A to-do list is a check sheet of tasks that we are compelled to do within a day or a week or a month. As each proposed task is accomplished, a checkmark is placed beside that task to show that it has been completed.
We like the satisfaction of checking things off our list, but sometimes our to-do list contains more than we can accomplish. That’s when frustration sets in and we can become discouraged.
The Jews, Pharisees and Sadducees had a to-do list for a man named Saul. That to-do list was one that Saul had performed religiously.
seed of Abraham
tribe of Benjamin
righteousness which is of the law of Moses
a member of the Pharisees
attend Gamaliel’s school
follow traditions and procedural protocol of the fathers
zealous toward God
Wow! What a to-do list, and yet Saul was certified to check off each of the above by the Sanhedrin. In fact, the chief priests entrusted Saul with letters giving instruction and permission to persecute those who did not follow their religious to-do list.
Saul’s Revised To-Do List
Saul soon found out that something important was missing from his to-do list. In fact, he discovered his to-do list was worthless.
While traveling to Damascus on one of his commissioned trips, Saul saw a great light from heaven shining around him. He fell to the earth and heard a voice speaking unto him in the Hebrew language.
That voice said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
Saul immediately asked, “Who art thou, Lord?”
The response, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.”
Saul’s to-do list quickly changed. His new checklist contained the following:
turn to God
do works meet for repentance
Saul immediately obeyed the heavenly vision. His life dramatically changed including his name which became Paul.
Paul became the great apostle to the Gentiles. His new commission was to preach the gospel of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection.
“To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God: that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in [Christ].” Acts 26:18
Paul’s past frustration turned to joy as he completed his newly revised to-do list.
At life’s end Paul confidently recorded in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”
Grandfather lay in his hospital bed thinking of family and friends. He knew they would miss him if he left for Heaven; but, oh, how he wanted to go.
Grandfather missed his dear wife of sixty years. Every time he caught the scent of vanilla he thought of her placing it behind her ears. He wondered why she always smelled so when she passed through a room until he caught her doing it one morning. Heaven must smell like vanilla, he thought.
“Grandpa, are you awake?” It was one of his grandchildren come to visit.
“Yes, Jeremy. I’m awake. Just lying here thinking about your grandmother. I sure do miss her.”
“I know, Grandpa. It must be hard without her around after so many years. But you’ve got us to keep you busy. Your breakfast is cold. Did you not know it was here? Let me get you something hot from the cafeteria.”
“No, Jeremy. I knew it was here. I just didn’t feel like eating.”
“But you’ve got to eat so you can keep up your energy. Please, Grandpa. You’ve got to eat.”
“I know, Son. But I’ve got other things on my mind.”
“Grandpa, we love you. Please get better. We need you. Dad is going crazy trying to keep up the business. Sarah and Joe need you to help with their first garden. And I, well, I need you too.”
“I know, Jeremy. I know.”
“For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:
Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.
And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;
That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.
During a time of imprisonment in Rome, the apostle Paul revealed his desire to depart this earth and be with Jesus in Heaven. His longing is often interpreted as his desire to no longer endure the sufferings that he bore.
However, I believe Paul had a deeper longing than merely escape. His personal relationship with the Lord was only made stronger by the sufferings which he endured.
The Christ that Paul met on the road to Damascus had become his sole purpose for living. Every breathing moment was lived intently to bring honor to Christ’s name.
For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. Philippians 1:21
Knowing that others needed the same grace, mercy, and forgiveness that he had received kept Paul busily sharing the gospel. The thought that anyone would die without the knowledge of Christ was unacceptable. The world must know Jesus Christ and His resurrection power.
Just like Grandfather in our story, Apostle Paul lay in his cell desiring to go to Heaven. He knew his family and friends would miss him. But, more importantly, there were many whom he had never met who needed to hear of Christ.
Paul thought of the Philippians who had ministered to him in his time of need although they were experiencing poverty. Suddenly he realized that his bondage in Rome might be a discouragement to them.
