I am so thankful for the kind words of support that have filled my inbox and been spoken to me personally in the past two days. (See Friday night's blog post, which has had over 1,000 page loads so far.) It's been quite the journey that past few years, learning more about the mercy and grace of God. This morning, I definitely looked forward to being spiritually refreshed at Lake Baldwin Church. I was particularly excited that our pastor, Mike Tilley, would be preaching on Colossians 2:6-15. Mike spoke about 5 things in our walk with Christ:
A Growing Walk in verses 6-7:
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.A Careful Walk in verse 8:
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.A Christ-Centered Walk in verses 9-10:
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 over every power and authority.A Freedom Walk in verses 11-14:
by Matthias Grunewald,
National Gallery of Art
In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
A Victorious Walk in verse 15:
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.All of these words from Colossians 2 are so relevant to me right now! I don't need empty religion, but fullness in Christ. Not everyone who teaches the Bible is Christ-centered. So much of what we hear can be misleading and actually turn us astray from truth. We need to know it for ourselves, reading Scriptures and meditating on what the verses say. Even a paragraph or a chapter a day can make such a difference. Nurturing our personal relationship with Christ will help us to endure the temptations brought by suffering, peer pressure, loss of spiritual emotions, the hypocrisy of other Christians, and our own failures and sense of unworthiness. Since Christ has taken the punishment for our sins, we can be free to walk in a new life of victory as the Holy Spirit works in our hearts.
I thought you also might enjoy one of the songs from this morning. I actually recorded the congregational singing on my iPod, but you can hear my voice and it's not exactly in tune... (When I lamented about that to Thad, he patted my arm sweetly and said, "What's really important is singing joyfully." I was doing that, from the heart.) So instead, let me present a YouTube version of Michael Smith's classic "Lord, Have Mercy" as sung by Eoghan Heaslip. The lyrics are on the screen...
I leave you with a poem I wrote several years ago about the mercy of God.
Christ's mercy on you and yours...
(This post first appeared in my Weekend Gratitude series on www.virginiaknowles.blogspot.com.)