Tuesday, October 31, 2023

So…This Is What Marriage Is Supposed to Look Like

 Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband. Ephesians 5:31-33

So…This Is What Marriage Is Supposed to Look Like

Ephesians chapter 5 is well known passage as it addresses the relationship between husband and wife. However, the true relationship addressed here is the relationship between Christ and the church (all believers) – and our marriages are supposed to be a reflection of that relationship. Paul tells us in verse 32 that the “mystery” of why God created marriage is revealed and rooted in the Gospel. If we can understand the Gospel, then we can understand what marriage is supposed to look like. 

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Ephesians 5:22-24

We often focus on the “wives submit to your husbands” and “husbands love your wives” parts of this passage and tend to ignore the rest of it. We focus on what this means for marriage, but we fail to see what this means for us individually. This is a beautiful picture of what Christ did for the body of believers. 

What Christ Did for Us: 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her… v. 25

Christ loves us and gives Himself up for us – through His death on the cross. 

that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word… v. 26

He sanctifies us and cleanses us with His sacrifice on the cross. The water that washes away sin and cleanses and purifies the soul, is the word. – Charles Spurgeon


so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. v. 27 Because of our Justification the moment we are saved, and our sanctification in our walk, we will be entered into glorification the moment we enter heaven. We are made this pure in heaven when we are joined to Jesus Christ in a way beyond all previous experience.


God designed marriage specifically for the purpose of teaching us about His love for us. Marriage – a true, selfless, sacrificing marriage - will make us more holy every day. God laid down His life for us and we lay down our lives for each other in selfless sacrifice. In marriage we are called to put the other’s needs before our own, selflessly. 


God uses our relationships, not just marriage but all relationships, to teach us about Himself and make us more like Himself. This displays the Gospel message to the whole world through our lives.


Marriage gives us a picture of God’s grace. You love and live with someone in grace as Jesus gives us grace. Your children and the world also see this grace in action. Love, in its purest form, is the best display of God’s beauty and His love for us. Marriage is just a picture of God’s relationship with us – unity in togetherness. Separate, but one.  It is a picture of Christ and the Church, so God created marriage as a gift to all the world and a reminder of just how much He truly loves us.  

Monday, October 30, 2023

How does your family serve as a witness for Christ in the world?

 Monday, October 30, 2023

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives and don’t be bitter toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they won’t become discouraged. Colossians 3:18-21

How does your family serve as a witness for Christ in the world? 
In the series on Colossians, yesterday Pastor Jim talked about what it looks like to live out the gospel in some major relationships in our lives - Husbands and wives and parents and children. God ordained the family, determined the parameters of families, and defined certain roles in the family unit. How we live in relation to one another in these roles should be a direct reflection of our relationship with Him. When we enter into a relationship with Him, it changes us, and it changes how we relate to everyone else in our lives. 

Husbands and Wives – Paul tells us that wives are to submit to their husbands and husbands are to love their wives and not be bitter towards them. Wives are to submit to their husbands, not because their husbands are better, and husbands should not misconstrue exactly what is meant here. This is the order that God established for the family.  This is a voluntary submission, not to be forced by a demanding husband. Paul’s words to wives are followed by a very important short phrase – as is fitting to the Lord. It is a testimony of respect for the order that God has determined – for wives to submit to their husband’s leadership and our obedience to what God has established pleases Him.

Husbands are to love their wives and not be bitter towards them. The form of love that Paul uses here is Agape love. Agape love is always unselfish and sacrificial, putting the needs and desires of others over your own. It is the same love that Jesus had for us as He gave His life so we have salvation and eternal life. We all have to overlook offenses and forgive and forget. Agape love is the only way we can do this. God values both women and men and they are both equal recipients of the gifts of grace, salvation, and eternal life. 

Parents and children –  The same as with husband and wife relationship, Paul is urging children to follow the parameters and roles set by God, that reflect our relationship with Him. Parents should never ask their kids to do anything that goes against the word of God. Again, we have some very important words that everyone should know - for this pleases the Lord

Fathers Don’t Exasperate Your Children – When our children are exasperated, they become discouraged. They do not feel the love and support from their parents, and this shakes their whole world. Just as our Heavenly Father loves us and gives us grace, we too should parent with grace and love.                                

