Colossians 2:13-19

Father, make me more like Jesus.

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Just look, Father!  There are glimpses into who You are and what You do right here in these few verses, like snapshots of Your character:

“GOD MADE ME ALIVE WITH CHRIST”  (v 13 NIV)

Lord, I remember a swimming pool You allowed me to enjoy several years ago.  There was a time when the pool became full of algae and other things.  Some of us swam in it once when it was like that.  (I still remember putting my foot into a big glob of algae on the wall in the deep end — AAAK!)  Eventually it had to be drained and the surfaces scraped clean.  Then, new, clean water could be put back into it.  After the whole task was done, we could swim without concern in the fresh water.  The pool had been made alive again with our splashing, diving, swimming and playing.

When I was dead in my sins and swimming in my sinful nature, You chose to clean me up, to remove the scum in me and to fill me up with Your Son, Jesus!  Thanks so much for life in Him!!

“HE FORGAVE ME ALL MY SINS” (v 13 NIV)

Much like an accused person standing before a judge in a courtroom, hearing the charges against her being read, there was a list of charges against me.  Over and over I had fallen short of Your design for me, of Your will for me.  You took that list of charges, Lord, and tattooed them on the body of You Son.  Then, You allowed that list to be nailed to the cross as Jesus was crucified.  The payment I owed for those charges against me was my own death; but when my “eyes” look to Jesus on the cross, the only message visible is “PAID IN FULL.”  And from His lips, He spoke to You about me:  “Father, forgive them…”

Thank You for forgiving ALL my sins.  Lord, instill in me an ever-growing desire to refuse to play with sin.  Make it more important to me to be holy than to be “comfy,” to be blameless than to be accepted, to have Your will as my aim when I go out and about instead of just fun and good times.  You have said, “Be holy as You are holy.”  And You say that You are the One who makes me holy, that You work all things for my good, that You’ve come to give me life abundantly.  So, if I choose to pursue good times here on my own, I miss out on the best times that sticking close to You can bring.  Give me a double-order of the kind of true fun there is in living my life with You making the plans and guiding my choices.

“HAVING DISARMED THE POWERS AND AUTHORITIES”  (v 15 NIV)

There is NONE like You, Father.  You are all-powerful, majestic, glorious, the great God and ruler of all creation.  AND YOU are my Daddy!  That’s SO cool!!

Nothing can harm me; nothing can separate me from Your love for me.  The ruler of this world has no weapon that can take me out because You are my shield and Fortress.  Sin and death were his biggest guns; yet You’ve rendered them inoperable.  Thanks for allowing me to share in Your victory.

“REALITY … IS FOUND IN CHRIST”  (v 17 NIV)

All other ways of living are like false images projected into a room, seeming real, but are actually hollow and fabricated.  True life, real life, reality is found ONLY as I choose to live in Christ, to follow Your will, Lord.  Anything else is just a game.  Thank You for the truth of Your Word and for the realness of Your presence with me when I choose to notice You and to commune with You throughout a day.

“AS GOD CAUSES IT TO GROW”  (v 19 NIV)

Thank You, Father, for being the One who brings growth.  You cause me to grow.  You cause others to grow.  We are not responsible for, nor able to, produce growth in one another.  That’s YOUR role.  You simply call us to spur one another on, to encourage one another, to teach and admonish one another, so that we are a crop that’s weeded, watered, and fertilized, ready for the growth You’ll bring and the harvest You and we will enjoy.

Thank You, Father, for letting me see You, to know You. Thanks…
…for the life You give me,
…for the forgiveness You’ve given me,
…for the confidence that comes from knowing You are in control,
…for the reality of You–You’re real, You’re true and You’ll never fail me,
…for the growth You bring as You make me just like Jesus! Amen.

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Ephesians 2:1-10

Jesus, be the Lord over ALL my life.
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You have seen who I was, Father, and You didn’t leave me alone.

  • I WAS dead in my sins and disobedience (v 1). 
  • I USED TO live in those sins, USED TO follow “the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air” (v 2). 
  • I LIVED among those who are disobedient, “gratifying the cravings of my sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (v 3). 
  • I WAS by nature an object of Your wrath.

Because of YOUR GREAT LOVE for me, and because You are rich in mercy,
YOU MADE ME ALIVE WITH CHRIST!
…even when I was dead in my sin–it’s by Your grace that I’ve been saved.
YOU RAISED ME UP WITH CHRIST!
YOU SEATED ME WITH CHRIST in the heavenly realms!
SO THAT — “in the coming ages You might show the incomparable riches of Your grace, expressed in Your kindness to me in Christ Jesus” for it’s by grace that I’m saved, through faith.

I am Your workmanship … molded by Your hands, crafted by Your fingers, loved by Your heart … filled with Who You are. You have prepared me to do good works in Your kingdom here. You prepare me for what You have prepared for me. May I serve You with loyalty and fervor as You keep making me just like Jesus. Amen.

2 Corinthians 5

Thank You, Lord, that You love me like no other.

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“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down–when we die and leave these bodies–we will have a home in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God Himself and not by human hands … We are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.  So our aim is to please Him always, … For we must all stand before Christ to be judged.  We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in our bodies.  It is because we know this solemn fear of the Lord that we work so hard to persuade others…” (5:1, 8-11 NLT)

Being human can sometimes be frustrating, Father, especially when “our aim is to please [You] always” (v 9).  My intentions, my passion, my focus can be intensely set on You and I can be moving in the direction of Your will, and then some lie, ploy, or subtle attack by the enemy of my soul can work its way into me.  There are times, before I’ve even seen it lurking about, that the tangling vines of sin get such a grip on me.  Papa! Only YOU by Your grace can free me from its clutches!  Every time I cry out to You and You free me from such sin, I am reminded of the price You paid so that I could know that freedom … so that I could know You personally … so that I’d tell others about You.

