Saturday, August 30, 2014

Labor for God- 8/31/14

7For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, 8nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. 9We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. 10For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
11We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are not busy; they are busybodies.

Thoughts: On this Labor Day weekend, it is good to recognize the importance placed on work in scripture.  Work is a spiritual experience.  It can keep us from idleness (which is "the devil's workshop" some say).  Yet work can also lead to workaholism, pride, focus on things and forgetting the blessing of God.  But when work is done right, it can glorify God.  This applies to students in school, or someone with a minimum wage job, or someone who is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.  We need to recognize that God gives us and calls us to work.  We are called to support ourselves- if possible.  The curse of Genesis says, "By the sweat of your brow you shall till the land."  It may imply that before sin, work was not so burdensome.  But work is work now.  Yet we may redeem our work by doing it for a higher purpose.  God not only calls us to work, but calls us to account in our work.  This means work should be done with honesty, sincerity, with high standards and morality and as a means to give to the needy.  The needy on the other hand, should not simply take the hand out without making an effort to work themselves.  

Prayer: Lord, give me work to do, and may my work honor you.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

8/30/13- 2 Thessalonians 2

 7For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.  (2 Thess 2)

Thoughts:What is this "secret power of lawlessness?"  I believe that this is our natural tendency.  We tend toward lawlessness on our own.  The Holy Spirit works with our conscience to hold us back.  The Spirit restrains us by giving us a Law and then giving us the grace and conviction of conscience to keep it.  But when we stop believing the Law that He gave us, the Spirit cannot convict or use our conscience very easily.  Belief is a gift of the Spirit; The Law is a gift of the Spirit; and the Spirit combines them both to help us avoid lawlessness.  When anarchy rules, it is easy for people to look to a single leader for guidance and to pull them through to meaning and hope.  But a leader devoid of the Creator will not be able to instigate real meaning.  Hitler arose out of a depressed and meaningless Germany.  Stalin arose out of the chaos of red Russia.  But the ultimate lawgiver is teh One who gives conviction and meaning.  Rebellion may lead away from God- but it also leads us toward lawlessness. 

Prayer: Help me believe and have hope and obedience.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

8/29/14- 2 Thessalonians 1

11With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1)

Thoughts: "With this in mine" refers to the fact that the Thessalonians are included in the church and excluded from judgment.  The prayer Paul makes for the Thessalonians is a good prayer for any believer.  It is a prayer that they may be made worthy of the calling.  God called them to Himself, and now Paul prays that they could fulfill the purpose.  The purpose is that they would glorify God- bearing fruit for Him by doing good.  We are not just to be lights of faith- but we are to be lights of goodness in the midst of evil.  We fulfill our calling-not in our own strength but by God's grace- often in answer to prayer- by making a difference for God - going out of our way to serve and to honor God. 

Prayer: Lord, help me fulfill my calling by honoring you doing good deeds.  

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

1 Thessalonians 5

4But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober.7For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Thess. 5)

Thoughts: Paul contrasts light-truth-holiness-alertness with darkness-lies-drunkenness-sleep.  Drugs and alcohol cloud our judgment of the truth, and loosen our self-control.  He lists the great spiritual weapons of faith, hope, and love as our defenses against the evil and powers of guilt, regret and darkness.  God wants to bless us not to take away His blessing (wrath).  We are called out and saved out of the darkness-lies-drunkenness-sleep way of life.

Prayer: Lord, give me discretion and wisdom to do what is right and good.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8/27/14- 1 Thessalonians 4

13Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18Therefore encourage one another with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4) 

Thoughts: So what happens when we die, and what will happen at the end of history?  This is what Paul is talking about here.  First we are not to believe that death is the end, or that God is not in charge of life- even when we die.  Second, we are not to grieve like people who do not believe and do not have hope.  We grieve with limits- because we will see those who believe again.  
    A word of caution here.  Paul uses the metaphor- "sleep" to describe those who have died (vs. 16b).  Some (like the Jehovah's Witnesses) believe that when we die we sleep until the end times (called soul sleep).  But we always interpret scripture with scripture.  Jesus told the thief on the cross "today you will be with me in paradise."  Paul said that to depart from this life was to be with the Lord. Jesus spoke in Luke 16 in his parable of Lazarus and Dives that Abraham was conversing with Lazarus before the end times. The transfiguration of Elijah and Moses is also an indication that these believers do not sleep but live a transfigured life.   
 For Christians death is like sleep because we close our eyes on this side, but wake up on the other side in heaven.  But let us not miss that is it a metaphor here.
    The end of the story is that we who believe will be with the Lord forever.  It is because of God's presence after death that we will have hope and we can encourage one another. 

