March 24, 2020
Readings for March 24, 2020:   Psalm 146; Isaiah 42:14-21; Colossians 1:9-14

A complete list of lectionary readings for Year A is located at https://lectionary.library.vanderbilt.edu/daily.php?year=A
Colossians 1:1-14 

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brothers and sisters in Christ in Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

In our prayers for you we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,  for we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints,  because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. You have heard of this hope before in the word of the truth, the gospel  that has come to you. Just as it is bearing fruit and growing in the whole world, so it has been bearing fruit among yourselves from the day you heard it and truly comprehended the grace of God.  This you learned from Epaphras, our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf,  and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,  10  so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.

11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully  12  giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.  13  He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son,  14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
Grace, peace and mercy be multiplied to you from God our Father, and the Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ. Amen.

When I started working on this devotion, I was going to pick a couple of verses. But the more I read, the more I was moved by the powerful words that we find above.

I started with verse 11 – " May you be strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power… ” Well, I can’t start there if I don’t determine who “he” is that is giving the power.

So I went backwards to verse 9 – which is where the previous sentence starts. The first words are “ For this reason… ” Now we learn in this sentence that the author is referring to the Lord in verse 11, but now we have to figure out WHAT reason.

So I went back a few more verses to find out the reason; back to verse 3, which reads, “ In our prayers…

SO WHO IS WE?

So we start at verse 1 and find out it is Paul and Timothy.

Welcome to my devotion writing process!

ALL THAT BEING SAID, I appreciate how this passage builds on itself. What a beautiful greeting at the beginning of this letter. Can you imagine what it must have been like to read those words when the letter first arrived? Words of hope and encouragement and promise.

Look again, especially at the last four verses (That was original intent!). Here we find words I believe we all could afford to hear over and over right now.

  • May you have power.
  • May you be prepared.
  • May you joyfully give thanks to the Father.

But don’t forget what God has ALREADY DONE.

  • ALREADY we are rescued from the power of darkness!
  • ALREADY we are transferred into the kingdom of Jesus Christ!
  • ALREADY we have redemption!
  • ALREADY we have forgiveness of sins!

We can all use some encouragement from time to time.

We also need to be reminded of what we already have!

Sometimes we need to be reminded of this good news. Sometimes we need to remember that we are forgiven.

Dr. Fred Meuser was the Seminary President at Trinity Lutheran Seminary when I was there more than 30 years ago (yes, I am old), and in my early years of ministry, he became a mentor of mine. In an Easter sermon years ago, he preached these words, which you and I need to hear often: “…when God forgives us, we are completely forgiven. If it makes you feel better to pay the price for your sins, that is fine. If you want to carry around the burden, that is up to you – but realize you are doing it for yourself only! God does not benefit by your misery. We are forgiven not because of who we are, but because of who God is, and what Jesus has done for us.” 

ALREADY. You are forgiven.

Let us pray:
Lord, we thank you for your love, your power, your presence and your forgiveness. Give us the courage to trust in your Word and live in your grace.
In Jesus name we pray. Amen.
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