Friday, March 29, 2013

Watchful Eye

Again and again god teaches us to keep eternal perspective. "Masters, give your bondservants what is just and fair, knowing that you also have a master in heaven" (Colossians 4:1).

The principle holds true for all relationships. Bosses, pay your employees what is just and fair, knowing you also have a boss in heaven. Parents give to your children what is just and fair knowing that you also have a father in heaven. Teacher give to your students what is just and fair knowing that you also have a teacher in heaven.

Our behavior toward others should always be tempered by the fact that God is watching.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Getting Away With It

People sometimes loose their faith because of the evil they see. They cannot comprehend a loving God allowing unspeakable acts to occur. Their viewpoint is limited to the visible world, which is understandable sense that is our daily experience.

But when eternity is our focus, we begin to get a clearer perspective. God's punishment of crimes are eternal in nature. The murderer does not get away with taking a life. His eternal life will be taken. The thief does not get by with taking someone's else's possessions. He will not possess eternal life. The one who tortures will be in eternal torture.

No act of violation will go unpunished. It was either punished on the cross or the perpetrator will bear an eternal punishment. This holds true whether a violator is a CEO of a corporation or a street thief (Colossians 3:25).

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Justified Revenge

Sometimes, when we feel like a slave or we are literally a slave, resentment can build. Then when the opportunity presents itself, we vent our anger in destructive ways.

Paul writes that we not only serve with the knowledge that God will reward us for our works, but also with the knowledge that he will punish evil doers, whether they are the salve owners or the slaves. God shows no partiality (Colossians 3:25).

Being mistreated does not justify revenge.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Unfortunately slavery still exists. If we are literally a slave and we have an opportunity to escape, God has given us the liberty to make to take advantage of the situation (1Corinthians 7:21).

But if we are unable to gain our freedom, we are to do all of our service as though it is The Lord whom we are serving. We take comfort in knowing he will reward us for faithful service regardless of the cavalier attitude of those who are requiring our servitude here (Colossians 3:22-24).

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Request for Prayer

On Friday March 22nd our wonderful Lord took his daughter, my mother, home to be with him. Her name was Murlene Engebretsen here on earth. Now she knows by what special name he calls her (revelation 2:17).

She had the reputation of loving everyone she met. Her last four years of life on earth were filled with doctor visits and trips to the hospital. She lived in constant pain and had to take medication for relief. Yet in every hospital stay she wrote thank you cards to every nurse and doctor.

Yes she had times of fear. Yes she had faults. That is because she was human. But she knew the grace of God and lived dependent on it. People loved her as do all her descendants.

Please pray for my father as he walks with our Lord through the extremely painful grieving process. They were married for 65 years and his world feels empty without her. He loved her so.

His name is Martin Engebretsen.

Thank You,

Shirley Fay


Paul writes in Colossians for "Bondservants obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyes service, as men pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God, and whatever you do, do it heartily as to The Lord" (Colossians 3:22-23).

Sometimes we feel like bondservants to our jobs or our families. If we have loving supportive families and bosses, it is much easier to serve. It is when our responsibilities are demanding and we feel taken for granted that serving becomes much more difficult.

It is sweet relief to refocus our attention on doing things for Christ whom we love and we know loves us. The serving tasks become much lighter.

Friday, March 22, 2013


There is an American saying, "What Happens in Vegas stays in Vegas". It conveys the belief that there are places and times where we can engage in sinful acts and still keep them separated from our day to day living. Read the following excerpt from a book on prayer by Paul Miller.

“Everything you do in Vegas is connected to the rest of your life. Everything you do is connected to who you are as a person and, in turn, creates the person you are becoming. Everything you do affects those you love. All of life is covenant”

Excerpt From: Miller, Paul. “A Praying Life.” NavPress, 2009. iBooks.
This material may be protected by copyright.

