BREAD OF LIFE MINISTRIES

DEVOTIONS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE, EDIFY & MAKE YOU THINK!!
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

HE PAID IT ALL

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”  Isaiah 53:6
         It has been universally accepted that sheep are dumb animals.  Apparently this is not at all true.  The reason sheep have a strong flocking instinct and follow the one directly in front of them is because, aside from their shepherd’s protection, it is the only way they can ward off predators.  When a threat is near that is not the time to act independently.  Obviously, though, some sheep do go off the beaten path, perhaps to get that one luscious looking tuft of green grass.  This would be representative of the verse in Proverbs that says, “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12 & 16:25).
         Mankind has the mark of sin.  He’s carried it since the Garden of Eden.  God knows all too well man’s propensity to make poor choices when given the option, yet He still gave us all a free will. He wants man to voluntarily serve Him, not serve Him as a requirement.  Man has proven God right in that he has repeatedly gone his own way.  Man has trampled on God’s good favor and still thinks they are right with Him because they believe in His existence.  Man’s lifestyle is a stench in the nostrils of Jehovah.  Only the blood of Christ can rid the stench.  Only Christ’s blood can pay the price owed for all our sins.
         For those who strive to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord, there is peace and hope for the future. God is with you wherever you go and will never leave you, just as the Shepherd never leaves his flock.  Christ took on our sins willingly and as a result made us free.  Enjoy that freedom in the name of Jesus.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Reference used:  Sheep101.info/stupid sheep

Monday, March 30, 2015

THE WEIGHT OF SIN

“Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, … .” Isaiah 53:4a
         The pain and suffering that one might have to endure in this life is nothing compared to what Christ bore for you. Even a torturous death cannot compare, for Christ willingly took on the weight of the sins of all mankind. “God made him who had no sin to be a sin offering for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Jesus was God in the flesh. 
         We moan and groan when we have a cold or the flu.  Imagine the intense pain and anguish Christ experienced when He took on the suffering and punishment for each sin committed since the dawn of time.  For the first time ever Christ was separated from the Father, hence His words on the cross “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) He was left there on the cross to die a slow, agonizing death.  He did that willingly for you and for me.  This fact is incredulous to those who do not know Him in a personal way.  They don’t see themselves as being all that bad and surely have no understanding of what they are in need of.  The enemy of our soul likes it that way.  Scripture is clear; “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:22-24)
          What choices have you made in your life regarding God? Have you placed your faith in Christ or chosen to reject Him?  Your rejection has no effect on the reality of His existence or what He’s done for you.  It only means you will continue on in your blind ignorance.  Don’t be offended by that statement, look into it.  Ask God to reveal Himself to you and then wait with an open mind and heart for Him to do the revealing. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

PRAY FOR ALL PEOPLE

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  1 Timothy 2:1-4
         Did you know that we are not only to pray, but we are to pray for those in positions of authority and also for those we don’t like?  If you truly believe that God is above all and in control of all things, then it would be wise to do just that; pray for our government leaders and those we are at odds with.  The Lord can change the hearts and minds of any man if they are willing to be changed.  If they are not they do so to their own peril. 
         We are called to live godly and holy lives. What is a godly life?  One that submits to the Lord in devoted obedience.  We are to live our lives in awe and reverence to our Maker Who knows our weaknesses and yet still loves us without condition.  We are to also thank God for our life.  Each day I wake up and am still breathing is a good day.  I may have physical issues or situational problems to deal with, but I am alive and well and have a new chance to make some sort of difference for God in someone else’s life.  When I close each devotional with “Walk with the King and be a blessing” I mean that quite literally.  Walk with your Lord and Savior each day you have life on this earth and seek to be blessed of God so that you might share those blessings with others.
          There are some folks in this life that we may not get along with. We may not care for them one little bit.  You know what, God made them too and He loves them just the same as He loves you.  Have you ever thought that you might have been placed in their life to make a difference?  You may think someone deserves to go to hell for the way they have treated you, but frankly, we all deserve nothing more than hell fire and damnation.  It’s only the grace of God that allows us to be heaven bound.  Change your way of thinking regarding those you don’t like.  God doesn’t wish that any would perish, but that all would come to the saving knowledge of Christ (2 Peter 3:9).  That includes your least favorite person in the world.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Friday, March 27, 2015