God desires for us to do what He tells us to do in His word because we want to please Him. By submitting to His authority, and the order he established in families, we are showing the world what it looks like to be a witness for Christ with our families. The way we love each other and relate to one another will show others the evidence of the transformation that has happened in our hearts because of Christ.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Main Thing “We Are Family”

 The Main Thing  

“We Are Family” 

Colossians 3:18-4:1 CSB

Key Truth: “Jesus is the beginningmiddle, and end of life.” 

Main Question: How do we leverage our families to be witnesses for Jesus in the world?

1.    Husbands and Wives (vs. 18-19) 

Three Biblical Assumptions about Marriage:

a.    Marriage is ordained by God.

b.    Since marriage is ordained by God, its parameters are determined by Him.

c.    Because marriage is ordained and defined by God, there are certain roles each spouse brings to the marriage and family relationship.

2.    Parents and Children (vs. 20-21)

3.    Masters and Slaves (vs. 22-4:1)

After the Message: Read Colossians 3:18-4:1 

How does your family serve as a witness for Christ in the world? What needs to change in your marriage, parenting, or external relationships for you to be more faithful to live out the “new self” you have received in Christ? What is one thing you can do this week to be obedient to Jesus in these areas?

Friday, October 27, 2023

A Gospel Attitude

 Friday, October 27, 2023

And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.  Colossians 3:13-14

A Gospel Attitude

In Colossians chapter 3 Paul has been telling the Colossians how to live a life that reflects Jesus. In the passage above, Paul tells us to Let the peace of Christ rule our hearts and to be thankful. He goes on to say Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you… Those are some very powerful words. In this instance, Paul was saying when we let the peace of Christ rule our hearts, we act out of that peace that comes from God and what He has done for us. We are one body in Him, and with the peace of Christ ruling our hearts, we will act out of love for each other rather than treating each other in ways that will cause division and strife. 

When we let His word dwell richly among us, we treat each other in love. It takes intention on our part. It takes commitment to read, study, and pray so that we grow in His wisdom and knowledge. Letting His word dwell richly among us happens when we allow Him to completely fill our hearts and minds. We are thankful because we know that everything we have and are so because He allows it. We show gratitude because He gave us new life in Him and eternal life in heaven. 

As Christians we should bring that peace with us everywhere we go. This kind of peace and joy is contagious. When we live out of the overflow of Jesus in our hearts, those around us will be impacted. We can encourage each other and lift each other up. We can share the wisdom we are given from God and help each other learn. We can spread the attitude of worship and gratitude. 

When we immerse ourselves in the word of God it will dwell richly in us and pour out to those around us. We will not be divisive is we are filled with the Holy Spirit and the word of God. We will be teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We will be singing to God with gratitude in our hearts because we won’t be able to keep it in. As a result, everything we do, in word or in deed, will be in the name of the Lord Jesus. When we fill our hearts and minds with the things of the Lord, everything we do and say will be filtered through the word of the Lord. The joy and peace we will feel will spill out in love for those around us and in songs and praises to Him. 

Thursday, October 26, 2023

A Landowner & His Tenants

Thursday, October 26, 2023 

A Landowner & His Tenants – Mark 12:1-12 Submitted by Kay Crumley

Jesus taught in parables, short simple stories illustrating a moral or spiritual truth, so that His listeners could apply the truth to their daily lives.  It was common for landowners to have workers, tenants, occupy his land and tend the crops while the landowner was away.  The tenant could claim the property as his own if the landowner was away for three years without claiming ownership as titles were sometimes uncertain.  Read the passage below to see how these facts of that period are woven into the story. 

Then He began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard, put a fence around it, dug out a pit for a winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to tenant farmers and went away.2 At harvest time he sent a slave to the farmers to collect some of the fruit of the vineyard from the farmers.3 But they took him, beat him, and sent him away empty-handed.4 Again he sent another slave to them, and they hit him on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 Then he sent another, and they killed that one. He also sent many others; they beat some and they killed some. 

6 “He still had one to send, a beloved son. Finally he sent him to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 

7 “But those tenant farmers said among themselves, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours!’8 So they seized him, killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard. 

