Part of our identity as believers of Jesus Christ is good works. Doing good works on our own is exhausting and frankly, not possible for long. God gives us the means to “abound in every good work.” That is only possible through His grace. As I study God’s Word and seek to live it, I learn more about how God’s grace works. This is a life long pursuit.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help me to focus on Your grace. I want to live the sufficiency that brings. Thank You for providing.
Our anxieties are often a part of our identity. We can feel humiliated by them. However, 1 Peter 5:6-7 tells us that we need to “humble ourselves” and “cast our anxieties on God”. According to Thomas Constable, Peter is encouraging the believers to submit to God’s hand in their suffering. God uses difficulties to perfect us.
In the United States, we don’t experience suffering the way New Testament believers did under Nero. Stories of what Nero did to Christians are terrible. While we don’t face extreme persecution, we still have troubles in life. This passage applies to us today just as much as in Peter’s day.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we can cast our anxieties on You. We need Your care in trials. Please help us to humble ourselves under Your power until “the proper time.” We need You now.
Ephesians 3:20 can give us goosebumps as we think of all the happy things God can do. However, as I look at the context – one of spiritual growth and maturity – my mind goes down a different path. I believe the Christian life can bring much joy, but there is sorrow as well. The difficult things often bring about the most spiritual growth. So, what is the exceeding abundance? I believe 2 Corinthians 9:8 gives us the answer. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” God’s grace brings the abundance that He wants. Abundance for every good work.
I fear we come to verses like Ephesians 3:20 with selfish thoughts. Selfishness is often a part of our identity. We need to give our own desires to God and He will give us His grace for abundant good works.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the abundance You provide. Please help me to see the ways You want to change my identity from self-centeredness to grace filled good works. Please strengthen me for the tasks ahead. I give You praise for all You do.
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.
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.
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.
Ephesians 1 tells us of wonderful gifts that God has given to those he has chosen. I think we sometimes become selfish as a result of these gifts. The point of the gifts is to point back to our precious Savior, Jesus Christ.
Dear Heavenly Father, please help us to use the gifts You have given to point others to You. May You be honored because of Your glorious grace.
The first blessing we see in Ephesians 1 is that of being chosen for adoption. Looking at the culture in Israel during Bible times adoption is a great honor. The first-born son would inherit everything. God adopts us as first-born sons. I’m not sure how well it translates into the American culture that I know so well. In Bible culture this was a very high honor. I want to allow that concept to warm my heart living in what is often a cold, dark (sin-cursed) world.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for choosing me to be an adopted child. Thank You for the beauty of Your love. Please help me to share this with those who know You chose them as well as those who have not learned of this wonderful gift.
Hello Friends, welcome to 2023 (tomorrow). Each year I pick a theme for my blog. 2022 was wisdom/fear of God. I spent much of the year in Proverbs. For 2023 I want to focus on a Biblical self-image. We live in a society that has an “it’s all about me” attitude. We have added pressure on ourselves to measure up to an impossible and very selfish standard. The Bible is the only place for us to gain freedom from this prison.
Most of my audience are people who claim a relationship with God based on the gospel (good news) of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection. We need to make sure our life focus is based in the Bible. I hope to help with that in my weekly posts.
Dear Heavenly Father, please guide me to share the truth of who we are in Christ. Please let my words direct people to You. Thank You for all You will do in the coming year.
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,
I was pleasantly surprised when I found a New Testament passage that spoke of wisdom and referred to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Just in time for Easter. I am thankful for the way God brings passages from His Word for encouragement and help. These verses were a part of the Wednesday night Bible study I attend. I knew this would fit my blog for the day before Easter.
Here is my shortened version of Ephesians 1:17-20: Wisdom comes from knowing God. Those of us who have trusted in Christ have hope. God’s power works in us – the same power that raised Christ from the dead.
God is so good.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the filled treasure chest of thought in this passage. Thank You for providing wisdom, hope, and power for those who call on You. Thank You for Christ dying on the cross to save those who trust in Him.