Epaphroditus was in Rome. Whether he was in the same cell with Paul or just visiting, I do not know. But I do know Paul dictated an important letter for Epaphroditus to pen down.
That letter sent to the Philippians expressed that Paul’s current imprisonment was only a display of Paul’s bond to Christ. His bondage served as an encouragement to the brethren to speak boldly of Christ.
But I would ye should understand, brethren, that the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel.
So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places;
And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.
Was it Paul’s time to leave for Heaven? Not yet.
Paul realized his purpose on this earth was not yet met. Heaven would come, but now was not the time. Souls needed to hear the gospel.
Cell doors were not a deterrent to the gospel message. Being behind cell doors gave Paul time to pen letters which we can read today. These letters are now part of the New Testament that you and I can read for ourselves.
Grandfather knew that his family needed him. It gave him comfort to know that one day he would be in Heaven and see his lovely wife again.
But today, well, today was not his day to go. Today was his day to get better.
Principles of Discipleship and Training That Parents Can Glean from 2 Timothy 2
Parents seek to train their children in what they deem as necessary life skills. These skills include reading, writing, communication, social, history, and math among others. The methods of teaching vary from parent to parent. No matter which direction a parent may take, each parent can learn important principles from Scripture that will guide them in their endeavors.
There are some important principles found in 2 Timothy 2 that Apostle Paul utilized to train his young student, Timothy. Parents can apply those same principles in training their children. Let’s look at several verses to find a few.
Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.
Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.
2 Timothy 2:1-7
Parenting Is Discipleship
Paul was a spiritual parent to Timothy. Calling Timothy his “own son in the faith,” Paul discipled Timothy as a father would disciple his own son. (See 1 Timothy 1:2.)
Parenting Is Instructional
Paul directed Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. Paul knew that the strength Timothy would need to fulfill his destiny would be found only in Christ. He would need Christ’s grace and mercy so that he could minister the same to others.
Parenting Is by Example
As a spiritual father, Paul’s life testified of Christ’s influence. His testimony was esteemed highly by those who knew his daily walk, business principles, and communications. As a tentmaker, Paul labored to provide the best workmanship that a purchaser of tents could receive. As an evangelist, he sought God’s direction as to his travels and ministry practices. As a teacher, he taught truth despite the contradictions of others.
Timothy modeled his life accordingly. The methods that Paul used to teach Timothy, Timothy then used to disciple others. His was a self-disciplined life marked with determination to avoid worldly lusts and pleasures which would lead him from his pursuit to fulfill God’s will.
Parenting Is Being a Child’s Hero
Paul was Timothy’s hero and rightly so. Paul’s life was not contradictory. No matter how he was tried or persecuted, he remained true to the principles of the gospel. Paul’s boldness in preaching the gospel was an encouragement to Timothy to be bold as well.
Parenting Is Being Respectful
Paul always showed respect to the authorities. Even though he was a Roman citizen, many times Paul was jailed or beaten against the law. In those cases, he still showed respect.
In every situation, Paul displayed the fruit of the Spirit working in and through his life. He remained temperate in all things.
Parenting Is Being Mindful of What Is Being Taught
Paul taught daily in the temples, synagogues, street corners, houses, or roadsides. Sometimes he had a classroom in which to teach; sometimes it was just a courtyard. The location was not important. What was important was the doctrine and principles of the Word of God he conveyed.
Timothy was taught well. His later life as a pastor was a result of Paul’s teaching. Many men were taught under his ministry who were enabled to teach others also.
Every young child sees their father as their hero. Sadly, many fathers do not live according to godly standards. But when fathers do, what a difference it makes in the lives of their children.
Fathers teach daily. Although it may not be hand in hand with a textbook, life is still being taught. The location is not important; but the relationship and principles taught by one’s life is.
No parent is perfect, but moral character is evident to every child. If we desire mastery for our children, then we must strive lawfully also. If we require honesty of our children, then we ourselves must be honest. If we want our children to love God and submit to His desires, then we must love God and walk in submission.
