My Thanksgiving Prayer from Philippians

Count your blessings this Thanksgiving and Pray like Paul did in Philippians 1

Many of you read my blog regularly, though we’ve never met, and others I know quite well or we’ve had the opportunity to meet and fellowship together. But I want you to know that when I write this Monday Morning Blog,  my monthly newsletter, or any of my books, you are on my mind. I’m wondering what you’re thinking about world events and how I can encourage you with the Word of God.

Often you tell me that a particular blog or book was just what you needed at the time, and we both know that it was God using me as His messenger. To God be the glory!

As I read Paul’s letter to the Philippians, I noticed that Chapter 1:3-11, 27-28 in the NIV translation has the heading: Thanksgiving and Prayer. I thought how appropriate to personalize this passage as my Thanksgiving prayer for all of you.

Adapted from Paul’s letter to the Philippians Chapter 1

Thanksgiving Prayer (Adapted from Philippians 1:3-11)

I thank my God every time I remember my family, friends, peeps, church family, readers, blog/newsletter followers, brothers and sisters in Christ, fellow authors and speakers . . . . In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy for those who partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in and through you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart whether I am chained to the computer writing the next book, blog, or newsletter . . .  or defending and confirming the gospel and mentoring . . . all of you share in God’s grace and ministry with me spiritually, and sometimes physically, through prayer, communication, and social networking. God can testify how I think of all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best for you and those you love and cherish, and you will remain pure and blameless for the day of Christ. That you will lead, guide, encourage, parent, serve, and mentor others and be filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Living a Life Worthy of the Gospel (Adapted from Philippians 1:27-28)

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I know you, or never meet you but only hear about your great work, I will know that we stand firm in one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose us. This is a sign to them that they will be destroyed, but that we will be saved—and that by God.

From Janet

This Thanksgiving, and every day, go and represent Christ to a depraved and fallen world, so that because of your witness and sharing the Good News of Jesus, more will be saved than lost (“destroyed”) when Christ returns.

I thank God in remembrance of each of you.

About His Work with you,

Janet

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For more on what I’m grateful for this year read the November 2017 issue of About His Work Ministries Newsletter

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Seeking A Season of Spiritual Maturity

I recently learned that pilot whales are very social and their offspring stay in their mother’s pod for life. The young swim alongside old, knowledgeable whales and learn from them how to feed, mate, and migrate in open waters.

The species is so good at following that occasionally they follow a bad decision by one of the lead whales, and they’re all in for trouble. This is rare. Overall, the younger whales learn from the wisdom and experience of the older whales.

While it might be hard to relate to whales, how about Jesus leading His disciples. In The Team That Jesus Built, I describe how Jesus took fishermen, a tax collector, and eventually arrived at twelve ragtag men and told them to “Follow me.” They followed Jesus around, watched, asked questions, listened, and gleaned from Him, and slowly they matured in their faith and understanding of what it means to be a true follower of Christ.

When Paul was growing the New Testament churches, he challenged believers in 1 Corinthians 11:1 “Follow me as I follow the example of Christ.” Like the disciples, Paul hadn’t lived an exemplary life, but he had turned his life around and had one incredible testimony! Still he never felt he had arrived. He was always fighting the good fight, running the race, and willing to share with others everything he learned in his seasons of spiritual growth. He begged people to follow his example, not because he was so great, but because he humbly was following and learning from Christ.

What Can We Learn From Whales, Paul, and the Disciples?

As Christians, we’re continually growing and maturing in our faith, or at least we should be . . . right? No one ever “achieves” or arrives at total spiritual maturity. We never know enough or all there is to learn about the Christian life. But do we sometimes live as if we do? Do we spend more time focusing on the world’s teachings than Jesus’s teaching? Like the 650 whales beached on New Zealand’s shoreline when they followed the wrong leader whale, our spiritual life can be beached too when we follow the wrong leader.

But we can get off the “spiritual beach” by seeking spiritual guidance. Maybe at a Bible study or retreat or deciding to have a consistent daily quiet time, we experience a newfound hunger to grow deeper in our walk with the Lord, but we’re not sure how. There are so many unanswered questions and portions of the Bible still confusing. We live in fear with the circumstances of the world, and yet we know our faith should sustain us, but it doesn’t seem enough right now.

