Archives For Ephesians

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been haunted by an old Geoff More lyric. It’s from the song, “God Believes in You”, and says, “Everything matters if anything matters at all / No matter how big, no matter how small”.  The implications of the lyric torture me. I think we would all agree some things matter, particularly when it comes to knowing Christ. Knowing some things matter, I am compelled by Scripture to believe everything matters.

everything matters,commitment,discipleship,priorities,Matthew 5:48,be perfect,1 Peter 1:16,be holy,2 Corinthians 10:3-5,take every thought captive,James 3:5-8,tame tongue,Ephesians 4:29-32,no foul language,Matthew 7:1,love your neighbor,Mark 12:3,treat others how you want to be treated,Philippians 3:8,count everything lost,Exodus 20:3,no idols before me

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Every word I speak, every thought I think, everything at which my eyes look, every interaction I have with people, how I spend every moment – they all matter. They all will be either for the Kingdom or against it. They all will be either pleasing or displeasing to my Lord.

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In “Jesus and the Disinherited”, Howard Thurman wrote, “…the most important question, since the thing which makes Him [Jesus] most significant is not the way in which He resembled his fellows but the way in which He differed from all the rest of them. Jesus inherited the same traits as countless other Jews of his time; he grew up in the same society; and yet he was Jesus, and the others were not.”

love and devotion,mission,love,commitment,Ephesians 4:29,building up someone in need,no foul language

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Sure, Jesus was the Son of God, but He also came to earth as a fully human man. He was free to choose however He wanted. His desire and love for God necessitated He make choices we do not have to contemplate, and He chose the right way every time. What if we possessed such love and devotion for the Father? What if we could do nothing but please Him?

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Be careful! When you surrender your life completely to Christ, expect Him to give you some God-sized goals and work to do. The brilliant part of this plan is our God-sized God can accomplish all the God-sized goals he conceives. The fact He would engage people such as you or me to accomplish His work is beyond all reason, wonder, and logic. Yet, it’s what He does. God invites us to partner with Him in His mission for all humanity.

God-sized goals,goals,purpose,faith,God's will,Matthew 19:26,all things possible,Ephesians 3:20-21,more than we could hope or imagine

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Our role is to be surrendered, committed, and obedient. We only need to do what He tells us to do. Even when things look impossible, we simply must have the faith to believe it will be accomplished. That’s God’s role in our partnership. He gives us the dream and the abilities to see the dream to fruition. Whatever we lack, He Himself will supply.

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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.

stewarding your words,stewardship,commitment,discipleship,love,mission,humility,Ephesians 4:29,build up someone,2 Corinthians 10:3-5,take every thought captive,James 3:6,tongue is a fire

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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.

do the impossible,impossible goals,aw Tozer,Tozer,a.w. tozer,faith,God's will,mission,passion,purpose,works,Ephesians 2:10,we are His creation,Matthew 19:26,with God all things are possible

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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).

criticism is a cancer,cancer,criticism,criticize,critical,pride,humility,encouragement,encourager,encouraging,encourage,attitude,Ephesians 4:29-32,no foul language,Philippians 4:8,think on these things,whateveris pure,Romans 14:10-13,no longer criticize,Ephesians 4:29,let no foul language

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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.

fear or faith,Christine Caine,unexpected,mission,works,fear,faith,1 John 4:18,love casts out fear,Deuteronomy 31:8,God goes before us,never leave or forsake you,Matthew 25:14-30,parable of talents,Ephesians 2:10,works

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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.

settling for less,mediocre,mediocrity,commitment,gifts,mission,purpose,Luke 9:57-62,foxes have holes,John 16:33,in this world you will have trouble,Ephesians 3:20,more than we could ask or imagine,Revelation 3:15-16,spit you out,vomit you out

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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.

fighting off satan,spiritual warfare,we wrestle not against flesh and blood,Ephesians 6:14-17,armor of God,breastplate of righteousness,commitment,discipline,focus,faith

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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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