Monday, January 23, 2017, 6:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Look to God.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Ephesians 3:8-21 (NASB).
Unfathomable Riches of Christ (vv. 8-13)
To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. Therefore I ask you not to lose heart at my tribulations on your behalf, for they are your glory.
When we are born into this world of ours, we are born sinners, separate from God, and without hope, because of Adam’s sin (See: Ro. 5:12-19; 1 Co. 15:21-22, 42-49). We fall short of attaining God’s divine approval (See: Ro. 3:23). Yet, God had a plan for how he was going to save us from our sins and give us the hope of eternal life with him, even before he created the world. His plan was to send his Son (God the Son) to the earth, to take on human form, to suffer as we suffer, to be tempted in like manner as we are tempted, yet without sin, and to die on a cross for our sins. When he died our sins died with him, and were buried with him. When he was resurrected from the dead, he rose victorious over hell, sin, Satan and death on our behalf. He put sin to death on a cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (2 Co. 5:21; 1 Pet. 2:24). By his stripes we are healed!
Yet, not everyone is saved from their sins. We must individually put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of our lives. How? First God the Father draws us to faith in Christ, and then he gifts us with the faith to believe and with the ability to repent of our sins and to turn to God to follow him in obedience (See: Jn. 6:44; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Tim. 2:24-26). Through faith in Jesus Christ we are, then, crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24). Through faith in Jesus Christ we forsake our former way of living for sin and self, we are transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and we are given new lives in Christ Jesus to be lived to his righteousness.
Because we are now in Christ Jesus, through faith, we have complete access to God the Father. We can come boldly and confidently into his presence in prayer to him. When we trust in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, his Holy Spirit comes to live within us to comfort, instruct, teach, encourage, counsel, strengthen and empower us to live holy lives, pleasing to God. Because we now have this relationship with God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – we have no more reason to fear death or tribulation or difficult circumstances in our lives. Our God is absolutely sovereign over our lives and he is in control of all things and all powers. Nothing can touch us but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose. And, He will give us all we need to endure, to persevere, and to keep believing and trusting in him. So, we should not lose heart when difficult times come, which they will, but we should remain confident in our Lord and be faithful to him to the end.
Rooted and Grounded in Love (vv. 14-19)
For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
We do need to pray for one another, though, because we have an enemy who is hot on our trail, and whose goal it is to destroy us. And, he will pull out all the stops (do everything he can) for the express purpose to destroy us, to dishearten and discourage us, and to try to get us to give up hope and to abandon ship. And, that enemy is Satan, who disguises himself as an angel of light. He also has servants who do his bidding, both evil spirits and humans who are under his control, who also share his goal of destroying God’s holy saints. These humans can be in powerful positions of rule and authority in the world, or within the institutional church, or they can be our next door neighbors, or someone who is a member of an institutional church, or our friends or co-workers or even those of our own family.
So, be wise, be discerning, and don’t trust everyone, but put your hope in God. He will strengthen us, encourage us, and give us hope for our future, even when all hell may break loose all around us. He always has our best interest in mind. And, his purposes are much higher and greater than we could possibly imagine. He will never abandon us, but he will keep us in his love always. May we truly comprehend the vastness of his love for us.
Beyond all that We Ask (vv. 20-21)
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.
Again, Satan’s goal is to destroy us or to discourage and dishearten us so that we will give up all hope. So, we must know this, and we must be on our guard so that we don’t fall prey to his evil schemes against us. God has given us spiritual armor with which to fight off Satan’s evil attacks against us, so that we don’t succumb to his devices (See: Eph. 6:10-20). Satan will throw his fiery darts of despair, doubt, dismay, and fear, etc. against us, so daily we must put on faith, hope, love, truth, righteousness, and the Word of God, etc. – all in the power and working of the Spirit within us – to fight off these evil attacks. We must remember that Jesus already conquered Satan at the cross, so he is a defeated foe. He may be powerful and convincing, but he is subject to God, i.e. God/Jesus is completely in control over all. So, we must stop fighting Satan as though we know we are going to be defeated, but we must fight him as conquerors in Christ because of what Jesus did for us when he gave his life up for us on that cross.
And, we must know that our God is all powerful and he is able to do far above all we could ever think or ask. Nothing is too hard for God! Yet, we must also know that he often has greater purposes in mind than what we can imagine, too. We often are tempted to defeat because things didn’t turn out the way we had imagined they would, but God doesn’t think like we think. For one, he knows the end from the beginning, and not only does he know it, but he planned it, and it is going according to his plan, even if we can’t always see that. So, we must rest in our Lord, believe in his sovereignty over all things, and know that he is going to work out all things for good for those who love God and who have been called according to his purposes. So, don’t be afraid, but trust Jesus Christ with your life.
Look to God / An Original Work
November 11, 2016
Fear not. Look to God.
He will strengthen you. He is your Rock.
He’ll meet all your needs.
Rest in Him, and be filled with His peace.
When sorrow fills your life, pray to the Lord.
Believe His promises. Trust in His Word.
He’ll lead you each day.
Give your life to Him. Follow His ways.
Lean on Him today.
He will comfort you. Trust Him always.
Read His Word and pray.
Tell the world of His love and His grace.
When trials come your way, be not afraid.
God watches over you. Be not dismayed.
He’ll work all for good,
For the called of God. Jesus, they love.
Sing songs. Praise your Lord.
Lift your voice to Him. Shout out His Word.
He forgave your sins,
Cleansed your heart. You are made new within.
When you are faced with temptation to fear,
Remember God will be with you. He’s near.
He’ll take care of you.
He will keep you in His love, tis true.