I was asked to lead our praise band in a devotional before our rehearsal last week so here it is. Feel free to pass it on or use it in any way you see fit…
We are thankful that you have chosen to allow us to worship you, offering songs of praise. We thank you for the talents and skills you have given each of us and the opportunity to use them to glorify your name. As we go to your word tonight we ask that you let us hear your voice. Please don’t let the ink, the paper or the voice of a mere man reading your word become an obstacle or distraction but let your voice be heard by all. Lord you tell us in Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God…” yet as musicians we are not in the habit of being still so tonight we want to stop and listen expectantly for your voice as we prepare our hearts to receive you.
At this time, please close your eyes and pause in silent worship for about two minutes (Note: I used a timer so that I wouldn’t have to watch the clock)
Paul an apostle of
Christ Jesus by
The will of God and
Timothy our brother
To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father. We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
(Colossians 1 ESV)
When asked to lead this devotional I knew the first thing to be done was to choose what we would study. The temptation is to pick a topic and then research Bible verses to support the topic. Of course the danger there is that we are then starting with our own wisdom rather than God’s word and it is fairly easy to find Bible quotes to support just about any opinion even if it’s not Biblically based. So I prayed about how to approach this and found my answer was to cast lots as was done throughout the Bible such as in Leviticus 16:8 “And Aaron shall cast lots …”
Using the random number generator in excel to get a number between 1 and 66, yielded 51 as the book of the Bible that we should study. Colossians is the 51st book, since it has 4 chapters I then had excel give me a number between 1 and 4. So by the modern equivalent of casting lots it was determined that we should study Colossians 1. The same method was used to determine our focus for tonight is to be on verse 10, “so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.”
This verse can be applied to the various levels of the church, starting with the individual believer; then up to the group level such as the worship team, in our case a praise band; the leadership of a local congregation, continuing up to the local church entity and finally the universal church, which, as you know, is the collection of all Christian churches.
So how are we supposed to walk? Ephesians 4:1 tells us to “…walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, ”. We understand that sometimes small children will do things they are not supposed to do but as a child grows we expect more from them and of course adults don’t act like children. The same applies to our spiritual lives, with new believers being like small children needing help and support from the mature believers. The mature believer is then held to a higher standard and so on up through the levels with teachers, leadership and the local church itself each being held to increasingly higher standards.
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.
Applying this to us, as a praise band, we see that not only must our personal walk be right but also as a group. So how is a group of Christians to act? Jesus tells us in John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” So then what is Christian love? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
So with those guidelines about our walk, we move on to the idea of “bearing fruit in every good work.” Initially I thought the word ‘fruit’ meant just new believers but as I searched the scriptures I found there is more to this word fruit. Here are a few of the verses I found.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.
So praise is also fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
Here we again find Christian love associated with fruit.
And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.
And yet another type of fruit, “the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ”
1 Corinthians 10:31
“…whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
In the end, everything we do is the fruit we bear.
Lord, our prayer for El Shaddai Christian Church tonight is that we may be filled with the knowledge of your will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
(All Bible quotes are from the English Standard Version.)