Archive for the ‘Ephesians’ Category

Families gather

November 19th, 2015 by Maureen

For this reason (God’s eternal plan to include Gentiles in His grace)  I pray before the Father from whom every family (patria) in heaven and on earth derives its name. Eph. 3:15

Patria literally means father. It also means lineage or ancestry, a group of people of lay claim to a common origin, or a nation or people. It doesn’t matter who we are: the Angel Gabriel or a refugee orphan, we all trace our origin to the Father.  Our Father is so deeply connected to the Son and the Spirit that He is Triune with them and so deeply connected to us that He sent His Son to reconnect the human family to His.  From this image we derive our desire to belong and connect in families. In this image we gather as families.

Lord, thank you for the people who are born my flesh and blood and those who have become my flesh and blood because You are our Father.

 

Bouncing into grace

November 18th, 2015 by Maureen

In Him we have received redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses (paraptoma), according to the rich benefits of His grace which he lavished on us with all wisdom and insight. Eph. 1:7

God in his wisdom and insight made grace really stretchy. Paraptoma means to fall away after being close, to lose one’s footing, or lapse. We may not like ourselves much when we mess up, but a rich benefit of redemptive grace is that our failures, our lapses in judgement, our stumbles and fumbles need not bog us down. The surface of guilt and shame is like quicksand pulling us down. The surface of grace is like a trampoline that bounces us back up. This is what happens when we embrace God’s grace and what restores relationships when we lavish grace on others when they let us down.

Lord, thank You for this amazing, stretchy, bouncy, redemptive grace.

When things get dark and scary

October 29th, 2015 by Maureen

For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Eph. 6:12

Hate, anger, greed, prejudice, selfishness, etc. is scary stuff, but people who have become ensnared in these behaviors are not the enemy. The true Enemy wants us to think these people are not salvageable. The true Enemy wants us to reject and dismiss or to attack and punish those he has deceived. Love shoots holes in the darkness. The best way to fight evil is to love others and to be good to them. Love and grace are the strongest substances in the spiritual universe. They are Kryptonite to the Enemy.

Lord, help me to reflect Your light when things get dark and stormy.

There are no bad seats in God’s kingdom

September 30th, 2015 by Maureen

For He is our peace and has broken down the dividing wall [between Jew and Gentile], abolished through His flesh the hostility, the law of the commandments, so as to create himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace. Eph. 2:14-15 (Mounce Interlinear)

For a long time the Jews saw themselves as the insiders and the Gentiles as the outsiders. Some even tried to create a pecking order so that some Jews would be considered better than others. Even the mother of the apostles James and John asked Jesus to give her sons top status in His kingdom. But Jesus came so that nobody would be “in” or “out.” He came to shove the “inner circle” to the borders of the farthest galaxy so that humans He created through His second Adam would enjoy unity, peace, and inclusion rather than the divisions, animosity,  and exclusion that descendants of His first Adam made for themselves.

Lord, help me be loving, welcoming, and including.

No fashion sense

September 9th, 2015 by Maureen

Dress the new self, created in God’s likeness, in righteousness, holiness, and truth. Eph. 4:24

We wear new clothes made of a material called righteousness, sewn with thread of holiness, washed in truth. We can’t make clothes like this. We don’t have the material, the skill, or the means. Like the prodigal who comes home to His father in rags, our Father asks our brother Jesus to dress us like His children. Unlike the resentful brother in the parable, Jesus joyfully brings out the best new clothes and helps us dress in something that is so comfortable and just fits. It’s probably not the outfit we’d pick for ourselves either. Meaning well, we might tend toward overly formal, scratchy, flashy religious outfits or screaming slogan t-shirts. Not only can we not come up with the fabric, we aren’t that great at picking clothes or  dressing ourselves either.

Lord, I surrender myself to your capable hands.

 

 

 

Mind blowing

August 30th, 2015 by Maureen

God is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine according to His power that is at work in us. Eph. 3:20-21

God’s love and character is unchanging but cannot be contained. God  is so expansive that He exists as Three in One. From His goodness and perfection God expressed Himself in creating Heaven and Earth. Perhaps He made humans with the ability to pro-create and to be creative so that His character, love, joy and light might reflect like an ever-changing kaleidoscope of unique and beautiful images of this massive reality that is our God. And through Christ the very Spirit of this immeasurable God works in us in a way that makes us consistent with Who He Is yet powerfully individual and uniquely beloved reflections of the Image in which we are created. This is mind blowing.

