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Paul tells us to beware of that which would spoil our faith.
In Colossians 2, Paul speaks of several things that can influence our thought processes and lead us astray.
- Vain deceit
- Traditions of men
- Rudiments of the world
- Christ-less mindsets
- Man-made rituals
- Worshiping of angels or other beings
Acknowledging that these influences do exist, we should take precautions to guard ourselves from their persuasiveness.
Putting on the armour of God, putting His word in our hearts, girding ourselves with truth, being prepared to answer with Christ’s mindset, and being fully engaged in walking according to Christ’s calling will keep us from being overtaken by the influences that spoil.
Formulate Your Own Prayer with Paul’s Example
In chapter one of The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians, we see a godly example of prayer on the behalf of the body of Christ. This particular prayer grew out of a desire to see the Colossian brethren grow and mature in the faith.
As Paul and Timothy labored in prayer, their regard for the Colossians and their spiritual needs gave them purpose and direction.
Following the format of their prayer will aid us in praying for our beloved brethren.
- Give thanks to God.
Verse 3 begins with thankfulness to God for what He has already done in the lives of the believers.
2. Daily intercession and supplication is a must.
In verses 9-12, we learn that Paul and Timothy ceased not to pray. They were committed to the task of prayer for the spiritual needs of others.
This was not a general prayer, but one with detailed petitions. We will discover what those petitions were as we do the exercise below.
4. Give thanks to God. In verse 12, these men began sharing their thankfulness to God and to their brethren for what God had and was presently doing in and through their lives.
1. What did Paul and Timothy desire for the Colossian brethren?
Paul and Timothy prayed and desired. Their desires became a list of specific requests.
List these requests given in verses 9-12 separately.
For example: a) that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding b) that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing c) that you would be fruitful in every good work, etc.
2. Add your own requests to the list above.
You may sense other spiritual needs of the individual or group that you are praying for. Add these to your list.
3. Use your list to form the body of your prayer.
After listing the specific requests, use your list to create a prayer. You may be specific for individuals, a spouse, or for your church family as a whole.
Lord, help me to pray for my brother (or sister) in Christ. I pray that he would be filled with the knowledge of Your will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. Help him to walk worthy of You. May he be pleasing in Your sight. May he be fruitful in every good work that he tries to accomplish. Increase his knowledge of You. Strengthen him with all might according to Your glorious power unto patience and longsuffering. Give him a joyful attitude and countenance.
4. Give thanks. Use the rest of the chapter to help you with your list of thanks.
Paul and Timothy recorded a list of things for which they were thankful to God. That list begins in verse 12.
You may use the rest of the chapter to make your own list of things for which you are thankful.
5. Use your list of thanks to form the ending of your prayer.
Don’t forget to give God thanks for the work that He is doing in the lives of those for whom you are praying and for the work He is doing in your life also.
I hope this prayer exercise has helped you to formulate your own prayer. However, no prayer is answered until it is prayed. So keep your prayer handy and use it to help you as you grow in your prayer life.
Geography Makes Lessons Come Alive
Introducing the geography of a particular Biblical event gives added understanding and enlightenment to the concepts being taught. Students are able to envision the scene in their minds and are able to engage in the action of the story.
What picture do you envision after reading the following statement?
The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Colossians was written by the apostle Paul while he was imprisoned in Rome.
Compare that picture to what you envision after the following added elements.
Rome was the major city in the Roman Empire. The city remains to this day in the modern nation of Italy.
Now the students can imagine a place of which they may be familiar.
But what if we added more information. Let’s see if we can get the students involved in the learning process.
How many miles is the present-day city of Rome from the present-day city of Jerusalem?
What route did the soldiers take as they brought Paul from Jerusalem to Rome? How did they travel? Would this have been an easy trip? What was the terrain like in and around the city?
Where was the prison located in the city?
How would Paul’s prison have differed from a modern-day prison? Where would he have gotten his food and other necessities?
What route would Paul’s letter travel when being sent from Rome to Colosse?
What modern-day city is near where Colosse once stood?
How far did the Roman Empire extend beyond Colosse?
In what modern-day country would one find the remains of the city of Colosse? What types of roads would you travel in order to get there?
In which direction would you travel in order to go from Colosse to Laodicea or to Hierapolis?
These where questions can be inserted alongside the other 4 W’s: who, what, when, and why.
Teaching and engaging students with all of the 5 W’s (who, what, where, when, why) will make your Bible lessons come alive for your students.
Are You Teaching the Five W‘s?
Students are taught the necessity of including the who, what, where, when, and why in their writing assignments. However, as teachers, are we including those 5 W’s in our presentations?
What may be missing in your lesson plan?
Sunday school teachers may do well with the who — the characters, or the what — the action that takes place, but what about the where?
Where does the action take place?
The where is the setting of the story. This is where the introduction of geography is important.
How many can point to modern-day Jerusalem on a map?
Where was Babylon located?
In what modern-day nation would Babylon be found?
In what modern-day nation would one find the ancient cities of Corinth or Athens?
Were these cities located inland or by a river or by the sea? How would this have affected their culture, their eating habits, or their accumulation of wealth?
Why teach the setting of a Biblical event?
Teaching the setting of a Biblical event helps students accept the reality of the story, envision the characters in their proper surroundings, and develop further understanding of Biblical times.
The introduction of geography may have your students’ interest peaked in ways you may never have imagined. More on this in our next post.