Archives For Ephesians

During some recent study, I was struck with a concept I had inexplicably never considered before. While I talk a lot about stewarding our resources of money and time, I had never considered stewarding the resources of our words. As a writer, the thought struck me deeply. I see words as being an incredibly powerful resource we can use to further God’s Kingdom or to tear it down.

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Actions indeed speak louder than words, but words can change minds, influence change, and impact the world in ways that little else can. Yet, how much thought do you give towards stewarding your words each day? How often do you intentionally measure your speech to be certain each word you speak makes the greatest impact for the Kingdom of God?

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I love A.W. Tozer. Perhaps no one has had a greater impact on my walk with Jesus than this late, great preacher. Tozer once wrote, “Anyone can do the possible; add a bit of courage and zeal and some may do the phenomenal; only Christians are obliged to do the impossible.” I understand this isn’t scripture, but A.W. was a man who walked incredibly close to our God. I hold what he said in the highest regard.

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Did you catch what he said about doing the impossible? He didn’t say we should try to do it, or we should pray to be able to do it, he said we are obliged to do the impossible. Obliged means to “make (someone) legally or morally bound to an action or course of action.” In other words, we are morally bound to do the impossible!

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I heard Pastor Craig Groeschel say in a recent message, “When emotions are high, wisdom is low.” How true. When we let our emotions rule the day, we are destined to say or do something we will regret. Nowhere is this more evident than in our conversations with other people. Too often we find ourselves being criticized for something or we are the ones doing the criticizing. Criticism is a cancer that should be eradicated from the life of every follower of Jesus. Our default interaction with anyone should be that of encouragement (Ephesians 4:29-32).

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Humans, as a rule, love to criticize. Whether from a place of pride or as an act of defense, criticism spills from our lips easily and without warning. Scripture contains many warnings against using criticism, but we have either forgotten or perhaps choose to ignore those parts of God’s Word.

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Our life is a grand adventure. If you don’t believe it, spend some more time reading through God’s Word. We are part of the most epic adventure of all time. You should be excited by the role you are called to play at this moment in history. This is your moment in the story. Every day, we will face decisions and have to make the choice between fear or faith.

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As Christine Cain put it in her book, “Unexpected”, “…at every juncture in your journey, you will find yourself in an impossible place with a decision to make—to shrink back in fear or to rise up in faith. One will keep you where you are, and one will deliver you to your future.”

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Are you settling for less than what God has for you? Do you even know if that is true in your life? How does one know if they are settling for less if they are not certain about what they have been created to do? I would say if you cannot answer the question of whether or not you are settling for less with an emphatic ‘No!’, then you probably are. People living out their God-given mission know because they are so in tune with God there can be no doubt.

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For the rest of us, we either suspect we are settling for less or we know for a fact we are. So, we have a two-fold problem: first, how do we know if we are settling for less, and second, what do we do about it if we are?

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Outside Union Station in Los Angeles is a plaque reading: Vision to See / Faith to Believe / Courage to Do. I love that. It’s a great encouragement to me as I seek to follow Jesus. When we set out to do something in His name and to further His mission, it is His vision guiding us. He can see so much bigger than we could ever dream. No matter how grand our vision, God’s is always so much more.

vision,faith,courage,prayer,John 14:12-14,whatever you ask in my name,Ephesians 3:20-21,immeasurably more

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When you think your dream is too big, remember God is saying it’s not big enough. How ridiculous is it to think we might be dreaming too large for God? What exactly is it we think He can’t accomplish? He is able and willing to do whatever we ask and immeasurably more when we are doing it for His glory and His purposes (John 14:12-14; Ephesians 3:20-21).

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Spiritual warfare is a real and ever-present occurrence in the life of a disciple of Jesus. We spend most of our days fighting off Satan. Whether it’s in the subtlety of the decisions we make each day or getting smacked in the face with a major challenge to our faith, for as long as we are seeking to follow Christ we’ll be fighting off Satan. On our own, we’ll lose every time. Our sinful, physical beings are no match for the dark spiritual forces swirling about us.

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But Jesus not only can defeat Satan, He already has. Satan is no longer any match for those who are allowing Christ to live through them. Knowing this, why do we so often succumb to the temptations of the devil? Why are we not finding more success standing against him?

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Constant prayer has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I have a near constant dialog going with God. Somedays it’s more conversational, others it can just be a series of “I love You” or “Thank You” prayers being sent His way. Praying continuously is something I do without thinking. It wasn’t something I planned one day, it’s just how it is for me. I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t like this.

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Even when times are difficult, the prayer continues. While there are plenty of other areas with which I struggle, this one isn’t a huge concern for me in this season of my life. Still, I recognize continuous prayer doesn’t come as easy to many. Knowing this, I wanted to spend some time looking at Scripture and talking through the discipline of praying continuously.

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I love this quote from real estate mogul Gary Keller: “We don’t determine our lives; we determine our habits, and our habits determine our lives.” That’s great advice for life and general, but I think it is quite applicable for our Christian walk as well. What habits are you building into your life that will lead you to live wholly devoted to God?

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Discipleship never happens by accident. It’s not something we stumble into. Discipleship is a choice, one we must make every day. To continue making the discipleship choice each day, we’re going to need habits in our lives to make this easier. Our habits form the disciplines essential for discipleship.

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Proverbs 10:19 says, “When there are many words, sin is unavoidable, but the one who controls his lips is wise.” As someone who writes thousands of words each week, this is especially relevant and convicting to me. However, you don’t have to be a writer to need to learn this lesson. If we don’t measure our words, odds are we’re going to say things dishonoring to God, hurtful to others, and regretful to ourselves. Usually, it will be all the above.

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Jesus’s brother James warned our tongues could not be tamed and could start great, destructive fires (James 3:5-9). Paul instructed us to only speak words of encouragement, never saying derogatory or inflammatory things (Ephesians 4:29-32). In a world enamored with social media, it has never been more important to measure your words.

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