9 “Therefore, what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers and give the vineyard to others.10 Haven’t you read this Scripture: 

Thestone that the builders rejected 
has become the cornerstone. 
11 This came from the Lord 
and is wonderful in our eyes? 

12 Because they knew He had said this parable against them, they were looking for a way to arrest Him, but they were afraid of the crowd. So they left Him and went away. 

There’s a LOT of stuff happening in the first four verses.  The landowner prepared the property, it was planted with a nice vineyard, he installed a fence, a winepress, and a watch tower so that it would have the necessary equipment and protection.  However, when he sent his slaves/servants to collect fruit, maybe as rent payment, they beat some of them and killed some of them.  They refused to send any of the fruit from the harvests to the landowner.  If we draw parallels, as the listeners did, the landowner represents God, the slaves or servants represent the prophets, and the tenants are the Jewish religious leaders who were hearing this parable.  Jesus is telling them they were provided with bountiful property, well equipped for them to have a successful harvest.  But they rejected, even killed, the ones sent by God to receive the fruit that was His to begin with. They wanted it all for themselves, unwilling to give back to God what He deserves.   

Finally, in verses 7-8, the landowner sent his own son to the vineyard to collect what was owed to him.  The farmers killed him and threw him into the vineyard so that they could claim the property as their own.  They wanted control just as the Jewish religious leaders wanted to be in control of the Israelites to make them obedient to them, not God.


The consequence of the choices the farmers made is given in verses 9-11.  The landowner, God, will take the land back from the tenants and give it to someone else, Gentile believers.  The farmers, the religious leaders, will be destroyed.  Jesus quoted Psalm 118:22-28 to these religious scholars who knew the scripture and it’s meaning.  Jesus is the Stone, the Rock of provision in the desert (1Cor 10:4), the stumbling Stone (1 Peter 2:8), and the Stone that crushes the kingdoms of this world (Daniel 2:54).   

They knew, verse12, He was talking about them, and they were ready to kill Jesus as the farmers killed the landowner’s son.  Yet they were afraid of the crowd’s reaction to such an act, so they walked away and began to plot His murder rather than repenting.  Their rejection of God’s agenda couldn’t stop Him from accomplishing His plan.  

God has a plan for my life and for the life of every believer.  Just like those religious leaders, we can submit to His plan for our lives or not.  However, His plans will not be diverted.  We can be obedient and blessed by being a part of His plan or reject Him and miss the blessing.  The ultimate rejection is to not accept Him as Savior, that separates us from Him for eternity.  His gift of salvation from the penalty of sin is free and available to all who believe.   


Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Love Above All

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:13-14

Love Above All

During His time here on earth, Jesus modeled what living out the gospel with your life looked like. Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, describes what it looks like to live our lives for Jesus every day. Yesterday we talked about how we are to “put on” the gospel as we live out our lives day to day in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Without Jesus, we cannot be any of these things. With Him, we can wrap ourselves daily in these because they are the overflow of Him from our hearts. We know we are supposed to “put on” these characteristics of Jesus every day, but how exactly do we translate these to those around us in our every day lives? 

Bear With One Another and Forgive One Another… Just as the Lord Has Forgiven You -

When Jesus gave His life on the cross, He forgave our debt we could never pay. As sinful human beings, we deserve death but instead, He gave us the free gift of grace. Our sin debt was forgiven and we received the gift of eternal life as well. 

How much did Jesus have to forgive you? How much does He still forgive you daily? The answer is more than you could ever pay. We are told that we are to bear with each other and forgive others as Jesus has forgiven us. I know how much grace the Lord gives me, and I know where I would be without that grace. Therefore, how could I not have grace and forgiveness for others? When we understand this grace, we have been given, it makes us freer with our willingness to forgive and bear with others. The extravagant grace and forgiveness our Heavenly Father shows us is the example we learn from of how to treat others. We forgive much because we have been forgiven, and accepted, and redeemed, and loved so much more than we ever deserved. 

Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity…

Love is the royal robe that goes on over everything. Without love, how could we possibly “put on” compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience? Without love we couldn’t even know what these things are. 

