Garden of the LORD

Garden of the LORD

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Accountability - Chapter Four

Ok folks, I did it.  I finished memorizing all of Colossians.  So happy I was able to “finish the work”.  I am not the same.  I am ready to continue with the ministry God has called me to.  I started out wrecked and now I feel renewed and ready for what God has planned next.  The Word did its job.  God is good.  Mazel Tov!

Masters provide for you slaves what is right and fair, because you know that you have a master in heaven.

Devote yourselves to prayer.  Being watchful and thankful.  And pray for us too that God would may open a door for our message so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ for which I am in chains.  Pray that I may proclaim it clearly as I should.  Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders, make the most of every opportunity.  Let you words conversation be always filled full of with grace and seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer every man everyone. 

Tychicus will tell you all the news about me.  He is a dear brother, a faithful minister servant and a fellow servant in the Lord.  I am sending him to you for the express purpose that he may tell you you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts.  He is coming with Onesimus, our faithful and dear brother, who is one of you.  They will tell you everything about what is happening here.

My fellow prisoner Aristarchus sends you his greetings as does Mark, the cousin of Barnabas.  (You have received instructions concerning about him; if he comes to you, welcome him). Jesus who is called Justus sends his greetings.  These are the only Jews among my fellow workers for the kingdom of God and they have proven a comfort to me.  Epaphras, who is one of you, also sends greetings.  He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you many stand firm in the will of God, mature and fully assured.  I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for all those in Laodicea and Hierapolis.  Our dear friend Luke, the doctor, and Demas sends greetings.  Give my greetings to the brothers in Laodicia and the church that meets in Nympha’s house.and to Nympha and the church in her house. 

After this letter has been read to you see that it is also read in the church in Laodicia and that you in turn read the letter from Laocicia.

Tell Archippus, “see to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.”

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

Monday, November 9, 2015

Accountability - Chapter Three

Hello Everyone! 

I know it has been forever and a day since I last posted.  If you recall with my previous entry, I had this gut wrenching realization that memorizing and blogging about Colossians was just about to do me in.  While I dropped the regular blogging, I am still holding to the memorization component.  I am happy to declare that I am on target to finish memorizing Colossians by the end the year.  Yeah me!

Chapter three has been all about application.  After carefully laying out all that God has done for us in Christ, Paul goes deep and gives us a picture of what this new life in Christ should look like. As I examined my walk alongside of this beautiful description, one word comes to mind. 


Paul penning the first two chapters of this letter before the application portion is a relief for me.  If you recall, those chapters unfolded for us profound truths that should energize us in our faith. 

- We learned that through the cross we have been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought into Christ’s kingdom. 

- We learned that God forgave all our sins, canceled the debt that was owed and rendered our enemy impotent. 

- We were warned about deceptions that herald the concept of Jesus plus something is the answer.  Yet we reveled in the knowledge that tells us contrarily that Jesus plus nothing is the truth we need to hold dear. 

- We became acquainted with the concept of fullness in Christ and the certainty of our old sinful nature having been taken away.

- We were soaked with the supremacy of Christ midway through chapter one and we learned of the gorgeous truth of the Gospel and the reconciliation to God that it brings.

- We grappled the incomprehensible knowledge that we were once dead but now we are alive and it was God alone who did this. Dead people can’t make themselves alive.  It was through His grace. 

Why?  Why did God do all this?  We know that we couldn’t do it for ourselves.  But why?  In a nutshell, God desires to be with us.  It is hard to imagine but He wants us.  He loves us.  He wants us to abide with Him.  In order for that to happen, He needed to make a way.  Christianity is the only faith where God comes down to man. 

I know why I fail.  I fail because I attempt to follow the commands in chapter three before I have soaked in the truths of chapters one and two. When I am saturated with those truths then chapter three just happens on its own.  I can not live a fully alive Christ-like life unless I know how much God loves me and how he has proven that love by restoring something I could never have done on my own.  He sent His son so that He could have me. 

With that, a new word comes to mind.


Here is my memorization accountability for Chapter three.   I miss writing.  Perhaps God will make a way.  Shalom friends. 

