My son, Chandler, came home with a "Bethel Bubble" this week. A "Bethel Bubble" is a reward for good behavior so we told him he was amazing and wonderful. He smiled, and he was proud of himself. He has always responded to encouragement. It seems to really help him, but I don't think he's alone in that. We all like praise. Encouraging words can give us direction, perseverance, and hope.

In Colossians 1:1-8, the writer, Paul gives the church at Colosse some praise. Paul says that when he prays for them, he ends up thanking God for them. He tells them specifically what he is encouraged by in their life. It's just like Chandler's "Bethel Bubble". So what did Paul see in their life that was worth writing about? Paul said that he kept hearing from others about their "steady faith". Their faith was strong and real, and it must have weathered some storms to have been considered steady. Sometimes we want the easy life, but it's when life is hard that our faith becomes strong. When we have to lean on God, and we can't handle life on our own, our faith grows stronger. The Colossians also showed love continuously to all Christians. "Continuously" and "all" are big words. It wasn't a one time occasion, but rather the Colossians were known for their love. That means there was a lot of love! Lastly, they were true to their faith. It continued to get stronger not diminish. It can be easy to start off strong, and when life gets busy or hard, we give-up, or don't try so hard. Growing takes work, and they were faithful to Christ. If we stop serving, studying, and praying we will stop growing. The life for Christ is constant, and it never stands still.

So what could you write on your "Bubble" today? My faith is strong; I extend love to other Christians; or my faith is growing. If you are not sure, ask a friend.

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