Monday, April 8, 2024

Paul’s Prayer for Increasing Strength and Fullness

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Paul’s Prayer for Increasing Strength and Fullness – Ephesians 3:14–21 submitted by Kay Crumley

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is to his friends who are concerned about his well-being as he is being held under house arrest in Rome. He is there because the Jewish religious leaders want to stop him from preaching to the Gentiles but especially not the gospel of the risen Christ who is the Messiah. The Sanhedrin was opposed to the idea that Gentiles could be children of God without adhering to the Jewish laws. However, Jesus had declared that He came to He encourages them in this chapter by summarizing the gospel message he has preached to them and then of his humility before God. He was a servant to God by the power of Jesus in his life. All those who repent, believe, and follow Him are given the amazing privilege of coming to Him confidently. That is reason not to be discouraged even in suffering. 


14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 


Paul begins by honoring God our Father for who He is, for His immeasurable riches, and His ability to bestow His gifts to His children. Then he requests four blessings that I have underlined. We are strengthened in our inmost being because of His Spirit living in us. Christ lived in us because of our faith in Him, believing that He is the only Son of God who has the power to redeem us from our sins. He gives us love, not only for Him but for all other Christians, Saints, so that we can understand His love for us. His love is beyond comprehension to us on earth, there is nothing to compare to it. God sent Jesus, His only Son, because He loved us so much, He had to make a way for us to be with Him. The only way for that to happen was for a perfect sacrifice to be made to pay the debt we owe because of our sinful nature. Jesus came for that purpose, to bring God’s Kingdom to earth by His life here as a human who was also God then He gave up His life for our sins. But God wasn’t done, He raised Jesus on the third day and He returned to be at the right hand of God forever being our advocate. Now, because of all He has done for us we are to have this attitude toward others; Be kind to one another; tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32. Paul desires that we have this love in our lives even though it is beyond earthly knowledge. However, as we live with His love and understand as much as is possible, we will be filled with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:19 teaches us that the Holy Spirit lives in those who accept the gift of salvation making our bodies His temple. We have the fullness of God inhabiting our very being. 


That is an amazing prayer for all those of us who know Him. We all have that blessing from scripture. His Word is living and applies to our lives today. 


20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. 


Paul concludes his prayer with another declaration of God’s power and majesty. He is able to do more than we can even dream about. In our wildest dreams we cannot imagine the extent of His greatness. He will accomplish His plan and purpose through us because of His power in us. Therefore, we must give Him all the glory not only now but forevermore. We must always acknowledge that every good thing we do is of Him. He is the One who empowers us to do His service.  


We are strengthened to know how to love, and we can only love others because of the fullness of God in our lives. I challenge us to find ways to show His love. John 13:34 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.  

The Right Thing

Monday, April 8, 2024 

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. James 4:17 ESV

How many times have you heard someone say, "That's just not right!" There is a feeling that what has been said or done is unjust, dangerous, discriminatory, or against their values.

Somehow they feel that what has been done should not have been done or said. If I were to ask my mother why I should do right, the answer would be very clear, "Because I said so."

A simple answer would be, "Because God said so." Simple answers don't always answer complex questions.

Proper behavior is not created by law or controlled by others. It is the result of proper thinking and discipline.  No one can truly change another…even if they control them.  We are each responsible for our actions. We should walk constantly aware that life is filled with decisions regarding right and wrong. Right is not so hard to discover as it is to desire and perform. Why should we do what is right?

The value of doing right is often its motivation.

"Why do the right thing?  What makes something right or wrong?"…These are legitimate questions. People often find it difficult to try to do right if they don't understand why. Some fear that moral standards are disappearing but the truth is they are multiplying. New standards for "modern man" threaten traditional, Biblical values.

Although what man does has changed, what man is has not. Every individual must face the fact that there are things destructive they must not do and things beneficial they must do. The problem of moral behavior is not in knowing values, but in doing right.

The ability to know and decide for right is based in wisdom - which is a gift of God. Wisdom sees life from an eternal perspective - God's perspective.

Four Levels of Living:

Instinctive (animal) - Babies act at this level demanding attention to their desires. This philosophy is expressed with the "If it feels good, do it" statement.  There is no regard for anyone but self. The instinctive level shows the urges of men expressed without restriction or responsibility.  This individual has no concept of future consequence and sees only the moment as important.

Customary (others) - More than just living according to the customary or accepted ways of a group this is truly living for others. Many young people who pride themselves on their freedom are slaves to others. "Everybody else is doing it" is a statement of philosophy. Individuals following this philosophy have no personal values but find values only in what others believe is right. The problem is everybody has been wrong before.

Conscience (self) - Conscience living is living with clear-cut personal convictions that are driven by an internal sense of what is right and wrong. A present day statement expresses this philosophy…"What you believe is not as important as that you live your belief."    In other words the value is that you are true to yourself.

Christian - Christian living is living according to God’s standards and purpose.  The Bible and the Holy Spirit become important to decision making.  a. Make the decision to let God be God. You'll never make progress in this area as long as you refuse to give up control.

God and his Word carry the ultimate authority in determining whether something is right or wrong. Prayer and meditation are primary actions in determining morality.

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12:21

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