Day 1: Help them feel accepted in the beloved, the family of God. (Ephesians 1:6)
Day 2: Open their eyes to the reality of their redemption! (Ephesians 1:7)
Day 3: May they accept Christ's forgiveness as completely adequate for all their sins. (Ephesians 1:7)
Day 4: Lord, let them experience the riches of God's grace, wisdom, and prudence. (Ephesians 1:7)
Day 5: Reveal to them the mystery of God's will. (Ephesians 1:9)
Day 6: Remind them of their inheritance that starts now and continues forever in heaven. (Ephesians 1:11)
Day 7: Father, show them the security (and undeserved blessing) of being sealed by the Holy Spirit as Your child. (Ephesians 1:13)
This fall I have had the opportunity to actively intercede for many people including missionaries, personal friends, new believers, and believers who are putting themselves through the paces to grow. I didn't just want to be going through the motions to pray for them -- but I wanted to pray things that mattered. And what better way to do that than to pray God's own words for them? So I started praying through Ephesians -- would you like to join me?
Day 1: Bless them with grace and peace. (Ephesians 1:2)
Day 2: Pray that they would understand God as Father. (Ephesians 1:2-3)
Day 3: Ask God to open their eyes to their spiritual blessings. (Ephesians 1:3)
Day 4: Let them experience the truth: they are chosen. (Ephesians 1:4)
Day 5: May they be holy and without blame before our Savior. (Ephesians 1:4)
Day 6: Ask God to give them joy as they realize they are adopted as sons! (And this comes with an inheritance!) (Ephesians 1:5)
Day 7: Help them live to the praise of His glory. (Ephesians 1:6)
On my way to work I was listening to the radio preacher and he said, in God's book there are only two days that matter.
The first day that matters is today. This is the day that the Lord has made and we are to rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24). I feel this is something lots of people understand this one and it is reflected (often) in one of two ways. Our natural tendency is to:
1. Eat, drink, be merry (Luke 12:19), and gorge ourselves on every conceivable pleasure and vice, OR to
2. Delude ourselves and distract ourselves from the obvious end of all men.
Without God though, the final result is similar: excessive self-indulgence in the first case or restrained self-centeredness in the second.
But our spiritual tendency ought to be ask God to help us number our days to gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12). Then we will be able to use today in preparation for "The Day".
"The Day" is the second day that matters to God -- this is the day when Christ will return. Life and time as we know it will cease and with it the opportunity to use that life and time to please God. But until "The Day", that opportunity is beckoning to us:
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers...love one another...Be hospitable...without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. -- 1 Peter 4:7-10
A desert-dweller understands when David speaks of his soul longing for God like a dry land. What is amazing is that God is able to satisfy our thirsting spirit and coax fruit to grow in the "driest" of circumstances. He plants us in times and places that are hostile and makes us thrive. He places us in untenable situations and makes us flourish. God enables us to bloom in our world that is a dry, barren land with no water.
Except the Living Water.
"...the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters." -- Revelation 7:17 " -- Revelation 7:17
I looked up at the Sandias yesterday and saw what I look for every year -- the aspens have changed color. The top of the mountain now has splashes of brilliant yellow (and the smoke has cleared enough to see this, thank you, God :0). That bright, cheerful color on the mountains means fall is here. The days are still warm enough to be outside, the nights cool enough to sleep well. But, in the northern hemisphere, fall also means everything is about to die and blow away or be frozen and covered in snow.
Still, autumn is my favorite season, with is ironic, because I do not like the "fall" seasons in life. I don't like it when life gets harder and colder. I do not like foreseeing "death" and the need for endurance. I don't enjoy fall because I dread the "winter" seasons in life.
But watching the Sandias, I know the snow of winter is what waters the spring. The chill of winter, saves the crystallized water so the wildflowers will grow and the desert will blossom again. A mild winter means a dry spring and a dusty (sometimes smoky) summer.
As much as I resist it -- that is how it works in life too. Our winters in life provide us proof that God is faithful, able, and willing to bring us through. They build within us a reservoir of experiencing God's love, comfort, and strength. And come spring, like snow and flowers, those lessons learned declare themselves in more Christ-like character and hardier faith.
Jesus worked as a laborer for 30, just like you and me.
Jesus taught anyone who wanted to learn, and probably never earned a dime doing it.
Jesus spoke with authority that amazed and confounded, because, where did it come from?
Jesus was content with 12 men who faithfully followed -- hundreds of miles on foot not just on Facebook.
Jesus left THE throne of heaven, and turned away from the thrones of earth.
Jesus did everything God had designed for Him (Philippians 2:5-8) to do because...
God doesn't need books or PhDs or charismatic public speaker. He doesn't need armies or strength of arms or politics to use someone.
He just needs you -- fully surrendered, heart, soul mind, and body.
Jesus never published a book. He probably only ever read a handful -- maybe just one.
Jesus never earned an advanced degree. He may not have even gone to school.
Jesus was never an internationally renowned speaker. He was a locally infamous revolutionary.
Jesus never led armies or held a commission. But He won the greatest victory in human history.
Jesus never claimed any earthly power or throne. But He set up an everlasting kingdom.
The Route 66 God Loves You Tour is coming to Albuquerque!
Have you ever really wanted something? To make a sports team? A part in a play? A dream job? A role at church? A specific position in orchestra? Everyone has, right?
We sometimes get what we want and we sometimes don't. And sometimes we realize in the middle of striving to reaching our goal that we just aren't a good fit or that someone else would be better for the team or the drama or the church.
The thought that someone else might be better than us is...honestly, a little disheartening. But it doesn't have to be.
1. You and I always fit in God's family. We may not be the best person to teach 8th grade Sunday School, but we are the best person for something and God will help us find it.
2. We can be grateful that God has gifted others in spectacular ways. And when they find their place in the band or in the backfield, the group benefits and the individual has an opportunity to glorify God more fully!
3. Even when the answer is "no" -- God guiding and providing and we can trust Him to continue to do because He loves you and me as His children.
It’s been a tough week. Hard decisions. Practical worries. Real-life stress. But God has provided “enough” – enough strength, enough support, enough time, enough information. That is His promise to provide enough.
And that is when I remember my “printer moment” last weekend before life took a left turn. Seven days ago I was struggling with an industrial printer. I was using expensive paper which had to be specially ordered. And after wasting a significant amount in my trials and errors, I was concerned there would not be enough.
Frustrated, and feeling ridiculous, I stood next to this printer and prayed for God to make the paper last. When it did – and well past what I was expecting -- it struck me: God only needs to provide enough. And while He always provides enough – so often He provides so much more. So much more, and as I supervised that suborn printer, I was unable to NOT lift my hands in worship. It was such a sweet moment of praising God for His undeserved provision.
Oh the goodness of God revealed in everyday blessings.
Come with me as we grow in fellowship with each other and our Savior to whom belongs the Amazing Escape from sin and death and the Amazing Journey into glorious life.