Since this Psalm is prophetic, it reaches over the ages to become ours now. It comes from one of the prayers following the Covenant Promise of Psalm 2. These prayers take in Psalms 3 through 6. This is from Psalm 5:11—But let all those that put their trust in Thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because Thou defendest them: let them also that love Thy Name be joyful in Thee.
DEAR LORD JESUS, I do rejoice in the victory You have won for us who trust You and seek to exalt Your Name. I thank You and praise You for loving me enough to draw me into Your fold. Please enable me, and these I name before You, to live in this age as children of Your Kingdom.
To read the whole of Psalms 3 through 6, take note that 3 and 5 are morning Psalms, 4 and 6 are for the evenings.
Allow the light and glory of Colossians 1:16 to bathe your heart as you read and meditate on these Psalms.
Day 24—Psalms 9 and 10 flow together as one in the Hebrew Bible. Their prophetic Word is profound for the closing of this age.
Some times we come upon Scripture that is too deep to receive into our limited understanding. I’ve learned the best thing to do with passages like this is just simply to soak in them and allow the Holy Spirit to bring into my heart what He will. Psalms 9 and 10 contain some of the most profound words for the days in which we are now living. But they are also among those Scriptures that are too deep for the minds of most of us. It is interesting to note that these two Psalms are one in their Original form. The revelation and truth within them bring us through the time when the wicked one will be brought to the place when he can no more oppress (Psalms 10:18). Oddly, but wonderfully, these two Psalms relate to the revelation of Daniel 7 through 12.
Before we see the Day of the wicked one’s complete overthrow in all the earth, even before we see the Day of the full manifestation of Christ’s Kingdom in all the earth, we are learning to praise and rejoice in His triumph in our lives personally.
These two Psalms, so profound and so important for this day, start out with two verses of wonderful praise and rejoicing. Let us read together Psalm 9:1 I will praise Thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Thy marvelous works. 2 I will be glad and rejoice in Thee: I will sing praise to Thy Name, O Thou most High.
(It is in my heart that we will spend some months in the coming year to examine the Light, Life and revelation of Truth as we are able to perceive it in several of the Messianic Psalms. Of course, I can only do this with the aid of the Holy Spirit. Let us make this a matter of prayer, for in the Messianic Psalms is much understanding that will serve us well as we pass through what David called the time of trouble in Psalms 27:5. For many, this time is already at hand.)
DEAR FATHER, my hope and expectation for the remainder of this day and the days that lie ahead are founded in Your mercy, grace and power. Please let the light and revelation of Your Kingdom’s Truth come upon my own heart, and upon these whose names I now call before You. Oh, You are so faithful, dear LORD!
Discover the joy of Psalm 27. Oh, what Life and Light this Psalm holds for us today!
Day 25—We say a little more about the mercy that has come down to us in God’s Love.
We made mention yesterday of the profound—and sometimes difficult to understand—prophetic revelation of Psalms 9 and 10. I had thought to move on to other Psalms, but something has caught my attention in the two following verses—Psalm 9:13 Have mercy upon me, O LORD; consider my trouble which I suffer of them that hate me, thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: 14 that I may show forth all Thy praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion: I will rejoice in Thy salvation.
Charles Spurgeon has said that the above supplication from David has in it the soul and marrow of prayer, and it, like the angelic sword, turns every way. Then he says, with regard to David making his prayer from the gates of death, The ladder looks to be short, but it reaches from earth to heaven. “When David speaks of his showing forth all God’s praise, he means that, in His deliverance, grace in all its heights and depths would be magnified.” O, the height and depth of God’s grace to us when we see ourselves surrounded by hopelessness!
“O hope of every contrite heart, O joy of all the meek,
To those who fall how kind thou art, How good to those who seek.
“But what to those who find, ah, this Nor tongue nor pen can show
The love of Jesus what it is, None but his loved ones know.”
