Posts Tagged With: Epistle to the Ephesians

Promises


La Plana Novella (Olivella) Photo by DagafeSQVT

Good morning, beloved,

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1 ESV

I think the first thing I want to do with this passage highlight every instance of you or your and see where that takes me.

Paul is praying for the Ephesians. He has reports of:

  • their faith in the Lord Jesus
  • their love toward all the saints

What is it to you to hear someone is praying for you? For me, it is encouragement.  Paul does not cease to give thanks for them or stop his prayers for them. Then he begins to pray for them. They believe in the Lord Jesus. He prays for revelation.  Next, let’s take what we learn by highlighting all instances of God.

  • God of our Lord Jesus Christ-Paul is stating without a doubt that Jesus was sent from God. Jesus was not a false prophet or liar. He was of God. He is God.
  • Father of glory (doxa) “…in Eph 1:17, “the Father of glory” describes Him as the source from whom all Divine splendor and perfection proceed in their manifestation, and to whom they belong..” (Greek Lexicon, blb.org)
  • God gives us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom
  • God gives us revelation, knowledge of Him
  • Our God calls us to hope

Hope. Hope is a very crucial word for me. I find myself again and again and again putting my hope in my circumstances, or my bank account numbers, or my relationships. If one area of my life (that I can see), is not puttering along as I would expect, I begin to get teary, worried. Yuck. My eyes have been taken from the God of glory, the source of Divine splendor, perfection and I’ve climbed into the mud pit and centered my gaze on the mud. Blech.

He calls us to HOPE!

We have riches, friends! We have His glory in us. A glorious. GLORIOUS inheritance. Back to what we learn about God. :)

  • immeasurable greatness of [God's] power toward us who believe.. oh God, help me in unbelief! Are there ever days when you spend more time as doubting Thomas? Immeasurable…I can’t measure His power. I can’t grasp it. So what am I doing doubting?

  • according to the working of [God's] great might-”In Eph 1:19 and Eph 6:10, it is said of the strength of God bestowed upon believers, the phrase “the power of His might” indicating strength afforded by power. ” (Greek Lexicon)
  • [God's] great might that He worked in Christ when He raised him from the dead..so much to ponder here.
  • seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places
  • far above all rule and authority and power and dominion

This …far above all rule, authority, power, dominion…just ponder that for a moment. What we see in front of us is a chain of command, right? Think of authority in your life. Whose has authority in your life? Maybe your parents (if you are young), the police (you see those flashing lights and you pull over), the judge presiding over your case, the senate, the house of reps, the President. Kings, queens, rulers, principalities have nothing on the God of glory. The God of immeasurable power makes it so that I never, ever need to be afraid. He’s above it all. Nothing escapes His rule and dominion.

It’s more than that. He holds this world together. I don’t want to oversimplify God. I don’t want to put Him in my box. Mold Him how I want Him to look. I woke up this morning thinking about my day. Thinking about what went right and why. It isn’t a formula. If I do this and that, then bam, it’s amazing, folks, blessing! However, understanding the incredible depth of blessing of keeping His word close, In repeating it over and over. In the music, proclaiming His power, His dominion over the world! In pausing before I speak, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide.

It’s His name..above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. ooooh! This is so cool! Let me give you some cross refs:

Matthew 28: 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.”

Acts 4: 11 [j]He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (BTW, catch there is salvation IN NO ONE ELSE. Just Jesus. All you need is Jesus to be saved)

Revelation 19:12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

He is above every name. He is. What more needs to be said? Think the next time you are about to speak His Name. Pause. Reflect. His Name. Remember this day, you are the child of the one true King. Keep His word close to you today. Keep the music playing. Worship Him as you breath.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., http://www.hellomornings.org/, Music, Pictures from commons... | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Casting aside


Panorama of Lake Bled Photo by Mihael Grmek

Good morning, beloved,

I walked out this morning and saw the stars. I saw the moon. It was beautiful. The earth is filled with His glory. His majesty. It is good to begin a day with praise. It is good to give thanks. To start my day soaked in the Word, to remember that there are no chains on me. No chains on YOU. Why?

I’m here to tell you, your heart can be free. Today, as I face my own flesh, I do not face that battle alone. I can remember that: In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly ·world [realms; places]. (Ephesians 1:3). We bless the Father by blessing His son, Jesus. We cry out to Him knowing everything we need can be found in Him. Do you know that this verse (v.3) repeats some form of blessing three times? We bless Him. He has blessed us. We receive every spiritual blessing.