We bear with each other, forgive one another and put on love – the way God loves us. He loves us when we are difficult. He loves us when we are rebellious. He loves us when we are in the flesh. He loved us when we were sinners and gave His life for us. We love others this way when we bear with them, forgiving them. Understanding the depth of this love stirs that love in us for others in the same way. These character traits are an overflow of our relationship with Christ. 

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 1 john 4:10-12 NIV

On our own we cannot love others like we are called to, but in the power of the Holy Spirit we can. His love is made complete in us, and His love completes us. We are one body in Christ, united in His love. Above all, put on love… Above all, over all love wraps it all up. All the other things Paul tells us to “put on” are manifestations of love - compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, and yet love is bigger than all of them. 

Love is the perfect bond of unity. As believers we are all given new life in Christ. We become sons and daughters of the King, brothers and sisters in Christ. We are unified in Him as one body. This love we have from Him, flowing through us to others is the demonstration of His love for us – the perfect bond of unity.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

The Clothes Make the Man/Woman

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

 Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience… Colossians 3:12

The Clothes Make the Man/Woman

The clothes make the man/woman is a saying that has been around for a long time. The idea behind it is that we actually do make judgements on others based on their appearance – or the clothes they wear. We know that clothes don’t tell the whole story, but the way we dress can still make a difference in how others perceive us. 

Much more important that how we dress, is our character and how we behave. In Colossians 3:12 Paul tells us that as God’s chosen ones we are to “dress” a certain way. The clothing he is talking about is not clothing others can see, but they will certainly feel it, both if we do, or do not wear it. 

Paul tells us that we are to “Put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience…”. As Christians, we are to wrap ourselves or cover ourselves completely with these characteristics. When we become believers, we become new, and the old person goes away, but not completely. If we don’t clothe ourselves every single day with the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience of Christ, the old person can make an appearance more easily. It is that “muscle memory” Pastor Jim was talking about. When we wrap ourselves in all these things from God, it will transfer to others around us, and they will feel the clothing we put on from Him. They will feel the Lord and when this happens, we are living out the Gospel with our lives.

As believers, if we are not confident in our identity as “His chosen ones,” we will be less likely to dress like we belong to Him. When we live in that identity, we want to put on those things. This past Sunday, Pastor Jim shared three types of identity with us. 

Traditional Identity - Key assumption: Our identity is based on standards outside of ourself and living up to those standards gives us value and significance. This type of identity comes from what someone else puts on our lives that we feel we have to live up to. There are expectations we have to meet to be seen as valuable. 

Modern Identity - Key assumption: Our identity is based on subjective standards set by each individual and our self-expression gives us value and significance. With this type of identity, we set our own standard. Whatever my standard is for me is perfect and everyone else needs to validate it. It is moral relativism. Whatever I think is good is good for me. 

Gospel Identity - Key assumption: Our identity is based on a standard outside of ourself, in God, but living up to that standard has already been achieved in Jesus so our value and significance are found in His free gift of grace. This is where we find our true identity in Christ. Jesus achieved the standard for us because we never could. We don’t have to do anything to achieve value because He did it for us whit His free gift of grace. It is in this gift of grace that we find our new identity in Him. 

When we know who we are in Christ we can live freely in that identity. We can put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience every day because they flow from Him through us to others. Just as how we dress can influence how others perceive us, how we live our lives and treat others influences how they see Jesus. How are you “dressing” and influencing others around you for the Gospel? Do they feel the compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience you put on? 

Monday, October 23, 2023

The Steadfast Love of the Lord

Monday, October 23, 2023

 The Steadfast Love of the Lord – Psalm 33  Submitted by Kay Crumley

We read the word steadfast in scripture over 200 times, depending on the translation.  The Hebrew word hesed or chesed, translated steadfast love, is found more than 120 times in the Psalms alone.  I believe that’s reason enough to investigate the meaning, how it relates to our Lord, and application for us in today’s world. 