Prayer: Lord, keep me encouraged- so that I will not lose hope no matter what. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

8/26/14- 1 Thess 3

7Therefore, brothers and sisters, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. 8For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord. 9How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? 10Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. (1 Thess. 3)

Thoughts: Now we really live- why?  Because Paul's spiritual children have faith.  He prays for them night and day.  The hours and time were important to Paul, and their faith even more important were the people themselve. 

Prayer: Help me to value people as you do, Lord. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

8/25/14- The Supernatural Word

13And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2)

Thoughts: It takes faith to believe that it is possible for God to communicate with us.  The Gospel boiled down is just that.  God cares for us and has tried to make contact with us.  The Scriptures is not just a human book, but has been a tried and proven means that God has used to communicate to us.   When we call Scripture "God's Word to us" we mean that God lets us know His will and can guide and help us.  

Prayer: Help me, O Lord, to believe in you and your word.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

8/24/14- 1 Thessalonians 1

5because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.  (1 Thess. 1)

Thoughts: The good news of hope and love helps us overcome our sins and our despair.  The Gospel does not come by argument.  We cannot argue someone into the kingdom.  Rather it comes by a gift of the Spirit who regenerates our heart.  

Thoughts: Spirit, convict me of my sin that I may live for you. 

Friday, August 22, 2014


5Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Col. 4:5,6)

Thoughts: Paul wanted to make sure the church was sensitve to those who were outside the church. In some circles they talk about the Un-churched or De-churched.  But in Paul's day most were unchurched.  He had a message of hope to give him.  Our conversation is to be full of grace- seasoned with salt.  This means we are to be flavorful and meaningful- as a light shining in darkness, or a little salt that makes the whole dish taste better. 

Lord, Help me to be full of grace and a good witness for you.  

Thursday, August 21, 2014

8/22- Colossians 3

22Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. 23Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Colossians 3) 

Thoughts: This is good advice about work. If we can substitute "employees" for "slaves" and "bosses" for "masters" we would apply this to our situation better.  If we work for God, we do not work only when someone is looking ,and then leave the minute they leave.  If we work for God, we do not do work just to make us look good, but with a transparency and love for God.  We serve Christ when we work for His glory- no matter what we do- whether doctor or student or hamburger flipper.  Whatever we do, we are called to put our all into it.  Others should be inspired to know the Lord who motivates us to do well and to answer the call we have been given. 

Prayer- Lord, give me grace to work hard for you.  strengthen the work of my hands and establish it. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

8/21 Colossians 2- rooted and growing

6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6,7)

Thoughts: The image Paul gives is of a plant.  We are to be rooted in Christ.  If we have our roots in the Bible and prayer, then we can grow- being built up by and in Him.  The fruit mentioned here is the fruit of gratitude and thankfulness.  So the first step as a Christian is to establish our roots in the faith.  Second  we are called to seek growth- spiritual growth.  Then we are called to let thankfulness bloom in our lives.
    An Aspen Tree Grove really is an interwoven root system.  If one tree dies, the roots will shoot up another to take its place.  So we are to be interwoven and shooting up new shoots and bearing fruit fo Christ. 

Prayer: Let me be rooted and growing in you, Lord, so that I may bear fruit for your glory.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

8/20/14- Colossians 1

15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. (Colossians 1)

Thoughts: Jesus is the firstborn over all- living and dead- He is Lord of all. It is not that Jesus is not God's eternal Son- He is eternally begotten before all worlds- before creation.  Arianism (Jehovah's Witnesses are a form of Arianism today) believed Jesus was just a demi-god not a true God.  But this passage affirms that when you look at Jesus you see an image of God.  If you want to know what God is like- look at the life of Jesus.  He is the exact representation.  He is more than just a good man, but Jesus is also the creator of the world and of the Church.  Not only is Jesus the image of God but God lived in Jesus fully, and redeemed the world through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross.  Christ came and paid our penalty for sin on the cross.  So it is possible to have peace with God and not struggle against Him if we will but believe that Jesus is the image and fulness of God who gave Himself for us on the cross.  

Prayer: Help me to believe you are the geratest Lord.  I rededicate myself to you.  