 …of the place where Christ “sitteth at the right hand of God” (i.e., in a position of Divine authority), Eph 1:20; and of the present position of believers in relationship to Christ, Eph 2:6; where they possess “every spiritual blessing,” Eph 1:3; Greek Lexicon

Christ now sits in the position of Divine Authority. Where do we stand with Jesus? What are some of the spiritual blessings?

  • Chosen, holy people without blame
  • His kids
  • grace
  • set free, forgiven, redeemed
  • there is a plan (in this hectic, crazy world that FEELS as though it is spinning out of control, we can bank on the truth that..there is a plan

I remember as a child, waiting to be picked for a team by the captain. Standing there with the rest of the kids, hoping, I would be next. My breath would be shallow. I would be close to kneeling on the ground begging, not to be last.  Then when I was picked, a quick smile, a deep breath and then to watch the rest of the suffering souls.. Let me just say, that will never happen with Jesus. God the Father has chosen you. No need for worry. No need for shallow breathing. You and I are His kids!

I have written about grace. There is so much more to learn about grace. We have been given so much grace! If we have been given so much grace, how is it that we cannot extend it to others?

We have been wronged by a friend. Or leader. Or spouse. Or child. The pain we feel is extreme and we feel the wrong deeply. Perhaps even now, the person’s face is looming in your mind. It keeps you awake at night. You rehearse how you will behave and talk in the future conversation.

5 But he was wounded for ·the wrong we did [T our transgressions];
he was crushed for ·the evil we did [T our iniquities].
The punishment, which ·made us well [brought us wholeness/peace], was given to him,
and we are healed because of his ·wounds [lacerations;T stripes; 1 Pet. 2:24].
6 We all have ·wandered away [T gone astray] like sheep;
each of us has gone his own way [1 Pet. 2:25]. Isaiah 53 EXB

How strange. Isaiah doesn’t mention our neighbor’s sins. He declares our sin. Jesus was crushed. He was punished. Only through His wounds can we be healed, we have all wandered away. Not just our “sinful” neighbor, us. I bet you could make a list of all the sins and wrongs your neighbor has done. I bet you could rehash every last one. Me too.

7b He was like a lamb being led to be ·killed [slaughtered].
He was quiet, as a sheep is quiet ·while its wool is being cut[L before its shearers; Acts 8:32Matt. 26:63Mark 14:61John 19:91 Pet. 2:23];
he never opened his mouth. Isaiah 53 EXB

Are we quiet when we are sinned against? Maybe we don’t say anything to anyone, maybe we do, but our thoughts betray us.  Jesus’ thoughts NEVER betrayed Him.

14 [L Therefore] Since we have a great high priest [2:17–18], Jesus the Son of God, who has ·gone into [ascended to; or passed through]·heaven [or the heavens], let us hold ·on [firmly] to ·the faith we have[L the confession/profession; C of our faith]. 15 ·For our high priest is able[L For we do not have a high priest who is unable] to ·understand[sympathize with] our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin. 16 Let us, then, ·feel very sure that we can come before [L confidently approach] God’s throne ·where there is grace[L of grace; C as opposed to a throne of judgment and condemnation]. There we can receive mercy and ·grace [L find grace] to help us ·when we need it [L at the right time]. Hebrews 4 EXB

He knows. His grace is enough for all. We need Jesus. We need Him, who sits in a position of authority, to intercede on our behalf, to understand our weaknesses. We need Him. We have sinned just as much as our neighbor, if not more. God’s grace and mercy is available to you, first. Let us run our race…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of ·people whose lives tell us what faith means [L witnesses], let us run the race that is before us ·and never give up [with endurance/perseverance]. ·We should [Let us] ·remove from our lives [get rid of; cast aside] anything that ·would get in the way [impedes/hinders us] and the sin that so easily ·holds us back [entangles/clings to us]. 2 Let us ·look only to [keep our eyes on] Jesus, the ·One who began [Pioneer/Founder of; or Leader/Prince of] our faith and who ·makes it perfect [completes it]. He ·suffered death on [L endured] the cross, ·accepting the shame as if it were nothing [L disregarding/despising the shame] because of the joy that ·God put before [lay ahead for] him. And now he is sitting at the right ·side [L hand] of God’s throne [1:313Ps. 110:1]. Hebrews 12 EXB