OUR MIGHTY ROCK

“My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.” Psalm 62:7-8
         My deliverance and reputation depend on God who is my fortress, the One in whom I trust with all things.  A mighty rock, though it wears down due to the elements over the course of millennium, is essentially immovable.  The Lord is my mighty rock in whom I trust to guide and protect me no matter what may befall me.  Our trust in God must not waver, for there is nothing that can penetrate His walls.  He is our fortress, our place of safety.  Unless we allow calamity into our lives, none shall touch us except that which God brings for our own spiritual growth.  Our faith must be ironclad and unwavering. Circumstances do not alter God’s abilities. 
Difficult situations do not suddenly make God impotent.  They come to strengthen us and are monitored by the Lord Himself.  Nothing goes unnoticed by Him.  Nothing is beyond His scope of influence. 
         There is nothing in this world that man can turn to that guarantees safety and deliverance … nothing.  God is alive and eternal; He always was and always will be.  The walls of His fortress shall never crumble.  His promises are forevermore.  In Him there is no shadow of turning (James 1:17).  To deny His existence is to be blind to the obvious.  Everything that is in existence today didn’t simply happen through man’s ingenuity.  Man is the product of divine architect; a creation so perfect that none can rival its excellence.  Man is the one who brings down his stature by the degrading vices it allows in his life.  The devil is at work in those vices.  God is aware of them and seeks to steer man away from them.  Man’s ways are not in any way, shape or form God’s ways.  Man takes the easy, pleasant way, the way that offers the most immediate reward.  God’s way may take longer, but His reward is eternal.
          Depend on God and not your own resources, for they will are limited and temporal.  God’s source is endless and forever.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

BEING LIKE CHRIST

“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage; rather, He made Himself nothing by taking the form of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death — even death on a cross!”  Philippians 2:5-8
         To put this portion of scripture in a different context, it is like a King shedding his kingly garb to live among the serfs. Today it would be like the governor of a state shedding his authority to live among the homeless.  The difference is that the serfs/homeless would probably recognize the king/governor at some point. Christ became flesh as a newborn baby, not a full grown adult.  No one knew Him except those who were looking for Him and were called to go see Him.  Christ didn’t consider His divinity to be something He desired to display among His creation.  He could have come as God and demanded the servitude of mankind, but He didn’t, choosing instead to have them voluntarily serve Him of their own free will.  When on the cross He could have summoned a myriad of angels to destroy all those who had made Him suffer, but He remained obediently silent, taking on the sins of mankind as part of His Father’s plan for the redemption of all men.
         Knowing all that Christ has done for you and me, is there any good reason why we shouldn’t devote our lives to Him?  Our excuses that we have no time fall flat when we consider what we actually do with all our time.  We find time for all sorts of non-essentials, yet when it comes to spending time with the One we refer to as our Lord and Savior we hem and haw.  I do the very same thing and it’s shameful considering all Christ had the time to do for us.  God didn’t have to save us.  He created us, but could have left us to our own devices.  He chose not to.  Just as Christ humbled Himself, so we are to humble ourselves.  We need to become like Christ in this life so as to become a reflection of God’s goodness and mercy in this world.
          One day we may be asked to stand up for Christ in a difficult situation.  We may actually be faced with our own martyrdom.  Think it can’t happen in America, think again.  Will we stand and be counted among the faithful or will we bow to an evil despot who seeks to rid the world of Christians as is happening in other parts of the world even now.  It’s your choice.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SHINE YOUR LIGHT

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.”  1 John 1:5-6
         This verse is one that reveals that there is no darkness or evil at all in God.  He has His own purposes for what takes place in this world.  God is the one true hope that mankind has in this world.  He is light and love and mercy.  For those who have entered into fellowship with Him through the sacrificial death of His Son, there is a future filled with light. 
         For those who say they know the Lord yet still walk in the darkness of sin, they are lying to themselves.  They honestly believe that they are in a good place with God just because they claim to have fellowship with Him; however, without a change in lifestyle there can be no real fellowship because sin cannot exist in the presence of God.  It is imperative that we live out the truth in this life.  Otherwise why do you think Christ suffered, bled and died?  That most supreme sacrifice was necessary to cleanse the sins of all men. 
         Think of it this way: when you enter a pitch black room with no source of light within, you see nothing.  Your eyes may adjust to the darkness, but essentially you are without sight.  Turn on a light and that light pierces the darkness like a sword.  Now you can see what surrounds you.  Think of God as the brightest light in existence.  That light pierces through all darkness.  Darkness cannot exist in the light; it defies the law of thermodynamics*.  Therefore, since God is light, then we who are His children are of the light.  As with God, there should be no darkness in us as well.  Live in the light and let it shine wherever you go, for wherever you go God is there also.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!