Check out this book on the iBookstore:

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Self Service

In America we seem to be more focused on self than on service. We become antsy if the waitress does not keep our coffee cup filled, if we have to wait in a long line at the grocery store, if the car in front of us doesn't step on the gas as soon as the light turns green.

We are given to complain about our bosses; they don't give us enough recognition for what we have done for the company, if they are late coming to work or even if they don't ask for our input in a decision.

American pastors are often the brunt of complaints. He preaches too loud; he isn't loud enough; he does't control the deacons; he allows the deacons to control him. He is distracted when he talks to us. He never talks to us. He gets in our space. The complaints can be endless and brutal.

Let's not even discuss the complaints we focus on about our family members.

How often do we ask God to examine our own contribution to servicing others? We cannot trust our self judgement. But God will open our eyes to honest needs if we ask him (Colossians 3:22-25).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Balanced Approach

Scripture instructs fathers not to provoke their children to wrath (Colossians 3:21). God uses the balance between the mothers' lenient tendency and the fathers' strict tendency to demonstrate his love and judgement. If either one of these parallel tracks is over emphasized there will be a train wreck in the children's lives.

A child's rebellion becomes more intensified if the restrictions create a feeling of hopelessness. Grounding a child from activities for more than three or four days feels like an eternity to the child. The idea behind restrictions is correction, not revenge.

A child's rebellion becomes equally intensified if restrictions do not occur or if the parent continually makes exceptions. Balanced correction produces incentive to not repeat the act. Anything out of balance only increases the rebellion.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A School Night

The writer of Hebrews tells us about Jesus, "...though he was a son he learned obedience by the things that he suffered..." (Hebrews 5:8). He wrote in chapter 12, "if you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a Father does not chasten? But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons" (Hebrews 12:7-8).

Obedience naturally involves a level of suffering because we are learning to do what is right instead of giving into our fleshly desires. For example kids may not want to go to bed at 9 pm on a school night, but as a parent you know they need enough rest to think clearly and be able to learn. As the parent we have the responsibility to make them observe a decent bedtime (Colossians 3:20).

There is a saying which continues to become more evident as the child gets older. "Parenting is not for cowards."

Monday, March 18, 2013

Predicted Outcomes

"Children obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to The Lord" (Colossians 3:20).

Teaching our children to obey is an act of saving them from a very troubled and heart-breaking life. Children who do not learn to obey, grow up thinking the world revolves around them. Their disrespect for authority often results in trouble at school as children and broken marriages and/or arrests as adults.

Teaching children to obey is not a promise that none of those things will happen, but not teaching children to obey almost guarantees they will occur.

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Drawing Card

Do you remember meeting someone who is authentic in every way; someone who was kind yet honest; someone who showed you respect even when he or she disagreed with you? Have you ever encountered a person who was respectful to everyone, yet did not compromise the truth when things got tough; who was never mealy mouth; who was honest about feelings and fears yet remained steady in his or her faith?

I met two such people and wanted to be like each of them.

Such an underlying character draws the love and respect of a mate. It is a worthy personal goal (Colossians 3:18-19).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

From Different Planets

Let's be honest with one another. Sometimes. We women can be frustrating. Our husbands do not understand the way we view the world around us anymore than we understand them.

Husbands, I recognize it can be frustrating for you when your wife insists something is not right with a decision and she can't put her finger on it, so to speak. The tears that run freely down her cheeks during an argument are not normally a device to control you. She is more than likely just as frustrated about them as you are. She would much rather appear strong.

Men can begin to feel more than a little frustrated and bitter against their wives. That is exactly why this scripture appears in the text. "Husbands love your wives and do not be harsh with them" , or as some translations read, "do not be bitter toward them" (Colossians 3:19).

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Politically Incorrect

Wives submitting to husbands became politically incorrect many years ago, but scripture remains the same. What that looks like differs from culture to culture. Perhaps the details are vague in scripture for that reason (Colossians 3:18).