Cast aside anything that impedes or hinders, the sin that so easily entangles for there is grace. Keep our eyes on Jesus. He has a plan. It is a most excellent plan.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

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Letters


Good morning, beloved,

Slangkop Lighthouse, near Kommetjie, South Africa. .Photo by Dewet

I received a letter recently. I love receiving letters, handwritten. Isn’t there something just lifting to open the mailbox and receive something other than bills and advertisements? I try keep all my letters. I have a stack of letters in my closet from when I was in college. I remember when I was little being so excited to receive letters from my Grandma. She would send me cute little cards and for certain holidays like Valentine’s day I would get a dollar. That was cool. My brother, when he was very little, sent a card back to my Grandma with a dollar bill for her. He was so thankful for the money she had always sent him so he wanted to return the favor.

Thank you notes, invitations, love letters, newsletters, etc.,  all contain a stated purpose.  Notice, in each, you will find greetings. Maybe a small blessing upon you. Maybe a reminder of what you mean to the writer. As Paul opens his letter to the Ephesians, he begins with his hope for them, for you.

Ephesians 1: 2 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace (charis), Paul craves for [his] readers the favor (grace) of God…to which all blessings, esp., spiritual are due. (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, blb.org) May I just share something with you? I long to know His grace, long to understand the favor bestowed upon me because of Jesus, I long to remember in times of great trial, He is the author of all blessings. Paul craves. Think about the last time you craved something. For me, there are times I crave time alone. Crave some food or dessert. It becomes a center focus. I think more about that craving than anything else. So Paul had a singular mind to guide the beloved to understand the grace extended. I wish I could say I crave things like this. How about you?

Peace (eirēnēof Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.

Remember that song, Peace Like A River? I’ve got peace like a river (repeat, repeat, repeat), in my soul. We would sing this with motions, but I don’t know that I ever connected, as a child, with the idea of His peace flowing through me like a river.

Elwy River, Cefn. Photo: Francis Bedford (1816-1894), 1860s.

Can you connect with the idea of His peace? His tranquility. Paul longed for his readers to grasp the peace available.

Ephesians 3: 4 ·If you read what I wrote then [or By reading this], you can see that I truly understand the ·secret [mystery] ·about [or revealed by; or that consists of; L of] ·Christ [or the Messiah].5 ·People [L The sons of men; C a Hebrew way of referring to people] who lived in other ·times[generations] were not told that secret. But now, through the Spirit, God has ·shown [revealed] that secret to his holy apostles and prophets. 6 This is that ·secret [mystery]: that through the ·Good News [Gospel] the Gentiles ·will share with the Jews in God’s blessing [L are co-heirs]. They belong to the same body, and they share together in the promise that God made in Christ Jesus.

Paul was revealing part of the mystery of Christ! Truly! We (the Gentiles, now Jews) share in God’s blessings. We are co-heirs. We are joined together because of the promise in Christ Jesus.

This is why we need to be on the floor praying diligently for our brothers and sisters in Israel.

Ephesians 4: 12 ·Christ gave those gifts to prepare [L …to equip]God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger.

To equip, a fitting or preparing fully. We have been given all we need to encourage one another through serving. And why do we have these gifts? To bring glory to ourselves? Nah, we are to make the body of Christ stronger. Do you get the sense that Paul longs for unity among the believers? Why? I don’t think it is just to encourage and uplift one another, but to be a community that welcomes those who do not know Jesus. People would crave to know the grace and peace that lives in us!

Ephesians 6:19 Also pray for me that when I ·speak [L open my mouth], God will give me words so that I can tell the ·secret [mystery] of the ·Good News [Gospel] ·without fear [confidently; boldly]. 20 ·For this Good News […for which] I am an ambassador in ·prison [L chains; 3:1]. Pray that I will speak ·it [or for him;or in him] ·without fear [boldly; confidently], as I should.

This prayer that Paul asked to be prayed on his behalf? Yea, that needs to be our prayer. That when we open our mouths we will speak the Good News. Boldly.