* Energy exists in many forms, such as heat, light, chemical energy, and electrical energy.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PAYMENT MADE

“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 6:23
         Today we shall do a brief word study.  A wage is a payment or a repayment.  Sin is the transgressing of a moral law, especially when it is done deliberately.  A gift is something that is given voluntarily without any compensation sought.  Eternal is without beginning or end.  It is perpetual, continuing without interruption.  These are all words we throw around in Christendom quite regularly yet may not know their base meaning. 
         Looking at these definitions we can see the depth of the verse given.  There is a payment that is expected for the sinful life we live.  Scripture tells us we’ve all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).  Whether deliberate or not, we will be held accountable for our transgressions one day, that is unless we receive the gift God has given voluntarily without any repayment required.  If we receive that gift we enter into a new life.  The old life has been washed away.  We are supposed to give our life in its entirety over to the Lord.  Knowing exactly what we need in this life, God now is to be trusted to meet those needs and take good care of us.  There is an element of faith and trust that comes with receiving the gift, for scripture tells us that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). We must believe that God is and that He will do for us that which is required to lead us through this maze we call life.
          The reward for our servitude to this Heavenly King is life with Him that has no end.  Once we pass from this life to the next we will have an eternal life that shall continue without interruption and have no end.  For those who have given their life to Christ, this is spectacular news.  For those who remain on the outside of God’s kingdom, there is still time for you to receive the gift of forgiveness for every disobedient act.  Don’t miss your chance to find new life in Christ.  Without God’s gift of forgiveness you will end up paying for your sins by yourself and that payment is your life.  Christ paid your sin debt for you already, but if you don’t accept that payment then you’re on your own. Don’t blow it. Receive Christ into your life today.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Monday, March 23, 2015

DON’T BE DECEIVED

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”  James 1:22
         When you listen to something that is said, do you truly hear it or does it go in one ear and out the other? How many of us can remember what yesterday’s sermon was about?  We are a preoccupied generation that has way too much going on in our lives to focus on any one thing.  God created for six days and on the seventh day rested.  We go go go 24-7 as if it were required of us.  We’ve forgotten how to relax.  We’ve lost our ability to concentrate on those things that should matter most to us. 
         Listening and hearing are two distinctly different actions.  We can listen to someone talk all day long yet not hear one thing they’re saying.  And if we do hear them what impact have their words had on our life? “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)  Spiritual surgery is necessary to purge ungodly behavior from us.  Up until our conversion that behavior enjoyed a healthy life within our psyche, making us who we were at the time.  Once forgiven our old life was supposed to die so that a new life could be born and thrive.  To remain in ones old lifestyle after salvation had been received makes the grace of God a cheap thing.  A change must take place or we are fooling ourselves.  Without change we will begin to accrue a whole new set of sins for which there is no payment.  Christ died once for all for all time, however, repeat offenders who never embrace their second chance for what it is remain in sin, having shot hope in the heart.
          Do not deceive yourself into believing that you can merely hear the word of God and then go about your merry way as if nothing meaningful has happened.  We must do what His word says if we are going to enjoy the riches of His blessed promises.  Without knowing His word we have no idea who He truly is or what He has to say.  We surmise based on what others say it says, yet never partake of it ourselves.  No growth shall occur that way.  Read His word for yourself and seek to be a reflection of who He is to the world around you.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

TRUST IN GOD

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8
         Trust is a funny thing.  For me, I trust someone until they give me a reason not to trust them. Trusting someone we cannot see and have never met is a very different kind of trust.  Trust in the literal sense is having a firm belief in something or someone.  It is being confident in that person or thing and relying on it.  Can God truly be trusted?  My answer would be without question a resounding YES, for throughout the entirety of scripture He has never gone back on His word or broken a promise.
         The Lord doesn’t do our bidding like some genie in a bottle.  He knows much better than we what we are in need of and how and when to administer it. People look at the goings on around the world and say that God must be mean for allowing such things to take place and therefore He cannot be trusted at all. We are not privy to all the details of various situations. We only know what the media outlets reveal to us. Their bias combined with our own preconceived notions can give us a skewed understanding of an event.  That doesn’t make God untrustworthy.  Those who think God is mean and unreasonable do not know the Bible, nor do they know God.  It requires faith.  Faith isn’t an experiential deal.  It is quite the opposite.  We believe without seeing, tasting, hearing, touching or smelling. Faith is like entering a dark room without knowing where the light switch is or as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr once put it: Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
         We have confidence in the Lord because we trust Him by faith and know He will take good care of us always.  Negative events in this world are not a reflection of God’s uncaring nature; it is a reflection of man’s brutality toward their fellow man.  God allows these things by virtue of the free will He’s given each of us.  In the end He will punish those who have used that free will to their own selfish and destructive gains.  In the meantime, throw all your trust onto the Lord, for He loves and cares for you and has prepared a place for those who stand for Him in this life.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