What has taken my further attention from the Psalm itself is David’s concern that the mercy of the Lord might visit him that he might show forth all of the Lord’s praise in the gates of the daughter of Zion. David demonstrates to us how the mercy of the Lord lifts a destitute soul from the angry jaws of death unto the full realization of what awaits him, or her, when joined with that happy band that make up the daughter of Zion. Who can this be? I believe it is those who have found the Lord’s bosom of love and acknowledged their union with Him that only a child of His can know in the arms of their loving heavenly Father. Who, further, can this be? Can it not but be the ones who have discovered His grace that has reached them in the depth of their despair. They have allowed that grace to bring them into the Government of their Father’s Kingdom.
LOVING FATHER, I lay my weary head upon Your bosom while in this hopeless condition. And, Oh! I find such acceptance! I find such peace! I find such healing as I never before knew! Here today I will rest in Your Love.
Day 26—The rejoicing of our heart will repulse the enemy as he seeks to bring us down.
We are still in the midst of those Psalms that follow, and relate to, the Covenant Promise of Psalm 2. This will continue on through Psalm 15.
First, let us keep in mind what that Promise was, from the Lord God to His Anointed. They are recited to us from the Anointed One Himself as He declares the decreewhich the Father had spoken to Him. He that remained enthroned in the heavens, while the vain kings of the earth sought to undo the authority of His earthly rule, laughed of their hopeless resolution. (Read it in Psalms 2:1-3.) In effect God said to them, “You are too late to change the Government I have already set in the earth.” Hear His exact Word: Yet have I set My King upon My holy hill of Zion—Psalms 2:6
Now, the One anointed and appointed to this Position comes forward to speak. Listen carefully. No Word ever spoken has more effect upon what is unfolding—perhaps even at this present time—than this Word from God the Father to His beloved Son recorded in Psalms 2: 7. The Son speaks, quoting His Father: I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto Me, Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee. 8 Ask of Me, and I shall give Thee the heathen (the nations) for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
The Lord Jesus spoke some of this Word again in Rev 2:25. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. 26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth(sets guard over) My works unto the end(unto their consummation for this age), to him will I give power (exousía, governmental authority) over the nations: 27 And he shall rule them(guide them as a shepherd) with a rod of iron(with an unbending scepter of rightness); as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers (their perverse ways shall be broken to be remade into what is right): even as I received of My Father—as is recorded in Psalm 2.
It is important that we who know what Paul revealed in Colossians 1:16 and that we understand how the Covenant Promise of Psalm 2 is passed on to those who overcome. And this—take careful note in the above passage from Revelation that we are called to set guard over the work the Beloved Son of God has finished in our behalf.
GRAIOUS LORD, teach me, and these whose name I call before You, to live out of the grace and power of the Word You brought to completion for us. Teach us that it means to live by the power of that work. Let it touch all our affairs, all our living, all our association with others.
Take close note of what Jesus said when He finished His Work of redemption on earth. Then, it was the work of His Father to raise Him from the dead.—John 19:30 and Romans 10:9
Day 27—Today we continue with the rejoicing that comes to the overcomer.
What we are seeing in the Psalms, particularly about rejoicing, can go on with us into eternity. The words of the Psalms, particularly those of David, seem to increase as we open ourselves to the never ending supply of grace that flows to us from God’s Throne. It is grace that meets us at every fault in the road of our life. It never ceases to be the answer to our deepest need and most heartfelt cry.
Now, let me present what has come upon my heart regarding the Psalms that follow that most powerful and revealing Word of Psalm 2. David, with the strong realization that the wicked one will do his best to wear down those who will inherit the Kingdom along with God’s beloved Son, has written this section of the Psalms to inform and strengthen those who will reign with Christ. See this prayer from Psalm 13:3 Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; 4 lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved. 5 But I have trusted in Thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in Thy salvation.
Just see those words, put there for us when the enemy has done all in his power to bring us down. What do we have in which to trust? What David called Thy mercy and Thy Salvation. I can say this, oh my dear friend, what I have discovered in the mercy and salvation of the Lord far out weighs any pleasure of possession or joy the world might offer. The truth is there is nothing in the world that can heal the wounded soul that has passed through the dark valley of failure, and through loss and despair, like the mercy and salvation that our Lord God. He offers it freely to whosoever will come to Him, looking to the Lamb that was slain to gain the propitiation for our sin. It’s just amazing! After we have tasted of that merciful salvation, it becomes our inclination to call God Father.