Make me aware of the lives touching mine who need to hear of this freedom You offer them as well.  Help me to see others through Your eyes.  Move me to step toward them with Your Message of new and eternal life.

“Whatever we do, it is because Christ’s love controls us.  Since we believe that Christ died for everyone, we also believe that we have all died to the old life we used to live.  He died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live to please themselves.  Instead, they will live to please Christ, who died and was raised for them … All this newness of life is from God, who brought us back to Himself through what Christ did … For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (5:14-15, 18, 21 NLT)

Thank You for offering Your Son in my place, so that You and I, Father, could be reconciled.  My sin sent Jesus to the cross.  Your love kept Jesus on the cross.  May that same love move me daily to carry the Message of the cross to those who need to hear it the most and to those who think they need it the least.  Use me as You will, Father, and keep on making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.

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“…Christ DIED for our sins according to the Scriptures,…
He was BURIED…
He was RAISED on the third day according to the Scriptures,…
He APPEARED to [several followers].” (v 3-8 NIV)

Thank You, Father, for conveying this message of hope (assurance) and mercy and freedom.  This path Jesus took was His path of victory over sin and death, as He won that battle for me!  Thank You so much, Jesus!

  • Your death stripped away my sin.
  • Your burial put aside my old self.
  • Your resurrection birthed my new self.
  • Your appearing modeled the witnessing You call me to.
  • Your ascension sets the stage for Your return to take me Home.

“…by the grace of God I am what I am…yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (v 10 NIV)

Thank You for Your grace toward me, Father.  Were it not for grace, I shudder to think of where or what I’d be.

You saw me before I was even born, and by Your grace, You chose then to love me.

You saw me in my sin, and by Your grace, You chose to forgive me.

You see me in my frail humanity, and by Your grace, You choose to transform me.

It’s by Your grace alone, Lord, that I am who I am, and that I am becoming who I will be, as You keep making me just like Jesus.  Amen.

1 Corinthians 6

Yes, Lord! My life is in YOUR hands.
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“Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims…
“Since the Master honors you with a body, honor Him with your body! … remember that your bodies are created with the same dignity as the Master’s body …
“…OR didn’t you realize that your body is a sacred place, the place of the Holy Spirit? Don’t you see that you can’t live however you please, squandering what God paid such a high price for? The physical part of you is not some piece of property belonging to the spiritual part of you. GOD OWNS THE WHOLE WORKS. So let people see God in and through your body.” (v 12-15, 19-20 MSG)

Several years ago, Lord, You helped me learn to sing a song that said, “I am not my own. I belong to You … I can’t explain how belonging to You can make me truly free. But I’ll remain in the joy that I knew when I first came to see Your love for me … There’s still one truth that I can know: I am not my own. I belong to You.”*

Some might look at the verses in this portion of Paul’s letter to the Corinthians and see chains which bind a person and hold her back. But that’s not what it means for YOU to own all of me. When YOU are the Lord and Master of my life, You set me free from all other masters. You supply security, assurance, and peace to me simply because I’m Yours.

Thank You for calling me Your own, for paying the price to redeem me from being a slave to sin. Make all of me a reflection of the You in me, Jesus. Amen.

* from “I Belong to You” as sung by Kathy Troccoli on Heart and Soul, (c) 1984 Reunion Records

I CAN Trust You

I can trust YouWhen a Woman Trusts God book cover
I know that …
So, why don’t I?
I really have no answer …
Forgive me for leaving You out
I know You have
a special purpose
for my life—
And I am confident
that You will
bring it to completion …
Thank You
for sustaining me
when I falter.

Psalm 55:22,23; 56:3,4
©1985 Kat Kreations/Kathi Isbell

When He Speaks

One day, when Jesus was visiting Simon, the Pharisee, having a meal at his house … a lady came in. She kept sobbing, kissing Jesus’ feet and washing them with her tears and perfume. Simon tried to tell Jesus what a sinful woman that was at His feet. But Jesus cut him off, and told him this story: “Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?” Simon answered correctly, “the one who was forgiven the most.”extravagant

After pointing out to Simon all that the woman had been doing since she arrived, He said, “She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.” Then, He spoke to her–the first words recorded–and said, “I forgive your sins. … Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50 MSG)

When we take our wounded and wayward lives (hearts, minds, bodies, spirits) to Jesus, what healing! what pardon! what freedom there is to be found when He speaks forgiveness and peace to us! He wipes the stain away. He affirms our faith. He sends us out in peace, free from the chains we came into His presence wearing.

“I, even I,” said our Daddy, “am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remember your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Is 43:18-19a). “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist” (Is 44:22).

Though we know in our minds that all sin is sin, sometimes the shadow of our chains lurks around when the sin was one of “those” sins … the kind that come with an “open to the public” sign plastered all over them (even when you didn’t post it!). Still, sin is sin and His forgiveness is real forgiveness.

David Seamands once wrote, “When God forgives, He buries your sins in the sea of His forgiveness and forgetfulness. As Corrie ten Boom says, ‘He then puts a sign on the bank which says: NO FISHING ALLOWED.’ You have no right to dredge up anything that God has forgiven and forgotten. He has put it behind His back.” He chooses to forget.