I Thessalonians 2:19

Or what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy.

As I read this verse, it occurred to me that Paul is talking about investment here – investing in people. Won’t it be wonderful when we are in heaven, before the Lord Jesus, to see the fruit of those you have invested in for life and godliness and for eternity? It will be great joy!

I Thessalonians 1:3

We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

What first caught my attention in this verse, were the words at the end of it…endurance inspired by hope. What causes us to continue on in life, in ministry, in relationships when things seem unbearable? We endure because we have hope in Jesus Christ. What fuels that hope? I believe the answer is found in vs. 4…for we know, brothers loved by God… Brothers loved by God – we believe that God loves us, helps us, and guides us in those unbearable times. Being loved by God is what inspires hope in us to endure.

Colossians 4:18

I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

Grace be with you… I have studied grace for a number of years, and have put together a definition of God’s grace: the unearned, undeserved, spontaneous friendship and love of God, which He delights to share with the believer. So when Paul says, “Grace be with you”, if we insert the definition here, the verse would read, “As you go through your days, remember that the unearned spontaneous friendship and love of God goes with you”. Be delighted. Find pleasure in it and share His grace generously with others, as He has shared generously with you.

Colossians 3:12-15

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

None of us would consider going out into the world naked. We clothe ourselves for the tasks of the day – old clothes for gardening, nicer clothes for church and parties, and serviceable clothes for grocery shopping and running errands. How many of us, though, leave the house (often) without our spiritual clothes. God chose us to be holy. He chose us to love. He chose us to represent Christ in the world. Let us not forget to dress ourselves with tender hearted mercy, with kindness, with humility, with gentleness, with patience, and above all – with love.

Colossians 2: 6 and 7

vs. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness

Roots hold plants and trees firmly to the soil from which they get their nourishment. We are to be rooted in Christ the same way. If we are rooted in Christ, nourished by the truth of His Word, the Bible, we will be strengthened in Him, overflowing with thankfulness, AND, we will bear Christ-fruit in every area of our lives – work, play, marriage, friendship and ministry.

Colossians 1: 19 and 20

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

We were people in sin. Yet, God, the Injured Party, made peace with us through the sacrifice of His Son. Don’t miss this: HE CHOSE TO MAKE PEACE! The Holy God of the universe chose to make peace with sinful man. He is our example, and He has commanded us to do the same. “If possible, as much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18

Jeremiah 16:14 thru 17

vs. 14-16 However, the days are coming,” declares the LORD”, when men will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them. for I will restore them to the land I gave their forefathers.” But now, I will send for many fishermen, declares the LORD, ” and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks. My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.

The Lord is pronouncing absolute devastation on Israel for her idol worship, but even in this dire prophecy is a promise of hope. Someday, He will rescue them again, and bring them home. Our promise of Hope is in the sacrifice of Jesus. When we come to the cross and acknowledge the price paid for our sins, we repent, and we find there, our true home in the Living God.

Jeremiah 15:1 and 19

vs. 1 Then the LORD said to me: “Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence!…

These are obviously some pretty hefty credentials, and men whom GOD Himself honors, Moses and Samuel. But, then go to the end of the chapter, vs 19 Therefore this is what the LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me; Repentance brings restoration: we go from “don’t even talk to me about these people”, to “repent and be restored”. In all of Scripture, Old Testament and New, the underlying message is the same: repent and be restored. I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Jeremiah 14

Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for the well-being of this people.

H.m.m.m…do not pray for the well-being of this people. The die is cast. The judgment is pronounced and on its way. Sometimes we find it hard to pray for someone because we don’t know how to pray for them. This verse tells me God knows all about them and already has a plan in mind for them. Maybe, then, when we don’t know how to pray for a particular person, all we need to do is to mention their name in prayer, trusting God to do, and to answer, according to His plan.

Jeremiah 13:23

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

What a statement of condemnation: if you are accustomed to doing evil, you cannot be expected to do good. There is only one way to overcome this: Jesus. When a person is cleansed of sin at the point of salvation, and purified by the blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus, he/she can be expected to do good. In fact, we are told in Galatians 6:10, to do that very thing: “do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.