Paul had the answer when he said in Titus 2:3-5 to have the women in a spiritually mature season teach and train the less spiritually mature. Some try to interpret those verses as strictly chronological age, but in mentoring we want to learn from someone spiritually older, not necessarily older in years. A great truth the Lord revealed when I was starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry.

Many mentoring ministries fail because they simply match older women with younger women without looking at their seasons of spiritual maturity. A woman might become a Christian at sixty-five and have worldly wisdom but not spiritual wisdom. Her mentor might be fifty but has walked with the Lord for many years.

We don’t know the ages of the disciples, but since Jesus was only thirty when He started His ministry, there’s a good chance they were older than Him. But they had so much to learn and only three years to spiritually mature. You and I are Christians today because Jesus mentored them to go into the world and teach what He had taught them.

Your Personal Spiritual Maturity Season

Sometimes I hear Christians say they feel spiritually dry. That saddens me because Jesus is ready and willing to give us living water from a well that never runs dry. If we drink from His well, we’ll keep growing in spiritual maturity (John 4:10-15). Many of you know this already and someone in your life needs to hear how you continue maturing in your relationship with the Lord.

I’m afraid there’s a growing epidemic among Christian women today to worry more about their own spiritual maturity than sharing what they know about Christ with a newer believer. I’m not referring to Bible study leaders, but the women sitting under their teaching in every church or Bible study group. Are they sharing what they’re learning with the many women around them who need help with their spiritual maturity?

It goes beyond just inviting them to the Bible study for the leader or facilitator to teach them; it means helping them live a godly mature life outside the groups in daily life. It means more than inviting them to church on Sunday; it means praying and studying with them during the week.

It means every believer a mentor!

In Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness, I share stories of mentors who have met spiritually younger women at Bible studies and church and offered to mentor them. I encourage spiritually mature women to think about the role models in their life who helped them come to faith and spiritual maturity. We all have them. Women we admire who took the time to disciple us and share some of their life with us. Hebrews 13:7 tell us to: “Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”

“Imitate their faith.” Exactly what Paul told the church and Jesus told His disciples.

Mentoring is that simple. How someone reached you with her faith is probably the way you will be the most effective in pouring into someone else who is younger in her faith.

In Mentoring for All Seasons, there are points to consider of how God could use you as a mentor and how to select a mentor. Here are just a couple.

If you’ve been a believer for a while:

  • Who challenged you and helped you grow in your faith?
  • How did she model Jesus to you?
  • Who needs you to do that for them? Consider also someone who might be a long-time believer but is going through a season of doubt.
  • Who do you need to invite to follow you and help her mature in her faith?
  • How could God enhance your spiritual maturity by mentoring and pouring into someone else?

If you’re a newer believer and eager to learn and grow in your faith, or going through a spiritually dry time, God tells us two are better than one (Ecc. 4:9-10).

  • Who do you admire for her faith and the way she lives it out in daily life?
  • What about her faith would you like to emulate in your own life?
  • What’s stopping you from asking her to mentor you?

Often, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” James 4:2

Paul the great mentor of the New Testament reminds us that mentoring is always a two-way relationship and reward.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, 15 so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” [a] Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky 16 as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain. 17 But even if I am being poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service coming from your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18 So you too should be glad and rejoice with me. Philippians 2:14-17

Mentoring for All Seasons is available for order now on Amazon or Kindle version or Signed by the Author

Author Bio

Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 19 books. Her latest release is Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness.

She is also the author of Forsaken God?: Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; The Team That Jesus Built; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources.

She is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries.

Visit Janet and sign up for her Monday Morning blog and online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com

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Is Your Church a Hugging Church?

I started the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, which as Pastor Rick Warren describes . . . “We’re a hugging church.” So I knew that women attending one of our Woman to Woman Mentoring Orientation Coffees would need welcoming from a “Greeter/Hugger” at the front door.

