Colossians 4:2

Verse of the Day Devotion:  Colossians 4:2  

“Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.” – Colossians 4:2 

One of the things we need to always remember is in order to be effective in what we do for God, we must persevere in prayer.  This was Paul’s general advice to all Christians.  No matter what God calls us to, we must always stay in communication with Him.  And prayer should not be limited to what we are doing, but for all who are doing God’s work.  Paul continues with the following.  “praying at the same time for us as well, that God will open up to us a door for the word, so that we may speak forth the mystery of Christ, for which I have also been imprisoned; that I may make it clear in the way I ought to speak.” Colossians 4:3-4.  And this word is not limited by Paul to the Colossians, but he also said the same thing to the Ephesians.  “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:18-20.

The main idea here is that we do not neglect prayer but continue earnestly in it.  We are to be in such a frame of mind that we are ready at any moment to pray, either publicly or privately.  Paul, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, succinctly writes, “pray without ceasing,” 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  This takes it a step further.  It is important to remember that prayer is a two-way communication.  We must always be ready to not only speak to God, but also to hear from God. 

I remember a time I was speaking with a young man I met in north Miami who had left his home and moved in with someone who got him to become hooked on some serious drugs.  This destroyed his relationship with his family, especially his father.  While driving him to his apartment, I was praying while talking with him.  I spent several hours that night walking on the beach with him, discussing why he left home and left Jesus.  I did not have all the words, but God directed me in this conversation and I got him to promise to go home to his father and begin going back to church.  Since I was in the air force, I could not stay in contact with him,  but a year later, God brought him back to my mind, so I asked Him to show me how he was doing.  I was the sound man for a Christian rock band and that afternoon we were playing at a park in Miami.  We were setting up our equipment when all of a sudden this young man was running up to me.  It was the one I had spoken to a year earlier.  He had gone home that next morning and his father and him settled their differences and their relationship became solid again.  Also, He was attending Coconut Grove Baptist Church and was strengthening his relationship with God.  I rejoiced for some time after this, thanking God for showing me this wonderful news.

Prayer is absolutely essential in our Christian walk.  And, using a phrase a pastor friend once said, ‘not that we have to, but because we get to.’  Fellowship with Almighty God is one of the many blessings He has given to us.  We must, as our focus verse says, devote ourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving.  And even if we do not know what to pray for, we have a helper to assist.  “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27.  He knows our hearts and understands what our needs are and is there to meet them.

In closing, Paul is telling us to  be devoted to prayer and fellowshipping with God.  We are to keep watch and not fall into error but remain alert to God’s ways.  And we are to be thankful that we have a God who wants to hear from us, meet our needs, and speak to us as well.  And we are to pray for all who are doing the work of God throughout the world, that they will succeed in what God is calling them to do.  And again, always be alert to hear from Him as well.  Who better to give us the knowledge we need to affectively do His will.  Rely on Him for everything.  He is faithful in all ways.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

James 2:1

Verse of the Day Devotion: James 2:1 

“My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism.” – James 2:1        

In this verse, James is laying out the command that we are not to show favoritism toward anyone.  We are all one body together and we all have different functions within the body.  And none of these are more important than another.  Let us look at the next couple of verses that lays it our perfectly.  “For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, you sit here in a good place, and you say to the poor man, you stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” James 2:2-3. This is not right in any shape or form.  How can we judge someone by their appearance?  If we do, we are not judging by God’s standard but by our own.

Lets look at these two examples.  I will assume that we do not know either.  First, if we show favoritism to the rich man, it is probably because we feel it will be to our advantage.  We will be with a prominent and probably important person.  If we can develop a relationship with him, it could help lift our stature in the eyes of others.  They will see that we are with him and this may help us to gain greater esteem.  And by placing this rich man away from us at the same time we believe this will add to that advantage.  We may not think this way, but if we favor one thing over another, it is because we believe we will benefit from it.  And unfortunately it is the same with people.

Now, lets look at how these two people would take what we have done.  The rich man will see he has an advantage because we have accepted him immediately.  But what of the poor man?  Will he feel accepted?  No.  And this is probably how his whole life has been.  We just look at him and determine there is no advantage of being with him, so we set him aside and leave him alone.  How does this make the poor man feel?  Probably rejected once again.  Is this how we wish to be treated?  “Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31.

Now, I am not trying to accuse anyone.  I am simply describing this idea to an extreme.  What I am saying is that all people need to know they are as accepted as anyone else.  When I was growing up, I was ostracized by most of the kids in school.  I grew up in a poor family, wore hand-me-downs or cheap versions of clothing.  I wanted friends, but many would not give me any time, but hung out with the popular ones.  Finally, I found someone in my same position and I finally had a friend.  It was hard and debasing.  No one should ever treat anyone this way.  And God does not want us to favor one person over another.  We are equal in His sight.  He loves us all equally and provided salvation to us equally.  We are to be like Christ; therefore we are to treat everyone the same.  I pray we can, as children of God, fulfill this and show love to everyone we meet.  Who knows what incredible work can be accomplished by this simple act of love.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.