It is sometimes difficult for both men and women to understand this concept, presumably because it has been used as a source of control by dishonest men throughout the centuries. However it is more easily accepted by those who care deeply for one another because each knows the other has their best interest in mind. A man who controls his wife with these scriptures is a dishonest man and does not love his wife as Christ loves the church (Ephesians 5:25).

It is important to note the instructions for women to submit to their husbands as is "fitting in The Lord". If at any point submission to a husband is contrary to principles in the word, the wife is not to submit.

Be careful women, that you discern this honestly.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Counting Blossoms

The third chapter of Paul's letter gives us six specific instructions (Colossians 3:15-17).

1. Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart
2. Be thankful
3. Be rich in scripture
4. Admonish one another with Psalms and hymn and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to The Lord
5. Whatever you do, do it in the name of The Lord
6. Giving thanks to the God and Father through him

Go back and count how many references there are in this short list to being thankful.

Notice God's gifts to you today, both small ones like blossoming trees and large ones like a changed heart.

Monday, March 11, 2013

One Source, Two Branches

Doing what is best for another person is often not easy. Saying no, can be as difficult as saying yes. Forgiving an injury can feel like being wounded all over again. We need the peace of God to rule in our hearts to gain the strength to choose the loving action over our own self interest (Colossians 3:15).

What is the peace of God and how do we get it? There is one source of peace that flows in two branches of the same river. God is the source. One branch is the direct inexplicable working of the Holy Spirit in our minds. The other branch is knowing scriptures that remind us God is ultimately in control.

It is from this river we gain strength to do what is best for those we love.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Milk Toast

Paul tells us to "put on love" because it is the binding force that unifies us (Colossians 1:14). We do not "fall in love" as though it is a sink hole that suddenly swallowed us up. In this case it is a decision we make. Our actions, the words we choose are based on the decision to love.

Compassion without love becomes pity. Kindness without love become condescending. Humility without love becomes hypocrisy. Meekness without love becomes milk-toast (toast soaked in milk). Patience without love becomes spineless inaction.

Love does what is best for the beloved. That may mean confronting, setting boundaries or silent suffering, patiently waiting for the timely moment to correct. Or it may mean letting an issue go altogether. It means doing the needed thing to make a clear path to the Father.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Affording It

Because God has chosen to make us his son or daughter, because he has chosen to make us holy, because he has chosen to cherish us, we can afford to treat others with tender mercy, kindness, humility, and meekness. We can afford to suffer injustice longer than most. We can afford to be patient with each other. We can afford to forgive our spiritual siblings.

Christ did this for each of us, so we can afford to do it for each other (Colossians 3:13).

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

See Your True Self

I cherish Paul's next words. "Therefore as elect of God, holy and beloved..." (Colossians 3:12).

Do you see yourself as chosen by God, not randomly but by name?

Do you see yourself as holy?

Do you see yourself as a beloved?

God sees you that way.

Enjoy those realities today.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Bases of Love

When God looks at us, he does not see our nationality, our financial status, our position in society. He sees his child (Colossians 3:11).

I do mot mean he is unaware of any aspect of who you are or what is occurring in your life. He knows every detail of your life including how many hairs get washed down the sink or stick in you brush every morning (Matthew 10:30).

I mean his love for you is not based on these earthly values. His love for you is based on the vastness of his love for his son (Colossians 3:11) and our love for one another should be based on the same thing.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Ugly Reality

To lie to a brother or sister in Christ is insult God. It denies that God is able to provide all that person needs to face the truth. That is partly why Paul writes that we should not lie to one another because, "...Christ is all in all (Colossians 3:9-11).

So when we face difficult facts, we need to remember Christ is also in us, and we can turn to him to get the strength to face even the ugliest realities.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Inherently Wrong

Lying to someone is inherently wrong because: it violates another person's right to make their own choices; it insults the other person's ability to handle the truth: it cuts off the other person's awareness of their need for God's help to handle the truth; it raises one' self above another and therefore is inherently filled with pride (Colossians 3:9-11).

God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).