Monday, August 18, 2014

8/19/14- Philippians 4

4Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)

Thoughts: This is one of the most uplifting passages in the Bible or in literature.  It reminds us that there is always a reason to find joy in the Lord, and we are called to find that joy and rejoice.  We are called to trade in our worry for prayer with thanksgiving. Believers know that God is in control and we can trust in Him.  Then Paul tells us to lift up our minds to think about the good instead of dwelling on the evil.  Paul could have dwelt on the evil of many things in the pagan world around Philippi.  But instead he encouraged his church family to think on the positive and not dwell on the negative.  It is easy to dwell on the black dot on the white board.  In our day, in which the church in the west is criticized, doubted, and discouraged, we are called to not worry but be thankful and think on what is good.  In response, God gives us peace. 

Prayer: Lord, keep my mind from focusing on evil things or things that would displease you.  Instead, help me to focus on your grace and love.  

8/18/14- Philippians 3

Philippians 3
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.  What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things.  I consider them garbage that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,  and so, somehow attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  (Philippians 3)
Thoughts: The focus here is not on how much we give up.  That could lead to a kind of Christian one-up-manship.  Rather, it is a willingness to lose everything for Christ.  That is frankly hard to do when God has blessed you so much.  We must hold lightly to this world.  Our chief desire should not be for more worldly things, but for knowing Christ more and more- and to appreciate Him.  Jesus said, “This is eternal life- that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”  (Jn. 17:17).  Knowing, believing, having faith, having a relationship with God is what eternal life is all about.  Heaven is being in the presence of God- being assured of that, and finding our peace and hopes fulfilled in Him.  Thomas said, “show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”  It should be!  The infinite eternal God is enough.  Knowing Him is a great goal for us. 

Prayer: Help me to know you, and to grow in my knowing you Lord.  Keep me from just knowing about you without knowing you inside of me.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

8/17/14- Humility

1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very naturea God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very natureb of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself (Philippians 2)

Thoughts: Humility is learned in the bad times- when we are humbled.  But they are also learned in the great times- how to receive compliments. If anything good happens to us, it is because of the Lord.  We should seek to be humble, and not to be lifted up or elecated.  God blesses us and He should get the glory for that.  

Friday, August 15, 2014

8/16/14- Philippians 1

6being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1)

Thoughts: Paul had great confidence in God's ability to see through what He has started.  God doesn't choose us before the foundation of the world to let us go after a short while.  God holds us in the palm of His hand when His love starts pouring out on us.  His love will not let us go.  Jesus begins His love and finishes His love.  If Jesus really draws you to Himself, He will help you make it to the finish line of your journey.  The journey is a gift of God and He will see you through.  

Prayer: Lord, I need you to complete your work in me.  Do not leave me or forget me.  Help me to grow and be the kind of person you want me to be. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

8/15/14 Ephesians 6

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. (Ephesians 6)

Thoughts: God is pointing out that He has equipped us with tools and gifts.  We have a spiritual enemy, according to this passage.  This passage says that we have gifts of God that help us to stand up against the pressures of evil.  Truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, and the Bible.  Truth holds us together- like a belt.  Righteousness is a defense against guilt and accusations.  The gospel readies us to go anywhere.  Faith is like a shield that helps us fend off evil attacks and temptations.  Salvation is like a helmet that protects our head.  If we know we are saved then it strengthens our mind.  The only offensive weapon mentioned here is the Bible.  The Bible is what the Holy Spirit uses to convict us, to fight against sin, and to eradicate evil in our lives and in the world. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the armor you give me to protect my heart and soul. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

8/14/14- Ephesians 5

3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.a 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.7Therefore do not be partners with them. (Ephesians 5)

Thoughts: "Not even a hint of sexual immorality" is our goal.  Don't even put yourself in a position so that your actions hurt your witness as a Christian.  Impurity, greed, sexual immorality, obscenity, coarse joking are the kinds of immorality spoken against here.  Basically it is a lack of self-control and animal-like behavior.  Paul says that someone who does these things is an idolater.  How can this be?  Idolatry is putting something or someone in the place of God.  Greed puts out selfishness in the place of listening to God's command to have self-control and to be generous.  Sexual immorality and obscenity are putting our sexual desires ahead of God.  
     Some in the church do not know that fornication and adultery- sex outside of marriage is forbidden in the Bible.  They cannot even define sexual immorality- unless they have watered it down to say if you don't "love" someone.  Today the statistic from The National Center for Health Statistics said that 58% of non-marital births were to cohabiting relationships.  Over half of new partner relationships are cohabiting and not marriage.  The way of upholding sexual purity is going away, as if it is evil.  But the wounded bodies and hearts of others testify to the truth of the better ideal of one lifetime partner.  The grace of God is not to say that sin doesn't exist but to offer a way out of sin.  The grace of God is the way of forgiveness and getting past the hurt and harm of our own failed deeds.  Jesus did not condemn the woman caught in adultery- but He did command her to go and sin no more.  God offers us, while we live, a second chance.  Let us take it- and strive to be as pure as we can be this moment forward.  

