Monday, October 3, 2016

Passion and Truth in Praise

Note from Jesus

Dear Beloved,

Today you will read two powerful passages of praise. The first one is from Paul’s letter to the Colossians. The second is from Paul’s letter sent to several churches in Asia, with Ephesus being the most influential city.

The first passage is a wonderful summary of My pre-existence, My work in creating the universe, My work at sustaining the universe, and My triumph over the cross and death. My mission was not only to reconcile you back to the Father, but also to reconcile all of creation back to the Father. The burst of praise in this first passage, this song of glory dedicated to Me, ends with an exhortation for you to hold onto these truths about Me. I AM with the Father and the angels of heaven, and I announce you to the Father as His beloved child who is “holy, blameless, and totally free of imperfection.”

Paul reminds you that as you praise Me and remain faithful to your praise of Me, I present you to the Father as His perfect child. So I want you to read this first passage aloud. Do it at least three times. Read it one time to honor Me — to concentrate on Who I AM and what I’ve done for you. The second time, read it to remind yourself that these truths are important, that they allowed Me to be the sacrifice that not only atones for your sins but also makes you God’s perfect child. The third time, read the passage aloud to remind yourself to hold onto this confession of both Who I AM and who you are because of Me. Don’t ever denigrate who you are, because I AM the One who has made you holy at an extremely high cost: My crucifixion!

The second passage was written to the Colossians. They needed these truths because they were being lured away by false teachers who told them they lacked things needed to be truly holy. People will do the same in your day to get you to follow their special “enlightened” teachings on how to be really holy. Remember, your holiness comes from Me and from being joined to Me — examine Colossians 3:1-17, for example, to see what that ultimately means!

The second passage is a burst of praise that has a kind of chorus near or at the end of each of the three major points of the message. (These choruses are highlighted with bold text below.) Paul again mixes praise for the Father and Me with a description of who you have been made to be by the Father’s plan, My sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit’s power at work in you. Paul emphasizes that this work of grace, your adoption into Our holy family, came about through Me, by Me, and in Me. Translators over the centuries have rightly said that this is one long burst of praise that comes from the Holy Spirit’s inspiration of Paul’s heart. The words flow out into a stream of thoughts that cannot be punctuated easily. Paul’s words are the language of the heart, the language of praise, and they are more poem than prose and more song than speech.

Verses to Live

Sometimes truth is most powerfully communicated in poetry and song. These two great passages of praise do just that. I want you to let them fill you with a sense of glory at Our — Father, Son, and Spirit’s — identity and then realize that I poured out Our love for you in your world in tangible ways so that you can share the glory of Our world!

He [Jesus] is the exact image of the invisible God, the firstborn of creation, the eternal. It was by Him that everything was created: the heavens, the earth, all things within and upon them, all things seen and unseen, thrones and dominions, spiritual powers and authorities. Every detail was crafted through His design, by His own hands, and for His purposes. He has always been! It is His hand that holds everything together. He is the head of this body, the church. He is the beginning, the first of those to be reborn from the dead, so that in every aspect, at every view, in everything — He is first. God was pleased that all His fullness should forever dwell in the Son Who, as predetermined by God, bled peace into the world by His death on the cross as God’s means of reconciling to Himself the whole creation — all things in heaven and all things on earth.

You were once at odds with God, wicked in your ways and evil in your minds; but now He has reconciled you in His body — in His flesh through His death — so that He can present you to God holy, blameless, and totally free of imperfection as long as you stay planted in the faith. So don’t venture away from what you have heard and taken to heart: the living hope of the good news that has been announced to all creation under heaven and has captured me, Paul, as its servant.

(Colossians 1:15-23)

Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus the Anointed One, Who grants us every spiritual blessing in these heavenly realms where we live in the Anointed — not because of anything we have done, but because of what He has done for us. God chose us to be in a relationship with Him even before He laid out plans for this world; He wanted us to live holy lives characterized by love, free from sin, and blameless before Him. He destined us to be adopted as His children through the covenant Jesus the Anointed inaugurated in His sacrificial life. This was His pleasure and His will for us. Ultimately God is the one worthy of praise for showing us His grace; He is merciful and marvelous, freely giving us these gifts in His Beloved.

Visualize this: His blood freely flowing down the cross, setting us free! We are forgiven for our sinful ways by the richness of His grace, which He has poured all over us. With all wisdom and insight, He has enlightened us to the great mystery at the center of His will. With immense pleasure, He laid out His intentions through Jesus, a plan that will climax when the time is right as He returns to create order and unity — both in heaven and on earth — when all things are brought together under the Anointed’s royal rule. In Him we stand to inherit even more. As His heirs, we are predestined to play a key role in His unfolding purpose that is energizing everything to conform to His will. As a result, we — the first to place our hope in the Anointed One — will live in a way to bring Him glory and praise.

Because you, too, have heard the word of truth — the good news of your salvation — and because you believed in the One Who is truth, your lives are marked with His seal. This is none other than the Holy Spirit Who was promised as the guarantee toward the inheritance we are to receive when He frees and rescues all who belong to Him. To God be all praise and glory!

(Ephesians 1:3-14)

Response in Prayer

You, O God, are worthy of all praise. You are worthy for showing us Your grace in sending Jesus — worthy because You are merciful and marvelous, freely giving us Your gifts through Your Beloved, Jesus the Anointed One. I, Your child, who has placed my hope in the Anointed One, commit to live in a way to bring You glory and praise. In the name of Jesus and through the intercession of the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.

‘A Year with Jesus’ is written by Phil Ware.

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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Voice™. © 2008 by Ecclesia Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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