Parenting Never Ends
Discipleship is not an 8 to 3 endeavor. It is an around the clock endeavor. Consider what Apostle Paul is teaching Timothy, and may the Lord give thee understanding also.
I love to see horses galloping across a mountain ridge, muscles bulging, nostrils exhaling steam in the crisp air. What a picture of strength and power to anyone who views such a sight.
The Strengths We Lean Upon
Mankind has depended upon the strength of the horse to defeat his enemy in battle, but it is a strength upon which we are commanded not to depend.
The strength that we must depend upon can only come from the Source of All Strength who desires to bestow us with power that confounds the unbelieving onlooker and draws their attention to Almighty God.
We each have leaned upon our horses of money, family, friends, and societal status. Our experiences have taught us, however, that these horses will not sustain us.
The Horse of Religious Pride
The Bible tells us about a man named Paul who leaned upon his horse of religious pride. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, and considered himself blameless concerning the law. Some might say he was a bully who used the law to hide his own weaknesses.
Paul’s intention was to destroy the followers of Jesus. Yet he was brought to his face in the dirt on a road to Damascus. The brilliance of God’s presence stripped him to the foundation of his religious beliefs. The walls of his resistance were broken down by a voice from heaven, “[I]t is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 9:5). Left blinded, Paul’s companions led him by the hand into Damascus where he was left on Straight Street. When the dust settled, three days had passed before he finally regained any sight.
“[I]t is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Acts 9:5
The Horse of Self-Sufficiency
It was there on Straight Street where the Master Architect in Heaven began to reveal His plans for Paul’s life. Through the disciple, Ananias, God began laying a new foundation that would enable Paul to truly know Christ and the power of His resurrection.
Following God’s instructions, Ananias lay his hands upon Paul speaking words that opened the windows of Paul’s understanding. His life’s calling was revealed to him. He would be God’s witness to all men, experiencing great things “for Christ’s sake” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Paul’s experiences “for Christ’s sake” soon revealed a path that would take him through mental, physical, and emotional suffering. Having a weak body and contemptible speech, his horse of self-sufficiency toppled.
Seeking deliverance from his weaknesses, God’s words of wisdom came to him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The True Source of Strength Revealed
Humbled to submission, Paul realized that he could do nothing without the indwelling power of Christ. He became thankful for his weaknesses because those weaknesses revealed Christ’s strength at work through him. In fact, his weaknesses became the tools that God used to make his ministry powerful.
“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10).
The Transformation That Must Take Place
What transformation must take place before we can truly become strong? With Paul, this transformation began with prayer, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).
God gave Paul a simple instruction, “Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.” Paul obeyed and was led to the city of Damascus, and there the cracks in his foundation were replaced with the solid foundation that enabled him to truly stand for Christ.
As Paul yielded to God’s plan, his life was transformed. He found that he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. The horses that he had previously depended upon were laid aside.
“And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:3–5).
The Weakness That Drives Us to the True Source
Many are the stories that one could tell of those who “out of weakness were made strong” (Hebrews 11:34). Weakness is the catapult that drives us to God’s presence. It is the horse that bucks us into the arms of God’s abounding grace that is given to us as we submit to its transforming power to conform us to the image of Christ. We learn to embrace this misunderstood friend as we lay ourselves prostrate before a holy God and wait for His enduement of power from on high.
Circumstances of life may have left us in difficult places. Yet as we yield to God’s transforming power, we will discover that He can make our lives fruitful regardless of any handicaps or weaknesses that hinder us.
Emptied of our own strength, we must acknowledge that the horses of this world cannot empower us. We must then choose to embrace the Source of All Strength, our Almighty God, who enables us to do all things through Christ.
My prayer for you today is that you will focus not upon your weaknesses but upon the One who can accomplish great feats through you that will confound unbelievers and draw them into the arms of the true Source of All Strength.
When you feel weak and defeated may the following verse be an encouragement to you. It has helped me tremendously when my weaknesses have tried to overwhelm me.