Some churches starting the Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry question the need for a Greeter/Hugger, until they have an experience similar to the church who shared this story with me:

A helper offered to be the Greeter/Hugger at our Orientation Coffee, but she couldn’t hug a stranger so she would shake hands. We aren’t a hugging church, but since we were following your Woman to Woman Mentoring Ministry Coordinator’s Guide where you stress the importance of having a Greeter/Hugger, we decided we would have her help in another area and find someone who would hug the women as they arrived. Then during the sharing time, one woman said she was a newlywed, and shortly after their wedding, her husband deployed overseas. The hug she received from the Greeter/Hugger was her first hug in eighteen months, and that hug assured her the mentoring ministry was just where the Lord wanted her. After the Coffee, the helper who said she couldn’t hug strangers, said she would be the Greeter/Hugger at our next Orientation Coffee.

How Did Church Members Greet Each Other in Jesus’s Day?

God’s design for the church was for believers to be family. Jesus made that clear in Mark 3:31-35:

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

“Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

We often refer to ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ, and some churches still call each other “brother _______” and “sister _______,” but most have dropped the use of this familiar term, maybe to a detriment. Families hug each other in greeting, so it shouldn’t seem strange for brothers and sisters in Christ to greet each other with a hug.

The early church actually went a step beyond a hug and greeted fellow believers with a kiss. This wasn’t a romantic kiss, but one like Europeans or relatives give to each other, maybe on the cheek. When Paul sent letters to the churches, this is how he told them to greet each other . . .

“Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.” Romans 16:16

“All the brothers and sisters here send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.” 1 Corinthians 16:20

“Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss.” 1 Thessalonians 5:26

Peter also said, “Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.” 1 Peter 5:14

Why Don’t All Churches Hug Today?

I asked several people if they had a time of greeting in their church, and if so, was it shaking hands or hugging. One man replied that there was greeting prior to the service and if you had a relationship with someone you might hug them, but if there had been some animosity or misunderstanding, you wouldn’t want to hug that person. I thought that was interesting since this is church we’re talking about! But then I had a disagreement with someone, and it was hard to hug that person until we resolved it.

When my husband and I travel and attend churches, we notice that sometimes we’re the only people hugging. One church we attend regularly, the pastor sticks out his hand to shake my husband Dave’s hand, and as Dave gives him a hug, the Pastor laughs and says, “Oh yes, you’re the hugger.”

I don’t remember that many people hugging when we first started attending our small mountain community church where we live now, unless they were already friends, but now everyone hugs! I’m so used to hugging people, I once hugged our new neighbor, and I barely knew her. It just seemed like the welcoming thing to do, although she did seem a little surprised, I did it without thinking . . . because I’m a hugger.

Admittedly, some people are extremely private and don’t like people invading their space. They’re uncomfortable hugging, especially if they don’t know you. I’ve never had anyone take inappropriate advantage of hugging in church, but I suppose that could happen too. And it’s important to caution children to be leery of anyone they don’t know hugging them inappropriately, and be sure your church has a vetting process for everyone working in youth and children’s ministry.

Here are hugging etiquette considerations if you’re a hugger like me, but not sure how the other person feels about hugging:

  1. If it’s a first meeting/greeting, shake hands, especially with the opposite sex.
  2. After several meetings, try a side hug. If you feel resistance or tenseness, return to handshakes.
  3. Be open. Explain that you’re a hugger, and ask if they’re OK with a hug in greeting and honor their wishes.

If you’re uncomfortable with hugs, that’s OK. Don’t feel badly or that you have to explain. A bright smile, and kind, friendly greeting speaks volumes.

“An honest answer is like a warm hug.” Psalm 24:26 The Message

What are your thoughts on giving hugs during greeting time at church?

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Thompson’s B&B and Ministry Retreat

Write for God with website

Dave and I have always had a heart for turning our home into a refuge for friends and a retreat for couples in ministry. When we lived in Southern California, we bought our cabin in the mountains for that very purpose, along with using it for my writing retreat. I did more writing there than entertaining when we lived in So Cal, even though we repeatedly invited couples and family to come visit. But now that we’ve moved away, when we go back to the cabin, we’re “booked” solid. Funny how that happens more now that we’re gone then when we lived there. We’re just glad the Lord has allowed us to keep that cabin and use it for His glory.