Dictionary used: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

BEING TRULY ALIVE

“Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”  1 Peter 2:2-3
         In his first letter to believers, Peter is speaking to those young in the faith who need to crave spiritual nourishment in God’s word just as a newborn baby craves its’ mothers milk.  My comments today are not to the newborn believers, although they would apply to them as well, but rather to those who have professed belief yet have not grown in their faith.  
         Believing in God is all well and good, but if it fosters no change in your lifestyle then what good is it.  Even the demons of hell believe and tremble and quake at the sound of His name (James 2:19). Once you have tasted the goodness of God’s grace, His forever forgiveness of all your sins, you are supposed to feel different. I know I immediately began to see things differently, as if blinders had been removed from my eyes.  I became hungry for God.  I began to read the Bible, found a bible teaching, preaching church and as a result slowly began to grow in my faith.  Not so with some folks who seem to feel that believing and going to church is more than enough to get to heaven.  They have deceived themselves into believing that they are good enough simply because they speak His name.  Sadly, they are unaware of the scripture where Jesus says that even though they call out His name He never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23).
         Grow in your faith.  Don’t count on being able to get into heaven by the skin of your teeth.  That’s not what Christ died for.  He died to give you new life, a second chance.  Make the most of it.  Become a reflection of your Creator. Shed your old life and live for God.  Let the Holy Spirit within you compel you to surrender your will to your loving Heavenly Father.  That is truly being alive rather than merely existing!  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
REFERENCES USED:  Both the Reformation Study Bible and the Asbury Bible Commentary.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

DON’T BE ENSLAVED

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”  Galatians 5:1
            When we think of slavery no doubt the first thing that comes to mind is black slavery down in the south prior and during the mid-1800’s.  But there are many types of slavery that exist even today.  A slave is one who is subject to or controlled by a specified influence.  In this age of high technology some become a slave to their cell phones.  It must be true because they can’t stop staring at them.  They even use them while driving 70 mph on the Interstate Highways of America talking and texting like fiends.  We can be a slave to anything that controls us, like television or working out.  Pornography is something people find themselves uncontrollably enslaved to.  Anything that draws us away from God and controls us to the near exclusion of all else is not of God.  The enemy spends day and night in the attempt to make us ineffective for the kingdom of God.  He also devotes his time to keeping souls far away from redemption. 
            There are contradictions to scripture all around us.  The devil wants to deceive you into believing that the Bible is fraught with errors leading you to believe you cannot trust its validity.  It’s been that way since the dawn of time and shall continue until the clock stops ticking.  It behooves the believer to be well versed in scriptural knowledge and draw as close to the Lord as humanly possible.  This is how we can stand firm in our faith.  You must know what is expected of you and what God’s precepts and promises are or you will fall victim to becoming enslaved once again. 
            Man always thinks he knows the right way to go, but Proverbs cautions us in two instances (14:12 and 16:25) that “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”  Man’s best laid plans will come to nothing without God’s input.  The devil wants you to fail.  His desperation only reveals that he knows he’s already lost the war.  Don’t allow him to gain a foothold in your life.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Dictionary used: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

REFERENCE NOTE: Paul had received word that in Galatia, where he had preached the Gospel, there were some who were preaching “another gospel,” which was unsettling the believers. These other preachers were responsible for “bewitching” (3:1; cf. 1:6-9) them. These perceived troublemakers apparently were not only casting aspersions on Paul's preaching, but also on his person. The issues seem to center on (1) whether non-Jewish believers must enter into Christian fellowship via Judaism and its covenantal mark, circumcision, and (2) whether Paul had legitimate apostolic authority to teach and preach. [Asbury Bible Commentary; Zondervan; 1992]

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

HAVING ONE MIND

“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 15:5-6
      Endurance is the ability to carry on.  To encourage is to inspire hope or confidence, to stimulate or spur on.  This is what the Lord can and will do for those who seek it.  His very presence in our lives brings its own hope and perseverance with it.  Knowing who God is and who we are in Him can be all it takes to spur someone on to do great things for the Kingdom.
           Within the church there’s a lot of contention and strife.  Differences of opinion regarding none spiritual issues tear some congregation apart, splitting some churches right down the middle.  Paul cautions the Roman believers to have the same mind set Christ had when He walked this earth; a selfless one.  Giving of oneself to a brother or sister in Christ in loving kindness can mend many a fence. There needn’t be factions and cliques that can create a separatist attitude.  Compromise may be necessary. 
           Loving others as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it is appropriate and necessary to have a healthy church.  All folks within the walls of the church building need to leave arrogance and divisiveness at the door and look to those things that bind us all together.  To encourage and edify or build up spiritually should be our goal.  If everyone took the time to bless someone else instead of constantly looking to absorb blessings, we would all leave spiritually refreshed.  May God’s spirit reign down over His children creating a spirit of unity and cohesiveness that the world cannot penetrate. Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
Dictionary used: Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