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward [me]; that [I], always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
Dear Father in Heaven, I realize I have no strength of my own. I confess that I have depended upon the horses of this world and they have failed me.
I now lay them aside and embrace You as the Source of All Strength. I yield to Your transforming power. Enable me to fulfill Your purpose and follow Your plan for my life.
Thank you for Your indwelling presence that will make my life fruitful and will empower me to do Your will through Christ my Saviour. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
True peace cannot come until man finds peace with God.
People are looking for answers to the world’s desire for peace and safety. It is natural for mankind to desire peace; however, true peace cannot come until mankind finds peace with God.
“For he [Christ] is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
Having abolished in his flesh the enemity , even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enemity thereby:
And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.” Ephesians 2: 14-17
Man is separated from God.
Man is separated from God by a wall of sin. Christ came to break down that wall by placing it on Himself and bearing it on the cross.
By breaking down the wall that separated us from God, Christ’s sacrifice provided the way that we could be reconciled back to God.
The Law was not removed. It remains to this day. However, no man can serve the Law perfectly. The breaking of God’s Law is called ‘sin’. Our sins built the wall that separates us from God.
If a man bears false witness against his neighbor, in other words, tells a lie about him, then that man has broken the Law of God.
If a man commits adultery, has sexual relations with someone other than his wife, then that man has broken the Law of God.
There must be reconciliation.
Sin brings separation from God. The relationship between God and man has been damaged. Reconciliation must take place before the relationship can be restored.
Jesus Christ came to make that reconciliation possible for us. By accepting His sacrifice for our sin debt, asking for His forgiveness of our sin, and receiving Him into our hearts, we are reconciled to God.
Our lives then are in harmony with God; and, thus we have peace with God.
“And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.
And you, that were sometime [in time past] alienated [separated] and enemies in your mind by wicked works [sin], yet now hath he reconciled
In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight.” Colossians 1:20-22 (Insertions mine)
Reconciliation brings harmony to man’s relationship with God.
When man allows Christ to rule in his heart, he becomes a new creature – united as one with Christ. As a new creature in Christ, his old ways are past. He walks in a new way that desires to see others come to know the peace that he has experienced by receiving Christ as his Saviour.
By being in harmony with God, man desires to have harmony with mankind.
Reconciliation brings harmony to man’s relationship with mankind.
When mankind’s hearts find harmony with God, mankind will find harmony with each other. Until then, we will not find peace on earth.
My father taught me about faithfulness. It wasn’t just the words he spoke or the result of any forceful action on his part. It was, however, a daily lesson.
My father taught me faithfulness by simply being faithful.
Faithful to Family
My father was faithful to my mother. No other woman entered his thoughts or entertained his attention.
The word divorce was never mentioned in our home. In fact, I probably didn’t even know the word until my later years in school. My mother never had to worry about where my father was. He always told her where he was going and usually how long he expected to be away.
Faithful to Employer
My father was faithful to his employer. He never laid out of work no matter how he felt. Unless he was in the hospital or deathly sick at home, he always rose early in the morning, did his chores, gave Mom a special kiss and told us goodbye. He gave his employer ‘an honest day’s work’ whether he received an honest day’s pay or not.
Faithful to Parents
My father was faithful to his parents. He always checked in on them, prepared and shared garden produce, and raised a beef for them each year.
Faithful to Children
My father was faithful to his children. We were secure in his love for us. He did without to provide our needs. There was always food on the table and clothes on our backs.
Money was hard to come by, but if he could afford it, he would do his best to provide what we needed.
As a child, I never had to go to bed hungry or worried that my father would never return home.
Faithfulness Brings Joy
Faithfulness is a Bible word. Paul speaks of faithfulness in Colossians 2:
“For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.
As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
Paul spoke highly of the faithfulness that was displayed by the Colossian brethren. They exhibited a steadfast walk of faith that brought joy to Paul’s heart.