When we moved to Idaho, our home has a basement apartment perfect for guests. Many friends and family have accepted our open invitation to visit and let us pamper them with food, fun, field trips, and peaceful relaxation.

A special treat has been opening our home to fellow authors/ speakers I know through AWSA (Advanced Writers & Speakers Association), or through networking among those of us in the ministry of writing and speaking. Even though we might not know each other well, we know that what we have in common as Christian writers and speakers is enough for us to have a blessed time together.

The adventure for my hubby, Dave, is that he has never met any of the authors and their husbands who come to stay with us. But he knows it’s going to be a great time because we’re fellow Christians and that’s enough to build a friendship and relationship.

I was talking to a friend who is not a believer and explaining how we’ve never spent time with, or in some cases even met, some of the guests coming to our home. She said, “Well you share the same morals and values so you know they’re not going to do you any harm.” I thought to myself, she gets it. Even though she’s not a Christian herself, she understands the camaraderie Dave and I share with fellow Christians and what a testimony this is to her and others.

The First Time

The first time I introduced my husband to the experience of hospitality with people neither of us knew was when we took a trip to Montana. I knew author/speaker Tricia Goyer lived in Montana at the time. So I contacted her online and said we would be visiting her town and suggested we meet for coffee. When we got into town and I called her, she invited us to come to her home for dinner instead of coffee. As we walked up to her front door, Dave said, “You’ve met Tricia before, right?” Chuckling, I said, “No, we’ve never met!” My husband was shocked and replied, “This should be an interesting evening.”

We both had the best time and stayed until almost midnight. After that wonderful experience, he has never hesitated when I say, “Guess who’s coming to stay with us for a few days?”

Opening Our Home to Traveling Friends and Authors

Kathi and Al Macias

Two years ago, author and speaker Kathi Macias and her hubby Al were coming through Idaho, and I invited them to stay with us. I knew Kathi, and had met Al at an AWSA conference where we discovered that we all attended the same high school. I was in the class ahead of them. We had a wonderful time during their visit with us, and Al and Dave quickly became great friends. When we visit our So Cal cabin, which is near the Macias’s home, they come to visit, and Al and Dave have even spent a day on the golf course together.

Bill and Pam Farrel

This past week, Pam and Bill Farrel, who have love-wise marriage ministry together, were speaking in Montana, and I invited them to spend a few days with us in Idaho. You guessed it . . . Dave had never met either of them before, but by now, he already knew it would be a great time. And so it was. The Farrels were coming off a speaking weekend and going home to face a home remodel, and hopeful sale of their home. They were so ready for a break, and that’s what we hope they experienced while here. We enjoyed our first float down the river with them, a mountain walk, and hours on the deck with deep and meaningful conversation, laughs, fellowship, ministry discussions, and again, making new forever friends in Christ.

floatingPam's collage

Recently, a friend from our Couple’s Bible study said, “You really have a lot of company.” We had hosted California friends in December and January, and always savor our times when the grandkids are here for a visit. Dave and I have truly come to know the blessing of the Apostle Paul’s advice: Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 1 Peter 4:9 NLT. We also have been the blessed recipients of cheerful hospitality from so many of our friends and family when we travel.

Dave and I offer our home and our hearts and invite friends, acquaintances, and fellow ministry workers for Christ to come and experience what we love about God’s beauty in our mountain paradise. Many have taken us up on that offer, and we pray that many more will enjoy what those who have visited call: “The Thompson’s 5 Star Bed and Breakfast.” But don’t worry; we’ll feed you three meals and snacks too!

Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Romans 12:13

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Hebrews 13:2

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You can read more about how God helped me become more hospitable and balance my Martha with my Mary, in my Bible study Face-to-Face with Mary and Martha: Sisters in Christ.

MaryandMartha300dpi

Kim Davis: A Modern-Day Paul

Kim Davis' mug shot

If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all. Isaiah 7:9 HCSB

You’ve probably been following the case of Kim Davis, the Rowan county clerk in Kentucky imprisoned in federal jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Kim worked in the county clerk offices for 26 years as deputy for her mother, county clerk for 40 years, and then the community elected Kim last November to that position after her mother’s retirement. However the most impressive statistic about Kim Davis is that as a Christian of only four years, she was willing to go to jail to honor God.