Lord, when I feel powerless and limited help me perceive Your immeasurable, unimaginable power at work in me.

 

Great Physician to the mostly dead

August 15th, 2015 by Maureen

His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, nourished in love. Eph. 4:16 (Message)

Into lifeless spirits God transfused the blood of His Son. The Spirit of God breathed into our spiritual lungs to resuscitate us. The Father gently feeds us, sometimes intravenously when we are too spiritually weak to chew or even realize we are being fed, even when we insist on abusing ourselves with guilt, pride, and other spiritual toxins. Our Great Physician who loves us is determined to restore our spirits to abundant life and complete health no matter how spiritually dead we feel.

Lord, thank You for bringing me back to life and putting me on a steady diet of Your nourishing love.

 

 

Awareness of aliveness

August 8th, 2015 by Maureen

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love for us, though we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved – and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Eph. 2:5-6

The only control we have in this relationship is how we respond to it. We can’t make God not love us. We can’t make His gift of grace go away. We can’t cause God not to be Who He is to us. But we do get to choose whether or not to experience the relationship and the awareness that goes with being objects of His great love.

I want to be constantly aware of my aliveness in You.

The work of being instead of doing

July 26th, 2015 by Maureen

Speak the truth in love, grow up in every way into Him, who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body is joined and brought together in every supporting ligament according to the working (energeia) of every individual part, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Eph. 4:16

Greek word of the day: energeia. It does mean “work,” but refers to “power in action” and is used only to refer to “superhuman” power. Do we misdirect our efforts in focusing too much on what we are supposed to be doing, how to contribute, or where we fit? If Jesus does the work in us and through us, if the way the whole body fits together is His vision, then perhaps focus on His beauty, wonder, grace, truth, and love leads to being the part instead of playing the part.

Lord, take my hands and let them move at the impulse of Your love.

Sometimes we just disagree

July 25th, 2015 by Maureen

It was he who gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and the teachers to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body until we all attain the to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature adulthood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ…Eph. 4:11-13

Does “unity of the faith” mean we have to agree on every point of doctrine? If unity does mean agreement then is the “work of ministry” correcting the views of those who disagree with us? When leaders disagree who decides who is right and who is “immature?” This is not easy stuff. Perhaps “knowledge of the Son” is more than intellectual agreement about what it means to follow Jesus. Perhaps “unity of faith” means connecting over our mutual awe, love, and gratitude for Christ and letting our relationship with Him deepen through our loving connection with one another.

Lord, unite us in and through and because of Christ.

Gifted

July 18th, 2015 by Maureen

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Eph. 2:8

God gives us a gift. Some of us leave it in one place and return occasionally to make sure it’s still there. Some of us carry it around unopened. Some of us look inside and try to incorporate it into our existing lives. Some of us make it our life’s pursuit to explore its contents and invite others to explore it too. Some of us just climb inside the box and hide in it. Some of us just wear the paper it’s wrapped in.

Lord, thank you for this gift. Help me to fully experience what You intended in giving it to me!

 

July 11th, 2015 by Maureen

[I pray] that the Father of glory may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation by coming to know more of Him. Eph. 1:17

Revelation is the act of revealing or disclosing something not already known or realized. Revelation is not simply more information that confirms what we already know. In order to deepen relationship with each of us God reveals new insights about Himself and stretches us spiritually to accommodate His ever-growing presence within us. If we read and study the Bible, listen to sermons, read faith-related books, have theological and philosophical conversations, or seek the Spirit of God Himself through prayer desiring only to have our current understandings validated we close ourselves off from knowing more of Him.

Lord, reveal the breadth, length, depth, and height of Yourself that I can process right now and keep getting bigger.

 

Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is you

June 9th, 2015 by Maureen

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, malice, and slander be taken from you. Be kind and tenderhearted to one another, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you. Eph. 4:31

Many of us replay in our minds past sins, failures, imperfections, or even small mistakes that may have caused trouble for others; and we see ourselves through that cracked, smudged, warped lens. Forgiving ourselves may become even more difficult when we don’t experience forgiveness from others. Along with our sins, Christ takes these malicious responses and their consequences from us so that we can see ourselves as He sees us. When we can’t forgive ourselves we are obstructing that view. When we accept a version of ourselves that unforgiving people give us, we accept a cracked view of who we are in Christ. When we do not forgive others we are enabling others to take a warped view of themselves.