THE SHEPHERD

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Psalm 23:4
            Even as a child of God we sometimes go through very dark times in our lives.  We can rely on the Lord to see us through them as a Shepherd would his flock.  Sheep are said to be one of the dumbest of animals.  Now I don’t know if God purposely used them as a metaphor for mortal man, but if you look at the trouble we tend to get ourselves into from time to time it makes you wonder.  Jesus is seen in scripture on several occasions as the Good Shepherd who tends to the needs of his flock.  We are His flock.  With Christ as our Shepherd we have absolutely nothing to fear in this life. 
            When I think of a rod the first thing that comes to mind is Proverbs 13:24 which says “whoever spares the rod hates their children ...” To compound that meaning Proverbs 3:12 says “… the Lord disciplines those His loves…”.  While this may be true, that is not at all the rod David speaks of in Psalm 23.
The rod that a Shepherd carries is short and heavy.  It’s used as a club or throwing stick to defend against predators that would come against his flock.  While it is sometimes used to discipline a wayward sheep, it can also be used to assist in examining and counting individual sheep in the flock.  The staff is used very specifically to round up the sheep.  The Shepherd will apply pressure to the sheep’s side to guide it.  It can also be used to release a sheep from some sort of entanglement.  Back in David’s day these are the tools he used to take care of the flock his father, Jesse, had entrusted him to shepherd. 
            If we rely on the Lord, just as the sheep relied on their Shepherd, no harm will come to us.  Oh, we will go through trying and difficult times to be sure.  We will not live in some nirvana-like* existence where we are kept from all danger, but with the Lord as our Shepherd, our lives are blessed with heavenly protection.  We will need to endure that which will induce spiritual growth yet never harm us.  God gives us more than we may think we can handle, but the Shepherd is always there, watching over us to see that we are safe even in the midst of our struggles.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!

* An ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy.

NOTE: The information regarding a Shepherd’s rod and staff comes from “A Shepherd’s Look at Psalm 23” by W. Phillip Keller; Zondervan; 1970.  Personal note: I have read this book and it is excellent.  I highly recommend it for a greater understand of God’s role as the Shepherd of our life and our role as His flock.

Monday, March 16, 2015

GIVING THANKS TO GOD

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
            Each day that we live is a new opportunity to do something worthwhile for the kingdom of God.  We can live for ourselves, thus placing our own importance above all others or we can surrender our will to Almighty God and in so doing enrich our lives.  That is where the blessings come from, by following God’s lead.  Do you realize that God will bless whatever you say or do in His name?  Our lives should be ones of gratitude for the second chance we have been given through Christ’s death. 
        Peter takes the time in this chapter to state clearly what behavioral characteristics we are to put to death and what ones we are to embrace.  That leads us to verse 17 shown above.  If we strive to imitate Christ in our daily lives we will grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.  When we do that we will begin to have a greater and deeper understanding regarding how God’s economy works.  His love and graciousness towards His creation become clearer when we read in scripture what He has done for man down through the ages. 
            We deserve nothing but punishment for the lives we have lived up to our salvation.  If you happen to think you weren’t such a bad person prior to your conversion, think again.  Scripture clearly tells us in Romans 3:23 that all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory.  If it weren’t true then Christ would never have had to die.  His death was the supreme sacrifice that provided a cleansing for all sin.  A clean slate was provided for all men.  Would they accept it?  Most have not.  Those who have followed what scripture mandates will thank God for what He has done and will do in their lives each day as they serve Him.  Until next time, walk with the King and be a blessing!
NOTE from the Asbury Bible Commentary re: the reason the letter was written:  A strange teaching was being (promoted) at Colossae. No exposition of this heresy exists; its features must be inferred from what Paul says in argument against it.  A heretical form of human philosophy seemed to promise its adherents protection from evil powers through ascetic legalism (leading a life of self-discipline and self-denial, especially for spiritual improvement). The apostle's antidote to these claims is a strong doctrine of Christ's sovereignty.