When Kim took the job as county clerk, like most of us, she never imagined a day when America, a country founded on Judeo/Christian values, would legalize a moral atrocity like same-sex marriage. Kim didn’t seek notoriety or attention and she’s not the first county clerk to object to granting marriage licenses to gays, but she is the first who was willing to put her Christian faith on the line. In her statement, she wrote that her refusal to issue marriage licenses to gays  “Is not a light issue for me. It’s a Heaven or Hell decision.”

She added: “I want to continue to perform my duties, but I also am requesting what our Founders envisioned — that conscience and religious freedom would be protected. That is all I am asking. I never sought to be in this position, and I would much rather not have been placed in this position.”

She also used her statement as an opportunity to give her testimony of becoming a Christian. Like the apostle Paul, and all of us, she had a past, but she’s forgiven and saved and telling others:
“In addition to my desire to serve the people of Rowan County, I owe my life to Jesus Christ who loves me and gave His life for me. Following the death of my godly mother-in-law over four years ago, I went to church to fulfill her dying wish. There I heard a message of grace and forgiveness and surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I am not perfect. No one is. But I am forgiven and I love my Lord and must be obedient to Him and to the Word of God. I never imagined a day like this would come, where I would be asked to violate a central teaching of Scripture and of Jesus Himself regarding marriage.”

Three times in the book of Jeremiah, in response to the moral sins of the people, God also said, “I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing!” (Jer. 7:31, 19:5, 32:35 NLT). It never crossed most of our minds that our country would ever consider doing something so abominable and against the nature of how God created marriage and men and women.

Side Note

When people ask me: “Where in the Bible does Jesus condemn homosexuality?” I counter with “Where does He condone it?” The people of Jesus’ time knew the Old Testament and they were fully aware of what constituted moral sins and what goes against God’s ways. Something our culture has forgotten. Jesus didn’t explicitly say don’t have sex with your animal either, so does that mean it’s OK and marriage to your animal whom you “love” should be legalized? And if it was, would you expect Kim to grant those licenses too?

The LGBT advocates and supporters have no moral argument and they know it. Dark chooses to stay in the dark. “The look on their faces testifies against them, and like Sodom, they flaunt their sin. They do not conceal it. Woe to them, for they have brought evil on themselves” (Isaiah 3:9).

Praise God, if you’re a believer, He has enabled you to share in the inheritance that belongs to his people, who live in the light. 13 For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:12:13).

What saddens me is the number of Christians and churches buying into the lie. Any Christian who supports gay marriage and doesn’t think it’s a sin, doesn’t know his or her Bible, cover to cover. I don’t care if they’re pastors, popes, priests, presidents, legislators, judges … they’re human, fallible, and wrong! “Your leaders mislead you, they confuse the direction of your paths” (Isaiah 3:12).

They have stepped out of the light into the darkness. If you’re one of those people, I implore you to open up your Bible, start in Genesis and read all the way to Revelations. Don’t pick a verse here or there, read the whole Book of God and you will clearly know what God calls sin–immorality, idolatry, murder, lies, sexual perversion and lust, adultery and more …. It’s all in there along with what He thinks of those who support, encourage, and purposely engage in sin. You don’t want to be one of those people. Kim Davis, who has only been a Christian for four years, reminded us: “It’s a Heaven or Hell decision.”

I’ve had Christians ask me what I think Kim Davis should have done, and I answer, “Just what she did.” There’s no right way to do the wrong immoral thing no matter who tells you to do it or what immoral laws our government passes. If anything, they should grandfather her in and not expect her to abide by a “law” that changed long after she started working in the county clerk’s office. Granting gay marriage licenses isn’t the job she signed up for: compliance or quitting aren’t viable options. That sounds a lot like a dictatorship. Some have tried to use the verses about giving unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. Again, that tells me they don’t know their Bible. Those verses were talking about taxes. Don’t cheat on your taxes. But let’s look a little closer at the whole context of what Jesus said in Matthew 22:17-21 NLT:

17 Now tell us what you think about this: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

18 But Jesus knew their evil motives. “You hypocrites!” he said. “Why are you trying to trap me? 19 Here, show me the coin used for the tax.” When they handed him a Roman coin,[a] 20 he asked, “Whose picture and title are stamped on it?”