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set you heart on things above where Christ is seated at the right hand of the Father (God).  Set your mind on things above and not on earthly things.  For you have died and your life is now hidden in Christ with God.  And when Christ, who is your life, appears then you also will appear with him in glory.

Put to death therefore whatever belongs to your earthly nature.  Sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed which is idolatry.  Because of these the wrath of God is coming.  You used to walk in these ways in the life you once lived.  But Now you must rid yourselves of such things as these anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.  Do not lie to one each another since you have died taken off to your old self with its practices on put on your new self which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of the its Creator.  Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free.  But Christ is all and in all. 

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, patience and gentleness.  Bear with one each another and forgive whatever grievances you have against each other one another.  Forgive as Christ the Lord has forgiven forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love that 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.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you speak teach and admonish one another with all wisdom as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.  Whatever you do in word or deed do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus giving thanks to God the Father through him. 

Wives submit to your husbands as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands love your wives and do not be harsh with them.
Children obey you parents in everything for this pleases the Lord.
Fathers, do not embitter your children or they will become discouraged.

Slaves, obey you masters in everything.  And do it Not only when their eye is on you to win their favor but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.  Whatever you do, work at with all your heart it as if working for the Lord and not for men, for since you know that you have anwill receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.  It is the Lord Christ you are serving.  Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for that his wrong and there is no partiality favoritism. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Accountability - Chapter Two

This is my second accountability post.  An accountability post, (as I mentioned previously) for the purpose of this venue of memorizing Colossians, is going to be a typed representation of what I have memorized so far.  Which basically means that I am typing what I have memorized.  It also answers the question "Is she really memorizing this?".  Yes, I am.   

Below you will find chapter two along with all the corrections.  I think I did pretty well.  Non of the errors would alter the understanding of the scripture.  Punctuation nor verse numbers are represented or required (that lands in the give a girl a break category). I will be reciting these verses to science guy when he gets home today.  Here you are for your inspection.  Lord have mercy on me as I proceed to chapter three.  We are rocking now!

“I want you to know how much I am struggling for you and for those in Laodicea and for all who have not met me personally.  My purpose is that they would be encouraged in heart and united in love, and(so) that they would(may) have the full riches of complete understanding in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 

I tell you this so that (no one may deceive you) you may not be deceived by fine sounding arguments.  For though I am absent with you in the body I am present with you in the spirit and delight to see how orderly you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. 

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord (continue to) so live in him.  Rooted and built up in him, being strengthened in the faith as you were taught and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophies (which) that depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than (on)Christ. 

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form and you have been given fullness in Christ who is the head of every power and authority.  In him you were also circumcised in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with the circumcision done by the hands of men, but (the)a circumcision done by Christ having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God (who)that raised him from the dead. 

When you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.  He forgave you of all your sins and having cancelled the written code with its regulations that was against us and stood opposed to us, he took it away nailing it to the cross.  Having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross.

Therefore, do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or what you drink, or in regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day.  These were a shadow of what (the things that were) was to come, the reality however, is found in Christ.  Don’t let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you from the prize.  Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions.  He has lost connection with the Head (from) in whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow. 

Since you have died with Christ to the basic principles of this world why do you as though you still belonged to it do you submit to its rules.  “Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch”.  These are destined to perish with use because they depend on human commands and teachings.  These (such) regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom with their self imposed worship, (their) false humility and (their) harsh treatment of the body but lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.” 

Colossians Chapter Two


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Warning #3

“Since, you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’ ?  These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.  Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposes worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”

                                                               Colossians 2:20-23

Asceticism.  Exploring Colossians through memorization has led me to an area of discovery that I had not anticipated.  This short letter continues to expose my belief system laying it bear before me and challenging me to address its flaws. 

Asceticism is the practice of rigorous self-denial to become more spiritual.  These types of practices were popular during the Middle Ages where they would wear hair shirts next to their skin, sleep on hard beds, whip oneself, go without food or sleep.  The ascetic hopes to sanctify the soul by his discipline of the body.  Gnostics believed that the body was evil and only the Spirit was good.  They believed in the strict separation of the two.   

Colossians is a letter of “ism’s”.  In the last two posts I wrote about warnings.  Paul was warning the Colossian church against the influence of the Gnostics and their philosophy that focused on legalism and mysticism.  Paul now is warning them against asceticism.  Thank you Paul about this warning.  I needed this warning. 