 The Oxford Language dictionary defines steadfast as an adjective, a word that defines or describes a noun, meaning resolutely or dutifully firm and unwavering.  We don’t use that descriptor often in our conversations, at least I don’t.  I am challenged to consider how I would use it, what other words I might replace with it.  That man’s dog is loyal and trustworthy as he is always by his side.  Does steadfast fit in that sentence?  That man’s dog is steadfast as he is always by his side.  I believe it does.  What other words more commonly used have similar meanings?  Some examples are loyal, faithful, committed, true, firm, determined, and dependable.  Those are all descriptors we have used in various situations.  Perhaps they have been used to describe you. Have you considered that they are words that describe the love of our Father God for us?  If so, how, or when do you apply that characteristic to Him?  I have chosen Psalm 33 for us to examine to help answer that for us.   

Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous!Praise befits the upright. Give thanks to the Lord with the lyre; make melody to him with the harp of ten strings! Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.  For the word of the Lord is upright, and all his work is done in faithfulness. He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord...Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield  For our heart is glad in him,  because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,  even as we hope in you. Psalm 33:1-5; 20-22

The psalmist wrote this song of praise to God for what He is and does.  It is to be sung by those who are rightly aligned with Him, Christians.   The opening verses show how to praise Him, with musical instruments, singing voices, and loud shouts.  We are to express our gratitude and joy to Him in every way we can.  Those praises are to be offered skillfully and with exuberance.  The reasons for our praise are shown in verses 4-5.  His Word is upright or right and true, all His works are done in faithfulness.  He loves right living, loyalty, and His steadfast love is everywhere.  That is reason enough to sing praises to Him.  However, there are more that I will list from verses 6-19.  I didn’t include them here but encourage you to read them for yourself.  

In verses 6-7 we are reminded that the Lord created the heavens, the sky and all the stars and planets; He created the seas, the oceans and all the waters of the earth.  These were created in response to His word speaking them into existence.

Verses 8-9 honors His creation of all inhabitants of the world.  We are created by Him for His glory.  He spoke all the living creatures into being.  As a result of His power and authority, we are to stand in awe and wonder of Him.  We are to set ourselves in a state of humble awe of Him.   

Verses 10-12 bring to the realization that the plans of man, outside His authority, comes to nothing.  But those nations who align themselves with God will be blessed.  His inheritance belongs to His chosen people.  Believers are His through faith in Jesus Christ, we are His people and promised His inheritance.   

We are encouraged by verses 13-15 as the psalmist assures us that God sees us and makes us who we are.  He has His eye on us and all that we do.  As our creator He has the right to inspect us because He loves us.   

Verses 16-17 points out the futility in trusting in our own strength.  The strength of armies or powers is a vain hope as we are not delivered by human power. 

We are promised, in verses 18-19, that those who fear the Lord are in His protection.  We have the confidence that placing our faith in Him results in His love being always with us. We may suffer loss or death, but we know we have a future in Him as He promised. 

Finally, the last verses repeat how we started. Our hope and trust are in Him our help and shield.  We can rest in that hope because His steadfast love never fails.   

The question I must ask myself, and I hope you will also apply, is ‘am I living steadfastly in Him?’  Do I put my trust in human power, authorities, or self-sufficiency?  As we face many unknowns in our current world conditions, I pray that I can truthfully say that my hope in Him is sure and my trust in Him is steadfast.   


Sunday, October 22, 2023

The Main Thing - “Putting On The Ritz”

The Main Thing 

“Putting On The Ritz”

Colossians 3:12-17 CSB

Key Truth: “Jesus is the beginningmiddle, and end of life.” 

Main Question: What does someone look like who lives for Jesus every day?

1.    What believers are to wear. (vs. 12)

Three Types of Identity:

a.    Traditional Identity
Key assumption: Our identity is based on standards outside of ourself and living up to those standards gives us value and significance. 

b.    Modern Identity 
Key assumption: Our identity is based on subjective standards set by each individual and our self-expression gives us value and significance. 

c.     Gospel Identity
Key assumption: Our identity is based on a standard outside of ourself, in God, but living up to that standard has already been achieved in Jesus so our value and significance are found in His free gift of grace

2.    How believers are to wear it (vs. 13-14) 

3.    The attitude believers are to wear (vs. 15-17)

After the Message: Read Colossians 3:12-17. Are you putting on the character of Christ each day? If not, what needs to change so that you might love other believers and serve as a witness to a lost world? Will you allow the peace of Christ to control you and the word of Christ to dwell in you this week? 

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