OUR FATHER in the heavens, let Your Name be sanctified and held as holy in our lives. Let Your Kingdom come into our lives. Let it be known in us and through us. Let Your will come into being in us, as it already is in heaven. Let it become the order of our lives. Give us the bread of Your presence, the food that satisfies and strengthens our souls, the provision that enables us to live our lives out to the fullest measure of Your pleasure. Forgive us the offenses, the faults, the sins that have been so heavy in our lives, as we also are forgiving those who have offended us. Keep us from trials that we have not the grace to bear. Rescue us from the evil one who has relentlessly pursued us.
Day 28—Today we will pray with David who knew that God’s Kingdom was a Sure Thing.
When we look carefully and with the help of God’s Spirit, we continue to see God’s beloved Son upon Whom the soul of David was gazing. His longing was for the Kingdom that would belong to that One. Though it was left for Paul to give us details of Christ’s work in the heavens—as we saw in his Epistles, especially words like Colossians 1:16—it was David who has taught us to worship and exalt Him. And, to rejoice in Him. See these prayers of exaltation that have come to us from David.
Psalms 30:1 I will extol Thee, O LORD; for Thou hast lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.
Psalm 31:7 I will be glad and rejoice in Thy mercy: for Thou hast considered my trouble; Thou hast known my soul in adversities; 8 and hast not shut me up into the hand of the enemy: Thou hast set my feet in a large room.
Psalm 40:16 Let all those that seek Thee rejoice and be glad in Thee: let such as love Thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified. 17 But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: Thou art my Help and my Deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.
Psalm 63:7 Because Thou hast been my Help, therefore in the shadow of Thy wings will I rejoice. Oh, but we remember! God has been our help. See these rather majestic words from one of the greatest preachers of the 18th century in London as he meditates on this verse. “...The grand use of memory, will furnish us with proofs of the Lord’s faithfulness, and lead us onward to a growing confidence in him. ...The very shade of God is sweet to a believer. Under the eagle wings of Jehovah we hide from all fear, and we do this naturally and at once, because we have aforetime tried and proved both his love and his power. We are not only safe, but happy in God: we rejoice as well as repose.”
FATHER, I rest in the assurance of Your mercy and Your Love to us who have failed too often. Great REDEEMER, please do a fresh and lasting work in myself, and in these loved ones whose names I now call before You. Bring about in us a stability that will cause us to stand through the trials that may soon face all your people everywhere. Draw us, not only up close to Your bosom, but close to Your Throne also.
A Psalm for someone who failed but whose times are now in the hands of the Lord.—Psalm 31:1-24
Day 29—A Psalm from David who encouraged himself to praise the Lord.
David was anointed of the Lord to reign over Israel, yet the throne of his kingdom was by no means immediate to him. He spent his time in the caves, hiding from King Saul who despised him, and feared him. Could this represent the call of the saints to reign with their Redeemer, and yet be afflicted under the pressures of anti-Christ? It surely seems a close resemblance. David said, in Psalm 57:1, one of his Golden Psalms, Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in Thee: yea, in the shadow of Thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
He went on to say in verse 6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. That his enemies had themselves fallen instead of himself was a point of confidence that strengthened David. Then, beginning to rejoice in the midst of his fearful trial, he said in verse
7, My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. 8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. 9 I will praise Thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto Thee among the nations. 10 For Thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and Thy truth unto the clouds. 11 Be Thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let Thy glory be above all the earth.
My heart is fixed—One would have thought he would have said, “My heart is fluttered,” but no, he is calm, firm, happy, resolute, established. ...”O God, my heart is fixed. I am resolved to trust thee, to serve thee, and to praise thee...Satan shall not stop me, nor Saul, nor the Philistines, I will make Adullam (the cave) ring with music, and all the caverns thereof echo with joyous song.” Let us make a firm decree that our soul in all seasons shall magnify the Lord.
