God Embraces Us

It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us (Ephesians 2:5 The Message).

Ephesians 2:1-10 The Message
Ephesians 2:1-10 In Your Bible

Paul says we all were apart from God, living our lives anyway we wanted and we let the world form our thought process. Then, God had mercy on those who believe Jesus is the Christ.

Alive in Christ

When we followed the way the world, we were spiritually dead. But we came alive when we accepted Jesus and began to live God’s way. Then, he took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us (Ephesians 2:6 The Message)!

God Does it – Trust Him

Mankind thrives on the thought of achievement – “my achievement” – and we quickly take take credit for any success. But that’s not God’s way. With the mind of Christ, we can regain God’s thinking to employ his tasks – not merely ours.

Saving [Salvation] is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role . . . He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing (Ephesians 2:8,10 The Message).

God, our Creator is acutely interested in mankind, “Anything of spiritual significance that happens in your life will be a result of God’s activity in you. He is infinitely more concerned with your life and your relationship with Him than you or I could possibly be.” *

Prayer: Father, with you in me and I in you…..all things are possible. Thank you for Christ Jesus my Savior.

Question: What does the statement “you have been spiritually dead” prior to accepting Christ, mean to you? As a young believer did some Scriptures seem hard to understand? How does the Holy Spirit guide and help you gain understanding?

* Experiencing God: How to Live the Full Adventure of Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King, B&H Publishing, 2004.

The Riches of God’s Grace

[For I always pray to] the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, that He may grant you a spirit of wisdom and revelation [of insight and secrets] in the [deep and intimate] knowledge of Him (Ephesians 1:17 Amplified Bible.

Ephesians 1:15-23 Amplified Bible
Ephesians 1:15-23 NIV
Ephesians 1:15-23 In Your Bible

Paul’s letters to specific early churches overflow with gems for believers today. Paul reveals he has never stopped praying and thanking God for the believers at Ephesus. He assures them God has many things planned for them.

Paul’s Desire for Believers

His prayer is for the Ephesian believers (and us today) to realize the greatness and power of God who will help them:

  • Gain spiritual wisdom
  • Have hearts flooded with light
  • Begin to grow in Christ
  • Ultimately know God in a deeper more powerful way

His encouragement is emphasized in this verse: I want you to realize what a rich and glorious inheritance he has given his people (Ephesians 1:18b New Living Translation).

Presence and Power

Believers must grasp the incredible power they have in Christ Jesus. For Paul, the resurrection is the supreme proof of the power of God. *

Now Jesus is seated in the heavenly realms far above any ruler, power, or authority. God did this for the benefit of the church – his body, you and me. Now, Christ, fills everything and every place with his power and his presence. We need to get a handle on that for our growth.

Prayer: Father, thank you for opening the eyes of my heart. Now, I see more clearly your greatness and what you want me to do.

Questions: What provides the capability or power in us to do things that God wants us to do? Is this also clearer when we look intently on Jesus’ own words in the Gospels?

* The Daily Bible Study Series, Letters to the Galatians and Ephesians, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Second Edition, September, 1958, p. 107

Spiritual Blessings

Welcome, first time here? You can receive this weekly blog by clicking on the “follow” ribbon at the bottom of the page. Climb in and enjoy this devotional in God’s Word.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ (Ephesians 1:3 NLT)!

Ephesians 1:1-14 New Living Translation
Ephesians 1:1-14 The Message
Ephesians 1:1-14 In your Bible

Paul brings the believer into the Holy of Holies of his writings. This letter ranks high in the devotional and theological literature of the Christian church. Ephesians shows the depth of love God has for the believer.

Redeemed and Blessed in Christ

We are redeemed, blessed, and forgiven in him . . . and much more, according to God’s love and kindness.

It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life (Ephesians 1:13,14 The Message).

Now pause and meditate on this Scripture. Selah.

Grace

God’s rich grace provides his own Son as a provision for anyone who believes. Yes, throughout the ages of time! A believer’s actions and words declare the praises of God’s divine mercy. Believe and know Jesus is the Lord.

Prayer: Father, thank you for making me your own through Jesus.

Questions: As you ponder these blessings (Ephesians 1:3-14) which ones do see for the first time? How can you expand on your experience of God’s grace to you? How has he changed your life?

New Series – Ephesians

Paul, AN apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus (the Messiah), by the divine will (the purpose and the choice of God) to the saints (the consecrated, set-apart ones) at Ephesus who are also faithful and loyal and steadfast in Christ Jesus: (Ephesians 1:1 Amplified Bible).

Ephesians – Amplified Bible (AMP)
Ephesians – New International Version (NIV)
Ephesians – In Your Bible

This week we’ll start a new series using Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. The key words in Christ (which will include with Christ, through Christ, and of Christ) will highlight all that believers possess by faith in Jesus the Christ.

Our source remains the Bible as always, with a few different versions if they add emphasis for the reader.

Bible commentator William Barclay calls the Letter to the Ephesians the “Queen of the Epistles” and rightly so. It’s is probably the highest reach of New Testament thought.*

Concept

And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things together under one head, even Christ (Ephesians 1:9,10 NIV).

Climb in, read, meditate on, and enjoy God’s word.

*The Letter to the Galatians and the Ephesians, William Barclay, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1958, pp.71-83.

Affirmation

Your commitment to Christ’s message is known throughout the world. I’m happy for you, but I want you to use wisdom in discerning what is right, keeping innocent people from being misled. (Romans 16:19 by Frank ball)

Romans 16 by Frank Ball
Romans 16 NIV
Romans 16 In Your Bible

Paul closes his letter to the Romans with sincere appreciation to Phoebe – an outstanding servant of the church. He even mentions the first person to receive Jesus Christ in Asia.

Servant Leadership

Paul specifically commends key church leaders who aptly show servant leadership. In addition to Phoebe, he describes trusted colleagues of the same spirit (seventeen men and seven women). Yes, today every church needs both strong spiritual leaders and fellowship in the spirit.

Doxology

Paul encourages believers to stay the course with his teaching and discipleship. Then he concludes with this:

Now to him who is able to establish you in my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him – to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen (Romans 16:27-27 NIV).

Prayer: Father, show me how I can best grow in Christ, lead others to Christ, lead a fellowship, and build the body of Christ.

Questions: What does Paul’s example of building Christian leaders show you? How are you serving Jesus within the body of believers? Have you seen other doxologies similar to this one in the Bible? (Check my favorite Jude 24,25.)