My body is controlled by disease.  About 15 years ago, I started to have various unexplainable pains in various joints in my body.  For five years I searched for relief or even a viable diagnosis.  I wanted to fix the pain so I could continue with my life.  Especially that part of my life I have devoted to serving God.  I did get a diagnosis.  A diagnosis yet no cure.  I would have to live with the pain as well as a host of ramifications that include exhaustion, confusion, irritability, bouts of depression, lots of medication and a straining of relationships (it isn’t easy living with me).  I would have to daily deal with the danger to my heart and lungs as well as blurred vision and digestive irritability. 

My life is continually managed within the realm of this disease.  Each day has its own challenges.  I am never sure what awaits me upon rising.  Will it be a day of vast productivity or one where getting a meal on the table will be the ultimate accomplishment.  I never really know.  The disease is that random.  Unfortunately it controls me.  I don’t control it.  Sorry if that offends your spirituality but it is my reality. 

On some level I have become an ascetic.  I see my body as evil.  It is my enemy.  This is the raw truth.  Remember I promised raw.  When my body disrupts my agenda, it is my enemy.  When it keeps me from serving my family, it is my enemy.  When it keeps me from serving my church, it is my enemy.  When it keeps me from the fun and often normal things that others take for granted, it is my enemy.  I am at war with my body.  I don’t listen to it.  I press on.  I think this is pure spirituality.  This is what the ascetic’s believed.  Harsh treatment of the body equals great spirituality.  Paul is saying this is wrong.  Harsh treatment has no value in restraining the sinful nature.  It only arouses it.

While legalism and mysticism haven’t been all that much a challenge to my spiritual walk, it seems asceticism is.  Even right now my head pounds, my body aches, my eyes are burning as I peer at the screen yet still I am compelled to write.  Is this harsh?  Is this the spirit? I don’t know.  I have been pondering.  I think things are going to need to change.  I sense a pyridine shift. 

David wrote:

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, you eyes saw my unformed body.”
                                                               Psalm 139:13-15

Since this disease I carry is genetic, God knew full well what was in store for me.  Somehow this struggle that I deal with daily was not a surprise to Him.  It was for me.  I guess that perhaps I should embrace it.  If He hasn’t taken it from me than maybe I should see my body as fearfully and wonderfully made rather than my enemy.  I need to see my body not as an obstacle but as a vehicle that might propel me into a richer spiritual life that I might not have enjoyed otherwise.  I guess I need to trust that if God is ok with my body than I should be too. 

I need to be kinder to me.  Not so harsh.  Scripture tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.  I need to treat my body better since it houses such beauty and purity.  It reflects the glory of God from the inside out.  In Old Testament scripture we see the Jewish people either neglected the temple or put too much emphasis on the temple.  Both of those options left God out of the equation.  I need to learn to love my body with God in the equation.  I can’t neglect it or indulge it.  I need to do what is best for it.  I need to seek God for balance on this. 

I don’t know what that means.  I am submitting myself to God.  I am trusting that He will help me work this out.  My spirituality doesn’t rest on outward strength but on inward beauty.  That I understand. How being kinder to my body plays out will be a day to day learning process. 

Some things are going to have to go.  It might be this blog.  Writing is hard work.  The pace that I have set for myself is grueling.  That might need to change.  If I really want to see transformation in my spiritual life, I need to agree with God about what He is telling us.  For me, it is “take it easy”.  He understands.  He burden is easy and light.  I make it hard.  It doesn’t need to be hard to be spiritual.  What makes me spiritual is the Holy Spirit residing in this earthly temple not the temple.  Cultivating the spirit is what brings true spirituality not working myself to death. 

I have no clue what that will look like dear reader.  I will continue to memorize Colossians because that is my spiritual discipline but perhaps the writing thing will have to be less frequent or not at all.  We will see.  The wonderful thing about the Lord is when we hand our gifts over to Him, He guides us into better things.  They could be the same things with great authority or power or they could be new things.  I love Him so.  He is that good. And I trust Him. 


“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering.  Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.”

                                                                        Romans 12:1 (MESSAGE)