Prayer: Lord, take all of me.  Take my desires, my excesses, my wrongs and make them right.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ephesians 4

 25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”d : Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. (Ephesians 4)

Thoughts: Ephesians 4 says a lot about how to get along with others.  We are called to speak truthfully and transparently with our neighbors.  Along with that is advice on how to handle anger.  Anger will come- but we are called to limit it by not allowing it to turn to bitterness or sin in our hearts or actions. There is also a time restraint for anger- it is when the sun goes down.  We will not sleep well if we harbor anger and do not resolve anything.  Paul also elevates work in contrast to stealing.  Stealing disrespects and uses another persons effort, intelligence for selfish ends.  The reason for work is not just for eating but also for sharing with others.  The overall idea is to be truthful and loving.  

Prayer: Help me, Lord, to be truthful and loving to those around me. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

8/12/14- Ephesians 3

20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3)

Thoughts: Ephesians 3 contains a beautiful prayer that is a model of praying for other believers and for the church.  The gist of the prayer is that we will know the love and power of Christ.  Power is mentioned three times and strength is mentioned once.  Love is mentioned several times.  Our goal as Christians is to begin to understand the love and power of God that is at work in us.  
    Paul ends this prayer with a great benediction.  God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask of imagine.  In other words, God answers your prayers better than you know how to pray.  God knows what is really, truly best for us- what will bring us peace, happiness, love, joy, patience, etc.  Do not be afraid to pray thinking that God cannot answer a certain prayer- or that Almighty God cannot pay attention to you.  Part of His being the Almighty means He CAN understand you, your needs, and work in life to answer your prayers.  Do not think that God's power was only limited to back in the day of the Scriptures.  Paul says that this glory manifested in His love and power is to be throughout all generations- even ours.  The key to unlocking our grasp of God's power and love is faith.  Unbelief keeps us from seeing and understanding God's great and personal love for us, and His unbelievable power to answer prayer and accomplish His will.  God is not a toothless, powerless old grandfather.  God defines what energy is.  We are the weak ones who need His strength.  We are the cold lifeless ones who need His love.  Do not be a practical atheist.  Believe in God's love for you and God's power at work in you. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, that you are able to do more than I can ask or imagine.  Thank you that you are at work in and through me.  Use me to bear unimaginable fruit for you. 

Children do not limit God as adults who have learned to be skeptical.  Perhaps this is why Jesus said, "Unless you become like a little child you shall not enter the kingdom of God."  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

8/11/14- Ephesians 2

1As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesha and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.  (Ephesians 2)

Thoughts: This passage tells us that on our own, we are dead to God- and God is dead to us.  Sin kills our spiritual life, blocking us from the presence of the Holy God.  Dead people do not reach up or reach out. Dead people have no power or life in them.  The way we are saved is that the Holy Spirit regenerates us- wakes us up to God- opens our blind eyes to Him.  Before the Spirit woke us up to God, we were following the ways of the world- "eat-drink-and be merry"- living for the now only.  Paul was saying we follow the evil one- who is at work in those who disobedient.  There is a spiritual element in rebelliousness against God. We deserve the punishment of God for our sins, but instead God loves us anyway- sending Jesus to make us alive to Him. 

Prayer: Thank you for your mercy, Lord.  Thank you for making me alive to you.  

Saturday, August 9, 2014

8/10/134- Ephesians 1- Predestined

3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5heb predestined us for adoption to sonshipc through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9hed made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
11In him we were also chosen,e having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will...(Ephesians 1)

Thoughts: Twice in this passage it mentions the term "predestined" combining each time with the word "chosen in him."  The "pre" part is explained in verse 4- that we were chosen in Him before we had a chance to choose Him- before the creation of the world.  He loved us before we had a chance to respond to His love.  The "destined" part means we have a purpose- a destiny- a reason to exist and a destination.  We were not put here by accident but by the Personal purpose of the Almighty God. We are chosen in Him- not only by Him- but He envelopes us with His choice.  We are a part- a thread in the tapestry of God.  We are part of His plan.  So find peace that God chose you.  Find rest in that God is your help and strength.  It is not that you are somehow better than anyone else.  Before you could do good or bad, He chose you.  God has something for you to do with your life.  Give it fully to Him. 

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your grace that chooses me and uses me.  Help me to relish in your grace and love. 

Magnet picking up metal through other trash.