Bold Peak, in the Chugach Range of Alaska, as seen from a hanging valley below Thunderbird Peak. Photo by Paxson Woelber

We run with endurance the race set before us! Thank God we have the letters of Paul! Thank God Paul was given this gift of letter writing. Each is precious to  our faith and hope. We can hold tight to the promises found in Ephesians and I look forward to continuing to unwrap Ephesians!

Thankfuls:

278. As I work through this book, I am following a book called Glorious Grace by Lara Williams. So thankful for her guidance.

279. Thankful for time by a lake yesterday with my friend.

280. Thankful that God give beauty for ashes.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

 

Categories: Bible teaching, Cara thoughts..., http://www.hellomornings.org/, New Testament | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Experiencing God’s love…


Herbert Lake at Icefields Parkway by Florian Fuchs

Good morning, beloved,

The life of the beloved..I have spent this morning contemplating this life in the light of a passage given to me this morning. When I get to heaven, I really want to meet Paul. Truly living, asking the Lord to make His home in our heart. This song kept coming in my mind as I was studying a passage in Ephesians. :)

Come, Lord, come make my heart Your home. Come and be everything I have and all I know. Search me through and through til my heart becomes a home for You..

Ephesians 3:

16 May He grant you out of the rich treasury of His glory to be strengthened and reinforced with mighty power in the inner man by the [Holy] Spirit [Himself indwelling your innermost being and personality].

Dobratsch in autumn by Florian Fuchs

17 May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love,

18 That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it];

19 [That you may really come] to know [practically, [e]through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses [f]mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being] [g]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and [h]become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]!

Johnston Canyon-Lower Falls (Banff National Park) by Florian Fuchs

20 Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we

[dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]—

21 To Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations forever and ever. Amen (so be it).

What are the gifts found in a relationship with the Father?

Starting at verse 16, we find that God has a rich treasury..

of glory!

of strength!

mighty power by the Holy Spirit!

indwelling in our innermost being!

We are very blessed, are we not? We have His glory, His strength, His mighty power, His Holy Spirit…all indwelling in us.

Yet, the next verse is life to me as well. Christ makes His home..brings His coffee cup, His pillow…ok, maybe not His pillow, but I gotta believe coffee will be available in heaven. ;) He makes my heart, your heart His home. Oh, precious one, (I’m pulling a Kay, there) do you feel alone at times? Put your hand on your heart and listen. The beating of your heart can be your prompting…His home. You are never alone.

Waterfowl Lakes at Icefields Parkway by Florian Fuchs

So plant your roots deep in Him, for the roots find their strength deep in His love. His overwhelming love for you and I. Allow that truth to wash all over you.

Now about that alone feeling, the next verse indicates a way to discover and be filled with His love. Community: together with all the saints..experiencing His love in community. My family, my church, my dear friends help me understand Christ’s love in a powerful way. Is it perfect? No, Paul isn’t discussing that..He is saying we can understand “…the breadth and length and height and depth..” of agape (love) as defined by Blue Letter Bible:  affection, good will, love, benevolence, brotherly love.

We comprehend agape when we comprehend love in community. When we are real, when we open our lives up to the beloved, when we allow people into our mess…then can there be ministry. When God leads me to pray for someone, I feel the blessing more than anyone else. God’s love pouring through me to minister to His church..it’s not about me. It’s about showing the love of Jesus. Allowing His Spirit to move.

When people ask, how can I help? I need to be humble and take the offer. Say yes. We forget that when we are the ones helping how blessed we feel…allow others the gift of that blessing. So precious, so beautiful, so Jesus.

For then we comprehend His love, this just gets me so excited, the blessing is two-fold. We understand, the one who helps us or we help, brings an understanding of God’s love for us. If you don’t have that experience, you miss the richness, the depth of His agape.

Think of it, our church can experience “.. the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself!” How about that? Are you going to allow Satan‘s lies to keep you from this? Are you going to live under the chains of unforgiveness? Petty arguments? What is keeping you from experiencing His love?

Don’t let another day go by…find community, seek it, pray for it, hope…the day we chose to leave the mega church and find a little home church was a turning point in our lives. Don’t get me wrong. I loved that church. But we needed community, where if you don’t show up, people began calling. People know your kids, know your requests, give help, give hugs, welcome you like family.

Yes, Satan will do everything in his power to hide that truth from you. But this love is real, and it can be found. As I type this, the sun is breaking over the houses, flooding my eyes with beautiful beams of light. Allow His Light to shine upon you and fill you with His love.

