Archives For Ephesians

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

image © snaptitude via Fotolia

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?

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

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.

praying continuously,pray without ceasing,prayer,praying,continuous prayer,continual prayer,Ephesians 6:18-20,I Peter 5:8,devil prowls like a roaring lion

image © palidachan via Fotolia

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.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

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?

discipleship habits,discipleship,disciple,commitment,focus,focused attention,intention,intentional living,purpose driven life,Ephesians 4:29-32,no unwholsome speach,building up one another

image © Yury Zap via Fotolia

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.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

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.

measure your words,kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,glorify God,words,tame the tongue,encourage others,James 3:5-9,no one can tame the tongue,Ephesians 4:29-32,only what is good for building up others,Proverbs 10:19,let your words be few,James 3:2,words cause you to stumble,James 1:19,be slow to speak

image © tugolukof via Fotolia

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.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

We’ve all had one of those days. One of those days when nothing seems to go right. The car breaks down. The babysitter bails. You spill coffee down your shirt before a big presentation. Or maybe it’s one of those days that negatively impact your life forever. A parent dies, or a spouse walks out. You lose your life savings in an investment that was never supposed to fail.

one of those days,despair,tragedy,storms,trials,death of a parent,divorce,job loss,bankruptcy,Matthew 5:44-45,rain falls on the righteous and unrighteous,Matthew 7:24-27,building on rock or sand,Ephesians 6:13,in the end stand

image © robsonphoto via Fotolia

I’m not sure why, but often these disastrous and tragic events seem to occur in groups. In these times, your faith will be tested. When you have one of those days, how will your perception of God change?

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

In Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 10, Paul tells us we have each been created to do the specific work God designed us to do. Have you ever paused to think how amazing this is? Each person in history, in every country, and in every time, has been born with a God-ordained purpose for their lives. When each of us fulfills our purpose, it becomes part of the greater whole. It’s another brick in the massive Kingdom of God.

doing the work,do the work,steven pressfield,myth of the blueprint,gregory boyd,greg boyd,open theism,freewill,commitment,kingdom of God,God's kingdom,works,mission,Ephesians 2:10,created for work,Isaiah 5:3–7,Jeremiah 3:19–20,Jeremiah 3:6-7,God was surprised,is god ever surprised

image © UMB-O via Fotolia

When we fail to do the work He designed us to do, there is something missing. There’s a gap which must be filled. It’s an awesome responsibility. I can’t believe the privilege of doing work God designed me to do. How amazing is that? We must never forget the magnitude of the honor, or the obligation to fulfill it.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

No one is off the hook when it comes to serving Jesus. In our American culture, church has become a place we go to on a certain day of the week. It’s a place where we sit attentively and interact minimally. We watch a select few lead in worship and a single individual deliver a message. Then we get up and shuffle orderly out the door and back into our lives.

your local church,bill hybels,willow creek,greg mcclain,wesleyan church hamburg,Ephesians 4:1-16,unity,local church,light of the world,priorities,commitment,mission

image © sunlover616 via Fotolia

We might have some coffee, donuts, and shallow conversation on our way in or out of the building, but that’s about it. For many, this is the extent of their church-going experience. We’re not involved or invested. It’s become a selfish and borderline narcissistic exercise.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

This is a topic I revisit every so often, but probably not often enough. We need to remember the persecuted around the world. Every day while we enjoy the comforts and freedom of our lives, our brothers and sisters in Christ are facing unspeakable torture and persecution. Throughout the New Testament, Paul urged all believers to be united as one (Ephesians 4:1-16). Jesus prayed His followers would be as close as He and His Father are (John 17:21).

remember the persecuted,persecution,Christians,martyrdom,martyr,commitment,prayer,the church,unity,mission,John 17:21,be one as you and I are one,1 Corinthians 12:26,when one suffers,all suffer,Ephesians 4:1-16,be united

image © cunaplus via Fotolia

To be united, to stand as one, we must continuously pray for and identify with our fellow believers around the world. Allow me to throw down a challenge to you in the form of a question: how much time are you spending in prayer for our brothers and sisters in chains?

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

Over the past couple of posts (see “In the Presence of God” and “Bible Study”), I’ve been looking at some foundational aspects of following Christ. We’ve discussed prayer and Bible study, which are the linchpins in getting to know God. Today I want to wrap it up by focusing on what I see as the third, and perhaps most important, tenet in living a life wholly devoted to God: practicing obedience.

practicing obedience,obedient to God,obey,Ephesians 2:8-10,created for good works,it is by grace you are saved,Titus 3:5,not by works of righteousness we had done,1 Corinthians 1:18,cross is foolishness,Romans 13:11,nearer than when we first believed,commitment,discipleship,works,grace vs. works,salvation,what does it mean to be a Christian,

image © stephm2506 via Fotolia

The reason I feel this might be the most important aspect of developing your relationship with Jesus is because the other two concern learning who He is and what He’d have you to do. Practicing obedience is all about taking what you’ve learned and putting it into action.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…

People are always looking to find out what God’s will is for their life. We’ve covered this in several posts before (see these posts), and the inevitable next question is, “What do I do to live out His will in my life?”. We confuse vocation with God’s will. His will is for you to look like His Son. Walk like Jesus walked, talk like Jesus talked, and love like Jesus loved; this is God’s will for your life.

life you were meant to live,Ephesians 4:10,created for work,Ephesians 4:11-13,spiritual gifts,some to be apostles,Romans 12:5-8,1 Corinthians 12:4-11,Ephesians 4:11-13,commitment,spiritual gifts,gifts,God's willKingdom of God,God's Kingdom

image © Burlingham via Fotolia

No matter what you do, if you want to be living the life you were meant to live, you’ve got to become wholly devoted to God. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes. Until you are ready to give everything over to God, you will never fulfill your potential.

Click Here to Continue Reading this Post…