Lord, help me see myself and others in the reality of Your redemption and restoration.

Settle for nothing less than daring hope

May 28th, 2015 by Maureen

May you have the eyes of your heart enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what is the riches of the glory of inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, which are conferred by the energy of His powerful strength; the same power at work when He raised Christ from the dead. Eph. 1:18-20

Seeing ourselves as His children who live right now with an unimaginable legacy blows the walls off what we dare to hope. Our transformation is not based on our efforts but on what God has already done for us and in us. Our redemption is energized and defined by the forces that powered the resurrection of Christ. As we hope for all He has for us our vision concerning what we have right now grows larger.

Lord, help me see that my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus.

 

Always more

May 19th, 2015 by Maureen

He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we ask or think according to the power that is working in us. Eph. 3:20

The more we seek to define exactly what God will and will not do, the more we limit our expectations of God and our own participation in His work. The point of seeking Him and studying His word is not to create definitions and parameters for belief, but to discover the exceeding abundance and power that is God beyond our thoughts or desires. The point of deepening faith is that God will always be and do more than we think.

Lord, empower me to receive and respond to aspects of Who You Are beyond the limits of my current understanding.

 

From full of holes to fully whole

March 25th, 2015 by Maureen

And the Church is His body; it is made full and complete by Christ who fills all things everywhere with himself. Eph. 1: 23.

Even before the world was made God loved us and wanted to make us whole. We tend to look at ourselves and see what’s missing. When we don’t feel whole we focus on the holes – and try to fill them ourselves. A sense of incompleteness often creates a cycle of shame and self-gratification. What would it be like to experience such wholeness through Christ that we felt like nothing was missing from our lives?

Lord, thank you for making me full and complete, to the extent it is possible, help me to see myself as You do.

Big plans

March 2nd, 2015 by Maureen

He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding. God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfill his own good pleasure.  Eph. 1:8-9

The eternal, infinite, all sufficient God who created time and space implements His eternal plans in specific places at specific moments on earth. The plan to redeem us was completed in Jerusalem circa 33 A.D. His plans for each of us is rooted in the same love and kindness that motivated sending Christ. We aren’t simply blind followers but participants in His all-encompassing plan of redemption and in His redemptive plans for each of our lives. God’s plans bring Him pleasure and are meant to bring us pleasure as well.

Lord, I rejoice in Your Big Plan. I also rejoice in the big plans You have for me although those sometimes still seem like a big mystery to me.

 

I really want a shower

January 10th, 2015 by Maureen

He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and insight. Eph. 1:8 (Mounce)

On a fairly regular basis the events surrounding our lives don’t seem to make logical, moral, or emotional sense. We stumble along with our in-part, through-the-dark-glass perspective and wonder when God is going to turn on the insight shower. What we do know: He loved us so much that He sent Jesus, He will never leave us or abandon us, and He is transforming and reconciling us into His image. This gentle shower of kindness, wisdom and insight is continuously sinking into our lives. This perspective is enough to face the hard stuff and the uncertainties that come with it.

Lord, I trust You with all I understand and especially with all I don’t.

 

Relax, His grace is enough

September 29th, 2014 by Maureen

But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Eph. 4:7

We think of measuring as something that controls and restricts what we get. If something is measured out, then it must be only a portion of a greater amount. When we mess up we may feel the need to seek more grace to alleviate our feelings of guilt, or we may feel we’ve exhausted our measure of grace. God did not withhold even His own Son so the grace given each one of us is all the grace that exists.

Lord, thank You that I live and move and have my being in the immeasurable grace of Christ.

God’s got this, whatever “this” happens to be

September 1st, 2014 by Maureen

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. Eph 3:12-13a

Life get tangled up and complicated. It’s tempting to second guess God, to feel abandoned, or to enter into some sort of Job-like blame fest. Just because we can’t explain suffering or the lack immediate miracles to solve them is no reason to lose heart. God knows about it and cares about it, whatever it is. We can count on Him to untangle the biggest, tightest knot life can wrap around us.

Father, I believe You have this. All of it.