Pray on. Pray on.

 

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Good morning, friends,

Well, my boy is in surgery. I’m sure he’s doing great. I have thought this morning about a difficult day I had on Sunday. I can’t tell you how much I was swamped by worry and doubt and fear. And then as I began to ponder my post for today, things just started to fall together.

Our assistant Pastor (right title? no clue..) led us through some wonderful passages during Sunday School but the one that stood out to me most was in Ephesians 5

..ever be filled and stimulated with the [Holy] Spirit.

19 Speak out to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, offering praise with voices [[e]and instruments] and making melody with all your heart to the Lord,

20 At all times and for everything giving thanks in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

What struck me about the passage was how if we are first filled and stimulated with the Spirit what a different direction we take in our thoughts, actions and so on. The Spirit is so critical to the next part, the rest cannot happen without a filling of the Spirit.

I must have studied this passage earlier because I had written this passage in the margins.

Exodus 27

20 You shall command the Israelites to provide you with pure oil of crushed olives for the light, to cause it to burn continually [every night].

21 In the Tent of Meeting [of God with His people], outside the veil which sets apart the Testimony, Aaron and his sons shall keep it burning from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute to be observed on behalf of the Israelites throughout their generations.

The oil was to never go out. It was to continually be filled and so the light will always burn.

If we are expecting to have a life filled with the Spirit, we need to live our lives intentionally asking the Spirit to fill our lives. Keeping His Word close to our hearts. Then look at the next part of Ephesians…

Speak out psalms to one another. We need to be speaking the Word to one another. We need to be encouraging one another with hymns, psalms and other songs. Yet, I would also say we need to encourage our own souls with the ministry of the Word. The ministry of songs, hymns…it cannot be overemphasized.

When fear creeps over our hearts, when life circumstances threaten to rock our boat…give glory to God!

At all times, giving thanks. Just like the oil, burning bright because the Word, the hymns, the songs and the real process of giving thanks. Saying thank you. This seems so simple yet it is transformational.

So as we understand the Word of God more and more, as we are filled by His Spirit, as we cling to the truth we can further understand the deeper meanings of Jesus’ teachings and the relationship of the New Testament and Old. Do you see what is happening? We are taking the focus off of ourselves and placing it where it belongs. On Him. When we worry, we sin. Plain and simple. When we get angry and blow up, we sin. When we gossip, we sin. Yet, if we are filling our minds with all that Ephesians 5 is saying, then the Spirit is guiding and we are living free. No chains on me!

Allow me to quote Chuck Smith:

And they have been interpreting the law to govern the actions of man, where God intended the law to be speaking to the attitudes of man. Thus, in the way that they were interpreting the law, they were able to fulfill it. But in the way that the law was originally intended, because it was intended to govern the spirit of man, the law was actually intended to make the whole world guilty before God and to show man’s guilt. But rather then their reading the law and feeling guilty before God, seeking the mercy and the grace of God, they were so interpreting the law as having fulfilled the law, and thus being very pompous and very righteous and very critical of everybody else. And they were interpreting the law so that they were having this tremendous attitude of self-righteousness and pride looking down then upon everybody else.

And it was manifested, as Jesus said, when the Pharisee went into the temple and said, “Oh Father, I thank you I’m not like other men, for I fast and I pray” and you know, he’s telling God all of his good things. And Jesus said there was a sinner that went into the temple and he wouldn’t even lift his eyes toward heaven but with head bowed he just smote on his chest and said, “Oh God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:11-13). And Jesus said he went away justified and forgiven. Where the first guy, you know, his prayers meant nothing to God. Now, that’s because they were interpreting the law in a wrong way, only to govern the outward actions of man and not to deal with the spirit of all.

We can look at the law also remember:

And you see the difference where the way Jesus was interpreting it; it made us all guilty before God. The way they were interpreting it, it made them very pompous and self-righteous. But the way Jesus was interpreting it; it makes us all guilty. And that’s exactly what the law was intended to do, to make the whole world guilty before God, so that we would not seek to come before God in our own righteousness but that we would seek that righteousness that God has provided for us, that we might have that standing before God in the righteousness before God, in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. So the law was a schoolmaster to drive us to Jesus Christ.

Love it! Well, Noah is starting to wake up. So I wanted to continue on…pray on. Pray.

 

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