“Sing, though sense and carnal reason
*Fain would stop the joyful song:
Sing, and count it highest treason
For a saint to hold his tongue.” [from C H Spurgeon]
Dear LORD, I am too ready to complain, to murmur, to speak quickly in judgment of others. Please release me from these offenses. Make my life a constant praise to the glory of Your Kingdom. Make the fellowship other believers with whom I worship into a company of saints that will rock Satan’s design to stop Your Kingdom’s progress in us, and through us.
The attack on David’s soul turned to his advantage and development. Thus it can be with us.—Romans 8:28
*Fain—allow no circumstance to make me do some thing.
Day 30—Paul was led of the Lord to find one of his most important texts from a Psalm of David.
Paul, beyond any doubt, knew the Psalms of David and their importance to the Covenant whereby the Lord Jesus ascended to the Throne of David. In Psalm 68 is the text he drew upon to tell of the ministries appointed by the Lord Jesus after His ascension to the right hand of His Father. These ministries, known by some as the “Ascension Gift Ministries,” are named in Ephesians 4:11. Their purpose is to lead the saints to their perfection (Ephesians 4:12). Thus, they hold a position in the Kingdom that is most important to its spread in the earth. But, alas, some assume to fill a place under the title of some of these ministries, either by their own decision or choice, or by the vote of some board. But the true ones are some appointed from the heavens. Their appointment connects them closely with the Lord Jesus and His triumph.
Jesus, we have learned, is the One Who created all things, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All these divisions of heavenly Government function under the watch-care of His dominion. Thus, the ministries appointed to lead his saints to their perfection are answerable to His authority. They are Kingdom ministries, functioning among the segments of Christ’s body till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the acknowledgment of the Son of God (Ephesians 4:13).
Seeing the function of these ministries appointed from the Throne, we begin learning from whence the saints will arise who shall take the Kingdom (Daniel 7:18, 21,22 and 27).
The understanding of these Scriptures, from the Prophets, the Psalms, the Lord Jesus and Paul—especially what Paul wrote in Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians—will add to our strength and protection as the time of the end draws close upon us. This is part—it is a great part—of the reason we have taken up the discipline of praying along the line of the prayers Paul prayed in his Prison Epistles.
DEAR LORD, we have little hope of being prepared for the time Jesus, the Prophets and Paul told of, unless Your Spirit brings upon us an understanding that opens the eyes of our hearts and of our understanding. Bring us Teachers and Pastors who will help us become ready and who will guide us through the dark days ahead. Bring us Prophets who hear correctly from Your Throne. Bring us Apostles appointed by Your Throne to lead us in the battle against the anti-Christ. Give us Evangelists who will search the fields for those who are yet to enter Your fold.
Day 31—A plea that God will make haste to help us
David was a man of the Kingdom. He was in Covenant with God. It was His Son of Whom God said, I will stablish the Throne of His Kingdom for ever—II Samuel 7:13.
It was the choosing of the Lord to draw David unto Himself. He was not a perfect man, as none of us is perfect. He was a man whose hope was in the mercy of the Lord, as our hope is in His mercy alone.
But, wait! Is our hope in His mercy only? I think our hope is also in the supreme authority of His Kingdom whose Throne has been made secure by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of David. Our hope is in His wisdom by which He has chosen us and by which He leads us. Our hope is in His Word which is more sure and powerful than all the forces of the world that stand to oppose its Light and Life.
On we might go. The hope that is ours in Christ Jesus is a hope that reaches beyond the veil, with an anchor secured in the most holy place where no vile intruder can enter to cut the chain of the anchor or throw it out into some dreadful mooring.
As we close this year, let us sing, or recite, this beloved hymn written about 175 years ago by a man named Edward Mote.
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.
On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my Hope and Stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.
—Amen, amen and amen! All Praise to Jesus Christ, our Lord! that in the redemption I became Yours. I confess that you have reconciled me to our heavenly Father. I rejoice in the propitiation for my sins that You accomplished for me. Thank You for salvaging my life from the junk heap of sin.
Having been reconciled to God by Christ’s death, we are now being saved by His Life—Romans 5:10,11
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