I have wanted to start a mid-week Bible verse post. Here is the first one.
I appreciate the Psalms. They often combine the lament or complaint about hard situations with praise to God for His goodness. I am burdened to be truthful about the difficulties of life, but not fall into ugly complaining. The example of the Psalms is a good pattern to follow.
Sadly, when I first see the words true love I end up thinking of “The Princess Bride”. The wedding scene when the bishop talks about true love is very quotable. While the idea of movie true love can be attractive, it is nothing in comparison to God’s love.
Today’s verses describe how vast God’s love is. It is too much for human knowledge. That being said, I want to pursue more and more knowledge of the love that can only be measured by an infinite God Who sent His only Son to suffer and pay the penalty for my sin. What wonderous love! I am in awe and amazement.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your wondrous love. Please guide me in studying Your word and seeing Your actions so I can learn more about this love that surpasses knowledge.
Philippians 2:12-13 has a seeming contradiction. Verse 12 tells us to work out our own salvation, but verse 13 says that God is at work. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that our salvation is not of our own works so we won’t brag. James 2:14-26 tells us that works need to follow our faith in God. I think this passage combines those two concepts. There are works that I need to do to honor God.
I fear that we sometimes get too stuck on one side of that equation or the other. Either we look too much to ourselves to work or we assume too little responsibility. I like to think that God does the heavy lifting. He is responsible to provide what is needed for me to work out my salvation. He provided the way for my salvation. I need to obey what God tells me to do. I find that out from spending time in the Bible and time talking to God.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to see the difference between the work You have given me to do and what You promise to take care of. I want to live a life of appropriate responsibility, resting in what You will do.
When I was in high school, society pushed teens to ask, “Who am I?”. It was a big thing for us to “find ourselves”. I fear we are seeing the effects of too many years of wanting our own identity. Ephesians 2:10 tells us that those who trust in Jesus Christ are His workmanship. Our purpose is good works. Good works “which God prepared beforehand”. Reading and studying the Bible as well as praying will help us understand those good works.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for making us Your workmanship. Please help us to seek what You desire for good works.
Those of us who have placed our trust in Jesus Christ have the best identity. I fear we keep clinging to the identity we want to have instead of seeing what identity Christ offers. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that we have been saved by grace not by anything we have done. The reason is so we will not boast about works.
I think one of the hardest things we have to do is to let go of our personal identity. In the U.S. we are so individualistic that we encourage living our own way. Our wishes and desires get in the way of what God tells us. I am humbled by the reminder that I can’t do anything to earn my salvation. Hopefully this pushes me to seek Christlike identity by reading, studying and obeying God’s Word.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the humbling reminder in Your Word that we cannot earn salvation. Please help me to live this for Your honor and glory. I want to serve You more.
The book of Romans begins with the apostle Paul sharing who he is in Jesus Christ. Identity is a big deal in society today. There is a lot of confusion and hurt surrounding this topic. Some of that confusion has made its way into the church. We want to find our identity in our looks, our jobs, or our personalities rather than our identity in Jesus Christ.
Identity in Christ means giving up my own identity. It requires obedience. It points only to God and ignores me (John 3:30). I think in an individualistic society we want too much of ourselves. I wonder if we find individualism more exciting than obeying Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the example of Paul. Please help us to obey for the sake of Your name.
Ephesians 2 starts out bleak. It talks about how believers in Christ used to be dead in sin. I’m thankful for verses 4-5 that talk about the amazing mercy of God. Despite our sin, God provided a way through Jesus to give us life. Now all we need to do is remember this truth as we live day to day life.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your mercy and grace. Please help me to remember this truth and share this with others.
This verse tells us about one object of the immeasurable power of God. As a believer, I have access to this power. This passage doesn’t give a lot of specifics. I know God does this on purpose. I walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7). I don’t always get to see the specifics. I simply need to ask God as Paul did to learn “what is the immeasurable greatness of His power”. Knowing how great God is, this power is amazing.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for giving Your immeasurable power to those of us who believe. Please help me to claim that power in humility that I might serve You better.
Ephesians 1 is loaded with expressions of God’s generosity. I like verse 18 – as we follow what Ephesians 1 has been talking about we will have our “hearts enlightened”. The “what” is the hope and riches that God promises. I think sometimes we have the wrong kind of hope and the wrong kind of riches in mind. God is more interested in the eternal and we end up getting stuck in the temporal. My desire is to continue studying Scripture to learn about the “whats” in Ephesians 1:18. At least as much as is possible in this life. I expect to learn by leaps and bounds in the next life.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the many blessings I can learn about from Your Word. Please guide me as I learn the “what” You tell us about in this verse. Help me to share this with others.
I think as Americans we are used to having so much we don’t understand what “the riches of His grace” being lavished on us means. There are times when according to our definition, we go through famine. Material wise that might be true. This passage tells us of the lavish grace that gives us forgiveness. I wonder if we realize how big God’s forgiveness is. He doesn’t owe us forgiveness, but He gives freely and generously – a feast.
I am so thankful for God’s generosity. I will receive His forgiveness every time I ask (1 John 1:9).
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for lavishing forgiveness on those You have chosen. I am comforted by Your generosity. Please help me to keep the proper perspective on Your generous forgiveness.