21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.

Well, then,” he said, “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God.”

What’s on the back of your coins?

thatyoumightknowhim.com

thatyoumightknowhim.com

What Next?

Those who are honest and fair, who refuse to profit by fraud, who stay far away from bribes, who refuse to listen to those who plot murder, who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong— 16 these are the ones who will dwell on high. The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress. Food will be supplied to them, and they will have water in abundance. Is. 33:15-16

Those who are honest and fair,
who refuse to profit by fraud,
who stay far away from bribes,
who refuse to listen to those who plot murder,
who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
these are the ones who will dwell on high.
The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress.
Food will be supplied to them,
and they will have water in abundance. Isaiah 33:15-16

As I write this post, Kim Davis was released from jail and we all wait for what will happen when she returns to work. Last Sunday, Kim Davis was still in jail when our pastor Brian Smith spoke on the book of Colossians. He emotionally prefaced that the Lord had him pacing in his office as he prepared this sermon, especially in light of current events. He read an introduction to us prior to the sermon. Before I share that introduction with his permission, let’s look at a few passages Paul wrote to the Colossians while he too was in prison for his faith. Remember that the Colossian believers were also bucking the Roman government who wanted everyone to recognize Caesar as Lord.

 So we have not stopped praying for you since we first heard about you. We ask God to give you complete knowledge of his will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10 Then the way you live will always honor and please the Lord, and your lives will produce every kind of good fruit. All the while, you will grow as you learn to know God better and better. We also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power so you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy… Col. 1:9-11

Christ Is Supreme

15 Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,[a]
16 for through him God created everything
    in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things we can see
    and the things we can’t see—
such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
17 He existed before anything else,
    and he holds all creation together.
18 Christ is also the head of the church,
    which is his body.
He is the beginning,
    supreme over all who rise from the dead.[b]
    So he is first in everything. Col. 1:15-18

23 But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it. Col. 1:23

 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers[a] of this world, rather than from Christ.” Col. 2:8

Marriage should be honoredPastor Brian Smith’s Opening to Sermon on Colossians:

There are voices in our world who tell us that we are to follow their authority. People who claim to know what is best for nations and individuals are hard at work to mold everyone into their image. This is not new: Rome had a plethora of gods and idols, and above all was the emperor. The people of his kingdom were to declare, “Caesar is Lord!”

China has a similar attitude, but there the government, communism, is to be recognized as the supreme ruler. To disagree is to be in jeopardy of the charge of “upsetting the social order.” Any activists can expect severe persecution or prison.

Our country is evidently following a similar secular, materialistic agenda: Federal laws are pre-eminent, government is the provider of goods for life, and to think differently brings the charge, “You are upsetting the social order!”

Christians are made to look like they missed the bus—“This is the 21st century. Get in step with the advancements of this society and culture. Life is changing and the experts are to be followed, you dummies!”

However, we as Christians are confident that God’s ways have not changed. He is the ultimate expert; He is Creator and Sustainer of the universe and of our lives. To contradict Him is to invite disaster, personally and universally. We’re already seeing these effects.

Our spiritual education is important; learning God’s ways is a priority and following the One who holds eternity has greater consequences than trying to have peace and security apart from God. So we need to tune into God.

He is not oblivious to your needs and circumstances. He will meet you where you are, but each of us must turn to face Him, acknowledge Him, respond to what He reveals, and obey.

Janet’s Challenge to You

war-room-2Christians put an expressly Christian movie, War Room, in the #1 ranking in the box office over Labor Day weekend. Surely, we can put a Conservative, Bible-Believing-Following, Christian in the Oval Office! Let’s do it…are you with me?

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who substitute darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who substitute bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter. Isaiah 5:20 HCSB

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