The Colossians’ walk of faith was due to the faithfulness of the One they put their trust in, Jesus Christ.
Following Jesus’ example of how to live a fruitful life laid the foundation for a solid walk that led to an abundance of thanksgiving.
“Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations.” Deuteronomy 7:9
“But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.” 2 Thessalonians 3:3
The Colossians enjoyed the blessings of a true relationship with their Savior.
It brings joy to my heart to look back and remember my father’s steadfast faithfulness to his family.
His walk of life was a path that I could tread upon with thankfulness, but Christ’s faithfulness to me is the most important example of faithfulness I could ever discover.
To further your studies in Colossians, check out Ms. Clark's Bible study, So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome available from WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan.
My father-in-law was a pastor until his recent death. As such his family name is well-known and respected even though he has left this present world.
An Exhortation to the Family
Speaking to the family during the funeral, my brother-in-law exhorted family members to live in such a manner that the family’s name and his father’s legacy not be spoiled.
It was an important exhortation that challenged children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews alike to live circumspectly because their actions could damage a man’s memory and his lasting spiritual influence to his church and community.
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.
Colossians 1:10 tells us that Paul’s desire for the Colossian brethren was for them to walk worthy of the Lord’s name.
Walking worthy means living appropriately.
My brother-in-law’s desire was that every family member walk worthy of the family name. In other words, they were to live and conduct their affairs in the way that would be appropriate of the teaching and training that they received of this man of God.
An Exhortation to the Colossian Brethren
The apostle Paul desired the same from the Colossian brethren.
He desired that they behave in a manner appropriate for those who are part of the family of God. Their lives were to reflect the gospel teaching and training that they received from the Lord and of which they were to preach and teach to others. Their actions would then bring glory to God instead of disgrace to His name.
An Exhortation to Walk Worthy of Christ
In like manner, our exhortation is to walk worthy of our Lord. Our behavior should portray the teaching and training that our Heavenly Father has given us.
If we are a child of God, then we are a member of God’s family and, as such, can do great harm to our Heavenly Father’s name if we do not behave appropriately.
We have a great responsibility to preserve our Heavenly Father’s reputation to this world which desperately needs to hear the gospel. Let us, therefore, decide that we will not do any damage to His precious name.
As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.
If you’ve visited this website before, you will notice that huge changes have been taking place.
First, the color palette is changing. The background color has changed as well.
I hope you like the new gray. It seems to be better on my eyes, but I would like to know if it is effective on your device. Please let me know.
Second, the banner graphic has changed.
I love taking pictures with my cell phone. I caught the background while walking up a street in Savannah, GA.
The tagline and site name have changed. Previously, the tagline was Paul’s Message to you. I am trying to be more specific.
Other changes are taking place also. Please bear with me as I tweak the site to make it more productive.
I am checking to make sure all links are working properly (notice the underlines). If you do notice a link not working correctly, PLEASE drop me a note in the comment box.
I’m not here to sell you on anything; although, I really do hope you decide to purchase the Bible study. I know it will be of great benefit to you.
My desire is to see us grow in the Lord; to provide helps for those of us needing ideas or information for a study; and to further assist those of us wishing to do further research in God’s Word.
The study material may expand to other Scriptures in the future. But for now our focus will continue to be God’s Message to us from the epistle of Colossians.
I look forward to hearing your ideas, questions, or thoughts about the site.
May you have a blessed day in the Lord.
A precious letter holds the key to something you've been missing yet longing for. It's addressed to you, so pull back the covering and take a peek inside. Find the key to the gold tried in the fire, who the missing piece of the puzzle may be, where the search party should be focused, and who owns the amazing inheritance.
Greet Paul's helpers and join with them in spreading the good news of the gospel. Are you ready to receive God's message to you?
Writer, teacher, and former educator Peggy Clark makes the message of Colossians relevant to the present day reader.
Her Bible study published by WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson & Zondervan, is entitled So, What's the Latest News? Messages from a Prisoner in Rome.
Get your copy today!